Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A nation-wide research study into young carers in Ireland has begun at NUI Galway's Child and Family Research Centre. The research will look at the impact that providing care to a family member has upon a young person's life and will explore ways of better supporting these young carers. The study has been commissioned by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. NUI Galway researchers involved in the study are trying to identify children and young people, aged 5-17, who provide care to a family member in the home, perhaps due to disability or illness. The research team has already begun to interview young carers about their experiences and hope to identify more who would be willing to take part in the study. All information will be treated confidentially according to strict ethical guidelines and interviews should take no more than an hour to complete at a venue to suit the young person. According to Dr Allyn Fives, a member of the research team at NUI Galway: "We don't have accurate data on just how many young people care for a member of their family. While the most recent census tells us that approximately 3,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 17 are carers, it does not give a figure for the many young people below that age group. Also, very little is known about their day to day experiences, or the kinds of help and assistance that would benefit them. This is partly because not many studies have focused on the experiences of young carers in Ireland, and also because there is a wide variety of caring situations and experiences". Dr Fives added: "Young carers are asked to do different kinds of tasks and they have different levels of responsibility. Their caring has different impacts on other parts of their lives, including school work, sports and other recreational activities, and their friendships and family life. These young people contribute so much to their families that we hope this research will show us how they themselves can be supported in their vital role". Those interested in getting in touch with researchers at the NUI Galway Child and Family Research Centre can call Dr Fives on 091 495732 or email allyn.fives@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Monday, 18 May 2009

To celebrate the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway a free public talk entitled 'The Making of Galway Bay' will be held at 6pm on Monday, 25 May, in the Cairnes Lecture Theatre, Arts/Science Concourse, NUI Galway. Delivering the lecture will be Professor Mike Williams, Head of Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway, who has spent many years researching the natural history of Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. According to Professor Williams, "The talk will be a tale of earthquakes, tsunami, great storms and climate change that have, over thousands of years, shaped Galway Bay into what it is today. While Galway Bay has been romanticised in song, natural forces have been far from loving. In 1755, the Lisbon earthquake triggered a tsunami which swept up the Bay, damaging the Spanish Arch and drowning many citizens. Our brave city, perched on the Atlantic coast, also took the brunt of the one of the biggest storms Europe has ever known in 1839. It was referred to at the time, in understated fashion, as 'the night of the big wind'. Much of the Professor's work centres on identifying the sedimentary fingerprints of tsunami and extreme storm waves along Ireland's cliff faces. He comments: "Ridges preserved on the cliffs of the Aran Islands and Co. Clare are up to 50 metres above sea level, and offer a perfect natural laboratory in which to study the natural history of Galway Bay". Professor Williams has published papers on wave, climate, and coastal erosion. During his talk he will outline some recent discoveries on the history of Galway Bay, which stretches back over 15,000 years. As the talk is being held on Africa Day of the Volvo Ocean Race, it is also supporting Zikomo Ireland, a Galway-based African charity group. -ends-

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) is organising two free public events to mark 'Say No to Ageism Week', 18-22 May. The ICSG is Ireland's first multi-disciplinary research centre dedicated to the study of the economic and social aspects of ageing in Ireland. Ageism is a set of attitudes and practices that are based on stereotyped, usually negative, assumptions about older people. For example, older people may be assumed to be inflexible in their attitudes, uninterested in their work, physically and/or mentally incapable, unattractive or sexually inactive simply because of their age. These attitudes may be held by key individuals such as employers, managers and service-providers. They may simply be practices that develop over time as opposed to being a deliberate attempt to discriminate. Professor Eamon O'Shea, Director of the ICSG at NUI Galway, says: "Ageism makes no sense economically, culturally or socially. Let's challenge and defeat it so that all citizens can reach their economic and social potential no matter what their age". In terms of employment practices, ageism can mean that older people are not seen as serious contenders for promotion, leading to age discrimination. The idea that people are 'too old to be promoted' at 50, 45 or even 40 is prevalent in some large organisations. Áine Ní Léime is a researcher with the ICSG at NUI Galway, and comments: "There is increasing evidence that ageism exists in Irish society. Ageism was the most common ground for complaint to the Equality Authority, under the Employment Equality Acts, in 2007. The events planned for "Say No to Ageism Week" are designed to highlight awareness of and discussion about attitudes to older people in Ireland, with a view to ultimately helping to combat ageism in Irish society". On Tuesday, 19 May, a seminar in NUI Galway's Moore Institute at 1pm entitled 'An Age-friendly Society in a time of Recession' will feature Niall Crowley, former CEO of the Equality Authority. All are welcome to come along. In the same venue, on 21 May at 11am, a three-hour AgeWise workshop run by trainers from Age & Opportunity will take place. This participatory workshop aims to provide information on older people and ageing in Ireland and to challenge myths and stereotypes. The workshop will enable participants to understand the personal, cultural and structural effects of ageism. It will also serve to identify instances of discrimination against older people and help devise strategies to counter discrimination in their workplace or community. The workshop is organised by the ICSG and the Equality Office at NUI Galway, to register for this free event, please contact NUI Galway's Brenda Fallon by e-mail at brenda.fallon@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Monday, 18 May 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Today (15 May 2009), Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle of NUI Galway, will be admitted as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) in a special ceremony in Dublin. Election to the Royal Irish Academy is the highest honour available to a scholar working on the island of Ireland. Nollaig Ó Muraíle is Senior Lecturer in the School of Irish at NUI Galway. He has made a unique contribution to the study of Irish genealogies through his edition and translation of Leabhar Mór na nGenealach or "The Great Book of Irish Genealogies", which has been described as one of the most unique contributions to Irish history ever. Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: "The Academy s new members are amongst a small group of academics in Ireland that set the international hallmark of excellence in their fields of study". Professor Canny is former Vice President for Research at NUI Galway (2005-2008). Dr Noel Dorr was also admitted as a Member of the RIA today. Dr Dorr is Chair of the NUI Galway Governing Authority and former Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs (1987-1995). He received an honorary doctorate from NUI Galway in 2001. Interestingly, both Dr Ó Muraíle and Dr Dorr are former pupils of St Nathy's College, Co Roscommon. The criterion for election to membership is a significant contribution to scholarly or scientific research as shown in the candidate's published academic work. Membership of the Academy, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to those scientists and scholars normally resident in Ireland. About the Royal Irish Academy The Royal Irish Academy is an all-Ireland, independent, academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is the principal learned society in Ireland. For 224 years membership of the Royal Irish Academy has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now over 420 Members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation MRIA after their name. Among the membership of the Academy are many of Ireland s leading scholars, the best known of whom include: Professor Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate; Professor Patrick Cunningham, geneticist and the government s Chief Scientific Adviser; Professor Frances Ruane, economist; Dr Garret FitzGerald, economist and former Taoiseach; and Dr Peter Harbison, archaeologist. The Academy has also more than 60 distinguished Honorary Members, who in the past have included J.W. Von Goethe, Maria Edgeworth, Albert Einstein and Max Born. Today the Honorary Members include Nobel Laureates, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg and Sir Andrew Huxley. Further information can be found on www.ria.ie Comhalta Foirne OÉ Gaillimh ina Bhall Nua d'Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann (View in English) Inniu (15 Bealtaine 2009) ag searmanas speisialta i mBaile Átha Cliath glacfar leis an Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle ó OÉ Gaillimh mar Bhall d'Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann (RIA). Is é seo an onóir acadúil is mó is féidir a bhronnadh ar scoláire atá i mbun oibre ar oileán na hÉireann. Tá Nollaig Ó Muraíle ag obair mar Léachtóir Sinsearach i Scoil na Gaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh. Chuir saothar an Dr Ó Muraíle Leabhar Mór na nGenealach go mór lenár dtuiscint ar ghinealas na hÉireann agus go deimhin deirtear go bhfuil an leabhar áirithe seo ar cheann de na saothair is tábhachtaí a foilsíodh riamh i stair na hÉireann. Ba é an Dr Ó Muraíle a chuir an saothar in eagar agus a rinne an t-aistriúchán. Dúirt an tOllamh Nicholas Canny, Uachtarán Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann: "Áirítear baill nua an Acadaimh i measc grúpa beag acadóirí atá ag obair in Éirinn, daoine a bhfuil ag éirí leo saothar ar ardchaighdeán a sholáthar ina réimsí léinn féin". Bhí an tOllamh Canny ag obair mar Leas-Uachtarán um Thaighde in OÉ Gaillimh idir 2005-2008. Glacadh leis an Dr Noel Dorr mar bhall d'Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann inniu freisin. Is é an Dr Dorr Cathaoirleach Údarás na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh agus chaith sé na blianta idir 1987-1995 ag obair mar Ard-Rúnaí sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Bhronn OÉ Gaillimh dochtúireacht oinigh air in 2001. Spéisiúil go leor, is iarscoláirí de chuid Choláiste Nathaí i gCo. Ros Comáin an Dr Ó Muraíle agus an Dr Dorr. Roghnaítear baill d'Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann bunaithe ar shaothar scolártha nó ar thaighde eolaíoch a léirítear in obair acadúil foilsithe an iarrthóra. Eolaithe agus scoláirí a bhfuil cónaí orthu in Éirinn a bhíonn ina mbaill den Acadamh, agus is bunaithe ar ainmniúchán ó phiaraí agus toghchán a roghnaítear baill nua d'Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann. Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann Comhlacht neamhspleách, acadúil, uile-Éireann é Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leis staidéar agus ardchaighdeán a chothú sna heolaíochtaí, sna daonnachtaí agus sna heolaíochtaí sóisialta. Is é Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann príomhchumann léannta na hÉireann. Le 224 bliain anuas tá iomaíocht ghéar ann le ballraíocht a bhaint amach in Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann, agus is ionann ballraíocht san Acadamh agus an onóir acadúil is airde is féidir a fháil in Éirinn mar aon le haitheantas poiblí ar éachtaí acadúla. Tá breis is 420 Ball ag Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann anois, scoláirí a bhfuil a gcuid taighde dírithe ar na heolaíochtaí, ar na daonnachtaí nó ar na heolaíochtaí sóisialta. Tá cead ag baill thofa Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann 'MRIA' a scríobh i ndiaidh a n-ainm. Áirítear go leor de scoláirí mór le rá na hÉireann i measc bhaill Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann, An tOllamh Seamus Heaney, Buaiteoir Duais Nobel; An tOllamh Patrick Cunningham, géineolaí agus Príomhchomhairleoir Eolaíochta an Rialtais; An tOllamh Frances Ruane, eacnamaí; An Dr Garret FitzGerald, eacnamaí agus iar-Thaoiseach; agus an Dr Peter Harbison, seandálaí, ina measc. Tá breis is 60 Comhalta Oinigh ag an Acadamh, J.W. Von Goethe, Maria Edgeworth, Albert Einstein agus Max Born ina measc in imeacht na mblianta. I measc na gComhaltaí Oinigh reatha tá Buaiteoirí Duais Nobel Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg agus Sir Andrew Huxley. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ag www.ria.ie -Críoch-

Friday, 15 May 2009

The Energy Research Centre at NUI Galway to Support New Product Development BioSpark, the newly-formed joint venture between Imperative Energy Ltd and Sustainable BioPolymers Ltd, is today announcing its intention to invest €40 million in the development of a next generation bio-processing research, innovation and manufacturing centre at Claremorris, County Mayo, which will create 180 new high value jobs within the local and regional economy with the realistic potential to grow to 300 jobs within three years. The BioSpark development, which is to be located at a 22-acre site close to the town of Claremorris, will incorporate the following elements: 20,000 tonne per annum bio-processing facility, utilising next generation technologies and techniques for the conversion of organic material such as straw and wood biomass into multiple high value bio-based products such as ethanol, lactic acid, lignin, methane and hydrogen state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for bio-processing research and innovation 60,000 tonne per annum wood pellet production facility, which will be the largest and most advanced on the island of Ireland 20MWth/5MWe CHP plant which will be fired on biomass and connected to the national grid via a sub-station in close proximity to the site 17 commercial units to house a cluster of related business ventures. The co-location of all of these elements is specifically designed to extract the maximum value from locally produced biomass in a model that is completely sustainable from both an environmental and an economic point of view. The biomass is used to produce industrial bulk and speciality bio-based compounds, which today are predominantly derived from the refining of oil, and which form essential inputs for a wide range of major global industries from pharmaceuticals to paints and plastics. At the same time, the biomass is also used to generate large quantities of renewable heat and power, making the whole facility not only completely self-sufficient in terms of its energy use, but also providing enough green energy to support district heating and cooling systems for the Claremorris area. Making the announcement The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan T.D., said: The impact of 180 high level jobs in County Mayo cannot be over emphasised. Certainly the construction jobs during the building phase will be a boost to the local economy; however, it is the sustainable jobs of the ultimate workforce that will be a real driver to the local and regional economy." "The BioSpark project is not just impressive at a County Mayo level, this is a project that will impress on an international scale and sends a strong message that the conditions are right for new businesses to setup in Ireland. Bioprocessing has been talked about for some time but this is the first real manifestation of a commercial scale facility with such a strong focus on innovation and R&D", the Tánaiste added. The total development will cost €40m and will be constructed over the next two years, subject to planning approval. The regional and national impact of the development will be: 120 jobs during construction 80 full-time positions post-construction – mostly high skilled, engineering roles engaged in R&D, manufacturing and operations management 100 upstream jobs in harvesting, transportation and supply chain management a further potential 120 high value jobs at the BioSpark Claremorris centre within three years of its completion, as new business ventures are spun off €18m yearly spend on locally sourced goods and services significant Intellectual Property (IP) relating to process enhancements as well as new product developments, which will be primarily coordinated through the Energy Research Centre at NUI Galway significant displacement of imported fossil fuels and fossil fuel derived products ready availability of green energy to the Claremorris area to support further inward investment in commercial, industrial and residential developments, similar to well-established district heating schemes in countries like Sweden and Finland. Professor Vincent O'Flaherty is Director of the Energy Research Centre at NUI Galway and says there are many future returns to be had from today's announcement: "Ireland's geographical location, our natural resources and our existing research base put us in a very strong position to take full advantage of the emerging green knowledge economy. This project is world-class and the ideal platform for Ireland to develop high-tech solutions for the global sustainable energy market. Our research centre's multi-disciplinary team looks forward to working with BioSpark to maximize its R&D potential". Bio-processing builds on one of Ireland's natural competitive advantages – our ability to grow biomass quicker and more productively than anywhere else in Europe – and BioSpark is designed to maximise the value that be gained from that fact. The BioSpark development at Claremorris is the first of a number of similar facilities that the promoters of the project – Imperative Energy Ltd and Sustainable Biopolymers Ltd - are planning to replicate across Ireland, the UK and North America. -ends-

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Four NUI Galway students have managed to secure all of this year's Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport national awards. The national awards are presented to the originators of the most innovative ideas which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of the transport industry in Ireland. The winners were announced at a special ceremony at NUI Galway and presented by Senator Rónán Mullen. The winners announced were: · Natasha O'Farrell from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, winner of the Safety & Environment Category. · Lt. David Kiely a serving Army Officer from Dromree, Macroom, Co Cork, winner of the Logistics and Transport Category. · Lauren Paul from Marquette University, winner of the Air Category. · Tristin Hatch, from University of Southern California, winner of the Road Category. Both Lauren and Tristin are international students participating in a European study programme. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "I would like to warmly congratulate all four winners of these prestigious awards. This reflects well on the quality of the student body at NUI Galway, the supervision of the lecturing staff and the range of relevant educational programmes that we provide. It is particularly noteworthy that two of the winners are visiting students from well known US universities and this illustrates the international nature of the educational experience at NUI Galway". Ms Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, who taught the Logistics and Transportation module taken by the winning students said: "The students' abilities to innovate are reflected in the attainment of these prestigious Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport awards. I am extremely proud of our students and I acknowledge the hard work, dedication and commitment that each student makes in the Logistics and Transport area. University education continues in its mission to develop innovative skills and talent which is vital to the development of our economy". -ends-

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway's Dr Conchúr Ó Brádaigh has been awarded the very first annual Crossland Medal for Engineering Innovation by Engineers Ireland. A part-time Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway, Dr Ó Brádaigh is also Joint Managing Director of ÉireComposites Teoranta in Indreabhán, Co. Galway. The Crossland Medal was presented to Dr Ó Brádaigh by Sir Bernard Crossland in recognition of his outstanding and innovative contribution to manufacturing processes within the aerospace and energy generation industries. The award was presented at a special event held recently at Queen's University Belfast. In presenting the Medal, Sir Bernard Crossland stated that Dr Ó Brádaigh was a worthy recipient of the First Crossland Medal for Engineering Innovation which is named in his honour. Sir Crossland noted that he has a proven track record of exploiting research in developing hi-tech industry in Ireland and his achievements are an example to young entrepreneurs. Following the presentation, Dr Ó Brádaigh delivered a keynote lecture on his work, entitled 'Development of thermoplastic composite manufacturing processes for aircraft and large wind turbine blades'. Dr Ó Brádaigh holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Centre for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware, USA, and M.EngSc. and B.E. degrees from NUI Galway. The focus of ÉireComposites Teoranta, which he jointly founded and developed, is the manufacture of thermoplastic composite components for the industrial sector and today it employs some 60 people including 20 graduate engineers. Dr Ó Brádaigh's innovations in the manufacture of large scale wind turbine blades are highly significant in the rapidly expanding area of energy generation by wind power that is of huge industrial and environmental importance to the west of Ireland. He has also made a very strong contribution to the field of mechanical engineering generally and to the development of strong and productive alliances between industry and academia, in particular NUI Galway. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne, who is also President of Engineers Ireland, congratulated Dr Ó Brádaigh on this well deserved honour, saying that it reflects very well on the University. Sir Bernard Crossland, who sponsored the award, is former Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Queen's University Belfast, and has himself made an enormous contribution to the development of the mechanical engineering field in academia and in industry in Ireland, both north and south. An Chéad Bhonn Bliantúil Crossland do Nuálaíocht Innealtóireachta bronnta ar Léachtóir as OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Tá an chéad bhonn bliantúil Crossland do Nuálaíocht Innealtóireachta bronnta ag Innealtóirí Éireann ar an Dr Conchúr Ó Brádaigh ó OÉ Gaillimh. Oibríonn an Dr Ó Brádaigh mar Léachtóir Sinsearach páirtaimseartha le hInnealtóireacht Mheicniúil in OÉ Gaillimh agus tá sé ag obair mar Chomhstiúrthóir Bainistíochta ar ÉireComposites Teoranta in Indreabhán, Co. na Gaillimhe freisin. Ba é Sior Bernard Crossland a bhronn Bonn Crossland ar an Dr Ó Brádaigh mar aitheantas ar an tsárobair agus ar an nuálaíocht atá léirithe aige i ndáil le próisis déantúsaíochta sa tionscal aeraspáis agus sa tionscal ginte fuinnimh. Bronnadh Bonn Crossland ar an Dr Ó Brádaigh ag searmanas speisialta a bhí ar siúl in Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste le déanaí. Dúirt Sior Bernard Crossland go raibh an-áthas air an Chéad Bhonn Crossland do Nuálaíocht Innealtóireachta a bhronnadh ar an Dr Ó Brádaigh. Ainmníodh an gradam áirithe seo in onóir Sior Bernard Crossland. Dúirt Sior Crossland go n-éiríonn leis an Dr Ó Brádaigh taighde a spreagadh agus tionscal ardteicneolaíochta a fhorbairt in Éirinn agus gur dea-shampla d'fhiontraithe óga a bhfuil bainte amach aige go dtí seo. I ndiaidh an tsearmanais, thug an Dr Ó Brádaigh léacht faoina chuid oibre dar teideal 'Development of thermoplastic composite manufacturing processes for aircraft and large wind turbine blades'. Tá Ph.D. in Innealtóireacht Mheicniúil ó Ionad na nÁbhar Ilchodach in Ollscoil Delaware, SAM, agus M.EngSc. agus B.E. ó OÉ Gaillimh ag an Dr Ó Brádaigh. Tá ÉireComposites Teoranta, a raibh sé ina chomhbhunaitheoir agus ina chomhfhorbróir air, dírithe ar ilchodaigh ilchodacha theirmeaplaisteacha a dhéanamh don earnáil thionsclaíoch agus tá 60 duine fostaithe ag an gcuideachta anois, 20 céimí innealtóireachta san áireamh. Ábhar suntais go háirithe an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag an Dr Ó Brádaigh i ndéantús lanna tuirbíní gaoithe móra ó tharla borradh a bheith faoi ghiniúint fuinnimh ó chumhacht na gaoithe i láthair na huaire agus tábhacht thionsclaíoch agus chomhshaoil a bheith ag baint leis seo in iarthar na hÉireann. Chomh maith leis sin, d'éirigh leis an-dul chun cinn a dhéanamh san innealtóireacht mheicniúil go ginearálta agus d'éirigh leis comhpháirtíochtaí láidre, bisiúla a fhorbairt idir an saol tionsclaíoch agus an saol acadúil, le OÉ Gaillimh go háirithe. Thréaslaigh Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh agus Uachtarán Innealtóirí Éireann, an Dr Jim Browne, leis an Dr Ó Brádaigh agus dúirt sé go gcuireann a leithéid d'aitheantas le dea-cháil na hOllscoile freisin. Iar-Ollamh le hInnealtóireacht Mheicniúil in Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste é Sior Bernard Crossland, urraitheoir an ghradaim, fear a chuir go mór le forbairt na hinnealtóireachta meicniúla sa saol acadúil agus sa saol tionsclaíoch in Éirinn, ó thuaidh agus ó dheas. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The winner of this year's Inter-college Technology Development Competition is Eoghan Clifford, Research Engineer from NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics. The winning technology is based on developing a novel integrated process technology to convert organic carbon, solids, nitrogen, phosphorus, odours and greenhouse gases (present in municipal, industrial and agricultural biosolids) to high-value useful products in a market worth about € 3.5 billion per annum in Europe alone. The Inter-College Technology Development Competition is a collaborative programme between NUI Galway, TCD and UCC and is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) which includes multidisciplinary teams and cross-university teams working together on the commercialisation of research and technology transfer. One of the competition organisers Fiona Neary of the Ignite Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway said: "The standards were very high and the expert panel made up of Venture Capitalists, funding agencies, business and academic professionals were extremely impressed by the level of technologies showcased. It was an exciting event where feedback from the experts revealed that more entrepreneurial training with a strong focus on market validation and financial strategy is critical to deliver successful commercial opportunities". Throughout the programme participants from NUI Galway, TCD and UCC were given training and mentoring to assist them prepare and present their commercial opportunities to an experienced panel. The variety of technologies ranged from a bartering system for online services, the next Google, solar technologies, knowledge transfer algorithm and minute batteries. Ms Neary added: "These emerging technologies with the convergence of innovation, training and commercialisation will help deliver Irelands Smart Economy of the future". Dr Michael Rodgers from NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics, and supervisor for the winning project, said: "It is very exciting to be part of the winning team. There is an urgent need to develop new technologies that can sustainably process increasing volumes of biosolids generated during the treatment of municipal, agricultural and industrial wastes. I would like to extend my congratulation to Eoghan and the other members of the team, Edmond O'Reilly, Eimear Ruane, Kathy Carney and Dr Aoife Keady". -ends-

Monday, 11 May 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway has announced details of a new spin-off company, Qpercom Ltd. The software and services company, based in the University's business incubation facilities, provides an online assessment tool to replace any kind of paper-based form or check list. The company's initial target market is medical schools across Europe, of which there are almost 140, with well over one million students. Qpercom Ltd. has already secured as customers the Medical School at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and NUI Galway's School of Medicine and its School of Nursing and Midwifery. NUI Galway's Dr Thomas Kropmans is one of the founders of the company and developed the technology with his colleagues at the University's Medical Informatics and Education group in the School of Medicine. He comments: "Quality assurance in medical education and assessment is an absolute necessity. This innovative web platform allows electronic data capturing and real-time data analysis. Therefore, improved quality assurance and appropriate educational decision making can be achieved. The financial benefits are also very compelling, as our customers are realising savings of up to 70% in administrative costs, not to mention savings on paper and printing". Until now, the performance of medical students during their clinical examinations has been recorded on paper forms by the assessor. A cohort of 600 medical students produces at least 8,600 forms. Those forms would then have to be compiled, manually calculated and keyed into a database, resulting in a delay before results could be viewed. Such paper marking sheets can now be replaced by Qpercom's online Assessment Management System* with results compiled instantly. Last month, medical students at NUI Galway were successfully examined using Qpercom's technology. NUI Galway's Dr Barry O'Donovan, a lecturer in General Practice, said: "This is a really exciting development. The innovative software was a complete success and the laborious tick boxing is now all gone. Even more importantly, we can now analyse station and examiner performance. We can now ensure that the only variable in the exam is the student. This software is going to be of great interest to medical schools in Ireland and internationally". Qpercom's products and services also have huge potential in other markets where instantaneous results from forms or check-lists would be of benefit. Such markets include industrial education, sports education, agriculture and health and safety. Reflecting Qpercom's broad appeal, the new company has secured In Tense Safety Training & Assessment in the Netherlands as a customer. Radmer de Jong of In Tense comments: "Qpercom has delivered a great custom-made product to meet our requirements, because they took the time to investigate the demands needed in our field and specified by our company. An online interface was designed to score our outdoor training sessions to ensure validation of our assessment tool". NUI Galway has a long standing involvement with the promotion of indigenous enterprise and a strong record of start-up companies. Other innovative spin-out companies are in the pipeline and are currently at late stage negotiation. Seach-Chuideachta Bogearraí Nua Bunaithe in OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Tá sonraí fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh maidir le seach-chuideachta nua, Qpercom Ltd. Soláthraíonn an chuideachta bogearraí agus seirbhísí seo, atá lonnaithe i ngorlann ghnó na hOllscoile, uirlis measúnachta ar líne a bheidh in úsáid in ionad foirmeacha agus seicliostaí páipéir. Is iad scoileanna leighis ar fud na hEorpa an spriocmhargadh a bheidh ag an gcuideachta ag an tús. Tá beagnach 140 scoil leighis ar fad ann, agus breis is milliún mac léinn. I measc na gcustaiméirí atá aimsithe ag Qpercom Ltd. cheana féin tá Scoil Leighis Ollscoil Erasmus in Rotterdam, Scoil an Leighis, agus Scoil an Altranais agus an Chnáimhseachais in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá an Dr Thomas Kropmans ó OÉ Gaillimh ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí na cuideachta agus d'fhorbair sé an teicneolaíocht seo i dteannta a chomhghleacaithe i nGrúpa Ionformaitice agus Oideachais Leighis na hOllscoile, Grúpa atá lonnaithe i Scoil an Leighis. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá aige: "Tá géarghá le dearbhú cáilíochta in oideachas agus i measúnacht leighis. Ciallaíonn an t-ardán gréasáin nuálach seo gur féidir sonraí a ghabháil go leictreonach agus gur féidir anailís fíor-ama a dhéanamh ar shonraí. Is é an buntáiste a bhaineann leis seo gur féidir dearbhú cáilíochta a fheabhsú agus cinntí oideachais cuí a dhéanamh. Baineann buntáistí suntasacha airgeadais leis seo freisin, tuigeann ár gcustaiméirí gur féidir suas le 70% a shábháil ar chostais riaracháin, le cois airgead a shábháil ar pháipéar agus ar phriontáil". Go dtí le blianta beaga anuas, ba é an measúnóir a choimeád taifead ar pháipéar d'obair na mac léinn leighis le linn dóibh a bheith i mbun scrúduithe cliniciúla. Bíonn thart ar 8,600 foirm i gceist le cohórt 600 mac léinn leighis. Ansin bheadh na foirmeacha ar fad le tiomsú, na marcanna le suimiú agus le hiontráil ar bhunachar sonraí. Thógfadh sé seo ar fad roinnt ama sula mbeadh na torthaí ar fáil. Is féidir Córas Bainistíochta Measúnachta ar líne Qpercom* a úsáid anois in ionad na mbileog marcála páipéir rud a chiallaíonn go mbíonn torthaí ar fáil láithreach bonn. An mhí seo caite, baineadh leas as teicneolaíocht Qpercom le mic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh a chur faoi scrúdú. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Barry O'Donovan, léachtóir ó Roinn na Dochúireachta Teaghlaigh: "Is cinnte gur forbairt thar a bheith spéisiúil é seo. D'éirigh thar cionn ar fad leis an mbogearra nuálach seo agus tá deireadh anois le ré na mboscaí beaga agus na dticeanna. Níos tábhachtaí ná sin, táimid anois in ann anailís a dhéanamh ar obair stáisiúin agus ar fheidhmiú na scrúdaitheoirí. Féadaimid a chinntiú anois nach mbeidh ach athróg amháin sa scrúdú feasta – an mac léinn. Níl aon amhras orm ach go mbeidh an-spéis ag scoileanna leighis in Éirinn agus scoileanna leighis ar fud na cruinne sa teicneolaíocht seo". Tá neart deiseanna eile ann freisin táirgí agus seirbhísí Qpercom a fhorbairt i margaí eile ina mbainfeadh tairbhe le torthaí a fháil láithreach bonn ó fhoirmeacha agus ó sheicliostaí. I measc na margaí sin tá oideachas tionsclaíoch, oideachas spóirt, talmhaíocht, agus sláinte agus sábháilteacht. Cruthúnas eile fós ar an tóir a bheidh ar an gcuideachta nua seo is ea gur éirigh le Qpercom cuideachta atá lonnaithe san Ísiltír ar a dtugtar In Tense Safety & Assessment a fháil mar chustaiméir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Radmer de Jong ó In Tense Safety & Assessment: "Tá táirge shaincheaptha den chéad scoth deartha ag Qpercom a chomhlíonann na riachtanais atá againn mar go raibh siad sásta an t-am a chaitheamh i mbun scrúdaithe ar ár riachtanais agus ar na riachtanais a shonraíomar. Dearadh comhéadan ar líne a chur ar ár gcumas scóir a choinneáil dár seisiúin oiliúna allamuigh d'fhonn a chinntiú go raibh ár n-uirlis measúnachta oiriúnach". Tá baint ag OÉ Gaillimh le fada an lá le fiontar dúchasach a chur chun cinn agus cuidiú le cuideachtaí nua. Tá seach-chuideachtaí nuálacha eile á bhforbairt i láthair na huaire agus críoch curtha beagnach leis na hidirbheartaíochtaí ina lán cásanna. -Críoch-

Thursday, 7 May 2009

RTÉ Sport presenter Colm Murray will host a history lecture to celebrate the GAA's 125th birthday in Dublin on Tuesday, 12 May at 7.30pm at the Davenport Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Murray will introduce the passionate GAA enthusiast and celebrated academic, Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh from NUI Galway, who will deliver a lecture entitled 'The GAA at 125 - The Challenges of Change'. The event is organised by the NUI Galway Dublin Alumni Group. Professor Ó Tuathaigh will look back at the success of the association and the challenges it now faces. He will make the case that the secret of the GAA s success as a social force in Ireland for 125 years lies in its capacity (at leadership and rank and file levels) to adapt to changes in the wider society. Professor Ó Tuathaigh argues, "Its adaptability - and its ability to manage change - rather than any deep conservatism inherent in the organisation; this is its key characteristic". The lecture will also consider some of the main challenges facing the GAA at the present time, and those likely to challenge it during the next decade. These include; globalisation (sport as a product in a global entertainment market), urbanisation, professionalism and the amateur ethos, and the role of women at all levels of the Association. Paraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA, will provide his response to Professor Ó Tuathaigh's points of view at the end of the lecture. Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh is an alumnus of, and Professor of History at, NUI Galway. He has lectured and been a visiting professor at numerous universities in North America, Britain, Australia, and continental Europe. In addition to his many publications (in modern Irish and British history), he is an experienced broadcaster (in Irish and English) in the main media in Ireland and Britain. Tickets for the event will be allocated on a 'first-come, first-served' basis to graduates of NUI Galway who apply via email to colm.odwyer@nuigalway.ie or phone Colm O'Dwyer on 091 493750 -ends-

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Ways of using marketing techniques to change social behaviour in Ireland will be discussed at an NUI Galway conference on Friday, 15 May. Entitled 'Changing Lives for Good', the event will explore the emerging field of Social Marketing which is being successfully applied to tackle social problems around the world. Social marketing is the application of marketing concepts and techniques to achieve specific behavioural goals for a social good. Social Marketing has already had some success tackling issues such as obesity, smoking and road safety in countries including the USA, Canada, Britain, France, New Zealand and Australia. The leading authority in the US on Social Marketing, Nancy Lee, will draw from her 25 years of practical experience in the field to deliver the keynote address at the event. Nancy Lee serves as a strategic adviser on a variety of local and national social marketing campaigns in the US, and has co-authored five books with marketing guru, Philip Kotler. Organising the conference is Dr Christine Domegan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. Dr Domegan is convinced of the value of Social Marketing and is working on developing courses and encouraging further study into the field to help address the need for Social Marketing skills in this country. "Changing consumer behavioural patterns for the better, for example away from binge drinking, requires professionals from many fields to come together to drive policy and communications strategies," explains Dr Domegan. She adds: "For those new to the field, the conference will provide a comprehensive introduction to Social Marketing, encouraging participants to consider the scope for using marketing principles and techniques to effect social change and fundamentally alter the way we live for the better. It will demonstrate how professionals, seeking to bring about behavioural change, can apply it to practical situations in Ireland". Among the other contributors to the conference are Maurice Murphy from the Cork Institute of Technology, who will ask if Social Marketing can be used to reduce road traffic collisions among young male drivers. Joe McKenna from Venture Advancement will look at applications of Social Marketing in the non-profit sector. Lorraine McIlrath, who works with NUI Galway's Community Knowledge Initiative, will explore community and university partnerships in her presentation. The conference will also feature workshops on Health, Environment, Voluntary Sector and Management Models for a Knowledge society. To register, or for further details, contact Valerie Parker on 091 495971 or by email at valerie.parker@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway has been announced as the partner of the Volunteers Programme for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Galway from 23 May-6 June 2009. As Ireland's leading University in the development of student volunteering initiatives, NUI Galway will work with non-profit event organiser Let's Do It Galway to help mobilise the small army of volunteers needed for the two-week festival in Galway City. To date, almost 1000 people, including many NUI Galway staff and students, have offered to volunteer their time and skills in support of the Galway Volvo Ocean Race. The University will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering to the event. Every year, through its ALIVE volunteering programme, NUI Galway supports thousands of students who volunteer with over 80 local and international community organisations. NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, is proud of the role the University plays in actively encouraging volunteering initiatives: "NUI Galway has a specific commitment to embracing community and civic engagement as a core part of our mission. Our University is at the forefront in Ireland of pioneering models for civic engagement including volunteering programmes that annually actively engage over 1,500 NUI Galway students to think critically about society and their place within it. We are proud of our role in helping to shape socially-aware citizens, who are active members of their community through their voluntary activities". According to Fiona Lawless, NUI Galway graduate and Volunteers Manager with Let's Do It Galway: "This is a unique opportunity for people to play an integral role in the biggest international sporting Festival within Europe in 2009. Volunteers will be key to the success of the Galway Stopover and are the 'face' of the event to visitors at the Race Village. The reality is that the number of events being staged during the two week festival would not be possible without the enthusiasm and commitment that people have demonstrated. During the event volunteers will be the heart and soul of the festivities". Lorraine Tansey is Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway and runs the University's ALIVE programme: "Our partnership with Let's Do It Galway on the Volunteering Programme for the Volvo Ocean Race is a natural fit. There is an ethos of civic engagement here at NUI Galway and that will spread around the City in the coming weeks". Volunteers are already playing major roles in the pre-event Let's do it Galway team, and the amount of time and high standard of work is highly valued by the organisers. Claire Heskin, a marketing graduate from NUI Galway, is currently volunteering in the Let's Do It Galway Office as Marketing and PR Assistant, says: "This is a once in a lifetime festival and it's hugely rewarding to be involved as a volunteer. I will experience the Volvo Ocean Race from a different perspective and every day more volunteers are coming on board. We have a great team, loads of energy, and the excitement is growing every day as we count down to the 23 May". Oibrithe Deonacha OÉ Gaillimh do Rás Aigéin Volvo (View in English) Tá sé fógartha gurb í OÉ Gaillimh comhpháirtí an Chláir Oibrithe Deonacha do stad na Gaillimhe de Rás Aigéin Volvo ón 23 Bealtaine – 6 Meitheamh 2009. Ó tharla gurb í an Ollscoil seo an ollscoil is gníomhaí sa tír ó thaobh tionscnaimh dheonacha a fhorbairt i measc na mac léinn, oibreoidh OÉ Gaillimh leis an eagraí neamhbhrabúsach Let's Do It Galway le cuidiú leis an mbaicle bheag oibrithe deonacha a bheidh ar fáil don fhéile a mhairfidh ar feadh coicíse i gCathair na Gaillimhe. Go dtí seo, tá beagnach 1000 duine, go leor d'fhoireann agus de mhic léinn OÉ Gaillimh ina measc, tar éis a gcuid ama agus a gcuid scileanna a thairiscint dúinn le tacú le Rás Aigéin Volvo na Gaillimhe. Cuirfidh an Ollscoil an taithí mhór atá aici i réimse na hoibre deonaí chun sochair na féile. Gach bliain, trína chlár oibrithe deonacha ALIVE, tacaíonn OÉ Gaillimh leis na mílte mac léinn a bhíonn ag déanamh obair dheonach i mbreis agus 80 eagraíocht phobail áitiúil agus idirnáisiúnta. Tá Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, mórtasach as an mbaint atá ag an Ollscoil le tionscnaimh oibrithe deonacha a spreagadh: "Mar chuid thábhachtach den mhisean atá againn, tá cúram ar leith á dhéanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh den chomhpháirteachas pobail agus poiblí. Tá an Ollscoil seo ar thús cadhnaíochta in Éirinn ó thaobh múnlaí ceannródaíocha comhpháirteachais phoiblí a bhunú, agus i measc na múnlaí sin tá cláir oibrithe deonacha ina spreagtar breis agus 1,500 mac léinn de chuid OÉ Gaillimh le machnamh criticiúil a dhéanamh ar an tsochaí agus ar an mbaint atá acu féin léi. Táimid bródúil as an ról atá againn ag múnlú saoránach atá feasach ar an tsochaí agus atá gníomhach sa phobal tríd an obair dheonach a dhéanann siad." Seo an méid a bhí le rá ag Fiona Lawless, céimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh agus Bainisteoir na nOibrithe Deonacha le Let's Do It Galway: "Is deis iontach é seo do dhaoine le ról gníomhach a bheith acu san Fhéile spóirt idirnáisiúnta is mó san Eoraip in 2009. Beidh a fheabhas a éireoidh le Stad na Gaillimhe den Rás ag brath go huile is go hiomlán ar na hoibrithe deonacha arb iad 'aghaidh' an imeachta iad do chuairteoirí ar Shráidbhaile an Rása. Is é fírinne an scéil nach bhféadfaí an líon imeachtaí atáthar a reáchtáil le linn na féile coicíse a eagrú gan an spéis agus an dílseacht atá léirithe ag daoine iontu. Cuirfidh na hoibrithe deonacha a gcroí agus a n-anam san fhéile." Is í Lorraine Tansey Comhordaitheoir Obair Dheonach na Mac Léinn in OÉ Gaillimh agus tá sí i mbun chlár ALIVE na hOllscoile: "Tá an chomhpháirtíocht le Let's Do It Galway do Chlár Oibrithe Deonacha Rás Aigéin Volvo ag luí go nádúrtha le clár ALIVE. Tá spiorad láidir comhpháirteachais phoiblí anseo in OÉ Gaillimh agus beidh sé le brath ar fud na Cathrach as seo go ceann cúpla seachtain." Tá oibrithe deonacha an-ghníomhach cheana féin ar fhoireann réamhimeachta Let's Do It Galway, agus tá an lucht eagair thar a bheith buíoch den mhéid ama atá á chaitheamh acu leis agus d'ardchaighdeán na hoibre. Tá Claire Heskin, céimí Margaíochta ó OÉ Gaillimh, ag obair go deonach in Oifig Let's Do It Galway mar Chúntóir Margaíochta agus Caidreamh Poiblí: "Is féile eisceachtúil í seo agus tá an-sásamh le baint as a bheith páirteach inti mar oibrí deonach. Beidh taithí eile ar fad agam ar Rás Aigéin Volvo agus tá líon na n-oibrithe deonacha ag méadú lá i ndiaidh lae. Tá foireann iontach againn, neart fuinnimh, agus táimid ag éirí níos tógtha de réir mar atáimid ag druidim leis an 23 Bealtaine." -Críoch-

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) An information evening on Adult and Continuing Education courses available from NUI Galway takes place in the Orbsen Building, on Thursday, 14 May from 6.30-8.30pm. Information will be available on a new initiative from NUI Galway which will allow a 50% fees reduction for people who have recently become unemployed and wish to study certain programmes which address the future skills of the 'smart economy'. The specific programmes which will be discounted are the Diploma in Innovation Management (Postgraduate), Diploma in Technology Commercialisation (Postgraduate), Master of Science in Technology Management, Diploma/Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology Studies and the Certificate/Diploma in General Studies. NUI Galway will also offer individual modules from these courses to prospective students, and discounts will be available on some language courses. Over 40 part-time courses will be show-cased at the event in areas such as Community Development, Health Promotion, Business/Management, IT, Science and Technology, Training and Education, and Languages. NUI Galway's suite of part-time programmes, include foundation level studies through to Masters awards. All are available in a modular, flexible format and can be taken through traditional classroom mode or via distance learning for students who are unable to attend the campus on a weekly basis. "With recent job losses and much economic debate, it is even more important that employees update and refresh their skills either for future employment prospects or for career change", says Nuala McGuinn, Adult Education Development Officer at NUI Galway. Many of our courses have a number of award options, including Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees so students can choose which exit route suits them at any point in time". Through the University's system of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), students may seek credit for their existing knowledge which can provide for entry to programmes or exemption from certain modules. Nuala McGuinn adds: "It's worth considering your current skills set and where this can be enhanced. Our programmes are not only designed to be as flexible as possible, but we also want to recognise the knowledge and training that each individual already has. With Recognition of Prior Learning, returning to education does not mean starting from square one". People visiting NUI Galway for the Adult and Continuing Education information evening are invited to bring along a copy of their CV for feedback and guidance from the University's Career Development Centre. Visitors are also invited to a series of careers talks running in parallel to the information evening, from 7–8pm, on the theme 'Focus for Career Success in Challenging Times'. During the talks, a variety of high-profile speakers will focus on the labour market, improving employability, motivation and networking. For further details on the information evening or to obtain a prospectus of the Adult and Continuing Education Programmes, contact 091-492062 or check out the website on www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation. Oíche Eolais do Dhaoine ar Spéis leo Tabhairt faoi Chlár Oideachais Aosaigh in OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Beidh oíche eolais faoi na cúrsaí Oideachais Aosaigh agus Leantaigh atá á reáchtáil in OÉ Gaillimh ar siúl in Áras Oirbsean, Déardaoin, an 14 Bealtaine ó 6.30-8.30pm. Beidh eolas ar fáil faoin scéim nua atá ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh – scéim a thabharfaidh lacáiste 50% ar tháillí do dhaoine a chaill a bpost le déanaí agus ar mian leo staidéar a dhéanamh ar chláir áirithe a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leo díriú ar na scileanna a bheidh riachtanach don 'gheilleagar cliste' amach anseo. I measc na gclár a bhfuil an lacáiste 50% luaite leo tá an Dioplóma i mBainistíocht Nuálaíochta (Iarchéim), Dioplóma i dTeicneolaíocht Tráchtálaithe (Iarchéim), Máistreacht Eolaíochta i mBainistíocht Teicneolaíochta, Dioplóma/Baitsiléir Eolaíochta in Eolaíocht agus Staidéar Teicneolaíochta, agus Teastas/Dioplóma i Staidéar Ginearálta. Chomh maith leis sin, beidh modúil aonair ó na cúrsaí seo á dtairiscint do mhic léinn ar spéis leo tabhairt faoi cheann de na cúrsaí sonraithe, agus beidh lacáiste le fáil freisin ar chuid de na cúrsaí teanga. Beidh eolas le fáil faoi bhreis agus 40 cúrsa páirtaimseartha ag an oíche eolais, cúrsaí faoi Fhorbairt Pobail, Cothú Sláinte, Gnó/Bainistíocht, TF, Eolaíocht agus Teicneolaíocht, Oiliúint agus Oideachas, agus Teangacha ina measc. Tá idir chúrsaí bonnleibhéil agus chéimeanna máistreachta á dtairiscint ag OÉ Gaillimh. Bíonn na cúrsaí ar fad roinnte i modúil éagsúla, bíonn solúbthacht áirithe i gceist agus féadfar tabhairt faoi na cúrsaí sa seomra ranga nó féadfaidh na mic léinn sin nach bhfuil ar a gcumas freastal ar an gcampas gach seachtain na cúrsaí a dhéanamh trí chianfhoghlaim. Deir Nuala McGuinn, Oifigeach Forbartha Oideachais Aosaigh in OÉ Gaillimh "go bhfuil sé níos tábhachtaí anois ná riamh, ó tharla an oiread sin daoine a bheith dífhostaithe agus neart díospóireachta a bheith ar bun faoin ngeilleagar, go dtapaíonn fostaithe na deiseanna atá ann a gcuid scileanna a fheabhsú agus scileanna nua a fhoghlaim ionas go mbeidh siad in ann na deiseanna fostaíochta a bheidh ann amach anseo a thapú nó go deimhin post nua ar fad a aimsiú dóibh féin. Tá cineálacha éagsúla cúrsaí á dtairiscint anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, Teastais, Dioplómaí agus Céimeanna san áireamh, agus is féidir leis na mic léinn na cúrsaí is fearr a fheileann dóibh féin a roghnú". Tríd an gcóras ar a dtugtar Aitheantas i leith Réamhfhoghlaim atá i bhfeidhm san Ollscoil, féadfaidh mic léinn creidiúint a fháil don méid atá foghlamtha acu roimhe seo, córas a théann chun tairbhe mac léinn ar mian leo tabhairt faoi chláir áirithe nó díolúine a fháil ó mhodúil áirithe. Chomh maith leis sin dúirt Nuala McGuinn: "gur fiú machnamh a dhéanamh ar na scileanna atá agat i láthair na huaire agus na bealaí ina bhféadfaí na scileanna seo a fheabhsú. Ní hamháin go bhfuil sé mar aidhm againn cláir sholúbtha a sholáthar, teastaíonn uainn aitheantas a thabhairt freisin don eolas agus don oiliúint atá sealbhaithe ag daoine cheana féin. Tríd an gcóras ar a dtugtar Aitheantas i leith Réamhfhoghlaim, ní gá gur ag tosú ón tús a bheifeá arís". Tá míle fáilte rompu siúd a bheidh ag tabhairt cuairte ar OÉ Gaillimh don oíche eolais cóip dá CV a thabhairt leo más mian leo aiseolas agus treoir a fháil ó Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha na hOllscoile. Chomh maith leis sin, tá fáilte roimh chuairteoirí freastal ar shraith cainteanna faoi ghairmeacha a bheidh ar siúl an oíche sin idir 7-8pm. 'Focus for Career Success in Challenging Times' an teideal atá ar an tsraith cainteanna seo. I rith na gcainteanna, labhróidh cainteoirí aitheanta faoin margadh fostaíochta agus faoi infhostaitheacht, spreagadh agus líonrú a fheabhsú. Má theastaíonn tuilleadh eolais uait faoin oíche eolais nó más mian leat cóip de réamheolaire na gClár Oideachais Aosaigh agus Leantaigh a fháil, glaoigh ar 091-492062 nó féach ar an láithreán gréasáinwww.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation. -Críoch-

Friday, 1 May 2009

PurStem, a €3.5m European-wide collaborative research project, has been launched at NUI Galway with the aim of revolutionising the large scale processing of high quality adult stem cells. Stem cells have shown tremendous potential for the repair and regeneration of a large range of tissues and organs, however, the translation of this potential into functional clinical therapies requires large numbers of stem cells. PurStem aims to develop methods for producing adult stems calls in a safe and effective manner, on an industrial scale, suitable for clinical applications. PurStem is funded under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union and coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), at NUI Galway. The project brings leading researchers in stem cell science and regenerative therapy from across Europe together with small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) with specific industrial technologies and expertise. According to Professor Frank Barry of REMEDI, NUI Galway, and coordinator of PurStem: "In order for the potential of these new therapies to be realised, a consistent and plentiful supply of well-characterised stem cells is essential. There has been relatively little progress in the development of new culture technologies for the large-scale manufacture of adult stem cells. There is now a strong possibility that this limited ability to produce stem cells will result in delays to the translation of new therapies to the clinic". The team involved in PurStem seek to address the challenge of current limitations on producing adult stem cells by standardising existing adult stem cell preparation methods in partner laboratories, devising new reagents and media formulations for expansion and differentiation and by advancing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) capabilities for production. The collaborative research led by NUI Galway's REMEDI will also include the University of Genoa, Italy; Ovagen International Ltd., Ireland; the University of Leeds, UK; Pintail Ltd., Ireland; the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; and ProCure Ltd., Ireland. -ends-

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Two NUI Galway students are among a select group chosen to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the new Obama administration, through internships in Washington DC. Part of a group of thirty-one students from Ireland and Northern Ireland, Anne Parsons and Heather Watters were selected for the US trip by the Washington Ireland Program (WIP). Heather Watters from Emyvale, Co. Monaghan, is a final year Corporate Law student at NUI Galway, and is working on Capitol Hill for the summer at the office of Representative Tim Holden. Final year Arts student Anne Parsons from Portlaoise, Co. Laois, is studying English and Philosophy at NUI Galway. Anne is interning at Imagination Stage, which produces theatre and arts education for young people. WIP selects promising individuals, from Ireland and Northern Ireland, who will ultimately use their unique talents to contribute back to their home communities. Last year, NUI Galway Corporate Law student Peter Mannion was part of the WIP programme and worked with the then Senator, now President, Barack Obama's office. NUI Galway's Vice-President for the Student Experience, Mary O'Riordan, stated that: "NUI Galway is delighted to support WIP which provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to participate in this very exciting programme". The students, who will return to Ireland in August, have already held a private meeting with the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, at the Supreme Court. Each student must also undertake a speaking moment at a high profile event, and attend functions at venues including the Embassy of Ireland, the National Press Club, the US Congress, and the United Nations. Speaking about the Program, Heather Watters said: "The team is so varied, and each person so unique, it is such a great experience. The work placement has been very helpful. Although I study Law, I have never been a huge follower of local Irish politics. Now having been placed in Congressman Tim Holden's office, I have gained a new found respect for all the invisible people in politics, and the procedures that occur". Anne Parsons commented: "It is a great honour to be representing NUI Galway. I received enormous support from English and Philosophy in my application process, in particular from Dr Felix Ó Murchadha and Dr John Kenny. I have had an incredible experience so far with the Washington Ireland Program. We have been given so many opportunities to meet so many influential people, from Chief Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court to political speechwriters and CEOs. My experience so far at Imagination Stage has been so positive". Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year, WIP is an organisation designed to give students a rich insight into America's professional and social culture, through a two-month internship and an intensive training course in leadership and service. This year produced an unprecedented level of interest in the Program. Ireland Director, Jonathan Chesney, believes this level of interest ensures the Program really does pick the very best students: "Due to the record number of applicants, this year's selection process was exceptionally competitive and as a result, we have a phenomenal team". -ends-

Monday, 29 June 2009

On Friday, 3 July, an elite group of international scientists will convene at NUI Galway, highlighting the combined efforts of chemists and biologists in cancer research. Over the years, NUI Galway has built a strong foundation in cancer research through strategic recruitment of internationally recognised cancer researchers and clinicians. Professor Corrado Santocanale is one of these international recruits and, as Chair of Molecular Medicine at NUI Galway, he will speak about his research at the Symposium. With his team at the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES), Professor Santocanale is studying a protein called 'Cdc7 kinase' which is a possible target in cancer cells for drug therapies. According to Professor Santocanale, "Biology must bridge to Chemistry to find therapies for cancer. We now have a much better understanding of the molecular changes occurring in cancers and how cancer cells use specific proteins to multiply. Through Chemistry we have therefore the opportunity to develop drugs that, by targeting those specific proteins, have the potential to be more effective than current therapeutics. It is only through the best inter-disciplinary approach, that significant progress can be made". Also speaking at the Symposium will be Professor Karl J. Hale, Chair of Organic & Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Queens University Belfast; Professor Ian Paterson, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the Royal Society; and Professor Amos B. Smith III, Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, USA. These researchers are leading groups which conduct world-class research into the synthesis of architecturally complex natural products with exceptional promise in the cancer area. At NUI Galway there is a large multidisciplinary team with a focus on cancer. This team is working to understand the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer, and to develop new and better cancer therapies. The research groups include those working in the Centre for Chromosome Biology led by Professor Noel Lowndes and an Apoptosis group led by Dr Howard Fearnhead. These basic research groups have strong links with clinical teams in medicine, surgery, radiotherapy and pathology. Clinical and translational research encompasses a range of malignancies including haematologic, breast, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers. In the School of Chemistry a group of researchers work in the Cancer Chemistry area, led by Professor Paul Murphy. The School plans to continue the development of programmes in the design and synthesis of anti-tumour compounds, including those that are related to natural products as well as development of new cancer diagnostic tools, and studying the basic chemical mechanisms involved in cancer progression. -ends-

Friday, 26 June 2009

Through an international collaboration, NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), has announced a new way to enhance web content. Working with AdaptiveBlue, Faviki, Freebase, Yahoo!, Zemanta and Zigtag, the team at DERI have launched Common Tag, a new tagging format for web pages. Over 100 researchers at DERI focus on the Semantic Web, which is the next incarnation of the internet and is expected to be more intuitive because data will be defined and linked. According to Dr Alexandre Passant, postdoctoral researcher in DERI, "The possibilities offered by Common Tag are really exciting. When people start using it to tag their data, lots of new usages will emerge. For instance, it will be easier to find content related to a particular music genre, a movie or a location. Common Tag is another concrete step to enable the Semantic Web, a vision of the Web that we are working on in DERI at NUI Galway for the last five years". Peter Mika from Yahoo! Research emphasised: "Semantic tagging is an important next step in the evolution of the Web. When we add semantic meaning to tags, the content that is tagged becomes significantly easier for machines to understand. That in turn allows for the development of more intelligent applications for aggregating, searching, and browsing the Web". On a website, tags are a kind of label which is embedded behind and image or piece of text. Tags have long been used tags to organise, share and search for content on the Web. However, in the absence of a common tagging format for Web content, the benefits of tagging have been limited. Individual places like New York City are often represented by multiple tags (e.g., "nyc", "new_york_city", and "newyork"), making it difficult to organise related content. In addition, it isn't always clear what a particular tag represents – does the tag "jaguar" represent the animal, the car company, or the operating system? The Common Tag format was developed to address these shortcomings and help everyone including end users, publishers, and developers to get more out of Web content. With Common Tag, content is tagged with unique, well-defined concepts, for example, everything about jaguar the animal is tagged with one concept for jaguar the animal. The Common Tag format also provides access to useful metadata that defines each concept and describes how the concepts relate to one another. For example, metadata for the Barack Obama concept indicates that he's the President of the United States and that he's married to Michelle Obama. At NUI Galway, DERI was established in 2003 by Science Foundation Ireland as a Centre for Science and Engineering Technology (CSET) with a focus on researching Web Science, sensors and their use in enabling networked knowledge. Currently on its second major five-year research programme, DERI's research output is being used by its eight CSET industry partners to maintain competitive advantage, contribute towards next generation product development and as innovation enablers. DERI is also actively engaged in technology spin-outs and licensing of its leading edge technologies. Since its establishment it has since grown to over 120 people and has acquired significant additional research funding from sources such as the European Union Framework Programmes, Enterprise Ireland and industrial partnerships". Dr Passant added, "Together with previous work done here regarding SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities), and a project like FOAF (Friend of a Friend) in which DERI also participates, Common Tag now provides a complete ecosystem to represent social data on the Web in a meaningful and understandable way". -ends-

Friday, 26 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) The conferring of Honorary Degrees took place at NUI Galway today (Friday, 26 June). Those honoured were from the spheres of engineering Liam Connellan, business Brian Joyce, public service Pádraic MacKernan, philanthropy Anna Ó Coinne and education Professor Philip O'Leary. NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, speaking at the conferring ceremony 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. Each has been outstanding in their own way, and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals". Liam Connellan A native of Strokestown, Co Roscommon, 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 to 1998. 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. Brian Joyce Born in Headford, Co. Galway, Brian Joyce, returned to his Alma Mater to collect his honouray degree in recognition of extensive contribution to the world of business. Brian is a former Chief Executive of Board Bainne and has served as a Board member and Chairman of numerous household name companies. These include the Education Building Society, Allegro, Irish Life, IDA, Tara Meats, Williams Groups, National Hardware, Celtic Anglian Water, Clancourt Holdings, CIÉ and the Mater Private Hospital. Brian continues to influence business in Ireland as he is presently Chairman of Clancourt Holdings and a director of Kingspan. Brian was the recipient of a Bank of Ireland Alumni Award for Business from NUI Galway in 2008. Pádraic MacKernan Pádraic MacKernan was born in Limerick and 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 In 1989, local business woman Anna Ó Coinne 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. Anna's stewardship and attention to detail has allowed the organisation to develop to have an outstanding contribution in the breast cancer research space. 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 Third generation Irish of mostly Munster extraction, Professor Philip O'Leary is currently Professor of English in Boston College which has been to the fore for decades for the excellence of its Irish Studies programme. His work in publishing, promoting and debating Irish Studies was described today as 'gargantuan', and Professor O'Leary was lauded for bringing Modern Gaelic literature to a global audience. Of particular interest is Professor O'Leary's series on Modern Gaelic literature from 1881 to 1951. This four volume work is 'easily the most ambitious, wide-ranging and comprehensive analysis of Modern Gaelic literature ever undertaken and unlikely to be surpassed'. Today's graduands join the ranks of previous honorary conferees which include among many others Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Sean Purcell, the late Merv Griffin and Anjelica Huston. Céimeanna Oinigh á mBronnadh in OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Bronnadh Céimeanna Oinigh inniu (Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh) in OÉ Gaillimh. Bhain na daoine ar bronnadh na céimeanna oinigh orthu le réimse na hinnealtóireachta (Liam Connellan), an ghnó (Brian Joyce), leis an tseirbhís phoiblí (Pádraic MacKernan), le réimse an daonchairdis (Anna Ó Coinne) agus le réimse an oideachais (an tOllamh Philip O'Leary). Ag an searmanas bronnta dúirt an Dr James Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: "Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna oinigh bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth le blianta fada anuas aici, agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad an cúigear atá roghnaithe i mbliana. Rinne gach duine díobh éacht ar a bhealach féin, agus tá OÉ Gaillimh an-sásta go bhfuil sí in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo." Liam Connellan Tá breis agus 40 bliain caite ag Liam Connellan, arb as Béal na mBuillí i gCo. Ros Comáin ó dhúchas dó, ag plé le gairm na hinnealtóireachta agus i rith an ama sin ceapadh é mar Uachtarán ar Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann; bhí sé ar bhunaitheoirí Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann agus chomh maith leis sin chaith sé seal ag feidhmiú mar Uachtarán ar an Acadamh sin. Ba é an chéad Chathaoirleach é, chomh maith, 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. Bhí Liam ina 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. Brian Joyce D'fhill Brian Joyce, a rugadh in Áth Cinn, Co. na Gaillimhe ar a Alma Mater lena chéim oinigh a fháil mar aitheantas ar a bhfuil déanta aige do shaol an ghnó. Is iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar an mBord Bainne é Brian agus bhí sé ina chomhalta Boird agus ina Chathaoirleach ar go leor cuideachtaí atá i mbéal an phobail. Ina measc sin tá Education Building Society, Allegro, Irish Life, IDA, Tara Meats, Williams Groups, National Hardware, Celtic Anglian Water, Clancourt Holdings, CIÉ agus Ospidéal Príobháideach an Mater. Tá tionchar ag Brian i gcónaí ar chúrsaí gnó in Éirinn agus tá sé ina Chathaoirleach faoi láthair ar Clancourt Holdings agus ina stiúrthóir ar Kingspan. Bhain Brian Gradam Alumni Bhanc na hÉireann don Ghnó amach ó OÉ Gaillimh in 2008. Pádraic MacKernan Chuir Pádraic MacKernan tús lena shaol oibre sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha i 1964. Bhí sé ina 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. Anna Ó Coinne Sa bhliain 1989 thosaigh an bhean ghnó áitiúil Anna Ó Coinne 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 d'Anna 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. A bhuíochas le maoirseacht Anna agus an aird a thugann sí ar mhionrudaí, tá forbairt tagtha ar an eagraíocht agus tá an-obair á déanamh aici sa spás taighde ar ailse chíche. 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. An tOllamh Philip O'Leary De bhunadh na Mumhan go príomha, trí ghlúin siar, an tOllamh Philip O'Leary atá ina Ollamh le Béarla in Boston College, coláiste atá ar thús cadhnaíochta leis na scórtha bliain as feabhas an chúrsa sa Léann Éireannach ann. Tugadh obair 'fathaigh' ar a shaothar foilsithe, agus ar an obair a rinne sé chun an Léann Éireannach a chur chun cinn agus chun díospóireacht a chothú faoi, agus tugadh ardmholadh dó as lucht léitheoireachta domhanda a aimsiú do litríocht na Nua-Ghaeilge. Tá spéis ar leith ag daoine i sraith an Ollaimh O'Leary faoi litríocht na Nua-Ghaeilge ó 1881 go 1951. Tá an saothar seo ina bhfuil ceithre imleabhar ar an 'anailís is dúshlánaí, is leithne agus is cuimsithí ar Nua-Litríocht na Gaeilge a rinneadh riamh agus ní bheidh a shárú le fáil'. Cuirfear céimithe oinigh an lae inniu leis an liosta daoine ar bronnadh céim oinigh orthu go dtí seo, ina measc, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Sean Purcell, Merv Griffin, nach maireann, agus Anjelica Huston. -críoch-

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The College of Science at NUI Galway welcomed prospective students from second level schools to its Science Experience Workshop this week. This engaging programme allowed 30 students to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students took part in hands-on activities and experienced working in world class research facilities and institutes. Some of the institutes visited by the students were Applied Optics, the Environmental Change Institute, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. Throughout the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to 'shadow' scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines. According to Dr Mark Foley, Vice Dean of Communications and Strategy, College of Science, NUI Galway: "With the CAO change of mind deadline looming Science Experience Workshop provided an excellent forum whereby students got information on the diverse range of undergraduate programmes available at NUI Galway. Students got to investigate the differences between various denominated and undenominated offerings. Panel discussions with current students and staff allowed the exchange of information with prospective students. Participants also had the chance to see the state-of-the-art teaching, research and sporting facilities. This workshop offered participants the chance to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across Ireland". For further information on the College of Science or future Science Experience Workshops, call 091 492182 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/science/news.html -ends-

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-