Thursday, 25 June 2009

An NUI Galway professor has said Ireland needs a new breed of engineering graduate. These new engineering professionals, as well as being properly educated in their technical discipline, would also be provided with a significant exposure to the principles of business and finance, and to the process of innovation and entrepreneurship. Gearóid Ó Laighin, Professor of Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, said: "Ireland s economic future requires the creation of Irish owned companies, led by engineers who can, through invention and innovation, create economic success. This process is a central pillar of the 'Smart Economy'". While innovation and entrepreneurship are traditionally seen as innate skills, there is plenty of evidence that providing graduates with the correct mix of skills can boost their capabilities as innovators and entrepreneurs. Professor Ó Laighin says a cross-disciplinary approach to engineering education can provide a massive boost to the creation of the entrepreneurial spirit. He commented: "Ireland is perfectly positioned to create the equivalent of Canada's Research In Motion company, creators of the omnipresent BlackBerry. By adopting new methods to educate engineers in our universities and by stepping out beyond traditional programme boundaries, we can produce more adaptable graduates, with the appropriate skill set to create innovative market-led products for worldwide markets". Electronic devices now represent a massive productive sector worldwide with production in 2009 expected to exceed $1 trillion. Electronic engineering knowledge is used to create systems and devices across a broad range of sectors from life saving medical devices, computer hardware, entertainment systems, mobile communications, automotive electronics, industrial automation, consumer electronics, transportation systems and renewable energy systems and devices. Professor Ó Laighin is the driving force behind the new Engineering Innovation – Electronic degree programme at NUI Galway. The four-year bachelors or five-year masters programme is a joint initiative of NUI Galway's Colleges of Engineering & Informatics and Business, Public Policy & Law. The new course will deliver graduates with the skills and capabilities to start up their own company to design niche electronic products for world-wide markets. Established companies will also benefit from the availability of a new type of Electronic Engineer who has the capability to stimulate and support innovation and growth in those organisations. According to Professor Ó Laighin, "From the beginning of their studies, students will build expertise in electronic engineering while at the same be exposed to the principles of business and finance and the process of innovation and entrepreneurship in parallel. We feel that this approach to the education of young electronic engineers will make a powerful difference". The new degree programme from NUI Galway has received endorsements from IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Engineers Ireland, Shannon Development, Power Electronics Industry Group, Irish Medical Devices Association and Microelectronic Industry Design Association Ireland. NUI Galway is also offering a new four-year honours degree in Energy Systems Engineering which will have its first intake this September. The programme will produce professional accredited engineers, qualified to drive the emerging energy related industries. Engineering students at NUI Galway will also benefit from the University's new state-of-the-art Engineering Building which is due for completion in 2011. -ends-

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Today HP Ireland announced the 2009 Ireland winners of the Innovation in Education Grant Initiative, which rewards universities and secondary schools across EMEA for their innovative teaching and learning projects. This year's Ireland winners were NUI Galway and Coláiste Iognáid, Galway. Each institution will receive a mobile technology solution, such as tablet PCs, laptops, printers, access points, and a cash donation valued at approximately 100,000 USD HP list price (approximately 75,500 EUR). They will also be invited to join a network of educators around the world who are working to design the future of high-tech education through which they can share ideas and best practices in areas such as online learning, virtual worlds and simulations. "Innovation in education is vital to developing the next generation of high-tech innovators, and is central to the success of the smart economy in Ireland. Whenever possible, we feature HP technology in ways that support pioneering teaching and learning practices, especially to enhance achievements in math and science or other subjects essential to student success in IT careers. I'd like to congratulate both NUI Galway and Coláiste Iognáid on being selected for their enlightening approaches to innovative teaching and learning," said Martin Murphy, Managing Director, HP Ireland. Commenting, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "Here at NUI Galway, we are committed to the highest quality teaching and learning experience for our students and have strongly integrated this priority into the institutional agenda. The success of Dr James Cruickshank and his team in winning a HP innovation in Education Grant highlights this culture of innovation and learning excellence. I commend James and his colleagues for their work in finding new and innovative ways to improve the teaching of mathematics through this initiative, and others such as our new BA programme in Maths and Education which is educating a new generation of maths teachers. Improvement in the teaching of mathematics is key to Ireland's success as a smart economy, and we in NUI Galway are delighted to play our part in developing this vital element of national competitiveness". NUI Galway was selected for its project that plans to implement a SecondLife Maths Support space to deliver one of its courses in its Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Education degree programme. As part of the project, all participating students will use eLearning Platforms such as Tablet PCs in conjunction with virtual environments such as Blackboard and SecondLife to monitor their development and teach while off campus during their teaching practice in secondary schools in West of Ireland. Coláiste Iognáid located in Galway city with over 600 students was selected for its commitment to making practical usage of technology in delivering the school curriculum. The aim is to create a roaming computer suite which would afford the maximum number of students and teachers a unique opportunity to achieve computer literacy and equip them for participation in the knowledge economy. This platform will allow students to access digitally provided content in an efficient and cost effective manner. The HP Innovation in Education Grant Initiative supports institutions in the EMEA region in launching innovative pilot projects in math, technology and science fields. HP's ultimate objective is to foster future leaders in the disciplines vital to HP's business. This year's winners include 50 academic institutions from 15 countries across EMEA. The grants given to universities aims to specifically enhance the engineering, computer science and IT degree programmes, while for secondary schools the aim is to improve student achievement, by using technology to redesign the learning experience. The grant winners were selected from proposals submitted by secondary schools and universities as part of the request for proposal process initiated by HP earlier this year. A jury of HP and education experts from HP's partner ISTE evaluated the submissions and selected those that best integrated technology at the intersection of teaching and learning and fostered innovation in education. -ends-

Monday, 22 June 2009

Kevin Burke from Athenry, Co. Galway, an Electronic and Computer Engineering student at NUI Galway, has won the Accenture Academic Innovation in Computing Award. Kevin's submission for the award was based on the use of mobile phone technology to monitor driver behaviour. He received €2000 and a commemorative trophy from Accenture. The award winning submission was based on the development of a system to remotely monitor driver behaviour using GPS and accelerometer functionality on off-the-shelf 3G mobile phone handsets. The prototype system is capable of detecting when and where drivers exceed driving speed limits and potentially to identify when they execute dangerous driving manoeuvres. The developed system, which was tested using handsets and network services sponsored by O2, also allows a user to monitor the occurrence of such events on an intuitive Google Map interface. Kevin's final year project supervisor, NUI Galway lecturer Liam Kilmartin, said: "What Kevin has very cleverly done is to capitalise on existing technology and take this functionality into another realm. The project is highly innovative and has great commercial potential. Kevin worked very closely with an Enterprise Ireland funded research team here at the College of Engineering and Informatics, so we are looking forward to seeing if and how this type of technology application can be developed further towards commercialisation". Kevin was one of eight short-listed national finalists in the competition which is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students who have developed an innovative software solution as part of their studies. The winning submission was based on Kevin's final year project as part of Electronic and Computer Engineering at NUI Galway. NUI Galway now offers over a dozen undergraduate degrees in Engineering and Informatics, including new programmes in Energy Systems Engineering and Engineering Innovation – Electronic. -ends-

Friday, 19 June 2009

A five-day International Criminal Court Summer School at NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights opens tomorrow (Saturday, 21 June). The keynote address will be given on Sunday by Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Now in its 10th year, the summer school is established as one of the premier intensive courses offered internationally on the important subject of the ICC. An independent, permanent court, the ICC tries those accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. "After the United Nations, the International Criminal Court is one of the most important international institutions. It is aimed at combating impunity for atrocities and it is at the forefront of a broader movement of achieving accountability", commented Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Schabas will be among a number of prominent speakers to address the event, including Professor David Scheffer who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. During the summer school at NUI Galway, students are provided with a detailed knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures will also address related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction and immunities. The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway saw its other major summer school, on 'Minority Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Law', come to an end today. Over 50 participants were provided with an overview of the legal, political and philosophical issues pertaining to international human rights law and its relationship to minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. Summer schools are one element of the work carried out by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway which, since its establishment in January 2000, has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. -Ends-

Friday, 19 June 2009

Former Dean of Law at NUI Galway, Donncha O'Connell, has edited a book to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for Amnesty International. Donncha, who will be a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics for the next academic year, is the Senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advises the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna, and was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties from 1999-2002. The book will be launched in Dublin by broadcaster and Sunday Tribune columnist, Claire Byrne, on Tuesday 23 June. 60 Years, 30 Perspectives: Ireland and the UDHR, which is published by New Island Books, is a collection of essays by thirty influential social commentators examining the relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to modern Irish society. It features, among others, Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, Sportsman Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, NUI Chancellor and President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Dr Maurice Manning, Fr Peter McVerry, homelessness activist, Poet, Theo Dorgan as well as NUI Galway academics Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh and Dr Vinodh Jaichand of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The book also contains a photo essay by renowned Irish photographer Derek Speirs, and can be purchased in bookshops or ordered online at: www.amnesty.ie/60years Announcing the publication of the book Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, said: "In the middle of an economic recession, political upheaval and distrust in the institutions of the past, this book offers a fresh and timely critique of modern Ireland. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its touchstone, the book challenges readers to question whether we have a free press in Ireland, why human trafficking is tolerated if slavery is not and why children and people living in poverty are still voiceless in our society". In his foreword to the book Donncha O'Connell wrote: "Cost-benefit analyses applied to something like the UDHR are certainly speculative and probably futile. The pro-human rights consensus evident in this collection of essays is probably not indicative of a wider societal compact other than one informed by indifference or shallow acceptance. Many of the ideas promoted in these essays and many of their underlying assumptions would be hotly contested by those who engage seriously and not so seriously with human rights debates". -Ends-

Thursday, 18 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) A major agreement to boost research and innovation in the Border Midland and Western (BMW) region of the country has been signed in Athlone by the heads of seven higher education institutions. This is the first time that the third level sector has come together to adopt a BMW-wide approach to research and innovation. The institutes of technology in Athlone, Dundalk, Galway-Mayo, Letterkenny and Sligo, together with NUI Galway and St Angela's College, Sligo will combine their strengths under the auspices of Líonra, the higher education network in the region. The joint strategy will see collaboration taking place across a number of core areas, including: biomedical science and engineering; environment, marine and energy; software development and applications; health services research; social entrepreneurship; socioeconomic sciences and humanities; and food and agriculture. The Líonra agreement envisages research policy reflecting the socioeconomic needs of the region and responding to the expectations of the local economy. It also calls for collaboration between the academic partners and industry which will strengthen the ability of the sector to attract funding. Convenor of Líonra, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that the agreement will enable the BMW region to play a complete role within Ireland's knowledge economy. "This collaborative agreement multiplies the research strengths of our individual institutions for the betterment of the region. It will see the development of close relationships with enterprise and the market-facing sector. Through aligning our research strengths with their needs, it will give local companies a distinct competitive advantage. "We are putting a comprehensive commercialisation strategy in place which will enable the innovation and research ideas developed through this partnership to reach the marketplace. This is critical to the creation of a knowledge economy and to the restoration of sustainable, rewarding employment in the region", Professor Ó Catháin stated. According to President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, "This agreement creates the framework and rationale for collaboration. It also meets the future demands of Ireland's higher education system by offering a model of coordinated coherence, as called for recently by Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority. Líonra, as a network of seven higher education institutions, has created a system that is responsive to national needs and is delivering real value from complementary facilities. "The development of research clusters in strategic areas resonates with the requirements of key industries for this country," President Browne continued. "The medical device industry, for example, is concentrated in the BMW region with companies such as Élan, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. This research agreement has identified collaboration in the biomedical science and engineering domain as a thematic priority, which mirrors the industrial strength of the region. It pools our collective research capacity and capability to provide a coherent response to the priorities identified by Ibec and the Irish Medical Device Association". The Executive Director of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology (IRCSET), Martin Hynes, also welcomed the announcement. Mr Hynes commented that "Coherence in the higher education sector is vitally important. This is a critical development in ensuring visibility for this research and for making people aware of research career opportunities available in these domains". According to Enterprise Ireland's Regional Manager for Research and Development and Technology Transfer, P.J. O'Reilly, "Stimulating innovation, technology transfer and commercialisation is a central plank of the agreement and also reflects Enterprise Ireland's strategic objectives. This will involve collaborating with industry to understand their R&D needs to build close mutually beneficial relationships and to ensure that the results of research are transferred into the local socioeconomic fabric". To deliver these research goals, the seven institutions are committed to creating networks and clusters to provide common access and to make the optimum use of major equipment and R&D facilities. They will also establish centres that will concentrate on applied research and will create critical mass in leading edge technologies. The increased involvement of academic staff in research is core to the initiative, as is increasing the PhD output from the sector and providing supportive career paths for researchers. Líonra was established in 2001 to develop effective collaborative responses by the third level sector to the developmental needs of the BMW region. Institiúidí Tríú Leibhéal ag Comhoibriú lena chéile ar mhaithe le Taighde agus le Nuálaíocht a chur chun cinn i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair (View in English) Is i mBaile Átha Luain a shínigh ceann na seacht n-institiúid ardoideachais sa tír comhaontú suntasach a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leis borradh a chur faoin taighde agus faoin nuálaíocht i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. Is é seo an chéad uair riamh a bhfuil an earnáil tríú leibhéal ag comhoibriú lena chéile agus é mar aidhm cur chuige éifeachtach i ndáil le taighde agus le nuálaíocht a fhorbairt agus a chur i bhfeidhm i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair trí chéile. Oibreoidh institiúidí teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Luain, Dhún Dealgan, na Gaillimhe-Mhaigh Eo, Leitir Ceanainn agus Shligigh i dteannta OÉ Gaillimh agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach faoi choimirce Líonra – líonra ardoideachais an réigiúin. Faoin gcomhstraitéis seo, beidh comhoibriú ar siúl i roinnt réimsí tábhachtacha lena n-áirítear: eolaíocht agus innealtóireacht bhithleighis; an timpeallacht, an fharraige agus fuinneamh; forbairt bogearraí agus feidhmchlár; taighde ar sheirbhísí sláinte; fiontraíocht shóisialta; eolaíochtaí socheacnamaíocha agus daonnachtaí; agus bia agus talmhaíocht. Tá sé mar aidhm le comhaontú Líonra beartas taighde a fhorbairt a bheidh bunaithe ar riachtanais shocheacnamaíocha an réigiúin agus a bheidh in ann déileáil go héifeachtach le hionchais an gheilleagair áitiúil. Gné eile den chomhaontú seo go mbeidh comhoibriú ar bun idir comhpháirtithe acadúla agus an tionscal, rud a chuirfidh go mór le cumas na hearnála maoiniú a fháil. Dúirt tionólaí Líonra, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó Catháin, go gcuirfidh an comhaontú ar chumas Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair ról iomaíoch a bheith aige i ngeilleagar eolasbhunaithe na hÉireann. "Cuirfidh an comhaontú seo go mór le cumas taighde ár n-institiúidí aonair rud a rachaidh chun tairbhe an réigiúin trí chéile. Cabhróidh an comhaontú seo le forbairt dlúthchaidrimh idir na hearnálacha fiontraíochta agus an margadh. Cruthófar buntáiste iomaíoch do chuideachtaí áitiúla trína láidreachtaí taighde a ailíniú lena gcuid riachtanas. Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tOllamh Ó Catháin go bhfuil sé "beartaithe straitéis tráchtálaithe chuimsitheach a chur i bhfeidhm a chinnteoidh go bhforbrófar nuálaíocht agus smaointe taighde tríd an gcomhpháirtíocht seo – nuálaíocht agus smaointe a rachaidh i bhfeidhm ar an margadh. Baineann fíorthábhacht leis seo i ndáil le geilleagar eolasbhunaithe a chruthú agus fostaíocht inbhuanaithe, fhiúntach a chothú sa réigiún". Deir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, "Soláthróidh an comhaontú seo an creat agus an réasúnaíocht a theastaíonn chun comhoibriú a chur chun cinn. Chomh maith leis sin, freagraíonn sé do na héilimh a bheidh ar chóras ardoideachais na hÉireann amach anseo trí shamhail de chomhleanúnachas comhordaithe a chruthú, mar a bhí á éileamh ag Tom Boland, Príomhfheidhmeannach an Údaráis um Ard-Oideachas le déanaí. Tá córas cruthaithe ag Líonra – líonra de sheacht n-institiúid ardoideachais – a fhreagraíonn do riachtanais náisiúnta agus a thugann luach ar airgead trí úsáid a bhaint as áiseanna comhlántacha". Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tUachtarán Browne, go bhfuil "forbairt na ngrúpaí taighde i gceantair straitéiseacha ag teacht le riachtanais phríomhthionscail na tíre. Sampla amháin é tionscal na bhfeistí leighis de thionscal atá bunaithe i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. Tá cuideachtaí ar nós Élan, Medtronic agus Boston Scientific ag dul i dtreis san earnáil seo. Tá deiseanna comhoibrithe aimsithe ag an gcomhaontú taighde seo in earnáil na heolaíochta agus na hinnealtóireachta bithleighis, ó tharla rath a bheith ar an earnáil áirithe seo sa réigiún. Deis atá ann ár gcumas agus ár n-acmhainn taighde a thabhairt le chéile ar mhaithe le freagairt go cinnte do na tosaíochtaí a d'aithin Ibec agus an Irish Medical Device Association". D'fháiltigh Martin Hynes, Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin Chomhairle Taighde na hÉireann don Eolaíocht, Innealtóireacht & Teicneolaíocht (IRCSET) roimh an scéala seo freisin. Dúirt an tUasal Hynes go mbaineann "fíorthábhacht le comhleanúnachas san earnáil ardoideachais. Forbairt thábhachtach é seo d'fhonn a chinntiú go dtugtar aird ar an taighde seo agus d'fhonn a chinntiú go bhfuil tuiscint ag daoine ar na deiseanna gairme atá ar fáil sna hearnálacha seo". Deir P.J. O'Reilly, Bainisteoir Réigiúnach (Taighde agus Forbairt agus Aistriú Teicneolaíochta) Fhiontraíocht Éireann go bhfuil "ról lárnach ag cruthú nuálaíochta, aistriú teicneolaíochta agus tráchtálú sa chomhaontú mar aon le léargas a thabhairt ar chuspóirí straitéiseacha Fhiontraíocht Éireann. I gceist san obair seo beidh comhoibriú leis an tionscal d'fhonn teacht ar thuiscint ar a gcuid riachtanas Taighde & Forbartha agus caidreamh a théann chun tairbhe gach páirtí a fhorbairt, mar aon lena chinntiú go dtéann torthaí an taighde i bhfeidhm ar an ngeilleagar socheacnamaíoch áitiúil". D'fhonn na spriocanna taighde seo a sheachadadh, tá na seacht n-institiúid tiomanta do líonraí agus do ghrúpaí a chruthú ionas go mbeidh deis acu an tairbhe agus an úsáid is fearr agus is féidir a bhaint as an bpríomhthrealamh agus as na háiseanna taighde agus forbartha atá ar fáil. Lena chois sin, bunófar ionaid a bheidh dírithe ar thaighde feidhmeach agus déanfar an-dul chun cinn i dteicneolaíochtaí nua. Tá ról lárnach ag rannpháirtíocht comhaltaí foirne acadúla sa tionscnamh seo, mar aon leis an líon PhD atá á bhronnadh san earnáil seo agus deiseanna gairme tacaíochta a sholáthar do thaighdeoirí. Bunaíodh Líonra in 2001 le cinntiú go mbeadh an earnáil tríú leibhéal ag freagairt go cuí do riachtanais forbartha Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. -Críoch-

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The inventor of a tiny device containing micro-blades and a balloon that can cut though blockages in human arteries has won Enterprise Ireland's One to Watch Award 2009. The device was invented by Dr Bruce Murphy during research carried out while based at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. Called a 'flexi-cutting sheath', the device, which contains tiny concealed blades that are exposed by inflating a balloon, is safer and more effective than existing medical devices used to clear blockages in arteries. Dr Bruce Murphy, a mechanical engineer with expertise in vascular disease research, was presented with the award by An Tánaiste Mary Coughlan T.D. at the Enterprise Ireland Applied Research Forum 2009 in the Guinness Storehouse today. Congratulating Dr Murphy on his win, the Tánaiste said: "Irish industry is already benefiting enormously from the knowledge and technology generated in our third level institutions. Dr Murphy is an excellent example of this technology transfer system in action. With support from Enterprise Ireland, he identified a need for a better medical device, developed his unique solution and linked up with entrepreneur Tim McSweeney to produce the device for sale in the global market for peripheral vascular devices which is worth $1.9 billion. It is this type of high value company that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland is focused on and I am pleased to learn that seven new high value companies like this one have already emerged in 2009" she said. The device will help the 500,000 people worldwide that suffer from end-stage renal disease every year. Patients with this disease require dialysis 2-3 times per week which can result in blockages in their bloodstream. Dr Murphy's flexi-cutting sheath can be used to clear these blockages in a safer, more effective way than existing devices. Another use of the device is in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, which results in around 1,000 people in Ireland every year having a limb amputated because the main artery in their arm or leg gets blocked by hardened plaque which cuts off the blood supply. By analysing existing products, Dr Murphy found that current cutting devices have the potential to damage blood vessels as the device is being removed from the body. To address the problem, he developed his balloon mounted flexi-cutting sheath with a protective silicone sheath which wraps around the tiny blades on the device while it is being navigated to and from the blocked site inside an artery by a physician. Because the blades can be retracted back into the flexi sheath when the balloon is deflated, Dr. Murphy has made the process safer for patients. The flexi-cutting sheath is protected by a series of patents filed by NUI Galway. Dr Neil Ferguson from Ignite, NUI Galway's Technology Transfer Office, believes that this invention will improve patient care and is delighted to see it being commercialised. He said: "The patents that protect this invention from other firms developing copy-cat devices are amongst the 114 patent applications filed by NUI Galway over the last 3 years. During this period we have been very successful in generating over 36 licence agreements to both existing and start-up companies. More importantly, we have spun out 7 start-ups over the same period which plays an important role in the development of our economy". Dr Murphy, now at TCD, and business partner Tim McSweeney, are getting support from Enterprise Ireland to set up their new company later this year in Galway to manufacture the device for sale in a niche market worth €100 million. The company will employ up to 10 people initially. Tim Mc Sweeney is no stranger to the medical device sector having played a leading role in establishing the presence of US giant Boston Scientific in Galway in 1994. The award was presented in front of 250 researchers attending Enterprise Ireland's Applied Research Forum 2009, an event which focused on moving more valuable intellectual property and new technologies into companies through the national technology transfer system. -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

NUI Galway's J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics is to host the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) from 17 to 20 June. Discussion topics will cover not only standard topics in public economics such as pensions, education and taxation but will also cover more esoteric issues from international stem cell donation to whether the good and the selfish should be taxed differently. Public Economic Theory is concerned with all aspects of the public sector and with the interaction between the public sector and the private sector. Economists working in this broad area are able to pose fundamental questions about how societies want to organise themselves in ways that are efficient and fair. They raise questions about where the limits should lie between market provision and pubic provision. "The annual meeting of APET is one of the most prestigious gathering of economic theorists in the world and the decision to award the 2009 Conference to NUI Galway in the face of stiff opposition is testimony to our initiative and outstanding record of scholarship in this area," said Dr Ashley Piggins one of the local organisers of the conference. "Previous APET conferences have been held in cities such as Paris, Beijing, and Seoul, and we are very excited at the opportunity to add Galway to this list", he added. Over 330 economists are expected to attend the event with over 90% of them coming from outside Ireland. Professors Ted Bergstrom, Rodney Garratt, and Damien Sheehan-Connor from the University of California at Santa Barbara have pioneered research on the economics of stem cells. For many illnesses such as leukaemia effective treatment includes transplanting blood-forming stem cells from a healthy donor whose immune system is compatible with that of the recipient. Finding a compatible stem cell donor outside of one's immediate family is very difficult. Professor Bergstrom says that the existence of registries sharing donors across national borders raises some interesting questions which he and his colleagues have tried to address. For example, how does the size and racial composition of the current registry compare with that of an optimal registry? What motivates people to join the registry? What financial and/or social incentives would be suitable for increasing registry size? Professor Bergstrom adds: "There are remarkable cross-country differences in the percentage of the population enrolled in national bone marrow registries. 10% and 7% of the population of eligible ages are enrolled in Israel and Germany respectively. The corresponding figure is less than 3% in the United States and is much lower again in countries such as Ireland and France. These facts raise fascinating questions about the 'exports and imports' of stem cell transfers across countries". "Presentation of this research in Galway is particularly interesting given the large amount of research being done on stem cells in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway," said Brendan Kennelly another of the local organisers of the conference and economics lecturer at NUI Galway. "The authors' ability to think outside the box illustrates that economics has the potential to be a very exciting discipline which can help us to think about many of the most interesting and difficult problems that we face today". For further information on the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) please contact Brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway will confer almost 200 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies tomorrow, Tuesday, 16 June, 2009. The largest cohort of students to graduate will be ninety-seven Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating will be fifty-three Ph.D. students from across all disciplines. As well as students from locations across the country receiving their degrees and diplomas, there will also be international students from Kuwait and Malaysia. Speaking ahead of tomorrow's ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the growth in research in the University and how it is reflected in the numbers of Ph.D. students graduating: "We have doubled the number of Ph.D. graduates since the start of the decade and it is very encouraging to see this number of research degrees which we are conferring today". President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: "Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous". The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 26 June. Bronnadh Céimeanna an tSamhraidh OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Bronnfaidh OÉ Gaillimh céim ar bheagnach 200 mac léinn as Coláiste Leighis, Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice, Coláiste na hEolaíochta, Coláiste an Ghnó, An Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léann Ceilteigh amárach, Dé Máirt, an 16 Meitheamh 2009. Ar an ngrúpa is mó díobh beidh seacht gcloigeann déag agus ceithre scór de mhic léinn a bhainfidh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Mháinliacht agus Bainsiléir i Liacht Bhan amach (MB, BCh, BAO). Beidh trí mhac léinn Ph.D. agus caoga as gach disciplín ag fáil a gcéime chomh maith. Mar aon le mic léinn as gach cearn den tír a mbeifear ag bronnadh céime nó dioplóma orthu beidh mic léinn idirnáisiúnta as an gCuáit agus as an Malaeisia. Ag labhairt dó roimh an searmanas, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, faoin méadú atá tagtha ar an taighde san Ollscoil rud a léiríonn an fás atá ar an líon mac léinn Ph.D. atá ag baint céime amach: "Tá a dhá oiread céimithe Ph.D. againn agus a bhí ag tús an chéid seo agus is tuar dóchais é an líon céimeanna taighde atáimid a bhronnadh inniu". Bhí cúpla focal le rá ag an Uachtarán leis na céimithe ag an searmanas a spreagadh: "Ná bíodh lagmhisneach oraibh faoi chúrsaí geilleagair. Tá an cumas ag gach duine dul i bhfeidhm ar an tsochaí ar shlí éigin. Níl teorainn leis na deiseanna atá agatsa an cineál saoil is mian leat a chruthú duit féin agus lántairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a thiocfaidh i do threo sna blianta amach romhainn." Beidh an chéad bhronnadh céimeanna eile ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh tráth a ndéanfar na Céimeanna Oinigh a bhronnadh. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

NUI Galway will hold the 2nd International Breast Cancer Conference on 18–19 June. The main theme of the conference is multidisciplinary breast cancer care, which will be of interest to all professionals involved in breast cancer management including Surgeons, Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Radiologists, Pathologists and Breast Care Nurses. According to Professor Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery, NUI Galway and Conference Convener, "The management of breast cancer has changed so that we now treat patients in a multidisciplinary team based environment which raises many questions addressed at this conference including prolonged endocrine therapy, side effects of treatment, medico-legal issues and advances in areas such as surgery and radiotherapy. This is a great opportunity to promote discussion, debate and determine the current state of the art strategy to individualise treatment. The protagonists include all the major players in this country as well as leading international experts. Professor Kerin continued, "All of these issues will be discussed at the conference and we will also have an overview of changes in therapy from Roger Blamey and Joe Ragaz, two well established international experts. The University is proud to be associated with this meeting and is delighted that this prestigious international conference of this magnitude is bringing so much expertise to the city". Professor John Crown, Consultant Medical Oncologist at St Vincent's University Hospital and St Luke's Hospital, Dublin will deliver a keynote lecture entitled 'Future in Adjuvant Breast Cancer Treatment' on Thursday, 18 June at 5pm. Several of the speakers are well-known internationally and include: Professor Paul Goss, Director of Breast Cancer Research and Avon Foundation Senior Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Professor Joe Ragaz, from McGill University, Canada; and Professor Carsten Rose, from Lund University Hospital, Sweden. From the UK, speakers include: Professor Carlos Caldas, University of Cambridge; Professor Mike Dixon, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh; Professor John Robertson, Professor of Surgery at University of Nottingham; Professor Phil Drew, The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Hilary Dobson, West of Scotland Breast Screening Programme, Glasgow; and Dr Valerie Speirs, St James s University Hospital, Leeds, UK. National delegates and speakers feature a 'Who's Who' of Irish Breast Cancer Management including Professor John Crown, St Vincent's University Hospital; Dr Fidelma Flanagan, Mater Hospitals; Professor Tom Gorey, Mater Hospital, Dr John Kennedy, St James's Hospital; and Professor Paul Redmond, Cork University Hospital, Dr Janice Walshe, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, Tallaght and Mr Malcolm Kell, Mater Hospital Dublin. Local Galway contributors, apart from Professor Kerin, include Dr Maccon Keane, Professor Frank Sullivan, Mr Ray McLaughlin, Mr Karl Sweeney and Professor Grace Callagy. The conference is being held in conjunction with the Nottingham series of meetings which take place on alternate years. For 20 years, the Nottingham meeting has been the best attended and most influential breast cancer meting on these islands and the Galway meeting aims to ensure that these meetings are now annual events. The two-day conference takes place in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. For further information on the International Breast Cancer Conference, please contact Grace Clarke at 091-524390 or grace.clarke@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Monday, 15 June 2009

Renowned novelist Pat McCabe will be a special guest on Friday, 19 June, at NUI Galway's Family Support Conference entitled 'Reflecting on Contemporary Challenges'. Reading excerpts, both humorous and sobering, from his books including The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto, the author will reflect on the complexities of childhood and family life. Pat McCabe's talk is the centrepiece of a wide-ranging programme of presentations and workshops on contemporary challenges during the two-day conference on family support from 18-19 June. The event is organised by the University's Child and Family Research Centre, which undertakes research, education and training in the area of child and family care and welfare. The Centre's Director, Professor Pat Dolan, is the Republic of Ireland's only UNESCO Chair, with a focus on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. According to Professor Dolan: "This conference is a timely opportunity for professionals, policy makers and researchers to reflect on the many issues raised by the recent Ryan and Monageer Reports and the Baby P case in the UK. Important discussions are needed about how to protect children while recognising that in most cases, the best way to do that is through supporting parents and through putting in place extensive preventative programmes, particularly in the early years". The conference will focus on the difference that communities can make to children and families, and how work with families can be key to community regeneration. Fr Aidan Troy, who served as a priest in Holy Cross, Belfast, during the school dispute in 2001 will deliver a talk entitled 'Walking the Walk in Adversity, Family Support and Personal Discovery'. -ends-

Monday, 15 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Marine scientists at NUI Galway have been successful in securing €1.6 million in EU funding to advance testing technologies in the shellfish industry. The University's Martin Ryan Institute will collaborate with European colleagues to test a new, rapid methodology for the local analysis of algal toxins in shellfish. The funding comes from the EU Northern Periphery Programme and the project will be led by Dr Robin Raine at NUI Galway. According to Dr Robin Raine, "Caused by toxin producing plankton, harmful algal blooms are a serious environmental problem worldwide. One of the significant consequences is that these toxins accumulate in shellfish and, whilst harmless to the shellfish, can cause a variety of very serious gastrointestinal and neurological disorders when contaminated mussels, oysters, etc., are eaten by humans". The threat to human health is so great that, under EU directives, all coastal Member States are required to monitor the presence of toxin producing plankton in coastal waters as well as toxin levels in shellfish. In Ireland, this monitoring is carried out by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources' Marine Institute, in their new laboratories at Rinville, Co. Galway. Through the €1.6 million project, rapid testing methods will be advanced for remote fisheries in countries such as Scotland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. The hope is that new technologies will allow the shellfish industries to test their produce for toxins locally, rather than sending samples to laboratories elsewhere. NUI Galway is also working with international experts on predicting harmful algal blooms in the marine environment, the root cause of contaminated shellfish. This week (15-19 June) the University hosts a training workshop for 60 international delegates under the auspices of GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) which is the UNESCO sponsored project on this subject. According to Dr Raine, predicting the occurrence of these harmful algal blooms is important so that their damaging economic effects to the aquaculture industry can be substantially reduced. Taking Ireland as an example, the shellfish aquaculture industry is currently valued at €63 million per annum. However, annual losses sustained through the contamination of shellfish with algal toxins, combined with the cost of monitoring the presence of these toxins amounts to over €3 million. "This is a huge financial burden on what is an intrinsically sustainable industry. We really need to focus on predicting the blooms and where they will manifest; something like a blight warning system for the sea. This will go some way to reducing the costs for the aquaculture industry in Ireland and around the world", said Dr Raine. Eolaithe Éireannacha chun an Tionscal Sliogéisc Idirnáisiúnta a Chosaint (View in English) Tá eolaithe mara in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh maoiniú €1.6 milliún a fháil ón AE chun teicneolaíocht tástála a fheabhsú sa tionscal sliogéisc. Oibreoidh Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain i gcomhar le comhghleacaithe san Eoraip chun modheolaíocht nua, sciobtha a thástáil chun anailís áitiúil a dhéanamh ar thocsainí algacha i sliogiasc. Tá an maoiniú ag teacht as Clár Fhorimeall Thuaidh an AE agus beidh an Dr Robin Raine as OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar an tionscadal. Deir an Dr Robin Raine, "Táirgeann planctón tocsain, agus cuireann blás algach dochrach isteach go mór ar an gcomhshaol ar fud an domhain. An rud is measa go mbailíonn na tocsainí seo i sliogiasc agus, cé nach ndéanann siad aon dochar don sliogiasc féin, d'fhéadfaí an-dochar a dhéanamh do shláinte an duine má itear diúilicíní, oisrí etc. a bhfuil an tocsain iontu. Cruthaíonn an tocsain neamhoird ghastraistéigeacha agus néareolaíocha atá thar a bheith dainséarach". Tá an tocsain chomh contúirteach do dhaoine go gcaithfidh Ballstáit ar an gcósta, faoi threoracha an AE, súil a choinneáil ar phlanctón a tháirgeann tocsain ar an gcósta agus an leibhéal tocsaine i sliogiasc. In Éirinn, déanann Foras na Mara sa Roinn Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha an obair seo sa tsaotharlann nua i Rinn Mhíl, Co. na Gaillimhe. Faoin tionscadal €1.6 milliún, forbrófar modhanna tástála sciobtha d'iascaigh iargúlta i dtíortha cosúil leis an Albain, an Iorua agus Oileáin Fharó. Is é aidhm na teicneolaíochta nua seo go mbeidh an tionscal sliogéisc in ann tástáil tocsaine a dhéanamh ar a dtáirgí go háitiúil seachas samplaí a sheoladh chuig saotharlanna i bhfad ó bhaile. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag oibriú i gcomhar le saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta chun blás algach dochrach a aimsiú san uisce, is é an blás seo a mhilleann an sliogiasc. An tseachtain seo (15-19 Meitheamh) beidh ceardlann oiliúna ar siúl san Ollscoil do 60 toscaire idirnáisiúnta faoi choimirce GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms), tionscadal atá urraithe ag UNESCO ar an ábhar seo. Deir an Dr Raine, go bhfuil sé tábhachtach an blás algach dochrach seo a aimsiú chun go bhféadfar an damáiste a dhéanann sé don tionscal dobharshaothraithe a mhaolú. Is fiú €63 milliún sa bhliain an tionscal sliogéisc in Éirinn faoi láthair. Cailltear os cionn €3 mhilliún sa bhliain nuair a mhilleann na tocsainí algacha an sliogiasc agus tríd an monatóireacht a dhéantar ar na tocsainí. "Is mór an costas é sin ar thionscal atá inmharthana ann féin. Caithfear a chinntiú go n-aimseofar an blás; teastaíonn córas rabhaidh uainn. Laghdóidh sé seo an costas ar an tionscal in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain", a dúirt an Dr Raine. -Críoch-

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at NUI Galway is opening its doors to the public on Wednesday, 24 June from 2 to 5.30pm, for its third annual 'ECI Research OPEN Day'. There will be a series of short talks addressing subjects of local, national, and global significance such as: sea level change in Galway Bay, biological contamination of Irish drinking water supplies, renewable energy, and sustainable development. Poster presentations will take place throughout the afternoon from over 50 ECI researchers, highlighting the work currently underway in areas such as Climate Change, Energy, Biodiversity, Environment and Health, Environmental Technologies, Environmental Informatics, and the Social and Economic Impacts of Environmental Change. Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the ECI, says: "Galway is home to a Research Institute of national importance in the field of Environmental Change, and at the ECI we are always looking to involve the local community in the work that we do here. We had a huge public response to our Explorers Stand at the Volvo Ocean Race where we showcased the latest findings from our cold water coral reefs research. A recent deep-water expedition, led by Dr Anthony Grehan, confirmed the existence of a major new coral reef province on the southern end of the Porcupine Bank off the west coast of Ireland. These corals reach up to 100m in height and are immaculate, healthy growing specimens harbouring a remarkable diversity of reef animals". Dr Martina Prendergast, ECI Development Manager, says: "We hope members of the public will attend to hear about the latest innovative research being carried out by our 240 affiliated researchers and we welcome input from the public on their perception of the value of our research to the Western region. The ECI has grown fast over the years and we look forward to celebrating our ten year anniversary in 2010". Its location on the North Western periphery of Europe, bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean, places NUI Galway's ECI in a unique position to facilitate national and international collaborative research on atmospheric processes and climate change. The variety of pristine terrestrial and aquatic habitats, recognised as having European and global value, allow research of issues such as biodiversity and ecological interactions in unique environments. While much of the work of ECI takes place on campus, there are also several research projects happening around the country. Off-site facilities include the Carron Research Station in the Burren, County Clare and the Atmospheric Research Station, Mace Head, Carna, County Galway. For more information on the ECI please visit www.nuigalway.ie/eci, and if you wish to attend the ECI Research Open Day please contact Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer at the ECI, at sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie or on 091 495061. -Ends-

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Higher Education Academy, a prestigious institution in the UK, today (Thursday, 11 June) announced that NUI Galway's Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn has become a Senior Fellow. The Academy's Senior Fellowship awards recognise outstanding champions of teaching and learning in higher education. Dr Mac Labhrainn is the founding Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at NUI Galway. He holds a BSc and PhD in Astrophysics from the Universities of Edinburgh and Durham and was a Lecturer and Reader at the University of the West of Scotland, prior to moving to Ireland in 2002. Professor Paul Ramsden, CEO of the Higher Education Academy, commented: "The experience and expertise of Senior Fellows is highly valued by the Academy. We believe that excellent teaching should be recognised and rewarded in the sector - good teaching is one of the most important aspects of the student experience. As an organisation we also benefit greatly from the input of our Senior Fellows into various aspects of our work". The announcement by the Higher Education Academy coincided with the opening of NUI Galway's 7th Annual Symposium on Higher Education which is hosted by CELT and runs until Friday, 12 June. Speaking at the opening of the conference, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "As demonstrated by this event's agenda, teaching at higher level is an ever changing and evolving practice. The way we engage with our students and assess their performance is an ongoing and developing process, in Ireland and internationally. Today, we must also congratulate Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn who has been announced as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. This award recognises the reputation for innovation and dynamism which NUI Galway's Center for Learning and Teaching has gained under Iain's stewardship". Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Dr Mac Labhrainn's interests include the civic role of higher education, the use of learning technologies in addressing issues of intellectual engagement and higher education policy in general. -Ends-

Thursday, 11 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway has announced the five graduands to be conferred with Honorary Degrees on Friday, 26 June 2009. Liam Connellan has had a deep involvement in the engineering profession for over forty years and has served as President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; was a founding member of the Irish Academy of Engineering and has served as President of the Academy. He also served as the first Chairman of the National Roads Authority from 1994 to 2001, and was President of the Royal Dublin Society from 1995 to1998. Liam has been Chairman of companies within the Veolia Environment Group in Ireland and is Chairman of the Energy Institute in the Republic of Ireland. He is a member of the Board of the Peter McVerry Trust which assists homeless young people. Pádraic MacKernan joined the Department of External Affairs in 1964. He was Vice-Consul of Ireland in Boston from 1965 to 1968 and Deputy Consul-General in New York from 1968 to 1974. Pádraic was successively Counsellor, Assistant Secretary and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and a regular member of the Irish Delegation to the United Nations until his appointment as Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and Mexico in 1985. Pádraic was appointed Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels in 1991 and returned to Dublin as Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1995. He became Ambassador to France in 2001, a post he held until his retirement in 2005. Anna Ó Coinne is a local business woman who has led the growth of Galway and District Business and Professional Women's Club and was elected President of Club in 1996. Along with her husband Liam, she formed Connaught Security Group Limited in 1978. This business became the largest privately owned security organisation in Ireland and was sold to Chubb in 1999. From 1996 to 2006 Anna served two terms as a director of Galway Harbour Company. In 1989 she became involved in raising funds to finance research into Breast Cancer being pioneered by Professor Fred Given at the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) in Galway. Working with a voluntary group, Anna became chairperson of the Finance and Planning Committee of the NBCRI. This fund raising group has raised over €12 million for the NBCRI. These funds are uniquely focussed on research and education in breast cancer with a strong emphasis on improved patient outcomes. During 2010 the Institute will move to a new purpose built Translational Research Centre being constructed by NUI Galway on the grounds of University College Hospital. This project is being financed by major philanthropic donations and includes a major contribution from NBCRI. Professor Philip O'Leary is a native of Worcester, Massachusetts where he is currently Professor of English on the Irish Studies Program at Boston College. He has directed the Boston College / Abbey Theatre Summer Program in Dublin, and from 1991 to 2005 he directed the College's MA program in Irish literature and culture. Professor O'Leary has been an Andrew J. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard, an Irish-American Cultural Institute Fellow at NUI Galway, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to dozens of articles and reviews on Irish literature from the medieval period to the present, he has written numerous books and won many awards on the topic. Brian Joyce began his business training with Ford UK before returning to Ireland to hold senior accounting positions with RTÉ and Bord Bainne. From 1978, for eleven years, he was Managing Director of the Irish Dairy Board. In 1989, Mr Joyce retired from full-time executive work and developed a portfolio of Directorships and Chairmanships on the boards of some of Ireland's best known companies. In addition to his non-executive roles, Brian is presently Chairman of Clancourt Holdings and a director of Kingspan. He is a Fellow and former President of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Commenting on the announcement of this year s graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history, and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Their contributions in many spheres – engineering, business, public service, philanthropy and education – have been outstanding, and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals". Céimeanna Dochtúireachta Oinigh 2009 OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Tá ainmneacha an chúigir a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh 2009 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh. Tá breis agus 40 bliain caite ag Liam Connellan ag plé le gairm na hinnealtóireachta agus i rith an ama sin ceapadh é mar Uachtarán ar Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann; bhí sé i measc bhunaitheoirí Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann agus chomh maith leis sin chaith sé seal ag feidhmiú mar Uachtarán ar Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann. Ba é an chéad Chathaoirleach é a ceapadh ar an Údarás um Bóithre Náisiúnta idir 1994 agus 2001, agus ba é a bhí ina Uachtarán ar Chumann Ríoga Bhaile Átha Cliath idir 1995 agus 1998. D'oibrigh sé mar Chathaoirleach ar chuideachtaí éagsúla sa Veolia Environment Group in Éirinn agus tá sé ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar an Institiúid Fuinnimh i bPoblacht na hÉireann faoi láthair. Is ball é de Bhord Iontaobhas Peter McVerry a chabhraíonn le daoine óga atá gan dídean. Chuir Pádraic MacKernan tús lena shaol oibre sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha i 1964. D'oibrigh sé mar Leaschonsal na hÉireann i mBostún idir 1965 agus 1968 agus mar Leaschonsal-Ginearálta i Nua-Eabhrac idir 1968 agus 1974. Áirítear i measc na ról a bhí ag Pádraic sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha Comhairleoir, Rúnaí Cúnta agus Stiúrthóir Polaitiúil agus bhí sé ina bhall rialta de Thoscaireacht na hÉireann chun na Náisiún Aontaithe go dtí gur ceapadh mar Ambasadóir na hÉireann do na Stáit Aontaithe agus do Mheicsiceo é i 1985. Sa bhliain 1991 ceapadh Pádraic mar Bhuan-Ionadaí an Aontais Eorpaigh sa Bhruiséil agus i 1995 d'fhill sé ar Bhaile Átha Cliath mar Ard-Rúnaí sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Ceapadh é mar Ambasadóir na Fraince in 2001, post a bhí aige go dtí go ndeachaigh sé ar scor in 2005. Bean ghnó áitiúil í Anna Ó Coinne a raibh an-bhaint aici le fás agus le forbairt Chlub Ban Gnó agus Gairmiúil Dhúiche na Gaillimhe agus toghadh í mar Uachtarán ar an gClub i 1996. Bhunaigh Anna agus a fear céile, Liam, Connaught Security Group Limited i 1978. Tháinig fás agus forbairt ar an ngnó agus ba é an eagraíocht slándála ba mhó faoi úinéireacht phríobháideach in Éirinn a bhí ann ag tráth amháin. Díoladh an chuideachta le Chubb i 1999. Idir 1996 agus 2006 chaith Anna dhá théarma mar stiúrthóir ar an Galway Harbour Company. Sa bhliain 1989 thosaigh sí ag bailiú airgid chun an taighde a bhí ar bun ag an Ollamh Fred Given ar Ailse Chíche san Institiúid Taighde Náisiúnta ar Ailse Chíche (NBCRI) a mhaoiniú. Le linn di a bheith ag obair le grúpa deonach, ceapadh í ina Cathaoirleach ar Choiste Airgeadais agus Pleanála NBCRI. Tá breis agus €12 milliún bailithe ag an ngrúpa seo don NBCRI. Úsáidtear an t-airgead ar fad a bhailítear ar mhaithe le taighde agus le hoideachas sa réimse ailse chíche agus cuirtear béim faoi leith ar réitigh níos fearr a aimsiú d'othair. Am éigin i rith 2010 bunófar an Institiúid in Ionad Taighde Aistritheach nua atá á thógáil ag OÉ Gaillimh i láthair na huaire ar thailte Ospidéal Choláiste na hOllscoile. Tá an tionscadal seo á mhaoiniú trí shíntiúis dhaonchairdiúla agus trí infheistíocht shuntasach ón NBCRI féin. Fear de bhunadh Worcester, Massachusetts é an tOllamh Philip O'Leary áit a bhfuil sé ag obair mar Ollamh le Béarla ar Chlár Léann na hÉireann in Boston College. D'oibrigh sé mar stiúrthóir ar Chlár Samhraidh Boston College / Amharclann na Mainistreach i mBaile Átha Cliath, agus idir 1991 agus 2005 ba é a stiúir clár MA i Litríocht agus i gCultúr na hÉireann in Boston College. Ceapadh é mar Chomhalta Dáimhe Andrew J. Mellon i Roinn na dTeangacha Ceilteacha agus na Litríochtaí i Harvard, Comhalta Institiúide Cultúrtha Éireannach-Meiriceánach in OÉ Gaillimh, agus Ollamh Léannta ar Cuairt le Teanga agus le Litríocht na hÉireann in Ollscoil Notre Dame. Le cois an iliomad alt agus léirmheasanna atá scríofa aige faoi litríocht na hÉireann, idir ré na meánaoise agus an t-am i láthair, tá neart leabhar scríofa aige agus neart duaiseanna faighte aige freisin. Chuir Brian Joyce tús lena oiliúint ghnó le Ford UK sular fhill sé ar Éirinn áit ar ghlac sé le poist chuntasaíochta shinsearacha le RTÉ agus leis an mBord Bainne. Chaith sé 11 bhliain ó 1978 i leith ag obair mar Stiúrthóir Bainistíochta an Bhoird Bainne. Sa bhliain 1989, d'éirigh an tUasal Joyce as an obair feidhmiúcháin lánaimseartha a bhí ar bun aige agus d'fhorbair sé portfóilió Stiúrthóireachtaí agus Cathaoirleachtaí ar bhoird cuid de na cuideachtaí is mó cáil in Éirinn. Le cois na ról neamhfheidhmiúcháin a bhí aige, tá Brian anois ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar Clancourt Holdings agus mar Stiúrthóir ar Kingspan. Is Comhalta agus iar-Uachtarán ar Institiúid Chairte na gCuntasóirí Bainistíochta é Brian freisin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne: "Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna oinigh bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth le blianta fada anuas, agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad an cúigear atá roghnaithe i mbliana. Tá an t-uafás oibre déanta acu san iliomad réimsí – innealtóireacht, gnó, seirbhís phoiblí, daonchairdeas agus oideachas – agus cúis áthais dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas a thabhairt don tsárobair atá déanta ag na daoine seo". -Críoch

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Health inequalities among children is the focus of NUI Galway's 13th Annual Health Promotion Research Centre conference which opens today (Thursday, 11 June). Up to 200 academics, policymakers, practitioners and young people will attend the conference entitled 'Closing the Gap in Child and Adolescent Health: the Settings Approach'. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: "Research has shown that there are startling differences in health among young people in this country. Factors such as gender, socio-economic background, nationality and disability have dramatic effects. The conference promises to be an important landmark in our understanding of how to improve young people's health and reduce child health inequalities". During the conference, delegates will discuss how to promote health and well-being in various settings such as families, communities, hospitals, schools and pre-schools. The conference will also provide an opportunity to listen to the voices of Irish young people, aged between 10-25 years, who will showcase their work on children's health and well-being. Topics to be addressed are varied and include mental health services, public transport, intercultural integration and involvement of young people in their communities. Dr Nic Gabhainn added: "Governments across Europe are charged with addressing health inequalities, and it is important that we share what we know about improving the lives of all children". -ends-

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway's longstanding commitment to developing the integration of the campus with the City of Galway and the River Corrib is set to take a significant step forward. The University will shortly begin working with Galway City Council on a new Government-funded, €1.5 million project to develop a Green Way from the Salmon Weir Bridge and around the Fisheries Field area, to include a new bridge across the Eglinton Canal. This pedestrian bridge will allow easy access to the main campus, and the extensive walkways along the river, from the existing City Centre Green Ways. The new walkway will provide an exciting new link between the main campus, Earls Island and the City, and will open up the University s attractive river walks to the public. Work is expected to begin on the new bridge in Autumn 2009 and it is due for completion in 2010. "The new walkway is just one of a number of exciting building developments on campus at the moment", said NUI President, Dr James J. Browne. Cosan Nua ina Nasc idir an Campas agus Cathair na Gaillimhe (View in English) Tá dul chun cinn á dhéanamh maidir leis an ngealltanas atá tugtha le fada ag OÉ Gaillimh ceangal a dhéanamh idir an campas agus Cathair agus Abhainn na Gaillimhe. Is gearr go dtosóidh an Ollscoil ag obair le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe ar thionscadal €1.5 milliún, a bheidh á mhaoiniú ag an Rialtas, chun Bealach Glas a fhorbairt ó Dhroichead na mBradán agus thart ar an nGort Iascaigh, agus a mbeidh droichead nua thar Chanál Eglinton i gceist leis. Leis an droichead coisithe seo beidh fáil go héasca ag daoine ar an bpríomhchampas, agus ar na cosáin cois abhann, ó na Bealaí Glasa i lár na Cathrach. Cuirfidh an cosán nua nasc úr iontach ar fáil idir an príomhchampas, Oileán Iarla agus Cathair na Gaillimhe agus beidh fáil ag an bpobal ar shiúlóidí mealltacha cois abhann na hOllscoile.Meastar go dtosóidh an obair ar an droichead nua i bhfómhar na bliana 2009 agus go gcríochnófar é in 2010. "Níl sa chosán nua ach ceann de na forbairtí tógála iontacha atá ar bun ar an gcampas i láthair na huaire", deir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne. -Críoch-

Monday, 8 June 2009

NUI Galway and University of Ulster to Collaborate on Research NUI Galway today announced that the private papers of Brendan Duddy, former secret intermediary between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership, have been deposited in the University's library archives. The extensive collection of papers charts Brendan Duddy's involvement, from 1973 to 1993, in the intensive efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "We are honoured to become the custodians of Brendan Duddy's valuable and unique collection. This archive will provide an extraordinary insight into the making of peace in Ireland, from the perspective of a man who played a pivotal role". NUI Galway, in collaboration with INCORE - the University of Ulster s International Conflict Research Centre, will carry out extensive research on the papers. The documents, which currently fill 30 box files, will be assessed and catalogued. In due course, documents from the archive will be digitised and made available to historians and other researchers in a collaboration between NUI Galway and the Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN). Brendan Duddy will speak at NUI Galway's Conference of Irish Studies on Saturday, 13 June, where several documents from the archive will be on display. He commented: "It is a pleasure and a privilege to entrust my papers to NUI Galway, where, I hope, they will be of some value to scholars of Irish history in the generations to come. I am particularly happy that the archive is to be shared with INCORE of the University of Ulster, based in my home town of Derry". A business man from Derry with a desire for peace, Brendan Duddy spent more than 20 years at the centre of extraordinary events in Northern Ireland. Sometimes using his own house as the venue for secret meetings, he acted as the contact between representatives of the IRA s ruling army council and British intelligence officers from MI6 and MI5. He was an intermediary in the negotiations aimed at resolving the hunger-strikes of 1980 and 1981, and also played a central role in the efforts to negotiate the IRA ceasefire in 1994. Brendan's role gradually became public in recent years, most significantly when the BBC aired the documentary The Secret Peacemaker in 2008. Dr Niall O'Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science of Sociology at NUI Galway and author of From Civil Rights to Armalites, an influential academic study of the Troubles in Derry, will be deeply involved in research on the papers. Dr Ó Dochartaigh says: "This is an extraordinary collection, one of the most important sources we have for understanding the Irish peace process. The papers will be an essential resource for any researcher trying to understand how peace was made in Ireland and a focus for historical research for years to come". Dr Brandon Hamber, Director of INCORE at the University of Ulster, said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with Brendan Duddy and NUI Galway on this important project. Rarely, is there an opportunity to get an inside view into how peace is really made. Brendan Duddy's archive does just that and is therefore not only of local but also international importance". The James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway already houses papers belonging to Republican Ruairi Ó Brádaigh, which will complement the acquisition of the Brendan Duddy Archive. The archives service of the James Hardiman Library has over three hundred archival collections, dating from the fifteenth century to the present day. Major collections include manuscript collections of poetry and folklore gathered by Douglas Hyde, the literary papers of John McGahern and the music of Joe Burke. -Ends-

Monday, 8 June 2009

Technology from a new NUI Galway start-up company, eagleEdge Ltd., is cutting almost 20% off fuel bills in the haulage and transport industries. By installing a 'black box' device, designed and developed in Ireland, the solution helps identify how changes in driver style across vehicle fleets can save fuel. eagleEdge, which was founded by a former NUI Galway research team and came out of the University's business incubation facilities, has been instrumental in reducing the fuel usage of large vehicle fleets by up to 18%. Improvements in individual driver performance of as much as 30-40% have also been achieved. The company's product FuelGauge monitors driving style and habits, and a customised report advises on where fuel is being wasted. This could be through hard acceleration, harsh braking, lack of cruise control usage, excessive speeds or various other factors. Jason Byrne is Director of eagleEdge: "What became evident in our research was the scale of the fuel problem for hauliers and logistics companies. Currently, a typical haulier or coach operator is spending at least 40% of their running costs on fuel, which is just staggering when you consider the tight margins a lot of these companies operate. When you consider the massive cost that fuel represents to fleet managers, it's easy to see why some transport chiefs are looking at innovative ways to turn their biggest cost into their biggest profit maker this year". Dr John Kavanagh is Director of the Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway: "eagleEdge is a fine example of entrepreneurship leading to a very practical innovation and proves the adage that what gets measured gets done. This is a true Green Technology with cost benefits to the transport sector leading to lower fuel imports and a reduction in Ireland's carbon footprint". -Ends-

Monday, 8 June 2009

The largest ever survey of children and young people's health is to be planned by international experts in NUI Galway this week. A hundred scientists will gather to prepare for the next round of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study which will take place during 2010 in more than 43 countries and will include over 230,000 children aged 11-15 years. Of particular interest will be the opportunity to listen to the voices of Irish young people, who will showcase their projects and views on children's health and well-being and help ensure that their voices are fully represented in the planning process. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn of the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway, and Principal Investigator for HBSC Ireland, said: "We are delighted to welcome colleagues from across Europe and North America to Galway, planning the next international survey is a huge undertaking and we need to make sure that the best possible methods are used". The HBSC survey aims for greater understanding of health among young people, both physical and emotional, and includes information on the context of young people's lives including families, school, communities and peer groups. These data sets will be vital to those developing policy, strategy and practice in the area of youth health and well-being in Ireland and internationally. In order to ensure that comparisons between countries are valid, the scientists convening in Galway will discuss and agree how to make sure that all countries follow the same procedures and collect information in the same way. All the questions to be included in the next survey round including the rationale and evidence-base will be discussed. "Young people deserve the best quality, evidenced-based planning for their health and well-being, and they want to be involved in the process – our aim is to make that possible" said Dr Nic Gabhainn. -Ends-

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Center for Disease Control in the United States has announced that a paper on Swine Flu, co-authored by NUI Galway's Professor Anthony Moran, has been nominated for a prestigious US science award. The manuscript Anti-Ganglioside Antibody Induction by Swine and Other Influenza Vaccines: Insights into vaccine-Associated Guillain-Barré Syndrome, was nominated in the Laboratory and Methods category in the 2009 Charles C. Shepard Science Awards. The research concerns the "swine flu" (H1N1) epidemic of 1976 in the US which has some similarity to the present-day AH1N1 outbreak. Over 40 million US citizens were given a swine flu vaccine in 1976. A very small percentage subsequently reported the development of a paralytic disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which is a disorder of the peripheral nervous system that may lead to immobility due to paralysis. However, the link between the vaccine and the development of this syndrome remains to be proven. Professor Anthony Moran of the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, explained: "Our paper dealt with a re-analysis of the 1976 vaccine* and its potential to contribute to GBS development. Using more modern approaches retrospectively on these samples, we were able to show that important safety issues should be considered when producing such vaccines to avoid the development of GBS. Thus, our findings will allow the development of even safer vaccines. This is of central relevance at the present time in producing a new flu vaccine for current usage". Since 1985, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have presented the Charles C. Shepard Science Award to authors of the most outstanding peer-reviewed research paper published by CDC/ATSDR scientists during the preceding year. The award recognises scientific achievement at CDC/ATSDR and honours the memory of Dr Charles C. Shepard, whose career was marked by the pursuit of scientific excellence. Presently, in addition to honouring publications in three categories – Assessment and Epidemiology, Prevention and Control, and Laboratory and Methods – there is also an award for Lifetime Scientific Achievement. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, commented on the prestige and relevance of this award: "The US Center for Disease Control is the leading disease surveillance authority worldwide, so the nomination of Professor Moran and his team for this award is highly prestigious and represents an acknowledgement of the internationally significant research being conducted at NUI Galway. I would like to congratulate Professor Moran and his team and wish him well at the award ceremony in June". The Shepard Science Award ceremony will take place at the CDC's Roybal Campus on Monday, June 29, 2009. This year's keynote speaker will be Nobel Laureate, Professor Paul Krugman. He will speak on "Health and the Economic Future". -Ends-

Friday, 5 June 2009

A new book published by The Liffey Press and co-edited by NUI Galway academics Seán Crosson and Rod Stoneman, is to be launched on Thursday, 11 June at 11am in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media as part of the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) 2009. Seán Crosson is a lecturer on Irish and world cinema with the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway where he is Programme Coordinator of the MA in Film Studies and Rod Stoneman is the Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media and was formerly Chief Executive with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board. This book, The Quiet Man … and Beyond, involves both critical analysis of aspects of The Quiet Man as myth, commodity and fetish and the celebration of a film that has sustained considerable academic attention and popular appreciation since its release in 1952. Among the topics considered are the complexity of the film's relation to Ireland, Irish literature and to John Ford's other films; its perceived place with regard to indigenous Irish cinema and representations of women; and the phenomenon of its circulation and reception as a cult film over the years. The contributors to the collection include some of the leading scholars of film and Irish studies including Luke Gibbons, John Hill, Ruth Barton and NUI Galway academics Adrian Frazier and Sean Ryder. In 1996, The Quiet Man topped an Irish Times poll for the best Irish film of all time. Almost ten years later, in 2005, with many more Irish (and Irish-themed) films made, The Quiet Man still occupied number four in a poll of 10,000 people across Ireland. John Ford's greatest commercial success, the film also set a template for Ireland's representation, and promotion, for over half a century. ACIS 2009, hosted by the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, is one of the largest conferences in the humanities in Ireland this year. Speakers from a dozen countries, representing over 100 universities will present up to 250 papers examining themes relating to contemporary Irish culture and society. Delegates attending the American Conference of Irish Studies (ACIS) in conjunction with the Second Galway Conference of Irish Studies (GCIS) will consider issues relating to the key themes of the dynamics of immigration and settlement in modern Ireland, and the concept of the everyday in Irish life and culture. -Ends-

Thursday, 4 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) In response to an increased number of queries from graduates seeking assistance with job searches, NUI Galway will host a Graduate Support day in the Career Development Centre on 11 June from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre at NUI Galway, says: "It is without doubt a difficult time for graduates who find themselves navigating the current labour market. We look forward to meeting recent graduates again and we encourage alumni to avail of this unique event". Graduates will have the opportunity to avail of a one to one consultation with a careers adviser which can be pre booked by calling the Career Development Centre in advance. Staff will also be available to review CV's and offer advice on further education options. In addition, the event will include a series of talks on job search, CV advice and tips on keeping motivated in the current climate. For further details or to book an appointment please contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email pamela.devins@nuigalway.ie An tIonad Forbartha Gairmeacha le Tacú le Céimithe OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Ó tharla neart fiosrúchán a bheith faighte ó chéimithe ag lorg cúnaimh agus iad ar thóir poist, tá sé beartaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh Lá Tacaíochta do Chéimithe a reáchtáil san Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha ar an 11 Meitheamh ó 1.30pm go dtí 4.30pm. Dúirt John Hannon, Ceann Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha OÉ Gaillimh: "Níl dabht ar bith faoi ach go bhfuil an-chuid deacrachtaí le sárú ag céimithe atá anois ag iarraidh poist a aimsiú dóibh féin agus cúrsaí geilleagair mar atá. Táimid ag tnúth le bualadh le cuid de chéimithe na hOllscoile seo agus molaimid freisin do alumni freastal ar an imeacht seo". Beidh deis ag céimithe freastal ar sheisiún comhairliúcháin duine le duine le comhairleoir gairme; is féidir seisiúin mar seo a chur in áirithe roimh ré trí ghlaoch ar an Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha. Beidh comhaltaí foirne ar fáil freisin le breathnú ar CVanna agus comhairle a thabhairt maidir le roghanna breisoideachais. Chomh maith leis sin, eagrófar sraith cainteanna maidir le conas post a chuardach, tabharfar comhairle agus noda maidir le misneach a bheith agat agus cúrsaí geilleagair mar atá. Má theastaíonn tuilleadh eolais uait nó más mian leat coinne a dhéanamh, déan teagmháil leis an Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha ag 091 493589 nó seol ríomhphost chuig pamela.devins@nuigalway.ie -Críoch-

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

To survive and prosper firms need to innovate their current management models, according to international management and strategy expert Professor Julian Birkinshaw. Professor Birkinshaw is co-founder and research director of the Management Lab (M-Lab), a non-profit organisation based in California working to accelerate management innovation, and Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School. He will deliver two key note addresses at the InterTradeIreland Innovation conference hosted by the Centre of Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway on 9 and 10 June. Innovation from Research to Practice is the theme of Professor Birkinshaw's first keynote talk on 9 June. This will focus on the emergence of the 'open innovation' model, how firms can do a better job of managing innovation and the role of the leader in stimulating innovation in a downturn. On 10 June, Professor Birkinshaw's will focus on Innovating your Management Model which will outline the current challenges that managers face and the need for managers and organisations to fundamentally change their management model to survive, prosper and to innovate on a sustainable basis. Delegates will also have the opportunity to put questions to a panel of industry speakers who will discuss "Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities" from their perspective. This conference is being delivered as part of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme. The Programme, a partnership between InterTradeIreland, NUI Galway, University College Dublin and Queens University Belfast, aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. The All-Island Innovation Programme is complemented by a Community of Researchers working on innovation across the island. The aim of this community is to progress the development of an all-island knowledge economy, to align best practice in innovation research with current policy thinking and inform future policy-making and its implementation. InterTradeIreland Strategy and Policy Director Aidan Gough said: "This two-day programme will explore the challenge of delivering innovation for the smart economy. Innovation is more important than ever in the current climate and can make the difference between mere survival and growth. Professor Birkinshaw will provide insights into how embedding innovation into the overall management process can drive success." Anyone interested in attending should contact valerie.parker@nuigalway.ie and online at www.innovationireland.org. Attendance is open to all and the event is free to attend. -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Three groundbreaking research projects at NUI Galway secured funding awards when Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation recently announced research funding awards of €20.7million for 22 research projects under the Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator Programme. Making the announcement, Minister Lenihan said: "Today's Government investment will enable crucial research to be carried out in Ireland over the next three to five years. The successful 22 projects include medical research into cancer, stroke and brain injury, Alzheimer's Disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, salmonella, meningitis, pre-clampsia, genetics and medical devices, while other areas to be funded include greenhouse gas emissions, web personalization, cloud computing, cyber security, digital media and semi-conductors." In congratulating the award winners, the Minister added: "The Government remains firmly committed to developing the "Smart Economy". It is research projects such as these that will support the next phase of Ireland's economic development. We must never lose sight of the fact that research and development is primarily about people - the individual and collective talents of our skilled personnel. We must continue to support the best researchers to bring about long-term economic benefits and with the assistance of support structures such as SFI, IDA and Enterprise Ireland, we can studiously bring these concepts to that next level, and through exploitation and commercialisation ensure economic and societal benefits for Ireland." Speaking at the announcement, Chairperson of SFI, and former President of NUI Galway Professor Pat Fottrell said: "To date, the academic and commercial outputs stemming from previous PI funding have been promising, which bodes well for today's recipients under this programme. By subjecting all funding applications to a high level of scrutiny and review by 28 distinguished international scientists, SFI has illustrated its meticulous and exhaustive approach in rewarding ground-breaking research with the greatest potential for commercial and societal benefits." From a total of €20m in funding granted by the SFI Principal Investigator Programme, the following NUI Galway projects received €2.7m: Professor Robert Woods, School of Chemistry and NCBES Virtual Glycan Array Development and Carbohydrate Receptor Engineering Carbohydrates are highly abundant, simple organic compounds and are the building blocks of sugars and starches. Professor Woods aims to use a combination of computer modeling and experimental approaches to design new carbohydrate-based drug therapies and diagnostic agents. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop novel anti-viral medications for treatment of influenza and diagnostics for diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Professor Corrado Santocanale, NCBES Understanding and exploiting molecular mechanisms of DNA replication in cancer cells Correct duplication of the genetic material (DNA) in each cell of our body is essential for the maintenance of a cancer free state. Uncontrolled DNA duplication is one of the hallmarks of cancer and many established chemotherapeutic agents target this process. Professor Santocanale aims to discover mechanisms that control DNA duplication in human cancer cells and to identify proteins targets for development of novel chemotherapeutics. Dr Henry Curran, School of Chemistry & ECI Combustion Chemistry for Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficient Technologies. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Ireland agreed to limit its Greenhouse Gas emissions to 13% above 1990 levels by 2008–2012. Emissions from transport continue to be the main source of growth in GHG levels in Ireland. Dr Curran will examine how biofuels burn which will assist in making choices on potentially new fuels for energy efficient combustion. The research also aims to develop technologies that will enable safe and reliable gas turbine operation (for power and heat generation) with undiluted syngas. These SFI awards follow from last week's announcement by The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Ms Mary Coughlan T.D., for Government funding of €11.3million for 68 research projects under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme (RFP) for 2009 of which NUI Galway was awarded over €1million. Dr Harald Berresheim, School of Physics & ECI Variation of the Oxidation Efficiency and Particle Precursor Gases in the Coastal Atmosphere. The atmosphere's efficiency to clean itself from pollutants is linked to the production of OH radicals which react with nearly all pollutants via oxidation. However, this cleansing efficiency can significantly vary depending on UV radiation and atmospheric levels of natural and/or man-made compounds. This project aims to quantify these limitations based on direct measurements of OH in the coastal atmosphere at Mace Head. In addition, the role of OH and sulphur gases as well as other compounds in the formation of new ultrafine particles will be investigated. The project will be supported by two international collaborators. Dr Dimitrios I. Zeugolis, Department of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering, & NCBES Loading a self-assembled nano-textured matrix for functional tissue engineering In the quest of the ideal raw material for scaffold fabrication, collagen use has been advocated due to its superior mechanical properties and reduced immunogenicity. However, the currently available sources of collagen either harbour concerns for inter-species transmission of disease (e.g. bovine extracted collagen) or are of low yield (human recombinant collagen). Herein, we propose an approach to produce large amounts of collagen that will be host-specific. The resultant scaffolds will be optimally stabilised and functionalised to control structural, physical and biological properties with no inherent toxic effects on resident cells. Dr Anne Marie Power, Zoology & Martin Ryan Institute 'BINDING: Barnacle INspired Design IN Gluing technology' "Developing glues that work in wet environments would be extremely useful in surgical applications. Barnacles have evolved underwater mechanisms to cement themselves to all sorts of surfaces, producing strong bonds which can withstand powerful forces but which are also non-toxic. The molecular methods which produce this attachment will form the basis of this research." Professor Michael Redfern, School of Physics Researchers in the Centre for Astronomy in NUI Galway have developed a unique instrument, for use on the World s largest telescopes, which will now be used to study emissions from collapsed stars in unprecedented detail. It has been known for more than forty years that stars can collapse to a few kilometers across, and can spin at up to 50 times per second - emitting flashes of light like a light-house beam as they do so. What is not understood is why they do so. Our new instrument will provide detailed information to study this emission. Dr Michael Tuite, School of Mathematic, Statistics & Applied Mathematics Vertex Operator Algebras and Deligne s Exceptional Lie Groups A vertex operator algebra is a new mathematical construction very closely related to notions coming from quantum theory in theoretical physics. This project is concerned with an application of some of my recent research in this area to Lie groups in pure mathematics. This work provides a new explanation of very surprising observations made 10 years ago by the Field's Medal winning French mathematician Pierre Deligne. Professor Afsin Samali, Biochemistry & NCBES Accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the ER triggers the unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR initially attempts to reduce the protein load in the ER and increase its folding capacity. However, unresolved ER stress results in the activation of apoptosis. Loss of UPR protective signalling may underlie the cell death seen in diabetes, congestive heart failure and neurodegeneration. In the recent SFI-RFP proposal we have proposed to study the role of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, in the regulation of IRE-1 signalling during the unfolded protein response. Dr Adrienne Gorman, Biochemistry & NCBES Novel neurotrophin variants with altered receptor binding Dr Adrienne Gorman received €150,536 from the SFI RFP programme to work on 'Novel neurotrophin variants with altered receptor binding'. Neurotrophins are a small family of molecules that promote neuronal cell survival or death depending on the cell surface receptors with which they interact. The aim of this project is to produce novel neurotrophin variants that retain the neurotrophic activities that are mediated by Trk receptors, while at the same time and prevent cell death signaling through the p75 receptor. These variants could have therapeutic potential to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease where increased activity at the p75 receptor has been implicated. -Ends-

Friday, 24 July 2009

Spinal cord regeneration will be the first topic of the Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series commencing on Thursday, 30 July, at NUI Galway. The lecture series will be hosted by the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES), which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary. Over the coming months, a range of international speakers involved in ongoing research collaboration with the NCBES will share their insights and experiences with fellow scientists and the general public. Topics during the seminar series will include: the latest developments in breast cancer research; furthering understanding of the cause of multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders; the social-psychology of exercise and its use in helping stroke and spinal cord injury patients; and the discovery of new therapies for the treatment of cancer. According to Professor Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES: "The lecture series will bring some of the most accomplished research leaders to Galway and will provide a forum for discussion of the latest and most significant advances in life sciences research. It will provide good opportunities for NCBES scientists to develop new collaborations and will lead to enhanced quality and productivity in our research efforts". On Thursday, 30 July, a husband and wife team from Arizona State University will provide an overview of a number of projects at the Center for Adaptive Neural Systems. Professor James J. Abbas and Professor Ranu Jung focus on developing systems to promote recovery after spinal cord injury by controlling movements using electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles. An innovative technology by this prominent engineer-scientist pair, which interfaces with the nervous system, has already benefitted patients with spinal cord injury and with neurodegenerative diseases. Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences at the NCBES, heads up the Centre's collaboration with the team in Arizona. He comments: "A cutting-edge approach is being taken in Arizona to current medical challenges in the areas of spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. The Jung-Abbas team is truly translational and unique because it brings together electrical and mechanical engineering, physiological science and clinical research. This has been tried successfully in patients". In its collaboration with the Center for Adaptive Neural Systems, the team at the NCBES are investigating the role played by the 'sugars' involved in cell to cell communication. These complex carbohydrates or glycans play crucial roles in the development and regeneration of tissues and organs, during growth, disease and injury. As Professor Joshi explains: "The central nervous system (CNS), found in the brain and spine, is a complex organ and does not regenerate after injury at the pace of other organs and tissues. Studies have shown that removal of certain glycans can promote some growth on a cellular level, thereby facilitating CNS regeneration. The burning question is – what exact role do glycans play by inhibiting neuroregeneration? Our project involves the mapping of glycans so we can better understand their presence in healthy, injured or rehabilitating tissue". The field of Neuroglycoscience is rapidly emerging and scientists at NUI Galway are working on discovering novel glycobiomarkers, glycoimaging tools, therapeutic targets and molecules and drug delivery systems to promote neuro-regeneration. The Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series is being supported by the Galway University Foundation. The first lecture takes place at 10.30am on Thursday, 30 July in the NCBES Seminar Room, Orbsen Building, NUI Galway. For further information telephone 091 495701. -ends-

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Botanists from NUI Galway have used a most unlikely source – fungi that grow on cattle and sheep dung – to shed new light on farming and its impact on the Burren, County Clare, the best developed karstic region of western Europe. Using old and new techniques, including analysis of fossil spores produced by fungi that grow only on herbivorous animals' dung, the study – published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Ecology – shows how farming waxed and waned over the past 3500 years and how this shaped Burren's extraordinary plant life. Dr Ingo Feeser and Professor Michael O'Connell from the NUI Galway collected peat and soil samples from upland areas of the Burren. It is well known that peat, because it preserves pollen, archives long records of past plant life. But scientists have only recently realised that peat also preserves other fossils such as fungal spores. By using both these techniques and radiocarbon dating, Feeser and O'Connell have uncovered the history of upland farming in the Burren and the major role that cattle and sheep grazing has played in shaping the area s flora and landscape. According to Professor O'Connell: "Spores from fungi that grow on dung of cattle and sheep are really useful for two reasons: they preserve well and, since they are produced at ground level they stay put. That means when we find them as fossils, we can be sure that grazers were present at the sampling site all those years ago. Together with fossil pollen, they help us distinguish between the impact of factors such as climate change and upland grazing on species composition and biodiversity." The fossil pollen reveals that pinewoods once grew on the exposed north-western Burren hills that face the Atlantic Ocean on the southern side of Galway Bay until around 500 BC, when increased farming by Iron Age peoples resulted in pine no longer being the dominant tree. "Present-day open pinewoods on limestone soils in Scandinavia, with a ground flora that includes many typical 'Burren' species, are the closest analogy to these former pinewoods on the coastal Burren uplands," says O Connell. This means it is no longer necessary to invoke special conditions, such as persistence of open, treeless conditions since the retreat of the ice sheets, to explain the presence of arctic-alpine species in the Burren; rather these plants found favourable conditions, and thus survived, within open pinewoods. The study also emphasises the highly dynamic nature of the relationship between humans and nature in the Burren since farmers first arrived about 6000 years ago. While open pinewoods dominated coastal uplands, hazel scrub was important in inland areas such as Corkscrew Hill where farming impact was higher. Hazel was also highly dynamic and sensitive to farming pressures. When farming declined at the end of the Iron Age (about AD 300), hazel replaced grasslands in what the researchers refer to as the 'Late Iron Age Lull'. The reverse occurred in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century when population levels rose dramatically and the Burren became so bare that the woody stems of the mountain avens (Dryas) were used as a substitute for wood. This, in turn, contrasts with the present-day situation when farming is on the decline and the spread of hazel reduces the habitat available to the typical Burren flora and hides the rich archaeology of the region. However, vegetation and farming are not the only dynamic features of the Burren. The placename 'Burren' denotes a rocky place that aptly describes this extensive area of bare limestone rock. "That the Burren landscape always had this lunar-like appearance is not true," says Professor O'Connell. By radiocarbon dating charcoal contained in eroded soils recovered from grykes (deep fissures in the limestone), the NUI Galway researchers have shown that substantial loss of soil through erosion followed not only the clearing of primeval woodlands by the early farmers, i.e. the megalith tomb builders, but continued to be a feature of the Burren until well into medieval times. Ingo Feeser and Michael O Connell (2009). Fresh insights into long-term changes in flora, vegetation, land use and soil erosion in the karstic environment of the Burren, western Ireland, Journal of Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2009.01533.x, is published online on 22 July 2009. -ends-

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) The third John McGahern International Seminar will be officially opened tomorrow (Thursday, 23 July), by NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, and Cathaoirleach of Leitrim Co. Council, Mr Thomas Mulligan, in the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. The John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School is organised annually in Co. Leitrim to commemorate the work and literary achievements of this distinguished author. In advance of the opening address, President Browne spoke of the relationship John McGahern had with the University over a period of almost 50 years: "In the course of John's interaction with NUI Galway, a deep and close friendship grew with its people, and a shared regard developed between John and the University. There was a sustained rapport between the academy and the artist, based largely I believe on a shared understanding of a sense of place. The writings of John McGahern are inextricably linked with and informed by the writer's own sense of place. Leitrim and the north-west form a unique and important backdrop to the McGahern canon. We at NUI Galway share in this sense of place, and by becoming the repository of the papers of John McGahern in some way maintain for this region an enduring link with the writer and the man". Mr Thomas Mulligan, Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council, commented: "Leitrim County Council is delighted to see this project develop in its third year, establishing its own rhythm within Ireland s literary calendar. While retaining its central focus on the work of John McGahern, this year's engagement with themes of the heroic - from the local to the universal - and taking account also the 125th anniversary of the GAA, is a strong expression of the confidence and breadth of vision that Leitrim County Council and NUI Galway share for this important event". The keynote lecture, "The Local and the Universal: Ordinary Heroes in John McGahern", will be delivered at the opening ceremony by Professor Kevin Whelan of Notre Dame University. The second volume of the John McGahern Yearbook will also be launched on the opening evening. The Yearbook, published in a collectable hardback format, is the associated publication of the Seminar and Summer School. The Yearbook is compiled and edited by Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway and Academic Director of the Seminar and Summer School. This year's volume contains all of last year's Seminar lectures as well as a wide range of other essays. Contributions include the keynote address by Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh of NUI Galway and lectures given by Professor David Malcolm of the University of Gdansk, Poland, and Gerardo Gambolini, the Argentinian poet whose Spanish translation of John McGahern's collected stories has recently been published to great acclaim. Writing about John McGahern, Gambolini says: "I see John McGahern as a great writer, not as a great Irish writer. His voice is universal; his undeniably Irish tone and topics are made universal by his talent, not by geography. My dominant experience in translating him was the pleasure of reading day after day over a long time remarkable pictures of the greatness and the abjectness of human soul and flesh, pictures always traversed in the end by compassion, by a joyful or painful form of redemption". The Yearbook specially commissions a short-story writer each year and this year's story is 'White Hitachi' by Irish author Kevin Barry. Speakers during the International Seminar include Professor Liliane Louvel of the University of Poitiers, France, Professor Denis Sampson, Canada, Professor Mike Cronin, Boston College, and Kevin Barry. Panel discussions and readings will also take place throughout the programme. As in previous years, the Seminar will include guided visits to John McGahern's home places in Aughawillan, Ballinamore and Mohill in Co. Leitrim, and Cootehall in Co. Roscommon A detailed schedule for the Seminar can be downloaded from www.nuigalway.ie/iss/ Tríú Seimineár Idirnáisiúnta John McGahern ar siúl i Liatroim (View in English) Is iad Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, agus Cathaoirleach Chomhairle Contae Liatroma, Thomas Mulligan, a osclóidh tríú Seimineár Idirnáisiúnta John McGahern anocht (Déardaoin, an 23 Iúil) in Óstán an Bush, Cora Droma Rúisc, Co. Liatroma. Reáchtáiltear Seimineár Idirnáisiúnta agus Scoil Samhraidh John McGahern gach bliain i gCo. Liatroma chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar shaothar agus ar éachtaí liteartha an údair cháiliúil seo. Sular thug sé aitheasc na hoscailte, labhair Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Browne, faoin ngaol a bhí idir John McGahern agus an Ollscoil ar feadh 50 bliain, nó mar sin: "Cuireadh síol domhain cairdis, de réir a chéile, idir John agus pobal OÉ Gaillimh, agus d'fhás dámh eatarthu. Cothaíodh gaol láidir idir an coláiste agus an t-ealaíontóir, gaol a bhí bunaithe, déarfainn féin, ar chomhthuiscint ar ómós áite. Sníonn ómós áite go dlúth trí chuid scríbhneoireachta John McGahern. Ní féidir Liatroim agus an t-iarthuaisceart a scaradh ó chanóin liteartha McGahern. Tá tuiscint againne, pobal OÉ Gaillimh, ar an ómós áite chomh maith, agus ó tharla gur anseo san Ollscoil atá páipéir John McGahern i dtaisce, táimid ag cothú ceangal buan leis an scríbhneoir agus leis an bhfear féin, ar bhealach". Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Thomas Mulligan, Cathaoirleach Chomhairle Contae Liatroma: "Tá an-áthas orainn i gComhairle Contae Liatroma go bhfuil an seimineár seo á reáchtáil den tríú bliain as a chéile, agus go bhfuil sé go mór chun tosaigh i bhféilire litríochta na hÉireann. Cé gur ar shaothar John McGahern is mó atá an bhéim, léiríonn téamaí laochais áitiúil agus uilíoch na bliana seo agus ceiliúradh 125 bliain a mbunaithe ag CLG, an mhuinín choiteann atá ag Comhairle Contae Liatroma agus ag OÉ Gaillimh as an ócáid thábhachtach seo agus an fhís choiteann atá acu di". Is é an tOllamh Kevin Whelan ó Ollscoil Notre Dame a thabharfaidh an phríomhléacht, "The Local and the Universal:Ordinary Heroes in John McGahern" i ndiaidh na hoscailte. Seolfar an dara himleabhar de The John McGahern Yearbook tráthnóna na hoscailte chomh maith. Is comhfhoilseachán de chuid an tSeimineáir agus na Scoile Samhraidh The John McGahern Yearbook, foilseachán a bhfuil clúdach crua air agus a mbeidh tóir ag bailitheoirí leabhar air. Is é an Dr John Kenny, Léachtóir John McGahern sa Scríbhneoireacht Chruthaitheach in OÉ Gaillimh agus Stiúrthóir Acadúil an tSeimineáir agus na Scoile Samhraidh a thiomsaigh The John McGahern Yearbook agus a bhí ina eagarthóir air. Tá léachtaí Sheimineár na bliana seo caite ar fad in imleabhar na bliana seo mar aon le rogha leathan aistí eile. I measc na n-aistí atá sa leabhar tá an phríomhléacht a thug an tOllamh Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh ó OÉ Gaillimh agus léachtaí a thug an tOllamh David Malcolm ó Ollscoil Gdansk, an Pholainn agus Gerardo Gambolini, an file ón Airgintín a bhfuil ardmholadh faighte ag an aistriúchán go Spáinnis a rinne sé ar scéalta John McGahern le déanaí. Seo cuid den mhéid a bhí le rá ag Gambolini faoi John McGahern sa leabhar: "I see John McGahern as a great writer, not as a great Irish writer. His voice is universal; his undeniably Irish tone and topics are made universal by his talent, not by geography. My dominant experience in translating him was the pleasure of reading day after day over a long time remarkable pictures of the greatness and the abjectness of human soul and flesh, pictures always traversed in the end by compassion, by a joyful or painful form of redemption". Déantar coimisiúnú ar ghearrscéalaí gach bliain le scéal a scríobh do The John McGahern Yearbook agus is é 'White Hitachi' a scríobh an t-údar Éireannach Kevin Barry gearrscéal na bliana seo. I measc na gcainteoirí ag an Seimineár Idirnáisiúnta beidh an tOllamh Liliane Louvel as Ollscoil Poitiers, an Fhrainc, an tOllamh Denis Sampson, Ceanada, an tOllamh Mike Cronin, Boston College agus Kevin Barry. Beidh plé painéil agus léitheoireachtaí ann i rith an tseimineáir chomh maith. Arís i mbliana, eagrófar turais threoraithe chuig na háiteanna a raibh cónaí ar John McGahern iontu in Achadh an Mhuilinn, i mBéal an Átha Móir agus i Maothail i gCo. Liatroma agus go hUachtar Tíre i gCo. Ros Comáin. Is féidir mionsonraí chlár an tSeimineáir a íoslódáil ó www.nuigalway.ie/iss/ -Crioch-

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Following the recent release of final CAO figures for 2009 applications, NUI Galway shows a substantial increase of 13.1% in CAO First Preferences. This growth is more than double that of the University sector (6.2%) and is by a comfortable margin the highest year-on-year increase of all the Universities. Professor Jim Ward, Deputy-President and Registrar at NUI Galway, commented on the increase in CAO applications: "We are delighted that NUI Galway has the highest growth rate in applications; it's encouraging to see we are well above the national average. In particular Engineering applications have jumped by 39% in first preferences as against a drop nationally of 3.4%. Programmes on offer at NUI Galway are designed to develop students academically and personally, and our partnerships with industry and community play a huge part in the overall design of the courses we offer". Almost all subject areas experienced increases in CAO applications, with large demand for Science, Arts and Commerce, and a major rise in Engineering, IT and Medicine. The University sees this growth as a direct result of its response to integrating national priorities into the institutional agenda. The national need for teachers in mathematics has been identified and the new BA programme in Maths and Education is designed to improve the teaching of mathematics, which is key to Ireland s success as a 'Smart Economy'. Demand for this programme has grown 69%. Being responsive to the changing needs of the employment market is also a key focus at NUI Galway. Soaring Engineering applications reflect carefully thought-out new programmes in Energy Systems Engineering, designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector as well as Engineering Innovation, which aims to create a new type of engineer with skills in innovation and entrepreneurship essential to delivering the 'Smart Economy'. Engineering students at NUI Galway will also benefit from the University s new state-of-the-art Engineering Building which is due for completion in 2011. Professor Ward added: "Internationally recognised research in priority areas and partnerships with industry are key at NUI Galway. Growth in the popularity of IT courses is mirrored in tremendous research successes for the University's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) which is the leading Semantic Web Institute in the world. A Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), DERI recently hit the headlines when a piece of their web technology was adopted by the Obama administration to bring greater transparency to the new US Government. The area of Biomedical Engineering is also directly linked to Biomedical Science where the University has integrated courses and research to meet the needs of local industry partners such as Boston Scientific and Medtronic". Tríú Borradh faoi Líon na nIarratas CAO ar OÉ Gaillimh agus í ag Díriú ar 'an nGeilleagar Glic' (View in English) Léiríonn na figiúirí deiridh a d'fhoilsigh an CAO le gairid maidir le hiarratais 2009 go bhfuil méadú suntasach 13.1% tagtha ar na hiarratais Chéadrogha CAO ar OÉ Gaillimh. Is ionann sin agus dhá oiread an mhéadaithe ar líon na n-iarratas ar Ollscoileanna trí chéile (6.2%) agus is é an méadú is mó go héasca é ó bhliain amháin go bliain eile ar líon na n-iarratas chéadrogha a rinneadh ar Ollscoileanna uile na tíre. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Jim Ward, Meabhránaí agus Uachtarán Ionaid OÉ Gaillimh, faoin méadú atá tagtha ar líon na n-iarratas céadrogha CAO: "Táimid thar a bheith sásta gur ar líon na n-iarratas ar OÉ Gaillimh is mó a tháinig méadú i mbliana. Is tógáil croí é go bhfuil an méadú i líon na n-iarratas chun na hollscoile seo i bhfad chun cinn ar an meán náisiúnta. Is cúis suntais, go háirithe, an méadú 39% atá ar líon na n-iarratas céadrogha san Innealtóireacht, réimse a raibh titim 3.4% i líon na n-iarratas inti go náisiúnta. Cuireann cúrsaí OÉ Gaillimh rompu mic léinn a chothú go hacadúil agus go pearsanta agus tá ról lárnach ag an gcomhoibriú a bhíonn idir an Ollscoil, an tionscal agus an pobal i leagan amach na gcúrsaí atá á dtairiscint againn". Tháinig méadú ar líon na n-iarratas CAO i bhformhór na n-ábhar. Tháinig méadú mór ar líon na n-iarratas san Eolaíocht, sna Dána agus sa Tráchtáil, agus tháinig méadú an-mhór ar na hiarratais san Innealtóireacht, i dTeicneolaíocht na Faisnéise agus sa Leigheas. Dar leis an Ollscoil gur toradh díreach an fás seo ar an gcaoi ar chuir sí béim ar thosaíochtaí náisiúnta i gclár oibre na hinstitiúide. Aithníodh go mbeadh éileamh ar mhúinteoirí matamaitice ar fud na tíre agus tá sé mar aidhm ag an gclár nua BA sa Mhatamaitic agus san Oideachas an chaoi a múintear an mhatamaitic a fheabhsú. Tá sé ríthábhachtach go ndéanfaí sin chun go mbainfeadh Éire barr feabhais amach mar gheilleagar glic. Tá méadú 69% tagtha ar an éileamh ar an gclár seo. Cuirtear an-bhéim in OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith ar fhreastal ar riachtanais luaineacha mhargadh na fostaíochta. Tá méadú mór ar líon na n-iarratas Innealtóireachta. Léiríonn sin go bhfuil éileamh ar na cúrsaí nua ar caitheadh an-dua leo, amhail an chéim in Innealtóireacht Córas Fuinnimh, a cuireadh ar fáil le freastal ar an méadú ar an éileamh atá ar innealtóirí gairmiúla le hoibriú in earnáil an fhuinnimh, agus an chéim i Nuálaíocht Innealtóireachta, a bhfuil sé de chuspóir aici cineál nua innealtóirí a chur ar fáil a mbeidh scileanna nuálaíochta agus fiontraíochta acu, scileanna atá riachtanach chun an Geilleagar Glic a chothú. Beidh mic léinn innealtóireachta in OÉ Gaillimh ábalta leas a bhaint as Foirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta na hOllscoile, chomh maith, foirgneamh den chéad scoth a bheidh á chríochnú in 2011. Dúirt an tOllamh Ward an méid seo a leanas chomh maith: "Tá an-tábhacht le taighde i réimsí tosaíochta idirnáisiúnta agus le comhpháirtíochtaí leis an tionscal in OÉ Gaillimh. Is léiriú ar an méadú atá ar an tóir atá ag mic léinn ar chúrsaí i dTeicneolaíocht na Faisnéise a fheabhas atá ag éirí leis an taighde atá á dhéanamh ag Institiúid Taighde na Fiontraíochta Digití (DERI) san Ollscoil, Institiúid atá ar thús cadhnaíochta ó thaobh an Ghréasáin Shéimeantaigh de go domhanda. Bhí an tIonad Eolaíochta, Innealtóireachta agus Teicneolaíochta (CSET) a mhaoinigh Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann (SFI) sa nuacht le gairid nuair a roghnaigh lucht riaracháin Barack Obama cuid de theicneolaíocht ghréasáin an Ionaid chun go mbeidís in ann cur leis an trédhearcacht i Rialtas nua na Stát Aontaithe. Tá ceangal díreach idir réimse na hInnealtóireachta Bithleighis agus an Eolaíocht Bhithleighis, áit a bhfuil cúrsaí agus taighde curtha in oiriúint ag an Ollscoil le freastal ar riachtanais na gcomhpháirtithe áitiúla tionscail, amhail Boston Scientific agus Medtronic." -Crioch-

Monday, 20 July 2009

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2009/2010. With a strong reputation in sport, the University is committed to supporting and encouraging promising athletes to pursue their sporting careers. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Thursday, 30 July. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received over €100,000 in scholarships to help them to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Through the Sports Scholarship Scheme some 80 students were supported in sports such as Athletics, Basketball, Gaelic Football and Hurling, Rock Climbing, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming and Tennis. Applicants for sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Gary Ryan is Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway: "The Scholarships are aimed at those with the potential to achieve a high level of performance in sport and, at the same time, be academically successful. Each scholarship is available for the duration of a student's studies. Our approach focuses on developing the athlete so that they are in a position to achieve sporting success and development during and after their time in NUI Galway". A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway sports scholarships; "The Irish Olympic team in Beijing had four NUI Galway graduates and shows that students who come to Galway can succeed in their chosen sport and course of study. We are developing an integrated approach to student athlete support that will create a high performance environment around the athlete and enable them to train and study effectively". For the Scholarships, students who meet the University's entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme or an application form are available from the Sport and Recreation Unit at NUI Galway by phoning 091 493482. -ends-