NUI Galway announces €250 million Strategic Plan

Wednesday, 12 March 2003

Release date: 6 March, 2003 NUI Galway announces €250 million Strategic Plan HIGHLIGHTS: Seven strategic priorities outlined by University President to tackle issues and challenges facing NUI Galway in what will undoubtedly be challenging times for the third-level education sector as a whole Implementation of Plan will establish NUI Galway as a world class centre of learning and research Plan focuses on attraction of students, research capabilities, recruitment and retention of highly motivated staff, national and regional influence of the University, the Irish language, organisational structures and funding Initiatives to be undertaken in year one of Plan include: developing a new student cultural and recreational centre, an awards scheme to recognise teaching excellence, a proactive policy in relation to third-level education through Irish and a fundamental re-appraisal of the 1929 Act Targets and deadlines to be put in place on an annual basis to ensure strategy is implemented in full National University of Ireland, Galway today (Thursday 6 March 2003) publicly unveiled its strategic plan for the next five years. The Strategic Plan for NUI Galway 2003 – 2008, which will cost over €250m to implement, is a clear statement of the strategic direction and aims of the University over the next five years. Wide-ranging consultation with staff, students and other interested groups took place in the development of the Plan, to ensure their full involvement in the strategic planning process, and detailed background research was undertaken. Seven strategic priorities have been identified under the Plan which aim to: Enhance the relative attractiveness of the University for Irish and international students; Further strengthen the research reputation and ethos of the University; Attract and retain high-quality staff through recognition and reward; Maximise the University's contribution at national and regional levels; Promote the Irish language in the work of the University; Improve organisational structures and; Secure resources to implement the Strategic Plan. Commenting on the strategic planning process and the future direction of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "The Plan launched today builds on an era of development for NUI Galway. Since 1995, the University has had a number of successes in terms of building and enhancing upon its research and teaching experience. What we have set out to do with this Plan is to continue the momentum and build upon those successes, and in a real and practical way (and I can't over emphasise this enough) deal with, and overcome a range of challenges facing the third level sector as a whole. Make no mistake about it – this is not just another report – this is a blueprint for the future success of this institution, a blueprint that my management team and I are committed to over the coming years to ensure that it is implemented in full." Continuing he said, "Attraction of students in a declining population and an ever increasing competitive marketplace is a key priority. Under this plan a number of student-centred measures including the development of campus facilities, enhancement of teaching quality, student supports and services, will take place to ensure that increased numbers of traditional and, importantly, non traditional students will choose to study at NUI Galway. Our second priority is to strengthen our growing research reputation – so important to the University and the country as a whole. We see NUI Galway playing a leading role nationally and internationally in this field. Our strategic focus will look at new and innovative ways of recruiting and motivating staff – it will also look at new structures and approaches to support the sustainable development of the Irish language. This process will include a full review – completed by this summer - of the provisions of the 1929 Act". The NUI Galway Strategic Plan clearly sets out actions that will take place within the first year of the plan and actions to be carried out over the full period of the plan. Commenting on its implementation, President Ó Muircheartaigh stressed that the Plan was ambitious, but realistic. He maintained that the Plan would be revisited on an annual basis to review activity against pre-set action plans. "Each member of the management team, including myself, has taken responsibility for specific strategic priorities, to ensure that on an annual basis, plans and initiatives are being implemented," he said. Concluding he said: "Delivering on the seven key priorities will ensure that we retain the competitive edge which has established NUI Galway as a first-rank educational institution by international standards. While acknowledging and being fully cognisant of the particular challenges which the changing economic climate may present to NUI Galway and indeed the wider third level educational system, we look forward with enthusiasm to the next five years, confident on the basis of this Plan that NUI Galway will continue to show dynamic leadership in research, teaching and student support". Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press and Information Officer, NUI Galway. Tel: 091 750 418 =========================================== Preas ráiteas: 6ú Márta, 2003 Plean Straitéiseach €250 milliún Fógartha ag OÉ, Gaillimh BUAICPHOINTÍ: Seacht dtosaíocht straitéiseacha arna leagan amach ag Uachtarán na hOllscoile chun dul i ngleic le saincheisteanna agus le dúshláin atá i ndán do OÉ, Gaillimh agus d'earnáil an tríú leibhéal i gcoitinne. Ionad foghlama agus taighde ar chaighdeán domhanda a bheidh in OÉ, Gaillimh ach an Plean a chur i ngníomh Leagann an Plean béim ar mhic léinn a mhealladh, ar chumais taighde, ar earchú agus ar choinneáil foirne, ar thionchar náisiúnta agus réigiúnach na hOllscoile, ar an nGaeilge, ar struchtúir eagraíochtúla agus ar mhaoiniú Áirítear ar an tionscnaimh a dhéanfar i mbliain a haon den Phlean: pleananna críochnaithe d'ionad nua mac léinn; scéim dámhachtainí chun aitheantas a thabhairt do shártheagasc; polasaí gníomhach i leith oideachas triú leibhéil tré Ghaeilge agus athbhreithniú bunúsach ar fhorálacha Acht 1929 Spriocanna agus spriocdhátaí le leagan síos ar bhonn bliantúil d'fhonn cur i ngníomh iomlán na straitéise a chinntiú Nocht Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a plean straitéiseach do na cúig bliana amach romhainn inniu (Déardaoin, 6 Márta, 2003). Is ráiteas soiléir é Plean Straitéiseach OÉ, Gaillimh 2003 – 2008, a chosnóidh thart ar €250 milliún lena chur i ngníomh, faoi threo agus aidhmeanna straitéiseacha na hOllscoile do na cúig bliana amach romhainn. Déanadh comhchomhairle dhian leis an bhfoireann, le mic léinn agus le grúpaí eile i réiteach an phlean, d'fhonn a rannpháirtíocht iomlán sa phróiséis stráitéiseach a chinntiú. Tá seacht dtosaíocht straitéiseacha aitheanta faoin bPlean agus is iad seo a leanas na haidhmeanna atá acu: Tarraint na hOllscoile i measc mac léinn Éireannach agus idirnáisiúnta a mhéadú i gcomparáid le hOllscoileanna eile; Éiteas agus cáil taighde na hOllscoile a láidriú tuilleadh; -1- Foireann ar ardchaighdeán a mhealladh agus a choinneáil trí aitheantas agus luach saothair a thabhairt dóibh; An méid a dhéanann an Ollscoil ar leibhéal náisiúnta agus réigiúnacha a uasmhéadú; An Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn in obair na hOllscoile; Struchtúir eagraíochtúla a fheabhsú, agus; Acmhainní a fháil chun an Plean Straitéiseach a chur i bhfeidhm. Agus é ag labhairt faoin bpróiseas pleanála straitéisí agus faoi threo na hOllscoile amach anseo, is é a dúirt an Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán na hOllscoile: "Tógann an Plean a seoladh inniu ar thréimhse forbartha in OÉ, Gaillimh. Ó 1995 i leith, d'éirigh go maith leis an Ollscoil ó thaobh taithí taighde agus teagaisc a threisiú agus a fheabhsú. Is é a chuireamar romhainn a dhéanamh leis an bPlean seo ná leanúint ar aghaidh leis an móiminteam agus tógáil ar an rathúlacht sin, agus déileáil ar bhealach réadúil agus praiticiúil (agus ní féidir liom an iomarca béim a chur air sin) leis an réimse dúshlán atá in ndán don earnáil tríú leibhéal ina hiomláine agus na dúshláin sin a shárú. Ná bíodh aon cheist agat faoi – ní gnáth-thuarascáil eile í seo – is gormphrionta í do rathúlacht an fhorais seo amach anseo, gormphrionta a mbeidh an fhoireann bainistíochta agamsa agus mé féin tiomanta dó sna blianta amach romhainn lena chinntiú go ndéanfar é a cur i ngníomh ina iomláine." Lean sé ar aghaidh agus dúirt sé: "Is príomhthosaíocht dúinne é mic léinn a mhealladh chugainn féin i ndaonra atá ag titim agus i margadh ina bhfuil an iomaíocht ag fáil níos géire de shíor. Faoin bPlean seo, cuirfear roinnt bearta dírithe ar mhic léinn i gcrích, lena n-áirítear saoráidí an champais a fhorbairt, caighdeán an teagaisc a fheabhsú, tacaíochtaí agus seirbhísí do mhic léinn a fheabhsú, lena chinntiú go roghnóidh níos mó agus níos mó mac léinn traidisiúnta agus mic léinn neamhtraidisiúnta, go háirithe, OÉ, Gaillimh. Is é an dara tosaíocht atá againn ná an cháil taighde atá orainn a threisiú – cáil atá fíorthábhachtach don Ollscoil agus don tír i gcoitinne. Chímid ról ceannróideach a bheith ag OÉ, Gaillimh sa réimse sin go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta. Féachaidh ár bhfócas straitéiseach ar bhealaí nua agus nuálacha maidir leis an bhfoireann a earcú agus a inspreagadh – féachaidh sé chomh maith ar struchtúr agus cuir chuige nua chun tacú le forbairt inmharthana na Gaeilge. Mar chuid den phróiseas sin déanfar athbhreithniú – a thabharfar chun críche faoin samhradh seo – ar fhorálacha Acht 1929." Leagann Plean Straitéiseach OÉ, Gaillimh gníomhartha amach go soiléir, gníomhartha a tharlóidh laistigh den chéad bhliain den Phlean agus gníomhartha a dhéanfar i rith thréimhse iomlán an phlean. Agus é ag labhairt faoi chur i ngníomh an phlean, dúirt an tUachtarán Ó Muircheartaigh go raibh an Plean uaillmhianach, ach réadúil san am céanna. Dhearbhaigh sé go bhféachfaí ar an bPlean ar bhonn bliantúil chun athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an ngníomhaíocht i bhfianaise riachtanas gnímh réamhshocraithe. "Tá gach ball den fhoireann bainistíochta, agus mé féin san áireamh, tar éis cúram a ghlacadh orainn féin as tosaíochtaí straitéiseacha ar leith, d'fhonn a chinntiú go bhfuiltear ag cur pleananna agus tionscnaimh i ngníomh ar bhonn bliantúil," a dúirt sé. Mar fhocal scoir, dúirt sé: "Má chomhlíontar na seacht dtosaíocht cinnteofar go mbeidh an lámh in uachtar againn san iomaíocht, lámh in uachtar atá bainte amach ag OÉ, Gaillimh mar fhoras oideachais den chéad ghrád de réir caighdeán idirnáisiúnta. Agus sinn ag aithint agus go hiomlán ar an eolas faoi na dúshláin shonracha a d'fhéadfadh a bheith in ndán do OÉ, Gaillimh de bharr an geilleagar a bheith ag athrú de shíor agus, go deimhin féin, an córas oideachais tríú leibhéal a bheith ag athrú, táimid ag súil go fonnmhar leis na cúig bliana amach romhainn, agus muinín againn de bharr an Phlean seo go leanfaidh OÉ, Gaillimh uirthi ag léiriú ceannaireacht dhinimiciúil i dtéarmaí taighde, teagaisc agus tacaíochta do mhic léinn." Críoch Eolas ó: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Oifigeach Eolais, OÉ, Gaillimh. Teil. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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Frequent attenders to Irish Emergency Departments: they will always be with us

Tuesday, 11 March 2003

Release date: Tuesday 11 March, 2003 Frequent attenders to Irish Emergency Departments: they will always be with us Report shows high number of psychosocially vulnerable patients The problems of Irish Emergency Departments have received much publicity recently. An often-suggested solution is for frequent Emergency Department attenders to be encouraged to attend their general practitioner and other community based services. A paper just published by Irish researchers in the prestigious American Annals of Emergency Medicine shows this to be simplistic, as such patients are already frequent attenders to their general practitioner and other community services. In addition, the study confirms that these patients are a psychosocially vulnerable group with multiple needs. This is the first study in Ireland to have followed such patients from the Emergency department (ED) to the community. The report found that frequent attenders to Emergency Departments: Made heavy use of other health services. They had visited their general practitioner more frequently and were more likely to have used public health nursing services, community welfare services, social work services, addiction counselling, and psychiatric services in the previous year compared to non-frequent ED attenders. Made more other hospital visits and had spent more nights in the hospital than non-frequent attenders. Had poorer psychological well-being, as measured by the General Health Questionnaire – 12 (QHQ 12), than non-frequent ED attenders. Reported lower levels of perceived social support. Were more likely to have presented with psychological problems Alcohol and drug use were much more frequently reported in the medical charts of ED frequent attenders compared to non-frequent ED attenders. The study was carried out in the ED of St James's Hospital Dublin, comparing a group of 100 frequent attenders to the ED with a group of 100 non-frequent attenders in terms of their general health service use and their clinical, psychological and social profiles. Patients were interviewed as they attended the ED, and patients' general practitioners were contacted to validate attendance data. Patients' medical charts were searched for evidence of psychological problems and alcohol or drug abuse. Ms Molly Byrne of NUI Galway said that 'this is further evidence that ED frequent attenders complement, rather than substitute, such heavy use of ED with heavy use of both primary and hospital services'. Mr Patrick K Plunkett, St. James's Hospital, noted that 'these patients are a psychosocially vulnerable group. It is important that service providers and policy makers take this vulnerable patient profile into account, as they endeavour to meet the service needs of these patients, as well as deal with resource problems in the country's Emergency Departments'. The study was carried out by Ms Molly Byrne and Prof Andrew Murphy of the Department of General Practice, NUI, Galway; Drs Patrick Plunkett and Alistair Murray, of the Department of Emergency Medicine, St James's Hospital, Dublin; Prof Hannah Mc Gee, of the Health Services Research Centre, Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Prof Gerry Bury, of the Department of General Practice, UCD. This study is published in the March issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine and is available on the Annals Web site (www.mosby.com/AnnEmergMed). Ends For further information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592 Ms Molly Byrne, Department of General Practice, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-512

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New EU Directive to insist on Employer-Employee Consultation

Monday, 3 March 2003

Release date: 3 March, 2003 New EU Directive to insist on Employer-Employee Consultation A one-day conference taking place in NUI Galway on Friday, 7 March, will address the EU Directive on Information and Consultation, that all Irish companies will have to implement by 2005 (some smaller companies will have until 2007). Ireland is one of only two member states, the other being the UK, that do not have a permanent and statutory system for information and consultation. "The Directive is potentially the most significant piece of employment legislation to emerge from the European Union to date," according to Dr Tony Dundon, of NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), which is hosting the conference. "It will give all employees, in organisations employing more than either 20 or 50 people, the right to be informed and consulted on matters currently affecting their jobs and those likely to impact on their future work life," says Dr Dundon. The NUI Galway conference will bring together a number of key experts in the field, including policy makers, academics and researchers, They will review the current situation in Ireland, in terms of how far companies are from the requirements of the Directive and also what the Irish Government may or may not do in drafting legislation for compliance. Stressing the importance of the Directive for Irish companies, Dr Dundon commented: "When implemented, this Directive will create a new legal framework for collective representation that marks a significant departure from the traditional voluntarist approach adopted in this country." Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 750418

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New Deep Sea Research Centre established at NUI Galway

Monday, 28 April 2003

Release date: Monday 28th April 2003 New Deep Sea Research Centre established at NUI Galway At some ten times the size of Ireland's land area, our seabed is a resource of major significance and there now exists a whole new body of knowledge that allows us to pursue biological and ecological studies in deeper water as never before. NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) has just announced the setting-up of an Irish Centre for Offshore Biological and Ecological Studies (ICOBES). The centre, in collaboration with national and international partners, will address the serious deficit of knowledge on the animals of the deep ocean floor and on their relationships with their environment. These animals constitute a highly important resource in their own right – ecologically and commercially. "Their presence determines in no small way the 'health' of the seafloor, and they play an important, as yet poorly understood, role in the food web of the deep sea", says Professor Brendan Keegan, Chairman of the new research centre. "This is extremely important when, with the decline of many traditional fisheries (e.g. the cod), our attention is being turned towards new food species from deeper waters." "If we are not to make the same mistakes again, we have, amongst other requirements, to be able to identify the diversity of animals in question. We must know their biology (e.g. when and how often do they reproduce) and their ecology (e.g. who eats whom and what other effects they have on their habitats)", says Professor Keegan. NUI, Galway has built up an international reputation in marine taxonomy - the identification of marine plant and animal species. Many of its graduates have endured with this interest in their own work places, such as the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Aqua Fact International Services Ltd. This survived the rising attractiveness of molecular taxonomy (identifying species on the basis of their genetic composition), which saw many institutions world wide turn away from the classical approach of identifying whole animals and plants on the basis of their "shape and make". "It was indeed very strange that, even in the face of widespread concern over the permanent loss of species, expert recognition of marine plants and animals continued to decline", observes Professor Keegan. " There is growing awareness of the urgent need to re-acquire these impoverished skills", he said. Ireland, as a whole, has had little marine taxonomic expertise beyond our shallow coastal waters. "This is regrettable, given the increasing interest in the offshore/deep sea area and its natural resources", says Professor Keegan. "However, the Seabed Survey commenced by the Geological Survey of Ireland in 2000 represents an extraordinary first effort to understand this resource". Under funding recently received from the Higher Education Authority, Galway's Martin Ryan Institute has formed and equipped a team of young graduates to carry out complementary studies of this kind. They will look to the Marine Institute for the use of its vessels, RV Celtic Voyager and RV Explorer and to the Geological Survey for its storehouse of newly won information on the sea floor. According to Professor Keegan, the new ICOBES centre will take the obvious next step in bringing together all interested parties, and through a pooling of expertise and equipment, optimise on these new research opportunities. All interested organisations are being invited to have a representative on an ICOBES Advisory Group. In addition to the actual researchers based in the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will also provide secretariat facilities, library, database and newsletter access. It will also maintain biological reference collections, in parallel with the National Museum and the Museum and Galleries of Wales and provide important technological support and training. "This is one instance where, given that Irish expertise is pretty thin on the 'sea-floor', the more cooks the better the broth", concluded Professor Keegan. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel. 091 750418; 087-2986592

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NUI Galway appoints Director to Huston School of Film and Digital Media

Wednesday, 16 April 2003

Release date: Wednesday 16th April 2003 NUI Galway appoints Director to Huston School of Film and Digital Media NUI Galway is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Rod Stoneman to the post of Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at National University of Ireland, Galway. Mr Stoneman has been CEO of the Irish Film Board since its re-establishment ten years ago. Prior to that he was a Deputy Commissioning Editor for Channel Four television in the UK. The Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway will be launched by Angelica Huston at a Gala Banquet to be held in Los Angeles on May 2nd 2003. The school has been founded with the support of the Huston family, commemorating their long association with "St. Cleran's", John Huston's family home in Co. Galway. Additional support has been provided by Coca Cola HBC. "We are delighted to welcome the appointment of Mr Stoneman, as Director of the new Film School", said Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. "He brings wide industry experience and an international profile to this exciting and innovative project". The Huston School of Film and Digital Media has been founded with the ambition of training a new generation of filmmakers, making use of the latest digital technology. Its inaugural programme, beginning in September 2003 will be a Masters programme in Screenwriting. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer. NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

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