Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Top experts from the fields of energy technology, policy, innovation and business will come together in NUI Galway on Wednesday, 26 January, 2011 to discuss the future of energy in Ireland. The Energy Night has been organised by the Chemistry, Energy and Physics Societies at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway Energy Night will open at 5:30pm in the Orbsen Building Foyer with a showcase of the rich and varied range of cutting-edge energy research currently underway at the University. With presenters working in areas from bio fuels to wave energy, and smart buildings to smart grids, the showcase will provide attendees and researchers alike with the opportunity to meet, learn and exchange ideas on the future of energy in Ireland. Following this, a major fact-based panel discussion entitled Averting a Future Irish Energy Crisis will be held at 7pm in the O Flaherty Lecture Theatre, located on the main Concourse. RTE's Environmental Editor Paul Cunningham will moderate the discussion. Panel participants include Professor J. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Paul Lynam, Chief Executive of Siemens Ireland, Emeritus Professor at the Combustion Chemistry Centre NUI Galway and acclaimed fuels researcher John Simmie, Neil Walker, Head of the Energy and Environment Unit at the Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC), and Philip Walton, Emeritus Professor of Physics at NUI Galway and nationally-renowned nuclear energy expert. NUI Galway Energy Night is an entirely student and postdoctoral organised event, being jointly undertaken by the Chemistry, Energy and Physics Societies at NUI Galway. This is the first time that a broad section of students have come together at NUI Galway or any other Irish University to organise such an event, and it reflects the seriousness with which the students regard the future of energy supply, demand, cost and security in Ireland. It is their hope that the NUI Galway Energy Night will be a spark that ignites enhanced understanding, interaction and collaboration between energy stakeholders in the policy, business, technological and academic spheres as well as the public. The event is made possible by the generosity of sponsors Enerit Ltd., the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and SEAI. The entire event is open to all members of the public. If you are interested in attending the panel discussion please email nuigenergy@gmail.com as space in the lecture theatre is limited. More information on NUI Galway Energy Night is available on the facebook page – NUIG Energy Night or by contacting Rory Monaghan at rory.monaghan@nuigalway.ie or 085 1509336 or http://sites.google.com/site/nuigenergynight2011/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A book by a senior lecturer in Women s Studies at the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway has been selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2010 by the American Library Association/CHOICE. Dr. Niamh Reilly s Women s Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalising Age (Polity Press) explores the emergence of transnational, UN-oriented, feminist advocacy for women's human rights, especially over the past three decades. It identifies the main feminist influences that have shaped the movement and exposes how the Western, legalist, state-centric, and liberal biases of mainstream human rights discourse impede the realisation of human rights in women's lives everywhere. Ultimately, the book reaffirms a commitment to critically reinterpreted universal human rights principles and demonstrates the vital role that bottom-up, transnational movements play in making them a reality in women's lives. Every year the American Library Association/CHOICE editors single out the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in CHOICE during the previous calendar year. Appearing annually in CHOICE's January issue, this prestigious list of publications reflects the best in scholarly titles and attracts extraordinary attention from the academic library community. In publishing the Outstanding Academic Titles feature, CHOICE acknowledges and honours the authors, editors, and publishers of these works for their vital contribution to the scholarly endeavour. Dr. Reilly says she is delighted with the selection, "It is a wonderful endorsement, not only of the book itself but of women's human rights as an important field of research and teaching." Along with Women s Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalising Age, Dr. Niamh Reilly has authored, co-authored, and edited a number of other books, including Women Testify: A Planning Guide for Popular Tribunals and Hearings (2005), State Accountability for Women s Human Rights in Ireland (1997), Without Reservation: The Beijing Tribunal on Accountability for Women's Human Rights (1996), and Demanding Accountability: The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women s Human Rights (1994). She has over 20 years experience of teaching, research, publishing and advocacy in the field of women s human rights at various institutions in Ireland and the United States and has worked with the United Nations and with a number of international and national women s and human rights NGOs. For further information please contact Dr Niamh Reilly at 091 495403 or niamh.reilly@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

NUI Galway will hold an Information Evening from 7 to 9pm on Thursday, 20 January in the Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co Clare. This event is for students who are considering applying to NUI Galway and for their parents or guardians. The Information Evening will commence with a series of short talks about NUI Galway and the courses on offer. Current students and representatives from the five colleges of the University will be on hand at information stands to answer any questions visitors may have. "This is an excellent opportunity to talk to representatives from all of NUI Galway's Colleges about the subjects of interest. It is also a chance to find out about practical issues like accommodation, fees, scholarships and new programmes on offer", said Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. Ms Loughnane added: "Choosing a University is one of the most important decisions in a young person's life, and we offer a University with a strong reputation for top quality teaching and a proven track record in producing graduates with the right mix of skills and knowledge to succeed in an increasingly uncertain job market." NUI Galway continues to increase its number of undergraduate applications with an increase in the order of 18 per cent in CAO first preference applications over the last two years. NUI Galway's increased popularity is in part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree, eight BA CONNECT programmes and a Math and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. To find out more about the Information Evening in Ennis, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Celine O Donovan, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2391219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway will host a series of Sean-Nós Singing workshops from late January until the end of March. The workshops will be led by Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, who has an international reputation in the sean-nós song tradition, and in 1996 won the prestigious Sean-nós Cois Life award and has twice won the coveted Corn Uí Riada award. The workshops will take place at the Centre for Irish Studies on Distillery Road at 7pm each Tuesday, beginning on 25 January. The workshops are free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. For further details, contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 10 January 2011

The official launch of NUI Galway's Medical Academy at Letterkenny General Hospital took place last week. Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) has been chosen as a step-out clinical site for the education of Medical Students from NUI Galway. From last week, 20 third year Medical Students will carry out one full year of their training at the hospital, studying the same curriculum as their classmates based on the campus of Galway University Hospitals (GUH). Both GUH and LGH will use Internet and video-conferencing facilities to facilitate linkages between the centres including multidisciplinary meetings, joint lectures, tutorials and discussion groups. In September, 40 medical students in their 4th and 5th years of training will be based at Letterkenny General Hospital. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine, NUI Galway carried out the official opening of the academy as part of the induction day for the students and members of the Medical Academy. The medical students and multidisciplinary staff attended the event from the hospital. Short presentations were made by the Directors of Medical Education at LGH, Dr Joanne Kearney and Dr Brian Callaghan. Also by Sean Murphy, General Manager, LGH and Barry O Callaghan, Medical Student. The arrival of the students provides Letterkenny General Hospital with an opportunity to forge a permanent relationship with a University, which offers advantages for patient care due to the sharing of resources in the areas of research and education training. Dr Joanne Kearney commented, "This is a very welcome development and I believe the relationship will be beneficial also in ultimately attracting doctors of the highest calibre to seek permanent positions at the hospital. I look forward to enhancing the links with NUI Galway in the future". Dr Brian Callaghan said, "This is a new and historic journey for the hospital which has been transformed into a University teaching hospital; the Medical Academy is a catalyst for future development of medical education in the hospital". ENDS

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Business German in Ireland Working Group has been announced as the winner of the Kuratorium Award for 2010. The group includes three NUI Galway lecturers, Doris Devilly, lecturer and coordinator of the B.Comm (German) programme at NUI Galway; Dr. Deirdre Byrnes (Law and German) and Aine Ryan (German). This award is presented annually by the Kuratorium (Board of Trustees) of the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce to groups, individuals or organisations that have made a special contribution to the furthering of German-Irish relations in Ireland. This year's recipients are a group of third level teachers of Business German with representatives from most Irish universities (including NUI Galway), institutes of technology and other third level colleges as well as the Goethe Institute. They were presented with the award for their ongoing work of promoting German in Ireland and the importance of language learning in such an export dependent economy. Doris Devilly, lecturer and coordinator of the B.Comm (German) programme in NUI Galway and one of the founding members of the Business German in Ireland Working Group, added: "Graduates who have completed a combined degree programme with Commerce and German are highly employable, even in the current job market. In the larger European context it is clear that high quality graduates with an excellent knowledge of German language and business culture can make significant contribution to German-Irish relations and are essential to Ireland's economic recovery." According to one graduate of NUI Galway's Commerce and German degree: "Germany is the economic powerhouse within the EU and plays an important part in the Irish economy. I feel that having studied Commerce with German, I now have a greater professional scope and more career opportunities than general Commerce graduates. German is currently one of the most wanted business languages internationally and by being able to speak it a greater variety of job offers is now available to me. I am more than happy to have chosen Commerce with German and would advise any business student with an interest in a language to consider the same course." The Business German in Ireland Working Group was founded in 2001 and will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. To coincide with this anniversary, it will be launching a website which will contain material for teachers, students and business people as well as advertising opportunities for student bursaries. -Ends-

Monday, 10 January 2011

NUI Galway will launch the Going to College Project, an inclusive education initiative to support the civic engagement of persons with intellectual disabilities, on Monday, 17 January 2011. Registrar and Deputy-President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil will officially launch the project which will take place at 11am in the Bailey Allen Hall on campus. Conor Pope, TV Presenter, journalist with The Irish Times and NUI Galway graduate, will be Master of Ceremonies for the event. Through a University/community partnership, the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway, the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies are leading this innovative project. The project is also supported by the HSE. The aim of the two-year project is to support the civic engagement of persons with an intellectual disability through access to inclusive higher education at NUI Galway. Students with an intellectual disability will chose to study particular subjects (or subject modules) they are interested in and will be individually supported to participate in classes with their peers in the University. Students will also be supported to volunteer in their own community, get involved in community activities and community projects, experience internships in departments at NUI Galway, undertake external work placements linked with their area of study and participate and engage in college clubs and societies. There will be a flexible accreditation process to acknowledge each student's individual achievement, resulting in a Certificate in Arts and Civic Studies. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair for Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Director Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway explained: "This pilot will provide an opportunity for the students to fully engage with college life, develop social connections with their peers and harness the knowledge and skills to determine their own future." The project will also include collaborations with other Universities both nationally and internationally. Bruce Uditsky and E.Anne Hughson from the Alberta Association of Community Living (AACL) /University of Calgary will attend the launch. AACL have been involved in the development of inclusive higher education for persons with intellectual disabilities for over 20 years in Alberta, Canada. As part of their visit, they will provide workshops for academic staff at NUI Galway, for parents and families and for service providers. The project will also be supported by a number of community and employer patrons including Mary O'Malley, poet and writer; Padraig O'Ceidigh, CEO Aer Arann and Tina Roche, CEO Business in the Community. Conor Pope will also be patron of the project. Recruitment and selection for the Going to College pilot programme will take place during February/March/April 2011. ENDS

Monday, 10 January 2011

There is good news for CAO applicants this week as the Medical School at NUI Galway has been allocated additional places on its flagship undergraduate Medical programme. Students applying to study medicine this February for a September 2011 start, will see an additional 19 places made available, bringing the total number of Medicine places at NUI Galway to 118, making it the second largest Medical School for undergraduate Irish and EU students in the country. Beginning with a base of 55 students, the Medical School at NUI Galway has seen unprecedented growth in its undergraduate provision, with numbers more than doubling since 2006. This growth in undergraduate numbers also reflects a decision on behalf of the University not to offer a Graduate Medicine programme, but to concentrate its efforts on undergraduate Medicine. Working with its strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, NUI Galway will provide undergraduate medical education for the West and Mid-West regions, and beyond, while the University of Limerick will provide Graduate Medicine opportunities for those with a first degree who are interested in studying Medicine. NUI Galway's denominated Biomedical Science degree, as well as its undenominated Science programme, provide an excellent first degree for students who may be considering the Graduate Medicine programme in the future. Speaking about this shared approach to the provision of medical education, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne said: "We are delighted to be working with our strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, to expand the provision of top class medical education in the West and mid-West regions. With the cooperation of all of the public Medical Schools and the Higher Education Authority, we will focus on providing an excellent undergraduate Medical programme while UL concentrates on the Graduate Medicine market". The quality of students studying Medicine at NUI Galway remains among the highest in the country with students outperforming competitors in national prizes and awards. NUI Galway's medical students recently featured prominently in the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Awards, winning 14 out of a possible 39 medals in this competition. The Henry Hutchinson Stewart Awards is a national, annual competition open to all NUI universities in Ireland. Top performing students in each subject area of Medicine are selected by their Professors and put forward for the Awards. Commenting on the increase in places on the Medicine programme, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway said: "This is great news not just for the Medical School at NUI Galway, but also for CAO applicants considering applying to medicine. We are delighted to be able to provide more opportunities for the country's future doctors, without compromising on the exceptional quality of medical education we have been providing for many years now. Recent investments in staffing and new infrastructure, including three new buildings for medical research, as well as ground-breaking developments in our research activities, have positioned the Medical School as one of the top Schools in the country. Recent success in a number of Science Foundation Ireland Awards confirms the calibre of staff from all over the world who have been attracted to the Medical School, and ensures that our teaching is informed by high quality research." Much of the success of NUI Galway's medical students is attributed to innovative curriculum development and the commitment of the Medical School to the holistic development of its students, with the aim of producing well-grounded and well-rounded doctors of the future. One popular initiative on the Medical programme has been the development of Special Study Modules (SSM), which give students the opportunity to study a specialist area of interest in detail, with a wide range of areas to choose from, including Medicine and the Arts, Sports Psychology and Malaysian Culture and Eastern Medicine. Other recent initiatives include the setting up of a network of regional Medical Academies to cater for the increased number of clinical medical students at the University. The Sligo Academy was set up in 2009 and now has 40 students on clinical placement at Sligo Hospital, while the Letterkenny Academy commenced last week. As well as bringing clinical benefits to the patients of Sligo and Letterkenny Hospitals, the University hopes to commence capital developments on both hospital sites this year. An Academy will begin at Castlebar Hospital in 2012, while a joint Academy, shared with the University of Limerick, based at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe and Roscommon Hospital accepted its first UL students in 2010. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

NUI Galway Graduate Professor Chun Chang Huang, was recently presented with the prestigious 'Excellent Scientist of China' Award in China. Chun Chang Huang is a Professor at the Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China. In the period 1990 to 1994, Chun Chang Huang carried out research in the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit at NUI Galway, under the supervision of Professor Michael O'Connell. Huang's research involved reconstructing various aspects of environmental change in western Ireland during the last 15,000 years, i.e. during the final stages of the last Ice Age and the present warm period. For this research, he was awarded a PhD degree in 1994 and subsequently published his main findings in international scientific journals. After his studies in NUI Galway, he returned to his native city, Xi'an, where he resumed lecturing and leading research into post-glacial environmental change — climate, hydrology, soil erosion, land-use history — in the Yellow River basin, including the Loess Plateau, northern China. As well as publishing books and many research papers in international and Chinese scientific journals, he has also been much involved with administration, both as Professor and Dean of the Faculty. Professor Chun Chang Huang says he is delighted with the award of 'Excellent Scientist of China' and that his experience at NUI Galway continues to mean a lot to him. Congratulating Professor Chun Chang Huang, NUI Galway's Professor Michael O'Connell of the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit said, "We are delighted that this highly prestigious award has been accorded to a former graduate student of NUI Galway for his contributions towards improved understanding of long-term climate change and human impact in both China and Ireland." ENDS

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Postgraduate research project recently completed in the School of Physics focusing on noise levels at Irish traditional music and Irish rock performances, has shown high levels of noise exposure among musicians and the potential for increased risks to hearing. This study also highlights the need for increased awareness training in relation to the harmful effects of repeated high noise exposure among musicians. Some of the results exceeded the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relating to the control of noise at work. The data from the project shows that personal noise exposures of all the rock/pop musicians sampled exceed the 87dB(A) exposure limit value as detailed in the 2007 regulations and half of the traditional Irish musicians sampled exceeded the 87dB(A) exposure limit value. To obtain these results, Helena O'Sullivan, an MSc student with Dr Marie Coggins at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, measured noise levels at static monitoring points on the stage during the music performance, and ranged from 85 to 90 dB(A) during traditional Irish music performances and from 101 – 107 dB(A) during Irish rock/pop music performances. The personal noise exposure level of one band member (either the singer or the drummer) was also measured, and they ranged from 100 to 102 dB(A) for members of the Irish rock/pop bands and 88 - 95 dB(A) for members of the Traditional Irish music bands. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relating to the control of noise at work, sets out an exposure action value of 85dB(A) and an exposure limit value of 87dB(A) for a daily or weekly personal exposure. These limits apply to people working in a noisy environment and do not apply to the general public. Workers who are regularly exposed to noise levels of 85dB (A) have an increased risk of noise induced hearing loss. Dr Marie Coggins, Director of the MSc in Occupational Health and Safety Programme at NUI Galway says: "The harmful effects of repeated exposure to high sound levels, have long been recognised, and much progress has been made in reducing noise exposures in many work environments. However, high noise levels and exposure to noise continues to be an issue for the entertainment sector. This project highlights the need for further investigation in the area." Using the data collected in the study, an estimate for the eight hour equivalent noise dose for comparison with the recommended guidelines in the 2007 regulations, was calculated. This estimate does not take into consideration other sources of noise exposure that the band members may have received at another point in their day, and so may be underestimating the risk. Results from a questionnaire survey, as part of the research, detailing experiences musicians report in relation to noise exposure show that 52% of respondents regularly experience a ringing sensation in their ears after a performance, and 60% reported that they do not use hearing protection. Helena O'Sullivan has just completed a one year taught MSc programme in Occupational Health and Safety at NUI Galway.   <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nFxrdWybJt8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> -Ends-

Thursday, 16 December 2010

An NUI Galway Researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Dr Alexandre Passant, recently won a Research Award granted by Google to work on the next generation of mobile social networking applications. The grant will fund a team for a year, enabling them to combine theoretical research and implementation, which will make the product directly usable by end-users and advance the state of the art in the domain of social networking applications. A key element of the research will be the protection of privacy for users. In this recent round of funding, Google distributed 112 awards, for a total of more than six million dollars, and 29 percent of the funding was awarded to Universities outside the U.S.A including NUI Galway. Most social network applications are closed worlds, where you have to give your data to a provider such as Facebook in order to share this data with friends and the user cannot interact with friends on other social networks. Researchers at DERI have been working on SMOB, a microblogging framework as an alternative that enables semantic and distributed social networks. The result is that the user does not rely on a third-party provider, but owns their data and can share it with whomever they want. In the SMOB framework, distributed hubs communicate with each other to exchange the microblog posts and subscriptions in order to follow particular blogs or have others follow an individual blog, belonging to another user. Each user installs their own hub and the communication spreads from there. Dr Alexandre Passant, Unit Leader at DERI and Principal Investigator for the project, explains "With this Google Research Award, we will push the boundaries of this research to make such distributed networks as SMOB communicate directly between mobile phones, with a special focus on privacy. Our goal is to make users really control who they want to share content with, based on dynamic and in-the-cloud identification of people belonging to particular groups, for instance colleagues or family members, without having to subscribe to a service that will own your data. We will in particular rely on Google s PubSubHubbub protocol to do so, combined with our expertise in Social Networks and Semantic Web technologies." Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI says "The grant from Google shows the quality and relevance of Irish research, attracting more and more commercial interest. Our responsibility is to create the environment that makes it possible for the research to also transition into commercial reality, improving the lives of people, instead of staying solely in academia." -Ends-

Monday, 13 December 2010

The XL Students Union Shop on the campus of NUI Galway has won the national prize for best Stationary Offering at Shelflife C-Store Awards 2010, held last week in Dublin. The shop was one of 23 outlets to pick up an award from amongst hundreds of local convenience store entrants from across Ireland. This is the second year in a row the shop has won this prestigious award. John Moane, Managing Director of BWG Foods Wholesale Division says, "It is confirmation of how well they understand their customer s needs. The team is very deserving of this industry accolade and they should take pride in displaying it alongside their other awards." Students' Union Shop Manager Liam Buckley says, "The staff and I are delighted to have won this award two years running. There is a huge effort in keeping the standards high in the shop and it is a great achievement by all that this has been recognised at a national level by winning the most sought after accolade in the retail industry." The ShelfLife C-Store Awards, now running for 11 years, were set up to recognise retailers and retail outlets that set the highest standards in the retail industry. ENDS

Monday, 13 December 2010

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's 11th Annual Alumni Awards Gala, which will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall on Saturday, 5 March, 2011. Proceeds from the event will support the expansion of NUI Galway's Archives through the acquisition of new collections and the development of humanities programming for the Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Building. One of the highlights of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of the Annual Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievement among the University's more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. Six alumni awards will be presented on the night. They include: Aer Arann Alumni Award for Sports Achievement and Leadership; AIB Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; Bank of Ireland Award for Business, Public Policy and Law; Bank of Ireland Alumni Award for Engineering and Informatics; Medtronic Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Seavite Alumni Award for Science. For ticket enquiries, contact Emma Goode in the Alumni Office on 091 493750, emma.goode@nuigalway.ie. Tickets cost €100 per person. For further information on the event please contact JB Terrins, Director, Alumni Relations, NUI Galway. 091 495411 ENDS

Monday, 13 December 2010

Work carried out by the Applied Ecology Unit at NUI Galway have found that intensive farming practices have definitive effects on local biodiversity – where biodiversity includes all living organisms in, and their interactions with and within, an environment. At a recent talk held in NUI Galway, Dr. Mike Gormally of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research spoke of the challenges facing the unique biodiversity in the West of Ireland. The talk followed a significant breakthrough in negotiations in Nagoya, Japan at the end of October, when almost 190 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met to discuss a new global strategic plan for protecting biodiversity. Focusing on the effects of farming on peatlands and turloughs (disappearing lakes) in the West of Ireland, Dr. Gormally explained that sustainable farming practices are intrinsic to the protection of biodiversity, and that many native plant and insect species would suffer if sustainable agricultural practices ceased. Some of these species are found only in the West of Ireland and are a fundamental part of intricate regional food webs and cycles of life. Identifying climate change as another threat, Dr. Gormally stated that there would be "winners and losers" in Irish biodiversity if the effects of climate change were to continue in their current trend. "The Nagoya Agreement, recently adopted by the CBD, outlines 20 goals for 2020, to protect threatened habitats and to halt the disturbing rate of extinction of plant and animal species." explains Dr. Gormally. He adds, "In the west of Ireland, where we have really special habitats such as turloughs, peatlands, and the karst limestone found in the Burren, the biodiversity is unique and complex, and there is still so much to be understood and explored. We desperately need for loss of biodiversity to be globally recognised as a threat as potentially damaging for human health and welfare as climate change. Hopefully the protocol adopted at Nagoya will go some way to make that happen." Dr. Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute, says "The work of Dr. Gormally and members of his Applied Ecology Unit play an important role in assisting Ireland to address the targets outlined by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Climate change, urbanisation, misuse of our resources, and some modern agricultural practices can threaten biodiversity. With a better understanding of the interactions between flora, fauna and landscape, we could manage our land and resources in a way that maintains a healthy ecosystem while supporting a wide range of human activities." For more information contact: Dr. Michael Gormally, 091 493334 www.nuigalway.ie email: mike.gormally@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 13 December 2010

The West of Ireland has always been renowned for the central role played by the creative arts and NUI Galway has provided a breeding ground for the development of artistic talent in successive generations of students. Now, in a groundbreaking initiative, NUI Galway and Druid are coming together to form a partnership that will be crucial in maintaining and developing the performance arts of the region into the future. In an exciting new collaboration, NUI Galway will contribute to the development of Druid's next major theatre event (to be produced in 2012/13) while Druid, in turn, will develop a range of practice-led workshops and seminars including a series of Master classes for BA and MA students. In addition, in a move that highlights the new initiative, a Druid Director-in-Residence will be appointed who will co-ordinate the joint Master classes and workshops and offer classes and mentoring in various aspects of directing and stagecraft to NUI Galway students. These contributions will enhance two successful NUI Galway academic programmes: the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and BA Connect in Theatre and Performance. The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Mick Lally, Marie Mullen and Garry Hynes. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Commenting on the new partnership, NUI Galway President James J. Browne said, "We are very excited by this new and innovative partnership with Druid, which, I believe, holds wonderful opportunities for both organisations. For the University it represents a new creative thrust for our academic programmes in theatre and drama, which will be enriched by the talent and experience of a world leading professional theatre company. In turn we are able to play a role in Druid's ability to continue to present first class theatre for stages both here in Ireland and abroad." Garry Hynes commented that, "Back in 1975 NUI Galway helped Druid launch into the world with the provision of various facilities and continued to help us informally through the years. Now 35 years later we are at the beginning of a new and very exciting partnership. Without NUI Galway, and other partners, Druid simply would not be able to produce these major projects that have become such central events for our actors and our audience alike. Just as I - informally - took my first steps in the theatre in NUI Galway, I am now, through this programme looking forward to helping the emergence of the next generation of theatre makers from my alma mater." Druid would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Arts Council in funding the company's work and also the support of Culture Ireland in funding its international touring programme. ENDS

Thursday, 9 December 2010

"An Age Old Problem - Where Now for Rural Services" The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway is hosting a seminar on rural ageing and the recession, in conjunction with the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI), Irish Rural Link and the Rural Community Network Northern Ireland. The seminar, which is part of CARDI's Older People and the Recession Series, is taking place today, Thursday, 9 December and tomorrow, Friday, 10 December in the Martin Ryan Institute (Annex) at NUI Galway. This event will focus on ageing in rural Ireland, North and South, and will examine crucial issues of concern for researchers, policymakers and older people themselves about the impact of the recession. The keynote address will be given by Professor Norah Keating, Co-Director of Research on Aging, Policies and Practice, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Canada. It will also feature contributions from national experts in the fields of ageing research, policy and practice and will showcase findings from two CARDI funded research projects relating to ageing in a rural context. Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), says the event is particularly timely: "At a time when everyone is facing up to the new realities of economic uncertainty, it is useful to reflect on what works and what doesn't work in meeting the needs and aspirations of older citizens living in rural communities across Ireland. This seminar brings together some of the country's best people to help shape the future of rural services for a growing proportion of our population." Dr Roger O'Sullivan, Director of CARDI says, "Older people make up a significant part of the rural population of Ireland, North and South. This seminar not only addresses the particular issues facing older people in terms of accessing transport and other services but also takes a closer look at the positive contribution older people make to rural communities. The CARDI funded research projects which will be launched at the event underline the importance of listening to older people's voices when making decisions on rural policy and services in Ireland, North and South. Recognising the value of rural communities and older people who live in them will be especially important in the context of the difficult decisions about public spending that lie ahead." Dr Kieran Walsh, NUI Galway, will present findings from a CARDI funded project entitled 'Older people in Rural Communities: Exploring Attachment, Contribution and Diversity in Rural Ireland and Northern Ireland' focusing on case studies of the experiences of older people. The report, which was written in collaboration with colleagues at NUI Galway, Queens University, the Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack, is a part of a larger programme of work on rural ageing being pursued by the Healthy Ageing in Rural Communities (HARC) research network. Dr Aoife Ahern, University College Dublin, will also present a project exploring the issue of rural transport for older people. -Ends-

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The NUI Galway Alumni Association invites all graduates, returning to Galway for Christmas, to the annual Alumni Christmas Gathering. Now in its sixth year, the Christmas Gathering is a great reason to return to campus and catch up with old friends over a glass of mulled wine and some mince pies. To ensure a festive atmosphere, the Orbsen Choir will be on hand singing carols to get everyone in the mood for Christmas. "Coming back to NUI Galway at this time of year is a wonderful experience, especially as a graduate. Unlike your time spent here as a student, there are no exams to worry about, and you never know who you'll bump into" says Mairin Gilvarry, Chairperson of the Alumni Association Board. "We encourage all graduates to come along, bring a friend and pass on the message to former classmates." The Christmas Gathering, a free event, will take place on Friday, 17 December, in the Quadrangle from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Please RSVP to Colm O'Dwyer, Alumni Office, on 091 493 750 or alumni@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway has been awarded an EU Framework 7 grant worth €3.7 million to develop and lead a Pan-European doctoral research project over four years. The focus of the research will be to find practical ways of making the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities a reality in the daily lives of people with disabilities in the EU. The FP7 grant will enable the Centre to lead a network of six other leading disability policy research Centres across Europe (including the Netherlands, UK, Norway, Spain, and Iceland). Several leading disability research institutes in the world will also contribute to its work including the Harvard Project in Disability. The project – called DREAM (Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets) – is premised on the idea that smart EU policy initiatives on disability are not just good for people with disabilities, but also help expand markets and increase overall levels of economic activity. Digital Europe, the main umbrella body for European software and hardware manufactures and services, acts as a key commercial partner. All of the researchers will also have the opportunity to gain invaluable and funded work experience with leading European civil society groups such as Interights (London), Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (Budapest), the European Disability Forum (Brussels) and the European Group of Human Rights Commissions. This will help sharpen their analysis and lead to policy recommendations that are well grounded in experience. The Centre, which is based in the School of Law at the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, is part of the emerging Lifecourse Institute at the University which combines the research strengths of three NUI Galway Centres on ageing, children and families as well as disability. Director of The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Quinn says, "This places the Centre at the very forefront of research that points the way toward better European law and policy on disability. It will train a new breed of policy entrepreneur in the disability field. This is the vital bridge to creating better living conditions for the over 60 million Europeans with disabilities. We are honoured to have been chosen to lead on this project which has European level significance. The researchers will have unrivalled access to world authorities on disability from Australia to Harvard." NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne says, "This is great news for the University and indeed for Ireland. It is a good example of university research that is both socially responsible and that also aims at increasing economic activity. I understand it is the single largest FP7 grant given to a research Centre at an Irish Law School. It augurs well for the new Lifecourse Institute at the University of which this Centre is a part". ENDS

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Galway community space 091 Labs co-hosted the only Irish Open Data Hackathon on December 4 2010. The event led to the creation of useful websites and software applications which improve citizens' access to public data and services and knowledge and understanding of work of governments. A piece of data is described as open if people are free to use and redistribute it, subject only to the requirement to attribute and share-alike. The goal of the one day Hackathon event was to encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world s local, regional and national governments. Open Data policies increase government transparency, spur the digital economy, and improve civic participation. Applications created on the day in Galway included a website that helps citizens track the latest planning applications submitted to Galway City Council, and an integrated online bus schedule for all Galway-Dublin coach connections. Another website allows users to utilise an improved way of accessing Dublin Bus schedules. A team produced an online visual report that shows where Arts Council funding goes. A new application showing all the public toilets in Galway city including wheelchair accessible toilets was created. The NUI Galway based Hackathon was part of a global series of events, ranging from Bangalore to Los Angeles and from Brasilia to Thailand, celebrating and highlighting the use of Open Data for citizens. More than 1000 people in over 73 cities on five continents dedicated time to helping foster both a local and international community of open data hackers, advocates and citizens. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI Galway, said: "DERI's participation in the Open Data Day shows that Irish researchers do not only publish academic papers, but are actively involved in shaping their community. To maximise the value I would like to encourage local and national governments to make their data available." Declan Elliott, founder of 091 Labs in Galway, said: "Open Data is a grassroots effort. In times when politics cannot solve major problems, collaborative community spaces like 091Labs in Galway encourage public participation. This fosters creativity which in turn produces value by creating new ideas which enable entrepreneurs and spur economic growth." ENDS

Monday, 6 December 2010

Students from NUI Galway recently attended 'Building a Voice for Student Volunteering', a National Conference where students from over 15 colleges across the island of Ireland gathered in anticipation of the EU Year of the Volunteer in 2011, to share experiences and ideas on the impact of third level student volunteering. It was sponsored by Campus Engage, the HEA funded network to support civic engagement within higher education in Ireland. The conference provided a space for student volunteers to meet together for the first time with an opportunity to share effective practice and create 'how to guides on student volunteering. The forum took the approach that the experts in student volunteering are the student volunteers themselves and addresses were delivered by students for students. Richard Manton, Student Volunteer in NUI Galway says: "I found the conference to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative. From the outset, the informal and open nature of the event was clear - emphasis was placed on the pooling of ideas by those actively involved in student volunteering, rather than a series of lectures. I found that I was able to draw from my own volunteering experience and discuss with others the best ways to build a voice for student volunteering in Ireland." In the last seven years there has been an upsurge in student volunteering activities across the third level sector with the ALIVE Volunteer Programme at NUI Galway, Trinity Volunteer Opportunities Forum and Dean of Students Roll of Honour, the Uaneen Programme at DCU, DIT's volunteer programme, President's Award for Volunteering at UL and GIVE at LIT. All of these recognise diverse activities that students undertake as volunteers within a community that ultimately gives them an extra edge on graduation. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at the University says: "NUI Galway has built of its rich history of student engagement and activism to lead at the forefront of pioneering student volunteering programmes across higher education in Ireland. Our students benefit enormously from national opportunities to meet fellow student volunteers and highlight their contribution to society." This event is the first in a series of Campus Engage sponsored events that will harness and recognise the positive contribution that students make through volunteering to community. During 2011, the We Volunteer! mobile exhibition showcasing images of diverse student volunteering contributions will travel across Ireland and Europe. -Ends-

Monday, 6 December 2010

Four NUI Galway students have been awarded the prestigious Gold Gaisce Award. President Mary McAleese presented the awards to the students in recognition of their outstanding contribution to community and personal development at the 25th Anniversary of the Gaisce Award ceremony last week. Awardees included Mary Gavaghan, from Charlestown Co. Mayo, Lauren Martin, from Athy Co. Kildare, Máiread Felle, Portumna, Co. Galway and Lisa Carney from Kiltamagh, Co. Mayo. Gaisce, the President's Award is Ireland's National Challenge Award, the country's most prestigious and respected individual award programme, and a challenge from the President of Ireland, to young people between 15 and 25 years of age. There are four different challenge areas including Community Involvement, Personal Skill, Physical Recreation and Adventure Journey. Congratulating the NUI Galway students on their success, Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said, "The Gold Gaisce Award is bestowed to individuals who have not only took on a personal challenge but make a contribution to their community. We are very proud of these students who have stepped outside their comfort zone and engaged with new challenges and experiences to earn the highest award, the Gold Gaisce Medal. At NUI Galway we seek to engender our students with the characteristics of selflessness and leadership these students emanate." -Ends-

Thursday, 2 December 2010

NUI Galway lecturer in History, Dr Róisín Healy, has recently been awarded a prestigious Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn. The Fellowship, which is for Experienced Researchers, is funded by the German Government. Dr Healy lectures on nineteenth and twentieth century German and European history in NUI Galway. She will be on sabbatical leave throughout the Fellowship. During her stay in Germany, from January to June 2011, she will be affiliated to the Global and European Studies Institute at the University of Leipzig where she will research pre-First World War German/Polish relationships. Nineteenth-century Irish nationalists liked to claim that Ireland and Poland, which had been partitioned between Prussia, Russia, and Austria in the late eighteenth century, were the most oppressed nations of Europe. Drawing on sources in four languages (English, Irish, German and Polish), Dr Healy will investigate to what extent British colonial practice in Ireland, in matters such as land, religion and language, mirrored that of Prussia in the Polish provinces under its control (Posen and West Prussia) during the period 1795–1918. Humboldt Research Fellowships, which are highly competitive, are awarded to approximately 600 senior researchers annually. The awards are made solely on the basis of past research performance and future potential. In addition to receiving funding to undertake research in Germany, recipients of the Humboldt Fellowship become members of a global academic network of Humboldt Scholars that provides a life-long supportive framework for the scholarly activities of Humboldt Fellows. In receiving the award, Róisín becomes the newest member of Humboldt-Club na Gaillimhe, an association that includes former NUI Galway Humboldt Fellows and German scholars who have researched in NUI Galway, for at least a year, supported by the Humboldt Foundation. Previous NUI Galway Humboldt Fellows include Professors Peter McHugh (Biomedical Engineering), Michael O'Connell (Botany), Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (History); Emeritus Professors Martin Newell (Mathematics), Angela Savage (Chemistry) and John Shiel (Engineering); and the late Professor Anthony Moran (Microbiology). Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín a former NUI Galway Humboldt Fellow says: "In the world of international scholarship, the Humboldt Research fellowships are for the Humanities what the Max Planck fellowships are for the Sciences. Dr Healy's recent award is another feather in the cap for NUI Galway, and further international recognition for the first-class quality of our work in the University." -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The NUI Galway Centre for Disability Law and Policy will host the International Conference on National Disability Strategies on Friday, 10 December, in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway. This conference will launch the recent findings of the Centre's research project on National Disability Strategies and the critical success factors which enable strategies to make a difference for people with disabilities at grassroots level. The keynote speech will be delivered by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability, Shuaib Chalklen. South African Shuaib Chalklen plays a leading role in monitoring progress around the world and nurturing Governments in the right direction. The conference will be formally opened by Minister John Moloney T.D., Minister of State for Disability and Mental Health. Other key international figures involved in disability law reform speaking at the conference will include: Anne Hawker, current President of Rehabilitation International and Advisor on disability to the New Zealand government; Stefan Trommel, key drafter of the UN disability convention, member of the International Disability Alliance Secretariat and former Director of European Disability Forum; Siobhán Barron, Director of the National Disability Authority and Angela Kerins, Chairperson, Equality Authority. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the researcher for this project in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, has written a book for Cambridge University Press on a global comparative study of National Disability Strategies, entitled From Rhetoric to Action: Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – the use of National Disability Strategies which is due to be published in 2011. Some of the key recommendations for improvements in the Irish National Disability Strategy in this book will be highlighted at the conference. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said, "This is an exciting event for NUI Galway. Some of the most influential disability reformers and activists in the world will be here to share ideas about how to link national disability strategies to the achievement of the UN disability convention and ensure that such strategies work well. This is even more important in a recession. I would urge all those who have an interest in advancing disability policy in Ireland and abroad to attend this important event." The conference is open to all members of the public. The conference programme and further information including how to register for the event is available at www.nuigalway.ie ENDS

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

NUI Galway graduates and students have received 28 of the 101 NUI Awards 2010 presented last week. The national awards are granted by the National Universities of Ireland annually. Four NUI Galway recipients were awarded the NUI Travelling Studentships in the Humanities and Social Sciences and in the Sciences. They are: Francis O'Connor, Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh, Leon Harding and Lisa Mulee. Michelle Farrell was awarded the NUI EJ Phelan Fellowship in International Law. Michelle Farrell will take up her Fellowship at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Anne Molloy was awarded the French Government Medal and NUI Prizes for Proficiency in French. NUI Galway also featured prominently in the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary and Medical Awards, winning twenty-two medals in this competition. The literary Awards went to Áine Uí Fhoghlua (Ghaeilge), Jacinta Hennigan (3rd prize German), Florry O'Driscoll (Italian), Anna B Sikora-Carelse (Spanish) and Sinead Cawley (3rd prize Spanish). Fourteen of the twenty-two Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Scholarships were awarded to NUI Galway's School of Medicine. Six of these students were granted first place scholarships. These students received €1000 and a medal, with a further five students being awarded medals for second place and three more awarded medals for third place. The awards span thirteen different subject areas within the School of Medicine. Medical Scholarships were also awarded in Biochemistry, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway says: "This is a fantastic result for NUI Galway and NUI Galway's School of Medicine and follows on previous high achievements in past years in these annual awards. We are very proud of all our students who both competed for these awards and those who were successful. It reflects the very high standard of medical education and commitment from teaching staff and engagement in learning by the students. It complements successes already received this year in student research bursaries from the health Research Board (HRB), completion of special study modules (SSM) by students in Medicine and the Arts and community engagement initiatives; Ms Melanie Hennessey was chosen as one of ten top young adults in the world by Junior Chamber for her Humanitarian efforts in Nepal. These achievements illustrate the commitment of the School of Medicine to the holistic development of our students to produce well grounded and well rounded doctors of the future. We will strive to continue with these successes into the future with plans to initiate a School of Medicine Orchestra in this Academic Year." Professor Dunne adds. Congratulating the winners, University President Dr. James J. Browne said, "NUI Galway's recent success at the NUI Awards highlights the calibre of students studying on our programmes, as well as underscoring the quality of the teaching programmes here at NUI Galway. These awards will add significantly to each student's academic reputation and I commend them on their well-deserved accolades." ENDS

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will launch a report in December which verifies and documents allegations of racism in the taxi industry in Galway. The Centre launched an investigation in July this year to examine racially based tensions in the taxi industry within the city. The interest of the Irish Centre for Human Rights arises from the nature of the institution itself, part of its mandate being community engagement and contribution, as well as its position as Essential Partner in the Galway City Partnership Anti-Racism Strategy. Its capacity is attested to by an international reputation as a leading institution for human rights research, teaching and advocacy. Dr. Vinodh Jaichand, Deputy Director of the Centre, led this methodological, evidence-based research into the question of racism within the Galway city taxi industry through interviews and surveys and focused on employment opportunities and user practices and perceptions. The results of this research form a concise, but also encompassing report, which can replace untested statements and often reactionary comments with detailed knowledge and a deeper understanding. The report is addressed immediately to the people, associations and institutions of Galway, but also more widely to the national government and Irish society as a whole. Recommendations are directed to NUI Galway, the Irish Centre for Human Rights itself, the Equality Authority, the media, Galway City, Galway Chamber of Commerce, the Gardai, the Government of Ireland, and the general public. Dr. Jaichand positions the report within a context where, "Racism has become an increasingly noticeable element in the backdrop to Galway life. Nationally and locally, reports of race-based incidents reflect an increase in the growing anxieties of the general population, due to the inevitable hardships of a recession and intensified competition over jobs and resources. Racial discrimination should never be justified and accommodated because human rights are not a luxury to be observed only when we are a well-off society." Protecting and promoting human dignity has been the foundation of work at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway since its inception in 2000. The Centre pursues this work in all contexts, internationally and locally, through research, teaching, advocacy and community engagement. Speaking during the recent tenth anniversary celebrations of the Centre, the Director, Professor William Schabas said that, "This report, which we believe will have real consequences in addressing local tensions in Galway, confirms the contribution that the Irish Centre for Human Rights makes to the city." He added that, "This is a fundamental issue that should concern us all, one which requires prompt attention to correct the situation." The report will be launched at 6pm on Friday, 10 December at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Guest speaker on the night will be Michael D Higgins, TD. Friday, 10 December also marks the worldwide recognition of human rights defenders. All members of the press and public are very welcome, and warmly invited to attend. For further information please contact Dr. Vinodh Jaichand on 086 167 8682, vinodh.jaichand@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

NUI Galway will host its first International Language Conference entitled Translation, Technology and Autonomy in Language Teaching and Learning on 10 to 11 December, 2010. Over 80 speakers will examine issues relating to translation, technology and autonomy in language learning and teaching over the two days. Speakers will present in Irish, French, Spanish, Italian and English and delegates registered for the Conference come from up to twenty countries and fifty third-level institutions. The Conference will appeal to a diverse audience including language teachers at primary, secondary and third level as well as translators and those with an interest in language acquisition. The inaugural event is hosted by the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at the University. There will be three keynote addresses at the Conference. They include Professor David Little, who is a retired Head of the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences at Trinity College Dublin and has been involved in the European Language Portfolio at European level since 1998. Professor Henrik Gottlieb is Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Translation Studies & Lexicography at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and his fields of research include corpus linguistics, lexicography and language contact studies. The third keynote address will be delivered by Dr Daniel Cassany, a lecturer in the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. His expertise lies in the field of written communication. Dr Dorothy Ní Uigín from Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge says "We are delighted with the response we have received for this Conference, from places so diverse as Jamaica and Malaysia, to Waterford and Cork. It will provide a great opportunity for us to learn from our colleagues in the areas of language teaching and translation from all across the world, and it will also provide an opportunity for staff and students in NUI Galway to showcase their work and to share ideas with an international audience." This Conference has gained funding from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences. ENDS

Monday, 29 November 2010

"The economic downturn should not deter people from starting their own business", that's according to three of the top entrepreneurs in the country. Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming; Philip Reynolds, C&D Foods Ltd. and Terence Monaghan, Managing Director TCRS Ltd. (formerly of BetaTHERM) gave their views, advice and guidance on entrepreneurship at NUI Galway recently. Chaired by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the panel discussion focused on the characteristics of entrepreneurs, the importance of leadership and strategy, and how overcoming challenges and learning from mistakes is critical in the entrepreneur's journey. The event was organised by the NUI Galway Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Cairnes School of Business and Economics in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland Western Chapter. Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director and organiser of the event, highlighted the importance of these events for budding entrepreneurs stating that "the panellists gave a great insight into their journeys and experiences. Their stories are very valuable for anyone who is planning on becoming an entrepreneur or those who are at an early stage in building their own businesses". The discussion highlighted the rich, dynamic and varying forms entrepreneurship can take. For example, Philip Reynolds took over an indigenous family run business which has now become an international supplier of pet foods on the global market with plants in the UK and Holland and a turnover of €150 million. Dylan Collins brought his entrepreneurial skill to a love of gaming developed during his college days. Collins is widely considered to be one of the most experienced online gaming/media entrepreneurs in Europe, having founded three companies with three successful exits (two of which to leading NASDAQ companies). His company was recently acquired by GameStop for $300 million. Terence Monaghan is a Galway man who showed his entrepreneurial drive and ambition when he spearheaded the management buy-out of BetaTHERM in the late 1990's which was subsequently sold at a significant profit. Terence is now Managing Director at TCRS Ltd. and is a global entrepreneur with a significant presence in China. The panellists gave honest, candid and insightful input about their success and challenges to date. The importance of effective staff recruitment practices and ensuring a good fit between employee competence and attitudes with the requirements of the job was suggested as critical by all entrepreneurs. "The management team is what differentiates successful from unsuccessful companies" said Terence Monaghan. The entrepreneur's leadership capability was also discussed and Dylan Collins argued that "effective leadership is about having a vision and guiding people towards it – even if the course changes". All three entrepreneurs agreed that the economic downturn should not deter people from starting their own business. "Entrepreneurship takes many forms and is not only about starting up a business and can be done at any stage in someone's career" said Pádraig Ó Céidigh in his concluding remarks at the event. -Ends-

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will host a seminar which will examine important lessons that Ireland can learn from the developing world about the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the lives of their communities. The event, which is being organised in conjunction with the disability and development Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), CBM Ireland, will take place on Monday, 6 December, in the g Hotel, Galway. The seminar will look at the key role that local government can play in promoting the full involvement of people with disabilities in social, economic and cultural activities. Keynote speakers at the seminar will include: Deputy Michael D. Higgins, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Labour Party; Cllr Michael Crowe, Mayor of Galway City and Mayor Rony Molina of the San Jose de Buena Vista Province in the Philippines. David McAllister, the National Director of CBM Ireland, said, "As one of Ireland s largest disability and development NGOs, we are very happy to be involved in organising this seminar with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. Speaking at the seminar is Mayor Rony Molina from the Philippines who is a dynamic Mayor who has worked hard to promote the rights of people with disabilities in his province. Mayor Molina will be sharing his knowledge and experience with Irish local councillors and council officials who attend this seminar." Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said, "We are delighted that such an important seminar is being held in Galway in early December. The Centre has spent many years carrying out research and promoting best practice in the area of disability. This seminar presents an opportunity to let people know about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland has signed, and will implement over the next year or two. This Convention will transform the lives of people with disabilities for the better. We believe that Galway City Council can lead the way in showing how this can be done." -Ends-

Thursday, 25 November 2010

NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights recently celebrated ten years of teaching, research and advocacy activities. A number of events were held to mark the momentous occasion including a Gala dinner hosted by Senator David Norris and a live Skype meeting with Shawan Jabarin, graduate of the Centre who was prevented from travelling for the event. The Irish Centre for Human Rights has its origins in the early 1980s, when Kevin Boyle and Mary Robinson launched a unit in NUI Galway in response to a general appeal from the Council of Europe. Video messages were played at the Gala dinner from both founding members. Around 150 people attended on the night, including representatives of the judiciary, government, academia, civil society, alumni and current students. The highlight of the dinner was a remote Skype meeting with Shawan Jabarin, graduate of the 2004-5 LLM class and now the director of Al Haq, the very distinguished Palestinian Non Governmental Organisation NGO. The Israeli government would not allow Shawan travel to Galway to receive an award from the Centre. In addition to the dinner a conference was held on the theme of 'Forgotten Rights, Forgotten Concepts'. Keynote speakers were Professor Andrew Clapham, Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, who addressed questions relating to the spread of human rights to non-state entities, and Professor Leila Nadya Sadat, Professor at Washington University School of Law, who spoke on draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity. Professor William A Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway says, "It was very gratifying to see so many former students return to Galway, where they got their first training in the field of human rights. In so many ways, the Irish Centre for Human Rights contributes in a positive and substantial way to combating injustice and inequality, in various parts of the world." ENDS

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Over 1400 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from 24 to 26 November. Canon Mícheál Ó Flannabhra will also be conferred with an honorary Master of Rural Development degree. Born in Milltown, Co. Galway, Canon Mícheál Ó Flannabhra was educated in St. Jarlath's College in Tuam, Co. Galway and in St. Patrick's College in Maynooth where he was ordained in 1960. Canon Ó Flannabhra will be honoured in recognition of his enormous contribution over the past five decades to the rural development of the Connemara area through his establishment of co-operatives, Youth Clubs, Group Water Schemes, Gaelic Games pitches and his campaign for University education through Irish for the Gaeltacht. Speaking in advance of the ceremonies, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. Today we are proud to honour Canon Mícheál Ó Flannabhra for his contribution to rural development and education in the West of Ireland. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise his exceptional achievements and commitment to the region." In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, Masters and PhDs will be awarded to students graduating over the three days from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. -Ends-