All 2011

Young Scientists Debate Contemporary Science Issues

Monday, 4 April 2011

The 2011 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Finals will be held Thursday, 14 April, at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. The Finals, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will see four teams of secondary school students representing the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, Leinster and Munster. The schools in the Finals are: St. Joseph's College, Garbally, Co. Galway; St. Catherine's Vocational School, Killybegs, Co. Donegal; St. Vincent's Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth and Coláiste an Phairsaigh, Glanmire, Co. Cork. The Connacht winning team from St. Joseph's College is comprised of speakers Matthew McMorrow, Eoin Moran and several researchers working behind the scenes. Their transition year English teacher and team mentor, Fr Iomar Daniels, comments: "As the competition has progressed, the students have enjoyed the challenge of researching and preparing for the contemporary, engaging topics set by the organiser. Their interest in science issues has been greatly enhanced." Magh Ene College from Bundoran, Co. Donegal, was the Runner-Up team from the West. Teammates Eoin Dillon and Kitty Pang gave a strong performance throughout the debate series. Fifty-six schools are involved in the 2011 Debating Science Issues competition, which encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. The competition, which is coordinated by eight research, medical and science centres throughout the island of Ireland, addresses contemporary scientific issues such as stem cells, nanotechnology, genetically modified food, vaccinations and health and self-testing. This national schools' biomedical science debate competition, sponsored by a Wellcome Trust People Award, is run in collaboration with the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, CLARITY, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, CRANN, Tyndall National Institute, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, and W5. Provincial trophies and prizes are sponsored by the College of Science at NUI Galway and Boston Scientific. Competition organiser and Outreach Officer at REMEDI, Danielle Nicholson remarked, "The pre-competition workshops provide an open and impartial environment and challenge the students to consider the ethical impacts of contemporary research. This debate series reflects the interest and insight among 15 to 18 year olds in the field of biomedicine." For further information on the Debating Science Issues competition visit -Ends-

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Trailblazing Mathematician Visits NUI Galway

Monday, 4 April 2011

One of the world's outstanding mathematicians comes to NUI Galway next week. Professor Cheryl Praeger, from the University of Western Australia, is in the top one per cent of highly cited mathematicians in the world. She has made revolutionary contributions in several disparate pure and applied areas, including Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, and Statistics (Data Analysis). According to Dr Dane Flannery, of the de Brún Centre for Computational Algebra at NUI Galway: "We are very fortunate to be hosting Professor Praeger. We look forward to hearing about her latest research, as well as her insights about Mathematics in the wider contexts of modern science and society. Her visit here is also an important advertisement for the many successes of women in Mathematics." Professor Praeger visits Galway for the 5th de Brún Workshop from 11 to 16 April, where she will deliver a lecture course on the state-of-the-art in her specialities. The Workshop brings together international experts to discuss computational aspects that have recently emerged in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics. These areas are part of a current strategic focus of Mathematics at NUI Galway, which is supported by the de Brún Centre for Computational Algebra, funded by Science Foundation Ireland under its Mathematics Initiative 2007. Professor Praeger has strived to encourage involvement by talented students in mathematics from an early age; as she says, "We need to ensure a strong mathematical education for our young people to underpin their other skills, whether in science, medicine, engineering or technology. This requires a new educational focus on nurturing mathematically talented young people to ensure they realise their potential." Professor Praeger's forebears originally lived in Germany, but moved to Dublin for a time, before settling in Australia. In 1983, Praeger was appointed to her current position as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, a former President of the Australian Mathematical Society (1992-1994), and a member of the Order of Australia (since 1999). Her many other prestigious awards include honorary Doctorates of Science from the Prince of Songkla University in 1993, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2005. Professor Praeger works tirelessly for the mathematical community worldwide. As just one example of this, she is a serving member of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union which comprises 10 leading mathematicians who administer the Union. In particular, this committee oversees selection of the Fields Medallists, known as the 'Nobel Prize in Mathematics'. -Ends-

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NUI Galway wins HSA Third Level 'Safety in Design' National Competition

Monday, 4 April 2011

A team of students from NUI Galway have won a Health and Safety Authority run competition aimed at undergraduate teams from construction related degree programmes in third level institutions. At the final held recently in the Ashling Hotel in Dublin, six short-listed teams battled it out to win the first prize of €3,000 with Sligo Institute of Technology awarded the runner-up prize of €1,000. Other teams which made the final included students from UCC, GMIT and Carlow IT. The NUI Galway winning team was made up by Kevin Carney from Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon, Grant Deeney from Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, and Shane McHale from Ballina, Co. Mayo. The students from different disciplines worked together to take on the role of giving expert advice on remedial repairs, traffic management and long-term maintenance of a bridge that suffered structural damage as result of a bridge strike. Various challenges had to be addressed including examining the impact of design on after-care maintenance, site-specific risk assessments and preparing traffic management plans. Dr Jamie Goggins, Chartered Engineer and Programme Director for BSc in Project and Construction Management at NUI Galway, said: "We would like to congratulate Kevin, Grant and Shane on winning this competition organised by the Third Level Initiative Group of the Health and Safety Authority. The aim of the competition fits very well with the ethos of our undergraduate degree programmes in construction related programmes – to provide an environment where undergraduate students can collaborate and work together to enhance, develop and embed their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of engineering and construction. Furthermore, this competition provides a platform for students to work in multidisciplinary groups, which is an experience that we value and promote in our undergraduate degree programmes." Chairperson of the Health and Safety Authority's Third Level Initiative Group (TLIG), Dr Anne Drummond, said, "In the world of work, collaboration and working with colleagues from other disciplines is essential to problem solving as well as being the safest approach. This competition has clearly illustrated to both students and judges that engagement and teamwork with their colleagues is a rewarding experience for students, and one that can deliver a safe and effective product." -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Tipperary

Monday, 4 April 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tipperary on Thursday, 14 April. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Anner Hotel, Thurles. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterward, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions visitors may have. Seamus Hennessy, from Cloughjordan, is currently studying Commerce with Accounting at NUI Galway and will be there on the night to answer questions: "I decided upon NUI Galway as it has an extremely high teaching quality, a great social aspect to both the college and city, and an excellent sporting structure for various sports. It also has a very reputable reputation among employers both nationally and internationally. I would highly recommend it to any prospective student". The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. "Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses", says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. The University recently developed a popular four-year Arts degree called BA Connect, which allows specialisation in certain areas and a year of placement in Ireland or abroad. There are eight to choose from, including Human Rights, Creative Writing, and Theatre and Performance, all areas where NUI Galway leads the field. NUI Galway is Ireland's leading University for Biomedical Science, so students have access to top researchers and the very latest facilities. As the University is at the heart of the medical device industry hub in Galway, graduates have excellent opportunities for ongoing employment in the field. Caroline Loughnane continued: "With so many courses on offer, this event in Thurles is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit". To find out more about the Information Evening in Tipperary, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Siobhan Dorman, Schools Liaison Office on 086 042 1591 or -Ends-

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NUI Galway Spring Open Day

Monday, 4 April 2011

Almost 3,000 prospective students and their parents from across the country visited NUI Galway's campus for the Spring Open Day on Saturday, 2 April. Tailored toward Leaving Certificate and mature students who are interested in studying at NUI Galway, the Open Day featured hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops and tours of the campus. With some 60 degree programmes, NUI Galway offers a wide range of traditional courses but also a whole suite of innovative new courses. The Open Day offered prospective students information on practical issues such as University accommodation, scholarships, and general support services available to students. Student ambassadors were on hand to assist with all queries about specific courses and student life at NUI Galway and current students were there to discuss the vibrant societies and sports clubs on campus. Lecturers and support staff were also available at 80 stands to deal with any queries about degrees, accommodation, finances and much more. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway said "The Spring Open Day was a great success with many prospective students, their parents and guardians sampling life at University. Everyone got an opportunity to ask questions about courses of interest and get a feel for the campus. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July." -Ends-

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