All 2012

American Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship to Study at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Robin Tipps, a Sociology-Criminology student from the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study Public Law at NUI Galway next September. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship, awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance, funds one year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland to students who satisfy requirements for an Irish master's degree. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship honours the former U.S. senator's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and was established in 1999. This year 12 scholars representing a cross-section of American students have been awarded the scholarship on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service. Among their achievements, they count breaking the cryptic code of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, tutoring underserved children and improving the performance of biofuels. Robin, a member of the Quapaw Tribe, was raised in Ardmore, Oklahoma and will graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in sociology-criminology in 2013. He has been the Senior Vice-Chair of Investigations for his University’s Integrity Council and hopes to become a tribal attorney and the chairman of his tribe. His many service activities include work at the same-day surgery clinic at Norman Regional Hospital and as Collections Assistant at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The son of a Quapaw mother and a Caucasian father, Robin has thought a great deal about Native American identity. He grew up 300 miles from tribal headquarters, and the annual ritual of Pow Wow took on great meaning for him, as it was the time when he could connect most easily with his Native American heritage. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public law at NUI Galway, express her delight that Robin had chosen the Public Law programme, the second winner of a prestigious Mitchell scholarship to do so in three years. “Robin will be a very welcome addition to the class and I hope he will find the many opportunities presented to students on the programme to attend conferences and engage with public bodies beneficial to his future career.” -ENDS-

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New Adjunct Professorship Appointed to NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dr Patrick O’Brien, Group Director of Strategic Business and Marketing for Wood Group Kenny and a member of the Executive Management Team of MCS Kenny, has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. Dr O'Brien, a chartered engineer with close to 30 years industry experience, was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering degree, Master of Engineering Science and PhD by NUI Galway. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Dr O'Brien plays an active role in a number of industry bodies and he is a board member of Subsea UK. Throughout his career, Dr O’Brien has gained extensive experience primarily in the design of compliant pipeline systems that connect from the seafloor to an offshore oil and gas floating platform. One of his major achievements is the development of the engineering algorithms for the world leading Flexcom riser analysis software. He is the author of many technical papers and he has chaired numerous industry conferences on riser technology. His specialties include: flexible pipe technology, riser mechanics, riser design, nonlinear structural analysis, subsea industry knowledge, strategic and creative thinking, and business networking. NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has had ongoing research links with MCS Kenny since it was first founded as a campus spin-off in the 1980s. Currently Dr O’Brien is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Annette Harte and Adrian Connaire, PhD researcher, on a project which aims to greatly increase the efficiency of the current approaches to modeling the mechanical response of highly compliant marine risers. This new appointment will mark the beginning of a new phase in the relationship between the University, MCS Kenny and the Wood Group Kenny in the field of research and development in the offshore arena. Commenting on his appointment, Dr O'Brien said: “There has been a long tradition of collaboration between the University and MCS Kenny, and this appointment greatly strengthens that link. The company is currently working on two joint research projects with the engineering school, and we will look to build on that going forward. I am honoured to accept this position, particularly as NUI Galway is my alma mater, and I look forward to contributing ongoing lectures which bring my company's extensive experience of the offshore oil and gas industry to the engineering school's students, a timely input given recent announcements of the oil and gas potential offshore Ireland.” -ENDS-

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Minister Sherlock Announces €2.1 Million to Detect Ash Clouds and Improve Ash Dispersion and Density predictions

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sean Sherlock, Minister of State for Research and Innovation today (Wednesday) announced NUI Galway has secured funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) for a new ash cloud research project.  ESA has invested €2.1 million in an ash cloud detection and forecasting system led by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) and involving NUI Galway and the Irish Aviation Authority Irish Aviation Authority’s Volcanic Ash Detection and Forecasting Initiative. The funding was secured with the aid of Enterprise Ireland, which is the co-ordinating body for ESA in Ireland. The project, which uses satellites and forecast models to detect ash clouds and forecast their movements, came about following the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption, which resulted in more than 100,000 flights being cancelled, affecting 10 million passenger journeys during the first week of the eruption alone.  Announcing the investment, Minister Sherlock said; “The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 puts innovation and technology at the heart of enterprise and jobs policies and working with the European Space Agency is an integral part of driving innovation and research in Ireland.” “NUI Galway’s commitment to developing new environmental monitoring techniques is impressive. This is a significant win for NUI Galway and clearly indicates that Irish Research Institutes have the capability and expertise to significantly contribute to these pan European projects.” The Minister added 'Ireland's membership of the European Space Agency is having a direct and positive impact for the research and SME community. There are over 40 Irish companies that are active in ESA programmes. These companies, through their involvement with ESA Earth observation programmes, are also directly impacting on global threats such as climate change, ozone depletion, maritime surveillance, flooding and forest fires'. In addition to ash detection via satellite platforms, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), in collaboration with NUI Galway, is deploying an ash cloud detection network composed of four ground-based LIDARS (dust or haze RADARs) located strategically at north, south, east and west perimeters in Ireland. ESA have invested in NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Centre for Climate & Air Pollution studies to use the LIDAR data for ash detection. In total, ESA have invested €2.1 million in the Volcanic Ash Strategic-initiative Team (VAST). VAST is a consortium led by NILU and comprises teams from Finland, Austria and Ireland with NUI Galway being awarded €500,000 to further develop and evaluate their ash forecast model, to develop real-time ash detection software and techniques for the LIDAR network, and to conduct the validation of the detection and forecasting aspects of the project.  Professor Colin O’Dowd, the Director of the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies, based in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The VAST detection and forecasting system is especially designed to facilitate the aviation industry and represents a major technological step forward in combing space-borne and ground-based remote-sensing platforms with sophisticated ash forecasting models and will put Europe in poll position in terms of ash cloud detection and forecasting.” He went on to say “ESA’s investment in NUI Galway’s research and research support staff for the IAA’s LIDAR network is a reflection of how important ESA views the Irish contribution to ash cloud detection and prediction. The initiative will provide more accurate information to the aviation industry which is expected to result in reduced disruption of air travel as ‘fly’ or ‘no-fly’ decisions will be based on more accurate predictions of ash plume location and density.” Dr Barry Fennell of Enterprise Ireland and National Delegate to ESA’s Earth Observation Programme Board said “Ireland’s unique geographical position on the western fringes of Europe makes it an ideal and much sought after international partner when developing early detection environmental warning systems whether focused on the atmosphere, on land or on the marine environment.  Many more business opportunities for Irish Industry will become available over the coming years through increased availability and access to data collected in-situ and from Earth Observation satellites.”  “Ireland’s recent renewal of its membership to the ESA Earth Observation programme with a subscription of €5 million will secure the position of our SME’s, Academic and Public Sector institutes at the heart of the latest technological developments in this rapid advancing area of service development.” ENDS

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NUI Galway Launch New Postgraduate Programme in Rural Sustainability

Thursday, 20 December 2012

NUI Galway has officially launched a new Masters Programme in Rural Sustainability. The full-time, one year postgraduate programme is being co-ordinated by the Discipline of Geography within the School of Geography and Archaeology, and it already has a full complement of students in place for the first year of its operation. The MA in Rural Sustainability has been devised in response to increasing attention nationally and internationally on the role and function of rural economies and societies. NUI Galway holds a distinguished tradition of rural research and teaching. As a European university that is itself situated in a rural and peripheral location, it seeks to continue its leadership role in rural affairs through providing a postgraduate career path in rural studies. The programme was officially launched by Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc. This association with Teagasc, particularly with its own strong leadership in rural research, is an important component of the programme as it unites expertise in rural theory, research and practice, ultimately benefiting the student experience and future employability.     Speaking at the launch, Professor Boyle said: “I congratulate NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography on this timely and appropriate Postgraduate programme. The programme is a clear response in a positive and proactive way by Geographers in NUI Galway to calls emanating regionally, nationally and internationally, which place rural issues high on current political agendas.  This MA also allows for greater collaboration between NUI Galway and Teagasc and I am also delighted to announce, as part of this MA programme, the Teagasc sponsorship of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award.” The event also included the launch of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award for the best overall MA student performance. Sponsored by Teagasc, this award is valued at €3,000 per annum. The late Dr Commins was a leading academic and researcher in rural issues and had a long and distinguished career with Teagasc. His reputation as an expert on rural affairs extended well beyond Ireland, and his knowledge and experience was regarded as key to informing EU and wider international academic and policy debates. -ENDS-

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Global Mathematical Phenomenon at NUI Galway

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Professor Donal O’Regan of NUI Galway, who was honoured last year by being elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, has just written his 1,000th peer-reviewed mathematical article. He is now one of the most prolific authors in the history of Mathematics in the world. “The quality of his research is as impressive as the quantity”, says his colleague at NUI Galway, Professor Graham Ellis. “His publications appear in some of the world’s top ranking mathematics journals.” Professor O’Regan has been publishing an average of one mathematics paper per week and one mathematics book a year since he joined NUI Galway in 1990. “I’m not surprised Donal has managed to reach the millennium”, says Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics. "He might very well beat the record of Paul Erdös (1913-96) who wrote around 1,525 articles over a 60-year career. O’Regan is still a relative freshman with his 22 years of publishing.” “Donal is truly amazing”, says colleague and fellow mathematician Professor Michel Destrade. “His sheer output is unbelievable by any standard. He has also written twenty books. And he does it all on a 25 year old computer!” Over the 2002-2006 period, O’Regan authored an average of 56 articles per year according to MathSciNet, the most extensive database of mathematical works worldwide. To put this number in perspective, during that same period the whole Island of Ireland produced an average of 142 mathematical articles per year, according to the Forfás bibliometric report (Research Strengths in Ireland), putting his contribution at nearly 40% of the entire Irish output. “We are very privileged to have such a world-class academic on campus”, says Dr Ryan. “He is a one-man powerhouse.” -ends-

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