06-2007 Press Releases

28/06/2007: Local Sports Stars launch Queen's new Summer Sports Camps
27/06/2007: Partnership the way forward for wealth creation in Northern Ireland - Gregson
26/06/2007: Vodafone global chief visits Belfast
26/06/2007: You're hired! Queen's spin-outs make 1,000th appointment
26/06/2007: Pioneer in concrete research receives honorary degree
25/06/2007: Alzheimer's research wins Queen's doctor major award
21/06/2007: Queen's University Chemists Develop Liquids for Lunar Telescope
20/06/2007: Ministerial tribute for Queen's student
19/06/2007: American Law School visit to Queen's
19/06/2007: Who cares now? Changes in informal caring between 1994 and 2006
18/06/2007: Bill Bailey and Sean Hughes to perform at Belfast Festival at Queen's
15/06/2007: NI Assembly's Committee for Employment and Learning visits Queen's
15/06/2007: Queen's research on Fathers' needs
15/06/2007: Queen's Professor to chair water and sewerage services review
14/06/2007: Young 'bovvered' by the environment but powerless!
14/06/2007: Double explosion challenges theories of ways stars live and die
13/06/2007: Queen's researchers share in £3.2 million grant to study divided cities
13/06/2007: Queen's University: NI Researchers Bring New Hope for Heart Disease Patients
12/06/2007: Queen's gets 'First' in UK Green League table
12/06/2007: Belfast 'Third Age' expert awarded Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship
11/06/2007: Queen's students runner up in 2007 Student Awards.
11/06/2007: The importance of innovation to economic success
07/06/2007: Honours for Irish U20 Rugby Captain and Sigerson Heroes at Queen's Sporting Showcase
07/06/2007: Lomac Tiles University Boat Race
07/06/2007: 'Life is a cabaret' with Belfast Festival at Queen's!
05/06/2007: Happy to Get the Blues: Queen's University Sports Stars Get Ready to Celebrate
05/06/2007: Transforming Cultures of Violence
05/06/2007: Queen's University new research into sectarianism.
05/06/2007: Queen's Hosts Graduate Jobs Fair
05/06/2007: Colour Dyes: EU Environmental and Health Concerns addressed at Queen's
04/06/2007: GMC President to open Clinical Skills Centre at Queen's
04/06/2007: Queen's Physical Education Centre scoops top building award

Local Sports Stars launch Queen's new Summer Sports Camps
From (L-R): Gerard O'Kane (Derry), Michael Ward (Glentoran) and Conor Downey (Linfield) join children from Botanic Primary School at the launch of Queen's University's new Soccer and Gaelic Summer Camps.
From (L-R): Gerard O'Kane (Derry), Michael Ward (Glentoran) and Conor Downey (Linfield) join children from Botanic Primary School at the launch of Queen's University's new Soccer and Gaelic Summer Camps.

Derry Senior Footballer Gerard O’Kane, Glentoran marksman Michael Ward and Linfield Star Conor Downey, joined children from Botanic Primary School at Queen’s PEC today to help promote the University’s new Gaelic Football and Soccer camps for children which will take place this summer.

Over five fun-filled days, the camps will offer children the chance to meet top sporting stars, receive expert coaching, and develop skills and confidence while having fun in a sport they enjoy. Participants will also receive themed sporting packs.

The Soccer Camp will take place from 30 July to 3 August and the Gaelic Football Camp will run from 6 August to 10 August.

A new addition to the already popular summer scheme offered by Queen’s Sport, in which children have the opportunity to take part in their chosen sport for a full week, the camps are on offer to children aged between 7 and 14. Other activities on offer during Queen’s Summer Activity Scheme include rugby, climbing, swimming, art and crafts.

Staff working on the camps are experienced and enthusiastic accredited coaches (male and female), who have a proven record of delivering a child-centred approach to coaching.

Further information on enrolment is available by visiting www.qub.ac.uk/sport or by telephoning 028 90 68 1126.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk.


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Partnership the way forward for wealth creation in Northern Ireland - Gregson
Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, views an array of ionic liquids at the Academy's Soirèe and exhibition at Queen's.
Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, views an array of ionic liquids at the Academy's Soirèe and exhibition at Queen's.
The Vice-Chancellor with Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering (centre), and Professor Eric Beatty, President of the Irish Academy of Engineering (left) at the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Soirée, hosted by Queen's.
The Vice-Chancellor with Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering (centre), and Professor Eric Beatty, President of the Irish Academy of Engineering (left) at the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Soirée, hosted by Queen's.

Northern Ireland must build on its tradition of engineering excellence if it is to compete in the global knowledge-driven economy, Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has said.

The Vice-Chancellor was speaking at the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Soirée hosted by the University last night. More than 150 distinguished guests attended the formal dinner in the University’s Great Hall and heard speeches from Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Professor Eric Beatty, President of the Irish Academy of Engineering.

A major exhibition showcasing Queen’s world-leading engineering research formed part of the event, which was organised in association with the Irish Academy of Engineering and sponsored by Bombardier Aerospace and Invest NI.

Speaking on the Soirée’s theme of ‘Wealth Creation through Partnerships’, Professor Gregson said: “Queen’s and Northern Ireland have a long and distinguished tradition in engineering. In today’s global economy, it is essential that we build on this by forging profitable partnerships with major industrial partners and research centres throughout the world.”

The Vice-Chancellor described engineering as “one of the pillars of the curriculum” at Queen’s.  He went on: “Today more than 2,000 students study engineering at undergraduate and postgraduate level.  A key feature of the University’s engineering research, and its research agenda as a whole, is the value we put on partnership – in particular, partnerships across disciplinary and geographical divides. We also demonstrate the central role a research-driven university plays in wealth creation.”

Professor Gregson added that universities are the bedrock of a nation’s research and development base and a more significant force in economic prosperity than ever before.

He said: “Research drives intellectual innovation and the acquisition and exploitation of knowledge. Transforming research into wealth-creating businesses is a key performance indicator of a university’s contribution to society.” 

And he described this week’s announcement of the 1,000th appointment to be made by a Queen’s spin-out company as “a landmark development in the story of the University’s tangible contribution to wealth and job creation in Northern Ireland”.

Philip Greenish, CEO of The Royal Academy of Engineering, said: "One of the aims of the Soirée is to showcase the best of British engineering excellence and the partnership between academia and industry. Queen's University fits the bill admirably. Queen's links with industry are extensive and its Knowledge Transfer Centre has helped over 200 businesses enhance their competitiveness."

Highlights of the Soirée exhibition included displays demonstrating the work of QUILL (Queen’s award-winning Ionic Liquids Laboratories), which is leading the world in the development of pollution-free chemical processes, and the University’s Institute of Electronics, Communication and Information Technology (ECIT) in the Northern Ireland Science Park.

Queen’s pioneering research in a range of other areas, including semiconductors and nanotechnology, intelligent systems, aerospace, polymers, power and energy systems and the built environment, was also on display.


Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk.

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Vodafone global chief visits Belfast

Queen’s University and Belfast City Council are tomorrow hosting the visit of Professor Mike Walker, the head of global Research and Development at the Vodafone Group as part of a partnership that brings world leading industry experts to Belfast. Professor Walker will be awarded a Visiting Fellowship in the Creative Industries after giving a keynote address at the University to business leaders on the theme of ‘mobile communications – a platform for innovation’.

Vodafone is a multi-billion pound global company with over 200 million customers and major worldwide markets.

Professor John Mann, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and International Partnerships, said: “Creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of leading economies across the globe. This partnership initiative between Queen’s University and Belfast City Council will harness the strengths and international networks of both institutions in supporting local business leaders in acquiring the creative skills, knowledge and global connections to compete on the world stage.”

Brendan McGoran, Creative Industries Officer at Belfast City Council said: “Industries based on creativity play a significant role in the development of a region’s economy and global profile. Bringing world-class creative expertise to Belfast will provide support to local companies and enhance the international image of the City as an innovative centre of creative excellence.”

The visit has been facilitated by Vodafone’s regional operations in Northern Ireland.  The Director of Vodafone Northern Ireland, Pauline Quigley, said: “Vodafone is delighted to help local companies gain insight into the potential of mobile communications to innovate the way they do business.  The event will highlight the leading edge research which translates to innovative products and services to provide competitive advantage.”  

Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320, mobile number: 07817434252

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You're hired! Queen's spin-outs make 1,000th appointment
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson presents Kainos software engineer Emer Campbell with a memento to mark her historic appointment as the 1000th employee of a university spin-out company. Included are Kainos Chief Executive Brendan Mooney (left) and Panos Lioulias, Chief Executive of Queen's knowledge transfer company QUBIS Ltd.
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson presents Kainos software engineer Emer Campbell with a memento to mark her historic appointment as the 1000th employee of a university spin-out company. Included are Kainos Chief Executive Brendan Mooney (left) and Panos Lioulias, Chief Executive of Queen's knowledge transfer company QUBIS Ltd.

A new appointment by Belfast company Kainos has marked a major milestone in Queen’s University’s contribution to economic prosperity in Northern Ireland.

Emer Campbell (22), who recently accepted a post with Kainos, one of Queen’s earliest and most successful spin-outs, is the 1,000th person to be appointed to one of the businesses created by Queen’s venture spin-out company QUBIS Ltd. Emer will join SpeechStorm, the speech recognition division of Kainos, as a software engineer. From Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, Emer will graduate with First Class Honours in Computer Science at Queen’s next Wednesday.

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said the historic appointment was further evidence of the University’s leading role as a significant force in wealth and job creation.

He said: “Transforming research into wealth-creating businesses is one of the most tangible examples of a university’s contribution to society.

“Last year Queen’s emerged as the leading higher education institution in the UK in terms of the annual turnover of spin-out businesses formed by QUBIS Ltd, and second to Cambridge for the number of jobs which these companies have created.”

Panos Lioulias, Chief Executive of QUBIS Ltd, said: “This landmark illustrates the quality and entrepreneurial spirit of Queen’s researchers. It can only enhance our confidence in the future as more successful businesses emanate from the University’s leading-edge research.”

Kainos Chief Executive Brendan Mooney said: “Kainos has built a culture that attracts the best and brightest IT professionals in the market. In the past year we’ve increased our headcount by almost 40 per cent to 220 employees. Kainos’ recent investment in SpeechStorm has accounted for much of this increase. Queen’s University has always been an excellent source of high-quality and talented graduates for Kainos and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate this significant milestone with QUBIS.”  

Emer said she felt “very privileged” to be the 1,000th employee of QUBIS. She added: “I worked for Kainos during my placement year and it was great fun. There is an open and friendly atmosphere and I felt valued from the outset. I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and am confident that my career is heading in the right direction.”

Since its establishment in 1984, QUBIS has created some 50 high technology companies. These companies, in industry sectors such as software, chemicals and engineering, represent a significant proportion of the high technology companies in Northern Ireland.


Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk.

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Pioneer in concrete research receives honorary degree

One of Northern Ireland’s leading innovators in concrete technology has been awarded an honorary degree by City University London. Professor Adrian Long, Emeritus Professor of Engineering at Queen’s University, was awarded his degree for his contribution to the concrete industry.

In a career that has spanned over 40 years, Professor Long has pioneered research and application in both industry and academia – promoting concrete as a construction material and developing novel and innovative approaches to solving industry problems. His research broke new ground, predominantly in the area of concrete durability and strength, specifically in-situ testing. He was responsible for developing the pull-off test to assess the strength of concrete on site – now an EU and UK standard.

Professor Long’s outstanding contribution to engineering education and sustainable development was also honoured at a recent conference, held at Queen’s University, entitled, ‘Concrete Platform 2007’. The conference recognised Professor Long’s influence on concrete development and technology worldwide drawing over three generations of international researchers from some 14 countries.

The conference was organised by Professor Muhammed Basheer, Director of Centre for Built Environment Research, who said: “It is a rare occasion when we see a former Vice-Chancellor and leading concrete technologist giving plenary talks at a conference which itself brought together the most famous names in Concrete Technology under one roof. This is a true honour and recognition of the contribution that Professor Long has made to the field.”

Professor Long was the first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers from Northern Ireland in its 190 year history.


For further information, contact Sarah Williams, Press and Pr Unit, tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 5391.

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Alzheimer's research wins Queen's doctor major award
Dr Bernadette McGuinness, first recipient of the Beeson Award outside the USA.
Dr Bernadette McGuinness, first recipient of the Beeson Award outside the USA.

A prestigious scholarship award made for the first time ever outside the United States has been won by a Queen’s University medical graduate. Dr Bernadette McGuinness, from Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, was awarded the £228,000 Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award for her proposed research into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Graduating with an MD in 2006, Dr McGuinness’s research specifically focussed on neuropsychological changes and genetics in early Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. This unique study background enabled her to develop a research proposal that saw off national competition.

Working closely with the Dementia Research Group from Queen’s School of Medicine (Drs Peter Passmore, Janet Johnston and David Craig), Dr McGuinness’s research proposal relates to an enzyme thought to be involved in the Alzheimer’s process. The team studied activity of an enzyme in platelets from peripheral blood samples and found that the activity was elevated in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Dr McGuinness said: “This is very significant since there is no easy diagnostic test for this major neurodegenerative condition and being able to detect relevant markers of this brain disease in peripherally accessed blood samples represents a significant advance.”

Furthermore the research process offers the possibility of monitoring development aspects of the disease.

Dr McGuinness continued: “Since the Alzheimer process has usually been developing for some time in the brain and hence is very well advanced before patients go to the doctor, we wondered if the activity of this enzyme could be higher in people before they actually turn up and are diagnosed. In a small preliminary study this seemed to be the case. “

The team will now undertake a major in-depth study of people with a mild memory loss condition called Mild Cognitive Impairment, which is thought in many cases to be a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease. People will be assessed over time in the clinic using detailed memory assessments, neuroimaging (specific X-rays of the brain) with the activity of this enzyme in the platelets being measured.

Speaking of her award, Dr McGuinness said, “I am very excited to receive this scholarship. It means that we can further develop our understanding of the critical illness that is Alzheimer’s disease, the biggest challenge among all age-related diseases.

“I feel very privileged to be the first Beeson scholar outside of the United States.”

The Beeson Award is a career development award made to high calibre individuals seeking to advance research into ageing and medicine for older people. Candidates must also have the support of a team in an institution recognised as having a commitment to ageing research and teaching. In 2007 the award was opened to people living and working in Ireland for the first time and Dr McGuinness is the first recipient. She now joins an elite list of Beeson scholars, and received her scholarship at a special conference in New York on 21-24 June.

Dr Passmore, Reader and mentor to Dr McGuinness, said: “This is very significant achievement by Dr McGuinness. It is an acknowledgement of her ability and will enable her to pursue a career in research, teaching and clinical work with older people. It is also an international recognition of the excellence of the research programme in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by our team at Queen’s University.”

The award will allow Dr McGuinness and the Queen’s team to continue to pursue important research in Alzheimer’s disease, which is one of the major challenges facing us with an increasing ageing of the population that is occurring in Ireland and internationally.


Media enquiries to Sarah Williams, Press and PR Unit, on tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5391.

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Queen's University Chemists Develop Liquids for Lunar Telescope

Chemists at Queen's University Belfast are working with scientists in Canada and the United States to design a telescope that can be stationed on the Moon.

The instrument will have a mirror consisting of a liquid with a thin metal film on its surface that rotates to form a bowl shape, known as a parabola. When the liquid spins in a perfect parabola, it will be able to reflect infrared light from distant stars and galaxies that cannot be picked up by telescopes on Earth because of atmospheric interference and light pollution.

Telescopes with parabolic liquid mirrors are much cheaper and easier to make and maintain than conventional telescopes with glass mirrors. Liquid mirror telescopes employed in observatories on Earth traditionally use mercury as the reflective liquid. However, mercury cannot be used for a lunar liquid mirror telescope as the high-vacuum conditions on the Moon would cause the mercury to boil.

The Queen's team has been investigating the possibility of preparing a reflective liquid for the telescope consisting of an ionic liquid that can be coated on its surface with a thin layer of a reflective metal.

Ionic liquids are liquid salts. They consist essentially of ions (electrically-charged atoms or groups of atoms). Ionic liquids generally have negligible vapour pressures which mean that they do not boil, even under vacuum. Many ionic liquids do not freeze at the sub-zero temperatures found on the Moon. They have the added advantage that they are much lighter than mercury - a key consideration for transporting a telescope to the Moon.

In a report in the June 21 issue of the science journal Nature, the Belfast, Canadian, and US scientists showed that a commercially-available ionic liquid can be coated with silver and that the coated fluid is stable over several months.

"The discovery that an ionic liquid can be coated with a very thin metal layer is a major breakthrough," said chemistry professor, Ken Seddon, who is one of the authors of the report and Director of Queen's University Ionic Liquids Laboratories (QUILL).

The authors also reported that the ionic liquid does not evaporate in a vacuum and remains liquid at temperatures down to 175 K (-98oC). The lunar liquid mirror telescope, however, will require a liquid with an even lower melting point.

Fortunately, there is a phenomenal choice of ionic liquids. More than 1,500 have been described in the scientific literature over the past ten years or so and about 500 are available commercially. According to Seddon, around one million simple ionic liquids are theoretically possible and they can be designed for a wide variety of applications. But most have yet to be prepared.

"We now plan to design and prepare ionic liquids with melting points of around 100 K that can be coated with a reflective metal for the lunar telescope" said Assistant Director of  QUILL, Maggel Deetlefs.


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Ministerial tribute for Queen's student
Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning Sir Reg Empey chats with Queen’s student Yu Huai Zhang (Neo) and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, during a visit to the University. Neo recently won the International Student of the Year in the British Council's annual Shine International Student Awards.
Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning Sir Reg Empey chats with Queen’s student Yu Huai Zhang (Neo) and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, during a visit to the University. Neo recently won the International Student of the Year in the British Council's annual Shine International Student Awards.

Northern Ireland’s Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey has paid tribute to Queen’s student Yu Huai Zhang, known to his friends as Neo, who was recently awarded the UK International Student of the Year title.

The Minister, who met Neo during a recent visit to Queen’s, said that the Shen Zhen student “has played an important role in promoting multi-cultural diversity within both the student and the wider Northern Ireland community.”

Sir Reg also visited Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

The Minister praised the work of ECIT and added: “The future of our economy depends on commercially focused innovation, a strong knowledge base and effective business education partnerships. By supporting Centres of Excellence such as ECIT, we can enhance the market-driven technological capability of Northern Ireland businesses and universities, whilst exploiting the potential of new technologies and scientific advancements.”

Welcoming the Minister to Queen’s, the Vice-Chancellor said: “As a member of the Russell Group of leading UK universities, Queen’s is a major civic university with a significant role in the future of Northern Ireland. Queen’s has an outstanding reputation for education and research and its contribution to today’s knowledge-based economy. Queen’s is working closely with the Minister and with academic and business leaders to ensure we provide graduates with the talents and skills to underpin the further development of society in Northern Ireland."

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American Law School visit to Queen's

American law students are meeting Northern Ireland politicians and lawyers at Queen’s University this week as the international Fordham Law School starts.

During their two week stay in Belfast, 41 students from the US will study criminal law, conflict resolution and human rights programmes. The Fordham students and professors will also hear from local politicians in a number of round table discussions. A welcome dinner will be held for the visitors this Wednesday night in the Great Hall at Queen’s which will include the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Bernie Kelly (SDLP), Anna Lo (Alliance), and Nuala O’ Loan (Police Ombudsman) as guests.

Visits to the Assembly at Stormont, the Laganside Courts and the Bar library have also been arranged for the visiting students.

Professor John Morrison, Head of Queen’s Law School, said: “Not only is the Fordham Law School  an opportunity to co-deliver internationally regarded programmes in Northern Ireland, Queen’s also values the relationships that develop as a result of this partnership.”

Previous contributors have included, Senator George Mitchell, Chancellor of Queen’s University and a member of the Fordham faculty, US Supreme Court judge Sandra Day O'Connor and former US Attorney General, Janet Reno.

This summer programme has been running for five years and is approved by the American Bar Association. The programme also includes visits to tourist sites, including a tour of the North Coast taking in the Derry Walls and the Flight of the Earls Centre.

A Northern Ireland lawyers round table event will take place next Tuesday 26 June at Queen’s for the Fordham students. Among those in attendance will be Les Allamby, Director of the Northern Ireland Law Centre. The students will also participate in a politicians round table debate which takes place on Wednesday 27 June and this will include Dawn Purvis from the PUP and Alex Attwood from the SDLP.

Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320, mobile number: 07817434252, e mail e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk

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Who cares now? Changes in informal caring between 1994 and 2006

Almost one quarter of adults in Northern Ireland last year had informal caring responsibilities, according to a report launched today by ARK, a joint project between Queen’s University and the University of Ulster. 

The report ‘Who cares now? Changes in informal caring 1994 and 2006’ by Professor Eileen Evason, Emeritus Professor of Social Administration at the University of Ulster, compares data from the 1994 Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey and the 2006 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey. 

The findings show that approximately one quarter of respondents provided care for at least one other person. Almost one half of carers were aged between 35 and 54 years.

The report also highlights how the amount of time per day and the amount of days per week spent caring has risen since 1994. In 2006, 31 per cent of respondents spent 30 hours a week or more caring, and 62 per cent cared for someone 5 to7 days per week. In 1994, 13 per cent of respondents spent 30 hours a week or more caring, and 43 per cent cared for someone 5 to 7 days per week.

Noting that since 1994, informal care in Northern Ireland has changed, Professor Evason commented: “Taking on a caring role can significantly change people’s lives and have an impact on their financial circumstances as well as their health and well being. The boundaries of care are being drawn more tightly around immediate family members. There seem to be fewer informal carers but the care being provided is more intensive and demanding.

“Last week was Carers Week in Northern Ireland, and so it is timely that the report launched today will examine the extent and nature of this important, but often unappreciated, task. 

“In particular, informal care underpins our health and social care services and is a vital contribution to maintaining the health and well being of a significant proportion of the population in Northern Ireland.”

In the report, Professor Evason further explains that the emphasis on welfare to work has ignored the value of unpaid work and the contribution to welfare – through caring – that the economically inactive may make. Rising house prices which require two salaries to service, may also be playing a role.

Other key results from the survey include:

  • Nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents cared for their parents or in-laws in 2006 and the figure has risen only slightly since 1994 (43 per cent).
  • 26 per cent of respondents in 1994 and 23 per cent in 2006 provided informal care for someone else, with an increase in the proportion of people providing care for someone living with them.
  • In 2006, 17 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women said they were carers and almost one half (49 per cent) of them were aged between 35 and 54 years.
  • Caring responsibilities are becoming more concentrated within the close family, with a decrease in the proportion of respondents caring for other relatives or friends.
  • There has been an increase in the perception that government should provide care for elderly people (from 61 per cent in 1994 to 73 per cent in 2006).
  • There has been a fall in support for the idea that elderly people should sell their own home to meet the cost of living in an old person’s home.

Professor Evason concluded: “ It would appear that carers today are under more pressure than before and are more likely to need support in this role.” 

Also released today will be the full results of the 2006 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey.  As well as informal carers, the survey also looked at experiences and attitudes to healthcare, migrant workers, community relations and political attitudes.  Full results of the survey, as well as the Carers report, will be available on the Life and Times website at www.ark.ac.uk/nilt.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0)28 9097 5384, mobile +44 781 44 22 572, email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

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Bill Bailey and Sean Hughes to perform at Belfast Festival at Queen's
Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey

Belfast Festival at Queen’s is delighted to announce two more major comedy names to add to the outstanding Magners Comedy line-up at this year’s festival, which runs from 19 October to 3 November.

Hailed by The Times as "the finest stand-up comedian this country has to offer", the hilarious Bill Bailey will perform two shows at this year’s festival, on 31 October and 1 November, at the Whitla Hall, University Road.

Since he was nominated for a Perrier Award for his first solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1996, Bill has completed five major UK and international tours and was awarded the Best Stand-up at the British Comedy Awards in 1999.  His unique blend of comedy and music has earned him great critical acclaim and an international fan base.

"He is a treat for the funny bone, the brain and the ear" - The New York Times

In addition to his own comedy shows, Bill has also branched out as a dramatic actor in extremely well-received stage productions of 12 Angry Men and The Odd Couple at the Edinburgh Fringe. 

Since the beginning of the year, Bill has appeared in a new series of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, starred in Pinter’s People - a collection of comedy sketches by Harold Pinter playing at the West End - and led the BBC Concert Orchestra in a Cosmic Shindig, a special concert for Comic Relief.

Bill's TV and film credits include three series of Black Books, in which he starred as Manny alongside Dylan Moran, Team Captain on BBC2's Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Q.I., Jonathan Creek and Edgar Wright's film Hot Fuzz.

Nicola McCleery, Magners Marketing Manager, said:

"Bill Bailey is one of the biggest names in comedy and we are delighted to be working with the Belfast Festival at Queen’s to bring him to Northern Ireland for two nights.  This Comedy Programme is a perfect association with Magners as it is a well-established festival and will bring further enjoyment and laughter to our customers.  I’m sure a refreshing pint of Magners over ice will most definitely go down a treat with comedy audiences here!"

Graeme Farrow, director of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s said:

"This year’s Magners Comedy programme is shaping up to be one of the best we’ve ever had, with an eclectic mix of headline names and more quirky, offbeat acts which we know Northern Ireland audiences will enjoy."

The youngest comedian ever to win the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award, Sean Hughes will also feature at this year's Belfast Festival at Queen's, and will bring his new stand-up show to the Elmwood Hall on Friday 26 October. 

Now aged 41, but “spiritually 11”, Sean has enjoyed almost two decades at the top of the comedy tree and this show marks a long overdue return to the comedy circuit by one of the best stand-ups of his generation.

“High calibre comedy as it should be” - Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard

Sean has retained his distinctly dark, explosive style, his quick-fire banter with the audience and “his piercing eye for the expectation-flipping one liner” (Evening Standard). More topical than tomorrow’s news, his twisted gaze can fall upon anything and everything, from dog death to his love of teenage indie pop. No two nights with Sean Hughes are ever the same - each one, an original and authenticated masterpiece, never to be seen again.

"A hugely impressive and intelligent comic... sometimes dark and always very entertaining" Time Out

Tickets for these shows are currently on sale exclusively from the Belfast Festival at Queen’s website – www.belfastfestival.com

Bill Bailey, 8pm,Wednesday 31 October and Thursday 1 November, Whitla Hall, University Road, Belfast.  Tickets £22.50.

Sean Hughes, 8pm, Friday 26 October, Elmwood Hall, University Road, Belfast.  Tickets £16.50.

Further details of this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s line-up will be released over the coming months and the full programme will be launched on Thursday 6 September.   For further information and to sign up for the festival e-newsletter, please visit www.belfastfestival.com

For further information, contact Sarah Hughes, Communications Officer, Queen's University Belfast Culture and Arts Division, on telephone 028 9097 1398 or email s.hughes@qub.ac.uk

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NI Assembly's Committee for Employment and Learning visits Queen's
NI Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning at Queen's
NI Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning at Queen's

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Employment and Learning has conducted a fact-finding visit to the University.  The Committee for Employment and Learning is the first Assembly Committee to have conducted an off-site visit since the resumption of business at Stormont. 

MLAs met the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and received a briefing from Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Gerry McCormac before undertaking a private tour of the new clinical cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital and Queen's £22million state-of-the-art Cancer Research Centre. 

The visit also incorporated a 3-D visual presentation and meetings with PhD students at two of Queen’s business-related technology hubs, the Northern Ireland Technology Centre and the Polymer Processing Research Centre both of which collaborate extensively with SMEs and manufacturing industries across Northern Ireland.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0)28 9097 5384, mobile + 44 781 44 22 572, email: lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk.

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Queen's research on Fathers' needs

As Father’s Day beckons, a new Queen’s University research project has been launched on the subject of fathering high risk neonatal babies.

Neonatal children’s nurse Ms Kathleen Deeney, is the recipient of the £64,000 PhD scholarship which is called ‘Fathering High Risk Infants’.

In Northern Ireland over 2000 babies are admitted annually to neo-natal intensive care units (NICU) because they are born preterm or are suffering from other health complications.

On average there are two stillbirths every week.

The project is led by Dr Maria Lohan, Dr Fiona Alderdice and Dr Dale Spence of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s.

Explaining the work of the study, Dr Lohan said: “In this study we focus on newborn infants in NICU who are deemed ‘high risk’ in terms of morbidity and mortality. While the literature has paid attention to the needs of mothers in caring for babies who are designated high risk infants at birth, the experience of fathers and their health and social care needs while fathering high risk infants has been neglected.

“In addition, the overwhelming focus in the media and health services literature is on the care of small and preterm infants in the NICU to the neglect of infants born at term. Hence, we focus on the interface of two relatively understudied areas, the fathering of high risk infants born at term and preterm. 

“We seek to understand men’s experiences of being the parent of a high risk infant born either at term or preterm within the hospital setting and later in the home. We aim to contribute to wider research on men, masculinities and fathering and to develop guidelines for improved practice in neo natal and family health that would incorporate the needs of fathers in caring for high risk infants.”

The scholarship is jointly funded by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s and Tiny Life (the premature baby charity for Northern Ireland), and will be a longitudinal qualitative study using in depth interviews in hospital and at home.

Mrs Deirdre Brady, Chief Executive of TinyLife added: “TinyLife is delighted to partner the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s for this very important area of research. We are already aware that fathers experience emotional turmoil and feelings of helplessness when their baby is deemed to be ‘at risk’.

“As father’s day approaches this is a very appropriate way of recognising the important role played by fathers in today’s society and will help inform best practice for family support. TinyLife would like to congratulate Kathleen on her scholarship.”


Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, mobile number: 07817434252, e mail: e.mccusker@qub.ac.uk.

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Queen's Professor to chair water and sewerage services review

Queen’s University Professor Paddy Hillyard is to chair the independent review panel to consider the future of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland, Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has announced.

Since January 2005 Professor Hillyard has held the chair of Sociology at Queen’s. He previously held academic posts at the University of Ulster and the University of Bristol.

Review Panel members will also comprise Joan Whiteside, former Chair of the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, and Charles Coulthard, who retired recently as Managing Director of Gas and Electricity Regulation in Scotland.  An additional appointment may be considered.

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Young 'bovvered' by the environment but powerless!

Young people in urban and rural areas in Northern Ireland are indeed ‘bovvered’ about the state of the environment but feel powerless to help make any significant change according to a new Ark survey.

ARK (The Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive)  is a joint initiative of  Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster.

The young people in the survey were asked how important environmental issues were to them at present.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of young people interested in politics thought that global warming was very important, compared with 34 per cent of those with little interest in politics. 

The issues of most importance to young people were using up natural resources (47 per cent), the loss of plants, animals and habitats (44 per cent), and waste management (40 per cent).

In stark contrast to the older generation, the issue of noise pollution was very important to only 9 per cent of respondents.

One significant difference of opinion came in relation to the question of litter and waste management. These were perceived as being very important by a higher proportion of females (35 per cent and 44 per cent respectively) than males (25 per cent and 35 per cent respectively).

A higher proportion of students attending secondary schools felt each issue was important to them compared with grammar school students. For example, one quarter (26 per cent) of grammar school pupils thought that damage to the ozone layer was very important, compared to (36 per cent) of those attending secondary schools. Noise pollution was very important to (13 per cent) of those attending secondary schools, compared with only (4 per cent) of those attending grammar schools.

The survey showed the young people are concerned and want direction and leadership on environmental matters.

The report author Paula Devine supported this by saying: “Despite recent messages and warnings about the need to take personal responsibility for our actions in relation to global warming, these figures suggest a certain degree of powerlessness, or else non acceptance of responsibility, among young people.”

Most respondents felt their actions could make a difference to locally based issues such as litter (88 per cent) and waste management (83 per cent).

Despite being some of the most important issues to respondents, only 41 per cent felt they could make a difference to global warming/climate change or to the loss of plants, animals and habitats (40 per cent).

YLT Survey Author Paula Devine added: “The data from the 2006 YLT survey indicates that most of the issues listed in the questionnaire were seen as important to some degree. The only exception was noise pollution. However, there was some degree of mismatch between what was important to respondents and how they could make a difference.

“For example, global issues, such as global warming/climate change and the loss of plants, animals and habitats, were also very important to a fairly large proportion of respondents (39 per cent and 44 per cent respectively), although these were the issues that respondents felt least likely to be able to affect.”


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Double explosion challenges theories of ways stars live and die

A unique discovery of two celestial explosions at exactly the same position in the sky has led astronomers to suggest they have witnessed the death of one of the most massive stars that can exist.

A global collaboration of astronomers led by Queen’s University Belfast, teamed up with Japanese supernova hunter, Koichi Itagaki, to report an amazing new discovery in ‘Nature’ this week (14 June). This is the first time such a double explosion has been observed and challenges our understanding of star-deaths.

In 2004, Koichi Itagaki discovered an exploding star in the galaxy UGC4904 (78 million light years away in the Lynx constellation), which rapidly faded from view in the space of ten days. Never formally announced to the community, Itagaki then found a new, much brighter explosion in the same place only two years later, which he proposed as new supernova. Queen’s astronomers Professor Stephen Smartt and Doctor Andrea Pastorello, who are based in the Astrophysics Research Centre at the University, immediately realised the implications of finding two explosions at the same position on the sky.

The astronomers began observing the 2006 supernova (named SN2006jc) with a wide range of large telescopes and analysed Itagaki’s images to show the two explosions were in exactly the same place. The most likely explanation for the 2004 explosion was probably an outburst of a very massive star like Eta-Carinae, which was observed to have a similar giant outburst in the 1850s. The 2006 supernova was the final death of the same star.

Professor Smartt is funded by a prestigious EURYI fellowship to study the birth and death of stars. Speaking about the discovery, he said:  "The supernova was the explosion of a massive star that had lost its outer atmosphere, probably in a series of minor explosions like the one Koichi found in 2004. The star was so massive it probably formed a black hole as it collapsed. This is the first time two explosions of the same star have been found, and it challenges our theories of the way stars live and die."

Dr. Pastorello said: "We knew the 2004 explosion could be a giant outburst of very massive star, and we know that only the most massive stars can produce this type of outburst. So the 2006 supernova must have been the death of the same star, possibly a star 50 to 100 times more massive than the Sun. And it turns out that SN2006jc is a very weird supernova – unusually rich in the chemical element helium which supports our idea of a massive star outburst then death."

Dr. Pastorello used UK telescopes on La Palma (the Liverpool Telescope, and William Herschel Telescope), in a combined European and Asian effort to monitor the energetics of SN2006jc. He showed that the exploding star must have been a Wolf-Rayet star, which are the carbon-oxygen remains of originally very high mass stars.

Although this is the first time two such explosions have been found to be coincident, they could be more frequent than currently thought. The future Pan-STARRS project, a new telescope with the world’s largest digital camera which can survey the whole sky once a week could search for these peculiar supernovae. Queen’s is a partner in the Pan-STARRS science team and hope to use it to understand how the most massive stars in the Universe die.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council funds UK research in astronomy and access to telescopes such as the William Herschel Telescope.

Further information on the work of Queen’s Astrophysics Research Centre, based within the School of Mathematics and Physics, at the University, can be found by visiting http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/

Notes to Editors

Suggested Graphics:
CAPTION: This is an image of eta-Carina in our galaxy, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The star that exploded in 2004 and 2006 in the far off galaxy 2006 was likely a very massive star like eta-Carina, of up to 100 solar masses, and doomed to death when its core collapsed to a black hole. Credit: NASA/ESA

Hubble Space Telescope and Jon Morse The Great Carina Nebula (NGC 3372), famous star-forming region of the southern sky. The image spans about 40 light-years within the larger Carina Nebula at an estimated distance of 7,500 light-years. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Highlighted by diffraction spikes, Eta is just above and right (east) of the Keyhole. Credit: Brad Moore
Movie file: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~sjs/sn2006jc/UGC4904.mov  CREDIT NEEDED

Paper details Title: A giant outburst two years before the core-collapse of a massive star Authors: A. Pastorell, S. J. Smartt, S. Mattila, J. J. Eldridge, D. Young, K. Itagaki, H. Yamaoka, H. Navasardyan, S. Valenti, F. Patat, I. Agnoletto, T. Augusteijn, S. Benetti, E. Cappellaro, T. Boles, J.-M. Bonnet-Bidaud, M.T. Botticella, F. Bufano, C. Cao, J. Deng, M. Dennefeld, N. Elias-Rosa, A. Harutyunyan, F. P. Keenan, T. Iijima, V. Lorenzi, P. A. Mazzali, X. Meng, S. Nakano, T.B. Nielsen, J. V. Smoker, V. Stanishev, M. Turatto, D. Xu, L. Zampierio To appear in Nature (14 June) Preprint: http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0703663

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0)28 9097 5384, mobile +44 781 44 22 572, email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk or Julia Maddock, Science and Technology Facilities Council Press Office. Tel +1793 442094 or Julia.maddock@stfc.ac.uk


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Queen's researchers share in £3.2 million grant to study divided cities

Queen’s University researchers have won a £1.1 million grant for a major study of divided world cities, which will include Belfast.

The grant, to a Queen’s team led by Professor Liam O’Dowd of the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, and James Anderson, Emeritus Professor of Political Geography, is part of a £3.2 million package awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council to academics from the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter and Queen’s.

The project is led by Dr Wendy Pullan of the Department of Architecture at Cambridge with co-investigators Professor Michael Dumper of the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter, and Professors O’Dowd and Anderson at Queen’s.  The Queen’s team also includes Professor Madeleine Leonard, Dr Claire Mitchell and Dr Lisa Smyth in Sociology, Dr Ian Shuttleworth and Dr Chris Lloyd in Geography, and two postdoctoral researchers.

Entitled ‘Conflict in Cities in the Contested State: Everyday Life and the Possibilities of Transformation in Belfast, Jerusalem and Other Divided Cities’, the five-year project will concentrate primarily on Belfast and Jerusalem but will also study other divided cities including Nicosia, Mostar, Berlin, Beirut and Kirkuk.  The project will involve an international network of academic experts, an international Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor Allan Cochrane of the Open University, and a User Exchange Forum designed to involve policy makers in the research process.  Organisations such as Northern Ireland's Community Relations Council and the Equality Commission will be involved as members of the international advisory and user committees.

Professor O’Dowd said: “The project will work at the interface between architecture, geography, political science and sociology. It will explore how ethnic, national and territorial conflicts materialise in everyday city life, in processes such as ethnic and religious segregation, in physical barriers and peacelines, and in attempts at conflict management and resolution.

“We will examine how the viability of cities in contested states is threatened by deep-seated conflicts but also how everyday life may contain the potential to transform them.  Locally, the Queen’s research will help reveal the extent to which recent political accommodation in Northern Ireland will be expressed at street level in Belfast over the next five years and what lessons can be shared with other divided cities at different stages of ethnic and national conflict.

“This study promises to be one of the most exciting and high profile projects currently funded by the ESRC, and it will significantly enhance the international profile of social science research at Queen’s, where in 2011, the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work will host a major international conference on Everyday Life in Divided Cities. The project also builds on the University’s strong tradition of externally funded research on borders, cities, social divisions and social conflict.”

For further information contact:

Professor Liam O’Dowd, Tel 028 9097 3218

Editor’s Notes:

Over the last eight years Professors O’Dowd and Anderson have helped forge research links between sociology and geography and other disciplines at Queen’s through the Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR) www.qub.ac.uk/cibr

Major externally funded projects have included the ‘Mapping Frontiers’ project funded by the Higher Education Authority which linked over 40 researchers in University College Dublin and Queen’s in studying cross-border relationships in Ireland Professors O’Dowd and Anderson also currently represent CIBR’s participation in an EU Sixth Framework Project, EUDimensions, studying co-operation across the external borders of the EU between civil society organisations.

In Geography, the work of Professor Anderson and Dr Ian Shuttleworth in The Centre for Spatial Territorial Analysis and Research (www.qub.ac.uk/c-star) has previously included ESRC- funded research on population and segregation in Belfast.  From 2003, Professor Anderson forged links with Wendy Pullan at Cambridge and Dumper at Exeter in two successive research projects funded by the ESRC’s New Security Challenges Programme including one on ‘Architecture and Urban Order in Jerusalem’.  The current, more broadly conceived project builds directly on this research and on ongoing research in Belfast. Its modular structure will allow for Belfast-Jerusalem comparisons of Belfast peacelines and the Jerusalem ‘ Separation Wall’, and of how religious, class, gender and generational divisions find expression in urban form and public space. 

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Queen's University: NI Researchers Bring New Hope for Heart Disease Patients
Professor Gary McVeigh, Centre for Vision Sciences at Queen's
Professor Gary McVeigh, Centre for Vision Sciences at Queen's

Researchers in Belfast have won a top UK medical innovation award for technology that makes the early diagnosis of potentially life-threatening damage to blood vessels easier than ever before. The research team from Queen’s University and the Medical Physics Agency was funded by the Health and Social Care R&D Office and Invest Northern Ireland.

Professor Gary McVeigh, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen’s University and a Cardiovascular Consultant in the Belfast City Hospital, will receive a Medical Futures Innovation Award – Cardiovascular Category – at a gala dinner in London on 14 June. It’s the first time a Northern Ireland research team has gained one of these top UK awards.

The development of this innovative technology, supported by Invest Northern Ireland’s Proof of Concept Programme, has produced sophisticated software for use in ultrasound systems to detect early signs of blood vessel damage.  This new software will help diagnose cardiovascular disease, assess its severity, and monitor progression. Importantly the team’s work will also help evaluate the impact of new and existing drug therapies on arterial blood vessels.

The judging panel, which endorsed this novel research, included Prof Sir Magdi Jacoub, Professor of Cardiac Surgery, Imperial College, London and the pioneer of heart-lung transplant surgery, Prof Martin Rothman, Prof of Interventional Cardiology, University of London, and Dr Roger Boyle, National Director for Heart Disease, Department of Health, London.

Professor McVeigh, commenting on the award, says: “It’s a marvellous endorsement of our research team and should be of immense benefit as we seek to commercialise the technology through a licensing agreement with an established equipment manufacturer.

“The ability to detect and monitor blood vessel damage at the earliest stage possible holds potential not only to more precisely estimate the risk of developing future cardiovascular events but also to intervene at a preclinical stage to prevent or delay disease progression.  Our success demonstrates the importance of clinical research and the contribution research and development can make to effective health care.

“Existing software used in ultrasound machines to analyse blood flow patterns is not sensitive enough to detect early blood vessel damage and can often provide misleading information about the actions of drugs prescribed for a particular condition.

“We are already using our new software in clinical work in patients at increased risk for future cardiovascular events, including diabetes. We now have sufficient evidence that demonstrates its superiority over existing applications. Potentially, this will give clinicians a more sensitive tool to directly monitor the effect of treatment on blood vessel health,” he adds.

“Invest NI’s Proof of Concept Programme,” Professor McVeigh adds, “provided essential support to enable the research team to turn a concept into a commercial product.”

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, says: “This very exciting technology has global potential particularly in tackling conditions such as diabetes which now has achieved virtual epidemic status in Europe and the US. It’s a superb example of the quality of research that’s now to be found in our universities and in our Health and social care service. We established the Proof of Concept Programme to assist such pioneering research and it’s immensely encouraging now to see such world-class innovation emerging from this initiative.”

Congratulating Professor McVeigh and his partners, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson said:  “This prestigious award is evidence of the advantages of having world-class research within Northern Ireland, both in terms of the wider benefit to people’s health and the potential economic rewards that come from exploiting the research strengths here at Queen’s. I congratulate Professor McVeigh, his team and his partners in the Medical Physics Agency.”

Professor Robert Stout, Director of R&D for Health and Social Care, says “This is a great achievement by Professor McVeigh and his team which not only recognises his expertise but shows the value of research and development in health and social care. The ability to detect cardiovascular problems at an earlier point and to monitor the effectiveness of subsequent treatments is a significant advance.  The award highlights the benefits of the close research links between our universities and the health and social services and how health and social care research can lead to commercial as well as health benefits.”  

Dr Canice McGivern, Director of the Northern Ireland Regional Medical Physics Agency and research collaborator with Professor McVeigh,   says “This award recognises the importance of cross speciality working in the development and delivery of a modern healthcare service. The ability and opportunity to bring together clinicians, scientists and other healthcare professionals promotes an environment that fosters the development of new approaches to healthcare delivery.”

Invest NI is now supporting a project, called HPSS Innovations within the health side to support researchers who have ideas to move along this technology transfer process in order to develop products with health and social care benefits.

A Medical Futures Innovation Award is the UK's most sought after healthcare accolade. In four years the programme has grown to include a host of national specialty award areas, working hand in hand with the medical and scientific key representative bodies, to encourage, support and reward clinical and commercial excellence from the healthcare and life sciences professions.  The Cardiovascular Award is sponsored by US industry leader Boston Scientific.

The Medical Futures Innovation Awards are a national showcase of clinical and commercial excellence. The awards help encourage, support and reward new ideas and advancements in healthcare that can improve people's lives.

The awards are organised every two years by Medical Futures, an organisation that seeks to make medical ideas happen. It helps bring viable medical ideas to market, whilst ensuring the interests and intellectual property of the innovator are protected.


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

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Queen's gets 'First' in UK Green League table

Queen’s University has left other UK universities green with envy after getting a ‘First’  in the Green League table of Universities in the UK.

The inaugural Green League 2007 was compiled by People and Planet, one of the leading UK student campaigning organisations.  It ranks the environmental performance of all 122 British Universities, awarding them a First, 2:1, 2:2, third or fail, based on eight different environmental criteria, both policy and performance related.

Queen’s who came joint fifth overall was awarded a First and scored star ratings for its publicly available environmental policy, the level of full time environmental staff, the comprehensive environmental audit, the green travel plan and fair-trade University status.

The award was a result of various environmental improvement initiatives in place across the University, which were adopted as a result of the introduction of a formal Environmental Management System (EMS).  The EMS achieved certification to the internationally recognised ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems standard in January 2007 making Queen’s one of only six UK Universities to achieve this accolade.  

Commenting on the University’s ‘First’ Adrian Davis, the University’s Environmental Manager said ‘ It is pleasing to see our collective efforts to date in reducing the University's environmental impact being recognised.  However, there is still much to do and everyone at the University needs to play their part in helping Queen’s to improve further. Plans are in place to improve recycling facilities to allow for increased participation in environmental initiatives, which we in the Estates Department hope to roll out in the near future.  It is our aspiration for the University to become best in class in the area of operational environmental sustainability and we need everyone to do their bit to help the University achieve this'.

The publication of this league table follows the January 2007 UCAS and Forum For The Future ‘Future Leaders Survey’, which revealed that 45% of young people, “Intending to study education, social sciences, architecture and building and planning said a good track record on sustainable development was important or very important in choosing where to study.”


For further information please contact Eugene McCusker, Communications Office. Tel: 02890 975320.

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Belfast 'Third Age' expert awarded Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship

A leading authority on active retirement has won a prestigious Travel Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Dr John Copelton, a Senior Careers Adviser at Queen’s University Belfast, has been awarded the Fellowship to travel to America this summer to meet academic and civic leaders engaged in initiatives that enrich the third age in areas such as community involvement, education, fitness, health, leisure, social contact, and work.

The Trust was established on the death of Sir Winston Churchill to provide Fellowships for British Citizens seeking to acquire knowledge and experience abroad and the eligible categories for 2007 included ‘The Third Age’.

The award was made to Dr Copelton for his interest in active retirement. He regularly lectures on both Positive Psychology (the study of well-being) and Positive Retirement, in the Institute of Lifelong Learning, at Queen’s.

Before setting off for the United States, Dr Copelton will facilitate a seminar on behalf of the Changing Age Partnership (CAP) hosted by the Institute of Governance at Queen’s University. He will present his research into activity and well-being among older people and explain the nature of his visit to the United States.

The public seminar will take place on Friday 29 June from 12.30pm in Seminar Room 1 at the Institute of Governance, 63 University Road.

The Seminar is free, but places are limited. If you would like to attend, please contact Dr Una Lynch, Research Manager at CAP on tel: 028 9097 3650 or email u.lynch@qub.ac.uk.


For further information, contact Sarah Williams, Communications Office on 028 9097 5391.

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Queen's students runner up in 2007 Student Awards.
Claire Snedon, Jackie Erskine, Lynsdey Crawford, Ruth Badger, Julia Doherty, Daphne Martin, Ulster Bank Representative and Leontia Hoy.
Claire Snedon, Jackie Erskine, Lynsdey Crawford, Ruth Badger, Julia Doherty, Daphne Martin, Ulster Bank Representative and Leontia Hoy.

Students and lecturers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University are celebrating after coming runner up in the All Ireland 2007 Student Awards.

At the final of Ireland’s biggest third level business awards held in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin the students presented their design project to the judging panel.

Central to the Queen’s project was the development of diagnostic equipment that would enhance the experience of women requiring gynaecological investigative/diagnostic procedures. 

The reasons for producing the product included the need for a cost effective, biodegradable, user friendly, single use, disposable, inexpensive product that enhances the patient experience. It is envisaged that the success of this should encourage more women from multicultural or deprived backgrounds to come forward for screening.

This new inflatable vaginal speculum called ‘Flexispec’ consists of a new design by women for women. It aims to increase women’s comfort when visiting a doctor by designing a speculum that is of soft texture and is easy to use.

Queen’s School of Nursing lecturers Daphne Martin and Leontia Hoy who worked in a supportive and advisory role with the students on their project welcomed the Queen’s success saying:
“The nursing lecturers and student team enjoyed this major challenge. We were chosen by Invest NI to represent Northern Ireland in the All Ireland Student Awards 2007 and compete against the seven other teams chosen. Our vision was the improvement of women’s health globally. We are delighted to be runner up in this prestigious competition.”
The students who took part were Jaqui Erskine from Antrim town, Julia Doherty from Kesh in County Fermanagh, Claire Sneddon from Donaghcloney, County Down  and Lindsey Crawford from Ballymena.

Now in its 24th year, the Student Enterprise Awards which were designed to promote innovation amongst third level students had a celebrity entrepreneurial expert on the judging panel in the form of Ruth Badger, star of the BBC show ‘The Apprentice’.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Ruth said: “It has been extremely encouraging to see students taking part in an enterprise-focused competition such as this. The quality of the business proposals has been exceptionally high and a positive reflection on innovation and entrepreneurialism in Ireland. I can safely say that this year’s finalists presented the judges with a very difficult decision.”

Notes to Editor:

The overall winning project won £10,000. Each team who won an Award of Merit received £2,000.

The overall winner of the award from Cork Institute of Technology was ‘Apri-Cot. This is an apparatus that acts as a therapeutic sleeping aid for infants. The benefits of the product include healthy sleeping pattern promotion for both infant and parent, and the stimulation of enhanced nutrient absorption in premature babies.

For further information, contact Eugene Mc Cusker, Queen’s Communications Office on 028 9097 5320.


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The importance of innovation to economic success
Sir George Cox
Sir George Cox

The author of a key UK government report on creativity and innovation in business is to provide insight to Northern Ireland business leaders on the importance of innovation to economic success at a dinner at Queen’s University.  Sir George Cox carried out the ‘Cox Review of Creativity in Business’ which looked at ways of getting greater creativity into British business and boost the nation’s productivity, performance and sustainability. His keynote address will take place at Queen’s University on 13 June at an event jointly hosted by the Chief Executives’ Club at Queen’s and the Northern Ireland region of the Institute of Directors.

The incoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, commissioned the Cox Review and backed all its recommendations. The report stated that UK businesses can stay ahead of their global rivals by drawing on the country's world-leading design and creative capabilities. Sir George will advocate that innovation will enable Northern Ireland’s businesses to compete and succeed on the world stage and empower its public services to deliver efficient and effective services. 

Sir George Cox is chairman of the Design Council, the national strategic body for design which seeks to demonstrate that design can play a vital role in strengthening our economy and improving our society.  Between 1999 and 2004, he was the Director General of the Institute of Directors. His background embraces both entrepreneurship and corporate management on an international scale. Originally qualifying as an aerospace engineer, much of his career was spent in information technology.  In 1977 he was co-founder of Butler Cox, the consulting and research group, and served as managing director throughout its development, international expansion and flotation on the London Stock Market.  He subsequently became Chairman of Unisys UK and Chief Executive of Unisys Services throughout Europe.

He has served on various boards in both the public and the private sectors.  He is currently the Senior Independent Director of Bradford & Bingley, and a member of the Supervisory Board of Euronext (which merged with the New York Stock Exchange) and a director of Shorts, the Belfast-based aerospace company. He served on the Management Board of the UK’s Inland Revenue and was Senior Independent Director of LIFFE (the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange). He is currently a Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, and a member of the Council at Warwick University, where he also chairs on the Board of the business school. Sir George was knighted for his services to business in 2005.

Notes to Editors

The Chief Executives’ Club (CEC) at Queen’s was established to strengthen links between the University and the business community in Northern Ireland. It provides a forum, exclusive to senior  business leaders from industry and senior managers of the University, in which views can be  expressed and mutual problems and challenges discussed. Membership offers outstanding  opportunities to meet with keynote speakers of international regard and develop beneficial links  and relationships with the University and the wider business community.  
Drinks reception in the Great Hall, Queen’s University on 13th June at 6.30pm followed by the address and dinner at 7.00pm.

For further information, contact Eugene McCusker, Queen’s Communications Office on 02890 975320.

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Honours for Irish U20 Rugby Captain and Sigerson Heroes at Queen's Sporting Showcase
Pictured at the Queen's University annual Blues Presentation Dinner in the Whitla Hall, hosted by RTE's Michael Lyster, is Maureen Cusdin, Director of Sport at Queen's, surrounded by students with just some of the silverware won by Queen's Sporting Clubs in the last 12 months.
Pictured at the Queen's University annual Blues Presentation Dinner in the Whitla Hall, hosted by RTE's Michael Lyster, is Maureen Cusdin, Director of Sport at Queen's, surrounded by students with just some of the silverware won by Queen's Sporting Clubs in the last 12 months.

Honours for Irish U20 Rugby Captain and Sigerson Heroes at Queen’s Sporting Showcase

Ireland U20 Rugby Captain David Pollack, Queen’s GAA manager, James McCartan and Queen’s Sigerson Cup winning team, have taken the special achievement honours at Queen’s University’s Blues Presentation Dinner, the University’s annual sporting showcase held in association with Ulster Bank.

In a memorable year for sport in the University, Queen’s sporting clubs took 19 titles at regional, Irish and British University level and also organised 10 intercollegiate events, making competition for the coveted Special Achievement awards tighter than ever.

The Individual Special Achievement Award went to Irish U20 International, David Pollack. A member of Queen’s Rugby Academy, Pollack is current captain of the Irish U20 side that claimed the Six Nations Title.  He is the first student since David Humphries to play for both Queen’s and the Senior Ulster team. In order to take the title, he had to beat off stiff competition from current Irish Half Marathon Champion, Joe McAlister, from Jonathan McCloy, a member of the Northern Ireland Running Team and Queen’s Orienteering Club and Caroline O’Hanlon, who captained Queen’s to the Ulster Colleges Championship in Ladies Gaelic Football and represented Northern Ireland in Netball,

James McCartan, Manager of Queen’s Men’s Gaelic Football team, who captured the Sigerson Cup against old rivals Jordanstown in a memorable final this year, was presented with the Coach of the Year Award. More good news followed for the Men’s Gaelic team, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, as the Sigerson team also received the Sports Achievement Team Award. Paddy O’Hara, who has been involved with Queen’s GFC since he played for the University in the 1940s, was also named as the 2007 recipient of the Special Contribution Award to Queen’s Sport.

RTÉ’s Michael Lyster hosted the evening in the University’s Whitla Hall and invited over 30 students, who have represented Queen’s in numerous different sports over the last 12 months, to receive their full Blues from Queen’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson.

Speaking at the awards, Maureen Cusdin, Director of Queen’s Sport said: “I stand surrounded by silverware making the last twelve months a golden year for sport at Queen’s University. The University is tremendously proud of its sporting clubs. Not only have they won an amazing 19 intercollegiate events but they have also organised, to high acclaim, many third level and local community events. With the continued support of Ulster Bank, the University is able to give its sporting stars their well deserved place in Queen’s sporting history. I look forward to seeing them continue to strive with the support of both Queen’s Sport and their clubs.”

Stephen Cruise, Regional Manager, Personal Banking with sponsors of Ulster Bank said; “It is an honour for Ulster Bank to be associated with the Blues Awards, recognising the outstanding achievements of our local sporting heroes. Over the years Queen’s University has produced sporting talent of the highest calibre and notably the Blues Awards has gone from strength to strength, widely recognised as a key event in the local sporting and academic calendar.  We hope that through our continued support, these awards will encourage the students to remain focused and strive for excellence in the years to come.”

Full Blues awards were presented to: Matthew McManus (Association Football Club, Men); Martin Campbell (Boat Club, Men); Alison Graham, Heather Armstrong and Karen Rentoul (Boat Club, Ladies); Bronagh Keenan, Niamh McGeown (Camogie Club); Emma Rowan (Canoe Club); Justin Crozier, Kevin McGourty, Ciaran O’Reilly, Charlie Vernon, Dan McCartan and Gerard O’Kane (Gaelic Football Club, Men); Caroline O’Hanlon (Gaelic Football Club, Ladies); Joe McAlister, Paul Pollack (Harriers Club); Clive Kirkpatrick (Hockey Club, Men); Victoria McCarter (Hockey Club, Women); Jonathan McCloy, Elizabeth Moir, Brendan O’Boyle, Patrick Higgins (Orienteering Club); Ben Crawford, Una McMenamin, Suzanne Cave (Riding Club); David Pollack, Michael Pyper, Ian Whitten and Michael Barker (Rugby Club); Emmet McGuire, Cillian McMulkin and Brian McNamee (Snooker, Billiards and Pool Club).


Notes to Editor
Pictures from the Blues Presentation Dinner have been sent to all picture desks.

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

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Lomac Tiles University Boat Race

This Saturday 9th June is the fourth Lomac Tiles University Boat Race between Queen's University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin.  Based on the world famous Oxford Cambridge boat race  which has152 years under its belt, the Irish version is gaining momentum every year.  The River Lagan will play host to this great day of rowing with novice racing starting at 1.45pm, ladies seniors at 3.15 pm and the main event of the senior men's at 4pm.  This year Queen's University has quite a line up of international rowers.   In the ladies novice boat we have Marike Van de Kerkhhos, from Holland, Garrais Salange from Belgium and Cici Chea from New Orleans, USA.  Katie Day from Ottawa, will be number three in the senior ladies boat and in the Senior Men's, James Graham, Stroke age 21, is from Johannesburg.  Scores to date in the Senior Men's race, TCD 2, QUB 1.

As happens in University rowing, this season the Queen's Boat Club has been building backup the senior eight crew.   Mark Jamison, Captain, who has been in the boat every year, knows he will have a fight on his hands from TCD who recently won silver and bronze medals in the eights at Ghent and beat University College Dublin in the Gannon Cup.  David Storrs, coach  for QUB commented  'After Trinity's impressive performance at Dublin Metropolitan regatta, they  are clear favourites but we have a rapidly developing crew and confidence is high."  David Tubman who coxed for Queen's when they won the senior men's race  in 05 is coxing for them again this year.
As far as power in the boat goes in terms of average weight there is nothing in it, TCD collectively weigh 679 kg/106.9 stone and QUB three kilo less at 676kg. 106.5 stones.

Amy Chambers who is Captain of the Senior Ladies eight was in the novice boat which beat TCD last year.  Although her crew is mostly new to this event, Amy is confident they have the training and the will to keep the trophy in Belfast.  Asked what she saw as her edge, Amy responded 'I  have been rowing this river since my Methody days, I was in the winning boat last year and I have a crew who are competitively driven.  We won't be intimidated by the Trinity girls'.

Races start at McConnell's Weir and end at Queen's University Boat Club, Lockview Road, Belfast.  Good spectator points all along the River Lagan embankments and bridges.
02890 208614 MOB 07787563854

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'Life is a cabaret' with Belfast Festival at Queen's!

The world’s greatest cabaret diva is to set pulses racing at this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

As part of the 2007 festival programme, the internationally renowned German star Ute Lemper will perform with the Ulster Orchestra at the Grand Opera House on Friday 26th October, in association with Tughans Solicitors.

Described by the Daily Telegraph as “the modern-day Dietrich”, the unmistakably glamorous Ute Lemper’s visit to Belfast promises to be something special. She will perform a concert of two halves with the Ulster Orchestra and a male vocal quartet conducted by Robert Ziegler.

The first half of the concert will feature a selection of her trademark cabaret songs including works by the icon of French chanson Jacques Brel, tango genius Astor Piazzolla and the classic Mack the Knife and others by Kurt Weill.

This will be followed by a first for Belfast, a concert performance of Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, in which two sisters encounter each of the deadly sins as they set off to find their fortune in the big cities of America.

Grahame Loughlin, Senior Partner  of Tughans Solicitors, who will be supporting Ute’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s performance said:

“We are delighted to be associated with the 2007 Belfast Festival and in particular, to be sponsoring Ute Lemper’s concert.  Indeed, we regard it as something of a coup for the festival directors to have secured Ms Lemper for this year’s festival. We are looking forward to what will undoubtedly be her sell out concert with the Ulster Orchestra.”

Graeme Farrow, director of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s said:

“The first half of the performance contains cabaret’s greatest hits and Seven Deadly Sins is a knockout. We can guarantee that this programme, as performed by the grand dame of the genre accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, will be a feast for the ears and the eyes. We are delighted to add this unique performance to the series of great events which will be taking place at the Grand Opera House during this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s.”

Ute Lemper’s panache, versatility and sophisticated repertoire have led her to international acclaim as a recording artist, and in the theatre, cabaret and film worlds. She starred in Robert Altman’s exposé of the fashion world, Prêt-à-Porter

Her talents have also been acknowledged by a range of popular music legends such as Scott Walker, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello and Neil Hannon, who have all written songs especially for her.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland which is the principal funder of the festival and has funded the Ute Lemper concert through the Arts Council Lottery Fund, said,

“As the Festival’s longest-running supporter, the Arts Council is delighted this year to be able to help the festival to continue to offer its customary eclectic mix of events and to carry on its tradition of bringing over headline international arts to Belfast.”

Tickets for the Ute Lemper concert are now on sale and details are as follows:

Friday 26 October 2007, 8pm

Tickets from £17.50 to £33.50 available from

Grand Opera House, Tel 028 9024 1919

Book On-line: www.goh.co.uk

Further details of this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s programme will be released over the coming months.   For further information and to sign up for the festival e-newsletter, please visit www.belfastfestival.com


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

 Notes to Editors:

1.  Tughans Solicitors is one of the leading and largest commercial law firms in Northern Ireland, currently employing in excess of 125 staff, including more than 53 lawyers -many of whom are graduates of Queen’s University.  With its principal office in Belfast and further offices in Derry and Lurgan, Tughans’ client base includes local, national and international businesses, banks, government authorities and entrepreneurs.  The firm concentrates primarily on six principal areas of law: corporate, property, litigation, employment, banking and finance, PFI/PPP.  www.tughans.com.

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Happy to Get the Blues: Queen's University Sports Stars Get Ready to Celebrate
Maureen Cusdin, Director, Queen's Sport, surrounded by just some of the silverware won by students over the last twelve months.
Maureen Cusdin, Director, Queen's Sport, surrounded by just some of the silverware won by students over the last twelve months.
Well known RTE sports presenter, Michael Lyster, will host Queen's University's annual Blues Awards Dinner tomorrow night (Wed, 6 June) in association with Ulster Bank. Held in the University’s Whitla Hall, the awards will celebrate the sporting achievements of over 30 students who have represented the University at the highest level in over 11 sports. Pictured L to R are Special Achievement award nominees: Men’s Volleyball, David Hamilton; Ladies Basketball, Yvonne Owens; Men’s Hockey, Clive Kirkpatrick and Men’s Gaelic, Gerard O’Kane along with Ulster Bank representative, Laura Wells.

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Transforming Cultures of Violence

International peacemakers and others involved in transforming cultures of violence will visit Queen’s University Belfast this week.

The experiences of a Jesuit priest under threat from FARC, right wing paramilitaries and the army for human rights work in Colombia, a former anti-apartheid activist now South African MP focused on the role of women in transition from conflict, and the chair of the Sierra Leone Truth Commission which explored the role of truth and reconciliation in a war devastated country will be among those speaking at a major conference hosted by Queen’s.

The conference, entitled ‘Transforming cultures of violence ‘from below’’ will take place at the Radisson Hotel on 7-8 June. It is designed in particular to examine the “grassroots” work of victims, ex-combatants and communities in transforming cultures of violence and whether, or if, Northern Ireland’s experience of positive leadership and community regeneration roles adopted by former combatants has been echoed anywhere else in the world.

The conference forms part of a five country comparative research project that focuses on the grassroots community work in the transition from conflict and covers Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, Colombia and Northern Ireland.

The research has been conducted by Professor Kieran McEvoy, Professor Harry Mika and Ms Kirsten McConnachie, all from the Institute of Criminology at Queen’s University.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Professor McEvoy said: “The images of Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley sitting down together to share power have rightly been lauded around the world as an example of a successful process of political negotiations.

“However embedding a peace process also requires enormous amounts of hard work ‘on the ground’, by people working outside of the political spotlight to try to make a real difference in communities most affected by conflict. This conference is designed to showcase such unglamorous but nonetheless absolutely crucial peacemaking work.”

Professors McEvoy and Mika have a long-standing engagement with a range of different community-based organisations in Northern Ireland including human rights organisations, victims groups and community-based restorative justice programmes established as alternatives to paramilitary punishment violence.

Professor Mika added: “The research emerged from our work with and admiration for a range of victims groups, ex-combatant organisations and other community and civil society activists in Northern Ireland over the past decade. We wanted to explore to what extent their styles of working, difficulties and achievements were reflected in other contexts where people are also struggling to overcome a legacy of violent conflict.

“Although the contexts are of course very different, we have been struck by many of the commonalities of experience across the different jurisdictions. Issues such as defining and meeting the needs of victims; exploring the role of truth recovery and dealing with the past; examining the contribution of ex-combatants both in terms of re-building trust with communities which have been damaged by conflict but also in providing leadership to transform cultures of violence – these and other themes have resonated strongly across the jurisdictions.”

The conference will also be showcasing an art exhibition from Sierra Leone at the Linenhall Library on Thursday 7 June. The display, entitled “National Vision Project” features contributions from prisoners, combatants, children and victims of the conflict representing their respective visions for a peaceful future of their country. The exhibition will be introduced by Bishop Humper, who was the Chairperson of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and one of the instigators of the National Vision project.

During the week the conference speakers are also meeting a range of community-based organisations to hear first hand their experiences of peace building in Northern Ireland.

Kirsten McConnachie concluded: “Despite their diverse backgrounds, the international speakers at this conference have much in common with community workers and activists here in Northern Ireland. We have tried to maximise the opportunities for our international speakers to meet with local grass roots groups and discuss the lessons from their respective experiences.

“The response we’ve had so far, from a wide range of statutory, voluntary, charitable and religious institutions, would seem to suggest an increasing recognition that local victim groups, ex-combatants and community organisations – and not just politicians - have been a major driving force of political and social change in the Northern Ireland peace process.”

The team’s research will be published in a report later this year and as a book in 2008 entitled “Reconstructing Justice After Conflict: A ‘Bottom Up Perspective.” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).


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

Notes for Editors:

A full conference programme is available from Sarah Williams, tel: 028 9097 5391.

Interview opportunities are available with key spokesmen, please contact the press office.

Biographies of key speakers and research team:

Research team:

Kieran McEvoy is Professor of Law and Transitional Justice at the School of Law Queens University Belfast and Director of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He has worked extensively on a range of issues concerning the Northern Ireland peace process and was author of the recent report published by Healing Through Remembering entitled Making Peace with the Past: Options for Truth Recovery in Northern Ireland.

Professor Harry Mika is a Professor of Sociology at Central Michigan University and an honorary Professor in the School of Law at Queens. He has over thirty years experience of working with and evaluating community based programmes designed to meet the needs of victims of violence. He was author of the recently published evaluation of the Community Based Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland.

Kirsten McConnachie is a researcher at the School of Law, Queens University Belfast. She holds a law degree from the University of Glasgow, an LLM with distinction at the University of Nottingham in International Criminal Justice and was admitted to the New York Bar in September 2005. She previously worked as a consultant at the International Centre for Transitional Justice and as a researcher at the School of Law, University of Hull. She has published in a number of areas including political imprisonment and transitional justice. 


Phil Clark: Post-doctoral research fellow, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster.  Expert on community involvement in transitional justice in Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fr. Francisco de Roux: Jesuit priest, highly regarded for his work with the rural poor in Colombia in areas under attack by guerrilla organisations, paramilitaries and state forces. 

Catalina Diaz: Colombian lawyer and civil society activist, currently working for the International Centre for Transitional Justice, previously with the Colombian Commission of Jurists.

Rt. Rev. Dr Joseph C. Humper: United Methodist Church leader and former Chairman of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

Sheriff Parker: Former Revolutionary United Front combatant, now director of a project focusing on the reintegration and rehabilitation of ex-combatants in Sierra Leone.

Maria Paula Saffon: Law lecturer and researcher at the Centre for the Study of Law, Justice and Society (DeJuSticia), Bogota, Colombia.

Suzanne Vos: Inkatha Freedom Party member and lifetime anti-apartheid activist; IFP Member of the South African Parliament since 1994; MP in Pan African Parliament since 2004.

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Queen's University new research into sectarianism.

A new Queen’s University project exploring the impact of sectarianism in Northern Ireland is underway with the help of a £90,000 grant from the EU.

The EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation have awarded the financial boost to the School of History and Anthropology.

The project entitled ‘Facts, Fears and Feelings’ is a qualitative project which aims to explore everyday issues in participants past, present and future lives that do or will prohibit communication and contact between communities.

Approximately 100 people between the ages of 16 and 35 will be engaged in conversation to uncover some of these issues. The project also seeks to make transparent some of the everyday sectarian violence that occurs between young people, not only at flash point areas but also in what are considered to be ‘neutral areas’ such as Belfast’s city centre.

The Head of the Project Dr Rosellen Roche, a lecturer in the School of History and Anthropology pointed out that the project aims to provide a comprehensive policy oriented document with recommendations regarding better ways to approach divided living in Northern Ireland.
The project’s results will be launched in May 2008.

Dr Roche said: “So far, the project is revealing that certain spaces, such as the Belfast city centre, which can often be conceived of as ‘neutral’, can be used as meeting places for young people to engage in violent skirmishes. Violence, however, is not what the project is all about. Issues, such as travelling to and from work, dating, everyday socializing, shopping and other aspects of life are discussed, revealing everyday barriers to meeting and knowing the other community. That is more what the project is focused on.

“The participants are coming from areas such as Ardoyne, Whiterock, the Shankill, Falls, Ballymacarret, Central Creggan, Galliagh, The Fountain, Caw, Clooney, Top of the Hill and Irish Street. Most areas are the hardest hit by the troubles, the hardest to access, and those with some of the highest indicators of deprivation.

“The young participants are accessed through local youth clubs and training organisations and group and individual conversations are conducted in and around the themes of their lives, their daily activities and their feelings regarding community relationships. Each individual conversation is unique and different, revealing the nuances of each personal life and trials, while at the same time revealing similarities between many participants and between communities.

“I hope the project makes clear some of the assumptions made by government surrounding ‘neutral’ areas and the realities that are faced by young people when venturing to school, work or social venues.

“The project hopes to examine some of the tacit feelings of sectarianism and how children are, as one respondent poetically put it, sculpted through the process of being raised within totally segregated and often very deprived circumstances. I hope to integrate these aspects of those in particularly segregated urban environments and to inform on future policy agendas which address these areas.

“Northern Ireland’s government now must make clear that sectarian prejudice on any level will not be tolerated, and the support of this project is hopefully one small step towards this goal.
“The Facts, Fears and Feelings project I am heading through the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University is particularly exciting and applicable in Northern Ireland’s modern political and progressive climate. In addition to the results informing ‘A Shared Future’ policy, the largest most comprehensive anti sectarian policy in Northern Ireland to date, the School has been given the unique opportunity to be involved in an EU programme with both scholarly and applied elements.”


Notes to Editor:
Dr Roche has a Master of Philosophy in Social Anthropology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

For further information please contact Eugene McCusker, Communications Office. Tel: 02890 975320.

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Queen's Hosts Graduate Jobs Fair

The 2007 Northern Ireland Graduate Recruitment Fair is being held on Tuesday 12th June, from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm, at Queen’s University Belfast in the Whitla Hall/South Dining Room

The Fair is an annual event organised jointly by the careers staff from Queen’s Careers Service and the Career Development Centre at the University of Ulster, in association with First Trust Bank. Graduate Recruitment Fairs are national events and the Northern Ireland Fair has proved popular over the years with a wide range of graduate employers, educational institutions and training providers who want to recruit from among the brightest young people here.

Commenting on the response to this year’s event, Dr John Copelton from the Careers Service at Queen’s said: “This year we have managed to attract the largest number of employers we have ever had. The companies represent a wide spectrum with both local and national recruiters. As well as attracting many hundreds of our own graduates, this fair is being promoted to graduates domiciled in Northern Ireland who may have gone elsewhere in the British Isles to study for their degree”.

Over 1,000 graduates are expected to attend the Fair on the day.

For a full list of the organisations attending the Recruitment Fair, go to www.nigradfair.org.


For further information, contact Sarah Williams, Communications Office on 028 9097 5391.

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Colour Dyes: EU Environmental and Health Concerns addressed at Queen's

Health and environmental concerns relating to the use of colour dyes will be examined at a major EU-funded conference taking place at Queen’s University Belfast this week.

Epidemiological evidence exists to indicate regular and long term use of hair dyes for women can be associated with the development of bladder cancer. During dyeing processes, up to 40 per cent of the dyes are not consumed by the substrate to which they are applied and they then find their ways into wastewaters and are flushed into the environment.

Researchers from QUESTOR, Queen’s Environmental Centre and Europe's only Industry/University Co-operative Research Centre, will be reporting on the latest results from a four year EU-funded flagship research project into reducing the impact of such dyes on our health and the environment.

Known as SOPHIED (Sustainable Bioprocesses for the European Colour Industries), project researchers at Queen’s and their 27 European partners have been actively developing new durable bioprocesses destined to modernise the European Colour Industry.

Explaining the importance of the research to both industry and the general public, Ciaran Prunty, from QUESTOR’s Applied Technology Unit said: “Colour dyes are not something that often crop up in many people’s list of environmental and health concerns. However, almost all of the clothes and fabric that surround us have been treated with colour dyes and many of us also use dyes to colour our hair.

“The global dyestuff market produces around 1.15 million tonnes per year and generates sales of almost €5 billion. It is heavily influenced by global production trends such as the shift in production of textiles to low labour cost countries. Indeed, Chinese dyestuff production now accounts for half of the total production in the world.

“For EU residents therefore, research projects such as SOPHIED are vital in providing intelligence in order to help reduce the implications of toxicity and other issues. Traditionally weaker than other sectors in research and development, the results from QUESTOR and the other partner institutions, which will be discussed at this week’s conference, will provide a shot in the arm for the dyestuff industry and pave the way for the use and development of greener technologies.”

Within the SOPHIED project, QUESTOR has a significant role in the delivery of the development of new bioremediation technology for decolouring dye wastewater.

Further information on the SOPHIED project can be found at http://www.sophied.net/ while further information on the work which takes place at QUESTOR can be found at http://questor.qub.ac.uk/newsite/index.htm


Notes to Editor

A Press Briefing on the key research findings will take place at 1pm on Tuesday, 5 June, in Room 308, Peter Froggatt Centre, Queen’s University. Please note Media Opportunities can also be arranged outside of this time.

SOPHIED (Sustainable Bioprocesses for the European Colour Industries), has a projected timescale of four years and 27 European partners. The main goals for the project include: the development of new bioremediation technology to detoxify coloured wastewater, the development of new safe enzyme-assisted processes for the production of existing dyes and the creation of new dyes which are less toxic and synthesised biotechnologically for high added value markets.

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

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GMC President to open Clinical Skills Centre at Queen's
The New Clinical Skills Centre in Operation.
The New Clinical Skills Centre in Operation.

The President of the General Medical Council, Sir Graeme Catto, will officially open a new state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Education Centre (CSEC) at Queen’s University Belfast on Tuesday 5 June 2007.

The centre will provide a structured and safe environment for the teaching and learning of clinical skills allowing medical students to be taught, to practise and develop patient centred care and competency in clinical skills early on in their training.

Based at Queen’s Medical Biology Centre on the Lisburn Road, the CSEC is headed up by Dr Kate Collins who said: “The new £980,000 centre represents a major commitment by the University, working in partnership with the Department of Health and the Department for Employment and Learning, in continuing to deliver the highest quality education and training for doctors of the future.

“The original Clinical Skills centre – first opened in September 1997 – was developed in response to a number of initiatives in undergraduate medical education and changing health care policy and we want to continue to focus on developing competency in clinical skills and patient centred care.”

Professor Rod Hay, Head of Queen’s Medical School, said: “Training the doctors of the future depends on developing medical skills which are best practised under simulated and safe conditions and the CSEC provides a wonderful environment where they can both learn, and be tested on, their newly acquired abilities for the care of patients.”

The centre uses hi-tech equipment including mannequins and advanced simulators as part of its teaching programmes. It uses peer examination and simulated patients which encourage the students to think about how patients feel, and the use of online resources and video feedback aids self directed learning and the ability to provide reliable, valid and practical procedures for assessment of competency.

Speaking of her experience studying in the CSEC, first year medical student, Victoria Campbell said: “That the course was practical has been a major factor in my being able to develop the skills I need to become a doctor. It is vital to be able to practise these skills, and in the centre I have been able to learn on a mannequin.”

Nuala Walsh, a first year dental student said: “Attending the CSEC alongside my clinical placement has been an integral part of my training. Having practical, hands-on experience has helped build up my confidence as I have had the opportunity to interact with more people – both doctors and patients on a regular basis.”

Final year medical student, Sam Dawson said: I think the new CSEC made my clinical assessment as realistic as possible. Being in the ward area makes you feel you are in the hospital and can relate to the scenario or patient more closely – it helped me to act naturally.”

Dr Collins said: “Over the past four weeks alone some 780 students – from first to final year – have been assessed in the CSEC to determine their clinical competence. It is expected that over 1300 students will be trained through the centre annually. This would not have been possible without this major investment.”

At the official opening guests including medical practitioners, students, and influencers within Northern Ireland’s healthcare arena will have the opportunity to explore the premises and see the new facilities in operation.


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

Notes to Editors:

Photocall / interview opportunities with Professor Rod Hay (Head of Queen’s School of Medicine and Dentistry), Dr Kate Collins (CSEC Director) and Professor Maurice Savage (Director of Medical Education) will be available at the official opening on Tuesday 5 June.

Opening timetable:

Tuesday 5 June
Clinical Skills Education Centre
2nd floor, Medical Biology Centre
Lisburn Rd
Belfast BT9

11.30am arrivals and coffee
12.00  official opening ceremony
12.30  tour of the CSEC

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Queen's Physical Education Centre scoops top building award

The new extension at Queen’s University Belfast’s Physical Education Centre (PEC) has been announced as overall winner in Northern Ireland’s most prestigious built environment awards. The PEC won the overall award for ‘Best Building 2007’ in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Northern Ireland Awards.

It also won an award for Excellence in the Built Environment in the Community Benefit category.

Responding to the announcement of the award Gary Jebb, Queen’s Estate Director, said: “The PEC extension confirms the University’s reputation for innovation and excellence in the design and construction of new buildings. Not only is it a major asset to the sporting and social life of South Belfast, it has very quickly become a strong iconic presence. This award is a tribute to vision of all those involved in the planning and design.”

The overall RICS Award is presented for innovation in design and construction, contribution to the local community, sustainability and economic viability. The Awards recognise building projects completed in Northern Ireland during the last three years within Regeneration, Building Conservation, Sustainability and Community Benefit categories. The winner of the overall award is selected from the four category winners.

Queen’s Sport PEC was officially opened in March by Dame Kelly Holmes, and offers state of the art sporting facilities to student members and the general public alike.

RICS Northern Ireland Chairman, Diana Fitzsimons, said the enhanced PEC has significantly extended and improved the university’s delivery of sporting and recreational services to students, schools and the wider community: “The PEC project had been an immediate hit with students, the local community, school groups and other users and has underpinned the university’s wider strategy of reinforcing its role in the city of Belfast and as an important member of the local community.”

The regional winners go through to compete in the overall RICS awards, the winners of which are announced in London in October. Previous winners of the overall RICS Awards have included projects such as the site of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the Bullring in Birmingham, London’s Royal Opera House and the Eden Project in Cornwall.


Queen’s Sport: http://www.qub.ac.uk/pec/
For further information, please contact Sarah Williams, Communications Office, tel: 028 9097 5391.

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