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09-2007 Press Releases

27/09/2007: Shakespeare explored from page to stage to screen at Queen's
26/09/2007: Queen's injects new hope for skin cancer patients
25/09/2007: Global Software Chief addresses business audience at Queen's
25/09/2007: Queen's signal new direction for local railway
24/09/07: £3.7M Sharing Education Programme launched at Queen's
21/09/2007: Queen's University shortlisted for University of the Year: The Sunday Times University Guide 2007
21/09/2007: Fish Oils Research Wins Top Irish Award
20/09/2007: Queen's to help Ireland become world leader in marine research
20/09/2007: Queen's welcomes acclaimed Greek novelist Ersi Sotiropoulos
19/09/2007: Jean is 'Queen' of Northern Ireland's Cleaners
19/09/2007: Language learning with a difference
19/09/2007: Queen's seeks volunteers for heart disease study
18/09/2007: Destination Belfast for global aviation industry
18/09/2007: Forrest Reid literary legacy lives on at Queen's
17/09/2007: History books should be only recollection of 'Troubles' for 16 year olds
14/09/2007: 45th Belfast Festival at Queen's
12/09/2007: Top International Awards for Queen's Professors
11/09/2007: President attends 30th Anniversary celebration
06/09/2007: Unique Scholarship Scheme Launched
10/09/2007: Troubled nations come together at Queen's to examine ethnic conflict
07/09/2007: Michael Longley announced as Ireland Professor of Poetry
05/09/2007: Queen's research cited as world's number one Chemistry paper
05/09/2007: MacNeice Centenary Conference at Queen's
04/09/2007: Queen's empowers the Next Generation of women leaders




Shakespeare explored from page to stage to screen at Queen's

Recent forms of Shakespearean filmmaking, from advertisements and citations, to big-budget films and low-key Irish language productions are the subject matter of two new books launched today at Queen’s. They are Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace (Palgrave) and Screening Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century (Edinburgh University Press).

Written by Professor Mark Thornton Burnett, of Renaissance Studies at the School of English, Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace is acclaimed as 'extremely valuable, ambitious and impressive’. Screening Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century is co-edited by Professor Burnett and Dr Ramona Wray and has been described as a 'consistently superb collection, a fine study which raises anew the question of Shakespeare's continuing, chameleon-like cultural authority'.

Speaking at the launch of the two books, Professor Burnett said, “This was a wonderful opportunity to utilise local resources and to build into the writing of the books the evident enthusiasm of students for the burgeoning subject of Shakespeare and film. I was also delighted to be able to write about Shakespearean films in Ireland; this is clearly a developing area and one we should watch with considerable excitement.”

Both books range in content and culture. They contain new approaches to television, mass media and the place and meaning of Shakespeare in cinema across the world, extending to recent and rarely seen productions of Othello in India and Henry V in the United States. They also make extensive use of the Kenneth Branagh Archive, which is held at Queen's, and also contain discussions of Branagh's new film, As You Like It, which is currently on general release.

For media enquiries please contact: Roisin Duffy, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0) 28 9097 5391, roisin.duffy@qub.ac.uk Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209.

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Queen's injects new hope for skin cancer patients
From left Dr Ryan Donnelly, Desmond Morrow, Pharmacy student, and Dr Paul McCarron
From left Dr Ryan Donnelly, Desmond Morrow, Pharmacy student, and Dr Paul McCarron
The needle free jet injection device
The needle free jet injection device

Queen's University scientists have hit upon a revolutionary way to deliver agents for the treatment of skin cancer.

Pharmacy student Desmond Morrow, working alongside Dr Paul McCarron and Dr Ryan Donnelly, from the Queen's Medical Biology Centre have demonstrated that a novel needle free jet injection device may be a potential way of eradicating 'difficult to treat' skin tumours.

The breakthrough at Queen's could benefit the growing numbers of skin cancer patients being treated with a technique called photodynamic therapy (PDT). This is where a light sensitive drug in the form of a cream is rubbed on the area affected by the cancer and a laser activates a component in the cream to destroy cancerous cells.

Desmond Morrow pointed out the importance of his findings saying: "Photodynamic therapy is a relatively new form of skin cancer treatment which results in tumour death, however, sometimes its success in individual patients is limited by the poor penetration of the active agent into the tumour. Our research shows that a new way of administering the drug can improve the amount that crosses the skin barrier and gets to the required site."

Looking at the immediate benefit with this new form of treatment both Dr McCarron and Dr Donnelly commented: "In Northern Ireland, basal cell carcinoma (BBC) is a prevalent form of skin cancer. Conventional treatments for BCC include surgical excision and radiotherapy, which demonstrate acceptable clearance rates. However, both techniques are unsuitable for large or multiple lesions and can lead to poor cosmetic outcomes, such as scarring, especially on visible regions, like the face and upper torso."

They continued: "Photodynamic therapy has been shown to eradicate certain superficial skin lesions with remarkable selectivity, giving a more satisfactory clinical outcome."

Media enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 28 9097 5320, mobile number: 0781743 4252.

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Global Software Chief addresses business audience at Queen's

Boyd Beasley, a director from the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company, will tonight address local business leaders at Queen’s University on the subject of ‘Delivering Customer Support in Global Markets’.

Boyd Beasley is Senior Director for Customer Support at Electronic Arts, a multi-billion pound company that develops, publishes and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers, mobile phones and the internet.

Mr Beasley is responsible for EA Customer Support for the Americas, Asia and Europe. In April 2007 the Belfast software contact centre GEM announced a deal to provide multilingual customer support for EA.

Trevor Newsom, Director of Research and Regional Services, said: “This ongoing partnership initiative between Queen’s University and Belfast City Council brings world leading industry experts to Belfast to support local business leaders in acquiring the creative skills, knowledge and global connections to compete on the world stage.”

Mr Beasley will also be awarded a Visiting Fellowship in the Creative Industries from Queen’s following his address tonight.

Media enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320.

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Queen's signal new direction for local railway
From left Denis Campbell, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering lecturer, Damien Agnew, Head of Translink Signallers and Russian exchange student Mikhail Ivanov.
From left Denis Campbell, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering lecturer, Damien Agnew, Head of Translink Signallers and Russian exchange student Mikhail Ivanov.
Queen's Russian exchange student Mikhail Ivanov
Queen's Russian exchange student Mikhail Ivanov

Queen’s students have helped design a new model railway simulator to aid in the training of Northern Ireland Railways staff.

The simulator comprises a control panel of the type used in modern railway signal cabins, and a section of model track with signals and points.

Students developed modules for inclusion in this project as part of their final year degree course. Over the past seven weeks these modules have been aided by summer placement student Mikhail Ivanov from Russia.

Queen’s lecturer Denis Campbell, from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, pointed out advantages the simulator will bring, saying: “The benefits to trainee signallers lies in the simulator’s comprehensive realisation of both track layout and signal control panel. In the real system they can see only one of these at a time.  In addition real life signalling situations can be replicated and the control of train signals and points can also be practiced in a controlled environment.

“The procedure following a malfunction can also be demonstrated without having to wait for it to occur. It is anticipated that the Signals and Electrical department of the railway, which maintains the signalling system, would also be interested in this for training purposes.

“We have welcomed the opportunity to work with Northern Ireland Railways experienced and professional staff on this project and we are delighted that this system will be put to use in the operations and signalling departments of Northern Ireland Railways for training purposes.”

The students work with these electronic circuits will help bring Translink into line with the rest of Europe as the simulator has been applied in all of the countries that implement the common basics of signalling theory and practice.

The Russian exchange student Mikhail, who helped complete the project said: “Gaining experience in the various electrical circuits will give the train controller and the railway a valuable learning tool.”

Damien Agnew, Head of Translink Signallers, welcomed the initiative saying: “Due to its modest size and comprehensive performance, the simulator will be an invaluable tool in the classroom. It will give signalling trainees hands on experience in all aspects of signal control while also showing them the actual results of their actions upon the movement of the trains along the track.”

For media enquiries please contact: Eugene McCusker, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 5320, e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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£3.7M Sharing Education Programme launched at Queen's
Camilla Rodgers, Limavady High School and Claire Kealey, St Patrick's, Dungiven with Denis Rooney, International Fund for Ireland; Professor Tony Gallagher from Queen's and Padraic Quirk from The Atlantic Philanthropies.
Camilla Rodgers, Limavady High School and Claire Kealey, St Patrick's, Dungiven with Denis Rooney, International Fund for Ireland; Professor Tony Gallagher from Queen's and Padraic Quirk from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Over 2,500 school pupils in Northern Ireland are set to benefit from a new £3.7 million Sharing Education Programme being launched at Queen’s University today. The Sharing Education Programme (SEP) will offer students the chance to share enhanced educational and development opportunities, while at the same time building positive relationships with those from different backgrounds and cultures.

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland and Atlantic Philanthropies and administered by Queen’s University, the programme involves a total of 12 collaborative projects amongst 60 schools, from across every education sector in Northern Ireland.

Each collaborative project involves schools from across the different management sectors, that is, controlled, maintained, Catholic voluntary and other voluntary schools. Many of the projects also involve partnerships between grammar and secondary schools, or primary and post-primary schools.

The collaborative networks in the Sharing Education Programme involve the first cohort of 12 specialist schools and up to 48 of their partner schools. Acting as the academic anchors for the programme, the specialist schools were chosen to lead the partnerships due to their recognised commitment to collaboration and excellence in key areas.

Ultimately, the Sharing Education Programme aims to encourage all schools to make inter-community collaboration an integral part of their everyday life. A key goal of the Sharing Education Programme is to share the experience and learning of the partnerships with the rest of the education community through a a series of conferences, seminars and publications and through the Programme website, www.schoolsworkingtogether.co.uk.

In addition, the Programme’s funding will be used to support teaching and coordination across the schools partnerships, as well as providing curricular and practical support to enable effective collaboration. A programme of training and support for participating schools is being provided by the School of Education at Queen’s University in collaboration with the leadership programmes in the Regional Training Unit.

Explaining the rationale behind the Sharing Education Programme, Professor Tony Gallagher, Head of the School of Education at Queen’s said: “Northern Ireland is now experiencing a time of unprecedented change, and this is especially evident in education. With the Sharing Education Programme our short term goals are to provide teachers and pupils with opportunities to engage with different traditions and learning cultures and to share access to academic excellence.

“In the long term, we hope to provide examples of best practice in cross-sectoral educational initiatives that can be used by schools to foster reconciliation and partnership, and promote educational excellence. It is our young people who will be the main beneficiaries.

“We also hope through the involvement of teachers, pupils and parents, the positive effects of the programme will also be felt throughout the wider community in Northern Ireland. That will be the greatest achievement of Sharing Education. It will also be testament to the vision and ambition for a better, shared future, from all those schools taking part in this exciting and groundbreaking initiative.”

Commending the programme, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson added: “The Sharing Education Programme is very appropriately named. This is an important and challenging project, which reflects Queen’s leading role in promoting positive social change, and underlines the University’s position at the forefront of innovative developments in education in Northern Ireland.”

Speaking on behalf of the Programme’s funders, the International Fund for Ireland and Altantic Philanthropies, Denis Rooney, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland said: “While we have made tremendous progress as community towards becoming a peaceful society in recent months, we still have to face the unpalatable reality that we are still a segregated society in terms of where we live and learn.

“We believe that ‘sharing education’ is a step towards bringing all the diverse experiences in our community together in a way which creates advantage for everyone involved. This is not sharing for its own sake but a tremendous opportunity for our young people to increase the opportunities available to them at almost every level and play a fuller role in developing a more stable society for all of us.”

Speaking about the benefits available to the schools, students and communities already committed to the project, Mr Lex Hayes, a teacher at Ashfield Girls' High School, Belfast, said: "The resources provided by the SEP enable us to create links with schools outside our own sector that would not have been possible otherwise. The programme also links directly into the curriculum, which marks it apart from other projects in the past."

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0)28 9097 5384, m0781 44 22 572, email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk or to Sarah Young, Director, IAS SMARTS on (0) 28 9039 5500.

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Queen's University shortlisted for University of the Year: The Sunday Times University Guide 2007

Queen's University Belfast has been shortlisted for the prestigious Sunday Times University of the Year award. 

The shortlisting caps a remarkable year for the University. Its admission to the Russell Group of research-led universities (Britain's equivalent to the American Ivy League) last November was an acknowledgement of the progress that it has made over the last few years.

Commenting on the announcement Vice-Chancellor Peter Gregson said: "This is a tremendous achievement for the University which recognises Queen's as one of the UK's leading higher education institutions. Staff and students have a right to be proud of this accolade from the Sunday Times as they begin another exciting academic year at Queen's. 

"Queen's investment in staff and facilities has had a major impact on its ability to attract world-class academics and high quality students: individuals such as Professor Paddy Johnston, who heads the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology. This month he takes over as Dean of Medicine, heading up a medical school that last year gained funding for a 40 percent increase in numbers.”

The new Sir Anthony O’Reilly Library is due to open in 2009, which will give Queen’s one of the most outstanding university libraries in the UK. The library is part of a £259m development programme that will change the face of the university by 2011. About £45m has been spent upgrading the Elms student village and there are refurbished and expanded facilities for the students’ union and for sport. Queen’s is playing a key part in the regeneration of Belfast and has created 1,000 local jobs through spin-out companies, which is only second to Cambridge.

For media enquiries please contact the Communications Office on +44 (0)28 90 97 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk .

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Fish Oils Research Wins Top Irish Award
Dr Stephen Wright who has won a top Irish research award for his work at Queen's
Dr Stephen Wright who has won a top Irish research award for his work at Queen's

A major research project into helping patients with inflammatory disease has won a top Irish award.

Dr Stephen Wright, a Queen’s clinical research fellow, now employed in Musgrave Park Hospital, has won the 2007 Irish Society for Rheumatology Young Investigator of the Year Award.

The Hillsborough man’s research demonstrated that fish oils for patients with lupus may have more than cardiovascular benefits. Lupus is an inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs and nervous system.

Dr Wright explained: “Part of my work was to investigate different aspects of vascular disease (blood vessels) in patients with lupus by studying the function of the cells lining the blood vessels. I was able to show that in patients with lupus there was an impaired function that could be improved by Omega-3 fish oils.”

At the end of the study, participants who had been taking low doses of Omega-3 fish oil showed improvement in all areas of measurement, including improved blood vessel function and a reduction in cell damaging molecules. There was also improvement in a number of the symptoms of lupus such as fatigue, joint pains, skin rashes, mouth ulcers and headaches.

The research was carried out in the Department of Therapeutics at Queen’s University and also in the Musculoskeletal Education and Research Unit in  Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast. Dr Wright’s study supervisors were Professor Gary McVeigh, Dr Aubrey Bell and Professor Michael Finch. 

Professor McVeigh welcomed news of Dr Wright’s work saying: “ I am delighted that Dr Wright has won this prestigious award in the face of intense competition. It is testimony to the quality and novelty of the blood vessel research performed at Queen’s University."

Dr Wright was the first clinical research fellow in Northern Ireland to have his work funded by the Wellcome Trust, an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. Established in 1936 it is the UK’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research. Lupus UK also supported the research.

The Irish Society for Rheumatology (ISR) is a medical society dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in musculoskeletal diseases and to the practice of rheumatology.  Dr Wright’s award is for excellence in clinical or scientific research in the field of rheumatology and will be presented to Dr Wright at the ISR annual meeting in Galway on 5 October 2007.  This award consists of a medal and cheque for £5,000.

For media enquiries please contact: Eugene McCusker, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 5320, e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's to help Ireland become world leader in marine research

Researchers from Queen’s have been awarded grants of more than 4 million Euro's to fund new marine research projects in Ireland. The grants were announced by Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan T.D and his colleague Mary Coughlan T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries at a ceremony in Dublin.

The grants are part of an overall €20 million grant scheme named after Irish hydrographer Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), who devised the Beaufort scale classifying the velocity and force of winds at sea. In total the Francis Beaufort Marine Awards will fund 141 researchers and students working in five research consortia, across five institutions.

Commenting at the presentation of the awards to the researchers, Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Brown said: “I am delighted that these grants will enable Queen’s to continue working towards addressing some of the most urgent issues in the marine sector for the island of Ireland. They will also help ensure new opportunities in marine associated industries and that Ireland’s precious marine life is preserved.”
 
Among those researchers from Queen’s receiving a grant was Dr Paulo Prodohl. Earlier this year Dr Prodohl was a member of an international research team which discovered female sharks can reproduce without having sex. He will be part of a €3.7 million consortium of research groups from Queen’s and UCC into Marine Genetics Research. Current ecosystem models predict that climate change will result in rapidly shifting ecological conditions and major alterations in the abundance, distribution and genetic composition of major fish populations. This is particularly true of long distant migrants such as salmon. The Beaufort Marine Genetics Award to the consortium will facilitate the building of additional all-Ireland research capacity in this vitally important area of fisheries research.

His colleague Dr Mark Johnson was also named as one of the recipients and he will be part of a €7.2 million consortium of research groups from Queen’s, University College Cork and National University of Ireland, Galway, for Marine Biodiscovery. Eighty per cent of living organisms are found only in aquatic ecosystems, yet little is known about their biochemical characteristics.  The Beaufort Marine Biodiscovery Consortium will aim to develop a leading capability in the utilisation of marine organisms and materials for the production of drugs, advanced biomaterials and neutraceuticals in Ireland.

The final award to Queen’s will see Dr Keith Farnsworth from the School of Biological Sciences work as part of a  €3.9 million consortium comprising research groups from Queen’s, University College Cork and the Marine Institute for developing sustainable fisheries. This Beaufort Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management Consortium will work towards developing responsible and sustainable Irish fisheries, leading the move away from traditional fisheries advice and embracing a more ecosystem based approach to fisheries management.

Praising the successful applicants Minister Coughlan also highlighted the importance that the Government places on Marine Research, “The Irish marine sector is estimated to have a turnover of more than €3 billion annually and supports over 44,000 jobs, 56 per cent of which are in peripheral regions of the country. Under the Marine Knowledge Research and Innovation Strategy for Ireland, Sea Change, this Government will invest more than €365 million to create new marine-related commercial opportunities between now and 2013.” 

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572, lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk .

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Queen's welcomes acclaimed Greek novelist Ersi Sotiropoulos

Queen’s will welcome the celebrated Greek novelist and author of prize-winning novel Zig-zag through the bitter-orange trees, Ersi Sotiropoulos, to read at the opening of its Lagan Muses programme at the Institute of Byzantine Studies, on 24 September at 5pm.

Acclaimed as "the best novel of the decade" Zig-zag through the bitter-orange trees was published in Greece in 2000, and became the first novel to win both the Greek State Prize for Literature and the prestigious Book Critics' Award. Known for her consistent originality and subversion of convention, this is Sotiropoulos’s fifth novel.

Soitropoulos’s visit is organised in association with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture as part of its Greece in Britain series of events project. She will talk about her work, her book Zig-zag through the bitter-orange trees, and the translation of this moving and evocative novel. She will also meet her audience and sign copies of the book after her talk, at the Institute of Byzantine Studies, GO1-2, 5 University Square.

Zig-zag through the bitter-orange trees is translated into English by translator, novelist, biographer and historian Professor of Classics, Peter Green, a Dougherty Centennial Professor emeritus of classics at the University of Texas-Austin and Professor at the University of Iowa. With considerable input by Sotiropoulos herself, the resulting translation is both vigorous and colloquial, reflecting the original ‘highly idiomatic Greek’.

The book explores the lives of four people in Athens just before the millennium. Four unforgettable voices intertwine to tell a story of both relationship and isolation; with dark humour and a disarming power. Sotiropoulos portrays the world of the young hopeful and apathetic, beautiful and grotesque.

For media enquiries please contact: Roisin Duffy, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0) 28 9097 5391, roisin.duffy@qub.ac.uk Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209.

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Jean is 'Queen' of Northern Ireland's Cleaners
Jean O'Goan from Ballynahinch who works at Queen's and who has been named NI Cleaner of the Year
Jean O'Goan from Ballynahinch who works at Queen's and who has been named NI Cleaner of the Year

Jean O’Goan, an employee of Queen’s, has been officially named ‘Cleaner of the Year 2007’ by The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc.) She was presented with her award at a ceremony in Parliament Buildings, Belfast, today.

A cleaner at Queen’s for over 20 years, Jean beat off stiff competition from over 100 applications from education, health and private organisations throughout Northern Ireland to clinch the title. 

Speaking about her award, a delighted Jean said: “I have been working at Queen’s for 23 years now and take pride in helping keep such beautiful buildings looking well. I’m so surprised to have won this award and would like to thank my colleagues at Queen’s for nominating me.”

Speaking about Jean’s win, Stan Atkins, General Manager of BICSc in the UK, who was at Stormont to oversee the annual event, said: “The reason behind this competition is to recognise professionalism in the industry and raise the profile of cleaning as a career. It is great to see someone with such long and dedicated service winning this year’s award.”

Jean has worked as a cleaner in 1-3 University Square, Belfast, since she began at Queen’s. The building currently houses the School of English and the Head of School, Professor John Thompson, was interviewed by the judges as part of the competition. Commenting on what part of her job she likes most, Jean said: “The people I work with make me look forward to coming into Queen’s every day.”

Commending Jean on her win, Keith Halliday, the University’s Estates Manager for Cleaning Services, who nominated Jean said: “This award is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication that Jean has shown to the University. It is also a great reflection on the cleaning team as a whole. Although you do not need to have an accredited cleaning qualification to enter the competition, Jean and all the other in-house cleaners are now qualified to BiCSc standards, something that Carole Clarke, the Supervisor and Training Manager and myself are very proud of.”

Jean received her Trophy, Certificate and Cheque at Parliament Buildings from the Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Bernie Kelly.

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572, lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk .

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Language learning with a difference
Queen's Language Support Officer Brenda Davis and NICILT Executive Officer Wendy Phipps look forward to the European Day of Languages
Queen's Language Support Officer Brenda Davis and NICILT Executive Officer Wendy Phipps look forward to the European Day of Languages

Queen’s University is asking colleges and workplaces to come up with a fun way of celebrating language learning on 26 September 2007, the annual European Day of Languages (EDL).

EDL is a Council of Europe initiative held annually on 26 September in 47 countries across Europe to celebrate language and cultural diversity. The Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), which is based in the Graduate School of Education at Queen’s, is the local co-ordinator of the day.

To help celebrate the day, free EDL resource packs are available through the CILT website www.cilt.org.uk/edl/order.htm. The packs contain two posters featuring EDL characters and four sheets of stickers featuring ‘hello’ in over 30 languages. These resources are also available for purchase as class sets (20 sticker sheets, 10 posters), along with badges and t-shirts with five different designs, which can be offered as prizes or worn to mark the day.

The NICILT website www.qub.ac.uk//schools/SchoolofEducation (Click on quick link to NICILT and then on European Day of Languages) also has a number of ideas on how to celebrate the day, such as organising a speed language learning competition, designing and writing a holiday postcard in a different language or even learning a traditional sport or dance from another country.

NICILT Executive Officer at Queen’s Wendy Phipps said: “EDL is a wonderful opportunity to explore the European community. We would ask colleges to make a strong effort this year. We have already heard from a number of schools planning to do something special. Ballymacrickett Primary School in Glenavy, County Antrim, is planning a special assembly and will also be mounting a specially crafted display. Shimna Integrated school in Newcastle plans to include salsa dancing as one of several fun activities on 26 September.

“In St Patrick’s College, Dungiven the school assembly will feature pupils communicating in French, Irish, Polish, Spanish and sign language, while canteen staff will also join in the fun by providing foods from all over the world for the pupils to try at lunchtime. A competition will also be held to see which member of staff makes the best effort to communicate in another language throughout the day.  Pupils will decide who gets the prize.”

Pam McIntyre from the Language Centre at Queen’s added: “The Language Centre is inviting staff and students to participate in events over three days to sample a flavour of European culture and language. We have a series of events including   ‘A taste of Italy’ where people can come along and discover La Dolce Vita to  ‘European Travel’ which will help guests with hints, about where to go and how to get there.

The European Day of Languages also highlights the advantages of languages at work.  The website www.languageswork.org.uk shows people using languages at work. This day encourages people of all ages to start learning a new language.

More information on how to mark the European Day of Languages 2007 is available at the NICILT website www.qub.ac.uk/edu/nicilt  The CILT website: www.cilt.org.uk/edl  also contains further information. You can also contact the NICILT on (028) 9097 5954.

For media enquiries please contact: Eugene McCusker, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 5320, e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209.

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Queen's seeks volunteers for heart disease study

A Queen’s medical doctor is appealing for 30 volunteers to help with research into understanding the causes of heart disease.

Brona Loughrey, from Drumquin in Co Tyrone is a second year PHD student in the School of Medicine and Dentistry and has called for volunteers for a study into cholesterol lowering statin treatment.
Volunteers need to be aged between age 35 to 65 and to have a waist size of 36 inches for men or be a dress size 16 or over for women. They will be asked to take six weeks of treatment with either atorvastatin, a well known cholesterol lowering drug or a placebo, and attend three hospital appointments. All volunteers will receive full checks for their risk factors of heart disease including cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Explaining the aim of the study Brona said: “Statins are known to reduce cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of heart disease in people who are  at high risk of this. There is however some scientific evidence that not all the effects of statins are due to cholesterol reduction and that they may have beneficial effects even in people whose cholesterol is not high. These effects are thought possibly to be related to reduced ‘stickiness’ and activiation of blood cells that are involved in heart disease.

“All volunteers will have the added benefit of being screened for treatable cardiovascular risk factors as is now recommended for everyone over the age of 40.”

The study is funded by the Department Of Health, Social Services And Public Safety.  The clinical work is being carried out in the Royal Victoria Hospital and the laboratory work will be undertaken at the Queen’s School Of Medicine and Dentistry.

If you want to volunteer for the study please contact Brona on 07977 923697.

All travel expenses to the Royal will be reimbursed.

Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320, mobile number: 07817434252.

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Destination Belfast for global aviation industry
L to R: Invest NI's Leslie Morrison, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Bombardier's Michael Ryan.
L to R: Invest NI's Leslie Morrison, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Bombardier's Michael Ryan.

The future of the global aviation industry, which contributes over a trillion dollars to the worldwide economy every year, is to be discussed in Belfast this week at an event hosted by Queen’s University Belfast, Invest NI and Bombardier, in conjunction with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The world’s leading aviation researchers, designers, analysts, manufacturers, integrators and operators will be attending a series of key events under the banner ‘Aviation: Industry without Borders’. The events will take place at the Europa Hotel, Belfast, from 18 to 20 September.

Identifying potential ways to address today’s challenges in economics, the environment, new aircraft designs and the exploration of new systems analysis methodologies will be just some of the issues being discussed.

Speaking about the uniqueness of Aviation: Industry without Borders, Dr. Wilson Felder of America’s Federal Aviation Association said: “This event will definitely be an exciting exchange of aviation and aviation system ideas in a unique international forum. This is certainly one of the very few times that such senior engineers from the United States, Europe and Asia will present their views on the future of aviation.”

Professor Raghu Raghunathan from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University added: “For Belfast and Northern Ireland this is an exceptional recognition of our strong aviation heritage and will inspire both young and professional engineers alike.”

Almost 200 such prospective young engineers have already signed up to take part in ‘Flight Vehicles for the Future’, a special session designed for 16-19 year olds in collaboration with W5, Northern Ireland’s interactive discovery centre. Mathematics and physics will be related to their practical applications in the area of aviation and the session will also include talks and interactive workshops focusing on innovations in the design and operation of futuristic vehicle concepts. 

Other events taking place include an Invest NI sponsored opening reception at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on 18 September and the Bombardier sponsored AIAA evening awards banquet at the Europa Hotel on 19 September.

The main conference events will include the seventh Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference (ATIO), the second Centre of Excellence for Integrated Aircraft Technology (CEIAT) International Conference on Innovation and Integration in Aerospace Sciences and the 17th Lighter-Than-Air Systems Technology Conference.

The conference general co-chairs are Dr. Wilson Felder, FAA, and Professor Raghu Raghunathan, CEIAT. Technical program co-chairs are Dr. Danielle Soban, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Dr. Mark Price, Queen’s University Belfast. Conference plenary speakers include Charles Leader, Next Generation Air Traffic System, FAA; Luc Tytgat, EUROCONTROL; Michael Friend, The Boeing Company; David Coughtrie, BAE Systems; Andrew Daw, BAE Systems; and John Green, Aircraft Research Association.

Further information on the event can be found by visiting www.aiaa.org/events/atio.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0)28 9097 5384, + 44 (0)781 44 22 572 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk .

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Forrest Reid literary legacy lives on at Queen's
From left to right, Tom Gilbert, son of Stephen Gilbert, Forrest Reid's protégé who inherited the Forrest Reid collection of manuscripts and letters, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor, Queen's University and Professor Patrick Murphy, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee member at Queen's announcement of it acquisition of the Forrest Reid Archive.
From left to right, Tom Gilbert, son of Stephen Gilbert, Forrest Reid's protégé who inherited the Forrest Reid collection of manuscripts and letters, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor, Queen's University and Professor Patrick Murphy, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee member at Queen's announcement of it acquisition of the Forrest Reid Archive.
From left to right, Tom Gilbert, son of Stephen Gilbert, Forrest Reid's protégé who inherited the Forrest Reid collection of manuscripts and letters, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor, Queen's University and Professor Patrick Murphy, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee member at Queen's announcement of it acquisition of the Forrest Reid Archive.
From left to right, Tom Gilbert, son of Stephen Gilbert, Forrest Reid's protégé who inherited the Forrest Reid collection of manuscripts and letters, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor, Queen's University and Professor Patrick Murphy, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee member at Queen's announcement of it acquisition of the Forrest Reid Archive.

The Forrest Reid Archive, a significant literary collection of letters and manuscripts by the celebrated Belfast-born author and literary critic Forrest Reid, (1875-1947) has been acquired by Queen's University. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the acquisition ensures that the collection remains in Northern Ireland as an important part of this region's cultural and literary heritage.

The collection includes 217 original letters and postcard/lettercards from author EM Forster to Reid dating from 1912 to 1946 which discuss classic novels such as ‘A Passage to India’ and ‘Maurice’. Reid also wrote critical works on W.B. Yeats and Walter de la Mare and letters from both are included. 

The cultural significance and academic value of the archive is immense. It is one of the largest known collections of EM Forster correspondence ever discovered, and is almost certainly the most intellectually significant. It is also potentially the largest known archive of Walter de la Mare literary correspondence. 

This collection first came to light in the possession of a 95-year-old local novelist, Stephen Gilbert, on the family farm near Straid in County Antrim. He was a protégé of Forrest Reid, and inherited a significant number of his letters and manuscripts. 

Stephen Gilbert published five novels, one of which (Ratman’s Notebooks) has been twice adapted for the screen. The collection includes many important Stephen Gilbert papers, including drafts of his published novels, four letters from EM Forster to Stephen Gilbert and some unpublished work.  With permission from his son, Tom Gilbert, Professor Brian Caraher, Queen’s School of English, played a major role in acquiring the collection in its entirety for the University. 

Commenting on the collection, Professor Caraher said, “The cultural significance and academic value of the Forrest Reid Archive is immense. It will be a resource for the wider community and Queen’s is proud to be the custodian of such a precious and rare literary collection. We will treasure it and preserve it for future generations to come.”

“It would be difficult to over-state the value of this collection”, said Professor Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor at Queen’s. “We thank the Gilbert family and those funders who enabled the acquisition to be made by Queen’s, in particular the Heritage Lottery Fund. The efforts of everyone involved have helped to increase Northern Ireland’s profile as a province with a rich literary heritage to celebrate for years to come”.

Significant work has already been done to clean, organise and catalogue the Forrest Reid Archive.  Further work will restore and conserve the papers in archival quality folders and boxes, prepare and publicise a range of finding aids, digitise portions of the archive and develop an outreach programme by early 2008. Queen’s is due to open a new state of the art library in 2009 that will have an ultra modern Special Collections section and the Forrest Reid Archive will be held there.

Heritage Lottery Fund Committee member Professor Patrick Murphy commented, “The Forrest Reid Archive is an exciting piece of our heritage and it’s important that it should be made available for people to make the most of. Through this award and the specialist skills of the University, more people will have access to these letters that provide an insight into some of our great literary talents.”

Supporting funds also came from The Pilgrim Trust, Esme Mitchell Trust, The John Jefferson Smurfit Monegasque Foundation, Dr. Michael and Mrs. Ruth West and
Sir. Donnell Deeny.

For media enquiries please contact: Roisin Duffy, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0) 28 9097 5391, roisin.duffy@qub.ac.uk Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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History books should be only recollection of 'Troubles' for 16 year olds

The vast majority of 16 year olds should only know about the Northern Ireland conflict from the history books and talks with their older relatives, according to a leading Queen's academic.

A decade after the cessation of paramilitary violence, ARK, a joint initiative between Queen's University and the University of Ulster is inviting 16 year olds in Northern Ireland to tell how life really is for them in 2007.

ARK is asking 16 year olds to write a 2000 word essay on the subject of ‘The lives and times of young people in Northern Ireland today’. The writer of the best entry will receive £300 and see their entry printed in the book, ‘The past cannot be changed, but the future can be developed: Sixteen-year olds’ experiences and perceptions of growing up in post-conflict Northern Ireland’, due to be published in June 2008. The runner-up will receive £200. The deadline for submissions is 19 October 2007.

Since 2003, ARK has carried out a Young Life and Times survey annually among a sample of 2,000 16 year olds in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the forthcoming Young Life and Times book, Dr Dirk Schubotz from Queen’s University and Director of the YLT Survey, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for our 16-year olds in Northern Ireland to make a real contribution to a better understanding of what it is like to be 16 and live in Northern Ireland over a decade after the cessation of paramilitary violence.

“The vast majority of 16-year olds should only know about the Northern Ireland conflict from the history books and talks with their older relatives, but it will be interesting if their essays also reflect a change in the Northern Ireland society.’

Paula Devine, co-editor of the YLT book and also based at Queen’s University added: “I think the book we are preparing would not be complete without the contribution of a 16-year old. After all, who knows more about being 16 than a 16-year old?”

Submissions by post should be sent to Freepost RRLA-ELBZ_BLAU, YLT Survey, University of Ulster, Magee College, Northland Road, Derry, BT48 7JL or via email to D.Schubotz@qub.ac.uk by 19 October. Content will account for 70 per cent of the marks, while originality/style and grammar will account for 15 per cent each.

Further information on the Young Life and Times Survey can be found at http://www.ark.ac.uk/

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45th Belfast Festival at Queen's
Ute Lemper

A Shakespearean classic performed in a former jail, a troupe of incredible circus fleas and new work from Kylie Minogue’s choreographer are just some of the attractions on offer at Ireland’s biggest international arts festival, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, which runs from 19 October to 4 November.

Just over a week after the Belfast Festival at Queen’s programme launch, Bill Bailey and Macbeth have already sold out, while talks with David Lynch, John Simpson and Sir Ranulph Fiennes and concerts with The Chieftains, Duke Special, John Prine and Iron and Wine are all proving very popular.

Other highlights of this year’s festival programme include concerts with German cabaret superstar Ute Lemper, Classical Brit Singer of the Year 2006 Andreas Scholl and gospel greats the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Grand Opera House, and Kylie Minogue choreographer Rafael Bonachela’s Dance Company at the Waterfront Studio.

For further information and booking for all festival events, please visit www.belfastfestival.com, contact the festival box office on (028) 9097 1197 or drop into the festival box office at Queen’s Film Theatre, 20 University Square, Belfast.

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Top International Awards for Queen's Professors
Professor Robbie Burch, Head of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Professor Robbie Burch, Head of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Two leading Professors from the School of Chemistry at Queen’s have won international awards for their research into the protection of the environment and anti-tumour drugs.

Professor Robbie Burch, Head of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has been awarded the Francois Gault Lectureship by the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) for 2008-2010. This is the highest honour bestowed by EFCATS and is awarded to Professor Burch for his work in the areas of environmental protection and clean energy production.

Professor Karl J. Hale, who recently joined the School and the newly established Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB), has been awarded the 2007 Liebig Lectureship of the German Chemical Society (GDCh). This is in recognition of his important research contributions in the fields of complex molecule total synthesis, new organic reaction development and chemical biology.

Professor Hale is a synthetic organic chemist whose expertise is in a range of areas of natural product synthesis and in the synthesis of anti-tumour drugs.

Speaking about the award, Professor Robbie Burch said:  “This is excellent news for the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and underlines our growing international research status. Chemistry at Queen’s was recently identified as the top research department for its size in the UK. These two awards are evidence that the School will continue to be at the forefront of research in areas that are important for our society. The recent recruitment of Professor Hale to the School shows the continuing commitment of the University to attract research leaders to Queen’s.”

Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320, mobile number: 078 1743 4252.

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President attends 30th Anniversary celebration
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Peter Gregson welcomes the President of Ireland Mary McAleese to Queen's.
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Peter Gregson welcomes the President of Ireland Mary McAleese to Queen's.

President of Ireland Mary McAleese was guest of honour at a 30th anniversary dinner for the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University.

The dinner marked the leading role the Institute has played in legal education in Northern Ireland for 30 years and recognised the partnership between the University, the Bar and the Law Society.

The Institute was established at Queen’s in 1977, following the report of the Armitage Committee on legal education in Northern Ireland. It offers a one year postgraduate course of vocational training for both trainee barristers and solicitors.

Guests at the event included Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General and leading members of the legal profession in Northern Ireland.

Ms Anne Fenton, Director of the Institute said: “Since its establishment at Queen’s University thirty years ago the Institute has earned a reputation for excellence in the delivery of vocational legal education.  This has been achieved through close collaboration with our partners in education, the Bar Council and the Law Society of Northern Ireland. It has also been achieved through the talent and commitment of the Institute staff and the support and expertise of the many practitioners who act as tutors and Masters to our trainees.”

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Unique Scholarship Scheme Launched

Queen's University Belfast today launched a unique scholarship scheme – the first of its kind in the United Kingdom – which will help to ensure future economic competitiveness and attract high-quality students through its doors.

In face of the decades-long national decline in graduates in traditional science and engineering subjects, Queen's new scholarships programme is designed to attract students to subjects essential for economic growth.

The scheme, for students entering the University in 2008, offers awards of £1,000 to all students achieving three As at A-level and enrolling on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subject at Queen's.

Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey welcomed the initiative. "A future Northern Ireland economy, capable of competing on an international platform, will rely heavily on people who have studied these subjects. Schemes, such as this one at Queen's University, play an important part in encouraging our brightest students to enrol in courses in these vital areas.  My Department is working with the Department of Education and ANIC, under the Chairmanship of Dr Hugh Cormican, to review government policy on the provision of STEM subjects at schools and Further Education Colleges, and I look forward to receiving their findings at the end of the year."

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “If Northern Ireland’s economy is to survive and prosper in the global marketplace, it needs highly-qualified graduates in key areas of science and engineering, subjects which have shown a decline nationally in recent years. As a member of the Russell Group of leading UK universities, Queen’s has played a major role in initiatives to encourage students to enrol in these subjects. This effort has paid off. Queen’s has recorded a higher increase than the national average in student applications to areas such as chemistry and mathematics.

“The scholarships scheme seemed the next logical step. We are operating in a knowledge-led economy and it is crucial that we produce graduates with the right blend of know-how, expertise and innovation to ensure future economic prosperity. If we, and our colleagues throughout the university sector, do not act now to ensure a constant flow of such graduates, the economic outlook is bleak.” 

The initiative has been welcomed by Nigel Smyth, Director, CBI Northern Ireland.  Last month the CBI called for a scheme to attract science and engineering undergraduates nationally as part of a five-point plan to double the numbers of students taking these subjects.

Mr Smyth said: “The CBI’s five-point plan proposes action across the secondary and higher educational system to get more young people interested in science and to help deliver our target of 2.4 million STEM-qualified staff by 2014. Science and engineering companies are struggling to fill essential posts and this trend cannot be allowed to continue if Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole are to compete in the worldwide economy. Our universities have a key role to play in ensuring that the next generation are equipped for the economic challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Queen’s University is to be commended for this pioneering and far-sighted scheme which will serve as a role model for others.”

Queen’s new scholarships programme also offers awards across all Queen’s subject areas, and includes Queen’s Centenary Gold Medal Entrance Scholarships of £7,500 for the best A-level student entering each of the University’s three Faculties.

Professor Gregson said: “At Queen’s we want to ensure that a first-class academic experience is available to all eligible students. We are committed to academic excellence and these scholarships are designed to reward exceptional performance.”

The scholarships scheme was formally announced by the Vice-Chancellor to Northern Ireland’s careers teachers during the first of Queen’s annual Open Days. The Open Days, on 6 and 7 September, attended by more than 12,000 prospective students, aim to give potential students the chance to learn about the range of academic options and the impressive student facilities which the University has to offer.

To view the Scholarship scheme please click here.

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Troubled nations come together at Queen's to examine ethnic conflict

An international conference to examine the reality of nationalism and ethnic conflict in the early 21st century will be held at Queen’s by the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy from 12 - 14 September.

Entitled ‘Beyond the Nation? Critical Reflections on Nations and Nationalism in Uncertain Times,’ the conference will help showcase the successes of the Northern Ireland peace process, and increase Northern Ireland’s profile as a thriving post-conflict society.

Supported by the British Academy and the Community Relations Council, the conference aims to create productive dialogues between groups from historically divided societies. It will bring together leading researchers in comparative political science, political sociology, ethic conflict studies, history, political theory, and European studies. The hope is that Israeli, Palestinian, Basque, Greek and Turkish Cypriot delegates will gain a broader understanding of their deeply divided societies and of the ‘other’ party to their conflicts, and learn from the successful conclusion of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Queen’s is an ideal setting for this conference on account of its location in post-Troubles Northern Ireland, with the presence of distinguished international scholars of nationalism, ethnic conflict and its vibrant research community. A special informal dialogue session will take place between delegates and individuals with intimate knowledge of the Northern Ireland peace process. The conference will comprise of approximately 50 panel sessions, making it the largest event of its kind to take place in Europe during 2007. Keynote speakers will include Brendan O’Leary, Michael Mann, David Miller, Margaret Moore, Michael Keating, John McGarry, Issam Nassar and Oren Yiftachel.

Commenting on the conference, Professor Shane O’Neill, Head of the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy said, “This is a subject of tremendous importance, given the persistence of nationalism and ethnic conflict since the end of the Cold War and the associated challenges to contemporary politics at state and trans-state levels. This conference will enable a deepening of our current understanding of nationalism and ethnic conflict on an inter-disciplinary basis. 

"By drawing together researchers from many of the globe’s leading institutions, it will strengthen and expand existing research networks with the strong likelihood of future collaborations and research projects. It will also serve as a unique medium for disseminating research findings to fellow established academics and to a new generation of researchers from Queen’s and beyond.”

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Queen's and AFBI examine the economic impact of phasing out milk quotas

The economic impact of phasing out milk production quotas in the European Union (EU) is being researched by a team from Queen’s and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), led by Professor John Davis from AFBI and the School of Biological Sciences.

The Queen’s and AFBI team of Professor John Davis, Dr Joan Moss and Dr Myles Patton is recognised internationally for its work on economic impact modelling. This research has been commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in London, and will be carried out in conjunction with partners in the Universities of Manchester and Missouri.

Commenting on the research, Professor John Davis said, “We have lived with quotas for so long now that there is major uncertainty about how member states and regions will be affected by their removal - this is essentially what we have been asked to analyse, in particular how the UK will be affected. 

"There will be winners and losers if quotas are removed and this is what makes it such a sensitive policy issue. Our study will analyse a number of scenarios for removing quotas and we expect the results to be used by the UK government to inform a major review of the Common Agricultural Policy scheduled for 2008”.

The EU introduced milk production quotas in 1984 to limit growth in milk production and associated subsidies paid to milk producers under the CAP. Since then, milk quotas have become a cornerstone of CAP market management with the production of milk in each member state limited to a national quota. 

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Michael Longley announced as Ireland Professor of Poetry

Award-winning Belfast-born poet Michael Longley has been announced as the 4th Ireland Professor of Poetry – the first Northern Ireland-based poet to hold this prestigious post.

The Chair was established in 1998 to mark the standing of contemporary Irish poets on the world stage and to commemorate the achievement of Seamus Heaney in winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.  The Professor of Poetry was the first cross-border academic chair and is co-funded by the two Arts Councils in Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College, Dublin and University College Dublin.

At the ceremony to announce the Chair, Dr Longley was invested with his Robe of Office by Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson who described the event as “hugely important in the cultural life of Ireland, north and south, and for the world of poetry in general”.

He said: “It is also a hugely important event for us at Queen’s. Queen’s has many assets, but our reputation as a centre for poetry is one that we particularly prize.  Few other universities in Britain and Ireland can point to such a wealth of talent, and such a single contribution to modern poetry.

“No mention of poetry at Queen’s would be complete without reference to Michael. Michael’s work is enormously well received around the world and there can be few honorary graduates of Queen’s who have developed such a strong influence within the University.  We look forward to enhancing our relationship with him further in his new role.”

Professor Gregson added:  “The Ireland Chair of Poetry celebrates the enormous contribution of this island to this most creative of literary genres and Queen’s is delighted and privileged to be associated with it.”

The Chairman of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust, Sir Donnell Deeny, said the unanimous choice of Dr Michael Longley was fully consonant with the high standing of the Chair.

Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939 and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College Dublin where he graduated in 1963 with a degree in Classics. He was Literature Officer and Traditional Arts Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from 1970 to 1991. He attended the writers’ group at Queen’s University throughout the 1960s and was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 1995. His ‘Selected Poems’ appeared in 1998 and his ‘Collected Poems’ in 2006.  He is married to the critic and academic Edna Longley, Emeritus Professor of English at Queen’s.

The Ireland Chair of Poetry is tenable for a period of three years during which time the holder is attached to each of the three universities in turn, one year at a time and is required to be in residence at each for approximately one academic term in the year. The holder makes three formal presentations and hold informal workshops or readings.

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Queen's research cited as world's number one Chemistry paper

A research paper by scientists at Queen's University Belfast has been named as the world's number one cited paper in Chemistry by Thomson ISI.

'The distillation and volatility of ionic liquids' was first published in the renowned science journal Nature last year by scientists from QUILL (Queen’s University’s Ionic Liquids Laboratories), who were awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in February 2006.

With a huge rise in scientific interest in room temperature ionic liquids - salts that are liquid below 100°C – in recent years, the ground-breaking paper blew apart a major myth.

It illustrated that these liquids, previously regarded as involatile, are in fact volatile. The paper also demonstrated that the liquid salts can be vaporised with no decomposition and recovered and purified by fractional distillation.

The news follows on from a recent QUILL paper in Nature, which made headlines around the world, on the use of ionic liquids to deposit metal films for a lunar telescope in conjunction with NASA.

Speaking about QUILL’s work in the area of ionic liquids, Professor Ken Seddon, who is regarded as the world’s leading expert in the area, said:  "Ionic liquids act as solvents for a broad spectrum of chemical processes and can dissolve a wide range of materials, even rocks, coal and almost anything organic, amazingly well. Unlike conventional solvents though, they do not emit vapours.”

Professor Jim Swindall, Co-Director of QUILL and former Director of the University's environmental research initiative, QUESTOR, which won a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 1996, explained further: “Put quite simply, they have remarkable properties which have tremendous applications in the development of clean technology for manufacturing processes.  They are the basis of a whole new industrial technology."

Speaking about future developments within QUILL, Professor Seddon added: “Ten years ago I predicted that room temperature ionic liquids would be the basis of a new cost-effective, industrial ‘green’ technology. Today, it is safe to say Ionic Liquids are revolutionising every area of chemistry and also starting to impinge in a big way on physics, biochemistry and even biology.

“The physical and biological sciences will never be the same again. Queen’s University will continue to strive to publish research such as that featured in our number one cited paper, in order to pave the way for ground-breaking new multi-disciplinary green technologies.”

Further information on QUILL can be found at http://quill.qub.ac.uk/

Notes to Editor

The distillation and volatility of ionic liquids was published in Nature 2006, vol. 439, p.831.

QUILL was founded in April 1999 as an industrial consortium, with members from all sectors of the chemical industry. It was the first research centre in the world to focus on the development of ionic liquids

Its structure is based on the successful QUESTOR (Queen’s University Environmental Science and Technology Research) Centre which was founded and set up by Professor Jim Swindall in 1989, and won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 1996. Professor Swindall was awarded the OBE for services to analytical science and the environment in 1997.

Research carried out between Queen’s and individual companies, or by QUILL itself, has generated more than 20 patent applications. Its 16 members are drawn from all sectors of the chemical industry and are located in eight countries and on four continents.

Ionic liquids are proving to be excellent solvents for numerous chemical materials and good catalysts for a range of chemical processes. Room temperature ionic liquids are non-flammable, do not evaporate under normal conditions, and are stable at temperatures up to 200°C. They are also potentially useful as materials for applications such as lubrication, rocket propulsion, and the analysis of minerals and gems.

Media enquiries to Judith Rance, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5292 or email j.rance@qub.ac.uk .

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MacNeice Centenary Conference at Queen's
Ms Edna Longley, Conference Organiser looks forward to the Louis MacNeice Conference next week.
Ms Edna Longley, Conference Organiser looks forward to the Louis MacNeice Conference next week.

The life and times of well known Belfast poet Louis MacNeice will be celebrated at Queens University from Wednesday 12 to Friday 15 September with a series of events to  mark the centenary of his birth.

Well known poets from across Europe and the United States will gather at Queen's to acknowledge MacNeice’s impact on their work. 

MacNeice, born in 1907 in Carrickfergus, also the title of one of his best loved poems,  is famed for writing about politics, love, war, landscape and everyday urban life. He spent most of his adult life in England and died in London in 1963.

Organised by the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s, a number of talks and papers on MacNeice will be presented over the three days by leading scholars and critics such as Terence Brown, Neil Corcoran, Valentine Cunningham, Peter McDonald, Clair Wills and Jon Stallworthy. The latter, MacNeice’s biographer, will discuss ‘Louis in Love’. 

There will also be a series of evening poetry readings by distinguished Irish and British poets. The Wednesday reading will feature Paul Farley, Sinead Morrissey, Paul Muldoon and Don Paterson. The Thursday reading will feature Simon Armitage, Nick Laird and Richard Murphy. The Friday reading will feature Michael Longley, Thomas McCarthy, Medbh McGuckian and Derek Mahon.

One of the key events over the three day celebration will be the first Louis MacNeice Memorial Lecture at Queen’s sponsored by BBC Northern Ireland.

MacNeice joined the BBC in London in 1941, working as an innovative writer and producer for radio. His work also involved close links with writers and broadcasters in Northern Ireland. BBC Northern Ireland have also curated an exhibition, ‘Castles on the Air’, which focuses on MacNeice and the BBC. The exhibition will be shown in Queen’s University Visitors’ Centre from 12 September until the end of October. Another MacNeice exhibition will take place at Carrickfergus Museum.

Welcoming the celebration of MacNeice’s life, the BBC Writer in Residence at Queen’s University Ian Sansom said:  “Louis MacNeice is to be admired for many reasons-his sterling work for the BBC, the cut of his suits, his wives, his friends, his poems-but perhaps above all because he believed that a poet in his own words, was ‘only an extension-or, if you prefer it, a concentration-of an ordinary man.’ All of this is worth celebrating.”

For the first time, the conference will bring together the leading critical authorities on MacNeice’s life and work: a life and work that bring into focus the cultural and political complexities of England and Ireland in the twentieth century. It will evaluate MacNeice’s importance both to the rich poetic tradition of Northern Ireland, and to relations between English and Irish poetry.

Seamus Heaney writes of MacNeice’s poetry: “MacNeice has been an abiding presence, larger and more luminous as the years go by, his contribution increasingly recognised and his importance ever more verified by the critical and creative work of poetic heirs.”

The critic Patricia Craig says of MacNeice: “No one else, I thought, had tackled the inheritances of Ulster with a comparable power and pungency.” The poet Leontia Flynn said: “Part of MacNeice’s legacy, I suppose, has been to show how a complex intelligence might move within an equally complex history, responding to it.”

Looking forward to the event, Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council For Northern Ireland, said; “The Arts Council has very strong historical links with Louis MacNeice. His father, John Frederick MacNeice lived in MacNeice house as Church of Ireland Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore, and it is reputed that Louis MacNeice actually wrote the poem ‘Snow’ in one of the ground floor rooms. We are delighted to host an event to celebrate the life and work of one of Northern Ireland’s most influential poets.”

Since MacNeice’s premature death, his centrality to modern poetry has been increasingly understood. He has particularly influenced the poetic renaissance in Northern Ireland since the 1960’s.  MacNeice’s life was also bound up with the historical complexities that centre on Northern Ireland.  His writings explore the cultural relations and political tensions within Ireland, and between Ireland and Britain, in ways that remain extremely topical today.

MacNeice spent most of his childhood in Carrickfergus, where his father (later Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore) was a rector of St Nicholas Church. On Saturday 15 September there will be a conference tour to Carrickfergus and to Carrowdore, County Down, where MacNeice is buried.
 
MacNeice’s legacy will be well and truly remembered through this special event. Michael Longley has said of his impact and influence: “MacNeice’s premature death at the age of fifty five had shocked us. We felt bereaved of a father figure whom we had only recently been getting to know.”

Admission to the poetry readings is free. To reserve tickets or for further information e mail macneicereadings@yahoo.co.uk

For further details and to register for the conference see www.qub.ac.uk/heaneycentre 028 9097 1070, shc@qub.ac.uk or contact Mrs Gerry Hellawell 028 9097 1070 g.hellawell@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's hosts International Management Conference for first time

Queen's University are hosting the tenth Annual Conference of the Irish Academy of Management for the first time this week focusing on the relationship between management theory and practice.

Organised by the Queen's Management School 180 academic papers will be delivered over three days from Monday 03-Wednesday 05 September with 250 delegates from over 20 countries including the USA, Australia, Japan and Poland.

Important issues for the study of the practice of  management will be examined. Among the questions being asked are:

  • To what extent do management practitioners seek to discover management theory and subsequently test and apply it within their organisation ?
  • Do managers perceive theory and practice as comprising irrevocable differences?
  • Are managers justified in perceiving the academic study of business and management as abstract and irrelevant to their organisation?
  • To what extent is academic research improving our understanding of management in the 21st century?

The academic papers delivered included the areas of marketing, human resource management, international business, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Dr Nola Hewitt Dundas from the Queen’s Management School explained the significance of Queen’s staging the event. She said: “This conference reinforces relationships across the island of Ireland within the academic community. This is the first time in ten years that the Irish Academy of Management has travelled North and the first time Queen’s University has been invited to host this prestigious event. This reinforces the strategic objectives of Queen’s University Belfast in consolidating international relations.”

“Northern Ireland is operating in a global economy and it is now seen as playing a key role in that. This is evident in the willingness of international delegates to travel to Northern Ireland.”

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Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320, mobile number: 07817434252.

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Queen's empowers the Next Generation of women leaders

The Next Generation Leadership programme, run by the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics (CAWP) at Queen's, will commence from Monday 10 to Friday 14 September and is supported by Councillor Bernie Kelly, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast who was a previous participant.

The programme is open to women who are identified by their sponsoring organisation as leaders of the future, and who are committed to making a difference. It is an intensive four-day programme consisting of a mix of seminars, discussions, workshops and action-based activities. Participants gain the practical skills that are essential in today's decision making world.

An advocate of the course, Councillor Bernie Kelly said: “I reaped great rewards from course. Looking back, it has been of huge benefit to me in my political career and I would recommend it highly to anyone looking to reach their potential. Participants can benefit from better job prospects, career progression and opportunities for leadership, while their sponsoring organisation benefit from improved strategic decision making and creative problem solving”.

In order to enhance women's influence and leadership in public life, CAWP created this programme in 2004 to help develop the leadership potential of women to become decision-makers in economic, social and political life. The programme is designed to operate with a broad understanding of decision-making and thus welcomes women keen to participate and advance in all aspects of economic, social, political and public life.

“The women who have come on this programme find that they clarify their goals and achieve the confidence to take their career to the next stage. Many previous participants are now in leading public sector positions in Northern Ireland,” said Dr. Yvonne Galligan, director of the Next Generation programme.

On completion of the programme, it is intended that participants will have a more focused sense of their personal leadership capacities, a clearer strategy for the future, and have acquired the skills considered 'most critical' by experienced leaders. The longer-term aim of this programme is to assist in addressing the current low levels of women's participation in the senior ranks of economic, social, political and public decision-making.

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For media enquiries please contact: Roisin Duffy, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0) 28 9097 5391, roisin.duffy@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209.

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