All 2012

NUI Galway Celebrates the Dramatic Arts with Third Annual Theatre Week

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Theatrical forces will once again merge on campus for NUI Galway's Theatre Week. Celebrating NUI Galway’s commitment to the dramatic arts, Theatre Week will run from Monday, 27 February until Friday, 2 March. Now in its third year, the event showcases through theatre, literature and film, the many talents of NUI Galway students, societies and alumni. The launch of Theatre Week will take place in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn at 12.30pm on Monday, 27 February.One of the highlights of the week is the Jerome Hynes One Act play series which features eight new one-act plays written by NUI Galway students. The plays will be performed during lunchtimes and evenings in The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn. All eight can be seen at the Omnibus Edition on Friday, 2 March from 6pm, followed by an awards ceremony. Three student playwrights have also been working closely with NUI Galway’s radio station, Flirt FM which will broadcast these three radio plays during the week.Throughout the week, Dramsoc will present two plays, Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, proceeds in aid of the Galway Rape crisis centre, and a production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Many of NUI Galway’s societies are getting involved in Theatre Week, including the Philosophy Society who will present a reading of Plato’s Republic, a philosophical discussion of justice written over 2,000 years ago. There will also be a politically motivated Flash Mob wedding party on campus celebrating an unholy union. On Tuesday, 28 February, the Music and RockSoc will present a night of music performance at the Witless Showcase in the College Bar. FilmSoc will also present a selection of films based on a theatrical theme throughout the week.Continuing its commitment to the arts, NUI Galway recently launched a new four-year degree programme, BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, which is designed for students with a keen interest in all aspects of drama and performance. Students on this new programme will have the opportunity to benefit from the dynamic partnerships forged by NUI Galway with key arts organisations including Druid Theatre Company, the Galway Arts Festival and Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. The first intake of students for the new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies will be in September 2012. Applications will be accepted via the CAO process, on which the new course code is GY118.Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer and Theatre Week Director, said: “Theatre Week in NUI Galway is a collaboration between the Societies and very talented drama students to show case the University's vibrant drama scene on campus and a demonstration of NUI Galway's commitment to producing professional dramatists of the future and supporting the tradition of high quality theatre of which Galway is justifiably proud.”For full details on the programme of events visit or Tickets for all events are available from the Socsbox in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway.-Ends-

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New Platform to Gather Views on EU Policy

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Researchers at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway are leading a European Union, multi-million euro initiative aimed at government transparency and giving citizens a voice in creating policies.The project, entitled ‘Puzzled by Policy’, has now launched as an online platform, with the focus on immigration in the EU. The website is customised for Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain, profiling users based on national and European immigration policy.The Puzzled by Policy platform allows users to graphically compare their views on immigration with national and EU immigration policies, as well as with the opinions of relevant stakeholders. Users are then encouraged to join discussions on particular aspects of immigration policy they feel strongly about.The platform is also available in English and discussions can be automatically translated into any language. To ensure accessibility to all users, the Puzzled by Policy widget can be embedded on any social media site, blog or website.The Puzzled by Policy project aims to help end the detachment and disillusionment of citizens in the policy making process of the EU by improving information resources and tools.Current ways of informing citizens and allowing them to participate can be difficult to access, time consuming to use and yield little results. Experts at DERI are deveoping IT tools to acquire, share, reuse and process vast amounts of relevant data from multiple and divergent information sources.DERI’s Deirdre Lee, who is leading the Puzzled by Policy Project, comments:“ DERI is providing the models, technologies and tools for more effective and efficient public administration systems. This is all part of a larger move toward eGovernment, which embraces the world wide web for better governence. eGovernment offers the ability to transform not only the way in which most public services are delivered but also the fundamental relationship between government and citizen.”With over 140 researchers, DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, established as a CSET in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland.Its researchers have a specific focus on the Semantic Web and Networked Knowledge, which provides the framework to link information in a way that allows us to use, analyse and retrieve this information more efficiently.-ends-

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Older Women Lose out in Pension Provision

Friday, 24 February 2012

New research looks at older women workers’ access to pensions Fewer than one in three female pensioners in Ireland receive the maximum contributory pension and two-thirds rely on the non-contributory pension, leaving many women disadvantaged in later life, says a new report today. The report Older Women Workers’ Access to Pensions: Vulnerabilities, Perspectives and Strategies was written by Dr Nata Duvvury, Dr Áine Ní Léime and Aoife Callan of NUI Galway, and Dr Linda Price and Mark Simpson of Queens University Belfast, with funding from the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI). The research highlights the issue of gender inequality in pension provision in Ireland, north and south. It underlines the vulnerability of older women and examines the factors that contribute to lower pension incomes among women, including level of labour force participation and time spent caring for dependants. The report also looks at strategies used by older women and finds many depend on partners’ or husbands’ incomes for a secure future, even though they may well outlive them as women tend to have longer life expectancies. Inez McCormack, who was the first female president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, will officially launch the report at the National University of Ireland Offices in Merrion Square today: “This report comes at a crucial time in light of the changes to pensions recently announced in the Republic of Ireland[i] and Northern Ireland. It makes the issue of women and pensions visible – a crucial step towards the state living up to its obligation to protect the most vulnerable with regard to social security, which is a human right.” Key findings: Older women workers experience limited access to pensions because of low pay, poor conditions of work and their primary role in caring. Women account for only 27% of those receiving the maximum contributory pension. Women are likely to be involved in non-pensionable employment and/or in seasonal, part-time and short-term contracts, making it difficult for them to contribute regularly to pensions. Reliance on partners’ income is common, but is a risky strategy in the event of separation, divorce, widowhood, illness or redundancy. The economic crisis, with the imposition of the government levies and charges, has further reduced women’s ability to pay into pensions. Typically, women were not aware of the importance of personal pension provision until quite late in life or in situations of change such as husband’s job loss or family disruption. For some women who could afford to contribute to private pensions, the failure of the banking system resulted in significant losses to the value of their pension funds. Dr Nata Duvvury, co-Director of the Global Women’s Studies Programme at NUI Galway, one of the lead investigators of the report commented: “Women are often the holders of low pay and part-time jobs which will dramatically affect their ability to build pensions. With the economic crisis, this particular group in society is being put under even more financial pressure and the long-term result looks set to be financial insecurity in older age.” Roger O’Sullivan, Director of CARDI, said: “Gender inequality in pension incomes is an important issue affecting many tens of thousands of older people in Ireland, north and south – and the number of women aged 65+ will rise by more than half a million in the next 30 years. This research underlines the gender gaps in the pension systems in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and makes an important contribution to understanding how such gaps might be closed by policy makers to ensure all older people can enjoy a secure and healthy old age.” Dr Áine Ní Léime, co-principal investigator at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, commented: “While pension policy in Ireland, north and south, has begun to address some of the obstacles to women’s access to pensions, there is a clear need for a coherent approach across the policy areas of employment, taxation and social welfare, as well as pensions to ensure that women have an adequate income in later life.” Dr Linda Price, Lecturer in Spatial Planning, who led the research at Queen’s University, Belfast commented: “The life course approach taken in the research has led to an appreciation of the continuing impact of gender relations, caring responsibilities and fragmented and often low-paid employment on women’s ability to retire in our society in an era when popular conceptions are that gender equality has been achieved.” -ends-

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50 Years in the Making - President Higgins Returns to Alma Mater to Launch Autism Centre

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway to be launched by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, 50 years after he enrolled as a mature student President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins will make his first official visit to NUI Galway to launch its new Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research on Friday, 24 February, 2012. The visit takes place 50 years after he was initially enrolled as a mature student at the University. The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) is dedicated to ensuring improvements for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families not only through scientific research but also through education and providing services to the community. Co-funded by Galway University Foundation, the Centre is the first centre of its kind outside North America that uses an integrated approach to the delivery of postgraduate education, research and the delivery of autism support services. NUI Galway’s Dr Geraldine Leader is the Director of ICAN: “A diagnosis of autism can have a devastating effect on a family. The lack of autism services in Ireland places an enormous burden on parents. Yet parents and families are the true advocates for those diagnosed. Our Centre aims to support families by training highly-skilled practitioners in the management and care of persons with ASD, conduct research that will provide practical solutions for parents and by providing support services for families.” Dr Leader added: “Neurological disorders such as autism affect individuals and their families across the life span. Our centre aims to target many of these challenges by conducting research into social and communicative deficits, adaptive behaviour needs, restricted interests and repetitive/challenging behaviours.” Autism is a complex disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, form friendships and relate to the outside world.  It is characterised by restrictive and sometimes repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests and activities.  It may also be accompanied by behaviour problems.  The prevalence of autism is on the rise.  In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism.  Among boys the incidence is 1 in 70.  Although there are no comparable studies on autism in Ireland, it is believed the prevalence is similar to that found in the US.  Ita Fitzgibbon, is the parent of a 12 year old son with autism and Chairperson of Abalta Special School Galway, said: “Abalta has a very strong relationship with the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis in NUI Galway, providing placements to many students on the programme, each year. Our school has seen the benefits of receiving the very best expertise first hand and the impact it has had on the lives of our students and their families. There is a lack of understanding of autism in Ireland and it is only through research that we can hope to generate a greater awareness of this condition. The opening of ICAN at NUI Galway will bring leading international experts together to use their knowledge, insight and research to enhance the lives of those affected and touched by autism in Ireland. This centre will help those diagnosed with autism in Ireland to reach their potential and achieve their goals.” ICAN offers both an MSc and PhD programme in Applied Behaviour Analysis at NUI Galway. These programmes are preparing students to become highly skilled practitioners in the care and management of ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions.  Students are making an important contribution to services as they are placed in either Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention programmes that are home and school based, ASD Units within mainstream schools, special schools and adults services. Neurological disorders such as Autism affect individuals and their families across the life span.  Our centre aims to target many of these challenges by conducting research into social and communicative deficits, adaptive behaviour needs, restricted interests and repetitive/challenging behaviours. A major international conference recently hosted by NUI Galway, Autism Speaks and the American Ireland Fund, highlighted new technologies and practical strategies for managing challenges faced in schools for helping children on the autism spectrum. Key international experts in the field discussed treatment of associated medical conditions and presented the latest research on early signs of autism and the use of medication for people on the autism spectrum. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said the establishment of this new centre highlights NUI Galway’s commitment to autism research and underscores the translational dimension of the University’s work.   He said, “This Centre will be a landmark for those concerned with ASD.  Students will benefit from research-led teaching at a centre which is affiliated with the best international centres in this field.  The Centre’s outreach programme will ensure that the latest research and educational strategies will reach those families living with ASD. I believe that the launch of this Centre by President Higgins will be an important landmark for families affected by autism.”   ENDS For further information visit 50 bliain ag teacht – Filleann an tUachtarán Ó hUiginn chuig a Alma Mater chun Ionad Uathachais a sheoladh Seolfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn an tIonad Éireannach um Thaighde ar Uathachas agus ar Néar-Fhorbraíocht in OÉ Gaillimh, 50 bliain i ndiaidh dó féin clárú mar mhac léinn lánfhásta. Tabharfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, a chéad chuairt oifigiúil ar OÉ Gaillimh chun an tIonad nua Éireannach um Thaighde ar Uathachas agus ar Néar-Fhorbraíocht a sheoladh Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra 2012. Tagann an chuairt seo 50 bliain i ndiaidh dó féin clárú den chéad uair mar mhac léinn lánfhásta san Ollscoil. Tá an tIonad nua Éireannach um Thaighde ar Uathachas agus ar Néar-Fhorbraíocht (ICAN) tiomanta feabhsúcháin a chinntiú do dhaoine aonair a bhfuil neamhord ar speictream an uathachais (ASD) ag gabháil dóibh agus cúnamh a thabhairt dá dteaghlaigh. Déanfar é seo ní hamháin trí thaighde eolaíoch ach trí oideachas agus trí sheirbhísí sa phobal a chur ar fáil. Tá an tIonad á chómhaoiniú ag Fondúireacht na hOllscoile, agus is é an chéad ionad dá leithéid é taobh amuigh de Mheiriceá Thuaidh a úsáideann cur chuige comhtháite maidir le hoideachas iarchéime, taighde agus seirbhísí tacaíochta uathachais a sholáthar.  Deir an Dr Geraldine Leader, comhalta foirne in OÉ Gaillimh agus Stiúrthóir ICAN:  “Nuair a fhaigheann teaghlach amach go bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil do dhuine acu is féidir leis tionchar uafásach a bheith aige orthu. Cuireann an easpa seirbhísí uathachais atá ar fáil in Éirinn ualach mór millteach ar thuismitheoirí. Ach is tuismitheoirí agus teaghlaigh a sheasann an fód dóibh siúd le huathachas. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an Ionad seo tacú le teaghlaigh trí oiliúint a chur ar chleachtóirí a bhfuil ardscileanna acu maidir le daoine le ASD a bhainistiú agus aire a thabhairt dóibh. Tabharfar tacaíocht do theaghlaigh freisin trí thaighde a dhéanamh a thabharfaidh freagraí praiticiúla do thuismitheoirí agus trí sheirbhísí tacaíochta a chur ar fáil do theaghlaigh.” Chomh maith leis sin dúirt an Dr Leader: “Bíonn tionchar ag neamhoird néareolaíocha cosúil le huathachas ar dhaoine aonair agus ar a dteaghlaigh i rith a saoil. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an ionad seo díriú ar go leor de na dúshláin seo trí thaighde a dhéanamh ar easnaimh shóisialta agus chumarsáide, riachtanais iompraíochta oiriúnaitheacha, leasanna srianta agus iompraíochtaí athchleachtacha/dúshlánacha.” Is neamhord casta é an t-uathachas a chuireann bac ar chumas duine cumarsáid a dhéanamh, cairde a dhéanamh agus tuiscint a bheith aige ar an domhan mórthimpeall. Bíonn pátrúin shrianta agus uaireanta athchleachtacha iompraíochta, leasanna agus gníomhaíochtaí i gceist le huathachas. Is féidir go mbeadh fadhbanna iompraíochta i gceist chomh maith. Tá forleithne uathachais ag méadú. Sna Stáit Aontaithe, measann na hIonaid um Ghalar a Rialú go mbeidh páiste amháin as gach 110 páiste diagnóisithe le huathachas. I measc buachaillí, is buachaill amháin as gach 70 buachaill a bheidh diagnóisithe le huathachas. Cé nach bhfuil aon staidéar comparáideach ar uathachas in Éirinn, creidtear go mbeidh na figiúirí mórán mar a chéile is atá sna Stáit Aontaithe. Dúirt Ita Fitzgibbon, a bhfuil mac 12 bhliain d’aois aici a bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil dó agus atá ina Cathaoirleach ar Scoil Speisialta Ábalta, Gaillimh: “Tá caidreamh thar a bheith láidir ag Ábalta leis an gclár MSc in Anailís Iompraíochta Fheidhmeach in OÉ Gaillimh, agus tagann mic léinn ar shocrúchán oibre chugainn gach bliain. Feiceann scoil sin againne na buntáistí a bhaineann leis an saineolas is fearr a fháil ar an láthair agus an tionchar a bhíonn aige sin ar ár scoláirí agus a dteaghlaigh. Tá easpa tuisceana ar an uathachas in Éirinn agus caithfear taighde a dhéanamh ionas go mbeidh feasacht níos leithne ag daoine. Le hoscailt ICAN in OÉ Gaillimh tabharfar saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta le chéile chun a n-eolas, a léargas agus a dtaighde a úsáid chun feabhas a chur ar an saol dóibh siúd a bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil dóibh in Éirinn. Cabhróidh an tIonad seo leo siúd a bhfuil uathachas ag gabháil dóibh in Éirinn a bpoitéinseal agus a spriocanna a bhaint amach.” Cuireann ICAN clár MSc agus clár PhD in Anailís Iompraíochta Fheidhmeach ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá na cláir seo ag cur oiliúna ar mhic léinn go mbeidh siad ina gcleachtóirí ardoilte i gcúram agus i mbainistiú ASD agus riochtaí néarfhorbartha lena mbaineann.  Tá mic léinn ag cur go mór le seirbhísí mar go mbíonn siad ag obair ar chláir Luathdhian-Idirghabhála Iompraíochta atá bunaithe sa bhaile nó sa scoil, nó in Ionaid ASD laistigh de scoileanna príomhshrutha, scoileanna speisialta agus seirbhísí d’aosaigh. Bíonn tionchar ag neamhoird néareolaíocha cosúil le huathachas ar dhaoine aonair agus ar a dteaghlaigh i rith a saoil.  Tá sé mar aidhm ag an ionad seo díriú ar go leor de na dúshláin seo trí thaighde a dhéanamh ar easnaimh shóisialta agus chumarsáide, riachtanais iompraíochta oiriúnaitheacha, leasanna srianta agus iompraíochtaí athchleachtacha/dúshlánacha. Ag oll-chomhdháil a chuir OÉ Gaillimh, Autism Speaks agus an American Ireland Fund i láthair le déanaí, tarraingíodh aird ar theicneolaíochtaí nua agus ar straitéisí praiticiúla chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin a bhíonn i scoileanna chun cabhrú le páistí ar speictream an uathachais. Labhair príomh-shaineolaithe idirnáisiúnta sa réimse faoin gcóireáil a úsáidtear do riochtaí cosúla leighis agus chuir siad an taighde is déanaí i láthair maidir le luathchomharthaí uathachais agus úsáid chógais ar speictream an uathachais. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, go léiríonn bunú an ionaid nua seo tiomantas OÉ Gaillimh do thaighde ar uathachas agus leagann sé béim ar an ngné aistritheach d’obair na hOllscoile.   Dúirt sé, “Is áit cheannródaíoch a bheidh san Ionad seo do dhaoine a mbaineann ASD leo.    Gheobhaidh mic léinn buntáiste as an teagasc taighde-bhunaithe san ionad a bhfuil baint aige leis na hionaid idirnáisiúnta is fearr sa réimse seo.  Cinnteoidh clár for-rochtana an Ionaid go mbeidh an taighde agus na straitéisí oideachasúla is déanaí ar fáil do theaghlaigh atá ag maireachtáil le ASD. Creidim gur ócáid cheannródaíoch a bheidh sa seoladh seo a dhéanfaidh an tUachtarán Ó hUiginn ar an Ionad seo do theaghlaigh a mbaineann ASD leo.”   CRÍOCH

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UCB and DERI’s Linked Data Research Centre to enhance open source RDB2RDF mapper D2RQ through joint collaboration

Friday, 24 February 2012

UCB and The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway are pleased to announce the start of a collaboration to enhance the D2RQ open source software project. D2RQ has long been the software of choice when exposing relational data sources as Linked Data. UCB is pleased to be able to fund the next evolution of D2RQ with the main aim of the project to enhance some core enterprise features and introduce new and exciting product features including alignment with the latest R2RML W3C standards. Linked Data principles are key to enable efficient data integration by providing a common format and language for data exchange and alignment. Enterprise spends billions globally dealing with data integration. The Linked Data approach seeks to drastically reduce this cost and greatly increase data effectiveness within an organisation. However traditional enterprise systems do not expose data in this universal format and third party applications such as D2RQ are required to achieve this. We believe the D2RQ enhancements will enable the enterprise to expose Linked Data in the most efficient and appropriate manner for their business. This is increasingly important as the Linked Data movement gains increasing momentum across the enterprise community. This project is the first step in helping D2RQ to become the de-facto standard that is used across the enterprise, no matter if they are looking at Linked Data for the first time or implementing a quality solution. -ends-

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