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11-2006 Press Releases

29/11/2006: Computer Game Legend appointed Visiting Fellow at Queen's
29/11/2006: A 'green and pleasant land'? Public attitudes to Farming and Countryside in NI
28/11/2006: Queen's Lecture examines role of the individual in corporate success
21/11/06: Historical Hansards: 50 Years of NI Parliamentary Papers Available Online for the First Time
20/11/2006: Philip Larkin commemorated at Queen's
17/11/2006: Queen's Sport Teams up with Local Schools and Community
17/11/2006: Queen's University celebrates Enterprise Week with Chief Executives’ Gala Dinner
16/11/2006: Queen's graduate entrepreneur takes a risk to improve firearm safety
16/11/2006: Unique Hospital-Wide Programme to Improve Communication between Future Doctors and Nurses
15/11/2006: Increased patient demand for prostate test has serious implications for cancer services
15/11/2006: Europe looks at the future of villages
15/11/2006: Social Services Minister praises social work education at Queen's
14/11/2006: Caterpillar Foundation's $100,000 donation to new Queen's Library
13/11/2006: Queen's Engineer Announced as Finalist in the Young Woman of the Year Awards
13/11/2006: Queen's opens new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
08/11/2006: Queen's Seminar on faith-based schools
07/11/2006: Preparations Well Underway for Queen's Gaelic Football Club's 75th Anniversary Banquet
06/11/2006: Russell Group invitation acknowledges Queen's world-class role - Gregson
02/11/2006: Queen's poets take flight in major new anthology

Computer Game Legend appointed Visiting Fellow at Queen's
David Perry has been appointed as a Visiting Fellow in the Creative Industries at Queen's University. Originally from Belfast, David is globally recognised as a leading figure in the computer game industry where his games have recorded nearly $1 billion in global sales. His reputation is one of being an industry leading light and innovative force constantly pushing the boundaries of the financially lucrative interactive entertainment industry.

Educated at Methodist College in Belfast, David Perry launched his career writing computer game programming books at just 15 years of age. At the age of 17 he moved to London where he developed professional computer games such as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Terminator. He moved to the United States in 1991 to establish his name behind several award-winning games in the U.S. interactive entertainment industry. In 1993 he struck out on his own to form Shiny Entertainment in California and began work on Shiny's first blockbuster title, Earthworm Jim, one of the best-known video game characters of all time. Subsequent award-winning titles included the sequel to the blockbuster action thriller The Matrix.

This week he is in Belfast as part of a new partnership initiative between Queen's University and Belfast City Council to support the development of the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland. His four day programme involves sharing his insight and experience with local companies, researchers and students. The Visiting Fellowship aims to bring international experience in gaming, digital media, TV and films to Queen's and enhance the commercial strengths and international image of Belfast as an innovative centre of creative excellence.

David delivers a keynote address to an invited audience on "The past, present and future of the Interactive Entertainment Industry" in the Great Hall at Queen's on Wednesday evening and will hold a Cinemagic Masterclass at Queen's on Thursday.

For further information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5320 or Stephen Mc Gowan, Regional and Research Services, Tel: 9097 2573

ENDS.

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A 'green and pleasant land'? Public attitudes to Farming and Countryside in NI

With many farmers in Northern Ireland having stated they would be unable to survive economically without subsidies, findings just released from a Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey Module reveal 68 per cent of people in Northern Ireland believe farming in Northern Ireland should be subsidised to some degree. The survey also shows that 45 per cent of respondents disagree that farmers are subsidised too much, while another 23 per cent agreed, 21 per cent neither agreed or disagreed and 13 per cent didn’t know.

Carried out by ARK or the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive, a joint research project between Queen's University and the University of Ulster, the survey on public attitudes towards the countryside in Northern Ireland, also reveals that 89 per cent of those surveyed perceive farms and farming families as keeping the countryside alive. They also have a positive view about rural living, consider it to provide a healthy environment and to be a good place to bring up children.

Other key points arising from the survey are:

  • 67% think that Northern Ireland farmers produce better quality safe food than that produced elsewhere
  • 91% disagreed with the statement that farming as a way of life should be allowed to die out
  • 63% perceive there to be less crime in the countryside
  • 83% of respondents view farms as adding to the beauty of the countryside
  • 70% agreed that there is more community spirit in the countryside
  • 72% perceive the countryside to be a better place to raise children.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the findings will be presented today by Dr Sally Shortall from Queen’s University Belfast, at a seminar in NICVA, Duncairn Gardens, Belfast. Speaking about the survey, Dr Shortall said: “Given the current policy emphasis on subsidising farmers to produce goods of public benefit, the module aimed to identify public perceptions of farming.

“Almost 40 per cent of the EU budget is accounted for by the Common Agricultural Policy. The survey provides an analysis of knowledge of, and attitudes towards, the countryside, that will inform public and policy debates on rural life, particularly, the reform of the CAP.”

The survey also asked respondents for their opinion on the statement ‘There is more community spirit in the countryside’, with 70 per cent either agreeing or strongly agreeing.

Commenting on these findings, Dr Shortall added: “While there is clearly a perception that there is more community spirit in the countryside as agreed by 70 per cent of our respondents, interestingly, a later Life and Times Survey Module on Democratic Participation, does not provide evidence to support this perception.

“That particular survey found that urban dwellers were more active in civic and social activities than rural dwellers, while rural dwellers were less likely to have taken part in a political campaign, discussed politics or political news with someone else or contacted the local council. They were also less likely to have done voluntary work, helped organise a charity event or taken part in a sponsored event”.

Full results of all the questions from the Life and Times Survey are available on the website on www.ark.ac.uk/nilt as is the report, A ‘green and pleasant land’? Public attitudes to the countryside in Northern Ireland, at www.ark.ac.uk/publications

Notes to Editor

Media Opportunities will be available at 11.45am at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, on Wednesday, 29 November. The Life and Times Survey is a constituent part of ARK – Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (www.ark.ac.uk) – which makes social and political material based on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience.

The module was funded by the ESRC with additional funding provided by the Ulster Farmers’ Union and the survey on public attitudes towards the countryside in Northern Ireland was carried out in 2004.

ARK is a joint research project between Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. 028 9097 5384 or m0781 44 22 572

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Queen's Lecture examines role of the individual in corporate success

The innovative power of individuals in achieving corporate success will be the theme of a major lecture to the local business community at Queen's University on Wednesday 6 December.

In a First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture entitled ‘The Innovative Power of Individuals”, Michael McGrath of Stena Line will put forward the premise that the true lifeblood for the development of any organisation is the innovative power of the individuals within it.

Michael McGrath is Area Director responsible for Stena Lines Irish Sea operations, having recently moved from the position of Managing Director of Stena Line Freight, based in Sweden. His lecture will draw on his experience to contend that the proper environment for innovative thinking can only develop within a corporate culture founded on individual entrepreneurial drive, clarity of objectives and direction, enforced and efficient channels of communication, and a focus on maintaining high levels of individual staff.

Stena Line Freight is now established as the clear market leader in freight ferry services in Europe. With beginnings as a one ship operation trading between Sweden and Denmark, Stena Line has developed into the world’s largest ferry company with extensive operations on the Irish Sea, the North Sea and throughout Scandinavia.

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.

Michael McGrath's innovation lecture will be held in G9, Lanyon North at 6pm on Wednesday 06 December. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Claire McGivern at Queen's University on 028 9097 1145 or e-mail c.mcgivern@qub.ac.uk.


For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors:

Media facilities will be available at the lecture. Arrangements to interview Michael McGrath can be made by calling the above number.

ENDS.

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Historical Hansards: 50 Years of NI Parliamentary Papers Available Online for the First Time
 Dr Paul Ell, Director of the CDDA at Queen's University Belfast and Sheila Anderson, Director of the Arts and Humanities Data Service at Kings College London pictured at Parliament Buildings, Belfast.
Dr Paul Ell, Director of the CDDA at Queen's University Belfast and Sheila Anderson, Director of the Arts and Humanities Data Service at Kings College London pictured at Parliament Buildings, Belfast.
The Team from CDDA who created the Historical Hansards website
The Team from CDDA who created the Historical Hansards website

As the 24 November deadline for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland looms, a new website being launched today at Parliament Buildings, has made all 92,000 pages of Hansard of the House of Commons for the Stormont-based Government of Northern Ireland, between 1921 and 1972, available online for the first time. It has been created by the Centre for Data Digitisation Analysis (CDDA) at Queen's University Belfast and the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) at King’s College London.

Casting a unique and valuable light on political, social, and economic developments within Northern Ireland, these important papers were previously held by very few institutions as reference only copies, and with no comprehensive subject index they were inaccessible and difficult to use.

Now http://stormont-papers.ahds.ac.uk will offer users the opportunity to access this important and intriguing collection of papers and the ability to search by key subjects or people, many of whom are still involved in the ongoing political discussions today.

The website has been indexed by subject heading and an introduction to the political figures has also been provided.

Explaining the rationale behind the project, Dr Paul Ell, Director of the CDDA at Queen’s said: “The 92,000 pages of Hansard on Northern Ireland, from post-partition in 1921 to the establishment of Direct Rule in 1972, were a vast virtually untapped resource that paid specific attention to social and economic matters of importance and debate, many of which remain of great significance today.

“Access to the papers was very limited and, as the resource is one of the primary sources for following the development of Northern Ireland, the CDDA at Queen’s felt it was vital that it be made available to the wider community.

“There is no wider community than that offered by the Internet and now anyone can access this site to find out how issues such as health, education, social services, local trade, agriculture, law and order, planning and industry have developed in Northern Ireland. I would like to pay tribute to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for their support, without which this project would not have been possible.”

Sheila Anderson, Director of the Arts and Humanities Data Service added “I congratulate the CDDA at Queen’s for this timely new website will brings both the history of Northern Ireland to life and makes it available to a whole new audience. A myriad of colourful information is available on political figures and their opinions, several of whom are still featuring strongly on the political scene today.”

Commenting on the importance of the new website, Eileen Bell, MLA, Speaker of the Assembly, who helped officially launch the resource said: "This is a significant and very exciting project. The papers from the old Stormont Parliament are a unique and hugely important source of information on the history and development of Northern Ireland. They help us to understand exactly how and why previous generations made decisions that, in one way or another, have helped shape the way we live today.

"However, until today, that rich archive has not been widely available. Now, thanks to the CDDA and AHDS, that has changed and people all over the world will be able to access the information. The period covered by the papers includes not only some of the most crucial times and events in local history, but in world history. By learning from the contents of the papers, I believe that we will all be better informed and equipped to make decisions that will benefit all the people of Northern Ireland, not just today, but in the future”

Preparing the data for the website took over two years and during that time the project also assisted five young people gain NVQ level II and III qualifications in IT and administration. CDDA has contributed to this Government Scheme for the past eight years working closely with the Belfast Centre of Learning.

Further information on the work of the CDDA, which, with project partners both nationally and internationally, has secured close to £6m of funding over the last few years, is available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/cdda. Information on the Arts and Humanities Data Service is available at www.ahds.ac.uk

Notes to Editor

1. http://stormont-papers.ahds.ac.uk is being launched in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings today (Tuesday, 21 November). Media Opportunities are available from 11.15am.

2. The Centre for Data Digitisation Analysis at Queen’s is a research unit with interests in temporal Geographical Information Systems, the development of electronic research resources, e-Science and Grid technologies. It provides a comprehensive digitisation service to create key e-resources including capture of material, quality assurance, data post-processing and data delivery to user requirements and also offers NVQ full-time work experience training opportunities for suitable candidates.

3. The Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) is a UK national digital library aiding the discovery, creation and preservation of digital resources in and for research, teaching and learning in the arts and humanities. Its executive office is based at King’s College London. It is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

4. The Arts and Humanities Research Council supports research within a huge subject domain from traditional humanities subjects, such as history, modern languages and English literature, to the creative and performing arts. The AHRC funds research and postgraduate study within the UK's higher education institutions. In addition, on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, it provides funding for museums, galleries and collections that are based in, or attached to, higher education institutions in England. For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384 or m0781 44 22 572.

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Philip Larkin commemorated at Queen's
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion (second right), who unveiled a commemorative Blue Plaque celebrating one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Philip Larkin, at Queen's University. Included are (from left) Chair of the Ulster History Circle Doreen Corcoran, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac, and poet and writer Victor Price, a member of the Circle. Philip Larkin was sub-librarian at Queen’s University from 1950 to 1955. The commemoration was the brainchild of the Ulster History Circle, a small, voluntary, not for profit organisation which places these Blue Plaques on key buildings in honour of men and women in many disciplines across the arts and science who have made a positive contribution to Ulster’s history.
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion (second right), who unveiled a commemorative Blue Plaque celebrating one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Philip Larkin, at Queen's University. Included are (from left) Chair of the Ulster History Circle Doreen Corcoran, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac, and poet and writer Victor Price, a member of the Circle. Philip Larkin was sub-librarian at Queen’s University from 1950 to 1955. The commemoration was the brainchild of the Ulster History Circle, a small, voluntary, not for profit organisation which places these Blue Plaques on key buildings in honour of men and women in many disciplines across the arts and science who have made a positive contribution to Ulster’s history.
A commemorative Blue Plaque celebrating one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Philip Larkin, who was sub-librarian at Queen's University from 1950 to 1955, has been unveiled on The Old Library in the University campus by Larkin’s biographer, the current Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

The commemoration was the brainchild of the Ulster History Circle, a small, voluntary, not for profit organisation which places these Blue Plaques on key buildings in honour of men and women in many disciplines across the arts and science who have made a positive contribution to Ulster's history. Such buildings, explains the Circle's Chair Doreen Corcoran, are chosen for their significant role in the subject's life and work.

The author of four volumes of poetry, ‘The North Ship’, ‘The Less Deceived’, ‘The Whitsun Weddings’ and ‘High Windows’, Philip Larkin is considered one of the finest poets in English literary history. He edited ‘The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse’ and his ‘Collected Poems’, edited by Anthony Thwaite, appeared in 1988.

He received many awards in recognition of his writing, especially in his later years. In 1975 he was awarded the CBE, and in 1976 was given the German Shakespeare-Pries. He chaired the Booker Prize Panel in 1977, was made Companion of Literature in 1978, and served on the Literature Panel of the Arts between 1980 and 1982. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Library Association in 1980. Philip Larkin died in 1985.

Two of his poems are included in a major new anthology celebrating Queen's and Northern Ireland's tradition of poetic excellence. ‘The Blackbird's Nest’, launched earlier this month, reflects the richness and diversity of poetry at Queen's since the early 20th century, a richness recognised in the creation of the University's Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. Among the poets featured in the anthology are Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Helen Waddell, John Hewitt, Michael Longley and Medbh McGuckian, as well as the much younger Sinead Morrisey and Leontia Flynn plus many others who have made a vital contribution to the development of poetry at the University and in Northern Ireland.

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

ENDS.

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Queen's Sport Teams up with Local Schools and Community
Irish Rugby's Michael Barker and Suzanne Fleming pictured with children from St Malachy's Primary School at the Official Opening of the new Outdoor Training Facility and PE and Sport Programme
Irish Rugby's Michael Barker and Suzanne Fleming pictured with children from St Malachy's Primary School at the Official Opening of the new Outdoor Training Facility and PE and Sport Programme
James McCartan, Manager of Queen's GAA and Derry Ladies star Caroline O'Hanlon pictured with children from St Bride's and St Brigids Primary School at the Official Opening of the new Outdoor Training Facility and PE and Sport Programme
James McCartan, Manager of Queen's GAA and Derry Ladies star Caroline O'Hanlon pictured with children from St Bride's and St Brigids Primary School at the Official Opening of the new Outdoor Training Facility and PE and Sport Programme

Several of Northern Ireland’s top sports stars will today join pupils from four local primary schools and members of local community sports groups in the South Belfast area to officially open a new state-of-the-art Outdoor Training Facility and accompanying ‘PE and Sport Programme’ at Queen’s University.

Supported by The Big Lottery Fund and Queen’s Sport the new 80m x 40m facility at the Physical Education Centre (PEC) in Botanic Park, costing just over £500,000, will transform sporting opportunities for pupils at Botanic, St Bride’s, St Matthew’s and St Malachy’s Primary Schools. All of the schools, as well as over a thousand members of nine local community sports groups, have traditionally had little or no access to such facilities.

The Big Lottery Fund has also provided funding for a Sports Development Officer, who will co-ordinate and develop a wide range of activity and coaching opportunities to the local area, with a special focus on those not currently participating in sport. Kevin Murray is the PE & Sport Project Development Officer with Queen’s Sport. Explaining the importance of the new initiative to the local community he said: “In addition to the new facility, the Sports Development Programme is at the heart of this whole project. The supporting programme of coaching and inter-school events do make a real difference to the quality of life enjoyed by the children. Quite simply it offers them and the wider South Belfast Community an opportunity to stay active and have fun.”

The new facility, which can accommodate up to three sporting groups at the same time, is the result of a unique partnership approach between Queen’s Sport and the local partners. Speaking about the partnership approach adopted, Maureen Cusdin, Director Queen’s Sport said: “This Big Lottery funded programme will enable Queen’s Sport to support students in obtaining the relevant coaching qualifications, and in turn, pass on the benefit of their skills and knowledge to the local children and community. To see so many young children enjoying the fantastic facilities is a heart-warming sight and I would like to pay tribute to the Big Lottery for their foresight in supporting the development which I am sure thousands of people, young and old alike, will enjoy for many years to come.”

Carol Gardner, Teacher at Botanic Primary School, stated: “The sports programme and facilities have already enhanced and extended the teaching of physical education in our school.”

Bobby McCambridge, Secretary of Aquinas FC added: “As a local sports club working in the South Belfast area, with over 200 members, this new facility and sports development programme will greatly enhance our aim of getting more young people involved in sport.”

Walter Rader, NI Director of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This award shows how investing National Lottery money in sports facilities can transform the quality of life in communities. The PE and Sport programme is already having a major impact on communities and is bringing positive changes to people of all ages across Northern Ireland. This new facility will bring greater access to physical activity to many more people in Belfast.

“It is clear that with these superb facilities the Big Lottery Fund and Queen's University Belfast has addressed a real need in the community and has helped provide people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sporting activities. I feel that this facility will have a real and lasting benefit to the people of Belfast for any years to come."

Further information and booking details for the new facility and PE & Sport Programme are available from www.qub.ac.uk/sport or by telephoning 028 9068 1126.

Notes to Editor:

Media Opportunities will be available from 10:45am to 11:15am on Friday, 17 November at Queen’s PEC Outdoor Training Facility (Entrance via PEC Car Park, Ormeau Embankment). Children will be in attendance from all four Primary Schools as will members of local community groups and sports stars Northern Ireland Soccer Internationals Peter Thompson and Maeve McLaughlin, Down GAA and Queen’s Sigerson Cup Team manager, James McCartan and Rugby’s Suzanne Fleming.

For further information please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384 or m0781 44 22 572 or Debbie McLorinan, Queen’s Sport. Tel: 02890 387660 or d.mclorinan@qub.ac.uk ENDS.

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Queen's University celebrates Enterprise Week with Chief Executives’ Gala Dinner
Queen's University is marking the end of Enterprise Week by holding its annual Black Tie Gala dinner of the Chief Executives’ Club at Queen's.

The Chief Executives’ Club (CEC) at Queen's is a prestigious business forum that facilitates high level business networking between higher education and industry. It was established to strengthen links between Queen's University and the business community in Northern Ireland.

The CEC provides opportunities for senior business and public sector leaders, and senior managers of the University, to express views and discuss mutual problems and challenges. Keynote events are held throughout the year to support networking and facilitate access to the international networks and research strengths of Queen's University. During 2006, members have been addressed by Lord Bhattacharyyra of the Warwick Manufacturing Group; Joseph B. Lassiter, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School; and Sir Michael Bichard, Rector of the University of the Arts London, and Chair of the Legal Services Commission.

In September, the CEC held its inaugural Annual Debate when leading business, political and public sector figures gathered at Queen's to examine the private and public sector balance of the Northern Ireland economy and whether steps can be taken to support the growth of a reinvigorated and globally competitive private sector. The panel discussion included Sir George Quigley: Chairman of Bombardier Aerospace Belfast and Chairman of the Industrial Taskforce; Stephen Kingon: Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northern Ireland and Chairman of Invest NI ; Declan Billington: Managing Director of John Thompson & Sons Ltd and Chairman of the CBI–Northern Ireland; the economist Mike Smyth; and Eoin O'Driscoll: Managing Director of Aderra and Chairman of Forfás – the Republic of Ireland's national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation.

Enterprise Week is a national celebration of enterprise and entrepreneurship. The Chief Executives’ Club at Queen's gala dinner will take place in the Sir William Whitla Hall and will be the 8th annual black tie event for CEC members.

For further information on the Chief Executives’ Club at Queen's, Contact: Stephen McGowan on 028 9097 2573.

ENDS.

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Queen's graduate entrepreneur takes a risk to improve firearm safety
Aaron Mannis has been chosen as a graduate entrepreneur of Queen's University to represent Northern Ireland in a new UK Scholarship programme and spend six months in the United States.
Queen's graduate, Aaron Mannis is getting ready to pack his bags and take his new business idea to improve firearm safety, to the United States. He is the only Northern Ireland graduate selected for a Fellowship programme launched earlier this year, to encourage entrepreneurship. Invest Northern Ireland is helping to fund the new scheme which is open to engineering, scientific and technology degree and post doctorate students within five years of graduation.

The new NCGE-Kauffman Entrepreneurship Fellows Scheme is funding eighteen graduates from England and Northern Ireland to take their business ideas to the United States, meet with leading scholars, innovative researchers and business founders during a six month programme.

Aaron will travel with seventeen other potential entrepreneurs to the US in mid-January. They will spend time at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas, be placed in a US start-up business to gain experience for three months, visit both the east and west coasts of America before attending Harvard and Stanford universities and completing their programme. Aaron Mannis graduated with a Masters Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Queen's in the summer. He has created an idea to improve firearm safety but its application could also have other safety and security applications. He said: “My idea is quite a simple one but the technology has yet to be fully verified. There is only so much that I can reveal about how the idea might work but obviously the judges for the Fellowship have decided that it has potential.

“I have had great encouragement and support from Queen's and Invest Northern Ireland this far, and I am looking forward to learning more about how I can make my idea a business reality with this opportunity. I am taking a risk having graduated, in not going straight for a job, but this is an opportunity which may not come around again,” the potential entrepreneur said. Congratulating Aaron on his selection to be part of the program, Graham Davis, Director of Entrepreneurship at Invest NI said: “Northern Ireland needs more of its young people, like Aaron, to get involved in enterprise if it is to continue to have a strong and vibrant economy. Only by equipping our youth with the skills needed to be entrepreneurial, as well as exposing them to its rewards, will we be able to ensure that future generations take up the business challenge and go for it.”

Invest Northern Ireland have been promoting 13-17 November as a week to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Northern Ireland.

For more information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5320.

Further information on The National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) is available at www.ncge.org.uk

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Unique Hospital-Wide Programme to Improve Communication between Future Doctors and Nurses

In conjunction with the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University Belfast, the Mater Hospital will today (Thursday, 16 November), launch a new inter-professional education (IPE) programme aimed at fostering a greater understanding between undergraduate medicine and nursing students with regards to their professional roles and responsibilities.

The first programme of its kind in Northern Ireland, it is hoped the initiative will engender a spirit of increased appreciation and respect between the two professions at undergraduate level by offering medical and nursing students on placement in the Mater Hospital new opportunities to learn from and about each other’s profession.

The programme will initially involve up to 75 undergraduates per year who will be working on wards involving care of the elderly and mental health. Additional wards will be included and developed for IPE in early 2007. The programme will see each student assigned a number of key learning opportunities, in addition to those essential elements already on their curriculum, for which they must seek help from their counterparts. Special care has been taken to ensure that Mater Hospital staff can be involved where necessary to help facilitate the process. This programme will lead the way in developing an IPE template which will be rolled out to all teaching hospitals within Northern Ireland over the next two years.

Explaining the rationale behind the programme, Dr Melissa McCullough, a lecturer from the School of Medicine who co-ordinates Interprofessional Education activities at Queen’s, and who is behind the initiative said: “While we would all like to think that Doctors and Nurses fully appreciate each other’s professional roles, the reality of the situation is that the daily demands on both professions often result in them having little time to appreciate the other’s responsibilities.

“Previous research and a number of enquiries such as the Bristol Enquiry have shown that a lack of communication between our healthcare teams can sometimes result in less than optimum treatment and outcomes for patients.

“This important student-led programme, which is the first in Northern Ireland to be adopted on a hospital-wide basis thanks to the co-operation of the staff at the Mater Hospital, is aimed at increasing communication and understanding between both professions at the undergraduate level which will ultimately lead to better patient care.”

Lynn Fee, Learning and Development Facilitator with the Mater Hospital Trust added: “Queen’s University and the Mater Hospital are committed to the aims of interprofessional education. The Mater Hospital Trust views this programme as creating an environment of openness and collaboration which will enhance the team working and communications skills of tomorrow’s doctors and nurses, both of which are essential to a modern health service.”

The new programme is the latest in a series of IPE initiatives from the School of Medicine & Dentistry and the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s. Other successful schemes have included the paediatric IPE placement, a drama based IPE project and an interprofessional simulation pilot programme among other modules and initiatives. Additionally, The Centre for Excellence in Interprofesssional Education (CEIPE) group is currently carrying out a five year research project which will inform interprofessional education and practice.

Notes to Editor

The launch will take place in the Atrium Mater Hospital at 12.00 noon on 16 November 2006.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 5384 or Brian Laughlin/Lynn Fee Mater Hospital Tel: 028 90802277

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Increased patient demand for prostate test has serious implications for cancer services

Male patients are increasingly demanding PSA tests for prostate cancer, despite lack of evidence that they are effective, according to a survey of more than 700 family doctors published in the November issue of the urology journal BJU International.

Researchers from Queen's University Belfast and the Eastern Health and Social Services Board discovered that more than two-thirds of doctors (65 per cent) said that they provided PSA tests on request.

They did this despite the fact that the UK National Health Service Executive and the UK’s National Screening Committee don’t recommend routine screening for prostate cancer, in the absence of symptoms, using PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood tests. “Increased on-demand PSA testing represents a major pressure on family doctors and has serious implications for prostate cancer investigation and treatment” says co-author Dr Jackie McCall, Specialist Registrar in Public Health Medicine at the Eastern Health and Social Services Board.

“Clinical evidence suggests that PSA testing may not improve survival or quality of life and might cause more harm than good, to patients and services alike.”

The team surveyed all 1067 family doctor practices in Northern Ireland and matched their responses with a regional PSA testing database. More than two-thirds of the doctors surveyed (704) responded to the postal questionnaire, which explored their personal profile, the profile of their practice and their PSA testing behaviour.

A detailed analysis of the results revealed that there were a range of complex factors that influenced whether family doctors carried out PSA screening.

These included:

· 49 per cent of doctors were aware of the national guidelines for PSA testing, but that awareness did not influence testing levels.

· Tests were more likely to be ordered by full-time male doctors who had been practising for 21 to 30 years and by those who worked in rural practices.

· 13 per cent of doctors had held a postgraduate post in urology, but this did not affect their testing behaviour. And working in an accredited training practice was associated with lower testing levels.

· Opportunistic PSA testing is being carried out on men who consult their family doctor about unrelated complaints. 47 per cent of doctors reported that PSA testing had previously picked up prostate cancer in patients with no symptoms and 51 per cent said this influenced their practice.

· Doctors were also more likely to test men with a positive family history of prostate cancer.

· Only half a per cent of the doctors surveyed reported a specialist interest in male health, despite prostate cancer being the commonest male cancer and current drives to improve awareness of the disease in primary care.

Data from all the first PSA tests ordered by doctors during the survey period (2003-2004) were matched with the questionnaire responses and analysed to investigate their association with variables such as gender, age, location of practice and awareness of guidelines.

More than 15,000 PSA tests had been ordered – an average of 11 per doctor.

34 per cent of the respondents worked in an urban practice, 24 per cent in a rural setting and 42 per cent in a mixture of the two. Seven per cent worked on their own and 32 per cent had five or more partners.

“Our research shows that merely providing family doctors with guidance is not sufficient to influence patterns of PSA testing” adds co-author Dr Gerard Gormley, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice at Queen's University Belfast. “They need better training in this area so that testing can be targeted more effectively and that patients can be kept better informed and counselled if testing is indicated.

“Finding out what makes family doctors carry out PSA tests is an important step in this process. Cutting the number of unnecessary PSA tests carried out by family doctors will lead to more effective referrals and this will play a key role in reducing hospital waiting lists so that urgent cases receive the priority they deserve.”

BJU International’s editor Professor John Fitzpatrick, from University College Dublin, Ireland, says that that the paper makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate on PSA screening.

"This is an excellent study which looks scientifically at the problems that may develop in the UK with the increase in PSA screening" he says.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office and for press copies of the paper please contact Annette Whibley, Wizard Communications +44 (0)1926 330504 wizard.media@virgin.net

Notes to editors

· Prostate-specific antigen testing: uncovering primary care influences. Gormley et al. BJU International. Volume 98, pages 996 to 1000. (November 2006).

· Established in 1929, BJU International is published 12 times a year by Blackwell Publishing and edited by Professor John Fitzpatrick from University College Dublin, Ireland. It provides its international readership with invaluable practical information on all aspects of urology, including original and investigative articles and illustrated surgery. www.bjui.org

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Europe looks at the future of villages

A major Conference at Queen's University, Belfast on the future planning of villages (Thursday 16 November) will impact throughout the European Union.

Funded by the EU INTERREG 111B programme, ‘Village Futures’ is part of a 4.1 million Euro transnational research initiative called SPAN, exploring the relationship between spatial planning and local development, including rural social and economic regeneration.

Over 170 delegates from across Ireland have registered for the event, with keynote contributions being made by rural planning and development experts from England, France, Belgium, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Presentations at the event will include an analysis of the Vibrant Villages initiative currently being carried out by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council. This focuses on community-led regeneration in Ballyhornan (County Down), Dromore (County Tyrone) and Portballintrae (County Antrim).

Dr Michael Murray from the Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning at Queen's who are hosting the event, said:” The Conference is certainly timely. There are issues of potential overdevelopment, housing affordability and poor design that we know we already need to address in some villages in Northern Ireland. At the same time there are wider challenges related to the need for social and economic investment in disadvantaged and rural communities. We want to build on substantial efforts already underway to harness existing research and secure on-going regeneration for villages and rural communities.

“The speakers at our Conference will offer insights into how we can positively influence the village planning process here in Northern Ireland, based on good practice elsewhere, and then extend those lessons through this European funded programme,” the Project Co-ordinator at Queen's explained.

The Conference theme ‘Village Futures’ recognises that village planning is set to become a prominent issue for local communities, public and private sector providers, and developers across Europe over the next decade. The conference contributors will offer an international perspective on what has already worked well, aiming to signpost new directions for planning practice throughout the European Union.

Dr Murray said: “The next round of the EU funded Rural Development Programme for Northern Ireland to 2013, includes a measure to promote village development and this event will explore experiences in the Republic of Ireland, England, France and Belgium alongside our own, to take stock and inform implementation of future village developments and their planning processes, to improve quality of life.”

For further information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office Tel: 0289097 5320

Further details on the SPAN Project are available on the website – http://www.qub.ac.uk/ep/ or from Dr Michael Murray, Project Co-ordinator at Queen’s m.r.murray@qub.ac.uk

Notes for Editors: The Strategic Planning Action Network (SPAN) Project is a 4.1 million Euro transnational research initiative exploring the relationship between spatial planning and local development and funded by the EU INTERREG 111B programme.

The project partners are Queen's University Belfast and Rural Community Network in Northern Ireland, National University of Ireland Maynooth and Southside Partnership in the Republic of Ireland, Universitie Libre de Bruxelles and the foundation Rurale de Wallonie in Belgium, and Universitie de Reims and Reims Management School in France.

The Conference will be held in the Great Hall at Queen's University on Thursday 16 November.

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Social Services Minister praises social work education at Queen's
Social Services Minister Paul Goggins (right), with Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson (left) and Head of School Mike Tomlinson at the opening of Queen's new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
Social Services Minister Paul Goggins presents the Brian Rankin Medal for Queen's University's top Social Work graduate to Anna Nicholl, a Russian social worker now based in Coleraine. Included is Alastair Rankin, son of the late Brian Rankin, a distinguished Senator of Queen's, in whose menory the Medal was established in 1978. The presentation took place during the official opening of Queen's new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
Social Services Minister Paul Goggins has congratulated Queen's University for its contribution to the training of social workers.

The Minister was speaking at the opening of Queen's University's new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work which was formed following the merger of the University's departments of Social Work, Sociology and Social Policy. The University's Institute of Child Care Research and Queen's staff working for ARK (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive, a joint project with the University of Ulster) are also part of the new School.

The School comprises 78 academic, research and administrative support staff housed in a newly refurbished building in College Park.

Mr Goggins said: “I am delighted to be here to celebrate social work at Queen's and of course, these wonderful new premises for the new School.

“I would like to congratulate Queen's and to thank them for embracing the new world of social work education so enthusiastically, in particular, for their support for and engagement in partnership with employers.”

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said that the School makes a major contribution to Queen's role as an international leader in research and education which benefits society in Northern Ireland and further afield.

He said: “The School has an established reputation for applied and policy-related research, with strong user engagement with the statutory and voluntary sectors. It has particular strengths in research on children, social division and conflict, and poverty and social inequalities.

“Recent research projects have influenced, for example, social policy at European level, the equality debate, the international perspective on security and peace processes, poverty measurement and targets and appropriate responses to traumatic troubles-related episodes. Research earnings currently run at £1.6 million per year.”

He added: “One of the crucial ways in which Queen's serves the community in Northern Ireland is as a training ground for the professions. Social Work is an excellent example of the University's fulfilment of this role, training 130 social workers a year through the Bachelor of Social Work programme which is supported by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, as well as some 90 Bachelor of Arts students taking sociology, social policy and/or gender studies each year.”

“Over the next five years, the School's research strengths will contribute significantly to three of the University's strategic priorities, the Child, Irish Studies and Sustainability:

Head of School Mike Tomlinson said: “"We are delighted to be celebrating the opening of the School with our partners from social work agencies, user groups, government departments, the voluntary sector and elsewhere. Social work training and professional development are two of the core activities and public service responsibilities of the School. On the research side, the School's work is highly relevant to many contemporary social issues, both locally and internationally. Over the next five years our research will continue to inform agendas around equality, social exclusion and cohesion, the legacies of conflict, public attitudes to change, and children's development and care."

During the ceremony, a number of awards were presented for student achievement. These include the Brian Rankin Medal for the University’s top Social Work graduate. The Medal was awarded to Russian social worker Anna Nicholl, who moved to Northern Ireland after meeting her future husband, James, on holiday seven years ago. Anna, who originally worked for an adoption agency in her native country, is now based in Coleraine.

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

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Caterpillar Foundation's $100,000 donation to new Queen's Library

The Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global company Caterpillar Inc, which includes leading Northern Ireland firm FG Wilson, has made a $100,000 donation to Queen’s University’s landmark new library. Pictured on the library building site are (from left) Dick Elsden, Director of Government Affairs Caterpillar (UK) Ltd; Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson; Jeff Horn, Managing Director, Sales and Products - FG Wilson (Engineering) Ltd; and Dr Mark Sweeney, Managing Director, FG Wilson and Global Operations Director, Caterpillar Electric Power Division.
The Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global company Caterpillar Inc, which includes leading Northern Ireland firm FG Wilson, has made a $100,000 donation to Queen's University's landmark new library. In recognition of the gift, the Periodical Collection area on the Science and Engineering (3rd) Floor of the library will be named in honour of the Caterpillar Foundation.

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We are very grateful to the Caterpillar Foundation for this very generous donation. This gift is an excellent example of how local companies can support the communities in which they operate. The University's new library will not only enhance the Queen's Experience for our staff and students, but in doing so, will also play a leading role in sustaining and expanding the local knowledge-based economy.

“This donation will further enhance the links between the University and FG Wilson. We have enjoyed a productive relationship for many years, with the company's sponsorship of a major schools outreach project, ‘ABC for Life’, under which medical students teach CPR skills to Year 7 primary school children in order to create a generation of young people with the skills to save lives.”

The Caterpillar Foundation was founded by CAT in the early 1950s and since then has invested over £125 million in a wide variety of projects around the world. In 2005 some £15 million was distributed, with more than £600,000 awarded to projects in the United Kingdom. Since 2003 the Foundation has been active in the UK, working in partnership with CAT's UK businesses, especially in the area of education.

The decision to support this education based project lies comfortably within FG Wilson's philosophy and approach to social responsibility. The Company is a major employer in Northern Ireland and aims to support projects which impact the whole community in a positive manner. To date providing support for education based projects has been a key focus of FG Wilson’s sponsorship activity.

“The Caterpillar Foundation is delighted to work in partnership with FG Wilson and Queen's University to assist in this most important project. As its first direct investment in Northern Ireland, the Foundation sees this as a flagship for its future endeavours in the Province, and in association with FG Wilson looks forward to identifying further projects with the University”, said Dick Elsden, Director for Government Affairs for Caterpillar Inc in the United Kingdom.

Building work has commenced on the £45 million library, which is due for completion in 2009. Designed by Boston-based architects Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbot (SBRA), the new building will accommodate 2000 reader places and house 1.5 million volumes.

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's Engineer Announced as Finalist in the Young Woman of the Year Awards
Queen's Engineer, Maire McCloone
Queen's Engineer, Maire McCloone

Queen's University Engineer, Maire McLoone, 28, has today been announced as a finalist in the prestigious Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The IET is the largest professional engineering society in Europe and Maire, who works at Queen's world-renowned Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), secured her place in the Final following a rigorous round of interviews and presentations. She will be one of only five finalists on the night and the winner of the Young Woman of the Year Award will be announced on 25 January 2007 at a ceremony in London.

Originally from Glenties in Co. Donegal, Maire is currently a lecturer and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow, leading a research team of PhD students and research Fellows at ECIT who are looking at security in modern communications applications such as email, online shopping and banking.

During her time at ECIT, Maire has secured £400k of funding to support her current research which has led to the employment of a research fellow, a PhD student and has also funded her salary for five years. Maire has also developed numerous important national and international collaborative links at ECIT.

Actively involved in promoting science, engineering and technology to students for many years, Maire’s work has involved participation in various schemes including acting as a role model for WISE Women in Science, Engineering and Construction. Her achievements have also been recognised and awarded on numerous occasions, and she has previously won the Science, Engineering and Technology Student of the Year 1999 and the Vodafone Award for her research at the Young Engineer for Britain Awards. In addition, Maire has authored one book and over 35 international conference and journal papers.

Speaking about her nomination Maire said: "I am very pleased to have been selected as a finalist for such a prestigious award. I really enjoy my job in engineering research at ECIT, and I would strongly encourage female students to consider electronic engineering as a choice of career."

Dr Alf Roberts, Chief Executive of the IET said: "We have had an excellent response for this year’s awards and the standard of entries has been particularly high. I would like to congratulate all the finalists who have achieved many great things in their careers to date. All of the finalists are fantastic role models for other young women who may be considering a career in engineering. The Institution is committed to raising the profile of engineering to young people and we hope that the awards will help to address the shortage of women within the profession."

The winner of the Young Woman Engineer of the Year award will receive a cheque for £1,000 and an engraved trophy. The runner-up will receive the WES prize of £500 (WES – Women’s Engineering Society). In addition to this, The Mary George Memorial Prize will be presented to a candidate who has completed her academic studies and shows great promise and potential within the profession. The Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award is the most prestigious honour of its kind in the UK and attracts prominent supporters and sponsors including BT and Cosmopolitan magazine, who share with the IET a concern that only eight per cent of the UK’s engineers are women.

Notes to Editor

1. Maire’s current research involves bridging the gap between security algorithms and the applications which require security. In terms of providing very high-speed data security, she has designed one of the fastest security algorithm architectures currently available, which runs at 26 Gigabits/sec and she is also carrying out research into Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag security. RFID tags are set to replace the common barcode. The advantage of RFID tags is that they can contain more information about the product and they can be read from a distance. However, this leads to security risks such as consumer tracking and product cloning. Maire is currently carrying out research into how to include strong security techniques on these very small and low-power devices.

2. The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) is a £40M world-class centre with a unique focus on blue skies, strategic and industrial research projects. ECIT brings together, in one building, internationally renowned research groups from Queen’s University specialising in key areas of advanced digital and communications technology. The Institute extends the significant links Queen’s has already developed with major industrial partners and research centres throughout the world. In addition, it provides hot-housing and incubation facilities and supports the establishment and development of new companies and jobs.

3. The Institution of Engineering and Technology is the largest professional engineering society in Europe and reflects the interdisciplinary, global and inclusive nature of engineering and technology. With a worldwide membership of more than 150,000, the Institution aims to lead in the advancement of engineering and technology by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas at a local and global level and promoting best practice, ensuring that its members are thoroughly equipped to meet the needs of today's rapidly changing technological world. Membership comprises of individuals from a diverse range of technical backgrounds including IT, communications technology, electronics, electrical, power engineering, software, control, informatics and manufacturing and range from students to leading figures in industry, research and development and education. The IET was formed in 2006 by the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers. For more information about the IET please visit www.theiet.org

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 5384 or m0781 44 22 572.

ENDS.

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Queen's opens new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
A Russian social worker now based in Coleraine will be among the guests of honour today at the opening of Queen's University's new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.

Anna Nicholl, who is originally from Siberia, will receive the Rankin Medal for the University's top Social Work graduate. Anna, who originally worked for an adoption agency in her native country, moved to Northern Ireland after meeting her future husband, James, on holiday seven years ago.

The Medal will be presented at today's official launch of the School which was formed following the merger of the University's departments of Social Work, Sociology and Social Policy. The University's Institute of Child Care Research and Queen's staff working for ARK (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive, a joint project with the University of Ulster) are also part of the new School.

The School comprises 78 academic, research and administrative support staff housed in a newly refurbished building in College Park.

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said that the School makes a major contribution to Queen’s role as an international leader in research and education which benefits society in Northern Ireland and further afield.

He said: “The School has an established reputation for applied and policy-related research, with strong user engagement with the statutory and voluntary sectors. It has particular strengths in research on children, social division and conflict, and poverty and social inequalities.

“Recent research projects have influenced, for example, social policy at European level, the equality debate, the international perspective on security and peace processes, poverty measurement and targets and appropriate responses to traumatic troubles-related episodes. Research earnings currently run at £1.6 million per year.”

He added: “One of the crucial ways in which Queen’s serves the community in Northern Ireland is as a training ground for the professions. Social Work is an excellent example of the University’s fulfilment of this role, training 130 social workers a year through the Bachelor of Social Work programme which is supported by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, as well as some 90 Bachelor of Arts students taking sociology, social policy and/or gender studies each year.”

“Over the next five years, the School’s research strengths will contribute significantly to three of the University’s strategic priorities, the Child, Irish Studies and Sustainability:

Head of School Mike Tomlinson said: “"We are delighted to be celebrating the opening of the School with our partners from social work agencies, user groups, government departments, the voluntary sector and elsewhere. Social work training and professional development are two of the core activities and public service responsibilities of the School. On the research side, the School's work is highly relevant to many contemporary social issues, both locally and internationally. Over the next five years our research will continue to inform agendas around equality, social exclusion and cohesion, the legacies of conflict, public attitudes to change, and children's development and care."

In addition to the Rankin Medal, a number of other students’ prizes will be awarded to mark the opening, as follows:

Foundation awards for best academic performance at stage one: Sociology and Social Policy – Claire Anderson; Women's Studies – Karen Campbell; Social Work – Hilda McGrann
Foundation awards for best academic performance at stage two: Social Work – Laura Brownlow; Social Policy – Sinead Elmore; Sociology – Roisin Linden

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

Notes for editors:

The official opening of the new School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work will take place at 6 College Park on Monday 13 November at 3.30pm. Media facilities will be available.

ENDS

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Queen's Seminar on faith-based schools
The School of Education at Queen's University will host a seminar open to the public, on Friday (10 November), on the controversial topic of faith-based schools. Claire Mc Glynn of Queen's will introduce Professor Marie Parker-Jenkins who has conducted a study of 10 faith-based schools in England and Wales and will explore the growth of faith-based schooling as a phenomenon. Amongst other issues she will question whether we have reason to be optimistic or pessimistic about the expansion of faith-based schools across the UK and elsewhere.

The Professor of Research in Education from the University of Derby has conducted specific research in Muslim Schools in England and is author of “In Good Faith: Schools, Religion and Public Funding”, which was published in 2005. In it the author raises issues concerning ’the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and belief’ and ‘to learn of and from religion’, set against the State’s obligation to respect parent's ‘religious and philosophical convictions’.

Dr Mc Glynn said: “Professor Parker-Jenkins research has also raised a central issue about whether enough is asked of faith-based schools in terms of their engagement with wider society on behalf of their pupils.”

The public Seminar will be 1.00pm - 2.00pm, Friday 10 November in Room 206, 2nd Floor, Peter Froggatt Centre, at Queen's University, Belfast.

For more information contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office Tel: 028 9097 5320; or Lara Patterson Tel: 028 9097 5961 or log on to www.qub.ac.uk/edu/research/seminars.html 

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Preparations Well Underway for Queen's Gaelic Football Club's 75th Anniversary Banquet
The 1932 Queen's Sigerson Cup Team
The 1932 Queen's Sigerson Cup Team

Queen's University Gaelic Football will host their much anticipated 75th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Friday evening in the Armagh City Hotel. Among the guests at the event will be President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and husband Martin, who are both honorary life members of the Club, Queen's University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson and GAA President Nicky Brennan.

Queen's Gaelic Football Club has emerged from rather humble beginnings to play an ever-increasing part in the overall development of the GAA at Queen's and Ulster. While a team had been formed in the early twenties, it was moves to establish an actual club in the 1931/32 season that initiated Gaelic Games permanently at the College.

For all those attending the black-tie Banquet, the organising committee would like to remind guests a drinks reception begins at 7pm and guests must be seated by 7:45pm for the arrival of President McAleese.

For further information please contact Karl Oakes, Development Co-Ordinator, GAA Academy. Tel: 028 90 387688 or Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384

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Queen's poets take flight in major new anthology

Queen's University's and Northern Ireland's tradition of poetic excellence – exemplified by world-famous names like Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon – is to be celebrated in a major new anthology.

‘The Blackbird's Nest’, which will be launched at the University later today, reflects the richness and diversity of poetry at Queen's since the early 20th century. Among the poets featured are Helen Waddell, John Hewitt, Philip Larkin, Michael Longley and Medbh McGuckian, as well as many others who have made a vital contribution to the development of poetry at the University and in Northern Ireland.

Queen's was at the heart of the remarkable flowering of poetry in Northern Ireland in the 1960s, a flowering that saw poets such as Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon take Irish poetry to an international audience, and the University continues to be a rich seedbed for poetic talent. Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Queen's has many assets, but our reputation as a centre for poetry is one that we particularly prize. Few other universities in Britain and Ireland can point to such a wealth of talent, and such a single contribution to modern poetry.

“‘The Blackbird's Nest' is a fitting showcase of the work of Queen's poets over the generations and celebrates our contribution to literature in Northern Ireland and further afield.”

Published by Blackstaff Press under the auspices of the University's Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, ‘The Blackbird's Nest’ is edited by the critically acclaimed poet and anthologist Frank Ormsby, who said: “The commissioning of ‘The Blackbird's Nest’ is a significant event in the cultural history of Queen's. It represents the University acknowledging and celebrating the international repute of its sons and daughters in the field of poetry."

The book takes its title from the logo of the Seamus Heaney Centre – the blackbird. It is generally accepted that the earliest reference to the Belfast area in Irish poetry is a doodle by a ninth-century scribe, possibly a monk, in the margin of the text he was transcribing. His spirits are lifted by the singing of a blackbird across the nearby lough and he records the moment in a short, joyful flourish. The Blackbird of Belfast Lough, as it is often known, has become an iconic presence in poetry from this part of the world.

Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre Professor Ciaran Carson said: “The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry was established in 2003 to build on and consolidate the international reputation that Queen's has gained since the 1960s. This anthology, with its strong representation of young poets, is tangible proof that poetry in Queen's is alive and well."

The launch of ‘The Blackbird’s Nest’ will also be marked by a gala evening taking place as the closing event of this year's Belfast Festival at Queen's.

Possibly the most important poetry reading ever in Northern Ireland, the event on Saturday 04 November will bring together a wide range of Queen's poets, including Michael Longley, Frank Ormsby, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Jean Bleakney, Sinead Morrissey, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Alan Gillis and Leontia Flynn.

The evening also sees the launch the of the second issue of ‘The Yellow Nib’, the annual journal of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, also published by Blackstaff Press.

‘The Blackbird’s Nest’, priced at £14.99 (hardback) £9.99 (paperback), is now available from all good bookshops.

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors:

The official launch of ‘The Blackbird’s Nest’ will take place at 6pm on Thursday 02 November in the Great Hall, Queen's University. Media facilities will be available.

 

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