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05-2008 Press Releases

29/05/2008: Coleraine student wins national engineering leadership award    
27/05/2008: Thinking big: story of Queen's thinkers told in new book
27/05/2008: Nobel Peace Prize winner discusses efforts to ban cluster munitions
23/05/2008: Role of former prisoners in building peace up for discussion at Queen's QTV News Story
23/05/2008: Divided societies can learn from Northern Ireland QTV News Story
21/05/2008: Blair and Ahern to be honoured for role in Northern Ireland peace process QTV News Story
20/05/2008: Queen's student stars at Cannes Film Festival
19/05/2008: New facility helps Queen's lead the way in cancer research
16/05/2008: Queen's to host Cyprus and Divided Societies Workshop
15/05/2008: Queen's research to help build better homes for older people
15/05/2008: Highest Honour for Three Queen's Academics
15/05/2008: Queen's Grand Design - £1 million design studios officially opened
15/05/2008: Pupils perform Sharing Education Programme showcase
15/05/2008: Queen's saddened by death of former Festival Director
14/05/2008: Innovative antennas from Queen's signal 'new wave' in healthcare provision
13/05/2008: Businesslike Queen's physics student wins innovation award
13/05/2008: £900k helps Queen's lead the way in next generation computing
13/05/2008: Intimate Mixing: Catholic-Protestant relationships in Northern Ireland
12/05/2008: Queen's spin-out companies on course for record £90 million turnover
09/05/2008: 200 years on - Queen's remembers the end of the slave trades
08/05/2008: Fermanagh landscape inspires Flanagan exhibition at Queen's
06/05/2008: Literary feast in store at Queen's Heaney Summer School
01/05/2008: Queen's is alive with the sound of silver

Coleraine student wins national engineering leadership award

A Coleraine student has been named as the recipient of a national Engineering Leadership Advanced Award from The Royal Academy of Engineering.

Glenn Sloan, a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at Queen’s University, is one of only 30 people across the United Kingdom to receive the award this year.

The objective of the awards is to allow ambitious, inspiring engineering undergraduates, to become leadership role models for the next generation of engineers.

In addition to a £5,000 award, Glenn will now undertake an accelerated personal development programme, planned with assistance from the Academy of Engineering. He will also be allocated a Sainsbury Management Fellow as a mentor, who will offer advice on personal development and career options.

Glenn is currently on a year’s placement with CDE Ireland Ltd. Based in Cookstown, the company designs and manufactures tailor made equipment for the sand, wastewater, materials handling and quarrying industries.

Speaking about his award, Glenn said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be selected by the Royal Academy of Engineering. I’m looking forward to the advice and knowledge that can be obtained through the scheme from some of the key figures in the engineering community. Perhaps with a bit of hard work, I maybe can follow in their footsteps.”

Professor Robert Fleck, Head of the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s congratulated Glenn. He said: “This is a wonderful personal achievement for Glenn and the award recognizes the exceptional talents of our students”.

Further information on Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofMechanicalandAerospaceEngineering/

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Thinking big: story of Queen's thinkers told in new book
Queen's Thinkers
Queen's Thinkers
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Professor David Livingstone
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Professor David Livingstone

The compelling story of the thinkers who established Queen’s University as a world-class institution is told in a new book edited by Professors David Livingstone and Alvin Jackson.

Queen's Thinkers: Essays on the intellectual heritage of a university, tells of the University’s intellectual heritage and its impact on both the local community and the international world of scholarship.

Those eminent scientists included in the book include Peter Guthrie Tait, the mathematician and physicist who worked with Lord Kelvin; the engineer and inventor, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin’s brother; two of the 20th century's greatest physicists – quantum theorist John Stewart Bell, and Nobel Prize nominee Sir David Bates; and Eric Ashby, Lord Ashby of Brandon, a botanist who served as Queen's Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor.

The other thinkers are historians Sir Maurice Powicke and J. C. Beckett; geographer Estyn Evans; archaeologist John O'Donovan; ethnomusicologist John Blacking; philosopher James McCosh who went on to become President of Princeton, medical man Sir William Whitla, and literary giants Philip Larkin and Helen Waddell.

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson said: “There is no better time for the publication of such a book, as Queen’s celebrates 100 years as a leading university.

“It is with great pride that I say no other university in the United Kingdom or Ireland has the opportunity to serve and influence its local community in the way Queen’s has, while at the same time contributing to the international research community. 

“The pages of this volume include contributions from some of the University’s finest minds to the worlds of science, medicine, the humanities and academic leadership.”

The idea for the book originally came from a conference of the same name organised in 2004. Professor Sir George Bain, who was Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s at that time said: “The achievements of those thinkers included in this book, and those of their colleagues, are one of the real stories of Queen's. Although already renowned around the world, I am delighted that their brilliance has now been enshrined as a collective in this book.”

Professor David Livingstone of the School of Geography added: “This book illustrates how Queen’s thinkers have helped to decisively shape subjects and the way they are taught today. In short, our thinkers have and will continue to epitomise the spirit of Queen’s.”

Patsy Horton said, "Blackstaff Press is delighted to be associated with such a distinguished publication and one which amply demonstrates the rich contribution made by the university to the intellectual and cultural life of Northern Ireland".

Queen's Thinkers: Essays on the intellectual heritage of a university is published by Blackstaff Press (ISBN 978-0-85640-803-8).

The publication of the book was made possible through the generous support of the R.M. Jones Lecture Fund.

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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Nobel Peace Prize winner discusses efforts to ban cluster munitions

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jody Williams, has briefed staff and students at Queen’s University on progress towards the International Convention prohibiting the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

Dr Peter Doran of Queen’s School of Law said: "Jody Williams visit to the Institute of Governance at Queen’s came as part of his visit to Ireland for the Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions in Dublin.

As a result of the Conference, more than 100 nations have now reached an agreement on a treaty which would ban current designs of cluster bombs after ten days of talks.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called it a "big step forward to make the world a safer place".

The Conference was the final critical stage in a process which began in Oslo in February 2007 and has continued in Lima, Vienna and Wellington."

Ms Jody Williams was recognized, along with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), with the award of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her role as the founding coordinator of the ICBL, which was formally launched by six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in October of 1992.

As its coordinator, Williams oversaw the growth of the ICBL to more than 1,300 NGOs in over eighty-five countries and served as a chief strategist and spokesperson for the campaign. Working in an unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICBL achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during the diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997.

International organizer and activist, teacher and writer, Williams is an eloquent speaker on human security, on human rights and international law, on the role of civil society in international diplomacy, and on individual initiative in bringing about social change.

Further information on the work of the Institute of Governance at Queen’s can be found at http://www.law.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLaw/Research/InstituteofGovernance/

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Role of former prisoners in building peace up for discussion at Queen's QTV News Story

Former prisoners have an important role to play in peace-building in Northern Ireland and around the world, according to Queen’s academic, Dr Dominic Bryan.

The contribution of ex-combatants to conflict transformation will be one of the issues discussed during the second day of the Mitchell Conference at Queen’s University (Friday 23 May).

Dr Dominic Bryan, from the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s, will chair a workshop on Conflict Transformation. Dr Bryan said: “The conflict in and about Northern Ireland, has had periods marked by high levels of political violence. Questions arose over the legitimacy of the use of force by those representing the State, the police and British Army, whilst people who were members of paramilitary organisations equally claimed legitimacy for their use of force.”

“Over the last ten years, some of these people have played an important role in conflict resolution, as Northern Ireland made the transition from political violence to peaceful politics.

“The struggle between the use of force and the working of democratic politics is a struggle common to many conflict zones around the world. This afternoon provides opportunities for us to discuss the role that ex-combatants can play in conflict transformation. How can they help bring about an end to conflict? What conditions need to exist for this to take place? And, once the conflict has ended, how can they make a positive contribution to peace-building?

“In workshops sessions chaired by myself and colleagues Professor Colin Harvey and Professor Adrian Guelke, we reflect on Northern Ireland’s experience and how lessons learnt here can be transferred to other divided societies.

“Difficult issues such as dealing with the past, acts of remembering, and the relationship between justice and reconciliation will also be considered.”

Academics from Queen’s and Georgetown University in Washington DC, with which Queen’s has close links, will also discuss the role of education in divided societies, the impact of conflict on literature and how historians view the political leaders of the past as catalysts for change.

Professor Colin Harvey, Head of Queen’s School of Law will lead a discussion on The Rule of Law, Justice and Constitutionalism in Post-Conflict Societies. Professor Harvey said: "These workshops provide further evidence of the significant scholarly links that exist between Queen's and Georgetown University. They demonstrate the strength and breadth of academic expertise in both institutions on the central theme of this major international conference – lessons from conflict transformation in Northern Ireland.”

A further workshop, organised by Queen’s University Management School, will examine the role of leadership in transforming businesses and societies by inspiring people to use their talents and strengths. The Leadership for Economic Development workshop will feature Dr Nicholas Hitimana, founder and Managing Director of Ikirezi Natural Products, an emerging agribusiness in Rwanda, who will reflect on his experience of business development in the country’s post-genocide era, and Jill Garrett from Caret Consultants, who will identify the key issues for developing effective leadership in all sections of society.

Professor Richard Harrison, head of Queen’s University Management School, said: “Given the changes in Northern Ireland’s economy and society there is a need to move forward with a leadership development strategy for this region, which will provide the basis for the sustainable long-term development of the economy.”

Summary of workshops:

Leadership for Economic Development

Organised by Queen’s University Management School, this workshop involves reflecting on the experiences of other societies and best practice in inspiring leadership. The workshop will help delegates set the agenda for effective leadership for economic development and social transformation in Northern Ireland.

The Rule of Law, Justice and Constitutionalism in Post-Conflict Societies

This workshop explores fundamental issues of transitional justice in post-conflict societies. It examines several timely and pressing issues including the role of former prisoners and ex-combatants as possible agents, and indeed leaders, in conflict transformation; constitution making in transitional societies, and the role of international criminal law in post-conflict societies.
How Conflict Ends

This workshop will look at the end of the conflict in Northern Ireland in the context of research presented by three PhD students from Queen’s and Georgetown University. It will consider the view that the Agreement has entrenched sectarian divisions, examine the conditions under which organisations engaged in political violence make the transition to peaceful politics, and consider why former prisoners turn away from violence and the implications of this for the ending of violent conflicts. 

Peacemakers and Troublemakers: Historical Perspectives

This workshop considers how historians view political leaders as catalysts for change. The workshop will focus on three historical figures - Alexandra Kollontai’s role in the Russian Revolution; Ronald Reagan in the USA; and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winning leader of the Burmese National League for Democracy, in contemporary Asia.

Education in Divided Societies

This workshop will focus on the role of education in two contrasting circumstances: Tony Gallagher and Professor Paul Connolly from Queen’s will examine the role of education in Northern Ireland, both during the conflict and in the decade of the peace process. Edy Kaufman from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Mohammed Dajani, from Al-Quds University in the city, will reflect on the role education has attempted to play in a society where violent conflict remains an ever-present reality.

Literature and Conflict

Poet and lecturer, Dr Sinead Morrissey from Queen’s School of English, and Professor Mark McMorris from Georgetown University will chair this workshop on the impact of conflict on poetry in Belfast, the Caribbean and with reference to the Arab/Israeli conflict.

Conflict Transformation

This workshop focuses on the changes that occur, or need to occur, after the ending of a significant period of violent political conflict. Key issues influencing contemporary Northern Ireland and other areas where conflict has taken place include the relationship between justice and reconciliation, the legacies of the past, acts of remembering, the role of former prisoners in peace-building, and understandings of citizenship will be considered.

For further information please contact the Press and PR Unit. Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk 
 

To view the associated QTV report, please click on the link below:

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Divided societies can learn from Northern Ireland QTV News Story

Conflict zones around the world can learn valuable lessons from Northern Ireland - that’s according to a respected academic and political commentator who is opening the second day of the Mitchell Conference at Queen’s University Belfast.

Lord Bew, Professor of Irish Politics at Queen’s, will welcome political and academic leaders from around the world for the final day of the conference. He will invite key figures from political and public life across Ireland and the UK to share their reflections on how divided societies in other parts of the globe can learn from Northern Ireland’s experience of conflict transformation.

Lord Bew said: “Ten years on from the Good Friday Agreement, the Mitchell Conference is the first real attempt to examine its legacy.

“Over the last decade, Northern Ireland has undergone massive change and we are now enjoying the social and economic benefits of a settled society. But how did we get here, and how we share our experiences to help other communities that are being torn apart by conflict?

“Today we will put these questions to some of the people who were involved in brokering the Agreement in 1998, as well as those who have been at the forefront of political and public life over the last decade.

“Following the success of the opening day of the conference yesterday, this morning’s programme provides an ideal opportunity to look to the future and how other societies can benefit from Northern Ireland’s journey to peace.”

The Rt Hon Michael Ancram QC, MP, former Minister of State for Northern Ireland, former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Sir Reg Empey MLA and former Police Ombudsman Dame Nuala O’Loan are just some of the high profile figures involved.

Along with Andrew Sens from the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, Patricia Lewsley, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and journalist Dr Conor O’Clery, they will discuss how other societies experiencing conflict can learn from Northern Ireland’s experience.

Professor Monica McWilliams, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, which was created under the Agreement, will offer her views on the role of equality and human rights in conflict resolution.

The role of sports in bridging community divisions, the importance of the voices of young people in our society, and the contribution of the United States to the Northern Ireland Peace Process will also be discussed.

This morning’s conference programme will finish with a lunch hosted by the Lord Chief Justice, the Rt Hon Sir Brian Kerr. In the afternoon, delegates will attend workshops on a range of topics including the role leadership in economic development, the rule of law and justice in post-conflict societies, and the role of education in divided societies.

For media inquiries please contact Press and PR Unit on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

To view the QTV report from Thursday at the Mitchell Conference, please click on the link below:

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Blair and Ahern to be honoured for role in Northern Ireland peace process QTV News Story
Senator George Mitchell, Dr Bertie Ahern and Professor Peter Gregson
Senator George Mitchell, Dr Bertie Ahern and Professor Peter Gregson

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are to be honoured by Queen’s University at a special graduation ceremony on Thursday 22 May.

The two men, who have each led their countries for more than a decade, are being recognised for the significant contribution they have made to the cause of peace in Northern Ireland.

The awards will be presented at the beginning of a major conference at Queen’s which will be exploring the lessons to be learned from Northern Ireland’s experience of peace-building and regeneration.

The Mitchell Conference, a joint initiative of Queen’s and Georgetown University in Washington, brings together political and community leaders, business people, academics and journalists from around the world. They will be examining how Northern Ireland’s transformation can inspire others in conflict zones across the globe.

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, who will confer the degrees, said: “When Tony Blair first sat down at his desk in Downing Street and when Bertie Ahern became Taoiseach, they must both have been tempted to take the files marked Northern Ireland and push them to one side. There were many important things for both of them to do, and Northern Ireland had defeated many premiers before them.

“Some called them brave, others foolhardy, but Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern took up the challenge, and we have all benefited. Northern Ireland today has its own administration, with politicians from all political persuasions working together for the common good of their people.

“Queen’s University is proud to honour both men for the key roles they played in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.”

Tony Blair, the youngest British Prime Minister of the 20th century when he was elected in 1997, stood down in 2007. He is now Quartet Representative, working in the Middle East on behalf of the US, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union helping the Palestinians to prepare for statehood as part of the international community’s effort to secure peace.

Bertie Ahern, who has just stepped down during his third term as Taoiseach, was the youngest prime minister in modern Irish history when he was first elected in 1997.

Each will become a Doctor of Law for distinction in public service.

Media enquiries to: Kevin Mulhern, Head of Communications, +44 (0)28 9097 5323 or mobile +44 (0)7813 015 431.

To view the QTV report on the Honorary Degrees ceremony, please click on the link below:

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Queen's student stars at Cannes Film Festival
Niall Wright (Mickybo and Me) plays the title role in 'James', which is currently showing at the Cannes Film Festival
Niall Wright (Mickybo and Me) plays the title role in 'James', which is currently showing at the Cannes Film Festival

A short film written and directed by a former Queen’s University student as part of his Master’s degree course is gracing the silver screens at the 61st Cannes Film Festival this week.

Connor Clements from Scarva is celebrating after his film James was chosen for the Short Film Corner at the famous event.

Written and directed by Connor, who graduated from Queen’s in December 2007 with a MA in Film and Visual Studies, James follows a teenage boy played by Niall Wright (Mickybo and Me), as he struggles to come to terms with his sexuality. It is the only film from Northern Ireland being shown in the Short Film Corner at the esteemed festival.

Connor said: “Cannes is one of the world’s oldest, most influential and prestigious film festivals, and I am delighted that my film has been chosen for the Short Film Corner.

“Apart from winning an Oscar, being shown at Cannes is one of the highest accolades available for a short film. It’s a real honour for any aspiring film maker to be part of this high-profile event, and I hope it won’t be the last time one of my films is shown on such a prestigious stage.”

The Short Film Corner at Cannes presents films from all over the world which, for the most part, have not yet been released. Available on demand on 40 screens at Cannes, James will be watched by directors, producers, buyers and festival programmers from around the world - exposure which is invaluable to any up-and-coming movie maker.

Professor David Johnston, Head of the School of Languages, Literature and Performing Arts at Queen’s said: “We are all very proud of Connor’s achievements and congratulate him on his Cannes debut. His success is a tribute to the quality of the work produced by Film Studies at Queen’s. This degree aims to give our students a flying start in the film, television and media industries, and it is wonderful to see Connor flying so high.”

James will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival until the Festival closes on 25 May. The film won the Skillset Award for the Best Northern Ireland Film at the Belfast Film Festival in April 2008 and has also been nominated for the Mini Movie International Channel Award.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk , 07814 415 451.

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New facility helps Queen's lead the way in cancer research
Professor Bernie Hannigan, Director of R&D for the HSC, Research Technician Ally Lyons who is funded by the HSC to support the NIVTA, and Janice Bailie, Programme Manager for the R&D Office, view some 'virtual slides' at Queen's Bioimaging Unit
Professor Bernie Hannigan, Director of R&D for the HSC, Research Technician Ally Lyons who is funded by the HSC to support the NIVTA, and Janice Bailie, Programme Manager for the R&D Office, view some 'virtual slides' at Queen's Bioimaging Unit

A new facility at Queen’s Bioimaging Unit, the first of its kind in the UK, is helping research cancer and develop new treatments.

The Northern Ireland Virtual Tissue Archive (NIVTA), funded by a £250,000 grant from the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office (HSC R&D Office), stores high resolution images of tissue samples, establishing a digital archive.

Based in the School of Biomedical Sciences, it stores the images electronically for research and educational purposes.

Tissue samples are usually stored on glass microscope slides. But these can now be digitally scanned in very fine detail so that researchers no longer need to use microscopes but can view samples on a computer monitor. These are called ‘virtual slides’.

A single virtual slide can be very large - one microscope image would just about fit on a CD.  NIVTA will be scanning hundreds of thousands of microscope samples requiring terabytes of data storage. 

The unit is supported by Hewlett Packard and by i-Path Diagnostics Ltd - a Queen’s University spin out company that has developed specialist software for the online management and examination of virtual slides. 

This allows Northern Ireland researchers to share their microscope samples internationally with other researchers via the web, improving the identification of markers of disease and for development of new therapies.  This includes studies on lung, stomach and bladder cancer. 

Peter Hamilton, Director of NIVTA, stated:  “We are very fortunate in Northern Ireland to have access to the most up-to-date technology for tissue scanning and archiving within NIVTA and we are very grateful to the R&D Office for supporting this initiative. This will without doubt help us to continue to lead research on cancer and other diseases.

“NIVTA supports the very active cancer research programme in Northern Ireland, bringing tissue imaging into the 21st century and providing researchers with the technology they need to support the identification of new cancer markers and new therapies.

“NIVTA also supports training and education in medicine.  Undergraduate medical students no longer struggle to use microscopes in their classroom but have access to libraries of virtual slides which they can access from the classroom or from home.”

Professor Bernie Hannigan, Director of R&D for the HSC, said: “NIVTA represents an important infrastructure investment for the HSC R&D Office, providing state of the art facilities which we hope will enable researchers to generate important findings that will be of benefit to patients, and also help to secure additional research funding from other sources.

The initiative has already generated important collaborations and has the potential to enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation both nationally and internationally as a leading centre for bioimaging research.”

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk , 07814 415 451.

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Queen's to host Cyprus and Divided Societies Workshop

Researchers from across the globe will gather at Queen’s University next week to study the factors that help or hinder conflict resolution in divided societies.

Cyprus and Divided Societies will take place from 20-21 May 2008 as part of the University’s centenary celebrations.

The highlight of the Cyprus and Divided Societies conference will be a keynote address by Professor Emeritus Herbert Kelman, a Boston-based social psychologist who has brought together groups from conflict areas for decades, primarily in Israel/Palestine and Cyprus.

Dr Neophytos Loizides from the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy said: “There are four ongoing projects at Queen’s which compare conflict and conflict resolution in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. This conference is a great opportunity to share this learning, particularly at a time when negotiations in Cyprus have resumed and Cypriots are searching for a new framework to resolve their longstanding dispute.

“Amongst other issues, the conference will consider the role of social political psychology in understanding conflict in divided societies, and will launch a new Masters Degree in Political Psychology at Queen’s. The unique course, which is the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland will be available at Queen’s from September.”

Professor Evanthia Lyons from the School of Psychology said: “Research in different conflict situations has shown that efforts to build peace and reach comprise must include policies that lead to reduction of fear, anger and prejudice as well as re-alignment of identities. Social psychology has a lot to offer in this area.

“The MSc in Political Psychology is concerned with understanding how socio-political contexts and institutions are affected and how they influence what people think about political issues and how they behave. It addresses questions such as: How are public opinions formed and mobilised? How do political leaders make decisions? Why and under what circumstances do people commit political violent acts and mass killings? What is the role of the media in influencing political knowledge and behaviour? Why are some inter-group conflicts so difficult to solve? How do we build peace?

“This course will be useful for those seeking a career in public policy or employment in local or national government, international organisations, politics, the media, and lobbying. It also provides students with the research skills and knowledge to carry out a PhD in Political or Social Psychology.”

The event will be open to the public with the generous support of the Hellenic Foundation of European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) although registration is necessary. Further information on the workshop is available at http://www.psych.qub.ac.uk/cyprus/  

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk , 07814 415 451.

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Queen's research to help build better homes for older people
Dr Karim Hadjri from Queen's discusses sheltered accommodation design with Joan Cosgrove from Newtownabbey Senior Citizen's Forum
Dr Karim Hadjri from Queen's discusses sheltered accommodation design with Joan Cosgrove from Newtownabbey Senior Citizen's Forum

Research carried out for the Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP) has found that those who design and plan sheltered accommodation in Northern Ireland could do more to meet the needs of the residents who live there.

The research, entitled Better Housing for the Ageing Population in Northern Ireland, was conducted by Dr Karim Hadjri a senior lecturer from the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s University.

Dr Hadjri said: “The Essential Role of Sheltered Housing Northern Ireland - the consortium of sheltered housing providers - estimates that housing associations in Northern Ireland provide over 10,000 sheltered flats and bungalows for older or disabled people. This is a third of their overall stock of social rented housing. Many older people rely on this accommodation to allow them to maintain their independence, whilst having easy access to support and assistance.

“There are over 300 sheltered housing schemes in Northern Ireland registered with the Elderly accommodation Council. This research aimed to find out whether or not this accommodation meets their needs, and outlines how sheltered housing can be made as accessible, safe and comfortable as possible for residents.

“It seems that older people who live in sheltered accommodation are generally satisfied with their homes, particularly with the level of comfort and safety and the standard of private areas, such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

“They are less satisfied, however, with communal areas, such as living areas and gardens. There are also concerns about the layout of some accommodation, the accessibility and ease of use of kitchens and storage areas, the standard of alarm systems, noise levels and temperature.

“Whilst some sheltered accommodation developments in Northern Ireland are of a very high standard, others show room for improvement. 10 out of the 26 buildings surveyed during this research were less than satisfactory. Older people deserve to feel happy, comfortable and safe in their homes, and some simple modifications can help ensure that this is the case.

“Using clear signage and coded colour schemes to denote areas that are used for different purposes would make it much easier for older people to find their way around buildings.

“Providing space for residents to personalise their homes with their own furniture and decorations allows them to put their own mark on their flat or bungalow. Locating sheltered housing within established neighbourhoods and close to amenities, such as shops, post offices and religious buildings, also helps older people feel like they belong to the local community. This allows them to enjoy an active social life as they get older, minimising the risk that they will become lonely or isolated. 

“Providing effective alarm systems, good lighting and easy access to emergency doors also helps older residents feel safe at home. This should therefore be a feature of every sheltered accommodation development.

“Along with existing regulations, this research can help inform the development of further guidance for those who plan housing for older people, ensuring that they have the comfortable, secure and accessible living space that they deserve.” 

Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Peter Gregson, said: “This research is the fourth study to have been completed by Queen’s on behalf of the Changing Ageing Partnership, through the Institute of Governance in the School of Law.

“Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, CAP helps us understand more about people’s attitudes to ageing and challenge the negative stereotypes of ageing that exist in our society. Research is an essential step towards that fuller understanding and provides a basis for further developments.”

Joan Cosgrove from Newtownabbey Senior Citizen’s Forum said: “This research is of utmost importance, because it involved and informs those who it was researching.  I hope that the Assembly takes it on board and acts upon it.”

The research report will be launched on Thursday 22 May at 12.15pm at the Institute of Governance at Queen’s University, 63 University Road, Belfast.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk   07814 415 451.

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Highest Honour for Three Queen's Academics
(l-r) Dr Stephen Royle; Professor Robert Elwood; Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy; Professor David Hayton admitted on 16 May
(l-r) Dr Stephen Royle; Professor Robert Elwood; Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy; Professor David Hayton admitted on 16 May

Three academics from Queen's have been admitted as Members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). Election to the RIA is the highest academic honour in Ireland.

The Royal Irish Academy is an all-Ireland, independent, academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is the principal learned society in Ireland.

Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said "'It is a testament to Ireland's formidable position in the academic world that the Royal Irish Academy is today able to honour such a variety of exceptional scholars in the Sciences and Humanities. Ireland can be proud of these brilliant women and men who are universally recognised as leaders in the world of learning."
 
The three new Queen’s Members are: Professor David Hayton, Dr Stephen Royle, and Professor Robert Elwood.
 
Professor David Hayton has been Head of the School of History and Anthropology since 2005. He has carried out editorial functions for a number of historical and other bodies, in particular Irish Historical Studies, of which he was joint editor, 1997-2007. He is an expert in late 17th to mid 18th century Irish politics, an area which he has made peculiarly his own and in which his expertise is universally acknowledged and widely drawn upon.
 
Dr Stephen Royle is a reader in geography and director of the Centre of Canadian Studies. He is best know within Ireland for his work on urban historical geography, including his leading contribution to the two Belfast chapters in the Royal Irish Academy's Irish Historic Towns Atlas. Beyond Ireland, but inspired by it, he has played an innovative role in the rapidly expanding, multidisciplinary field of island studies.
 
Robert Elwood is Professor of Animal Behaviour in the School of Biological Science. His principal interests include information gathering and decision-making in various invertebrates and monkeys, reproductive tactics, life history tactics and mate guarding and aggression in spiders, hermit crabs and amphipods. Recent work includes high profile issues in conservation biology and animal welfare, including research into whether crustaceans, such as lobsters, are capable of feeling pain. He has also been President of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (a major international academic association) and received the ASAB medal for contributions to Animal Behaviour in 2007.

The criterion for election to membership is a significant contribution to scholarly or scientific research as shown in the candidate's published academic work. Membership of the Academy, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to those scientists and scholars normally resident in Ireland.
 
Among the membership of the Academy are many of Ireland's leading scholars, the best known of whom include: Professor Peter Gregson, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s; Professor Elizabeth Meehan, School of Law, Queen’s; Professor Kenneth Taylor, School of Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics; and Professor Ian Montgomery, Head of School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s.
 
The Academy has also more than 50 distinguished honorary Members, who in the past have included J.W. Von Goethe, Maria Edgeworth, Albert Einstein and Max Born. Today the Honorary Members include Nobel Laureates, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg and Sir Andrew Huxley.
 
Further information can be found on www.ria.ie

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Queen's Grand Design - £1 million design studios officially opened
Minister for the Environment, Arlene Foster MLA, with Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor (right) and Professor David Cleland
Minister for the Environment, Arlene Foster MLA, with Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor (right) and Professor David Cleland

Queen’s today unveiled a new £1 million suite of design studios as part of an investment in facilities for students in the University’s School of Planning, Architecture, and Civil Engineering (SPACE).

The opening is part of a new vision for the future of architectural education at Queen’s.

Based in the University’s David Keir Building, the new state-of-the-art studios will create greater opportunities for collaboration between students of architecture, civil engineering and planning. Providing flexible bright accommodation for students to work on projects, store models and exhibit work for critique, the new studios will also allow students to organise work stations and furniture for either group working or individual endeavour.

Currently 1,000 students are enrolled on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in SPACE. The School provides graduates in many of the key professions associated with the Built Environment and has increased student numbers to meet demand from industry.

Speaking at the opening, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s said: “Ten years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland has been reborn. Queen’s students, as the architects, civil engineers and planners of tomorrow, have the potential to help shape the future and develop a more sustainable, prosperous and just society for everyone.

“The opening of these new studios demonstrates the University’s commitment to the provision of an outstanding student experience in architecture, planning and civil engineering.  This investment will ensure the continued supply of highly skilled graduates in professions which play a key role in supporting the Northern Ireland economy.”

Professor David Cleland, Head of SPACE added: “Design is a key element of all three professions represented in SPACE. There is enormous benefit to be gained in students from different disciplines collaborating in a way that reflects how it happens in practice. The new facilities open the way for running exciting collaborative projects.

“Recent evidence of the excellent design skills possessed by our students is the award of first place to a second year student Sean McNeary by the Architects Association of Ireland.”

The opening follows the School’s recent hosting of the largest ever UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference. Held in March, the event attracted delegates from across the globe and included key speakers such as Jonathan Porritt CBE, Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission,

Further information on the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPlanningArchitectureandCivilEngineering/

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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Pupils perform Sharing Education Programme showcase

Eight months on from the launch of a £3.7m Sharing Education Programme (SEP) at Queen's University, three schools are to host drama performances showcasing the positive impact the programme has had on their lives.

Created to encourage schools to make inter-community collaboration an integral part of their everyday life, 2,500 school pupils in Northern Ireland have benefited from the programme to date. The programme is funded by the International Fund for Ireland and Atlantic Philanthropies and administered by Queen’s.

Tonight (Thursday, 15 May), pupils from St Louise’s Specialist Comprehensive College in Belfast will perform with pupils from Victoria College, Belfast and Ballyclare High School at the Youth Action venue in Belfast. 

Both of tonight’s performances have been written and produced by pupils studying for a GCSE in Drama. The first performance Their Past Our Future features pupils from St Louise’s and Ballyclare High School. It tells the story of the development of two communities (Ballyclare and the Falls Road) over the last 60 years, focusing on the lives and issues of young people throughout that time.

The second story, Two Belfast Girls, is a co-production between St Louise’s and Victoria College and tells the story of two young girls from opposite sides of the community who meet as young children, lead separate lives and then meet again. They now have to choose what they want to do.

The performances follow on from another Sharing Education event held earlier this week at Queen’s when pupils from Belfast Model School for Girls, Our Lady of Mercy and Little Flower in Belfast, attended the University to receive their Welcome Host accreditation after following a customer service programme.

Speaking ahead of the performances, Professor Tony Gallagher, Head of the School of Education at Queen’s said: “Within the Sharing Education Programme our short term goals were to provide teachers and pupils with opportunities to engage with different traditions and learning cultures and to share access to academic excellence.

“Tonight at Youth Action, we will see performances which are tangible evidence of the positive impact Sharing Education is already having, thanks to the hard work of pupils, teachers and the support of parents.

“Long term, we will have created enhanced educational and personal development opportunities for everyone involved. In addition to the fostering of reconciliation and partnership, pupils are also having access to educational excellence, something of vital importance for their future and that of the wider community in Northern Ireland.”

Ita McVeigh, Project Leader for Specialism in Performing Arts at St Louise’s said: “In feedback we have received, pupils are telling us of how they have made many new friendships with other young people with whom they would otherwise have little or no contact.

“We  are a society still coming to terms with years of living apart but through the resources provided by SEP and the energies and commitment of our young people and their teachers, we have been begun the journey towards creating new links through educational partnerships. Our pupils, in this exciting collaboration, now have increased opportunities to play their role in developing a more stable society for all of us and of course enjoy their learning along the way.”

Further information on SEP can be found at www.schoolsworkingtogether.co.uk

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press Officer, 028 9097 5384, 07814 422 572, lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's saddened by death of former Festival Director

Graeme Farrow, Director of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, has expressed his sadness at the death of Michael Barnes. Mr Barnes was the Director of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s for two decades from 1973 until the early 1990’s.

Graeme Farrow, said: "We were very saddened by this news. We won't forget Michael’s tremendous achievements at the Belfast Festival at Queen's, or his singular charisma.

“Michael put the Belfast Festival at Queen’s on the map in Northern Ireland and I am still taken aback by how fondly he is regarded in the minds of the many artists and agents who I deal with on a daily basis.

“It is clear that his personality and vision left a mark on many people who met him."

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk


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Innovative antennas from Queen's signal 'new wave' in healthcare provision
Body of evidence: wearable antennas, like the ones being tested here, could change the face of patient care
Body of evidence: wearable antennas, like the ones being tested here, could change the face of patient care

Compact, wireless and power efficient body sensors that allow doctors to monitor illnesses and injuries remotely are a step closer thanks to new research from Queen’s University Belfast.

The use of biosensors attached to the body for health monitoring is not new; though antennas that enable such devices to be linked together efficiently on a patient’s body without wires are currently too uncomfortable to wear for a long time because they need to be large in order to maximise the strength of the signal being received. They can be reduced in size but this leads to the antenna being less efficient, meaning that the battery powering the device has to be recharged more frequently.

Now, experts in antennas and bioelectromagnetics from The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), have developed new types of antenna that get round these limitations.

The work at ECIT could revolutionise the way patient care is provided, making unnecessary visits for tests and check-ups a thing of the past. Instead, biosensors could gather data on heart rate, respiration, posture, gait etc, transmitting this information by radio signal to a control unit also on the patient’s body. The data could then be accessed by doctors via the internet or mobile phone, for example.

The new types of antenna are the first in the world to deliberately harness the so-called ‘creeping wave’ effect. With a conventional on-body antenna the majority of the signal is transmitted either away from the patient or inwards, where it is absorbed by the patient’s body which weakens the signal. The rest of the signal, though, hugs the skin’s surface and ‘creeps’ round the body where it is picked up by the control unit.

Only a small amount of the signal behaves in this ‘creeping’ way and so its overall strength has to be increased to allow enough of it to reach the control unit. Although traditional antenna designs can be used, they are physically large and typically protrude up to 4cm from the body surface for the frequency bands used by systems such as WiFi. Reducing the size leads to poor system efficiency.

The new antennas developed at Queen’s solve these problems. They are specifically designed to accentuate the creeping wave effect by maximising the amount of signal radiated out to the antenna’s side, rather than inwards and outwards. They are up to 50 times more efficient than previously available designs of the same dimensions. Due to the lower power requirement resulting from this step change in on-body performance and efficiency, the Queen’s team has succeeded in reducing antenna thickness from 34mm to less than 5mm thick for their new patch antenna.

The antennas can therefore be fitted almost anywhere on the patient without causing significant inconvenience and are sufficiently low-profile to be incorporated into clothing or worn as part of a wound dressing. One Queen’s design is now the subject of a patent application, with more anticipated.

The unique design of the new antennas could unlock the full potential of emerging ‘wireless body area network’ (WBAN) technology. A WBAN is a network of biosensors attached to different parts of a patient’s body. Patients wearing a WBAN could carry on with their normal lives – the doctor remotely monitoring the data gathered by the network would simply contact them to arrange appointments when needed. 

“The UK leads the world in the development of wearable communications including WBAN antennas,” says Dr William Scanlon, who is leading the Queen’s University project. “With EPSRC funding, our group at Queen’s, along with other related projects at the University of Birmingham, Queen Mary College and elsewhere, could help unleash the full potential of WBAN technology. We could change the way that a range of illnesses, injuries and conditions are monitored, perhaps within five years.”     

Further information on ECIT is available from www.ecit.qub.ac.uk/

For media enquiries, please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384, lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk  07815 871 997

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Businesslike Queen's physics student wins innovation award
Queen's PhD student John McClure receives the Rosse Medal from Dr Herman Hauser
Queen's PhD student John McClure receives the Rosse Medal from Dr Herman Hauser

A Queen’s postgraduate student from Lisburn has won an award highlighting the importance of physics to business and innovation.

John McClure, from the Centre for Nanostructured Media in the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s, beat off competition from across Ireland to win the Rosse Medal at the Institute of Physics in Ireland’s annual spring conference.

A PhD student sponsored by Seagate Technology in Springtown, County Londonderry, John works with nanoscale magnetoelectric oxides materials.

John said: “I am working with materials that can change their magnetic properties with the application of an electrical voltage and vice versa. Materials with this ‘magnetoelectric’ effect are rare, so my research has involved devising a material that will produce this effect.

“Such nanoscale magnetoelectric materials, where a nanometre is equal to one billionth of a metre, have massive potential applications in data storage and sensors etc. It is a fast moving area which is receiving increasing attention from both materials scientists and physicists and I know I will have an exciting future in this field.”

John’s supervisor, Professor Robert Bowman of Queen’s said: “John’s work to date has been in a very exciting and technologically important area. He was able to communicate this in a clear and precise way which impressed the judging panel and I am delighted to see his work recognised.”

The medal was presented to John by Dr Herman Hauser, an entrepreneur and investor responsible for the growth of companies such as ARM and Cambridge Silicon Radio and founder of Acorn Computers.

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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£900k helps Queen's lead the way in next generation computing


The Belfast e-Science Centre (BeSC) at Queen’s has been awarded a grant of over £900,000 to continue its role in developing the successor to the world wide web.

The revolutionary software work of the centre could change the face of industry, commerce and academic research in the next few years.

Established in 2002, BeSC is already recognised as a world leader in e-Science, which is the development of research methods to exploit advanced computational thinking.

The work is being developed through Grid technology which will ultimately provide huge processing power on tap to anyone. It allows data stored in different computers around the world to behave like a single vast data base.

Television viewers in Northern Ireland could be among the first to benefit from BeSC’s work. GridCast, a joint initiative between BBC London, BBC Northern Ireland and BeSC has shown how the use of a computing grid, instead of dedicated lines, could enable the regions to take network programmes as and when they wanted. It would mean greater autonomy over their own programme schedule.

Another grid system devised by the centre provides small finance companies with the technology to run a series of financial calculations across a large amount of different resources, such as several different stockmarkets.

The new £900,000 grant has been awarded by the UK e-Science Core Programme which is funded and managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Professor Ron Perrott, who is the Director of BeSC, based in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s, said: “Our centre is recognised internationally as a major player and world leader in e-Science.  We have been fortunate to have been involved in this national e-Science initiative from the very beginning and shape its nature.

“It has been really exciting, rewarding and stimulating to be involved, particularly since e-Science has now permeated all areas of research and has been taken up by the European Union and other leaders in technology. 

“We are delighted to have this public and national confirmation of the excellence of our activity and to be regarded so highly by our peers at the EPRSC.”

Further information on BeSC is available at http://www.besc.ac.uk/escience

More information on the Belfast e-Science Centre can found at www.besc.ac.uk/escience

Information on some of the e-Science projects taking place across the UK can be found at www.rcuk.ac.uk/escience

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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Intimate Mixing: Catholic-Protestant relationships in Northern Ireland

People in ‘mixed’ relationships in Northern Ireland tend to be more educated and have higher incomes than those in traditional relationships, according to new research into intimate personal relationships.
 
The research was carried out by Dr Katrina Lloyd of Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Gillian Robinson of the University of Ulster, who used data from the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey to explore the socio-economic characteristics and attitudes of people who enter ‘mixed’ relationships. 
 
Headline findings from the research report – Intimate Mixing – Bridging the Gap? Catholic-Protestant Relationships in Northern Ireland – are that people who enter mixed relationships are:

  • less likely to be married (88%) than those who are in same religion partnerships (96%)
  • more likely to be younger, better educated and to have higher incomes than those who were in same religion relationships
  • more likely to have lived outside Northern Ireland (35%) than those who were in same religion relationships (21%)
  • more likely to have attended mixed religion schools (16%) than their same religion counterparts (11%)
  • more likely to send their children to a mixed religion school
  • more likely to support Alliance party and less likely to support ‘nationalist’ or ‘unionist’ parties than those in same religion partnerships
  • much more likely than their counterparts who lived in same religion partnerships to say they were neither Nationalist nor Unionist (59% and 27% respectively)

Dr Lloyd said: “ARK is often asked for information about people in mixed relationships as very little research has been carried out on this relatively small group in Northern Ireland. By creating a dataset consisting of eight years of information from the Life and Times survey, we have a large enough sample of respondents to carry out much-needed quantitative analyses into the characteristics and attitudes of people who live in mixed religion relationships in Northern Ireland.”

Professor Gillian Robinson said: “My colleague Dr Katrina Lloyd and I were interested in the characteristics of those who enter ‘mixed’ relationships. 
 
“Remember, a ‘mixed’ relationship in Northern Ireland traditionally means one were one partner is from the Catholic community and one is from the Protestant community. 
 
“This would not be seen as ‘mixed’ in other places where mixed might mean Christian/non-Christian or a relationship between different ethnic groups.
 
“The survey evidence shows a very slow increase in the numbers of people entering a mixed relationship over the last two decades in Northern Ireland, but the numbers are still small.  The findings confirm what many have always said, i.e. that people in mixed partnerships tend to be more educated and have higher incomes.” 

Information about those who enter mixed relationships in Northern Ireland has always been difficult to source.  Research has usually been based on small studies of a limited number of couples, making it difficult to generalise about people in ‘mixed’ relationships. 
 
The report will be launched formally at an event at 12.00 noon on Tuesday 13 May at the offices of NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast.
 

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Queen's spin-out companies on course for record £90 million turnover

Queen’s University’s spin-out companies are on course for a record turnover of £90 million this year.  The businesses, created by the University’s venture spin-out company QUBIS Ltd, represent a significant proportion of new high technology companies in Northern Ireland.

And - for the second year running - Queen’s has emerged as the leading higher education institution in the United Kingdom in terms of the annual turnover of its spin-out businesses.

The league tables are included in the most recent Higher Education-Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey published jointly by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Panos Lioulias, Chief Executive of QUBIS Ltd, said: “These are the latest in a series of milestones which underlines the University's role as a major driving force in local economic prosperity and illustrates the quality and entrepreneurial spirit of Queen's researchers.

“In September last year the Sunday Times described Queen’s as ‘a casebook study of how a university can help drive the regeneration of the city and region in which it is located’. The role of the University’s spin-out companies in wealth and job creation is one of the most tangible ways in which we make this contribution.

“We are likely to see the creation of more companies emanating from the University’s leading-edge research in the near future.”

The QUBIS Ltd companies, in industry sectors such as software, chemicals and engineering, have created more than 1000 jobs.  More than 90 per cent of the companies’ products and services are exported around the world.

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 student 'engineers' world-class solution
Judy Black and her Planet Judithblack certification
Judy Black and her Planet Judithblack certification

Judy Black, a first year electrical and electronic engineering student at Queen’s University, has had a minor planet named in her honour after coming second in the world at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair held in Albuquerque, USA.  From Warrenpoint, Judy is one of only 10,000 people worldwide to have such a minor planet named after them.

Planet Judithblack was recently awarded to Judy as part of her prize for developing a new device which increased productivity at a local company by 77 per cent.

Designed when on work placement with SCA in Warrenpoint, Judy invented a Novel Corrugated Board Rejection System to automatically detect and remove faulty cardboard from the production line.

Judy’s device is now an integral part of the production process at the SCA factory in Warrenpoint and has been passed to other SCA factories worldwide for consideration. 

Judy is currently being sponsored through her degree in electrical and electronic engineering at Queen’s by NIE as part of the Power Academy Scholarship Scheme. She was entered into the Intel competition after taking part in the Nuffield Science and Bursary Scheme. While an A-level student at Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry she won the Seagate Young Innovators award for her work.

1500 students from across the world compete annually in the Intel Fair. Judy competed in the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering category where she also picked up a cash prize of $1,500.

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

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200 years on - Queen's remembers the end of the slave trades
Queen's University Professor Catherine Clinton beside the mural of African American statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Belfast
Queen's University Professor Catherine Clinton beside the mural of African American statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Belfast

Two hundred years after the abolition of the international slave trades, historians and scholars from around the world are to gather at Queen’s University to examine the commemoration of these events and slavery’s multiple legacies.

Closing of the Slave Trades: Transatlantic Perspectives will take place at Queen’s from 29-31 May 2008.

Professor Catherine Clinton from the School of History at Queen’s said: “Two centuries after the abolition of the international slave trades-- in the UK in 1807 and the USA in 1808--this is the ideal time to re-examine its legacy for the countries and cultures involved.

“We are delighted to bring this conference to Queen’s. During the event, we hope to highlight to our visitors some of Northern Ireland’s own unique history with a tour of Belfast, including a visit to the mural of African American abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass, who visited Ireland in 1845.

“In recent months there have been dozens of commemorative events, mostly in the UK, to mark the anniversary of the abolition of the international slave trades, in the UK in 1807 and the USA in 1808.

“This conference is one of the first of its kind to consider how both countries have remembered their roles in these watershed events. It will examine the role of commemoration as an historian’s tool, and explore how we can move forward from this period of reflection.”

The conference is sponsored jointly by the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s and the renowned Gilder Lehrman Centre for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University in the USA, with funding by the British Academy.

Professor Clinton continued: “This is the first time the Gilder Lehrman Centre has taken its annual conference outside the United States. We are delighted to welcome participants from four continents - North and South America, Africa, and Europe - to Belfast. I hope that this will mark the start of an excellent relationship between Queens, a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading universities, and Yale University, an Ivy League school.”

The Gilder Lehrman Centre is dedicated to the investigation and understanding of all aspects of slavery, resistance and abolition. Centre Director, Professor David Blight, said: “During the age of transatlantic exploration and well into the period of settlement, millions of Africans were captured and transported to the colonies of the ‘New World’ where they were traded as slaves. But during the age of revolutions and liberations, Africans in the Americas had a special role to play in the development of nations and cultures.

“Our project at Yale is to broaden and deepen our appreciation of slavery’s impact on world history and the challenge for historians today to bring these topics to centre stage.”

The conference will feature Dr Jean Allain from Queen’s School of Law, speaking about his new book, The Slavery Conventions. The book examines international laws of slave trafficking as both the League of Nations and the United Nations worked to prohibit slavery.

Other highlights include a preview of The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, launched at Emory University in Georgia this month by David Eltis. The database records more than 35,000 voyages made by ships carrying slaves across the Atlantic. It provides details about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes. It also includes information collected by a current student who is working towards a master’s degree in Queen’s newly launched pathway in US history.

Professor James Walvin from the University of York, who has been awarded an OBE for his work in this area, will take part in a round table discussion on how the ending of the slave trade has been commemorated in the UK. Curators of museum slavery exhibitions - from Liverpool to London to New York to Greenwich - will present reflections on recent exhibits and ongoing projects.

For more information on Closing of the Slave Trades visit http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/History/  or contact the School of History at Queen’s on 028 9097 5101.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, +44 (0)7814 415451 a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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Fermanagh landscape inspires Flanagan exhibition at Queen's
One of the paintings featured in the exhibition - Concrete Form with Brown over Black
One of the paintings featured in the exhibition - Concrete Form with Brown over Black

A major new exhibition taking inspiration from the landscape of Fermanagh has just opened in the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University.

 ‘From the Landscape’ by Fermanagh-based artist Philip Flanagan features works painted between 2005 and 2008 and are deeply influenced by the atmosphere around the artist's studio.

“I'm interested in the energy of the Fermanagh countryside and want to get across a feeling of calm, of solitude and stillness. In my paintings, I want to create a carapace of light and texture that vibrates, that gets across the spirituality of the landscape.”

Philip Flanagan was born in Belfast in 1960, and graduated from Camberwell College of Art, London in 1985. He is highly regarded as a painter and sculptor, with works in major collections in Ireland, Britain and America, including Queen’s University. Flanagan lives in County Fermanagh and his work extends technical and imaginative insights within the tradition of Irish landscape painting.

The exhibition has been curated by Brian Kennedy, former Head of Fine and Applied Art at the Ulster Museum and a prize-winning author on 20th century Irish art.

‘From the Landscape’ continues until Saturday 14 June. Further information is available from the Naughton Gallery, telephone 028 9097 3580, www.naughtongallery.org

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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Third year of Duathlon up and running
Queen's Triathlon Society members Paul and Matthew Wilson know how to shave a few minutes off their time for Saturday's duathlon .
Queen's Triathlon Society members Paul and Matthew Wilson know how to shave a few minutes off their time for Saturday's duathlon.

If you mastered the Marathon on Monday, now you can do a Duathlon at Queen's.

Organised by University’s Triathlon Club, the third Queen’s Duathlon Series will begin on Saturday 10 May at 3pm.

The course is shorter than standard Duathlon, making a perfect event for first time competitors as well as international athletes. The two mile run, followed by ten mile cycle and then a final two mile run, will take place along Queen’s Road in the Titanic Quarter, past the historic planning office where the famous ship was designed.

The second race of the series will be held on Saturday 16 June, which allows competitors additional training time to monitor their improvement.

Advance registration for both events is available online at www.queensduathlon.com along with course information and travel details. Registration will be available prior to the event between 1.00-2.40pm. Entry fee is £12 for one race, £23 for two races for seniors and £8 for one race and £15 for two races for juniors. For further information, please contact triathlon@qub.ac.uk 

For media enquiries please contact: Judith Rance, Press & PR Unit, 028 9097 5292, j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Literary feast in store at Queen's Heaney Summer School

Budding writers are being urged to challenge their imagination and sign up for a five day literary feast at Queen's Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry this summer.

Led by some of Ireland’s leading writers, including Glenn Patterson, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian and Sinead Morrissey, those attending the Heaney Summer School will have the opportunity to take part in a programme packed with readings, discussions and traditional music from 28 July to 1 August.

Among the tasks set will be a challenge by Professor Ciaran Carson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, in the School of English, for students to write a Haiku – a Japanese style poem.

He said: “The Seamus Heaney Centre Summer School is the hub of literary activity in Belfast, with many spokes to its wheel.

“It’s been running since shortly after the inception of the centre and each year we get more ambitious. This year it’s a full week long and each day brings something new to learn and enjoy.”

Glenn Patterson will host a session entitled Listen Who’s Talking while another award-winning writer, poet Sinead Morrissey, will take a session on Language and Voice in Contemporary Poetry.

Gerald Dawe from the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin will speak on Putting A Collection Together and Dr Eamonn Hughes’ talk is on The Novel. Participants can learn more about the poetry of Paul Muldoon with Professor Ed Larrissy while Medbh McGuckian’s session is on Poetry and the Irish Woman. There are sessions on Life Writing with Ian Sansom, the BBC Writer in Residence at the Seamus Heaney Centre, and Poetry and the Influence of Performance with Paul Maddern.

A full provisional programme is available to view on www.qub.ac.uk/heaneycentre. The closing date for applications is 31 May, anyone over 18years can register.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit, 028 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's is alive with the sound of silver
Silversmith Cara Murphy and Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Gerry McCormac
Silversmith Cara Murphy and Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Gerry McCormac
The City Mace
The City Mace

New technology at the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s allows visitors to hear the University’s silver collection as well as see it.

In Silver Sounds 10 internationally renowned sound artists have created sound pieces to accompany 22 of the silver objects, exploring their origins and the reasons for their creation and use.

Visitors can now use hand-held computers to highlight objects and listen to the artists’ interpretations. Among the items on display are the Hart Silver, the Silver Mace, the Gibson Mace and a new silver table centerpiece specially commissioned by silversmith Cara Murphy. 

Also involved in the project are the University’s Sonic Arts Research Centre and Fällt - a new media design collective.

Silver Sounds was launched by Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Outreach and Economic Development. He said: “This is a very important and innovative display bringing together the old silver collection along with modern and contemporary silver. I shall never look at the silver collection in the same way again.”  

The Naughton Gallery’s Curator Shan McAnena said:  “The silver collection has been transformed into an ambitious creative network that has excited and astonished everyone who has been involved. The scope of the project meant that we were reliant on the expertise and enthusiasm of a whole range of people who gave time and resources so freely and so imaginatively that the results are beyond all our original dreams.” 

The work has been supported by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and voluntary organisation ADAPT NI. NESTA supported the project through its Illuminate scheme which encourages museums and galleries to present exhibits in fresh and exciting ways to attract new audiences. The University has invested in two new museum cases and ADAPT NI provided funding to make the exhibition as accessible as possible for everyone.

Sarah Maher, Programme Manager at NESTA, said: “We have been blown away by the proposals we’ve received under this scheme which demonstrates that there’s a wealth of creative thinking in the museum and gallery sector. The projects that we’ve supported in this round have all used new technologies in highly innovative and imaginative ways to give the end-user a fresh insight into the collections.”

Caroline Shiels, Development Manager for ADAPT NI, said: “The Silver Sounds exhibition proves how creative thinking and the use of technology can produce artistic access solutions.  All project partners were committed to keeping access high on the agenda, consulting with disabled people throughout the project cycle.”

For more information on the exhibition, please visit www.naughtongallery.org/silversounds . The gallery is open from 11am to 4pm Monday to Saturday.

Anna Patrick, Exhibitions Assistant, can be contacted on 9097 3580 or a.patrick@qub.ac.uk

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 9097 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk


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