September 2006

NUI Galway Research Produces Intelligent Software for Drugs Detection

NUI Galway Research Produces Intelligent Software for Drugs Detection-image

Thursday, 28 September 2006

28 September 2006: NUI Galway today (Thursday) showcased Hazard IQ, a suite of software products for accurate, rapid identification and quantification of materials, including illegal narcotics, explosives and medicines. The technology can be used in many different practical applications such as airport security screening, poison testing at accident and emergency departments, and on-the-spot forensics analysis. The intelligent software has been developed at NUI Galway by Dr. Michael Madden, Department of Information Technology, and Dr. Alan Ryder, Department of Chemistry and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science. Hazard IQ was presented at the Enterprise Ireland Informatics Technology Showcase in Dublin, an event designed to connect Ireland's finest technology researchers with entrepreneurs, industrialists and companies who can participate in the commercialisation process for mutual commercial gain. Michael explained the technology, "If, for example, suspicious materials are discovered at an airport, they can be analysed where they are found and Hazard-IQ can identify the substance in a matter of seconds. This is much faster than dispatching samples to a central laboratory for standard testing, which can take several days. Likewise, in a hospital environment, the identification of hazardous materials ingested by patients can be made rapidly, speeding up diagnosis, and leading to faster treatment times." Hazard-IQ automatically learns to identify hazardous and illicit substances, by examining a wide variety of samples that have been prepared in a lab. Hazard-IQ has been 'trained' to recognise different categories of drugs, poisons, explosive and corrosive materials, and estimate their concentrations accurately. It can then recognize new samples within milliseconds. "The basis of the project is about using the Raman spectra of drugs as molecular fingerprints", explained Alan. "These molecular fingerprints are unique to different drugs and materials and so can be used for unambiguous identification. Portable Raman detection equipment is smaller than a shoebox and can test bulk samples of a variety of materials, including drugs, explosives and hazardous industrial chemicals." Hazard IQ identifies the components of mixtures and estimates their concentrations, by combining Raman Spectroscopy – which is a laser-based method for 'chemical fingerprinting' of materials – with Machine Learning, which is a family of analysis techniques that automatically improve with experience. Drs. Madden and Ryder developed the novel technologies and software with support from Enterprise Ireland as part of the Commercialisation Fund for Technology Development. -ends-

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Public Lecture on Business Innovation at NUI Galway by MIT Professor

Public Lecture on Business Innovation at NUI Galway by MIT Professor-image

Monday, 25 September 2006

Innovation is to be the subject of a free public lecture at NUI Galway, for business and industry professionals, by a leading Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor. Dr. Richard Lester, Director of the Industrial Performance Centre at MIT, will deliver a lecture entitled 'Innovation – the Hidden Dimension', on Thursday 28th September, at 6.00pm. The venue will be room BS118, J.E. Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy, NUI Galway. The event is hosted by NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), where Director, Dr. William Golden, commented: "The prosperity of our economy hinges on the ability of businesses to continually introduce new products and services. This innovation can be difficult to sustain in the long term and a strategic approach must be adopted by companies and organisations. Professor Lester will be able to give insights to the local business community as to how best channel innovation within their organisations". Professor Lester will discuss two fundamental processes at the heart of every successful innovative organisation; rational problem-solving and interpretation (creative problem solving). These two processes are radically different from each other in almost every respect, and require vastly different managerial approaches, yet both are needed to sustain the creative output of both individual firms and entire economies. Drawing on research at the MIT Industrial Performance Centre into various sectors from mobile phones to medical devices to fashion, Professor Lester will show how innovative companies have managed to prevent vital interpretive processes from being crowded out by the insistent demands of problem solving. He will also provide examples of how the two processes have been successfully combined within the same organisation. Professor Lester's visit to Galway is part of the Queen's University, Belfast First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture Series, a unique initiative supported by First Trust Bank and Invest NI which brings international expertise in innovation to Queen's and the wider Northern Ireland Business Community. - ends -

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NUI Galway to host the 5th Annual Irish Universities Association Human Resources

NUI Galway to host the 5th Annual Irish Universities Association Human Resources-image

Monday, 25 September 2006

NUI Galway is to be the venue for the 5th Annual Irish Universities Association Human Resources Conference, from 27-29 September. The conference, entitled An Bóthar Romhainn – The Road Ahead', will focus on a wide range of Human Resources (HR) issues facing Ireland's universities. Danuta Gray, CEO, O2 will deliver the keynote address on 'The challenges of leading in an ever changing and competitive environment'. Further input from eminent industrial relations and human resource management experts, trade unionists and policy makers will include presentations by: Brendan McGinty, Director of HR & Industrial Relations, IBEC Kieran Mulvey, Chief Executive of the Labour Relations Commission Tom Boland, Chief Executive, HEA Elspeth MacArthur, Director of HR, University of Edinburgh Jack O'Connor, General President, SIPTU Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway and the Irish Universities Association, who will give the welcome address at the conference commented, "There are seismic changes underway in our sector, the net results of which will benefit the entire nation as we support moves toward the progression of the knowledge economy. We value the input and expertise from the private business and industrial relations experts will bring to this event". The conference is being hosted by the Human Resources Department at NUI Galway, whose Director, Chris McNairney, commented, "The strategic importance of 4th level (post-graduate) skills to developing Ireland as a knowledge economy is widely accepted and is a challenge to which the university sector rises. HR professionals within the sector have a critical role to play in supporting this challenge and accommodating the changes 4th level brings. This conference is an opportunity for management and unions to explore and discuss the best way forward". More information about the event can be found at - ends -

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Volunteering Fair at NUI Galway Helps Students Engage with Community

Volunteering Fair at NUI Galway Helps Students Engage with Community-image

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Nearly 40 community organisations will come together at NUI Galway on Wednesday the 27th of September for the annual Volunteering Fair, which promotes the voluntary sector, showcases community organisations and encourages volunteering opportunities. Launched by NUI Galway's Registrar Jim Browne and the Galway City Mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin at 1.30pm in Áras na Mac Léinn, the fair will be aimed at promoting partnerships with communities locally, nationally and internationally. The Volunteer Fair brings together students and community who in the past have taken this opportunity to successfully share experiences and engage. The Volunteer Fair is a joint initiative between the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), the ALIVE programme and Student Services at NUI Galway, and will be an opportunity for students to share experiences and broaden their horizons beyond the sphere of academia. It addresses three areas, volunteering within the University, volunteering with local and national organisations, and volunteering with international organisations. Last year over one thousand students mingled with community organisations and this year even more are expected to attend. Attendees will receive a Volunteering Fair Booklet, which describes the organisations' aims and objectives and provides information to support volunteers and community organisations. The Volunteering Fair Booklet is a resource distributed by ALIVE, not only at the event but also throughout the year. Additionally, candy floss will be made and distributed to all attendees of the fair. ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience) was established by the CKI to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that NUI Galway students make by volunteering. The Volunteering Fair is the highlight of the first semester for the ALIVE programme. "The Volunteering Fair provides a space for community and students to engage and an avenue for developing mutually beneficial experiences. These experiences not only enhance academic learning and motivation but also make a very positive impact on the University, local and national community," said Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator of ALIVE. "This is a great event for charging the student body with excitement for volunteering and meeting community partners." For further information, please contact Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteer Coordinator at 091 495346 or email

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New website to enable students to volunteer at the click of a button

New website to enable students to volunteer at the click of a button-image

Monday, 18 September 2006

The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway has launched a new website that enables students to register as volunteers, at the same time allowing community organisations to recruit student volunteers. The amalgamation of registration for both students and community organisations will make volunteering an effortless process with minimal hassle. The Online Volunteering Opportunities Database allows volunteers to easily browse through a variety of volunteering opportunities and lets community organisations post volunteering opportunities to be browsed through. At the click of a button, students can then easily register to volunteer with their chosen organisation and the organisation can recruit them. The new website also offers educational links for research in community, volunteering, civic engagement and service learning/community based learning. In addition, it highlights video and audio webcasts that have been produced with national and international experts in the field of university-community partnerships. The CKI is a project established in 2001 by NUI Galway in order to place communities at the centre of debate and educate students for their role as citizens in democratic society. The website aims to be an informational resource for students and staff at NUI Galway, as well as those in the wider community. "We created a site that offers students, academics and community a gateway into volunteering and the possibilities university-community collaboration poses in modern society; we envisage that the CKI site will enable students to volunteer and learn about their civic responsibility through community," said Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Project Coordinator. Contact: Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway, Phone: 091 495234 ENDS

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Burns Victims and Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers could

Burns Victims and Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers could-image

Monday, 18 September 2006

Burns victims and cystic fibrosis sufferers could benefit from the latest research into hyper-resistant bacteria, often known as superbugs, at NUI Galway. The research, carried out by postgraduate Paul Mc Cay under the supervision of Dr Ger Fleming of NUI Galway's Microbiology Department, looked at the cross-resistance of a particular strain of bacteria to both antibiotics and disinfectant. The three-year study focused on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen often associated with burn wound sepsis or sufferers of cystic fibrosis and is frequently connected with hospital acquired pneumonia. The University team developed a highly resistant strain of the bacteria and mixed it with the original strain, and a very low level of either antibiotic or disinfectant. The research found that when low levels of antibiotic or disinfectant were present, the ordinary strain of the bacteria was significantly disadvantaged and the superbugs became dominant. The superbugs were also found to be more readily resistant to other types of antibiotic or disinfectant when they were subsequently introduced. Furthermore, superbugs with antibiotic resistance also had resistance to disinfectant, even though the disinfectant had never been present, suggesting a strong link between the development of resistance to antibiotics and disinfectant. "This could have major implications for those administering antibiotics. Firstly, for burn victims and cystic fibrosis sufferers, infections can be long-term. While treatment with antibiotics is the obvious solution this approach is sometimes quite broad and if one antibiotic does not work, we switch to another. However, we may in fact be selecting for resistance and developing an even stronger pathogen. Secondly, disinfectant - tolerant bacteria are emerging more often and this may contribute to antibiotic cross resistance", commented Dr. Fleming. With funding from Research Frontiers Programme, administered by SFI, and the Embark initiative, Paul Mc Cay is one of only a few researchers in Ireland or Britain that utilises long-term selective chemostat cultures for investigations. Using a chemostat culture system, which mimics a natural environment, a highly resistant strain of the bacteria can be grown and in theory grow indefinitely. This better mimics how bacteria behave in the natural environment while allowing bacteria to mutate, evolve and "adapt" to selective agents such as antibiotics and disinfectants. Dr. Fleming and Mr. Paul Mc Cay presented their work at the Society for General Microbiology's 159th meeting, in York on Wednesday 13 September 2006. -ends-

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NUI Galway Student's Brainwave to become Commercial Reality

NUI Galway Student's Brainwave to become Commercial Reality-image

Monday, 11 September 2006

11 September 2006: A postgraduate student from NUI Galway is the first university researcher in Ireland to receive payment for a 'brainwave' from Technology from Ideas Limited (TfI), the technology commercialisation company. Robert Healy, from the Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering Department, has a radical new idea in the field of renewable energy which potentially offers significant enhancement to existing technologies. Robert's initial idea was analysed by TfI looking at its market, technical and intellectual property merits. TfI expanded upon the idea turning it into a novel technology concept which would enhance current and proposed wave power generation devices. An added bonus of the technology is that it would also strengthen the structural integrity of a device allowing it to withstand more severe sea conditions. The technology involves the use of novel materials coupled with innovative structural modifications. The finer details regarding Robert Healy's idea remain top secret while under development; all he can reveal is that the idea came to him while "watching the surf in Galway". TfI will now commit time and resources to developing, demonstrating and protecting the idea, with the aim of selling or licencing a proven technology onto an end customer. The returns from future sales will be shared with both NUI Galway and Robert. In May of this year, NUI Galway signed a technology commercialisation agreement with Irish company TfI. Under the agreement, TfI will source certain categories of technology ideas from NUI Galway researchers for development and sale to industry. Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway, said: "Robert's idea is an innovative solution to a problem he observed with current renewable energy devices. It is outside of his core area of expertise and requires further market-focused technology development before being ready for commercialisation – which is where TfI comes in. Our partnership with TfI offers NUI Galway a much needed alternative commercialisation route for our intellectual property and this idea is the first fruits of our relationship since signing our initial agreement with TfI". Commenting on today's announcement, Dan Richardson, TfI's Managing Director, said: "This award demonstrates our belief in the potential of this idea and in our ability to develop it into a valuable technology. This is the start of a potentially long commercialisation process for Robert's idea with the real returns for him and the University coming when there is a sale or licence deal. We expect further awards over the coming year as we take more ideas into our development pipeline." The agreement with TfI forms part of an ongoing strategic initiative for the Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway in the development, commercial exploitation, industrial partnering and spin-out of technologies under development by a number of research teams at the University. - ends - Notes for editors Technology from Ideas (TfI) Technology from Ideas (TfI) is a new Irish technology commercialisation company partnered by key players in universities and industry. TfI locates unrealised ideas from university researchers, develops them into investment ready technologies, and sells them to customers worldwide for subsequent development into products. This is achieved through commercially focused development in our own laboratories and together with sales through established technology development company partners. For more information please visit Tel Dan Richardson, Managing Director on +353 86 172 4623. NUI Galway For more information please contact: NUI Galway, Dr. Daniel O'Mahony, Director Technology Transfer Office, 091 492147

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NUI Galway Disability Law Expert Re-Appointed to Irish Human Rights Commission

NUI Galway Disability Law Expert Re-Appointed to Irish Human Rights Commission-image

Monday, 11 September 2006

Professor Gerard Quinn, of NUI Galway's Law Faculty, has been re-appointed by the Government to serve another five year term on the Irish Human Rights Commission. An expert in Disability Law, Prof Quinn is the only person based in the West of Ireland on the Commission, which has made its mark domestically and internationally - where it is a member of the European Coordinating Group of National Human Rights Institutions Professor Quinn took a leading role within the Commission over the past five years on the drafting of the new United Nations treaty on disability as well as in the general field of social justice. He led the delegation from the Human Rights Commission to the United Nations on the drafting of the disability treaty which was finally agreed in New York in August. Speaking of his re-appointment to the Human Rights Commission, Prof Quinn said, "This is a great honour for me and for my Faculty. I intend using my next term on the Commission to help co-ordinate human rights commissions worldwide in implementing the disability treaty in domestic law where it counts most. I will continue to build research alliances worldwide on the challenging issue of disability law reform". Professor Quinn also co-directs a major legal Research Network for the European Commission on EU discrimination law which provides the Commission with a wide range of research on issues such as disability as well as age and race. He recently stepped down as First Vice-President of the European Committee of Social Rights (Council of Europe, Strasbourg). The Irish Human Rights Commission, which was established by statute in accordance with the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, is an independent statutory body mandated to ensure that Irish law and practice are in line with highest standards as set out in the Constitution and in international human rights agreements to which Ireland is a party. - ends -

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Fáiltiú roimh mhic léinn lánaimseartha ar an gCeathrú Rua

Fáiltiú roimh mhic léinn lánaimseartha ar an gCeathrú Rua-image

Monday, 11 September 2006

Den chéad uair riamh tá cúrsa bunchéime á reáchtáil in ionad Gaeltachta de chuid Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh i mbliana. Tá an B.A. sa Chumarsáid ar siúl in Ionad Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain ar an gCeathrú Rua agus tá mic léinn an chúrsa tar éis triall ar an áit. Is cúrsa ceithre bliana atá ann agus cuirfear oiliúint ar mhic léinn san iriseoireacht, i léiriú teilifíse agus raidió agus sna hilmheáin chun iad a ullmhú don ré úr dhigiteach sna meáin. Chomh maith leis an gcúrsa B.A. tá mic léinn ar an gCeathrú Rua ar feadh na bliana ag freastal ar chúrsaí lánaimseartha eile an Acadaimh – an tArd-Dioplóma sa Chumarsáid Fheidhmeach, an Dioplóma Iarchéime/M.A. i Léann an Aistriúcháin, an Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió agus an Cúrsa Scileanna Ríomhaireachta agus Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge. Tá urraíocht fhlaithiúil á fáil ó Údarás na Gaeltachta chun na cúrsaí seo a rith agus is borradh mór do cheantar na Ceathrún Rua é iad a bheith ar fáil agus an 70 mac léinn atá ag cur fúthu sa cheantar dá bharr. Bhí ócáid fáiltithe eagraithe ag foireann an Acadaimh ar an gCeathrú Rua Dé Céadaoin seo caite, an 6 Meán Fómhair chun fáilte a chur roimh na mic léinn ar fad. Orthu siúd a bhí ag caint leo bhí Peadar Mac an Iomaire, Príomhfheidhmeannach an Acadaimh agus Treasa Uí Lorcáin, Riarthóir Ionad an Acadaimh ar an gCeathrú Rua agus thug an t-iriseoir aitheanta Rónán Mac an Iomaire caint dar teideal "Saol an duine óig ar an gCeathrú Rua". Bhí eolas ar fáil freisin do na mic léinn faoi chlubanna sóisialta, spóirt agus na háiseanna eile atá ar fáil dóibh ar an gCeathrú Rua. Bhí ionadaithe ó Aontas na Mac Léinn ar an láthair freisin chun labhairt leis na mic léinn. Cuireadh críoch leis an lá le BBQ agus ceol. Is féidir tuilleadh eolais a fháil ach glaoch ar Chassie Ní Chathasaigh in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh, ag 091 869022 nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig -críoch-

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NUI Galway hosts International Health Conference

NUI Galway hosts International Health Conference-image

Monday, 4 September 2006

The Irish Forum for Global Health is to host a two-day conference in conjunction with NUI Galway entitled "Equity Challenges in Global Health", on September 7th and 8th. The event, which is supported by Irish Aid, will bring together experts to debate the global challenges of addressing inequities in health and aims to identify ways in which Ireland can respond both globally and locally. The conference is an opportunity to connect individuals and organisations involved in relevant education, research and policy. Diarmuid O'Donovan, a Senior Lecturer in NUI Galway's Department of Health Promotion, and Chairperson of the Irish Forum for Global Health, commented, "Despite dramatic improvements in certain areas, on a global level, the gap between the rich and poor in terms of healthcare is widening. HIV, AIDS, TB and malaria are huge problems for developing countries. This is an opportunity to debate the issues surrounding these problems and identify practical ways in which Ireland can help". The conference, which is the Second Biennial Conference on this theme, will feature local and international presenters and include a series of workshops. The workshops will feature, among others, representatives from Ethiopia and South Africa, with the aim of establishing how individuals and organisations can work together more effectively to address healthcare issues. Speakers will include leading figures in global health policy, research and advocacy: Dr Irene Agua Agyapong (Alliance for Health Systems & Policy Research) Dr Odile Leroy (European Developing Country Clinical Trials Partnership) Andrew Chetley (Healthlink International) Dr Hani Serag (People's Health Movement) Dr Vincent O'Neill (Irish Aid) The aim of the Irish Forum for Global Health is to contribute to improvement in the health of individuals and populations globally by creating networks that will promote research and education and advocate for investment in global health. For more information on the conference please visit or telephone 086 3166388. -ends–

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