Monday, 10 June 2013

Information and communications technology can be used to support environmental regulation in many ways, and, will be the subject of an international exploratory workshop on 20-21 June. The workshop, ‘Information and Communications Technology for Environmental Regulation: Developing a Research Agenda’, will address areas such as: real-time monitoring of air pollution through sensors; large-scale databases of geographical information on the health of rivers, lakes and beaches; satellite-based monitoring of farming patterns; and the provision of information on industrial pollution to the public through government websites. Environmental regulators are increasingly making use of this information and communications technology (ICT) for environmental regulation. In the US, the Obama administration has been particularly proactive in encouraging their Environmental Protection Agency to open its electronic systems to the public. “The Irish EPA is a leader in this field,” explains Rónán Kennedy, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s School of Law, who is the driving force behind the event. “The online resource, GeoPortal, makes data available to the ordinary citizen. The EPA also uses specialised systems for environmental data exchange with local authorities, licensing applications and a register of pollutant releases and transfers. Another striking Irish example is Friends of the Irish Environment using aerial photography of peat bogs in order to highlight the large-scale cutting of turf.” The event will bring international experts from three continents together, and, delegates will be experts in law, the physical and social sciences, information systems and web science. Speakers include academics, staff from non-governmental agencies and personnel from regulatory agencies. According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute who is co-hosting the event, “Irish researchers have been very successful to date in winning competitive funding from the EU 7th Framework Programme in the area of ICT. In fact, this area has secured more funding than other areas such as Environment, Energy, Transport, Health, and Nanosciences. I’m confident that with the calibre of researchers here at NUI Galway, we can build on the European successes to date and link up ICT expertise with that of the world-class environmental research that is happening right here in Ireland. If we get our act together and plan events like this, then we can and will be even more competitive in the Horizon 2020 programme. We must remember that there will be a budget of close to €70 billion for research, innovation and science.”     Rónán Kennedy explains the key role that information plays in the regulatory process: “Environmental monitoring on a global and up-to-the-minute scale is rapidly becoming possible, and this can be combined with geographical information and opened to the public. Nonetheless, the use of ICT for environmental regulation is not simply a matter of the increased use of computer technology or putting pollution data on the web.” The existing arrangements between government agencies, business and other stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations may hinder efforts to incorporate new information into the regulatory process. Firms will often have essential information but be unwilling to share it, They may claim intellectual property rights as a barrier to public access to information on the environment. Modelling, particularly of large, complex and dynamic systems such as global climate, does not always lead to accurate predictions. “We need a better understanding of the regulatory process, environmental problems and the social and economic consequences of making information available and processes more interactive. While optimistic claims are made for the potential of ICT, the reality is somewhat more complex. It can play a significant role in improving the application, efficiency and effectiveness of government regulation. Our experience with the Internet shows the deployment of information technology often has unintended effects”, continued Rónán Kennedy. This workshop is funded by NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, and the Irish Research Council. More information is available at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=205 -ENDS-

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Today at NUI Galway the 2nd International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders will commence. The two-day conference will focus on the state of autism research in Ireland and internationally and plans will be presented to parents and professionals for the new Irish Autism Database and Repository (IADR) Project. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social behaviours and communication, and a restricted range of activities. Autism symptoms vary by person and can range from mild to severe. Some have normal intellectual and language abilities, whereas others are cognitively impaired and require life‐long care. While most countries, including Ireland, lack an official prevalence estimate, available data suggest approximately 1% of the global population is affected by autism. The development of an autism specific database targeted at the health, educational and long-term needs of the Irish autism community is a vital resource to inform service planning and delivery and will support a range of research questions. The IADR project, to be led by the Irish Centre for Autism and Neuordevelopmental Research, Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, Centre for Autism and Related Disorders, Trinity College Dublin and US based science and advocacy group, Autism Speaks, will provide data to address a range of questions relating to the health, social and educational needs of individuals affected by autism and their families and carers. This will be a valuable resource illustrating the extent to which people with autism are impacted and provide valuable data to support service planning and development. This announcement marks the start of a six month consultation process with parents and is based on existing database models currently in operation in both Scandinavia and the US through Autism Speaks. The proposed Irish Autism Database and Repository (IADR) will house comprehensive and detailed information, as well as related biomaterials for individuals living with autism in Ireland.  IADR proposes to serve as an open national resource to enhance the care and quality of life of the Irish autism community by facilitating and supporting rigorous and high impact scientific research. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway:  “Given the increasing prevalence of autism suggests that we urgently need to invest in optimising research efforts by enhancing research infrastructure and emphasizing collaborations among scientists, service providers, policy-makers and the autism community.  IADR will be transformative in accelerating the pace of autism research, by providing large datasets which can be shared among researchers and ultimately will aid the discovery of causes and the most effective treatments for autism.” Commenting on the announcement, Dr Andy Shih, PhD, of Autism Speaks:  “Autism Speaks is delighted to collaborate with the Irish autism community, including NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, on the new autism database and repository initiative. We encourage individuals, parents, practitioners and all stakeholders in Ireland’s autism community to get involved with this initiative, so that the database that results will uniquely serve their needs in addition to being an incredible resource for research purposes.” Adrian Jones, Irish-American member of the board of Autism Speaks and parent to a child with autism: “This annual conference provides a great opportunity for parents of children with autism in Ireland to come together and meet others who face the same day-to-day challenges and triumphs. The fact that both practitioners and policy-makers in Ireland are choosing to work so closely with parents on new initiatives such as IADR is a fundamental step in the right direction.” With estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder in the US, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Autism Speaks, is making parents a particular focus of this the 2nd International Autism Conference. The event ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice’ will feature keynote talks as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers, and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The conference will place special emphasis on providing practical solutions for parents struggling with autism on a daily basis. Workshops will be delivered on managing behaviour in the home, sleep, toileting, interventions for non-verbal, minimally verbal and verbal children and how to manage transitions effectively. “Autism has become a national epidemic. This conference will bring the world’s leading experts in diagnosis, clinical management and education to NUI Galway as well as address the practical concerns and needs of parents,” said Dr Leader. “International evidence indicates an alarming rise in the prevalence of autism, as reflected in the recent data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which estimates that one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an ASD.” Expert speakers at the conference include: Professor Deborah Fein from the University of Connecticut, who will discuss what determines best outcomes for children on the autism spectrum, while Professor Richard Hastings from Bangor University will discuss what the research is telling us in relation to effective autism interventions. Professor Peter Gerhardt from the McCarton School, New York will speak on issues relating to employment, quality of life and inclusion for adults on the autism spectrum; and Professor Susan Swedo, of the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, will update delegates on the latest changes to the diagnostic categorisations of autism. To view the full conference programme please see http://www.conference.ie.   ENDS

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The fifth International Disability Law Summer School, hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, will take place from 17-22 June. It is the largest such Summer School in the world with a focus on the UN disability treaty. Over 100 delegates from 38 countries are expected to attend this year’s event including people with disabilities, representatives from civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy-makers and policy analysts. The thematic focus of the International Disability Summer School will be on securing ‘Voice’ and advancing ‘Choice’ for persons with disabilities through the disability treaty. This connects reform on new legal capacity laws around the world with reform on the right to community living. The aim of the event is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the generalities of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into tangible reform agendas for persons with disabilities. Keynote speaker for the Summer School will be Professor Rannveig Traustadottir from the University of Iceland, Reykjavik who is a leading activist for community living in the Nordic countries.  The School will be officially opened by Minister Kathleen Lynch, TD. Most presentations will be either given by, or responded to, by disabled activists from around the world. Joanne O’Riordan, a teenage activist from Co. Cork, will respond to the keynote address. A notable feature of the annual event is a Moot Court exercise based on the UN disability treaty.  Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, School of Law, NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Quinn said: “Above all the School belongs to the people affected and is structured in such a way as to enable people explore for themselves the relevance of the Convention in their own lives and in the process of change. It sees people with disabilities as agents of change whether in Ireland, Zambia or Japan. It sees people with disabilities as providers and advocates for solutions – instead of as problems.” The School attracts an international teaching faculty including high profile senior academics, practitioners and policy makers who have been directly engaged in drafting and implementing the  UN Convention. The Summer School is part supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Soros-Open Society Institute, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid), the DREAM project of the European Union and the University. Registration for the Summer School is currently open and will cost €330 (concessions available). Further information, including the programme and speaker profiles is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/Summer_School_2013/summer_school_2013_info.html. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics still has a few spaces available on their one-day Engineering Summer School. The summer school is specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of university life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities and students interested in attending have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 27 June, or Friday, 28 June. The summer school, which will take place in the new state-of-the-art Engineering Building on campus, is a free event which provides second-level students the opportunity to learn more about the various fields of engineering which can be studied in NUI Galway.  “We have seen a huge interest once again this year amongst both senior and junior cycle second-level students in our Engineering Summer School, but we have a few remaining spaces which students can apply for”, according to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. “The places in the free summer school are competitively awarded so we would invite any students who would be interested in learning more about Electronic, Mechanical, Civil, Biomedical or Energy Systems Engineering to apply for these last few places.” Interested students, particularly those undertaking Higher level Maths, can find out more information at http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/summer-school/ and can apply by email to damien.scanlon@nuigalway.ie before Monday, 17 June. Applicants should indicate what year they have just completed at second level and what level of Maths they are undertaking for the Junior or Leaving Certificate. -ENDS-

Friday, 14 June 2013

Enda Walsh, Professor Rita Colwell, Leonard Moran NUI Galway will today confer three outstanding individuals with the 2013 honorary degrees. Those to be conferred are multi-award winning Irish playwright, Enda Walsh; Professor Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Chairperson of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.; and Mr Leonard Moran, biomedical industry entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Ovagen, based in Ballina, Co. Mayo. Speaking in advance of the the conferring ceremony, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of science, biomedical innovation and literature. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Dr Rita Colwell will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). She is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Chairperson of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. Dr Colwell has served as Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998-2004. During her term she oversaw a budget increase and a consolidation of the support levels provided to scientists and engineers with NSF grants. In addition she broadened the NSF range of programmes with special interaction in K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and serves on science advisory boards worldwide. She received the National Medal of Science from the US President in 2006. Mr Enda Walsh will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). Enda Walsh is a multi-award winning Irish playwright.  His work has been translated into over 20 languages and has been performed internationally since 1998. His recent plays include Misterman, performed in Ireland, America and Britain, 2010 – 2011; The New Electric Ballroom, which toured Ireland, Australia, Edinburgh, London, New York and LA 2008-2009; and The Walworth Farce, which played Ireland, Edinburgh, London and New York, as well as an American and Australian tour 2007-2010. All of these plays were produced by Druid Theatre. His other plays include Delirium; Chatroom, The Small Thing, Bedbound and Disco Pigs. He has written the Tony Award-winning book for the musical Once, which is currently playing on Broadway. His film work includes Disco Pigs (Temple Films/Renaissance) and Hunger (Blast/FILM4) and the forthcoming, Weightless (Smuggler Films, New York). Mr Leonard Moran will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). Leonard Moran is a biomedical industry entrepreneur based in Ballina, Co. Mayo. He is the founder and CEO of Ovagen, the world's first economically sustainable producers of germ-free eggs and antibodies. Prior to establishing Ovagen, Leonard founded Biological Laboratories Europe Limited (Biolabs) which was acquired in 2002 by Charles River Laboratories. Previously he spent 8 years with the British Medical Research Council (MRC) from 1968-76 where he focused on clinical research. In addition he has a wealth of practical operational and construction experience associated with biological facilities. These four graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood. -ends-    

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Joe Lyons to play 18 holes in 9 golf clubs along cycle route, 24-26 June NUI Galway student and former Irish International golfer, Joe Lyons, will be swapping the green for country roads as he gets ready to embark on a three-day cycle challenge from Galway to the Irish Open (24-26 June) in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation. As part of his journey to Mullingar, the former West of Ireland winner, will be calling into nine golf clubs and playing 18 holes along the way, to raise vital funds for the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke. The unique challenge will also launch the golfer’s new campaign, Defibme.ie which aims to generate a national database of defibrillator locations. Clubs and organisations across the country are being asked to register the location of their defibrillator at the campaign’s website Defibme.ie to facilitate the development of a smartphone application which can help the public identify the nearest defibrillator in an emergency. Lyons is studying for an MA in Digital Media in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway and the defibme.ie campaign is his final project and thesis. NUI Galway is fully supportive of the initiative which Lyons decided to embark on after attending a recent first aid course for his work with Galway Simon Community. “When attending training I asked ‘where can I locate a defibrillator in times of crises?’ It seemed obvious to me there was a need for this. What better way to kick of the campaign other than running a fundraiser for the Irish Heart Foundation?” The Golf Cycle will commence in Galway Golf Club on Monday, 24 June, when Joe will begin by cycling to Athenry and Loughrea Golf Clubs. The second day of the challenge will take in Athlone, Moate and Birr Golf Clubs before finally calling to Tullamore and Esker Hills, then finishing up in Mullingar Golf Club. Two holes will be played in each club to make a total of 18 holes played. The public is urged to support Joe’s Golf Cycle challenge and raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation by logging on to www.defibme.ie and guessing how many shots it will take Joe to cross the county. Golf club members across the country will also have a chance to win some great prizes provided by Revive Active and the Carlton Hotel, by taking part in their own club’s weekly medal, many of which are being run as a Golf Cycle fundraiser this June. Winners of the competition will be announced on Thursday, 27 June at the Irish Open. Competition prizes: First Prize (individual): Revive Active, has sponsored a weekend golf break for four to the fantastic Amendeoire Golf Resort in The Algarve. The prize includes three rounds of golf, including B& B accommodation for four. To be in with a chance to win, play your club’s golf cycle fundraiser or enter the competition on defibme.ie Second Prize (individual): Courtesy of North and West Coast Links and Ballyliffin Golf Club is a fourball in the World Renowned Ballyliffin. First Prize (club): The Carlton Hotel group has sponsored a weekend break for four to any one of the Group hotels. The winner of this prize will be drawn from the club that generates the largest number of unique donations to the competition via a fundraiser at their club or online at defibme.ie. Second Prize (club) The Carlton Group has also sponsored a spa day for four at any of its Health Spas Nationwide. The winner of this prize will be drawn from the club that generates the second most unique donations. The winners of these fantastic prizes will be announced at The North and West Coast Links stand at the Irish Open on Thursday 27 June. More details on the event can be found at http://www.defibme.ie/golfcycle/ -ends-

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

NUI Galway recently conferred the third cohort of graduates from its Youth Academy. At the special ceremony held at the University, 158 primary school children from across Galway City and County were presented with certificates of participation by President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, with more than 800 attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing children and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 400 children have graduated from a range of specially designed courses including English, Engineering, Information Technology, Psychology, Science Exploration, Mandarin, Philosophical Discovery, Italian language and culture, Physics and Irish History. The Youth Academy runs for a six-week period on a Saturday morning from 10am to 12.30pm, and works with high ability fourth and fifth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. The programme is free to attend due to funding received through the Office of the Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is committed to sharing knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all. I would like to pay tribute to the commitment and support of the parents gathered, for encouraging a culture of learning and knowledge among some of the youngest members of the community, who will go onto to fuel the knowledge economy.” The Youth Academy was founded by NUI Galway colleagues, Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, Dr Caroline Heary, School of Psychology, and Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, and is supported by Vice-President for Innovation and Performance, Professor Chris Curtin. The Irish Centre for Talented Youth, based in Dublin City University, has supported and helped guide the activity. On behalf of the founding members, Mary Dempsey said: “I believe that the combination of forward thinking, enthusiastic and energetic youth academy children linked through structured modules together with encouraging academics can indeed be a recipe for success. It can create and encourage an environment of innovation and self directed learning to meet the future needs of the knowledge economy.” For further information on the programme please contact Geraldine Marley, the Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Gerard Quinn, Professor at the School of Law at NUI Galway and Director of its Centre for Disability Law and Policy, has been appointed to the Scientific Committee of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) which is headquartered in Vienna. The EU FRA is one of the specialised agencies of the EU which was set up in 2007 to provide expert advice to the EU and its Member States to ensure that the fundamental rights of people living in the EU are respected.  It helps to inform EU law and policy and to ensure that its power is properly harnessed to respect fundamental rights. The Scientific Committee oversees the quality of the research of the FRA across a broad range of topics (e.g. racism, the rights of older people, privacy, the quality of the democratic process, etc.). This June, Professor Quinn joins eleven other widely renowned experts from across Europe for a five year term. Speaking on his appointment, Professor Quinn said: “Europe is at a historic turning point away from failed economic and social models. It has a chance to reinvent itself as a force for good in its own citizens’ lives and around the world. This turn is by no means assured. But bodies like the EU FRA are at the fore of helping to redefine the EU of the future. That's why I am involved.”   The Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell, said: “I would like to warmly congratulate Professor Quinn on this prestigious international appointment. It speaks directly to his impressive track record as an engaged scholar animated by impact in the domain of public policy, something to which the School of Law at NUI Galway is deeply committed.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Just finished the Leaving Cert and unsure of your CAO choices? Thinking about the change of mind deadline but need more information on your course choices? NUI Galway has opened a dedicated CAO Hotline to provide information and advice to students planning to start University in September.  A dedicated Hotline Team will provide detailed information on NUI Galway’s 60 undergraduate degree courses, as well as on other aspects of University life. Students, parents and guardians interested in getting further information on NUI Galway should call (091) 49 44 99, Monday to Friday, to speak to an expert. NUI Galway offers a wide range of courses across most subject areas, including Arts, Business, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Healthcare courses, Science, IT and Engineering. As well as the full suite of traditional broad-based degree programmes, which allow students to keep their options open until the later stages of study, NUI Galway also offers a wide range of specialist degree courses in areas where the University has unique strengths. Popular choices at NUI Galway include Biomedical Science, Marine Science, Engineering, IT and Drama and Theatre Studies. New courses for 2013 include a Journalism degree and a new Physics programme. With such a broad range of choice on offer, it’s not surprising that CAO applicants are looking for advice and information. Commenting on the new CAO Hotline, Director of Marketing and Communications, Caroline Loughnane, said: “Every year, more and more students are availing of the Change of Mind option to revise their course choices. Choosing the right course for you is the most important decision a Leaving Cert student has to make. So it’s important to research all of your options carefully before making that final decision. Our CAO Hotline aims to provide students with all of the practical information they need to make informed decisions about courses at NUI Galway.” Call NUI Galway on (091) 49 44 99 between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, to speak to an expert and get all of your questions answered.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

NUI Galway and Advance Science join forces to help save the honey bee Irish company Advance Science and NUI Galway are bringing together beekeepers from around Ireland for a workshop to help tackle a disease threatening bee hives. The free workshop on 27 June, will be the first in a series helping beekeepers identify the Nosema parasite that causes a disease known as Nosemosis.  The Nosemosis disease is strongly linked with Colony Collapse Disorder with the result that honey bee colonies are under threat around the world. On average, one in every three hives are dying each year, with up to 90% losses being experienced by some apiaries. Currently, as a result of disease, there are no wild honey bees in Ireland. It is now recognised that this decline in bee colonies is having a significant negative impact on the natural pollination of plant species, including many crops that are sources of global food. Apart from biodiversity decline this also has a potential catastrophic knock-on effect on the global food economy. The University is bringing its expertise in combining microscopy and DNA sequencing to a research collaboration with Advance Science, which develops natural nutritional products to help support bee health.  Advance Science is part of a cluster of innovative research and development companies based in the Inagh Valley Trust in Connemara, supported by NUI Galway. In collaboration with NUI Galway and with support from Údarás na Gaeltachta, Advance Science has developed HiveAliveTM, a unique blend of bio-active extracts from both land and marine organisms. HiveAliveTM is designed to help strengthen the honey bee against stress factors such as pesticides, diseases and parasites. As Dara Scott, Managing Director of Advance Science, explains “The honey bee produces nearly 1.5 million tonnes of honey worldwide each year and pollinates up to one third of the plants generating the food we eat. As an avid beekeeper myself, I can see first-hand that the risks to the honey bee colonies are increasing and a natural solution was needed.” Dr Grace McCormack is head of Zoology at NUI Galway. Her research group uses a combination of approaches including microscopy and DNA sequencing to identify, and investigate diversity in, animals and the organisms that cause animal disease. Dr Grace McCormack commented “It will be great to bring together beekeepers from around the country and assist them in being able to identify this new disease.” There are plans being discussed to set up a dedicated Bee Research Centre at NUI Galway to further work on bee diseases, education and bee sustainability. Collaborating with other groups, both north and south of the border, the goal is to allow the Native Irish bee to return to the wild - helping not only the bees but the flowers they pollinate and the biodiversity this brings.         

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

An intense ten-day summer school at NUI Galway will help filmakers engage with pressing human rights issues. The Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy (CHRA) Summer School, from 27 June - 6 July, is funded by Open Society Foundations. The Foundation, backed by investor and philanthropist George Soros, has this year doubled its funding to CHRA projects through its Open Society Media Programme and Youth Initiative. Now in its seventh year, the CHRA Summer School is organised by the NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Students and talented young filmmakers will attend from Burkina Faso, India, Myanmar, Jordan, Palestine, Hong Kong, Australia, Ethiopia and several European countries. Rod Stoneman is Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media: “Film is a key tool in communicating across borders and cultures, and it can be a very powerful tool for highlighting the struggles people face on a daily basis. Because of this, it can play a critical role in highlighting key human rights issues and promoting basic freedom around the world.” Summer school participants will broaden their understanding of film, media and human rights, while strengthening their filmmaking skills. The event also provides an opportunity to develop ideas on film projects with fellow participants and internationally acclaimed experts in of film, television, photography and human rights. In the last six months, CHRA has travelled to Burkina Faso, London and Hong Kong to deliver seminars and workshops in collaboration with local universities, film schools and human rights film festivals. “Thanks to support from Open Society Foundations, the summer school plans to extend its training activities in the future to new regions where human rights are crucial and urgent,” explains Rod Stoneman. “For example, our recent workshops in Hong Kong proved relevant for participants from mainland China, where universities have recently been instructed not to discuss press freedom, human rights or ‘previous mistakes of the Communist Party’.” The Summer School will coincide with Films That Matter , a three-day human rights film event organised in Galway by Amnesty Ireland and One World Centre in order to give participants the chance to assist human rights films which forms a basis for critical discussion.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will host its inaugural Summer School on ‘Human Rights, Migration and Globalization’ from 8-12 July. This year’s focus is ‘Defining and Promoting Human Rights of Migrants in an Era of Globalization’. The five days of intensive sessions will be led by experts including Professor Francois Crépeau, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants. Open to those interested in the contemporary challenges of migration and human rights protection, including practitioners, journalists, NGO representatives, government officials and students, the Summer School will familiarise participants with the sources of migrants’ rights and the available protection mechanisms. It will provide participants with an understanding of the major tensions underlying the issue of the protection of migrants’ rights and of how globalization shapes these tensions. The programme will include social activities that will allow participants to network with each other and the panel of experts in a relaxed environment. According to Dr Ekaterina Yahyaoui, Director of the Summer School and Lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway: “Migration is an integral part of humanity’s history. However, it becomes increasingly more complex and multifaceted today. No country can avoid dealing with migration. Ireland is no exception. And perhaps challenges Ireland is facing are more pressing because within the Irish political and social landscape immigration is often regarded as a new and unfamiliar issue. The Summer School aims at filling this gap.” Speakers for this inaugural year’s summer school include: Professor Francois Crépeau, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants Professor Tomoya Obokata, Professor of International Law and Human Rights, School of Law, Keele University Professor Michael O'Flaherty, Co-director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and Chief Commissioner at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Mariette Grange, Senior Researcher at the Global Detention Project of the Program for the Study of Global Migration at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva Helen Lowry, Director of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland Maria Stavropoulou, Director of the Greek Asylum Services Dr Ekaterina Yahyaoui, Lecturer and LLM Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway Dr Noelle Higgins, Lecturer, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway Peter Fitzmaurice, Visiting Lecturer, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway For more information, including details on how to register visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=222. For additional queries, email hrandmigrationsummerschool@gmail.com. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A research team from Civil Engineering at NUI Galway has launched a survey of the Great Western Greenway to aid the design of similar cycling routes nationwide. The greenway, which runs from Westport to Achill Sound, has proven a major success since the full length of track was opened two years ago. Recent studies have shown that 400 people use the greenway every day during the summer and the route contributes €1.1 million to the local economy each year. There are plans to create a 2,000km National Cycle Network, to replicate the success of the Great Western Greenway around the country. To create the best design, the NUI Galway survey asks a series of questions about users’ impressions of the Mayo greenway design and provision of facilities. Other questions request feedback on how the greenway could be improved and how cycling can be promoted. PhD student in Civil Engineering, Richard Manton, said: “The Great Western Greenway is the first of its kind in Ireland and is a great resource for commuting, recreation and tourism. To encourage more people to walk and cycle, we need many more of these routes nationwide. Our survey will estimate the economic and environmental impact of the greenway and provide design guidance for other greenways up and down the country.” Dr Eoghan Clifford, lecturer in Civil Engineering and a member of the Ryan Institue at NUI Galway, said: “Cycling and walking are key components of national and international transport, tourism, health and environmental strategies. This research at NUI Galway is developing new tools that enable national and local governments develop sustainable and cost effective infrastructure and maximise active forms of transport and increase ‘green’ tourism.” The survey has been launched following the very successful Bike Week 2013, which encouraged people to cycle to work, to school and for recreation. The greenway survey is available online at SurveyMonkey.com/s/mayogreenway and hardcopies are available in most bike shops and hotels along the route. For further information, please contact r.manton1@nuigalway.ie ENDs

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tháinig 26 toscaire as deich dtír Eorpach le chéile ag ceann d’ionaid oideachais agus chultúrtha Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh, ar 18 agus 19 Meitheamh chun ardán nuálach idirlín a chuireann foghlaim teangacha chun cinn a phlé.  Faigheann an togra maoiniú ó EACEA (Education, Audiovision & Culture Executive Agency) de chuid an Aontais Eorpaigh faoin gclár Foghlaim Fadsaoil.  Bhí toscairí ón gCipir, An Eastóin, An Ghréig, An Iodáil, An Pholainn, An Phortaingéil, An Rómáin, An Spáinn, Tír na mBascach agus ó Shasana i láthair chomh maith leis an Dr Laura Incalcaterra McLoughlin, ceannaire an togra in OÉ, Gaillimh, an Dr Dorothy Ní Uigín, Rose Ní Dhubdha agus Jennifer Lertola, as OÉ Gaillimh, chun obair a dhéanamh ar ClipFlair: Foghlaim Teangacha Iasachta trí Fhotheidealú agus Athghuthú Idirghníomhach Míreanna (www.clipflair.net). Is é aidhm ClipFlair tacú le foghlaim teangacha trí úsáid a bhaint as feidhmchlár áisiúil don athghuthú agus don fhotheidealú. Úsáideann múinteoirí teanga ábhar closamhairc go minic ina gcuid ranganna ar mhaithe leis an éagsúlacht agus chun míreanna cultúrtha neamhbhriathartha a chur i láthair na bhfoghlaimeoirí, agus níos tábhachtaí fós, chun míreanna teangeolaíochta agus cultúrtha na cumarsáide a chur i láthair i gcomhthéacs cuí. Bíonn deacrachtaí ag múinteoirí uaireanta, áfach, tascanna gníomhacha a aimsiú a spreagfadh foghlaimeoirí agus a sheachnódh an fhéachaint éighníomhach. Is feidhmchlár áisiúil é ClipFlair chun gníomhaíochtaí a fhorbairt agus a úsáid a spreagann foghlaimeoirí chun ábhar closamhairc a úsáid i mbealach eifeachtach, trí dhubáil a dhéanamh nó fotheidil a chur le mír físe (radharc ó scannán, mír faisnéise nó nuachta etc). Is féidir ansin na gníomhaíochtaí a roinnt trí Ghréasán Shóisialta ClipFlair. Ag sosanna sa chruinniú dhá lá, bhí deis ag toscairí taitneamh a bhaint as tírdhreach álainn an cheantair agus as oíche chultúrtha le ceoltóirí agus amhránaithe cumasacha áitiúla.  Chuaigh an t-atmaisféar réchúiseach, cairdiúil i bhfeidhm ar chách agus dúirt an Dr Stravroula Sokoli, ó Computer Technology Institute, Patras (An Ghréig), ceannaire an togra, go raibh an teacht le chéile i gCarna, ní amháin tairbheach ach taitneamhach agus nach ndéanfaí dearmad go héasca air.  Dúirt an Dr Dorothy Ní Uigín, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh, gur chuidigh an turas go Carna le heolas a scaipeadh ar obair an Acadaimh agus Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh trí chéile agus iad ag tabhairt an oideachais amach as an ollscoil agus isteach sna pobail. Tá sé seo ag teacht go mór leis na hiarrachtaí atá ar bun ag ClipFlair féin ag scaipeadh an oideachais ar dhaoine tríd an idirlíon.   -Críoch-

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Galway University Foundation recently awarded bursaries to seven students of NUI Galway’s BA in Latin American Studies programme. The bursary, worth €2,000, will allow the recipient to undertake a period of study in a Latin American university during their third year of the programme. The BA with Latin American Studies is a unique four-year undergraduate programme organised by the Spanish Section of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway. The degree started in September 2010 with no such programme existing at any other Irish university. Currently, NUI Galway has exchange arrangements with universities in Mexico, Chile and Argentina, and intends to build on this to include exchanges to other eminent universities in Latin America. The first cohort of four students are currently studying at universities in Valparaíso and Santiago de Chile, and another three students will go to universities in Mexico and Chile in the coming academic year, 2013-14. Professor Bill Richardson, Head of Spanish at NUI Galway said: “This is an exciting and innovative development at NUI Galway. The growing economies of Latin America represent an important opportunity for our students and future graduates. While most students of Spanish spend a year abroad at Spanish universities, where they can avail of European funding via the Erasmus programme, no such funding has been available to students undertaking study at Latin American universities until now. Additionally, there is increased cost involved in funding a year of study in Latin America, given the added cost of travelling to Mexico, Chile or Argentina and the bursary will help students overcome this.” The BA with Latin American Studies allows students to take a similar route to the traditional BA with two subjects. It offers the opportunity to explore one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse regions from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students graduating with a BA in Latin American Studies, as well as having a regular Arts Degree, will have developed a broad socio-cultural understanding of Latin America, in addition to their linguistic abilities. Latin America is an important emerging market. The development of the BA with Latin American Studies is a recognition of this and will facilitate students to take advantage of the opportunities that this creates for them. Career options include a variety of roles in business contexts, along with teaching, translation, media and communications, arts and culture, or positions in international or non-governmental organistations. For more information on the BA with Latin American Studies or on the bursaries contact Professor Bill Richardson, Head of Spanish at NUI Galway on 091 492136 or bill.richardson@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

NUI Galway today (26 June) conferred over 250 students including 72 doctoral degrees from across all disciplines. The largest cohort of students to graduate was 120 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Among the cohort of medical students, Galway City native, Jennifer Scott, received 8 out of 15 Final Medical Medals for her academic performance. Every year, NUI Galway award the Final Medical Medals to the student who receives the highest mark in each subject area. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. It is very encouraging to see the number of research and graduate degrees which we are conferring today. These graduate numbers continue to grow. From a base of about 50 doctorates per year at the turn of the millennium, we now confer up to 4 times that number annually.” President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: “Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming a large number of graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia. -ENDS- __________________________ Searmanas Bronnta an tSamhraidh in OÉ Gaillimh Inniu (26 Meitheamh) bhronn OÉ Gaillimh céimeanna ar bhreis is 250 mac léinn, 72 PhD san áireamh, i ngach disciplín. Ar an ngrúpa is mó díobh bronnadh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir sa Chnáimhseachas (MB, BCh, BAO) ar 120 ábhar dochtúra. Fuair Jennifer Scott as cathair na Gaillimhe, duine de na mic léinn leighis, 8 mBonn don Bhliain Deiridh Leighis as 15 Bhonn dá feidhmíocht acadúil. Gach bliain, bronnann OÉ Gaillimh Boinn Deiridh Leighis ar an mac léinn leis an marc is airde i ngach ábhar. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne le linn an tsearmanais: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tréaslaím le gach duine agaibh. Ábhar misnigh dúinn ar fad is ea go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna taighde agus iarchéimeanna á mbronnadh againn inniu. Tá níos mó agus níos mó céimeanna á mbronnadh againn bliain i ndiaidh bliana. Bhíodh 50 céim dhochtúireachta in aghaidh na bliana á mbronnadh againn ag tús an chéid ach bronntar a cheithre oiread sin anois gach bliain."  Dúirt an tUachtarán leis na céimithe gur cheart dóibh aghaidh a thabhairt ar na blianta amach rompu le teann dóchais:  “Ná cuireadh cúrsaí geilleagair an lae lagmhisneach oraibh. Tá an cumas ag gach duine agaibh dul i bhfeidhm ar an tsochaí ar shlí éigin.  Níl teorainn ar bith leis na deiseanna atá agaibhse an cineál saoil is mian libh a chruthú daoibh féin agus lántairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a thiocfaidh in bhur dtreo sna blianta amach romhainn.” Bhí mic léinn idirnáisiúnta i láthair chomh maith ag an searmanas, agus an Ollscoil ag fáiltiú roimh chéimithe as an Malaeisia, i measc tíortha eile. -CRÍOCH-

Thursday, 27 June 2013

NUI Galway graduate Melanie Hennessy, was presented with the University’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) Clinical Science Gold Medal for Community Contribution at her graduation yesterday. This Clinical Science Gold Medal for Community Contribution is being awarded for a second year and is sponsored by the CKI.  The medal is awarded to the student who has demonstrated a long-term commitment and positive contribution to community and society. A native of Cloughleigh, Co. Clare, Melanie first travelled to Nepal to volunteer seven years ago. During her time at NUI Galway, she established her own university society, Draíocht, to generate funds to build an orphanage for the children of Nepal where she is currently working on improving the lives of these children. Since its establishment, Draíocht has founded a primary and secondary school in Nepal, providing free education to over 700 students. Melanie, through her work with Draíocht, also helped to construct buildings for locals to set up their own businesses and organised health camps, including dental camps and women and child health check-up camps. She also set up another charity TEAM Nepal, which she runs with a friend. In 2010 Melanie was named as one of Ireland’s Outstanding Young People of the Year, before being selected by the Junior Chamber International as one of their JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World. Lorraine McIlrath, Co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s CKI, said: “CKI at NUI Galway is delighted to support and honour the outstanding contribution to community that Melanie has made during her time at NUI Galway.  She has not only established a very ethical community based organisation in Nepal but has also involved many of her peers in the activity. Melanie is the ideal graduate citizens who will go on to impact upon society in the most positive way.” Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway, said: “The School of Medicine, NUI Galway is delighted to honour the outstanding societal contribution of Melanie Hennessy in establishing the Draíocht charity. Melanie is an exemplar of the well rounded student we wish to cultivate at NUI Galway, a student who is diligent in her studies, but maintains a healthy work-life balance while humbly applying her considerable talents and skills in the service of other less fortunate people. I know that Melanie's remarkable work has inspired many of her peers and this gold medal is fitting recognition of her efforts.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has announced that it will provide a suite of new taught postgraduate programmes across various Engineering and Informatics subject areas. Commencing in September 2013, the full-time, one year postgraduate programmes have been devised in response to the requirement by Engineers Ireland who, from 2013 onwards, require graduate engineers to hold an accredited Master degree (Level 9) to satisfy the educational standard to become a Chartered Engineer. Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean, College of Engineering and Informatics said: “These new programmes are excellent examples of how NUI Galway engages with industry in order to inform our postgraduate programmes. Engineering and ICT are key strategic priorities for Ireland and for NUI Galway. The University recognises the importance of equipping our graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to support the rapidly growing engineering and ICT sectors in Ireland and abroad. We believe that these Masters programmes are very timely for Ireland and that its graduates will play a significant role in harnessing the opportunities and challenges for tomorrow’s economy.” These new innovative Masters programmes are designed to provide highly qualified graduates with advance engineering and informatics skills and are aimed at those who wish to work professionally as a Chartered Engineer. “Our students benefit from the University’s unique combination of ground-breaking academic expertise, professional practice and access world-class facilities. These new courses are a wonderful opportunity for students to explore many advanced topics in engineering and informatics”, said Professor Mike Hartnett, Vice-Dean for Teaching and Learning with the College of Engineering and Informatics. The first intake of students for the new Masters programmes across the disciplines of Civil, Mechanical, Energy and Biomedical Engineering will be in September 2013. Masters programmes for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Computer Science and Information Technology will commence in 2014. Applications are now open and the deadline is Saturday, 1 June 2013. Applications will be accepted via the PAC application process, on which the new courses are listed. For more detailed information about these programmes visit www.nuigalway.ie or contact Sharon Allman at 091 492101 or sharon.allman@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Judge Catherine McGuinness was appointed today as Chair of NUI Galway's Údarás na hOllscoile (Governing Authority). Údarás na hOllscoile, the University's Governing Authority, is responsible for managing and controlling all of the affairs of the University. Catherine McGuinness is a retired Supreme Court judge, former senator and lifelong activist. In January 2012 she was appointed to the Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins. Judge McGuinness was called to the Bar in 1977 and to the Inner Bar in 1989. She was a member of Seanad Éireann from 1979-82 and was previously a member of the Council of State from 1988-90. She served as a Judge of the Circuit Court from 1994-1996; of the High Court from 1996-2000; and of the Supreme Court from 2000-2006. From 2005-2011 she was President of the Law Reform Commission. She is currently Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway. In addition to her judicial career, Catherine McGuinness has served on the Employment Equality Agency, the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation and the Irish Universities Quality Board. In June 2011 she became patron of the Irish Refugee Council and in November 2011 she was appointed Chairperson of the "Campaign for Children". She has also just completed her role as personal representative to the Minister for Foreign Affairs through Ireland’s Chairmanship of the OSCE during 2012 in the field of Human Rights and on the Freedom of Religion. Speaking of the appointment, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: "Judge Catherine McGuinness brings a unique breadth of experience and judgement to the role of Chairperson of Údarás na hOllscoile. We are delighted and privileged that she will chair the University's Governing Authority for the next three years.  My colleagues and I look forward to working with her to further develop NUI Galway and our ambitious plans for the future.” Judge McGuinness commented from NUI Galway on her appointment: “I am hugely honoured to be appointed as Chair of the Governing Authority. I have many connections with Galway, even apart from being Adjunct Professor at the School of Law here at NUI Galway, and am delighted to be able to strengthen these connections and I hope over the next few years  to help the University in achieving its mission.” Judge McGuinness’s term of office extends to 2016. ENDS ____________________ An Breitheamh McGuinness Ceaptha ina Cathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh Ceapadh an Breitheamh Catherine McGuinness inniu ina Cathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá Údarás na hOllscoile freagrach as gnóthaí uile na hOllscoile a bhainistiú agus a rialú. Is breitheamh ar scor ón gCúirt Uachtarach í Catherine McGuinness, is iarsheanadóir í freisin agus tá sí ina gníomhaíoch i rith a saoil. In Eanáir 2012, cheap an tUachtarán Micheál D. Ó hUiginn ar an gComhairle Stáit í. Glaodh ar an mBreitheamh McGuinness chun an Bharra i 1977 agus chun Barra na Sinsear i 1989. Bhí sí ina comhalta de Sheanad Éireann ó 1979-82 agus roimhe seo chomh maith bhí sí ina comhalta den Chomhairle Stáit ó 1988-90. Bhí sí ina breitheamh sa Chúirt Chuarda ó 1994-1996; san Ardchúirt ó 1996-2000; agus sa Chúirt Uachtarach ó 2000-2006. Ó 2005-2011, bhí sí ina hUachtarán ar an gCoimisiún um Athchóiriú an Dlí. Tá sí ina hOllamh Cúnta le Dlí in OÉ Gaillimh faoi láthair. Sa bhreis ar a gairm mar bhreitheamh, tá sealanna caite ag Catherine McGuinness leis an nGníomhaireacht um Chomhionannas Fostaíochta, an Fóram um Shíocháin agus Athmhuintearas agus Bord Feabhais Ollscoileanna na hÉireann. I Meitheamh na bliana 2011, ceapadh í ina pátrún ar Chomhairle Dídeanaithe na hÉireann agus i mí na Samhna 2011, ceapadh í ina Cathaoirleach ar "Campaign for Children". Tá sí díreach tar éis a seal a chur isteach mar ionadaí pearsanta ag an Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha i rith Chathaoirleacht na hÉireann ar Eagraíocht na Náisiún Aontaithe um Shlándáil agus Chomhoibriú san Eoraip (OSCE) in 2012 i réimse na gCeart Daonna agus na Saoirse Creidimh. Ag labhairt dó faoin gceapachán, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Tugann an Breitheamh Catherine McGuinness taithí agus breithiúnas ar leith chuig an ról mar Chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile. Is mór an phribhléid agus an t-údar bróid dúinn go mbeidh sí ina cathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile sna trí bliana seo romhainn.  Táim féin agus mo chomhghleacaithe ag súil go mór le bheith ag obair léi chun OÉ Gaillimh agus ár bpleananna uaillmhianacha don todhchaí a bhrú chun cinn.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an mBreitheamh McGuinness in OÉ Gaillimh faoina ceapachán: “Is mór an onóir dom a bheith ceaptha mar Chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile. Is iomaí sin nasc atá agam le Gaillimh, seachas a bheith i m’Ollamh Cúnta i Scoil an Dlí in OÉ Gaillimh, agus is mór agam a bheith in ann na naisc sin a threisiú agus táim ag súil go mbeidh mé in ann cabhrú leis an Ollscoil a misean a bhaint amach as seo go ceann cúpla bliain.” Mairfidh téarma oifige an Bhreithimh McGuinness go dtí 2016. -Críoch

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

While over 1 billion people are overweight and obese around the world, an estimated 868 million are undernourished. This paradox is explored in a new book, Diversifying Food and Diets, co-edited by Professor Danny Hunter who is an Adjunct Lecturer in Botany and Plant Science (BPS) at NUI Galway. The book explores the concept of agricultural biodiversity, in the context of the challenge of under-nutrition in many parts of the developing world and unhealthy diets in developed countries. Agricultural biodiversity has a key role to play in food and nutritional security, according the book’s authors. Such biodiversity can be a safeguard against hunger, as well as a source of nutrients for improved dietary diversity and quality. It can also strengthen local food systems and environmental sustainability. Currently, 195 million children around the world, under the age of five, are stunted from malnutrition. Meanwhile, in developed countries, obesity has been linked to the rise of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. “It’s a question not only of the quantities of food people are eating but also the quality of that food,” explains Professor Hunter. Professor Hunter is the Theme Leader for Agrobiodiversity in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC). He says: “It is essential to understand how the global agricultural system and the benefits derived from agricultural biodiversity influence the drivers of global dietary consumption patterns, nutrition and health status, in particular in the developing world. The lack of diversity is shown to be a crucial issue, particularly in the developing world where diets consist mainly of starchy staples with less access to nutrient-rich sources of food such as animal proteins, fruits and vegetables.” He adds: “As this book highlights, local biodiversity has the potential for contributing to food security and nutrition, as well as for enhancing adaptation to global climate change. Some of these species are highly nutritious and have multiple uses.” Diversifying Food and Diets uses examples and case studies from around the globe to explore strategies for improving nutrition and diets, and identifies gaps in current knowledge that need to be addressed to better promote agricultural biodiversity. Case studies include a project in India which promotes nutritious native millets, efforts to identify and develop nutritionally rich indigenous vegetables and fruit trees in sub-Saharan Africa, and a UK-based community group’s urban gardening approach. The Head of the Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre at NUI Galway, Professor Charles Spillane highlighted that: “This book makes a valuable and timely contribution to efforts to improve public health through dietary and nutritional interventions. As all of the foods that we eat are either directly or indirectly derived from plants, the health status of millions of people in both developed and developing countries could be improved through improved access to a wider diversity of nutritious plant-based foods. Key challenges for both mitigation and adaptation strategies regarding adverse climate change impacts will be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture while making agricultural systems more resilient. The development of low-environmental footprint crop systems which can maintain prodictivity and harness benefits of agricultural biodiversity remains a major challenge facing humanity.” Professor Hunter emphasised that while the book aimed to highlight some of the available options for improving the use of agricultural biodiversity, there was no silver bullet for the serious challenges facing the global population in the production, distribution and healthy consumption of food. “People need to consider ways of diversifying and improving their diets, which really does require a major transformation of the global food system. This will become an even greater challenge with the global population expected to reach around nine billion by 2050.” -ends-

Thursday, 2 May 2013

NUI Galway will present an exhibition of the work of prolific Irish artist, Thomas Ryan, who works in oils, pastels, pencil, charcoal and watercolour, and has been painting for over 60 years. Thomas Ryan is renowned for imaginative re-workings of historical and religious episodes and he is also heralded as an important chronicler of the changing face of Ireland, through his portraiture, and paintings of exteriors and interiors of buildings. The exhibition will include two of his large historical paintings, ‘The Flight of the Earls’ and ‘G.P.O. 1916’, both oil on canvas and painted in the great European Tradition. These paintings, which were selected for the exhibition by Thomas Ryan and the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office, normally hang inside Dublin Castle and Leinster House, respectively, and have been generously loaned by the artist and the Institutions. Fionnuala Gallagher, Arts Officer at NUI Galway, said: “This is a real coup for the University and the city and we are delighted to accept works of such calibre. This is a unique opportunity to witness a master in our midst.” On show as part of the exhibition Thomas Ryan: Selected Workswill be portraits, self-portraits, religious paintings, interiors, still lives and landscapes, many loaned from the artist’s home, for this ‘retrospective’ of his career. Two portrait highlights on show are a pastel drawing, ‘Seán Keating, aged 82 years’ and a drawing of the late Professor of Marine Science, ‘Padraic O’Céidigh’, which is part of the NUI Galway Collection.  In addition, there is a selection of watercolours from a recent project, Dublin and Thereabouts, when Mr Ryan painted the buildings and places that took his fancy in Dublin, 2010-2011, all painted directly from the subject, and mostly in one sitting. Born in Limerick in 1929, Thomas Ryan trained in the School of Art, Limerick under Richard Butcher and at the National College of Art and Design, under Seán Keating and Maurice MacGonigal. He was President of Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts from 1982 to 1992, is a Founder Member of the European Council of National Academies of Fine Art (Madrid), and an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy, London and Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. His work hangs in major collections and he was the designer of the one pound coin and millennium fifty pence. He lives in County Meath, and produces most of his work in his studio. Thomas Ryan: Selected Workswill be officially opened on Tuesday, 15 May at 5pm by the University’s  Secretary, Gearóid Ó Conluain and Thomas Ryan will be in attendance. The exhibition will run from 15 May to 7 June in the Mechanical Soils Lab (adjacent to Áras na Mac Léinn) from 11am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday. -ENDS-

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Máiréad Ní Chróinín, Digital Arts & Humanities PhD student at NUI Galway, yesterday received the BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Theatre Award on behalf of her company Moonfish Theatre.  The award is part of the Stewart Parker Trust Awards and was presented in the Abbey Theatre by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.  Set up in honour of the late Belfast playwright, Stewart Parker, each year the Trust offers awards to new Irish playwrights to encourage new writing for the theatre throughout Ireland. Máiréad is co-director, with her sister Ionia, of Moonfish Theatre in Galway, and the company was awarded the prize for their bi-lingual show 'Tromluí Phinocchio / Pinocchio - a Nightmare'.  The show premiered in Galway in March 2012, and went on to have successful runs in the Dublin Fringe Festival and on the main stage in Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin in 2012, before touring nationally in March 2013. The show will be onstage again in Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe as part of the Babaró International Children's Festival in Galway in October 2013. Kate Costello, an NUI Galway graduate who teaches on the NUI Galway BA Connect programme was producer for the Moonfish Theatre production. The BA CONNECT programme at NUI Galway is a four-year BA degree which offers all the benefits of a two-subject Bachelor of Arts degree together with a specialism of your choice. ENDS

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Galway hosts Ireland’s first Laughter Championship Ireland’s firstLaughter Championship will take place on Sunday, 5 May at 2pm in the Galway Harbour Hotel, Galway in aid ofJigsaw, Galway. Organised by NUI Galway student, Siobhan Kavanagh, the charity event coincides with next month’s Well Being in Ireland conference, where researchers from all over the world will gather in Galway to discuss the design of a national well-being index for Ireland. Laughter Championships are a new craze taking off worldwide re invented by Albert Nerenberg. Contestants are asked to demonstrate different types of laugher (e.g. a maniacal laugh or a diabolical laugh) and are then judged on their technique. The main aim is to improve the expression of positive human emotions. The growing popularity of Laugher Championships is partly due to the rise of Laughter Yoga, a modernised variant of Hasya Yoga. Laughter yoga is an aerobic exercise which involves breathing exercises, laughter exercises and guided meditation (yoga nidra), to provide participants with a safe space to laugh. Siobhan Kavanagh is a PhD student in Child and Youth Research in NUI Galway’s School of Psychology and a member of the Irish Laughter Yoga association. Her research with Dr Padraig MacNeela, Lecturer in the University’s School of Psychology, investigates the impact of Laughter Yoga on well-being. “Although laughter has been described as the best medicine, researchers are only starting to understand the positive effects it can have on the body and mind, or indeed on well-being. Research on laughter yoga has found many benefits, for example, increased levels of life satisfaction, positive emotion and decreased stress levels. However, to date there has only been a handful of different studies completed, and a lot of the 'evidence' for laughter yoga comes from humour based research. We need to be mindful when we are telling people about the positive effects of laughter yoga, that research is still in the early stages. However, ancedotally, laughter yoga participants report a range of benefits”, explains Siobhan. The event is free to attend with live entertainment, including laughter yoga demonstrations, face-painting, games and music and there is a €10 charge to enter the championship, with the chance of winning the title of Irish Laughter Champion. All proceeds will be donated to Jigsaw, a free and confidential support service for young people in Galway city and county. All competitors will be required to attend a workshop at 1pm in preparation for the laughter championships. For further information on competing, or to volunteer at the event email irishlaughterassociation@gmail.com. -ENDS-

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A Major Test for the European Union – stop spending taxpayers’ money to Institutionalise EU citizens. There is a clamour around Europe to ensure that increasingly scarce European monies are not spent on institutionalising its citizens but are used instead to help States to promote a philosophy of living independently and being included in the community. To highlight the issue and press claims for a change in the Funds, a broad spectrum of European interest groups covering the disabled and the elderly, as well as national and international policy makers, will be brought together at a major conference organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway on Friday, 3 May. The issue is urgent as negotiations to agree new Regulations governing the EU Structural Funds are in their final stages. Advocates are not calling for more money – simply for an end to spending the available monies on institutions and a commitment of available resources to help the process of community living. The conference, ‘Community Living for All’ - A Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural Funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities’, is organised in association with the Irish Presidency of the European Council with the support of European Foundation Centre (EFC), Belgium and Fundación ONCE, Spain.  Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland has taken initial positive steps in the right direction with the ‘Ending Congregated Settings’ report and the National Positive Ageing Strategy.  We have to make sure that our taxpayers’ money is not being used via the Structural Funds to achieve the opposite effect elsewhere in Europe.” Professor Quinn continued: “Both disabled and older citizens have a common cause here.  We owe it to our fellow disabled and older EU citizens across Europe to end bad practices and help generate real added-value put of diminishing EU funds.  It is very important that your voice is heard loud and clear.” The rejection of the conditionalities proposed by the European Commission for accessing and using the funds has particular legal implications as it probably exposes the EU to legal liability under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is the first UN human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as such.  Professor Quinn added: “What are our citizens to think if the EU ratifies such a major international instrument and then keeps it at arms length where it matters most.  We certainly cannot preach to others if we fail to ensure basic respect for the convention in how major EU financial instruments are crafted. The conditions proposed by the Commission or something with the same effect have to be restored to the Regulations to keep faith with Europe’s 80 million persons with disabilities.”   The conference will be opened by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch T.D., who has responsibilities both for older people and people with disabilities, and one of the sessions will be chaired by Minister of State Brian Hayes T.D. The keynote address at the conference will be delivered by Professor Jerome Bickenbach on the unity of purpose between the disabled and older European citizens on community living and ageing in pace.  It will be addressed by the European Commission (DG Justice and DG Regio), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, The EU Fundamental Rights Agency and high level representatives for European civil society (European Disability Forum) and Age Platform Europe. Jan Jarab, Regional Representative for Europe of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who will be a participant in the conference, said: “The Office of the High Commissioner is committed to the promotion of community living and inclusion in society for older persons as well as for children in need of alternative care and persons with disabilities.” Professor Quinn added: “We are proud of where Ireland has come from and its clear aspirations for the future. But the rights we take for granted should not be confined to us. Lets be both smart and ethical in how the EU spends our money. This conference will explore the need for these conditions and whether or how they can be achieved as the drafting of the new regulations reach a climax in early summer 2013.”  All are welcome and no prior knowledge of the Structural Funds is assumed or required. More information on the conference is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/events/community_living_for_all.html and individuals can register at www.conference.ie. -ENDS-

Friday, 3 May 2013

NUI Galway student, Maria Campbell has been handpicked as one of 30 students to represent Ireland and Northern Ireland in the USA this summer. A final year Legal Studies, Sociology and Politics student, Maria will complete an eight-week internship in Washington DC, following the footsteps of previous NUI Galway students who have interned in the offices of then US Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, former Presidential Candidate Senator McCain, at the Headquarters of the World Bank and at CNN. A native of Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Maria has been involved with Foróige, Ireland’s largest youth organisation, as a member, volunteer leader and recently co-founder and Auditor of Foróige’s first college society. During this time she has lead a team to win two national citizenship awards and was selected for the inaugural Albert Schweitzer leadership program. Maria recently completed an internship in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre based in NUI Galway. Commenting on the announcement of the internship, Maria said: “I am both honored and excited to be given such a great opportunity.  I have already met some truly inspirational people and look forward to representing NUI Galway on the program.” Getting onto the Washington Ireland Program (WIP) is highly competitive with over 500 students from across, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain competing for a few coveted places. The WIP students are required to commit to a minimum of 30 hours of public service before their placement in Washington DC, and are encouraged to take on a new community service project. While in Washington DC the students will complete an extensive leadership curriculum with their peers – developing their leadership skills and learning from the leadership experiences of those in Global leadership positions. Students will also complete an individual internship. For more information visit www.wiprogram.org. -ENDS-

Friday, 3 May 2013

Comhrá Ceoil and the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, are delighted to announce details of the upcoming lecture in the annual Martin Reilly Lecture Series. The lecture will be given by harpist and Irish music Meteor Award (2010) nominee, Kathleen Loughnane, at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 14 May at the Galway City Library.  Kathleen will present her most recent research, ‘The music, life and times of the Harpers Connnellan (1642-1720)’ and will be joined by musical guests. A resident of Galway, Kathleen’s research has made a significant contribution to the recuperation of the music of Irish harp composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. She is highly regarded for her work in arranging traditional Irish dance tunes and airs for the harp. Kathleen co-founded the musical group Dordán in 1990, whose mix of Irish and Baroque music has received national and international acclaim. Dordán received the National Entertainment award for traditional music in 1993. Kathleen has four CDs and accompanying books to her credit, Affairs of the Harp, Harping On, Harp to Heart and her most recent The Harpers Connellan. This lecture series is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated East Galway uilleann piper and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum. Admission is free and all are welcome. ENDS

Friday, 3 May 2013

NUI Galway has announced that two scholarships of €2,000 will be available on a competitive basis to applicants of the 2013-2014 MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights at the Global Women’s Studies Centre. The MA offers a unique opportunity to combine advanced study of global issues and human rights, through a practice-oriented, gender lens.  Through the programme, students gain a thorough understanding of the complex terrain of globalization and related global issues and policy processes, spanning topics from extreme poverty, armed conflict and politicized religion to human trafficking, gender-based violence and global health challenges (e.g., HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, reproductive and sexual health).   Dr Niamh Reilly, School of Political Science and Sociology Co-director, Global Women's Studies at NUI Galway: “This MA offers a unique focus on gender, global issues and human rights and provides a dynamic mix of academic learning and professional placement.The MA also provides a solid grounding in international human rights practices with a focus on gender-aware and community-based approaches to human rights advocacy, implementation and monitoring. We are delighted to be offering two partial scholarships specifically for this programme and would encourage those interested to apply before the approaching deadline.” Modules are delivered by a lecturers and experts who combine extensive academic and practitioner experience in the areas covered by the course.  In addition to a range of core and optional academic modules, students have the opportunity to undertake a professional placement of 8-10 weeks and to complete a minor research thesis. As such, the programme offers students an exciting combination of engagement with academic debates and ideas, hands-on practical assignments and professional experience, as well as support in honing advanced research and writing skills.  Most recently, MA students have completed placements with: Amnesty International (Irish Section), Galway Rape Crisis Centre, Galway City Partnership (community development ), Gorta and Trócaire (international development organisations),  Irish Congress of Trade Unions,  National Women’s Council of Ireland, Pavee Point (Traveller and Roma rights) and Safe Ireland (domestic violence research and advocacy).  The MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights will be of interest to recent graduates, local or international, experienced development and/or human rights practitioners, or mature students who wish to pursue career paths related to gender, global issues, policy processes and human rights. The programme has a strong practitioner focus that prepares students for work in a range of policy and advocacy roles in non-governmental, media, local and national government, EU and UN agencies and/or to pursue further advanced academic research, including doctoral study. Extended deadline for partial scholarship applications is Friday, 17 May, 2013. For further information please see http://www.nuigalway.ie/faculties_departments/womens_studies/news_and_events/news_201302_ma.html  ENDS

Friday, 3 May 2013

Regretfully, an event due to take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Saturday, 11 May has had to be cancelled. Archbishop Tutu (82) spent five days in hospital last week for treatment of a persistent infection and unfortunately it is not possible for him to make the journey to Ireland at this time. The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town South Africa was to travel to Ballina, Co. Mayo - the home place of his fellow Elder and good friend Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region) on Saturday, May 11 in order to endorse the proposed new Mary Robinson Centre, with the presentation of a Welcoming Stone at an ecumenical event in the local St Muredach’s Cathedral. The Mary Robinson Centre is being developed by a partnership including NUI Galway, Mayo County Council, Ballina Town Council, the local community and the Robinson / Bourke families together with Government support. The Centre will incorporate both a visitor centre and an academic research facility, supported by NUI Galway. The latter will be focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of human rights and women’s leadership.  Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, with NUI Galway engaged in making available the archive to an international community of scholars.  The proposed development is intended to be opened to the public in 2015. Organisers of the event conveyed their very best wishes to Archbishop Tutu for a speedy recovery.   ENDS

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Two NUI Galway researchers have published a new book on fungal diagnostics, detailing innovative methods for rapid, accurate detection of these potentially life threatening infections. Compiled andedited byNUI Galway’s Dr Louise O’Connor and Dr Barry Glynn, Fungal Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols also brings together contributions from experts in the field of fungal detection and identification. While focusing mainly in the clinical field, Fungal Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols also includes other areas where detection of fungi is important such as veterinary diagnostics, food and environmental testing. The format of the chapters is such that those in testing laboratories have step-by-step protocols with tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls. The idea behind the publication is to offer alternative innovative protocols to those in the field of diagnostic testing. From the common nail infection to life threatening bloodstream complications, fungi are a significant public health concern. The number of cases of infection, commonly seen in transplant recipients, AIDS and cancer patients has seen a significant increase over the last two decades. A worrying trend with fungal infections is the increase in resistance of these organisms to anti-fungal therapy. In an effort to limit the rise in resistance there has been a greater worldwide effort to improve the accuracy of diagnosis in order to ensure that appropriate therapy is administered at the earliest sign of infection, reducing the risk of resistant organisms emerging thus resulting in a better outcome for the patient. Dr Louise O’Connor, Co-Editor of Fungal Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols, said: “Traditional methods for fungal identification are time consuming meaning that the infection has progressed significantly before a definite identification has been achieved. The need for more rapid tests has led to significant advancements in the development of identification methods as well as subsequent treatment regimes.” Drs O’Connor and Glynn have worked with The Molecular Diagnostics Research Group at NUI Galway for over 10 years. The core activity of the group is the development and application of molecular diagnostic tests for bacteria and fungi. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

NUI Galway’s Adult and Continuing Education will host an Information Evening for adult learners on Tuesday, 14 May from 6-8pm in the Orbsen Building. Representation from over 30 part-time programmes will be showcased at the event across subject areas of: Arts and Social Sciences; Business; Community Education; Education and Training; Languages; Pre-University Courses; and Science and Technology programmes. The University’s Adult and Continuing Education courses suit students with a variety of learning and lifestyle needs. Courses are offered through classroom-based mode, online learning or through a blend of both, offering flexibility and support to prospective students. Nuala McGuinn, Director of Adult and Continuing Education at NUI Galway, said: “The flexibility offered by our part-time programmes whether classroom-based, online or blended-learning mode allow students to study while maintaining or seeking employment, and also enables them to meet their personal and family commitments.” One of the newer blended learning programmes on offer this year is the Diploma in International Business and Financial Markets. This programme aims to develop students’ knowledge and skills in doing business globally, and preparing students for work as business leaders in national and international markets. Students will also gain language skills in a choice of European languages, Chinese or Russian as part of this exciting programme. Interest in programmes in the Science and Technology area including specialisms in Medical Device Science, Environmental Sustainability and Lean and Quality Systems has grown over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increased skills in these areas.  Study options are available at diploma, degree and individual module level. For students who wish to pursue a shorter term award, diplomas are available in a selection of high-quality language courses for adult learners including Irish, French, Italian, Spanish and German. Students practice their chosen language through a variety of activities, such as guided speaking practice, listening comprehension activities, grammar and vocabulary exercises. Dr Máire-Áine Ní Mhainnín, Diploma in French Programme Director, said: “Our aim is for students to achieve their language learning goals from our wide range of courses available in a friendly, welcoming environment. In our language classes you will be involved in speaking and listening as means of learning the language you study.” Students can also choose to take individual modules from the suite of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit options. “This may be useful for learners who may not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for students who already have attained a formal qualification and wish to take a standalone module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling”, explains Nuala McGuinn. Modules are available in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Education and Training, and Software Engineering. Alternatively, the MSc Software Engineering & Database Technologies and Postgraduate Diploma in Software Engineering are delivered completely online over one or two years, offering flexibility for students. Some of the newer courses on offer this year include the Professional Diploma in Education (Further Education) which provides Further Education teachers with the professional knowledge and skills to carry out their teaching roles. Additionally, a Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy is available in conjunction with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC), ideal for teachers and educators who wish to add therapeutic play skills to their existing teaching or psychology skills for working with children. Diplomas are also available in Gemmology, Psychology of Counselling, General Studies and many more. Diplomas are two-years in duration with classes taking place on campus or at outreach centres one evening per week. A full list of programmes on offer and application details are available at www.nuigalway.ie/adult-education/courses/. For additional information contact the Adult and Continuing Education Office at adulteducation@nuigalway.ie or 091 495241, or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-