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01-2008 Press Releases

Johnny Ball 'reveals all' in Queen's Centenary Lecture
Television's best-known science communicator Johnny Ball who will deliver Queen's University's Centenary Lecture for Schools on Tuesday
Television's best-known science communicator Johnny Ball who will deliver Queen's University's Centenary Lecture for Schools on Tuesday

TV personality Johnny Ball will be summing up the wonders of science for local sixth-formers in a special Queen’s University Centenary event on Tuesday. 

Around 600 young people from throughout Northern Ireland will hear the celebrity science communicator deliver the Centenary Lecture for Schools in the University’s Whitla Hall.

Entitled ‘Funtastic Science’, the Lecture will take the form of an entertaining virtual tour through the history of science and technology, showcasing some of the greatest scientific achievements through the ages.

Speaking ahead of the Lecture, Johnny Ball said: “I am very excited by the possibilities which developments in science and engineering offer our world and it is vital that we continue to encourage students to study these subjects. It is particularly important for our young people to be able to make informed judgements on potentially controversial issues such as global warming and nuclear energy, and to extend the frontiers of knowledge on topics that impact on us all.

“That is why I applaud Queen’s University’s scheme to award £1,000 scholarships to all students achieving three As at A-level and enrolling on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. Initiatives like this will play a major role in attracting bright students to enrol in courses in these crucial areas.”

The Centenary Lecture for Schools is part of the University’s year-long series of celebrations to mark its 100th anniversary. From high-profile international events such as the Mitchell Conference on conflict resolution to ceremonial, cultural and social occasions, the programme marks Queen’s 100 years as an international centre of academic excellence rooted at the heart of the local community.

Johnny Ball has been popularising science and maths for 30 years, writing and presenting 23 solo TV series, including ‘Think of a Number’, ‘Think Again’ and ‘Johnny Ball Reveals All’. He was also a regular presenter on the flagship children’s programme, ‘Playschool’, for 17 years. He has won numerous awards for his work, including a BAFTA and the ITVA ‘Presenter of the Year’ Craft Award, and was nominated for a New York International Emmy Award.

The author of five educational stage musicals, Johnny Ball has been awarded honorary degrees by several universities and delivers specialist lectures and addresses to audiences throughout the United Kingdom.  His latest project is the Next Generation Learning campaign, which promotes educational technology. In 2007 he was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Medal for services in promoting engineering. 

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk .

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Medics prescription for pupils
Pictured at the launch of the Medics In Schools scheme are from left, Professor Paddy Johnston, Dean of Medicine at Queen's, St Bernard's Primary School pupils, Jamie Corscadden, Sarah Mullally and Niall Moreland and Barclays Bank Relationship Director Graeme Mc Laughlin
Pictured at the launch of the Medics In Schools scheme are from left, Professor Paddy Johnston, Dean of Medicine at Queen's, St Bernard's Primary School pupils, Jamie Corscadden, Sarah Mullally and Niall Moreland and Barclays Bank Relationship Director Graeme Mc Laughlin

More Belfast primary school pupils than ever before are set to benefit from healthy living advice thanks to medical students from Queen’s University.

Youngsters from 42 Primary Schools in the greater Belfast area will be taking part in this year’s ‘Medics In Primary Schools’ scheme run by Queen’s in association with Barclays’ Bank. The students will learn a host of dietary, nutritional and overall health advice.

The 2008 initiative, launched today, will see 50 medical students at Queen’s guide hundreds of P7 pupils through a wide ranging health education programme across a 12 week period.  The Queen’s students will also encourage primary schools pupils to think about a medical career in the future.

Speaking about the importance of the scheme, Professor Paddy Johnston, Dean of Medicine, said: “Medics in Primary Schools gives our medical students the chance to improve their communication and teaching skills while working with children from a variety of backgrounds. It also brings alive real issues about personal health for students of the future, who are encouraged to think about a career in medicine or any of the related health sciences.”

Barclays’ Relationship Director Graeme McLaughlin said: “Barclays’ is delighted to be able to facilitate the 2008 Queen’s University Medics in Primary School initiative. We see this project, which is unique in the UK, as an important step in the training of young medical professionals. It provides the innovative delivery of Health Education to the classroom, thereby teaching children the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle from an early age.

“The students will have an excellent opportunity to gain valuable practical experience in communicating a positive health message as part of their ongoing studies as they strive to become the medics of the future. The project is an excellent example of providing closer links between the medical profession and the wider community as well as reinforcing Barclays’ commitment to investing in initiatives of this nature.”

Miriam Hopkins, a Queen’s third year medical student said: “I thought that this module was excellent. It enabled me to gain confidence in public speaking and to use a range of resources to teach the children basic biology through fun and interactive activities. I would recommend it highly to any second year medical student.”

Kieran McTaggart, Principal of St Bernard’s Primary School, Wynchurch Way, Belfast said: “The work is pitched at the right level academically to help the children understand science. The boys and girls gain important life skills regarding healthy living. The children learn about skin care with a special emphasis on sun creams.

They find out about healthy diets. The teachers enjoy the visit from the students. They are able to ask those questions that you don’t always get in text books. I know that the medical students are able to develop a better understanding of the essential communication skills needed to talk to children.”

Queen’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Outreach and Economic Development Professor Gerry Mc Cormac said: “This unique programme, carried out in partnership with Barclays’, is a student selected component offered to second year medical students at Queen’s. It is one of the best examples of how Queen’s reaches out into the local community in which it is rooted.

“One of the aims of this programme is to encourage young children to begin thinking about a university education. To facilitate this, medical students introduce pupils to elementary scientific topics while also teaching about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

For media enquiries please contact: Eugene McCusker, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 2576, e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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A-level Religious Studies on the rise: Queen's honours top A-level students
Top A-level Religious Studies student Eimear McShane and the Director of the Institute of Theology at Queen's, Professor Hugh Magennis
Top A-level Religious Studies student Eimear McShane and the Director of the Institute of Theology at Queen's, Professor Hugh Magennis
Religious Studies student Amy Mulvenna and the Director of the Institute of Theology at Queen's, Professor Hugh Magennis
Religious Studies student Amy Mulvenna and the Director of the Institute of Theology at Queen's, Professor Hugh Magennis

The number of pupils choosing A-level Religious Studies in Northern Ireland has increased by over 50 per cent in the last four years. The news comes as Northern Ireland’s top A-level students in the subject have been honoured by Queen’s University.

Eimear McShane, a former pupil of Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry and Amy Mulvenna from Ballygally, Larne, who attended St Macnissi’s College in Carnlough, both received awards from the University’s Institute of Theology.

The Institute also awarded three scholarships to high achieving Queen’s students, including Lisburn student Elaine Adams, Gunther Storbeck, currently based in Belfast, and Master of Theology student Barry Mander, from Portadown.

In 2003, 1262 pupils opted for Religious Studies at A-level, while by 2007 the number had risen to 1909.

Director of the Institute of Theology at Queen’s, Professor Hugh Magennis, said: “Queen’s Theology programmes attract high calibre students from across the community and are of great relevance in today’s society. This annual ceremony is the Institute’s way of recognising and rewarding outstanding performance.”

Top A-level student, Eimear McShane, who is now studying Religious Studies at St Mary’s University College in Belfast, said:  “I studied the areas of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion during my two year study at A-level. Both these areas covered topics applicable to many of the issues raised in contemporary society, and aided my enthusiasm to learn.” 

Amy Mulvenna is now reading English and French Literature at Cambridge. She said her A-level Religious Studies course really challenged her perspective on many aspects of religion compelling her to probe deeper.

“The scripture course contributed to my more mature understanding of the workings of faith. I was particularly interested in the relevance of scripture in today’s society.

“I developed a new sense of curiosity and was keen to explore new ideas. This helped me so much through my exams and has carried over into my University studies.”

Further information on the Institute of Theology at Queen’s can be found at  http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/InstituteofTheology/

For media enquiries please contact: Eugene McCusker, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 2576, e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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Queen's staff receive Teaching Awards

Ten staff at Queen’s University have been rewarded for excellence in learning and teaching.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Brown presented the Queen’s Teaching Awards at a special  lunch celebration.

Among the award winners was David Marshall from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, a lecturer in Learning Disability.

By bringing two east Belfast men with learning difficulties and their carers into the classroom to talk to Queen’s nursing students about their everyday life he has provided a stimulating and supportive learning environment. 

Paddy Harland, who has a learning disability and works for the Estates Department at Queen’s, has also taken part in an educational DVD made by the School of Nursing and Midwifery about his employment experience while Peter Thompson, who has Down’s Syndrome, has helped produce a DVD about supported living housing.

David, who is from Portavogie, said: “It’s a fantastic honour and privilege to receive such an accolade in recognition of this imaginative and creative work.

“Thanks to Paddy and Peter, who have been willing to share their real life experience, we have advanced nursing education.”

The lunch also celebrated the achievements of David Gibson, who recently won a National Teaching Fellowship awarded by the High Education Academy. The £10,000 award was a culmination of four years work in embedding enterprise into the curriculum in 46 disciplines at Queen’s. He won a Queen’s Teaching Award last year.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Brown said: “The Queen’s Teaching awards celebrate outstanding staff contributions to the delivery of a first class learning experience for our students. They recognise and reward high quality, often innovative, achievement across the whole spectrum of learning activity from curriculum design, content, delivery, and assessment, as well as learning support.

“The judges always have a difficult task in selecting the prize winners and it is especially gratifying that previous recipients of Queen’s awards have also gained national recognition, most recently when David Gibson won a National Teaching Fellowship.”

Other award winners include Dr Philip Hanna, School of Electrical, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science from Dundonald; Dr Tracey Wilkinson, School of Medicine and Dentistry from the Ravenhill Road, Belfast; Ms Shelley Tracey, School of Education who lives in Lisburn, and Dr Fiona Magowan, School of History and Anthropology, from Saintfield.

Two staff members who have less than five years teaching experience, Dr Claire Mitchell from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work and Dr Melissa McCullough from the School of Medicine and Dentistry, who lives in north Belfast, were also awarded.

And members of the Library Services and Research Support Team, Dan Holden and Carol Dunlop, both from Castlereagh, and Janet Drake from Carrickfergus, won a Teaching Award for their work.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, a.clements@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209


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Volunteers needed for diabetes study

Queen’s University and the Royal Victoria Hospital are appealing for healthy men aged between 35 and 65 to take part in a research study into the links between obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The nutrition and metabolism department in the Centre for Clinical and Population Studies at Queen’s is working with the hospital’s Diabetes Centre to investigate the role of white blood cells in the early stages of heart disease and diabetes in overweight people.

Diabetes UK estimates that up to 75,000 people in Northern Ireland have the condition and type 2 diabetes which has been linked to growing obesity levels is increasing here.

Funded by the Department of Health, researchers are trying to discover whether the cells will be modified by treatment with a fat lowering drug called Fenofibrate and an anti-diabetic drug, Pioglitazone.

The drugs are currently used widely to treat diabetes and cholesterol problems.

It’s hoped that the research could lead to a more in-depth study using these drugs to evaluate how to reduce heart disease and prevent diabetes in people who are obese.

Professor Ian Young from Queen’s, who is also associate medical director (R&D) of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said: “Obesity is one of the major challenges currently facing the health service.

“It is important to develop new ways of reducing the health problems associated with obesity and this project will contribute to that goal.”

Suitable volunteers are expected to be recruited by the end of January and will be involved for 12 weeks. They need to be available for five visits to the hospital within this period. Travel and subsistence allowances of up to £25 per visit will be reimbursed.

If you are interested in taking part contact Dr ChenchiReddy Kankara on 07977 596 285 or email obesitytrial@yahoo.co.uk

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 9097 5391, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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A sense of Burns Night at Queen's

A Burns Night with a difference is promised this Friday evening at Queen’s University when an Oxford academic presents a talk on the national poet of Scotland.

The lecture, ‘Burns and the Sense of Place’, will be presented in the Canada Room at 7.30pm by Dr Fiona Stafford from Somerville College, Oxford.

Effectively a second national day for Scotland, Burns Night is still widely celebrated.

This event is the first in the spring programme organised by the University’s Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

Dr John Kirk from Queen’s School of English said:  “Our fourth annual Burns Night lecture brings to Belfast the best in current literary scholarship on Burns. Born in Ayrshire in 1759 and celebrated all over the world on 25 January, Robert Burns is Scotland’s best loved bard whose poetry resonates through the centuries. Dr Fiona Stafford is one of the leading critics of poetry and is the author of the highly acclaimed monograph, appropriately entitled, ‘From Burns to Heaney’."

Future highlights in the Centre’s programme include the inaugural lecture from Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley on 14 February. The winner of several prestigious poetry awards, including the TS Eliot Prize, Professor Longley has written widely on the arts in Northern Ireland. His ‘Collected Poems’ was published in 2006.

On Thursday 10 April, Irish author Anne Enright, winner of the Man Booker Prize for her novel, ‘The Gathering,’ will deliver a lecture. A former television producer and director for RTE, Anne Enright has published essays, short stories, a non-fiction book and novels. Her writing explores themes such as family relationships, love and Ireland’s difficult past.

In May, the Centre will host the British Academy Warton lecture by Dr Matthew Campbell, entitled ‘Wordsworth and the Druids’. The lectures were established in 1910 as a tribute to English poet Thomas Warton.

The programme also features a series of ‘Lunchbox’ events organised by PhD student and up-and-coming poet Paul Maddern, who received funding for the series under the University’s Student Led Initiative.

The poets taking part in the ‘Lunchbox’ events will be Will Stone, Paul Stubbs, Pat Boran, Damien Smyth and John Wakeman.

For media enquiries please contact: Eugene McCusker, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 2576, e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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Queen's launches year of celebration
Launching Queen’s Centenary programme are Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell (left) and stonemason Stephen McConnell from Kilkeel, who will be carving a commemorative engraving as part of the University’s 100th anniversary celebrations
Launching Queen’s Centenary programme are Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell (left) and stonemason Stephen McConnell from Kilkeel, who will be carving a commemorative engraving as part of the University’s 100th anniversary celebrations

Queen’s University today launched a year-long series of celebrations to mark its 100th anniversary.

From high-profile international events such as the Mitchell Conference on conflict resolution to ceremonial, cultural and social occasions, the programme marks Queen’s 100 years as an international centre of academic excellence rooted at the heart of the local community.

Launching the programme, Queen’s Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell said: “The University has much to celebrate.  As a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s 20 leading research-intensive universities, Queen’s has a distinguished history and is looking towards a bright future as a global player in research and education.

“The history of Queen’s is a story of success and achievement in a century of challenge and change. Against a backdrop of two World Wars, the Northern Ireland Troubles and financial stringencies, the University has emerged as an international centre of excellence in research and education at the heart of the community it serves.

“In September last year Queen’s was short-listed for the Sunday Times University of the Year title. In its report on the institutions short-listed for the University of the Year title, the Sunday Times said of Queen’s: ‘It is hard to imagine a more confident university’.  As we celebrate our Centenary as a university, our confidence has never been higher.

“Above all, the story of Queen’s is the story of its people – the staff, students, alumni and friends who have made the University what it is today. I hope as many of them as possible will be able to join us during our special year.”

Programme highlights include a Centenary Ball on 3 May, the opportunity to take a unique journey through the history and significant achievements of Queen’s in a dramatised promenade of the University’s past, and a Taste and Culture Fest to mark European Day of Languages in September. A series of prestigious academic conferences, schools and alumni events, as well as a number of special honorary graduation ceremonies and a Centenary ecumenical service will also take place during the year.

The full programme of events can be viewed at www.qub.ac.uk/Centenary

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Centenary Launch Online Video

Watch the opening of the Centenary launch online by clicking on the appropriate link below to view the video:

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Queen's partnership awarded £5M to improve health of population
Professor Firank Kee, of Queen's University, Director of the new UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research in partnership with the Institute of Public Health
Professor Firank Kee, of Queen's University, Director of the new UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research in partnership with the Institute of Public Health

A new UKCRC Northern Ireland Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research at Queen’s University, in partnership with The Institute of Public Health in Ireland, will lead to significant improvements in the wellbeing and health of the UK population.

The Centre, one of only five in the UK, was announced today. It is part of a £20 million investment programme under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC).

The multi-partnership Centre, which will focus on nutrition and physical activity, has been awarded £5 million over five years to strengthen research into key public health issues such as obesity, diet and smoking.

Professor Ken Brown, Acting Vice-Chancellor said: “This Centre has the potential to make a real difference to the health of people throughout the United Kingdom.

“On our doorstep in Northern Ireland we have life expectancy rates which are amongst the worst in the UK. This funding allows Queen’s researchers and our partners to discover how we can use our stable population, and distinctive approach to integrated health and social services, to change the face of public health.

“The new Centre will also research the economic, social and biological factors which cause chronic disease, and it will look at the main causes of inequalities in health experiences, benefiting the wider UK population in the process.”

The Queen’s-based Centre was awarded funding following a competitive process. Other successful Centres announced today are based in Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle and Nottingham.

Professor Frank Kee of Queen’s, who led the University’s submission said: “The Centre will help Queen’s and our partners to make a tangible difference to the wellbeing of the community. This will be central to its mission.

“The Centre boosts our capacity to not only research the cause of health inequalities and increases our ability to ensure this research meets the needs of policy-makers, practitioners and the public we serve.”

Queen’s has also announced a new MSc in Public Health. Beginning in September 2008, the course will meet the strategic need to build capacity in a multi-disciplinary Public Health workforce. The course introduces students to the science and art of public health practice. Further information on the course is available by clicking here or by telephoning Dr William Moore at 028 9062 2746.

The success of the Queen’s-led bid has been as a result of partnerships with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, led by Dr Jane Wilde CBE. Dr Wilde added: “We are delighted with today’s news and looking forward to helping build a new type of Centre linking public health research more strongly with policy. Our research programme extends from molecules to populations. It is a creative collaboration between many partners from research, policy and practice who have come together because of our determination to make a difference to health in Northern Ireland and internationally.”

Essential to the success of the bid was the support of an important group of key stakeholders, including the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, the Community Development and Health Network, the DHSSPSNI Research and Development Office, the Health Promotion Agency NI, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the Discovery Centre W5, who will help disseminate the research to the public.

A partnership of funders, under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) provided the £20 million investment needed to establish the five Centres of Excellence. The partners are the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office for Northern Ireland, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Wales Office of Research and Development - Welsh Assembly Government and the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, who leads the funding group, said: “There have been big improvements in health and life expectancy over the last century. For example, the reduction in the number of adults who smoke can be attributed to research carried out in the 1950s which established the link between smoking and lung cancer, as well as research which led to the inclusion of health warnings on cigarette packets.

“The UK still faces challenges to improve public health and ensure that as a society we benefit from longer and healthier lives. These Centres underline the commitment from the funders to invest in high quality research with the aim of improving the health of the nation.” 

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit, Queen’s University on 028 9097 5384, m0781 44 22 572 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk, or for Jane Wilde, contact Grainne Walsh, Stratagem, on 07920165600.

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Queen's course encourages women to step forward as leaders

Women’s lack of confidence is a significant obstacle in preventing them reaching their full career potential, according to Dr Yvonne Galligan, the Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Women into Politics (CAWP) at Queen’s University.

Dr Galligan’s comments come ahead of the latest Next Generation course at Queen’s, an intensive programme which develops women’s leadership potential.

Aimed at middle-management women in the public sector, civil service, local government, politics and professional bodies, it runs from January 28 to February 1. The course will see the involvement of Next Generation’s 100th participant.

CAWP was set up in 2000 to focus on women in political and public decision making and is recognised as the premier site of research on women and politics in the European Union.

The Next Generation course will feature speakers including Aideen McGinley, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Employment and Learning, and Patricia Gordon, Chief Executive of the South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust.

Fifteen women will take part in sessions including ‘Speaking with Confidence’, ‘Managing Conflict in the Workplace’, ‘Creative Well-Being’ and ‘Getting the Future We Want’. They will also have opportunities to discuss with successful women what being a female leader entails.

Dr Galligan, who founded CAWP, said the programme was needed because women made up less than a third of all managers and senior officials in Northern Ireland.

She added: “The Next Generation programme is designed to give women the confidence, motivation and leadership skills to take on leading roles in Northern Ireland.

“Its goal is to redress the current gender imbalance in public leadership. It empowers women by providing them with the skills, confidence and self-knowledge to take on future leadership roles in their communities, workplaces and public life.

“It also responds to a need for women in mid-career to look to their future. It gives them confidence to take up challenges that they might not have considered. It encourages them to step forward as leaders. It provides them with space to explore their leadership potential in a supportive environment.

“One of the strengths of this programme is that it brings together women with different experiences of the workplace who share insights with each other. This networking opportunity builds supportive friendships that last well beyond the course.”

Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Bernie Kelly was a participant in Next Generation before her election to Belfast City Council.

She said: “The programme gave me the confidence to stand as a candidate in the local government elections in May 2005. I was successful and have enjoyed the challenge of being a civic leader in the city. It prepares women for leadership roles and gives them the confidence to aim higher and break through gender barriers. 

“Networking with other inspirational women was also a great experience. I would highly recommend this programme.”

Another Next Generation course is planned for 22 to 26 September. 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 welcomes women keen to advance in all aspects of economic, social, political and public life.

Further information on the course is available at www.qub.ac.uk/cawp/nextgeneration.html

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's academic wins prestigious French prize
Dr Peter Tame (centre) was awarded the Prix Hervé Deluen
Dr Peter Tame (centre) was awarded the Prix Hervé Deluen

A Queen’s University academic has won a top international award for his work in promoting the French language, literature and culture.

Dr Peter Tame, a Reader in French Studies, has been awarded the Prix Hervé Deluen by the 'Académie Française in Paris, the highest linguistic and cultural authority in France.

The prize recognises the effective and exceptional contribution to promoting the language and amounts to €10,000.

At the awards ceremony Pierre Nora, Director of the Académie Française, said Dr Tame demonstrated “one of the most interesting examples of the wide-ranging curiosity of a great British lecturer who has devoted his life to the study of contemporary French writers as diverse as Roger Vailland and Robert Brasillach, André Chamson and Maurice Barrès”. 

Dr Tame, who lives in Whiteabbey, said it was a great honour to be awarded the prize.

“It makes all the hard work accomplished on a wide range of very different French writers seem really worthwhile. 

“One can sometimes feel a little isolated when one works on 20th century French literature away from its country of origin. 

“This prize demonstrates the value that the most highly-reputed cultural institution in France, the Académie Française, places on the promotion of the French language and literary research as they are pursued outside France.”

Dr Tame has worked at Queen’s for 24 years. His principal research interests are in literature and politics in 20th century France, especially the representation of ideologies in French fiction. Last summer Dr Tame, a specialist on the work of the writer and Gaullist minister André Malraux, organised an international conference on his work

The Académic Française, created in 1635 by the Cardinal de Richelieu, is dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of the French language. Its 40 members, known as ‘Les Immortels’, are all writers, co-opted by their peers.

The other winner of the Prix Hervé Deluen, which was jointly awarded, was the journalist and writer Naim Kattan from Quebec.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, a.clements@qub.ac.uk Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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Second helpings on offer after 'out-to-lunch' success
BBC presenter William Crawley serves up the next series of 'Out to Lunch' to Queen’s Welcome Centre assistant Mary Clarkson
BBC presenter William Crawley serves up the next series of 'Out to Lunch' to Queen’s Welcome Centre assistant Mary Clarkson

Following the sell-out success of Queen’s ‘Out to Lunch’ initiative before Christmas, the University is serving up the chance to hear from more of Northern Ireland’s best-known names while also enjoying a unique dining experience.

The initiative features a series of interviews by BBC presenter William Crawley at which guests can enjoy lunch in the magnificent surroundings of the University’s Great Hall.

Playwright Martin Lynch and comedy writer Nuala McKeever will start the series next Wednesday (23 January). Writer Glenn Patterson and poet Dr Sinead Morrissey will be in the interview chairs on 6 February while community activist Baroness May Blood will be in conversation with William Crawley on 27 February. Queen’s historian and academic Professor Lord Bew completes the New Year line-up when he is ‘out to lunch’ with William Crawley on 19 March.

The programme has been devised by Queen’s Welcome Centre, whose Manager, Lynn Corken, said: “We are delighted to have such a stellar line-up for this semester’s lunchtime events, especially since any profits will be directly reinvested for the benefit of students.”

Each event starts at 12.30pm. Tickets, priced £16, can be obtained (in advance only) from Queen’s Welcome Centre, Lanyon Building, telephone 028 9097 5252 or email queens.welcomecentre@qub.ac.uk

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209

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Queen's enters Stock Market debate
Open Learning tutor Cathal Mc Manus looks forward to Queen's World Cinema course
Open Learning tutor Cathal Mc Manus looks forward to Queen's World Cinema course

Queen’s has launched its ‘Understanding the Stock Market’ course as part of its Winter Open Learning programme.

Presented by the well known financial broker Patrick Mahony, the course is one of 125 short courses being delivered by Queen’s from 28 January to 11 April across a range of locations in Belfast.

In addition to regular favourites such as language and art classes, the new 2008 Open Learning programme offers many more opportunities to learn and reflect.

Maybe you want to join the new England soccer manager Fabio Capello by learning a new language. The new programme offers courses in Spanish, Italian, French, and German.

Or, if you would prefer to take stock of a different kind, Transform your Life, aims to help participants renew energy levels, build better relationships and improve their finances.

For those thinking of a career move next year, a one day workshop, Interview Skills for Job Applicants, is designed to improve interview performances and help you recognise your main selling points.

Welcoming the new Open Learning Programme, Co-Ordinator, Dr Tess Maginess said: “We have plenty of universes for you to choose, from glittering and exotic novels to ancient civilizations. You can learn practical skills for your voyage too, Travel on the Internet, First Aid, and Digital Photography.

“You don’t need any previous qualifications and enrolling is very easy, either online, by telephone or in person.”

More reflection comes in the shape of John Bradbury as he charts some great moments in rock history, in his Defining Moments in Rock Music course. And, if you feel like writing any such reflections down, Malachi O Doherty will be on hand to help with his Writing A Memoir course.

If movies are your thing, then you could consider the World Cinema course where key films will be discussed from America, China, Europe, Japan and Russia. George Fleeton and Tess Maginess also join forces to consider how contemporary filmmakers approach the task of adapting novels for the screen.

 A Short History of Belfast also incorporates a celebration of Queen’s University in its centenary year.

There are no entrance requirements for any of the courses. Online enrolment is now available for the Open Learning Programme.  For further details visit www.qub.ac.uk/edu, or contact the School of Education on 028 9097 3323 or 3539 or call in to 20 College Green, Belfast.

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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GP skin cancer training enhanced by Queen's award winner
Pictured at the recent 2007 Science Shop Student Awards are, from left, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Outreach and Economic Development Professor Gerry McCormac, student Heather Long and student Keith Dorman
Pictured at the recent 2007 Science Shop Student Awards are, from left, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Outreach and Economic Development Professor Gerry McCormac, Heather Long and Keith Dorman
Award winners Keith Dorman and Heather Long
Award winners Keith Dorman and Heather Long

A Queen’s graduate who piloted an online tutorial for GPs across Northern Ireland to increase their knowledge of skin cancer, has been awarded the 2007 Science Shop Student Award.

Heather Long, from Newtownards, was presented with the award and £650 by Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, in recognition of her work with the Ulster Cancer Foundation, carried out during her undergraduate degree.

The Science Shop awards are presented each year to students who have completed the best community-based research projects with voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland.

Heather said: “Previous studies have shown that, unfortunately, many GPs worldwide are not confident in their ability to diagnose skin cancer. Considering Northern Ireland’s increase in malignant melanoma, its secondary prevention by primary care GPs is crucial to the health and well being of the public. By rolling out this pilot study I wanted to help GPs define patients at risk and develop follow-up strategies.
 
“Following the findings of the pilot, it is hoped that the tutorial will be implemented within GP training in Northern Ireland. Ideally, in the near future, the online tutorial will establish a place in the medical curriculum throughout the whole of the UK.” 

The runner-up in the competition was current Queen’s PGCE student, Keith Dorman from Dundonald, who received £350. Working with the Share Centre in County Fermanagh, Keith conducted an extensive survey of the biodiversity surrounding the Centre. Indicating the area was an ideal setting for environmental education provision, the Share Centre has used Keith’s work to put together a funding application for an education worker. 

Keith said: “The Share Centre has already shown a commitment to environmental issues in terms of how the site is managed and how they use energy, so I hope their environmental education vision comes to fruition. The Centre is very well suited to this type of venture and I am glad my work has supported this.”

Dr Emma McKenna, from Queen’s University Science Shop said: “Our judging panel felt that Heather and Keith’s work really met the needs of the voluntary organisations they worked with. It is particularly pleasing that both the Ulster Cancer Foundation and the Share Village have gone on to make use of the students’ research in ways that hopefully will have very practical outcomes for people right across Northern Ireland.”

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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Janet's Norwegian saga wins national award
Janet pictured receiving her award from Jane Hutt, the Welsh Assembly Government's Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills
Janet pictured receiving her award from Jane Hutt, the Welsh Assembly Government's Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills

A Co. Down medical student’s account of a placement in a Norwegian hospital, where she found the standards of hygiene to out-perform those at home, has resulted in her winning a top national award. 

Twenty-two-year-old Queen’s University student Janet McIlfatrick from Conlig took second place and a £500 prize in the British Council’s Erasmus competition for UK students who had taken part in international placements last year. The Erasmus scheme is the European Commission's programme for higher education students, teachers and institutions.

Janet, who will graduate from Queen’s this summer, spent from August to December 2006 studying paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology at Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo.

She said: “I found it interesting to compare the healthcare system in place in Oslo with the NHS.  In Norway every employee in the hospital has to change into freshly laundered hospital scrubs every day, and wear a pair of shoes that are just kept for use in the hospital.  As a result, Norwegian hospitals have one of the lowest rates of hospital spread infections.  There have been no outbreaks of MRSA in Norway.  It would be great if this hygiene policy could be adopted in all hospitals in the UK.” 

Janet added that her Erasmus experience boosted her confidence and sense of independence.

She said: “Deciding to apply for the Erasmus programme was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It gave me the chance to learn not only about medicine and the culture in Norway but also about myself and my ability to cope in a new environment on my own. It was an amazing learning experience, and I got more out of it than I ever thought I would.” 

Queen’s English student Deborah O’Neill was also short-listed in the Erasmus competition. Deborah, from Andersonstown, spent a year in Barcelona, Spain.

Janet and Deborah were among the finalists who recounted their experiences of living and studying in Europe to an invited audience at the British Council headquarters in London. 

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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New study gives farming households a voice

Nine hundred Northern Ireland farmers and their families are being invited to tell of the pressures and diversification challenges they face as part of a major new study.

Queen’s University and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), will undertake the survey which will see visits to farms begin on Monday 7 January and continue until Saturday 8 March.

Supported by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) and other stakeholders, representatives from the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency (NISRA) will undertake the farm visits.

Dr Claire Jack, a researcher on the study said: “Financial stresses over the past decade have meant that many farm households face considerable pressures on their time.  An increasing proportion of farmers and their spouses balance off-farm employment commitments with the demands of running a farm business and caring responsibilities for children and other family members.

“Many farmers are working very long hours and the result has been a decrease in family and leisure time.  This has wider social implications for the quality of life of farmers, their families and rural communities.   

“This survey aims to provide information on the time pressures faced by farmers and their spouses. It will look at time spent on farm work, off-farm employment, caring responsibilities, and holiday and leisure activities. It will also cover areas such as diversification activities, plans for the future, skills and work experience of farmers and their spouses, and their related training and support needs.

“I would urge as many farmers and their families as possible to assist with the survey, as it will provide important evidence regarding the well-being of farm families in Northern Ireland today.  Results will be shared with the farming organisations and are expected this autumn.”

Farms have randomly been selected from throughout Northern Ireland and visits will be preceded by a letter guaranteeing confidentiality and anonymity and explaining the survey in more detail.

Further information on the survey is available by contacting Dr Claire Jack on 028 9025 5207 or Dr Joan Moss on 028 9025 5212.

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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Leading medical researcher honoured by Queen's
Professor Dame Ingrid Allen with artist Tom Halifax
Professor Dame Ingrid Allen with artist Tom Halifax

One of Northern Ireland’s most distinguished medical researchers has been honoured by Queen’s University.

A portrait of Professor Dame Ingrid Allen, commissioned by her friends and colleagues at Queen’s and painted by the artist Tom Halifax, is now on display in the University’s Great Hall.

Professor Allen becomes the third female academic from Queen’s to grace the walls of the Great Hall. Her portrait hangs alongside distinguished nephrologist the late Professor Mollie McGeown and President of Ireland Mary McAleese, formerly a Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s.

Born in Belfast, Professor Allen is a Queen’s graduate and was Professor of Neuropathology at the University from 1979 to 1997, a role in which she gained an international reputation for her research in infections of the nervous system and Multiple Sclerosis.  A member of many national and international medical and professional associations, she is the winner of numerous awards and the author of more than 200 publications. She has delivered invited lectures throughout the world and held visiting professorships in India, Singapore, Chicago, Maryland, Malaysia and Bosnia. 

As the first Director for Research and Development for the Health and Personal Social Services in Northern Ireland she was responsible for developing the research strategy “Research for Health and Wellbeing”, published in 1999.

A former Deputy Lieutenant of Belfast, she is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Allen said: “I consider it a great honour to have my portrait in Queen’s.  It is also very humbling and I would like to pay tribute to all who have worked with me and helped me throughout my career.”

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk.

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