All 2011

Brain Imaging Techniques Topic of NUI Galway Meeting

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

NUI Galway will host an international meeting entitled Combining Human Brain Imaging Techniques, at the end of April. International experts will review the latest advances in brain imaging techniques and the challenges and opportunities that lie in combining these techniques. The workshop, taking place from Friday, 29 April until Sunday, 1 May, will bring together a number of leading basic and clinical scientists to discuss the latest advances in combined imaging techniques. It will do so in an effort to further advance knowledge in the field and establish networks of excellence that further our knowledge in the future. Brain imaging techniques allow researchers and clinicians to view activity or problems within the human brain, without invasive neurosurgery. There are a number of accepted, safe imaging techniques in use today in research facilities and hospitals throughout the world. Each of these brain imaging techniques have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and there may be potential benefits and difficulties in combining these techniques to achieve a fuller analysis of brain functioning. Dr Michael Hogan, School of Psychology at NUI Galway said, "Researchers and clinicians who seek to combine various different brain imaging techniques are faced with a number of challenges. These include interference between measurement systems, integration of measurement outputs, and integration of theoretical foundations to support measurement integration, to name a few. Nevertheless, rapid advances are being made at the levels of theory, measurement, and computational analysis systems that are furthering our understanding of brain functions in states of health and disease. There is great scope for the development of novel brain imaging techniques and technologies and my hope is that NUI Galway will lead the way by establishing strong links across discipline areas within the University and new networks of excellence both nationally and internationally." The meeting is organised by Dr Michael Hogan, NUI Galway, in collaboration with Joshua Balsters, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Dublin; Jacinta O Shea, Oxford University; and Steven Jackson, Nottingham University. It is supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the Health Research Board (HRB). Academics, post-doctoral and postgraduate researchers in basic and clinical neuroscience are encouraged to attend. Registration is free and bursaries are available for students and junior scientists. To register and obtain further information, visit -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students Fighting Fit for Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A two-day 'Entrepreneurship Boot Camp' was held recently at NUI Galway, to widen and deepen the enterprise know-how and employability of students. The boot camp presented a challenging and dynamic experience with games, activities, lectures, competitions and mentoring by academic staff, industry practitioners, knowledge experts and representatives from state agencies. Over 25 students, from all disciplines, were encouraged to fully participate in the boot camp experience by leaving inhibitions at the door and engaging in the process with an open mind. Student Paul Curley described the boot camp as "a completely fresh and life changing experience". In very personal and tangible ways, the boot camp immersed students in the skills, attitude and insights needed to link their entrepreneurial ideas to a commercially viable end. The event was organised by the Student Enterprise Exchange Network (SEEN) which is NUI Galway's student run and focused enterprise support service. Paddy Melia, from the SEEN team describes the event: "One of the outcomes was to realise that in the rubble of this recession lies opportunity. Our most talented young people on campus came forward to get booted into shape and take up the enterprise call. The boot camp brought three important ingredients for opportunity together. Motivated students, industry experts and funding representatives. The resulting outcome was something very special. The participants not only enhanced their entrepreneurial and life skills but also made an impression and took advantage by networking with on and off campus movers and shakers." Seamus Bree, Regional Director, Businesses and Enterprise Ireland commented on his experience at the boot camp, "The energy and commitment on the NUI Galway Entrepreneurship boot camp demonstrated that Ireland s best days lie ahead of us not behind us!" SEEN is part of the SIF ACE project and is supported by NUI Galway's Technology Transfer Office. -Ends-

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Strategic Research Agreement into Road Safety Technology announced at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Connaught Automotive Research (CAR) Group at NUI Galway has announced a strategic research agreement with Valeo Vision Systems, one of the world's leading manufacturers of automotive vision systems. The CAR Group at NUI Galway researches topics related to automotive vision systems to help improve road safety by allowing drivers to see blind spots around vehicles. The ultimate aim of such research is to develop intelligent cars that have a greater 'awareness' of their environment and a greater ability to avoid crashes, for example.  Valeo has a presence in 27 countries, with its Irish operations based in Tuam, Co. Galway, where it recently announced a significant increase in its Research and Development activities. Its partnership with NUI Galway is already making an impact according to Peter Reilly, R&D Director at Valeo Vision Systems: "Having access to a world class research group such as CAR means that we have a pool of new technology, ideas and potential employees right on our doorstep. We already have a number of NUI postgraduates who have been involved with the CAR Group working at our R&D offices in Tuam and they are really making an impact on our engineering capabilities." Under the directorship of Dr Martin Glavin and Dr Edward Jones, the CAR Group is based in the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. It comprises of a team of researchers who work in close collaboration with industry on the development of the image processing systems. Dr Glavin commented: "Having a market leader as a research partner provides the CAR Group with a breadth and depth of knowledge of the requirements of industry that we might not otherwise be able to access. We have a fantastic working relationship with Valeo Vision Systems and they have been extremely supportive of our work at NUI Galway over the years. Our researchers gain invaluable experience by learning about the industry first-hand from people who work in that market every day." Dr Jones added: "Our research with Valeo allows us to exploit our expertise in signal processing and related technologies in a very relevant way. Furthermore, the fact that our Masters and PhD-level graduates are already being employed in significant numbers by companies like Valeo is a tangible example of the value of investment in University research, and with Valeo's recent announcement of 100 new jobs, we see a growing demand for highly qualified graduates". Over the years, the CAR Group at NUI Galway has received funding from Enterprise Ireland, IRCSET and directly from industry. Dr Neil Ferguson, Acting Director of the NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office, says the partnership with Valeo Vision Systems is very much alingned to the University's core mission of supporting regional developoment. He states: "Valeo is an excellent example of a knowledge-intensive company who are successfully competing in a very competitive market. We hope to contribute to this success through the provision of experienced PhD graduates and innovative technologies." -Ends-

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International Award for NUI Galway Graduate Student

Monday, 11 April 2011

NUI Galway research student, David Byrne was recently awarded second place for his poster presentation at the Institute of Structural Engineers Young Researchers Conference held at the Institute's headquarters in London. The conference, now in its 13th year, provides a platform for research students to present their work and exchange ideas with their peers and industry leaders. David, a PhD student from Wicklow town, was presented with the award for his poster, entitled The analysis of shear transfer in void formed flat slabs, including in-situ measurements from a building. David's entry was shortlisted from over 60 abstracts submitted from PhD students throughout the UK and Ireland, and was judged by a panel of selected members from the Institution. "This is a great achievement for an NUI Galway graduate student at the early stages of his research", said Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. "This award confirms that our standards of engineering education and research in NUI Galway are at the very top in international standings. We are very proud of David." David's project relates to shear and load transfer in void form flat slab systems. These are an innovative and novel form of flat slab system, which allow a reduction in self-weight of the concrete and savings in construction materials. Central to his project is the instrumentation of the new Engineering Building at NUI Galway and its development as a teaching tool. The Engineering Building at NUI Galway is one of the largest engineering schools in the country at 14,000m2 and opens in September 2011. It will consolidate education and research activities in the various engineering disciplines. Among many innovative and notable features, it is among the first buildings in Ireland to employ the use of void form flat slab systems. One of the slab bays within the new Engineering Building has been instrumented with over 160 gauges across fifteen different sections. Sensors have been installed both in the concrete and on the steel reinforcement bars to monitor the geometric and material properties of the slab system during construction and throughout the building's lifetime. They are providing valuable data as to how the slab system behaves in-situ and responds to different loadings. David's research strategy will combine numerical simulation using finite element models and field measurements. The finite element models of the instrumented slab system will be validated by comparison and continual updating of data obtained from measurements on site. The principal investigator for this project is Dr Jamie Goggins, School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and was co-supervised by NUI Galway's Eamonn Cannon. The research project is co-funded by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and Arup Consulting Engineers under an Enterprise Partnership Scheme. It forms part of an initiative to develop the new Engineering Building at NUI Galway as a 'living laboratory' for engineering, where live data sets from numerous types of sensors will be used to illustrate structural engineering and building performance concepts in undergraduate teaching and in the development of full-scale research in structural engineering and energy. -Ends-

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Engineering and IT Students Highlight Research

Monday, 11 April 2011

An Engineering and Informatics Research Day took place recently at NUI Galway which showcased research undertaken by students. This year, for the first time, the annual event was run in conjunction with the University of Limerick, as part of the Strategic Alliance between the two organisations. Research by students from both Universities was highlighted with a display of 174 research posters covering nine primary fields of engineering and informatics research. This year's theme was Publishing your Research and 200 students from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick (UL) listened to presentations from senior industry representatives and academics on how to present and promote their research to the highest international standards. A key element of Research Day is a competition among students for the best posters. Every year the top 12 students are selected by their peers to give a short presentation of their research. The winners of this 'shoot-out' are then selected by a panel of senior academics in the industry. Dr Peter Corcoran, Vice-Dean of Research, College of Engineering and Informatics, at NUI Galway, commented: "This is a special day in the University calendar, as Engineering and IT researchers in our College get together to present and debate their research and network with each other. This year, as part of our Institutional Alliance with the University of Limerick, we were pleased to have staff and graduate students from UL participate in Research Day for the first time. It is interesting, also, to note the complimentary nature of research activities in both institutions and we look forward to growing this collaboration with our Engineering and Informatics colleagues in Limerick." He continued: "Engineering research is often ignored by the mainstream media, yet it underlies everything in our modern society. Water, electricity, consumer and medical devices are all designed and maintained by engineers. The Research Day helps us realise how important and far researching the role of the engineer is in society. This year we have more than 174 distinct research projects represented - a record for our Research Day and a sign that engineering research is still strong in the West of Ireland." Over 1,400 people study Engineering and IT at NUI Galway. To serve the growing number of students, a new Engineering Building opens on campus in September 2011. -Ends-

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