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06 - 2011 Press Releases

30/06/2011: Summer school brings together public health experts from across the UK
30/06/2011: Final toast for Queen’s University porters during Summer Graduations
28/06/2011: Queen’s to lead UK-China economic growth initiative

28/06/2011: Shared public space still marked by too many tatty flags

27/06/2011: Why higher education matters: Queen’s University goes to Stormont

20/06/2011: Tughans backs �15m business centre at Queen’s

20/06/2011: Scientists develop first ever drug to treat ‘Celtic Gene’ in Cystic Fibrosis sufferers

16/06/2011: Northern Ireland hay fever sufferers to breathe more easily thanks to Queen’s

16/06/2011: Northern Ireland now a seat of summer learning for leading US law students

15/06/2011: National honour for eminent Queen’s geographer

13/06/2011: Queen's Vice-Chancellor 'honoured and humbled' by knighthood

13/06/2011: Reports highlight caring responsibilities of adults and teenagers in Northern Ireland

08/06/2011: Teachers become cancer researchers for the day

08/06/2011: CSIT strengthens links with leading South Korean research institute

08/06/2011: All Ireland winner appointed GAA Development Officer at Queen's

08/06/2011: How do local businesses grow despite the economic crisis?

07/06/2011: Newry company backs �15m business centre at Queen’s

06/06/2011: Queen's scientists unlock potential of frog skin to treat cancer

06/06/2011: Groundbreaking male infertility test could 'bring hope to millions'

03/06/2011: Make it your Business to do an MBA at Queen’s

03/06/2011: Top academic honour for three Queen's professors

03/06/2011: Deanes at Queen’s chef wins in Great British Menu

02/06/2011: From Sarajevo to Belfast - Queen's hosts Bosnian artist

02/06/2011: Queen's NASA student touches down after Endeavour mission

Summer school brings together public health experts from across the UK
The UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research at Queen’s University is today hosting the annual summer school of the National Centres of Excellence network. The event, opened today by the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Mr Edwin Poots, gives researchers across the Centres an opportunity to showcase their work, to network and learn from each other and to engage with researcher users.

These world class Centres (based in the universities of Cardiff, Newcastle, Cambridge and Nottingham) were established three years ago to build capacity in and to promote translational public health research.  To pursue these goals, they gain strength from their partnerships with the policy and practice communities and the Third sector. 

The Centre based at Queen’s, led by Professor Frank Kee, is a partnership with the Institute of Public Health, the Public Health Agency, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Community Development and Health Network and W5.  Like the other Centres, its focus has been on the broad determinants of public health and major problems such as obesity and sedentary living.  For the first time, the five UK Centres are joining forces with a comparable centre in the Republic of Ireland, the HRB funded national Centre for Diet and Health.

The event organizers are delighted that the programme this year can offer Master Classes from internationally renowned Public Health scientists affiliated to the Centres.

Professor Paul Boyle, the Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which is one of the funders of the UKCRC Centres said: “I am delighted that the UKCRC Public Health Research Centres have produced such high quality research which will provide a strong foundation for generating future impact.  The approach of the UKCRC Centres is an excellent example of best practice as their early engagement with research users, practitioners and policy makers is vital if we are to make a difference to the public health challenges we face today.”

For media inquiries please contact the Communications Office on 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk 

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Final toast for Queen’s University porters during Summer Graduations
Assistant Head Porter Walter Browne and Head Porter Chris Shannon, with Sisters Zelda and Olwyn Dawson who will graduate with first class honours in BSc Management and Business Studies
Assistant Head Porter Walter Browne and Head Porter Chris Shannon, with Sisters Zelda and Olwyn Dawson who will graduate with first class honours in BSc Management and Business Studies
Queen’s University is gearing up for Summer Graduations, and it will be a very special week for two of the University’s longest serving staff members as they prepare to retire later this Summer.
Chris Shannon, from Glengormley, has worked at Queen’s for 31 years and has been the University’s Head Porter since 1996, while Assistant Head Porter Walter Browne, from Bangor, has worked in the University’s Porters’ Office for the last 19 years.

Together, Chris and Walter have clocked-up half a century of service to Queen’s. They have been at the forefront of organising around 850 graduation ceremonies and have seen approximately 300,000 graduates receive their degrees. Now, for the last time, they are preparing the Whitla Hall and the University grounds to welcome the 4,000 graduates and their families who will celebrate at Queen’s during next week’s 12 graduation ceremonies.

Chris, who was awarded a MBE last year for Services to Higher Education, will retire in September. He said: “Graduation is an extremely busy time at Queen’s, and a huge amount of effort goes in to making sure that everything goes according to plan. But despite doing this job for three decades, I never get tired of seeing the joy in graduates’ faces as they pick up their degree certificates and celebrate with their families and friends. Every graduation week is special but knowing that this is the last time I will set up the Whitla Hall and the garden party marquees, or help excited graduates into their gowns and hoods, will make next week particularly memorable.”

Walter, who will retire at the end of August, said: “It’s been a real honour to have been involved in the many wonderful occasions that have taken place at the University over the last 19 years. From visits by The Queen and President Clinton, to watching my own daughter graduate twice, I will leave Queen’s with some fantastic memories; and while I will miss my colleagues, I am looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation.”

The University’s newest graduates will be joined by 10 Honorary Graduands, who will be recognised for their achievements in public or professional life and who serve as ambassadors for the University and Northern Ireland around the world.

They include leading economist Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali, Vice-Chancellor of Open University Malaysia; award-winning bioscientist; Professor Seyed Hasnain, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad in India; leading neurosurgeon, Harvard and MIT Professor Teodoro Forcht-Dagi; and the eminent mathematician, Professor Efim Zelmanov.

They will receive their awards alongside Declan Kelly, former US Special Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, prize-winning Irish author and journalist Ruth Dudley Edwards, environmental champion Lady Dufferin, and broadcaster Sir Mark Tully.

The distinguished list of recipients also includes philanthropist and hotelier John Fitzpatrick, and John Lillywhite, Chairman of Kainos, one of Queen’s most successful spin-out companies.
For more information about Queen’s Summer Graduations visit www.qub.ac.uk/home/Graduation/
 
Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Shared public space still marked by too many tatty flags
Dr Dominic Bryan
Dr Dominic Bryan
A report from Queen's has found that a large number of flags are still left flying on lampposts on main roads in Northern Ireland at the end of the summer months.

The latest report Public Displays of Flags and Emblems in Northern Ireland: Survey 2010 published by the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s, reveals that 3,876 flags were put up along main roads in July 2010.

The research, which is funded by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, surveyed political symbolism on all arterial routes and town centres in Northern Ireland during the first two weeks in July and last two weeks of September over a five-year period from 2006 to 2010. In addition researchers conducted surveys two weeks after Easter in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In each of the surveys, researchers counted and mapped the different types of flags and other emblems on display.

The vast majority of the flags put up in the summer months are unionist in nature. In September 2010 1,098 unionist flags remained flying on lampposts whilst 757 were nationalist - the vast majority of these were GAA flags. In 2010 there was a slight increase in the display of paramilitary flags in July although since 2006 there has been a decrease from 161 to 102.

Dr Dominic Bryan, Director at the Institute of Irish Studies, said: “We know from questions asked in the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey that displays of flags detrimentally effect people’s use of facilities and shops in certain areas. While expressions of political identity at times of festival and commemoration are common all over the world, there is no doubt that displays in Northern Ireland are left to demarcate territorial space.

“This issue remains a crucial one in developing a shared and equal society. It appears that overall policies developed to create more shared public space by reducing the length of time flags are flown have not been successful. Perhaps one thing that could be emphasised in the future is to treat symbols with respect and not leave flags to go tatty and dirty over the winter months.”

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s to lead UK-China economic growth initiative

Business experts from Queen’s are leading a major national project to enhance wealth and job creation opportunities between the UK and the fastest developing economic region in the south-west of China.

The project, supported by the British Council, is one of only five university initiatives to win funding this year under the Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education, PMI2, which supports partnerships between UK institutions and selected countries worldwide.

Later this week, a team from Queen’s University Management School will travel to China to build on academic connections already forged between the University and the city of Chongqing.

Chongqing has been designated by the Chinese Government as the site of the country’s new economic area – Two Rivers New Zone, which is projected to create three million new jobs and numerous business opportunities over the next 10 years. It is anticipated that one-third of the world's laptops will be produced in this zone in the next five years, and the total investment in the area during the same period will be £100 trillion.

The Queen’s delegation will be led by Director of Queen’s University Management School Professor Richard Harrison, strategic advisor to the Board of Chongqing International Investment Corporate Group, the largest management consultancy company in Chongqing. The group also includes Director of Queen's China Management Research Institute Dr Yu Xiong, Deputy Chair of the UK’s China Innovation and Development Association.

During the study visit, the Queen’s academics, working with partners Sichuan International Studies University and Chongqing University, will examine ways to develop and enhance the sustainability of opportunities for wealth creation in both the UK and China.

Among their objectives is the creation of a joint China UK Entrepreneurship School to provide a systematic approach to future entrepreneurship and employability exchange between China and the UK.  The project also includes the development of staff and student exchanges between Queen’s and the two universities.

Speaking before his departure, Professor Harrison said: ”This is a unique opportunity for Queen’s, Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole to link to the fastest growing economic area in China, an area which is already on the radar of some of the world’s leading companies as a direct investment opportunity.

“The project has already attracted intense interest in China, and we will be working with a range of other support agencies and organisations, including the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest Northern Ireland, to promote it further.”

Dr Xiong, who met the Chair of the new economic zone’s Steering Committee, Dr Jieming Weng, during a visit to Chiongqing in December, said: “In the current extremely competitive labour market and global economic environment, students in both the UK and China need to acquire the knowledge and skills required for future employment or the creation of new businesses.  It's a rare opportunity to have the chance to work with the new economic zone's Steering Committee.

 “This joint project will provide a strong platform for leading higher education institutions to share common issues and mutual concerns, and for students to explore new models in business education in the largest city in the world, with a population of some 32 million people."

Accompanying Professor Harrison and Dr Xiong will be Dr Johan Lindeque from Queen’s University Management School, and four Masters students, Enda Scanlan from Ballymote, Co.Sligo, Ronald Cumberbatch from Guyana, and Liang Meng and Mao Mao, from China.

Media inquiries to: Anne Langford, Communications Office, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, mob. 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Why higher education matters: Queen’s University goes to Stormont
Stormont
Stormont

Queen’s University will today take its campaign to highlight the importance of Northern Ireland’s Higher Education sector to the heart of government, when it showcases the very best of its staff and students to local politicians at Parliament Buildings.

Leading student and academic lights at Queen’s will showcase their innovative work and demonstrate the impact the University has on people’s lives at a local, national and international level.

Some of those academics and students bringing their work to Stormont include:

  • Professor Chris Elliott, the international leading voice on food safety, who has driven the development of new technology to provide faster and more accurate detection on possible contamination;
  • Professor Tracy Robson, who has led the development of a cancer drug to prevent tumours from growing new blood vessels;
  • Dr Bhaskar Sengupta, whose pioneering work removing arsenic from ground water is transforming the lives of millions around the world;
  • Professor Kieran McEvoy, a world-leader on research into conflict resolution, transitional justice and truth recovery;
    and
  • Philip Murray and Lauren Hamilton, Students in Free Enterprise, who work with business professionals and academic leaders to develop projects that focus on teaching others the skills needed to bring economic opportunity to all.

They will be joined at Stormont by many other leading Queen’s University academics, who are also playing a pivotal role in Northern Ireland through their world-class teaching and research.

Spearheading the unique visit to Parliament Buildings, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “It is critical that our elected representatives fully recognise the role, impact and benefit of higher education to Northern Ireland’s social, political and economic well-being.

“Queen’s University is at the very heart of our society. Every day our graduates, staff and students make an enormous impact on society. Through innovative research and learning, and collaborations with business, industry, the community and the voluntary sector, we are helping to improve lives here in Northern Ireland, and further afield.

“Today’s event allows us to demonstrate to our local politicians the depth, quality and global impact of what Queen’s is all about and I am extremely grateful to them for their ongoing engagement and support. It is indeed very timely, with the debate on how higher education in Northern Ireland should be funded, taking place later today in the Assembly Chamber.

“Following Queen’s showcase at Stormont I hope our elected representatives will be in no doubt of the opportunity higher education provides for our young people, the impact it has on our economy and the importance to everyone that we maintain a world-class education provision in Northern Ireland. It is essential that the Executive and the Assembly reduce the current 40% real terms disinvestment in Higher Education to the 12% cash cuts that the universities are already addressing.”

Media inquiries to Kevin Mulhern, Head of Communications and External Affairs, at 028 9097 3259 / 07813 015431 or email k.mulhern@qub.ac.uk

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Tughans backs £15m business centre at Queen’s
Marcus Ward from Queen’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, John-George Willis from Tughans and Professor Richard Harrison, Queen’s University Management School.
Marcus Ward from Queen’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, John-George Willis from Tughans and Professor Richard Harrison, Queen’s University Management School.
Tughans, one of Northern Ireland’s leading commercial law firms, is supporting Queen’s new £15 million Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre, which will open in the autumn.
The practice, which has offices in Belfast and Londonderry, is convinced that it will be critical to the long-term economic future of Northern Ireland.

The centre, which will be based at Riddel Hall on Belfast’s Stranmillis Road, will support leaders in all sectors of Northern Ireland’s economy by developing bespoke leadership and executive education programmes designed to address short and long term business challenges.

John-George Willis, Head of Corporate at Tughans, is looking forward to working with Queen’s. He believes the new Centre will be crucial to the future competitiveness of Northern Ireland, particularly in international markets. He said: “This project must be seen as an opportunity that has the potential to transform our economy and put Northern Ireland plc on the map.

“Education underpins a region’s economic performance and now, more than ever, we must support higher and further education if we want our economy to flourish.

“At Tughans, we have always had close links to Queen's. A large proportion of our lawyers and staff are Queen's graduates, and we are confident that both of our busy offices will benefit from the strong support mechanisms the Queen’s Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will offer and that we will be able to make the most of the networking opportunities available.”

All Founders’ Club members will have the opportunity to work in partnership with the Centre’s management experts from across the world to shape the content of what is delivered and ensure that courses address the challenges facing Northern Ireland businesses.

Other companies already signed up to Founders’ Club include Andor Technology, Liberty IT, SHS Group, Ulster Bank, Clear Pharmacy, Eaga, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Forward Emphasis, Phoenix Natural Gas, BT and the MJM Group . These businesses, along with other Founders’ Club members, will be able to take advantage of preferential rates on executive education programmes. They will also have the use of state-of-the art-facilities and have access to talented students as a source of future employment.

Professor Richard Harrison, Director of Queen’s University Management School explained: “The development of leadership skills is central to the transformation of businesses. For Northern Ireland to become a competitive global economy it requires access to world class management knowledge and effective policy and managerial practice.”

The investment in the Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre at Queen’s will see the appointment of 15 leading management professionals from across the globe. Professor Harrison continued: “We will have access to a vast range of experience and research at the Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre. We can provide off-the-shelf programmes, or, if these are not suitable we will tailor training to meet the business need.”

Denise Falls, Business Development Manager at Queen’s University Management School, added that the Centre will have something to offer a range of organisations, big and small. “By developing programmes that address critical leadership development, Queen’s is making a major contribution to strengthening key sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, including the small business sector, the public and voluntary sectors along with strategic business areas such as financial services.”

The Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will also fill a gap in the market as a meeting and conferencing venue. The versatile facilities on offer make it suitable for small meetings and large conferences.

Please contact Donna McCullough at the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Queen’s for more information and images of the new Center. Tel: 028 9097 3233 Email: d.mccullough@qub.c.uk
John-George Willis, Head of Corporate at Tughans, can be contacted on 028 9055 3300.

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Scientists develop first ever drug to treat ‘Celtic Gene’ in Cystic Fibrosis sufferers

An international research team led by Queen’s University have developed a ground breaking treatment for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers. The new drug will benefit sufferers who have the ‘Celtic Gene’, a genetic mutation which is particularly common in Ireland.

The study, which was carried out by scientists at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Ulster, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and teams of researchers in Europe, USA and Australia found significant improvement in lung function, quality of life and a reduction in disease flare ups for those receiving the new treatment.

The drug (VX-770) is a significant breakthrough not only for those with the ‘Celtic Gene’, known as G551D, but also for all other Cystic Fibrosis sufferers as it indicates that the basic defect in Cystic Fibrosis can be treated. This is the first drug aimed at the basic defect in Cystic Fibrosis to show an effect. It is still too early to determine whether this treatment will improve life expectancy but the improvements in the breathing tests and the reduction in flare-ups would suggest survival will be better.

Stuart Elborn, Centre Director in the Centre for Infection and Immunity at Queen’s University and co-leader of the study said: “The development of this drug is significant because it is the first to show that treating the underlying cause of Cystic Fibrosis may have profound effects on the disease, even among people who have been living with it for decades. The remarkable reductions in sweat chloride observed in this study support the idea that VX-770 improves protein function thereby addressing the fundamental defect that leads to CF.”

Dr Judy Bradley, from the University of Ulster said: “This drug opens the defective channel in the lung cells of people with Cystic Fibrosis and allows proper lung clearance of bacteria. This is a ground breaking treatment because it treats the basic defect caused by the gene mutation in patients. Correcting the cells with this mutation shows that treatments aimed at the basic mutation can work leading to improvements in lung function and symptoms.”

Dr Damien Downey, from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said: “The success of this study illustrates the benefits that come from collaborative work here in Northern Ireland. Not only will this breakthrough help patients in Ireland and the UK but it has the potential to change the lives for those with Cystic Fibrosis around the world. As a result of the recent work researchers from Queen’s University, University of Ulster and clinicians from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust have been selected to join the European Cystic Fibrosis Society Clinical Trials Network. This means Cystic Fibrosis researchers in Northern Ireland will be collaborating with their European counterparts to work toward improved treatments for Cystic Fibrosis on a global level. ”

The new drug will be submitted for licensing in the Autumn of this year and is expected to be available to patients by as early next year.

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814 422 572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Northern Ireland hay fever sufferers to breathe more easily thanks to Queen’s

Local hay fever sufferers will breathe more easily following the news that Northern Ireland’s only air pollen sampler has been installed at Queen’s University Belfast in association with the Met Office.

The new pollen trap, sited on the roof of the Queen’s School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland. Up until now the Met Office has been relying on pollen readings from Edinburgh to determine the pollen forecast here. The new pollen trap will provide Northern Ireland with its own more accurate readings.

Using the newly installed equipment at Queen’s, data will be collected once a day and reported to the Met Office who will combine the information with their weather forecasts to produce the Northern Ireland pollen forecast for the next five days.

Dr Chris Hunt from the School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology said: “Hay fever affects between 15-20% of us so it is a huge boost for sufferers to know that we will have more accurate and frequent readings from the pollen trap at Queen’s University. It means people here will be able to plan better about what activities they can do on certain days and when to take their medication.

“It is also good news for employers as recent research found that hay fever sufferers say they operate at only 63% of their normal rate in terms of productivity and concentration when their symptoms are at their worst. It also found that the average number of days that hay fever impacts on working life is 15.39 per sufferer per year.”

The pollen trap is located on the roof of the Elmwood Building at Queen’s University and is already taking readings for a more accurate pollen forecast in Northern Ireland. 

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814 422 572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Northern Ireland now a seat of summer learning for leading US law students
Fordham Law School students Jane Pakenham and Igor Rogovoy
Fordham Law School students Jane Pakenham and Igor Rogovoy

Northern Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast are fast becoming a destination of choice for summer study for students from one of America’s leading law schools.

Almost 60 students and professors from New York’s Fordham Law School have arrived at Queen's for an intensive summer study programme in conflict resolution and international law.

Over the last decade, the programme, which is highly regarded by the US legal profession, has welcomed over 500 Fordham students to Queen’s, many of whom have gone on to pursue distinguished careers with top US law firms. The students and staff from New York’s Fordham Law School will take classes taught by Fordham and Queen’s staff, visit Parliament Buildings at Stormont and meet MLAs from all the major political parties. Their busy programme also includes visits to the courts, the Bar Library, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland; discussions with legal practitioners, a presentation by the Historical Enquiries Team, and a tour of the North Coast – one of the world’s most scenic coastal routes.

Some of the students have chosen to extend their stay to complete summer internships in the Northern Ireland legal sector, allowing them to apply what they have learned in the lecture hall to real life legal situations.

Igor Rogovoy from Brooklyn, New York, a second year student at Fordham, will stay in Belfast to complete an internship with the Northern Ireland Law Centre. He said: “Queen’s has a reputation for excellence in legal teaching and research and the Queen’s/Fordham partnership is very highly regarded. Queen’s central role in the life of Belfast – a city that has moved away from conflict towards a shared future – means the University is ideally placed to learn about the complexities of conflict resolution and international law, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to study here.”

Jane Pakenham, who is also from New York, said: “This programme has given me a unique insight into the Northern Ireland legal profession, and I hope to put this to good use during my summer internship with the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. Outside the lecture hall and the workplace, this is a wonderful opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of Belfast and experience at first hand Northern Ireland’s rich culture and world-famous hospitality.”

Professor Colin Harvey, Head of the Law School at Queen’s commented: “We are delighted to welcome our friends from Fordham Law School for what is one of the highlights of our academic year.

“This programme is a leading international example of co-operation and partnership between law schools, and further evidence of the strong connections between the US and universities on the island of Ireland. We look forward to building further on the established connections and wish the programme continued success.”

Professor Michael W. Martin from Fordham Law School said: "This programme was inspired by the 1998 Belfast Agreement's cross-Atlantic and cross-border co-operation, which we are proud and fortunate to continue to nurture.

"Fordham Law students leave Belfast with rich memories of this beautiful city and a significantly deeper understanding of Northern Ireland’s progress and the challenges to come."

After their two week stay in Belfast, the group will travel to Dublin to conclude the summer programme. Fordham's programme is officially sponsored by Queen’s, along with University College Dublin.

For more information on the School of Law at Queen’s visit www.law.qub.ac.uk  

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on 00 44 (0)28 9097 5320 or anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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National honour for eminent Queen’s geographer

A leading Queen’s University academic has received one of the world’s highest honours for outstanding contributions to geography.

Professor David Livingstone has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s 2011 Founder’s Medal, one of the Society’s two Royal Medals, approved each year by Her Majesty the Queen.

The award was presented by Society President Michael Palin during a special ceremony in London.

A Fellow of the British Academy, David Livingstone is Professor of Geography and Intellectual History at Queen’s. He received the Founder’s Medal in recognition of his outstanding encouragement, development and promotion of historical geography.

Commenting on the award, he said: “It is an enormous honour and privilege to receive the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal for 2011. My work has largely focused on shedding light on the history of geographical knowledge and practice, and the role of space and place in scientific enterprises.

“In following this path I owe a great deal to my old professor, the late Bill Kirk, who first enabled me to see that some of the greatest voyages of discovery never weighed anchor and pushed out to sea, but travelled instead through the library and the archive.”

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Queen's Vice-Chancellor 'honoured and humbled' by knighthood

Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has said he is both ‘honoured and humbled’ to be awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor Gregson said the honour recognises Queen’s pivotal role as an international centre of academic excellence rooted at the heart of Northern Ireland.

He said: “It is enormously humbling to receive this honour. Throughout my career I’ve been inspired by successive generations of students and by my peers around the world. Any contribution I have made has been through the magnificent teams of people with whom I have been privileged to work, and with the support of my wife and family.

“Nowhere has this been more true than at Queen’s, where I’ve been fortunate to work with so many dedicated colleagues and friends within the university and across Northern Ireland. The success of Queen’s is built on the extraordinary achievement of men and women from all areas of the University. Our greatest strength is our people: our graduates, our students and, above all, our staff. Their service and commitment are remarkable, and it is an honour for me to lead this exceptional university.”

Among the first to congratulate Professor Gregson was the Chair of the University Senate, Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell.

Sir David said: “Professor Gregson’s leadership of the University has been outstanding. He led Queen’s into the Russell Group of the UK’s 20 leading research-intensive universities in 2006 and to the status of the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the Year in 2009. He has also led the development of formal strategic international partnerships between Queen’s and leading universities around the world, notably in the United States, India, Malaysia and China.

“When he was first appointed, Professor Gregson summed up his vision for Queen’s in three simple words – leading, inspiring and delivering. He has led by example and served with distinction on all three fronts, and this honour is well-deserved.” Professor Gregson has been President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast since 2004.

Educated at Imperial College London, he was formerly Professor of Aerospace Materials and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton. He has received the Donald Julius Groen Prize of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Rosenhain Medal and Prize of the Institute of Materials.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Irish Academy of Engineering and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. He is a Non-Executive Director of Rolls-Royce Group plc, Northern Ireland Science Park and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Belfast and a recipient of the Flax Trust Award for services to the community.

Media inquiries to: Anne Langford, Communications Office, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, mob. 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Reports highlight caring responsibilities of adults and teenagers in Northern Ireland

One quarter of adults in Northern Ireland, and one in ten 16 year olds, act as carers for vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours. That’s according to new research by Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.

The findings from the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey and the Young Life and Times Survey will be launched today (Monday 13 June), and highlight the caring responsibilities of young people and adults across Northern Ireland.

The annual surveys are conducted by ARK, a joint research initiative between Queen’s and the University of Ulster. The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey questioned 1,205 adults aged 18 and over on their experiences and attitudes to a range of social, political and economic issues, including caring for family and friends. The Young Life and Times Survey asked similar questions of 786 sixteen year olds from across Northern Ireland.

With regard to adult carers, the research found that:

  • 26 per cent of the research participants (22 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women) have caring responsibilities.
  • Of those with caring responsibilities, 27 per cent care for someone for at least 35 hours per week, therefore meeting the threshold for the Carers Allowance. 18 per cent of carers spend 60 hours per week or more completing caring responsibilities.
  • Caring is mainly undertaken by families, with the proportion of people caring for friends and neighbours low at just 6 per cent of all carers.
  • For 41 per cent of carers, the person they spend most time caring for is a parent or parent-in-law. The most common reasons for giving care were due to old age or frailty (43 per cent), physical disability (37 per cent) or physical illness (32 per cent).
  • Almost half of carers (46 per cent) are aged 35-54 years. One third (33 per cent) are aged 55 or over, and one fifth (21 per cent) are aged 18-34.
  • 20 per cent of carers have been caring for someone for 20 years or more. Seven per cent had been doing so for 15-19 years. This indicates the long term responsibilities that carers have.

With regard to young carers, the research found that:

  • One in ten (10 per cent) of survey respondents have a caring role, most frequently for their grandmother (35 per cent of young carers) or their mother (30 per cent of young carers).
  • One in ten had a caring role in the past, but don’t have that role now. This indicates that around one in five (20 per cent) of 16 year olds taking part in the survey have had caring responsibilities at some time in their lives.
  • Half of those with caring responsibilities provide care at least five days a week, and one in ten provide at least 30 hours of care per week.
  • One in five young carers have provided care for at least five years.
  • Most young carers (61 per cent) have told someone outside their family about their caring responsibilities, although one quarter felt it should be kept quiet.
  • 71 per cent of young carers enjoy caring, and say that their role does not seem to impact greatly on their school and social lives.
  • However, four out of ten young carers say that they worry all the time about the person they care for when they are not with them.
  • One third of young carers (34 per cent) feel that they are always fully involved in decisions made about the care of the person they care about, although a similar proportion feel the opposite.
  • The vast majority (85 per cent) of those who currently have caring responsibilities say that lack of free time is an issue.

Helen Ferguson, Director of Carers Northern Ireland and a co-author of the report, said: “These carers enable many thousands of vulnerable people who need support to keep leading independent lives in the community. At the same time they reduce the amount of input that social services agencies need to make.

“Carers give so much to society yet, over the years, research in Northern Ireland and beyond has shown that they are prone to poor health, social isolation and poverty because of their caring role. At the same time we are facing an increasing demand for care as people are living longer. This has obvious implications in terms of the demands placed on carers, many of whom are themselves are getting older.”

Dr Paula Devine, Research Director at ARK at Queen’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, said: “This research provides a valuable insight into the lives of the many adults and teenagers in Northern Ireland who provide care for relatives, friends and neighbours. While the results demonstrate the satisfaction many carers feel in being able to support people that they care about, they also illustrate the impact of caring on the individual’s health, emotional well-being and financial situation.

“This research should help inform policy decisions on the support that is available to carers in Northern Ireland, to ensure that they too are given the help they need to fulfil their caring responsibilities.”

The research findings are available in three reports: An Ordinary Life? Caring in Northern Ireland Today; Young Carers Too; and Men As Carers, which are available online at www.ark.ac.uk  The 2010 Northern Ireland Life and Time Survey included questions on informal carers, dementia, social care for older people, community relations, minority ethnic groups, migrant workers and political attitudes.

All results from the survey will be available on 13 June at www.ark.ac.uk/nilt  

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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Teachers become cancer researchers for the day

Biology teachers from around Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to become involved in the latest cancer research techniques at a special event at Queen’s on Friday 10 June.

Over 50 AS and A-level teachers will visit the high-tech laboratories at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

As well as hearing about the latest developments in gene technology – a key aspect of the AS and A-level Biology syllabus – they will get to watch CCRCB’s researchers at work and, under their expert guidance, get the opportunity to extract DNA from cancer cells.

Queen’s is a key partner in The Belfast Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) Centre. It is one of only 15 designated CR-UK centres and the only one in Northern Ireland. The information day is the latest in a series of schools events at CCRCB, highlighting the Centre and Queen’s commitment to encouraging young people to pursue careers in cancer research.

CCRCB Director, Professor Dennis McCance, said: “Belfast is recognised worldwide for ground-breaking cancer research, and CCRCB is at the centre of that research. Our scientists are developing cutting-edge techniques in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, which help alleviate human suffering around the world.

“To ensure that this important work continues, we must continue to attract the best and brightest young scientists from across Northern Ireland and around the world. Today’s A-level students could be at the forefront of tomorrow’s scientific breakthroughs, and that is why we work closely with local schools.

“Through our relationship with teachers and students, we show budding young scientists how what they learn in the classroom relates to the ground-breaking research being conducted here at CCRCB. I hope that some of the students from the schools represented here today will pursue their passion for science by choosing to study at Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences and follow a career in cancer research.”

During the day, Professor McCance will give a unique insight into the use of genetics in personalised medicine, and how scientists can identify genetic markers in a patient’s blood to predict how that patient will respond to various treatments. Breakthroughs in this area of research are enabling doctors to plan more personalised treatment for cancer patients.

Teachers will also hear how new DNA technology is helping unlock the secrets of the past and present. Professor Patrick Morrison will explain how DNA from the skeleton of a 17th century giant was used to trace its present-day relatives, and how gene technology is used by forensic scientists to solve otherwise ‘perfect’ crimes.

For more information about the work of CCRCB visit www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforCancerResearchCellBiology For more information about the Belfast Cancer Research UK Centre visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/belfast

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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CSIT strengthens links with leading South Korean research institute
Director of the Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology, Professor John McCanny and Senior VP Hwang from ETRI in South Korea
Director of the Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology, Professor John McCanny and Senior VP Hwang from ETRI in South Korea

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) recently hosted a delegation from Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), a leading South Korean centre of international expertise in telecoms and IT security. The senior delegation unveiled a plaque in CSIT reception and discussed current collaboration activities and outlined immediate plans for even greater collaboration.

Co-operation will include collaborative research and development projects to be undertaken by staff at Queen’s University’s CSIT and at ETRI in South Korea. Other planned activities include joint seminars and the exchange of information, publications and personnel. The research will investigate the protection of individuals and businesses from viruses and malware and will focus on commercial opportunities leading from the research.

CSIT director, Godfrey Gaston, says: “The decision by ETRI to choose CSIT and Queen’s University reflects the quality of our work here at CSIT. ETRI are an internationally renowned institute and this strengthens the already vibrant collaboration with them.

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814 422 572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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All Ireland winner appointed GAA Development Officer at Queen's

Former Armagh All Ireland winner Aidan O’Rourke has been appointed GAA Development Officer at Queen’s University Belfast. The 2002 medal winner and Queen’s graduate fought off stiff competition to secure the full-time position which is supported by the Ulster GAA Council. His role will include developing a new three-year strategy for Gaelic Games at the University as well as appointing top coaches and managers across all teams.

Karl Oakes, Sport Development Manager at Queen’s Sport said: “We are delighted to have Aidan O’Rourke joining the team at Queen’s. His expertise and experience of Gaelic Games at the highest level will be vital to the development and enhancement of Gaelic Games at the University. Aidan has extensive business knowledge as well as his excellence on and off the field which means he is the ideal candidate to sustain the GAA Academy at Queen’s.

“Aidan is currently the Assistant Coach of the Kildare Inter County team so has first-hand knowledge of how to provide athlete support at the highest level. We are confident that he will be able to build on the current successes of the Queen’s GAA teams as well as developing and securing future funding and sponsorship.”

Aidan O’Rourke said: “I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to develop Gaelic Games at Queen’s University. I hope to build upon the current level of success as well as develop minority aspects of the GAA and ensure that Gaelic Games is widely available to students of all abilities. I hope to maximise the potential to raise funds for the GAA at Queen’s as well as enhance the use of the Sean O’Neill and Ted McConnell Scholarship Funds through the Queen’s Alumni Foundation.”

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814 422 572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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How do local businesses grow despite the economic crisis?

A world class business expert is urging local companies to innovate in order to overcome the economic crisis, and develop their business into globally successful companies.

Professor Thomas Lawton from EM LYON Business School will deliver a lecture in the Great Hall at Queen’s University on Tuesday 14 June at 6pm. The lecture entitled ‘Innovate for Advantage’ will provide a clear strategy for companies that want to ‘break out’ and achieve market success.

Professor Lawton will provide an insight into how businesses can move toward the ‘sweet spots’ that exist in industry, and will emphasise the need to harmonise the financial and technology processes with the softer, leadership factors.

Professor Lawton’s book, Breakout Strategy, has been widely commended for its global focus and relevance to practising managers and aspiring leaders. Drawing on this and his more than 15 years of research and consulting with leaders of large and small companies around the world, Professor Lawton will present a vision-led and customer-centric strategic operating system that is realistic, field tested, and within reach of every management team – regardless of size, resources or functional activity.

The lecture is part of The InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme, managed by Queen’s University Belfast, which brings international expertise in innovation to Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway and University College Dublin. During his three days at Queen’s, Professor Lawton will also deliver three workshops to local business people. He will then travel to Dublin to deliver an Innovation lecture and workshops in University College Dublin.

For more information contact Richard Walker on 028 9097 2598 or r.walker@qub.ac.uk

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Newry company backs £15m business centre at Queen’s
The new Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will open later this year
The new Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will open later this year
Newry’s award winning MJM Group is backing a major Queen’s initiative that aims to transform the local economy by developing business leaders who will establish Northern Ireland as a region of economic growth. 

Queen’s University will open its new £15m Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre later this year and is delighted that the MJM Group has signed up as one of the founder members. The Centre will support leaders in all sectors of Northern Ireland’s economy by developing bespoke leadership and executive education programmes designed to address short and long term business challenges.
MJM Group is confident that the new Centre will be critical to the long-term economic future of Northern Ireland.

Brian McConville, Chairman of the MJM Group, is looking forward to working with Queen’s. He believes the timing couldn’t be better and that if Northern Ireland is to become a global player it must put education first.

He explained: “This project must be seen as an opportunity that has the potential to transform our economy and put Northern Ireland plc on the map.

“Education underpins a region’s economic performance and now, more than ever, we must support higher and further education if we want our economy to flourish. At MJM we believe that we will benefit from the strong support mechanisms the Queen’s Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will offer and that we will be able to make the most of the networking opportunities available.”

All Founders’ Club members will have the opportunity to work in partnership with the Centre’s management experts from across the world to shape the content of what is delivered and ensure that courses address the challenges facing Northern Ireland businesses.

Other companies already signed up to Founders’ Club include Andor Technology, Liberty IT, SHS Group, Ulster Bank, Clear Pharmacy, Eaga, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Forward Emphasis, Phoenix Natural Gas, BT and Tughans Solicitors . These businesses, along with other Founders’ Club members, will be able to take advantage of preferential rates on executive education programmes. They will also have the use of state-of-the art-facilities and have access to talented students as a source of future employment.

Professor Richard Harrison, Director of Queen’s University Management School said: “The development of leadership skills is central to the transformation of businesses. For Northern Ireland to become a competitive global economy it requires access to world class management knowledge and effective policy and managerial practice.”

The investment in the Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will see the appointment of 15 leading management professionals from across the globe.

Professor Harrison continued: “We will have access to a vast range of experience and research at the Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre. We can provide off-the-shelf programmes, or, if these are not suitable we will tailor training to meet the business need.”

Denise Falls, Business Development Manager at Queen’s University Management School, added that the Centre will have something to offer a range of organisations, big and small. “By developing programmes that address critical leadership development, Queen’s is making a major contribution to strengthening key sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, including the small business sector, the public and voluntary sectors along with strategic business areas such as financial services.”

The Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre will also fill a gap in the market as a meeting and conferencing venue. The versatile facilities on offer make it suitable for small meetings and large conferences.

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office 028 9097 5320 anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk
      

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Queen's scientists unlock potential of frog skin to treat cancer
Professor Chris Shaw
Professor Chris Shaw
Waxy Monkey Frog
Waxy Monkey Frog
Scientists at Queen's have discovered proteins in frog skins which could be used to treat cancer, diabetes, stroke and transplant patients by regulating the growth of blood vessels.

The award-winning research, led by Professor Chris Shaw at Queen's School of Pharmacy, has identified two proteins, or ‘peptides’, which can be used in a controlled and targeted way to regulate 'angiogenesis' – the process by which blood vessels grow in the body. The discovery holds the potential to develop new treatments for more than seventy major diseases and conditions that affect more than one billion people worldwide.

The proteins are found in secretions on the skins of the Waxy Monkey Frog and the Giant Firebellied Toad. Scientists capture the frogs and gently extract the secretions, before releasing them back in to the wild. The frogs are not harmed in any way during this process.
 
Professor Shaw said: “The proteins that we have discovered have the ability to either stimulate or inhibit the growth of blood vessels. By ‘switching off’ angiogenesis and inhibiting blood vessel growth, a protein from the Waxy Monkey Frog has the potential to kill cancer tumours. Most cancer tumours can only grow to a certain size before they need blood vessels to grow into the tumour to supply it with vital oxygen and nutrients. Stopping the blood vessels from growing will make the tumour less likely to spread and may eventually kill it. This has the potential to transform cancer from a terminal illness into a chronic condition.
 
“On the other hand, a protein from the Giant Firebellied Toad has been found to ‘switch on’ angiogenesis and stimulate blood vessel growth. This has the potential to treat an array of diseases and conditions that require blood vessels to repair quickly, such as wound healing, organ transplants, diabetic ulcers, and damage caused by strokes or heart conditions.”

Explaining how his research team looks to the natural world to solve problems where other methods of drug discovery have failed, Professor Shaw said: “Because of its huge potential, angiogenesis has been a prime target for drugs development research over the past forty years. But despite an investment of around $4-5 billion by scientists and drugs companies around the world, they have yet to develop a drug that can effectively target, control and regulate the growth of blood vessels.

“The aim of our work at Queen’s is to unlock the potential of the natural world – in this case the secretions found on frog and toad skins - to alleviate human suffering. We are absolutely convinced that the natural world holds the solutions to many of our problems, we just need to pose the right questions to find them.

“It would be a great shame to have something in nature that is potentially the wonder drug to treat cancer and not aim to do everything in our power to make it work.”

The Queen’s researchers will receive the Commendation in the Cardiovasular Innovation Award at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards in London this evening (Monday 6 June). The Awards are one of Europe’s most prestigious healthcare and business awards, rewarding innovative ideas from front line clinicians, scientists and entrepreneurs. Professor Shaw’s team are the only entry from Northern Ireland to be successful at this year’s awards.

Congratulating Professor Shaw and his colleagues, Professor Brian Walker and Dr Tianbao Chen, on their commendation award, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “This award is not only an honour for Professor Shaw and his team, it is recognition of the world-class research taking place at Queen’s School of Pharmacy, and the life-changing potential of the University’s work in drug discovery.”

For more information on the Medical Futures Innovation Awards 2011 visit www.medicalfutures.co.uk

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 email: anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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Groundbreaking male infertility test could 'bring hope to millions'
Professor Sheena Lewis
Professor Sheena Lewis

A groundbreaking new test for male infertility, which will save time, money and heartache for couples around the world, has been developed at Queen's.

The medical breakthrough, known as the SpermComet, has resulted from more than a decade's research by Professor Sheena Lewis, who leads the Reproductive Medicine research group at Queen's.

The SpermComet provides unique information that no other test offers. By measuring damaged DNA in individual sperm, it can predict the success of infertility treatments and fast-track couples to the treatment most likely to succeed, leading to significantly reduced waiting times and improved chances of conception.

Professor Lewis said: "One in six couples has difficulty in having a family. In 40 per cent of cases, the problems are related to the man. 

"Until now, there have been few accurate ways of measuring a man’s fertility. Traditionally, the diagnosis of male infertility has relied on semen analysis. This provides the basic information on which fertility specialists base their initial diagnosis. However, its clinical value in predicting male fertility or success with infertility treatment is limited, particularly if the semen analysis results are normal.

“The SpermComet test is so called because it looks just like a comet in the sky. The head of the ‘Comet’ is undamaged DNA and the tail is damaged DNA. From the tail of the ‘Comet’ we can measure exactly the amount of damaged DNA in each individual sperm. Good quality sperm DNA is closely associated with getting pregnant and having a healthy baby, and the SpermComet Test is the most sensitive test available for sperm DNA testing."

Professor Lewis, in partnership with Queen’s venture spinout company, QUBIS, has now set up a new company to market the test, which is already available through a number of fertility clinics in Glasgow, Dublin and Galway.

QUBIS Chief Executive Panos Lioulias said: “As the number of infertile couples across Europe continues to increase by around five per cent each year, the need for such a test has never been greater.  The SpermComet is the most sensitive test available to help clinics tailor treatment specifically to the man's needs, bringing hope to millions of couples across the globe.”

Professor Sheena Lewis has been at the forefront of research in male fertility for the past 20 years. She has led the reproductive research team in Queen’s University Belfast since 1995. She is Chair-Elect of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's Andrology special interest group, the treasurer of the British Andrology Society, member of the executive committee of the British Fertility Society and past Vice-Chair of the Irish Fertility Society.

Further details can be found at www.lewisfertilitytesting.com

Media inquiries to: Anne Langford, Communications Office, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, mob. 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Make it your Business to do an MBA at Queen’s
Queen’s University Management School is encouraging people to make it their business to do an MBA at Queen’s as they host an open evening in Newry. 

Queen’s University Management School, which was recently confirmed as a Top 10 school in the UK for research and education, provides a part-time Executive Masters in Business Administration.

The Executive MBA programme is a two-year part-time course on the advanced study of business administration and includes among the modules: Finance, Economics, Accounting, Leadership, and New Venture Creation and Entrepreneurial Management.

The programme is designed to be non-sector specific in order to capture the richness of diverse perspectives within the participants’ group.  An exciting development for the 2011 intake of the MBA programme at Queen’s University is that this cohort will for the first time be based at the new state-of-the-art £15m Queen’s University Management School – Riddel Hall, Stranmillis which opens in autumn 2011.
 
Professor Richard Harrison, Director of Queen’s University Management School said: “The move to Riddel Hall will provide both an expanded facility to house the growing management school and world class facilities for executive education and postgraduate education that will significantly contribute to the development of the regional economy.”

Denise Falls, Queen’s University Management School Business Development Manager said: “We are delighted to organise this MBA Open Evening event for the first time in Newry, and we are grateful to InterTrade Ireland for hosting our event and their support.   We look forward to meeting with potential MBA candidates from the Newry area and the surrounding counties.”

Aidan Gough, Director of InterTrade Ireland said: “Improving management capability not only enhances personal opportunities and performance it is also a highly effective means of improving enterprise growth potential and ultimately broader economic performance.”
The event in conjunction with InterTrade Ireland takes place on Wednesday 15th June from 5:45-7pm at InterTrade Ireland.  To register for the open evening online visit www.qub.ac.uk/mba

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 2890975391 / 07814422572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Top academic honour for three Queen's professors
Professor Keith Bennett, Professor Edward Larrissy, Royal Irish Academy President Professor Luke Drury, Professor Tom Millar
Professor Keith Bennett, Professor Edward Larrissy, Royal Irish Academy President Professor Luke Drury, Professor Tom Millar
Three Queen's professors have had their academic achievement recognised by their admission to the Royal Irish Academy.

Professor Keith Bennett, Professor Edward Larrissy, and Professor Tom Millar along with 20 Irish academics joined the ranks of Ernest Walton, Erwin Schrödinger, Seamus Heaney and Mary Robinson by becoming Members of the Royal Irish Academy.  Membership is awarded to people who have attained distinction in education and research.  It is the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Professor Bennett is one of the world's leading practitioners of the value of integrating the processes of plant population dynamics, palaeoecology and evolution. Professor Bennett, the recipient of a Royal Society-Wolfson merit award, has an international reputation for his inquiries into the macro-evolutionary effects of the selective impacts of the climatic fluctuations of the Quaternary period.

Professor Larrissy is an internationally recognised scholar and critic of poetry in English and is particularly known for his work on the Romantic period and on modern British and Irish poetry. He is Professor of Poetry in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast, having previously held professorships at Keele and Leeds, and is currently Head of the School of English at Queen's University.

Professor Millar is Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Professor of Astrophysics at Queen’s University Belfast.  He is recognised as a world-class researcher who has played a major role in the development of astrochemistry as a recognised discipline, both in the UK and worldwide.

Professor Millar has been president of Division VI (Interstellar Matter), one of the largest divisions of the International Astronomical Union, and is a member of the Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics Science Committee of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Professor Luke Drury, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “In admitting these new members, we honour their contributions to knowledge, intellectual debate and engagement with civic society. Ireland's future largely depends on having such talented and dedicated people living and working here; an important function of the Academy is to give public recognition to this.”

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814 422 572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Deanes at Queen’s chef wins in Great British Menu

Chris Fearon, Head Chef at Deanes at Queen’s, has triumphed in the thrilling national finals of cult TV show the Great British Menu.

Chris will now be cooking his starter, Season ‘n’ Shake Coronation Chicken, at the ultimate street party, The People’s Banquet, which feature on the Great British Menu on Friday 3rd June at 6.00pm on BBC2.

This year the overall theme for the series has been ‘Cooking For The People’, with the idea of creating food perfect to share with friends and neighbours at a street party, proving that food has the power to bring people together in a way that almost nothing else can.

Judged by food luminaries Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith and Matthew Fort, the food selected for the ultimate street party, The People’s Banquet, now includes Chris Fearon’s Season ‘n’ Shake Coronation Chicken as a starter, which potentially the best part of a million people may get to taste! Last year almost that number took part in the nationwide, one-day event, The Big Lunch, which uses the recipes from the Great British Menu and encourages people to cook and eat with their neighbours.

But if you don’t have the opportunity to eat at The Big Lunch you can always enjoy Chris Fearon’s tasty, relaxed and approachable menus in Deanes at Queen’s. Located at College Green beside Queen’s University, the restaurant is affiliated with and in partnership with Queen’s.

Chris has worked with Deanes for almost three years, and his menu designed for the Great British Menu and his winning starter reflect his confident, relaxed and sociable approach. “I’m thrilled that my starter was judged the best,” says Chris, “as I loved the idea of a fun, summer street party to encourage people to interact over food. I am really excited at the thought of people everywhere giving this recipe a go – it is delicious, even if I do say so myself! It’s based on familiar ingredients so it isn’t intimidating, and I hope it will be a real ice-breaker in Big Lunch street parties all over!”

Congratulating Chris, Caroline Young, Director of Accommodation and Hospitality at Queen’s, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Chris’s talents have been recognised by the Judges at the Great British Menu and are looking forward to trying the dish on the menu very soon. Queen’s staff, students and visitors have been able to enjoy the  great standard and quality of the food at Deanes at Queen’s since we began our partnership with Michael and the team in 2007, one which we are very proud to be associated with. Many congratulations from us all.”

The Big Lunch, a Big Lottery funded community street party initiative, is run by the Eden Project with the objective of encouraging people to have lunch with their neighbours for a few hours of community, friendship and fun. On Sunday 5th June, 2011, over 378 Big Lunches will be held across Northern Ireland and fans of the Great British Menu will be able to attempt home-cooked versions of the winning chef’s dishes for Big Lunches in their own neighbourhoods. If you’re thinking of holding a Big Lunch in your area visit www.thebiglunch.com and, in the meantime, should you like to try your hand at practicing Chris’s recipe for Season & Shake Coronation Chicken, it’s available on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/season_n_shake_95170  

Media inquiries to Roisin Murphy at Host PR on 07900 585 486 or email roisin@hostpr.ie  
 

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From Sarajevo to Belfast - Queen's hosts Bosnian artists

Queen's will play host to artists and students from Sarajevo during a visit to Belfast (4-8 June) as part of a unique project bringing together young people from the two cities.

The visit is part of The Belfast/Sarajevo Initiative, a joint project between Drama Studies at Queen's and the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, which facilitates creative dialogue between performers and artists from both cities. During the visit, drama students and will work with professional artistic mentors to create an original theatre piece that will be performed at the MESS International Theatre Festival in Sarajevo in October 2011.

Coordinator of the Belfast/Sarajevo Initiative, Michelle Young said, "While Belfast and Sarajevo have endured terrible conflicts, both cities have emerged from these conflicts to become major centres for culture and arts. This project aims to look at how art in all its forms – from photography, to theatre, to film – can document a conflict, record the conflict-transformation process, and help remember the past."

The week’s events, known as Collective Voices, will include a series of talks and film screenings, including two films by Queen's Film Studies lecturer Declan Keeney. We Carried Your Secrets features true stories of people from all sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland, while We Are Not Afraid journeys around Sarajevo, juxtaposing stories of the past with present day images of the Bosnian city.

Bosnian film maker and producer, Elma Tataragic will be present a series of films that deal with the aftermath of conflict in the former Yugoslavia alongside director, Faruk Loncarevic. Elma Tataragic said: "Both Belfast and Sarajevo share a similar history of conflict and are still in some ways, divided. Situated at the very edges of Europe, these distant cities often feel stranded from the centre of the action – on the margin – struggling to find its place in the future while negotiating the legacies of a turbulent past. With both Belfast and Sarajevo still bearing the scars of conflict amidst a flourishing arts scene, this concept will allow us to ask if our histories are more real than our stories. Can history be changed by our memories? And how can our stories shape the Europe of today and tomorrow?"

The week's events will include an exhibition of photographs from local artists, Sean McKernan and Frankie Quinn who visited Sarajevo just after the siege ended and whose photographs of the ravaged city will be displayed alongside a new collection of work that documents the city 17 years after the end of the siege. Connecting Voices will begin with a lecture (on 4 June) by Professor Jane Taylor, holder of the Sky Chair of Dramatic Art at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Professor Anna McMullan, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts at Queen’s, said: "This project will not only help us better understand the important role of the arts in conflict transformation – it will also strengthen links between Queen’s and the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, and between the vibrant arts communities in both cities."

This project is supported by the School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts and Drama Studies at Queen's, Student-Led Initiative at Queen’s, the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo and the British Council.
 
For more information about Collective Voices contact Michelle Young at myoung13@qub.ac.uk or the Belfast/Sarajevo Initiative at bsinitiative@hotmail.com

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen's Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's NASA student touches down after Endeavour mission
Therese White won a place as the only UK student on an internship with NASA at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida
Therese White won a place as the only UK student on an internship with NASA at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida
A Queen's medical student has returned home from the United States after assisting with preparations for the final ever mission by the Endeavour Space Shuttle.  

Therese White, who is in her fourth year of Medicine at Queen's, won a place as the only UK student on an internship at the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in Florida.  The placement, through the Aerospace Medicine and Occupational Health Branch of the KSC, provides a unique opportunity to learn about the field of Aerospace Medicine at an operational space centre.

The internship coincided with the preparation of the launch of the final mission by the Endeavour Space Shuttle which returned to earth yesterday.  Therese and the team assisted with the medical preparation in the lead up to the launch as well as getting an insight into the emergency contingency plans for any disaster which might occur.  

Speaking on her return Therese White said: "I am honoured to have been selected as the only student in the UK and the first in Ireland to take part in the medical elective programme with NASA.  I was given a wonderful insight into the field of research, particularly with regards to extreme condition microgravity.  I have a keen interest in becoming involved with medical education and I hope to use my experience with NASA to create a stimulating and productive learning environment for future medical students.

"To be involved in the preparation of the last ever mission of the Endeavour Space Shuttle is an experience which could not be replicated.  I have been offered the opportunity to go back over and be involved in research programmes with sponsorship, which I hope to do next year or after graduating."

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814 422 572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Summer school brings together public health experts from across the UK
The UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research at Queen’s University is today hosting the annual summer school of the National Centres of Excellence network. The event, opened today by the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Mr Edwin Poots, gives researchers across the Centres an opportunity to showcase their work, to network and learn from each other and to engage with researcher users.

These world class Centres (based in the universities of Cardiff, Newcastle, Cambridge and Nottingham) were established three years ago to build capacity in and to promote translational public health research.  To pursue these goals, they gain strength from their partnerships with the policy and practice communities and the Third sector. 

The Centre based at Queen’s, led by Professor Frank Kee, is a partnership with the Institute of Public Health, the Public Health Agency, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Community Development and Health Network and W5.  Like the other Centres, its focus has been on the broad determinants of public health and major problems such as obesity and sedentary living.  For the first time, the five UK Centres are joining forces with a comparable centre in the Republic of Ireland, the HRB funded national Centre for Diet and Health.

The event organizers are delighted that the programme this year can offer Master Classes from internationally renowned Public Health scientists affiliated to the Centres.

Professor Paul Boyle, the Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which is one of the funders of the UKCRC Centres said: “I am delighted that the UKCRC Public Health Research Centres have produced such high quality research which will provide a strong foundation for generating future impact.  The approach of the UKCRC Centres is an excellent example of best practice as their early engagement with research users, practitioners and policy makers is vital if we are to make a difference to the public health challenges we face today.”

For media inquiries please contact the Communications Office on 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk 

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Final toast for Queen’s University porters during Summer Graduations
Assistant Head Porter Walter Browne and Head Porter Chris Shannon, with Sisters Zelda and Olwyn Dawson who will graduate with first class honours in BSc Management and Business Studies
Assistant Head Porter Walter Browne and Head Porter Chris Shannon, with Sisters Zelda and Olwyn Dawson who will graduate with first class honours in BSc Management and Business Studies
Queen’s University is gearing up for Summer Graduations, and it will be a very special week for two of the University’s longest serving staff members as they prepare to retire later this Summer.
Chris Shannon, from Glengormley, has worked at Queen’s for 31 years and has been the University’s Head Porter since 1996, while Assistant Head Porter Walter Browne, from Bangor, has worked in the University’s Porters’ Office for the last 19 years.

Together, Chris and Walter have clocked-up half a century of service to Queen’s. They have been at the forefront of organising around 850 graduation ceremonies and have seen approximately 300,000 graduates receive their degrees. Now, for the last time, they are preparing the Whitla Hall and the University grounds to welcome the 4,000 graduates and their families who will celebrate at Queen’s during next week’s 12 graduation ceremonies.

Chris, who was awarded a MBE last year for Services to Higher Education, will retire in September. He said: “Graduation is an extremely busy time at Queen’s, and a huge amount of effort goes in to making sure that everything goes according to plan. But despite doing this job for three decades, I never get tired of seeing the joy in graduates’ faces as they pick up their degree certificates and celebrate with their families and friends. Every graduation week is special but knowing that this is the last time I will set up the Whitla Hall and the garden party marquees, or help excited graduates into their gowns and hoods, will make next week particularly memorable.”

Walter, who will retire at the end of August, said: “It’s been a real honour to have been involved in the many wonderful occasions that have taken place at the University over the last 19 years. From visits by The Queen and President Clinton, to watching my own daughter graduate twice, I will leave Queen’s with some fantastic memories; and while I will miss my colleagues, I am looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation.”

The University’s newest graduates will be joined by 10 Honorary Graduands, who will be recognised for their achievements in public or professional life and who serve as ambassadors for the University and Northern Ireland around the world.

They include leading economist Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali, Vice-Chancellor of Open University Malaysia; award-winning bioscientist Professor Seyed Hasnain, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad in India; leading neurosurgeon, Harvard and MIT Professor Teodoro Forcht-Dagi; and the eminent mathematician, Professor Efim Zelmanov.

They will receive their awards alongside Declan Kelly, former US Special Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, prize-winning Irish author and journalist Ruth Dudley Edwards, environmental champion Lady Dufferin, and broadcaster Sir Mark Tully.

The distinguished list of recipients also includes philanthropist and hotelier John Fitzpatrick, and John Lillywhite, Chairman of Kainos, one of Queen’s most successful spin-out companies.
For more information about Queen’s Summer Graduations visit www.qub.ac.uk/home/Graduation/
 
Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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