All 2011

Coastal Radar Deployed in Galway Bay

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have just deployed a sophisticated coastal radar system in Galway Bay. The system transmits maps of the surface currents and also provides details of the height and direction of waves from the shoreline directly to the Institute. The cutting edge technology has many potential uses for research and for the local community, and this is the first time it is being used in North Atlantic European waters. The Modelling and Informatics Group in the Ryan Institute, led by Dr Mike Hartnett, develops models to forecast marine conditions such as tidal currents, storm surges and wave heights. The group are currently carrying out research, in collaboration with IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, to improve model forecasts using the radar data and meteorological data. According to Dr Hartnett, “We are using data from the radars to improve model forecasts in ways previously not possible. It is relatively difficult to develop an accurate marine forecast model for Galway Bay, as water movement within the bay is mainly due to wind, while the patterns of incoming tides are complicated due to the flow of water around the Aran Islands. Data from the radar is helping us to overcome some of those challenges.” The radar system will also benefit the local community. When the research is completed all of the radar maps of surface currents, along with model forecasts will be made available freely online to the public through the Galway Bay Coastal Observing System (GalCOS). This information can then be used by sailors, fishermen and tourists alike. It will also be of use to local authorities and others who discharge effluent into the bay, by helping them to decide on the best time to release effluent and minimize environmental consequences. The research will be of considerable benefit to the search and rescue activities of the Irish Coast Guard. There are also plans to produce high-resolution maps of Galway Bay on CD, which will be of particular benefit to sailors as reference material and will provide significantly improved knowledge of tidal and wind induced currents.  Dr Hartnett explains how the technology works: “The system consists of two antennae, one located on Mutton Island in inner Galway Bay, and the other located at Spiddal. Every half hour the radars remotely sense the surface of the bay using acoustic techniques. Wireless radio communications are used to enable the system transmit maps of the surface currents in the bay back to NUI Galway. This is high resolution data, providing information on surface currents every 300m. Also, the radars provide wave height and direction data at selected locations within the bay.” “This sophisticated new sensing infrastructure will produce vast amounts of data requiring continuous analysis and assimilation with other data to improve our ability to understand and forecast conditions in the bay,” says Dr Lisa Amini, Director, Smarter Cities Technology Centre. “This type of predictive modelling is critical to our Smarter Cities agenda, and the findings can be widely applied to protect coastal cities and their environments. IBM Research and Development - Ireland is happy to apply our expertise in real-time streaming processing, statistical modelling, and robust optimisation and control, in collaboration with NUI Galway, to this challenge.” Previously, the NUI Galway Group have worked in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive West applying models to assist with managing the retention of the blue flag beach status at Salthill. The new radar system can now contribute significantly to the environmental management and protection of Galway Bay and assisting with compliance of EU Directives, such as the Water Framework Directive. The results from this infrastructure are also being made available to a new research project just commencing in Galway Bay, SmartBay - a collaborative research project including researchers from NUI Galway and other Irish institutes of higher education. Dr Harnett adds: “In the future it is planned that the radar system will be moved and used to map most of the major bays and estuaries around Ireland. This research will result in the most detailed charts of surface currents every developed for Irish waters. In the longer term results from the system will be used to assess trends of climate change in Irish coastal waters.” The radar system has been funded by Higher Education Authority under Cycle IV of its Programme for Research in Third Level Institutes. ENDS

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Berlin Soprano Performs at NUI Galway

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Arts in Action programme continues on a weekly basis at NUI Galway with an international flavour on Thursday, 3 November, with a specific focus on language and classical music. The CUBE theatre is the venue for a lunchtime concert at 1pm- 2pm featuring Berlin based soprano Doerthe Maria Sandmann.  Doerthe is one of the leading and most charismatic soprano singers of her generation in Berlin. She studied as an opera singer and vocalist at the renowned Hans-Eisler academy of music in Berlin and is now teaching at the Berlin University of Arts.  In the course of her international career she has collaborated with numerous ensembles and orchestras, performing in Salzburg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Bayreuth, Milan, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Singapore.Doerthe’s repertoire is immensely versatile and encompasses opera roles, a wide range of lieder and other vocal music. It includes works by Monteverdi, Händel, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, and many others. During her studies she discovered the treasures of Early music and Baroque songs, many of which form a central part of her repertoire. She has recorded numerous CDs, three alone in 2011.In Galway, Doerthe will be accompanied by two colleagues from the Berlin University of Arts, pianist Akiko Yamashita and clarinettist (and musicologist) Cordula Heymann-Wentzel. Her Galway programme includes two masterpieces from German Romanticism: Robert Schumann's Woman's Love and Life, op.42 and Franz Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock, D. 965.   This concert will be presented by the newly appointed Honorary Consul of the German Federal Republic, Professor of German at NUI Galway, Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa.   Admission is free and open to the public. ENDS

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Top Marks at Junior Cert Business Quiz

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and NUI Galway Western Region Schools Quiz took place recently in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Thirteen schools, with a total of 26 teams took part and competed from all over the west, to determine who would represent the region in the National Finals in March. The table quiz was held for Junior Certificate students of Business Studies. Brian Duffy, Chairperson CIMA West of Ireland Branch, said: “At CIMA our relationships with education providers have always been crucial.  We are delighted to have a leading role in this quiz which showcased the talents of second level business students in the West of Ireland.” Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway works closely with its regional hinterland and this is nowhere more evident that in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. A defining part of all our student courses is the engagement with the local community. Working with the BSTAI and CIMA allows us to engage with second level students and foster their interest in business studies. I have no doubt that many of these students attending the event, will be amongst our leaders of the future.” Mary O’Sullivan, Honorary President of the BSTAI, commented: “It is great to see the high level of interest from students and teachers in the region. Events such as these showcase the extracurricular effort that is the hallmark of the teaching profession.” The winners on the night were St. Raphael’s College, Loughrea, Co. Galway, who took first place. This was followed closely in second place by CBS Roscommon. Third place went to St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The top three teams from the regional final will now go on to compete in the National Finals, which will take place in LIT Tipperary in March.   -ENDS-

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New Book Tracks the Wolf – Ireland’s Last Great Predator

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Two decades of gathering information on wolves by NUI Galway lecturer Kieran Hickey has resulted in a fascinating new book, Wolves in Ireland.  In this book, Kieran Hickey examines a vast array of sources relating to wolves in Ireland. The author considers archaeological remains, name evidence (place and person, both in Irish and in English) and folklore. He also provides an account of wolf attacks on livestock, and more rarely people, and describes how the extermination of wolves took place. The last wolf was killed, most likely in 1786.  According to NUI Galway’s Kieran Hickey: “An iconic symbol of the untamed and wild, the wolf, as Ireland’s last great predator, has always provoked, fear, excitement and wonder. This book explores all aspects of the wolf in Ireland including the archaeological name and folklore evidence, the historical records, its demise and its possible re-introduction.” The causes of extermination are discussed in detail, including legislation, the role of bounties and professional wolf hunters and deforestation. The book closes by assessing whether the Irish wolf could have been a unique sub-species and considers the controversial possibility of re-introduction. Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and author of Deluge: Ireland’s weather disasters, 2009–2010. He is also a regular media commentator on climate and geography.  The author will be signing copies of Wolves in Ireland at the book launch in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway at 6pm on Thursday, 27 October. Wolves in Ireland is published by Open Air, an imprint of Four Courts Press, and is available in book stores across the country.   ENDS

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Cleveland Clinic visits BioInnovate at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Representatives from Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, regarded as one of the top four hospitals in the US, visited NUI Galway this week as part of the BioInnovate Ireland initiative. Intent on driving medical device innovation, BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training programme modelled on the Biodesign programme offered at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. The Fellowship programme, which commenced last August, has recruited two elite multi-disciplinary teams, each of four high-calibre Fellows, which includes experienced medical, engineering, business, technology and law graduates. “NUI Galway and BioInnovate Ireland are delighted to receive representatives from the Cleveland Clinic and Senior Executives from the US Medical Devices Sector to NUI Galway. This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and the Galway med tech community to bring together clinical, academic and industrial leaders to discuss the capabilities for the emergence of a world centre for medical device innovation within Ireland”, said the Programme Director, NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland. The two teams are undertaking an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout a 10-month period, they will avail of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation.The key benefits of the programme is the establishment of a network of clinical, academic and industrial leaders focused on medical device innovation and to contribute to the future of the medical device technologies sector in Ireland.  The primary output from this programme is the next generation of specially trained Fellows and skilled graduates from the BioInnovate class. BioInnovate Ireland is being offered by: NUI Galway, DCU, UCC, UL and RCSI, with the support of the IMDA, SFI, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Medtronic, Creganna, Steripak, Lake Region Medical and a team of clinicians nationally. Recruitment for the Fellowship year 2012 will start in November 2011 with an expression of interest form available for download from   ENDS

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