Sharing knowledge on technology and business at the BarCamp "unconference"

Sharing knowledge on technology and business at the BarCamp

Monday, 17 September 2007

The 'BarCamp Galway' event will be held at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), National University of Ireland, Galway from 10a.m. on 22nd September, 2007. BarCamp is a technology-focused, informal gathering of people from technical and business backgrounds, where information and experiences are exchanged. The event is geared towards sharing knowledge and learning from others, and there is a policy of encouraging active participation in all discussions. 'BarCamp Galway' extends from other successful Irish "unconferences", most recently in Dublin and Belfast. The term unconference is used as BarCamp allows anyone to present, and talks can be technical or non-technical. The ethos is simply about sharing information, with no overriding theme. Speakers and discussion panel members who have signed up to talk so far include: David Lenehan, PollDaddy: creator of the very popular online polling service John Collison, Auctomatic: the young Irish student who along with his brother Patrick received significant venture capital funding from Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley John Breslin, boards.ie: co-founder of Ireland s largest discussion community Conor O Neill, LouderVoice: editor of Blognation Ireland Ina O Murchu, DERI: writer of Galway First s TechTalk column and speaking about the Social Web The event is free and is sponsored by Microsoft, Blacknight, boards.ie and Logon.ie. If you wish to attend, simply send an e-mail to barcampgalway@gmail.com ENDS

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Science Essay Competition for Schools launched by NUI Galway and Medtronic

Science Essay Competition for Schools launched by NUI Galway and Medtronic-image

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway has launched its national Schools' Science Essay Competition 2007. Sponsored for the third year by medical technology company Medtronic, the competition is open to all students in the senior cycle of secondary schools in Ireland. This year's essay title is Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box? Closing date for receipt of entries is Friday, October 26th 2007. REMEDI's Schools' Science Essay Competition was launched in 2005 to stimulate discussion among students on the ethical and societal implications of advances in biomedical research. The aim is to generate interest in science among second level students and encourage more to go on to study science at third level. Last year's competition generated a lot of interest in science issues among students, with an increase of over double the number of entries since 2005. The eventual winner was Paul Kelliher from Killorglin, Co. Kerry. Professor Tim O Brien, Director, REMEDI, explained: "The purpose of this project, as with all our secondary school initiatives, is to encourage young people to take an active interest in contemporary scientific research, and to consider a career in this field. Science communication should always be a two way process. While it is important for REMEDI personnel to publicly discuss research taking place in the areas of stem cell and gene therapy, it is equally important for our scientists to listen to the public's views on this research – and we've found 16-18 year olds are more than eager to express their views on some of the questions raised by this research." This year's essay is 'Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box?': As scientists advance their ability to identify, screen and manipulate genes; is gene therapy a potential panacea for the terrible illnesses we cannot cure, or a Pandora's box where genetically enhanced 'designer babies' with perfect looks and high IQs become a reality?". Winners of the competition in 2005 and 2006 were presented with their prizes at the BT Young Scientist Festival in Dublin, by Minister for Education & Science Mary Hanafin T.D. This year's competition prizes include a laptop, iPOD, crystal trophies and school prizes of science equipment bursaries. Full details of the competition rules, helpful hints and additional information on how to enter are available on the education section of the REMEDI website www.remedi.ie. REMEDI is an SFI funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science located at NUI Galway. ENDS

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NUI Galway receive substantial SFI Research Funding Awards

NUI Galway receive substantial SFI Research Funding Awards-image

Thursday, 13 September 2007

NUI Galway was successful in securing four substantial SFI research grants announced recently in Dublin by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, T.D. Professor Christopher Dainty, SFI Professor of Experimental Physics at NUI Galway was the largest award of €4.5million for research in applied optical techniques. Optics is concerned with lighting, displays such as TVs and computers, CDs and DVDs, healthcare and manufacturing but also human vision. This research will focus on improving diagnostic methods which would lead to early diagnosis of disease in the eye and prevention of blindness in old age. As individuals live longer, and the overall population ages, problems of eye disease are becoming more severe, and the need for early detection of conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma becomes more important. Optical imaging, enhanced by a technique called "adaptive optics" -- invented by astronomers to obtain better images in telescopes -- will allow doctors to make earlier diagnoses of these and other diseases of the eye. Other research areas being investigated include optical storage systems, free-space optical communication systems and lithography. Professor Dainty, on receipt of the award, said: "This renewal of our funding for the next five years reflects a vote of confidence by the international scientific community in our wide-ranging research programme. Reviewers praised our commitment to academic excellence and our focus on educating research leaders of the future". Other NUI Galway recipients included Professor Matthew Dallas Griffin, based at the Mayo Clinic, USA; Dr Thomas Ritter from the Regenerative Medicine Institute; and Dr Stephen Rea, who received one of four President of Ireland Young Researcher Awards (PIYRA) 2007. Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway offered his congratulations to all of these recipients of SFI awards which have brought distinction to themselves and to NUI Galway. He added, "Their research will contribute to the enrichment of the community through the advancement of knowledge and the application of that knowledge to industry." SFI, the national foundation for excellence in scientific research, invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies, and competitive enterprises. SFI has responsibility for investment of €1.4bn under the current National Development Plan and the Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation up to the year 2013. - ENDS -

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President McAleese to launch Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway

President McAleese to launch Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 7 September 2007

Centre to be results-focused on solving pressing child and family issues in Irish society President Mary McAleese will launch the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the National University of Ireland, Galway today, Friday, 7 September, 2007. The Centre aims to improve outcomes for children and their families, and advance practice and policy in Ireland and internationally, through research, evaluation and service development. According to Dr Pat Dolan, Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, there is a need for more research that focuses on finding ways to support children and families in crises and prior to the escalation of problems. He said: "While social difficulties such as child poverty, youth suicide and violence within families are often brought to public attention, solutions to these problems are neither highlighted nor adequately shared among interested stakeholders, including families themselves". This launch is timely as the Centre expands its' capacity to work directly with policy makers and frontline child welfare professionals such as social workers, teachers and community youth workers in response to the increasing demand for services that deliver the best outcomes for children and families. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President, NUI Galway welcomed the establishment of the Centre: "This unique partnership between the University and the HSE, and supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies, will, through its research and teaching outputs, have a direct impact on improving the quality of life for children and families in Ireland. It marks the continuing development of world-class research and social science policy centres on our campus." In 2007 the Child and Family Research Centre was awarded significant support from The Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland under its Disadvantaged Children and Youth Programme which aims for better health and life outcomes for young people experiencing adversity. Over the next five to ten years the CFRC will become a leading centre of excellence, with over 20 full-time staff and PhD students and an international visiting faculty programme. ENDS

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An tUachtarán Mhic Giolla Íosa leis an Ionad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh i

An tUachtarán Mhic Giolla Íosa leis an Ionad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh i-image

Friday, 7 September 2007

Is é a bheidh mar aidhm ag an Ionad seo ceisteanna tábhachtacha maidir le leanaí agus teaghlaigh i sochaí na hÉireann a réiteach agus a chinntiú go mbeidh torthaí a gcuid oibre le feiceáil Seolfaidh an tUachtarán Máire Mhic Giolla Íosa an tIonad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh (CRFC) in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, inniu, Dé hAoine, an 7 Meán Fómhair 2007. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an Ionad saol leanaí agus a dteaghlaigh a fheabhsú, agus cleachtas agus beartas a chur chun cinn in Éirinn agus go hidirnáisiúnta, trí thaighde, trí mheasúnacht agus trí fhorbairt seirbhíse. Dúirt an Dr Pat Dolan, Stiúrthóir an Ionaid Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh, go bhfuil gá le tuilleadh taighde atá dírithe ar bhealaí a aimsiú chun tacú le leanaí agus le teaghlaigh atá i ngéarchéim sula dtéann na fadhbanna atá acu i ndonas. Dúirt sé: "Cé go dtarraingítear aird an phobail ar dheacrachtaí sóisialta cosúil le bochtaineacht i measc leanaí, féinmharú i measc na n-óg agus foréigean i measc teaghlach, ní tharraingítear aird ar bith ar dheacrachtaí a réiteach agus ní chuirtear na réitigh seo in iúl do pháirtithe leasmhara, na teaghlaigh féin san áireamh". Tá an seoladh seo ag tarlú ag tráth a bhfuil forbairt ag teacht ar acmhainn an Ionaid oibriú go díreach le lucht déanta beartais agus príomhghairmithe cúraim leanaí cosúil le hoibrithe sóisialta, múinteoirí agus oibrithe pobail don aos óg, mar fhreagairt ar an éileamh atá ann do sheirbhísí a chinntíonn na torthaí is fearr do leanaí agus do theaghlaigh. D'fháiltigh an Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh roimh bhunú an Ionaid agus an méid seo a leanas á rá aige: "Beidh tionchar díreach ag an gcomhpháirtíocht speisialta seo idir an Ollscoil agus Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte, le tacaíocht ó Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland, ar cháilíocht beatha leanaí agus teaghlach in Éirinn trí thorthaí taighde agus teagaisc. Léargas eile fós é bunú an Ionaid seo ar an bhforbairt leanúnach atá ar siúl againn maidir le hionaid taighde agus beartais eolaíochta sóisialta den scoth a fhorbairt ar ár gcampas." In 2007, bhronn The Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland tacaíocht shuntasach ar an Ionad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh faoi Chlár na Leanaí faoi Mhíbhuntáiste agus na nÓg. Is é atá mar aidhm leis an gclár seo sláinte agus saol níos fearr a chinntiú do dhaoine óga a bhfuil deacrachtaí áirithe le sárú acu. Sna cúig go deich mbliana amach romhainn forbrófar an CFRC mar ionad feabhais. Beidh breis agus 20 comhalta foirne lánaimseartha agus mic léinn PhD, mar aon le clár cuairte dáimhe idirnáisiúnta san Ionad. CRÍOCH

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Community Engagement Gains Award for NUI Galway Italian Course

Community Engagement Gains Award for NUI Galway Italian Course-image

Monday, 3 September 2007

One of the most recent service learning programmes to come on stream at NUI Galway has been awarded a prestigious European Award for Languages. The award-winning module 'Service Learning in Italian' sees third and fourth year students in the Arts Faculty teach Italian in local primary schools as part of their course. The European Award for Languages (also known as the Language Label) recognises creativity and innovation in improving the quality of language learning and teaching. Through the 'Service Learning in Italian' module, primary schools gain access supported language classes without requiring them to find extra funding or resources. Meanwhile, third-level students have an opportunity to practice their language and teaching skills, supporting wider links between the university and the community. Service learning is a relatively new phenomenon at third-level in Ireland, but has been well established in the US for many years. Rather than traditional lectures or university classes, the learning process happens through working with the wider community on a project or issue that links to the students' degree subject area. NUI Galway, with the support of its Community Knowledge Initiative, now has over a dozen courses with this specific civic dimension. Service learning is neither volunteering nor work-placement, but is a distinct approach to teaching and learning that is designed to be academically robust whilst also linked to community needs. The teaching method was first piloted at NUI Galway three years ago with Nursing students who worked in an AIDS hospice in Zambia and a hospital in Belize; and with Bio-medical and Mechanical Engineering students who developed a range of innovative tools and resources for disabled, elderly and others facing particular challenges in daily life. A range of service-learning modules are now available across faculties at the University. Dr. Anne O'Connor of the Italian Department at NUI Galway, who coordinated the 'Service Learning in Italian' pilot programme, commented, "We are thrilled to receive a European Award for Languages 2007. Our new module aims to foster positive attitudes towards language learning for all involved, both primary and third-level students. The module also develops links with the community, giving students the opportunity to exercise social responsibility. Primary school children who participate, range from ages six to ten and are taught in an interactive and enjoyable way." The European Award for Languages is coordinated by the European Commission and managed on a decentralised basis by each member state. The award is managed in Ireland by Léargas. The award will be presented at a special ceremony in Dublin on 26 September European Day of Languages. ENDS

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October 2007

Searmanais Bhronnta OÉ Gaillimh

Searmanais Bhronnta OÉ Gaillimh-image

Friday, 26 October 2007

Lá ar leith atá ann don Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh inniu. Is é seo an uair dheiridh aige tabhairt faoi sheachtain iomlán de bhronnadh céimeanna in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá sé anois i ndiaidh seacht lá a chaitheamh i mbun searmanas ar fhreastail os cionn 4,000 mac léinn orthu. Beidh an searmanas bronnta deiridh mar Uachtarán aige i mí Feabhra 2008. Seo a leanas a bhí le rá ag an Dr Ó Muircheartaigh agus na searmanais bhronnta beagnach thart: "Ba é an chuid ba dheise den phost bualadh leis na mic léinn agus a dteaghlach ag na searmanais bhronnta. Is é sin an chuimhne is fearr a bheidh agam ar an tréimhse a chaith mé anseo mar Uachtarán – aitheantas a thabhairt don mhéid atá bainte amach ag gach uile mhac léinn". Measann an tUachtarán go bhfuil idir chéimeanna agus dhioplómaí bronnta aige ar os cionn 40,000 céimí anois. Cuireadh tús le searmanais bhronnta an fhómhair in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, 19 Deireadh Fómhair, tráth ar bronnadh idir theastais, dhioplómaí agus chéimeanna ar 650 mac léinn as áiteanna ar fud na tíre ag searmanas do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta. I rith na seachtaine freisin bronnadh Céim Mháistreachta Oinigh ar Eric Elwood, as an obair atá déanta aige ar mhaithe le Rugbaí i gConnachta; Tom Tuohy, as an obair dheonach atá déanta aige i mbun cúrsaí oiliúna i gClub Rámhaíochta OÉ Gaillimh; Tomás Ó Tuathail, as an obair atá déanta aige ar mhaithe le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge agus forbairt pobail i dTuar Mhic Éadaigh, Co. Mhaigh Eo; agus bronnadh Céim Mháistreachta Oinigh san Eolaíocht ar Alasdar Mac Cana, as an méid oibre a rinne sé thar thréimhse 20 bliain i mbun oiliúint phraiticiúil eolaithe i Roinn na Fisice agus Roinn an Oideachais in OÉ Gaillimh. CRÍOCH

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NUI Galway week-long Conferring Ceremonies come to a close

NUI Galway week-long Conferring Ceremonies come to a close-image

Friday, 26 October 2007

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh will today complete his final full week of conferrings at NUI Galway following seven days in which he conferred over 4,000 students. His final conferring ceremony as President will take place in February 2008. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh commented towards the end of the conferring ceremonies: "Meeting students and their families on graduation day is probably my favourite part of the job. It will stand out as the single most rewarding and memorable experience of my tenure, recognising as it does the achievement of each individual student". The President calculates that during his period of office he will have conferred degrees and diplomas on over 40,000 graduands. The annual autumn conferring ceremonies began at NUI Galway last Friday, 19 October when over 650 students from locations across the country were conferred, during the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, following completion of their certificate, diploma and degree courses. Three Honorary MA Degrees and one Honorary MSc Degree were also awarded this week to Eric Elwood, for his contribution to Connacht Rugby; Tom Tuohy, for his contribution as coach to NUI Galway Boat Club; Tomás Ó Tuathail, for his contribution to community development and Irish language and culture promotion in his native Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo; and Alasdar Mac Cana, for his contribution of over 20 years in the practical training of scientists in the Department of Physics and in the Education Department of NUI Galway. ENDS

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Launch of Report on National Conference on Ethnic Minority Healthcare

Launch of Report on National Conference on Ethnic Minority Healthcare -image

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The report of the second national HSE conference on ethnic minority health was launched at NUI Galway yesterday by Diane Nurse, National Planning Specialist, Social Inclusion, HSE. The conference, Participation of Ethnic Minority Communities in Primary Care Service Design, Planning and Delivery, took place in Galway in January of this year. The idea for the conference grew from an ongoing partnership between the Primary Care Department, HSE West, the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. The conference provided a forum to showcase examples of participatory approaches in research, service delivery and community health initiatives. Almost one fifth of the 150 delegates were ethnic minority community members, with the remainder drawn from statutory and non-statutory agencies. Speaking at the launch Diane Nurse of the HSE said: "It is clear that there is a growing awareness at European, national, regional, and local level that people affected by policy decisions have a right to be consulted about issues and decisions that affect their lives. Participation of ethnic minorities is not just an "add on". It is not down to individuals, individual projects or services. It comes through at national, regional and local level. It is informed and mandated by policy at government and organisational level. It is supported by a range of approaches including community development which has a lot to teach us in terms of participation. There are many examples to build upon and learn from. Participation strengthens and improves service for all of us. " The report identifies four key areas which featured strongly in presentations and group discussions and which conference delegates felt warranted particular consideration in the forthcoming National Intercultural Health Strategy and the implementation of the strategy thereafter. 1. GP services are the first point of contact with the health services for asylum seekers and ethnic minority communities. At this time many ethnic minority community members are having difficulty in general practice. Key recommendations are to improve the systems by which an asylum seeker 'finds' a GP and is 'accepted' on a GP list as a GMS patient. GP services need to be culturally appropriate with supports in place for both GP and patient (e.g. interpretation services and cultural competence training). 2. The mental health of asylum seekers is a cause for concern. For asylum seekers, mental health issues arising from experiences in their home countries are being compounded by experiences of direct provision accommodation and the prohibition on the right to work. Existing support services are either centrally based (i.e. Dublin), under resourced (e.g. Galway Rape Crisis Centre) or not always appropriate to the needs of individuals (e.g. psychiatric services for people requiring psychological services and supports). Appropriate psychological services should be in place around the country. 3. Language is a major barrier to effective healthcare for people from ethnic minority communities who have limited English. The main recommendation is for the development of a national interpretation service, staffed by trained interpreters and subject to on-going monitoring and evaluation. In addition, health information should be made available in a range of languages and individuals should be supported to attend English language classes as a longer term strategy. 4. Participatory approaches are strongly recommended as a suitable way of working for the development of culturally appropriate primary care services. The GMS modernization programme, training for GPs and other healthcare staff, and the development of an accredited and regulated interpretation service were just some of the service developments that would benefit from the 'voice' and 'expertise' of ethnic minority communities. At the same time, it was recommended that participatory approaches are developed and monitored in a critical manner. This report of conference proceedings has been sent to the HSE Social Inclusion Unit as a submission for the developing of the National Intercultural Health Strategy. The Intercultural Strategy aims to ensure that provision of health services is equal, accessible, culturally sensitive and appropriate in meeting the needs of minority ethnic communities. This includes improving access to health services, and reducing the risks of social exclusion and health inequalities experienced by minority ethnic groups, including travellers, asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers. ENDS

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Seminar on Foreign Policy Accountability at NUI Galway

Seminar on Foreign Policy Accountability at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 22 October 2007

A public lecture on the issue of Accountability in Foreign Policy and the role of Foreign Affairs Committees in delivering such accountability will be given on Thursday, 25 October, 2007 at NUI Galway by Michael D. Higgins T.D., President and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs for the Labour Party and Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway. The free public event is part of the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) Keynote Seminar Series which seeks to address pertinent issues facing the wider national and international community. The seminar 'The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs – Can it deliver accountability on Foreign Policy?' will be hosted in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Human Rights, where Michael is an Adjunct Professor. In his presentation, he will draw on his experience of the Irish Foreign Affairs Committee and also on some preliminary results from research he initiated into the working of similar committees across 17 European countries. According to Michael D. Higgins, "The recent Iraq War, its illegality, the rhetoric used to justify a pre-emptive strike, the misleading of Parliament and the international institutions, and above all, the tragic consequences that have flown from it, have raised the issue of the consequences of a gap between the moral concerns of a public, the actions of their Governments, and the response of their Parliaments". The seminar will question not only the classic question as to whether foreign policy should be accountable, but also whether it is even possible against the argument of some practitioners that foreign policy makers and their diplomatic agents must operate in a relatively secretive manner. Michael D. Higgins will give some examples to help illustrate the context in which Irish foreign policy decision making operates and to highlight some of the obstacles to accountability thrown up by this context. The seminar will be held in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway, from 1pm to 2pm. For further information, telephone the CKI office on 091 493823. -ends-

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