All 2012

NUI Galway Marine Technology Helps PUMA to Victory in In-Port Race

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The coastal radar system run by Dr Mike Hartnett’s research group in the newly launched Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, made a last minute entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. It has been revealed that the radar, which measures currents and waves throughout Galway Bay on the hour, was instrumental to the success of the PUMA team in the in-port races. The radar is a sophisticated system, normally used for advanced marine research. The finale to the Volvo Ocean Race took place in Galway Bay on Saturday afternoon, with the Discover Ireland In-Port Race, with PUMA going into the race tied on the same points with CAMPER. On Friday afternoon, Dr Hartnett was contacted by Robert Hopkins Jnr., PUMA Ocean Racing performance coach, to see if the radar data could be provided to the crew of the PUMA boat. Maps of the currents in the bay over the past month were made available to PUMA and Dr Hartnett advised PUMA on their sailing strategy for the important race. As is now widely known, PUMA went on to win in great style and win the series by a one point margin. The win marked PUMA’s first trip to the top of the podium for an in-port race in this round of the Volvo Ocean Race. PUMA finished on the podium in nine of the 10 in-port races, collecting 45 total points to win the overall In-Port Race Series. The crew was tied with CAMPER going into the final race and won the series by one point.  PUMA’s Robert Hopkins Jnr was delighted and said: “Currents in Galway Bay were a big factor in the In-Port Race, where tides, wind and river outflow make it all very complicated. To prepare for the race, we looked for surface current patterns in hundreds hours of data from the NUI Galway radar, took on-the-water readings before the start, and data from Mar Mostro’s own Doppler velocity log supplied by Nortek AS. It worked and we won the race.” The NUI Galway radar data will soon be available online to the public, hopefully helping local sailors to improve their performance. Dr Hartnett acknowledged the assistance provided by two local businessmen in enabling this advanced technology: “The Spiddal radar site is sending its data back to the computers at NUI Galway via the broadband service of An Crúiscín Lán, thanks to the permission of owner John Foy. Similarly, Liam Twomey, General Manager of the National Aquarium of Ireland, Salthill, provided access to their broadband to courier the Mutton Island radar data back to NUI Galway.” -ends-

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‘Taking the pain out of work’: Promising results from ongoing back pain rehabilitation trial at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Interim findings from the HRB-funded ‘Pain Disability Prevention Trial’, currently running at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, shows promising results for people with back pain.  The researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of an active rehabilitation programme which allows patients who are off work due to back pain, the opportunity to attend 10 free one-to-one sessions with a Clinical Psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation.  The aims of the sessions are to help patients to gradually increase their level of activity and return to work.   Sessions focus on a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to identify any unhelpful thinking patterns and the development of activity goals, stretches and exercising to improve physical function. Miriam Raftery, researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says “The initial trends show that those who took part in the rehabilitation sessions had improvements in overall level of functioning and activity levels as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety, compared to those who didn’t take part in the programme.  This suggests that the active rehabilitation programme may be beneficial in improving overall quality of life among those with back pain.” Sue, 54, from Limerick, who took part in the free sessions earlier this year, says:  “The sessions helped me to structure my day, and acknowledge completed tasks.  It helped me realise that prior to the sessions every day was more or less the same.  I am now back to full time employment after four years.  I think the programme really helped me with this.” Tom, 37, from Galway, says: “I found the programme very beneficial and was very helpful to have the set appointment every week.  I will miss the sessions enormously.” Researchers are still recruiting people to take part in this trial in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Limerick, Cork and Dublin.  All appointments take place locally in each region.  The researchers are interested in hearing from people who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain. Lead researcher Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “We are very encouraged with the early results of this programme, it has made a significant difference in the activity levels of a number of people with chronic pain.” For further information about taking part, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email, phone 091 495 830 or see the trial website:  General Practitioners and physiotherapists interested in referring patients to the trial are also invited to contact this number. ENDS

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Delegation from Irish Centre for Human Rights calls for Human-Rights Based Approach to Development

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A delegation from NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights will appear today before the Irish Parliamentary Committee on Africa, to make the case for a rights-based approach to development assistance. The group will call on Ireland to fulfil its international legal obligations by adopting an ethical investment strategy as a core principle of its foreign policy.    Peter Fitzmaurice, Josh Curtis and Michael Higgins will speak today at the Houses of the Oireachtais, at a specially convened meeting which is expected to be attended by large numbers of TDs and senators.  The gathering represents the Irish section of AWEPA (Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa), which has over 130 members in the Oireachtas and is regarded as one of the most active sections. AWEPA works in partnership with African parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Africa, keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe, and facilitate African-European parliamentary dialogue. Ireland is currently undertaking a review of its Development Programme, and the AWEPA committee in seeking to keep its members informed about development issues, invited the members from the Irish Centre for Human Rights to make their presentation.  Speaking before the Committee met, Michael Higgins, a graduate from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: “Ireland can be justifiably proud of its tradition of helping others, but it now risks losing this legacy. Ireland forms part of the Nordic Plus group, a set of countries universally acknowledged as the international development agencies that lead the way in terms of best practice, effectiveness and innovation. However, in recent years, while all the other members of the Nordic Plus group have shifted towards or adopted a rights-based approach, Ireland has remained behind.” “Other countries have realised that a rights-based approach offers an authoritative response to many questions posed both by the public and policy makers; how can we ensure our development assistance leads to recipient governments adopting pro-poor policies, how can we ensure development assistance is sustainable, how can we ensure the participation of the poorest and most vulnerable in decisions that affect their lives? Ireland should follow the example set by the other members of the Nordic Plus group.”    Josh Curtis, a Doctoral Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, suggested that the Irish Government must engage with the issue of Irish and EU investment policy if the developmental aims of the Irish Aid programme are to be realised and achieved with integrity. He noted that international trade and investment agreements often operate counter to the interests of developing countries, and are presently prejudicial to the rationale and aims of development assistance.  Peter Fitzmaurice, also a Doctoral Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, added that recent developments in international human rights law concerning the obligations of donor states and international cooperation mandates the realisation of a more just and equitable system of international economic governance. He indicated that donor states will increasingly contend with arguments from developing countries, civil society, and the public, that a re-orientation of donor investment and assistance policy is necessary as a matter of international law. ends

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NUI Galway Law School Launches New Part-Time Programmes

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The School of Law at NUI Galway has announced six new programmes, starting in September 2012. The new programmes will be offered on a part-time basis and aimed at applicants who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but are unable take on a full-time course. Building on the innovative Master’s degree in Law, Technology and Governance, the School is accepting applications for: LLM in Law, Technology and Governance (part-time) Postgraduate Diploma in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (full-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in E-Commerce Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology Law (part-time) This suite of programmes offers students an opportunity to explore in-depth substantive social issues and questions of law and governance as these mechanisms evolve to deal with ever-changing technology and rapid scientific advances. In addition, academics from other institutions and key figures in public service, private practice and national and international organisations regularly contribute to the programme and enrich the overall learning experience. NUI Galway’s School of Law offers an active and dynamic learning environment with significant interaction between students and staff. Its objective is to produce highly-skilled and competent graduates with a significant expertise in their chosen subjects. NUI Galway Lecturer in Law, Rónán Kennedy, said: “We have specifically designed these new programmes for those who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but cannot take on a full-time course. Successful completion of these programmes can open a number of career options. If you intend to become a solicitor or barrister, for example, or are already qualified and want to expand into new career pathways, the topics covered are all busy areas of practice and will open attractive options, both in Ireland and abroad. If you want to work in the public sector or public service, the focus on policy issues will give you a perspective which will be of considerable benefit.” The deadline for applications is Friday, 10 August and applications can be made through ENDS

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Microsoft Invitation for NUI Galway Professor

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

One of Ireland’s leading web science experts, Professor Stefan Decker, has been invited to attend the exclusive Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in the US this week. Professor Decker is Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, which was set up with funding from SFI in 2003, and has since grown to become the largest research institute of its kind in the world. The annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit unites academic researchers and educators with Microsoft researchers, product group engineers, and architects to explore new opportunities and challenges in computer science research. The event, involving 400 of the best academic investigators from around the world, takes place in Redmond, Washington, today and tomorrow. DERI’s work is focussed on bringing about networked knowledge, by developing and applying a range of web technologies and standards. According to Professor Decker: “New standards and technologies are changing the World Wide Web from a web of documents into a network of data and knowledge. A combination of technologies, known collectively as the Semantic Web, is making it possible to link that data together on the Web and to use it in new and exciting ways, and transform the Web into networked knowledge.” -ends-

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