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03-2007 Press Releases

30/03/2007: Educating posters - the 'art' of communicating research
30/03/2007: Queen's 5k Race Round River
30/03/2007: Queen's students Scrub in for Medical Conference
28/03/2007: Queen's Architecture Students and Primary Schools Connect
27/03/2007: Queen's Historian Brings to Life Belfast Soldiers Shot at Dawn
26/03/2007: Simply the 'Best'
26/03/2007: Queen's hosts German debating competition finals
23/03/2007: Queen's 'UK leader in promoting women in science' - Gregson
22/03/2007: Queen's scientists lead war against biological invasions
22/03/2007: Queen's Visitors' Centre supports home tourism
22/03/2007: Queen's graduate wins prestigious drama award
21/03/2007: Geldof joins Queen's celebrations for £9 million new-look Students' Union
16/03/2007: Queen's University asks 'Public Consultation: To partake or not to partake?'
16/03/2007: £5m research into new laser uses for cancer treatment and security at Queen's
16/03/2007 Famous Belfast landmarks featured in Queen's University Collection
15/03/2007: Lord Robert Winston to speak at Queen's
14/03/2007: Ooh la la! Queen's hosts French debate finals
14/03/2007: Queen's makes mental well-being a student priority
12/03/2007: Become a Shamrock Sports Star with Queen's and UU
12/03/2007: Queen's celebrates serving 500,000 cups of Fairtrade Coffee
12/03/2007: Queen's forges historic research partnerships with Malaysia
12/03/2007: Queen's ceremony rewards international work experience
07/03/2007: Queen's research to help encourage women into non-traditional sectors of employment
07/03/2007: Queen's to host public debate on 'creators' of knowledge
07/03/2007: Belfast film maker sets his focus on 'reel' history
06/03/2007: Belfast Festival at Queen's to Continue at Least in 2007
06/03/2007: Juvenile Justice Explored in Public Lecture at Queen's University
05/03/2007: Golfer Darren Clarke and Nobel prize-winners to be honoured by Queen's
05/03/2007: Japan links with Queen's to build student relationships
05/03/2007: Post Assembly election seminar probes voting patterns in Northern Ireland
02/02/2007: Study reveals experiences of School Bullying among 16 yr olds in Northern Ireland
01/03/2007: Student's win at festival brings hat trick for Queen's
01/03/2007: Cormac Trust Donates Defibrillators to Queen's at Sigerson Opening Ceremony
01/03/2007: "World-class university experience" available in Northern Ireland - Gregson

Educating posters - the 'art' of communicating research
Queen's PhD Student Poster Competition first prize winners, from l to r: Helen Johnson (BT), Iain Larmour, Fiona Dunlevy, Patrick McCafferty, Tom Proctor (presenting the prizes on behalf of BT) and Queen's Director, Trevor Newsom.
Queen's PhD Student Poster Competition first prize winners, from l to r: Helen Johnson (BT), Iain Larmour, Fiona Dunlevy, Patrick McCafferty, Tom Proctor (presenting the prizes on behalf of BT) and Queen's Director, Trevor Newsom.

Nine PhD students at Queen's University Belfast were today awarded top prizes in a competition to communicate their fields of research in 'pop' art form. The university-wide event was open to 2nd and 3rd year research students and required them to summarise their findings in poster format to a non specialist audience.

Some 100 students from across the university entered the contest and prizes were awarded to the top three posters from each Faculty.

The winners were Fiona Dunlevy, Patrick McCafferty and Iain Larmour (first), Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Crawford and Jennifer Regan (second) and Philip Strain, Damian McCall and Gareth Conway (third). Their subjects included cystic fibrosis, comets and myths, and waterproofing of metals, web accessibility for the visually impaired, climate change, and the effect of fruit and vegetables on blood pressure.

Trevor Newsom, Director of Queen's Research and Regional Services said: "The competition allows students to showcase their research to non experts as well as peers, and promotes a greater interaction between disciplines across the University. By using the format of a poster students are encouraged to develop the skills necessary to demonstrate their findings to a much wider audience."

The posters were reviewed by a panel of judges from each Faculty including Professor James McElnay, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health, and Life Sciences and Professor Tom Millar, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences as well as competition sponsors BT.

Presenting the laptop computer and desktop PC prizes was BT Major Business Head of Government, Tom Proctor, who said: "This morning's judging session certainly opened my eyes to the outstanding research that is taking place at the University. The quality and diversity of projects highlights the potential that research from Queen's can make to the development of the economy, both at a local and a global level.

"BT is delighted to sponsor Queen's Research Poster Competition and we look forward to working with the University on other exciting projects over the coming months and years." The competition is coordinated by the Postgraduate Office at Queen's.

ENDS

Notes for editors

Photographs of the winners are available from the Communications Unit.

First prize winners:

Fiona Dunlevy, from Carlingford, Co Louth (School of Medicine and Dentistry), for her work on antiproteas in cystic fibrosis.

Iain Larmour, from Bangor (School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering) for his work on waterproofing of metals.

Patrick McCafferty from Letterkenny, Co Donegal (School of Languages, Literature & Performing Arts) for his work on comets and myths.

Second place:

Thomas Crawford, from Hillsborough (School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology) for his work on rainfall and rivers.

Jennifer Regan, from the USA (School of History & Anthropology) for her work on Irish and Indian political links.

Jonathan Stewart, from Bangor (School of Biological Sciences) for his work on climate change and seaweed.
Third place:

Gareth Conway, from Armagh (School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) for his work on radio communication engineering.

Damian McCall, from Dungannon (School of Medicine & Dentistry) for his work on the effect of fruit and vegetables on blood pressure.

Philip Strain, from Portadown (School of Music and Sonic Arts) for his work on web accessibility for the visually impaired.

For further information please contact: Sarah Williams, Tel: 028 9097 5391 Fax: 028 9097 3401 Email: sarah.williams@qub.ac.uk.

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Queen's 5k Race Round River
On their marks and ready, over 500 runners start the 5k Race Round River
On their marks and ready, over 500 runners start the 5k Race Round River
Number 400 Paul Pollock from Queen's University Athletics club crosses the 5k Race Round the River finish line in first place with a record time of 14minutes 57seconds.
Number 400 Paul Pollock from Queen's University Athletics club crosses the 5k Race Round the River finish line in first place with a record time of 14minutes 57seconds.

More than 500 runners competed in Queen's 5K Race Round the River last night, at the Physical Education Centre, recently opened by Dame Kelly Holmes.

Race Winner, with a time of 14minutes 57seconds, Paul Pollock QUB Athletics said: “The PEC offers excellent training facilities, even Olympic winner Dame Kelly Holmes described them as ‘gold standard’. I couldn't have managed a record breaking run without a lot of training and support from all at the Centre."

Organised by Queen’s Athletics Club, the route has become a favourite with both serious and recreational runners. Recently awarded a BARR (British Association of Road Running), Bronze Award for Race Management, the race route comprises almost three laps of the tow-path around the River Lagan, finishing the back of the PEC.

Explaining the increasing popularity of the event, Race Organiser, Caoimhe Vallely, 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 is essential training for anyone running as part of a Belfast City Marathon Relay team, the 5k distance is perfect and it is a good timing indicator. There is really no better warm-up event around to get you in the mood.”

For a full list of runners and results visit the 5k website at www.queens5k.co.uk

For further information, please contact: Judith Rance 028 9097 5292

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Queen's students Scrub in for Medical Conference
(l-r) Major Jenny Jackson, Queens Alexandra's Royal Nursing Core teaches Queen's 4th year Medical students Dermot McGuickin and Dominic Marley about field hospital traumas.
(l-r) Major Jenny Jackson, Queens Alexandra's Royal Nursing Core teaches Queen's 4th year Medical students Dermot McGuickin and Dominic Marley about field hospital traumas.
Captain Dave Whitley, 204 Field Hospital, streachers £28,000 SIMman battlefield trauma with help from Scrubs President at Nottingham University, Emma McLauren, Queen's Scrubs President Catherine Gilliland and Mick Lacui, University of Warrick and TA member.
Captain Dave Whitley, 204 Field Hospital, streachers £28,000 SIMman battlefield trauma with help from Scrubs President at Nottingham University, Emma McLauren, Queen's Scrubs President Catherine Gilliland and Mick Lacui, University of Warrick and TA member.

Nearly 200 European medical students attended the annual Scrubs Trauma and Acute Medical Conference over the weekend in The Medical Biology Centre at Queen's University.

As well as specialist lectures on medical conditions, delegates took part in several workshops including radiology, ultrasound and cannulation, inserting a medical tube into the body. The highlight of the conference was the chance to experience a Field Hospital setting and Battlefield Trauma injuries with the £80,000 TA medical equipment.

Major Jenny Jackson, Queen Alexandra's Royal Nursing Core, believes the conference was a great benefit to both medical students and the TA: “We are promoting the TA in Northern Ireland and the student doctors are vital to us in role as Red Cross Medics. Events like the Scrubs conference give the TA a chance to help with the students’ training and confidence. At £28,000 the simulated mannequin, or SIMman, is a realistic training programme, he shows human symptoms, he talks, coughs, breaths, has a pulse, and depending on medical treatment can recover or die.”

Organised by members of the Queen’s Medical Students’ society Scrubs, the conference aims to promote undergraduate medical research, integrate medical curriculum with practical skills, and learning in an environment with fellow students at differing stages through their education.

Catherine Gilliland, Queen’s Scrubs President said: “Following from the success of last year’s inaugural conference and speaking to the delegates who attended, this year featured a lot more practical elements. We were loaned some fantastic equipment for the conference including Airway simulators provided by Medilink Services, and of course the two ‘patients’ from TA.

“There are nearly 500 members of the Scrubs society and everyone agrees the best thing about it is the chance to come together from different universities and learn from each other. Queen’s is the only university to run such a conference and the fact that it is all done by students is definitely something we are proud of. We couldn’t have done it without the help of the doctors who attended, our sponsors and the Clinical Skills Education Centre who allowed use of equipment and venue.”

For further information, please contact: Judith Rance 028 9097 5292

ENDS.

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Queen's Architecture Students and Primary Schools Connect
Arch 2:  Forge PS pupil Conor McKnight, St Bride's PS pupil Danielle Barr created Environmental Architecture models with help form second year Architecture students at Queen's University, Dale Hamilton and Judith Lyness.
Arch 2: Forge PS pupil Conor McKnight, St Bride's PS pupil Danielle Barr created Environmental Architecture models with help form second year Architecture students at Queen's University, Dale Hamilton and Judith Lyness.

The Great Hall in Queen's University is the setting today for the grand finale of Connections 2007 - a project which has seen 289 South Belfast primary school pupils join forces with students from the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen's to learn more about design and the built environment.

Following a series of workshops delivered by architecture students at Queen's in which pupils were able to create architectural drawings, models and structures, today's event will provide the school children with a platform from which to explain their projects to their peers. They will also be given the chance to prepare posters for display with the help of their Stage Two tutors, the Arts Council's Architecture and Public Art Manager and volunteers from the Royal Society of Ulster Architects.

Explaining the rationale behind the project, Brendan Carabine, Project Co-ordinator at Queen's said: "In addition to forming part of the Design and Communication studio project work at Stage Two of the BSc (Hons) in Architecture, the project helps youngsters explore the links between architectural design and a number of curriculum subjects. It helps their team work skills and acts as a confidence builder and of course also provides the children with an opportunity to think about design-related careers. .

"Today's event brings diverse groups of children from different communities across the city into a single environment to learn from each other and offers an exciting opportunity to be involved in university life."

The project marks the third year of a partnership between Queen's Architecture and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which supported the initiative with a £7,200 Development Fund grant, in line with the Arts Council's promotion of architecture in the field of education.

Explaining about the project in more detail, Mr Carabine added: "A total of 70 students worked in teams with 11 classes of primary seven pupils who were 'learning by doing' in a series of practical workshops.

"As well as developing skills in English and Design & Technology the project also increased awareness of built environment issues among teachers and schoolchildren by making connections between Architecture, Geography, History, Mathematics, Science and Art and Design at Key Stage Two in the National Curriculum.

"The architecture students also benefit by developing their creative ideas and knowledge and build confidence and experience through explaining design concepts to children in language they can understand," he said.

The schools taking part in Connections 2007 are: Finaghy Primary, Forge Integrated Primary, Holy Rosary Primary, St Bride's Primary and Stranmillis Primary. This is the third year that Connections has been delivered at Queen's, following on from successful events in 2004 and 2005.

Note to Editors:

The Connections outreach project has been run successfully in Birmingham for the past 12 years.

The grand finale will be held in the Great Hall at Queen's on Wednesday 28 March 2007 from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Media opportunities are available at 11.50am and 12.20pm. Photographs will be issued after the event.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Queen's Historian Brings to Life Belfast Soldiers Shot at Dawn
(From l-r) Professor Patrick Murphy from the Heritage Lottery Fund joins playright Martin Lynch and Queen's University Historian Professor Liam Kennedy at the BelFam launch.
(From l-r) Professor Patrick Murphy from the Heritage Lottery Fund joins playright Martin Lynch and Queen's University Historian Professor Liam Kennedy at the BelFam launch.
Queen's University Historian, Professor Liam Kennedy, along with playwright Martin Lynch, today launched a rare and valuable insight into the lives of those Belfast soldiers 'Shot at Dawn' for desertion during World War One. The information is now available as the result of a new multimedia resource created by BelFam (Belfast Family and Community History) and led by Professor Kennedy. The Heritage Lottery Fund also announced an award of £122,000 for the project at the launch event.

Lynch's acclaimed play, Holding Hands at Paschendale, which features two soldiers awaiting execution by their own colleagues for desertion, came shortly after the Government announced their plans to pardon the deserters. Today he will be presented with information on several of the actual soldiers executed in 1915 such as Catholic Peter Sands of Abyssinia Street, Lower Falls and Protestant James Templeton of Enfield Street, Belfast, whose details were uncovered as a result of work on the new resource.

Speaking about the project, Professor Kennedy said: "We have heard of the names of these soldiers who were shot but not of how they lived or the intimate details of their lives. Thanks to the archives of the Census on 2 April, 1911, we can now bring them to life and sketch their family backgrounds, the houses and streets from which they came and the names of their neighbours and siblings. We can also view the ages, occupations and religion of their parents, when they married and whether they originated from Belfast, the Ulster countryside or beyond."

The details on the soldiers are just one aspect of the rich tapestry of family and community life woven electronically from the census forms completed by every household in Belfast on Census Sunday, 2 April 1911, which are available on the site.

Discussing future uses for the information generated by the project, Professor Kennedy added: "As well as facilitating family history, a host of further enquires are being planned, including a study of the family backgrounds of the Irish crew members of the Titanic, of mill workers in Belfast and of nurses at the Royal Victoria Hospital. I would like to pay tribute to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their foresight in ensuring such a valuable resource can now be accessed free of charge around the globe."

Heritage Lottery Fund Ni Committee member, Professor Patrick Murphy added: We are delighted to be able to support this engaging project. The census material holds a wealth of hidden history and this project will not only delve into that history but will help everyone to understand it through an extensive programme of workshops, online guides and website demonstrations. The project will help communities to research their area of Belfast and learn about the lives of the people who used to live there."

Currently there are details of more than 30,000 individuals from Belfast on the site and as it develops, newspaper stories, oral recollections and film clips and song from the period will be added.

The new resource can be accessed (for free) at www.belfastfamilyhistory.com

Ends.

Notes to Editor

Media opportunities will be available from 11.00am to 12.00pm in the Performance Area (room at the top), Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

Present at today's launch will be Mrs Maureen Hyland, 86, from Andersonstown, Belfast, who knew Peter Sands' daughters.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Simply the 'Best'
Award winners Angela Higgins and Paul Kirkwood receiving their prizes from Andrew McBrinn of Ulster Bank.
Award winners Angela Higgins and Paul Kirkwood receiving their prizes from Andrew McBrinn of Ulster Bank.

Two of Queen's recent graduates have been jointly awarded Best MBA Dissertations 2006 in a special presentation at Queen's University Belfast. Angela Higgins and Paul Kirkwood won the Ulster Bank sponsored award after gaining the highest marks in their Master of Business Administration dissertations.

Nursing specialist Angela, from Ballymena, wrote a dissertation examining the effectiveness and implementation of rehabilitation programmes in the management of long-term sickness.

Paul, from Maghaberry, focussed on the Northern Irish textile industry and the transition from manufacturing to outsourcing and goods supply, and the development of relationships with Far East suppliers.

Presenting the engraved vase prizes Ulster Bank Product Manager NI, Andrew McBrinn said: "Ulster Bank is delighted to be associated with these awards. Ongoing development is an important aspect of any manager’s role and the Queen's University Executive MBA programme provides an excellent platform for managers to improve their effectiveness. The dissertation is a challenging element of the programme and both Angela and Paul are to be congratulated on their achievement."

Angela also won Best MBA Student 2006, which is sponsored by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Presenting Angela her rose bowl trophy was Martin Arkins C. Mgr, Chair of the Belfast Branch of the CMI who said: “CMI is delighted to be associated with the Queen's Executive MBA programme and to sponsor the Best MBA Student award. This is a key partnership where both parties strive to enhance skills to raise the performance of business by championing management”.

ENDS

Notes for editors

Picture Captions:

Award winners Angela Higgins and Paul Kirkwood receiving their prizes from Andrew McBrinn of Ulster Bank.

For further information please contact: Sarah Williams, Tel: 028 9097 5391 Fax: 028 9097 3401 Email: sarah.williams@qub.ac.uk.  

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Queen's hosts German debating competition finals

Teams from Friends'School Lisburn and Methodist College Belfast will be battling it out in the final of the Northern Ireland post-16 German debating competition at Queen' University on Wednesday 28 March.

The contest has been organised by the German Department in the School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts at Queen' in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) in the University' School of Education.

The motion for the final is: ‘Der Gesundheitswahn bringt uns noch um' ('The health craze is going to kill us'). Methody is speaking against the motion, while Friends' is speaking for the motion.

The competition aims to encourage entries from schools from all over Northern Ireland studying AS and A2 German, and debating topics are specially selected to complement pupils' A level German studies.

This year eight schools entered. The knock-out competition left four schools in the semi-final: Royal College Dungannon, Loreto College Coleraine and the two finalists.

All debates have been conducted entirely in German and judged by native German speakers, lecturers and teachers of German or other German language specialists.

This competition has been generously supported by the Goethe Institut Manchester. Book and DVD tokens will be presented to the winning team and the runners-up as well as to the best speakers from each debate throughout the competition.

Notes for editors:

The competition will take place from 2.00pm 3.30pm on Wednesday 28 March, in Room 211, Peter Froggatt Centre, followed by a reception in the Old Staff Common Room. Media facilities will be available.

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Queen's 'UK leader in promoting women in science' - Gregson
Director of Queen's University's Gender Initiative Professor Margaret Mullett receives the SWAN Silver Award from the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir David King.
Director of Queen's University's Gender Initiative Professor Margaret Mullett receives the SWAN Silver Award from the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir David King.

Queen's University is now acknowledged as a United Kingdom higher education leader in advancing women in the male-dominated fields of science, engineering and technology, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has said.

The Vice-Chancellor was speaking following the news that Queen's has been awarded an Athena SWAN silver award for excellence in science, engineering and technology employment in higher education. The prize was presented to Professor Margaret Mullett, Director for the Queen's Gender Initiative, by Professor Sir David King, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, at a recent ceremony in the Royal Society in London.
The Athena Project aims to promote the advancement of women in science, engineering and technology in higher education and a significant increase in the number of women recruited to the top posts.

Professor Gregson said: "In the past the promotion of gender equality in the UK higher education sector has been less than distinguished. Queen's is committed to advancing the role of women throughout the University and particularly in areas such as engineering, science and technology, where there has been a long tradition of under-representation. This Award secures our position as a role model for all other institutions and we will continue to take the lead in bringing about necessary change."

Professor Mullett said: "Our success would not have been possible without the support of the University at the highest level. Queen's holistic approach to dealing with gender issues was particularly praised by the judging panel. Queen's commitment to correcting gender imbalance at an institutional level was a major factor in our receiving this award, which will set the foundation for a range of future initiatives to improve the profile of women in these subjects. The success of the work by Queen's, since 1999, shows the importance of top level commitment.

"We are now embarking on a major five-year plan to achieve steady progress towards 50 per cent representation at all levels within the organisation."

Major elements of this plan include:

  • 'My Brilliant Career', a conference featuring seven of the highest achieving women in UK academia, for women for universities throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, on 30 November 2007.
  • 'Did women make a difference? Women in Higher Education, 1908-2008', a conference highlighting the achievement of women in Irish academia, on 19 and 20 April 2007.
  • The recruitment of more girls into science, engineering and technology before GCSE choices, through work in Northern Ireland schools (such as roadshows) to demonstrate that science subjects are not just for boys.
  • Vacation internships for women undergraduates, and returners' fellowships for women returning from maternity leave.

The Silver Award is the latest recognition for Queen's work in improving the profile and position of women at the University. Last year Queen's won the Opportunity Now UK education sector award for the work of its Gender Initiative which aims to improve the profile and position of women within the University. The Awards recognised employers from the private and public sectors who have made equal and inclusiveness work cultures a business imperative.

In 2003 Queen's won the first national Athena award for the University's pioneering work in advancing women in science, engineering and technology.

The Queen's Gender Initiative was launched in October 2000 to implement the recommendations of the Women's Forum Report (Report on Gender Imbalance at Queens: May 2000). The findings and recommendations were formulated on the basis of the suggestions of 600 women attending a series of 'listening seminars' in 2000. This listening exercise as a whole was awarded the Opportunity Now Workplace Award Northern Ireland (HE Sector) in October 2001.

The Initiative has produced a stream of tangible results in relation to family-friendly policies, flexible working, enhanced childcare provision, the establishment of a central maternity fund, mentoring schemes for female staff and effecting a major change in cultural attitudes.

Caption
Director of Queen's University's Gender Initiative Professor Margaret Mullett receives the SWAN Silver Award from the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir David King.

ENDS


For further information please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs Tel: 028 9097 5310 Fax: 028 9097 3401 Email: a.langford@qub.ac.uk.

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Queen's scientists lead war against biological invasions

Grey squirrels, giant hogweed, American mink and the killer shrimp. Alien species are already present in their multitudes in Northern Ireland and their effects are worsening.

By clogging waterways, killing native wildlife and carrying exotic diseases, invasive non-native species damage native biodiversity, cause illness in humans and wildlife, and cost the nation millions in restoring damaged habitats and ecosystems.

However, the war can be won against introduced species, according to Professor Dan Simberloff, one of the world's leading ecologists from the University of Tennessee. In Belfast to deliver the Quercus lecture in Biodiversity at 5pm in Queen's University's MBC today, Professor Simberloff will give details of high-tech and sometimes low-tech solutions to non-native species management. Putting pests on the pill, biological control and other advanced strategies will sit alongside rapid and decisive strikes against newly invading species.

"If a new invader arrives here it is vital to move quickly, before they become established and costs of control start escalating" said Dr Robbie McDonald, leader of the Quercus project at Queen's on invasive species. "Native biodiversity, especially on islands, is particularly vulnerable to these invasive pests".

Queen's scientists are working with consultants EnviroCentre to develop plans to reduce the harm non-native species cost the environment and people of Ireland. In a joint North-South project, they are working out which species are a priority and how best to deal with them.

"Dan Simberloff is a leading figure in ecology particularly of invasions, so it is exciting to get a global perspective from such an established figure" said Dr. Cathy Maguire of EnviroCentre. "By working with international scientists, Ireland can set the pace for dealing with this growing problem."

Note to editors

1. The Third Annual Quercus Lecture in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology is a public lecture and will take place at 5pm Thursday March 22nd in Lecture theatre1 of the MBC, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast: "We can win the war against introduced species: High-tech and low-tech success stories" by Professor Dan Simberloff.
2. Quercus is Northern Ireland's Research Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, and is based at Queen's University. For more information see www.quercus.ac.uk
3. Professor Daniel Simberloff is Nancy Gore-Hunger Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is one of the world's leading ecologists and has worked for nearly 40 years on biogeography and problems of invasions. He is recognised internationally for his contributions to ecology and evolutionary biology.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Queen's Visitors' Centre supports home tourism

What do a treasure trail for children, a tour of a listed Belfast landmark, a plunge in a pool and a free coffee have in common? They are just some of the attractions being offered by Queen's University Belfast as part of Northern Ireland's 'Be a Tourist at Home' promotion.

The campaign being run by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board aims to encourage local people to visit attractions on their doorstep. At Queen's these include the new £7 million Physical Education Centre, Naughton Art Gallery, the University's Visitors' Centre and the refurbished £10 million Students' Union.

Lynn Corken of the Visitors’ Centre said: "The Lanyon is one of the most impressive buildings in the Queen's Quarter but there is so much more for people to see. Queen's is delighted to take part in the 'Be a Tourist at Home' initiative and welcomes anyone who would like to visit the campus."

The promotion runs every weekend from 24 March until 22 April.

For further information please contact Queen's Visitors' Centre on 028 9097 5252 or visit www.qub.ac.uk/vcentre

ENDS

For further information please contact Sarah Williams on 028 9097 5391.

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Queen's graduate wins prestigious drama award
Queen's University drama graduate Lisa McGee has been awarded the prestigious Stewart Parker Trust Award for best Irish debut play. She was nominated for her play Girls and Dolls which was premiered by Tinderbox Theatre Company at Queen's Studio Theatre at the end of last year. At a special ceremony in Dublin Lisa, who is from Prehen, Derry, was presented with her award together with the associated New Playright Bursary.

Congratulating Lisa on her achievements, Queen's Drama Lecturer Jonathan Harden said: "This is the first time one of our graduates has won the Stewart Parker Award and I and my colleagues would like to congratulate Lisa on this fantastic achievement. The list of previous winners reads like a who's who of Irish playwriting, and to have the name of one of our graduates up there is a positive sign of things to come from both Lisa and the drama degree course at Queen's".

"Lisa took time out of her busy schedule and visited us last October to talk with students on the theory and practice of directing – something they found very rewarding".

The prize was set up in memory of the Belfast-born playwright and former Queen's University lecturer Stewart Parker, who died in 1988. Previous winners of the award include: Conor McPherson, Mark O'Rowe, Enda Walsh, Eugene O'Brien, Gerald Murphy, Christian O'Reilly and Tim Loane.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Sarah Williams 028 9097 5391

Notes to Editors:

Since her time at Queen's, Lisa has been employed as a writer for both stage and screen. She was Tinderbox's first writer on attachment (2005/2006), writer on attachment to the National Theatre London (Autumn 2006), and was nominated by the National for inclusion in 'The 50' - a yearlong new writing programme with the BBC and the Royal Court Theatre.

Her screen credits include Totally Frank (Channel 4) and short films, The Killing and The Meeting.

She is also a member of local theatre company SNEAKY Productions.

Lisa is currently under commission with Rough Magic Theatre Company (Dublin), and is developing a new television series, The Things I Haven't Told You with Tiger Aspect for BBC 2, and is working on her first feature, Jump! (based on her original stage play) with Hotshot Films and the Northern Irish Film Commission. A stage version of Jump! will be performed in New York in May of this year, with British and US publications of the script to follow.

Lisa's newest play, Service, can be seen at Queen's Studio Theatre on 25th March as part of TwentyFive, a one-off collaborative project featuring 25 local theatre artists including Jonathan Harden and 14 fellow Queen's drama graduates.

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Geldof joins Queen's celebrations for £9 million new-look Students' Union

Anti-poverty campaigner and musician Bob Geldof will be in Belfast later today (Wednesday) to take part in the opening of the new-look Queen's University Students' Union, following a £9 million refurbishment to create some of the best student facilities in the United Kingdom.

The major building project, which has transformed the interior and exterior of one of the best-known buildings in south Belfast, was financed from University reserves, external loans secured from Students' Union trading activities and a £1 million donation from The Queen's University of Belfast Foundation. The redevelopment included much-needed renovation and modernisation of the existing building which was designed for a much smaller student population when it first opened 40 years ago.

A number of events will take place to mark today's re-dedication, including a re-enactment of the opening of the original building in 1967, when an academic procession, including a number of former Student Presidents, proceeds across University Road from the Lanyon Building to the Union Building.

Following the official opening, Bob Geldof will be the guest speaker at a special student lecture entitled 'Making a Difference'. He will deliver the University's R M Jones Lecture, set up under a bequest by the late Robert Millar Jones, a former headmaster of Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Queen's Senator, who died in 1948.

Speaking ahead of today's celebrations, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "Students are the lifeblood of Queen's and a commitment to their welfare is at the heart of the University's ethos. Today's students are tomorrow's leaders, and the University is committed to providing the best possible Queen's Experience for current and future generations of students.

"This magnificent refurbishment is a tangible symbol of that commitment. Our students deserve the very best, and the redevelopment of the Union provides outstanding facilities for social and cultural activities, as well as access to a wide range of services. Northern Ireland students wanting a Russell Group University experience – the student experience offered by the Ivy League of UK universities – need look no further than Queen's.

Students' Union President Ben Preston said: "Queen's students can take great pride in what we've achieved with the redevelopment of our Students' Union. We now have a Union that is amongst the best in the United Kingdom and Ireland in terms of the delivery of services and resources for students. It has been a great personal pleasure to have been in the office of the President over the two years and to see through the completion of this refurbishment. In July we hand over to the new Student Executive a Union which will provide world-class services for all the students of Queen's and I urge them to make the most of all it has to offer."

Also taking part in the opening will be Chairman of Queen's Foundation Board Tom Lynch, a former President of the Students' Union, who said: "In common with many hundreds of Queen's alumni around the world, Queen's Students' Union holds a very special place in my affections. The regard in which the Union is held among our graduates is evident by the success of the fund-raising campaign for its refurbishment, which the Queen's Foundation was delighted to support."

Another former Students' Union President, distinguished graduate Ian Brick, who was in post when the Union Building opened in 1967 and who serves as a member of the Queen's Foundation Board, will be honoured during today's celebrations. The bar area in the Speakeasy on the first floor will be re-named Brickie's Bar to mark his contribution to the redevelopment appeal.

The 'top to bottom' transformation of the Union has successfully created a striking new building within the Queen's conservation area. The alterations provide a new social concourse, featuring a range of retail and catering outlets, a state-of-the-art entertainments venue, a new suite of offices and meetings rooms, and an upgrading of the mechanical and electrical services installations.

The Students' Union redevelopment is part of the University's £259 million programme of investment in students, staff and facilities. Major projects include its state-of-the-art £45 million new library, due to open in 2009, and the £45 million Queen's Elms student village on the Malone Road, which is nearing completion. Meanwhile, a £7 million new sports facility at the Physical Education Centre was officially opened by Dame Kelly Holmes last month.

Bob Geldof will also be the guest speaker at a gala dinner tonight in the University's Great Hall.

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors:

The programme for the opening is as follows:

1.45pm Academic Procession In a re-enactment of the opening of the original building in 1967, an academic procession, including a number of former Student'’ Union Presidents, will proceed across University Road (from the Lanyon Building to the Union Building).

2pm Official opening ceremony Venue: Mandela Hall, Students’ Union

3pm 'Making a Difference' Special guest lecture for students by anti-poverty campaigner and musician Bob Geldof Venue: Whitla Hall, main University site.

Media facilities will be available at all events.

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Queen's University asks 'Public Consultation: To partake or not to partake?'

Water Rates, The Law on Knives and Reforming the Law on Sexual Offences in Northern Ireland are just some of the recent public consultation processes the community and voluntary sector have been asked to comment on in the last few months.

Now the sector in NI and the Republic of Ireland is being invited by Queen’s University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin to partake in research which is trying to gather information on how the sector feels about such public consultation processes and their participation in them.

Speaking about the research, Joanne Murphy from Queen’s, Research Co-Ordinator of the Towards Richer Decision Making Project, said: “We are aware that there is a lot of frustration within the community and voluntary sector about public consultation processes. The Towards Richer Decision Making project has therefore launched a survey which aims to map and assess the use of public involvement techniques in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“The survey will help us to determine which involvement techniques are being used and how often and to what extent both statutory organisations and practitioners are satisfied with public involvement. The practice is widespread and demanding, but little research has been done into what is really involved in participating in these processes and how beneficial it really is for the various organisations.

“I would like to encourage as many organisations as possible within the sector to complete the survey and any information received will be completely confidential.”

Available at www.qub.ac.uk/sites/rdm/survey, the project is being run jointly by the Institute of Governance at Queen’s and the School of Business and The Policy Institute at Trinity College Dublin. The results of the survey will be used to make recommendations for enhancing policy-making and public management practice. The results of the research will be disseminated through seminars with policy stakeholders and in various published forms including a final report.

Notes to Editor

The project is funded by the Higher Education Authority in association with the National Development Plan as part of the North South Programme for Collaborative Research.

For further information please contact Communications Office, 028 90 97 3091.

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£5m research into new laser uses for cancer treatment and security at Queen's

Queen’s University Belfast is to explore new radiation sources with such diverse medical, industrial and security applications as the treatment of cancers, the rapid detection of hidden explosives and improved semiconductor production.

The work is to take place following the awarding of a £5 million grant from Research Councils UK (RC-UK) to researchers at Queen's and its partners at the Central Laser Facility at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Imperial College London, the National Physical Laboratory and the Universities of Surrey, Birmingham, Paisley, Strathclyde and Southampton, in order to exploit the property of laser-irradiated matter.

Shining a powerful laser beam on a small piece of metal, plastic, or a liquid, emits a burst of intense high-energy ionizing radiation. Of the possible radiation beams that can be produced, principal investigator Dr Marco Borghesi of Queen’s, has identified protons, ions, and gamma rays specifically as the products of laser-energised sources with the greatest potential.

Speaking about the possible applications for ion beams Dr Borghesi, who is based in the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s, said: “My colleagues and I envisage many applications for these ion beams. For instance, laser-energised bursts of proton and light ions have the potential to substantially reduce the high equipment costs of proton and ion radiotherapy of cancer, which have so far precluded their routine use in the treatment of cancers in the UK.

“Compared to the use of X-rays, ion beam therapy promises more effective cancer control and improved quality of life in cancer patients. This is because the particle beams produce peaks of dose within the cancers, with little or no dose beyond. In this way the radiation exposure of other tissues and organs is reduced by between a half to a tenth of that which occurs with conventional x-ray based radiotherapy.”

Other possibilities also stem from radiation beams. Highlighting how these could have applications in the area of security, Dr Borghesi added: “A penetrating beam could be used in rapid imaging detection of hidden materials and explosives in large packages and freight containers. Using gamma-ray tomography will give better resolution and clarity than currently possible.

“Other applications lie in science and industry. Firing a flash of ions at an object or component can reveal information about its internal structure, and be useful in engineering diagnostics and quality control of semiconductor electronics devices. Flash radiography using these beams could also test satellites destined for earth orbit for resilience to high levels of cosmic rays, or reveal faults in rapidly moving components such as turbine blades.”

The £5m research project will aim to develop the relevant technology for such high-flux, high-repetition beams as well as to devise the diagnostic tests for characterising the beams. At the same time, the researchers will aim to achieve a high standard of output beam quality that will be necessary to make any of the above techniques viable. Cost savings are yet another advantage that the researchers hope will benefit fundamental science.

Further information on the laser research can be found at http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/ibc/LIBRA_BT/ Information on those research areas currently within the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofMathematicsandPhysics/

Notes to Editor

Images of Dr Marco Borghesi from Queen’s University Belfast with one of the lasers involved in the project have been sent to all picture desks. They are also available by emailing comms.office@qub.ac.uk. It is hoped the cost savings envisaged will emerge from the versatile production of intense, synchronised beams from a robust and compact source. Such a source could then undertake many of the experiments that the enormous and expensive national synchrotron particle accelerators currently do, but at much lower cost and on a laboratory bench-top scale. This in turn would enable physical scientists to carry out so-called pump-probe experiments on an almost routine basis allowing them to get to the heart of matter, materials, and molecules in biology, nanotechnology, and chemistry. The radiation that is emitted by shining a powerful laser beam on a small piece of metal, plastic, or a liquid is in the form of beams of ions, protons, neutrons, electrons, gamma and x-rays, depending on the energy and duration of the laser and the material being irradiated. An ultra short laser pulse can generate an ultra short burst of high energy particles and radiation which last picoseconds (millionths of a millionth of a second). If the material is extremely thin, just a few millionths of a millimetre thick it is possible to control other properties of the bursts, such as their energy content or energy spectrum. If successful, the research will provide ultra-short synchronised bursts of protons, ions and gamma rays for potential use in research, engineering, and medicine. The researchers add that the devices should also be adaptable to delivering X-ray, electron, and neutron beams for even more diverse applications. For example, neutron beams in combination with gamma-ray tomography could be used to activate materials to rapidly identify suspect materials. Research Councils UK, is the strategic partnership of the UK’s eight Research Councils (Arts and Humanities Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council and Particle Physics and Astronomy Research). The primary role of the Research Councils is to fund research. Each year the Councils invest around £1.3 billion in research in UK universities and around £500 million in their own Research Institutes, and around £300 million in access to international facilities for UK researchers. This money is used to fund the very best world-class research as judged by independent, expert peer review.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office 028 90 97 3091.

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Famous Belfast landmarks featured in Queen's University Collection

Works inspired by some of Belfast’s most celebrated landmarks will feature in Works from the University Collection (5 March – 26 April 2007), the new exhibition which has just opened at the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s.

The Europa Hotel and the Crown Bar are just two of the more famous subjects of the paintings featured in the new event. Crown (2006) by Australian born artist Gary Shaw is part of a series inspired by the distinctive tiles from the floor of one of Belfast’s most famous pubs, while Europa 4 (2006) by award-winning Bray artist Emma Connelly is inspired by the function rooms in the Europa Hotel in Belfast. The elaborate design of the carpet inspired the anthropometric and animal-like forms within the painting.

Shan McAnena, Curator of Art at Queen’s University said: “Queen’s holds its own collection and actively acquires and commissions work which reflects its own position as an international centre of excellence. This exhibition provides an opportunity for visitors to see some of the treasures of the collection together with pieces acquired over the last five years."

Other highlights of the exhibition include works by Basil Blackshaw, John Luke, Colin Middleton and Joe McWilliams. The artists featured in the exhibition are from Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada, Switzerland and Australia and the featured works were completed between 1934 and 2006.

For further information on The Queen’s University Collection, please visit www.naughtongallery.org, contact the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University, University Road, Belfast, on telephone 028 90973580, art@qub.ac.uk or drop in between 11.00am-4.00pm, Monday to Saturday.

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

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Lord Robert Winston to speak at Queen's

Fertility expert and TV presenter Professor Lord Robert Winston of Hammersmith is to discuss the social and ethical issues arising from advances and innovation in medical and scientific knowledge during a major lecture at Queen’s University on Thursday 22 March.

In a First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture entitled “Manipulating Reproduction”, Lord Winston will highlight the implications of reproductive manipulation and debate the value of ‘ordinary humans’ if the possibility of manufacturing ‘superhumans’ becomes a reality.

One of the world’s most respected medical academics, Lord Winston is Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London and has an international reputation for his research into human reproduction and his pioneering work in fertility and IVF treatment. He has made many highly successful television series on science and medicine, including ‘Your Life in Their Hands’, ‘Making Babies’, and ‘The Human Mind’. His series 'The Human Body' won a record of three BAFTAs, an Emmy nomination and a Peabody award.

As a member of the House of Lords he regularly speaks in parliament on science, medicine, education and the arts. The author of 12 books, he is the Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University.

In December 2004, Queen’s awarded Lord Winston an honorary doctorate for services to medicine and for broadcasting.

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.

Lord Winston’s innovation lecture will be held in on Thursday 22 March in the Great Hall, Queen’s University, starting at 5.30pm.

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.

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Ooh la la! Queen's hosts French debate finals

Teams from Limavady Grammar School and Methodist College Belfast will battle it out in the grand final of the Northern Ireland post-16 French debating competition at Queen’s University next Wednesday (21 March).

The contest has been organised by the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) in the School of Education at Queen’s, in collaboration with the University’s School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, and the School of Languages and Literature at the University of Ulster at Magee.

The motion for the final is ‘Les bienfaits de l’immigration l’emportent sur les désavantages’ (the advantages of immigration outweigh the disadvantages). Methody is speaking for the motion, while Limavady Grammar is speaking against the motion.

The competition aims to encourage entries from schools from throughout Northern Ireland studying AS and A2 French, and debating topics are specially selected to complement pupils’ A-level French studies.

This year 16 schools entered. The knock-out competition was split into two geographical halves, with eight schools from the north and the west debating the first three rounds at the University of Ulster at Magee, while the eight schools from Belfast and surrounding areas held the three knock-out rounds at Queen’s.

All debates have been conducted entirely in French and judged by native French speakers, lecturers and teachers of French or other French language specialists. The competition has been generously supported by the Alliance Française de Dublin, which will present a cheque for 500 Euros to the winning team, and medals to the best speakers from each debate throughout the competition. The winners’ shield will be presented by the Cercle Français de Belfast (previously known as the Alliance Française de Belfast) and NICILT will be awarding book tokens to the runners-up and to the best speakers in the competition.

For further information contact: Wendy Phipps, NICILT, 028 9097 5955 mobile 07747746017

Editors Note:

The final will take place on Wednesday 21 March 2007 in Room 212 Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s University, starting at 2.45pm. The presentations will take place at 3.45pm in Lecture Theatre G09N. Media facilities will be available.

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Queen's makes mental well-being a student priority

Student mental health was today put to the top of the agenda at Queen’s University Belfast with the launch of a new University-wide strategy for promoting positive mental health and well-being.

With depression, anxiety, loss and fears about academic performance topping a list of the commonest difficulties students can face while at university, Queen’s is promoting activities and services which will help create an environment where students can thrive academically and personally. The new Student Mental Health Strategy will give University Schools a more developed role in raising awareness and promoting good practice, with staff being provided with the necessary information and advice for prevention and for supporting students who are at risk. Overall, a clear support framework for students who encounter difficulty will be implemented.

Queen’s Counselling Service has been a lead contributor in devising the new strategy and is responsible for its implementation. Jean McMinn, Head of Counselling Service, said: “The University clearly recognises the importance of positive mental health in ensuring that students have a positive sense of themselves, feel in control and are able to cope with life’s challenges. Queen’s wants to ensure that students feel supported and cared for and the new strategy aims to enhance student performance, focus on personal development and create an environment where students can thrive.”

Commenting on the launch, President of Queen’s Students’ Union Ben Preston said: "Our modern student life is filled with debt, lifestyle changes, the juggling of work and study. It's easy to see the pressure students are under and these can reveal themselves in different ways. We welcome this new strategy and in particular how it will encourage positive mental health and well-being and equip staff with the awareness to spot those students who are at risk, and support them."

In 2005 a Queen’s working group examining the issue of student mental health identified five areas that needed to be addressed. These were: promotion and awareness raising about positive mental health; developing appropriate expertise to deliver services to students; the provision of appropriate training; promoting organisational accountability and the development of a clear support framework for students who encounter difficulty.

The group, chaired by Education Professor John Gardner, was made up of Queen’s staff from Medicine, Psychiatry, Psychology as well as Student Support Services and also included Students’ Union representation and input from the Head of the local NHS Psychiatric team. The results of the group’s work has formed the basis of the new strategy.

Ms McMinn continued: “By implementing this strategy Queen’s University is demonstrating its commitment to encourage students to reach their full potential. Promoting and raising awareness of the key issues that they may face and providing appropriate support and care together with a welcoming and supportive environment is integral to that. It is also very important that parents and guardians know that their children are studying and living in an environment that seeks to generate positive mental health and well-being.”

For further information, please contact: Sarah Williams, Communications Office, 028 9097 5391
Jean McMinn, Head of Counselling Services, is available for interview and can be contacted through the Communications Office.

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Become a Shamrock Sports Star with Queen's and UU

The chance to become a Shamrock Sports Star is on offer this Saint Patrick’s Day from Queen’s University and the University of Ulster as the deadline for enrolment to the St Patrick’s Day Festival sporting programme has been extended to 12 noon on Wednesday 14 March.

Dodgeball, Basketball, Trampolining, Five-a-side football, Gaelic Sevens and a host of water sports are just some of the activities on offer on Friday and Saturday as both institutions team up to offer an alternative to the more ‘traditional’ St Patrick’s Day activities.

Open to students, their friends and family and residents of South Belfast, the sports programme was a major success when introduced for the first time last year as part of the inaugural St Patrick’s Day Festival. Organised jointly by the two universities the Festival included a series of positive and inclusive events to help mark the holiday. Hundreds of students participated in the sporting programme, many of them adding to the occasion by competing in fancy dress.

The new £7m facility at the PEC, recently opened by Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes, will play host to many of the drop-in activities in the programme, including the chance to try out the new climbing wall, abseil tower, chimney and bouldering facilties for only £1.

Those interested in finding out more about the sporting element of the Festival or wishing to enter a team should visit http://www.qub.ac.uk/pec/StudentSport/RecreationalStudentSport/  or www.uusport.com/sportsunion.
Alternatively they can contact Cathy Gallagher, Queen’s Sport on 028 9038 7685.

Notes to Editor
Images to accompany the above News Release have been sent to all picture desks via email.

ENDS.

For further information please contact the Communications Office 028 9097 3091.

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Queen's celebrates serving 500,000 cups of Fairtrade Coffee

Nicky Clarke (left) and Ali Benkirane from Hospitality Services at Queen's serve up a Fairtrade fiesta as the University celebrates serving 500,000 cups of Fairtrade coffee in its first year as a designated Fairtrade University.

The staff Fairtrade coffee morning in The Great Hall was part of a series of events held by the University and Students' Union to mark Fairtrade Fortnight and to recognise Queen's status as a Fairtrade University. More than 300 staff enjoyed free Bewleys Fairtrade coffee and sampled freshly-baked Fairtrade scones, biscuits and banana pancakes made by Queen's chefs.

The morning raised over £400 in donations for Comic Relief and almost £150 worth of Fairtrade products was bought during the morning.

If you would like more information about Fairtrade please log on to www.fairtrade.ie or www.fairtrade.org.uk

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Queen's forges historic research partnerships with Malaysia

Queen’s University has agreed two major research link-ups with prestigious institutions in Malaysia which will build on the University’s world-class expertise in green chemistry and sustainability.

A senior delegation led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson are visiting Malaysia for the signing of the partnerships with Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) and the University of Malaya (UM).

The agreement with UTP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petronas, the national oil company of Malaysia, will be signed by the Vice-Chancellor and by the Rector of UTP, Dr Zainal Abidin hj Kasim on Friday 16 March. The partnership will focus on collaborative research in the area of green chemistry and particularly ionic liquids, in which Queen’s is a world leader.

Among those visiting Petronas will be Professor Ken Seddon, the Director of QUILL, Queen’s University’s award-winning Ionic Liquids Laboratories. QUILL, which is pioneering the design of ‘green’ technology to develop more efficient, pollution free chemical processes, is acknowledged as the global leader in its field, and its research will impact on the lives of everyone on the planet.

The group also includes the Head of the University’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Professor Robbie Burch, and Professor Robin Rogers, who recently joined Queen’s from the University of Alabama.

On Saturday 17 March, the Vice-Chancellor will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Malaya, Malaysia’s oldest and most prestigious university, of which one of Queen’s most distinguished graduates, Datuk Rafiah Salim, is the first female Vice-Chancellor.

The agreement will establish research links and exchange agreements in a range of academic areas related to sustainability and also create academic links in epidemiology and public health, vision science, pharmacy and plasma physics.

Speaking before his departure, Professor Gregson said: “Queen’s has many links with Malaysia, which is home to the largest number of graduates outside the United Kingdom and Ireland. These connections provide an excellent foundation on which to build dynamic research partnerships which will impact positively on life in Northern Ireland, in Malaysia and around the world.

“The forging of international links is crucial in today’s global higher education marketplace. One of Queen’s major priorities for the next five years is to create partnerships with selected high-quality international universities and institutions through which we can develop global centres of excellence in key areas of research. We are delighted that the Malaysian Government welcomes such collaboration and we are working to develop more such relationships with key Malaysian institutions.”

During his visit, Professor Gregson and colleagues from the University will meet Queen’s representatives in Malaysia and senior staff from a number of key educational institutions to discuss future academic collaboration.

The itinerary also includes a gala alumni dinner in Kuala Lumpur at which the guest speaker will be distinguished Queen’s graduate and former Chairman of Harland and Wolff Sir John Parker, a member of the Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation Board.

Queen’s visit to Malaysia coincides with the country’s 50th anniversary of independence. As part of the celebrations, Queen’s academic Dr Chris Hardacre will deliver an invited lecture to research students at the University of Malaya.

There are currently 137 Malaysian students enrolled at the University, more than a third of whom are postgraduates. Some 2,000 graduates have made, and continue to make, a major contribution to Malaysian society, in areas ranging from the professions and education to the country's political and business life.

The new partnerships follow the signing in February last year of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Terrenganu Advanced Technological Institute, which enables well-qualified students from TATI to enter Level 2 of Queen’s BEng Chemical Engineering programme. The first cohort of these students at TATI will start this programme in September.

Among Queen’s eminent graduates in Malaysia are Energy Minister the Honourable Dato Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, former Finance Minister the Honourable Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, and the late Professor Chin Fung Kee, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya.

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Queen's ceremony rewards international work experience

One hundred and sixty Queen's University Belfast students who gained workplace experience in companies around the world will take part in a special ceremony on Wednesday 14 March.

The event is the 12th City & Guilds presentation ceremony at Queen’s, bringing the total number of candidates who have received Senior Awards to nearly 1,500.

This year’s students will receive their City & Guilds Senior Awards at Licentiateship level for skills and competencies gained during work placements in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland and the United States.

The awards are administered by the University’s Senior Awards Office at the School of Education, whose Head, Professor Tony Gallagher, said: “It is a point of pride for us that we were one of the first universities in the UK to become involved in the scheme, and we feel it is an investment that has yielded rich returns. Those who gain the award today follow in an honourable tradition but, more importantly, they are taking a step towards a brighter future for themselves.”

The scheme is based on the recognition of competence and achievement through a combination of education, training and work-based experience, and it provides a progressive vocational route to higher level qualifications.

The undergraduates will receive their Licentiateship (LCGI) Awards in Aeronautical Engineering, Agricultural Economics and Management, Agricultural Technology, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Economics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Finance and Accounting, Information Technology, Management, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Rural Resources and Structural Engineering with Architecture.

“Lecturers into Industry” programme
Twenty-three Senior Awards at the higher levels will be presented to lecturers in further and higher education who took part in the “Lecturers into Industry” programme. This scheme offers lecturers the opportunity to review current workplace practices and to embed new ideas and integrate business skills into the higher education curriculum. Among those receiving this award will be Nicole Mezey, Senior Lecturer in Queen’s School of Education. Ms Mezey’s placement was with Glasgow Museums where she worked on developing an Exhibitions Policy for the 12 sites within the city. She said: “The three months I spent in Glasgow were both exciting and extremely rewarding. Museums are becoming a critical focus for the delivery of education and also in terms of their tourist potential. The insight I gained offers the University and the community opportunities for collaboration with local museums and for new training partnerships.”

The ‘Lecturers into Industry’ scheme is funded by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) and is co-ordinated by the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) for lecturers within further and higher education colleges, and by the Queen’s University’s Regional Office.

For further information, please contact: Marc Forte 028 9097 5260 Anne Langford 028 9097 5310

Notes for Editors:

The ceremony will take place in the Sir William Whitla Hall on Wednesday 14 March 2007, starting at 2pm. Pro-Chancellor Dr Chris Gibson will preside at the event and the guest speaker will be Dr Philip Riseborough, Head of Higher Qualifications and Awards at the City & Guilds of London Institute. Media facilities will be available.

The lecturers who took part in the ‘Lecturers into Industry’ initiative came from Fermanagh College, North Down and Ards Institute, North East Institute, North West Institute and Queen’s University Belfast. They will receive various Membership and Graduateship Awards.

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Queen's research to help encourage women into non-traditional sectors of employment
A Belfast City Council led initiative, in partnership with Queen's, aimed at encouraging women into non-traditional sectors of employment is being showcased at a conference in the Waterfront Hall today. Entitled WINS, or Women into Non-Traditional Sectors, the pilot project has already exceeded the targets set for it by the European Union in relation to the number of women it has trained and in the number who have successfully gone into employment in skilled trades. The United States Congress has also requested further information on the project.

Alongside several other major employers in Northern Ireland, Queen's is currently undertaking research on the project led by Dr Myrtle Hill, Director of the Centre for Women's Studies at the University, Speaking about the project Dr Hill said: "The research we are undertaking will aim to help influence decision-makers in a practical way as they work to ensure women are no longer under represented in certain job types. This project has already gotten off to a very strong start as a result of employers, researchers, funders and of course local government all working together and I look forward to revealing the outcomes of the research as our work progresses."

The event at the Waterfront today will celebrate the success of the project and allow the partners, including Belfast City Council, Translink, the Housing Executive and the Construction Industry Training Board, to share their research and innovative training model with other organisations.

WINS, which is funded by the EU's EQUAL Initiative and the Department for Employment and Learning, is also developing a best practice guide and a website for disseminating good practice in partnership with projects in the Netherlands and Germany. Both these countries will be represented at the conference today.

The 18 month pilot project had been set a target of 40 women to complete training by June 2007, but this number has already been exceeded with another training course planned for April. Fourteen of the women who have been through the project have secured employment in horticulture, transport and in skilled trades while a number of others have gone on to do further training.

Further information on WINS is available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/home/QueensintheCommunity/OutreachDirectory/.

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For further information please contact the Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 3091

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Queen's to host public debate on 'creators' of knowledge

A major public debate on the creation of knowledge will take place at Queen's University Belfast on Wednesday 14 March. The School of Geography, in partnership with the British Academy, will host the panel discussion entitled: “Who's creating knowledge? The challenge of non-university researchers” from 6.00-7.30pm in the Great Hall at Queen's.

The event forms part of the 2007 Festival of Social Science organised by the Economic and Social Research Council, which runs from 9-18 March.

The discussion will focus on the apparent contradiction arising from the fact that it is universities that are so often pictured as the prime site for research. Yet the contribution to knowledge by researchers working outside universities is huge – from family and local historians, biographers and archaeologists, to amateur astronomers, field naturalists and much else.

Speaking ahead of the event, Queen's Geography Professor David Livingstone said: "Knowledge has always been produced in many sites outside the university world. In an age of increasing specialisation, it is more important than ever that there is open dialogue between these different spaces, not least given the importance of the modern knowledge economy. Holding the event during the nationwide Festival of Social Science provides an ideal opportunity for such a dialogue. Queen's is delighted to be able to facilitate this event, building, as it does, on the flourishing partnership between the British Academy and the University."

The event will take the form of a panel discussion between three leading scholars – Dr Mike Heyworth, Director, British Council for Archaeology; Professor Dorothy Noyes, College of Humanities, Ohio State University; and Professor Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London.

British Academy Fellow, Professor Ruth Finnegan from The Open University, will chair the event. She said: "There is currently a wide-ranging debate about whether we need to rethink the role of universities in this age of interactive web communication and (perhaps) the crumbling of the traditional university monopoly over the creation of knowledge. The panel discussion brings into the debate an important dimension that is often omitted – the substantial contribution of independent scholars working outside the university. It will cover the interesting position of archaeology in straddling the gap between academe and the amateur world; reflections on the relation between university and non-university research; and an international perspective on the issues from the other side of the Atlantic.

"The long and distinguished tradition of both independent and university research in Northern Ireland makes Queen's an especially appropriate venue for this discussion and for interacting with the experience of local scholars."

She added: "As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland and still has many relations here, I am particularly delighted to be returning here to chair this event."

Admission to the event is free. Further information is available from Barbara Groves, Queen's University Belfast (b.groves@qub.ac.uk), telephone: (028) 9097 5340.

ENDS

For media enquiries, contact: Sarah Williams, Communications (028) 9097 5391.

Notes to Editors:

The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It is an independent, self-governing fellowship of approximately 750 scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in one or more branches of the academic disciplines that make up the humanities and social sciences.

The Academy's objectives are:
to represent the interests of scholarship nationally and internationally
to give recognition
to excellence
to promote and support advanced research
to further international collaboration and exchange
to promote public understanding of research and scholarship, and
to publish the results of research.

With the help of a Government grant-in-aid the Academy also acts as a grant-giving body, sponsoring its own research projects and facilitating the work of others, principally by offering research appointments and personal research grants.

www.britac.ac.uk

The Festival of Social Science is organised by the Economic and Social Research Council, and runs from 9-18 March, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. It celebrates some of the very best British social science research, as well as highlighting the ways in which social science makes a difference to everyday lives. Press releases detailing some of the varied events are available at www.esrcfestival.ac.uk or for more information please contact the ESRC Press Office on 01793 413032 or via email: alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk.

National Science and Engineering Week (formerly National Science Week) is a 10-day programme of around 2,000 events running throughout the whole of the UK with the aim of celebrating science, engineering and technology.

The week is coordinated by BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) and is funded by the DTI.

Events take place in a diverse range of locations from museums, schools, colleges, universities and shopping centres to factories, business premises, libraries, scout and guide groups and hospitals.

www.the-ba.net/the-ba/Events/NSEW/.

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Belfast film maker sets his focus on 'reel' history
One of Belfast's most prominent documentary film makers, Professor Desmond Bell, will deliver an inaugural lecture at Queen's University Belfast on Thursday 8 March.

Drawing on a number of his own films, Professor Bell will explore the issue of popular memory in Ireland, how film makers engaging with the past may impact our understanding of history. He said: "In the current evolving political situation of Northern Ireland where we are being urged to forget and move on from the past, it is vital that we understand our history. My films explore why history matters and this lecture will examine how such visual evidence goes to the core of our engagement with the past."

The public lecture entitled "Memory, Archive, Telling: Documentary Film and History", will take place at 5.00pm in Screen 2 at Queen's Film Theatre, 20 University Square. There will be a reception afterwards in the foyer.

Those wishing to attend should contact Maria Meehan on m.meehan@qub.ac.uk, or telephone 028 9097 1143.

Notes to Editor

Professor Desmond Bell is a graduate of Warwick University (BA, PhD). After teaching at Ruskin College, Oxford, and in the School of Communications at Dublin City University, he was appointed Professor of Media Studies at the University of Ulster, and subsequently Professor of Film and Photography at Napier University, Edinburgh. He was appointed to the Chair in Film Studies at Queen's in 2004.
Professor Bell is also an active documentary film maker, whose work has been regularly broadcast and screened at international film festivals.
1990 Redeeming History (Channel 4)
1993 Out of Loyal Ulster (Channel 4)
1999 Hard Road to Klondyke/Rotha Mor an t'Saoil (RTE/BBC/TG4)
Best Irish documentary Award and screened at various international film festivals: Venice, Montreal, Minneapolis.
2002 The Last Storyteller (RTE/TG4): Venice, Cork, Minneapolis
2004 Rebel Frontier ( RTE/YLE) : Cork, Denver, Minneapolis

ENDS

For further information please contact: Sarah Williams, Tel: 028 9097 5391 Fax: 028 9097 3401 Email: sarah.williams@qub.ac.uk  

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Belfast Festival at Queen's to Continue at Least in 2007

Queen's University today announced that the Belfast Festival will go-ahead at least for this year, but that much more is needed from all key partners if Northern Ireland's 'Flagship' Festival is to be sustained long-term.

Speaking about the decision to go-ahead this year, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen's, Professor Gerry McCormac said: "We welcome the recent announcement by Government of a one-off grant of £150,000 to Belfast Festival. In light of this support, Queen's is committed to providing a Festival for this year.

"Although this money falls short of the £500,000 needed, this year's event will contain many excellent performances; but the limited finances available will reflect the scale of what we are able to deliver.

"The reality is that Festival has received a reprieve for this year only and what is needed now is for all partners to come together and produce a three year development plan to ensure the sustainability of Festival from 2008 onwards as called for by the Minister, Maria Eagle.

"Queen’s shares the Minister's desire to find a long-term solution to ensure the sustainability of Festival and the University is committed to undertaking a process of meaningful engagement with all partners to secure this outcome. We along with the Minister recognise the contribution Festival makes to the artistic, cultural and economic life in Northern Ireland and Belfast in particular."

Professor McCormac also called upon other partners in the public and private sectors to respond to the Minister's announcement, and increase their financial support for the 2007 Festival and commit themselves to investing in its long-term future.

He continued: "The case for additional investment in the Festival is compelling, and this response from the Minister demonstrates her commitment to securing Festival as part of the cultural life of Northern Ireland. The Festival has the potential to deliver key social, economic and cultural objectives, but this can only be realised with the engagement of all the stakeholders."

Professor McCormac also thanked the Belfast Telegraph for their supporting campaign and the Northern Ireland public who came forward in their thousands to support Festival. This year's line-up for the Festival will be announced later in the year.

For further information, please contact: Kevin Mulhern, Head of Communications 028 9097 5323 / 07813 015431

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Juvenile Justice Explored in Public Lecture at Queen's University

The often contentious issue of Juvenile Justice will be one of the themes explored in a Public Lecture at Queen’s this week as Professor Tony Platt, the author of one the most significant texts on childhood, The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency, is welcomed to the University as a Visiting Professor in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice. During his visit, Professor Platt will also lead a seminar on memorialisation with members of Healing through Remembering and others working in this field.

An internationally renowned scholar and founding member of the international journal Social Justice, Professor Platt, is Professor Emeritus of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento. He will deliver his lecture entitled The Child Savers Revisited at 4.30pm on Wednesday, 7 March in the Canada Room of the main Lanyon Building at Queen’s. The Child Savers was published almost forty years ago and has remained in print since then.

In his lecture Professor Platt will explore five key themes: the limitations of ‘social control’ perspectives on the juvenile court; the over-emphasis placed on the ‘progressive era’ (1890-1920) as the starting period for juvenile justice; the integration of ‘race’ and gender analyses and class analysis; the limitations of a ‘nation-centred’ approach and the significance of global and comparative perspectives and the enduring influences of the biological imperative underpinning social policies.

His visit follows on from the recent hosting of a mini-conference entitled Imprisoning Children, organised jointly by the Institute, The Centre of Human Rights and the Human Right Commission. The regulation and criminalisation of children and young people focusing specifically on the increasing use of imprisonment across the UK and Irish jurisdictions and the inter-relationship between the legacy of the conflict, community-based punishments and poverty within Northern Ireland, were just some of the areas explored at the Conference by Professor Phil Scraton from the School of Law at Queen’s.

Professor Platt’s visit to Queen’s will now enable him to develop new comparative work with Professor Scraton on their two areas of common interest: youth justice and truth/acknowledgement.

Further information on the public lecture by Professor Platt is available by contacting Tracey Spence in The School of Law at Queen’s on 028 90 973472 or via email to t.spence@qub.ac.uk

Notes to Editor

Professor Platt’s most recent book, co-authored with Professor Cecilia O’Leary, is Bloodlines: Recovering Hitler’s Nuremburg Laws, From Patton’s Trophy to Public Memorial.

Other research presented at the Imprisoning Children conference included work by: Dr Una Convery, University of Ulster, and Dr Linda Moore, NIHRC, who launched their new research report, Still in our care: Protecting children’s rights in custody in Northern Ireland. Based on qualitative research with children in the Juvenile Justice Centre the report makes wide-ranging and important recommendations particularly emphasising that loss of liberty for children should be the last resort and for the shortest possible time.

Professor Barry Goldson of the University of Liverpool discussed his most recent research publication In the Care of the State? Child Deaths in Penal Custody in England and Wales. The research recommends the establishment of a Standing Commission on Custodial Deaths and calls for the abolition of prisons for children.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Golfer Darren Clarke and Nobel prize-winners to be honoured by Queen's

Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke and Nobel prize-winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu and MRI pioneer Sir Peter Mansfield are to be honoured by Queen's University.

They are to receive honorary degrees alongside a 'who's who' of eminent figures from the worlds of academia, medicine, business, the arts and journalism.

World-leading HIV and AIDS scientist Robert Gallo, British historian and world authority on Nazi Germany Sir Ian Kershaw, and CBI Director-General Richard Lambert, author of the Lambert Review of business-university collaboration, are among those to be honoured, as are distinguished cancer researcher Professor Edison Liu from Singapore and American neuroscientist Professor Ann M Graybiel.

A number of Queen's distinguished graduates feature on the list. Award-winning Irish journalist Conor O'Clery, Northern Ireland-born space scientist Michael McKay, philosopher Professor Philip Pettit and prominent local businessman Francis Jennings, Managing Director of Rotary International, will all return to their Alma Mater to receive honorary doctorates.

Honorary degrees will also be conferred on former Arts Minister Baroness Tessa Blackstone, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich; distinguished classical musicians, sisters Fionnuala and Una Hunt, Northern Ireland-based artist Neil Shawcross and influential Irish-American businesswoman Sheila O'Malley Fuchs.

The degrees will be awarded as follows:

DUniv Baroness Blackstone of Stoke Newington in Greater London  For services to higher education and distinction in public service  
DUniv  Darren Clarke  For services to professional golf 
DUniv  Sheila O’Malley Fuchs For public service
DMedSc  Robert C Gallo For services to Medicine
DMedSc Ann Graybiel For services to Medicine 
DMus  Fionnuala Hunt  For services to the performing arts
DMus Una Hunt  For services to the performing arts 
DSc(Econ)  Francis Jennings For services to business and commerce
DLit Sir Ian Kershaw  For services to History 
DSc(Econ)   Richard Lambert  For services to business and commerce 
DMedSc   Edison T Liu  For services to Medicine 
DMedSc  Sir Peter Mansfield  For services to Medicine 
DSc(Eng)  Michael McKay  For services to space exploration  
DUniv  Conor O'Clery   For distinction in journalism  
DLit  Philip Noel Pettit   For distinction in Philosophy  
DUniv  Neil Shawcross   For distinction as an artist  
DUniv  Archbishop Desmond Tutu For distinction in public service  

For further information contact: Communications Office, Tel 028 9097 3087 For further information please contact: Communications Office on 028 9097 3087.

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Japan links with Queen's to build student relationships
Kyoko Sugimoto from the Hybrid Study Abroad Centre, Japan, joins Michelin starred chef Michael Deane and Stephen Anton, Head of Marketing and Recruitment at Queen's University as part of a British Council led trip for Japanese educationalists to investigate opportunites for Japenese students to study at Queen's
Kyoko Sugimoto from the Hybrid Study Abroad Centre, Japan, joins Michelin starred chef Michael Deane and Stephen Anton, Head of Marketing and Recruitment at Queen's University as part of a British Council led trip for Japanese educationalists to investigate opportunites for Japenese students to study at Queen's
Leading Japanese educationalists today visited Queen's to explore opportunities for Japanese students to study at the University.

Queen's is one of only a handful of British Universities chosen for a visit by the high-powered British Council led delegation which includes representatives from Japan’s leading education agencies and education related media.

Explaining the importance of the visit to the University, Queen's Head of Marketing and Recruitment, Stephen Anton said: "Queen's University is becoming an increasingly popular destination for overseas students. Already Malaysia is home to the largest number of Queen's alumni outside Britain and Ireland. Today's visit will provide Queen's with a solid platform from which to build on the reputation it already has in countries such as China, South Korea and Japan and from which to further expand the diversity of its international student population."

The internationalisation of Queen's is one of the major strands of the University's recently unveiled Corporate Plan. In addition to investment of £28 million in a major recruitment programme to attract 150 additional academic staff from around the globe, a further £20 million in bursaries and scholarships is also being invested to encourage well-qualified students from a wide range of local and international backgrounds to study at Queen's. While at Queen's the delegation sat in on a lecture by renowned psychologist Dr Martin McPhillips and were personally welcomed to the University's new restaurant, Deanes at Queen's, by Michelin starred chef Michael Deane. The group also met with current Japanese students at Queen's who talked about their experiences of studying at the University and living in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about their visit to Queen's, Emma Parker, Education Promotion Officer with the British Council said: "The delegation has been impressed by the unique mix of traditional architecture and modern facilities at Queen's. Coupled with the friendliness of the staff and students at the University, I am sure that Queen's, and indeed Belfast, will be featuring more and more in the study choices of the 6,000 Japanese students who come to study in the UK each year."

International students choosing to come to Queen's receive a broad array of support services from across the University ranging from accommodation and English language support to special welcome and orientation programmes and access to the International Office.

Ends.

Notes to Editor:

Pictures to accompany this news release will be issued to all picture desks via email. They are also available by emailing comms.office@qub.ac.uk. The delegation includes representatives from Study-Abroad Support Desk (Tokyo), Globe-Trotter T & E Inc, British Education Office, Hybrid Study Abroad Centre, Kosaido Co Ltd International Internship Program Office and Ryugaku Journal Inc.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Post Assembly election seminar probes voting patterns in Northern Ireland

In the aftermath of the Assembly elections Northern Irish voting behaviour will be the subject of a key public seminar taking place on Wednesday 14 March. Queen's University Belfast researcher, Nicholas Whyte, will lead a discussion analyzing tactical voting and ticket splitting among voters.

Speaking ahead of both the election and the seminar, Nicholas said, "People like to simplify voting in Northern Ireland as if it was a simple us or them process. But when you look at the detail of previous elections, a much more interesting pattern emerges; I expect that the vote on 7 March will show this too."

The seminar is organised by ARK (Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive) and will be held at NICVA, Duncairn Gardens from 12.00noon.

Nicholas Whyte is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the School of Sociology, Social Research and Social Policy at Queen's and also works as a political analyst in Brussels.

Those wishing to attend should contact ARK at info@ark.ac.uk, or telephone 028 7137 5513. Lunch will be included.

ENDS

For further information contact: Nicholas Whyte, tel: 00 32 485 555 944 Email: nicholas.whyte@gmail.com

Or Sarah Williams, Queen's Communications Office, tel: (028) 9097 5391.

Notes to Editors:

ARK (Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive) was established in 2000 as a joint resource between Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster. ARK has a single goal: to make social science information on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience. It provides different kinds of information, including survey results, research reports and summaries.

Northern Ireland Elections (www.ark.ac.uk/elections/) is a comprehensive resource within ARK containing facts, figures and maps. It gives details of:

  • Local government, Westminster and European Parliament election results.
  • Political parties and their websites.
  • Voting systems Geographical boundaries of constituencies.
  • The history of noteworthy elections since 1885.
  • Useful websites, books and other resources.

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02/03/2007: Study reveals experiences of School Bullying among 16 yr olds in Northern Ireland

The experiences of bullying amongst 16-year olds in Northern Ireland are revealed today in the latest Research Update of the Young Life and Times (YLT) survey. The YLT survey is published by ARK, (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive), which is a joint initiative of Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster. The findings are based on the responses of over 800 16-year olds who took part in the annual YLT survey in 2005. The full survey results and research updates are available at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt.

The publication of the survey comes only a few days after a UNICEF report revealed that the UK is bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries. In that survey over one third of children in the UK reported that they had been bullied in school in the past two months. Respondents in the 2005 YLT survey were asked the same questions as those in the UNICEF study.

The YLT survey showed that 28 per cent of 16-year olds in Northern Ireland were bullied in school in the past two months and that those who experienced school bullying were much more likely to feel pressurised to smoke (29%), drink alcohol (37%), lose weight (30%), and have sexual intercourse (9%), than those who had not been bullied (18%, 24%, 15% and 5% respectively).

Other key findings in relation to school bullying were:
Seven per cent of respondents said they had taken part in bullying other students. Males were three times more likely than females to say they had bullied other students (12 per cent and 4 per cent). Those who had been bullied themselves were nearly three times as likely to say they had also taken part in bullying other students.
About three quarters of YLT 2005 respondents felt that pupils at their school get bullied ‘a little’; one in ten said pupils get bullied ‘a lot’ or ‘not at all’. 30 per cent said they had been bullied themselves.
67 per cent of young men who said they were at least once sexually attracted to other males and 46 per cent of young people who came from ‘not at all well-off’ families reported particularly high levels of experiences of bullying.
Respondents who attended secondary schools were more likely to say that pupils got bullied a lot or a little at their school than respondents from grammar schools or planned integrated schools.
80 per cent of students who took part in a follow-up study to YLT said their school had a bullying policy, however their involvement in the development of these policies was limited.
67 per cent of YLT respondents said there are particular members of staff to deal with bullying in their school, but only 16 per cent of respondents said they would talk to such staff, 60 per cent were not sure if they would and 23 per cent said that they would not talk to such staff.
Females were much more likely than males to say they would talk to this staff (33 per cent and 19 per cent respectively).
Respondents who said that students at their school get bullied ‘a lot’ were significantly less likely to say that their school provides real help for those being bullied than those who said students got bullied ‘a little’ or ‘not at all’ (36 per cent, 54 per cent and 82 per cent respectively).

Commenting on these findings, the author of the Research Update, Stephanie Burns said: “One of the most telling results from this study is that 82 per cent of 16-year olds who said they were not bullied in school also felt that their school provided real help to people who got bullied. One of the conclusions we can draw from the research is that effective school bullying policies seem to reduce bullying incidences.’

The Research Update is available from the Young Life and Times Survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt/results/ or in hard copy from Dr Dirk Schubotz, YLT Director, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University, Belfast BT7 1NN

Notes to editor:

1. 819 16 year-olds responded to the 2005 Young Life and Times Survey.
2. Further information and tables of results are available on the Young Life and Times website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt
3. Young Life and Times is a constituent part of ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. ARK is a joint initiative of Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster.

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

ENDS.

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Student's win at festival brings hat trick for Queen's
Award winner Rionach McGlinchey (centre) with her voice tutor Dr Angela Feeney (right) and music lecturer Dr Fiona Palmer.
Award winner Rionach McGlinchey (centre) with her voice tutor Dr Angela Feeney (right) and music lecturer Dr Fiona Palmer.
A Queen's University Belfast student has won the Northern Ireland Singer Award at the 2007 Ballymena Festival of Music, Speech and Drama. This is the third year in a row that a Queen's student has been awarded one of the top prizes at the festival.

Rionach McGlinchey, a first year music and drama student from Derry, won the competition for vocalists born and taught in Northern Ireland, one of the major awards of the whole festival. She was presented with a silver cup and cheque for £400 by the Mayor of Ballymena, James Alexander, after the competition on Wednesday 21 February.

Previous winners in the same category are Queen’s music students, Michelle Grogan (2005) and Judith Orr (2006).

Rionach's voice tutor at Queen's is international Soprano, Dr Angela Feeney, who has been a Tutor of Singing at the university since 2003. Dr Feeney also taught the previous winners.

Speaking about the award, Dr Feeney said: “This is a great achievement for a first year student who was described in the competition as having 'a voice and interpretive talent of great promise'. Winning the award will be a great confidence boost but the financial reward will be an even greater help for her future studies and career."

She added: "We have an abundance of young singers studying at Queen's and access to this award – one of only a few available to singing students – offers them the opportunity to showcase their vocal skills while continuing with their training and development."

Angela Feeney was awarded an Honorary degree by Queen's in July 2006.

ENDS

For media enquiries, contact Sarah Williams, 028 9097 5391

Picture caption:

Award winner Rionach McGlinchey (centre) with her voice tutor Dr Angela Feeney (right) and music lecturer Dr Fiona Palmer.

Notes to editors:

The Ballymena music festival ran from 19-24 February and is now in its 82nd year. It attracts entrants from all over Ireland and is one of the oldest music festivals in the British Isles. Overall some 550 singers took part in this year's singing competitions.

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Cormac Trust Donates Defibrillators to Queen's at Sigerson Opening Ceremony
Bridget and Brendan McAnallen, parents of Cormac McAnallen, have presented Queen's with two defibrillators on behalf of the Cormac Trust. Accepting them on behalf of the University were Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac and Student Sports Development Manager, Cathy Gallagher.
Bridget and Brendan McAnallen, parents of Cormac McAnallen, have presented Queen's with two defibrillators on behalf of the Cormac Trust. Accepting them on behalf of the University were Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac and Student Sports Development Manager, Cathy Gallagher.

The Great Hall in Queen’s University was the venue for the official opening ceremony of the 2007 Ulster Bank Sigerson Cup today (Thursday, 1 March) as Queen’s, UUJ, IT Sligo and Cork IT, prepare to begin their battle for a place in Saturday’s final at The Dub (Throw-in 2.30pm). The Final will be broadcast on TG4 from 2.15pm on Saturday. The ceremony also celebrated the forthcoming finals of the Trench Cup, the Corn na Mac Léinn and the Further Educations College Championships, all of which will be played this weekend.

Queen’s last won the title in 2000, a year when the late Cormac McAnallen was a key member of the winning squad. Cormac died three years ago tomorrow and his parents, Bridget and Brendan, were special guests at the opening ceremony as they donated an automated external portable defibrillator and part-funding for a second defibrillator to Queen’s on behalf of The Cormac Trust. One defibrillator will be based in Queen’s Sport and the second in the University’s main Lanyon Building.

Speaking at the event, Bridget McAnallen, Cormac’s mother said: “Cormac loved his time at Queen’s and playing in the Sigerson Cup and I am delighted to be able to donate these defibrillators to the University in his memory. On this weekend, when thousands of young and old alike will all be gathered together at the Sigerson Cup, I hope the donation will help raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death in people of all ages.”

Accepting the Defibrillators on behalf of the University, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac said: “On behalf of Queen’s University I would like to thank The Cormac Trust for their generous donation. Cormac won the Sigerson with Queen’s in 2000 and it is particularly fitting that on this weekend, when 5,000 people will be in attendance at The Dub for a competition he loved, his legacy has provided us with these life-saving defibrillators.”

Cathy Gallagher, Development Manager for Student Sports at Queen’s, who joined Professor McCormac in accepting the Defibrillators added: “The donation of these life-saving defibrillators will be a tremendous asset to Queen’s University. The thoughtfulness and generosity of The Cormac Trust on this occasion typifies what was always on offer from Cormac. On this Sigerson weekend we remember a friend, former team-mate and role model. On behalf of Queen’s Sport I would like to express our appreciation to The Cormac Trust for this tremendous and fitting gesture.”

Over 5,000 people are expected to make the pilgrimage to Queen’s Malone Playing Fields or ‘The Dub’ for the blue-riband event, making it the largest sporting occasion in Northern Ireland this weekend. Opening up the action tomorrow afternoon will be Queen’s v Cork IT in the first of the semi-finals at 1.30pm, while UUJ will face IT Sligo at 3.00pm at The Dub. A special covered stand has been installed at The Dub.

Roisin Ryan, Head of Product Marketing with sponsors Ulster Bank said: “The Sigerson Cup is the highest profile sports competition in the local third-level education sector. It is also the most significant GAA event to be hosted in Belfast in 2007 and the largest sporting event in Northern Ireland this weekend. Ulster Bank would like to wish all the players and supporters a memorable and sporting weekend.”

John Devaney, of the GAA’s Higher Education Committee added: “Higher Education football has always been one of the most competitive and enjoyable levels of Gaelic sport to both compete in and to watch. The organising committee at Queen’s has worked hard to ensure that this is once again the case for Sigerson 2007. In conjunction with our sponsors Ulster Bank, we are looking forward to a weekend packed full of top-class sporting action.”

Queen’s GAA has also organised a series of events for current and former players including a 25th anniversary reunion tonight for the 1982 Sigerson winning team which was coached by the legendary Sean O’Neill, a Captains’ Table Dinner on Saturday, 3 March, which will see many of the captains who have led successful sides gather together in the Great Hall at Queen’s and a special event on Thursday, 1 March at 8.00pm in the Students’ Union.

Further information on events and Sigerson fixtures can be found at www.sigerson2007.com

Notes to Editor:

The presentation will take place at 5.45pm tonight (Thursday, 1 March) in the Black and White Hall, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at 6.00pm in the Great Hall at Queen’s (beside the Black and White Hall).

Queen’s first entered Sigerson in 1923, though did not enter again until 1933. They have participated in every Sigerson since then, winning their first tile in 1958 and six others in 1964, 1971, 1982, 1990, 1993 and 2000.

George Sigerson was born in Strabane, Co Tyrone in 1836. He was a scholar, academic, Senator, neurologist and writer during a remarkable career. He used his salary to donate the Sigerson Cup in 1911.

Cormac McAnallen died of sudden cardiac arrest on 2 March 2004 aged 26. He made his name at home and on the international field as a Gaelic footballer. In 2004, the Queens’ Graduate of the Year Award was awarded posthumously to Cormac. His family established The Cormac Trust to fundraise for the purchase of Automated External Defibrillators.

Sudden cardiac arrest claims thousands of lives each year in the UK. It has been estimated that every minute that goes by without defibrillation, the chance of survival decreases by 10%. Conversely, studies have shown that survival rates as high as 74% can be achieved if defibrillation is given within 3 minutes. Advances in technology means that the average citizen, with some basic training, can easily perform defibrillation.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or m0781 44 22 572

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"World-class university experience" available in Northern Ireland - Gregson
Prospective students in Northern Ireland have access to a world-class university experience on their doorstep, Queen's 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 03 March. Around 100 careers advisers from schools and colleges throughout Northern Ireland and from the Department for Employment and Learning are expected to attend.

Professor Gregson said that Queen's recent membership of the Russell Group of leading United Kingdom universities – which includes Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and University College London – underlines its credentials as one of the leading centres of research and education in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

He said: "Our membership of the Russell Group strengthens the prestige of our degrees around the world. It sets the standard for our future activities, when we will be benchmarking ourselves against the best universities both nationally and internationally.

“I am aware that, in the past, many prospective students decided to leave Northern Ireland to pursue their careers at Russell Group universities, but no-one who stays should be in any doubt. If they want a first-class education and a first-class student experience, they can get both here at Queen's."

The Vice-Chancellor added: "Queen's provides an environment in which students can flourish academically, personally and socially through the provision of intellectually challenging curricula and a comprehensive range of cultural, social and sporting activities.

"Our new Corporate Plan, underpinned by an investment of £259 million, will secure our position as a world leader in research and education, and ensure a world-class experience for our students. We are currently recruiting some 140 high-calibre staff from around the world and work is under way on our £45 million new library, due to open in 2009. A £7 million new sports facility at our Physical Education Centre was officially opened last week by Olympic Gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, and a £9 million refurbishment of the Students' Union."

The Vice-Chancellor described Saturday's event as an excellent opportunity for "meaningful dialogue" with key representatives from schools and colleges in Northern Ireland. He said: "Queen's attracts many of its undergraduates from local schools and colleges, and interaction like this conference is essential if we are to build on this valuable relationship."

The conference programme will include presentations by key university staff on the applications and admissions process, job opportunities for graduates, the skills agenda and support for students.

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

Notes for editors:
The conference will take place in Queen's Film Theatre, 20 University Square on Saturday 03 March, from 10.00am to 12.45pm. Media facilities will be available from 9.30am to 10.00am.

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