Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Irish Centre for Human Rights and the NUI Galway Muslim Youth Society are jointly hosting a public lecture by Moazzam Begg. Entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar, the lecture will take place at 6pm on Monday, 8 November, in the Martin Ryan Annex in NUI Galway. Moazzam Begg was seized in January 2002 by Pakistani police and CIA officers, held at Bagram airbase for nearly a year and then transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was one of nine British citizens held at Camp X-Ray. In all, he spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, and was subjected to over three hundred interrogations, as well as death threats and torture, witnessing the killings of two detainees. Begg was labelled an 'enemy combatant' by the US government. He was released on 25 January, 2005 along with Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. President Bush released Moazzam Begg over the objections of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI, who warned that Mr. Begg could still be a dangerous terrorist. At the lecture Begg, who is the co-author of a book about his Guantánamo experiences also entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, will speak about his experiences in custody and detention under the US authorities. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Lecturer with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and Chair of the lecture, said: "In the aftermath of September 11, a 'war on terror' was declared by the US and other allies. A language was developed to explain the extraordinary measures which were meant to address the emergency, including the need for 'rights free zones', such as Guantanamo Bay. Whilst the Obama administration has promised to close Guantanamo; this has yet to be realised. What has also been insufficiently addressed is the impact of detention for prolongued periods without trail. Moazzam Begg gives a face and a story to those who were (and continue to be) detained and beyond the reach and protection of law." Admission is free and open to the public. For further information please contact ireland.communications@fosis.org.uk. -Ends-

Monday, 1 November 2010

NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies will host a public lecture to be delivered by Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh entitled: 'Making Peace in Secret: Evidence from the Brendan Duddy Papers at NUI Galway', which focuses on the role Brendan Duddy played as a secret key intermediary between the British Government and the IRA during the height of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, 10 November, at 8 pm in the Charles McMunn Lecture Theatre at the University and is free of charge. This public lecture draws on the personal papers of Brendan Duddy, which were deposited at NUI Galway in 2009 as a result of a relationship between Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, and Brendan Duddy himself. They include notes, documents and previously unseen diaries of negotiation. The papers are a large personal archive of great historical significance to all on the island of Ireland and beyond. For twenty years a secret channel of communication linked the British Government to the Army Council of the IRA. It was through this channel that both parties held intensive peace talks in the mid 1970s and attempted to reach a negotiated settlement of the hunger strike of 1981. It was through the same channel that they returned to dialogue again in the early 1990s in the approach to the IRA ceasefire of 1994 and the Good Friday Agreement. At the heart of this dialogue and negotiation was Brendan Duddy. Codenamed Contact , his identity was a closely guarded secret for three decades. This channel provided a direct link between the Army Council of the Provisional IRA and successive British Prime Ministers from Harold Wilson through Margaret Thatcher to John Major and was so closely guarded that it was kept secret from other members of the British cabinet. Dr Ó Dochartaigh stresses the importance of the Duddy Papers in this period as "the negotiating relationship and the struggles for advantage and information that took place at this intersection are vital to understanding the process by which peace was finally made in Ireland". The Brendan Duddy Papers therefore provide the perspective of the individual who operated secretly at that intersection during some of the most crucial stages of the conflict in Northern Ireland. -Ends-

Monday, 1 November 2010

Directions at your fingertips and genetic algorithms-generated Sudoku puzzles are just some of the exciting new technologies that graduates of the Information Technology discipline at NUI Galway have won awards for recently. Prizes were awarded to students who excelled in their projects, which span a wide range of fascinating topics, reflecting the diversity of research and career opportunities for graduates of Information Technology. Stephen Lenihan from Cong, Co Mayo, a graduate of the B.Sc. in Information Technology developed a software system that uses genetic algorithms to generate Sudoku puzzles. The algorithms were used both to generate the puzzles and to create varying difficulties by reducing the number of initial numbers given. Stephen was awarded the Best Project in the B.Sc. in Information Technology, sponsored by Cisco System. On a more practical application, Steven Connolly from Achill, Co Mayo, Thomas Mitchell and Andrew Sweeney both from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, all students in the M.Sc. in Software Design and Development, used web and smart phone technologies to develop an innovative mobile application that allows users to get map based directions for specific locations on campus, find friends and timetabled events, and receive point of interest alerts as they walk around the campus. All three were awarded the Best Project in the H.Dip / M.Sc. in Software Design & Development, sponsored by Cisco Systems. For those with an interest in creating music, James Tomkins from Galway City and Jonathan Lynch from Tullamore, Co Offaly, both graduates of the B.A. in Information Technology created a MIDI based music tutor. This novel software application generates sheet music, which is played by the user using a MIDI instrument and the programme then provides feedback on the user's performance. Information Technology is central to the development of the Smart Economy in Ireland. It is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and attracts the kind of creative people who want to invent and promote technology based products and services. At NUI Galway, students of the B.Sc. in Information Technology study Professional Skills and Business Planning as part of their core academic work. Each year a special Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded for the students who produce the best business plan. These plans are evaluated by external business experts from WestBIC. This year the prize was awarded to Sean Herald from Belfast, for his "Heat Tech" idea – a Carbon Monoxide monitoring device with Bluetooth/SMS interface to alert a home user if their central heating boiler is operating inefficiently or dangerously. Professor Gerry Lyons, Professor of Information Technology and Dean of the College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway also welcomed Cisco Systems as the new corporate sponsor for Best Projects in the Information Technology degree programmes. "We believe this is a strong endorsement of the commercial relevance of our degree programmes, and underlines our commitment to innovation, professionalism and research at NUI Galway. We place a huge emphasis on Final Year Project work," he said. He added: "These projects are a proving-ground for research and commercial business opportunities. Partnering with a blue-chip global company like Cisco gives students the added motivation and ambition to deliver excellent work." For further information, please contact: Dr Des Chambers, B.Sc. (Computer Science & IT) Programme Director, des.chambers@nuigalway.ie, 091 493311; or Ms Tina Earls, Executive Assistant in Information Technology, tina.earls@nuigalway.ie, 091 493143. -Ends-

Monday, 1 November 2010

World-renowned human rights experts will feature as guest speakers at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway from 19 to 20 November. Speakers at the two-day event will include Andrew Clapham, Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; David Scheffer, American lawyer and diplomat who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Leila Nadya Sadat, Professor at Washington University School of Law. A special Gala Banquet will take place on Friday, 19 November hosted by Senator David Norris. Guests on the night will include Michael D. Higgins TD, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs; Don Ferencz, son of Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz, and Professor Doug Cassel, Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School. A special video message by former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will also be relayed on the night. Events to mark the tenth anniversary include a photography exhibition entitled 'Human Rights through the Lens', a discussion about the 'Right to Peace' chaired by International Criminal Court Judge Daniel Nsereko, plus many more which will ignite debates surrounding global human rights issues from an innovative standpoint of new and forgotten rights. These events are designed to celebrate the Irish Centre for Human Rights' ten years of contribution to human rights around the world. The Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights since opening its doors in 2000. A book launch on Saturday, 20 November by Dr Edel Hughes entitled 'Turkey's Accession to the EU: The Politics of Exclusion' will take place in the lobby of the IT Building at 6pm. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William A. Schabas says, "The tenth anniversary weekend offers an opportunity to celebrate a decade of distinction. The Irish Centre for Human Rights now offers academic qualifications at Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level. Our research and advocacy activities have traversed issues as diverse as the death penalty, the right to food, and environmental law, and spanned most regions of the world." NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said, "Over the past ten years, NUI Galway has become a global leader in human rights education through the work of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Since September 2000, when the Centre welcomed its first LLM students, our academic programmes have produced many of the world's leading human rights researchers, advocates and policymakers. I pay tribute to my colleagues in the Centre, led by Professor Schabas, for their commitment to the highest quality teaching, research and outreach in global human rights." For more information please contact: Yvonne McDermott at y.mcdermott2@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

1916 and After is the title of three events which will explore the cultures, histories and consequences of the year 1916 in global context of the First World War, the Easter Rising, and after. The first of these events will commence on Saturday, 6 November, in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, followed by a reading of a new play in development by the Druid Theatre Company, Lizzie Nunnery's To Have to Shoot Irishmen, which is based on the murder of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. On Saturday, 13 November, Trinity College Dublin will host the second event on Imperial Cultures in the Long Room Hub on their campus. A guided historical walking tour of sites related to the Easter Rising will complement the lectures and discussions. The Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast will hold the final event of the series on Saturday, 20 November, entitled Radicalism and Sovereignty, and will include a guided tour of exhibits in the Ulster Museum. National and International speakers will give lectures and contribute to discussions at each of the three events. Professor Mary Daly, from University College Dublin, Professor Michael Winter, Princeton University and Professor Jay Wood, Yale University are among the many leading critics and historians who will contribute to three days of debate on subjects that include the context and legacy of republicanism; the memory of imperial service during the great war; human rights; the failure of the home rule movement; the role of labour in Irish society; the Irish language; Ireland's experience in comparison to Poland, colonial East Africa and India. 1916 and After is led by Professor Nicholas Allen, Moore Institute Professor, NUI Galway. In describing the events Professor Allen said: "The coming years from now begin a centenary cycle of events from the promise of Home Rule to Independence, Partition and the Civil War that shaped twentieth century Ireland's social, political and cultural history. Looking at these centenaries from our contemporary moment prompts reflection on the ways in which events like the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme might be compared to events then happening in Europe and globally. Taking a broad perspective, we hope to place the familiar beside the newly found, bringing the best in current research into contact with the people who make Ireland what it is now, our citizens. As the anniversary of 1916 approaches, we want to ask questions of the past that speak to the turbulent present. If we live in a failing state, like previous generations we might find the imagination and application to think of our potential again." Participation in the three events is free. Registration and information for each day is available by emailing mooreinstitute@nuigalway.ie or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/mooreinstitute/. These events were made possible by the Research Support Fund at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

General Manager of the Sports Centre at NUI Galway's Barry Phelan has scooped the title of 'Irish Leisure Manager of the Year' at this year's Institute of Leisure & Amenity Management (ILAM) Awards. The club also won the prestigious ILAM White Flag Award for a second year in a row. The €22 million Sports Centre at NUI Galway is operated by Kingfisher Group and the state-of-the-art facility is available to students, staff and the general public. The 6,500 sq.m. sports and leisure complex includes a 25 metre 6-lane swimming pool with moveable floor, squash and racquetball courts, a three-court basketball hall, multipurpose studios, a substantial gym and a high-tech climbing wall. At the recent ceremony the club was also awarded the ILAM White Flag Award, which is a quality mark designed to provide a quality standard for swimming pools, sports halls, fitness studios, health suites, spas and gyms in the absence of government legislation. Manager of the Sports Centre at NUI Galway, Barry Phelan says he is delighted with the award. "I am delighted to receive the award of 'Irish Leisure Manager of the Year'. It was certainly an unexpected accolade and the fact that I received it is due in no small part to the first class facility I was given to operate, the Kingfisher Group and the hard-working team I have around me. It is fantastic to have such a fine place to work in." Mr Phelan added, "NUI Galway in partnership with the Kingfisher Club provide staff, students and members of the public with excellent facilities in which to pursue physical fitness and wellbeing. The White Flag Award for the second year in a row is the standard we want to achieve and maintain in regard to staff training, health and safety and the provision of facilities. This is something we can continue to build on into the future." -Ends-

Friday, 22 October 2010

From the summer of 2009 to the summer of 2010, Ireland experienced a remarkable and unexpected sequence of weather disasters not seen for a generation or more. This sequence of events is the subject of a new book Deluge Ireland's weather disasters, 2009-2010 by NUI Galway Lecturer, Dr Kieran Hickey, which was launched yesterday (Thursday, 21 October). A record-breaking wet summer in 2009 was swiftly followed by a November which was the wettest month in over 200 years in many parts of the country. This accompanied by torrential rain led to severe flooding, especially in the West. Vast tracts of countryside and numerous villages and towns were flooded, including many new housing estates. In some places, the floods lasted until February 2010, coinciding with one of the most severe and persistent cold spells ever recorded in Ireland. When the snow and ice finally melted, it re-flooded areas that had only recently dried out from the previous deluges, causing tens of millions of euro worth of damage. Deluge: Ireland's weather disasters, 2009-2010 also looks at the planning process, the management of waterways, the role of local authorities and the response of central government, voluntary agencies and ordinary people. The book also covers the possible meteorite fall of early February 2010, the Co. Clare earthquake of 6 May 2010, and the Icelandic volcano eruption that caused such extensive travel chaos across much of Europe at times throughout Spring 2010. Speaking at the launch, Dr Hickey, said: "This book is a reminder that Ireland is not immune from natural disasters particularly of the weather variety but even volcanoes and earthquakes can affect us as well." Deluge Ireland's weather disasters, 2009-2010 is available in most book shops and is published by Four Courts Press. For further information, visit www.fourcourtspress.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, a native of the Aran Islands, as Sean-nós Singer in Residence for 2011. Treasa Ní Mhiolláin has an international reputation as a sean-nós singer, and in 1996 won the prestigious Sean-nós Cois Life award for her efforts in promoting and encouraging the sean-nós song tradition. Treasa is a renowned exponent of the great love songs of Connacht, but also possesses a store of locally composed songs and some English ballads. Popular songs include 'Sagart na Cúile Báine,' 'Dónall Óg' and Treasa's famous and unique version of 'Cúirt Bhaile Nua.' She is also a noted performer of the light-hearted songs with quicker tempo such as 'An Spailpín Fánach' and 'Bríd Thomáis Mhurcha.' Treasa has twice won the coveted 'Corn Uí Riada' award, the top prize for sean-nós singing at Oireachtas na Gaeilge (1972, 1979), and her distinctive singing was featured in Bob Quinn's television series Atlantean. Since returning to Aran permanently, Treasa has taught many younger singers the art of traditional Gaelic song, including Macdara Ó Conaola and the Mulkerrins brothers. She has also continued to tour and perform internationally over the years, having given concerts and taught in Germany, Switzerland and Sardinia among other countries. During the period of her residency, Treasa will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues throughout Connemara and the Aran Islands. She will also record her own work and that of other singers. The workshops, which are free and open to the public, will commence in February 2011 at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

NUI Galway invites graduates from the classes of 1985 and 1990 to attend their reunion celebrations on Saturday, 6 November. 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's Connemara Suite with a reunion dinner. An 80s and 90s 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 1985 and 1990 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 80,000 alumni worldwide with an extensive range of programmes administered by the Alumni Association. 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 please contact Thelma de Paor or JB Terrins in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A new website which affords staff and students of NUI Galway the opportunity to arrange car sharing, was recently launched by the University. The website, www.carsharing.ie/nuigalway lets staff and students arrange car sharing on an informal basis with colleagues who have similar commutes by registering their details online. The scheme will contribute to the effective mobility management of staff and students at NUI Galway. An NUI Galway travel survey showed that of those questioned, 38 per cent of staff driving alone said that they would be willing to car share while 56 per cent of students driving alone were interested in participating in such a scheme. The scheme has the added incentive that where an unforeseen emergency arises with the driver involved in car-sharing, the remaining passengers are ensured of a way home under the 'Guaranteed Lift Home Scheme'. According to Mr. Keith Warnock, NUI Galway Vice-President for Capital Projects and member of the Mobility Management Group, "Car-sharing is a scheme that has the potential to work very well for both staff and students of the University. It will be an on-going project which we hope will be expanded to a more formal car-pooling scheme in the future. It is one of a number of measures that have been introduced by the University which should reduce traffic problems for the city." Mr. Warnock added that the Park-and-Ride facility located at Dangan in Galway is proving to be very popular this year. "We are delighted with the interest so far in this initiative. The feedback from staff and students is that they are very interested in protecting the environment and in reducing travel costs", says NUI Galway's Environmental Manager, Dr Aoife Collins. Dr Collins added that an additional beneficial outcome of the scheme is that roads could potentially become safer for pedestrians and cyclists due to a reduction in motorised traffic. -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway will host a one-day conference on the Medical Technology Clusters in Ireland and Massachusetts on Thursday, 28 October in the Bailey Allen Hall at the University. The purpose of the conference is to learn about the cluster of medical technology companies in Massachusetts and in particular the industry-specific organisations that drive the cluster's development. Within this context the conference will discuss the future path of Ireland's medical technology sector. The event is aimed at practitioners from industry and public policy agencies, as well as academics and will provide a unique opportunity to forge links between medical technology organisations in the two regions. Professor Philip Cooke, Director at the Centre for Advanced Studies, Cardiff University, will give the keynote address. A panel discussion entitled 'From Intent to Reality: Making an Internationally Competitive Cluster Happen' will also take place. The Irish Medical Technology Cluster is currently comprised of approximately 120 companies creating over 24,000 jobs. The cluster is driven by the significant presence of large foreign-owned subsidiaries operating in Ireland whose capabilities lie in manufacturing as well as product and process development activities. Dr Majella Giblin, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change was awarded a Royal Irish Academy grant to visit Massachusetts and conduct research on the medical technology cluster there. Whilst in Boston, Dr Giblin conducted interviews with representatives from various med tech organisations including start-up companies, industry associations, mentoring organisations as well as the headquarters of multi-nationals based in Ireland. The conference is one of the outcomes from this research and in explaining her motivation for organising the event Dr Giblin states: "Given that the medical technology cluster in Ireland is identified by the Government as one of the potential sectors driving future industrial growth in the economy, nurturing its development from a manufacturing hub to an internationally competitive cluster that encompasses a strong research as well as manufacturing base should be paramount among policymakers and industry representatives. In this regard, there is a lot we can learn from the industrial ecosystem of Massachusetts and the conference provides a unique opportunity to do this." The conference is supported by the Irish Social Sciences Platform, which is funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (administered by the HEA and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund). ENDS

Monday, 18 October 2010

NUI Galway's Web site, www.nuigalway.ie has been named 'Best Education and Third Level Website' at the 2010 Irish Web Awards. NUI Galway was triumphant over four other finalists for the 'Best Education and Third Level Website' at the ceremony held over the weekend in Dublin's Mansion House. There were over 1000 initial nominations for all the awards in the competition in 27 different categories. The Irish Web Awards are held annually to recognise people who do great things on the Web and are open to anyone in Ireland. NUI Galway's website underwent a complete overhaul over the last number of years, resulting in the creation of a new public website which was launched in November 2009. The aim of the new Web site is to make relevant information about NUI Galway readily accessible to the key target audience of the University. Commenting on the Award, Head of Information Solutions and Services (ISS) at NUI Galway Sean O' Farrell says: "I am delighted with the University's success in winning the 'Best Education and Third Level Website' at the Irish Web Awards 2010. This award confirms the innovative and professional approach adopted by the Web site's development team. The Web site provides an engaging and user friendly window to the University at a national and international level." NUI Galway's Director of Marketing and Communications, Caroline Loughnane says: "We are delighted to receive this award for Best Education and Third Level Web site . NUI Galway's Web site underwent a dramatic transformation in the last year and throughout that project we remained 100 per cent focused on the needs of our end users and in making it as easy as possible for them to find the information they wanted. Providing the best Web experience possible for our online audience was our top priority."

Monday, 18 October 2010

Over 4,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies taking place this week. Today (Monday,18 October), NUI Galway will confer two Honorary Masters Degree during the ceremonies on musician Máirtín O'Connor and County Galway Councillor Norman Morgan. Máirtín O'Connor will be honoured for his lifetime contribution to Irish traditional music. Máirtín has had a successful solo career and was a member of many of traditional music s leading groups including, Midnight Well, De Dannan, The Boys of the Lough, and Skylark. He has recorded with many national and international musicians throughout his career and was the first recipient of the Allied Irish Bank Traditional Musician of the Year Award. Councillor Norman Morgan will be recognised as a renowned historian, archivist and book collector, community activist and Loughrea Town Councillor. Councillor Morgan recently donated 13 issues of the Galway Independent from the 1800s to the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and 157 rare editions of the Dublin Evening Mail which dated from 5 February, 1838 to 31 December, 1855 to the Dublin City Library. Speaking ahead of the ceremonies, Dr James J. Browne, NUI Galway President, said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. Today we are proud to honour Máirtín O'Connor and Councillor Norman Morgan for their contributions to music, culture, public service and education. They are particularly worthy individuals and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements." The annual NUI Galway Autumn Conferring Ceremonies began with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies on 15 October, with 990 students completing a range of certificates, diploma and degree courses locally at the University and at many outreach locations across the country. -Ends-

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Western Region NUI Galway/BSTAI/Sunday Business Post Business 2000 Table Quiz took place recently in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway. Twenty three schools, with a total of thirty one teams from all over the West took part with the top three winning teams going forward to represent the West at the National Finals in November. The table quiz, organised by NUI Galway and the BSTAI in conjunction with the Sunday Business Post Business 2000, was held for Junior Certificate students of Business Studies. Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway expressed his delight at the high standard of students competing. "NUI Galway works closely with its regional hinterland and this is nowhere more evident than in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics. A defining part of all our student courses is the engagement with the local community. Working with the BSTAI allows us to engage with second level students and foster their interest in Business Studies. I have no doubt that many of these students attending the event, will be amongst our leaders of the future." Mary O'Sullivan, Honorary President of the BSTAI said, "It is great to see the high level of interest from students and teachers in the region. Events such as these showcase the extra curricular effort that is the hallmark of the teaching profession." The tension rose quickly on the night, as two teams went head-to-head in a tie breaker round for first place. In the end, the winners were St. Raphaels College, Loughrea. Second place went to Gort Community School. Third place went to Seamount College, Kinvara. The top three teams from the regional final will now go on to compete in the National Finals, which will take place in Tipperary Institute in November. For further information please contact: Padraic De Búrca, College of Business Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway. 086 6089511 or padraic.deburca@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Friday, 15 October 2010

A select group of first-year students at NUI Galway recently received a total of €83,300 in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate examination. At a special ceremony on Thursday, 14 October, 49 students were presented with a cheque for €1,700 and a specially designed scroll to mark their achievement. Entrance Scholarships are given annually to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. In Medicine, ten Scholarships were awarded, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). This year Entrance Scholarships were awarded to students from 41 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 16 counties including Antrim, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Mayo, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath. NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: "We are delighted to recognise the academic talent of these 49 outstanding individuals from all over Ireland. The purpose of these awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level." Designed to attract the best students to NUI Galway and reward their academic excellence, the awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's extensive Sports Scholarship Scheme. Ends

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will host the second annual Irish-American Exchange on Human Rights seminar, which will take place from 17 to 18 October. This annual event will bring together faculty and students from two distinguished human rights institutions, the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School and the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway. The seminar will open on Sunday, 17 October, at 11am in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, with introductory comments from Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, and Professor Doug Cassel, Director of The Centre for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law. This seminar is an opportunity for colleagues to present their research, share ideas and engage in discussion. On Monday, 18 October, activities will be held at Kenny's Bookshop in the Liosbaun Industrial Estate, where presentations will combine or relate human rights issues with various literary themes. The seminar will conclude with a reception and the inaugural launch of the Irish Centre for Human Rights photo exhibition entitled 'Human Rights Through the Lens'. Speaking about the upcoming event Professor William Schabas said: "These annual gatherings bring together human rights specialists from the US and Ireland, where we can compare the differences in our perspectives and learn from each other. Our starting point is the same, of course. It is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The two Human Rights Centres, at Notre Dame University and at NUI Galway, play important roles in their own countries. Each has a very international outlook, something that enhances a common vision." The event is free to attend and is open to the public. For further information contact Alexis Bushnell in the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, at 091 49 3798. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Dublin-headquartered market-leader for post-trade automation solutions to the global securities services industry will contribute in excess of €1 million over a five-year period to research at NUI Galway. The contribution by Information Mosaic will be geared towards the management of agile and lean systems development in the Enterprise Agility group at the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway. A primary objective of the Enterprise Agility group is to build and maintain an international network of excellence around the management of agile and lean development, with NUI Galway firmly at the hub of this network. According to Dr Kieran Conboy, Leader of the Enterprise Agility group: "It is significant, close-knit engagement and collaboration with industry partners such as Information Mosaic that can make this goal a reality." The partnership will involve a very close working relationship between Information Mosaic and the Enterprise Agility group, including hosting of researchers, joint delivery of seminars, co-authoring of papers, and placement of NUI Galway students to work with the eight Information Mosaic staff dedicated to the project. Declan Costello, the CTO of Information Mosaic, adds: "To stay competitive and grow our business, our collaboration with NUI Galway will help us better implement agile and lean methods in our own company and provide the opportunity for us to both be thought-leaders in this space." Dr Kieran Conboy also referred to the key role that Dr Meghann Drury has played in creating this collaboration. "Since joining our group in February, Meghann has developed strategic links with a number of companies such as Information Mosaic, and it is great to see that her early research has led to such a large scale industry investment." Meghann is a PRTLI funded postdoctoral researcher, and her work with Dr Conboy, Dr Tom Acton and Professor Willie Golden focuses on decision processes, data presentation methods, and decision quality in agile and lean environments. The Enterprise Agility group includes a team of 20 academic staff in NUI Galway, along with five postdoctoral researchers and 12 existing doctoral students across the School of Business & Economics (Business Information Systems, Accountancy & Finance, Management and Marketing), the School of Law, the School of Psychology, Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS), and Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), and is supported by existing funding of over €4.2 million. Through CISC and building upon NUI Galway and the University of Limerick's (UL) collaborative alliance, the group is becoming a formal member of the Lero Software Engineering Research Centre, a Science Foundation Ireland funded CSET, and will be applying its existing research skills and multidisciplinary knowledge to the software engineering domain. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Galway Science and Technology Festival, now in its thirteenth year, was formally launched today (October 12) at a function at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The launch at the Aula Maxima, was performed by Mr. William A Hawkins, the Chairman and CEO of Medtronic Inc. One of the Festival's proudest boasts is of its ongoing engagement with the community – the grand finale involves 20,000 young people visiting the Festival Exhibition in a day-long event which has become one of the most popular on Galway's annual diary. The Festival – which was founded to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people – runs from November 8 to 21 and will culminate with the Festival Exhibition, which will be held at the new location in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI, Galway on November 21. This year's Exhibition will be formally opened by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. There is a great programme of events this year to choose from including Robert Hill s Cosmic Explorers using the latest 3D stereo technology to explore the possibility of life on other planets. Mr Bug returns with his snakes, cockroaches and Tarantulas while Sue McGrath turns science into magic with her show based around negatively charged particles and magnets with the help of Sponge Bog Square Pants pet Gary . James Soper features with his show Galileo s Greatest Mistake and Galway's very own Mad Scientist Craig Steven's will conjure up foggy ice storms and make giant smoke rings. In the two-week run of the Festival, Galway's two third level colleges, NUI, Galway and GMIT, will open their doors to all the primary and second level students in the City and County. At NUI Galway there are many very interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including the 'True Physics Rocket Workshop' which is very popular for secondary school students. There are Museums to explore including Ireland s only Computer & Communications Museum! showcasing the development of technology and where original computer games like Space Invaders are available. Guided tours of the NUIG Research Institutes, etc and also a series of informal talks Open Your Mind Seminar Series each Wednesday at lunchtime from November 10th. GMIT have various workshops to choose from including Medicines and how they work and Engineering and Energy Technologies . The regional finals of the ISTA PharmaChem Ireland Science Quiz for Leaving Certificate students will take place in GMIT on November 11th. There is also on offer the popular tour of Galway Bay FM and Dr Thompson s Laboratory will be available in the Galway Civic Museum. The Exhibition will also feature many of the shows included in the Programme, there will be up to 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. The 20,000 tickets for the event will be distributed to schools throughout Galway City and County in the weeks prior to November 21. The event would not be possible without an enormous commitment by education, by industry and by our sponsors, Festival Chairman Tom Hyland said today. "On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I am deeply grateful to Mr. William Hawkins, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Medtronic, for giving us his time to launch the Festival today here at NUI, Galway. I want to assure him that his personal interest, and the commitment of Medtronic, are deeply valued by all of us in the Galway Festival," said Mr. Hyland. Minister for Enterprise Trade and Innovation Mr. Batt O'Keeffe TD has praised the Festival as an important awareness-building exercise aimed at encouraging more young people into science, technology, engineering and maths courses. The 2010 Programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the exhibition will open at 11am on Sunday 21st November, 2010. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

An NUI Galway Web researcher has been awarded the 'Best Paper Award' at a Web conference in Italy. Dr Axel Polleres of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, (DERI) at NUI Galway, recently won the award at the Web Rules and Reasoning Conference in Bressanone, Italy. Dr Polleres' work surrounds a standard query language for the Web entitled SPARQL1.1. This language allows users to ask complex multi-faceted questions when searching the Web. The awarded paper "Redundancy Elimination on RDF Graphs in the Presence of Rules, Constraints, and Queries", emerged from a collaboration with an Austrian University, TU Vienna. It is co-authored by Professor Reinhard Pichler, Sebastian Skritek, and Dr Stefan Woltran. The work describes theoretical foundations of compressing structured information on the Web for more efficient processing and exchange. This work aims to provide a basis for optimisations within future Web databases. Dr Axel Polleres, Leader of the Research Unit for Reasoning and Querying and Senior Research Fellow at DERI says, "A goal of my work is to build bridges from theory to practice in the application of Semantic Web technologies which is why I am so delighted that our work is so well-received on both ends of academic research." Dr Polleres' Research Unit previously received another prize on practical applications of Semantic Web technologies in Content Management Systems in last year's International Semantic Web Conference. "My research focuses on both foundations of Web search and real world applications of Semantic Web technologies. Eventually, our goal is to make the Web usable like one huge database, which can answer complex questions, beyond the common keyword search of current Web search engines," Dr Polleres added. Dr Stefan Decker, Director of DERI says, "This prize does not only confirm our academic leadership internationally, but also provides a sound basis for our industrial partners. They know the place to go to find the knowledge they need is Ireland and especially DERI." -Ends-

Monday, 11 October 2010

Covidien, a leading global supplier of healthcare products, today announced that it is investing €900,000 in medical technologies research and development projects with NUI Galway, during the next two years. This is the first phase of a multi-part investment of €1.8 million with Irish academic institutions which Covidien announced in July. Covidien has engaged in discussions with IDA Ireland, Ireland s investment promotion agency, to establish three collaborative programmes to support active technology development projects. Today's announcement details two of the highly innovative projects, in Editor's Notes below, with information about the third project to follow in the coming months. The announcement was made today in Dublin and was attended by the Minister for Health and Children, Ms Mary Harney T.D. Speaking at the announcement, Minister Harney said: "University-based facilities enabled by this collaboration with Covidien will help to ensure that Ireland continues to produce high-quality researchers who can innovate new technologies and design robust scientific research. This ultimately produces the valuable data that furthers patient health and safety." Speaking about Covidien's investment, Scott Flora, President, Surgical Devices, Covidien, said, "The medical devices sector in Ireland has a legacy of innovative products and is of critical importance to the country's economic recovery. We are dedicated to R&D in partnership with IDA Ireland. We believe the medical devices and health sectors will be a thriving part of Ireland's business growth and high-technology job creation in the future." Through these collaborative programs, Covidien hopes to incentivise students to choose science as a career and promote the continued growth and prosperity of the medical devices sector in Ireland. Barry O'Leary, CEO, IDA Ireland, added, "Ireland is recognised as a key global hub for medical technologies, employing the highest medical technologies personnel per capita in Europe. Nearly 60% of the sector's companies are now carrying out R&D functions here and today's announcement is another great example of how the unique collaboration between Government, industry and academia in Ireland can assist global companies such as Covidien to meet their R&D needs." The project involves a number of research groups based in the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway including the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and the Centre for Pain Research (CPR). Speaking at the event, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway Professor Terry Smith said "NUI Galway is delighted to be part of this investment by Covidien for research to be led by Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials and Dr David Finn, Lecturer in Pharmacology and Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research. It is yet another tangible benefit arising from the Government investment in R&D in Ireland and acknowledges the part which Irish research plays in translating research from the bench to the clinic." Earlier this year, Covidien announced an investment of €11 million in a state-of-the-art European Services Centre in Cherrywood Dublin. The centre employs 200 people who manage sales and marketing, customer services, credit control, contracts and pricing, and import and export functions for 16 European countries. Covidien is a leading global healthcare products company that creates innovative medical solutions for better patient outcomes and delivers value through clinical leadership and excellence. Covidien manufactures, distributes and services a diverse range of industry-leading product lines in three segments: Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies. With 2009 revenue of $10.3 billion, Covidien has 42,000 employees worldwide in more than 60 countries, and its products are sold in over 140 countries. Please visit www.covidien.com to learn more about our business. -Ends-

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-