All 2006

NUI Galway Alumni Unveil Award in Honour of Jerome Hynes

Friday, 10 November 2006

Olive Braiden, Chair of the Arts Council, is to be special guest at the NUI Galway launch of the 'Jerome Hynes Best One Act Play Award' on Friday 24 November at 6pm in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway. The award, which will be presented to the best Director/Writer of a one-act play, will be an annual event and is in honour of NUI Galway alumnus, the late Jerome Hynes, for his contribution to the arts. The launch will be hosted by the NUI Galway Alumni Association who also commissioned John Coll to design the sculpture being unveiled at the launch. The sculpture will be permanently showcased in the Bank of Ireland Theatre at the University. Catherine Hickey-O'Maoláin, Vice Chairperson of the NUI Galway Alumni Association, said "We are tremendously proud of Jerome as one of our own, one who contributed so much to this country's cultural life. Before his untimely death, Jerome was in line to be honoured with a prestigious Alumni Award and we thought it fitting that we pay tribute to him in another way – a way in which we hope he would approve." Jerome was a native of Galway and his sister is the theatre Director Gary Hynes. In 1981 he was appointed administrator, and later General Manager, of the Druid Theatre Company. He managed that organisation during its development into a major company, notably through its international touring. In 1988, he was appointed the first Managing Director, and later Chief Executive, of Wexford Festival Opera. In 2003, he was appointed by the Government as a member of The Arts Council and as Deputy Chair. He was also on the Board of the National concert hall as well as appointed by the Arts Minister John O Donoghue to chair a special committee on the traditional arts in 2005. A dramatic tribute performed by acclaimed actress Marie Mullen and members of NUI Galway DramSoc will also take place on the night. Further information is available from the Alumni Office on 091 493 750 or email -Ends-

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Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement between the BMW Region and the West

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

07 November 2006: A new agreement has been put in place to support growth in the already significant medical devices industry in both the Border Midland and Western Region, Ireland and in the West Midlands, UK. The cooperation agreement, signed at NUI Galway, will involve the identification of areas for inter-regional working, particularly in the areas of collaborative research proposals, mobility of researchers and exchange of best practice in technology transfer from research labs and centres to the medical devices firms. The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway, facilitated by the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly, worked with the West Midlands Regional Development Agency - Advantage West Midlands - to set out the terms of the Inter-Regional Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement. This lays down a framework in which research and technological development activities of mutual benefit can be developed between institutions of higher education, research institutions, regional development organisations, business support agencies and companies in the regions. The Agreement is a result of an EU funded Interreg IIIB initiative to support the development of networks amongst regions in Europe. The President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, welcomed the initiative, stating that, "This is an exciting opportunity for the research insitutions, technology transfer offices and medical devices firms in the regions to identify areas for joint activites, reducing duplication of effort and promoting effective responses to the needs of medical devices companies in both regions". The Project Director, Professor Michael Cuddy, commented that the signing of the Agreement represented a success story for European funded initiatives: "In developing the Agreement with colleagues in the regional development agency and the University of Coventry, the BMW Region is well placed to transfer and exploit best practice in research to support the medical devices industry as a key sector in the EU". The Agreement outlines five specific areas in which inter-regional Cooperation can take place: 1. Support for reciprocal exchanges of scientists, researchers, technicians and trainees for visits, study tours and advanced studies (and in particular the promotion of the Marie Curie Fellowships between Higher Education Instutions in the BMW and West Midlands regions) 2. Promoting and developing joint research on projects and programmes of mutual interest, with a particular focus on medical and health technologies 3. The organisation of bilateral scientific meetings and participation in conferences, symposia and inter-regional seminars; 4. Collaboration and participation in the submission of proposals and other actions requesting funding and other support from the European Commission and other sources; and 5. Direct support to the development of partnerships among SMEs and between SMEs and Higher Education, through collaboration and co-operation with regional business support agencies such as the Chambers of Commerce and Business Links. The Agreement will be for one year initially and will be reviewed by the institutions involved at the end of that period. Key stakeholders in both regions will be involved over the course of its implementation. This initiative, undertaken by the BMW region, supports the goals of the Irish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (2006-2013) which addresses what it sees as 'vital' international dimensions of research and innovation in securing Ireland's position, by 2013, as a country that is internationally renowned for the excellence of its research, and to the forefront in generating and using new knowledge for economic and social progress, within an innovation driven culture. -ends- Contact: Professor Michael Cuddy, Project Director / Dr Lorna Ryan, Project Manager +353 91 524411 Notes to Editors The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) is an interdisciplinary research centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway partnered by University College Dublin and Dublin City University Business School. CISC was formally launched at NUI, Galway by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D. on 1st March 2002. The key objective of CISC is to build an internationally recognised programme of research and research training on the innovation processes and policies that are fundamental to the development of a knowledge-based economy. CISC has been awarded competitive funding of Euro 2.8 million under the Irish Government s Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) of the Higher Education Authority. NUI Galway, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, The Border, Midlands and Western Regional Assembly was established by the Government on 21st July, 1999 and consists of 29 elected members from the constituent local authorities, within the B.M.W. Region. The Border, Midland and Western Region consists of the following 13 counties: Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath. The Role of the B.M.W. Assembly is to: Manage the B.M.W. Regional Operational Programme under the National Development Plan. Monitor the impact of the EU programme under the National Development Plan/Community Support Framework framework within the BMW Region Promote the co-ordination of public services within the Region Advantage West Midlands is one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England whose role is to provide leadership and action to create more, better jobs and an improved quality of life in the West Midlands.

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Photonics Industry Meets in Galway

Monday, 6 November 2006

06 November 2006: NUI Galway's Atlantic Laser and Optics Forum (LightForum) holds its first annual meeting on 8 November in the Westwood House Hotel, Galway. The theme of the meeting is the expanding role of photonics (light and laser technology) in manufacturing, and will feature a number of invited international speakers, addressing important topics related to photonics in industry and society in general. The event will include strategic perspectives from the European Commission, international photonics research and the European manufacturing industry. Attendees will also be updated on recent developments in the Forum and in the Photonics community at NUI Galway, as well as new initiatives designed to make the interaction between industry and the photonics research community simpler and more effective. Tony Flaherty of the National Centre for Laser Applications, NUI Galway, explained, "Although we may not all realise, photonics has long been a fundamental technology for manufacturing such as telecommunications and information technology. More recently, photonics has become mainstream in areas such as medicine, where poor eyesight is being remedied by laser treatment, and in manufacturing, where laser processing is rapidly becoming the industry standard for many applications. As the use of photonics across industry expands and the Irish economy adapts to become a high-tech knowledge economy, the strength of our photonics research and expertise will be critical". The Atlantic Laser and Optics Forum provides a framework in which scientists and professionals in industry and the University can explore and develop interactions of mutual interest. The forum was launched last year and has had a busy year hosting courses, workshops and round-table discussions on topics as diverse as Adaptive Optics and Fiber-Laser Applications in Micro-machining. The Forum is the ideal way to join the laser users community in Ireland and meet professionals in other companies who have had similar issues or experiences relating to laser and optics innovation. The Forum is free to professionals in Irish industry and more information is available at -ends-

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NUI Galway Secures €2.8 Million Grant for Biomolecular Electronics Research

Monday, 6 November 2006

06 November 2006: The European Commission has announced a grant of €2.8 million for an international research project which will take place at NUI Galway on bio-powered bio-electrochemical sensing systems. The Research Project, which is being run in collaboration with research groups across international universities, will be headed up by Dr. Dónal Leech of NUI Galway's Chemistry Department. The Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) titled BIO-MEDNANO, aims to investigate technologies for the development of biocatalytic fuel cells and biosensors. For example, 21st century medicine will increasingly demand the monitoring and control of a range of medical conditions by sophisticated, miniaturised and integrated implantable devices. Current battery technology uses highly reactive lithium making miniaturisation expensive and difficult, and thus biocatalytic fuel cells will be of significant importance in medical devices of the future. Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Dónal Leech said: "Biocatalytic fuel cells represent a realistic opportunity for the provision of implantable power and there is enormous scope for the wider application of biosensors in the area of medical diagnostics, in environmental monitoring and in food quality. We are delighted to have secured this funding which will allow us to make important strides forward over the next number of years and look forward to leading the way in research in this field". The Biomolecular Electronics Research Laboratory of NUI Galway's Chemistry Department will co-ordinate the research project. It is a collaboration between NUI Galway and research groups at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Southampton, the University of Rome, Czech Republic company BVT Technologies, and Finish organisations Abo Akademi and VTT Biotechnology. -ends- Note to editors: The major innovation of this project is related to an optimised combination of enzyme, mediator, and molecular bridges on novel electrodes to ensure efficient and sustainable electron transfer in order to power devices such as biosensors. Biocatalytic fuel cells are fuel cells which rely upon biocatalytic reactions at the electrodes to convert chemicals into electrical power. These fuel cells represent a realistic opportunity for provision of implantable power, given the exquisite selectivity of enzyme catalysts, their activity under physiological conditions, and the relative ease of immobilisation of isolated enzymes. Implantable biocatalytic fuel calls have thus been proposed, where the body's own chemicals are used to produce power in-viro. It is anticipated that the implanted biofuel cells could use body fluids, particularly blood, as the fuel source for the generation of electrical power, which may then be used to activate pacemakers, insulin pumps, prosthetic elements, or biosensing systems. Biofuel cells have also been suggested in military or security fields for detection of explosives.

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Irish Studies Programme Launched in Japan

Monday, 6 November 2006

06 November 2006: The Irish Studies Online Programme from NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies, is set to make its mark in Japan. Thursday last, at a function in Tokyo, His Excellency Brendan Scannell, Irish Ambassador to Japan, formally launched an exciting new development which will allow Japanese students the opportunity to be taught the online diploma in Irish Studies in their own language. The programme, developed in partnership between NUI Galway and Regis University, Denver, Colorado, provides an introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, English, Irish Political Science and Sociology. All of the seminars and group discussions will be in Japanese. NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies, which has pioneered the development of online courses in Irish Studies, has appointed two highly qualified Japanese facilitators to teach the programme and provide tuition and guidance to students in Japanese. The online diploma, the first of its kind in the world, provides an overview of Irish history from the pagan Celtic world and the coming of Christianity, through to the cataclysmic famines of the 1840s, the establishment of an independent state in 1922, and Ireland's integration into the European community that has been ongoing since the 1970s. Students are introduced to Irish literature in both the Irish (Gaelic) and English languages, from the Old-Irish sagas and early Irish lyrics through the emergence of Anglo-Irish literature in the eighteenth century, to the twentieth-century revival of writing in Irish. Ambassador Scannell described this initiative as further evidence of commitment on the part of the Irish Education sector to consolidate its efforts in Japan. NUI Galway was represented in Tokyo by Prof Ger Hurley, Vice-President for External Affairs, Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs and Chinatsu Hakamada, a PhD student at Scoil na Gaeilge. Miss Hakamada addressed the gathering of 150 guests in fluent Irish and English. She has recently been appointed by the Centre for Irish Studies to teach the online programme and provide tuition and guidance to students in Japanese. Many of the guests at the reception availed of the opportunity to view a demonstration of the online programme. Given that 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Japan, this is an opportune time to launch such an initiative in Japan. While students will require a considerable degree of competence in English as most of the learning materials are in English, the online instruction will be provided through the medium of Japanese. "This is particularly important on an online programme," according to Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, "as the level of interaction between students and their teachers online is greater than in traditional on-campus programmes. All of the seminars and group discussions will be in Japanese, as will all interaction between the students and their online tutor, and among the students themselves. This is a very exciting development for us, as it allows us, for the first time, to offer courses in Irish Studies to Japanese students in their own language." In order to celebrate this new initiative, the Centre for Irish Studies is offering a number of scholarships to the first intake of Japanese students on its online programme. -ends-

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