NUI Galway Only Regional MBA to Attain International Accreditation in Ireland

NUI Galway Only Regional MBA to Attain International Accreditation in Ireland -image

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NUI Galway has today (22 May) announced the attainment of the global AMBA accreditation for its MBA programme offered in the School of Business and Economics. AMBA provide the only dedicated accreditation regime for MBA Programmes and now positions NUI Galway against the best worldwide. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is internationally recognised as the global standard for all MBA programmes. AMBA accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement in MBA education and is earned only by the best programmes. AMBA accredits 200 Schools in over 70 countries.  “The number of MBA qualifications available worldwide is now in the thousands, but only a small percentage of these would achieve accreditation if they were submitted to our rigorous international criteria” says Mark Stoddard, Accreditation Manager at AMBA. The NUI Galway MBA is one of the leading management development programmes in the country. A general management programme which enhances and develops business and management capabilities while preparing students for strategic leadership roles, the programme places an emphasis on strategic decision making and develops practical and professional skills for success in increasingly complex environments. Speaking about the achievement, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway MBA this year celebrates its 40th anniversary and it is fitting that we successfully attained AMBA accreditation demonstrating the world-class quality of our MBA programme. Employers and top business recruiters looking to acquire the best managers and future business leaders know that graduates of the AMBA accredited programmes have received the highest quality management education. We are proud to now confirm that to recruit a graduate from the NUI Galway MBA is to recruit top talent in Ireland.” Dr McCarthy added: “We know for students, the decision to study an MBA represents a major commitment, both in terms of time and money. This AMBA accreditation ensures that students' investments are rewarded with the finest MBA education available. We have constant engagement with the business community and our programme reflects and aligns with developments in industry both nationally and internationally. Our class sizes are kept small, our lecturers are leading experts in their respective fields and keep teaching relevant to the changing demands of the business world which overall results in greater one to one attention and learning experience.” Graduates of the NUI Galway Executive MBA have significantly advanced their careers with many being promoted, starting their own business, or changing careers after completing the programme. Applications for the next programme will be accepted from September 2013. Further information on the Executive MBA at NUI Galway is available at ENDS

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Polymer Breakthrough Inspired by Trees and Ancient Celtic Knots

Polymer Breakthrough Inspired by Trees and Ancient Celtic Knots-image

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New method of polymerisation creates possibilities for medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives A new slow-motion method of controlling the synthesis of polymers, which takes inspiration from both trees and Celtic Knots, opens up new possibilities in areas including medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives. Scientists at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in the National University of Ireland Galway have just published their breakthrough polymerization method in Nature Communications. Their new polymerization technique allows for the easy creation of new complex, multi-functional, branched compounds. The research team was led by NFB’s Dr Wenxin Wang at the National University of Ireland Galway, who said: “The versatility of our synthesis process could allow us to tailor polymer properties, such as structure, functionality, strength, size, density and degradation - with previously unimaginable ease.” The researchers took inspiration from ancient arts, and use their new technique to build up ‘Celtic Knots’. These materials have chains that only link to themselves in an interlaced pattern. In addition, the new technique can also create hyper-branching polymers, which branch and spread outwards like trees. Polymers are a broad class of natural and synthetic compounds, built up of many parts known as monomers, which connect together in fast growing chains. Until now, creating more complex branched polymers, known as dendrimers (from the Greek word “dendron” meaning “tree”), has been a labour intensive and time consuming process.   Now, for the first time, “dendritic” or tree like polymers have been synthesised in bulk, with branch points after every few monomers of the build process. This allows a far higher degree of branching than previously obtainable, and opens up new possibilities for the use of polymers. The new process developed by the team, in collaboration with Dr Julien Poly from the Institut de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse, France, is called ‘vinyl oligomer combination’. In effect the process allows a simple “one-pot” procedure that leads to easy up-scale of the process.The expectation is that these intricate woven and branched polymers will be cheap to produce and high in quality, as the technique is fully scalable. Dr Wenxin Wang is trying to uncover therapies for diseases such as diabetic ulcers and Epidermolysis Bullosa, which causes chronic skin conditions: “We are currently investigating the use of these new materials for biomedical applications such as drug/gene delivery, cross linkable hydrogel materials and skin adhesives. However, in reality this synthesis method could be used for a wide range of materials outside the biomedical field.” Dr Wenxin Wang continued: “It is interesting to note the period of difficulty often encountered with break through developments. For example, the road to acceptance of dendrimer materials was long and winding. Because this work contradicts long-standing theories about polymerization, we too have faced the challenge of acceptance. Finally, researchers are seeing the importance of these materials, and the ease at which new structures can be synthesized. Although these are early steps, we are looking forward to seeing the future realization of these structures in a wide range of applications.” The research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Health Research Board (HRB), DEBRA Ireland and DEBRA Austria is published in Nature Communications journal. -ends-

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Parents of Children with Autism Invited to Major International Conference at NUI Galway

Parents of Children with Autism Invited to Major International Conference at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Parents of children with autism are invited to a conference at NUI Galway on 11-12 June to share their experiences and hear the latest research and practical advice. With estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group 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 a 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. There will be an emphasis on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism, as Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN, explains: “Much of the research literature to date focuses on the needs of young children with little, if any, discussion paid to the needs of adolescents. For many parents, they are either currently dealing with teenagers challenged with autism, or are anticipating this new phase in a few short years. We are hosting a practical workshop as part of the conference on ‘Adolescence, growing up and sexuality.” Professor Peter Gerhardt from the McCarton School, New York, will also deliver an address focusing on issues relating to employment, quality of life and inclusion for adults on the autism spectrum.  The conference will also be highly relevant to the needs of practitioners and teachers. 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. Professor Deborah Fein from the University of Connecticut 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. Practical workshops addressing mood, anxiety, ADHD and the role of medication and from early signs through to diagnosis will also be provided. “Autism has become a national epidemic. This conference will bring the worlds leading experts in diagnosis, clinical management and education to NUI Galway as well as catering for the 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 autism spectrum disorder.” “By way of comparison, these estimates represent more children currently diagnosed with autism than diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome combined.” To register for the conference visit A special early booking fee is available until 4 June. -ends-

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Eight Research Projects for NUI Galway as Minister Sherlock Announces €6.9 Million Investment

Eight Research Projects for NUI Galway as Minister Sherlock Announces €6.9 Million Investment-image

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, has today announced Government funding through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) of €6.9 million encompassing 62 research awards. NUI Galway received 8 of these awards to a total value of almost €1 million. The investment is being made through SFI’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland.  Minister Sherlock said, “The TIDA programme focuses on commercially relevant research projects. It will enable numerous research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential.” Commenting on the awards, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway researchers are taking on some of the greatest challenges of our times. With today’s announcement, we will go further to commercialise and exploit opportunities arising from our research to deliver excellent research with impact and contribute to economic development.” The eight NUI Galway projects funded under the Programme and their leaders are: Dr Stephen Cunningham, Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) Novel direct detection of early bacterial infection for bovine mastitis Dr Cunningham will develop a method for the early detection and screening of bacterial infection for bovine mastitis. Effective control of mastitis to ensure milk quality is an ongoing challenge facing the dairy industry. The basis of detection is focused on the use of surface coat polysaccharides of the mastitis pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, which could be adapted for individual and continuous in-line monitoring of herd milk production. Professor Stefan Decker, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Feasibility study into the social semantic journalism Professor Decker will develop a Semantic Web assistant for journalists or news organisations, creating breaking news stories by sourcing, aggregating, filtering and verifying User-Generated Content (UGC) from various social media platforms, integrate them and place a structure on them in order to make it machine readable and therefore more easily searchable and verifiable. Currently, this is done manually and is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process for media organisations. Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Research, Design, and development of a demonstrator integrating private commercial data, Public Sector data and geographic mapping data with a simple visual user interface to support retail business planning Professor Hauswirth is developing software which will integrate public and private data with a simple and intuitive user interface to support retail business planning. There is a huge potential in leveraging existing internal private commercial data, public sector data, and geographic mapping data to decrease costs and improve quality of decision making in the context of planning, managing, and developing a retail business going forward. There is a vast amount of data available but the fundamental challenge is that it is fragmented, difficult to find and consolidate in order to make it meaningful. Dr Donal Leech, School of Chemistry Development of a biological oxygen demand monitoring system for wastewaters Dr Leech is applying his TIDA award to develop an in-situ sensor for measurement of the level of dissolved oxygen in waste water treatment plants.  Biochemical oxygen demand or BOD is widely used as an indication of the organic quality of water. It refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample. The standard BOD test can take up to 5 days and there is thus a real need for an in-situ, real time measurement which is the focus of this proposal.  Professor Paul Murphy, School of Chemistry New macrocyclic peptidomimetics with potential in cancer therapy Professor Murphy has developed a compound to inhibit proteins which are involved in the progression of cancer. The project deals with an unmet clinical need in targeting a protein called Mcl-1(myeloid cell leukemia-1). There are very few potent inhibitors of Mcl-1 identified to date and Mcl-1 is a very important target. Dr Thomas Ritter, Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) Regulating immunogenicity and tolerogenicity through cell surface glycosylation (Acronym: GlycoShield) Dr Ritter is evaluating the use of glyco engineered cells to assess their ability to suppress immune response from host cells during tissue or organ transplantation. Glyco engineering involves coating the cell surface with carbohydrates that are recognised by the host recipient as self, ensuring that cell rejection does not occur. This method will permit researchers, clinicians and industries to perform transplants with no adverse immune reaction from the host and will have wider implications on the engineering of immune-tolerant tissue transplants. Professor Charles Spillane, Plant & AgriBioscience Centre (PABC) Application of unique lineage-specific orphan gene cassettes to confer drought stress tolerance in crop plants of commercial importance. Professor Spillane is using his TIDA award to develop genetically-modified crops which are tolerant to drought. He has identified unique lineage-specific genes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana which are tolerant to drought. The TIDA award will enable him to determine if these genes can be deployed and commercially developed across multiple crop species.  Dr Eva Szegezdi, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) Development of Ex Vivo Diagnostic Multivariate Index Assay for Prediction of Treatment Efficacy in Acute Leukemias Dr Szegezdi is developing a theranostic assay for use in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  AML is a heterogeneous and aggressive disease and the current mainstream therapy is unsatisfactory. Refractory and relapsed disease is a major problem that occurs in 70-80% of AML patients. Although a number of potential drugs exist, there are no tools to aid the decision of which drug combinations may be effective and safe in a given patient. The assay under development is based on the extraction of bone marrow from the patient, and testing of a series of chemotherapeutic drugs on the bone marrow ex-vivo. This will enable the testing of medications for possible reactions and the tailoring of optimum treatments based on the test results. The TIDA Programme Minister Sherlock concluded by outlining the thinking behind these awards. “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to support the commercialisation of excellent research and ultimately help to create the quality sustainable jobs we need. These 62 TIDA awards will release vital funding to allow the development of early discoveries and inventions with commercial potential, thereby feeding into our Action Plan.” The Director General of SFI, Professor Mark Ferguson, said, “As set out in Agenda 2020, one of SFI’s strategic objectives is to become the best scientific funding agency in the world at creating impact from excellent research and demonstrating clear value for our research investment. Each submitted project has been through a rigorous review process and ultimate selection was on the basis of the quality and novelty of the proposed innovation, its potential impact, and its fit with the National Research Prioritisation areas. Additionally, the commercial expertise that Enterprise Ireland brought to the TIDA selection process played a key role in further underpinning the market potential of the award recipients.” Incorporated into the TIDA programme is an entrepreneurship training course to consolidate and intensify the entrepreneurial skills of postdoctoral researchers active in SFI funded research labs. This course, which will support over 100 personnel, is designed to develop the skills necessary for SFI funded researchers to assess the market for potential commercial developments from research discoveries. It is also designed to create a network of researchers with business acumen who will interact regularly with each other, with SFI, Enterprise Ireland and Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) established across the higher education institutes -ends-

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Mural Design Competition For Galway Bike Workshop

Mural Design Competition For Galway Bike Workshop-image

Thursday, 23 May 2013

NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and Galway’s Community Bike Workshop, An Mheitheal Rothar, are running a competition for an outdoor mural. The competition is open to those aged between 12-24 from schools, art colleges, youth or other groups, and individuals. The the winning design will be painted on the exterior of the community workshop, The Ecospace, based at Earl’s Island. The selected designs will be painted in the first two weeks in June by a professional artist, on the exterior of the Ecospace. The completed mural will be launched on Sunday, 16 June as part of the opening weekend of National Bike Week 2013 (15-23 June). The winning design(s) will be chosen on the merit of its quality and relevance by The Ecology Society, An Mheitheal Rothar and the selected artist. The winner or winning group will have their design professionally illustrated and painted by the artist. They will also receive a prize of a participatory workshop with the artist to paint part of the mural. Paul O’Donnell, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society, said: “We invite the submissions to be as creative as possible and make use of the ability to paint onto the double door entrance to the workshop as well as other features such as the gable end of the building which is 4.5 metres tall at the peak. Groups are more than welcome to contact us to visit the space in person.” Designs can be submitted electronically in a digital format, hand-drawn or painted with most formats will be taken as long as the dimensions of the building are considered. Entrants must be aged between 12 and 24 on the closing date for submissions, Sunday, 2 June at 6pm. Submissions should reflect the themes of the workshop including: cycling, and a vibrant culture around cycling; community based action on climate change; and education and awareness of the environment. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Community) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit bicycle workshop, providing a free practical facility to the Galway community for bicycle maintenance and repairs. Their aim is to encourage a culture of cycling in Galway City by establishing a practical facility and social hub which will support a strong community and promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling. The Ecospace is also the home of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and is a participatory community space encouraging each individual visiting to be a creative participant while there, resulting in a dynamic and friendly atmosphere, where community project ideas are supported and can take shape. The mural is part of a wider series of community-based events being organised by NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and An Mheitheal Rothar called ‘Be the Chainge!’ and is part funded by the European Commission through the Youth in Action Programme. For images and dimensions of the exterior of the The Ecospace visit, or contact 091 494347 or -ENDS-

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Irish Swimming Goes High Tech

Irish Swimming Goes High Tech-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

Swim Ireland Teams Up with NUI Galway to Pioneer Ground Breaking Performance Analysis Technology Swim Ireland has teamed up with NUI Galway with a view to developing a new high performance analysis system for competitive swimming. The development work is well under way on the new system which utilises innovative kinematic sensing technology. The new technology which is in test mode is being designed to deliver performance information in real time both to the swimmer and his/her coach. The technology is the brainchild of PhD student Robert Mooney who is a former Swim Ireland employee. The development team is led by Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Funding for the research is being provided both by Swim Ireland and by the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme. It is hoped to have the prototype system up and running by early 2014. Once developed, the system will be tested on elite Irish swimmers to measure, record and track their technical improvements achieved with training. Athletes to be tested will include swimmers based at the recently established Swim Ireland Connacht Performance Centre, based at the Kingfisher facility on the NUI Galway campus and which was officially launched last November. Lead researcher Robert Mooney commented: “A coach can often observe where improvements need to be made, but having hard evidence to back this up is key. We want to facilitate a new approach to swimming coaching, allowing for improved analysis of stroke mechanics, race performance and energy expenditure as well as real-time feedback to the swimmer, enabling more efficient, competitive and quantitative swim coaching.” “Any competitive swimmer will tell you just how demanding their sport is.  In a sport of narrow margins where the difference between winning and not winning can be little as one one-hundredth of a second, the availability of the proposed system might make all the difference”, explains Professor Ó Laighin. “With this in mind we are capitalising on low-cost, high-performance Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMs) technology coupled with innovative algorithms to achieve our goals.” Peter Banks is Performance Director with Swim Ireland, the national governing body for aquatic sports in Ireland. Banks is no stranger to success, having coached US swimmer Brooke Bennett to three gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. “We have seen a marked increase in the success of Irish swimmers on the international stage in recent years, with medal winning performances by the likes of Gráinne Murphy, Sycerika McMahon and Melanie Nocher. This type of technology is very exciting for Irish swimming to be involved with, the project gives our coaches and swimmers an opportunity to learn more about how athletes perform in the training pool and helps us make more informed decisions around their training programmes.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

NUI Galway Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summary: National University of Ireland Galway-led program with Concern Worldwide wins prestigious Gates Foundation funding for participatory research on improving agricultural tools to reduce labour demands on smallholder women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa The Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The NUI Galway collaborative research programme with Concern Worldwide has been awarded a US $100,000 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE) Phase I grant to pursue an innovative global health and development research project (3D4AGDev) on participatory 3D rapid-prototyping of agricultural/cropping tools to reduce labour demands on women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. The 3D4AgDev team’s project is one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced this week by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To receive funding, the 3D4AgDev teamand other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global health and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next Round will be accepted starting September 2013.  This, the tenth round of GCE funding, is the first round in which any Irish institution or university has been successful in being awarded a Gates Foundation GCE award. While the initial Phase I grants are for US $100,000 each, projects showing promise have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million. In the most recent (tenth) round of GCE funding there were 1,300 proposals submitted worldwide, while 61 awards were made.  The 3D4AgDev Program within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) will be conducted in close partnership with Concern Worldwide, focusing on labour-saving agri-tool innovations for women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 3D4AgDev Program project team consists of: Professor Charles Spillane, NUI Galway PABC agricultural research scientist; Dr Una Murray, NUI Galway PABC gender in agriculture expert; Carol Morgan, Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for Central Africa; and Paul Wagstaff, Agriculture Advisor for Concern. Over 1000 million smallholder farmers (predominantly women) are farming using labour intensive agricultural hand tools. Such agricultural tools include ones for tasks such as weeding, planting, harvesting and crop/food processing. Professor Spillane stressed that: “Smallholder agricultural systems remain largely dependent on human labour, having minimal access to alternative energy sources for cultivation and agri-processing such as draught animals or fossil-fuel powered mechanization. Routes out of poverty for smallholder rural communities will require a swathe of innovations that improve the labour productivity of their agricultural systems. Smallholder farmers living on less than a dollar a day face this challenge in an era when energy demand and energy costs are increasing to their disadvantage. The innovation challenge is how to enable smallholders to generate more income and agricultural produce while reducing the labour burden on women and rural children so that their livelihoods can improve.” User-led innovation is where the end-users are involved in the research and design of an innovative product or process. The overall aim of the farmer participatory 3D4AgDev Program is to link the potential of user-led innovation with Rapid Prototyping (e.g. via 3D printing) to enable women smallholder farmer groups in Sub-Saharan Africa to design and develop their own labour-saving agricultural tools, tailor-made for their culture, soils and cropping systems. The 3D4AgDev Program will facilitate a participatory technology development program with women smallholders farmers so that the farmers can develop their own agricultural tool and labour-saving innovations. Dr Una Murray highlighted that: “Labour saving tools for women smallholders can have major impacts, including leading to higher yields, higher incomes, more time for other activities, and reductions in harmful child labour in rural areas”. Through linking the women smallholder farmer groups to rapid-prototyping user innovation processes, Paul Wagstaff from Concern indicated that “there is significant potential to improve the status of rural women through fostering an enterprise-oriented ‘maker culture’ for agri-tool innovations”. -ends-

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Offaly Native Awarded Avaya Prize for Weeding Robot

Offaly Native Awarded Avaya Prize for Weeding Robot-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

Joseph Fleury, a final year Electronic and Computer Engineering student at NUI Galway has been awarded the Avaya Prize for the best final year project in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the College of Engineering at NUI Galway. A native of Birr, Co. Offaly, Joseph’s project focussed on the development of an autonomous robot system capable of navigating itself around an area using its own computer vision system. The developed robot system is part of a research study in the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway on the feasibility of using intelligent robot systems to remove weeds in commercial crop and vegetable growing operations.  Dr Michael Keane, Senior Manager with Avaya in Galway, said: “Avaya employ 400 people in Galway with 200 in high technology R&D positions and as part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging and supporting students in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering discipline at NUI Galway, we were delighted to award Joseph this year’s prize. There is an ever-present need to encourage high quality students such as Joseph into degree programmes in this area in order to fill the many open graduate positions in the areas of ICT and software development in companies like ourselves in Avaya.” Dr Martin Glavin, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, and supervisor of Joseph’s project, said: “Joseph’s project was incredibly sophisticated in that he not only had to build the robot, integrate electronic circuitry and write the software to control it but he also had to develop and test complex mathematical image analysis techniques which would allow the robot to ‘see’ and navigate. His project is an excellent example of how industry focussed post-graduate research expertise within our discipline permeates our under-graduate degree programmes in order to produce engineers with experience in relevant and cutting edge technologies.” -ENDS-

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Women Coding with ‘Rails Girls’ Galway

Women Coding with ‘Rails Girls’ Galway-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

‘Rails Girls’, a worldwide movement that aims to bridge the gender divide in technology and teach women how to code, was recently held in Galway. The event consisted of workshops which provided a first approach to web development and software development. Over 130 women from across Ireland attended ‘Rail Girls’, which was opened by Councillor Frank Fahy, Deputy Mayor of Galway City. Mayor Fahy stressed the importance of such an initiative for the Ireland workforce. Introduction to web application development, programming and architecture design were given by: Gerry Kavanagh, Master Engineer at LM Ericsson; Stefania Farrugia, Software Developer at Fintrax; and Emily Castles, Web Developer at Red Hills Software and co-organiser of Rails Girls Dublin. Speakers at the event included: Ana Maria Valarezo, Senior Account Manager at Zend Technologies; Yuwei Lin, Lecturer at Salford University; Debian Women, programme co-founder; Alanna Kelly, mobile game application developer and founder of the Galway Game Jam; and Matteo Collina, PhD student at University of Bologna. At the end of the Rails Girls Galway workshop, each participant had designed and implemented a web application, were able to enter information, edit and delete them, visualise their addresses on a Google Map and upload their pictures. Myriam Leggieri, PhD student with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, said: “Women tend to hold back and the reasons that keep women from entering IT are numerous. Mainly the same stereotype that depicts boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls, applies in Computer Science. Only the 25% of Information and Technology (IT) jobs are held by women; only 11% of the Fortune 500 companies have women executives and only 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women.” “At the same time, research shows that groups with greater diversity to solve problems better and faster than homogeneous groups; they are more efficient and more experimental. Also women have demonstrated to positively influence growth and efficiency, women-operated, venture-backed companies have 12% higher revenues than the average, and women entrepreneurs begin with about 1/8 of the funding of male-owned ventures. Consequently, the IT gender gap seems to deserve attention”, continued Myriam. Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer and founding member of and StreamGlider Inc., provided funding for the event through the company he founded, Technology Voice, which he introduced at the workshop. Further funding was provided by NUI Galway’s DERI, Intercom and CISCO. ‘Rails Girls’ workshops are non-profit worldwide phenomena with the first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, held in Helsinki in 2010. -ENDS-

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Major Irish Studies Conference to Consider the Legacy of 1916

Major Irish Studies Conference to Consider the Legacy of 1916-image

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Public interviews to include Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe, Garry Hynes and renowned BBC journalist Peter Taylor A major Irish studies conference at NUI Galway will consider the legacy of the 1916 Rising for contemporary Ireland. For the first time, the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) conference will be held in Ireland running from 5-8 June. EFACIS is one of the largest Irish Studies organisations in Europe and represents almost 500 members in over 20 countries. The federation was founded to promote interest in and support the expansion of Irish Studies throughout Europe, encouraging study and debate of all aspects of society, culture and literature of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Irish diaspora within the humanities and social sciences. Hosted by NUI Galway, this year’s conference will consider the theme ‘Towards 2016: Old and New Irelands’ and has already attracted considerable interest with almost 200 delegates due to attend. Keynote speakers will include; Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin; Dr Alan Ahearne, NUI Galway Lecturer, Economist and former Special Advisor to former Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan; and award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and investigative journalist, Peter Taylor. In an address entitled ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, Professor Ferriter will examine some of the issues involved in the decade of commemorations (2012-22) from the perspective of the historian, but also the questions it raises for society at large in terms of what is remembered, how it is remembered and communicated. Dr Ahearne will consider the relevance today of a central concern of the 1916 Proclamation, Irish sovereignty, given that the largest chunks of economic sovereignty were willingly ceded when the country joined the EEC and especially when it adopted the single currency. Peter Taylor of the BBC and one of the most experienced and respected journalists to have reported on Northern Ireland and the maker of several acclaimed documentaries on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, will screen and talk about some of his documentary work dealing with the Troubles. Taylor will be joined in this discussion by Shauna Duddy and Larry Duddy, who took part in his acclaimed 2008 documentary The Secret Peacemaker, which dealt with their father Brendan Duddy’s secret role as the key intermediary between the British government and the IRA over a span of more than twenty years. The conference will also include public interviews with Oscar-winning film director and novelist Neil Jordan; award-winning novelist and playwright Patrick McCabe; and theatre director and Druid Theatre co-founder Garry Hynes. Dr Seán Crosson, Conference Director and Lecturer with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media, said: “We are delighted to be hosting what will be largest EFACIS conference held to date. We are also pleased that such a strong and interdisciplinary group of speakers have agreed to participate, including in our plenary sessions, which covers areas from film, to theatre, literature, history, economics, music, politics and the media. A recurring concern of the papers, as the conference title suggests, is the legacy of the revolutionary period for contemporary Ireland today as we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising.” Among the themes considered during the conference will be the Irish Economic Crisis; Northern Ireland: Literature, Politics and Culture; 1916 in literature and Culture; Revisiting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality; Marginal Spaces in Irish Film; Theatre and the 1916 Rising; Irish Sport, 1916-2016; and Ireland’s relationship with Europe. -ENDS-   Oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach chun Oidhreacht 1916 a phlé Pléifidh oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach in OÉ Gaillimh an oidhreacht a bhaineann le hÉirí Amach 1916 d’Éirinn an lae inniu. Den chéad uair, beidh comhdháil Chónaidhm Eorpach na gCumann agus na nIonad Léinn Éireannaigh (EFACIS) ar siúl in Éirinn idir an 5-8 Meitheamh. Tá EFACIS ar cheann de na heagraíochtaí is mó san Eoraip a bhíonn ag plé leis an Léann Éireannach agus déanann sé ionadaíocht ar bheagnach 500 ball in os cionn 20 tír. Bunaíodh an chónaidhm chun suim a chothú sa Léann Éireannach ar fud na hEorpa agus chun tacú lena leathnú, agus staidéar agus díospóireacht á spreagadh i ngach gné de shochaí, de chultúr agus de litríocht Phoblacht na hÉireann, Thuaisceart Éireann, agus an diaspóra Éireannaigh laistigh de na daonnachtaí agus na heolaíochtaí sóisialta. Beidh comhdháil na bliana seo ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh agus ‘I dtreo 2016: Éire - mar a bhí agus mar atá’ mar théama aici; cheana féin tá spéis ollmhór léirithe sa chomhdháil ar a mbeidh beagnach 200 toscaire ag freastal. I measc na bpríomhchainteoirí beidh; Diarmaid Ferriter, Ollamh le Stair Chomhaimseartha na hÉireann in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath; an Dr Alan Ahearne, Léachtóir in OÉ Gaillimh, Eacnamaí agus iar-Chomhairleoir Speisialta don iar-Aire Airgeadais, Brian Lenihan; agus an déantóir scannán faisnéise, an scríbhneoir agus an t-iriseoir imscrúdaitheach clúiteach, Peter Taylor. In óráid dar teideal ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, scrúdóidh an tOllamh Ferriter cuid de na saincheisteanna a bhaineann le deich mbliana na gcuimhneachán (2012-22) ó pheirspictíocht an stairí, ach chomh maith leis sin na ceisteanna a ardaíonn sé don sochaí go ginearálta maidir le céard a thugann sé chun cuimhne, cén chaoi a ndéantar é a thabhairt chun cuimhne agus a chur in iúl. Breathnóidh an Dr Ahearne ar an ábharthacht a bhaineann sa lá inniu ann le príomhchúis Fhorógra 1916, flaitheas na hÉireann, ós rud é gur géilleadh le codanna móra de fhlaitheas eacnamaíochta nuair a chuaigh an tír isteach sa Chomhphobal Eorpach agus go háirithe nuair a glacadh leis an airgeadra aonair. Tá Peter Taylor ar dhuine de na hiriseoirí is mó taithí agus meas a rinne tuairisciú ar Thuaisceart Éireann agus tá cláir faisnéise chlúiteacha déanta aige faoi Thrioblóidí Thuaisceart Éireann. Taispeánfaidh sé cuid dá shaothar faisnéise a bhaineann leis na Trioblóidí agus déanfaidh sé cur síos orthu. Beidh Shauna Duddy agus Larry Duddy in éineacht le Taylor, beirt a ghlac páirt i gclár faisnéise clúiteach a rinne Peter in 2008 “The Secret Peacemaker”, faoina n-athair, Brendan, agus a ról rúnda mar phríomh-idirghabhálaí idir rialtas na Breataine agus an tIRA thar thréimhse níos faide ná fiche bliain. Mar chuid den chomhdháil chomh maith beidh agallaimh phoiblí le Neil Jordan, úrscéalaí agus stiúrthóir scannán a bhfuil gradam Oscar bainte amach aige; an t-úrscéalaí agus drámadóir clúiteach Patrick McCabe; agus stiúrthóir amharclainne agus comhbhunaitheoir Amharclann an Druid, Garry Hynes. Dúirt an Dr Seán Crosson, Stiúrthóir na Comhdhála agus Léachtóir i Scoil Scannán agus Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh: “Táimid thar a bheith sásta go bhfuil an chomhdháil EFACIS is mó riamh á cur i láthair againn i mí an Mheithimh. Táimid sásta freisin go bhfuil grúpa chomh láidir agus ildisciplíneach cainteoirí sásta páirt a ghlacadh san ócáid, na seisiúin phlé san áireamh, a chlúdaíonn na réimsí a leanas - scannánaíocht, amharclannaíocht, litríocht, stair, eacnamaíocht, ceol, polaitíocht agus na meáin. Imní a thagann chun cinn arís eile sna páipéir, mar a léiríonn teideal na comhdhála, an oidhreacht a bhaineann leis an tréimhs e réabhlóideach d’Éirinn an lae inniu agus muid ag druidim i dtreo Céad Bliain Éirí Amach 1916.” I measc na dtéamaí a bheidh á bplé le linn na comhdhála beidh Géarchéim Eacnamaíochta na hÉireann;  Tuaisceart Éireann: Litríocht, Polaitíocht agus Cultúr; 1916 sa litríocht agus sa chultúr; Athbhreithniú ar Chearta na mBan agus ar Chomhionannas Inscne; Spásanna Imeallacha i Scannáin na hÉireann; Amharclannaíocht agus Éirí Amach 1916; Spórt na hÉireann, 1916-2016; agus caidreamh na hÉireann leis an Eoraip. -CRÍOCH-

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