All 2002

NUI Galway leads Research to benefit African Communities

Tuesday, 15 January 2002

Release date: 14 January, 2002 NUI Galway leads Research to benefit African Communities Africa, often associated with poverty and deprivation, has access to a huge natural resource, which, if properly developed and exploited, could dramatically change the lives of its coastal peoples. This has been shown spectacularly in Tanzania where scientific advice and know-how have provided coastal communities with substantial revenue for food, healthcare and education. Seaweed is available in huge quantities and incredible diversity on the African coast but because of a lack of access to information on location, type and potential commercial usage, the full potential of this natural resource is left largely untapped, a situation which is mirrored in remote communities in Europe, including areas like the west of Ireland. This is now about to change however, with the commencement of a major three-year EU-funded project, headed by the Martin Ryan Institute at NUI, Galway to compile a definitive database of commercially important seaweeds from the EU and Africa. For the first time, this information will be easily accessible internationally via both the Internet and a specially produced information pack including a CD-ROM version of the database which will be distributed free of charge to potential users of the information. The Department of Botany, NUI, Galway AlgaeBase team will host the first meeting of the project partners in NUI, Galway from the 14 -17 January organised by Eilís Nic Dhonncha and Professor Michael Guiry. Participating countries include Kenya, South Africa and Namibia from Africa; and Ireland, Portugal and Sweden from the EU. The AlgaeBase team point out that a major foreign policy aim of the EU is to foster the sustainable economic and social development of developing countries. The SeaweedAfrica part of AlgaeBase will provide information on resource distribution, uses and potential uses, current resource yields, ecology, aquaculture and harvesting. "The innovative features of this database are twofold" explains Ms. Nic Dhonncha. "Initially, via the internet, it will provide biological information on the economically-important seaweeds to the initiators of community-based development projects to help them to choose the species upon which they should concentrate and the technical information to aid them in choosing strategies and methods that have been successful elsewhere. The second major objective is to provide the relevant information to policy makers in the form of an easy-to-access tool to allow them to establish that development taking place is carried out in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner." Despite its burgeoning coastline and maritime populations, Africa has not seen major developments of a seaweed industry except in Tanzania, South Africa, and, more recently, Mozambique. There is a lack of local knowledge of seaweeds, despite the incredible biodiversity, which is particularly high on the east coast. In some areas, such as Namibia and the west coast of South Africa, upwelling of cold water shows enormous potential for maricultural development if the right algae and management techniques can be found. It is intended that SeaweedAfrica will go a long way towards achieving that. The current first-sale annual value of the Irish seaweed industry is about Euro 8.8 million and the industry employs nearly 700 people on either a full-time or seasonal basis in remote rural areas of the west coast, primarily within the Gaeltacht. Compared to the world seaweed production - in excess of 7.5 million tonnes in an industry worth US $4 billion - the Irish industry is small, processing 45,000 tonnes annually. However, the seemingly small size of the industry masks the huge socio-economic impacts that it has on rural coastal communities with few other sustainable sources of income. Seaweed and its extracts are used extensively in industries such as agriculture, soap, skin care and snack food and food ingredients. Selected species are also being increasingly used in the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries. Professor Michael Guiry, Director of NUI Galway s Martin Ryan Institute, the leading academic marine research institution in Ireland, has been involved in seaweed research for many years and is recognised as a world expert in this area. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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NUI Galway academic elected Chairperson of Research Association

Monday, 14 January 2002

Release date: 15 January, 2002 NUI Galway academic elected Chairperson of Research Association Dr. Donal Leech, of the Department of Chemistry, NUI, Galway, was elected Chairperson of the Irish Research Scientists Association (IRSA) for the year 2002 at the association s annual general meeting in Dublin recently. The IRSA exists to promote excellence in scientific research in Ireland, a greater awareness of the role of research in our lives, and Ireland s scientific heritage. The IRSA was established in 1993 in response to the then Government policy of eliminating expenditure on fundamental research. IRSA was successful in reversing that decision and the association continues to campaign for improved research funding policies, mechanisms and resources today. IRSA is a voluntary association of individuals and organisations interested in its aims and currently has a membership of over 700, composed of academic and industrial researchers, teachers, journalists, politicians and civil servants from within Ireland and abroad. More information on IRSA is available on the association s web-site ( or by contacting Dr. Leech ( Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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NUI Galway awarded £29 million by HEA

Monday, 7 January 2002

Date released: 21 December, 2001 NUI Galway awarded £29 million by HEA The National University of Ireland, Galway has been awarded £29 million (€36.57m) from the Higher Education Authority under the National Development Plan. The University plans to use this allocation of funds to advance key research and development projects. Two main beneficiaries of the funding are the marine research facility and a proposed Centre for Innovation and Structural Change. President of NUI, Galway Dr. Iognáid Ó'Muircheartaigh commented "This funding award from the HEA is highly significant for NUI, Galway. Firstly it allows the University to become a major international centre for marine research and establishes us as the main source of marine knowledge in Ireland and secondly, the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change will be central to in-depth analysis of the Irish economy in a way that has not been widely researched in the past." As well as these projects, the HEA funding will also fund substantial research into three additional areas: biomedical engineering science, human settlement and historical and environmental change. According to NUI Galway's Dean of Research, Professor Ger Hurley, the five projects, when combined, will transform the university. "We will become a research-led institution," he says. "All of this will put us into a different league." Marine Research The HEA funding will allow for the radical expansion of the university's marine research resources, which will be allocated £15.1 million (€19.17m) of the overall award. When combined with the imminent relocation of the national Marine Institute from Dublin to Galway, it makes for exciting times in marine circles. "It's spectacular," says Professor Michael Guiry, director of NUI Galway's existing marine facility, the Martin Ryan Institute. "It will give our work an amazing dimension and depth and we're more than ready for it. We have a very enthusiastic and aggressive research agenda." Centre for Innovation and Structural Change The university also plans to use £2.2 million (€2.79m) of its HEA allocation to establish a Centre for Innovation and Structural Change – a place where the vagaries and patterns of Irish economic behaviour will be explored and analysed, and the results made publicly available. Resident innovation policy guru, Professor Roy Green says that this data could offer an understanding of the Irish economy that has never before been available to policymakers. It could even reveal the aspects of economic behaviour that need to be in place for prosperity. "To what extent is knowledge-based activity now sustainable within the Irish economy? How do we measure the extent to which it has become part of the landscape? What are the ingredients for growth? Does the slowdown mean that we're back to square one? That's what this centre is designed to research," says Professor Green. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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John McGahern at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway

Tuesday, 12 February 2002

Release date: 12 February, 2001 John McGahern at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has announced the appointment of novelist and short-story writer, John McGahern, to the position of Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies for a period of three years. Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, welcomed the appointment which, he said, was appropriate recognition for a lifetime of creative achievement at the highest level. 'Its a considerable honour for the University and the Centre for Irish Studies in particular, that a writer of John McGahern's achievement and international distinction should be affiliated with us in this way,' said de Paor. 'It is crucial to our work here that we should acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of our pre-eminent artists and writers in this way and forge a more dynamic relationship between the creative and performing arts and the academic community at NUI, Galway.' John McGahern has had a long and productive relationship with NUI, Galway as a regular contributor to the Summer School, and recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Literature in 1994. In his position as Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies, he will give a number of readings each year and conduct seminars on aspects of Irish life and culture under the auspices of the Centre for Irish Studies. Critics have hailed his latest novel, That They May Face the Rising Sun, as a masterpiece by Ireland's finest living novelist with one commentator being moved to declare himself envious of anyone who had yet to read it for the first time. John McGahern will launch a new series of Public Lectures in Irish Studies at NUI, Galway with a reading from the novel on Tuesday 19 February. The reading will take place in the Ó hEocha Theatre in the Millennium Arts Building and will begin at 8.00pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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Awards for Outstanding Graduates to be presented

Monday, 11 February 2002

Release date: 11 February, 2002 Awards for Outstanding Graduates to be presented The NUI, Galway Alumni Awards will be presented at a Gala Banquet in the Radisson Hotel, on Saturday, 2 March. Awards will be presented in four categories to graduates who have made a distinctive contribution in their chosen careers. Through the awards programme, the University recognises individual excellence among its 43,000 graduates. The ntl Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics will be presented to Áine Brazil, from Salthill, a Managing Principal at Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York. Throughout her 24 years experience she has been responsible for the design and construction of high-rise offices, hotels, air-rights projects with long span transfer systems, hospitals and sports arenas. In recent years Áine has been responsible for the structural design of several high profile high-rise projects in the New York City area, which include three commercial buildings on Times Square ranging from 550 ft to 850 ft tall. Also high on the list of her accomplishments is the role she played in leading the structural engineering team for the design of the 850,000 square feet expansion of New York Hospital spanning over the FDR highway. In 1999 Ms. Brazil was named one of "New York's 100 Most Influential Women in Business" by Crain's New York Business. Last month she was featured in a New York Times article entitled "More Engineers in Hard Hats and Heels," which explored the hurdles she overcame as a woman in the construction industry. In May 2001, Ms. Brazil was honoured by Professional Women in Construction (PWC) in their Salute to Women of Achievement. The Medtronic AVE Award for Health Care and Medical Science will be presented to Dr Luke Clancy, a consultant respiratory physician at St James's Hospital in Dublin. Originally from Salthill, Dr Clancy first graduated from NUI, Galway in 1963 with a BSc and again in 1966 as a medical doctor. He is Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine at Trinity College Dublin and has conducted remarkable research into respiratorial conditions such as asthma, and why it is on the increase in Ireland. He is a member of the Euro TB advisory committee, an organisation that carries out surveillance of tuberculosis in Europe, as well as being involved with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. This work also includes a study of air pollution trends and its associations with adverse health effects, comparing Northern Ireland and the Republic. Dr Clancy is a long-time anti-smoking campaigner and in his former capacity as Chairman of ASH Ireland, has worked tirelessly, and continues to do so, to combat the dangers involved with smoking in this country. Dr Clancy is also a former Director of the William Stokes Post Graduate Centre at St James's Hospital. The Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce, will be presented to Hugh Friel, who graduated from NUI, Galway with a B.Comm degree in 1966. Hugh is currently the Managing Director of the Kerry Group plc. A native of Donegal, he previously worked with Aer Lingus in New York, Mobil Oil Corp. in London and Erin Foods in Ireland. In 1972 he was appointed Financial Controller of North Kerry Milk Products Limited, the forerunner of Kerry Co-op and now Kerry Group plc. Kerry Group today is a leader in global food ingredients markets and a leading consumer foods processing and marketing organisation in selected EU markets. In less than 30 years, from the commissioning of its first manufacturing plant in Listowel, the Kerry organisation has grown to become a highly successful public company, having achieved sustained profitable growth with current annualised sales in excess of €2.6 billion. Listed on the Dublin and London Stock markets, Kerry has established over 80 manufacturing facilities across four continents and provides over 10,000 food and ingredient products through its network of international sales and technical centres to a wide customer base in 80 countries. The Compaq Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts will be presented to Eddie Lenihan, County Clare based seanchaí and author who graduated from NUI, Galway in 1973 with a BA, again in 1975 with a HDip in Education and in 1978 with an MA. A historian, folklorist and until recently a teacher, he has been collecting Irish lore from the elders of Ireland for the past twenty-seven years, and now possesses probably the largest tape-archive held in private hands in Ireland today. Well known in Ireland and beyond as a seanchaí (who has been called 'Ireland's greatest living storyteller'), Eddie has published sixteen books, eleven audio-tapes, a double CD and a video on Irish culture and folklore, and his television programmes Storyteller and Ten Minute Tales ran for three consecutive years on RTÉ. His most recent audio programme, The Good People, a collection of authentic Irish fairy stories for all ages, was published in the USA in 2001. Meeting The Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, co-edited with Carolyn E. Green, and due for publication in 2003, will be Lenihan's definitive collection of 'real' fairy stories from Ireland, to be followed by Tales from the Táin, Foreign Irish Tales for Children (No. 8 in his 15-book Fionn Mac Cumhail saga). Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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