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Planning for Smart Cities and Regions of the Future Conference at NUI Galway
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Over 100 delegates attended a one-day conference on Planning for Smart Cities and Regions of the Future hosted by NUI Galway last week. The conference, opened by Galway City Mayor, Hildegard Naughton, focussed on describing advanced technologies and highlighting how they can be used to make informed decisions during planning and day-to-day living. Attendees at the conference comprised of a cross-section of interest groups including: public and private sector planners; decision makers; engineers; technology entrepreneurs; and owners of small and medium enterprises. Speakers included engineers, IT specialists, geographers, policy makers and industry specialists. Keynote speaker, Dr Emanuele Ragnoli from IBM, highlighted the worldwide growth of urbanisation and gave a preview of likely problems facing planners in the areas of traffic congestion, water security and energy security. He described how IBM's Smarter Cities research centre in Dublin is using advanced computer models to enable them to plan the cities of the future in a sustainable way. Presentations included talks on the use of computer models which could be used to advise bathers of water quality at Blackrock beach in Salthill through the use of electronic signage along the prom. Other discussions focused on models which could be used operationally to forecast coastal flooding events and help with emergency response planning. A presentation by NUI Galway’s Dr Jim Duggan described how computer modelling can be applied to human habitation behaviour illustrating how a city can plan for social integration during periods of increased growth and diversity. Chaired by Professor Gerry Lyons, NUI Galway’s Dean College of Engineering and Informatics, the aim of the conference was to stimulate debate on the future of our region and how technology and infrastructure will help shape the future. Dr Mike Hartnett, Vice-Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics and one of the conference organisers, said: “The conference has shown the depth of expertise that exists between NUI Galway and the local community in the area of sustainable and efficient planning of our region and of Galway City. It is likely that over the next 20 years or so Galway City will expand relatively fast. It is our intention to increase our activities in the area of sustainable planning and development. We are keen to develop greater links between the regional partners and NUI Galway to improve the quality of life for the people living in this region.” -ENDS-
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The Written Word Focus of Tenth Galway Symposium on Higher Education
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
The tenth Galway Symposium on Higher Education will take place at NUI Galway from 7-8 June in Áras Moyola. The two day symposium, entitled The Written Word: Writing, Publishing and Communication in Higher Education, will be comprised of papers, short presentations, workshops, panel discussions and posters. Essays, reports, papers, books, journals, and even blogs are all at the heart of higher education, and the ability to write clearly and intelligently is deemed a hallmark of a successful graduate. For those working in academia, the need to publish journal papers, monographs and other emerging media forms is vital, with performance metrics based on output and citations. To navigate the complex world of the ‘information age’, powers of discrimination and judgement are essential to the enterprise of sense-making. Academics increasingly need to be able to communicate with a wider audience, to reach out and share their passion and expertise with the public and engage with debate and critique in educational, scientific, cultural and political spheres. The focus of the symposium will be on nurturing the skills of writing amongst students and fine-tuning our own approaches and adapt to new media and new audiences. Questions such as what can we do to challenge the increasing costs of publication, journal subscription charges and the ‘paywalls’ that block access to knowledge, and how can we weave together the skills of communication, critical thinking and public engagement, will also be discussed. Keynote speakers will include: Professor Adrian Frazier, NUI Galway; Dr Brian Hughes,Senior Lecturer in Psychology, NUI Galway; Catherine Cronin, Academic Coordinator on eLearning programmes at NUI Galway, and advocate of social and digital media for learning; Dr Adam Rutherford, writer and broadcaster; William St. Clair, Senior Research Fellow, Universities of London, Cambridge and Harvard, and Chairman of Open Book Publishers; Dr Mary R. Lea, Reader at the Institute of Educational Technology and researcher on academic literacies, Open University; andDr Aileen Fyfe, University of St. Andrews and author of Steam-Powered Knowledge. Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of CELT said: “It is vital that graduates have high levels of writing skills, and the ability to share, critique and communicate knowledge and ideas to a wide range of potential audiences is at the heart of higher education.” Registration for the event is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/conference/conference12.html -ENDS-
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Largest Quilt Festival in the History of Ireland
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
On the weekend of June 8-10, the largest group of quilts ever to be assembled in the history of Ireland will be on display on the campus of NUI Galway, as the first annual International Quilt Festival of Ireland creates a “Quilter’s Village” atmosphere and welcomes thousands of international visitors to Ireland. Over two hundred and eighty quilts will be on display at NUI Galway, in addition to Irish craft workshops, quilt classes, entertainment and activities being offered throughout the weekend. A silent auction will be held each day during the weekend, benefiting the ISPCC, Console and NBCRI. Also the Make a Wish Foundation will receive €1 per wish that is written and placed on the ‘Giving Tree’ in the exhibit My Quilted Garden. Award winning set designer and artists Dara McGee and Daniel O’Sullivan have even constructed a façade to be placed in front of some of the University buildings to create a replica of a 17th century Irish village. According to managing director of the festival, Jim West, this Disneyland atmosphere of the Quilter’s Village will impress everyone who comes to enjoy the ground-breaking endeavour: “We are inviting everyone who lives in Ireland to come to NUI Galway to see this extraordinary event, and families especially are invited on Sunday, June 10th, where we will offer free admission to children and providing all kinds of craft activities and workshops for everyone to enjoy! It is history in the making, and is something that has never been seen or done before inIreland.” For more information on the quilt festival visit www.IQFOI.com NUI Galway Conference Centre, set in 230 acres of picturesque grounds, offers the very best that the Ireland has to offer event organisers with a stunning and varied range of facilities and amenities available. ENDS
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New Book by Professor Pat Finnegan Launched at NUI Galway
Friday, 18 May 2012
NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, officially launched The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 by Pat Finnegan last night (Thursday, 17 June). Pat Finnegan is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at NUI Galway and a retired consultant physician, University Hospital Galway. Published by Four Courts Press, The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85examines the wrongful conviction of Patrick Finnegan and RIC Constable Michael Muldowney. At the height of the Land War in 1881, a dispute over land led to the shooting dead of a young man called Peter Doherty near Craughwell, Co. Galway. Intense police investigations discovered two informers whose perjured testimony before packed juries resulted in the conviction of two innocent men, Patrick Finnegan and Constable Muldowney. This book features a forensic analysis of the trials that resulted in such a grave miscarriage of justice. Original research in primary sources has uncovered the role of informers, payments made to them and their eventual ‘disposal’ by the Dublin Castle authorities. Following commutation of the death sentences, each of the prisoners served a term of twenty years penal servitude and became known as the ‘Craughwell prisoners’. The experiences of the prisoners in Mountjoy and Maryborough jails are revealed from the prison files, which also contain their heartfelt pleas for release and pardon and affirmations of their innocence. The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 is available to purchase at the NUI Galway Bookstore or at www.fourcourtspress.ie. -ENDS-
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Innovation Opportunities to drive the Irish Med Tech Market at Inaugural BioInnovate Symposium in NUI Galway
Monday, 21 May 2012
Plans for a new device to help interventional radiologists improve vessel embolisation was one of 40 ’unmet clinical needs’ discussed at a biomedical symposium at NUI Galway today. Colin Forde, Product Development Engineer and Wayne Allen, Business Development Manager, 2011 BioInnovate Ireland Fellows, plan to commercialise a new medical technology designed to permanently close blood vessels, targeted at an existing surgical procedure termed embolisation. The idea for their technology was developed while observing surgery in St James Hospital and University Hospital Galway; where it was noticed that multiple devices were required to close the vessel, which was time intensive, costly and posed risk. Colin and Wayne plan to commercialise a one-shot device that will immediately occlude any vessel. Launched last year, BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training and collaboration programme in medical device innovation. It is modelled on Stanford University’s prestigious Biodesign Programme. These top 40 'unmet clinical needs' have been processed by the first cohort of BioInnovate fellows, who have participated in an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout a 10-month period, they have availed of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with national and international clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation. The BioInnovate Ireland Symposium heard a keynote address by Stanford University’s Professor Jack Linehan, a leading expert in the US on innovation and the biomedical sector. In his address Professor Linehan said: “BioInnovate is already serving as an effective connector between universities (faculty and students) and indigenous and global medical device companies in Ireland. Universities are neutral grounds for business, clinical and academic players to meet and share ideas. I fully expect these connections to grow and flourish following in the steps of the successful Stanford Biodesign programme.” Ireland’s medical technology sector has evolved into one of the leading clusters for medical device and diagnostic products globally. The sector employs more than 25,000 people, which makes the country, per capita, the biggest medical technology employer in European Union. With exports of €7.3 billion in 2011, Ireland is now confirmed among the largest exporters of medical technology products in Europe. 11 of the world's top 13 manufacturing companies manufacturing here, the medical device and diagnostic industry in Ireland is a vibrant growth sector and a cornerstone of the Irish economy. The sector consists of 250 companies involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing a diverse range of products and services; from disposable plastic and wound care products to precision metal implants including pacemakers to micro-electronic devices, orthopaedic implants, diagnostics, contact lenses and stents. Approximately 50% of these companies are indigenous. According to Sharon Higgins, Director, IMDA: “Ireland is centrally placed to capitalise on the growing global market for medical technology products and services. We see BioInnovate Ireland as a critical mechanism in continuing to develop and integrate the broad range of strategic competencies and support systems that will enable this island to compete as a mature, high value added economy, with innovation at its core.” The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme is delivered by a consortium of four Higher Education Institutions which include NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Dublin City University and University College Cork. This initiative has received funding and support from Enterprise Ireland and several key medical device players including: Medtronic, Creganna-Tactx Medical, Lake Region Medical, Boston Scientific and SteriPack. Speaking about the programme, the Fellowship Director, NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, said: “BioInnovate Ireland has successfully brought together industry, academic and clinical leaders to support a training environment for innovation in the medical device sector. Through this network and with the support of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Medical Device Association and BioInnovate industry sponsors, a platform has been established that enables the next generation of medical device leaders to emerge. BioInnovate has captured the imagination of industry, clinicians and academics in believing that through collaboration, Ireland has an immense opportunity to emerge as a global place of choice for medical technology start-ups.” -ends-