All 2007

NUI Galway Academics elected members of Royal Irish Academy

Monday, 28 May 2007

Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway and Professor Michael T. Kane, former Head of Physiology at NUI Galway have recently been elected to 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. Election to membership of the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland. Professor William Schabas is one of the world's authorities on the crime of genocide, the abolition of the death penalty and the international criminal justice institutions. He served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour. Prof. Schabas was recently awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Society of International Law for his book, The UN International Criminal Tribunals: the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. "The study of international human rights law is a relatively new field," said Prof. Schabas. "Election to the Royal Irish Academy for work in the field, on such issues as the abolition of capital punishment and the prohibition of genocide, confirms its importance as an academic discipline." Professor Michael T. Kane is a leading academic in the field of reproductive science. Educated at UCD, and Cornell University, Prof. Kane taught at NUI Galway for over 30 years until his retirement in September 2006. Prof. Kane's research has concentrated on two main areas; investigation of factors affecting growth and development in pre-implantation mammalian embryos and mouse embryo stem cells; and the control of ovarian follicular growth. The significance of his work has become progressively more appreciated with the development world wide of in vitro fertilization. The Royal Irish Academy is the principal learned society in Ireland and currently has 385 Members from across the island, elected in recognition of their academic achievement. Those elected are entitled to use the designation MRIA (Member of the Royal Irish Academy) after their name. Other well-known members of the Academy include: NUI Chancellor Dr Garret FitzGerald; Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney; Mr Peter Sutherland; Former UN Human Rights Commissioner Mrs Mary Robinson, and President Mary McAleese. Mary Robinson, who is one of the few lawyers to be a member of the Academy, was one of the signatories on Prof Schabas' nomination papers. ENDS

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International human rights experts to address summer schools at NUI Galway

Monday, 28 May 2007

The International Criminal Court and Minority Rights are the focus of two high-profile summer schools to be held at the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), NUI Galway in June. The International Criminal Court (ICC), which is arguably one of the most important international institutions formed since the establishment of the United Nations, is aimed at combating impunity for atrocities. A host of key international experts in criminal law, including Judge Sang-Hyun Song, a judge in the Appeals Division of the ICC, will address the International Criminal Court Summer School at the ICHR, Earls' Island from 11 to 16 June 2007. Other prominent speakers include Judge Kimberley Prost, Ad Litem Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and Professor Michael Scharf, who served as counsel to the US government during the investigation into the 1988 Lockerbie terrorist attack on flight PAN AM 103. Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights will also address the school. "This is the eighth year of the summer school on the International Criminal Court. It has established itself as one of the premier intensive courses on the subject offered anywhere in the world," said Prof. Schabas. Following on from the ICC event, the annual Minority Rights, Indigenous People and Human Rights Law Summer School will take place from 17 to 22 June 2007. Key speakers include Professor Patrick Thornberry, Professor of International Law at Keele University, UK, and member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and Mr Michael Flaherty, University of Nottingham, who was the first Irish member of the UN Human Rights Committee. The course provides participants with an overview of the legal, political and philosophical issues associated with international human rights law and its relationship to minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. The School will also draw on speakers representing the most important international organizations working in this field including the UN Committees on Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organisation and the Organisation for Security & Co-operation in Europe. "If you want to understand how successful a human rights regime in any given country is, you could do worse than examine the extent to which minorities in that country are protected. This is as true in Sudan as in Ireland," said Professor Joshua Castellino, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, who founded the school during his time as lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. "This course has a strong reputation for being able to address the issues underlying the startling headlines of global affairs. A range of world class experts have been able to provide insights into the schisms in different societies that lead to conflict and the ensuing human misery associated with it. The great mix of nationalities, professions and perspectives of the speakers has always made this course a must-attend for those interested in global affairs and human rights." For further information and full programme details for both events see and ENDS

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€20 million investment for a new clinical research facility in Galway

Monday, 21 May 2007

The Health Research Board (HRB) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) have announced that they will jointly fund the establishment of a Clinical Research Facility in Galway. The aim of the HRB/HSE Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is to provide the infrastructure – the physical space, facilities and the experts - needed to support patient-focused research studies. The investment by the HSE and the HRB will be of the order of €20m over five years. When fully operational, the Clinical Research Facility will employ a staff of 20. The research programme to be carried out at the facility will be through a partnership between NUI Galway researchers and clinician scientists from University Hospital Galway. The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, who met recently with the lead researchers and funders, said that this investment is a major boost for clinical research and patient care in the West of Ireland. 'I have committed over €50m in capital funding through the Health Research Board over a five-year period to support key research programmes and infrastructure. This HRB/HSE Clinical Research Facility will provide a world-class environment for patient-focused research with real benefits for patients. It will enable clinicians, the health care industry and other key partners to test innovative therapies, technologies and products and increase the speed at which scientific discoveries and innovations can be translated into better patient care. It will also build on the major investment by this Government in basic research facilities at NUI Galway in recent years,' said Mary Harney. The new facility will concentrate on patient-focused research and will make a real contribution to postgraduate research and training of health professionals. Medical doctors and nurses will work with other scientists to improve our understanding of a variety of diseases and to develop new tests and treatments to help tackle these diseases. The Centre will provide patients with the latest advances in areas such as regenerative medicine, cancer, obstetrics and gynaecology, diabetes and inflammatory diseases. Importantly, support will also be provided for studies carried out in general practice settings through analysis of samples taken, provision of statistical support and co-ordination of studies. This will include research on the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes. 'Our guiding philosophy is to stimulate, engage and support health care professionals from diverse areas of expertise to undertake high quality research. The facility will be built as an annex to the existing University Hospital Galway and it is anticipated that it will be completed in 2009. The facility will contain specially designed rooms for gene and cell therapy. When it opens, it will complete the infrastructure present in Galway to allow clinical studies to be undertaken in areas such as heart, joint and spinal cord repair, ensuring an integrated bench to bedside approach,' said Professor Tim O'Brien, Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospital, Head of the Department of Medicine at NUI Galway and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute, a SFI-funded Centre for Science Engineering and Technology. 'The CRF will have a special focus on education of health care professionals in clinical research with plans to establish new programmes such as MSc in Clinical Research and Biostatistics and PhD programmes for clinicians', said Professor Larry Egan, Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and a co-applicant on the proposal. 'The development of Clinical Research Facilities here in Ireland is an indication of international excellence in clinical research,' said Dr Ruth Barrington. 'This is one of the most significant developments in Irish health research during my term of office,' said Dr Ruth Barrington, Chief Executive. 'The HRB have a strong track record working in partnership with Universities and Hospitals to support high quality research. We are delighted to engage with the HSE to support this landmark development in Galway,' she concluded. Alan Moran, Hospitals Network Manager, HSE West, said; 'Putting the CRF in the heart of the Hospital will allow staff to contribute to shaping the latest advances in healthcare science, and to bring the benefits of those advances to patients as early as possible. The HSE is pleased to support the energy and imagination of the many individuals from the hospital and the university who conceived this project and who worked so effectively together to make it a reality'. The CRF will be jointly governed by NUI Galway and the HSE, an example of the close ties which exist between the University and health sector in Galway. It will also connect with the new HRB / Wellcome Trust CRF at St James's Hospital Dublin and emerging facilities at Dublin teaching hospitals through the establishment of the Irish Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ICRIN). The HRB and HSE have also funded ICRIN to help ensure a greater number of patients can benefit from clinical research in the most cost effective manner. Ends

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NUI Galway Engineering Student Develops Fire Service Safety System

Monday, 21 May 2007

NUI Galway Industrial Engineering student Eoin Morrissey has presented a copy of a database system to Galway Fire and Rescue Service, which he developed to assist fire fighters record and monitor the maintenance of life-critical breathing apparatus equipment. While manual recording systems were already in place to monitor the maintenance of Breathing Apparatus at fire stations throughout Galway city and county, the new software database will identify in advance when sets and compressed air cylinders are due their annual maintenance, and when individual set parts are due to be replaced. Eoin, who completed his final year exams recently, developed the database as part of his final year project, which accounts for one fifth of his degree. The Clarinbridge student approached his final year project with helping people as his main objective. He is involved in numerous community voluntary activities, the most recent of which has taken him to West Africa, where along with 20 other NUI Galway students, he is currently helping families in Ghana to build their own homes, as part of a Habitat for Humanity/NUI Galway joint initiative. Presenting a copy of the software database to Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Duffy of Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Eoin said it had been "hugely gratifying to know that this project will help protect fire fighters who provide such a valuable service to the community". Praising the technology employed by Eoin, Mr Duffy said "We are delighted with the standard of the project and we look forward to the benefits of implementing the database. This technology will make our existing system more efficient and allow the Fire Service to free up valuable resources for other projects". Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh paid tribute to Eoin, who he said was a shining example of the growing number of NUI Galway students who are engaging with the community through a culture of active citizenship positively promoted by the University's Community Knowledge Initiative. "NUI Galway is widely recognised as a student- centred University with an environment where students' interests are stimulated. I am delighted to acknowledge Eoin's contribution to the Fire and Rescue Service and his voluntary work in Ghana," said Dr Ó'Muircheartaigh. Meanwhile, Eoin hopes to pursue a career in the Fire Service following his graduation later this year, where a Degree in Engineering is currently a requirement for senior level positions. ENDS

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Infheistíocht €20 milliún d'áis nua taighde chliniciúil i nGaillimh

Monday, 21 May 2007

D'fhógair an Bord Taighde Sláinte (HRB) agus Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte (HSE) go maoineoidh siad bunú Áis Taighde Chliniciúil i nGaillimh. Is é atá mar aidhm le hÁis Taighde Chliniciúil (CRF) HRB/HSE an t-infreastruchtúr riachtanach - spás, áiseanna agus na saineolaithe - a chur ar fáil d fhonn tacú le hobair taighde atá dírithe ar othair. Infheisteoidh HSE agus HRB suim €20 milliún thar thréimhse cúig bliana. Beidh 20 comhalta foirne fostaithe san Áis Taighde Chliniciúil nuair a bheidh sí ag feidhmiú mar is ceart. Is éard a bheidh sa chlár taighde comhpháirtíocht idir taighdeoirí ó OÉ Gaillimh agus eolaithe cliniceora ó Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh. Dúirt an tAire Sláinte agus Leanaí, Mary Harney TD, a chas leis na príomhthaighdeoirí agus an príomhdhream atá ag soláthar maoiniúcháin le déanaí, go gcuirfidh an infheistíocht seo go mór le taighde cliniciúil agus cúram othar in Iarthar na hÉireann. 'Tá os cionn €50 milliún curtha ar fáil agam i maoiniú caipitil tríd an mBord Taighde Sláinte le cúig bliana anuas ar mhaithe le tacú le príomhchláir taighde agus an t-infreastruchtúr taighde. Áis den scoth a bheidh in Áis Taighde Chliniciúil HRB/HSE do thaighde atá dírithe ar othair; taighde a rachaidh chun tairbhe othar. Cinnteoidh an áis seo go mbeidh ar chumas cliniceoirí agus príomhpháirtithe eile teiripí, teicneolaíocht agus táirgí nuálacha a thástáil agus luas a chur faoin méid ama a thógann sé fionnachtana agus nuálaíochtaí eolaíocha a úsáid ar mhaithe le cúram níos fearr a sholáthar d'othair. Lena chois sin, cuirfidh sé leis an infheistíocht mhór atá déanta ag an Rialtas seo in áiseanna bunúsacha taighde in OÉ Gaillimh le blianta beaga anuas,' dar le Mary Harney. Taighde atá dírithe ar othair a bheidh ar siúl san áis seo agus cabhróidh sé go mór le taighde iarchéime agus agus oiliúint gairmithe sláinte. Beidh dochtúirí agus altraí ag obair le heolaithe eile d fhonn cur leis an tuiscint atá againn ar ghalair éagsúla, mar aon le tástálacha agus cóir nua leighis a fhorbairt leis na galair seo a leigheas. Cinnteofar, trí bhunú an Ionaid seo, go mbeidh fáil ag othair ar an gcóir leighis is nuaí cosúil le leigheas athghiniúnach, chomh maith le cóir leighis i réimsí eile cosúil le hailse, cnáimhseachas agus gínéiceolaíocht, diaibéiteas agus galair athlastacha. Chomh tábhachtach céanna, tacófar le staidéar sa chleachtadh ginearálta trí shamplaí tógtha a anailísiú, tacaíocht staitistiúil a sholáthar agus staidéar a chomhordú. Ina measc seo, déanfar taighde ar bhainistiú galar ainsealach cosúil le diaibéiteas. 'Is é atá mar aidhm againn gairmithe sa chúram sláinte a spreagadh, deis a thabhairt dóibh a bheith páirteach mar aon le tacú le gairmithe ó réimsí éagsúla saineolais tabhairt faoi thaighde ar ardchaighdeán. Tógfar an áis in aice le hOspidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh agus meastar go mbeidh an foirgneamh tógtha in 2009. Beidh seomraí ar leith do ghéinteiripe agus teiripe gascheall san áis freisin. Deir an tOllamh Tim O Brien, Inchríneolaí Comhairleach in Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh, Ceann an Leighis in OÉ Gaillimh agus Stiúrthóir Institiúid an Leighis Athghiniúnaigh - Ionad Eolaíochta, Innealtóireachta agus Teicneolaíochta arna mhaoiniú ag Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann, go gcuirfidh an tIonad nua leis an infreastruchtúr i nGaillimh ionas gur féidir tabhairt faoi staidéar cliniciúil ar an gcroí, na hailt agus deisiú chorda an dromlaigh, mar aon le cur chuige comhtháite i leith chúram na n-othar. 'Leagfaidh an CRF béim faoi leith ar oideachas gairmithe cúraim shláinte sa taighde cliniciúil agus tá sé beartaithe tús a chur le cláir nua cosúil le M.Sc. i dTaighde Cliniciúil agus Bithstaidreamh agus cláir Ph.D. do chliniceoirí,' a deir an tOllamh Larry Egan, Ceann Roinn na Cógaseolaíochta agus Teiripice agus comhiarratasóir sa togra áirithe seo. Deir an Dr Ruth Barrington, 'go dtugann forbairt Áiseanna sa Taighde Cliniciúil in Éirinn léargas ar bharrfeabhas i dtaighde cliniciúil.' Chomh maith leis sin, deir an Dr Ruth Barrington, Príomhfheidhmeannach, 'go bhfuil sé seo ar cheann de na forbairtí is suntasaí i dtaighde sláinte in Éirinn le linn a téarma féin in oifig'. 'Tá HRB ag obair i gcomhpháirt le hOllscoileanna agus Ospidéil le fada an lá chun tacú le taighde ar ardchaighdeán. Ina theannta sin, dúirt sí gur 'cúis áthais dúinn a bheith ag obair leis an HSE chun tacú leis an bhforbairt mhór seo i nGaillimh.' Dúirt Alan Moran, Bainisteoir Líonra na nOspidéal, Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte, Réigiún an Iarthair, 'Trí CRF a lonnú san Ospidéal go mbeidh cead ag comhaltaí foirne cur leis an dul chun cinn san eolaíocht cúraim shláinte, agus go mbainfidh na hothair tairbhe as an dul chun cinn seo chomh luath agus is féidir. Cúis áthais don HSE tacú le fuinneamh agus samhlaíocht na ndaoine atá ag obair san ospidéal agus san ollscoil; daoine a chur tús leis an tionscadal seo agus a d'oibrigh le chéile go héifeachtach chun é a chur i bhfeidhm'. Beidh OÉ Gaillimh agus HSE freagrach as CRF. Is dea-shampla é seo den dlúthnasc atá idir an Ollscoil agus an earnáil sláinte i nGaillimh. Cruthófar nasc leis an HRB nua / CRF Wellcome Trust ag Ospidéal San Séamas, Baile Átha Cliath agus áiseanna nua in ospidéil teagaisc i mBaile Átha Cliath trí Líonra Infreastruchtúir um Thaighde Cliniciúil na hÉireann (ICRIN) a bhunú. Tá maoiniú curtha ar fáil ag HRB agus HSE do ICRIN d'fhonn a chinntiú gur féidir le níos mó othar tairbhe a bhaint as taighde cliniciúil sa bhealach is costéifeachtaí agus is féidir. Críoch

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