Wednesday, 3 February 2010

NUI Galway's President, Dr James J. Browne, today opened the University's new Nursing and Midwifery Library (Wednesday, 3 February). The new library, which adjoins the James Hardiman Library on the main campus, has been open for business since July 2009. It provides a modern learning environment for over 700 nursing and midwifery students with group study rooms, computer suites, laptop-enabled study spaces, and wireless access to the University's networked services. The need for a new, purpose-built library was driven by changes in nursing education and the increase in student numbers, which resulted in greater pressure on space as well as a need for new types of learning resources. The new library has over 100 study places, and has been heavily used and much appreciated by students and staff since it opened. Over 700 Nursing and Midwifery students now have access to the full resources of the University Library, including a wide range of information sources and extensive opening hours, in a central location on campus. Previously, NUI Galway's Nursing Library was located on the site of the former Nurses' Home at University College Hospital and it relocated temporarily to the IDA Business Park in Dangan in 2004. Dr Browne noted: "The new Nursing and Midwifery Library represents a modern learning centre which provides access to all of the information, online and in print, needed to deliver high quality graduates". The Nursing and Midwifery Library was developed at a total cost of €2 million. Of this total, a sum of €1 million was provided by the Department of Health and Children. The balance has been provided from the University's own resources. The Nursing and Midwifery Library was designed by award-winning architects, Scott Tallon Walker, and the project was led by Mr Paul Mannion who is based at their Galway office. This 650square metre building, which was completed within a twelve month period, was built by Michael McNamara & Company. ENDS

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The NUI Galway Alumni Group will present Michael D. Higgins T.D., Labour Party President and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and NUI Galway graduate, in conversation with Harry McGee of The Irish Times. The event will take place on Friday, 12 February at 7.30pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, in aid of COPE Galway. The interview will give NUI Galway graduates and friends access to the life, passions, interests, and writings of Michael D. Higgins. Guests will enjoy recitals of his poetry chosen especially for this occasion. Among his many distinctions, Michael D. Higgins was honoured in 2003 by his alma mater with the NUI Galway AIB Award for Literature Communication and the Arts. In 2006 he was appointed Adjunct Professor to the University's Irish Centre for Human Rights. He was also the inaugural winner of the McBride Peace Prize awarded by International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1991. The interview is open to all and entry is €10, with all proceeds to go to COPE Galway. COPE Galway provides services to the most isolated in the community including a refuge for women and children affected by domestic violence, accommodation for those experiencing homelessness and sustenance and social supports for older people at home. Booking for this event is essential, contact Justin or Bríd in COPE Galway on (091) 778750, or email fundraising@copegalway.ie. Early booking is advised. This is first event of the year for the NUI Galway Alumni Club following a highly successful calendar of events in 2009. For information on future events visit: www.nuigalway.ie/alumni/upcomingevents.html -ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

NUI Galway, in partnership with Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), has announced that the BITCI's Portrait Exhibition, entitled 'The Face of Corporate Responsibility, Ireland' will go on display at the University. The free photography exhibition will be open daily to the public, from 9-14 February, in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. The exhibition will be officially opened by the President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, and the Chief Executive of BITCI, Tina Roche on Tuesday, 9 February, at 2pm. The opening will also feature short talks by representatives from two of BITCI's local member companies, IBM and Boots. Each speaker will highlight the importance of corporate responsibility from their own perspectives, giving an interesting insight into the perception of socially responsible business practice from each sector. BITCI is a national non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting corporate responsibility in Ireland. A business driven network, with major social initiatives, membership is drawn from Ireland s most progressive companies. Corporate responsibility is about companies continually improving the impact they have on society, specifically in the community, environment, marketplace and workplace. The photo exhibition showcases employees from some of Ireland's largest companies who epitomise corporate responsibility in their day to day roles. The exhibition consists of unique portraits taken by photographer Kevin Fox in the studios of the National Gallery of Photography. Each portrait is accompanied by a caption explaining the reasons why this particular employee was nominated to take part in the exhibition. NUI Galway, through the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), is committed to corporate responsibility whereby civic engagement opportunities are embedded into mainstream teaching and research activities. According to the Project Coordinator of CKI, Lorraine McIlrath: "To date over 25 degree programmes offer students a service learning experience whereby they use their knowledge to enhance the capacity of community. In addition, over 700 students volunteer every year in local, national and international communities through the NUI Galway ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme". Lorraine McIlrath added: "Through these activities NUI Galway strides to create civic minded graduates and professionals that will continue their commitment to community and society. The BITCI's exhibition further demonstrates the potential for students to maintain their civic engagement endeavours throughout their working lives". Speaking about the partnership on the exhibition with NUI Galway, Tina Roche, CEO for Business in the Community, Ireland said: "BITCI wants to show university graduates that a responsible attitude towards society and the environment can continue well after they have graduated. The exhibition, therefore, portrays to students and the community alike that extraordinary contributions to society can be made and are being made by thousands of employees nationwide". -ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

An education conference at NUI Galway on Saturday, 27 February, will look at an emerging method of teaching languages which is gaining popularity across Europe. With 40% of marks being allocated to the oral in the Leaving Cert Irish exam from 2012, the conference will be of specific interest to teachers of Irish at second-level. The one-day conference is organised by NUI Galway's School of Education and Gaelscoileanna Teo. The conference will focus on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a method for teaching subjects and language together. In recent years, CLIL has become the umbrella term for learning another subject, such as geography, through a language which is not the mother tongue of the learners. This method would be of particular interest to Irish teachers who could perhaps teach part of their second subject through Irish. According to conference organiser Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir of NUI Galway's School of Education: "This method can have students speaking the language without them even being aware of it. CLIL is being used to great effect all over the EU, and it has huge potential for Irish language, Irish teaching and for Irish schools. The challenges around teaching Irish which we face in Ireland every day are not something that should be seen as particular to this country alone. Our colleagues around Europe have much experience to share". The conference will feature a case study by Olive Ní Chonghaile of the Mercy College, Tuam, who will describe her own experience of putting CLIL into practice in a secondary school in Ireland. Speakers in the area of CLIL and language acquisition at the event include: María Jesús Frigols-Martin, Valencia, will give the background to the growth and success of CLIL in Europe. Do Coyle, University of Aberdeen, will discuss the issues related to training teachers in this method. Muiris Ó Laoire, IT Tralee, world renowned in the area of language and language acquisition, will speak on CLIL in the Irish context. Áine Furlong, IT Waterford, will show practical ways of creating materials and resources for the CLIL lesson. Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe, University of the Basque Country, will discuss the CLIL experience with a minority language in the Basque Country. Carmel Mary Coonan, Universita Ca'Foscari di Venezia, Italy, will talk about CLIL in the classroom. NUI Galway's Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir added: "This is a chance to explore new ways of teaching Irish by incorporating the CLIL methods – which are known to work in other European countries. We hope the conference will provide the opportunity for those involved in education to share with colleagues around the country and to invigorate teaching with new possibilities". The cost for the day, including lunch and refreshments is €55. For more information and online booking, see www.conference.ie or call phone 091 492861 / 01 8535191. -ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The archaeology of 19th century Ireland, a subject of growing interest, will be the topic of a free public lecture hosted by the discipline of Archaeology at NUI Galway on Monday, 8 February. Specifically, the talk will look at 'The Art and Archaeology of the 19th Century Farmhouse Interior'. The lecture will be delivered by Professor Charles E. Orser Jr. and will take place at NUI Galway's Moore Institute at 4pm. Professor Orser is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University and Curator of Historical Archaeology at the New York State Museum. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway. He is an historical archaeologist and uses anthropology and archaeology to investigate the lives of men and women, often ignored by official written history, and their interactions with people of power. According to Professor Orser: "Taken by themselves, the analysis of archaeological findings and works of art can provide valuable information about the material culture of 19th century rural Ireland. The union of both sources of information is even more powerful for offering a more complete picture of the material lives of farm families. In this talk, I present examples of the ways in which the two sources can be used together as a way of demonstrating what we can learn from them". Professor Orser's textbooks are used to train archaeologists in many countries and he has carried out fieldwork in Latin America, the US and Ireland. For over a decade his field research has focused on the west of Ireland in the 19th century. Maggie Ronayne, Lecturer in Archaeology at NUI Galway, who has organised the lecture said: "We are delighted to host this distinguished international scholar. Historical archaeology of our more recent past, especially when professionals work in partnership with the community whose heritage it is, can make a vital contribution, here in Ireland and globally, to our appreciation of the collective human endeavour of our ancestors, and the often miraculous accomplishments of tenant villages. With this knowledge we may better understand and support communities today who defend their culture and heritage". -ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Kathleen O'Toole, Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, will be the keynote speaker at a special networking event hosted by NUI Galway's Child and Family Research Centre. The eighth in a series, the Child and Family Welfare Network Event takes place at 6pm on Tuesday, 9 February, in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. Kathleen O'Toole will deliver a presentation on 'Youth Justice – Prevention and Intervention', which will be followed by a practitioner response by local Community Garda Ciara Moran. Chief Inspector O'Toole began her career as a patrol officer in the Boston Police Department and rose through the ranks of local and state law enforcement in Massachusetts. She was also a consultant to the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on police profiling cases, was a member of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland as part of the Peace Process, and chaired the Boston Fire Department Review Commission. According to Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway: "Community-based prevention programmes and community policing offer real world solutions both in supporting young people at risk and those who are in conflict with the law. In the current economic crisis it is crucial that we invest more in preventing youth crime with a view to savings for the taxpayer in the long-term". The Child and Family Welfare Network Event is aimed at practitioners, managers, policy makers and academics working or interested in the area of children and family wellbeing. The bi-annual event aims to allow for discussion, dissemination of information, shared learning and networking with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes for children and families. For further information or to RSVP for the event please contact Carmel Devaney, Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway on 091-495733. -Ends-

Monday, 1 February 2010

NUI Galway's Green Week was launched today (Monday, 1 February) at a talk by RTÉ's Environment Correspondent, Paul Cunningham on 'Copenhagen and Beyond'. Now in its third year, Green Week will take place on campus from 1-7 February. The Green Week programme features many environmental themed events such as Ecolympics, Leave your Car at Home Day and Wear Green Day. At the 'Eco Fair', over 40 stands will showcase renewable technologies, volunteering opportunities, green electricity, recycling, eco-gadgets, environmental campaigns and organic food. The 'Sustainable Transport Fair' will showcase means of transport with low impact on the environment and will have a selection of silent electric and city bikes, and scooters available to test-ride. Other highlights during Green Week will include workshops on growing and cooking your own vegetables, repairing old clothes, and how to make your home more energy efficient. Environmental themed films will be shown and talks on a variety of topics from energy efficiency to human rights and sustainability will take place. The NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society will also hold a debate on the future of Nuclear Power in Ireland. For those interested in cycling to work, a free safe-cycling talk will be given by Galway Cycling Campaign and a training session will be provided by the West Coast Wheelers Cycling Club. WEEE Ireland (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) will also be on campus to accept electrical and electronic household waste for recycling. A number of new initiatives will be launched during the week including a computer reuse initiative in partnership with Camara – a volunteer organisation dedicated to educating communities in Africa. Sinéad Higgins, Environmental Manager at NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway's Green Week is the ideal time for members of the public and our 19,000 students and staff to make one small change and play a part in developing a greener community. The programme is packed with events, ideas and competitions to suit everyone". NUI Galway is committed to playing a role in helping Ireland to reduce carbon emissions and in recent years has invested greatly in improving its environmental performance. In 2009, NUI Galway reduced its carbon emissions from energy consumption by almost 5% through investment in energy efficiency measures across campus. The University also increased recycling rates by 7% and substantially reduced waste production on campus. -ends-

Monday, 1 February 2010

NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will continue its series of public talks with the next lecture exploring the topic of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). The free lecture will take place on Wednesday, 10 February, at 7.30pm in the McMunn Theatre, NUI Galway. The lecture, which will be delivered by NUI Galway's Dr Gregg Hallinan, will focus on the mysterious GRBs, which are flashes of gamma rays associated with extremely energetic explosions in distant galaxies. Although most GRBs take place in the far reaches of the universe, they still result in the detection of large amounts of energy on earth. It has been hypothesised that a close GRB, originating in our own Milky Way galaxy, could have previously caused a mass extinction on Earth. GRBs occur approximately once per day, when a bright flash of deadly gamma radiation is detected coming from a wholly random direction in the sky. Until recently GRBs were one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. When initially detected in the late 1960s, the United States suspected that the USSR might be attempting to conduct secret nuclear tests on the far side of the moon. However, it was soon established that these bursts were coming from outer space, although it took three decades of active research to find out what actually caused these bright flashes in the sky. Speaking about the lecture, Dr Hallinan said: "We now know that most GRBs signal the biggest explosions in the universe since the Big Bang. These explosions are a million trillion times as bright as the Sun, and are caused when the very largest stars run out of fuel and are torn apart by their own gravity, resulting in the formation of a black hole. During the lecture I will explain the history of how GRBs were discovered and the quest to understand them, as well as their importance in astronomy and their potential threat to humanity". More details about this lecture series can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-

Monday, 1 February 2010

NUI Galway Launches First Comprehensive Book in Emerging Field of Microbial Glycobiology The first comprehensive book to be published in the emerging field of microbial glycobiology has been launched at NUI Galway. Microbial Glycobiology – Structures, Relevance and Applications presents information on sugars (carbohydrates) influencing the biology of microorganisms, what is termed microbial glycobiology. Microbial glycobiology represents a multidisciplinary and emerging area with implications for a range of basic and applied research fields, as well as having industrial, medical and biotechnological implications. The importance of the substitution of microbial proteins by sugars (glycosylation) and the role played by glycosylated molecules in disease development, immune recognition and environmental processes has become well-established in recent years. The new book, with Professor Anthony Moran, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway as Editor-in-Chief, runs to over 1,000 pages, with 50 chapters by 100 contributors from Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. The volume also boasts a panel of international editors from the field, including: Professor Otto Holst, Leibniz Centre for Medicine and Biosciences, Germany; Professor Patrick Brennan, Colorado State University, USA; and Professor Mark von Itzstein, Griffith University, Australia. At the launch, Professor Moran noted that the book comes at an important time as glycobiology is having significant impact upon our understanding of microbes, their control and exploitation. He said: "Industrially, major developments in vaccine design, drug discovery and diagnostics are being made based on microbial glycobiology, and technologically the field is expanding our understanding, detection and therapy of various infectious agents". He added: "This is a very vibrant area of research and is an expanding area of technology with many potential ramifications for industrial and medical developments. The subject area exhibits extensive growth because of the biomedical, biotherapeutic, diagnostic and biotechnological applications which have fuelled research and industrial interest". Ireland has already established a strong footing in the burgeoning field of glycoscience. NUI Galway is home to the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) of which Professor Moran is a member. A collaboration of research institutions and industry partners, the AGRC was established in 2009 with a significant grant from Government through Science Foundation Ireland, and is aiding in the discovery of novel diagnostics, therapeutics and nutraceuticals. "There is strong expertise in Ireland in this area, and the publication of this new book will further advance that connection on the international research stage. With Microbial Glycobiology, our aim is to provide a useful introduction to the subject for new researchers, as well as an invaluable reference for experienced ones," observed Professor Moran. Microbial Glycobiology is published by Academic Press, for more information see http://www.elsevierdirect.com -ends-

Friday, 29 January 2010

Ms Áine Brady, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Older People and Health Promotion, today launched the establishment of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway. The work of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is supported by a global network of collaborating centres, with the centre at NUI Galway one of only three in Ireland, and one of only 26 centres around the world dedicated to Health Promotion. The designation comes as a result of the important role the University's Health Promotion Research Centre has played over the past 20 years in health promotion education and research to support national policies and development. The Centre at NUI Galway is the only one of its kind in Ireland and has an active multidisciplinary research programme of work supported by an experienced team of some 30 staff. "I am very pleased to launch this WHO Collaborating Centre at NUI Galway. The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway plays an important role in providing the research and knowledge base for the development of national policy and best practice on promoting the health of the population. I am confident that the Centre will continue to make a very valuable contribution to the work of WHO in health promotion and public health at both national and global levels", said Minister Brady. Following today's announcemnt, the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway will collaborate with WHO on the effective production, dissemination and translation of health promotion research. This will support the development of effective practice and policy at national, European and global levels. The Centre will focus on supporting evidence-based practice and policy in a number of areas including; research on promoting youth health in schools, the health of staff in the workplace, and advancing the implementation and evaluation of health promotion interventions including those that target improved mental health and social wellbeing. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "This is a tremendous achievement and is an important recognition of the international standing and quality of the research produced at the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway.  The designation of the Health Promotion Research Centre as a WHO Collaborating Centre highlights our international leadership in this field". The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is officially designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for an initial period of four years, led by Professor Margaret Barry. who commented: "Health promotion is proven to have a wide range of health and social benefits and our work over the last 20 years and been focussed on informing policy decisions and best practice in this area. We look forward to working with our colleagues at WHO and our national and international partners on the advancement of research for the effective promotion of population health and wellbeing". -ends-

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Dr Peter Corcoran of NUI Galway is the only engineer based in Ireland to be elected Fellow of the prestigious US-based Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in the 2010 listing. Dr Corcoran is being recognised for his 'contributions to digital camera technologies' alongside 308 other engineering experts from around the world. Dr Corcoran's elevation to Fellow brings to 10 the number of Irish-based researchers who have been recognised by the IEEE. That number includes Dr Corcoran's colleague Professor Ger Hurley from NUI Galway who was recognised in 2006 for his work in the field of power electronics. Fellowship of the IEEE is conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon persons of outstanding qualifications and experience who have contributed significantly to society. A native of Dublin, Dr Corcoran has made significant contributions to digital camera technology both through his academic publications and through a technology company, FotoNation, which he co-founded with Eran Steinberg and Petronel Bigioi. FotoNation became the market leader in automated red-eye removal and continues to develop and refine a range of OEM technologies for digital cameras. These technologies are used in more than 100 million digital cameras worldwide. Dr Corcoran was also a major contributor to a range of face-tracking and face-analysis techniques pioneered for digital cameras and cameraphones by FotoNation in the period 2003-2008. Again, these technologies have greatly enhanced today s consumer digital cameras enabling better quality images to be achieved in low-cost consumer products. Dr Corcoran s research team from NUI Galway formed the original engineering team of the start-up company that became FotoNation. Almost all of these engineers are still working with the company today. According to the IEEE: "The ability of a small, Galway based, engineering company to compete with large multinational corporations in the development of leading edge image processing algorithms is due in no small part to Dr Corcoran s technical vision and knowledge of embedded systems and image processing techniques". More recently, Dr Corcoran's research has explored methods for the encoding of digital content using personal biometric features. This approach offers a potential solution to the growing problems of piracy and illegal distribution of digital content such as music and movies. Dr Corcoran added: "The new challenge for electronic engineers such as myself now lies in the area of biometric features. Within a matter of years we can hope to have consumer devices that will "know" their owners. These new "smart" devices should solve many of the problems we have today with digital copyright and the piracy of movies and music". -ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The line up for the 10th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt, which runs from 8-12 February, was launched yesterday (Monday, 25 January). The Festival contains a superb programme of music, art, performance and film, with many free events to which the public are welcome. Múscailt, which is organised by the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office, will feature emerging artists and entertainers performing through the medium of Irish and English. Among the venues for the Festival will be the University's newly opened arts and cultural centre, the Bailey Allen Wing. The launch featured rap artist Bubba Shakespeare performing 'as Gaeilge', along with performances from The WIZ by the Galway University Musical Society (GUMS). Festival highlights include: Musical GUMS will perform their version of The WIZ, a musical based on the 1978 movie starring Michael Jackson which is full of jazz, soul and funk numbers. Gaeilge Night A night of rap and comedy 'as Gaeilge', will take place in Tigh an Táilliúra, An Cheathrú Rua. Bubba Shakespeare and GMC will join comedienne Kathleen O'Rourke, writer and voice of the animation, Granny O'Grimm, which has been long-listed for an Oscar. This will be followed by DJ Ben O'Faoláin. Visual Arts During Múscailt the visual arts will feature strongly. Alice Maher will unveil two of her iconic pieces, Coma Berenices and The Seduction, which were recently acquired by NUI Galway. As well as giving a short talk on her work, Alice will also open the visual art exhibitions in Múscailt, including Slippage, a temporary solo exhibition of drawings and animations by acclaimed visual artist Aideen Barry. A group exhibition, Acquisitions, featuring recently acquired works by Robin Jones, Aideen Barry, Ben Geoghegan, Dagmar Drabent, Brian Maguire and Brigit Beemster will also be on display. Many of these artists, including stone carver Pat Bracken, will participate in a series of informal morning conversations. MUSE, the 30th annual Art Society exhibition, will feature a collection of drawings, paintings, textiles and sculptures. A new ceramic sculpture by Simon Murphy, specially created for the 10th Múscailt Festival, will also be unveiled. Performance Arts Múscailt will have a selection of new shows on offer in the Performing Arts, including Plastic Age by Francomime and Colours the Opera by Colours Street Theatre. A new initiative, SOLO SHOW – Monologue for Múscailt, will feature short solo performances. Comedian John Colleary will perform with student comedian Steve Bennett in support. In association with Arts in Action, artist Benji de Burca, will create a giant cut-out painting using stencils of images of students created on the day. Juggling Society will perform with special guest juggler extraordinaire Marco Paoletti, while Cumann Drámaíochta will provide a performance 'as Gaeilge'. For film fans, new releases will be shown throughout the Festival and the Fantasy and Science Fiction Society will run a marathon of retro Sci-Fi films. Music Múscailt, together with Music for Galway, will host pianist James Lisney, currently in mini-residency at the University, and will celebrate 200 years of Schumann and Chopin, with a series of recitals. Irish rappers Bubba Shakespeare and GMC will perform 'as Gaeilge' on the opening day of the festival. Students from the Dioplóma sna Dána (Coiriú agus Stáitsiú an Cheoil Thraidisiúnta) class will present a traditional music performance and NUI Galway Chamber Orchestra, Traditional Irish Music Society, Rockapella (Barbershop), and grunge band 21 Outs will also feature in the musical programme. Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer, said: "In these financially tight times, it is important and fulfilling to encourage emerging performers and artists, working in both Irish and English, who are edgy and original. The artists featuring in this year's 10th Múscailt Festival are definitely making waves, and we are proud to have them in our programme". All events are open to the public and almost all are free, with the exception of the James Lisney piano recitals in the Aula Maxima (tel: 091 705962 / info@musicforgalway.ie) and The WIZ at the Black Box (tel: 091 569777 / www.tht.ie). For further details about the festival please visit www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie, or telephone the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office at 091 493766 for a brochure. For information on the Comedy and Rap night in An Cheathrú Rua please email funkygaeilgeloba@yahoo.com. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2010

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will this week launch the European Yearbook of Disability Law (Volume 1), a collaborative project between NUI Galway and the University of Maastricht. This is the first journal of its type in Europe. The launch will take place on Friday, 29 January, at 4pm in Room MY 129, Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, will welcome attendees, while Mr Hywel Ceri Jones will formally launch the Yearbook. Mr Ceri Jones is co-chair of the Consortium of European Foundations (Philanthropies) on Human Rights Disability. He is also former Deputy Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities in the European Commission. The European Yearbook of Disability Law reviews significant developments in disability law and policy at a European level and also contains a series of commissioned articles on current challenges and developments in the field from senior analysts and academics. The Yearbook is jointly edited by Professor Lisa Waddington of Maastricht University and Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the NUI Galway Centre for Disability Law and Policy. According to Professor Quinn, "The Yearbook is a great example of the work carried out here at the Centre. It provides an important overview and update on the state of affairs on the European stage. This is more crucial than ever as the EU ratifies the new UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. It is important that we spread knowledge about EU level initiatives in the field of disability and bring more people into the debates". The Centre for Disability Law and Policy was established in 2008 and is one of the first of its type in Europe. For further information on the launch contact Mary McQuinn at 091 495888 or email mary.mcquinn@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Monday, 25 January 2010

20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030: Opportunities and Challenges NUI Galway will host a Symposium on Language Planning next month, aimed at those who have an interest in cultural and linguistic diversity, and the challenges posed to this diversity in various language communities. The Language Planning Symposium will take place in the Bailey Allen Wing in Áras na Mac Léinn on 1 and 2 February. Following the publication of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030, the Language Planning Unit of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge welcomes the opportunity to provide this forum for detailed discussion and analysis of the new strategy. Both national and international scholars of language planning will contribute to the Symposium, with the aim of encouraging discussion and critical analysis of the various language planning challenges at this critical juncture. The Symposium also provides the opportunity to learn from experiences shared by other language minorities in today's social, political and cultural contexts. "This Symposium is being held at a very critical time for the Irish language due to the legislative amendments and the language planning approach currently being considered for the language and the Gaeltacht. This Symposium will give us the opportunity to discuss these important issues between ourselves and also with international experts who have expertise in language planning for minority languages" according to Dr Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Symposium Director. Invited lecturers include: Dr Rob Dunbar, University of Aberdeen; Dr Hywel Glyn Lewis, Coleg Prifysgol y Drindod Carmarthen, University of Wales; Professor Silvina Montrul, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., will officially open the Symposium at 9.30am on Monday 1 February. Participants are asked to attend at 9.00am on the Monday to complete registration. An attendance fee of €100 will apply however students will be permitted to attend free of charge. For further information please contact Laoise Ní Thuairisg in The Language Planning Unit, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at laoise.nithuairisg@oegaillimh.ie or 091 595101. -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The annual NUI Galway Graduate Studies Fair takes place on Wednesday, 3 February, from 12.30 – 4.30pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students currently attend NUI Galway, many of them travelling from overseas and this event will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway's full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. The Fair will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. An applications clinic and personal statement clinic will run throughout the day, and talks will include information on funding opportunities. At the Graduate Studies Fair, 80 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at NUI Galway, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Stands from other institutions across the country will also feature. According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway's Career Development Centre: "In the current economic climate, there is increased interest among undergraduate students in staying in education by pursuing postgraduate studies. A postgraduate qualification can provide a real career boost. Undoubtedly, it can maximise career prospects and earnings". NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Admissions Officer, adds: "Last year postgraduate applications to NUI Galway increased by 40%. People are always interested in upskilling, improving their qualifications and their employability. With so many options available at postgraduate level, people must choose carefully. The Graduate Studies Fair offers the opportunity to talk to lecturers and current postgraduate students. My advice would be to apply early and often as you can make up to three applications online at www.pac.ie/nuigalway". An online prospectus of all that is on offer at NUI Galway at postgraduate level and further information about the Graduate Studies Fair is available at a href="http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgrad/"www.nuigalway.ie/postgrad/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The 5th annual Teddy Bear Hospital, the largest ever in Ireland, is to take place at NUI Galway from 28-29 January. Over 1,000 sick teddy bears will be admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their owners, 1,000 primary school children between the ages of three and eight. Up to 200 medical students from NUI Galway will volunteer to diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help the children feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations. Cornelia Carey, second year medical student at NUI Galway, is a member of Sláinte Society and is helping to organise the event: "Teddy Bear Hospital will be held over two days in order to cater for the overwhelming number of sick teddies in Galway city and county. This event provides a great opportunity for our Teddy Doctors to explain how doctors work and to show the children that hospitals and medical procedures are not so scary". This year, 28 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the 'waiting room', a play area filled with toys and games, from Smyths Toys. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them and decide if Teddy needs to visit the specially designed Teddy X-ray or MRI Machine. It is expected that Teddy will soon be on the mend, helped by medical supplies from Boots. A Teddy Pharmacy will also be open, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance, sponsored by Medisource. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day by NUI Galway's Juggling Society and face painters. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway's Societies Officer, said: "I love seeing Teddy Bear Hospital in action. Students take the initiative to engage with the community in mutually beneficial and creative ways. This event grows each year and for good reason". - ends -

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Galway Chamber and NUI Galway last night (Monday, 18 January) hosted the third Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture. This event, which alternates between the University and GMIT, honours the memory of the late Paddy Ryan. Dr Alan Ahearne, Special Advisor to Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., Minister for Finance, was the guest speaker at the event which was held at NUI Galway and attended by some 500 people. Currently on a leave of absence from positions at NUI Galway and at Bruegel, the influential Brussels-based economics think tank, Dr Ahearne gave his view on the country's current economic situation in a lecture entitled 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Policy Making in a Time of Economic Crisis.' A number of factors are starting to fall into place to ensure that economic growth can be anticipated in 2010, according to Dr Ahearne. He said that 2009 was a year for stabilisation and that the measures taken last year should result in growth later this year. According to Dr Ahearne, a number of factors gave rise to such optimism. He said there was a 5% improvement in unit labour costs in Ireland since the autumn. The unit cost in Ireland dropped 2% in Ireland last year at a time when they increased by 3% in the Euro area. "This is already kickstarting growth. We are starting to gain market share but we need to do more as we lost our competitiveness during the boom years," said Dr Ahearne. He said that export-led growth would be the engine for the recovery but that it would probably be 2011 before real impact would be felt, after years of over-dependence on house building. "We are on the road to recovery but it will be a bumpy road. It is still an uncertain world and the financial markets are fragile. "Unemployment is still increasing, although the rate has slowed down," he noted. He said that as firms expand in the recovery it was crucial banks could provide credit, so sorting out the banking sector was key to this. "There needs to be a proper sequence of events and that is what is happening. Around €19billion will be transferred into NAMA next month and that first transfer will give us a lot of information," he said. Dr Ahearne said that the remainder should be transferred by the end of September and that the cost of recapitalising the banking sector would become apparent in between. He said that when the 'risky' loans were gone off the balance sheet and the banks were recapitalised, the banking sector would be well able to meet the needs of the economy. Dr Ahearne dismissed suggestions that banks should default on bondholders. "The bulk of bonds in Irish banks are ordinary senior bonds. They are part of the banks' funding and not risk capital. They are owned by pension funds, insurance companies, credit unions and other long-term providers of funds," said Dr Ahearne, who added that, in any event, such bonds were covered by the Bank Guarantee scheme. Dr Ahearne and the Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture was introduced by NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne. He said that people in Ireland today owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Paddy Ryan and to his generation. "Paddy Ryan and his peers worked to build the modern Ireland. He will be remembered for his contribution to Galway's business and civic life and as an exemplar of the nation-builders of the 50s, 60s and '70s. "Like many of his generation, he believed in 'giving something back'. He had a strong sense of responsibility towards helping those less fortunate. "In many ways, he embodied what is nowadays referred to active citizenship and social responsibility," said Dr Browne. President of Galway Chamber Mr Paul Shelly presented Dr Ahearne with a specially commissioned medal designed by the artist and sculpture Padraic Reaney following his lecture. The medal was sponsored by Schneider Electric IT Logistics Europe (formerly APC). The Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture alternates between GMIT and NUI Galway. Paddy Ryan was a former Mayor of Galway who was a successful businessman in the city until his death in 2004. Dr Ahearne's presentation can be viewed at http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/video/paddy-ryan-memorial-lecture.html -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2010

A new public lecture series by recently-appointed NUI Galway Established Professors in the School of Humanities will commence on Wednesday, 27 January. NUI Galway's President, Dr James J. Browne, will launch the first of the series of free talks at the Galway City Museum at 7.30pm. Designed to make a case for the role of the Humanities in society today, the lectures address fundamental questions from the perspectives of English, Philosophy and History. The talks will follow a lively, informative and provocative format and will be relevant to how we think of ourselves as a society today. The first lecture, 'Literature in a Digital Age', will be given by Sean Ryder, Established Professor of English and an international authority on text-editing with new technologies. His talk will question the use of literature in the contemporary world. On Wednesday, 24 February, Paul Crowther, Established Professor of Philosophy at NUI Galway and world-renowned expert in aesthetics, will pose the question 'what is it to be free?' and address the uses of non-practical knowledge. The third and final lecture will be delivered by Steven Ellis, Established Professor of History at NUI Galway, on Wednesday, 24 March. Professor Ellis, who is a specialist in Tudor Ireland and Britain, will examine the role of political unions and partitions in early modern Ireland. This lecture series is designed to appeal to a broad audience and each 40 minute lecture will be followed by a short question and answer session. Light refreshments will be available before each lecture. The lecture series is organised by the Civic Engagement Forum of the School of Humanities. For further information, contact Karen Walsh 091-495689 or email: karenm.walsh@nuigalway.ie. -ends-

Monday, 18 January 2010

Representatives from NUI Galway and Ireland's six other universities are this week travelling to New York and Washington, in a joint initiative coordinated by Enterprise Ireland. The aim of the initiative is to boost collaboration between Irish and US institutes of higher learning. The visit is part of the Education Ireland strategy to draw new waves of US students to Ireland for undergraduate and graduate studies and to broaden the network of research partnerships between higher learning institutions in both countries. Enterprise Ireland's Manager of International Education Services Terry McParland said: "Ireland's third level institutions, with the support of the Irish Government are investing heavily in research in strategically important areas such as science, engineering, biotechnology and medical disciplines. It is hoped that increasing the collaboration between higher level institutions in Ireland and the US will foster new and greater synergies that will yield inventive research and breakthroughs. "The initiative also aims to increase the flow of US students to pursue studies in Ireland's higher education institutes. International education is already a high growth sector in Ireland as global demand for quality, overseas tertiary education continues to grow despite the economic downturn. This initiative aims to highlight the quality of third level education in Ireland and attract more American students to study in Ireland." Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs at NUI Galway added: "NUI Galway has a long tradition of welcoming North American students for both semester abroad and summer school programmes. In recent years, increasing numbers of US students have chosen NUI Galway to complete their full degree programmes, thus adding to the rich culture diversity already evident on campus. Students regularly comment on how welcome they are made not just at the University but also by the people of Galway City. Every year approximately 800 US students choose Galway for their short-term study programmes, contributing significantly to the local economy. These students return to the US and act as important ambassadors both for Galway and Ireland". This initiative is being coordinated by Education Ireland. Education Ireland is dedicated to the development and promotion of Ireland as an international education centre of excellence. The Education Ireland brand is managed by Enterprise Ireland. The seven universities participating in this pilot visit include Dublin City University, National University of Ireland, Galway, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College, Dublin and the University of Limerick. -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2010

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2010 Alumni Awards to be presented at the tenth annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 6 March, 2010 in the newly opened Bailey Allen Wing on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University's more than 70,000 graduates worldwide. The awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 61 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, Michael D. Higgins, Ciarán FitzGerald, Sean O'Rourke, Professor Frank Gannon, Dr Luke Clancy and Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the eight alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2010: AIB Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Gerard Donovan BA 1983, MA 1988, Novelist. Bank of Ireland Award for Business, Public Policy and Law Margaret Sweeney BComm 1981, Chief Executive, Postbank Ireland Ltd. Bank of Ireland Award for Engineering and Informatics Professor Brian Moran BE1980, MEngSc.1982. Acting Provost and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia. Duais Hewlett-Packard don Ghaeilge Pádraig Ó hAoláin LLB 1985, Príomhfheidhmeannach, Údarás na Gaeltachta. Medtronic Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Professor Rose Anne Kenny MB, BCh, BAO 1977, MD 1986, Head of Department of Clinical Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Physician in Medicine at St James' Hospital. Seavite Award for Science Dr J. Paul Duffy BSc 1986, PhD 1992, Vice President Operations, Primary Care/Oncology Operating Unit for Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals. Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne said: "Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University's more than 70,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March". The new Gala Banquet venue, The Bailey Allen Wing in the newly refurbished Áras na Mac Léinn, is dedicated to the arts and societies and will include performance facilities, exhibition space and an auditorium for University, civic and public events. Through a generous bequest of the late Angela Allen the spirit of her son, Frank Bailey, will be immortalised at NUI Galway with the development of the new venue. Francis J. Bailey is fondly remembered for his theatre productions on campus in the 1960s. The University is proud to honour this remarkable man who died tragically in 1972. The Bailey Allen Hall will provide the University with a prime theatre space to be used by students for performance as well as by the University for conferrings and other significant events. For booking information contact Catherine Conroy at 091 492972 or catherine.conroy@nuigalway.ie For further information and online booking, click here. -Ends-

Friday, 15 January 2010

Monaghan Secondary School Scoops Science Essay Competition for Second Consecutive Year Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan T.D., has today announced the winner of the All-Ireland Science Essay Competition, organised by the Science Foundation Ireland-funded 'Regenerative Medicine Institute' (REMEDI), based at NUI Galway. Visiting the Science Foundation Ireland stand at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, Minister Lenihan presented first prize in the Essay Competition to Lisa Duffy of Castleblayney College, Co. Monaghan. Lisa, a fifth-year student, received a trophy, high-spec laptop and a €500 science bursary for her school from Minister Lenihan. This is the second consecutive year that a student from Castleblayney College has taken first prize in the competition. In making the presentation, Minister Lenihan said: "For the past five years, the REMEDI Science Essay Competition has invited young people to express their views on modern-day scientific challenges, and has sought to encourage students to consider pursuing science and engineering-related studies at third-level". The Minister added, "The theme of this year's competition – "Are people's DNA sequences their business and nobody else's?" – generated considerable interest in schools nationwide, with over 100 essays received from around the country. I welcome initiatives such as this in their drive to foster a greater awareness of science and its impact in our daily lives". The Minister added "The Government places great emphasis on the importance of science to Ireland in an educational, social and economic context and, through a number of channels, continues to prioritise science-related disciplines from primary through to fourth-level education." Scientific Director of REMEDI, Professor Frank Barry commented: "One of the important requirements for a successful career in science is an ability to communicate scientific ideas, debate important questions and report research findings in a clear and unambiguous way. The quality and originality of the winning essays in this competition are very impressive and I congratulate all the students who participated". Dr Mark Foley, Vice-Dean for Communication and Strategy in the College of Science and Lecturer in the School of Physics, at NUI Galway remarks: "The College of Science was delighted to come on board this year to support the REMEDI Annual Science Essay Competition. I am extremely encouraged by the quantity and quality of submissions which showcases the continued interest in Science at Secondary level. I hope that participation in science programmes at third-level continues to grow in the coming years and that these students will be key to the success of Ireland's Smart Economy". center-Ends-

Friday, 15 January 2010

The next in a series of public talks by NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will cover two topics, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics. The free lecture will take place on Wednesday, 27 January, at 7.30pm in the McMunn Theatre, NUI Galway. Astrophysics is a broad subject focused on developing an understanding of our place in the universe. This part of the lecture will be presented by Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway, who said: "In Galway, we are interested in modelling and observations of a diverse selection of astronomical objects including pulsars, young and forming stars, star clusters, exo-planets and brown dwarfs. In order to study these objects we have to use astronomical facilities spread around the world and in space. We also have an advanced programme of instrument development particular for the largest optical telescopes". Atmospheric Physics includes a wide spectrum of research ranging from climate change studies to cloud formation, atmosphere-ocean interactions to health and environmental effects of air pollution. This part of the lecture will be given by Dr Brian Ward, Lecturer with the School of Physics, who will provide an overview of the Atmospheric Physics cluster and its Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS) at NUI Galway. He will also be discussing the University's research facilities such as the Global Atmosphere Watch Research Station, Mace Head, near Carna in Connemara. After the lecture a tour will be given of the research facilities in the NUI Galway School of Physics. Although the lectures will be aimed at second level students, they will also be of interest and open to the general public. More details about this lecture series can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -ends-

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

NUI Galway officially opened its new €6million arts wing and cultural centre with a spectacular launch this weekend where performances by Druid Theatre, Macnas, David O'Leary and Frankie Gavin introduced the new Bailey Allen Wing to a full house of University guests. Sciathán Bailey Allen is named after the late Frank J. Bailey, born in Galway in 1938, and the son of Desmond and Angela (later Allen), both well-known city-centre hotel proprietors. He graduated from NUI Galway in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Though a generous bequest from his mother, the late Angela Allen, the spirit of Frank Bailey will be memorialised at NUI Galway, while continuing to foster and support the artistic development of Galway city. As a member of the student Dramatic Society, Frank infused the society with a visionary spirit that began the University's association with experimental and innovative drama. Later, he worked with Radio Éireann as an actor and producer and he went on to establish his own theatre company, producing dramas for the Olympia, Gaiety, Abbey and Celtic Art theatres. Frank's last production, Synge's Riders to the Sea, staged in Galway in 1971, foreshadowed his own sudden and untimely death. Through his work, he inspired a young generation of actors and producers, which led to the rejuvenation of Dramsoc at the University, and to a flowering of culture and creativity in Galway city evidenced in cultural initiatives such as Galway Arts Festival, Druid Theatre Company, Macnas, Cúirt and others. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway is proud to honour this remarkable man who died tragically in 1972. The Bailey Allen Wing in the newly refurbished Áras na Mac Léinn is dedicated to the Arts and Societies and will include performance facilities, exhibition space and an Auditorium for University, civic and public events. It will facilitate the University as a prime theatre space to be used by students for performance as well as by the University for conferrings and other significant events. We are grateful to the Bailey Allen family and in particular to Dorothy Pilkington, niece of Angela Allen, who attended the opening launch this weekend". -Ends-

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway today (Wednesday, 13 January) announced a three-year "Enterprise of the Future" technology project, supported by Cisco. The €400,000 project will develop new ways for the "Enterprise of the Future" to integrate information and make it easily accessible for employees. Today, a typical company has information stored across a variety of often unconnected formats including documents, emails, instant messaging and wiki pages. DERI's semantic search and integration technology will seek to more cleverly and usefully link information and make it accessible across the company. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, said: "This joint project shows that the leadership of Irish based research is recognised and valued by companies such as Cisco. The results originating from research projects like these could help to secure existing employment and create new jobs in Ireland by providing us with a competitive edge". "It is one thing having information, but another challenge entirely on how to integrate that information so that is easily linked, accessible and useful", said Mike Conroy, General Manager, Cisco R&D in Ireland. Keith Griffin, Lead Architect, Cisco, who developed the project with DERI, said: "Cisco believes that DERI, as a world leader in semantic web research can now link enterprise social networking, social connectivity and unified communications for the benefit of companies of the future". Cisco's decision to support the project follows a recent visit by Cisco's Vice President of Research, Dave Rossetti, to Galway. DERI and Cisco proposed that new semantic web technologies could help companies make better use of the torrent of information – from email to documents – which employees have to process every day. For the 'Enterprise of the Future" project Cisco has made a direct and in-kind contribution to DERI's research, with further support coming from the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET). The project builds on the existing ongoing Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) sponsored research projects between Cisco and DERI. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

On Thursday evening, 14 January, NUI Galway will host dedicated information sessions for prospective mature students and for Leaving Certificate students who qualify under the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). The information session on the HEAR and DARE schemes will take place at 7pm on Thursday in the O'Flaherty Theatre, Arts and Science Building, NUI Galway. The information session for mature students will take place at 7.30pm in the Colm O'hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. NUI Galway is now operating the two new schemes, HEAR and DARE, which enable students to enter the University with reduced points in their Leaving Certificate examinations. HEAR is an admissions scheme for students from backgrounds who, for cultural and economic reasons, do not normally apply to third-level education. DARE is a third-level admissions scheme for school leavers with disabilities. The HEAR and DARE schemes are part of the University's programme to increase access to its undergraduate courses for a wider range of students. For prospective mature students, those aged 23 and over, information will be provided on full-time programmes, entry requirements, and application and selection procedures. There will also be a focus on financial supports and on other supports available within the University. Mary Liddy, from the Mature Students Office at NUI Galway, has noticed an increased interest in returning to formal study in recent years: "With the economic downturn, many are looking to develop new employment opportunities by studying for a degree". During the information session a presentation will also be given on the University's special Access Programme for socio-economically disadvantaged mature students and on the pre-University foundation Courses, open to all, in Science and Engineering and in Commerce. For further information please contact: Tara Hanley, Access Office, NUI Galway on 091 494053; or Mary Liddy, Mature Students Office, NUI Galway on 091 492695; or Elizabeth Walsh, Disability Office, NUI Galway on 091493541. -ends-

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, and Chairman of COPE Galway, John Concannon, have signed a partnership agreement which will benefit some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in Galway. This partnership is the first of its kind, and through this initiative, a new and innovative approach is being taken by the University in working with a voluntary organisation. Students and academics involved in teaching, research and volunteerism will put a range of resources at the service of COPE Galway. COPE Galway is a charity that provides services including a refuge for women and children affected by domestic violence, accommodation for those experiencing homelessness, and social supports for older people living in their own home. In the past year COPE Galway delivered over 40,000 meals to older people - supporting them to continue living in their own homes, a refuge and outreach support to almost 300 women and their children experiencing domestic violence, and over 10,000 bed nights to homeless women and men. A memorandum of understanding commits both organisations to deepening their engagement with the people of Galway, through a range of partnerships and collaborations. Speaking on behalf of NUI Galway, President Browne said: "NUI Galway is committed to providing a positive and supportive learning environment for students. The educational experience at NUI Galway is enhanced by opportunities for experiential learning and personal development afforded to students through service learning, volunteering and other activities in local, national and international arenas". He continued: "The University has always enjoyed strong relationships with the city of Galway and with non-profit and voluntary organisations in its area. We are proud to work with charities such as COPE Galway, to ensure that the economic, social and cultural needs of the region are met in the fullest possible way". NUI Galway, largely through its Community Knowledge Initiative, incorporates civic engagement opportunities into mainstream teaching and research educational activities. NUI Galway formally demonstrates its institutional commitment to student and staff engagement as critical citizens in pertinent societal issues and community endeavours. To date over twenty-five degree programmes offer some 800 students annually a service learning experience, whereby they use their knowledge to enhance the capacity of community. In addition, over 700 students volunteer every year in local, national and international communities through the ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme. "COPE Galway believes strongly in the power of positive community engagement. We aim to make it easy and natural for all to contribute to the well being of society", said Chairman of COPE Galway, John Concannon. He added: "We are delighted to form this partnership with NUI Galway. By strengthening our organisation through alliances with key institutions such as NUI Galway, powerful networks are created. This leads to the establishment of a compelling knowledge base and the skills and momentum for a healthy, inclusive society are passed on to future generations". -ends-

Monday, 11 January 2010

Minister of State for Overseas Development, Mr Peter Power T.D. has announced details of funding for crop research involving collaborations between NUI Galway Botany and Plant Science and leading agricultural research centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in the developing world. The research will facilitate efforts to increase agricultural productivity and improve nutrition and livelihoods of the rural poor in Africa. The Irish Aid support is directed towards the agricultural research institutes of the CGIAR, a coalition of fifteen international agricultural research centres located in developing countries. The mandate of the non-profit CGIAR research system is to achieve sustainable food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research and research-related activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, policy, and environment. Irish plant scientist Professor Charles Spillane, who has previously worked for the CGIAR and is now Head of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, indicated: "For strengthening of food and livelihood security in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is an urgent need for greater investment in such pro-poor research partnerships focussed specifically on the crops and varieties grown and consumed by the rural poor in Africa. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), one of the CGIAR crop research centres, is now establishing such collaborations with Irish universities, including NUI Galway and University College Cork". Professor Spillane added: "There are a number of factors that are now rapidly converging to aggravate the state of food insecurity, including population increases, changing consumption patterns, growing demand for meat and dairy (especially grain-fed), growing demand for biofuels, scarcity of land and water, slowing of agricultural productivity, and adverse impacts of climate change. Britain s chief scientist Professor John Beddington warned at the Oxford Farming Conference of an emerging "perfect storm" of food, water and energy shortages by 2030, where food prices would rise, more people would go hungry, and people are likely to flee the worst-affected regions in their millions. To ensure food supplies at current consumption rates will require a doubling of food and animal feed production by 2050 through increases in productivity (yield per hectare) while using less energy, fertilisers and water. In this context, the research of the CGIAR and its partners worldwide is critical to generating the improvements in agricultural productivity and sustainability necessary to improve the food security situation for the world's poor". Professor Spillane indicated that the collaborative research projects with IITA will initially focus on approaches for improving productivity of East African Highland bananas, a major staple food crop grown by poor smallholder farmers and essential to the food security for over 20 million people in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa. This project will be conducted in collaboration with East African banana breeder Dr Jim Lorenzen based at IITA's research station in Kampala, Uganda. The second research project will pursue efforts to elevate vitamin A levels in varieties of yellow maize consumed by the poor across Africa, in order to provide valuable options for combating micronutrient deficiencies in malnourished children and adults. This project will be conducted in collaboration with maize breeder Dr Menkir Abebe, based at IITA's research headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria. Minister Power said: "We know that over one billion people in the world are hungry today. We urgently need practical and sustainable solutions to reverse this unconscionable situation. Scientific research which is designed to improve agricultural productivity is critical to addressing the challenges of hunger and food security, particularly in the context of climate change and a growing world population. Ireland, because of our history and commitment to development, has played a pivotal role in the global fight against hunger. The eradication of hunger is a cornerstone of Irish Aid's overseas development programme". Professor Spillane also highlighted that the collaborative research with the CGIAR which Irish Aid is funding will contribute to the implementation of the Hunger Task Force recommendations. It will also play an important role in ongoing efforts to raise the profile of plant and agricultural research for international development within Irish universities, and developing a cadre of scientists in Ireland who are focused on research for development. Professor Spillane stressed that we have now entered an era where increases in food production and agricultural productivity will have to be achieved in combination with efforts to ensure more equitable access to food, if global food insecurity and malnutrition is to be reduced to meet the Millennium Development Goals. -Ends-

Friday, 8 January 2010

Dr Peter Andrews, retired head of the Human Origins Group at the Natural History Museum in London, will deliver a lecture on Human Evolution on Tuesday, 19 January, at NUI Galway. Dr Andrew's talk will be based on a survey of new hominid fossil finds and their significance to human evolution, with a slant towards Darwin and his contributions to the subject of evolution. The lecture will take place at 8pm in the MRI Annex Theatre, NUI Galway. Event organiser and NUI Galway Lecturer in Palaeontology with Earth and Ocean Sciences, John Murray, is currently working with Dr Andrews at a pre-neanderthal cavesite in Nagorno Karabagh, Southern Caucasus. During his visit, Dr Andrews will examine the Neanderthal skull-cap in the James Mitchell Geology Museum at NUI Galway. Speaking in advance of the lecture Mr Murray said: "This particular specimen is actually the 'plastotype' for neanderthal people. In 1864 William King, Professor of Geology at Galway, coined the term Homo neanderthalensis and he remains the first individual to ever successfully name a new species of human". Speaking about the upcoming lecture Dr Andrews said: "The past few years have seen exciting new discoveries at all stages of human evolution, and I will be reviewing recent evidence on six stages of human evolution. These include the divergence of the ape and hominin lineages, the development of upright bipedal walking, the origin of stone tool industries, the first emigration of hominin species out of Africa leading to the spread of hominins globally, including Flores, the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa and when and where human populations spread out of Africa into the rest of the world". Although now retired, Dr Andrews is still actively involved in research particularly in the areas of human and primate evolution, palaeoecology of Neogene environments, and taphonomy of vertebrate bones. Since his retirement from the Natural History Museum, London in 2000 he has been the curator of Blandford Museum, Dorset. He has also retained emeritus position at the Natural History Museum and his honorary position of professor at the University of London. He has written and edited ten books and more than 200 articles in the scientific and popular press. On Wednesday, 20 January, Dr Andrew will travel to Trinity College Dublin, where he will deliver the annual New Year address to the Irish Geological Association. -Ends-

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

NUI Galway researchers have deemed chronic pain a 'silent epidemic' in Ireland, having found that one in three people suffer from the condition. The finding is part of the preliminary results of the PRIME Study (Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Pain in Ireland), being led by NUI Galway, which is the first large scale project to examine the problem of chronic pain in the country. To date, only one study on chronic pain using market research methods has been available, and that data suggested that chronic pain affected 13% of the Irish population. The PRIME team found that among 1,200 randomly selected adults, a significant 35.5% were suffering from chronic pain. Principal Investigator of the study, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway, Dr Brian McGuire said: "Chronic pain is pain that lasts for at least three months. One in three people in our study reported having chronic pain for an average of seven years – many of these people reported significant suffering, disability and reduced quality of life. In some ways, it could be regarded as a 'silent epidemic". The research, funded by the Health Research Board and HSE, found that there was no significant difference among men and women in rates of pain. However, pain did increase with age, with 28.2% reporting pain in the 18-34 age group, increasing to 50% of those aged 65 and over. Dr McGuire also flagged the cost to society of chronic pain: "The high level of disability associated with chronic pain is costing the health system and society as a whole in Ireland. There is also a high level of psychological suffering, while some people cope very well and manage their pain, others really struggle to cope with it". As to the source of pain, the lower back (47.2%) was the most commonly cited. This was followed by the knee (30.4%), neck (29.7%) and shoulder (27.3%). However, many respondents had pain in multiple areas. The study has also gathered data regarding the cost of chronic pain and this report will be available shortly – preliminary analysis points to a very significant cost to individuals and to the health system. The research team is also following up with participants to determine how many people still have pain one year later. The PRIME research team includes Miriam Raftery, Researcher at the Centre for Pain and Research and School of Psychology, NUI Galway; Andrew Murphy, Professor of General Practice, NUI Galway; Professor Charles Normand, Health Economist, TCD; Dr Davida de la Harpe, Population Health, HSE; and Dr Kiran Sarma, School of Psychology, NUI Galway. PRIME is funded in partnership by the Health Research Board and Health Service Executive. -ends-

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

'Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Policy Making in a Time of Economic Crisis' Galway Chamber, NUI Galway and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology have announced details of the third Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture to honour the memory of the late Paddy Ryan, which will take place on Monday, 18 January at 8pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. Dr Alan Ahearne, Special Advisor to Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., Minister for Finance, has been announced as the guest speaker and will be presented with a specially commissioned medal designed by the artist and sculpture Padraic Reaney following his lecture entitled 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Policy Making in a Time of Economic Crisis.' The lecture will be followed by an open questions and answers session. Economist and commentator, Dr Ahearne, currently on leave of absence from positions at NUI Galway and at Bruegel, the influential Brussels-based economics think tank, will give his view on the country's current economic situation. He said: "Ireland is beginning to emerge from the most severe recession in our history. Policymakers have been battling to stabilise the economy amid a perfect economic storm. My talk will look at how current economic policy is setting the seeds for recovery". President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne commented: "NUI Galway is very proud to be associated with The Paddy Ryan Memorial Lecture, which honours Paddy Ryan's lifetime of public service. We are particularly pleased to welcome Dr Alan Ahearne back to campus for what promises to be a most insightful lecture on the current global economic situation". President of GMIT Marion Coy said: "The Institute is delighted to be part of this event at a time when business in the West of Ireland is facing significant challenges. The life and work of Paddy Ryan continues to inspire those who believe that we must take decisive action to shape our own destiny". The event alternates between GMIT and NUI Galway on an annual basis and the presentation medallion is kindly sponsored by Schneider Electric IT Logistics Europe (formerly APC). The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception. Please RSVP to elaine@galwaychamber.com or phone Elaine on 091 563536. -Ends-