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03-2006 Press Releases

31/03/2006: Student teachers vist the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
30/03/2006: Belfast Solicitor appointed to Queen's University Foundation Board
28/03/2006: Innovation Lecture at Queen's
27/03/2006: Queen's honours tomorrow's leaders
24/03/2006: Queen's Medical Students Host First 'Scrubs' Annual Conference
22/03/2006: Clean sweep for Queen's students in Holy land area of Belfast
21/03/2006: Queen's Medical Students SWOT Up For Charity Fashion Show
21/03/2006: Study confirms Primary Movement programme improves children's academic performance
20/03/2006: Queen's Hosts World Renowned Cancer Specialists in Inaugural Hewlett Packard Lecture
20/03/2006: Race Now On For Entry into Queen's 5k Race Round the River17/03/2006: Queen's
17/03/2006: Queen's University Awarded £3.2million Science and Innovation Award
16/03/2006: First criminal advocacy award presented by Eugene Grant QC
15/03/2006: Queen's student finalises electronic fixture for rugby referees
15/03/2006: Queen's Innovation Lecture to discuss China's 'world factory' role
14/03/2006: Medics of the future learn to sign with RNID
13/03/2006: Queen's Doctor chosen to present at the House of Commons for UK National Science Week
09/03/2006: Queen's Professor launches biography of Bobby Sands
08/03/2006: Deadline extended for entry to St Patrick's Festival Sports Events
07/03/2006: Women of the world unite at Queen's
07/03/2006: Queen's University backs No Smoking Day
03/03/2006: Queen's links with schools crucial for young people's future - Gregson
03/03/2006: New programme announced for Queen's Film Theatre
03/03/2006: Intercultural Week at QFT, Monday 20 - Thursday 23 March
02/03/2006: Queen's Psychologist saves goalkeepers with new research
02/03/2006: Queen's hosts influential Iraqi women's Northern Ireland visit
01/03/2006: Laying the groundwork at Queen's University
01/03/2006: Students offered insight into life at Queen's

Student teachers visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

A group of eight student teachers and two tutors from St Mary's and Stranmillis University Colleges are presently on a one-week study trip in Saudi Arabia.

They are participating in the Connecting Futures Programme, a British Council initiative which aims to build mutual understanding, learning and respect between young people with different cultural backgrounds.

The group will visit King Faisal University and Al-Ahsa Teacher Training College, as well as schools in Dhahran. Both the Belfast Colleges have hosted groups of Saudi student teachers in recent years through Connecting Futures. Dr Niall Coll from St Mary’s stated that "the study tour to Saudi Arabia will assist our student teachers to develop inter-cultural learning which is so important in a world of cultural difference".

For further information please contact: Mr Peter Finn, 028 9026 8300

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Belfast Solicitor appointed to Queen's University Foundation Board

The latest appointment to the Queen’s University Foundation Board is Belfast solicitor Robert Sinclair, head of law firm, Robert G. Sinclair and Co.

Originally from Dundrod, Co. Antrim, Mr Sinclair, a Queen's Law graduate, will join an international board of Directors, under the patronage of Senator George Mitchell. The Foundation is charged with advancing the strategic goals and objectives of the University, and in particular, helping to generate financial support for its capital development programme and academic initiatives.

Welcoming Mr Sinclair to the Board, Foundation Chairman, Mr Thomas Lynch said: "Typically, a director of the Foundation Board will be a Queen's graduate or a friend of Queen's who can extend our networks and take a role in our work. There is an international focus with directors drawn from Northern Ireland, Dublin, London and the United States to raise the profile of Queen’s globally. With his vast commercial and legal experience, I am delighted to welcome Robert Sinclair on board as our newest member.

"For over 160 years Queen's graduates have been leaders in business, the arts, sciences and government and its academics have led the world in research, teaching and learning which have helped transform people's daily lives.

"The Foundation Board ensures that both our graduates and the community here in Northern Ireland can continue to lead and compete with the best in the world, by giving our students the skills they need to maximise their potential in an environment which encourages international excellence."

Speaking about his appointment, Robert Sinclair said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to the Foundation Board at Queen's. This is a challenging and exciting opportunity for me. Queen's is an important part of the positive things that are happening in Northern Ireland and I look forward to representing the interests of the University in every way that I can."

Patron of the Foundation Board at Queen's is Senator George Mitchell. Honorary Patrons are His Grace The Duke of Abercon and Dr Alan R Gillespie. Mr Sinclair's fellow Board Members are Mr Thomas Lynch (Chairman), Dr Ian Brick, Mr Michael Doran, Ms Mary Fagan, Sir David Fell, Professor Peter Gregson, Dr Alistair Hanna, Dr Edmund Kelly, Dr Bill McCabe, Dr Philip Nolan, Mrs Sheila O'Malley, Sir John Parker, Mr Raymond Skilling, Mr Edward Vernon, Mr Anthony Watson and Ms Aíne Gibbons (Honorary Secretary). Board Advisor is Mr Stephen L Kingon.

Notes

Robert Sinclair's leisure interests include horseracing and golf. A member of several golf clubs, including The K Club, he is also a racehorse owner and his horses (Atone, Whither or Which, Rhythm Section and Stage Affair) have won several prestigious races, including two at Cheltenham Festival, the Ladbroke hurdle and the Bailey’s Arkle Chase. A keen runner, he has completed the New York marathon. He holds directorships and shareholdings of several property companies and also acts as trustee for a number of local businesses.

Photographs will be issued via email to all picture desks - captioned in IPTC Info.

Further information please conact: Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. 028 9097 5384

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Innovation Lecture at Queen's
Leading American academic Professor Robert Handfield (right), who recently delivered a First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture at Queen's University, is pictured with Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor John Mann and Terry McDaid of First Trust Bank.
Leading American academic Professor Robert Handfield (right), who recently delivered a First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture at Queen's University, is pictured with Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor John Mann and Terry McDaid of First Trust Bank.

Leading American academic Professor Robert Handfield, who recently delivered a First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture at Queen's University, is pictured with Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor John Mann and Terry McDaid of First Trust Bank.

In his second visit to Queen's as a Chair of Innovation, Professor Handfield delivered a lecture entitled "The Impact of China on Global Supply Chain", which discussed the accelerating rate of change in China's manufacturing industry and its implications for the development of effective Chinese sourcing strategies.

Professor Handfield is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Operations Management (JOM) and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Consortium: established as an industry-university partnership with 12 Fortune 500 companies including American Airlines, Caterpillar, General Motors and IBM.

Sponsored by First Trust Bank and Invest NI, the Chair of Innovation initiative brings world experts in innovation to Northern Ireland to share their insights and knowledge with local business audiences.

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Queen's honours tomorrow's leaders

The achievements of Queen's University's top entrance students will be recognised at a special ceremony hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, on Tuesday 28 March.

In all, 33 students received Entrance Scholarships to Queen's in 2005. Among the award-winning guests will be Ciaran McKeown, the top 'A' Level entrant to Queen's in 2005. A former pupil of Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt, Ciaran, who won the Sullivan Entrance Scholarship and the David Russell Lappin Scholarship, is now studying Mathematics at Queen's.

The guest list also includes Michael Hanley, Zhiyuan Qiu, Amy Ying Hao and Colm Earley, former students of Summerhill College, Sligo; Shengzhen University, China and St Macartan's College, Monaghan, who won the Dr George Alexander Baird Entrance Scholarships for non 'A' Level entrants.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "This occasion is about recognising and celebrating excellence, which these scholars have demonstrated in abundance and which is at the core of the University's mission. These award-winning students are the leaders of tomorrow and we are delighted to be able to honour and celebrate their achievements."

Former pupils of the following Northern Ireland schools won Entrance Scholarships in 2005: Abbey CBS Grammar, Newry; Antrim Grammar School; Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Belfast; Ballymena Academy; Banbridge Academy; Limavady Grammar School; Lumen Christi College, Londonderry; Our Lady and St Patrick's College, Knock; Portadown College; Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt; Rathmore Grammar School, Belfast; Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards; Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry; St Louis Grammar School, Kilkeel; St Macnissi's College, Garron Tower; St Mary's Grammar School, Magherafelt and St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh.

For further information please contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

Editor:
Photographic facilities will be available at the reception which will take place in the University's Great Hall, from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Tuesday 28 March.

The full list of Entrance Scholars and the schools they attended is below.

Sullivan Scholarship and David Russell Lappin Scholarship

 Ciaran McKeown  Mathematics  Rainey Endowed School

John Sinclair Porter Scholarships

Naomi Steen Mathematics Banbridge Academy
Kathryn Donaghy Medicine Banbridge Academy

Foundation Entrance Scholarships

Karen Brown   Spanish  Lumen Christi College, Derry
 Sam Corbett   Law Our Lady & St Patrick's College, Knock
 Ashley Davison Pharmacy Ballymena Academy
 Judi Graham  Medicine Rathmore Grammar School
Charlene Higgins Architecture St Louis Grammar School, Kilkeel
Sara McCausland Law Rathmore Grammar School

Eimear McGovern

 Medicine Our Lady & St Patrick’s College, Knock
Gerard McKeown  Mathematics Rainey Endowed School
 Meabh McLoughlin   Pharmacy Our Lady & St Patrick's College, Knock
Harold McQuaid   Physics  Regent House Grammar School
Fearghal McVey  Law & Accounting St Mary's Grammar School, Magherafelt
Andrew James Millar Civil Engineering Antrim Grammar School
Alexandra Murphy   Medicine   Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry
 Alice Neeson  English  Aquinas Grammar School
 Caoimhe Nic Lochlainn  French  St Macnissi’s College

Shane Quinn

Law    The Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School
Stephen Rice Dentistry The Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School
 John Tohill  Electrical & Electronic Engineering  St Mary's Grammar School, Magherafelt
 Charles Vernon  Law & Accounting   St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh
 Conor Wilkinson  Chemical Engineering   Banbridge Academy

Dr George Alexander Baird Scholarships

 Amy Ying Hao  Electrical & Electronic Engineering Shengzhen University, China 
 Colm Earley Electrical & Electronic Engineering   St Macartan's College, Monaghan
 Zhiyuan Qiu  Economics   Shengzhen University, China
 Michael Hanley  Economics  Summerhill College, Sligo

Sir Hercules Pakenham Scholarship

Susan Kennedy  Chemistry   Portadown College

Emily, Lady Pakenham Scholarship

Rachel Hamilton  English  Ballymena Academy

Megaw Scholarship

Glynn Robinson Mathematics Limavady Grammar School

Sullivan Scholarship

 James Graham Computer Science  Royal Belfast Academical Institution
               

Tennant Exhibition

Timothy Shaw Medicine Royal Belfast Academical Institution
                                        

Reid-Harwood Scholarship 2004

Karen Irwin French and German Portadown College
                                     

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Queen's Medical Students Host First 'Scrubs' Annual Conference
Sandy Davey, Scrubs President, plays the patient while Vice-President Catherine Gilliland demonstrates the Sonosite Ultrasound machine to UCD students Sharifah Intan and Joel Woodley-Cook.
Sandy Davey, Scrubs President, plays the patient while Vice-President Catherine Gilliland demonstrates the Sonosite Ultrasound machine to UCD students Sharifah Intan and Joel Woodley-Cook.
Dr Chris Boyd (second from left) Consultant Interventional Radiologist gave a talk on Basic Radiology at today's Scrubs Annual Conference :Trauma and Acute Medicine in the MBC
Dr Chris Boyd (second from left) Consultant Interventional Radiologist gave a talk on Basic Radiology at today's Scrubs Annual Conference :Trauma and Acute Medicine in the MBC

A major Trauma and Acute Medicine Conference organised by Queen's University medical students for undergraduate students across Europe is taking place today at the University's Medical Biology Centre.

The first conference of its kind, it has been organised by 'Scrubs', Queen's medical students' society, and provides students an opportunity to explore their interests in clinical or academic medicine and surgery while having fun and interaction with a range of different students.

The inaugural conference will consist of talks on trauma and acute medicine, workshops on radiology, vascular access and the use of ultrasound.

Professor Rod Hay, Head of School of Medicine and Dentistry commended the work of the students saying: "The conference is a great benefit to students and allows them to explore areas of medicine in greater depth and develop interests that will stand them in good stead in their future careers. The talks and workshops are designed to cover a range of topics and also introduce a new perspective to learning. It also gives students from other years and institutions a chance to mix socially and professionally, sharing ideas and experiences."

Scrubs President, Alexander Davey said: "Scrubs is a new medical student society providing students with the opportunity to explore their interests in clinical or academic medicine and surgery while having fun and interaction with a range of different students.

"This is our first ever conference in only our second year as a society with the theme being 'trauma and acute medicine.' We hope that it proves successful and that we are able to run further conferences in future years."

For further information, please contact: Judith Rance, Communications Office, 028 9097 5331, j.rance@qub.ac.uk.

Editor's:
The conference will run on Friday 24 March from 9.00am until 4.00pm in the Medical Biology Centre, Lisburn Road, Queen's University Belfast.

Media opportunities are available between 10.00am - 10.30am and 12.00pm - 1.00pm.

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Clean sweep for Queen's students in Holy land area of Belfast
Queen's University students Lynne Loughrey from Limavady (L), John Martin from Banbridge, Social Action Co-Ordinator with Queen's Christian Union and Ruth Anderson from Belfast, pictured during a voluntary clean-up of the Holy Land area of Belfast by over 50 students from the University's Christian Union.
Queen's University students Lynne Loughrey from Limavady (L), John Martin from Banbridge, Social Action Co-Ordinator with Queen's Christian Union and Ruth Anderson from Belfast, pictured during a voluntary clean-up of the Holy Land area of Belfast by over 50 students from the University's Christian Union.
John Martin, Social Action Co-Ordinator with Queen's Christian Union (pictured far left) with some of the 50 plus students from the University's Christian Union who undertook a massive voluntary clean-up in the Holy Land area of Belfast today (Wednesday 22 March).
John Martin, Social Action Co-Ordinator with Queen's Christian Union (pictured far left) with some of the 50 plus students from the University's Christian Union who undertook a massive voluntary clean-up in the Holy Land area of Belfast today (Wednesday 22 March).

Over 50 Queen's students took to the streets in the Holy Land area of Belfast today as part of a voluntary clean-up organised by the University's Christian Union.

As part of the continuing effort to enhance community relations in the area, the students tackled not only the streets in the Holy Land area, but also the rear alleyways between the houses, gathering over 100 sacks of litter using equipment supplied by Belfast City Council.

Speaking about the clean-up, John Martin, Social Action Co-Ordinator of Queen's Christian Union said: "The clean-up is the latest in a range of initiatives within Queen's and the Christian Union to help enhance community relations. Already we have had a fantastic reaction to our Street Reach programme which involves our students working alongside local residents and I'm glad to say today's work has also received a warm welcome. We will continue to work hard to ensure we can live in harmony with our neighbours and to roll out such programmes".

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Queen's Medical Students SWOT Up For Charity Fashion Show
Queen's Medical students Claire Magee from Lurgan (L), Mark Rodgers from Lisburn and Helen McStay from Lurgan, strike a pose in order to remind people that the annual SWOT Fashion Show is taking place on Thursday, 23 March at 7.00pm in the Whitla Hall. Tickets costing £20 can be reserved by telephoning Helen on 077342 84104.
Queen's Medical students Claire Magee from Lurgan (L), Mark Rodgers from Lisburn and Helen McStay from Lurgan, strike a pose in order to remind people that the annual SWOT Fashion Show is taking place on Thursday, 23 March at 7.00pm in the Whitla Hall. Tickets costing £20 can be reserved by telephoning Helen on 077342 84104.

Queen's University medical students will be donning more than their white coats this week, as they take to the stage in the Whitla Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday evening for the annual Students Working Overseas Trust (SWOT) Fashion Show in aid of charity.

BBC Northern Ireland's Denise Watson, will host the event, which will see fourth year medical and dentistry fashion students dazzle the crowd with the latest fashion from over 20 retail outlets in Belfast, followed by an after show party in La Lea.

Now in its 29th year, SWOT aims to raise money in order to fund the purchase of lifesaving medications and medical equipment for hospitals in the developing world, where SWOT members complete a six-week work placement each year. Each year the students raise in excess of £40,000 through a combination of street collections, blood pressure clinics, social events and the annual Fashion Show.

Speaking about this year's event, Helen Wallace, from Portadown, President of SWOT said: "Each year the SWOT Fashion Show gets better and better and 2006 is no exception. For fashionistas or those simply seeking an enjoyable, colourful and stylish evening, the SWOT Fashion Show has something for all, with the added benefit for patrons of knowing they will be making a real difference to hospitals and patients in the developing world. We still have a few tickets left so I would advise people to snap them up as soon as possible".

Explaining the difference the SWOT Fashion Show makes to those in the developing world, Ian Wallace, from Portadown, now a Senior House Officer in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, added: "I was based in a hospital in Mombasa, which was a similar size to Antrim Area Hospital, but yet it had to serve an area similar in size to the whole island of Ireland.

"People in Kenya contract malaria on average once a year and a considerable number of people die. The drugs to treat the disease cost just 50p, which is equivalent to a days wage for an average worker in Kenya. It's easy to see then just what a real difference SWOT makes to people in the developing world. It can be the difference between life and death."

Tickets for the show, costing £20, can be reserved for collection on the night by contacting Helen Wallace, 0773 428 4104, hellyjayne@hotmail.com.

Notes to Editors Pictures have been issued via email. Media opportunities will be available on the night from 7.15pm. Please contact Helen Wallace 0773 428 4104 to arrange access for photographers.

For further information please contact from Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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Study confirms Primary Movement programme improves children's academic performance
Oakwood Integrated Primary School pupils from P7 demonstrate a Primary Movement exercise with Special Needs teacher, Gillian Beck. (l-r: Pupils Jonathan Charters, Shane Graham, Gail McAleenon and Patricia McAuley with teacher Gillian Beck)
Oakwood Integrated Primary School pupils from P7 demonstrate a Primary Movement exercise with Special Needs teacher, Gillian Beck. (l-r: Pupils Jonathan Charters, Shane Graham, Gail McAleenon and Patricia McAuley with teacher Gillian Beck)
Dr Martin McPhillips of Queen's University Belfast, who developed the Primary Movement Programme, helps Oakwood Integrated Primary School pupils Jonathan Charters (left) and Shane Graham with one of the exercises, assisted by Oakwood's Special Needs teacher, Gillian Beck.
Dr Martin McPhillips of Queen's University Belfast, who developed the Primary Movement Programme, helps Oakwood Integrated Primary School pupils Jonathan Charters (left) and Shane Graham with one of the exercises, assisted by Oakwood's Special Needs teacher, Gillian Beck.

Remarkable new research shows that simple exercises seeking to replicate the early movements of the foetus in the womb, if carried out regularly in the classroom, can have a very significant impact on the academic progress of primary school children, particularly with regard to reading and mathematics.

The research study (funded by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, CCEA) was carried out over a two-year period in 13 primary schools from Northern Ireland's South Eastern Education and Library Board. Led by Dr Julie-Anne Jordan-Black of the Queen's University School of Psychology, the study tracked the academic performance of children in the schools before and after completing a programme known as Primary Movement.

The Primary Movement programme is a unique series of exercises based on the primary reflex system that emerges during foetal life and which plays a role in the survival of the newborn. These reflexes include large movement patterns which should be inhibited or integrated during the first year of life and persistence beyond one year of age is associated with significant learning problems. Previous research at Queen's University has shown that the Primary Movement programme can reduce reflex persistence in children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia.

The Primary Movement programme was developed by Dr Martin McPhillips, a research psychologist at Queen's University Belfast. The programme first became available to primary schools six years ago and is used in more and more schools throughout Northern Ireland as they see the benefits that it can bring.

Explaining Primary Movement, Dr McPhillips said: "My work with the programme grew out of my own experiences as a special needs teacher with children with moderate learning difficulties in England where I began using a movement based approach, drawing on the early work of the late Professor Raymond Dart.

"More than 70 primary reflexes emerge in the womb and many of these are familiar, such as for example, the sucking reflex which the foetus practises by thumb-sucking. By the time a child is one-year-old these early reflexes should all have disappeared or been transformed. If they persist beyond this time, they may interfere with subsequent physical and cognitive development.

"We developed a series of exercises to mimic key primary reflexes, as it became apparent that the repetition of these movements helped to inhibit persistent reflexes in children with difficulties. This allowed children to make significant progress in motor skills, such as writing, and in cognitive areas such as reading and maths.

One school that uses the programme with many of its primary classes is Oakwood Integrated Primary School in Dunmurry. Olwen Frost, the School Principal, explained that four teachers, plus the Special Needs teacher at the school have attended the special training programmes run by Dr McPhillips through the Primary Movement charitable organisation that he helped to set up. She said that Primary Movement is one of a range of innovative teaching strategies used at the school and that with full school commitment it is very effective. In her opinion, the current Primary 7 class that has completed the two-year Primary Movement programme is the most mature group they have ever had and they have seen radical change in their work and behaviour in the classroom, with one or two pupils exceeding expectations by far. She believes this is undoubtedly due to the Primary Movement programme.

Gillian Beck, the Special Needs teacher at Oakwood who runs the programme with the pupils and their teachers, commented: "The benefits at the school to pupils have been remarkable. I never cease to be amazed at the progress of the children."

One Dunmurry parent, Lorraine Graham, has seen dramatic improvements with her P7 son Shane who has been participating in the Primary Movement exercises for two years. "Shane is a very active boy who loves his football and swimming, but he had great difficulty in concentrating on his home work," she explains. With Gillian's guidance, Lorraine also started to work at home with Shane on an individual Primary Movement programme. Commenting on the benefits she has seen since Shane completed the programme she said: "Tests that Gillian carried out show in black and white how much his reading ability has improved: and also his spelling. At home, his concentration and focus have improved greatly - he is more likely now to tackle his homework independently."

Dr McPhillips is delighted that the new research study, which is published in a prestigious international research journal, has shown the positive effects that can be achieved in a school setting using the movement programme. "It is the first comparative study of the Primary Movement programme to be carried out in school and involved more than 1000 children. The study suggests that this programme can be used to help children achieve their potential.

"For example, average reading, spelling and maths attainment levels rose significantly for those children completing the movement programme when compared with those who did not. Most importantly, this study shows that the impact of the programme is evident across a wide range of children including those with very significant learning difficulties. The programme could be used to complement other teaching strategies and is not intended to replace good teaching practice" he added. Teacher training programmes are run regularly.

Teachers who would like to access additional information on Primary Movement can check out the web site at www.primarymovement.org  

For further media information please contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 07908 013362; or Dr Martin McPhillips, 028 9097 4366.

Notes: "The effects of the Primary Movement programme on the academic performance of children attending ordinary primary school" paper by Julie-Anne Jordan-Black was published in the Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs (JORSEN), November 2005. Available at www.nasen.org.uk/journals.asp  

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Queen's Hosts World Renowned Cancer Specialists in Inaugural Hewlett Packard Lecture

Internationally recognised breast cancer research expert, Professor Edison Liu, Executive Director of the Singapore Cancer Syndicate and Executive Director of the Genome Institute of Singapore, is in Belfast today to deliver the inaugural Hewlett-Packard Distinguished Lecture at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's University.

He is one of several distinguished cancer research experts who will be participating in the first in a series of world-class seminars and workshops which the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB), at Queen's will be facilitating as a result of its partnership with Hewlett-Packard.

Professor Liu has been at the forefront in shaping the development of biotechnology in Singapore and was recently awarded the President’s Public Service Medal for his work in helping Singapore resolve the SARS crisis.

Speaking about the series, Professor Paddy Johnston, Scientific Director of the CCRCB said: "The partnership between Hewlett-Packard and the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology has enabled the University to host this event and in doing so, to invite a prestigious panel of researchers who are here to contribute to the growing reputation of the Cancer programme at Queen's University Belfast and the Belfast City Hospital, in conjunction with the opening of the new Clinical Cancer Centre".

The panel of researchers will today also be welcomed to the Craigavon headquarters of the Almac Group, where the visiting cancer specialists will have the opportunity of seeing the work which takes place in Almac Diagnostics. Commenting on their visit, Sir Allen McClay, CBE, Chairman and founder of Almac Sciences, said: "It is an honour for Northern Ireland to host such a senior group of specialists in the cancer field from across the globe. This visit is very significant and indeed it is appropriate that the team is in Northern Ireland where some very exciting work is going on in the development of cancer treatments.

"The recently opened Cancer Centre at the City Hospital, the work of Professor Paddy Johnston and others and the research work going on here at Almac Diagnostics, rank as key milestones in the development of cancer treatments.

"Not many people know that work taking place here in Craigavon, is at the leading edge of global cancer research. Professor Liu and his colleagues, all of whom are well known to Almac, can now see at first hand the role played by Almac and Northern Ireland in cancer research."

Lionel Binns, Manager of the Life Sciences Office of sponsors Hewlett-Packard, added: "This inaugural Hewlett-Packard Distinguished Guest Lecture is the first in an annual series which will support the strategic partnership between Hewlett Packard and Queen's University. HP's support of this lecture and the accompanying workshops, reinforce the company's commitment to, and support of, the life sciences and bio-medical sciences world-wide and continues an involvement with this area of scientific endeavour stretching back over many years."

Professor Liu's visit coincides with the opening of the £60million Northern Ireland Clinical Cancer Centre on the Belfast City Hospital Campus, which when coupled with the opening of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology in March of next year, will create the first comprehensive cancer centre on the island of Ireland - promoting international, high quality research programmes linking Queen's, the Health Service and other funders of cancer research.

Notes to Editor Professor Liu's lecture is entitled Expression Genomics and the Cell Biology of Cancer.

Today's workshop is entitled Biomedical Research and the Bio-economy and will be chaired by Professor Teo Forcht-Dagi, Chair of the International Life Sciences Advisory Panel for Invest Northern Ireland.

The workshop programme will continue tomorrow (Tuesday 21 March), when Professor Liu will chair a workshop on Medicine and Medical Practice in the Molecular Age.

Pictures will be issued this afternoon via email.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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Race Now On For Entry into Queen's 5k Race Round the River
Race on for entry into Queen's 5K Race: Queen's Athletics Club students (L to R) Simon Murray, Belfast; Caoimhe Vallely, Race Organiser, Belfast and John Salters, Bangor, prepare for early entry into the official warm up event for the Belfast City Marathon, the Queen's 5K Race Round the River, closes on Wednesday 22 March.
Race on for entry into Queen's 5K Race: Queen's Athletics Club students (L to R) Simon Murray, Belfast; Caoimhe Vallely, Race Organiser, Belfast and John Salters, Bangor, prepare for early entry into the official warm up event for the Belfast City Marathon, the Queen's 5K Race Round the River, closes on Wednesday 22 March.
Race on for entry into Queen's 5K Race: Gemma McAnirn from Bangor reminds Queen's Athletics Club students (L to R) Simon Murray, Belfast; Caoimhe Vallely, Race Organiser, Belfast and John Salters, Bangor, that the deadline for early entry into the official warm up event for the Belfast City Marathon, the Queen's 5K Race Round the River, closes on Wednesday 22 March.
Race on for entry into Queen's 5K Race: Gemma McAnirn from Bangor reminds Queen's Athletics Club students (L to R) Simon Murray, Belfast; Caoimhe Vallely, Race Organiser, Belfast and John Salters, Bangor, that the deadline for early entry into the official warm up event for the Belfast City Marathon, the Queen's 5K Race Round the River, closes on Wednesday 22 March.

More than 800 runners are expected to take part in this year's Queen's University, 5K Race Round the River event, which begins on Wednesday 29 March at 7.00pm, at Queen's Physical Education Centre, Belfast.

Increasing in size every year, the Race is now the official warm-up event for the Belfast City Marathon, and was recently awarded a BARR (British Association of Road Running), Bronze Award for Race Management, becoming only the second event in Northern Ireland, after the marathon to achieve such status.

Organised by Queen's Athletics Club, the route has become a favourite with both serious and recreational runners and involves almost three laps of the tow-path around the River Lagan. The course record is held by Paul Rowan at 14mins 38secs.

Entry forms are available for the race, now in its fourth year, from the PEC, or online from www.queens5k.co.uk.  The deadline for pre-entries is Wednesday 22 March and the first 200 entries will receive a free limited edition Queen's 5K T-shirt, which can be collected on the day. Entry fees are £5 or £4 for students and NIAF registered athletes.

Participants will also receive a sponsorship form to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care should they wish. In addition, the cancer care charity will benefit from the full proceeds of the Family Fun Run which begins at 6.30pm, outside the PEC, and covers just one lap of the course. Entry fees for the Fun Run are £4 per individual or £10 per family.

Explaining how the race offers something for everyone, Race Organiser, Caoimhe Vallely, of Queen's Athletics Club said: "The Race Round the River route is flat and fast. It has been accurately measured, so for all of those athletes looking for a good fast 5km time to end the cross country season or to begin the track season with, this race cannot be beaten.

"It's also perfect for anyone hoping to run as part of a team in the Belfast City Marathon. The timing and distance of the Queen's 5K is perfect and there's really no better warm-up event around to get you in the mood. The race could also be just the thing to see if all that hard work in the gym after Christmas has paid off."

Attractive prizes will be on offer for the top finishers, in addition to those for the best Queen's Club and Society teams. A variety of spot prizes will be on offer for all other finishers.

Note to Editors: Photographs will be issued via email to picture desks.

Media opportunities will be available at the race start line between 6.00pm - 6.30pm (Fun Run) and 6.45pm - 7.45pm (Queen's 5K Race Round the River).

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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Queen's University Awarded £3.2million Science and Innovation Award
Professors Ciaran Lewis (L) and Bill Graham (R) pictured after the announcement of their £3.2million EPSRC Science and Innovation Award.
Professors Ciaran Lewis (L) and Bill Graham (R) pictured after the announcement of their £3.2million EPSRC Science and Innovation Award.
Professors Ciaran Lewis (L) and Bill Graham (R) pictured after the announcement of their £3.2million EPSRC Science and Innovation Award.
Professors Ciaran Lewis (L) and Bill Graham (R) pictured after the announcement of their £3.2million EPSRC Science and Innovation Award.

Queen's University Professors Bill Graham and Ciaran Lewis, with colleagues Doctors Marco Borghesi, David Riley and Matt Zepf, have won a £3.2million Science and Innovation Award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which will maintain Queen's leading role in Plasma Physics in the United Kingdom.

The two research Professors plan to address the UK need for more plasma physicists by extending their existing research capability into theoretical and computational physics, and are planning to create the first UK-wide, web-based teaching programme in Plasma Physics, in partnership with other universities, laboratories and industry.

The need for an increased effort in plasma physics research and for more trained plasma physicists is driven by the expanding use of plasmas in industry and in the effort to determine if nuclear fusion can provide for the world's post-oil power needs.

Speaking about their work and what the award will mean, Professor Bill Graham said: "A plasma is an ionised gas. The atoms and molecules making up normal material are broken down into positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. This changes completely the way they behave physically and chemically so that plasmas are the 'fourth state of matter', along with gases, liquids and solids. In fact 99% of the observable Universe is in the plasma state. An every night example of the high temperature plasmas studied at Queen's are the stars we see in the sky, while examples of the low temperature plasmas studied are fluorescent light tubes and the systems essential in the creation of microchips.

"This award means that the Plasma Physics Centre at Queen's, can now embrace the whole spectrum of plasma physics. In particular we will be able to attract and build up a level of theoretical, computational and experimental expertise previously unavailable in the UK."

Professor Ciaran Lewis added: "The QUB bid was enhanced by the newly completed state of the art International Research Centre for Experimental Physics, funded by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), in Northern Ireland and Atlantic Philanthropies and the recent award of £2.1M from EPSRC for the construction of the powerful Taranis laser system at Queen's to create extremely hot plasmas.

"Although we are the team who have received the Award, Queen's will not be the only institution to benefit. We will now establish a web-based teaching module which will enable our key partners such as industry leaders, innovators and other educational and research establishments to avail of our findings and experience - and likewise we will learn from them. We would like to thank the EPSRC and their funders, including the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland for their invaluable and very necessary support."

Queen's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, said: "This award is proof that Queen's is continuing to lead the way in the fields of science and innovation. In a research landscape which is consistently changing, work such as that undertaken by Professor Graham and Professor Lewis, is essential in underpinning our economy and in ensuring a vital supply of academics to lead future world-class research in crucially important areas. I look forward to seeing the outcome of their work and to seeing our academics continuing to work with the EPSRC in promoting and progressing this very significant research".

Queen's is just one of eight universities within the UK who will receive a Science and Innovation Award from the EPSRC, who are allocating over £27million in their current round.

Notes to Editors Other universities included in the current round of Awards include University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, University of Strathclyde, King's College London, University of Warwick and University of Bristol.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £500 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Science and Innovation Awards were introduced by EPSRC in 2005 to address the issue of giving support to strategic areas of research that are particularly at risk. In a changing research landscape, as undergraduates choose new options, more traditional core subjects are encountering declining numbers of entrants. This in turn affects the base of academic staff in universities, which impacts on the nation's capacity to produce the well-trained people and research leaders of tomorrow.

Photographs will be issued via Harrison Photography on Thursday afternoon (16 March).

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communciations Office, 028 9097 5384

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First criminal advocacy award presented by Eugene Grant QC
Eugene Grant QC presents the first Eugene Grant Award for Criminal Advocacy to Sarah Rogers, a student trainee barrister at the Queen's University Institute of Professional Legal Studies.
Eugene Grant QC presents the first Eugene Grant Award for Criminal Advocacy to Sarah Rogers, a student trainee barrister at the Queen's University Institute of Professional Legal Studies.

Queen's University student Sarah Rogers has recently won an important new University student prize, the inaugural Eugene Grant Award.

Last year, Eugene Grant QC established the award for criminal advocacy for students of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen's University Belfast.

The first competition was open to full-time trainee barristers at the Institute.

The preliminary round of the competition took place in December and the top four candidates from that round, including Sarah Rogers, came together again this week to compete in the competition final at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The final competition took the form of a mock trial and was judged by Mr Justice Weatherup; Her Honour Judge Philpott, Recorder of Londonderry; and Sir Alasdair Frazer, Director of Public Prosecutions. The parts of the witnesses were played by junior barristers including the part of the trial defendant "Jo Hood" played by a former Queen's student VP Emma Lyttle.

At the end of the day, Sarah Rogers, one of the prosecuting barristers, was announced the winner. The Eugene Grant Award of £6,500 means that Sarah's student fees are reimbursed.

Originally from Essex, and now married and living in Newry, Sarah was delighted to win this new prize. "I am very shocked," she said, "This prize means so much to me and my family. I cannot thank Eugene enough for his generosity."

Eugene Grant QC who attended the final competition commented: "I believe criminal advocacy is the core of a good legal justice system. But the skills required in the courtroom cannot just be learned from books or tested by examinations. I was impressed by all four finalists and am assured that we will all be well served at the Criminal Bar in years to come."

The Institute of Professional Legal Studies was established at Queen's University in 1977. It offers a one-year postgraduate course of vocational training for both trainee barristers and trainee solicitors leading to the Certificate in Professional Legal Studies. The Institute has important links with the two bodies which control the legal profession in Northern Ireland: the Honourable Society of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

For further information please contact: Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Office, 028 9097 3087.

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Queen's student finalises electronic fixture for rugby referees

As Ulster rugby fans look towards the final of the Northern Bank Ulster Schools Cup on Friday, a former player in the competition is putting the finishing touches to an innovative computerised system which will streamline fixture arrangements for local rugby referees.

Queen's University Computer Science student Stewart Megaw, a former member of the Ireland under-19 World Cup Squad, is currently on work placement with Ulster Rugby where he is developing an electronic fixture allocation system. The system is currently being tested by thirty local referees.

A member of the Ulster Rugby Academy, Stewart, from Armagh, said: "I really jumped at the opportunity to spend my compulsory placement year at Ulster Rugby because it meant that I could combine my academic studies with my commitment to rugby.

"As I was reviewing the old referees system I noticed it was fairly outdated and could benefit from features that weren't available when it was created. It currently can only notify a referee that they have been allocated to a fixture via standard mail. The system I'm building provides the benefits of the notifying the referee of a fixture allocation by email and SMS which will save money spent on postage. The referee can then accept or decline the fixture through their personal control panel via the internet."

David Boyd, Domestic Rugby Manager at the IRFU Ulster Branch, said: "We are constantly seeking new and improved ways to communicate with our publics and in the case of our referees, Stewart's placement year and degree subject coincided perfectly with plans to overhaul and update the way we contact them to advise them of fixtures. As well as meeting the challenges of delivering his project in terms of his degree course, as a member of the Ulster Academy Stewart aspires to play rugby professionally. The experience his placement has given him of working behind the scenes, at the administrative end of the organisation, will give him a better understanding of the organisation as a whole should he graduate to play professionally."

Stewart believes his placement year will stand him in good stead after he graduates in 2008. He said: "So far, it has really helped me to enhance my communications skills, particularly with those from a non-IT background! I've also learned how to better prioritise tasks and to manage my time which means I haven't fallen behind with either work or rugby!"

Dr Pat Corr, Director of Education in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said: "Stewart's experience underlines the value of placements to our students. Through placements, students put the theory and skills learned in university into practice in a real business setting. The benefits to their studies when they return to university are enormous. And not just academic benefits - when students graduate they already have a year's experience which can give them an edge over other graduates in the job market. Indeed, quite often a good placement can turn into a permanent job offer from the employer.

"The fact that Queen's is holding the tuition fee for placement years at £600, following the introduction of variable fees in September, will be an added incentive for students to take advantage of this valuable opportunity."

For further information please contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310,  Lyndsey Irwin (Ulster Rugby) 028 9049 3222 or lyndsey@ulsterrugby.com  

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Queen's Innovation Lecture to discuss China's 'world factory' role

China's role as 'the world's factory' and its impact on businesses who import the country's goods will be the theme of the latest First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture at Queen's University on Tuesday 21 March.

Leading American academic Professor Robert Handfield, in his second visit to Queen's as a Chair of Innovation, will speak on "The Impact of China on Global Supply Chains" in G9, Lanyon North at 6.00pm.

Professor Handfield, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, will discuss the accelerating rate of change in China's manufacturing industry and its implications for the development of effective Chinese sourcing strategies.

Professor Handfield is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Operations Management (JOM) and Director of the Supply Chain Resource Consortium: established as an industry-university partnership with 12 Fortune 500 companies including American Airlines, Caterpillar, General Motors and IBM.

Sponsored by First Trust Bank and Invest NI, the Chair of Innovation initiative brings world experts in innovation to Northern Ireland to share their insights and knowledge with local business audiences.

Professor Handfield previously delivered an Innovation Lecture at Queen's in September 2004.

Anyone wishing to attend Tuesday's lecture should contact Claire McGivern at Queen's University, 028 9097 1145,  c.mcgivern@qub.ac.uk.

For further information please contact: Claire McGivern, 028 9097 1145 or Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors: Media facilities will be available at the lecture. Arrangements to interview Professor Handfield can be made by calling either of the above numbers.

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Medics of the future learn to sign with RNID
Medical students (left to right), Justin Ong, Roisin Devlin, Laura Feeney who participated in the Specialist Module on Deafness
Medical students (left to right), Justin Ong, Roisin Devlin, Laura Feeney who participated in the Specialist Module on Deafness

Twenty 2nd year medical students from Queen's University Belfast are joining the ranks of junior doctors who can now communicate effectively with the one in seven deaf and hard of hearing patients they will meet during their careers, improving access to health services for thousands of people.

Research carried out by RNID in 2004[1] found that over a third of deaf and hard of hearing patients had been left unclear about their condition because of communication problems with their GP.

To address this worrying issue, RNID NI is working with Queen's University in providing a Specialist Module on Deafness to trainee doctors as part of their medical training which includes 40 hours of training on basic deaf awareness and associated issues and 60 hours of training in British Sign Language. 60 students have already successfully completed this unique course since 2003.

The medical students will also produce a sign language dictionary for health professionals, covering areas such as thyroid disease, headaches, pregnancy and other common ailments. Each year the students add new chapters to the dictionary as part of their coursework and the signs are illustrated by the students themselves in photographs within the dictionary.

Notes

For further information, please contact: Claire Mullan, Campaign Coordinator, RNID NI, 028 9023 9619, claire.mullan@rnid.org.uk

RNID is the largest charity representing the 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK. As a membership charity, we aim to achieve a radically better quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people. We do this in the following ways:

  • Campaigning and lobbying to change laws and government policies.
  • Challenging negative perceptions around deafness and hearing loss.
  • Providing information and raising awareness of deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Training courses and consultancy on deafness and disability.
  • Communication services including sign language interpreters.
  • Training of interpreters, lipspeakers and speech-to-text operators.
  • Seeking lasting change in education for deaf children and young people.
  • Employment programmes to help deaf people into work.
  • Care services for deaf and hard of hearing people with additional needs.
  • Typetalk, the national telephone relay service for deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Equipment and products for deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Social, medical and technical research.

RNID Information Line: Telephone: 0808 808 0123, Textphone: 0808 808 9000, informationline@rnid.org.ukwww.rnid.org.uk

[1] "A Simple Cure. A national report into deaf and hard of hearing people's experiences of the National Health Service". RNID, March 2004.

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Queen's Doctor chosen to present at the House of Commons for UK National Science Week
Dr Cairns pictured with one of the portable defibrillators used in the NIPAD scheme.
Dr Cairns pictured with one of the portable defibrillators used in the NIPAD scheme.

Dr Karen Cairns from Queen's University has been chosen by UK National Science Week 2006, to present her work on bringing defibrillation out of the hospital and into the community, at a prestigious event in the House of Commons today, Monday 13 March.

Selected as one of the United Kingdom's outstanding young researchers, Dr Cairns, who works in the Department of Applied Maths at Queen's, will explain her findings on the Northern Ireland Public Access Defibrillation (NIPAD) scheme, which to date has trained over 800 community first responders to safely use automated external defibrillators.

Each minute delay before a shock is applied in a cardiac arrest is crucial as it results in a ten per cent reduction in survival. The NIPAD scheme has been designed to speed delivery of these shocks by utilising community volunteers.

Dr Cairns' work on the project involved the use of mathematical modelling and statistics in order to explore the full potential of the lifesaving programme. The programme has already shown that it is feasible for the community first responders to attend the majority of cardiac arrests and help to reduce the overall response time.

Offering further comment Dr Cairns explained: "From the simulations performed so far, we can see that volunteer commitment is a crucial factor in the success of the scheme. For example, if we could double the number of community first responders on the rota each week, this could result in additional lives being saved in North and West Belfast.

In Northern Ireland there are several hundred sudden cardiac arrests outside of hospital every year. Unfortunately, many of these occur suddenly at home. The need for a rapid response is particularly vital in rural areas of Northern Ireland. We have shown that reducing the response time has the potential to save lives.

The defibrillator machines are extremely reliable and make use of sophisticated computer technology to detect the electrical heart rhythm and only shock if appropriate. They are also safe for the user".

Medical Co-ordinator of NIPAD, Dr Andrew Hamilton added: "Further work is ongoing to evaluate the scheme and decide on the most appropriate way to take this forward in Northern Ireland."

Notes to Editors

The most well known survivor of a PAD scheme is Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The famous explorer collapsed at Bristol Airport in 2003. He was successfully shocked by a fireman at the airport who used a portable defibrillator. He has since gone on to run seven marathons in seven days.

Dr Cairns' and Dr Hamilton aim to assess the impact that a Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) scheme would have if it were implemented throughout Northern Ireland as a whole, both in terms of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, using data collected during the trial period together with a simulation-based model. Ultimately the scheme aims to empower local communities to improve their chances of surviving cardiac arrest events, by determining the best model for implementation of a PAD scheme.

In England the British Heart Foundation enabled the purchase of 2300 defibrillators and employs 31 community defibrillation officers.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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Queen's Professor launches biography of Bobby Sands

Denis O'Hearn, a Professor of Sociology at Queen's University, will launch his biography of Bobby Sands at St Mary's College, Belfast, tonight.

Entitled Bobby Sands - Nothing but an Unfinished Song (published by Pluto Press), Professor O'Hearn's biography contains a wealth of new material based on primary research and interviews about Sands, who died on the sixty-sixth day of his hunger strike in 1981.

Twenty-five years on from his death, the book also explores the motivation of the hunger strikers and seeks to recreate that period of history from within the prison cells of the 'H' Blocks.

Currently on sabbatical in the United States, Denis O'Hearn has spent several years researching the life of Sands - from his childhood through to his role in the 1981 hunger strike, his election as MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone and his eventual death on 05 May 1981.

A series of events organised by Pluto Press are being held across Northern Ireland to mark the publication of the book, beginning with a launch event tonight at 7.00pm in St Mary's College, Falls Road, Belfast.

Further information on the events which are taking place in Dublin, Drogheda, Dundalk, Derry and Gulladuff, can be obtained by telephoning Helen Griffiths at Pluto Press on 0208 374 6424 or by emailing heleng@plutobooks.com

For further information please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 28 9097 5384

Notes to Editor: Denis O'Hearn was born in New Mexico and is of Irish and Native Alaskan (Aleut) ancestry. He moved to Belfast in the 1970's where after his studies he wrote widely on the H Blocks and surrounding issues. In addition to his post at Queen's University, he holds a concurrent post as Professor of Sociology at the University of Binghamton, New York.

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Deadline extended for entry to St Patrick's Festival Sports Events
Friendly rivalry: Kevin McGourty, VP of Queen's SU Clubs and Student Services, who will participating with St Galls in the AIB All-Ireland Club Football Final at Croke Park on St Patrick's Day and Provost of University of Ulster, Professor Bill Clarke, prepare for the wide programme of sporting events arranged for students and residents of South Belfast, as part of the first ever St Patrick's Day Festival organised by the two universities.
Friendly rivalry: Kevin McGourty, VP of Queen's SU Clubs and Student Services, who will participating with St Galls in the AIB All-Ireland Club Football Final at Croke Park on St Patrick's Day and Provost of University of Ulster, Professor Bill Clarke, prepare for the wide programme of sporting events arranged for students and residents of South Belfast, as part of the first ever St Patrick's Day Festival organised by the two universities.

Queen's and the University of Ulster have extended the deadline for entry into the wide range of sporting events included in their St. Patrick's Day Festival, meaning students and residents of South Belfast now have until Wednesday 15 March to submit their entries.

Entry forms are available online from www.qub.ac.uk/pec/stpatricksfestival or by picking up an entry form at Queen's PEC, Queen's Playing Fields, Queen's Students' Union, the QFT, UUJ Sports Centre or UUJ Students' Union.

Sporting opportunities are available for both individuals and teams and as well as favourites such as 5-A-Side Football, Gaelic Football 7's and Water Sports, the Festival is also offering the chance to try out Dodge Ball, Trampolining and Shamrock Super Stars.

Encouraging students to participate, Ben Preston, President of Queen's Students Union said: "The sporting events organised as part of the Festival give everyone envious of not being able to participate in the traditional St Patrick's Day sporting fixtures a chance to show their stuff. Be it an individual or a team made up of housemates, I'm sure there'll be plenty of old friendly rivalries renewed between Queen's and UU next Thursday and Friday. I'd urge anyone interested in participating to sign up as soon as possible as it will definitely be a case of the more the merrier."

Colleen Dowdall, Overall President of UU Students' Union added: "There has long been a tradition of friendly rivalry and sporting banter between UU and Queen's students and what better place to settle the argument about who's best, than in the sporting events that have been organised by students as part of the St Patrick's Festival. Students should gather up their housemates and friends for a great couple of days' banter, as there's one sure thing, if you're not in you can't win".

Action from the Rugby Schools Cup and McCrory Cup will be shown on big screens in the PEC and The Dub on St Patrick's Day, so no competitors need miss out on the more traditional St Patrick's Day sporting action.

Students or residents requesting information on specific tournaments can contact the relevant person: Gaelic Football 7's: Karl Oakes, 028 9038 7688, k.oakes@qub.ac.uk

Water Sports: Stephanie Campbell, 028 9038 7667, studentsport2@qub.ac.uk

Shamrock Superstars: Maria Faulkner, 028 9038 7666, studentsport1@qub.ac.uk

Dodge Ball: Maeve Murray, 028 9036 8611,  m.murray@ulster.ac.uk

5-A-Side Football: Keith Thompson, k.thompson1@ulster.ac.uk

 Trampolining: Andy O'Hare, 028 9036 8258, a.ohare@ulster.ac.uk

Details on those other events included as part of the Festival, including The Ordinary Boys in the Mandela Hall and Ed and Jason Byrne in the Whitla Hall, can be found online at www.qub.ac.uk/StPatricksFestival

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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Women of the world unite at Queen's

Women from throughout the world will gather at a special reception at Queen's University tomorrow (Wednesday) to mark International Women's Day.

The international, multi-cultural networking event has been organised by the University's award-winning Gender Initiative which works to enhance the profile and position of women at Queen's.

Among those on the guest list are international academics and representatives from a range of community and cultural organisations in Northern Ireland. These include the Mandarin Speakers Association, the Islamic Women's Group, the Chinese Welfare Association, Interfaith NI, the Japan Society, Northern Ireland Muslim Family Association, Craigavon Vietnamese Group, the Northern Ireland Filipino Community, the Indian Community Centre, Polish Welfare, and the Sikh Women and Children Association.

Director of Queen's Gender Initiative Professor Margaret Mullett said: "International Women’s Day provides the opportunity both to celebrate women's achievements and to highlight issues of continuing concern. While women at Queen’s will contribute to a variety of local and international events, this reception will provide a valuable opportunity for women from a range of diverse backgrounds to come together to celebrate their Day and to discuss ways in which their contribution to society can be further recognised and enhanced."

Set up in 2000, Queen's Gender Initiative has attracted international attention as a role model for other universities and institutions. It has produced a stream of tangible results ranging from the establishment of a central maternity fund and enhanced childcare provision to the introduction of flexible working for clerical staff and of a mentoring scheme for academic women. Most importantly, it sparked a culture change in the University.

Queen's was the first-ever winner of the national Athena award for its pioneering work in advancing women in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, engineering and technology.

Celebrated globally from Alaska to Zambia, International Women's Day highlights women's progress worldwide.

For further information, please contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

Note:
The Gender Initiative international networking event will be held in the foyer of the Peter Froggatt Centre on Wednesday 08 March from 3.00pm to 5.00pm. Media facilities will be available.

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Queen's University backs No Smoking Day

Queen's University is offering free individual health profiles to its students and staff today (Wednesday 08 March), to help them stop smoking and mark national No Smoking Day.

The individual profiles will take into account recipients' lifestyles, their smoking history, personal obstacles to stopping smoking and their future health hopes. After a consultation with health professionals, the profile will include carbon-monoxide testing with smokers gaining an insight into the healthier lifestyle available to them.

The University is also offering a follow up service for participants, whereby upon taking the decision to stop smoking, they will be offered the option of having their carbon-monoxide readings taken 24 hours after having their last cigarette. This will highlight once again the immediate health benefits and offer further encouragement.

Commenting on the No Smoking Day event, Dr Denis Todd, Occupational Health Physician said: "The normal level of carbon monoxide for a non-smoker is usually between 0 and 8 parts per million. This rises to approximately 20 parts per million for a person who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day and 40 parts per two packs smoked per day. After eight hours of giving up, carbon monoxide levels are halved and are eliminated after one or two days.

"While the health benefits are immense, we also know it's not an easy thing to do. Occupational Health nurses trained in smoking cessation support and Queen's student nurses will offer advice and assistance to those smokers who want to quit throughout the day.

"No Smoking Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness amongst staff and students of the health and financial benefits of giving up smoking. The Occupational Health Department is committed to helping those smokers who wish to quit and support is offered, not just today but, throughout the year."

This is the sixth year that the University has hosted a No Smoking Day event and it is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging smokers to quit. Last year Queen's launched a revised smoking policy which banned smoking in all University buildings and vehicles. The policy represented a significant step in protecting staff and students from the hazards of tobacco smoke in the workplace.

For further information, please contact the Communications Office on 028 9097 3087 or the Occupational Health Department on 028 9097 5520.

Notes

  • Media opportunities are available at 12.00pm on Wednesday 08 March in the foyer at the Peter Froggatt Centre, Queen's University.
  • No Smoking Day was established as a national event and it is one of the biggest annual health awareness campaigns in the UK. With over twenty years of campaigning the Day has helped around 1.4 million smokers stop for good.
  • In Northern Ireland a staggering 28% of men and 24% of women smoke. 2,800 deaths every year in Northern Ireland are attributed to smoking related illnesses.
  • Surveys show that about 70% of current smokers would like to give up all together.
  • Extensive surveys confirm people do successfully give up with adequate support-21% of women and 27% of men are ex-smokers.

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Queen's links with schools crucial for young people's future - Gregson

Queen's University and the secondary and further education sectors must forge even stronger links for the benefit of young people in Northern Ireland, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has said.

The Vice-Chancellor was speaking ahead of Queen's annual Conference of University Advisers of Studies and Schools' Careers Advisers, which will take place on Saturday 04 March. More than 100 careers advisers from schools and colleges throughout Northern Ireland and from the Department of Employment and Learning are expected to attend.

The programme will include presentations by key university staff on the applications and admissions process, job opportunities for graduates and the University's £200 million capital development programme.

Professor Gregson said: "This conference is a very important date in the Queen's calendar. It provides us with an excellent opportunity for dialogue with key representatives from schools and colleges in Northern Ireland. It is vital that Queen's works closely with them to ensure that our young people benefit from the important educational resource we represent.

"We believe that an investment in their education is one of the most important steps young people can take. This is particularly important in the light of the introduction of new funding arrangements for undergraduate students. Under these new arrangements, higher education will be free at the point of entry. Students will have to repay their fees only after graduation and when they are earning more than £15,000 a year. The University will also make available a generous package of means-tested financial support to ensure that all those who have the ability to benefit from a university education have the opportunity to do so.

"The additional income generated by fees will enable us to enhance the service we provide and to make the necessary investment in people and buildings which will allow us to continue to offer a world-class learning experience to all our students."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors: The conference will take place in Lecture Theatre G07, the Peter Froggatt Centre, on Saturday 04 March, from 10.30am to 1pm. The presentations will follow an informal reception in the Naughton Gallery at 9.30am, when a model of the University’s new £44 million library will be on display. Media facilities will be available

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New programme announced for Queen's Film Theatre

The new programme for the Queen's Film Theatre, which runs from Friday 03 March until Thursday 13 April, features a wide range of thought-provoking films set to challenge and entertain audiences as well as a selection of stylish cinema classics to celebrate cinema's night-of-nights - the 78th Academy Awards Ceremony!

Hailed by The Guardian as "the first great film of the 21st Century", Hidden (Caché) (Friday 10 March - Thursday 23 March) is a cunning and elegant psychological thriller from Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke. The comfortable, bourgeois life of married couple Georges and Anna (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche) is suddenly besieged when a mysterious voyeur delivers a series of videotapes to their front porch. The family has clearly been under surveillance but by whom and for what reason is unclear. As the tapes become increasingly personal, and the sense of dread intensifies, Georges is forced to contend with a shameful secret from his past.

In Grizzly Man (Friday 10 March - Thursday 16 March), maverick director Werner Herzog pieces together the story of Timothy Treadwell, the bear enthusiast who spent 13 summers camping with grizzlies in the Alaskan wilderness until, with tragic inevitability, he and his girlfriend were slaughtered in a ferocious bear attack. Herzog compiles the remarkable footage Treadwell left behind into a superb portrait of a fractured obsessive living literally on the edge.

Lady Vengeance (Friday 31 March - Thursday 13 April) is the third part of Park Chan-Wook's 'revenge trilogy' and contains all the cinematic flair and narrative surprises that marked his Oldboy as a work of sheer genius. Intense and inventive, Lady Vengeance follows the progress of beautiful, impassive Lee Geum-ja when she's released from prison having served 13 years for the kidnap and murder of a young boy. Once on the outside, she hooks up with some former cellmates, a preacher who thinks she's an angel, the detective who originally arrested her and the daughter she gave up for adoption, gathering around her all the people needed to carry out an elaborate plan of revenge.

For further information, please contact Sarah Hughes, Communications Officer, Culture and Arts Division, 028 90971398,  s.hughes@qub.ac.uk  

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Intercultural Week at QFT, Monday 20 - Thursday 23 March

QFT, in association with the Equality Commission and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), presents an eclectic season of films, talks and workshops to coincide with Intercultural Week across Ireland Sunday 19 March-Saturday 25 March. This year's theme is 'Participation' and is about increasing participation and a sense of belonging for people from minority ethnic backgrounds in public, political, economic and cultural life.

The Murder of Stephen Lawrence (Monday 20 March) is an award-winning docu-drama from acclaimed writer-director Paul Greengrass that is based on actual events surrounding the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Filmed in cinema vérité-style, the film centres on the authorities' attempts to bury the case and the two ordinary individuals who refused to rest until it was solved. Thanks to their efforts, crimes against minorities aren't likely to be treated so lightly ever again. A discussion will be held following the screening.

We are proud to present the Northern Ireland premiere of 4 Little Girls (Tuesday 21 March), Spike Lee's superb Oscar nominated documentary about the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Live and Become (Wednesday 22 March) is the tragic, epic tale of a Christian mother's decision to force her nine-year son to declare himself Jewish in order to be included in an Israeli-led rescue mission to save members of the Ethiopian Jewish community from famine during the mid-eighties.

The winner of the Grand Jury World Cinema Documentary Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, The 3 Rooms of Melancholia (Thursday 23 March), is a mesmerizing portrait of the Chechnyan conflict told through the eyes of three different children who are living in the conflict.

For further information on schools events taking place as part of Intercultural Week, please contact: Marion Campbell, QFT Education Officer, m.campbell@qub.ac.uk  

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Queen's Psychologist saves goalkeepers with new research

Research carried out by Queen's Psychology lecturer, Dr Cathy Craig, using some of the world's most renowned soccer strikers and goalkeepers, has revealed goalkeepers are just not equipped to block balls struck with a strong sidespin.

Using a mix of 11 players and nine goalkeepers from the squads at AC Milan, Olympique de Marseille, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04, Dr Craig has shown that the human visual system is not equipped to track the curved course of a spinning ball struck at high speeds.

Using a series of simulated free kicks, the players viewed a virtual football stadium, which conformed to FIFA regulations, through a head-mounted virtual reality display unit. Three types of kicks were simulated, those with no side spin, those with a 600-rpm side clockwise spin and those with a 600-rpm counter clockwise spin.

Players were asked to judge whether a range of the kicks would end up in the goalmouth or not. Compared to those balls struck without spin, those trajectories with spin produced clear shifts in the pattern and accuracy of how players responded to the original strike.

According to Dr Craig: "The size of a goalmouth means a goalkeeper needs to anticipate in what direction a ball is going in before he moves, as he only has one chance to make a save.

What sparked my interest in the area was seeing Roberto Carlos score a stunning goal for Brazil back in 1997 that looked like it was going wide. At the last minute though, it just curved in and completely caught the keeper unaware.

Goalkeepers are using the direction the ball originally looks to be heading in, and indeed where a striker is placing their foot and body, in order to make their judgements about where a free kick will end up. They are not equipped to predict accurately the effects of sideways acceleration on a ball's final position.

This acceleration associated with a spinning ball is also known as a Magnus Force. Whereas gravity is constant, balls struck with spin are subject to a change of airflow around the ball which creates a Magnus Force causing the spinning ball to curve or bend.

As spinning balls are not naturally occurring phenomena, it is not surprising to discover that nature has not equipped us with a visual system that is adapted to such fast moving and unpredictable trajectories.

Dr Craig added: "In order to counteract this gap in our visual system, many of the top players work hard at trying to develop cognitive and behavioural compensatory strategies to lessen their chances of making a mistake.

It is obviously an area of tremendous interest to a great many people. Now, in a collaboration between Queen’s School of Psychology and its Virtual Engineering Centre, we are hoping to develop a virtual reality laboratory. This lab will be able to incorporate the movement component into our research, meaning goalkeepers will eventually be one of many groups the world over who will benefit from our work".

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

Notes to Editors: The research and access to players was facilitated by the Adidas Innovation Team for Football, the people behind the Predator boot designed to put increased spin on a ball when struck.

Dr Craig was a member of the Institute of Movement and Perception at the University of Aix-Marseille II where she first began the project in 2003.

Dr Craig's work was originally published in Naturwissenschaften (a leading international scientific journal - volume 93; page 97) http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100479  

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Queen's hosts influential Iraqi women's Northern Ireland visit
Pictured appropriately beneath the painting 'Women emerging from the Shadows' commissioned by the Queen's University Gender Initiative, are members of the delegation of influential Iraqi women on the first day (Friday) of their five-day visit to Northern Ireland that is being hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen's University Belfast. (l-r front): Entesar Khadoom, Dr Fawzia Al Attia, Asmaa Mustafa, Amal Anwar Arif, Dr Nuha Auaed and Venus Shamal.  Behind are Queen's University's Dr Myrtle Hill, Director of the Centre for Women's Studies and Dr Margaret O'Callaghan of the School of Politics and International Studies.
Pictured appropriately beneath the painting 'Women emerging from the Shadows' commissioned by the Queen's University Gender Initiative, are members of the delegation of influential Iraqi women on the first day (Friday) of their five-day visit to Northern Ireland that is being hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen's University Belfast. (l-r front): Entesar Khadoom, Dr Fawzia Al Attia, Asmaa Mustafa, Amal Anwar Arif, Dr Nuha Auaed and Venus Shamal. Behind are Queen's University's Dr Myrtle Hill, Director of the Centre for Women's Studies and Dr Margaret O'Callaghan of the School of Politics and International Studies.
Amal Anwar Arif, Iraqi National Assembly Member helps Founding Member of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition, Jane Morrice, arrange her head scarf.  Jane Morrice addressed the delegation of influential Iraqi women on the first day (Friday) of their five-day visit to Northern Ireland that is being hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen's University Belfast.
Amal Anwar Arif, Iraqi National Assembly Member helps Founding Member of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition, Jane Morrice, arrange her head scarf. Jane Morrice addressed the delegation of influential Iraqi women on the first day (Friday) of their five-day visit to Northern Ireland that is being hosted by the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen's University Belfast.

The Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics (CAWP) at Queen's University Belfast is hosting a five-day visit to Northern Ireland by a delegation of seven influential Iraqi women. The women arrive in Belfast on 02 March.

The visiting women have been involved in the Iraqi Transitional Government: several are former member of the government who were not elected this time around, while others have been involved in the constitutional process.

The delegation includes: Dr Hanan Alfatlawi, Member of Parliament, representing the Al Me'raaj Women Organisation – She'Alliance Party; Dr Nuha Auaed of the Iraqi Independent Women's Group, Baghad; and Amal Anwar Arif, an Iraqi Assembly Member.

The Iraqi women's visit to Queen's University and Northern Ireland has been arranged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of a longer UK trip to look at the role of women in the different forms of government within the UK.

The main objective of their Northern Ireland visit is to examine the role that women are playing in government here, and especially in the peace process, in terms of forming alliances, groupings, networking, reaching consensus and compromises, from grass-roots level upwards. The aim would be to incorporate these lessons from NI to the situation that they are currently facing in Iraq.

While in Northern Ireland, the Iraqi women will attend a series of seminars and presentations at Queen's University, meet with female politicians at Stormont, tour Belfast's murals and take part in a number of cultural activities.

Dr Beverley Milton-Edwards, of the Queen's University School of Politics and International Studies, is a Middle Eastern studies expert. She will be one of Queen's senior female academics to address the delegation. She commented: "In Iraq, the issues facing women the moment include, for example, the Constitution redrafting process, which may erode the civil status law and lead to the rise of Sharia courts*. This will mean that women's lobbying groups both in government and in civil society will need a strong and united voice. The Iraqi women know what the issues are, but do not have the skills or experience to make their concerns about these issues heard."

Dr Yvonne Galligan, Director of the Queen's Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics, who arranged the visit, said: "The Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics warmly welcomes the delegation of Iraqi women. This group of extraordinarily courageous women held important positions in the transition government of Iraq. They are the voices of Iraqi women in politics and civil society. Their visit to CAWP and Belfast will focus on discussing the role women can play in reconstructing society, in bringing peace, and in shaping a democratic future that women can share with men."

For further information please contact: Victoria Montgomery, CAWP 028 9098 3654; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 3087 / 07980 013362

NOTES: Media opportunities for photographs and interviews with the Iraqi women and Dr Beverley Milton-Edwards of Queen's, will be available on Friday 3 March, 11 - 11.30am in the Canada Room, Lanyon North.

* Sharia courts are religious courts that in many parts of the Muslim world exist in parallel with secular courts. They are based on Sharia law, developed from interpretations of the Koran.

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Laying the groundwork at Queen's University

The School of Environmental Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen's University has joined up with the regeneration body Groundwork Northern Ireland to deliver a key module in the new one-year MSc degree course in Environmental Planning.

The first in the series of six weekly lectures for the new module - Creating Places: Development and Renewal - will be delivered on Thursday 09 March by Groundwork Northern Ireland's Mary McKee and Sylvia Gordon.

Dr William Neill, Course Director and Reader in Urban Planning at Queen's, says: "This brings to fruition on the teaching front the results of research collaboration with Groundwork Northern Ireland dating back over five years. The most recent results of our research collaboration are in fact to be explored in a new book, Cultural Inclusion in the European City to be published by Macmillan later this year.

"Using the environment as 'common ground' is a theme with resonance in Europe generally. Involving students with the leading edge practice of Groundwork Northern Ireland in this field is a major selling point of our new course for which demand is highly competitive."

The Groundwork Northern Ireland lectures are based on the organisation's distinct model of working in partnership with local communities to bring about inner city regeneration. It is hoped that the students' learning will be enriched by Groundwork Northern Ireland's 14 years experience of community planning in the difficult urban interfaces of Belfast and in communities across Northern Ireland.

Groundwork Northern Ireland Director, Mary McKee, comments, "This partnership with Queen's is an exciting new development for Groundwork Northern Ireland. It brings together theory with practical projects, creating real-life training opportunities for future environmental planning professionals."

The ideas and skills imparted in the new course have been explored in workshop discussions at the European Academy of the Urban Environment in Berlin and reflect Queen's aim to deliver cutting edge and internationally aware research-led teaching.

Notes

1. Media opportunities will be available 2.30pm - 3pm on Thursday 09 March, in the foyer of the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen's, ahead of the first lecture there.

2. Groundwork NI is a leading not-for-profit organisation working in partnership with some of Northern Ireland’s most marginalised communities. Established in 1991, they have 14 years' experience in planning, developing and delivering community-based environmental regeneration projects. The organisation has a growing portfolio of more than 120 projects throughout Northern Ireland and is working with County Leitrim Partnership in the border area of the Republic

For further information please contact: Dr William Neill, 028 9097 4380, b.neill@qub.ac.uk; Communications Office, 028 9097 3087; or Caterina Goodman, Groundwork NI, 028 9074 9494

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Students offered insight into life at Queen's
Paddling your own canoe at Queen's: Queen's students Enda Young (L) Alice Neeson and Barry Magee (R) pictured at the launch of Quest, a new magazine by Queen's depicting what life is like for students choosing to study at the University.
Paddling your own canoe at Queen's: Queen's students Enda Young (L) Alice Neeson and Barry Magee (R) pictured at the launch of Quest, a new magazine by Queen's depicting what life is like for students choosing to study at the University.

Queen’s has launched a new magazine depicting what life is like for students choosing to study at the University. Entitled Quest, it offers a helping hand to those sixth formers currently making the difficult decision about which university offer to accept. The magazine contains information on those factors first year students indicated were of most importance to them in deciding upon their choice of university.

Packed with first-hand experiences and profiles from students already at the University, Quest also offers information on accommodation issues, career opportunities, managing money, university facilities and of course, the all-important low-down on student social life.

Speaking about the new magazine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac said: “Making a decision about which University to attend is one of the most important decisions a young person will undertake. With so many options and factors to consider, it can also be one of the most confusing.

Being able to talk to someone with direct experience is often a vital reference source to have when making a decision. However, not everyone has access to a current Queen’s student. We hope Quest will act as that all important source for anyone who needs it and help ease any confusion by providing prospective students with as broad a picture as possible of life at Queen’s”.

Alice Neeson from Belfast, a first year student of English who is featured in the magazine added: “Quest is a great idea for sixth formers. Many people told me being a student would be an easy life but weren’t really able to offer me advice on the issues I was worried about, such as how best to manage my money or on sharing a house for the first time. It’s great fun being a student, but also hard work. Thanks to Quest, sixth formers can now get a glimpse of the whole picture and hopefully use it to help them decide Queen’s is the University for them”.

Quest is being sent to all sixth year students currently considering an offer from Queen’s. It can be viewed online at www.qub.ac.uk/info/pubs.htm and copies are also available by contacting the Publications Unit at Queen’s, 028 9097 5332.

For further information, please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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