All 2011

NUI Galway College of Science Research Day

Monday, 21 November 2011

The College of Science at NUI Galway recently showcased PhD research in its various disciplines in a ‘Research Horizons’ evening.  Invited speakers from Queen’s University Belfast, Oxford University and University College Dublin gave detailed talks on their work and with students from all Schools in the College of Science presenting their work in a competition that was judged by the three invited speakers.   The winner of the competition was Claire Concannon, a Biochemistry student from Tralee, Co. Kerry, who spoke on ‘The role of the proteasome in triplet repeat DNA expansions’.  Second place was presented toPharmacology and Therapeutics student Sandra O’Brien from Galway City, who spoke on ‘Early life fluoxetine exposure: Behavioural effects in adulthood’. Third place was awarded to Biochemistry student, Lynda O’Leary from Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, who described her work on ‘An alternative TRAIL to killing cancer’.   The external speakers included: Professor A.P. de Silva, Queen's University Belfast who delivered a talk on ‘2011: A small space odyssey with luminescent molecules’; Professor Alain Goriely, Oxford University, spoke on ‘The mathematical mind of Professor Moriarty: all the mathematics you will not see in the new Sherlock Holmes movie’; and Dr Emma Teeling, University College Dublin, who described ‘What bats can tell us about the evolution of sensory perception in mammals’.   The ‘Research Horizons’ event presented a broad and exciting range of cutting-edge research at NUI Galway and should help inspire other students to consider a career in scientific research.   -ENDS-

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New Book on Prison Sentencing

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sentencing: Towards a Coherent System by Tom O’Malley, a Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway, has just been published by leading law publishers, Thomson Reuters.   As prison populations in Ireland and elsewhere reach record levels, governments are being forced to rethink many of the policies which held sway in recent decades, especially in regard to the use of mandatory sentences and rigid sentencing guidelines.   This book provides a detailed analysis of the nature of judicial discretion and claims that a just and effective sentencing system can be devised by retaining this discretion provided it is accompanied by various judicial support systems. It includes a survey of measures adopted internationally since the early 1980s to structure judicial sentencing discretion and argues that, in small jurisdictions in particular, a reasonable balance between flexibility and consistency can be achieved without resort to some of the more drastic measures introduced in the United States and elsewhere.   The book also includes a substantial foreword by Chief Justice Susan Denham who, prior to her appointment as Chief Justice, had chaired the Irish Sentencing Information system project (of which Mr O’Malley was a member) and also the committee which recommended the establishment of a permanent Court of Appeal. In her foreword she notes that a permanent court of appeal would be required if some of the recommendations made in this book were to be implemented.   The author, NUI Galway’s Tom O’Malley, said: “This book is not intended as an analysis of existing sentencing law. Instead, it treats sentencing as an important aspect of public policy which carries heavy social and economic costs. In many cases, those costs are justified but we must always strive to develop and refine policies which will make the system as socially productive and cost-effective as possible. Our School of Law is now part of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, and I hope that this book will enhance our contribution to public policy discourse, nationally and internationally.”   Mr O’Malley is already the author of leading Irish treatises on criminal law, criminal procedure and sentencing law, and he has recently been invited to deliver a postgraduate course on comparative criminology at the University of Leiden Law School in the Netherlands in spring 2012.    -ends-

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Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition Expects 20,000 Visitors

Monday, 21 November 2011

The 14th annual Galway Science and Technology Festival which is part of National Science Week will run until Sunday, 27 November. The two-week free event has provided shows, demonstrations and activities to 130 primary and secondary schools encompassing 22,000 students and will culminate with a fantastic family day out at the Festival Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November at NUI Galway. The Festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by taking shows to primary and secondary schools throughoutGalwaycity and county. The free Festival Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, will be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and will take place from 10am-6pm at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings at NUI Galway and other campus venues. There will be hundreds of scientists, engineers and business innovators showcasing their work at 78 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment and visitors will be able to participate in experiments, watch demonstrations and discuss ideas with researchers. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about topics such as life-saving medical devices, renewable energy, a Cloud Computing presentation by 6th class students fromBriarhillSchool, IT in the future, Kitchen Chemistry, and much more. NUI Galway’s museums will all be open on the day, and the popular 3D Tour of the Universe makes a welcome return. Visitors can experience 78 exciting interactive exhibition stands from severalGalwaybased science and technology companies. A free Park and Ride service atCorribVillage,Newcastle,Galwaywill be in operation on the day. This year a booking system is in place through to help people plan their day. Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland commented: “The Festival Exhibition has become a calendar highlight for families and educators with over 20,000 visitors to last year’s exhibition. We are very thankful to NUI Galway for providing facilities on campus to host the 78 interactive exhibitions this year. The Board of Galway Science and Technology Festival would also like to express their gratitude to main sponsor Medtronic and to all of the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific – Avaya, SAP, GMIT, Cisco, IDA Ireland, HP, Covidien, Merit Medical,LakeRegion,EnterpriseIreland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute and Transitions Optical. All of these companies in their own way help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.” Last week students enjoyed school shows like the K’NEX Roadshow which fosters an interest in science and robotics, an explosive Dr Thompson’s Laboratory and the Mad Science Air Blast Show. This week schools can look forward to shows like Magic Mathworks, Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show, Cosmic Explorer’s with Robert Hill, Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome and Mr Bug with Matt Lewis. Gerard Kilcommins, VP Global Operations & General Manager Medtronic commented: “In 2001, Medtronic became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival and, while we had no doubt in our minds about the importance of the initiative locally, we could not have imagined it would develop into such a successful event and highlight in the calendars of the educational and science communities. Now, more than ever, harnessing the power of science and technology, and engaging our younger generation in this area so that we can produce high-calibre scientists and engineers in the future, is pivotal toIreland's economic destiny.” 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 newEngineeringBuildingand a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyberbullying.  The Zoology andGeologyMuseumwill be open for tours along withIreland’s onlyComputer & CommunicationsMuseum.  President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, 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 buildIreland's capacity in technology, research and innovation.  We are delighted to work closely with the Festival as it gives us in the University a chance to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!” GMIT will host tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories. There are also various interesting workshops for students including Modern Medicines, The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and NicotinePatches and a Forensic Investigation. This year a Mentoring Program by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Galway Senior Hurler and Enginner at Medtronic, Damien Joyce is one such mentor. Engineers from over 11 different companies participating in this initiative will visit schools and talk to the students about their subject choices, give practical career advice and share their work experience. To book shows visit The 2011 Programme of events and School Booking Forms are available at   -ends-

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Róisín Ní Mhainín, Sean-nós Dancer in Residence at NUI Galway

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Róisín Ní Mhainín, a native of Rosmuc, as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence for 2012.  Recognised as one of the first generation of female sean-nós dancers to gain widespread popularity, Róisín has developed a distinctive style of dancing and is acknowledged by her peers as a leading exponent of sean-nós dance in the new millennium.  Her success at An tOireachtas further demonstrates her leading role among sean-nós dancers and within the wider traditional arts community.  Róisín has performed extensively in stage productions such as ‘Between the Jigs and the Reels’ and ‘The Well’ in Vicar St and further afield at the Milwaukee Festival.  At the reception to mark her appointment, Róisín captivated family, friends and admirers with her performance. Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, the outgoing Sean-nós Singer in Residence for 2011 described the first time that she saw Róisín perform as a skilful young dancer, and was particularly pleased to pass on the artist in residency baton to Róisín for 2012.  In announcing her appointment, Professor Gearóid Denvir observed that Róisín drew from the wellspring of traditional culture in Connemara through her steps and her appointment as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence emphasises the University’s commitment to, and recognition of, the value of that tradition. As part of her residency, Róisín will participate in a series of performances throughout the year and also importantly, will give a series of sean-nós dance workshops at NUI Galway. The workshops will be open to the public and commence in January 2012. In addition to the Centre for Irish Studies, this scheme is supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon. ENDS

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Wellcome Trust Announce Continued Support for School Debating Competition

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wellcome Trust, the largest independent charity in the United Kingdom, has announced that it will support the Debating Science Issues (DSI) project for a fifth consecutive year.  Co-ordinated by Danielle Nicholson, Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, this All-Ireland competition encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Schools taking part initially receive a three-hour biomedical, bioethical workshop to facilitate discussion on the ethical issues raised by stem cell research, genetically modified food, nanotechnology, health and self-testing kits or flu vaccinations. School students then carry out research further in preparation for the debate. DSI is a cross border schools science debating competition involving nine collaborating partners:  the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway; W5 in Belfast; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU; Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland; CRANN at TCD; CLARITY at UCD; the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh; Cork Institute of Technology; and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC.  Commenting on the announcement, NUI Galway’s Danielle Nicholson said: “Next year 48 schools will be involved and organisers will create a new topic surrounding the funding allocation made to develop treatments and research rare diseases.  A new dedicated DSI website is also being developed.” Boston Scientific, Abbott Ireland, Merck-Millipore and Pfizer Ireland are sponsors of the provincial trophies and prizes.    -ENDS-

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