All 2012

RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke Presents Journalism Awards at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

RTÉ news broadcaster Seán O’Rourke presented two awards to NUI Galway journalism graduates at the University today (Tuesday, 17 April) in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. The Fifth Annual Donna Ferguson Memorial Award and the Connacht Tribune Medal were presented to the top achieving students in the MA Journalism class of 2011. Carla O’Brien received the Donna Ferguson Award for achieving the highest mark in the broadcasting module of the MA programme. The Connacht Tribune Medal was presented to Lisa Jackson who achieved the highest overall mark in the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway. Donna Ferguson was posthumously conferred with an MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, following her untimely death in a car accident in December 2006. The Donna Ferguson Memorial Award was initiated by her family and community in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, and commemorates Donna’s achievements while she was a student on the journalism programme in 2006. The Connacht Tribune Medal is an important recognition of student achievement at NUI Galway from one of Ireland’s premier regional newspapers. Its award will have a special poignancy this year as the paper’s former editor, John Cunningham, who was closely involved with the University’s MA in Journalism, passed away just recently.Seán O’Rourke graduated from what was then UCG in 1977 with a BA in English, History and Legal Science. Seán was awarded the 2006 NUI Galway Alumni AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts, and is the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club. Seán was also conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 2011 by NUI Galway.He first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features. He was Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week. Since 1995, Seán has been presenter of the News at One. In 2003, Seán began presenting The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. Carla O’Brien is a native of Caledon, Co. Tyrone, and is now presenting and reporting for RTÉ news2day – a news programme for younger viewers.  Carla graduated from the MA in Journalism with first class honours. Lisa Jackson is from Ballina, Co. Mayo and studied Law in NUI Galway from 2001 to 2004. She also graduated with first class honours from the MA in Journalism and now works as a publishing assistant with publishing house Liberties Press in Dublin. Commenting on the awards, Dr John Kenny, Acting Director of the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, said: “At a time when journalism is rapidly transforming, these awards are a testimony to the commitment and energy our students can bring to the profession. Their achievements since graduating further underline how important new skills and training are in meeting the challenge of change.” Ends

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Launch of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey 2010

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health has launched the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey 2010. The HBSC is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The survey runs every four years and in 2010 there were 43 participating countries and regions. The 2010 Irish HBSC survey, carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is the fourth round of data collection. The study aims to increase our understanding of young people’s health and well-being, health behaviours and their social context.   A total of 16,060 children aged 9-18 from 256 schools across Ireland participated in the survey. Overall, 67% of invited schools and 85% of invited children participated.   In welcoming the report, Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly stated: “While I am encouraged by the reduction in smoking, alcohol and drug use and a decrease in injuries among school going children, much remains to be done. I am, however, very concerned at the statistics around exercise and physical activity and the number of children who still remain hungry either going to school or going to bed at night. I will be in discussion with my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald in relation to further examination of this and actions requires to address same.”   Commenting on the findings, Dr Colette Kelly of the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “This report brings some good news about the health behaviours of children in Ireland with a decrease in smoking and alcohol use for example. Yet still more needs to be done to improve their health, in particular around nutrition and physical activity. Importantly, the majority of children in Ireland report to having high life satisfaction and being happy, a fundamental aspect of childhood, that we need to ensure continues.”   Food and Dietary Behaviour   Food consumption Overall, 20% of children report that they consume fruit more than once a day (19% in 2006) and 20% report eating vegetables more than once a day (18% in 2006). The proportion of children who report eating sweets daily or more often (37% in 2010 vs. 39% in 2006), and who report soft drink consumption daily or more often (21% in 2010 vs. 26% in 2006) have decreased from 2006.   Food behaviours Reports of never having breakfast on weekdays have not changed from 2006 (13% in 2010 vs. 14% in 2006). Children were asked to report how often they go to school or to bed hungry because there was not enough food at home. Overall, 21% of children report ever going to school or to bed hungry, an increase from 2006 (17%).   Exercise and physical activity There has been little change in reported frequency of exercise, physical activity and inactivity in HBSC 2010. Overall 51% of children report exercising four or more times a week.   General Findings   General Health The proportion of children who report excellent health (33%), feeling very happy (50%) and high life satisfaction (76%) remains stable from HBSC 2006.   Sexual Behaviour Overall, 27% of 15-17 year olds report that they have ever had sex. Of those who report ever having had sex, 93% report using a condom the last time they had sex and 59% report that they had used the birth control pill.   Substance use Overall, there is a decrease from 2006 in reports of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use among school children in Ireland.   ENDS

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NUI Galway Societies Excel at National Awards

Thursday, 19 April 2012

NUI Galway’s societies have been awarded four national awards at the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards held recently in Enfield. Over 300 students from 17 third-level colleges from across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of students. Presentations were made to 16 award winners, from nine different categories. NUI Galway were awarded more prizes than any other college in attendance. The Feminist Society at NUI Galway was awarded the best Civic Contribution for their outstanding work in highlighting violence against women. The award for Best Society Individual was won by NUI Galway student, Lily McGarry from Whitechurch, Co. Dublin, for her dedication as conductor to the Choral society and her all round volunteering spirit. Lily this year has also won an NUI Galway Performance Bursary to attend a choral conducting summer school.   Best Society Fresher in Ireland went to Christopher Moran, a first year BA Connect Theatre and Performance student from Arklow, Co. Wicklow, for his contribution to NUI Galway’s Dramsoc, Musical Society and the Writers Society. Christopher has been involved in numerous productions during the year and was also very involved in promoting creative writing on campus. NUI Galway's final award of the evening was the Best Poster, which was presented to Dramsoc for their poster for the Hamlet production. The poster was designed by Matt Burke from Galway City. Since BICS was formed in 1999, NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 30 trophies. According to NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Executive member, Riona Hughes: “The two-day event was a major success and it was all about celebration. All of the societies who attended had achieved a very high standard in their own institutions and the judges were very impressed with all the nominees. The BICS Awards are the highlight of the Societies calendar and afford them a fantastic opportunity to network and share ideas, we expect great things from them all again next year.  The enthusiasm, talent, generosity and vision of all the students present augur well for the future of our country.” Full details of the BICS Awards is available at ENDS

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First PhD in Studio Art to be awarded at Burren College of Art Conferring

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Burren College of Art today (Wednesday, 18 April) reached a milestone in its development with the first conferring of a PhD in Studio Art by NUI Galway.  The recipient, Eileen Hutton, produced a body of work entitled ‘Being In the Land: A Sculptural Investigation of Ecology’ comprised of an exhibition of art work, supported by written material critically reviewing the field of enquiry and the process of the research project. The awarding of the first PhD in Studio Art at Burren College of Art is not only a significant achievement for the recipient Eileen Hutton, but also for the college itself.  The location of the college has been integral to the focus of Eileen’s work, investigating reciprocal relationships between artists and the natural environment.  Her sculptural collaborations with the blue tits and honeybees in the Burren has not only strengthened their natural habitats but has provided valuable insight into the positive ways environmental art can impact on its surroundings.  President of the Burren College of Art, Mary Hawkes Greene said: “We are delighted that the first PhD studies conducted at the College have focused so specifically and benefitted immeasurably from the Burren itself, the very reason for the college’s existence.  The conferring of this award by the NUI Galway, underlines the academic rigour pursued at the College and further strengthens the important ties between these two academic institutions.” The PhD in Studio Art is one example of the so-called “practice-based” doctorates that began to emerge in art schools and university art departments twenty years ago.  They began in the UK, where Burren College of Art’s Dean was a pioneer.  All PhD projects lead to the development of new knowledge or a significant contribution to understanding in a particular subject, resulting from a process of enquiry, and in the case of Art this is achieved through studio-based creative process.  The significance of these PhDs for the larger world of higher education is that they require artists to develop an explicit rationale for their creativity and thereby dispel the mystique that often surrounds creative process. This clarity about creativity can enable the transfer of knowledge from art to PhD students in other disciplines.  Burren College of Art now provides courses in “creative difference” to PhD students at NUI Galway in disciplines ranging from Biochemistry to Law and Mathematics, as well as to the Executive MBA of the University.  At Burren College of Art PhDs are examined on the basis of the exhibition of a body of art work, supported by written material critically reviewing the field of enquiry and the process of the research project. In this respect the Burren PhD differs from many UK PhDs in prioritising the art over the text, a model that is fast gaining ground acrossEurope. Also receiving their degrees from NUI Galway in today’s ceremony were Master of Fine Art students Angelalynn Dunlop, Arianna Garcia Fialdini and Haynes Goodsell, while Andrew Nielsen receives his Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art. ENDS

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Three Talented Young Scientific Researchers from NUI Galway Part of Government’s €12.3 million announcement

Friday, 20 April 2012

In a further drive to progress Ireland’s science research agenda, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Séan Sherlock TD, has today announced Government funding of €12.3 million for early-career scientific researchers to carry out pioneering work in Ireland. Administered through the Government’s science agency, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the ‘Starting Investigator Research Grant’ (SIRG) programme will support a total of 22 researchers, with three of those based at NUI Galway. Each SIRG award also encompasses funding for a postgraduate student who will provide an additional layer of support and facilitation towards excellence. The three award winners from NUI Galway are: Dr Manus Biggs works with NUI Galway’s Network for Functional Biomaterials, which pioneers new technologies to deliver therapeutic genes and other biomolecules to target specific sites within the body. His research focuses on engineering neuroelectrodes for deep brain stimulation through biomimetic conducting polymers.   Dr Cindy Smith works with NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, which advances environmental, marine and energy research. Her research focuses on the molecular microbial ecology of ammonia oxidation in coastal bay sediments.   Dr Martin O’Halloran is a postdoctoral researcher and adjunct lecturer with Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. His research work involves microwave imaging for the detection and classification of early-stage breast cancer.   Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, praised the three award winners: “All three are strong examples of the innovative thinking our researchers are applying to science, to overcome real world scientific challenges. From tackling breast cancer with electronic engineering, to improving brain function using biomaterials, to better understanding our planet through by analyzing tiny microbes, Cindy, Manus and Martin are pushing the frontiers of science.”   Announcing the investment, Minister Sherlock said: “We are determined as a Government to ensure that the very best young scientific talent is given compelling reasons to either stay in Ireland or come from abroad and conduct research here. The SIRG Programme provides an opportunity for researchers at a pivotal juncture in their careers to propel themselves to the next level and realise their potential in their respective fields.”   The Minister added: ‘This round of SIRG awards marks the first co-funding arrangement with the international Marie Curie COFUND scheme, which aims to expand national research programmes and encourage greater transnational mobility. Such a partnership exemplifies the increasingly collaborative and international nature of research activity in Ireland today.”   Welcoming Minister Sherlock’s announcement, Dr Stephen Simpson, Director of Life Sciences at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SIRG programme illustrates a strong and sustained commitment to nurturing the leading researchers of tomorrow. A dedicated ‘early intervention’ scheme such as this helps to pave the way for growing Irish-based, world-class research groups and progression towards commercialisation of ideas at a later stage in the researchers’ careers.” -ends-

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