Monday, 11 October 2010

A first year postgraduate researcher at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, (NFB) at NUI Galway, was recently awarded the best podium presentation at the 23rd European Conference on Biomaterials. Bill Daly received the award at the Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) which was held in Tampere, Finland. The research is funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Proof of Concept scheme and focuses on developing a three-dimensional construct to study neural tissue regeneration in vitro. The award-winning presentation is entitled 'A Three Dimensional in vitro Model for the Assessment of Neurite Growth'. The project investigates how alterations on the surfaces of implantable materials can modify the growth of nerve cells. This is relevant to peripheral nerve repair studies. To test the effects of modifying the surfaces, Bill has developed a system which uses lasers to etch patterns on the surface of the materials and then measures the resulting growth. Stimulating growth while also controlling the direction of this growth is the ultimate goal as this facilitates the re-growth of long nerve fibres. The work is co-supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis at the NFB and by Dr Claire O'Connell at the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA). NCLA researcher Dr Claire O'Connell says: "This is a great accomplishment for Bill. The NCLA is delighted to be involved in this research and recognises the enormous implication that this study will achieve in the neural tissue regeneration area." The 23rd European Conference on Biomaterials attracted more than 800 delegates from across the scientific and engineering disciplines as well as members from the clinical and industrial sectors. Researchers from the NFB presented nine podium presentations and two poster presentations during the event representing a significant achievement for the NFB at an international event. The European Society of Biomaterials is a non-profit scientific society whose main objective is to encourage progress in the field of biomaterials in all its aspects, including research, teaching and clinical applications, as well as to foster any other related activity. The society was founded in March 1976 and became a member of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering (IUS-BSE) at its inception in 1979. The ESB has approximately 750 members from 32 countries worldwide. Next year, the ESB conference will be hosted by the NFB in Dublin on 4 to 9 September, 2011 at the Convention Centre Dublin. -Ends-

Thursday, 7 October 2010

This year's Rose of Tralee and NUI Galway Psychology graduate Clare Kambemettu yesterday (06 October) launched Mental Health Week, 10 to17 October at the University. Along with launching a comprehensive programme of events surrounding 'Building Resilience - to protect mental health and wellbeing', the Rose also launched a MyStudentBody website dealing with mental health and wellbeing issues for students and parents and a Bobby Baker Art Exhibition which runs from 6 to 30 October. Clare Kambemettu, from Athy in County Kildare, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from NUI Galway in 2005 and continued her studies in the University by completing a higher Diploma in Arts, Psychology Conversion in 2006. This is the first time that Clare has returned to NUI Galway in her official capacity as International Rose of Tralee. The programme for Mental Health Week is very varied including, societies events, a Graduate Jobs Fair, opportunities to volunteer with the Alive Volunteering Programme, and the chance to be physically active with Sports and Recreation. A keynote session, of 'Laughter Yoga' will also take place on 14 October. In the session laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group and soon turns into real contagious laughter, leaving participants feeling happy, healthy and energised. The MyStudentBody® website is a comprehensive online programme originating from the USA which tackles the most relevant health issues on college campuses today including alcohol, drugs, sexual health, tobacco, nutrition, and stress. Using a unique three prong approach, MyStudentBody reaches students, parents, and administrators with information that aims to improve students' daily lives and overall wellness. The website aims to reduce student health risks on the individual and campus community level, empower families with strategies and tools for supporting student health, find strategies and apply data to strengthen prevention initiatives. The Bobby Baker Diary Drawing Exhibition entitled 'Mental Illness and Me, 1997 – 2008', depicts Bobby's experiences of day hospitals, acute psychiatric wards, 'crisis' teams and a variety of treatments, while coping with personal mental illness. The drawings chart the ups and downs of her recovery, family life, work as an artist, breast cancer and just how funny all this harrowing stuff can be. Bobby Baker herself will give an illustrated talk on Wednesday, 13 October at 8pm at the Bank of Ireland Theatre. She will explore how painting, breathing and madness led her to create the remarkable series of drawings on which the exhibition is based. Speaking at the launch of Mental Health Week, Administrative Officer of Student Services at NUI Galway, Matt Doran said, "In these times when there is so much apparent hopelessness, the advice of the recently beatified John Henry Newman who is often quoted in relation to University Education is very relevant: "Let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish". When we actively seek out "what we have", we will find a lot of positives and this is key to Building Resilience and coping skills, the theme of this year's Mental Health Week." ENDS

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

NUI Galway has today announced its support for the proposed introduction of a bonus points scheme for Leaving Certificate Higher Level Mathematics. The precise scheme for the award of additional points, along with the timescale for introduction, will be agreed in consultation with the other universities, in the coming weeks. NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Jim Ward, indicated that while there was scepticism about the effectiveness of the scheme, the University did not wish to stand in the way of the development of a national scheme: "At a meeting of the University's Academic Council last evening, it was agreed that NUI Galway would support the introduction of bonus points on a pilot basis. We recognise the importance of encouraging more students to take honours mathematics at Leaving Certificate level. However, it would be a mistake to view bonus points as the complete solution to the maths problem in Ireland. The teaching of maths at second level by teachers who are not fully qualified to teach the subject is a more fundamental problem. We need to put supports in place to help those teachers. I would ask the Minister to now work with the Universities and the Teaching Council to put in place a programme of professional development for teachers that will enable them to gain the skills they need to teach mathematics to the required level." Professor Ward added: "The bonus points scheme will only succeed if it is part of a wider package of initiatives including ongoing reform of the mathematics curriculum, more support and training for second level teachers, and widening of access to higher mathematics so that it is offered in all schools". NUI Galway has particular expertise in the area of Mathematics Education and has introduced a range of initiatives aimed at enhancing maths education and encouraging more students to study maths at third level. In 2008, NUI Galway introduced the country's only undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Education, which qualifies graduates to teach Mathematics and Applied Mathematics to honours Leaving Certificate level in post-primary schools. The first graduates from that programme will emerge in two years' time, having already spent three years working with teachers in schools. The BA Mathematics and Education is unique in Ireland and internationally in terms of its specialist focus on the mathematical sciences, and mathematics and applied mathematics pedagogies. The programme has been developed by NUI Galway specifically to address the demonstrated need for specialist maths teachers in Irish schools. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has also run a Special Entrance Maths Examination to give engineering applicants who did not achieve the required Higher Level Mathematics grade in the Leaving Certificate a second chance. NUI Galway also holds a free intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the Special Maths Exam. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering. NUI Galway has also been working with its strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, in running workshops for secondary school maths teachers on aspects of the new Project Maths curriculum. In addition, the University is also actively exploring opportunities to develop new part-time postgraduate programmes aimed at up-skilling secondary school mathematics teachers. Ends

Monday, 4 October 2010

Major organisations from business, industry and the voluntary sector will feature at the NUI Galway Graduate Jobs Fair in the Bailey Allen Hall, on Monday, 11 October from 12.30pm to 4pm. The popular annual event will showcase graduate employment opportunities for graduates from all disciplines, with a diverse number of fields such as accountancy, IT, law, science, retail, consultancy and many other sectors represented. Visitors to the event can attend employer presentations, information sessions and participate in a mock assessment centre. They can gain advice and information from career and HR professionals by attending seminars to develop CVs and perfect interview techniques. Major local employers such as Creganna, Medtronic, Cisco, Boston Scientific, and SAP will attend, in addition to international companies including Accenture, Abbott, KPMG and Lidl. According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway's Career Development Centre, "Demand for NUI Galway graduates remains high, reflecting on their excellent employability status. The current economic climate does of course present challenges; to be employed is to be at risk but to be employable is to be secure. Building on the success of the NUI Galway ALIVE Volunteering Programme, we have also invited organisations who provide volunteering opportunities which help develop key transferable skills and further enhance graduate employability. There will also be an opportunity to get information on postgraduate programmes available in NUI Galway." Event organiser Deirdre Sheridan, advises those planning on attending the Jobs Fair that their main objective on the day is to secure their first graduate job. "Plan in advance - know what employers are attending and the type of opportunities they have available. Fifty percent of graduate employers recruit graduates from all academic disciplines so don't be misled by an organisation's name – they may have the perfect graduate opportunity for you! Bring along an up-to-date CV, have it reviewed at the CV Clinic and get feedback on how to package and sell all your experiences to date. Arrive with a 'can do' attitude and be prepared to network." Details on exhibitors are available from www.nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 4 October 2010

NUI Galway and ARAMARK Ireland, Ireland's leading contract catering and facilities Management Company, today unveiled the newly renovated restaurant 'An Bhialann', at the University. Independent Food writer and Consultant Hugo Arnold was also on-hand for the launch of the upgraded and extended restaurant. The investment of circa €3.5 million will provide healthy eating options for a community of over 17,500 staff and students, ensuring that both body and mind are nurtured. Skipping meals will become a thing of the past for students with a new 'food court' style service area offering a wide choice of dishes from live action stations where meals can be cooked-to-order, to a bespoke sandwich bar and a salad counter boasting over 25 salad choices on a daily basis. ARAMARK Ireland's food services division, Campbell Catering, have provided catering services at NUI Galway since 1992. This new investment has resulted in a complete redesign of 'An Bhialann' which now boasts a modern, interior finish, new entrances and extended seating. 'An Bhialann' houses a brand new kitchen which incorporates the latest in equipment and services, all designed to deliver a wide choice of top quality dishes. Coffee lovers will be delighted with the addition of global coffee house Starbucks. Popular sandwich chain Subway is also located in 'An Bhialann' and these restaurants are open from early morning to late evening. Speaking at the launch Hugo Arnold, independent Food writer and Consultant, said, "Students are a fantastically demanding customer: well-informed, hungry, cash conscious and often time-starved. The new restaurant aims to meet and exceed these demands through quality innovation which is on-going and mixes both the modern and the traditional. Full of flavour, it aims to be nutritious, satisfying and competitively priced." Conference/ Catering Manager at NUI Galway, Ann Duggan said, "NUI Galway prides itself on providing a quality service to all its staff and students. The new restaurant together with the modern seating area offers students a state-of-the-art facility and delicious, healthy meals with prices starting from €3.50 for a hot main course. In addition, the implementation of environmentally friendly practices including waste segregation and energy efficiencies enables us to achieve our commitments towards sustainability at the University." Joan O'Shaughnessy, CEO ARAMARK Ireland added "Customer satisfaction is a major priority for us. Feedback shows that our customers' expectations are high and we agreed a total renovation of the campus restaurant was very important. In partnership with NUI Galway, we have designed this state-of-the-art facility and our food offerings to fulfil all of the students' needs." ARAMARK Ireland employs almost 4,000 people in 400 locations throughout Ireland. Headquartered in Dublin, ARAMARK Ireland has regional offices in Cork, Limerick and Belfast. ENDS

Friday, 1 October 2010

A student at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, Sarah Bassiouni, was one of five students whose thesis was selected for publication by the European Inter-University Institute for Human Rights and Democratisation recently. The award was announced on 26 September at a ceremony in Venice attended by NUI Galway President James J Browne and Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The thesis was entitled 'Our Progressive Nature: The Environment & the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and its Applications'. It deals with the long-neglected human right to the benefits of scientific progress, taken from the perspective of the protection of the environment. The thesis was supervised by Professor William Schabas. "Sarah's thesis is really cutting edge, and it was selected not only for its overall quality but also for its great originality and its contemporary importance", said Professor Schabas. "We hosted an international seminar on the subject two years ago in Galway, and we are thrilled to see that students are now picking up the issue and developing research in new areas." The European Inter-University Institute for Human Rights and Democratisation operates a Master's Degree programme in Human Rights and Democratisation for students throughout the European Union, as well as a limited number from elsewhere in the world. It is based in Venice, where students take a semester of courses. During the second semester, beginning in February, students are assigned to participating Universities throughout Europe. The National University of Ireland, Galway has been involved in the programme since 2001. Typically, it receives four or five students from the 90-student cohort each year. "The Venice Human Rights programme is an important initiative, and I am delighted both by the involvement of our University and by the performance of our students", said President Browne. 'Both in Europe, and elsewhere, one of the trademarks of our University is its excellence in Human Rights teaching and research,' he said, adding that the Irish Centre for Human Rights is one of the largest University-based Human Rights units in the world. ENDS

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

NUI Galway recently hosted a Graduation Ceremony for students who completed a Joint NUI Galway/GMIT Foundation Course in Science, Engineering, Technology and in Commerce/Business. 70 students received their Certificates on the night with many progressing to full and part-time degree programmes at both NUI Galway and GMIT. These foundation courses are pre-entry preparation programmes for third-level with students attending lectures and laboratory sessions on both campuses. This joint venture was set up 12 years ago and has proved successful with many participants going on to study at either institution. If students pass all modules on the programmes they can apply through the CAO and may be accepted to study at a full-time level in NUI Galway or GMIT. Trish Hoare, Mature Students Officer with NUI Galway, said: "I would like to congratulate the students on their achievement and wish them every success in their full-time studies at NUI Galway and GMIT." According to Deirdre O'Connor, Access Officer with GMIT, "The current economic climate has resulted in a substantial increase in the numbers of mature students wishing to gain entry to third level education and these courses prepare students to progress to full-time degrees in Science, Engineering, IT and Business." Both courses are due to commence in early October 2010. Those interested in finding our more should contact Trish Hoare, NUI Galway at 091 492695 or maturestudents@nuigalway.ie, or Deirdre O'Connor, GMIT at 091 742129 or deirdre.oconnor@gmit.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Postgraduate students in Information Systems at NUI Galway recently showcased voluntary work that benefited local organisations in Galway. The showcase is the culmination of compulsory project work completed by the students as part of the MSc (Information Systems Management). The project component of the MSc requires students to analyse the operations of an organisation, focus in on a problem area, design a solution to that problem in consultation with the users, and develop and implement that solution. This year, a total of 20 projects were submitted, all involving a substantial amount of voluntary work where students applied their skills to address the needs of local organisations. The clients included, Cancer Care West, SAP Galway, HSE-North West, Youth Work Ireland, Defence Forces, COPE Galway, Connacht Rugby, Fitzgerald Design Ltd., Brothers of Charity, Teddy House Creche, Oxfam, Bushy Park National School and NUI Galway. "The field of Business Information Systems is primarily about helping organisations to solve real problems and grasp opportunities," explains MSc in Information Systems Management Programme Director Michael Lang. "Many people do not fully understand how innovative IT applications can be potentially very beneficial within their workplace, often because they are not aware of the capabilities of technology. This is where our postgraduate students can help." The aim of the projects undertaken by students is to enable them apply the skills they learn on the programme, such as database design, user interface design, applications programming, Web development, business systems analysis, project management, security planning, and e-business strategic thinking, as well as skills such as teamwork, interpersonal communications, and presentation skills. It also affords the opportunity to be involved in civic engagement and volunteering. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation & Performance at NUI Galway, said, "It is wonderful to see how the students of the MSc in Information Systems Management have demonstrated very impressive innovative capabilities in producing such excellent and creative projects. NUI Galway places a high value on the importance of civic engagement and volunteering, and service learning is very much a core aspect of our teaching and learning strategy." Support for NUI Galway's service learning strategy is centrally provided by the office of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which also oversees the ALIVE student volunteering programme. Combining classroom theory with community practice, service learning is a teaching tool aimed at connecting students with their community through practical work and has given students the opportunity to see the impact that civic engagement has for the communities they work with, their own learning and the wider society. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

An exhibition of a collection of diary drawings by Artist Bobby Baker will be launched at NUI Galway Wednesday, 6 October at 5pm. The exhibition will run from 6 October to 30 October, in Aras na Mac Léinn and the foyer of the Arts Millennium Building in the University. It is one of a number of events organised as part of Mental Health Week, 10 to 17 October, 2010. The Exhibition entitled "Mental Illness and Me, 1997 – 2008", depicts Bobby's experiences of day hospitals, acute psychiatric wards, 'crisis' teams and a variety of treatments, while coping with personal mental illness. The drawings chart the ups and downs of her recovery, family life, work as an artist, breast cancer and just how funny all this harrowing stuff can be. Bobby Baker, who is based in England, will give an illustrated talk on Wednesday, 13 October at 8pm at the Bank of Ireland Theatre. She will explore how painting, breathing and madness led her to create the remarkable series of drawings on which the exhibition is based. The collection of drawings on display in NUI Galway is part of a larger exhibition that is currently on display in Dr Guislain Museum, Belgium. The smaller collection of Bobby's diary drawings are being shown in a variety of galleries, hospitals and educational settings, including NUI Galway to make them accessible to the wider public. Speaking about the exhibition, NUI Galway's Arts Officer Fionnuala Gallagher says, "It is a rare and wonderful thing to view Bobby Baker's Diary Drawings. Bobby has exposed her deepest fears and at the same time has interpreted them for the audience with a subversive wit that makes you laugh and wince simultaneously, at the plight of the human mind, at war with itself." The exhibition and illustrated talk is organised by The Arts Office in association with the Health Promotion Service and Student Services at NUI Galway as part a number of events to take place during Mental Health Week at the University from 10 to 17 October. The theme of NUI Galway's Mental Health week is "Building Resilience - to protect mental health and wellbeing", encouraging students and staff to – "Sign up, Link in, Get involved", to build resilience in their lives. Health Promotion Officer at NUI Galway, Cindy Dring comments, "It is important to look after our mental health as well as our physical health in our everyday life. The theme of Mental Health Week, 'Building resilience', is even more relevant than ever before during these economically challenging times. Resilience - the ability to cope with life's ups and downs can be learned, and will help us to see past today's difficulties and enjoy life more. Research has found a strong link with community participation and resilience. Here at NUI Galway there is plenty of opportunity to build resilience and to have lots of fun while doing it by getting involved in volunteering, joining a club or society, or signing up for a workshop in the Mind, Body & Soul programme." -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A Conference on the subject 'Ireland and Biafra' will be held in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, this Thursday, 30 September and Friday, 1 October. The Conference will focus on the events surrounding the Nigeria-Biafra war 1967-70. Speakers include Nigerian academics, Godfrey Uzoigwe, who will discuss the run-up to the war and Michael Echeruo, who will discuss the literature that was published as a result of the war. In addition to the background, there will be a personal account of the experience of a child refugee in Ireland following the surrender of Biafra; memories from missionaries who experienced events in Nigeria and Biafra; an interview with the founders of Concern; a screening of the Radharc documentary Night Flight to Uli, introduced by one of the Radharc team. Dr Dom Colbert of the Irish Red Cross and Dr Noel Dorr, who was in the Department of Foreign Affairs, will also be in attendance. The full programme is available at www.nuigalway.ie/mooreinstitute/site/view/761/ and all are welcome to attend. -Ends-

Monday, 27 September 2010

NUI Galway will hold their annual Open Days this Friday, 1 October and Saturday, 2 October. An important occasion for prospective students, Open Days provides an opportunity to talk to NUI Galway students and staff, explore the campus and find out more about courses of interest. Friday's Open Day, on 1 October, is aimed at school groups, although individuals are also very welcome to attend. Saturday's Open Day on 2 October, is for students thinking about university and their parents and families. With over 60 degree programmes on offer at NUI Galway, lecturers and Deans will be on hand at exhibition stands to answer questions on courses, CAO points and career paths. A talk specifically for parents at 11am on Saturday will give an overview of the career paths of NUI Galway graduates, as well as looking ahead to the job market of the future. Many of the newer courses at the University have been designed to be responsive to the changing needs of the employment market and meet the needs of the Smart Economy. The Open Days will feature a mix of taster sessions and short lectures to provide a feel for university life. Events will include hands-on science workshops, interactive demonstrations with cameras, media equipment and podcasts and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics. According to NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, the Open Day is an ideal opportunity to find out exactly what the University has to offer: "Our Open Days offer prospective students the opportunity to meet our lecturers and find out about courses which might be of interest. NUI Galway has a long-standing reputation and dedicated staff, many of whom are world leaders in their fields, committed to delivering the highest quality education and student experience. The Open Day will help students make an informed decision when it comes to filling out the CAO form." During the Open Days, tours of the campus will allow prospective students to visit the Sports Centre, home to 45 student sports clubs, and Áras na Mac Léinn, the base for over 100 student societies. The tours will also take in, among other elements, accommodation and library facilities. For further details on NUI Galway Open Days, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/. -Ends-

Monday, 27 September 2010

NUI Galway today (Monday, 27 September) launches a new website which aims to educate travellers to high altitude and their healthcare professionals about the effects of altitude on the human body. The website was developed by Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway, in collaboration with medical students completing the special study module in High Altitude Medicine. The website www.highaltitudemedicine.ieprovides useful information on the physiological effects of altitude and acclimatisation to high altitude environments. It also includes information and advice on the recognition, management and prevention of high altitude illness, and useful facts about aviation medicine. There is also a collection of referenced essays on the historical aspects of high altitude medicine, adaptations of native high altitude populations, and the effects of high altitude training on elite sports performance. There are also useful updates on the website on important research findings in high altitude medicine from the published literature as well as links to other relevant websites. A novel feature of the website is a video demonstration on the use of a portable hyperbaric chamber, which is a sealed chamber that lowers the altitude by increasing the ambient barometric pressure in an effort to increase the oxygen levels in the blood of a victim suffering from high altitude illness. The video was filmed and edited by the students themselves. Dr Flaherty, who is an experienced travel medicine physician with a particular interest in high altitude medicine, explains: "Travel to high altitude destinations, especially in the Alps, the Andes, the Himalayas and East Africa, has become a popular vacation option for people of all ages. The highly specialised information required to travel safely to high altitude is often not accessible to travellers or their healthcare professionals. We identified a need for a non-commercial educational website which would help to ease the anxiety associated with travel to high places and hopefully make such travel safer and more enjoyable." The website will become a valuable learning resource for medical students at NUI Galway and other educational institutions as well as trekkers, mountaineers and healthcare professionals offering them pre-travel health advice. Dr Flaherty, who is President-elect of the Travel Medicine Society of Ireland and a Fellow and external examiner of the Faculty of Travel Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow, added: "This is an example of how our innovative special study module programme at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway is capturing the imagination of our medical students and the wider public. The students learned a lot about teamwork, attention to detail, original scientific writing and responsibility from preparing material for our website. These are all essential attributes for our medical doctors of the future." -Ends-

Monday, 27 September 2010

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway will host a number of events as part of Maths Week Ireland from 9 to16 October. During this week, various fun activities have been organised to promote awareness, appreciation and understanding of maths among the general public. On Monday, 11 October, one of Spain s best known mathematicians- Fernando Blasco who is also a magician, television personality and author of several books, will give a talk in the Colm O hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at 7pm. The talk is open to the general public, and he will perform some tricks involving elementary mathematics. Topics such as prime numbers, sudoku, which are Japanese number puzzles, and the Rubik s cube are among the facets of mathematics to be explored. On the following day, Fernando will perform more of his magic and maths aimed specifically at primary and secondary school audiences. During the second half of the week, there will be several special maths workshops held to highlight the importance, usefulness and enjoyment of mathematics. These workshops will be aimed at primary and secondary school students. Topics explored at these sessions will include: "How Julius Caesar used maths to protect his empire"; "How blind people do and read maths", delivered by Dr David O Keeffe and an exploration of Einstein's famous theory entitled "Special Relativity Made Easy" by Dr Patrick Browne, both of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, at the University. NUI Galway's Dr David O'Keeffe says: "Maths can often be a bit of a mystery to the wider public, a subject that may feel inaccessible to them. But in actual fact, it doesn t need to be the case. Everywhere around us, maths is in use. When you strip away the details on how modern technology operates; for example mobile phones, iPods, computers etc., it all boils down to doing mathematics. The Maths Week events in NUI Galway will act as a bridge to connect young and old with maths in a fun and interactive way. Maths is more than something that remains in the clutches of academia and we want to show people that it can be useful to everyone." Schools throughout Galway are encouraged to participate in these special events to make maths accessible to a wider audience. Maths Week Ireland is a partnership of universities, institutes and groups working together to promote awareness, appreciation and understanding of mathematics to all. From a national perspective, events will be happening at institutes of technology, universities, museums, libraries, visitor centres and other venues. -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

NUI Galway invites graduates from the classes of 1970 and 1980 to attend a reunion day on Saturday, 9 October. The reunion will begin at 3pm in the Quadrangle with a reception and photo exhibition, followed by a bus tour of campus. The celebrations will continue later that evening in the Hotel Meyrick on Eyre Square with a reunion dinner. A 60s/70s/80s disco will follow to round off the evening with some musical memories. JB Terrins, Director of Alumni Relations at NUI Galway, encourages alumni to come along: "Reunions are special opportunities for graduates to revisit NUI Galway and renew old acquaintances. Many alumni from the classes of 1970 and 1980 have already booked their places and many are returning from outside of Galway to be here. These events come around only every decade and our alumni never regret grabbing this chance to roll back the years with old friends". The Alumni Association at NUI Galway serves 70,000 alumni worldwide with an extensive range of programmes administered by the Alumni Office. These include alumni groups, both national and international, publications, reunions and alumni awards. Visit www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends for further details. For further information on the reunion or to book your place contact Colm O'Dwyer in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Moffetts Restaurant at NUI Galway has been listed in the top five restaurants in Ireland in Institutional Catering by the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards. Moffetts is operated by Masterchefs Hospitality, a brand leader in Fine Dining who also operate three other outlets on Campus. A team of expert judges travelled all over the four provinces of Ireland during the summer months seeking out the best in the business. "What makes these awards so special is we are assessed by our peers, experts in the industry, and it reflects a tremendous effort by our team lead by General Manager Grainne Barrett and Head Chef Paul Gannon. We work hard to maintain very high standards of food and service and we are delighted that out efforts have been recognised" said Managing Director Pat O' Sullivan. Moffetts Restaurant opens from 8.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday and is available for private bookings outside of these hours. Tel 091 525423. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

NUI Galway will be honoured at Music for Galway's 30th Anniversary Fundraising Gala Reception and Concert which takes place on Saturday, 16 October in the Town Hall Theatre. Proceedings start with a pre-concert reception at 7.15pm followed by the concert at 8pm. The Music for Galway 30th Anniversary Fundraising Gala Reception and Concert will celebrate all that is best in music in Ireland West and beyond, and marks three decades of international concert seasons in Galway. On this milestone occasion, honours will be conferred on NUI Galway for its 30 years of generous support, and on Erika Casey, founder member of Music for Galway. Operatic arias and duets will be performed by Metropolitan Opera baritone Rodion Pogossov who will be joined by soprano Evelina Dobraceva and pianist Dearbhla Collins. John Behan RHA has donated a bronze cast sculpture, 'Cellist', inspired by Adrian Mantu, cellist with Galway Ensemble in Residence ConTempo Quartet, and this sculpture will be auctioned off on the night along with jewellery donated from Cobwebs. Raffle prizes include an original John Behan print, a night at the Renvile House Hotel, and tickets to the Live from the MET at the EYE cinema including champagne from the g hotel. Tickets are €30 and are available from the Town Hall Theatre booking office at 091 569777 or www.tht.ie. For further details please contact Music for Galway at 091 705962 or info@musicforgalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 20 September 2010

NUI Galway is delighted with the news that it has retained its position in the Sunday Times University Guide. Having won the inaugural Sunday Times University Guide 'University of the Year' in 2002 and again in 2009, NUI Galway cites success in CAO figures and in the recent PRTLI Awards as contributors to its position in the University Guide. Speaking about the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "It is very gratifying to have held our position, following our designation last year as University of the Year and coming in the same week as we have increased our position in the QS World University Ranking. This validation of the work and reputation of NUI Galway has been further substantiated by our recent funding success in the Irish Government s recent Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) and by the significant increases in demand for our courses, as evidenced in our CAO figures. Our initiatives to build strategic alliances with partners such as University of Limerick and Georgia Institute of Technology highlight our commitment to engaging with the needs of our region, the national economy and the government's strategy for the Smart Economy. Our strong record of industry collaboration and world-class research in fields such as biomedicine, renewable energy, and internet technologies are proof of this commitment". Dr Browne continued: "In a difficult economic climate, with significant staff and budget cuts, I am proud that NUI Galway continues to build on our international reputation for academic excellence". NUI Galway extends their congratulations to Dublin City University on being named the 'Sunday Times Irish University of the Year 2010', to Cork IT on being named the best Institute, and to IT Sligo, named 'most improved' Higher Education Institution and wishes them all every success for the year ahead. -Ends-

Monday, 20 September 2010

"Developing a New Paradigm- Trust and Confidence in Children's Services" NUI Galway will host a seminar entitled "Developing a New Paradigm- Trust and Confidence in Children's Services" which will take place on Tuesday, 28 September at 6pm. The seminar will be comprised of a panel and open discussion exploring the challenges and solutions of child and family services in Ireland. The seminar is jointly hosted by the University's Masters in Social Work and the Child and Family Research Centre at the School of Political Science and Sociology. The panel of Irish experts in the field of children's services who will offer their reflections on future directions of children's services include: Michelle Clarke, Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; Geoff Costello, Social Worker; Fergus Finlay, Barnardos Children's Charity; Jennifer Gargan, Irish Association of Young People in Care (IAYPC) and Ursula Kilkelly, founder member of the Irish Youth Justice Alliance and Law Lecturer in UCC. The panel discussion will be opened to the audience which will be composed of frontline practitioners, managers, academics and other stakeholders and will be followed by a structured question and answer session. The seminar will be of relevance to anyone with an active interest in or for those working in the child and family sector in Ireland. It will offer a space to reflect on the challenges at a time when the sector faces both criticism and change. The session will be chaired by NUI Galway's Professor of Social Work, Bríd Featherstone. Commenting on the event, Professor Featherstone says: "This is a tumultuous time for child and family services in Ireland. At NUI Galway, we want to contribute to current debates and try and think a little differently about future directions. We are particularly concerned that, in times of financial constraint, we use resources wisely and that they are primarily focused on ensuring that families receive timely and appropriate help from skilled and well supported practitioners". -Ends-

Monday, 20 September 2010

The ninth annual NUI Galway Volunteering Fair will take place on Wednesday, 29 September, in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn from 1-5pm. With over 2,000 students, staff and members of the general public expected to attend, the Fair will be officially opened Galway City Mayor Michael Crowe. Over 70 charities and community organisations will showcase the wide range of volunteering opportunities. The Fair is part of a week-long celebration of volunteering at NUI Galway, the culmination of which will coincide with the National Day of Volunteering on Friday, 1 October. Lorraine Tansey is the Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway: "Students are actively seeking volunteering prospects with homework clubs in local schools, fundraising for national charities, befriending people with a disability, or volunteering abroad. Students benefit enormously from getting involved and gain valuable experience, while bringing energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn". Exhibitors at the Volunteering Fair will include: Big Brother/Big Sister, Foróige, Galway Simon Community, Enable Ireland, Brothers of Charity, COPE Galway and Positive Mental Health. Lorraine Tansey added: "We are delighted to not only welcome community organisations to highlight their work and opportunities for volunteers but also to welcome members of the public onto campus". Through NUI Galway's volunteer programme, ALIVE, students can access an online database of volunteering opportunities. The programme also includes a series of workshops to help students make the most of their volunteering experience. At the end of the academic year students can apply for an ALIVE Certificate which is awarded by NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, at a special ceremony in recognition of their commitment to volunteering. To book a stand or for further information, please contact the ALIVE office on 091 493823 or email alive@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 17 September 2010

NUI Galway student Melanie Hennessy, from Cloughleigh, Co. Clare, has been selected by the Junior Chamber International as one of their 2010 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World. JCI honours 10 outstanding people under the age of 40 each year and Melanie will receive her award in the category of Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership. Melanie, a 21 year-old medical student, has helped set up a school in Nepal. She also 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. She also set up another charity TEAM Nepal, which she runs with a friend. Melanie returned to Nepal earlier this year with a group of 17 volunteers where they created Walking Hospitals, where volunteers walk with the local doctors to different villages to help those in need. After her initial nomination by NUI Galway earlier this year, Melanie was named as one of Ireland's Outstanding Young People of the Year, before being selected as a 2010 JCI Outstanding Young Person of the World. Speaking about Melanie's achievement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "Through her activities as a dedicated humanitarian and an advocate for the welfare and protection of orphans in Nepal, Melanie has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to volunteering activities. As a medical student at NUI Galway, her studies and her voluntary work show a real concern with improving human suffering. Volunteerism and service learning are hallmarks of a NUI Galway education. NUI Galway is the first Irish university to introduce Service Learning to its curriculum. Students such as Melanie, from all disciplines, avail of opportunities to volunteer, and in many cases gain credit for their civic engagement activities. Melanie, in her fundraising work and in her efforts to improve the medical and social conditions of children in Nepal, has shown a commendable energy and talent for social action and I would like to congratulate her on this tremendous achievement". Melanie and the nine other awardees will be recognised at the 2010 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons ceremony at the JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan this November. -

Friday, 17 September 2010

Researchers at NUI Galway have published an article examining the importance of culture and the arts to Galway City's economic and social development ahead of today's (Friday, 17 September, 2010) national day of action on the importance of the Arts to Ireland's economic recovery. The publication entitled - Culture and creativity: A case study from the West of Ireland was published this week in the international journal Cities. In the article, researchers Dr Patrick Collins of NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change and Dr Frances Fahy of the School of Geography review cultural policy in Ireland and focus on the production of culture and gauge its assimilation into the economic life of Galway City by looking at various facets of the city's economic structure. The issues highlighted by the researchers are exceptionally relevant in light of today's national day of action organised by the 'National Campaign for the Arts', an organisation made up of individuals and groups working in the Arts in Ireland. The day of action aims to highlight the fundamental importance of the Arts to Ireland's economic recovery. The authors argue that Galway provides interesting insights for policy and practice as well as cultural and creative activity arising out of place specific circumstances. The research explores the changing role of culture and draws attention to the tensions surrounding the perceptions of ownership of culture and questions to what impact this will have regarding the city's sustainability into the future. Dr Collins commented on the importance of the Arts for the city of Galway saying: "Aspects of culture and the arts have filtered down to form many economic, urban and social facets we recognise in Galway today. The positive spillovers in terms of quality of life, place competitiveness and urban morphology are seen as crucial to prospective investors and visitors to the city". -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

NUI Galway is offering open nights at the Imbusch Observatory in Dangan, on 13 and 27 October, 10 and 24 November and 8 December at 7pm. An informative hour-long lecture will be followed by a hands-on viewing of the sky by night, weather permitting. The Imbusch Astronomical Observatory was opened in 2004 and is used by students studying Physics and Astronomy at NUI Galway. The observatory is equipped with a modern computer controlled 16" telescope and camera, and a radio telescope with a hydrogen line spectrometer, which is able to map out and measure the velocity of the sun and the Milky Way. There is also a 10" portable telescope - computer controlled – for visual observations of planets, star clusters, nebulae and other bright objects. Admission is limited to two per person and is strictly by ticket only, on a first come first served basis. All bookings are by email and those interested should send requests to tara.shanahan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Religion of Journalism: Our God is Reality – What's There? The MA in Journalism Programme at NUI Galway has announced that international television journalist, Dave Marash will give the first lecture as part of the 2010/11 Guest Speaker Programme. The title of the lecture is "The Religion of Journalism: Our God is Reality – What's There?" and will take place on Tuesday, 21 September at 12 pm in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building. The event is free and open to the public. Dave Marash is expected to draw on his wealth of experience as an American television journalist to discuss the nature and best practices of journalism and the role the industry plays in a democratic society as well as a range of other topics. Bernadette O'Sullivan, Director of the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, says: "The Guest Speaker programme is an integral part of the MA course content. It gives students the opportunity to engage with, and exchange ideas with working journalists and editors. To kick start with someone of Dave Marash's calibre and range of experience, at a time when so many media changes and challenges are evolving in front of our eyes, is exciting, not just for the journalism students at NUI Galway but also for those interested in media, politics and critical thinking". For over sixteen years, Dave worked at ABC News on Nightline, a highly-influential nightly current affairs programme. In his time there, he covered major stories that took him to such places as the Former Yugoslavia, Sudan, Honduras and Northern Ireland. Before Nightline, he spent more than a decade in local news and sports, and worked at ABC's 20/20 and CBS Radio. The broadcaster won an Overseas Press Club Award for his 1972 radio reports on the Munich Olympic Games terrorist attack, and also received an Emmy Award for his Nightline coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and for his coverage of the explosion of TWA Flight 800. Dave Marash attracted considerable attention when he joined Al Jazeera English (AJE) to become the network's Washington DC anchor. This was a significant move for such a high profile journalist. Al Jazeera English is a 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, headquartered in the Middle East, that reports from the region and the developing world back to the Western World, and from the southern to the northern hemisphere. Due to various perceptions of the channel's output, AJE has no major cable or satellite distribution deal in the United States but it is available on the Web. The event is sponsored by the NUI Galway campus company www.socialmedia.net, a web-based publisher, focusing on developments in technology, innovation, and social media. Its mission is to cover the next phase of the Web, making it accessible to both technical and non-technical readers alike by providing, a positive view of technological developments in the online world, a place where interested parties can contribute to articles, and a place to find some useful and emerging ideas in the area of the Web. -Ends-

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

For the third consecutive year, NUI Galway has increased its position in the QS World University Rankings. Rising 11 places to 232nd in this year's ranking, NUI Galway is one of only two Irish universities to move up the league table. Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said of the achievement: "This is excellent news for NUI Galway and a fitting acknowledgement of the exceptional developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years. Although all ranking systems have their limitations in that they seek to measure performance across a narrow range of criteria, the QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world, and it is great to see NUI Galway making its mark on that ranking. This increase to 232nd in the world, is the third consecutive jump for NUI Galway, and represents an increase of an incredible 252 places in the last three years. This result confirms NUI Galway's position as one of Ireland's leading universities, and a growing force in research on the international stage". President Browne added: "It is clear that Irish universities are competing in a global market now. In spite of the economic difficulties the country faces, we need to continue to invest in teaching and research if we are to continue to attract the best staff and students and to maintain and enhance Ireland's position within higher education globally". NUI Galway also remains in the top 300 ranking of universities for Arts and Humanities (274) for the second year in a row, in the QS World University Rankings' discipline categories. The QS World University Rankings have been running since 2004 and are amongst the highest profile global evaluations of comparative university quality. The World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world's leading universities. The calculations leading to the QS World University Rankings are based on data gathered in the following categories: Academic Peer Review, Employer Review, International Faculty Ratio, International Student Ratio, Student Faculty Ratio, and Citations per Faculty (citation data supplied by Scopus). -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey T.D. launched the second phase of a national syllabus for Irish at third level at an event in Dublin on Monday, 6 September. The project is directed by An Mheitheal um Theagasc na Gaeilge ar an Tríú Leibhéal, a support group established in 2008 and comprising representatives of Irish Departments in two universities and other third level institutions on both sides of the border. The work is co-funded by Foras na Gaeilge and the participating colleges. With the support of Foras na Gaeilge, a Project Manager was re-employed to design a syllabus and teaching and learning materials for students of Irish in the second year of the BA or B Ed programmes. A first year syllabus and accompanying teaching and learning materials were published in September 2009, also with the support of Foras na Gaeilge. Professor Máirín Nic Eoin of the Department of Irish, St. Patrick's College and Dr John Walsh of the Department of Irish, NUI Galway, are Joint Directors of the project. Professor Nic Eoin said: "I am extremely proud that we now have a syllabus and teaching materials available for both first and second years. The Project Manager, Ailín Ní Chonchúir, has worked very hard to develop attractive multi-media resources. We are looking forward very much to moving on to the final phase of the project, the development of a third year syllabus, once we have secured appropriate funding". According to Dr Walsh of NUI Galway: "Our group, An Mheitheal um Theagasc na Gaeilge ar an Tríú Leibhéal, are pioneers in the teaching of Irish. Everything we have done has been based on the European Framework of Reference for Language Learning and is in tune with the latest best practice regarding the teaching and learning of languages. We believe that this work is very important particularly in the context of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language which is to be published soon. The syllabus and teaching and learning materials are published electronically, and are available on the Project website www.teagascnagaeilge.ie, which is administered by Dr Caoimhín Ó Dónaill of the University of Ulster. The launch took place in St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, in Dublin, where the Project Manager is based. -Ends-

Monday, 6 September 2010

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway have once again joined forces with PC manufacturers Lenovo and Compupac to present engineering and informatics students the opportunity to purchase a high performance laptop at a 40% discounted price. This is the second year in a row the University has provided this scheme, the only university in Ireland and the UK to have established such an initiative. The initiative was introduced to ensure that all students within the engineering and informatics disciplines have access to a quality laptop with the capability of meeting the demands and challenges of a student on campus, as well as having the performance specifications required to run advanced applications. The College of Engineering and Informatics, in conjunction with Lenovo and Compupac, have identified a specific high performance laptop which is specially built to last the four-year duration of the degree programmes. Each laptop is preloaded with software tailored for engineering and informatics which is essential for the students. The University has also negotiated a credit agreement with the local Bank of Ireland branch which will allow students the option of paying for the laptop over three years. When students purchase the Lenovo ThinkPad T410 Notebook they will have access to an introductory workshop, on-campus support services, next working-day consulting facilities, a four-year warranty and four-year accidental damage insurance. Students will also have access to the 85 wireless hotspots across the NUI Galway campus. A new addition to this year's scheme is the inclusion of 3G, making mobile computing a reality, allowing the student to work anywhere anytime. Speaking about the initiative, Aodh Dalton, Chief Technical Officer, Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, said: "The College of Engineering and Informatics is delighted with the high-performance Laptop Programme as it gives our students a distinct advantage with their studies. This initiative also ensures that the students have and familiarise themselves with the tools used in the industry". For more information on the Laptop Programme visit http://nuiglaptops4students.compupacit.ie/ or contact Aodh Dalton at aodh.dalton@nuigalway.ie or 091 495288. -Ends-

Monday, 6 September 2010

Five NUI Galway graduates have volunteered to travel to the village of Suji in Tanzania to teach at a secondary school this October. The volunteers have been co-ordinated by Maureen Mescall from the College of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and in association with the charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. The volunteers will spend a year in the school in Suji, which currently has only two teachers for the 450 pupils. The NUI Galway volunteers are Jim Lovett from Newcastle, Galway, who is currently studying for a PhD in Mathematics and is also a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Arts and Literature graduate; Higher Diploma in Business Studies graduates Áine Standún from Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo; Belinda Crossan from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Aisling Mitchell from Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim; and Bachelor of Commerce graduate Aaron Cunningham from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Speaking about the NUI Galway volunteers, Maureen Mescall said: "The students in Suji are very lucky to be gaining the services of these very fine graduates of NUI Galway and I know from experience that they will be welcomed and cared for by the people of Suji". Tanzanian Village Renewal is a registered charity and was set up by Maureen and her husband Michael. The Mescalls first travelled to Tanzania in 1999 on holiday where they met Dr Margaret Hogan, a Clinical Psychologist working at the National Hospital Muhimbili in Dar es Salaam. Impressed by the work carried out by Dr Hogan and her team, Maureen returned to Dar es Salaam to volunteer over the summer months. While volunteering the Mescalls were asked if they could help to carry out small projects and with this in mind, set up the registered charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. In March 2008 the couple led a team of electrician and plumbers to carry out work in the village of Vikrouti in Tanzania, where they wired houses, schools, outhouses and repaired broken wells. The work of the volunteers resulted in the locals having lights in their homes, toilet and shower facilities, access to television and radio, as well as being able to grow their own vegetables. Tanzanian Village Renewal is once again getting ready to lead a team of builders and carpenters to build an extension to the school in Suji. If you would like to volunteer, or to offer your support, contact Maureen at 087 7981788. -Ends-

Monday, 6 September 2010

Former EU Commissioner Pádraig Flynn will deliver a lecture entitled 'EU Policy Entrepreneurship – How EU disability policy was made and the lessons for the Lifecourse' at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 22 September. The event will take place at 6pm in Room MY129, Áras Moyola, and is part of a series of public lectures being organised by the new Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway. The former Commissioner will discuss the formation of EU disability law and policy in the mid-1990s which took place when he was Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs in Brussels. He will be joined by Terry Stewart, a former Director in the European Commission and responsible for disability policy development. Former Commissioner Flynn will also be joined on the panel by Dr Arthur O'Reilly, former Chief Executive of the National Rehabilitation Board and the National Disability Authority, who played a leading role in disability policy development at both Irish and European levels at the relevant time. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: "This is an exciting event for NUI Galway. The mid-1990s was a turning point for European disability policy. The history should not be lost – in part because it tells how things can still be achieved even in bad times". Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, and current Chair of the Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway, commented: "It is important for people to understand how advances for one group can have policy and tactical lessons for other groups including the elderly, families and children. I would urge those interested in the future of European elderly policy and family policy to attend as well as those interested in disability". This event will be an opportunity to reflect on the role Ireland played in advancing disability policy at EU level and discuss how future policy-development, both in Ireland and in Europe can continue to advance the rights of people with disabilities. The Lifecourse Institute brings together the research and educational programmes of three Centres at NUI Galway involved with public policy aspects of the human lifecourse, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Child and Family Research Centre. The lecture is open to all memebers of the public. For further details please contact Dr Eilionóir Flynn in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at eilionoir.flynn@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 6 September 2010

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the 2010/2011 'Arts in Action' Programme, which invites students to engage with the creative arts during their studies. Aimed at students across the campus, 'Arts in Action' offers access to a variety of international-standard arts events throughout the academic year. New additions and highlights this year include an exhibition from the Architectural Association of Ireland, an NUI Galway/Telegael digital media exhibition and a contemporary opera from the Italian ensemble Gatto Marte. Following from the success of last year's programme, the 2010/2011 programme will see the return of the popular 'Arts in Action' Traditional Arts concert in both semesters, with Frankie Gavin featuring this October and Máirtín O'Connor with Contempo in March of 2011. NUI Galway's continuing commitment to the arts, its contribution to the many current initiatives on and off campus, is founded in the strong belief that the relationship between academic studies and the arts is significant. Engagement with the Arts shapes future lives, develops highly qualified graduates, active citizens and leaders in many fields of endeavour. Mary McPartlan, Director of the Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, explains: "Arts in Action is an original and unique programme which has now become part of the University's academic schedule. Its core commitment is to make creative arts of international standards of excellence available through embedding the arts into the academic life of the student". Several new modules associated with this year's programme include Medicine and the Arts, (Clinical Sciences) Exploring the Arts, (Discipline of English) The Art of Good Communication, (J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics), Access to the Arts, (ACCESS programme) and volunteers on the ALIVE programme. The Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: "The exploration of the creative arts has been aligned historically with the academic study of literature and the humanities. The new developments at NUI Galway extend well beyond the confines of these traditional affiliations, embracing the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Medicine and the Arts is the University's first foray into the field of music therapy while Business and the Arts explores the connections between the creative and commercial sectors, which will be vital to the success of the smart economy". Further information can be viewed at http://www.nuigalway.ie/arts/artsinaction.html or join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Arts.in.Action.NUI.Galway. -Ends-

Friday, 3 September 2010

A researcher at NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) has won the first prize at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mashup Challenge, which seeks technologies that combine existing web resources into a new and useful service. Dr Alexandre Passant, Postdoctoral Researcher and unit leader at DERI, developed and built an innovative web-based music recommendation system* called dbrec. The core new feature of dbrec is its capability to explain recommendations to its users, in that with a simple click of a mouse a user can understand why particular information is related to others in the search, for example, two artists may be linked by the fact that they are in the same music genre or perhaps that they both play guitar and are on the same recording label. dbrec relies on DBpedia, a structure version of Wikipedia, to compute the recommendations and makes them available using Web standards so that new applications can be built on top of it. The linkages between search items are made possible by using Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies, two major trends regarding the evolution of the Web, that are actively researched in DERI within various national and international projects as well as standardisation activities. The Semantic Web is largely concerned with improving connections in the World Wide Web to make more sense of the data that is published online. Award winner Dr Alexandre Passant explains: "dbrec shows the new and exciting possibilities offered by Semantic Web and Linked Data in terms of open recommendations systems and explanatory user-interfaces. It also demonstrates the value of Linked Data to build mash-up applications and how to make use of structured information using Web standards". The AI mashup prize was awarded at the closing ceremony of the Extended Semantic Web Conference 2010 by Elsevier, a leading publisher in science and health information, following a demonstration during a public session at the conference, and this first prize is the result of the votes from the attendees. DERI's impact on Semantic Web and Linked Data was demonstrated further at the conference when Dr Passant picked up a second award in the Semantic Web Scripting Challenge for sparqlPuSH, awarded by Talis, which was collaborative work between Dr Passant and members of the Kno.e.sis Center at Wright State University, Ohio. sparqlPuSH provides an infrastructure for real-time information monitoring on the Semantic Web, and can consequently be used in scenarios such as emergency management. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, said: "These recent prizes provide further confirmation of the high quality of research at this University and in Ireland, leading to innovative products and services". -Ends-