11 2008 Press Releases

Increase in adoption of children in care in Northern Ireland

The number of children being adopted from care in Northern Ireland has increased, according to a study by Queen’s University. However, Health Boards and Trusts vary dramatically in their decisions on long-term placements for children in care.

From Care to Where? A Care Pathways and Outcomes Report for Practitioners explores the placements of the 374 children who were under five years old and in care in Northern Ireland in March 2000. Researchers followed their progress through foster care, adoption or return to birth parents. In March 2000 none of these 374 children were adopted, but by 2004 38 per cent (140 children) had been adopted. In the same period the proportion of children in foster care fell from 61 per cent to 22 per cent.

The study - the first of its kind in Northern Ireland - was conducted by the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s and funded by the Research and Development Office for Northern Ireland. It is the first study to look at an entire population of young people in a variety of care environments over a long period of time.

Dr Dominic McSherry from the Institute of Child Care Research said: "While the majority of children in Northern Ireland grow up in a safe and secure family environment, a minority face violence, abuse and neglect in their own homes, and the state has a duty to intervene on their behalf. Prior to 2000, very few children in care were adopted, but this report highlights a fundamental change in long-term placement practice.

“The report also highlights inconsistencies across Health Board areas in the types of long-term care placements chosen for children in care. A higher proportion of children in the Northern and Southern Board areas were adopted. In the Western Board area, children were more likely to be placed in foster care, whereas in the Eastern Board more children were returned to their birth parents.

“The needs of the child must be central to deciding the type of long-term care placement that child should receive, but the findings suggest that inconsistencies across Board areas appear to arise from differences in decision-making within Health Boards and Trusts. These inconsistencies must be addressed if we are to achieve a consistent service across Northern Ireland.  

“Due to difficulties in contacting parents whose children had returned home from care, fewer parents from this group were involved in the study, compared with adoptive and foster parents. The study highlighted that a majority of parents in all three groups experience parenting stress. Parents of children who have returned home, however, have higher stress levels than foster or adoptive parents. Their children were also experiencing more emotional and behavioural difficulties.

"The report therefore recommends more targeted support services for all families, and the development of a dedicated support service for the parents of children who have returned home from care. 

“The longer a child remains in care, the less likely it is that he or she will return to their birth parents. This is particularly true if they come from a lone parent family, or if their mother or father has a history of alcohol problems. Health authorities must ensure that long-term foster and adoptive parents are given the support and resources they need to care for those children who do not return home to birth parents. Lone parents and those with alcohol problems should also be given support to help prevent their children being taken into care.

“Children in care deserve to be placed in an environment that meets their specific needs and supports them through what must be a difficult time in their childhood. This report should help inform the decisions of those who determine what care pathway is most appropriate for each child, and help ensure that every child in Northern Ireland receives the long-term placement that allows them to achieve their full potential."

Jonathan Pearce, Director of Adoption UK, said: "Adoption UK welcomes the report and, in particular, its findings in relation to adoptive families. It welcomes the evidence that adoption is a beneficial outcome for children who cannot live in their birth families. Adoption UK is pleased to see evidence that backs its call for a regionalised adoption service along with support services available to adoptive families after, as well as before, adoption."

Alicia Toal, Project Co-ordinator of Voice of Young People in Care, said: "It is vital that policy makers have access to good quality locally-based research into the needs of this vulnerable group of children. Given current restructuring within Health and Social Care, targets to reduce the numbers of children coming into care, and recent media coverage of failings within children’s services, this report contains a number of important findings that policy makers must now consider when making decisions about the long-term care of younger children."

The report for practitioners is the first of three reports to be published on the study and is available at  A report for parents, and another for children and young people, will be made available before the end of the year.

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

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Brian Friel centre stage at Queen's
Professor David Johnston (right) meets Brian Friel
Professor David Johnston (right) meets Brian Friel

Queen’s is to honour Brian Friel by naming a state-of-the art theatre and research centre after the renowned playwright.

The Brian Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research will provide world-class facilities for performing arts students at the University.

Professor David Johnston, Head of the School of Languages, Literature and Performing Arts at Queen’s, said: "As Ireland’s greatest living playwright, it is fitting tribute to Brian Friel that we are to rename the theatre in his honour, while establishing the new Brian Friel Centre for Theatre Research, which will provide a focus for cutting-edge research in to theatre practice.

“With world-class facilities and Brian Friel’s name above the door, Queen’s will continue to be of the leading centres for drama studies in the UK. The Brian Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research will allow us to prepare our students for careers in the theatre and performing arts, and reaffirm Queen’s commitment to the development of culture and arts in Northern Ireland.

“For over forty years, Brian’s plays have brought Irish theatre to the international stage. His greatest works, such as Translations and Dancing at Lughnasa are known by theatre goers around the world. Philidelphia, Here I Come! Was one of the most important plays of the 1960’s and marked an important turning point in Irish theatre.

“For generations to come, drama students at Queen’s will continue to perform Brian’s plays in the theatre that bears his name, and take inspiration from his work and pride in his close relationship with the University."

Brian Friel said: "As an honorary graduate of Queen’s, I have a long-standing relationship with the University, and I am delighted to receive this honour.

“For the last ten years, Queen’s has successfully prepared students for careers in theatre and the performing arts. I hope the Brian Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research will enhance the already excellent facilities available to Drama Studies students at Queen’s, and help nurture their talent and develop the skills necessary to succeed on the stage and screen."

Norma Sinte, Director of Development at Queen’s, said: "We at Queen’s realise that if we are to expect our students to reach their full potential, we must provide them with the best possible learning environment. I have no doubt that the Brian Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research will do just that, and reaffirm the University’s reputation as a leading centre for drama studies. We extend our thanks to all who supported this project, including the Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation, Dr Ian Brick, the Friends of Queen’s (USA) Inc. and Dr Michael and Mrs Ruth West.

“The Centre for Drama and Film Studies at Queen’s is just one of a number of new facilities resulting from significant investment in the University’s campus in recent years."

For more information on Drama Studies at Queen’s visit

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

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Eminent Professor to give Mitchell Lecture
Professor Sir Philip Cohen
Professor Sir Philip Cohen

One of the best-known bioscientists in Europe will be the guest speaker at the Mitchell Lecture at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s this week.

Professor Sir Philip Cohen, Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Dundee, will give the second Mitchell Lecture on Thursday 27 November, focusing on his research on the immune system.

The Mitchell Lecture was initiated in 2007 and is held to honour the Chancellor of Queen's University, Senator George Mitchell, for his contributions to the University and the wider community.

Over the past 40 years, Professor Cohen's research has focused on studying the role of protein phosphorylation in cell regulation and human disease, a process that controls almost all aspects of life. 

His key contributions to this area include working out, over a 25 year period, how insulin stimulates the synthesis of glycogen in muscle.

His laboratory is working on the signalling pathways that regulate the production of pro-inflammatory proteins during bacterial and viral infection, research that is aimed at understanding how the uncontrolled production of these substances causes chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and septic shock. 

Professor Cohen's publication record is prolific, with nearly 500 publications to his credit, and from 1992 to 2003 he was the second most cited scientist in the world in biology and biochemistry. 

He is also the founder and co-director of the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) the UK’s largest collaboration between a basic research institution and the pharmaceutical industry. It is widely regarded as a model for how industry and academia should interact, for which it received a Queen’s Anniversary Award for Higher Education in 2006.

Professor Cohen has received numerous awards including the Biochemical Society Colworth Medal, the CIBA Medal, Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine, Sir Hans Krebs Medal, the Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Rolf Luft Prize.

He has received six honorary doctorates and is a fellow of the Royal Societies of both London and Edinburgh. In 1998 Professor Cohen was knighted in the Queen's birthday honours list for his services to biochemistry.

Professor Cohen's talk is entitled The interplay between ubiquitination and phosphorylation in regulating the innate immune system.

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Top Irish award for Queen's academic
Professor David Livingstone received the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal
Professor David Livingstone received the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal

A Queen’s geographer is the first person from a Northern Ireland university to be awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal.

Professor David Livingstone was presented with his award for Social Sciences in recognition of exceptional scholarly achievement by Michael Kelly, Chairman of the Higher Education Authority, in Dublin.

A scholar of human geography, Professor Livingstone was awarded an OBE in 2002 and was one of the youngest scholars to be elected to the British Academy in 1995 and then to the Royal Irish Academy, in 1998.

Professor Livingstone has marked himself out as an expert in several disciplines, including Human Geography, Social Studies of Science and Modern History.

He said: “It is a great honour to receive the Royal Irish Academy’s Gold Medal for the Social Sciences. Obviously I am personally delighted with the award; but I’m also very pleased that Human Geography as a discipline is recognised in this way.”  

The Academy Gold Medals were established in 2005. Dubbed ‘Ireland’s Nobel Prizes’, they are awarded by the Royal Irish Academy and sponsored by the Higher Education Authority and the Irish Independent. There are six Gold Medals, of which two are presented each year.

Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said “Professor Livingstone is among the most eminent scholars in his discipline. We award him the Academy Gold Medal to celebrate his immense contribution to his discipline, and to acknowledge that he is setting the international standard for academic excellence.”

Mr Kelly said: “Ireland’s previous social and economic development owes much to the researchers and scientists who investigate, explore and challenge so many aspects of our lives and communities. 

“Continuation of their work can be expected to be an equally powerful driver of our future progress as a society. 

“The RIA Gold Medal Awards provide a tangible way of recognising their contribution and motivating others to follow in their footsteps.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, press officer on 028 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

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Vice-Chancellor and Lord Rana receive honorary degrees in India
Lord Rana and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson
Lord Rana and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson

The Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University has been honoured by Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), in Kolkata, India.

Professor Peter Gregson was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Science (DSc) for Services to Science and Education before he officially opened the new East Indian Centre for Water and the Environment at the University. Lord Rana, Honorary Consul for Northern Ireland, was also presented with an honorary degree (DSc) at the ceremony for Services to Industry and Education.

The ceremony was attended by India’s Minister for IT, Dr Debesh Das, who joined Professor Gregson in addressing over 200 delegates at an event promoting business and information technology links between India and Northern Ireland.

Professor Gregson is leading a Queen’s University delegation on a ten day visit to India, aiming to further broaden and deepen key research and teaching partnerships with leading Indian institutions. He was welcomed at BESU by 20 students who studied at Queen’s on its India Welcome Scheme this summer. The Scheme has now been expanded to 30 students for 2009.

The new Centre for Water and Environment is a partnership between Queen’s and BESU. It aims to build awareness and research capacity in areas such as the removal of arsenic from groundwater in South East Asia and combat the challenges posed by climate change, particularly in the coastal zones of India. The opening of the Centre is the latest step in a collaboration between BESU and Queen’s over the past two years.

Earlier this year, an EU-India consortium led by Queen’s University Belfast developed the first low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free drinking water to people in India and surrounding countries. Over 70 million people are at risk of arsenic poisoning in South East Asia and today (Friday, 21 November) saw the sixth locally-managed plant open.

Speaking at BESU, Professor Gregson said: “To have received this honour from BESU, underlines our fast moving partnership which we are celebrating today. We at Queen’s are delighted to be working in partnership with BESU. International co-operation in research and education is vital for the joint economic futures of Northern Ireland and India. Queen’s values its relationship with India and the opening of the Eastern India Centre for Water and Environment in Kolkata is a clear demonstration of the benefits of such co-operation and one that will benefit people around the globe.

“As part of the work of the Centre, Queen’s is part of an Indian-led coastal research team that is collaborating with international scientists to help coastal zone communities live with ever changing coastal conditions.”

Professor Julian Orford, Head of the School of Geography, Archaeology and  Palaeoecology, also attended the opening of the new Centre. One of only two UK coastal scientists asked to serve and advise the Governor of Louisiana’s Scientific Panel after Hurricane Katrina, he explained the work of the new centre: “How human occupancy of certain Indian islands has occurred and how they are defended to maintain human settlement is contrary to how the islands would have developed naturally.

“The longer we persist in supporting occupancy of delta regions, the worse we can expect the impacts posed by future rising sea levels and the possibility of increasing numbers of cyclones. Key among those changes is the degree to which society can be maintained in exposed positions which require massive infrastructural support to remain. Ongoing coastal change will be experienced in both the physical and human environments, the scale of which may be testing for any country. The work of the new Centre will go a long way to providing vital support in this area.

“I hope that some of the knowledge gathered by Queen’s in understanding disasters elsewhere, like Hurricane Katrina in southern USA, means we can work in partnership with some of India’s leading agencies for the future management of human occupancy in the coastal zone.”

During their time in India, Professor Orford and Dr Satish Kumar from Queen’s have met with emergency analysts from the United Nations Development Programme in India and Dr Vinod Menon, a member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA), to discuss ways of establishing new research collaborations.

Dr Kumar, from the School of Geography at Queen’s, is also Co-ordinator of the University’s India Initiative. His interest lies in sustaining communities in ecologically marginal areas such as India’s coastal zone. Speaking on the subject he said: “India’s coastal zone provides researchers with an extreme challenge due to its diverse nature. Queen’s will work with partners in India to develop programmes to help reduce natural coastal issues and inform policy makers.”

Recognising the work of Queen’s in this area, the British Council has also announced Queen’s selection as training providers to improve groundwater management in regions of eastern India affected by arsenic, alongside partners BESU and the Institute of Environmental Management and Studies.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, press officer, 028 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

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Festival is just the ticket for Tourists
Maestro Ennio Morricone - Opening Concert at the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's
Maestro Ennio Morricone - Opening Concert at the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's

The 2008 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s saw a 250% increase on the previous year in the number of out of state visitors attending the festival.  Over 1,000 people came from countries including Italy, Japan and Russia in addition to the 479 international artists taking part.

“The overall benefits of such a successful festival to the city from a tourism point of view are obvious,” said Festival Director Graeme Farrow.  “But perhaps more importantly this festival and the arts sector as a whole contribute positively to an image of Belfast as a vibrant cultural and economic capital, as a place that has a good quality of life and a place in which it is a pleasure to do business.  Hopefully the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s prompts a little glimmer of civic pride.”

“This is great news for the Festival and for Ulster Bank,” said Cormac McCarthy, Chief Executive, Ulster Bank Group.  “The sales figures show that arts sponsorship at this level has a real and immediate impact on local economies as well as enriching our lives.  We were very keen to maximise brand exposure for Ulster Bank without overwhelming the Festival's own identity and clearly this has worked to our mutual benefit."

Congratulating the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s on their record number of overseas visitors, Rosemary Kelly, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, as the main public funder of the Festival and its longest running partner, is pleased that the programme for 2008 attracted such a huge number of visitors from outside Northern Ireland.   This is a testament to the superb quality and range of artists and events at Festival and has added value to a wide range of businesses in Belfast, which such a high profile festival brings.   We congratulate the Festival and its staff on their success this year, particularly in attracting the very significant rise in out of state visitors and trust that this will continue through the very effective partnership of Festival, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Ulster Bank.” 

Media enquiries Richard Gaston (028) 9097 1345, Mob 07989 402678, email

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Queen's 'Out to Lunch' event offers a meal 'to remember'

Queen’s Welcome Centre will serve up a meal ‘to remember’ when it offers diners a unique lunchtime experience next week.

In the month that marks the 90th anniversary of the First World War Armistice, the Centre’s next ‘Out to Lunch’ event features writers Gerald Dawe, editor of the first anthology of Irish war poetry, and Philip Orr, author of ‘The Road to the Somme’.

Listeners can hear the writers in conversation with BBC presenter William Crawley on Wednesday 26 November while enjoying lunch in the magnificent surroundings of the University’s Great Hall.

‘Earth Voices Whispering', edited by Gerald Dawe, was launched this week by Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley to mark the 50th anniversary of The Bookshop at Queen’s. The collection contains over 250 poems reflecting the First and Second World Wars, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Civil War and the Spanish Civil War.

An updated edition of Philip Orr’s ‘The Road to the Somme’, described by the Irish Times as ‘one of the most important Irish historical works in recent years’, was published by Blackstaff Press during the summer. Based on interviews with Somme veterans, the book tells the soldiers’ experiences in their own voices.

The current ‘Out to Lunch’ series follows the sell-out success of the programme launched last year by Queen’s Welcome Centre Manager Lynn Corken. She said: "It is very timely that Philip Orr and Gerald Dawe, whose work highlights Northern Ireland’s experiences of the First World War, are our guests for this event. Given the popularity of the last series, we would advise people to buy their tickets as early as possible."

Philip Orr and Gerald Dawe will be ‘out to lunch’ with William Crawley on Wednesday 26 November at 12.30pm. Tickets, priced £19.50, can be obtained (in advance only) from Queen’s Welcome Centre, Lanyon Building, telephone 028 9097 5252 or email

The series continues with cellist and composer Neil Martin and singer/songwriter Juliet Turner in the interview chairs on Wednesday 10 December. Composer and musician Phil Coulter will be among the attractions in the New Year line-up when he is ‘out to lunch’ with William Crawley on Wednesday 18 February.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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FIRST LEGO League in Northern Ireland - local schools take on the world QTV News Story
Preparing to solve the FIRST LEGO League Challenge are (from left): Douglas Thompson, Belfast High School; and Malachy McCullough, St Patrick's, Bearnageeha with Stephanie Wilson from Queen's and Ben Greene from SAP Research
Preparing to solve the FIRST LEGO League Challenge are (from left): Douglas Thompson, Belfast High School; and Malachy McCullough, St Patrick's, Bearnageeha with Stephanie Wilson from Queen's and Ben Greene from SAP Research

  First Lego League

Pupils from 18 secondary schools in Northern Ireland will take on more than 100,000 budding scientists across the globe in the world’s biggest interactive robotics challenge for young people on Tuesday (18 November).

The FIRST LEGO League event has been brought to Northern Ireland for the first time by a partnership of Queen’s University, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Invest NI, SAP Research (SAP) and W5.

The youthful scientists will gather at W5 in the Odyssey to design, build and program a winning robot that must perform a series of set tasks linked to a research presentation on the challenges of global climate change.

The League aims to help develop tomorrow’s innovators by introducing children aged from 9 to 16 to the fun of solving real-world problems by applying maths, science, and technology and to help develop tomorrow’s innovators.

The partners are hoping FIRST LEGO League in Northern Ireland will also help achieve the Government's target to increase the number of undergraduates involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects by 25 per cent by 2015.

"FIRST LEGO League offers a unique opportunity for our young people to engage with local employers, educational researchers and their local communities on an issue which impacts on us all. It also introduces them to the wonders of science and innovation.  This is hugely important if Northern Ireland is to attract students to subjects essential for economic growth and to meet the needs identified in the Programme for Government.

“We are operating in a knowledge-led economy and it is crucial that we inspire young people with the right blend of know-how, expertise and innovation to contribute to society and to ensure future economic prosperity."

In Northern Ireland FIRST LEGO League has attracted support from industry leaders and academic institutes who have sponsored a number of teams. These include ESB International, FG Wilson (Engineering) Ltd, NIE, Randox Laboratories Ltd, Seagate, Thales Air Defence Ltd, Cable & Wireless and the University of Ulster. Guided by a team coach and assisted by mentors from sponsoring companies, each team will research and produce a solution to the theme, present their findings and build an autonomous robot using engineering concepts, all in a sports-like competition atmosphere.

The winning team go forward to take part in the UK and Ireland final in January and, if successful, will go through to the World Festival in the United States and other International FLL tournaments. They will also be awarded a range of Lego Mindstorm equipment for their school, sponsored by The School of Engineering at the University of Ulster. 

FIRST LEGO League International (FLL) is a partnership between the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organisation and the LEGO company. Introduced in 1998, it is an annual themed robotics challenge, with new challenges unveiled to teams across the world each September.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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Queen's 'secures' £25m for UK's cyber-safety

Queen’s University Belfast is to become the United Kingdom’s lead centre for the development technology to counter malicious ‘cyber-attacks’ after a funding boost from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Almost £7m from the EPSRC will help fund a new Innovation and Knowledge Centre - the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) - which will be based at Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) in the Northern Ireland Science Park, Belfast.

CSIT will create the security infrastructure needed to safeguard the trustworthiness of information stored electronically, both at home and in the workplace.

The Centre will bring together research specialists in complementary fields such as data encryption, network security systems, wireless enabled security systems and intelligent surveillance technology.

Funding has been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (£6.95m), the Technology Strategy Board (£2.5m), industry partners (£7m) and Queen’s (£8.8m).

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson said: “ECIT’s mission has always been to undertake more ambitious and real-world research than is usual in a university environment.

"I am delighted the work of ECIT has once again been recognised on a national level by our partners in the EPSRC, the Technology Strategy Board and industry. Within five years, CSIT will be a self-financing, globally recognised UK research centre, coupling pioneering research with economic development.”

Professor John McCanny, Director of ECIT said: “The internet is evolving into an essential utility like electricity, gas and water. Currently, around one trillion devices have the ability to access the internet and connectivity has never been easier. With global connectivity though comes global vulnerability in terms of privacy, security and trustworthiness of information.

“The new Centre at ECIT will develop secure solutions to a number of particularly modern problems including the protection of mobile phone networks, guaranteeing privacy over unsecure networks for connected healthcare and the creation of secure ‘corridors’ for the seamless and rapid transit of people, thus getting around the need for conventional security at airports.”

Queen’s is also working on powerful computer processors capable of detecting and filtering viruses and worms to protect mass information databases like financial records from malicious attack and to facilitate high definition streaming video services.

Professor McCanny added: “Although only four years old, ECIT has already achieved many world-class scientific breakthroughs and helped create many new spin-out companies. The new Centre will realise the full potential of emerging technologies, ensuring Queen’s and the UK is the first to develop such cutting-edge research.”

UK Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson, said “More public money than ever before is being spent on world leading research into the strategic challenges facing the UK - such as the world’s ageing population and security.

“The investment in these two new Innovation and Knowledge Centres will foster an entrepreneurial environment where ground-breaking research can mix at an early stage with business and potential customers, to provide a clear commercial strategy for accelerating its impact on the economy. This is exactly what the UK needs.”

More information on the work of ECIT can be found online at

For media inquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5391, Mob: 07980 013362

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Queen's broadens alliance with India

Queen’s University has a signalled a broadening of its global alliance with India after agreeing new partnerships in the areas of cancer research, biotechnology, virology, regional development and water resource management.

The collaborations, with some of India’s leading institutions, have been agreed as part of a ten day visit to India by a Queen’s delegation, led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

A partnership between Queen’s and the National Institute of Immunology (NII) in New Delhi, is funded by India’s Ministry of Biotechnology. Building on a relationship formalised last year which saw Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning launch the first international cancer cell biology conference in New Delhi, staff at both institutions will also have the opportunity to experience split-site research investigations, ensuring the latest knowledge is shared between both countries.

Delegates from the NII will travel to Queen’s next week to begin planning for the second international cancer cell biology conference to be hosted at the University’s £25 million Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology in November 2009.

Queen’s has also signed a new agreement with Jawaharlal Nehru University that will link the work of staff and students from both Universities in the areas of social sciences, regional development and virology.

The University has also expanded its India Welcome Scheme for Indian Postgraduate students. Designed to develop science and technology leaders of the future, 30 scholarships will be on offer to encourage leading Indian students to come to Queen’s.

Confirming Queen’s commitment to broadening its links with India, Professor Peter Gregson said: “The mutually beneficial partnerships put in place this week will impact positively on the people of Northern Ireland and India, with new approaches to research and understanding in healthcare, regional development and engineering.

“In positioning itself as one of Europe’s leading universities for collaboration and engagement with India, research at Queen’s University will enhance the quality of life and economic development in both countries.”

Later this week, the Queen’s delegation, alongside Lord Rana, Honorary Consul for Northern Ireland, will meet with India’s industry confederations and the Indian Chamber of Commerce with a focus on trade collaborations between companies in Northern Ireland and India.

The industry meetings will take place in Kolkata, before Queen’s officially opens the Eastern India Centre for Water and Environment (EICWE) at Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Kolkata.

The British Council will also confirm Queen’s as a provider of training programmes on arsenic removal from water and water resource management.

For media inquiries please contact Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer, (currently in India. The time difference is 5 ½ hrs ahead). Call or text 0781 44 22 572 or email or call the Communications Office on 028 90 97 3091

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New chapter opens as Bookshop at Queen's marks 50th anniversary
Bookshop Manager Tim Smyth looks towards the shop's next chapter
Bookshop Manager Tim Smyth looks towards the shop's next chapter

Belfast’s oldest independent bookshop is looking towards its next chapter as it celebrates 50 years of service to the city’s readers.

Since it first opened in 1958, The Bookshop at Queen’s – an independent bookseller wholly owned by the University – has built up an enviable customer base of students, academics and the general public.

A former winner of the Academic Bookshop of the Year title, the shop is one of only four University bookshops in the United Kingdom.

Its success story during its 50 years of business and in the face of stiff competition from Internet and chainstore booksellers is, said Manager Tim Smyth, directly attributable to its loyal customer base.

He said: “For any independent bookseller to celebrate 50 years in business is a significant achievement. We have been very fortunate in that we fulfil a role as both an academic and a general bookseller. The support which we have always received from Queen’s students and academic staff as well as the wider community has ensured our survival during the Northern Ireland Troubles and economically challenging times.

“In addition, we have built up a reputation as a leading bookseller of works on Irish history and politics which has attracted customers from throughout Ireland and North America, Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan.”

And changing trends in reading choice have helped to boost the attraction of books for children.

Tim Smyth said: “We have seen many changes in reading patterns over the years. For example, celebrity memoirs, which have proved hugely popular, were virtually unheard-of 20 years ago. And the runaway success of authors like J K Rowling and the Harry Potter phenomenon has worked wonders in rejuvenating the children’s book market and introducing younger readers to the delights which books have to offer.”

The shop’s role as a must-visit destination for local book lovers has been further enhanced over the years by its special events programme which includes readings and high-profile book launches and signings.
During its first half-century, the Bookshop has hosted the launch of many influential works, including those by former First Minister Lord Trimble, the late Brian Moore, former Python Michael Palin and best-selling writers Ian McEwen and Maeve Binchy.

Tim Smyth said: “All these factors mean that the Bookshop is looking to the future with confidence.  We have a wide customer base and a reputation for quality service which have been built up over 50 years. We believe we know what our customers want and we look forward to continuing to provide this service during our next chapter of business.”
On Wednesday evening the Bookshop will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the launch by Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley of the first ever anthology of Irish war poetry. Edited by award-winning poet Gerald Dawe and published by Blackstaff Press, ‘Earth Voices Whispering’ contains over 250 poems reflecting the First and Second World Wars, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Civil War and the Spanish Civil War.

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email

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Housing difficulties faced by older members of the Chinese community
Older members of the Chinese community experience housing difficulties.
Older members of the Chinese community experience housing difficulties.

The housing difficulties faced by older members of the Chinese community in the North West will be explored at a Changing Ageing Partnership seminar at Queen’s.

While many of the Chinese community have reached, or are nearing retirement age, language difficulties mean they often have problems finding appropriate accommodation. Gillian Greer from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive will highlight these problems at the seminar at the Institute of Governance at the University on Thursday 13 November.

Seven per cent of older Chinese people surveyed in the North West have a health problem or disability, limiting day-to-day activities. The Chinese community is Northern Ireland’s largest settled minority ethnic group - approximately 8,000 people, 1,000 of whom live in the North West area. There is an increasing need for an appropriate supported accommodation scheme to aid day-to-day living at retirement age.

Gillian Greer said: “After the success of Hong Ling Gardens in South Belfast - Northern Ireland’s first sheltered housing scheme specifically for older Chinese people - there was sufficient interest in and support for a supported accommodation scheme for older Chinese people in Derry city which was the catalyst for this study.

"In fact, more than 50 per cent of those interviewed said they need help with interpretation or translation. The language difficulties older Chinese people in Northern Ireland tend to have, create obstacles in their finding accommodation and communicating their needs.”

For more information on the Changing Ageing Partnership visit

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

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Queen's researchers trace octopuses' family tree
Megaleledone setebos, the common ancestor's closest living relative
Megaleledone setebos, the common ancestor's closest living relative

Many of the world’s deep-sea octopuses evolved from species that lived in the Southern Ocean, according to new molecular evidence reported by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast.

The findings of a study funded by the National Environment Research Council and led by Dr Louise Allcock at Queen’s School of Biological Sciences and colleagues from Cambridge University and British Antarctic Survey were reported at a conference in Spain this week.

The Queen’s research forms part of a decade-long global research programme to learn more about the world’s oceans.

Octopuses started migrating to new ocean basins more than 30 million years ago as Antarctica cooled and large ice-sheets grew.

These huge climatic events created a ‘thermohaline expressway’ - a northbound flow of deep cold water, providing new habitat for the animals previously confined to the sea floor around Antarctica.

Isolated in new habitat conditions, many different species evolved. Some octopuses lost their defensive ink sacs because there was no need for the defence mechanisms in the pitch black waters more than two kilometres below the surface.

Dr Allcock, who was assisted on the study by Dr Jan Strugnell and Dr Paulo Prodöhl from Queen’s, said: “It is clear from our research that climate change can have profound effects on biodiversity, with impacts even extending into habitats such as the deep oceans which you might expect would be partially protected from it.

“If octopuses radiated in this way, it’s likely that other fauna did so also, so we have helped explain where some of the deep-sea biodiversity comes from.”

This revelation into the global distribution and diversity of deep-sea fauna, to be reported this week in the respected scientific journal Cladistics, was made possible by intensive sampling during International Polar Year expeditions.

The findings form part of the first Census of Marine Life (CoML), set to be completed in late 2010. It aims to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the oceans, past, present and future.

The project, which began in 2000, involves more than 2,000 scientists from 82 nations.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

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Guru launches new all-island innovation programme at Queen's

The economic downturn offers Northern Ireland companies a great opportunity to rethink how they do business, says international knowledge management guru Larry Prusak.

The founder of global consortium, the Institute of Knowledge Management (IKM), will share his expertise and insights with local business leaders in a major lecture at Queen's University Belfast on Monday night (17 November).

The event marks the launch of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme (AIIP) which aims to enhance the competitiveness of the all-island economy and to bring world leaders in innovation to Ireland.

The three-year programme, a partnership between InterTradeIreland, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Dublin and University College Galway, will support an all-island research community on innovation.

It will also deliver an annual series of lectures, an all-island conference and master classes aimed at specific audiences such as senior company management, policy makers and innovation researchers.

Larry Prusak believes that Ireland, North and South, has a definite advantage over its bigger competitors in tackling the current recession.

"The credit crunch offers companies on this island, whatever their size, a great opportunity to sit back and review what they really need to do to become a 21st century organisation.

"Smaller countries have no division of knowledge, instead they have networks, and most new knowledge is created and shared when different people or organisations work together collaboratively or in networks. Experience has demonstrated that sharing knowledge generates innovation."

In his lecture entitled ‘The Future of Knowledge’ Larry Prusak will discuss the impact of the break-up of the western world’s monopoly on knowledge and the influence of the IT revolution on wealth creation. 

The lecture will take place on Monday 17 November in the Canada Room, Queen’s University at 6pm. Anyone wishing to attend should email or call 028 9097 2575.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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Arsenic-free water provides hope to millions of people in South East Asia
Queen's-India Lecture Series: Lord Diljit Rana; Prof Ellen Douglas-Cowie; His Excellency The High Commissioner of India to London and Mr Kamalesh Sharma.
Queen's-India Lecture Series: Lord Diljit Rana; Prof Ellen Douglas-Cowie; His Excellency The High Commissioner of India to London and Mr Kamalesh Sharma.

An EU-India consortium led by Queen’s University Belfast has led to the development of technology which could provide safe drinking water for over 70 million people in South East Asia.  The joint collaboration has resulted in the world’s first low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free water to people in India and surrounding countries.

This week researchers from Queen’s will travel to India to officially open the Eastern India Water Research Institute (EIWRI) in Kolkata.  EIWRI will be located at Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) and include a second Indian partner, the Institute of Environmental Management and Studies.

Work on the collaboration with the Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Kolkata has been ongoing for two years and it is hoped the technology will benefit other regions of the world with similar problems.

Recognising the work of Queen’s in this area, the British Council will also announce the University’s selection as a provider of training to improve groundwater management in regions of eastern India affected by arsenic.*

The opening of the new Institute forms part of a ten day visit to India by a Queen’s delegation, led by its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson. The visit will build on key research and teaching partnerships in Kolkata and New Delhi.

In Kolkata, Queen’s will announce an expansion of its India Welcome Scheme for Indian Postgraduate students. Designed to develop science and technology leaders of the future, 30 scholarships will be on offer to encourage leading Indian students to come to Queen’s.

Queen’s will also announce the establishment of its new Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies on its Belfast campus, during a meeting with Dr Karan Singh, current President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and former Governor of Kashmir.

The Centre will house the single largest private collection of books and monographs on India, namely the Bill Kirk India Collection, which has been endowed to the University by the Kirk family.

Professor Gregson will also meet with India’s industry confederations and the Indian Chamber of Commerce and focus on trade collaborations between companies in Northern Ireland and India.

One of the first beneficiaries of such partnerships will be Queen’s Centre for Data Digitisation Analysis (CDDA). CMC, a leading Kolkata-based IT Company will announce a £400,000 deal with CDDA to digitise Indian government records.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Professor Gregson said: “International cooperation in research and education is vital for the joint economic futures of Northern Ireland and India. The opening of the Water Research Institute in Kolkata is a clear demonstration of the benefits of such cooperation and one that will benefit people around the globe.

“Queen’s values its relationship with India and we are delighted to announce the establishment of our new Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies which will further strengthen the links between our countries.”

In addition to new collaborations, the Queen’s delegation will also build on partnerships established over previous years with India. These include a second international cancer conference in conjunction with India’s National Institute of Immunology (NII).

Last year, Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning launched the first conference in New Delhi, and representatives from the NII will this week confirm that the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s will host the second global event in 2009.

New opportunities in research and education for staff and students will also arise from the trip as Queen’s signs agreements and extensions to those already agreed with several of India’s leading universities, including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572,

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Queen's appoints academic ambassador as it looks to the East
Dr Sengupta, Queen's first Malaysian Academic Ambassador
Dr Sengupta, Queen's first Malaysian Academic Ambassador

Queen’s University today announced the appointment of its first Malaysian ambassador to enhance its longstanding academic and research links with the country.

The appointment of Dr Bhaskar Sengupta comes as the number of Malaysian students at Queen’s continues to rise, with more than 120 enrolled this academic year.

In his new role, Dr Sengupta, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s, will work to strengthen the University’s existing academic and research partnerships with the country’s leading educational institutions.

As one of his first duties, Dr Sengupta will meet a high-level Malaysian Government delegation visiting Queen’s this week.

The delegation, led by Secretary General of the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education Datuk Dr Zulkefli A Hassan, will visit Queen’s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Their itinerary includes meetings with Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Postgraduates Professor James McElnay, and Dr Sengupta, as well as many of the country’s students currently studying at Queen’s.

Speaking in advance of the visit, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "The University has a very special relationship with Malaysia, stretching back more than 40 years. There are currently more than 120 full-time Malaysian students enrolled at the University. Some 2,000 Queen’s graduates have made, and continue to make, a major contribution to Malaysian society, in areas ranging from the professions and education to the country's political and business life. 

“This visit by a high-ranking Malaysian delegation, and Dr Sengupta’s appointment as our academic ambassador, will help us to strengthen this relationship further. We are delighted that the Malaysian Government is providing such high level support for collaborations with Queen’s."

Dr Sengupta said: "Malaysia traditionally has been one of the most important markets for the higher education sector in the UK, and Queen’s already has very close ties with the country, which will help me considerably in my role as ambassador.

“I look forward to increasing the number of students from Malaysia, especially at postgraduate level, and to developing new agreements with key colleges there."

Among Queen’s links with Malaysia is a major partnership with the Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) to focus on collaborative research in the area of green chemistry and particularly ionic liquids.

In March Queen’s opened a new £500,000 laboratory to provide accommodation for a £5.25 million research contract from Petronas, the Fortune 500 oil and gas corporation owned by the Malaysian government. The new laboratory, based in Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL), is the first Petronas academic-based laboratory of its kind in Europe.

Other connections include agreements with the University of Malaya and with Terrenganu Advanced Technological Institute, which allows well-qualified students from TATI to enter Level 2 of Queen’s BEng Chemical Engineering programme. 

Queen’s also works to attract talented Malaysian students to Queen’s through schemes such as the prestigious Chevening Scholarships, which are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and administered by the British Council.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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New research funding 'a crucial first step' - Gregson

Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson today welcomed the news of an additional £7 million investment to support its world-leading research in medicine, telecommunications and food science.

The funding, awarded from the Department for Employment and Learning under the Cross-Border Research and Development Funding Programme, supports projects which will place Ireland, north and south, in the forefront of global research.

It will allow the recruitment of additional research leaders in areas that are key to the future economic and social development of Northern Ireland and will enhance the University’s position as one of the leading UK research intensive universities.

Professor Gregson said: "This important investment programme resulted from the submission by Queen’s and the University of Ulster to the Economic Development Forum.  This funding is a crucial first step in expanding the science base that is essential for a successful and prosperous knowledge based economy. 

“The Minister and the Executive are to be congratulated for implementing what I hope will be the first phase of a number of investments to maintain and enhance research excellence in Northern Ireland through the strengthening of the all-island research base."

The investment includes funding for three cutting-edge projects within the new Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

These include research on diet, obesity and diabetes in the recently established Wellcome funded Centre of Excellence in Public Health. The funding will also expand the world-class research in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology by strengthening biomedical informatics research to accelerate drug discovery and enhance the development of personalised medicine. The grants will also enable the creation of new research programmes to address the needs of other chronic diseases through the identification of novel therapeutics.

The largest investment is for a new centre that will allow the Northern Ireland agri-food sector to verify its ‘green’ credentials through developing new techniques to assure the safety and traceability of food products. The project brings together researchers in food science, chemistry, engineering and supply chain management to tackle one of the priorities identified in the recent report from MATRIX, the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel.

The fifth project, which builds on the University’s earlier investment in information and communication technologies, will focus on the development of next generation mobile wireless communications through a major collaboration with the Tyndall Institute in Cork. It represents a further development in the leading edge research within Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) located in the Northern Ireland Science Park.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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Art, Media and Contested Space at QFT
Calle Sante Fe, showing as part of the Art, Media and Contested Space series at QFT
Calle Sante Fe, showing as part of the Art, Media and Contested Space series at QFT

The QFT is presenting two days of screenings and talks by international filmmakers addressing the themes of memory, place and conflict that are central to a society emerging out of conflict. The event is taking place in collaboration with Interface, a research centre in the University of Ulster School of Art and Design.

Art, Media and Contested Space will take place at QFT from Saturday 8 to Sunday 9 November and will include screenings and talks from Northern Ireland, Chile, Israel and Palestine. 

There will also be an associated exhibition by Cahal McLaughlin at the Naughton Gallery, featuring the video testimonies of three ex-occupants of the Maze and Long Kesh prison - a loyalist, a republican and a prison officer - which follow the participants as they retrace their steps in the now mostly demolished prison.

Launching the Art, Media and Contested Space film season, Cahal McLaughlin said:

"Given the interest in attempts to understand our contested past, evidenced by films such as Hunger, this is an attempt to link local perspectives with international works that have addressed the representation of conflict. We are privileged to have such filmmakers attend the screenings and discuss their work".

The series will open on Saturday 8 November with a screening of Margo Harkin's Bloody Sunday: A Derry Diary, which follows the search for truth by the families of the thirteen civilians who were killed on a civil rights march in Derry on 30 January 1972.

Also screening on Saturday 8 November is Calle Santa Fe, an intensely personal project documenting Carmen Castillo's recent return to Chile, which she fled while pregnant in 1974 after her husband, leader of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), was killed in a gunfight at their house on the titular street.

In a deliberately slow moving film, the director meets up with former friends, neighbours and colleagues in an attempt to come to terms with the nature of loss, memory and exile.  Both the director and Margo Harkin will attend a public talk after the screening.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is examined in two very different screenings on Sunday 9 November.  Made by Simone Bitton, who is both a Jew and an Arab, Wall (Mur) follows the separation fence that is imprisoning one people and enclosing the other.  Women Beyond Borders is a documentary looking at the lives and works of some of the women who have joined in the fight for their Palestinian homeland, whether by becoming activists or freedom fighters. Directors Simone Bitton and Jean Khalil Chamoun (Wall) will take part in a panel discussion at the end of the screenings.

For further information visit or contact Anthony Haughey, email

For further information and booking for all Queens's Film Theatre film events, please visit or drop into QFT at 20 University Square.

For further information, please contact Sarah Hughes, Press and Marketing Officer, Queen's Film Theatre, on telephone 028 90971398 or email

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The ABC of community relations at Queen's
Community Alphabet

The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University is currently exhibiting the art of community relations.

The award-winning Gallery’s current exhibition, ‘Community Alphabets’, which is supported by the Equality Commission, features artworks - or alphabets - created by local community groups working with professional artists.

Among the groups taking part are The Simon Community, Holyland residents and Queen’s students, the Polish Association NI, the Shared City Project and the Chinese Welfare

Queen’s Curator of Art Shan McAnena said: "Each letter illustrates something - a landmark, activity or icon - that is important to each of the groups. The alphabets have been reproduced as posters which will be distributed by the groups themselves and to local schools, giving viewers an insight into what it means to be part of a specific community in Belfast today.

“We hope that this celebration of diversity, distinctiveness and common experience will inspire others to produce a community alphabet of their own."

In 2007 the first four Naughton Gallery community alphabets were made with support from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and distributed to schools throughout the region. The success of this initial project prompted a further investment by the Equality Commission and several more alphabets have been created.

In addition, support from Arts and Business has allowed Royal Mail employees in Belfast to make a corporate alphabet, and several other communities, from Girl Guides to local schools, have embarked on their own illustrated posters.

Last month the Naughton Gallery was awarded the prestigious Times Higher Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts. The award was made for the Gallery’s unique ‘Silver Sounds’ exhibition which enabled visitors to ‘hear’ and see the University’s silver collection through the use of handheld computers

The 'Community Alphabets' exhibition continues until Wednesday 5 November.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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Challenges of dealing with the past addressed at Queen's
Denis Bradley
Denis Bradley

Queen’s and voluntary organisation WAVE are launching a new range of courses to try to help resolve the pain of the past caused by the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Denis Bradley, Co-Chair of the Consultative Group on the Past, is among those who will speak at an event being held by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s next week (Monday 10 November) to highlight the courses dealing with trauma.

Mr Bradley will speak on the subject of ‘Dealing With the Past’.

The courses - a certificate, diploma and degree in Trauma Studies - are designed to bring people together to share their experiences and learn from others in order to help healing in their communities.

They focus on both academic research and knowledge from those working in the field, providing a comprehensive insight into the theories of psychological trauma but also addressing how they are applied.

Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, said: “Presently within Northern Ireland there is a growing emphasis on dealing with the past.

“Managing the complexities of unresolved grief and trauma and its effects in individuals, families and the community means these courses have now a greater relevance than ever. To engage fully in the future one must resolve at least some of the pain of the past.

 “We are delighted to have WAVE as the partner for these courses. We believe they address a real need in our society. Our two organisations have been able to work seamlessly together to create these exceptional courses and in doing so we have developed a truly unique learning resource.”

Sandra Peake, Chief Executive of WAVE, said: “For many of those affected by the Troubles, the past is not in the past, it forms the present and it needs to be addressed in order that individuals can progress to the future.

“Particularly given the changing political landscape, it is necessary to acknowledge that there are some who cannot embrace it - it is too difficult given all that they have been through - it is important that they are therefore not forgotten.

“The new courses offer great progression and a real opportunity to assist communities and also to contribute to an overall societal response in dealing with the past.

“As citizens and as practitioners we all have a role to play in creating and working to form a better society. Learning the lessons of the past and applying them in what we do in the future is essential.”

WAVE has been working with Queen’s since 2003 to provide a diploma in Trauma Studies but this is the first time that the Trauma pathway which includes a certificate, diploma and BSC (Hons) degree has been made available.
Over 75 students who have already taken part have come from diverse backgrounds including healthcare, the emergency services and the victim survivor community, as well as politicians and former prisoners and it is hoped that more can benefit from the training.

At the launch event speakers will also include specialists in the field of trauma including Professor Stephen Joseph, a professor of Psychology, Health and Social Care, from the University of Nottingham and Steve Regel, Principal Behavioural Psychotherapist/Co-director of the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth in Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust.

Further information on the event can be obtained by e-mailing or telephoning 028 9097 2342.

Filming opportunities are available at the event from noon on Monday 10 November. Please contact Andrea Clements, press officer on 028 9097 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

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Serving as Queen's Chancellor "an honour and privilege" - Mitchell
Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell
Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell

Queen’s University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the peace talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement, has spoken of his ‘deep affection’ for Northern Ireland in a major new publication.

His comments are included in ‘Beyond Ceremony’, which has been published by Universities UK, the major representative body and membership organisation for the higher education sector.  The publication aims to lift the lid on the ancient office of university Chancellor by providing a colourful insight into the role, and presenting the prestigious history of the position,
Senator Mitchell is one of a group of high-profile Chancellors profiled. Among the contributors are the best-selling American writer and satirist, Bill Bryson (Durham University), former Governor of Hong Kong and EU Commissioner, Lord Patten (University of Oxford and Newcastle University); journalist and TV presenter Jon Snow (Oxford Brookes University) and actor Patrick Stewart (University of Huddersfield).

Writing in ‘Beyond Ceremony’, Senator Mitchell said: "I was both surprised and flattered when I was asked in 1999 if I would consider serving as Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, and I was honoured to accept this invitation. As President Clinton’s special representative to Northern Ireland, I had been visiting that beautiful but troubled part of the world since the mid-1990s to encourage reconciliation and to support its fledgling peace process. As a result, Northern Ireland means a great deal to me.  I feel a deep affection for, and a strong connection, to the people of Northern Ireland.

“The prospect of serving as Chancellor of Queen’s University offered a great opportunity for me to contribute to Northern Ireland’s future within an institution that plays a leadership role in its community and in the field of education, which is crucial to the success of any society."   

Senator Mitchell described his role as "essentially an honorary one", but one in which he has been privileged to represent Queen’s around the world.  He said: "In my view, the ambassadorial duties of a university Chancellor are crucial, and I have found these to be a particular pleasure to perform."

And he added: "I have now been Chancellor of Queen’s for almost nine years. I have found this role to be both enriching and fulfilling. Above all - a point brought home to me when I shake the hands of tomorrow’s leaders as they cross the stage at graduation - it has been an honour and a privilege."

Senator Mitchell has been Chancellor of Queen’s since 1999. A lawyer by profession, he was a US Senator from 1980 to 1994. During that time, he was voted the ‘most respected member ‘of the Senate for six consecutive years.

He has received numerous awards and honours for his service as Chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. These include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour the US Government can give, the Truman Institute Peace Prize and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

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