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06-2008 Press Releases

30/06/2008: Award Winning Nurses At Queen's
30/06/2008: 'Family Crucial To Brain Injury Recovery' States Graduate
30/06/2008: Runner-Up Student Nurse of the Year Graduates
30/06/2008: Queen's - It's in the Blood
30/06/2008: Irish university chiefs honoured by Queen's
30/06/2008: Determined Mum Graduates After 27 Year Study Gap
26/06/2008: Communication key to improving patient care in Northern Ireland    
26/06/2008: Queen's history inspires new art exhibition
26/06/2008: Belfast school girls celebrate a year of Sharing Education
25/06/2008: Sectarianism still prevalent in segregated communities
24/06/2008: MLAs quizzed by American law students
24/06/2008: UK Higher Education Minister calls for greater US-UK links
23/06/2008: Dentistry at Queen's tops Times Good University Guide
23/05/2008: Belfast welcomes leading Bengal science scholars
19/06/2008: Queen's and Barclays invest £50m in education excellence
18/06/2008: Queen's launches UK's first Centre of Excellence for Public Health<img src="http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/media/Media,97891,en.gif" border="0" alt="QTV News Story">
17/06/2008: Queen's astronomers over the moon with £3m
16/06/2008: Investigated: Aliens under the sea
12/06/2008: 'Minority' sports major winners at Queen's
12/06/2008: Queen's research among world's most referenced
11/06/2008: Queen's research offers free advice and support to parents
11/06/2008: Queen's centre 'welcomes' Tourist Board status
10/06/2008: Young Indianas invited to bring history to life
10/06/2008: Northern Ireland not yet a 'normal' society
06/06/2008: Schoolchildren learn to stay safe in the sun
06/06/08: Queen's v Trinity: Battle of the boat race
06/06/2008: New book tells stories of madness and murder in 19th century Ireland
05/06/2008: Sport in the City: Queen's Blues Awards
04/06/2008: Queen's research shows that young people care too
03/06/2008: Queen's welcomes RIA's Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee
03/06/2008: From Young Tom to the Ratman: Legacy of Two Belfast Authors Lives on at Queen's
03/06/2008: Funding for Queen's scientist to help women cope with breast cancer
02/06/2008: Queen's signs partnership with global bank
02/06/2008: Queen's University seeks 'patient actors'
02/06/2008: Simulated babies provide vital training for students  
Award Winning Nurses At Queen's
Winner of the Florence Elliot Prize for best overall nurse, Andrea Maze
Winner of the Florence Elliot Prize for best overall nurse, Andrea Maze

Nearly 300 Nursing and Midwifery students graduated from Queen's University last night. Amongst them were seven students who have also been recognised for outstanding Academic or Clinical Excellence.

During the graduation ceremony on Monday night all students received their certificate and Nursing Badge, which they must wear while on the wards.

This was then followed by a separate presentation where Awards for Academic Excellence were given to the nursing students with the highest marks from the University-based aspect of the degree. The Clinical Excellence awards were based on feedback from staff in the wards where the students completed their nursing placement.

The Florence Elliott Prize is awarded to the best overall student, and is the highest award given. This year’s recipient is Andrea Ruth Maze from Antrim.

 Prize/Medal Title Winner(s)   Hometown  
Dame Mary Uprichard Prize for Excellence Midwifery Studies Eileen Kennedy    Belfast  
Elizabeth Rainey Prize for Excellence in Midwifery Practice Lorraine Miller     Enniskillen 
The Edward and Ann Smyth Medal for Academic Excellence in Learning Disability Nursing Brenda    Gemma Strain   Newtownabbey 
The Hill-Rom Medal for Clinical Excellence in Learning Disability Nursing     Rachael Watson  Enniskillen 
The Professor Sheila Harrisson Medal for Academic Excellence in Adult Nursing Diane Rankin   Belfast   
The Mary Waddell Medal for Clinical Excellence in Adult Nursing    Sharon Elizabeth Treacy   Portlaoise, Co. Laois 
The Florence Elliott Prize Andrea Ruth Maze  Antrim  
Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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'Family Crucial To Brain Injury Recovery' States Graduate
Simon Redpath with son Albie and daughter Janneke
Simon Redpath with son Albie and daughter Janneke

A North Belfast-born Queen’s PhD student whose research has highlighted the importance of ‘family’ to children’s adjustment following a brain injury will graduate today from Queen’s University.

Simon Redpath (41) who is graduating with a PhD in Outcomes following Childhood Traumatic Brain Injury, has concluded that cognitive and family factors are as significant as injury factors in predicting how a child will adjust emotionally and behaviourally at home and school post-injury.

The busy student is also studying for a second doctorate at Exeter University in Clinical and Community Psychology. Talking about his busy life in recent months, Simon said: “Completing two doctorates in one year is not the way I would recommend doing it, but with a young family and very supportive wife, you get used to a lack of sleep and all the motivation you could wish for.”

Accompanying Simon to graduation today is his wife, Carine, who he met the month he began his PhD; daughter Janneke (20 months) and son Albie (5 months), who followed in the three years it took to complete his study.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Runner-Up Student Nurse of the Year Graduates
Sarah Gibson with her husband Raymond and parents Isobel and Edwin Gibson
Sarah Gibson with her husband Raymond and parents Isobel and Edwin Gibson

Nurse Sarah Gibson from Carrowdore, Newtownards has two reasons to celebrate today. As well as graduating with a first in BSc Nursing Sciences from Queen’s, she will be toasting her recent Royal College of Nursing award as joint runner-up Student Nurse of the Year.

Sarah, who studied adult nursing, was nominated by the Ward Manager of the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit at Musgrave Park Hospital for her excellent contribution within the team. She was awarded at the RCN black-tie event held in the Culloden Hotel earlier this month.

Sarah said: “It was a pleasure to be part of such a prestigious event, and witness such fantastic achievements in nursing. This experience has made me more determined to make a real difference to patients under my care. I’m so proud to graduate today and can’t wait to return to complete a Masters in the near future.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's - It's in the Blood
Deirdre Galway
Deirdre Galway

Proud parents Ann and John Galway from Newtownards will watch their fourth daughter graduate from Queen’s University today, having both graduated from the University themselves.

Deirdre Galway (22), who graduates with a 2:1 MPharm in Pharmacy is the youngest of the Galway sisters who have all passed through the doors of the Whitla Hall. Eldest daughter Louise graduated from the School of Medicine in 1993 then again in 1997, Christine in Music in 1995 and Joanne in French in 1999.

John graduated in Medicine in 1975 and is now a retired doctor, while Ann first graduated in Social Anthropology in 2000 and is currently studying for a Masters in Nursing, bringing the number of Queen’s degrees under the Galway roof to eight.

Also an accomplished musician, Deirdre is spending the summer touring Holland and Norway as a member of the traditional Irish music group, Cuan. Her boyfriend, Conor Lamb also graduates this week in Computer Science.

Deidre said: “I am very pleased to have achieved a 2:1 in my degree and can’t wait to be added to our family’s Queen’s graduation gallery.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Irish university chiefs honoured by Queen's
Dr John Hegarty
Dr John Hegarty

Two of Ireland’s leading academics – Dr John Hegarty, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Hugh Brady, President of University College Dublin, – partners with Queen’s in moves to place Ireland at the forefront of the global knowledge economy, were today honoured by Queen’s University.

At today’s graduation ceremonies, they were awarded honorary Doctorates of Laws for services to higher education.

Also honoured were the Director General of the Science Foundation, Ireland, Professor Frank Gannon and haematologist Dr Chitra Bharucha, Vice-Chairperson of the BBC Trust.

Delivering the citation for Dr Hegarty, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Last year Trinity College Dublin, the oldest university in Ireland, won the Sunday Times Irish University of the Year title. The accompanying editorial referred to Trinity’s forward-thinking approach to academic life and its commitment to innovation.  These qualities also aptly describe the University’s leader, Dr John Hegarty.
“Since his election on a reform ticket as Provost of Trinity in 2001, Dr Hegarty has overseen a major re-structuring of the College, a streamlining of its academic organisation and the introduction of a suite of new courses to meet the needs of 21st century students.”

An eminent physicist, Dr Hegarty has spent many years researching the use and effect of lasers and has designed new courses in this field.  His international academic experience includes five years as an Adjunct Professor in the University of Georgia, USA, in the early 1990s, and a Visiting Professorship in the University of Tokyo and Sony Corporation, Japan in 1995.  He is a member of the Higher Education Authority, the Science Foundation Ireland Technical Advisory Panel on Information and Communications Technologies and the Royal Irish Academy. 

Dr Hegarty’s counterpart at UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, was described by the Vice-Chancellor as an internationally-renowned renal specialist who, in his distinguished medical career and as an academic leader “has displayed intellect, sound judgement, the ability to lead and to harness the energy and skills of others to gain results.”

Professor Gregson said: “UCD has played a key role in the history of the modern Irish State; under Dr Brady’s leadership it is now playing a leading part in shaping the future of Ireland, north and south.”
Dr Hugh Brady became President of UCD in January 2004.  A UCD graduate, he returned to the University in 1996 as Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics, after nine years at Harvard and one year at the University of Toronto.  His research interests include the molecular basis for inflammatory disease and the complications of diabetes. 

Outside UCD, he has played a variety of national and international education and research-related leadership roles, including Chairman of the Health Research Board, President of the Irish Nephrological Society, membership of the Higher Education Authority, and various international committees and taskforces.

Another leading figure in Irish academic life, Professor Frank Gannon, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Medical Science for distinction in medical science.

Delivering the citation, Queen’s Professor of Medicine Ian Young, said: “Originally from Galway, Professor Gannon is best known for his leadership of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in Heidelberg.  In July 2007 he became Director General of the Science Foundation, Ireland where his leadership and international standing will prove pivotal to Ireland’s efforts to recruit and retain world-class scientists, as well as in attracting high-tech corporate research and development. 

“His appointment is the culmination of an outstanding scientific career which started in Ireland, and then took him to England, the USA and France.  His work has underpinned the understanding of the role of steroid hormone receptors in the onset and progression of a variety of diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.  He is not only an outstanding, world-class scientist, but also a leader of science.” 

Also awarded a Doctorate of Medical Science was Dr Chitra Bharucha who was honoured for services to medicine and for public service.
 
Dr Chitra Bharucha is the Vice-Chairman of the BBC Trust. From 1981 until 2000, she was Deputy Director of the NI Blood Transfusion Service and Consultant Haematologist, Belfast City Hospital.  Since then, she has held a number of professional appointments including non-executive director on the Board of UK Transplant Authority; a member of the World Health Organisation Expert Advisory Panel for Blood; Partners Council of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE); the President of the Medical Women’s Federation; and NI representative on the Council of the Royal College of Pathologists and the General Medical Council.  Dr Bharucha has made many significant contributions to medical practice and, in particular, to blood transfusion in NI, including the development of cord blood banking and the early implementation of an immunisation programme against Hepatitis B in neonates. 

She was previously a member of the Advertising Standards Authority (Broadcast) Council (2004–2007) and a Lay Member of Review Body for Judicial Complaints (2006–2007).

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk .

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Determined Mum Graduates After 27 Year Study Gap
Margaret Barr (right) with children Michael, Damian, Ciarán, Ashling and Paul
Margaret Barr (right) with children Michael, Damian, Ciarán, Ashling and Paul

‘Never give up’ is the message from Margaret Barr, a 48-year-old student and mum-of-six from Shaws Road, West Belfast, who graduates from Queen’s today with a BSc in Nursing Sciences, 30 years after first beginning her training as a nurse.

Margaret started her nursing studies at the Royal Victoria Hospital in May 1978 but dropped out due to severe dermatitis that reacted to the high nickel content in the hospital equipment. She returned as a first-year student at Queen’s in 2005 and is due to graduate today with a 2:1.

Margaret said: “Graduating from Queen’s is one of the biggest achievements of my life, second only to the upbringing of my children. They look to me for guidance, so I was determined to show them that regardless of what pitfalls you come across, you can always overcome them.”

Describing Margaret, Claire Stephenson, Head of Unit and Margaret’s personal tutor, said: “Margaret is a fun, dedicated and selfless nurse, whose insight and compassion into the needs of patients and their families made a lasting impression on me.”

Accompanying Margaret to graduation today will be her six children, the youngest of whom, Aisling, is destined for university next year.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Communication key to improving patient care in Northern Ireland
Dr Melissa McCullough, School of Medicine and Dentistry
Dr Melissa McCullough, School of Medicine and Dentistry

Many high-profile inquiries into the health service have found that a culture where health and social care professionals do not communicate effectively can lead to mistakes and inadequate patient care.

Now, approaching the 60th anniversary of the NHS, a Queen’s academic is leading the drive to address the challenges presented by an ever-demanding health service and improve teamworking.

Dr Melissa McCullough, a lecturer in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, is behind the MSc in Interprofessional Health and Social Studies, which will bring together a range of health and social care professionals who can learn from and about each other to improve the communication and quality of care they provide.

The course is being run in conjunction with The Beeches Management Centre in Belfast, and Dr McCullough said it would provide cutting edge training for health professionals.

“Interprofessional education allows the development of a collaborative culture which enhances heath and social care services. It also enhances the working environment for health and social care professionals.

“Key drivers in establishing the course have been the tragedies and subsequent lessons learned from cases such as the Victoria Climbie Inquiry and the Kennedy Report of the Bristol Royal Infirmary. 

“Recommendations from local enquiries including the O’Neill report, the McCartan review and the investigation into Janine Murtagh’s death have also been a key factor in establishing the need for the course and interprofessional education initiatives within Northern Ireland.”

The qualification also takes into account many of the steps identified in the 2007 report from the Department of Health entitled Creating an Interprofessional Workforce: An Education and Training framework for Health and Social Care.

Through collaboration with the Beeches Management Centre, Queen’s hopes to recruit a range of practicing health and social care professionals including doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, dentists, pharmacists and managers. It will focus on personal and interpersonal effectiveness, interprofessional theory and practice, managing service delivery, leadership, and ethics and law in health and social care practice.

Course details can be found on the Queen’s University Belfast, School of Medicine and Dentistry website. The course begins in September and can be completed part time over two or three years, attending two half days per month.

Applicants should normally have at least three years working within their profession and will need approval from their employing organisation as a large proportion of assessment is project based within the workplace.

For more information go to http://www.qub.ac.uk/cm/postgrad/msclph.pdf
 or apply on-line at http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/ProspectiveStudents/

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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Queen's history inspires new art exhibition
Artistic representations of the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire were inspired by Queen's chemistry collections
Artistic representations of the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire were inspired by Queen's chemistry collections

Historical maps, rare books and archaeological artefacts have inspired a new exhibition in the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University.

re-COLLECT-ing, which opens this evening (Thursday 26 June) showcases artwork by students from the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen’s, inspired by some of the items used by teaching staff and students during the University’s one hundred year history.

Shan McAnena, Curator of the Naughton Gallery said: “As Queen’s celebrates its centenary year, photography and creative writing students were invited to explore the University’s teaching and research collections and reinterpret them through their own work. re-COLLECT-ing showcases the inspiration and innovation that continues to thrive at Queen’s a century after it became a University.

“The collections date back to the mid nineteenth century when Queen’s was first established as Queen’s College Belfast, before becoming Queen’s University in 1908. They include everything from medical and scientific apparatus, archaeological artefacts and animal fossils, to rare books, silverware and musical instruments.

“Postgraduate students from photography and creative writing have used these items as inspiration for their own artistic creations. For example, inspired by the University’s maps collection, one student became fascinated with the boundaries between Northern Ireland’s counties. Travelling to various co-ordinates on the maps, she photographed the landscapes of these boundaries. Visitors to the exhibition can see these photos and even take them home as postcards.

“Another student drew inspiration from Queen’s chemistry collections. Focusing on the natural elements of earth, water, air and fire, he represents each through photography and creative text.

“A display of reading spectacles with text from old manuscripts, books and letters inscribed in their lenses, pays tribute to the special collections found in the University’s library; whilst a piece representing an Aboriginal cave painting was inspired by the skull of an extinct Australian wolf found in the collections of the School of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.”

Anna Newell, Director of the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen’s, said: “re-COLLECT-ing showcases the work of some of Queen’s most creative arts students. Renowned photographer, Sylvia Grace Borda, award-winning poet Sinead Morrissey and guest artist and exhibition curator Keith Donnelly helped guide the students through their interpretations of the University’s collections. The final product is a unique exhibition that highlights the connections between modern, contemporary artwork and historical objects of learning and science.”

re-COLLECT-ing will run at the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s until 23 August 2008. For more information please visit www.naughtongallery.org

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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Belfast school girls celebrate a year of Sharing Education
Students from Ashfield Girls' High School and Little Flower Girls' School
Students from Ashfield Girls' High School and Little Flower Girls' School

Pupils and teachers from Ashfield Girls’ High School and Little Flower Girls’ School are celebrating one year of working together through the Sharing Education Programme at Queen’s University.

Through their involvement in the Sharing Education Programme, Year 8 students from Little Flower Girls’ School and Ashfield Girls’ High School came together for Citizenship classes throughout the year, sharing their ideas about what it means to be a good citizen. They presented their work to parents and teachers from both schools at a special event at Queen’s University.

Professor Tony Gallagher, Head of the School of Education at Queens, said: “The Sharing Education Programme encourages schools from different sectors to work together, giving students the opportunity to share enhanced educational and development opportunities, while building positive relationships with those from different backgrounds and cultures.

“As two of the first schools to be involved in the Programme, we are delighted to welcome the students from Ashfield and Little Flower to Queen’s to showcase what they have learned together during the year. They have been excellent ambassadors for the Sharing Education Programme and for their schools.”

Mr Lex Hayes, Vice-Principal of Ashfield Girls’ High School said: “The Sharing Education Programme has presented a unique opportunity for pupils from both schools to work together. This has lead to some great relationships developing between pupils and staff.  The benefits at a personal and educational level have been really significant.”

Students from both schools also presented their work to the Minister for Education, Catriona Ruane MLA, during a recent visit to Little Flower Girls’ School. 

Building on the success of the first year of the project, both schools have committed to expanding the partnership in future.

The Sharing Education Programme is a £3.7 million project funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and the International Fund for Ireland. It was launched in September 2007 and is managed by Queen’s.

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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Sectarianism still prevalent in segregated communities
L-R Sally-Anne Atkinson, Dr Rosellen Roche, Jessica Golden and Enda Young. Dr Rosellen Roche with some of the student facilitators who worked with young people during the Facts, Fears and Feelings project
L-R Sally-Anne Atkinson, Dr Rosellen Roche, Jessica Golden and Enda Young. Dr Rosellen Roche with some of the student facilitators who worked with young people during the Facts, Fears and Feelings project

New research by Queen’s University has highlighted the prevalence of segregation and sectarianism amongst young people in some of Northern Ireland’s most deprived communities.

The Facts, Fears and Feelings project explores the impact of sectarianism in everyday life for over 100 young people aged 16-35, in some of the most segregated communities in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry.

Through their involvement in the study, some of the young people went on to develop the Cut It Out! Stand Together Against Sectarianism campaign. This unique initiative involved the distribution of over 3,000 badges and ads on over 50 cross-town buses in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, asking people to take a stand against sectarianism.

Dr Rosellen Roche, a social anthropologist from Queen’s School of History and Anthropology, conducted the research and headed the project. Dr Roche said: “This report discusses in detail the attitudes and experiences of young people living in deprived and segregated areas in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. The young people involved, who are mostly out-of-school, seeking work and attempting to gain qualifications, represent a contingent that can often be ignored in research.

"This study does not claim to represent feelings in Northern Ireland as a whole, nor does it present a ‘cure’ for sectarianism and segregation. It does, however, illustrate how personalised sectarianism can be, how it can seep down through generations and how young people, like those involved in this project, are grappling with it in contemporary, post-Agreement Northern Ireland.”

The research involved young people in areas such as New Lodge and Glenbryn in Belfast, and the Fountain and Creggan in Derry/Londonderry.

The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, said: “Northern Ireland has been shaped and defined by a long history of conflict.  Our children have suffered the effects and consequences in many ways.

“The impact of the conflict on Northern Ireland’s children has not yet been fully acknowledged. It is, however, widely recognized that more than a generation of our young people have been directly and indirectly exposed to sectarianism, violence, conflict and hostility. I hope this study goes a long way to identifying how we, as a society, can address these issues.”

The key findings in the research are:

• Two thirds of young people in the study discussed their hopes for a better, more integrated Northern Ireland.
• One out of four have maintained meaningful cross-community relationships.
• Almost two thirds were so isolated from the other community that they felt completely untouched by sectarianism. This is expressed in the findings as living in a type of 'cocoon'.
• Three out of four expressed fear of the other community or of entering areas where people from the other tradition live.
• One third have been involved in violent skirmishes.
• One third talked about their parents or grandparents having negative views of the other community.

Isolation
Dr Roche continued: “Almost two thirds of the young people we worked with were so isolated from the other community that they actually felt completely untouched by sectarianism. It was only when this was discussed that they began to realise how isolated they were. They live in a kind of 'cocoon' within their own communities, with little reason for mixing or mingling across the divide. 

"Friendships were almost exclusively maintained within their own areas and, worryingly, camaraderie was sometimes expressed through violent means, such as rioting and street fighting.  All participants discussed these fights and approximately one third of our participants were involved in violent skirmishes as a victim, perpetrator or both.

Family and Community Influences
“Parents and grandparents have a strong influence over the young people’s opinions and prejudices. One third of participants talked openly about their parents or grandparents having negative views of the other community. They often excused this on the basis that they consider their elders to be victims of conflict, who are therefore entitled to be prejudiced.

"Community influences also held sway over young people involved in the study. Fears or concerns of disapproval regarding cross-community relationships or friendships were important.

Cross-community friendships
“While many of the young people we spoke to discussed having had some limited contact with people from another tradition, usually through cross-community projects at school, only one quarter had maintained any lasting or meaningful relationships.

“Many of the young people who have maintained cross-community relationships do so through texting and social networking websites, which allow them to chat freely with friends from other areas. The friendship-building potential of this technology should be harnessed to promote integration.

Stand Together Campaign
“While the prevalence of segregation and sectarianism in these areas is worrying, many of the young people in the study recognised that this should not be the norm. Two out of three discussed their hopes for a ‘better’ Northern Ireland, where they could mix more freely with people from other traditions. Some of the participants were so keen to see this happen that they developed the Cut It Out! Stand Together Against Sectarianism campaign.

“While Northern Ireland is en route for positive change, this study shows that division, segregation and sectarianism are still prevalent in the lives of many young people in urban areas. 

“How Northern Ireland tackles these issues in the coming decades will set the bar for other societies seeking peaceful resolutions to conflict. As academics, policy makers, volunteers and political leaders, it is our job to listen to the young people, to gage what really should be done and to help to put community mechanisms in place that will mix young people consistently across the divide.”

The research was conducted by the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s and was funded by the European Union’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation, as administered by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council.

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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MLAs quizzed by American law students

Students from one of America’s leading law schools will quiz local politicians during a special meeting at Stormont today (Tuesday 24 June).

Over 50 students and staff from Fordham Law School in New York are on a two-week summer school visit to Queen’s University Belfast, before moving on to University College Dublin (UCD). They attended a special reception at Queen’s where they were welcomed by Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, former First Minister Rt Hon Dr Ian Paisley, and The Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Sir Brian Kerr.

Professor Colin Harvey, Head of Queen’s School of Law, said: “I am delighted to welcome the academics and students from Fordham Law School on their eighth annual visit to Queen’s.

“Today at Stormont they will have the opportunity to question MLAs about the democratic arrangements here and how they are working in practice.  This is the first year the political panel has been hosted in Parliament Buildings. The success of this part of the programme depends on the co-operation of our local politicians and their support is much appreciated by the School of Law. 

“During their visit to Queen’s, Fordham students will learn about Northern Ireland’s experience in conflict resolution, and study subjects such as human rights law, criminal law and criminal justice. This is an excellent opportunity for them to gain a unique insight into the rule of law in a post-conflict society and we are pleased to be able to share our expertise and experience with them.

“Like Queen’s, Fordham Law School has been educating some of the brightest legal minds for over a century. Fordham is a leading force in legal education in the United States, and I hope that the close relationship with Queen’s will continue into the future.”

Professor Bill Treanor, Dean of Fordham Law School, said: "This is the eighth year of the Programme, which since its inception in 2001 has sent over 350 students to Queen’s, many of whom will become leaders of the American bar and business.  Queen’s University and UCD are two of the most prominent law schools in the UK and Ireland, and indeed Europe.

"This summer school is an excellent opportunity for our students to experience life in the new Northern Ireland and interact with internationally renowned academics, local legal professionals and politicians. This is an ideal environment for Fordham students to learn from Northern Ireland’s experience of conflict resolution.”

For more information on Queen’s School of Law please visit www.law.qub.ac.uk  For more information on Fordham Law School please visit www.fordham.edu 

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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UK Higher Education Minister calls for greater US-UK links
Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell who is speaking at Queen's today
Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell who is speaking at Queen's today

Speaking at Queen’s University today, UK Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell will call for greater exchange of staff and students between universities in the UK and North America.

The Minister is in Belfast today (Tuesday) to address more than 100 delegates from the UK, the United States and Canada at a Queen’s University conference on increasing international student mobility.

Mr Rammell will deliver the opening plenary address at The British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Association (BUTEX) Conference which promotes student mobility between universities and colleges in the UK and North America.

The Association’s brief includes the promotion of UK higher education in North America and the regular exchange of information among its members on current international education issues.

Organised by Queen’s International Office, this year’s conference, on the theme “Study Abroad: Beyond the Comfort Zone” will tackle issues ranging from encouraging UK students to study abroad to developments in immigration regulation.
 
Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Rammell said: "The exchange of staff and students between institutions in the UK and North America is central not only to the health and vigour of our respective higher education systems but also to the deep bonds between our countries.
 
"Spending a period of time overseas can enrich the university experience in so many ways and I want to see more British students considering this option.
 
"Following the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States earlier this year, we’re now looking at how we can achieve even greater co-operation between UK and US institutions in this field and across the wider sphere of activities in which HE institutions engage."
 
Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson described the conference as both “timely and topical”.

He said: “In today’s shrinking world, increasing international mobility for young people is essential. It helps them to expand their knowledge, cultural horizons and career prospects. It also enriches society by enhancing understanding and creating valuable links to underpin research and economic prosperity.”

“At Queen’s, the need to continually enhance our global connections is enshrined in our Corporate Plan. We constantly strive to enhance these links through a range of exchange and study abroad programmes and research partnerships with institutions such as Georgetown University in Washington DC and the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

“These partnerships, and links with other higher education institutions throughout the world, add value to exchanges of learning and knowledge which benefit all partners.” 

Bill Rammell became Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education in May 2005. His Ministerial portfolio includes international relations, and the Prime Minister’s initiative on overseas students.

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

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Dentistry at Queen's tops Times Good University Guide
Dentistry at Queen's tops Times Good University Guide

Queen’s University Belfast has been rated as the top institution in the UK for the study of dentistry by The Times Good University Guide 2009.

The University’s undergraduate course in dentistry has been given an overall rating of 100 per cent in the guide, which has been identified by a Government-funded review as the most influential of its type. 

This year the league tables incorporate results from the National Student Survey and Queen’s was given the joint highest student satisfaction rating of 87 per cent.

Each year around 40 dentists graduate from Queen’s and 100 per cent are in employment six months after qualifying.

Professor Paddy Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen’s, said: “This is a wonderful achievement by my dental colleagues, especially as we drive towards the development of an international research-led Dental School in the next few years.”

Professor Donald Burden, Head of Dentistry, said: The Times Good University Guide is widely acknowledged as being the definitive guide for students, parents, business and academia.

“The Dental School in Northern Ireland at Queen’s University is the smallest in the UK which makes this achievement even more remarkable.

“This top ranking position recognises the dedication and commitment of the staff in Queen’s Dental School. It also highlights the high standards achieved by our dental students. Most of our graduates will go on to work as general dental practitioners or dental specialists providing dental care for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Queen’s takes over the top spot from Sheffield University this year for Dentistry. It also features in the top ten in the UK for several other subjects, including Social Work (2nd), Pharmacology and Pharmacy (4th), Celtic Studies (5th), Chemical Engineering (6th), Agriculture (7th), Mechanical Engineering (7th), Electrical and Electronic Engineering (8th) Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering and Food Science (9th) and Social Policy (10th).

Overall Queen’s University was rated 31st in the guide, up two places from last year.
Anyone wishing to find out more about studying at Queen’s can visit the University’s Ask Queen’s website at http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/ProspectiveStudents/AskQueens/

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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Belfast welcomes leading Bengal science scholars
BESU students Devleena Ghosh and Amitava Ghosh with Queen’s PhD student, Constantine Talalaev from Russia
BESU students Devleena Ghosh and Amitava Ghosh with Queen’s PhD student, Constantine Talalaev from Russia

The first group of students to participate in a scholarship exchange programme between Queen’s and India’s Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), has arrived in Belfast.

The programme was first announced late last year when Queen’s was in India for a ten day visit, accompanied by Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning.

Created to allow Indian science and technology students to live and work in Belfast, the scheme will help develop research leaders of the future. Opportunities for students from the Kolkata-based University, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, will include ‘split site’ studentships, staff exchanges and research partnerships.

Currently the group of 20 students are studying at Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) and partaking in a range of cultural, academic and social activities.

Dr. M. Satish Kumar, Director of Queen’s India initiative said: “BESU is one of India’s oldest science and engineering universities. As Queen’s celebrates its Centenary, I am delighted that BESU students are now working alongside specialist researchers in the vibrant and international setting that is ECIT.

“The sharing of knowledge and skills across international borders is vital in today’s world, particularly in the fast-moving electronics sector. I have no doubt significant strides will be made as a result of this partnership.”

Professor Manas Sanyal, from BESU added: “In India and Northern Ireland, as in many other countries, universities are now recognised as the drivers of economic development. The ability to produce skilled graduates is an essential prerequisite for a knowledge-based economy. BESU’s partnership with Queen’s will assist with this and the development of the cultural links between our two countries.”

Further information on ECIT is available at http://www.ecit.qub.ac.uk/. Further information on BESU can be found at http://www.becs.ac.in/

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

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Queen's and Barclays invest £50m in education excellence
Norman Bennett, from Queen's and Graeme MacLaughlin, Barclays
Norman Bennett, from Queen's and Graeme MacLaughlin, Barclays

Queen’s is investing a further £50m to ensure its future as a leading centre of excellence in research and education, it was announced today.

In partnership with Barclays Commercial Bank, a £50m financing package will be used to fund first class teaching and research facilities, along with staff and student accommodation and new sporting facilities.

Queen’s Director of Finance Norman Bennett said: “Our partnership with Barclays will allow us to build on an existing £250m capital development programme to provide facilities that will be the envy of higher education institutions throughout the UK.

“Queen’s reputation as an attractive destination for students and staff around the globe will also be enhanced by the worldwide facilities provided on campus.”

Graeme MacLaughlin, Relationship Director in Barclays Commercial Bank in Northern Ireland said: “Barclays is committed to building a better future for the local community, so we are delighted to continue our partnership with Queen’s University in investing in educational excellence.”

Barclays Commercial has one of the largest specialist bank teams, dedicated to the education sector and is a leading supporter of higher education establishments across the UK. Barclays enjoys relationships with many of the leading institutions, including some of the UK’s most historic universities.”

Mr Bennett said that Queen’s, like all universities, occasionally needed to raise additional external funding for capital projects and that Barclays had offered them the most competitive deal.

He continued: “Queen’s vision is to secure its position as an international university rooted in Northern Ireland, offering research and education programmes which are competitive with the best in the world.

“Underpinning this vision is an investment of more than £250m in staff, students and facilities over the next five years, including the recruitment of some 140 academic staff from around the globe.”

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


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Queen's launches UK's first Centre of Excellence for Public Health QTV News Story
Dr Sally Montgomery, Prof Frank Kee, Dr Jane Wilde and Barbary Cook, toast the opening of the new Centre
Dr Sally Montgomery, Prof Frank Kee, Dr Jane Wilde and Barbary Cook, toast the opening of the new Centre
Prof Frank Kee; Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness; Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey and Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Gregson
Prof Frank Kee; Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness; Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey and Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Gregson

The UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research will be launched at Queen’s University Belfast today, with a focus on nutrition and lifestyle.

With a research portfolio that spans molecules to populations, the £5m centre is part of a £20 million investment programme under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC).

Its work is aimed to lead to significant improvements in the wellbeing and health of the UK population.

It will focus on an integrated approach to health and social services and will research the economic, social and biological factors which cause chronic diseases as well as looking at the main causes of inequalities in health experiences.

The Queen’s-based Centre was awarded funding following a competitive process and is the first of five in the UK to be launched. Others will open in Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle and Nottingham.

Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Queen’s is happy to work with partners including the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the R&D Office and the Belfast Hospitals Trust.

“The launch of the Centre is an important new dimension in strengthening the extensive research base in medicine, health and life sciences at Queen’s.”

Professor Frank Kee of Queen’s, the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI), said a theme of partnership would underpin everything that the Centre would do.

“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 our mission.

“It boosts our capacity to 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.

“I look forward to opportunities for improving public health, working with our Assembly, within and across our own institutions and with voluntary and community groups, so that together we can make a real impact.”

The success of the Queen’s-led bid was a result of partnerships with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland.

The organisation’s Chief Executive, Dr Jane Wilde CBE, said: "The opening of the Centre of Excellence confirms Northern Ireland's place on the international public health map. 

“From molecules to people the Centre’s research programme offers the opportunity to further understand and improve the public health of Northern Ireland. By linking public health research to public policy this creative collaboration will enable others to learn from us."  

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.

Barbary Cook, Chair of the Community Development and Health Network, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Centre of Excellence and look forward to seeing communities fully connected to the research and practice development of the Centre.”

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 funding group is lead by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Funding 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.

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

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

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Queen's astronomers over the moon with £3m
Queen's SuperWASP planet hunting cameras, stationed on La Palma in the Canary Islands
Queen's SuperWASP planet hunting cameras, stationed on La Palma in the Canary Islands

The future of Queen’s planet-finding SuperWASP project has been secured until 2011 following an announcement of £3 million in grants to the University’s Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC).

In April, Queen’s astronomers announced the discovery of ten new planets as a result of their Wide Area Search for Planets project known as SuperWASP. They are known as extrasolar planets, in orbit around other stars.

Using two new sets of cameras designed at Queen’s, SuperWASP watches for events known as transits. This is where a planet passes directly in front of a star and blocks out some of its light, so from the earth the star temporarily appears a little fainter.

The cameras, based on La Palma in the Canary Islands, work as robots, surveying a large area of the sky at once. Each night astronomers have data from millions of stars that they can check for transits. The transit method also allows scientists to deduce the size and mass of each planet.

Now, following a grant of £500,000 from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), SuperWASP will continue to operate until 2011.

Dr Don Pollacco of Queen’s ARC said: “SuperWASP is now a planet-finding production line and one of the most successful discovery instruments in the world. Seventeen exoplanets have been found in the last two years alone. It will revolutionise the detection of large planets and our understanding of how they were formed. It is a great triumph for European astronomers. I suppose you could say we are over the moon to have secured the future of such an important project for the next three years.”

A further £2.2 million, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will support a range of astronomical research programmes within ARC for the next five years.

These include studies of the Sun and other stars, the search for planets orbiting stars other than the Sun (the so-called exoplanets), investigations of supernovae (stars which end their lives in massive explosions), the detection and study of comets and asteroids, and the investigation of chemical processes in material from which stars form.

Professor Philip Dufton, Director of ARC, said:  “These awards recognise the world-leading research programmes undertaken within ARC. They are particularly impressive given the current major financial squeeze on research grants from STFC.  With this significant increase in funding, ARC will be able to take a leading role in several important international research initiatives in the years to come.”

An additional award of over £300,000 has also been made to Professor Francis Keenan, Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s. From AWE Aldermaston, the award is a renewal of Professor Keenan’s William Penney Fellowship for the period 2008 to 2011. The Fellowship is focused on the study of plasmas in the laboratory which mimic those found in astronomy, but also involves
publicising the importance of science and physics to schoolchildren and the public.

Further information on the ARC at Queen’s can be found by visiting http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/

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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Investigated: Aliens under the sea
Styela Clava, one of the non-native species which has been found in UK waters
Styela Clava, one of the non-native species which has been found in UK waters

Queen’s University is appealing for help from the public in looking at ways to detect and stop the spread of marine aliens.

Activities such as aquaculture, shipping and recreational boating have led to an army of marine alien species hitchhiking around the globe. Now Queen’s is attempting to find out exactly where and how non-native species get a foothold in a new area. To do this it is asking for help from the public to record what they have seen.

Part of the Marine Aliens consortium, co-ordinated by the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the project will use the information gathered to look at how invasions can be slowed or preferably prevented. It is very difficult to eradicate an organism once it has become established in a new area.

Professor Christine Maggs, from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s, said: “While exotic plants and animals like rhododendrons and grey squirrels are obvious in the British Isles, beneath the waves a hidden invasion of non-native species is taking place around our shores.

“Many marine aliens have left their natural enemies behind and may compete with native species with potentially disastrous consequences for aquaculture, tourism and other marine activities.
“But we can all do our bit for biosecurity - anyone who has a boat or who visits the shore can help by telling scientists what they have seen.”

A guide on the Marine Aliens website will help the public identify some of the non-native species which are least wanted, including the Japanese seaweed Sargassum, which has become extremely common in Strangford Lough, the Chinese mitten crab, already found in Ireland, and two species that have not arrived here yet, the Japanese skeleton shrimp and a colonial sea squirt. The site is at www.marlin.ac.uk/marine_aliens

Records of marine life should include as a minimum what was seen, and where and when it was seen.  They can be made online at www.marlin.ac.uk/rml and sightings in Ireland can also be reported through the invasive species Ireland website www.invasivespeciesireland.com

The Marine Aliens consortium is made up of Queen's University Belfast, Bangor University, the Fisheries Research Services, the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, the Natural History Museum London, the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban and the University of Plymouth.

People involved in boating activities can get advice on how they can reduce the transfer of alien species at www.thegreenblue.org.uk/youandyourboat/alienspecies.asp

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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'Minority' sports major winners at Queen's

Queen’s has announced the winners of its Special Achievement Sports Awards at the University’s annual Blues Dinner.

Held in association with Powerade, awards went to Great Britain Volleyball squad member David Hamilton, Taekwondo Master Glen Culbert, Athletics’ John Saulters and Queen’s 2nd X1 women’s hockey team.

In the University’s Centenary year, the University also acknowledged the performances of its ladies’ teams, following victories in hockey, volleyball, camogie and soccer.

Portadown's David Hamilton, picked up the coveted Sports Achievement (Individual) Award for his performances in volleyball throughout the year. A full Great Britain international, David has previously captained Northern Ireland at Senior level. Earlier this year he won most valuable player at the Irish University Championships and helped Queen’s retain the NI Universities title in 2008.

Coach of the Year went to Glen Culbert from Dromore, A Taekwondo Master, Glen has been involved in coaching at Queen’s for 18 years and is a 6th Dan Taekwondo Federation Master. He was recognised for his contribution to the development of the sport at Queen’s which has ensured competitors from the University are entering and winning more competitions than ever before.

Winner of the Team Sports Achievement Award went to Queen’s women’s 2nd XI, who won the Junior Plate and gained promotion to Junior League Three.

The final Special Contribution to Sport award went to Athletics’ John Saulter. From Bangor, John has been involved in Queen’s Athletics for the last five years. His contribution to the development of the sport at the University includes acting as Race Director of Queen’s 5K race, initiating and organising the Botanic Miles Series and helping to secure the Irish Senior Cross Country Championships at Queen’s in February.

BBC Northern Ireland’s Denise Watson hosted the evening in the University’s Whitla Hall. A graduate of Queen’s, Denise invited 24 students, who have represented Queen’s in numerous different sports over the last 12 months, to receive their full Blues from Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

Speaking at the awards, Professor Gregson said: “At the Blues Dinner we reward the endeavour and success of our athletes and recognise the efforts of our volunteers. “The University is investing heavily in sport. It is this, coupled with the strong volunteering ethos at Queen’s, which has led to our recent inclusion in the pre-training camp guide for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. I have no doubt that in the next twelve months we will continue to see even more success for Queen’s, both on and off the field of play.”

Emmet McCorry of sponsors Powerade said: “Powerade is proud to be associated with Queen’s Blues Awards, which recognises the outstanding achievements of our local students and sporting champions. Powerade’s aim is to encourage participation in sport and to help athletes’ improve their performance. Thanks to our partnership with Queen’s we can work together to ensure the University’s athletes continue to get the most out of sport.”

Further information on Queen’s Sport and the PEC, which is open to the public, can be found at http://www.qub.ac.uk/sport/

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Queen's research among world's most referenced
Professor Gerry McCormac and Dr Paula Reimer
Professor Gerry McCormac and Dr Paula Reimer

Papers written by academics at Queen’s University in Belfast have been declared as among the most referenced in the world by other geoscientists.

A 2004 paper by Dr Paula Reimer, Professor Mike Baillie, Professor Gerry McCormac, Ron Reimer and others was selected as a Current Classic by Thomson Scientific in both February and April this year after being cited more than 520 times since its publication.

The paper, IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, focused on carbon dating - a process used by geoscientists to establish the age, up to about 50,000 years old, of anything which was once alive, from bones to seeds, for archaeological purposes and studies of past environmental change.

Twenty five people were involved for three years in compiling the paper which researched the accuracy of converting radiocarbon ages to calendar ages.

Dr Paula Reimer, Director of the Chrono Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaecology at Queen’s, said:

“The paper was highlighted as a Current Classic by Thompson Scientific because of the rapid rise in citations by other researchers in archaeology and geosciences who use it for converting radiocarbon ages to calendar timescale”.

Professor Gerry McCormac, a Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s, who has run the carbon dating facility for more than 20 years, said: “This research is a refinement and extension of previous radiocarbon calibration curves for improved timescales back to 26,000 years ago.
“It is now used by thousands of researchers worldwide to determine the precise calendar dates of artifacts that have been carbon dated.”

Another paper in which Dr Reimer was involved in writing in 1998, Intcal 98 radiocarbon age calibration, is also a Current Classic, and has been cited nearly 2,500 times.

Henry Small, Director of Research Services and Chief Scientist at Thomson Reuters, which compiles the information said: “These are widely used data papers clearly of high utility to the field, and are typical of papers we select for our Current Classics list in ScienceWatch.com. To have been involved as an author on two such papers is of course an extraordinary achievement.”

Further information on the work of the Chrono Centre at Queen’s can be found at http://www.chrono.qub.ac.uk/

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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Queen's research offers free advice and support to parents
Dr Helga Sneddon from Queen's, pictured here with her son Tom, is asking parents with a baby under the age of one year to take part in the Lifestart Study
Dr Helga Sneddon from Queen's, pictured here with her son Tom, is asking parents with a baby under the age of one year to take part in the Lifestart Study

Queen’s University researchers, working on behalf of the Lifestart Foundation, are looking for parents with babies under one year of age to take part in one of the largest studies of families and parenting ever undertaken in Ireland. 

The aim of the Lifestart Study is to evaluate the Lifestart Home Based Parenting Programme.  Those who participate in the research will be able to receive free feedback on their child’s development.

Dr Helga Sneddon from the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social work said: “The Lifestart Study aims to evaluate how well the Lifestart Home Based Parenting Programme works for parents and children.  Rather than making assumptions about what we think parents need, we are giving them the opportunity to share directly with us their experiences and the type of support they find useful in their role as parents.”

“The Lifestart programme aims to support families, with children aged from birth to five through the ups and downs of parenting by helping them, on a month by month basis, to learn and understand more about their child’s development.

"Of the 500 families we are seeking to take part in this research, 250 of them will be entered into the Lifestart programme. This will allow us to find out more about their experiences of parenting compared to those who are not involved in the Lifestart programme.

“Those families who volunteer to take part in The Lifestart Study will be visited by us in their homes during their child’s first year, again when the child is two and a half, and finally when the child is five years old. Throughout this time, we will talk with mums and dads about their parenting experiences and be able to provide them with some useful free feedback on their child’s development.

“Taking part in the study will help us improve early years parenting support and identify gaps in the services available to parents throughout Ireland.  Parents should look out for leaflets coming through their doors over the next few months that give more details about taking part in the study.  Parents can also call our free-phone numbers. In Northern Ireland call 0800 0855031, in the Republic of Ireland call 1800 818 688, or email lifestartstudy@qub.ac.uk

The researchers are looking for parents from 17 areas across Ireland to participate in the study: Ballymagroarty/Hazelbank/Coshquin (Derry), Enniskillen, Limavady, Mid-Ards (Down), Strabane, Shantallow (Derry) Lifford/Letterkenny (Donegal), Tir Boghaine (Donegal), Newtowncunningham (Donegal), Ballymun (Dublin), Carlow/Kilkenny, Cherry Orchard (Dublin), Drogheda (Louth), Edenderry (Offaly/Kildare), Leitrim, Mulhuddart (Dublin), Sligo.

The Lifestart Study is funded by Lifestart with support from Atlantic Philanthropies. Helga Sneddon is based at the Institute of Child Care Research and co-researcher Sarah Allen is based at the School of Education at Queens.  

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 centre 'welcomes' Tourist Board status

One of the most visited venues at Queen’s University is preparing to ‘welcome’ thousands of tourists this summer in its new guise as a Northern Ireland Tourist Board Local Information Office.

The new status for Queen’s Welcome Centre recognises its role as a destination for tens of thousands of visitors each year. Sited in the Lanyon Building at the heart of Queen’s, the multi-functional Centre is an information point for tourists, arranges tours of the campus and hosts a series of high-profile exhibitions and events. It also operates as a thriving retail outlet selling Queen's gifts and memorabilia.

Centre Manager Lynn Corken said: “Every year we welcome hundreds of international visitors to Queen's, from coach loads of tourists and independent travellers to business visitors to the city and prospective students or people with a connection to Queen's.

"Our guest book lists names and messages from all over the world, from China, Australia, the United States, mainland Europe and closer to home.

"Our new status as the official tourist centre for south Belfast means that we are now part of a major network which will not only raise our profile but also enable us to provide an enhanced service for the many thousands of visitors who pass through our doors.”

To celebrate its new status, the Centre is holding a special reception on Thursday 12 June for local restaurateurs, hoteliers and others in the hospitality industry in south Belfast.

Lynn said: “The Queen’s Quarter and south Belfast have so much to offer, and it is crucial that we all work together to ensure that we provide the best possible experience for our visitors.”

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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Young Indianas invited to bring history to life
Time Team's Tony Robinson and Dr Nichola Whitehouse, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeocology at Queen's, at the excavation of Hugh O'Neill, ancient King of Ireland, Dungannon dwelling, just one of the many locations open to the public during Archaeology Days 2008.
Time Team's Tony Robinson and Dr Nichola Whitehouse, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeocology at Queen's, at the excavation of Hugh O'Neill, ancient King of Ireland, Dungannon dwelling, just one of the many locations open to the public during Archaeology Days 2008.

Queen's University is offering fans of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft the chance to raid and relive history as part of Northern Ireland's 2008 Archaeology Days.

Aimed at children and families, the Belfast branch of the Young Archaeologist Club is running a series of events in association with the Environment and Heritage Service.

Based in Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s, the Young Archaeologists’ Club will be inviting budding Indianas the chance to examine ancient bones and bodies. The events will teach children how to tell if a skeleton is male or female, how to work out a person’s height and how to spot diseases and injuries through bones.

Other highlights on offer this year include a chance to take part in excavations at Castle Ward and tours of the recent Channel 4 Time Team Dig site at Castle Hill in Dungannon. The Dungannon dig, which began in October 2007 has revealed the foundations of the Medieval O’Neill Castle next to foundations of a military fort from the early 17th century.

Dr Eileen Murphy, senior lecturer in the School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology at Queen’s said: “Events like Archaeology Days help to spread awareness of the work we all do and the history of the area. Most of this year’s events have been organised for Saturday 21 June. It is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, which would have been worshipped by our ancestors.

“The archaeologists at Queen’s see this as a valuable way of communicating with the general public. We can reach a much larger audience than through some of our talks, so this is a big plus for us and everyone is happy to give up their time. Volunteering at the Young Archaeologists’ Club is extremely rewarding.

“The Belfast Branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club, currently has over 50 members and we always welcome more. It is a great chance for young people to get hands-on experience and to become involved in the study of their shared heritage, which often schools don’t have the resources to provide. Not only is the club open to 7-16 year olds but we find a lot of their parents are interested and stay to listen to the talks. Over 16’s needn’t feel left out either, there are plenty of opportunities to become official club helpers.”

Anyone interested in further information on the Young Archaelogists’ Club can contact Dr Eileen Murphy on 028 9097 3979, Eileen.murphy@qub.ac.uk.

Events organised by archaeologists and palaeoecologists from Queen’s University include:

Saturday 14 June: Young Archaeologists’ Club - Ancient Bones and Bodies
Venue: Archaeology and Palaeoecology Building, Fitzwilliam St, Belfast.
Time: 2-4pm
Contact: Dr Eileen Murphy, 028 9097 3979, Eileen.murphy@qub.ac.uk

Saturday 21 June: Open day at the Archaeology & Palaeoecology Building
Venue: Archaeology and Palaeoecology Building, Fitzwilliam St.
Time: 2-4pm

Saturday 21 June-Friday 11 July: Excavations at Castle Ward, Strangford, Co. Down
Venue: near the Old Castle Ward farmyard, signposts will be in place
Time: 9.00am-5.00pm
Booking essential: contact Malachy Conway, The National Trust, 028 4062 3322, malachy.conway@nationaltrust.org.uk

Saturday 21 June: Carrickfergus Town and Walls
Venue: Castle reception
Time: 11am and 2pm

Saturday 21 June: Walking Tour of Medieval O Neill Castle site
Venue: Castle Hill, Dungannon, Co Tyrone
Time: 1pm and 3pm

Saturday 21 June: Tours of Struell Wells site
Venue: Struell Wells, Co Down
Time: 2-5pm

Further information on the School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology at Queen’s is available from http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/gap/

For media enquiries please contact: Judith Rance, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5292, j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Northern Ireland not yet a 'normal' society
Robin Wilson
Robin Wilson

Ten years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland is not yet a ‘normal’ society. That’s according to a report published today (Wednesday 11 June) at Queen’s University Belfast.

Can Northern Ireland become normal? Attitudes to the role of government in Northern Ireland is based on information from the 2007 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, conducted by ARK, a joint research initiative by Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.

Robin Wilson, co-leader of a devolution-monitoring research project in Northern Ireland, who analysed the results on behalf of ARK said: “The survey results highlight a lack of consensus on issues that are central to the functioning of a peaceful democracy - such as opposition to political violence, the right to protest, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is worrying and it indicates that we are not yet a ‘normal’ society.

“Whilst the survey results show some positive trends in Northern Ireland’s journey to becoming ‘normal’, the lack of agreement on these important issues indicates that we still have some way to go.

“It is encouraging to find that people’s political priorities are moving away from constitutional arguments towards the bread and butter issues that characterise a ‘normal’ society.

“65 per cent of those surveyed think that the Northern Ireland Assembly should focus on policy issues rather than constitutional matters, with the most important issues identified as health, the economy and employment.

“When asked to prioritise the constitutional issues that the Assembly will have to deal with, over half (53 per cent) identified the devolution of policing and justice as the main priority, above securing Northern Ireland’s union with the UK (26 per cent) or bringing about a united Ireland (9 per cent).

“This indicates that people want the Assembly to have more influence over how Northern Ireland is run. Whilst almost half of respondents (45 per cent) felt that the UK Government currently has the most influence over how Northern Ireland is run, the majority (68 per cent) think that the Assembly should have primary responsibility for decision making here.

“Whilst these findings are encouraging, there is a lack of consensus on some issues that are crucial to the success of any democratic society. It is worrying, for example, that one third of respondents have some sympathy for the reasons behind loyalist (29 per cent) or republican (30 per cent) violence.

“One third of people surveyed also thought that protest marches, which are a fundamental human right in a democratic society, should not be permitted; and over half (58 per cent) thought that the authorities should have the right to detain people for as long as they want without putting them on trial.

“The continued polarisation of the electorate is also evident in the survey results, with the DUP and Sinn Fein enjoying the total support of 34 per cent of respondents. This continuing dominance of nationalistic politics - which is focused on the maintenance or the removal of the border - has seen the ‘bread and butter’ issues that the electorate are concerned about, such as the future of academic selection, deadlocked on communal lines, and the devolution of policing and justice indefinitely postponed.

“In its A Shared Future document, published in March 2005, the government stated that its aim was to develop ‘a normal civic society’ in Northern Ireland. Whilst some progress has been made, the results of this survey indicate there is still some road to travel towards a ‘normal’ Northern Ireland.”

This report is based on data from the 2007 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey. This annual survey records the attitudes, values and beliefs of the people in Northern Ireland to a wide range of social policy issues. This report and all the results from the 2007 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey will be available online at www.ark.ac.uk/nilt. Related link please click here.

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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Schoolchildren learn to stay safe in the sun
Holy Rosary Primary School pupils Medb Willis and Cillian Burns make sure Barclays Relationship Director Graeme MacLaughlin and Queen's University medical student Monica Proctor are protected in the sun. The school took part in the University's Medics in Primary Schools scheme, sponsored by Barclays
Holy Rosary Primary School pupils Medb Willis and Cillian Burns make sure Barclays Relationship Director Graeme MacLaughlin and Queen's University medical student Monica Proctor are protected in the sun. The school took part in the University's Medics in Primary Schools scheme, sponsored by Barclays
Cillian Burns from Holy Rosary Primary School in south Belfast makes sure medical student Monica Proctor from Queen's University, is protected from the sun. The school took part in the university's Medics in Primary Schools scheme, sponsored by Barclays
Cillian Burns from Holy Rosary Primary School in south Belfast makes sure medical student Monica Proctor from Queen's University, is protected from the sun. The school took part in the university's Medics in Primary Schools scheme, sponsored by Barclays

Schoolchildren have been spreading the sun safety message to friends and family, thanks to a Queen’s University scheme designed to teach them basic health education.

The safe sun message was just one part of this year’s Medics In Primary Schools initiative sponsored by Barclays devised to offer pupils a host of dietary, nutritional and overall health advice.

Over 40 schools in the Greater Belfast area took part in the scheme. Through it 50 second year medical students at Queen’s have guided hundreds of pupils through a wide ranging health education programme across a 12 week period. The Queen’s students also encourage primary school 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 opportunity 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 MacLaughlin said: “Barclays is delighted to have provided support for the Medics in Primary Schools project. From the feedback from both the primary school pupils and the medical students, it has proven to be very successful in its objective of teaching children about the importance of health education, as well as offering practical experience to second year medical students to assist with their ongoing studies.
“The project, unique in the UK, is innovative in that it delivers key health messages to children from a young age, as well as further reinforcing the link between the medical profession and the wider community.
“In terms of Barclays commitment, the project met with our main objectives of banking on a brighter and healthier future within the local community.”

John Waugh, Principal of Wheatfield Primary School in north Belfast, said his school had seen many benefits from participating in the scheme.
“The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with a medical student and studying topics which were relevant to the revised curriculum and their daily life,” he added.

Monica Proctor, a medical student who visited Holy Rosary Primary School in south Belfast, said she had gained a lot from the experience.

“Medics in Primary Schools has given me the opportunity to improve and develop both my communication and interpersonal skills with children. It has made me look at intricate concepts in a more simple manner, which in the future and throughout my medical career will help when dealing with patients.”

Any schools interested in participating in the scheme should contact Mairead Boohan, Head of Division of Medical Education, at  m.boohan@qub.ac.uk

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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Queen's v Trinity: Battle of the boat race
Gavin Meek, Captain of Senior Men with Lucy McMillen, Cox
Gavin Meek, Captain of Senior Men with Lucy McMillen, Cox

The fifth University Boat Race between Queen's University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin will take place on the River Lagan, Belfast this Saturday. 

Teams from both institutions will battle it out on the 2112 metre course, which starts at McConnell's Weir and ends at Queen's University Boat Club, Lockview Road, Belfast. 

Based on the world famous Oxford Cambridge boat race the Irish version has become a permanent fixture on the rowing calendar. Queen’s will be particularly keen to win in their centenary year, though Trinity have a lot of power and experience in their men’s senior eight boat. 

A great day of rowing is anticipated with the fresher racing starting at 1.45pm, senior ladies at 3.15 pm and the main event of the senior men's at 4pm. This year the Consarc Design Group has kindly sponsored the senior races. Other supporters include the Belfast City Council, Queen’s Chief Executive Club and Lomac Tiles.

Queen’s will be on familiar waters, and the crew Captain, Gavin Meek, has already got two Boat Races under his belt, but at the official weigh in, TCD hit the scales at 789kg against Queen’s 702 kg.  Add to that their recent win at the Irish University Championships and there is no doubt they are on top form.  Gabe Magee from Pennsylvania USA is coxing TCD again this year.

Like their counterparts in camogie, soccer, netball and volleyball, the Queen’s University Senior ladies are performing very well this season. Queen’s won bronze at the British University Championships against stiff competition form all over the UK and beat Trinity Seniors in Dublin last weekend. 

Good spectator points can be found all along the River Lagan embankment and bridges.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit. 028 9097 5384 or 0781 44 22 572 or Ann Gorman PR on 07787563854.

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New book tells stories of madness and murder in 19th century Ireland

The true stories of Irish men and women who committed murder while suffering from mental disorders have been revealed in a new book.

Madness and Murder: Gender, Crime and Mental Disorder in Nineteenth Century Ireland is written by Pauline Prior, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast.

Dr Prior said: “This book tells true stories about the people who were charged with murder in Ireland in the 1800s and their fate in an asylum, in prison before being ‘exported’ abroad, or at the hands of the executioner.

Murder and Madness features real people from Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught, some of whom were found guilty and sentenced to death or transportation, and others who were found to be ‘insane’ and sent to the Central Criminal Asylum for Ireland at Dundrum, Co.Dublin.

“When writing this book I was given unique access to the records of convicts and the criminal justice policies that existed in nineteenth century Ireland. I found that the execution of women for murder was extremely rare, but it did occur and the cases of these women who were put to death are discussed in this book.

“With the opening of the central criminal lunatic asylum at Dundrum in 1850, men who killed women and women who killed children began to use the plea of ‘insanity’ very successfully in their defence, leading to many of them being committed indefinitely to the asylum. Others who were deemed to be responsible for their actions were first imprisoned and later offered official assistance to emigrate to the USA. All of this is explored in the book.

“If you are interested in crime in Ireland, in the link between mental disorder and crime, or in the impact of gender on crime and its punishment, Murder and Madness is the book for you.”

Madness and Murder: Gender, Crime and Mental Disorder in Nineteenth Century Ireland is available at all good bookshops. It is published by Irish Academic Press.

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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Sport in the City: Queen's Blues Awards
Paddy O'Doherty of Powerade and Cathy Gallagher, Queen's Sport, are joined by Blues recipients
Paddy O'Doherty of Powerade and Cathy Gallagher, Queen's Sport, are joined by Blues recipients

It's a firm case of 'Sport in the City' at Queen's tonight as the female athletes at the University bid for top honours at its annual sporting Blues Dinner showcase. Several of Queen's ladies' teams brought home silverware this year including ladies soccer, camogie, ladies volleyball and ladies hockey.

104 Blues recipients from 16 sports will be in the Whitla Hall tonight to find out if they have been selected for one of the special achievement awards, including Individual of the Year, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year. The event is sponsored by Powerade.

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

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Queen's research shows that young people care too

Ahead of national Carers' Week (9-15 June) researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have launched a report that highlights how one in five 16 year olds in Northern Ireland provide some sort of informal care for sick, elderly or disabled relatives or friends.

The research was conducted by ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive at Queen’s, as part of the 2007 Young Life and Times Survey. 

Paula Devine from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s said: “While there has been a lot of research into the caring responsibilities of adults in Northern Ireland, little is known about the role of young people in looking after those who need care. This survey aimed to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge and explore the extent, nature and effect of caring among teenagers.

“20 per cent of the young people surveyed said they have caring duties. These young people have to deal with the extra responsibility that this brings to their lives, so it is important that we understand exactly what they have to deal with and how this impacts on them.

“Whilst 14 per cent of young carers care for someone outside their own home, almost one in ten (9 per cent) look after someone at home. Of these, over two in five care for a parent, while others help support siblings or grandparents. Of those who care for someone outside their own home, most help care for a grandmother or grandfather.”

Dr Katrina Lloyd from Queen’s said: “The study found that young carers are more likely to be female than male - 22 per cent of 16 year old girls said that they had caring responsibilities, compared to 17 per cent of boys. They are also more likely to live in rural areas or be from lower income families.

“The research also found that caring responsibilities make no significant difference to a young person’s plans to remain in full time education, although there are indications that caring for someone who lives with them may have a detrimental effect on their mental health. 

“This study has helped fill many of the gaps in our knowledge of young carers. But it is just a starting point. It has highlighted a number of areas that we need to find out more about, including the effect of caring responsibilities on young people’s physical and mental health, education and social lives. Young carers often have a lot to deal with compared to their peers, so it is important that we understand the extent of their caring responsibilities and the impact this has on their lives.”

The research report on Young Carers can be found at http://www.ark.ac.uk/publications/updates

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 welcomes RIA's Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee
Professor Damien McDonnell, OBE, Professor John Kelly and Dr Stephen Bell
Professor Damien McDonnell, OBE, Professor John Kelly and Dr Stephen Bell

Queen’s University will today host the first visit to Northern Ireland by the Royal Irish Academy’s Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee. During their visit, the Committee will hear from Professor Damien McDonnell, OBE, Chairman of MATRIX: the Northern Ireland Science and Industry Panel.

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. MATRIX is a business led expert panel, formed to advise government on the commercial exploitation of R&D and science and technology and to help address the challenges that Northern Ireland faces in trying to remain competitive in the globalised marketplace.

Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said: "I am delighted to welcome the Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy and Professor Damien McDonnell, Chairman of MATRIX to Queen's University today. 

“It is both fitting and timely that we host the Committee on its first visit to Northern Ireland, as yet another three members of Queen’s staff were elected to the Academy just last month.
 
“The University has also been working closely with Professor McDonnell and his colleagues in MATRIX to ensure that the expertise, knowledge and world-class research existing within Queen's is carefully exploited for the benefit of Northern Ireland plc.”

Speaking at the event, Damien McDonnell said: “The work of the Academy’s Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee directly dovetails with the work of the MATRIX Panel. As we strive to create a knowledge-based economy we hope to utilise the wealth of experience and research excellence within the Academy. Our work to date has been to identify key global markets where Northern Ireland can commercially exploit its research strengths in specific areas of science, technology and innovation to ensure that over the next decade we transform the local economy.

“Today’s meeting of the Royal Irish Academy’s Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee in Belfast will help us greatly over the next few weeks as we compile a report to the Minister on how Northern Ireland can utilise our research and technical strengths to compete in this increasingly globalised and competitive marketplace.”

"The work of the MATRIX Panel has shown that business engagement with the science and technology research base is essential if Northern Ireland is to grow a world class knowledge based economy."

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

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From Young Tom to the Ratman: Legacy of Two Belfast Authors Lives on at Queen's

A new exhibition begins today (3 June) at Queen’s University Welcome Centre, exploring the life and work of the Belfast authors Forrest Reid and Stephen Gilbert.

In addition to correspondence, artistic prints, photographs, colourful juvenilia and collectibles relating to Reid and Gilbert, illustrated boards also explore the lives and literary themes of the two authors.

The free exhibition draws on a significant literary collection of over 200 letters and manuscripts, known as the Forest Reid Archive.

Professor Brian Caraher of Queen’s University’s School of English said: “In 2007 the University acquired the Forrest Reid and Stephen Gilbert Archives, a significant literary collection of letters and manuscripts by the celebrated Belfast-born author Forrest Reid (1875-1947), and his protégé and friend Stephen Gilbert.

“Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the acquisition ensured that the collection remained in Northern Ireland as an important part of this region's cultural and literary heritage.”

Paul Mullan, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland said: “It’s wonderful to see this exhibition, featuring the work of two acclaimed Belfast authors, being staged in Belfast.  We are delighted to support Queen’s with this project which not only safeguards our cultural and literary heritage, but also opens it up for everyone to experience and enjoy.”   

Reid published widely, and won the James Tait Black memorial prize for his novel Young Tom in 1944. E M Forster, who valued Reid’s work highly, referred to him as the ‘most important man in Belfast’.

Gilbert’s most acclaimed work Ratman’s Notebooks, has been adapted for the Hollywood screen twice, as the horror film Willard.

Breadth and Colour
There is a wealth of material within the personal papers of these two authors, and the exhibition will highlight the breadth and colourful detail of their archives. Of particular importance are the items of correspondence within the collections which comprise letters from such literary figures as E M Forster, Walter de la Mare, AE, and Padraic Colum, as well as letters between Gilbert and Reid themselves.

The Forster Correspondence
The letters from Forster to Reid date from 1912 to 1946 and discuss novels such as A Passage to India and Maurice. The cultural significance and academic value of the archive is immense. It is one of the largest known collections of EM Forster correspondence ever discovered, and is almost certainly the most intellectually significant. The archive is also potentially the largest known archive of Walter de la Mare literary correspondence. 

An Historical Resource
The papers are also a rich resource for social history. Correspondents of Reid’s talk of the industrialised decimation of a generation between 1914 and 1918, Zeppelin raids, army barracks life in a Second World War army camp, colonial duties in the Middle East, and Hindu festivals in India. Reid himself was a more politically insular character but his prose pictures of Belfast remain fresh and evocative.

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

Principal support for the acquisition and development of the archives came from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Supporting funds for the project also came from The Pilgrim Trust, Ulster Bank Group, The John Jefferson Smurfit Monegasque Foundation, Esme Mitchell Trust, Dr. Michael and Mrs. Ruth West, and Sir Donnell Deeny.

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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Funding for Queen's scientist to help women cope with breast cancer

Dr Noleen McCorry from the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded a grant to study the emotional impact and well-being of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The funding comes from Breast Cancer Campaign, the charity that aims to beat breast cancer by funding innovative world class research and is part of a £5 million funding announement,  the most ever awarded by the charity in a single year.

Dr McCorry aims to identify the beliefs women and their partners have about breast cancer and the coping strategies they employ at different stages of the illness that may impact on their psychological well-being.

Dr McCorry said, “The results of this study will be used to improve psychological well-being among women who hold negative beliefs about their disease, which can be identified at an early stage.

Breast Cancer Campaign currently supports 105 research projects throughout the UK worth over £12.8 million, five of which are being carried out in Northern Ireland.

Pamela Goldberg, Chief Executive, Breast Cancer Campaign said: “While our mission is to beat breast cancer, we also aim to better understand the impact that breast cancer has on people’s lives and how best to support them.”

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

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Queen's signs partnership with global bank
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and António Horta-Osório, Abbey's CEO, sign the new agreement between the University and the global banking institution. Looking on is Abbey National plc Chairman, Lord Terry Burns
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and António Horta-Osório, Abbey's CEO, sign the new agreement between the University and the global banking institution. Looking on is Abbey National plc Chairman, Lord Terry Burns

Queen’s University Belfast and Abbey National plc, Banco Santander’s UK subsidiary, today signed a three-year agreement to support students, researchers and entrepreneurs under the ‘Santander Universities’ Global Division scheme.

Under the partnership, postgraduate scholarships will be available for students from the 11 countries in Santander Universities network - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela - to study at Queen’s. Awards will also be available for Queen’s students and staff to study or carry out research in these countries.

‘Santander Universities’ will also support a range of entrepreneurship activities, including a Dragons’ Den event for Humanities students developing business plans for a performance or event to be staged at the University.

The formal agreement was signed by Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and António Horta-Osório, Abbey’s CEO.

Professor Gregson said: “Queen’s is delighted to join the ‘Santander Universities’ network and we are very grateful to Abbey for its generous support. We look forward to a rewarding and exciting partnership which will not only directly benefit our students and staff but also enhance our international research links. This is an excellent example of how universities and business can work together to promote innovation and knowledge transfer in the global higher education environment.”

António Horta-Osório, Abbey’s CEO, said: “Queen’s University Belfast stands out for the quality of its teaching and research. It is a university highly committed to working closely with industry to deepen the transfer of knowledge and research. That is why its inclusion into the Santander Universities network is a significant step for Abbey and Banco Santander. Its membership strengthens our ability to promote international cooperation, knowledge exchange, and to foster the conversion of innovative ideas into social and economic benefits for the community.”

Among those attending the event was Abbey National plc Chairman, Lord Terry Burns, who delivered a lecture on ‘Retail Banking and Financial Regulation’ to local business leaders on Tuesday evening. Lord Burns’ talk was part of Queen’s Chair of Innovation series which brings world experts to Northern Ireland to share their insights and knowledge with local business audiences.

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

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Queen's University seeks 'patient actors'

Queen’s University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry is inviting people from all walks of life to work as ‘patient actors’.

Also known as Standardised Patients (SPs), members of the public are being invited to act as patients in return for payment. The roles are part of Queen’s Patients as Partners (PasP) programme; a novel approach used to help in the area of communications and clinical skills training for its students.

Successful applicants undergo a period of training, after which they undertake role-plays of various patient case studies, work with students who are practising a certain skill and assist at exam times in the evaluation of how students have learned a skill.

Since being launched two years ago the scheme has trained over 60 SPs. But as training continues to focus more and more on communication with patients even more are needed for exams and teaching sessions.

The programme also aims to offer those who have been long-term unemployed, perhaps through illness, an opportunity to take steps back into employment.

Speaking about the scheme, Dr Melissa McCullough, a lecturer in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and academic lead on the programme said: “As future doctors and dentists, a great deal of trust will be placed in our medical students during their professional careers.

"Patients as Partners offers students opportunities to practice their skills in history taking and examination with ‘real’ patients to improve their communication skills and successfully relate to people of all ages and backgrounds.

“SPs come from all walks of life and bring a variety of experience with them. They generally have good communication skills, an interest in education and personal health and are patient with those who are learning new skills.

“The programme has been extremely successful, both in the quality of the people we have recruited and what they have given to medical education.

“That element of realism is essential for the training of future doctors. There are so many people who have come forward and it's great that the community view it as a valuable service to the School.”

Marie Brooks, PasP administrator, said: “The value of using simulated patients in developing good training practice has been highlighted and the need for people to participate keeps growing.  We really are seeing the value of the scheme and are glad to have received so much support from those who interested in helping.”

Frank Crummey retired over a decade ago from his position as Deputy Director of General Medical Services in the Central Services Agency. Over the past two years he has been involved in training Queen’s students from first to fifth year.

He said: “Having acted in the Group Theatre with the late James Young many years ago, I was immediately interested as retirement gave me the time to be involved.
 
“After being accepted along with a number of other people, we went through a training period before becoming directly involved with the students.
 
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Patients as Partners and have been impressed with the high standard of teaching I have witnessed at Queen's. I have also made a lot of new friends.

“I would encourage others to have a go as I am sure they would find it very interesting and rewarding. After all, these bright, young people will be looking after the health and well being of OAPs like myself in the near future!”

Anyone interested in applying to become a Standardised Patient should visit the website http://www.qub.ac.uk/cm/me/pasp.html where further information and an application form can be accessed. Alternatively, contact Marie Brooks on 028 9097 1435 or at m.brooks@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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Simulated babies provide vital training for students

Diagnosing and treating illnesses in young children who cannot communicate their needs is one of the most demanding challenges for doctors and nurses.

Four high-tech simulated ‘babies’ were the focus of a national event at Queen’s last week, designed to help teach students how to assess and manage ill infants as well as developing shared learning.

SimBaby is a highly realistic manikin (medical dummy) worth £25,000, which breathes, has a pulse and heart beat, and many other features that allow it to mimic diseases such as bronchiolitis, croup and meningitis.

The interactive simulator reacts when emergency skills are performed on it and uses special video software to give those using it detailed feedback on their performance. 
 
Healthcare educators from universities in England, Scotland and Ireland attended the national workshop on how SimBaby can be used as a tool for developing interprofessional skills for undergraduate medical and nursing students.

The event was hosted by the Centre for Excellence in Interprofessional Education (CEIPE) at Queen’s. In Northern Ireland Queen’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and School of Medicine own two of the manikins, while another two have been brought to the event from Dublin College University and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.

Dr Neil Kennedy, one of the SimBaby project leaders, said that the tool helped students realise the importance of effective teamwork and communication.

“Our students have found the SimBaby sessions to be some of the most valuable and memorable of their undergraduate career.

“Working, as they will do in clinical practice when qualified in teams of medics and nurses, the students assess and manage ill infants simulated using SimBaby.

 “As facilitators, we notice improvement in clinical skills as the session progresses. But it is particularly in the area of teamworking that we see the most improvement. Students gain the confidence and skills to communicate effectively with each other to optimise the management of the child.

“Our team in CEIPE believes that students need to learn together if they are to work together effectively in the future. Simulation exercises using SimBaby is a useful means of achieving this goal.”

The event was funded by the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine (MEDEV) and took place in the Clinical Education Centre in Queen’s School of Nursing.

Dr Megan Quentin-Baxter, Director of MEDEV, said it was important that the CEIPE team was sharing their expertise in using SimBaby in teaching and learning with colleagues from across the UK.

“Realistic simulation is becoming increasingly important in training health care professionals to effectively prepare them for clinical practice. The approach taken in CEIPE is an outstanding example of curricula innovation leading to new collaborative learning opportunities for students.”

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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