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Summer Conferring Ceremony at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Almost 200 students will graduate from NUI Galway today during the Summer Conferring of Degrees and Diplomas. For these students, their academic efforts will culminate at the conferring ceremony today as they receive their parchments from Dr. Jim Browne, NUI Galway President. All Colleges of the University are represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, Faculty of Commerce; College of Engineering and Informatics: Faculty of Law; and College of Science. The largest cohorts of students to graduate today will be eighty-eight Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Dr. Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, said, "The University congratulates our graduands and issues a warm welcome to their parents and families. Since it opened its doors in 1849, over 77,000 graduates have benefited from a higher education in this University, the quality of which is attested to by the eminent positions they held, and continue to hold, not only in Ireland but across the globe." Students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. These include twin brothers James and John McDonald from Ballylongford, Kerry, who will each receive a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the College of Science. International students are also well represented, with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait. The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 27 June, 2008. -ends-
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Mace Head Climate Research Station Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
On Thursday, 19 June, NUI Galway will hold a symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station, located on the west coast near Carna, Co. Galway. Beginning within the modest confines of a refurbished World War II coastal look-out post in 1958, Mace Head has grown to become one of the most important sites for atmospheric research in the Northern hemisphere. Data from Mace Head is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. As Mace Head is the globally acknowledged western European station for clean air data, it provides key baseline input for inter-comparison with levels elsewhere in Europe. Since 1994, Mace Head has been a baseline station for the Global Atmosphere Watch of the World Meteorological Organization (an agency of the UN). One of the first scientists to collect data at Mace Head in 1958, Dr. Thomas O Connor of the University's School of Physics, is very familiar with the development of the station. "Fifty years ago, global warming was not a household phrase. However, with Mace Head we were already following a scientific path which would put us centre stage when environmental change became a globally acknowledged issue. Mace Head has not only given us a unique legacy of data spanning half a century, but the station is poised to play a critical role over the next 50 years in understanding and tackling climate change". Mace Head station is widely used for numerous national and international projects and has served scientists from over 100 universities and institutions in 20 countries over the years. Mace Head also contributes, through ongoing climatic monitoring, to meeting Ireland's environmental commitments under international treaties. Data such as wind speed, wind direction, pressure, temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, rainfall as well as aerosol particulate parameters are continuously recorded and webcast in real time. Professor Gerard Jennings of NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute, believes the station is very special, "Mace Head is unique in European atmospheric research. Air masses arrive via the 'clean sector' spanning 110 degrees are ideal for carrying out background aerosol and trace gas measurements. The station has been the perfect setting for a series of scientific projects over the years, such as measuring chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) when their impact on the earth's ozone came to the fore in the 1980s. Now, Mace Head is involved in tackling the much greater challenge of global environmental change." At the symposium on 19 June, which takes place in the Cairnes Theatre at NUI Galway from 9am-6pm, principal leaders of scientific projects at Mace Head will outline the achievements of the work there and the importance of these results for policy makers in the area of global climate change, air quality and other environmental conditions in Ireland. The jubilee celebrations will continue on Friday, 20 June with an Open Day at the station. Operated by staff from the Department of Physics at NUI Galway, Mace Head is the main location of experimental research carried out by the University's Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies – a centre within NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute. Led by one of Ireland's foremost environmental physics scientists, Dr. Colin O'Dowd, the group concentrates on the physical and chemical properties of aerosols, clouds, and gaseous species in the marine environment and their ultimate role in global climate change. According to Dr. O'Dowd, "Mace Head complements hugely to the strategic geographic importance of Ireland and our coupled atmosphere-marine environment in studying the dynamics of the impacts of climate change. It is a world class infrastructure research facility which is available to support Irish research groups in winning leading roles in high profile international research projects". For further information on the Mace Head visit on June 20th: www.macehead.org -ends-
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Health Inequalities in Young People's Health – How do Ireland's children compare
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
The Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway announce the publication of a new World Health Organisation report "Health Inequalities in Young People's Health". This is the latest international report of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey: www.euro.who.int This report presents findings on key health and well-being measures in young people in 41 countries across Europe and North America. As well as cross-national patterns, it highlights transitions in health at certain ages and examines differences between boys and girls and between children from more and less affluent families. Information is presented from more than 200,000 students aged 11, 13 and 15 years. Health is considered in its broadest sense, as physical, social and emotional well-being. Findings on the social context of health such as peer and family relationships, the school environment and socio-economic determinants of health are also included in the report. Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, from NUI Galway's Health Promotion Research Centre, was Principal Investigator for Ireland and co-author of the report. According to Dr. Nic Gabhainn, "This is the first time that inequalities in youth health have been systematically documented by age, gender, affluence and geography across so many countries – it is a landmark in our understanding of the health of young people. The age groups involved represent the onset of adolescence, a time when young people face the challenges of physical and emotional changes, and the years when important life and career decisions are beginning to be made". In comparison to the other 40 countries across Europe and North America, Irish children rank highly on many positive health indicators, including physical activity (top 10) and breakfast eating (top 10) and report relatively low levels of health complaints (bottom 10) and medically attended injuries (bottom 10). We are also in the top five for number of close friends and for perceived school performance in all age groups. Children in primary school (11 year olds) are near the bottom of the league, with relatively low levels for some negative behaviours such as fighting (37th) and being bullied (33rd) and are also in the top ten countries for reported high life satisfaction. Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn says "This is good news for Ireland, we have held on to our position near the top of the physical activity league, and have improved on sweets and soft drink consumption, as well as tooth brushing, where we had performed poorly in previous cross-national HBSC surveys". Irish rates of smoking and drinking have decreased since previous HBSC studies in 1998 and 2002. Irish 15 year olds are average for smoking tobacco at least weekly (19%, rank 16th), and having been drunk at least twice (33%, rank 20th), and just above average for cannabis use in the last 30 days (9%, rank 12th). Across Europe, including Ireland, consistent inequalities between children based on gender and family affluence are evident and will require further attention. Gender: There are important gender differences, particularly in the older age groups. At age 15, boys are more likely than girls to eat breakfast (70% vs. 57%), undertake physical activity (27% vs. 13%), to have used cannabis recently (11% vs. 7%) and to have been fighting (19% vs. 7%). Boys are also more likely to spend time with friends in the evening (43% vs.33%), to have been injured (50% vs. 34%) and to get on well with their fathers (66% vs. 50%). Age: At age 15, girls are more likely than boys to report that they're doing well in school (71% vs. 61%), to feel supported by their classmates (65% vs. 53%), but to feel pressured by their schoolwork (60% vs. 47%). Girls report more health complaints (40% vs. 25%) and are more likely to think they are too fat (45% vs. 22%). In terms of health behaviours, girls are more likely than boys to eat fruit every day (39% vs. 29%), to brush their teeth at least daily (76% vs. 52%) and to diet (19% vs. 8%). Family Affluence: children from more affluent families have more positive eating patterns – they are more likely to eat breakfast, to eat fruit and less likely to consume soft drinks. More affluent children also report better relationships with their fathers and their friends and get on better in school. Those from less affluent families are more likely to smoke cigarettes, spend more time out at night with friends and watch more than the recommended 2 hours of television per day. Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety, Ms Mary Wallace T.D. said "I welcome the publication of the International Report on the Health Behaviours of School-Aged Children (HBSC) Survey. The International Report contains a wealth of data on the health behaviours of children across 41 countries. The health and well-being of Irish children compares very favourably internationally. The study shows that all countries face challenges in relation to the health behaviours of their young population in such areas as diet, smoking, drinking alcohol and physical activity. The data published today will continue to inform policy and service development in the coming years." These findings illustrate that there is much work to be done in creating a level playing field for young people in Ireland and across Europe. The information in this report will prove vital to those developing policy, strategy and practice in the area of youth health. The HBSC team in NUI Galway will continue to work on analysing and understanding these patterns. - ends -
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Investment Needed to Support Health Promotion Professionals
Monday, 16 June 2008
A leading Irish health promotion expert has today called for a significant investment in the training and education of health promotion practitioners, and other health workers. Professor Margaret Barry, Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, was speaking at the opening of the first Consensus Meeting of international leaders from health promotion and population health, which takes place this week at NUI Galway. Professor Barry said, "Health promotion is a complex and challenging field. We need to make sure our professionals have the required competencies and skills to address complex health issues within rapidly changing social and political contexts. Government investment, international co-operation and consensus will be required to improve population health worldwide." The meeting's focus is the development of professional standards and accreditation for health promotion professionals globally. Participants include representatives from the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE); the Society for Public Health Education, (SOPHE), USA; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA; American Association for Health Education; Council on Education for Public Health, USA; National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, USA; and the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, UK. The outcome of the Consensus Meeting will be discussed at the 12th annual Health Promotion Conference which takes place later this week at NUI Galway, from 19-20 June 2008. The event, entitled "Capacity Building for the Future: Health Promotion Competencies and Professional Standards", will be opened by Minister Mary Wallace T.D., Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety. Speaking about the upcoming conference, Professor Barry said, "Capacity building to support the development and implementation of policy and best practice is key to the future growth and development of health promotion globally and nationally. Workforce development is critical to building capacity for the effective improvement of population health." Speakers at the conference include Professor David McQueen (CDC & IUHPE President), who will highlight the sense of urgency in the need for global capacity building for health promotion and Professor Maurice Mittelmark (University of Bergen & IUHPE Vice President for Communications), who will consider what we have and what we lack in infrastructural supports for the development of health promotion. Professor Margaret Barry, NUI Galway, is also presenting at the conference. The event will provide a unique opportunity for delegates to discuss and debate how the ideas from the consensus report can be used to strengthen health promotion practice and training in Ireland. Participants will include practitioners, managers, policy makers, academics and researchers from the fields of health promotion and population health. -ends-
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International Criminal Court Summer School Opens at NUI Galway
Monday, 16 June 2008
The International Criminal Court Summer School takes place at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, from 21-26 June. Now in its ninth year, the summer school has established itself as one of the premier intensive courses offered internationally on the important subject of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is aimed at combating impunity for atrocities and it is at the forefront of a broader movement of achieving accountability. During the five days of lectures, delivered by leading specialists in the field, students are provided with a detailed knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures will also address related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction and immunities. A host of key international experts in criminal law, including Judge Nsereko of the ICC, will address the International Criminal Court Summer School. Other prominent speakers include Professor David Scheffer who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, and Judge Richard Goldstone who served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda from 1994-1996. Commenting on the summer school, Dr. Ray Murphy, of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said, "The ICC is arguably one of the most important international institutions after the creation of the United Nations. This year the Summer School welcomes a number of the most well-respected experts in this field and we look forward to discussing some of the continuing challenges facing the ICC in countries including Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic". Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will also address the school. The Summer School culminates in a simulated trial before the ICC. -ends-
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NUI Galway Issues Reminder for Part-Time Degree Programmes
Friday, 13 June 2008
NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office has issued a final reminder to members of the public interested in undertaking part-time degree programmes in the autumn. Application deadlines for some degree programmes are at the end of June. Conscious of the many demands placed on adult learners from a work and family perspective, all new courses are developed on a modular basis. This provides students with manageable, bite-sized chunks of learning, enabling them to combine their work and family commitments with the demands of a programme of study. Most courses are taught using blended learning which combines classroom and online study. Some newer courses are also flexible in terms of payment, such as the modular BSc in Science and Technology Studies, delivered via blended learning by the Atlantic University Alliance (AUA) member universities, NUI Galway and University of Limerick. Payment for the course is per module on a semester by semester basis, making it an affordable option to anyone considering further education. Niamh Nolan, Programme Co-ordinator of the modular BSc in Science and Technology Studies at NUI Galway, says the course could prove very beneficial to people already employed but who had hit a glass ceiling in terms of their career progression. "With the economic forecast growing gloomier, employment security is important and upskilling is paramount. The flexibility offered by these new programmes allows professionals to combine work with part-time education". NUI Galway also offers a Bachelor of Arts programme including subjects such as English, History, French and Information Technology. The programme is available over four years with students attending class up to three evenings per week. Students who have previously undertaken a certificate or diploma programme at NUI Galway or another third-level institution may also be eligible for exemptions on the programme. Students are encouraged to contact the programme co-ordinator for further details. Other new part-time degree courses this year include a BA in Social Care, which builds on the existing Diploma in Social Care. The University's BA in Community and Family Studies continues to prove popular as does the BSc in Rural Development. Students should note that later closing dates apply to these programmes. Nuala McGuinn, of NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office, comments, "September may seem like a long time away, but the application deadlines are upon us. We try to be as accommodating as possible with our applicants, but there is such a wide variety of courses and varying deadlines, so we want to encourage people to make up their minds as soon as they can". The full list of part-time degree programmes, some of which are also offered at diploma level, include: Blended learning programmes: Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology Studies Bachelor of Arts Social Care Bachelor of Arts in Community and Family Studies Bachelor of Science in Rural Development Bachelor of Arts in Training and Education Classroom-based programmes Bachelor of Arts (classroom-based) For those not necessarily interested in pursuing a course to degree level, there is a wide range of courses available at certificate and diploma level at NUI Galway. These include English Literature, History, French, German, Italian, Social Gerontology, Gemmology, Women's Studies, Irish Music Studies, Gaeilge and Geology and many others. For more information on all programmes visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation/ or email email@example.com -ends-
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Lecturer in EU Law Comments on 'What No Means for Ireland'
Friday, 13 June 2008
An expert on EU Law has said that the Irish may well have condemned the Lisbon Treaty to the dustbin of history and that the Government must carefully consider the various options now open to it. Dr. Laurent Pech, a Lecturer in European Union Law at NUI Galway, was speaking as the referendum count for Galway West was being tallied. According to Dr. Pech, author of The European Union and its Constitution - From Rome to Lisbon, "18 Member States have ratified the Treaty. However, from a legal perspective, the rules governing the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty are clear-cut: unanimous ratification is required. No matter how practically absurd in a Union of 27 Member States, such unanimity has regularly led to ratification crises in some Member States. As the main points raised by the No side had nothing do to with the Treaty or misrepresented its actual contents, it may well be impossible to renegotiate the Treaty. Indeed, not only did the Lisbon Treaty accommodate Irish concerns and special interests, the No groups actually offered contradictory arguments. Accordingly, it will be almost impossible to take all these arguments into account." Dr. Pech suggests that there are various options for both the Irish Government and the European Union. "The EU can certainly continue to work on the basis of the Nice Treaty and seek to implement the most consensual provisions of the Lisbon Treaty on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, if some Member States are willing to deepen European integration in certain areas, they may rely upon the provisions governing "enhanced cooperation" (Art. 43 of the Treaty on European Union). Another option is to let the ratification process follows its path. This is the worst scenario for Ireland as it may lead to its political marginalisation." He continued, "More realistically, the Irish government could seek to negotiate special arrangements and/or a new protocol which clearly states that Lisbon does not pose any threat to its neutrality, taxation regime, etc. This protocol would only restate the obvious but it might make it easier to convince Irish people to revote on the Treaty. In my view, it is also imperative that we, in Europe, agree that two new indispensable conditions should govern the ratification of any new European Treaty: Member States must accept its ratification on a super-majority basis rather than unanimity; and The new text must clearly articulate what would happen to the Member State(s) which will be unable to ratify it." -ends-
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Electronic Engineering Researchers from Academia and Industry Convene at NUI Gal
Friday, 13 June 2008
Over one hundred Electronic Engineering researchers from academia and industry will convene in Galway next week for the 16th IET Irish Signals and Systems Conference (ISSC 2008). The conference, which takes place from 18-19 June, will focus on the latest developments in the fields of Digital Signal Processing, Control, and Communications. The field of Signals and Systems research develops methods of understanding and manipulating complicated patterns of signals, sensed from the environment. It also develops methods for designing practical embedded electronic and computing systems to perform tasks such as Biomedical, Audio and Image Signal Processing, Cryptography, Wireless Communications and Control Engineering. The annual ISSC conference makes an important contribution to the advancement of related ideas and research, bringing together Irish and international researchers from industry and universities. Presenters at the ISSC 2008 conference will highlight methods developed to use integrated circuit technology advances, along with efficient signal processing, to more effectively perform engineering tasks. Dr. Fearghal Morgan of NUI Galway's Electronic Engineering Department and Conference Chair, "Ireland has a very successful, 25 year track record in the microelectronics industry and has a well established research infrastructure. Most of the world's top microelectronics design companies, including Intel, Cypress Semiconductor, Analog Devices and Xilinx, are located in Ireland. World-wide semiconductor revenue in 2007 was $257bn. This is predicted to rise to $321bn by 2010. Ireland has an expanding number of related start-up companies with global ambitions. Importantly, post-graduate research funding for Electronic Engineering and ISSC-related topics has never been better". ISSC 2008 will be hosted by the Department of Electronic Engineering and co-sponsored by the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). Conference proceedings are published by co-sponsor The Institute of Engineering and Technology (The IET). ISSC 2008 is also supported by MIDAS Ireland, Intel, Cypress Semiconductor, Analog Devices, Xilinx, Starlight Solutions and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. Dr. Morgan concludes, "We look forward to a successful ISSC 2008 conference, which will be a very important gathering in Galway for the network of Electronic design and research professionals. Hosting ISSC 2008 in Galway also gives us an opportunity to showcase the new NUI Galway Engineering building, which is due for completion in 2010. Planning permission has recently been obtained for this exciting €60m building project which will accommodate all of the NUI Galway Engineering departments." For further information on the ISSC 2008 conference, visit the website at www.issc.ie -ends-
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Summer School Puts Minority Rights Centre Stage
Thursday, 12 June 2008
The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will host its 8th annual 'Minority Rights, Indigenous People and Human Rights Law Summer School' from 15-20 June, 2008. Almost 50 attendees will travel to Galway for the summer school from 15 countries to receive an overview of the legal, political and philosophical issues pertaining to international human rights law. Relationships between those issues, minority rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples, will then be explored and debated during the course of the five days. Attendees of the school will be addressed by a host of notable speakers led by Professor Joshua Castellino, Professor of Law and Head of the Law Department at London's Middlesex University, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Professor Patrick Thornberry, a member of the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, will also teach at the school. Commenting on the upcoming event, Dr. Ray Murphy, of the Irish Centre for Human Rights said, "This summer school has grown in reputation over the years to become an important annual event for those interested in global affairs and human rights. This year we look forward to learning from each others experiences, whether it's that of Travellers in Ireland, aboriginal Canadians, or indigenous peoples in Chile." Other prominent lecturers include Martin Collins, who is a member of the Irish Human Rights Committee and a founding member and current Assistant Director of Pavee Point Travellers Centre. Two speakers will travel from South America specifically to join the faculty of the summer school, Dr. César Rodríguez Garavito from Colombia, and Dr. Nicolas Espejo from Chile, both of whose participation is being funded by the Latin American European American Human Rights Network (LAEHR). The Irish Centre of Human Rights at NUI Galway supports the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law at undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. -ends-
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New England Wins Inaugural NUI Galway Alumni Club Award
Thursday, 12 June 2008
The Alumni Association Board is pleased to announce New England as the winner of the inaugural 2008 Alumni Club Award. The Award provides recognition and financial support to alumni groups who are considered to have best represented NUI Galway in alumni club activity. The presentation to New England was made in Boston by Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs, Professor Gerard Hurley, and announced during the recent Alumni Reunion 2008 in Galway. Three alumni clubs were short listed for the 2008 Alumni Club Award: Arts-Media (Dublin), Beijing and New England. The Award aims to encourage new ideas from NUI Galway alumni to create positive change for the University and its constituents. It also seeks to encourage existing NUI Galway alumni groups to increase the scale of their activities and supports the University's strategic priorities through increased alumni participation Alumni Clubs reflect regional, faculty and special interest groups within the graduate population and affords individuals the opportunity to stay connected with fellow graduates and the University. Clubs are the heart of the Association, bringing together communities of graduates throughout Ireland and the world. Active Regional Clubs are currently located in the USA (New England and the Tri-State area), Ireland, Japan, Korea, London and in China. Affinity Clubs in Ireland include: (Arts & Media – Dublin Club, and the Law Club - Dublin).
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