All 2011

Major Conference to Focus on Delivery of Regional Growth through Innovation

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

On Friday 4 November, the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly and the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway will host a major conference on the contribution of regional innovation to regional and national economic development. The conference entitled Regional Innovation – A Catalyst for Sustainable Economic Growth in the BMW Region will address how the BMW Region can build on its knowledge-based capabilities to stimulate growth and employment in high value sectors. It will focus upon demonstrating why the Irish Government needs to support regions differently, as stated by the OECD in May 2011 “regions are not countries and (Governments) cannot simply replicate national policies at a regional scale”. The conference will be of enormous interest to key policy makers, enterprise agencies, academic researchers and industry representatives who wish to engage with the issue of creating an effective regional innovation system. Research recently carried out by the BMW Regional Assembly and by CISC at NUI Galway  on regional innovation and competitiveness will be presented at the event. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Gerhard Fuchs, University of Stuttgart, who is an international expert on Regional Innovation Systems. Peter Reilly, Research and Development Director at Valeo Vision Systems will provide an industry perspective on academic business linkages. Valeo Vision Systems is one of the world's leading manufacturers of automotive vision systems, with a base in Tuam, Co. Galway. The outcomes of a major study completed this year by the BMW Regional Assembly on the innovation performance of the BMW Region will be presented by Dr Kieran Moylan. The report ‘An Audit of Innovation in the BMW Region: An Evaluation of a Regional Knowledge Economy’ sets out the key challenges and opportunities for job creation and economic growth in a range of emerging high value economic sectors.  It recommends that a more explicit regional dimension should be expressed in national innovation policy and argues that regional innovation strategies can form a more effective level of implementation at the regional and local level, e.g., in the medical devices sector in the Western region. Mr Gerry Finn, Director of the BMW Regional Assembly stated that: “There is now a much greater appreciation and understanding of the important role that effective regional innovation strategies can play as a catalyst in driving regional and national competitiveness, for the benefit of the entire economy.” Speaking in advance of the conference, Dr James Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “The West of Ireland region has unique advantages which offer rich potential. Recent work carried out by researchers at CISC highlights the innate competencies of the region and points out how a focus on creative and innovative pursuits has the potential for significant jobs growth in the region. This is a timely conference that will help us better define our own path towards economic and social sustainability”.  The conference takes place in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway on Friday, 4 November and further information is available at and ENDS

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China – A Century of Change Photo Exhibition at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

His Excellency, Luo Linquan Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China, will officially open a one month photo exhibition on the changes of China through the century entitled “A Century of Change” on Friday, 28 October. The exhibition, organised by the Irish Chinese Society Galway and the NUI Galway Arts Office, will take place from 28 October to 28 November, in the atrium of the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway.   This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 in China which ended 2000 years of feudal autocratic monarchies and founded the first republic in Chinese history. China has had a glorious history of continuous civilization for 5,000 years but with many trials and triumphs. Over the past three decades, the world has witnessed the rapid development of a prosperous new China. Today the Chinese are still working hard in the pursuit of world peace, sustainable development, human welfare and dignity so that its people can enjoy a decent life in a harmonious and stable society.   The exhibition evokes the past century with the instants of Chinese people from historical figures to ordinary Chinese with a highlight of the achievements of China during the past 30 years since the opening of China to the outside world.  The exhibition is free and open to the public.   -ENDS-

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The Closure of Dell’s Manufacturing Operation and Ireland’s Movement up the Value C

Monday, 24 October 2011

Seeing the Positive in the Negative: The Closure of Dell’s Manufacturing Operation and Ireland’s Movement up the Value Chain The Midwest of Ireland was dealt a serious blow when, in 2009, Dell announced the relocation of its manufacturing operation to Lodz in Poland with the loss of 1,900 jobs. New research carried out by Dr Patrick Collins and Professor Seamus Grimes of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway, has attempted to uncover the fallout of this decision and ask what it has meant for the competitive positioning of Ireland more generally. “Dell’s decision was led by many factors including consumer demand and changing tastes, but much of the media pointed to the fact that Ireland had ‘priced itself out of the market’ and had become uncompetitive”, said Dr Collins. “The reality is that the Dell closed only its manufacturing operation in Limerick, it continues to employ many more in other higher end functions there.” The research shows the Dell case to be something of a microcosm for Ireland’s long term relationship with foreign direct investment. This is a relationship that has been evolving over the past 50 years that has seen lower value added jobs being replaced by higher valued added ones. “In its most simplistic form it’s a case of services replacing manufacturing, however, the picture is considerably more complex, some manufacturing techniques employed by the multinationals are highly evolved and quiet sustainable”, added Dr Collins. The research has been published in an article entitled ‘Cost-competitive places: shifting fortunes and the closure of Dell's manufacturing facility in Ireland’ in the international peer-reviewed journal European Urban and Regional Studies. This work tries to place Ireland in a global context in an era of economic turmoil. The article equates Ireland to a developed country and notes that, like many of its neighbours in Western Europe, it has been losing jobs to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. The research focuses on what it terms a ‘grim’ period for Ireland’s job market in early 2009. In a matter of months the technology sector haemorrhaged nearly 10,000 jobs, over 80% of which were relocated to other countries. However, the positive is noted by the fact that the same period of time saw over 6,000 jobs announced for the same sector. “Taking the positive from the negative here is that the jobs we are gaining are significantly higher paid and more sustainable ones with brighter prospects to the ones we are losing”, Dr Collins noted. ENDS

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Future Doctors Delve into Research Projects

Monday, 24 October 2011

Over 60 medical students at NUI Galway have completed summer research projects into a range of areas such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, stem cell technologies, diabetes and arthritis. 40 medical and scientific faculty from both within the School of Medicine and Science, NUI Galway and the affiliated hospitals (i.e. Sligo General and Letterkenny) provided supervision for these projects. The prize for best overall research project went to second-year medical student Mr Alan Jacobsen, from Castlegar, Co. Galway. Over the summer Alan explored new treatments for leukaemia. Students applied for external competitive funding from grant agencies such as the HRB and Wellcome Trust. In 2011, 18 students within the programme secured funding from sources external to NUI Galway. In addition, internal competitive funding in the form of Curriculum Innovation Fund and Research Support Fund stipends (13 in total) were offered to students.  Finding from the projects were presented recently on campus, at the School of Medicine Undergraduate Open Day. “This focus on research at undergraduate level is designed to develop high calibre doctors with enormous research potential. Furthermore, it may encourage the development of the next generation of physician-scientists”, commented Dr Richard Flavin, Chairman of the School of Medicine Undergraduate Research Committee. The Undergraduate Research Day was opened by Dr Armand Keating, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto and President-Elect of the American Society of Hematology. The day also incorporated a lecture by Professor Jozef Bartunek, Consultant Cardiologist, OLV Hospital, Belgium who discussed his work with stem cells. Closing the event was the John D. Kennedy Lecture, given by Dr Ramona McLoughlin, Consultant Gastroenterologist, UCHG. “Some students have succeeded in drafting research articles based on their work, which is a phenomenal achievement given the time constraints they are under. The general feedback from the summer scheme has been very positive and it is inspiring to see so many hardworking, inquisitive and dedicated research-orientated medical students. Many students will know present their findings at both national and international meetings”, said Dr Flavin. The focus on research at undergraduate level is part of an overall ethos at the School of Medicine to provide a holistic, involved and real educational experience. With its strong links to hospitals in Galway, Sligo, Donegal and Mayo, medical students at NUI Galway are brought into contact with patients from the earliest stages of their training. In addition, special study modules allow students to study extra modules such as Medial Electronics, sign language, sports psychology or teenage mental health promotion.  ENDS

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2011 Galway Science & Technology Festival Programme Launched

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The 14thannual Galway Science and Technology Festival was launched today at a function in the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway, by Mr Gerry Kilcommins, VP Global Operations and General Manager Medtronic. A full two weeks of events was announced, which includes shows, demonstrations and activities for primary and secondary school students and a fantastic family day out at Final Day Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, at NUI Galway. The Festival in its aim to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people, runs from 14_27November, and will culminate with the Festival Exhibition to be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.  There is a great programme of events this year to choose from including Robert Hill's ‘Celestia and Stellarium Workshops’, Mr Bug returns with his snakes, cockroaches and tarantulas while Sue McGrath’s show will be full of pops, bangs and fizzing craziness. NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including ‘Computer Game Programming with Kinect’, an invitation to senior cycle Physics students to the new Engineering Building and a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyber Bullying.  The Zoology and Geology Museum will be open for tours along with Ireland’s only Computer and Communications Museum.  GMIT is having an open day on Wednesday, 16 November, and tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories will be available. There are also various interesting workshops for students including ‘Modern Medicines’, ‘The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and Nicotine Patches’ and a ‘Forensic Investigation’. This year a ‘Mentoring Program’ by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Engineers from over 11 different companies are participating in this initiative and will visit schools and talk to the students about subject choices they made and give practical career advice, details available on the website. Plans have been put in place to expand the 2011 Exhibition on 27 November, with more shows and exhibition stands. There will be up to 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. This year a booking system is in place through to help people plan their day.The Galway Science Festival is a fantastic collaboration of education, industry and government and showcasing Galway as a leader in Medical Devices and ICT.  Festival Chairman Tom Hyland said today: “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank all our sponsors for their participation in the 2011 Festival – great thanks must go to Medtronic for their 10 years of outstanding commitment to this event and to the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the City and County.”  Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “For many years, Galway Science and Technology Festival has generated real excitement for young people about the wonders of science and technology.  As a University, NUI Galway shares this belief in the importance of making science and technology attractive to the next generation. Why? Because never before has Irish industry and society depended so much on bright, talented graduates to build Ireland's capacity in technology, research and innovation.  This Festival allows us in the University to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!”The 2011 Programme of events is available at and the exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday, 27 November, 2011.  ENDS.

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