All 2012

NUI Galway Students Scoop Top Prize at Enterprise Ireland ‘Think Outside the Box’ Awards 2012

Friday, 8 June 2012

A team of students from NUI Galway has today (Friday 8 June 2012) been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’. The students won the prestigious top prize of €10,000 at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, with their project This year celebrates the 30th year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Mammoth Advertising, Intel and Grant Thornton.  The winning team are First Year Engineering students at NUI Galway and  beat off stiff competition with their project  This stands for Drag Reduction Systems. The team has invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%. The team is represented by students Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde and Garrett Archbold. Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: “The innovative drag reduction system is an example of the outstanding design capability of NUI Galway engineering students. Engineering in NUI Galway provides an excellent environment in which our students are given space to be creative and inventive. Ireland's path to recovery will benefit from people like Justin and his team and I admire his confidence to follow through with his creative passion, to patent his design and win this prestigious all Ireland competition. I am very proud of our engineering students." The Think Outside the Box Awards are aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option and this year attracted submissions from over 360 third level students from colleges across Ireland.  With its biggest ever prize fund matching the Award’s 30 years in existence, €30,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees are available for winners to help them make a serious start at making their idea a commercial reality.   In addition to winning the top prize, the winning team will also receive €5,000 in branding consultancy from Mammoth Advertising and mentoring from Enterprise Ireland/Invest NI to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.  The ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ of €5,000, co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland, went to the AWAMA project from Queen’s University Belfast. Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys are also providing intellectual property consultancy and protection for all the finalists. The Emerging and Dynamic Company of the Year Award of €5,000, co-sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland, went to Zooplar from UCC. Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists. Zooplar also won an all expenses paid trip to Poland from Intel, to participate in the Intel Challenge Europe Technology Entrepreneurship Competition. Congratulating the award winners on their success, Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said: “This competition is focussed on giving students hands on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business to help them discover their flair and talent. Once again, we have been hugely impressed by the quality of the submissions from across the colleges. These young people show all the hallmarks of the innovative and resilient entrepreneurs and management teams that are so critical to setting up successful new businesses and creating much needed jobs. They are our successful entrepreneurs of the future. It is tremendously encouraging to see their energy and their enthusiasm, and I congratulate all of them on their achievements.”  Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: “Young people in Northern Ireland are great at generating new business ideas and entrepreneurial talent. Competitions like this provide a platform for them to demonstrate their highly innovative concepts and the commercial skills required to take them forward. Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and is focused on supporting young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity, as we need them to grow our future economy.” For more information on the Think Outside the Box Awards visit the website on: ENDS

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NUI Galway to Lead a European Research Project to Restore Blood Vessels

Friday, 8 June 2012

A consortium led by the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway has secured €3.7 million to fund research into a medical condition called ischemia. The condition occurs when blood supply to a tissue is limited, an example being ischemic heart disease, the most common cause of death in the western world, from which 16 million European adults currently suffer. The funding award has been made through the EU-FP7 grant programme under the Marie Curie Initial Training Network, the official project title is ‘Development of Biomaterial-based Delivery Systems for Ischemic Conditions - An Integrated Pan-European Approach’. “Our focus is on therapeutic angiogenesis, which aims to form new vessels to supply the ischemic tissue and restore function”, explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB. “One possibility in this field is to supply the local microenvironment around the damaged tissue with the appropriate biological signalling factors, through the use of functionalised biomaterials.” Ischemia is not limited to heart disease and the research will have a wider scope across other medical conditions. Ischemia has a number of causes such as blockages, as in the case of cholesterol blockages in atherosclerosis or the clotting that may cause ischemic stroke, inflammation as in ischemic colitis, or conditions such as sickle cell anaemia. Acute limb ischemia occurs when blood supply is lost to a limb, with delayed treatment leading to morbidity, amputation and even death, with around 50,000 cases in the US annually. The research consortium, led by Professor Pandit of the NFB, includes academic groups from the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche in Italy, Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, University of Brighton in the UK, University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, Vivasure Medical in Ireland and Selyno Biomedical in Israel. The funding provides for the recruitment of early stage and experienced researchers aiming to improve their career prospects in both public and private sectors, thereby making research careers more attractive to young people. This will be achieved through a trans-national networking mechanism, aimed at structuring the existing high quality initial research training capacity throughout European member states and associated countries. Speaking about the award, Professor Abhay Pandit, said: “The Marie Curie Initial Training Network award will fund the training and development of researchers in biomaterials and regenerative medicine research over a four-year period beginning in October 2012. This programme will foster increased scientific dialogue between lead academics, industry and clinicians; transfer key scientific and experimental knowledge between the institutions involved enabling the consortium to widen the scope of their work; encourage researchers to stay in Europe, and attract researchers from around the world to conduct research in the EU. About 40% of this funding will remain in Ireland. We are extremely privileged to be considered for this highly competitive award.”   ENDS

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Scan This! Galway Pirate Treasure Hunt

Monday, 11 June 2012

NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute is helping Galway Simon Community to raise funds in a fun, and innovative way. The two organisations have teamed up to organise a pirate treasure hunt with a difference for the Volvo Ocean Race finale in Galway, 30 June – 8 July. The Galway Pirate Treasure Trail of QR codes is a family-friendly treasure hunt where would-be pirates will use the latest mobile phone technology to navigate their way to the treasure. Families and groups of friends can follow a series of QR codes through the most interesting corners of Galway’s medieval city. Every pirate treasure clue will be revealed by scanning the QR code at each waypoint. The trail will guide teams on a leisurely and fun treasure trail of Galway City and the tented Volvo Race Villages. There will be prizes for the teams with most points based on the clues uncovered. Most smart phones now have a Quick Read (QR) code scanner. Tickets are available on at €10 for the Family Treasure Hunt or €20 for the History and Gourmet Treasure Hunts. This Pirate Treasure trail was developed in cooperation between the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway and Galway Simon as an innovative way to show people around the most interesting streets and corners of this buzzing city. Dr Brian Wall, Operations Manager at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) says “DERI is very pleased to contribute technological expertise to such a worthy cause. DERI researchers are already unlocking large chests of ‘knowledge treasure’ that are available on the web so it is fitting that we are involved with Galway Simon on this project.” He added: “We are always looking for new and interesting ways for our team of technical experts to help the broader community and we think this will be a really enjoyable way to demonstrate just a little bit of what our research teams at NUI Galway can do.” Established in 2003 by NUI Galway, with assistance from Science Foundation Ireland, DERI has now grown to become the world’s largest semantic web research institute, and it engages with companies, from start-ups through to multinationals, to develop new web solutions. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI adds: “Galway now has an internationally leading research and industry cluster in the ICT sector, and this treasure hunt highlights some of the cool things that can be done with computer science. Fun events like this are great for getting children interested in IT and hopefully will encourage them to become the innovators of the future.”  NUI Galway is education partner of Volvo Ocean Race Galway, and will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering and community engagement to the event. Galway Simon is actively seeking retailers in Galway to partner in the Treasure Hunt. Contact Paul in Galway Simon at 091 381828 for partnering details. -ends

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NUI Galway Nominated for National Best Conference Events Venue Award

Monday, 11 June 2012

NUI Galway is one of eight venues shortlisted for the 2012 Best Conference Events Venue in Ireland,and the first and only University to feature. Organised by Event Strategies Limited, this award recognises excellence within the event industry, rewarding conference centres that have been outstanding. Applicants are judged across a wide range of criteria including excellence in facilities, innovation, food standards and service, calibre of event management team and customer care.  The Event Industry Awards Ceremony will be held in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel on Thursday, 21 June. NUI Galway will host over 50 conferences this year, welcoming over 10,000 delegates to campus. Since its establishment in 1845, NUI Galway is an iconic presence in the West of Ireland. Multi million capital development programmes has preserved the University’s most distinctive and appealing historic features while propelling the campus into the upper echelons of the international conference market.  Over 150 world-class conference rooms with  capacities ranging from  10 to 1,200 delegates,  15 café /restaurants seating over 1,500, campus accommodation for 760 delegates, state-of-the art IT facilities and a professional event team ensure successful conferences time and time again.   Ann Duggan, Conference Manager at NUI Galway, said, “I am delighted that NUI Galway has been shortlisted for this prestigious award. The recent development of the Bailey Allen Hall, the University’s main conference venue, with the capacity for 1,000 delegates theatre style and 500 banquet style provides a year round venue for conferences and has already hosted some prestigious national and international events which have brought significant economic benefit to the region. This nomination is a fitting recognition of the quality of all of our conference facilities.” -ends-

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Data Analysis Focus of NUI Galway Economics Conference

Monday, 11 June 2012

NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics is hosting an international conference on Applied Microeconometrics and Public Policy on Tuesday, 3 July. The conference programme will feature papers and presentations focusing on public policy topics in Environmental Economics, Rural Development and Agricultural Economics, Health Economics, and Mental Health, the Economics of Ageing, Inequality and Poverty, Migration and Demography, Welfare, Taxation and Pensions, Labor Economics and the Economics of Education. A selection of the highest quality papers submitted to the 2012 conference will be put forward for a special thematic edition of The Economic and Social Review. A selection of the highest quality papers submitted to the 2012 conference will be put forward for a special thematic edition of The Economic and Social Review to follow after the conference. The one-day conference will be followed by a three-day intensive international summer school in Discrete Choice Modeling, running from 4-6 July. The keynote speaker for the summer school is Professor William Greene of New York University. Professor Greene's work is at the forefront of knowledge in the field of quantitative techniques and applied microeconometrics. The broad range of techniques covered will include virtually all higher-end econometric methodologies in discrete choice modelling ranging from the fundamental model of binary choice to the Poisson regression models for count data. A number of applications from different areas of the professional literature to illustrate these techniques will be discussed. The course will teach econometrics from an applied perspective and demonstrate the techniques in the internationally used econometric software package LIMDEP, which Professor Greene authored.  It is widely acknowledged that NUI Galway provides the premier training programme in advanced econometrics in Ireland. The primary objective of these joint events is to bring together experts from around the world to provide intensive instruction on recent techniques in discrete choice modelling in specialist fields. Discrete choice models have become an essential tool for the analysis of individual choice behaviour and can be applied to choice problems in a wide variety of diverse fields. The conference will also facilitate the exchange of research results and practical experiences in the context of application. Emphasis will be on the relevancy of policy modelling for contemporary public policy questions. Speaking about the upcoming conference, Dr Mary Silles, conference organiser and Lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, said: “Econometrics is a powerful tool that can be utilised to study serious questions in public policy. This conference provides academic leadership in the application of sophisticated analytical techniques to quantitative research problems in all branches of economics relevant to public policy. It is a great opportunity for research students, academics and professionals to expand their econometrics skills and keep up-to-date with major recent developments in applied econometric modelling.” For details of the Applied Microeconometrics and Public Policy visit Further information on the intensive three day course is available at -ENDS-

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