02-2007 Press Releases

£3M Award to Queen's and University of Ulster to Support NI Research Resources

ARK (or the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive), a collaboration between Queen’s University and The University of Ulster, has been awarded £3 million from The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The £3 million is the largest ever grant award for funding work in the social sciences to the universities in Northern Ireland.

Established in 2000, ARK, which can be found online at www.ark.ac.uk, makes social science information on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience including researchers, policymakers, journalists, community and voluntary groups, schoolchildren and their teachers.

Well-known resources provided by ARK include CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) - the internationally recognised definitive website for information about the NI conflict; the annual Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey and Young Life and Times Survey which provide up-to-date information on the social attitudes of adults and 16 year olds in Northern Ireland, a comprehensive Elections website which is currently running a popular poll contest and SOL or Surveys Online which holds information on other important surveys in NI.

Speaking about the significant award, Professor Robert Miller, Deputy Director of ARK said: “Here in Northern Ireland key social surveys are carried out that carry messages of huge importance to us all. ARK’s aim is to convey these messages to the widest possible audience, including the general public and those in government.”

Professor Gillian Robinson, Director of ARK added: “It is so important for public debate in a civil society that people understand the social and political issues and that they have full access to accurate, impartial and factual information. The ARK website and the services we offer are about providing this in a digestible way.”

Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, observed: “ARK’s work is well known in Northern Ireland and beyond. I welcome this funding from ESRC which will enable ARK to further extend its scope and influence based on high quality research.”

Agreeing, Professor Richard Barnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster said: “It is particularly pleasing to us that ESRC acknowledges the need to build a resource that bridges the gap between the academic world and the general public.”

Further information on ARK, which also provides an outreach programme to schools and a seminar series which provides an important forum for debate in social topics in Northern Ireland, can be found at www.ark.ac.uk

Notes for editors

The CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) web site that is internationally recognized as the definitive website for information about the Northern Ireland conflict;
The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT) and the Young Life and Times Survey (YLT). These annual surveys provide up-to-date on the social attitudes of the adult population and on 16 year-olds. A feature of the surveys is that the data is made freely available via the Internet to anyone within six months of the completion of fieldwork;
ORB, an abstracting service that gives direct access to the summaries of hundreds of reports and research articles on social issues in Northern Ireland;
Help with learning in information held by other important social surveys in Northern Ireland through Surveys Online (SOL) and special help with the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey;
An Elections website that has comprehensive information about all of Northern Ireland’s elections, which also hosts a popular poll contest during election time;
An ARK Research Centre that provides practical assistance to large and small organizations with carrying out research and analyzing data, including free, pro bono help to smaller groups;
A developing archive of qualitative research material that includes a searchable index of sources of qualitative data on the Northern Ireland conflict and material on ageism.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Queen’s Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or David Young, University of Ulster, Press Office. Tel: 028 90 90366074


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Dinner to Honour Northern Ireland's First Direct Entry Midwives at Queen's University

The first ever midwives in Northern Ireland to have entered the profession as a result of completing a Direct Entry three year Pre-Registration Midwifery Programme will tonight celebrate their achievement at a dinner in the Great Hall at Queen’s University Belfast.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s is the sole-provider of pre-registration midwifery education in Northern Ireland and traditionally the route into the profession was open only to nurses already registered on the Nursing Register of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Professional Register. Those without a professional nursing background were unable to pursue a career in midwifery.

However, in 2003, following a growing interest in the profession and efforts to redefine midwifery practice and education, The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, in consultation with its partners in the HPSS Trusts and DHSSPSNI, introduced a three year Direct Entry Midwifery Education Programme (BSc Hons), which upon completion would lead to registration on the Midwifery part of the NMC’s Professional Register.

The course was first advertised in February of 2003 and the University received 700 applications for 15 commissioned student places. The first cohort of students began their three year programme in September of that year and tonight’s dinner will celebrate the fact all are now working as midwives. Tonight will also recognise the continued success of the programme with applicants for the current year numbering 500 for the 24 places that were on offer.

Speaking about the celebration dinner, Frances E McMurray, Associate Head of School and Director of Education (Midwifery) at Queen’s said: “The creation and delivery of the Direct Entry Programme into the Midwifery programme was an immense challenge for all involved and I am delighted to say that tonight’s dinner, where we will congratulate our first cohort, all of whom are now working as midwives, verifies our success in doing just that.

“Our students have come from a wide variety of backgrounds and bring with them life skills and understanding that contribute to and enhance their experience of the programme.

“The term midwife comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘with woman’ and midwives use a holistic model of care which places the childbearing woman at the centre of that care. Our programme at Queen’s has not only developed a cognitive base for professional midwifery practice but has also provided a vital new opportunity for the Profession to better define its ideology and identity.”

Further information on the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s is available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofNursingandMidwifery/

Notes to Editor

The Dinner to Celebrate the Registrants Entry into the Midwifery Profession, organised by The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s is taking place at 7.00pm in The Great Hall, Lanyon North, Queen’s University. A reception will be held beforehand in the Black and White Hall. Media Opportunities are available.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Queen's join Environmental Management top six
L-R Adrian Davis, Environmental Manager, Queen's University Belfast receives the ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard certificate from Sam Glenn, Regional Manager, NQA Ltd.
L-R Adrian Davis, Environmental Manager, Queen's University Belfast receives the ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard certificate from Sam Glenn, Regional Manager, NQA Ltd.

Queen's University has achieved certification to the internationally recognised ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard, becoming one of only six Universities and Colleges within the UK to achieve this accolade.

Certification was achieved for the Environmental Management System (EMS) in place within the University's Estates Department and Purchasing Office. The two stage certification assessment was undertaken by National Quality Assurance (NQA) Ltd. one of the UK's largest and longest established certification bodies.

Adrian Davis, Environmental Manager at Queen's who is pictured receiving the ISO14001 Registration Certificate from Sam Glenn, Regional Manager of NQA Ltd. said: "It is important to remember that the main University campus in Belfast alone is the size of a small town with 250 different buildings and supports a daily working population of 20,000 students and staff. The introduction of the EMS has allowed the University to identify all Environmental Aspects associated with its operations and allowed us to implement significant environmental improvements to reduce the University's impact on the environment. Certification to the ISO 14001 standard is a significant achievement that underpins Queen's efforts to be best in class.

"There are 13 different Environmental Management (Improvement) Programmes now in place across the University to ensure that environmental considerations are firmly in our sights now and in the future from the materials we buy, their use and how they are then disposed of."

Some of the key impacts of the new programmes which led to the award include:

The use of recycled content paper (EP4) for printing and photocopying leading to approximately 200 tonnes of recycled content paper now in use across the university;

The introduction of cardboard recycling – approximately 2 tonnes per month of cardboard was recycled in 2006 and the volume for 2007 is planned to increase;

An obsolete IT amnesty during which 28 tonnes of IT equipment was collected and recycled; The development of a green procurement strategy for the University;

The introduction of an integrated Waste Management Contract to reduce costs, improve waste monitoring, facilitate enhanced recycling, and improve overall service to the university and the community it serves.


For more information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 02890 975320 or Adrian Davis, Environmental Manager at Queen's, Tel: 0289097 1198.

Picture Caption: L-R Adrian Davis, Environmental Manager, Queen's University Belfast receives the ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard certificate from Sam Glenn, Regional Manager, NQA Ltd.

Notes for Editors:

The initial EMS certification assessment was undertaken in September 2006 to ensure all EMS documentation was in order and covered all of the clauses in ISO 14001 standard. The main assessment was then completed in November where the remaining EMS documentation was reviewed and legal compliance checks, site visits and interviews with staff were conducted. The award has now been announced.

Queen's University’s Environmental Manager, Adrian Davis, previously received Best Waste/ Recycling Manager Award from Sustainable Ireland Magazine in 2006

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Copper model of pond skater. Despite being 10x the mass of a pond skater of the same size, it floated comfortably on water after being treated.
Copper model of pond skater. Despite being 10x the mass of a pond skater of the same size, it floated comfortably on water after being treated.
Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have developed a very simple method for treating metals that results in total water repellency. The flexibility and simplicity of the discovery surpasses previous work in this area where effective results involved costly production using only limited materials. The new process is cheap, quick and can be applied to a wide range of metals.

The finding, by Drs Graham Saunders and Steven Bell of Queen's University School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, together with PhD student, Iain Larmour, paves the way for significant future developments into practical applications such as biomedical devices, liquid separation and reducing turbulent flow in water-bearing pipes.

Speaking about the research, Dr Saunders said, "The team experimented with samples of various shapes and sizes and more complex metal objects, including a model of a pond skater made from copper. Pond skaters' legs are water repellent enabling them to walk on water, and our model, despite being 10x the mass of a pond skater of the same size, when treated, floated perfectly.”

Explaining the process, Dr Bell said, "The process involves treating metal objects in a solution which coats them with a textured metal layer thinner than a human hair. Secondly the object is dipped in another solution which creates an even thinner layer of water repelling molecules. The resulting surface is so water repellent that even after being immersed in water for several days, it is found to be completely dry when removed."


Media enquiries to: Sarah Williams, Communications, tel: 028 9097 3087.

Photo caption: Copper model of pond skater. Despite being 10x the mass of a pond skater of the same size, it floated comfortably on water after being treated.

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Queen's honours tomorrow's leaders

The achievements of Queen's University's top entrance students will be recognised at a special reception hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, on Monday 26 February.

In all, 31 students, from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales and China, received Entrance Scholarships to Queen's in 2006. Among the award-winning guests will be Joseph Walsh, the top 'A' Level entrant to Queen's in 2006. A former pupil of St Columb’s College in Londonderry, Joseph, who won the Sullivan Entrance Scholarship and the David Russell Lappin Scholarship, is now studying Medicine at Queen's.

The guest list also includes winners of the Dr George Alexander Baird Entrance Scholarships for non 'A' Level entrants.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "This occasion is a celebration of excellence, which these 31 students have demonstrated in abundance and which is at the heart of the University's mission. We are committed to attracting top-quality students and to giving them the best educational experience we can. These award- winning students are society’s future leaders and we are delighted to recognise and honour their achievements."

The full list of Entrance Scholars is as follows:

Sullivan Scholarship and David Russell Lappin Scholarship

Joseph Marius Walsh  Medicine St Columb's College, L’Derry

 John Sinclair Porter Scholarships

Martin Gerard Houston Medicine  St Columb's College, L’ Derry
James Frew Johnston Medicine  Ballymena

Academy Foundation Entrance Scholarships:

Rachael Jane Adams Modern History and French Ballymena Academy
Clare Denise Bowden Politics Westholme School, Blackburn
Lynn Campbell Psychology Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast
Annika Chapman Social Work  Sullivan Upper School, Holywood
Stephen Albert Cochrane Chemistry Limavady Grammar School
Claire Doherty Geography and Social Our Lady & St Patrick's College , Anthropology Belfast
Emma Foy Food Quality, Safety and  Nutrition with Professional Studies Mount Lourdes Grammar School, Enniskillen
Colleen Gormley English and Music  Thornhill College, L’Derry 
Arthur Martin Lagan Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering  St Patrick's College, Maghera
Lyndsey Patricia Lavery  Nursing Sciences –  Children's Nursing St Catherine's College, Armagh 
Erin Marie McBride Pharmacy Strabane Grammar School 
Naomi Joy McCain  French and Spanish Omagh Academy
John Brendan McCormac Law and Accounting Banbridge Academy 
Ashley Joan E McMillen  Mathematics  Belfast Royal Academy 
Claire Louise McSparron English  Antrim Grammar School 
Gary Robert Neill  Civil Engineering   Belfast Royal Academy 
Mark James Rogers  Accounting  Banbridge Academy 
Marc Christian Sloan  Computer Science inc. Professional Experience Gorseinon College, Swansea  
Jennifer Clare Wallace Medicine  Ballymena Academy  

Dr George Alexander Baird Scholarships

Kevin Kilroy Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Carndonagh Community School, Co Donegal
Roscha Louise Cronin Social Anthropology   Bandon Grammar School, Cork 
Kezheng Li Electrical and Electronic Engineering Shenzhen University, China  
Xue Zhao   Finance Guiyang Middle School, Guizhou, China 

Sir Hercules Pakenham Scholarship

Graham Nicholl Applied Mathematics and Physics  Friends' School, Lisburn

Emily, Lady Pakenham Scholarship

Daniel McAuley  Irish, Celtic and French St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena 

Megaw Scholarship

Andrew Kenneth Gardiner  Civil Engineering Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt  

Sullivan (RBAI) Scholarship

Adam William Glass Medicine Royal Belfast Academical Institution  

Reid-Harwood Scholarship 2005

Andrea Hanna  French and German  Portadown College 


For further information contact:
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Editor's Notes:
Photographic facilities will be available at the reception which will take place in the University's Canada Room from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Monday 26 February.

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Double Olympic Gold Winner Opens new £7M Sporting Facility at Queen's
Pictured at the Official Opening of the new £7 million sports facility at the PEC were (L to R):
Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Mary Peters and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson
Pictured at the Official Opening of the new £7 million sports facility at the PEC were (L to R): Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Mary Peters and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson
Dame Kelly Holmes and Maureen Cusdin, Director of Sport at Queen's, pictured prior to the official opening of the new facility.
Dame Kelly Holmes and Maureen Cusdin, Director of Sport at Queen's, pictured prior to the official opening of the new facility.

Double Olympic Gold Winner Dame Kelly Holmes makes her first visit to Northern Ireland today to officially open Queen's University’s new £7 million sporting facility. Located in Botanic Park, the Centre will play a key part in strengthening Northern Ireland's sporting infrastructure ahead of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Dame Kelly Holmes is attending in her capacity as the first National School Sport Champion – a Government-backed appointment in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, Sky Living For Sport and Norwich Union.

Setting new standards in regional fitness provision, the centre offers world-class sporting facilities to both students and members of the public, which to date have previously only been available to elite athletes. It is the latest stage in Queen's Vision for Sport which will see further developments and investment in preparation for 2012, including the development of Queen's Playing Fields at Upper Malone and the University's Boathouse at Stranmillis.

Speaking at the official opening, Maureen Cusdin, Director of Queen's Sport said: "I am delighted that Dame Kelly Holmes, one of the world’s most distinguished and successful athletes has joined us at Queen's today. Her career epitomises the pursuit of excellence, a concept we readily identify with.

"Queen's is committed to the principle of 'best in class'. I hope that Dame Kelly's presence here today will further Queen's goal of leading the way in encouraging greater participation in sport, both competitively and recreationally. I am confident it will secure our position as the premier university in Ireland and Europe for providing both sporting opportunity and fulfilment to our students and the community."

Praising the new centre and the quality and range of sporting facilities on offer to members, Dame Kelly Holmes said: "Queen's University Sport has achieved a double gold victory of its own today. Not only has it opened a world-class sporting facility but it is also providing a range of gold standard programmes. Involving more people in sport at the level of their choice is exactly what is required. I am delighted that both students and the local community can share in the Queen's Sporting Experience."

Final year Applied Maths & Physics student, Claire Fitzsimmons, 28, from Ballynahinch, Co. Down, who is a member of Queen's Netball Club, said: “I feel very proud today to be part of both Queen's sporting tradition and its bright new future. The opportunities on offer from Queen's Sport are superb. I hope seeing such an inspiring athlete as Dame Kelly Holmes here today will encourage many more people from the local community, male and female, to enjoy all of the sporting opportunities on offer from Queen's."

The official opening follows on from the news that the University is ranked third in the Times Good University Guide (behind Loughborough and Bath), for the quality of its sports scholarship and bursary programmes. Today Dame Kelly Holmes will meet the recipients of Queen's Sports Bursaries in a special seminar. She will also be taking a Sports Leadership session with students from Girls Model School as part of her role as National School Sport Champion with the Youth Sport Trust and will join pupils from Botanic Primary School as they train on the Centre's Outdoor Training Facility. The floodlit facility will transform sporting opportunities for pupils at local schools, as well as for over a thousand members of nine local community sports groups, which have traditionally had little or no access to such facilities.

Adjoining the University's existing 10,500m² Physical Education Centre, which already caters for a membership of 8,500, the new facility will enable Queen's Sport to make physiological testing, exercise programming, sports medicine and accurate submaximal assessments of aerobic fitness available to all as a result of a new High Performance and Lifestyle Centre.

The centrepiece of the new facility is a state of the art 900m² fitness area containing over 120 pieces of fitness equipment, each with its own personal entertainment screen and motivation system. A new two storey climbing wall over 10m in height and 20m wide, with an abseil tower, chimney and bouldering facilities is another striking feature of the new build.

Other facilities on offer to members include a Strength and Conditioning Suite with the latest hydraulic assisted systems, an indoor cycling studio and two new exercise studios which enable Queen's Sport to offer over 80 Dance, Fitness, Aquatic and Mind & Body classes. Users of the centre can also avail of a new arrival on the dining scene in South Belfast with the opening of StopGo Restaurant which features an outside decking area overlooking the River Lagan.

Further information on the full range of facilities available from Queen's Sport is available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/sport.


Notes to Editor:

Pictures of Dame Kelly Holmes at Queen's will be sent to all picture desks this afternoon or are available on request by emailing comms.office@qub.ac.uk or by telephoning 028 90 97 3087.

As a result of the new extension the full range of facilities on offer to members of the PEC includes: a 25m swimming pool (with seating for 300 swimming pool spectators) and diving pool, ten squash courts, two handball/racquetball courts, free weights area, circuits room, climbing and bouldering walls, high performance lifestyle centre, Stop Go cafe , main hall (48.8m x 21.3m x 9.4m), degrees fitness suite, strength and conditioning suite, spin studio, minor hall (48.8m x 18.3m x 6.4m) and five meeting/function rooms.

Queen's Sport also offers 14 pitches at its playing fields on the Malone Road, Belfast, as well as facilities at The Boat Club at Stranmillis and its Mourne Cottage, a two-storey building in the Mournes complete with bunk-style bed space for 24, kitchen, living area, showers and toilets for outdoor activity trips. The new Centre was designed by Faulkner Browns and built by Gilbert Ash NI Ltd under the direction of Queen's Estates Department. The Youth Sport Trust is a registered charity established in 1994 to build a brighter future for young people through sport. Its mission is to support the education and development of all young people through physical education (PE) and sport. Please visit www.youthsporttrust.org or more information.
Dame Kelly' appointment as National School Sport Champion will see her visiting schools and sports events to promote the Government' strategy for school sport and help inspire and motivate young people into taking up sport and physical activity.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or m0781 44 22 572.

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Queen's Researcher Launches Competition to Predict Outcome of NI Assembly Election

A Queen's University researcher has launched a web-based competition to predict the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 7 March. Available at www.ark.ac.uk/elections/ the site also provides a wealth of information about elections in Northern Ireland since 1885.

The competition was originally introduced to inject some of the thrill of a game into the political process and to help counteract apathy by Nicholas Whyte, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance at Queen's University, who also works as a political analyst in Brussels.

Visitors from anywhere in the world are invited to forecast the outcomes of the election by completing a form on the web site at or by emailing their predictions to Nicholas.whyte@gmail.com.

Nicholas first established a web archive of information about Northern Ireland elections after the 1996 Forum elections, and he says he set up the pages at least partly as a reaction to the ill-informed debates that were prevalent at the time on the Internet. The pages came to be seen as an essential resource by politicians, researchers, the media, students and anyone interested in Northern Irish elections and their outcomes and speaking about the competition Nicholas said: “Our local contest is part of a wider European election campaign. Through the internet, people from anywhere in the world can be involved."

Since 1998, Nicholas has run seven prediction contests on the elections site, including one relating to the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections in November 2003. Northern Ireland Elections is a site within ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive, which makes social and political material on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience.

The 2003 Assembly Election Contest attracted numerous responses and the winners were a DUP activist and an English Conservative councillor.


Notes to Editor
ARK (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive) was established in 2000 as a joint resource between Queen's University and University of Ulster with a single goal: to make information on the social and political life of Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience. It provides different kinds of information, including survey results, research reports and summaries.

Northern Ireland Elections is a comprehensive resource within ARK containing facts, figures and maps. It gives details of:

  • local government, Westminster and European Parliament election results;
  • political parties and their web-sites;
  • voting systems;
  • geographical boundaries of constituencies;
  • the history of noteworthy elections since 1885;
  • useful web-sites, books and other resources.

The ARK website can be found at www.ark.ac.uk

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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"Crock of gold to be won at Universities St. Patrick’s Day Festival!"

The 2nd Universities St. Patrick's Day Festival was launched today at Queen's, including the chance to win a real 'crock of gold' – £1000 - at the 'Great St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt'!

Jointly hosted by Queen's University and the University of Ulster, the 2007 festival runs from Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th March and features an unbeatable line-up of events, including music, sports, film, poetry, visual art and spiritual events.

Highlight of the Festival will be a concert by Kíla, one of Ireland's most innovative and creative bands and Liam Ó'Maonlaí, former lead singer of the Hothouse Flowers, at Queen's Students' Union on Friday 16th March.

In a new addition to the festival programme this year, 'The Great St. Patrick's Scavenger Hunt' (Friday 16th March) will see teams of five people transforming into budding Anneka Rices, and deciphering clues around the University Quarter to win a top prize of £1000! Application forms and game rules are available from the Naughton Gallery at Queen's or from www.naughtongallery.org.

Speaking at the launch of the festival, Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen's said:

"Following on from a very successful 2006 Festival, Queen's is delighted to fully support this year's exciting venture. This Festival is a real working example of how both Universities are committed to tackling student misbehaviour but at the same time giving them the opportunity to celebrate the day in a sensible and fun way."
Echoing these sentiments, Professor Bill Clarke, Provost of the University of Ulster's Jordanstown and Belfast campuses :

"The University of Ulster is committed to cementing good relations between town and gown across all our four campuses, and the St Patrick's Day Festival is an important part of our programme of public engagement activities. Last year's event proved to be very successful for both students and the wider community, and I'm confident that this year’s programme will be equally enjoyable for all concerned."

Ben Preston, President of Queen's Students' Union said:

"On behalf of the students at Queen's, I am delighted that the St. Patrick's Day Festival has returned for a second year. With such a wide selection of events to choose from, I feel sure that we look forward to a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day for all."

Aoibheann Fearon, President of the University of Ulster Students' Union said:

"Both universities have put a lot of hard work into the organisation of this year's festival and I really hope students and residents will enjoy the festivities. With everything from dodge ball, to ceili dancing and the scavenger hunt, there is no reason not to have a safe and enjoyable St. Patrick's Day."

Tickets and details of the various events are available from Queen's University Students' Union or online from www.qubsu-ents.com. Full Festival details are available at www.qub.ac.uk/news/StPatricksDayFestival or in the Festival brochure, which is available from outlets across Belfast.


For Media enquiries, please contact Sarah Hughes, Communications Officer, QUB Culture and Arts Division, on telephone 028 90971398 or email s.hughes@qub.ac.uk.

Notes for Editors:

Further events at the 2nd Universities St. Patrick's Day Festival

Words and Music

There will be a special St. Patrick's Day Shine, featuring Layo and Bushwacka! at Mandela Hall on Saturday 17th March, while Club Radar will feature the very best of local bands on Thursday 15th March.

Queen's Irish Language and Culture Society - An Cumann Gaelach – will celebrate its centenary with a special Ceili at the Mandela Hall on Wednesday 14th March. The music continues with Folk at Queen's, featuring some of the finest young musicians from QUB Music Department in the hallowed surroundings of the Harty Room, on Thursday 15th March.

Musicians from the Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Methodist Chaplaincies will come together for the Interchaplaincy St. Patrick's Concert - a celebration of the life and faith of St. Patrick in word and music - on Thursday 15th March at Elmwood Hall.

Paddy's Poetry will feature four of the most exciting poets to merge from the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's reading from their work in a relaxed, lunchtime setting on Friday 16th March.


Queen's Film Theatre will give you the chance to relive your school days in the hilarious 'Back to School' season on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th March, with a rare opportunity to see classics including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Animal House on the big screen.


Following the success and enjoyment of last year's sporting action during the St. Patrick's Day Festival, this year's programme has even more to offer. Whether competitive or recreational, team or individual, with a line-up from Dodge Ball to Canoe Polo, Basketball to Trampolining, you're sure to find something to take part in!

Enrolment forms for all sporting events are available from www.qub.ac.uk/pec/stpatricksfestival or www.uusport.com/sportsunion and the closing date for completed entries is Friday 9th March. Superb team and individual prizes to be won.

Tickets and details of the various events are available from Queen's University Students' Union or online from www.qubsu-ents.com. Full Festival details are available at www.qub.ac.uk/news/StPatricksDayFestival or in the Festival brochure, which is available from outlets across Belfast.

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Joint university collaboration boosts research into human vision
Researchers from the Psychology departments of Queen's University Belfast, University College London and Saint Andrews University have made an important finding which will inform research aimed at the development of intelligent robots capable of seeing in a similar way to humans.

Motion-defined transparency is a common occurrence in the natural environment where multiple directions of motion occur in the same spatial region, for example when one sees fish in a fast flowing stream, and is a phenomenon that has invited much scientific discussion.

The research, a joint collaboration between Dr William Curran at Queen's, Dr Paul B Hibbard of the University of St Andrews and Professor Alan Johnston of University College London, examined whether the human visual system detects transparently moving surfaces simultaneously or whether the directions are processed in a serial manner, and was published in a paper by the Royal Society on 7 February.

Previous research had purported to show that the human brain processes the different motion directions in a transparent scene in a serial manner. These findings were based on experiments in which the transparent motions were presented in the same depth plane (ie were the same distance from the viewer). The team's research challenged these previous findings by testing people's ability to detect the direction of transparently moving surfaces when the surfaces are placed at different depths. Their results provided evidence that the human brain does, in fact, process transparent motion directions simultaneously.

Speaking about the work, Dr Curran said, "This adds another small piece to the incredibly complex jigsaw which is the human visual system. It is also relevant to researchers who wish to develop artificial visual systems that 'see' in the same way as humans do."

The research paper can be viewed on the Royal Society website at http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/.


Media enquiries to Sarah Williams, tel 028 90973087

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Queen's Psychologist takes research lead in tackling teacher stress
Chris Gibbons, Marianne Moutray and Professor Gavin Reynolds have been collaborating at Queen's to tackle stress and well-being of nurse students, and more recently teachers. The results will be broadcast this week on Teachers'TV.
Chris Gibbons, Marianne Moutray and Professor Gavin Reynolds have been collaborating at Queen's to tackle stress and well-being of nurse students, and more recently teachers. The results will be broadcast this week on Teachers'TV.
Chris Gibbons, a Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University, Belfast has been taking the lead role in a programme seeking to identify and help reduce and manage stress for teachers, in England. The psychologist has worked with colleagues at Queen’s to design a range of tests, the results of which will feature in a week long series on the Teachers' TV channel as part of National Teachers' Well-Being Week 19-23 February.

The research psychologist said: "The Teachers' TV research is very similar to work we have already been doing here at Queen's in measuring the work demands that nurse students' experience. Both teachers and nurses as professional groups, frequently top the league tables on indices of occupational stress. The research which will be seen in the forthcoming programmes looks at how the work demands of teaching manifest through a number of physiological and psychological outcomes. We looked at a number of measures of well-being, such as job satisfaction, staff intentions to stay at the school and The research also looks at the role of a number of moderators – such as perceived control, one's support system and coping style to assess how these moderators can help teachers to combat stressful work demands."

Chris is also collaborating with Professor Gavin Reynolds from the School of Medicine at Queen's to look at the role of a particular genotype that may predispose a person to anxiety and this has been built into the televised research.

"The aim of the research is to identify those factors that contribute to a healthy well-being among teachers and nurse students and to make these findings available to improve the well-being of professionals in these and other groups," the psychology researcher said.

For more information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 028 90975320


Notes for Editors­

Chris Gibbons has previously published reports into the Effects of Organisational Change on Occupational Stress in Further Education Lecturers in Northern Ireland.

In September 2005 he delivered a paper 'Literature Review of Stress in Teaching' to an international conference held in University College Galway.

He was subsequently engaged as an expert to lead the research for Teachers' TV and has based it on the 2003 European Teachers Survey on Stress which received responses from 2,500 teachers in eleven countries including the UK and Ireland.

The school which offered to be the subject of the televised research is Kings Langley in Hertfordshire outside of London, a school identified for a programme of change and which recently appointed a new 'change' Principal.

Teachers' TV is funded by the UK Government with a world wide licence and an estimated audience of 300,000.

A preview of 'How Stressed is Your School?' can be viewed at www.teachers.tv/video/12010 which introduces some of the programme background reporting that 1 in 3 teacher absences in England are down to stress.

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Peerage for Queen's Professor
Professor Paul Bew
Professor Paul Bew
Queen's University Professor of Irish Politics Paul Bew is set to become a member of the House of Lords. He is one of six non-party-political peers recommended to the Prime Minister by the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

A Cambridge graduate, Paul Bew has been Professor of Irish Politics at Queen's since 1991. A leading commentator on Northern Irish politics, he is the author of many publications on Northern Ireland, past and present.

His latest book, "Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006", a new and original interpretation of the history of Anglo-Irish relations, will be published by the Oxford University Press later this year. Among the first to congratulate Professor Bew was Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

Professor Gregson said: "Paul Bew has an international reputation as an informed and incisive commentator on Northern Irish history and politics. His stature as a world authority has brought distinction and lustre to the University and we are delighted to extend our heartiest congratulations to him on this prestigious and high-profile honour."

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£2.5million in EPSRC grants enables Queen's to help reduce plastics waste problem
Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Helping solve the ongoing environmental problem of plastics waste by reducing raw material usage and improving polymer performance will be one of the major benefits of two new research investigations being carried out on polymer nanocomposites at Queen’s University Belfast following the awarding of two grants totalling £2.5million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Tiny molecules strung in long repeating chains, polymers in the natural world have been around since the beginning of time and today industrial polymers have a range of applications that far exceed that of any other class of material available including use as packaging materials, adhesives, coatings and electronic, biomedical and optical devices.

The new grants will enable the Polymer Cluster in The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s and their partners, (The University of Oxford, The University of Bradford, Danone, Smith and Nephew, Innovia Films, JGP Perrite and Boran-Mopack), to further their work on an exciting new family of materials entitled nanocomposites, in which particles with nanoscale dimensions (a nanometer = 1 millionth of a millimetre), are dispersed in the polymer. Offering a dramatic improvement in material performance, with significant increases in mechanical and gas barrier properties, the use of nanocomposites can result in the client getting a more effective product. Improved performance also allows products to be manufactured with less material leading to reductions in raw material, processing energy and product transportation costs.

In addition to focussing on the processing route by which the nanoparticle-polymer mixture is formed into a final product and applying this knowledge to the development of proof of concept applications for industry and academia alike, Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones and her colleagues will also be using complex computer aided numerical modelling to predict the behaviour of materials under conditions that might otherwise be to difficult or costly to replicate, enabling manufacturers to exploit such materials to the full.

Explaining further about the eventual industrial applications for the outcomes of the research, Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones said: “Due to their properties and ease of processing into complex shapes, polymers are amongst the most important materials available to us today. The Polmers Industry currently contributes over £18 billion per annum to the UK economy and the arrival of nanocomposites in recent years has opened up a whole new window for product development.

“These substantial grants from the EPSRC will enable us to achieve a fundamental understanding of the influence of processing on the properties of the final product, and thus how to design and process nanocomposites more effectively. This in turn will offer us the possibility to significantly reduce the amount of polymer needed for a particular application and therefore help reduce the environmental burden due to plastics waste.”

Further information on work ongoing in the Polymers Cluster in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s can be found at www.me.qub.ac.uk 

Notes to Editor

The £1.5 million grant has been awarded to a Queen’s led consortium consisting of staff in the Polymer Cluster in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones, Dr Tony McNally and Professor Peter Hornsby), The University of Bradford and a range of industrial partners including leaders Danone, Smith and Nephew, Innovia Films, JGP Perrite and Boran-Mopack, to investigate the effects of processing on polymer nanocomposites for a range of applications from packaging to medical devices.

This project complements an existing EPSRC funded £1 million consortium led by Queen’s and consisting of Queen’s University Belfast (Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones, Professor Cecil Armstrong, Dr Tony McNally, Dr Peter Martin, Dr Gary Menary, Dr Marty Gregg) Oxford University and the University of Bradford on multi-scale modelling of polymer nanocomposites.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk


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Queen's Cybersex Expert Helps Journalists Find Perfect Match this Valentine's Day
Dr Monica Whitty helps launch Queen's new web-based online academic Experts Directory which will help journalists find the perfect match for their queries.

Dr Monica Whitty, an expert on online dating, cybersex and cyberstalking, was on hand at Queen’s today to help launch a new Academic Experts Directory from the University which will help journalists and other members of the media find the perfect match at Queen’s for their queries.

Based in the School of Psychology at Queen’s, Dr Whitty, one of the UK’s leading experts in the use of the internet for romantic and sexual purposes, is one of hundreds of academic experts at Queen’s who have volunteered to assist the media with queries or comment on their particular subject area.

Available at www.qub.ac.uk/expertsdirectory, members of the media can search for an expert by keyword or by surname. The web-based Directory is accessible 24 hours a day and should a member of the media require comment out of hours, a new pager number can be used to contact a member of the Press Team. Access to the Directory is open to all those currently working in the media and registration is available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/expertsdirectory and completing the online form. Following approval, users will be issued with a user name and password.

Speaking about the launch of the new Directory, Kevin Mulhern, Head of Communications at Queen’s said: “The launch of the Queen’s Experts Directory is the latest in a suite of new applications and working methods introduced by the University’s Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Directorate to ensure the wider community can share in the depth and breadth of knowledge contained within Queen’s.

“The Directory is a living document with new experts being added all the time and I look forward to seeing it grow into one of the key tools of the trade for members of the media.”

Dr Whitty will give a lecture on on-line relationships and dating at 7.15pm on Valentine's Day, 14 February and about expressions of sexuality online and engaging in various sexual online activities at 3.00pm on 15 February at Bournemouth University.


Notes to Editor

Pictures of Dr Monica Whitty launching the Experts Directory will be sent to all picture desks via email this afternoon.

In addition to numerous papers, Dr Whitty has produced two books Cyberspace Romance: The Psychology of Online Relationships with Adrian N. Carr and Online Matchmaking with Andrea J. Baker and James A. Inman. Dr Whitty is available for media interviews on the areas of online dating, trust developed online, misrepresentation of the self online, availability of social support online, cyberflirting, cybersex, Internet infidelity, cyberstalking, Internet privacy and surveillance issues in the workplace.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or m 0781 44 22 572.

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Irish Traditional Music 'First' For Queen's University
New course in Traditional Irish music strikes a cord with Dr Martin Dowling and School of Music students Joanne Grant, Gary Fitzpatrick and Lucy Kerr.
New course in Traditional Irish music strikes a cord with Dr Martin Dowling and School of Music students Joanne Grant, Gary Fitzpatrick and Lucy Kerr.
In another 'first' for Queen's, the University has just appointed a top Irish traditional fiddle player to develop the teaching of Irish Traditional Music. Dr Martin Dowling, an Irish-American, has spent many years in Ireland researching traditional Irish music from the death of harpist-composer Turlough Carolan (1738) to the first performance of Riverdance (1994), and has performed and taught on both sides of the Atlantic.

Speaking about his new role as teacher and researcher of Irish Traditional Music, in the School of Music and Sonic Arts, Dr Dowling said: "I am delighted to be taking the lead in developing traditional music within the music curriculum at Queen's. The modules I will be introducing at undergraduate and postgraduate levels will add significant value to the educational experience of students destined for a wide range of careers in music and Irish studies. For those with special talents and the desire to perform professionally, the course provides an intense learning experience of the history of Irish traditional music that might otherwise be inaccessible."

Head of the School, Michael Alcorn said: "The appointment of Dr Martin Dowling reflects the growing interest in traditional music in the School and the rich musical culture in Belfast and Northern Ireland. Dr Dowling's appointment will make Queen's an attractive place for local and overseas students who wish to develop their academic and performing interests in traditional music."

This year, modules will cover the development of aesthetic form of traditional music, the evolution of style and technique on the instruments and the composition of new music.

Over the next three years, modules focusing on the composition and performance of Irish traditional music will be developed, and a taught MA programme that promotes archival research, fieldwork with contemporary practitioners, and performance will be developed.

A professional musician and teacher, Dr Martin Dowling is also an accomplished Irish social historian and has held postdoctoral research fellowships in both the fields of sociology and history. 


Media enquiries to the Press Office on 028 9097 3091

Notes to Editors

Martin Dowling is a fiddle player, historian and sociologist. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has held research fellowships in history and sociology in Queen's University of Belfast and University College Dublin.

His early research interest in Irish rural history manifested itself in the monograph Tenant Right and Agrarian Society in Ulster, 1600-1870 (Irish Academic Press, 1999). His current research involves fieldwork with traditional Irish musicians in Ireland, the United States, and continental Europe on the subject of music and identity, and archival research on a history of traditional Irish music from the death of harpist-composer Turlough Carolan (1738) to the first performance of Riverdance (1994).

From 1998 to 2004 he was the Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He teaches the fiddle regularly at the Scoil Samhraidh Willy Clancy in County Clare and at the South Sligo School of Traditional Music, and performs regularly in Ireland, continental Europe, and the U.S., as well as at sessions and ceilithe in Belfast.

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Top student athletes awarded Queen's University sports bursaries

28 students have been awarded with sports bursaries by Queen's University in recognition of their achievements as top athletes. The presentation of the bursaries follows on from the ranking of the Queen's Sports Bursary Scheme as third in the UK overall in The Times Good University Guide (2006).

This year's Queen's Sports Bursary Awards, sponsored by Ulster Bank, were presented at a special event in the Physical Education Centre (PEC), the hub of Queen's University sports, by Pro-Vice Chancellor, Gerry McCormac; Andrew McBrinn, Ulster Bank; and Dr Robert Gamble, Queen's Sport and Exercise Sciences Development Manager.

In announcing the awards, Andrew McBrinn, of sponsors Ulster Bank, said, "Ulster Bank is delighted to provide support to these high calibre athletes. Sporting excellence is a special talent which requires careful nurturing and we hope that our support will help these students reach their full potential, in their sports and in their studies."

The top award went to Caroline O’Hanlon (Ladies Gaelic Football, Netball & Basketball, Newry), a three-times Sports Bursary Recipient who was also awarded a GAA All-star for her achievements in 2006. Also receiving awards were Heather Armstrong (Rowing, Belfast), David Hamilton (Volleyball, Portadown), Victoria Mallet (Soccer, Derry), Joseph McAllister (Athletics, Belfast) and a range of diversely talented students representing 19 different sports.

Since its introduction in 1992, the Scheme has awarded over 220 bursaries covering some 28 different sports. The Awards provide the sportsmen and women with the opportunity to develop their skills while studying at the University, giving them access to the latest scientific services, such as sport-specific laboratory testing, strength & conditioning, prehabilitation and rehabilitative care and injury management as well as the University’s comprehensive sports facilities and excellent coaching.

Queen's has a proud tradition of producing some of Ireland's most elite sports people. Dr Robert Gamble, who heads the University's Sports Sciences/Sports Medicine Team, commented, “The future of Queen's Sports is very bright. While we look back at the legacy of past recipients with great satisfaction, the University is building for the future by raising the bar in terms of high performance sports science delivery.”


For further information please contact: Sarah Williams, Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 5391.

Notes to Editors:

The following recipients received Sports Bursary Awards for the academic year 2006/2007:

Heather Armstrong, Rowing (Belfast); Kathy Beirne, Lifesaving (Belfast); Shane Boylan, Martial Arts (Coleraine); Suzie Cave, Equestrian (Belfast); Matthew Cosgrove, Gymnastics (Dunmurray); Catherine Coyle, Badminton (Carryduff); Jonathan Donnelly, Water Polo (Belfast); David Downey, Fencing (Donemana); James Gallagher, Martial Arts (Belfast); Alison Graham, Rowing (Newtownards); David Hamilton, Volleyball (Portadown); Caroline O’Hanlon, GAA (Newry); Simon Herron, Athletics (Derry); Patrick Higgins, Orienteering (Ballynahinch); Philip Jeffers, Swimming (Belfast); Erin Keery, Badminton (Lisburn); Victoria Mallet, Soccer (Derry); Joseph McAllister, Athletics (Belfast); Kevin McAllister, Triathlon (Ballymena); Oonagh McCullough, Netball (Belfast); Stephen McLernon, Sailing (Carryduff); Steven McQuillan, Swimming (Bangor); Suzanne Patterson, Martial Arts (Newtownards); Adam Petrie-Armstrong, Cycling (Newtownards); Paul Pollock, Athletics (Holywood); Gareth Sykes, Fencing (Eglington, Londonderry); Grace Watters, Hockey (Dungannon); Matthew Wilson, Triathlon (Bangor).

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Queen's writer nominated to join top film screenwriters at Irish Awards

The film Middletown has catapulted Queen's creative writer, Daragh Carville up with the cream of Irish talent in his debut film as the screenwriter of Middletown. Described as an atmospheric and explosive film drama, it is set in Ireland and tells the tale of one cleric's chilling determination to rid a rural town of its corruption and sin. The film has been nominated for nine awards including Best Script, Best Film and Best Director in the Irish Film and TV Awards.

As a playwright and screenwriter, Daragh teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre in the School of English at Queen's. He said: "It is very encouraging to be in the company of writers like Neil Jordan & Pat Mc Cabe (Breakfast on Pluto) for Best Script with my first film. I am delighted too for Brian Kirk as Director, also making his first feature film and nominated for both Best Director and a Breakthrough award. Indeed the whole Middletown team has achieved nominations in nine categories ahead of Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley and John Boorman's The Tiger's Tail giving all of us involved with the film something to really look forward to at the Awards event."

Middletown is a haunting story of good versus evil. Has the preacher Gabriel (Matthew Macfadyen) come to save them all from eternal damnation or condemn the parishioners to a life of hell? Middletown stars a stunning ensemble of Ireland's acting talent including Gerard Mc Sorley, Mick Lally, David Wilmot, Frankie Mc Cafferty, Bronagh Gallagher and Marie Jones. The film was produced by award-winning Michael Casey.
The Award's ceremony itself promises to be a highly prestigious and glamorous event with a host of film stars, TV personalities, directors, producers and distinguished guests in attendance to celebrate the undisputed talent that exists within the film and television industries in Ireland and around the globe.


For further information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 02890 975320

Note for Editors:

The IFTA ceremony is on the 9 February 2007 at the RDS, and will be broadcast on RTE One on February 10th.

The IFTA announced the shortlist of nominees in 32 strongly contested categories for the 2006 Awards during January 2007.

Middletown, written by Daragh Carville has been nominated for the following IFTA Awards:

Best Film Middletown
Best Director Brian Kirk
Best Script Daragh Carville
Best Production Design Ashleigh Jeffers
Best Hair and Make-Up Morna Ferguson, Lorraine Glynn  
Best Sound Simon Willis, Michelle Cunniffe, Peter Blayney, Nikki Moss
Best Actress in a Lead Role in a Feature Film Eva Birthistle 
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film Gerard Mc Sorley
BSE/IFB & NIFTC Breakthrough Award Brian Kirk 

MIDDLETOWN was financed by the Irish Film Board and the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission.

For further information or images please contact:
Siobhan Farrell, Eclipse Pictures, 25 Hatch Place, Dublin 2 Tel: 01 634 0112 or email: siobhan@eclipsepictures.ie.

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"War on Terror" expert invited to Queen's University for annual human rights lecture
The Director of the Human Rights Centre at Queen's University has announced that Ms. Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, will deliver the Stephen Livingstone Memorial Lecture at Queen's this month.

Professor Colin Harvey said: "Shami Chakrabarti has been heavily involved in Liberty's engagement with the "War on Terror" and with the active promotion and defence of human rights since taking over as Director in 2003. She is a well known and widely respected human rights defender who has shown courage and leadership in consistently challenging human rights abuses. She has written and spoken widely on the importance of a human rights framework as an essential component of democratic society. We are delighted that she will be coming to Queen's to deliver the Stephen Livingstone lecture this year."

The Centre has also published details of visits planned by a number of key human rights and legal academic figures to speak at Queen's during the spring term which includes: Professor Kevin Boyle (University of Essex); Michael O'Boyle (European Court of Human Rights); Professor Steven Greer (University of Bristol; and Éamonn MacAodha (Irish Department of Foreign Affairs).

In February the Centre welcomed to Queen's a high-level delegation from China as part of the bi-lateral UK-China Human Rights Dialogue organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Subjects for discussion included the role of Universities in building a culture of human rights and current human rights developments in Northern Ireland.

The Stephen Livingstone Memorial Lecture entitled 'Asylum and Incarceration' will be delivered by Shami Chakrabarti, in the Larmour Lecture Theatre at 5.30pm on Tuesday 27 February and is open to members of the public.

The Human Rights Centre at Queen's has also just published a Newsletter to keep organisations and the media aware of developments and events around research and education on human rights issues locally and internationally. It can be accessed at www.law.qub.ac.uk/humanrights.


For further information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 02890 975320 or Tracey Spence, Human Rights Centre, Tel: 028 9097 3472 t.spence@qub.ac.uk

Notes for Editors:

The Human Rights Centre at Queen's was established in 1990 to provide a focus for research and education on human rights. It draws on the human rights expertise and experience in the School of Law and more widely at Queen's. Today the Centre consists of a strong team of academics recognised nationally and internationally for their work on Human Rights. The Stephen Livingstone Memorial lecture was instigated to remember the first Director of the Queen's Human Rights Centre and was delivered in 2006 by Professor Brice Dickson from the School of Law at Queen's and the first Human Rights Chief Commissioner in Northern Ireland. Liberty is a leading human rights NGO and Ms Chakrabarti joined them as In-House Counsel in September 2001 and was then appointed Director in 2003.

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Queen's celebrates special honours for university writers
Something to Celebrate: Novelists Carlo Gébler, Glenn Patterson and Playwright Damian Gorman are the winners of the Major Individual Artist Awards each valued at £15,000 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Something to Celebrate: Novelists Carlo Gébler, Glenn Patterson and Playwright Damian Gorman are the winners of the Major Individual Artist Awards each valued at £15,000 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Queen's University is celebrating the achievement of three of their writers who were announced as winners of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annual Major Individual Awards. Novelists Glenn Patterson and Carlo Gébler, both teach on the MA in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen's. Damian Gorman the winner of the third award is currently Playwright in Residence at the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen's.

The Arts Council awards recognise the special contribution made by established artists, writers, actors and musicians to the arts in Northern Ireland and have a value of £15,000. The financial support is intended to make it possible for these artists to produce a substantial and ambitious piece of work that will make a significant contribution to the development of their careers.

Damian Gorman, whose work spans television, film, radio and the stage has earned many accolades, including Irish Times Best Production Award for the play Convictions and a BAFTA award for the thirty-minute drama, Untitled. The Newcastle, Co. Down born writer will use the award to develop an ambitious script about the 'Great Revival', a religious awakening which swept through the country in the 1850's, and a musical play focusing on depression. He said: "The Arts Council award will allow me to open up my shoulders and have a real fearless go at developing a couple of projects I've been nursing for a long time – in exactly the way that I want to develop them."

Carlo Gébler's works are regularly published on both sides of the Atlantic and in addition to his many books, his contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland includes works as a writer-in-residence at HMP Maghaberry since 1997 and as a teacher of creative writing. Gébler will use the award to develop several projects, including three full-length plays, completion of a collection of short stories and an unfinished script based on his experience of teaching in jail. The Enniskillen-based writer said, "The award will allow me to spend time doing what I want to do, which is write a novel, without feeling under pressure about having to do other things."

Glenn Patterson's novels, including Fat Lad and most recently, That Which Was, have established him in the front rank of contemporary prose writers in Ireland. These books are set in and around his home town of Belfast, and he intends to expand on this theme with a historical novel spanning an entire century of life in Belfast. Patterson said: "I received an Arts Council award in 1989, just before the publication of my first novel. This award nearly twenty years later, as I embark upon my eighth, is every bit as valuable because whether it is a first or an eighth, the needs remain the same: the time in which to write and the morale to sustain you while you write. The Major Individual Artist award provides you with both, in spades."

Arts Council Chief Executive, Roisín Mc Donough said: "Each writer has already made a notable contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland and to the positive cultural profile of the region abroad. Our support will now help them to produce work of lasting value and establish themselves nationally and internationally as leading writers of the generation."

For further information contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office, Tel: 02890 975320 or Matthew Hendry at the Arts Council Tel: 028 9038 5210.



Novelists Carlo Gébler, Glenn Patterson and playwright Damian Gorman were selected from a strong field of applications by artists to the Arts Council annual 'Major Individual Artist' awards.

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2007 Ulster Bank Sigerson Cup Launched at Queen's University
Pictured with GAA President Nickey Brennan at the launch of the Sigerson Cup 2007 at Queen's today were Queen’s players Eoin and Dan McCartan (back row) and Gavin Donaghy and Gerard O’Kane (front row).
Pictured with GAA President Nickey Brennan at the launch of the Sigerson Cup 2007 at Queen's today were Queen’s players Eoin and Dan McCartan (back row) and Gavin Donaghy and Gerard O’Kane (front row).
Pictured at the launch of the Sigerson Cup 2007 at Queen's today were (L to R): Queen's players Gerard O'Kane and Eoin McCartan and (front row L to R) GAA President, Nickey Brennan, Roisin Ryan, Head of Product Marketing with sponsors Ulster Bank and Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Mann.
Pictured at the launch of the Sigerson Cup 2007 at Queen's today were (L to R): Queen's players Gerard O'Kane and Eoin McCartan and (front row L to R) GAA President, Nickey Brennan, Roisin Ryan, Head of Product Marketing with sponsors Ulster Bank and Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Mann.

The 2007 Ulster Bank Sigerson Cup was launched at Queen's today as the University prepares to host the blue-riband GAA intervarsity event from the 1 to 3 March. Today's launch event also celebrated the forthcoming finals of the Trench Cup, the Corn na Mac Léinn and the Further Educations College Championships, all of which will be played over the same weekend at Queen's Playing Fields on the Malone Road, Belfast.

Attended by GAA President Nickey Brennan and The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat McCarthy, the launch marks the 14th time that Queen's has hosted the largest sporting competition in the intervarsity calendar, a tournament they have previously won seven times. Queen's GAA also celebrates its 75th Anniversary this year.

Over 5,000 GAA players and fans will be in Belfast for the Sigerson weekend and in addition to the actual matches, Queen's GAA has also organised a series of events for current and former players including a 25th anniversary reunion for the 1982 Sigerson winning team which was coached by the legendary Sean O'Neill, a Captains' Table Dinner on Saturday, 3 March, which will see many of the captains who have led successful sides gather together in the Great Hall at Queen's and a special event on Thursday, 1 March at 8.00pm in the Students' Union.

Queen's has made it through to the last three successive Sigerson finals, but have yet to reclaim the title they last won in 2000 after a hard fought win in extra-time against UCD at a mud-soaked Moycullen, Co Galway. Despite a series of losses in their recent McKenna Cup campaign, the James McCartan managed side are still hopeful that their talismanic pitch at The Dub, on which they haven't lost a game in four years, will once again work its magic. First up however is the prospect of a real local derby against St Mary's in the Sigerson quarter-final should The Ranch manage to defeat UCD in their forthcoming second round game.

Welcoming the guests to the launch on behalf of the University, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Mann said: “Queen's are delighted to be hosting the 2007 Sigerson Cup, one of the major sporting occasions in the intervarsity calendar. I have no doubt that Sigerson 2007 will be another landmark event in Queen's proud sporting history and on behalf of the University I would like to wish all the players, their mentors and their supporters a sporting and memorable weekend."

Expressing the importance of the weekend to all involved, GAA President Nickey Brennan said: "The Sigerson weekend has developed into one of the most enjoyable and competitive dates in the GAA's calendar and the on-field action will no doubt be complimented by the renewal of acquaintances off the pitch. I want to extend a special word of thanks to the organising committee in Queen's for the many hours of hard work which they have invested in preparing for this year’s finals."

John Devaney, of the GAA’s Higher Education Committee added: “The tradition of the Sigerson Cup is something that obviously means a lot to everyone at Queen's, and the plans that we have seen are quite ambitious. The decision to award the hosting of the 2007 event to them indicates the faith that the Higher Education had in them and their bid and I'm quite sure they will demonstrate that over the coming weeks.

"The importance of the Sigerson Cup within the overall GAA calendar has been enhanced over the past few years, and it continues to carry a prestige and significance that ensures its place as vital competition. There are so many elements that make up the attraction to these higher education championships, and it never loses that attraction particularly for the competitors."

Roisin Ryan, Head of Product Marketing at Ulster Bank: Ulster Bank explained their decision to support the popular event which last year was watched by over 100,000 viewers on TG4 : "We are delighted to launch our new partnership with the GAA Higher Education Council, which takes us right up to the centenary championships in 2011. This is an extremely significant partnership for Ulster Bank as the Sigerson is the highest profile sports competition in the local third-level education sector. It is the most significant GAA event to be hosted in Belfast in 2007 and Ulster Bank is looking forward to being part of what is always a keenly fought competition full of talent and passion".

Previous well-known county players to have played in the Sigerson Cup include Derry's Anthony Tohill and Enda Gormley, Cork's Billy Morgan, Kerry's Ogie Moran and Galway’s Michael Meenan and Padraic Joyce.

Speaking about what the tournament still means to players today, Queen's Dan McCartan, younger brother of team manager, James McCartan said: “The Sigerson Cup is the most highly regarded Gaelic Football Tournament in Higher Education. I am proud to Captain Queen's, a club that is steeped in history and one that has produced talent at the highest level. I wish all teams the very best in all competitions and I hope hosting of this prestigious event by Queen's will act as a positive benchmark for years to come.”

Further information on The Sigerson Cup 2007, hosted by Queen’s GAA, can be found at www.sigerson2007.com.


Notes to Editor

  • Media Opportunities will be available at today's launch from 11.40am until 12.10pm. Speeches will then follow at 12.15pm until 12.50pm when there will be a further chance for photographs/interviews.
  • Photographs will be issued to picture desks tomorrow afternoon via email.
  • Queen's first entered Sigerson in 1923, though did not enter again until 1933. They have participated in every Sigerson since then, winning their first tile in 1958 and six others in 1964, 1971, 1982, 1990, 1993 and 2000.
  • George Sigerson was born in Strabane, Co Tyrone in 1836. He was a scholar, academic, Senator, neurologist and writer during a remarkable career. He used his salary to donate the Sigerson Cup in 1911.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Eminent Conductor Hits the High Notes At Queen's
Internationally known orchestral conductor Kenneth Montgomery with Queen's Camerata.
Internationally known orchestral conductor Kenneth Montgomery with Queen's Camerata.
Kenneth Montgomery
Kenneth Montgomery

The Ulster Orchestra's soon-to-be new Principal Conductor, Kenneth Montgomery, has dropped into Queen's University to put Queen's Camerata through their paces with an open rehearsal. At the lunchtime session, held in the School of Music's Harty Room, the chamber orchestra played Haydn's Symphony No. 104 and Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro' overture.

The event was organised by Camerata's director Colin Stark, a graduate of Queen's and oboist in the Ulster Orchestra. Welcoming the conductor to the University he said: "It is a wonderful opportunity for Camerata to work with such an eminent conductor. Kenneth has put himself at great inconvenience to come to Belfast today in order to work with the orchestra."

Speaking after the rehearsal, Kenneth Montgomery explained why he decided to spend time with the young musicians: "When I was told about the initiative, I was very happy to attend. It is such an important thing for orchestras to play together. Some people feel classic orchestras are old fashioned but I feel they are very important. In some Academic Institutions the old fashioned classical things have been left out, it is like studying English Literature and leaving out Shakespeare, this initiative is fantastic and will do the students wonders and the University.

"Technically the students are very good. There is such a tremendous desire among these students to express themselves as musicians. They immediately understood what I said to them and sounded like a professional orchestra. The spirit they got into was amazing."

The Belfast born conductor will continue his role as Principal Guest Conductor with the Ulster Orchestra on Friday 09 February when they perform a selection of works in the Ulster Hall. He will take up the post of Principal Conductor from the beginning of the next season.

For further information please contact: Judith Rance, 028 9097 5292, j.rance@qub.ac.uk

Notes for Editors

Camerata was formed in the autumn of 2006, its aim to provide the University with an excellent classical instrumental ensemble, flexible in size and repertoire.

Camerata draws its auditioned membership from across the University and is managed by Dr Fiona M. Palmer the director of the School's Performance Programme.

For more information on Camerata see http://www.mu.qub.ac.uk/Education/PerformanceGroups/QueensCamerata/#d.en.54997


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Queen's University Belfast to Create World's Largest E-Resource for Irish Studies

The world's largest e-resource for Irish Studies is to be created by Queen's University Belfast, making over five centuries and over 500,000 pages of Irish historical, cultural, scientific, literary and statistical resources available online, at one web address, to academics, researchers and students worldwide for the first time.

The creation of the one-stop shop for Irish Studies has been made possible as a result of a £620,000 grant from the UK's Joint Information Services Committee (JISC) to the University's Centre for Data Digitisation Analysis and Information Services. The grant is one of the largest awarded to any Humanities project in the history of the University and is one of only 16 winning bids from the many which applied for the £12 million made available by the JISC to create digitised resources of international importance.

Addressing a serious gap in research infrastructure in Irish Studies, the new e-resource will enable academics and students from across the globe to access materials published by the Royal Irish Academy, unique collections at The Linen Hall Library, Armagh Public Library (the Robinson Library) and Queen's own Library Special Collections – previously only available to those able to visit each collection in person.

The technology platform for the new fully searchable e-resource will be delivered as the result of a unique collaboration with JSTOR, the academically renowned US organisation which digitises and provides access to scholarly journal archives. Over 3,000 institutions worldwide are currently registered with JSTOR and there are over 71 centres for Irish Studies in England and Wales alone. Access to the resource within Britain and Ireland will be free of charge under a new business model developed between the project team and JSTOR.

Describing the importance of the new critical mass of Irish Studies material to researchers, Dr Paul S Ell of the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis at Queen's, which will be responsible for digitising every page, said: "Traditionally researchers have had to identify key journals available to them in their area of interest and browse through them in the hope that they might find papers of value. As well as at times leading to overuse of specific papers this has often represented a serious brake on scholarship.

"Now, as a result of the JISC grant and the creation of this Digital Library, we at Queen's hope not only will researchers gain access to a wider breadth and depth of material in their area, but that they will encounter an element of serendipity in their work, leading to a major step-change in the creation of new avenues of research in the area of Irish Studies worldwide."

Deirdre Wildy, Senior Subject Librarian in Arts and Humanities at Queen's added: "Irish Studies at Queen's is regarded as one of the University's Spires of Excellence. We will now cement our Library Special Collections' global reputation by taking our outstanding resources and those of our partners on the island of Ireland, and making them available to numerous researchers in the many centres for Irish Studies worldwide, such as UC Berkeley, The Sorbonne, University of Peru and Charles University in Prague."

Professor James Slevin, President of the Royal Irish Academy, whose journals will now be made available online as part of the resource said: "The Royal Irish Academy is delighted to be part of this very exciting project. With Queen's expertise in digitisation and the huge success of JSTOR's platform for scholars world-wide, the Royal Irish Academy's journals will sit within an unrivalled digital collection of Irish studies material which will enable researchers to mine the rich tradition of scholarship from the island of Ireland. Clearly, the field of Irish studies will be greatly strengthened by the development of this very important digital resource."

Adding her support to the project, Professor Ruth-Ann M. Harris, Professor of History & Irish Studies at Boston College, who was formerly a visiting scholar in Irish Studies at Queen's in 1995 said: "Queen's has a wealth of material, which I have utilized, have recommended to a multitude of scholars, and will continue to use. The opportunity to have these materials available for future scholars is too valuable to pass up."

Professor David Eastwood, CEO of the Higher Education Funding Council for England welcomed the announcement saying: "The JISC Digitisation programme has been leading the way in making more widely available resources which are inaccessible or hard to access, something which is quietly but rapidly transforming education and research in this country." 

The new Digital Library by Queen's is due for completion in 2008.


Notes to Editor

1. The new digital library of Irish Studies will sit alongside 15 other projects awarded funding under the second strand of the JISC digitisation programme such as the digitisation of 20th Century Cabinet Papers (the National Archive), First World War Poetry (University of Oxford) and British Newspapers from 1620-1900 (British Library). The JISC programme represents a total investment of £22 million in the digitisation of high-quality online content in a wide range of media, including sound, film, images, journals, newspapers, maps, theses, pamphlets and cartoons. Further information is available at   http://www.jisc.ac.uk/digitisation_home.html

2. The Centre for Data Digitisation Analysis at Queen’s is a research unit with interests in temporal Geographical Information Systems, the development of electronic research resources, e-Science and Grid technologies. It provides a comprehensive digitisation service to create key e-resources including capture of material, quality assurance, data post-processing and data delivery to user requirements and also offers NVQ full-time work experience training opportunities for suitable candidates. It was recently responsible for the creation of the Historical Hansards website which has made all 92,000 pages of Hansard of the House of Commons for the Stormont-based Government of Northern Ireland, between 1921 and 1972, available online for the first time at http://stormont-papers.ahds.ac.uk.

3. JISC – the Joint Information Systems Committee – is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning, teaching, and research. It is best known for providing the JANET network, a range of support, content and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources. Information about JISC, its services and programmes can be found at www.jisc.ac.uk, or contact Philip Pothen on 020 7848 2935 / 07887 564 006 or p.pothen@jisc.ac.uk.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or m0781 44 22 572. Email: lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk . 

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Queen's University to Welcome 1,000 Potential Psychologists

Queen's University will welcome more than 1,000 second and third level students from across Ireland next week to a series of world class psychology lectures and only the second ever All-Ireland undergraduate Careers Fair designed specifically for those interested in the field of Psychology.

Beginning on Friday, 9 February, in the Whitla Hall at Queen's, the University's School of Psychology will be offering second-level school students interested in the field of Psychology a rare opportunity to learn from some of the most significant psychologists around today, including Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, the psychologist most frequently quoted in the British media.

Co-ordinated by the Northern Irish branch of the British Psychological Society (NIBPS), the event, entitled A Flavour of Psychology, is the first time that such an event has taken place in Ireland. The talks are designed to give second level students a clear insight into Psychology and to help them explore their interest in pursuing a course or career in the field.

During his session, Professor Wiseman will be discussing The Luck Factor and examining why some of us lead happier and more successful lives while others seem to face repeated failure and sadness, and Professor Clive Hollin from the University of Leicester will be discussing the fascinating area of Psychology and Crime. Other areas covered will include Behavioural Addiction by Professor Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at the Nottingham Trent University, The Secret Life of Hormones by Dr Daryl O’Connor from the University of Leeds, Psychology, Medicine and Health by Professor Ronan O'Carroll from the University of Stirling and What’s New in Intelligence by Dr Colin Cooper from Queen’s School of Psychology.

Third level students will be welcomed to the Whitla Hall on Saturday, 10 February, where they will be able to access a wide variety of information on career opportunities across a number of specialisms within the field of psychology and a series of presentations regarding post graduate training opportunities in Irish universities.

This is the second time this event has been co-organised by the Northern Ireland British Psychological Society and the Psychological Society of Ireland and follows a very successful careers event held in UCD in October 2005.

Admission to A Flavour of Psychology is free and the event runs from 9.30am to 4.15pm on Friday, 9 February, while the second All-Ireland Undergraduate Careers Fair will run from 9.00am to 3.30pm on Saturday, 10 February. Admission to the event is €10 or £6 and tickets are available form the psychology departments of all third level institutions offering psychology as an undergraduate course.

Further information on both events is available from The School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast. Telephone: 00 44 (0)28 90 97 5445 or by emailing: psychology@qub.ac.uk.


For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Belfast Telegraph Lectures at Queen's examine 'our changing world'
Human impact on the world's environment and the role of new technology in solving major crime are among the topics to be covered during the 2007 Belfast Telegraph Lectures for Schools at Queen's University on Wednesday, 07 February.

Around 250 sixth-formers are due to attend this year's talks, which will focus on "Aspects of the Changing World", and will be delivered by staff from the University's Schools of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, and Biological Sciences.

The series starts with a talk by Dr Alastair Ruffell on "Solving Crime with New Technology", which will include examples of how sophisticated scientific techniques and systems have aided police analysis and investigation. He will be followed by Dr Chris Hunt whose lecture, "Changing Environments: Human Impact over Fifty Thousand Years", will focus on the effects of early farming on the environment, and implications for the future.

In "Invasive species in Ireland and the Tale of the Killer Shrimp", Dr Jaimie Dick will examine how invaders impact on freshwater communities and how science can inform policy on these issues, while Dr John McGrath will discuss nutrient overload of lakes and rivers in “The Phosphorus Conundrum: environmental pollutant or non-renewable resource?".

The audience will be welcomed by Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Outreach and Economic Development Professor Gerry McCormac, who said: "We very much value our relationship with local schools, from where we attract the vast majority of our students. Events such as the Belfast Telegraph Lectures play a hugely important role in strengthening this relationship Each year these Lectures address a subject or discipline which is of academic or cultural interest to all of us, but particularly to our young people. This year, during which they will have the chance to learn about how the world is constantly changing in so many ways, is no exception."

The Belfast Telegraph Lectures are held annually at Queen's in memory of the late John E Sayers, the newspaper's editor-in-chief from 1961 to 1969.


For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Note for Editors:

The Belfast Telegraph Lectures will take place in the Whitla Hall at Queen's on Wednesday 07 February, from 10.45am to 1.00pm. Media facilities will be available.

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Unique Anniversary Performance for Queen's Creative and Performing Arts Centre
Students rehearse for The Road Not Taken, which runs from 6-8 February in Queen's Drama and Film Centre
Students rehearse for The Road Not Taken, which runs from 6-8 February in Queen's Drama and Film Centre

Queen’s University’s Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts (NI) will celebrate its first full year in business next week with a special performance of The Road Not Taken, a piece created by over 26 Queen’s students from the areas of Film, Drama and Creative Writing after an intensive hothouse residency involving several experienced arts and drama professionals.

Based at the Queen’s Drama and Film Centre, where they will perform the final showcase event from Tuesday to Thursday of next week, the students have created a piece fusing projected image and live performance.

What if there was someone walking up somewhere else in the world who was just like you? Who would they be and what would they be doing? What life would you be waking up to if you had taken a different path somewhere along the way? The Road Not Taken is a visual poem about duality and serendipity: about choice, chance and happenstance and, in addition to the student company, features the thoughts, voices and faces of members of the Belfast public.

This piece was devised by the students in collaboration with Australian lens-based artist, Anthony Luvera whose work in London over the last eight years has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery and The Lowry Manchester, Stevie Prickett, a choreographer who has worked with the Scottish Dance Theatre and Niall Rea, a Belfast-born set, costume and lighting designer who has worked all over the world and with many international performance artists such as Marina Abramovic and the Centre’s Artistic Director Anna Newell who directed REVENGE for Tinderbox Theatre Company.

One of three CETLs (Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) established by Queen’s, the Centre aims to develop more practice-based work, more interaction with professional arts practitioners and more collaboration across the Creative and Performing Arts Disciplines.

The Department for Employment and Learning has funded the five-year interdisciplinary arts programme which brings together innovative and inspirational teaching and learning approaches from across the creative and performing arts spectrum, and also enables students on the various degree pathways the opportunity to develop an eclectic range of projects, performances and workshops.

Comments from students involved with Creative CETL projects so far include, “It’s the best and most enjoyable thing I’ve done”, “tough….and unbelievably worthwhile”, “a whole new way of working” and “I feel I have gained more confidence, both dancing and performance, but also vocally, and generally as a person.”

The University is also introducing a new practice-based interdisciplinary arts MA and the results from a trial module entitled Adventures in Interdisciplinarity, will form part of The Road Not Taken event.

Previous popular performances by students involved with the Centre have included Fast and Loose, when students were mentored by Tim Loane, creator of Channel Four’s Teachers and Michael Duke of Tinderbox Theatre Company and a piece produced alongside Sonic Arts MA students with leading UK puppeteer Stephen Mottram and Argentinean composer Sebastian Castagna.

The Centre is also working in collaboration with Queen’s Drama and Music Departments to present The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill in a promenade production upstairs at the Empire Musichall in early May 2007. One of Brecht’s best-loved and most performed plays, Kurt Weill’s music was one of the earliest and most successful attempts to introduce the jazz idiom into theatre - this is the show that opens with “Mac the Knife”.

Further information on tickets and performance times for the Road Not Taken are available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/cecpa or by telephoning 028 90 97 5034.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.


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Queen's Professor Receives National Pathology Honour
Professor Peter Hall, the 2007 recipient of the Goudie Medal
Professor Peter Hall, the 2007 recipient of the Goudie Medal

Professor Peter Hall from the Division of Pathology in the School of Medicine and the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded the Goudie Lectureship and Medal for 2007 by fellow members of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Musgrave Professor of Pathology is the third person to receive the national honour which was founded in 2004 in honour of the late Professor R Goudie, former Secretary of the Society. The Goudie Lectureship and Medal is awarded to distinguished, active scientists who are making seminal contributions to pathological science and the understanding of disease mechanisms.

Peter was nominated for the prestigious medal by Prof Sir Nicholas Wright who cited: “Professor Hall is a leading International figure in Pathology with a well established reputation for his research, as well as being an excellent diagnostic pathologist and a leading figure in pathology teaching and administration. His work spans clinical and basic research and is characterised by innovation and rigour.”

Speaking about his achievement Professor Hall, who is originally from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, said: “Being awarded this honour by my peers has been the highlight of my career.”

Professor Hall delivered his Goudie Lecture entitled “Our changing view of the genome: Implications for Pathology“ at the Winter Scientific Meeting of the Pathological Society earlier this month at University College London.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.


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A healthier future for P7 pupils at 40 Primary Schools thanks to Queen's University
Pictured at Queen's as they look forward to Medics in Primary School 2007 arriving in their school are L to R: Holy Rosary School, Belfast, pupils Hannah Porter, Rory Hughes and Anna Sawey and Vincent Malone of sponsors First Trust Bank and Professor Rod Hay, Head of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen's University.
Pictured at Queen's as they look forward to Medics in Primary School 2007 arriving in their school are L to R: Holy Rosary School, Belfast, pupils Hannah Porter, Rory Hughes and Anna Sawey and Vincent Malone of sponsors First Trust Bank and Professor Rod Hay, Head of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen's University.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Brown pictured with Hannah Porter, Rory Hughes and Anna Sawey of Holy Rosary School, Belfast, at the launch of Medics in Primary School, 2007.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Brown pictured with Hannah Porter, Rory Hughes and Anna Sawey of Holy Rosary School, Belfast, at the launch of Medics in Primary School, 2007.

As the Government tries to meet its target of halting the rise in child obesity by 2010, there was good news for 40 schools in the Greater Belfast area today as Queen’s University launched Medics in Primary School 2007 - a scheme which will see hundreds of P7 pupils benefiting from the delivery of a wide-ranging health education programme across the next 12 weeks by the University’s medical students.

Supported by First Trust Bank, Medics in Primary Schools will not only offer a host of dietary, nutritional and overall health advice developed with the P7 pupils in mind, but also provide special modules on parts of the body such as the heart and lungs. It is hoped that the 45 medical students at Queen’s who will help deliver the programme will also encourage primary school pupils to think about a medical career as a result of their access to positive role models.

Speaking about the importance of the scheme, Professor Rod Hay, Head of the School of Medicine at Queen’s said: “Medics in Primary Schools is a programme that benefits the student teachers and the children, as well as promoting a clear message about health. This is a winning combination.”

Professor Ken Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Planning at Queen’s, who helped launch the scheme, added: “Not only does the Medics in Primary School programme inform young children about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle in a fun, interesting and inspiring manner, it also offers our medical students the opportunity to gain from communicating, helping and supporting young people from a variety of backgrounds. The scheme is an invaluable experience for all those involved.”

Maureen Muldoon, Student Officer with sponsors First Trust Bank, said: “This is the third year that First Trust Bank has supported Medics in Primary Schools, and we are proud to be involved with a unique programme, which is commendably equipping our children with the knowledge to look after their own health and well being”.

One of the most popular electives amongst medical students, Tom Stewart, Principal of Stranmillis Primary School also explained why the scheme was so well-liked amongst his students: “Over the last five years that we have been involved with Medics in Primary School, we have found that the programme is a very powerful way of bringing the healthy living message to our older children.”

Further information on Medics in Primary School can be obtained by contacting Mairead Boohan, Head of Division of Medical Education, Queen’s University. Telephone: 028 90975068

Notes to Editors

Images to accompany this story have been issued to all picture desks, captioned in IPTC Info.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 5384.

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Queen's Goes Back In Time 55,000 Years To Examine Climate Change
Taking receipt of the new £1.4 million piece of equipment are Dr Paula Reimer, Director of the Centre for Environment and Chronology at Queen's and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac.
Taking receipt of the new £1.4 million piece of equipment are Dr Paula Reimer, Director of the Centre for Environment and Chronology at Queen's and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac.

Queen's University has just acquired a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that can examine climate change, assist in forensic investigations, identify sources of pollution and provide carbon dates on material up to 55,000 years old. The machine called an Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) was acquired as part of the SPUR funded CHRONO initiative led by Professor Gerry McCormac and cost £1.4 million. It is the only machine of its kind in Ireland and one of only four in the UK.

Taking receipt of the machine, Dr Paula Reimer, Director of the Centre for Environment and Chronology (CHRONO) at Queen's said: "The AMS system will allow us to trace the fate and transport of carbon compounds in the environment, to understand the earth’s climate system and the effects of climate change on past society and provide radiocarbon dates for palaeoenvironmental and archaeological records. Other practical applications include determining recharge rates of groundwater, helping to identify sources of pollution, and providing recent dates for forensic investigations."

The system is being installed in a purpose-built room in the new Archaeology and Palaeoecology Building at Queen's University. Manufactured in Middleton, Wisconsin, USA, the heaviest components are the analyzing magnet and the accelerator tank which weigh 2700 and 1800 kg, respectively. The system can measure carbon in very small samples so can be used to provide radiocarbon dates of carbon-containing samples, such as bones or wood, with minimal damage to the artefact. The precision of the measurements will be on the order of ± 25 years for samples around 5000 years old with the oldest age measurable around 50,000 to 55,000 years.

The new AMS facility is part of the 14CHRONO Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology and is funded by a grant from Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department of Education and Learning.


For further information please contact: Judith Rance, Tel: 028 9097 5292 Fax: 028 9097 3401.

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Almost one quarter of 16-year olds have caring responsibilities: YLT Survey 2006

Key Results from the 2006 Young Life and Times survey have been unveiled to the public today - offering a fascinating insight into what 16-year olds across Northern Ireland currently think about a wide range of issues. Approximately 2,000 16 year-olds across Northern Ireland were invited to voice their opinions on Experiences of school - including pupil participation, Mental health (GHQ 12), Community relations and sectarianism, Family Informal caring, Environmental and global issues, AIDS and Identity.

Carried out annually for ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive, which is a joint initiative between Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, the new 2006 Young Life and Times survey results are available at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

Key results from the survey include:
Experience of School: Most respondents reported positive school experiences
- 71% said that they had, on the whole, felt happy at school;
- Two thirds (67%) felt that they had been taught the skills and knowledge they later need in life;
- Two thirds (67%) were also satisfied that they had achieved in school to the best of their ability;
- Only 16% said that their teachers had not respected them as an individual.
Males’ school experiences were significantly worse than females’, e.g. only 53% of males agreed that school had taught them skills and knowledge they later needed in life compared to 70% of females who agreed with this statement. 21% of males did not feel respected as an individual by most teachers compared to just 13% of females.

There was no statistical difference between school experiences of respondents attending different types of school (i.e. Grammar, secondary or planned integrated), however, respondents from less affluent family backgrounds reported significantly worse school experiences overall, but also in each school sector. E.g. 55% from financially not well-off families said they were overall happy at school compared to 77% of 16-year olds from well-off families.

Those not from well-off backgrounds were ten times more likely to say that their families had difficulties in affording the costs of a school uniform, school books and materials and 16 times more likely to say that their parents had difficulties in meeting the costs for school day trips.

‘Say’ and participation in School
- 58% of respondents thought that students in their school were allowed to express their views a little.
- 12% thought they were allowed to do this a lot, however, over one quarter (26%) thought that they were not allowed to do this at all.
- 57% of 16-year olds said their school had a school council. However, over half (53%) of these respondents felt their council was not very effective, and 16% said it was not effective at all. Only 26% of 16-year olds felt that their school council was very effective.
- Students attending planned integrated schools were significantly more likely than students from grammar schools and secondary schools to say that students had some say in their schools that they had a school council and that this council was effective in raising issues in school. Students from planned integrated schools were more likely to have a say in their school in relation to school uniform, the curriculum, school policies and school facilities.

Community relations
- 83% of 16 year-olds felt that religion will always make a difference to how people feel about each other in Northern Ireland.
- 48% of respondents felt that relations between Catholics and Protestants were better now than they were five years ago. 41% of respondents were optimistic that community relations would improve further within the next five years.
- 74% of respondents said that they would prefer to work in a mixed-religion workplace, 56% would like to live in a mixed-religion neighbourhood, and 45% said that they would like to send their children to mixed-religion schools.

Family and Informal Caring
- Three quarters (75%) of respondents lived with both their mother and their father.
- 19% lived with their mother only and 2% of respondents lived only with their father. The remaining 4% of respondents had other living arrangements.
- Less than one fifth (17%) of respondents said they talked to their mother or father most days about things that mattered to them.
- One in ten respondents said they personally looked after a sick or disabled or elderly person who was living with them. Nearly one quarter of respondents (25%) provided such support for someone who was not living with them. There was no statistically significant difference between males and females looking after others. However, those who said their families were financially not well-off or not well-off at all were over three times more likely than respondents who said their families were well-off or very well-of to look after someone living with them (18% and 5% respectively).

Environmental and global issues
- The using up of natural resources, the loss of plants, animals and habitats and waste management were the three environmental issues respondents were most concerned about.
- Over eight in ten respondents felt that their personal actions with regard to litter and waste management could make a difference to the environment, but only four in ten felt they could make a difference to global warming, climate change and the loss of plants, animals and habitats.
- Three quarters (75%) of respondents said they were concerned about children’s lives in developing countries and over two thirds (68%) felt they could personally do something to help these children.
- Four in ten respondents felt that giving money to a charity would help most, one in ten thought that buying Fairtrade goods would help most, and 19% thought that a combination of different ways would help children who live in poverty most.

Commenting on the survey, Dirk Schubotz of the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s and Director of Young Life and Times, said: “The attitudes and experiences expressed by 16 year-olds as part of the 2006 Young Life and Times survey again add an interesting voice to current affairs in Northern Ireland.

“For the first time, Young Life and Times has explored in a little more detail aspects of 16-year olds’ home lives. The fact that nearly one quarter of 16-year olds have caring responsibilities is particularly interesting as is the finding that fewer than one in five 16-year olds talk to their parents about things that matter to them on daily basis,” he added.

All the results are available on the Young Life and Times Survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

In the next two to three months, the Young Life and Times survey team will release more detailed analysis of the survey data relating to global and environmental issues and their school experiences.

Notes to the editor:
1. 742 16 year-olds responded to the 2006 Young Life and Times Survey.
2. Further information and tables of results are available on the Young Life and Times website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt
3. Young Life and Times is a constituent part of ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. ARK is a joint initiative of Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster.

For further information please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 5320.

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