All 2012

International Housing Conference at NUI Galway

Monday, 27 February 2012

Housing is at the root of the global financial crisis – but it is also at the heart of personal, social and community development. Resolving the conflict between these approaches, nationally and internationally, is a core element of contemporary housing law and policy and the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway are delighted to announce an international conference exploring this challenge. ‘Key Contemporary Housing Issues in a Changing Europe’ will examine key issues of law, rights, regulation and policy relating to housing. The conference, which will also hear presentations on important aspects of people’s experiences, both positive and negative, in today’s housing systems, will take place at NUI Galway from 20 to 21 April.  The conference brings to Galway an unprecedented platform of speakers drawn from the legal, economic, political, and academic spheres at both national, European and international level. It will offer opportunities to participants and presenters to explore and exchange information on contemporary developments in housing finance, law, regulation, rights, policy and current thinking across Europe. Event organiser and Lecturer with the NUI Galway School of Law, Dr Padraic Kenna, said: “This conference brings to Galway the leading writers and researchers on housing law, finance, rights and policy in Europe. It will offer a valuable forum for an informed discussion of the nature and role of housing systems, both today and in the future. Can we bridge the gap between the competing paradigms of housing as a market and housing as a home? How do we create a fresh inspiration and model of housing for the future, in the midst of the current crisis? These are the types of issues that will be discussed during at the conference.” Speakers at this International Housing Conference at NUI Galway include: Professor Stefan Gerlach, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank; Miss Justice Mary Laffoy, High Court of Ireland; Jan O'Sullivan T.D., Minister for the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Planning; and Regis Brillat, Head of the Department of the European Social Charter, Council of Europe. Leading international housing researchers will also present papers within dedicated seminars on important contemporary housing issues, such as housing and independent living, public interest law and housing, tenures, housing rights and homelessness, contemporary issues in mortgage regulation and consumer protection, migration, housing education, development, planning and housing law. The conference will be of particular interest to those who are involved in housing law, finance, those involved in policy-making and implementation, academics, researchers, public officials and representatives, planners, NGOs, housing rights advocates and students. Fees for the conference will cover admission to all seminars and presentations, book of abstracts, copies of relevant papers, lunches and coffee. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points will be available for attendance. Full conference attendance (12 CPD points) is €175, and single day attendance (6 CPD points) is €95. To register online for this event please visit For further information contact Dr Padraic Kenna at -ENDS- Speakers at the conference will also include:  Ionnis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of Equality and Citizen’s Rights, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Professor Sergio Nasarre-Aznar, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, Coordinator of Legal Aspects of Housing, Land and Planning Group, European Network of Housing Researchers. Professor Martin Partington, Law Commission of England and Wales, and Bristol University Law School. Jamie Burton, Barrister with Doughty Street Chambers, London. Mike Wright, Founder-Director of Keyring Housing Association. Professor Lorna O’Mahoney-Fox, Law School, University of Durham.

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HP and NUI Galway Announce New Masters in Cloud Computing Research

Monday, 27 February 2012

NUI Galway and Hewlett-Packard have announced a new Master of Science degree in Cloud Computing Research. Identified by the Government, Forfás and the IDA as one of the best potential high-value growth areas for Ireland, and a vehicle for future jobs, cloud computing is set to provide a new generation of infrastructure, services and solutions for businesses. Designed by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway together with Hewlett-Packard Galway’s Cloud Services Innovation Centre, the new degree is the first of its kind in Ireland, in providing a programme of advanced research on high-value, business-focused aspects of cloud computing and services.Cloud computing allows businesses and individuals to use software and access data and services on service providers’ remote computers, usually connecting over the internet, and typically using a web browser or mobile application.Dr Chris Coughlan, Manager of Hewlett-Packard’s Worldwide Cloud Services Innovation Centre, said: “This innovative and international masters degree is a critical support component in developing and sustaining Ireland’s smart economy ahead of the curve, and in the creation of high value employment within Ireland.”The MSc in Cloud Computing Research is a one-year fulltime or a two-year part-time research-based course, commencing in September 2012.NUI Galway’s Dr Tom Acton, architect of the programme, said: “Through direct dialogue with key industry partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Information Mosaic and others, we constructed this degree to meet the needs of these and other companies moving into the cloud space, and to provide a vehicle for the realisation of knowledge-intensive research into cloud computing.” Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway added: “The course is evidence of what can be achieved through close ties between academia and industry, in building upon synergies both regionally and nationally, and provides an innovative degree capable of producing high calibre and much sought-after graduates.”  There are two routes of entry to the course: persons already working in the ICT sector or within a technology-related role in other sectors with a qualifying degree or related experience, or persons with an undergraduate degree containing information systems, technology management or equivalent.  The University also recognises degrees from other institutions for entry, including the Bachelor of Business Studies (Information Systems Management stream) and the BA in Information Systems Management degree programmes provided by GMIT. -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Derry

Monday, 27 February 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Derry on Thursday, 8 March. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the The Everglades Hotel, Prehen Road, Derry City.The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students.The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers.Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012.“NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Derry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Derry is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway.To find out more about the information evening in Derry, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2440858 or

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Eight Research Projects for NUI Galway Announced by Minister Sherlock

Monday, 27 February 2012

Last Thursday, 23 February, Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, announced Government funding via the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of over €6.5 million covering 58 research awards.  NUI Galway received 8 of these awards to a total value of almost €1 million. The investment is made as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme and will enable SFI-funded research groups to focus on the first steps of an applied research project which may have a commercial benefit if further developed. The eight NUI Galway projects under the Programme and their leaders are: Professor Terry Smith ‘Rapid molecular detection of pathogens from bio-pharmaceutical process water and sterile products’. Currently, process water monitoring is by microbiological methods which are slow.  This project will investigate the feasibility of an isothermal point-of-need device for the rapid detection of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is the species most frequently isolated from pharmaceutical process water and water-for-injection. This is the bacteria which was responsible recently for several infant deaths in a Belfast hospital. Professor Rhodri Ceredig, ‘Personalised stem cell therapy for inflammatory diseases: a feasibility study of whole blood testing for optimising patient specific stem cell potency and efficacy’. In this project, researchers from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) Immunology Group and additional collaborators will develop rapid-turnaround, whole-blood assays to measure the anti-inflammatory potency of therapeutic stem cell products for individual patients.  This is of relevance to the use of stem cell products for the treatment of diseases that cause inflammation. Professor Abhay Pandit, ‘Scale-up feasibility of a polymeric diatom replica as the next generation drug delivery system’. This project seeks to develop a novel drug delivery system for ‘hard-to-deliver’ therapies such as cannabinoid drugs. The system is based on a polymer (plastic) version of a naturally occurring structure in diatoms, which are algae. Diatoms are of interest because they are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica, which is ideal for drug delivery. Professor Paul Murphy, ‘Development of new anti-metastatic agents’. Tumour metastasis, or spread, is the primary cause of death of cancer patients. A molecule called migrastatin - which occurs naturally in some bacteria - and its analogues have potential as therapies against tumour spread. This project proposes to build on SFI-funded research to generate a wide range of new migrastatin analogues for biological evaluation. Professor Murphy’s group has a competitive new method to manufacture known tumour migration inhibitors and has the capability to extend this know-how to prepare the new analogues. Dr Andrew Flaus ‘Recombinant chromatin substrates for the epigenetics market’. Research that looks at DNA structure and stability can help shed light on biological processes and point to potential drug targets. This project proposes to undertake a feasibility study into the potential for building a comprehensive catalogue of molecules as reagents and kits to target the chromatin and epigenetics research and development sectors. The group has established methods for efficient large-scale production of recombinant molecules. Proof-of-concept demonstrations and a business plan will be produced. Professor Lokesh Joshi ‘Glycoprotein micelle mediated capture of bacteria’. Despite major advances in hygiene practices worldwide, outbreaks of bacterial gastroenteritis still occur with serious public health consequences and economic impacts. This project will demonstrate a low-cost, natural ‘glycelle’ (glycosylated micelle) strategy that can be used to prevent disease-causing bacteria from sticking to cells of the gut and can be used to remove pathogens from water. Dr Adrienne Gorman, ‘Host cell engineering approach to increase product titre in a mammalian cell expression system’. A major issue exists in the biopharmaceutical sector in the production of biologics and biosimilars, such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Current methods are expensive and yield low amounts of protein. This project explores the commercial potential of a recent finding by Dr Gorman’s group that a protein, Hsp70, could enhance survival and secretion of mammalian cells. The outcome of this project will be a system that increases protein production yields and enhances survival of the cells, leading to a decreased cost of protein production. Professor Robert J Woods, ‘Development of anti-adhesion therapeutics for the inhibition of influenza’. The flu is caused by an infection with an influenza virus, and a key step in this process is the virus sticking to cells in the host. That step is mediated by a molecule on the surface of the virus called hemagglutinin.  Professor Wood’s group is developing a new class of carbohydrate-based anti-influenza agents that block this initial hemagglutinin-mediated adhesion of the virus to host cells.  The proposed research is likely to lead to commercially exploitable results in the form of therapeutics for treating or preventing influenza A in both humans and livestock. Commenting on the awards, Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “The success of NUI Galway under the TIDA Programme represents an important endorsement of on-going research at NUI Galway and its potential for commercial and economic development.  We are excited about exploiting these opportunities, facilitated by SFI, to deliver research excellence with impact.” Making the announcement at Dublin’s RDS, Minister Sherlock said: “The TIDA Programme focuses on the first stages of an applied research project.  It provides financial support to research teams to enable them to get from concept to market.” Minister Sherlock also took the opportunity to urge the wider research community to support all endeavours towards commercialisation of research, stating: “While today is an endorsement of research endeavours, it is also very much a call to action for all higher education institutions to get behind and support their researchers in every way possible towards facilitating the commercialisation of their research.” The Minister concluded by saying “The spirit of convergence and collaboration that has characterised Irish scientific research over the past decade is not only the best way forward – it is the only way forward.” Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson, said: “The TIDA awards being announced today will make a telling impact on how academia and enterprise intertwine towards commercialisation. The projects present significant opportunities for commercialization of research and potential treatments in diverse areas such as new drug delivery system, new transistor devices, 4G wireless communication, cornea repair, SMART needles, hay fever, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, biomass, wastewater treatment and acoustic sensors to detect damage in pipes. Enterprise Ireland has played a key role in the programme’s selection process, further underpinning the market potential of the award recipients.” ENDS

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Winners of NUI Galway Societies Bursary Announced

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The winners of the UCG Spirit of 78/80 Socs Bursary were announced at a special ceremony at NUI Galway recently. Last year the UCG Spirit of 78/80 Socs Bursary was set up to celebrate and encourage outstanding students in NUI Galway. Each year six prizes, in the form of bursaries, worth €1000 each are rewarded to students with exceptional talent who wish to pursue their field of interest. The bursaries are a project which fosters co-operation and vision from the past and present to promote student creativity and empowerment within NUI Galway. The bursaries were divided into performance and non-performance categories. Performances included entrants from backgrounds in dance, alternative, jazz, traditional Irish and rock music as well as singing, juggling, theatre and performance. The recipients of the bursaries were: Soloist Category: Peter Berrill from Headford, Co. Galway. Groups Category: Joint winners: Choral Societies acapella group, ‘Sing n Tonics’, and Orchestra Society’s Colm O’Rourke from Walsh Island, Co. Offaly and Steven Conroy from Port Arlington, Co. Offaly. Performance Category: Sean Leonard from Galway City. Behind the Scenes/Event Management Category: Laura Donnelly from Galway City. Volunteering Category: Eva-Marie Costello from Ballyglunin, Co.Galway. Audience Choice: Oisín Minogue from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Speaking after the ceremony Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the Bursaries Award which culminated in a wonderful night of top class entertainment. These bursaries help our very talented students to support them in realising their dreams.” The bursaries are jointly funded by NUI Galway’s societies and from sponsorship by NUI Galway Alumni from the class of 1978 – 1980. To find out more about the Societies Bursary visit -ENDS-

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