All 2012

Researchers and Industry Convene for Glycosience Event at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Over 150 delegates are expected at the 5th Annual GlycoScience Ireland meeting, hosted by NUI Galway, on Friday, 19 October. With important clinical and industrial applications, glycoscience is the study of the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. Participants from research organisations, biopharmaceutical companies and areas including medical diagnostics and functional foods are expected to attend. The next generation of glycotechnologies will be discussed during the conference, and the potential of the field to impact the Irish biosciences industry will be explored. Through various events and initiatives, GlycoScience Ireland brings together academic, industrial and clinical researchers to advance fundamental research and to develop novel technologies relevant to industry. “Ireland has been a trailblazer in this exciting field of science”, explains NUI Galway’s Professor Lokesh Joshi, leader of Glycoscience Ireland. “We can achieve medical and technological breakthroughs”, he explains, “by understanding the complex sugars at work in the body. Rapid diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, or the creation of new more effective and targeted drugs – these are just some of the hopes this area offers. There is also potential to develop, for example, the next generation of functional foods.” Among the keynote speakers are Professor Richard D. Cummings who is the William Patterson Timmie endowed Professor and Chair of the department of Biochemistry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor Cummings is a well-recognized leader in glycoscience and has pioneered analytical technologies in this field. Professor Cummings will highlight the opportunities in developing novel technologies in glycomics to gain better understanding of diseases and health. Also speaking is Dr Kirk Leister, Head of New Technologies at Bristol Myers Squib. Dr Leister has over 25 years of experience in developing protein therapeutics against cancer and inflammation. In his current role, he is responsible for identifying the best technologies and products that are suitable for Bristol Myers Squid. Dr Jens Bleiel, CEO of Food for Health Ireland, will also address the audience, discussing the role of functional food in future and the importance of carbohydrates and glycoscience in this area. “With the global competition in biotechnology and biopharmaceutical research continually shifting, Ireland needs to harness the synergy of existing skills and strengthen it with new talent in order to gain a competitive edge and to remain in the leadership position in this emerging next frontier in life sciences, chemistry and information science”, claims Professor Joshi. Professor Joshi has spearheaded Ireland’s standing in the gyclosience field since he became principal investigator with the Science Foundation Ireland funded Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway in 2008. Professor Joshi also leads the international project GlycoHIT, which is trying to unravel the puzzle of carbohydrate biomarkers in cancer. The GlycoHIT project is involved in the development of innovative technologies that will enable fast and accurate analysis of glycosylation (process attaching sugars to proteins and lipids) in blood samples from cancer patients. -ends-

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Social Workers and the Children’s Referendum

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A seminar for social workers, concentrating on the forthcoming Children’s Rights Referendum, will be held at NUI Galway at 6pm tomorrow Thursday, 18 October, 2012. Fergal Landy of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will discuss with social workers the theme of rights based practice and the constitutional referendum. According to Fergal Landy: “The children’s rights referendum, along with other planned reforms, is a welcome first step in developing a safer system of child protection and family support, capable of improving outcomes for all children, young people and their families.” The event is organised by the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, which offers a Masters in Social Work. For further information please contact Declan Coogan at 091 495373 or A further event on the forthcoming Children’s Referendum, aimed at the general public, will take place on Monday, 22 October from 3-4.30 pm. Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will deliver the keynote address at Monday's event. -ends-

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NUI Galway Announces the Establishment of the Whitaker Institute

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The eminent economist and former Secretary of the Department of Finance, Dr T.K. Whitaker, was warmly received at NUI Galway today as the University announced the establishment of the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change. Dr Whitaker played an instrumental role in devising the economic plan, which set Ireland on the road to regeneration in the early 1960s. Drawing inspiration from his unparalleled service to Ireland, the newly formed Whitaker Institute serves as the country’s largest research body focused on contemporary and relevant business, social and policy issues. Over 200 members make up the faculty with expertise spanning across the College of Business, Public Policy and Law and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Subsuming the University’s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), the Whitaker Institute builds on a decade of research-excellence and policy-focused contributions supported by over €11 million in competitive national and international research funding. The Whitaker Institute applies a multi-perspective research approach to business and social issues, with an impact-led focus at the core of its endeavours. One of its key values is the promotion of a sustainable and inclusive society, influenced by the broad dissemination of rigorous and relevant research. Furthermore, the Whitaker Institute seeks to continue the tradition at NUI Galway of critically pursuing knowledge discovery that stimulates academic debates and opens public conversation to advance the greater good. Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute, expressed the great honour he shared with Institute members at the endorsement of Dr Whitaker. “The Whitaker Institute brings together our talented research communities in business and social sciences that are committed to research excellence and to sharing their knowledge and expertise with wider communities nationally and internationally,” he stated. “It is a great honour for our research community to name the Institute after Dr Whitaker as his achievements, influence and contributions to this nation are in keeping with what we are seeking to achieve as Ireland rebuilds its economy and reimages its society.” Dr Whitaker is regarded as a pivotal figure in the economic and social development of modern Ireland. During his long and illustrious career, he was Secretary of the Department of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and founder of the Economic and Social Research Institute. He was also a member of Seanad Éireann from 1977 to 1982 and Chancellor of the National University of Ireland from 1976 to 1996. The Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, inspired by the legacy of this pioneering statesperson, aims to adopt a similarly innovative approach to the challenges currently facing society, both in Ireland and internationally. Welcoming the establishment of the Whitaker Institute, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Dr T.K. Whitaker’s strategy for Ireland’s expansion in the 1960s transformed Irish society at the time. Today, we face similar social and economic challenges. Much like the figure after which it is named, the Whitaker Institute will lead academic research into innovation and change. We believe that the knowledge and insights which will emerge from the Institute have the potential to change Irish society and in so doing honour the achievements of Dr Whitaker.” The Whitaker Institute was officially signed into being this morning, and there are plans for an official public launch in 2013. For more information, visit -ends- Institiúid Whitaker bunaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh Déardaoin, 18 Deireadh Fómhair 2012: Cuireadh fáilte chroíúil roimh an eacnamaí aitheanta agus iar-Rúnaí na Roinne Airgeadais an Dr T.K. Whitaker in OÉ Gaillimh inniu nuair a d’fhógair an Ollscoil bunú Institiúid Whitaker don Nuálaíocht agus don Athrú Sóisialta.    Bhí ról tábhachtach ag an Dr Whitaker i gcur le chéile plean eacnamaíoch a thug an tír seo slán as an ngéarchéim ina raibh sí i dtús na 1960idí Spreagtha ag a sheirbhís den scoth d’Éirinn, is é Institiúid nuabhunaithe Whitaker an comhlacht is mó taighde sa tír atá dírithe ar cheisteanna comhaimseartha cuí gnó, sóisialta agus polasaí. Tá breis is 200 comhalta sa dámh agus tá tobar an tsaineolais aici ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. Tiocfaidh an tIonad um Nuálaíocht agus um Athrú Struchtúrtha (CISC) faoi cheannas Institiúid Whitaker agus úsáidfidh an Institiúid an feabhas taighde a rinneadh san Ionad sin le deich mbliana anuas mar aon leis an obair dírithe ar bheartas a fuair maoiniú taighde náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta os cionn €11 milliún. Cur chuige taighde ilpheirspictíoch atá ag Institiúid Whitaker maidir le ceisteanna gnó agus sóisialta, agus beidh béim ar thionchar mar chroílár a saothair Ceann de phríomhluachanna na hInstitiúide sochaí inmharthana agus chuimsitheach a chur chun cinn, de thoradh ar thaighde cuí domhain a scaipeadh go forleathan. Sa bhreis air sin, tá sé mar aidhm ag Institiúid Whitaker cur leis an traidisiún in OÉ Gaillimh trí fhionnachtain eolais a lorg chun díospóireachtaí acadúla a spreagadh agus comhráite poiblí a thosú ar son leasa na sochaí. Léirigh an Dr James Cunningham, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Whitaker, an onóir a bhraith sé i measc chomhaltaí na hInstitiúide agus iad ag tacú leis an Dr Whitaker. “Tugann Institiúid Whitaker le chéile tallann na bpobal taighde i ngnó agus in eolaíochtaí sóisialta, tallann atá tugtha d’fheabhas taighde agus d’eolas agus saineolas a roinnt leis an bpobal náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta,” a deir sé. Is mór an onóir don phobal taighde an Institiúid a ainmniú i ndiaidh an Dr Whitaker, mar go bhfuil a chuid éachtaí, a thionchar agus a chuid oibre ar son na tíre seo ag teacht leis an méid atáimid ag iarraidh a bhaint amach le hathbheochan a dhéanamh ar gheilleagar na tíre agus an tsochaí a fheabhsú.” Feictear an Dr Whitaker mar dhuine mór le rá i bhforbairt eacnamaíoch agus shóisialta na hÉireann sa lá atá inniu ann.  Bhí gairm fhada cháiliúil aige - bhí sé ina Rúnaí ar an Roinn Airgeadais, ina Ghobharnóir ar Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, agus ba é a bhunaigh an Institiúid Taighde Eacnamaíochta agus Sóisialta (ESRI). Bhí sé ina chomhalta de Sheanad Éireann chomh maith ó 1977 go 1982 agus ina Sheansailéir ar Ollscoil na hÉireann ó 1976 go 1996. Tá sé mar aidhm le hInstitiúid Whitaker don Nuálaíocht agus don Athrú Sóisialta, spreagtha ag oidhreacht an cheannródaí féin, cur chuige nuálach den chineál céanna a ghlacadh chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin atá os ár gcomhair faoi láthair, anseo in Éirinn agus thar lear. Ag fáiltiú roimh bhunú Institiúid Whitaker, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Rinne straitéis an Dr T.K. Whitaker d’fhorleathnú na hÉireann sna 1960idí athrú ó bhun ar shochaí na hÉireann ag an am. Sa lá atá inniu ann, tá orainn aghaidh a thabhairt ar dhúshláin shóisialta agus eacnamaíochta den chineál céanna. Cosúil le Whitaker féin, beidh Institiúid Whitaker chun cinn sa taighde acadúil ar nuálaíocht agus ar athrú. Creidimid go bhféadfadh an t-eolas agus an léargas a thiocfaidh ón Institiúid sochaí na hÉireann a athrú agus is iontach an onóir a bheadh ansin d’éachtaí an Dr Whitaker.” Bunaíodh Institiúid Whitaker go hoifigiúil ar maidin, agus tá sé i gceist í a sheoladh go poiblí in 2013. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ag -críoch-

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NUI Galway Honour Leaving Certificate Excellence

Friday, 19 October 2012

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students with a special ceremony on Thursday, 18 October, in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Excellence Scholarships, 65 students received €2,000 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. Each year the Excellence Scholarships are given to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. For Medical students 10 Scholarships were awarded certificates, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The Excellence Scholarships are designed to recognise and reward Leaving Cert success for the highest-achieving students, and encourage their ongoing commitment to academic excellence during their time at NUI Galway. The awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's Postgraduate Scholarships, Mature Student Scholarships, Sports Scholarship Scheme and schemes specific to individual colleges for those who excel in their University exams. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these 65 outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway constantly strives to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these Awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their important contribution to such success.” This year Excellence Scholarships were awarded to students from 44 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 15 counties including Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford. -ENDS-

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Autumn Conferrings at NUI Galway

Friday, 19 October 2012

Almost 4,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 19-26 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha, Tom McSweeney and Jim Murren. Seán Beattie - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa:  Originally from Derry, Seán taught at second-level school in Derry before becoming a Guidance Counsellor in Carndonagh Community School, Donegal.  A member of Donegal Historical Society and the Ulster Local History Trust,   he has published several books on Donegal local history and contributed articles to journals and newspapers. Helen Meehan - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: From Donegal, Helen is a retired primary school teacher.  She is recognised as an expert in folklore, genealogy and local history in County Donegal.  A published author, she is currently President of the Donegal Historical Society and a contributor to local TV and radio news. Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Sean-nós singer from Aird Thiar in Carna. He has won Corn Uí Riada three times.  He has numerous recordings completed. He also has a wide knowledge of folklore and the traditions of Iorras Aithneach. He has toured Scotland and North Africa. He was the University singer in residence in the Irish Studies Centre in 2002. Tom McSweeney - Honorary Masters of Science honoris causa: Former RTÉ regional correspondent for Cork, in 1998 was RTÉ’s first Marine Correspondent, reporting on fishing and industries, leisure marine industry and coastal nature of Ireland on TV news, contributions to Nationwide and particularly the radio programme, Seascapes, for over 1000 programmes. Tom won Maritime Person of the Year in 2008.  An experienced sailor, he completed the Round Ireland Race twice, and sailed the Atlantic from Florida to the UK.  Tom retired from RTÉ in 2010, and runs Seascapes Maritime Media and is Special Correspondent with The Marine Times. Jim Murren- Honorary Masters in Commerce honoris causa: Former Regional Manager for Industrial Development Authority (IDA) western region and Committee member of Galway Science and Technology Forum, Mayo County Development Board, Galway City Community Forum, Galway County Development Board and Galway 2040. Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Tom MacSweeney, Jim Murren and Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha.  Each of these honorees share a passion for our region and its development. Whether by chronicling local history in Donegal, pioneering the development of the marine sector, championing the industrial potential of the West, or by nurturing the song tradition of the Gaeltacht each of these worthy individuals has enriched the life of our region.  NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 900 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. -ENDS-

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