05-2009 Press Releases

28/05/2009: Type 1 Diabetes cases in children under five set to double by 2020
26/05/2009: Queen's management academics publish 'best paper'
26/05/2009: Queen's works towards a healthier way of ageing
25/05/2009: Queen's scientist helps search for Colombian 'disappeared'
25/05/2009: The art of noise - David Holmes soundtrack season at QFT
22/05/2009: Queen's masters the martial arts
23/05/2009: Tom and Captain Najork entertain children at Queen's
20/05/2009: Queen's student 'cements' victory
20/05/2009: Gender Lecture gives new insight on 'women's war work'
19/05/2009: Queen's scientists discover eco-friendly wood dissolution
19/05/2009: Hillsborough: The Truth launched in Belfast
18/05/2009: Queen's builds £2.3 million bridge with the Far East
15/05/2009: Queen's academics awarded highest honour
14/05/2009: World authority on swine flu to speak at Queen's
14/05/2009: Queen's and Lifestart offer free support to parents
13/05/2009: Queen's Research Centre still 'cleaning up' 20 years on
13/05/2009: President's Medal awarded to Queen's academic
12/05/2009: Queen's hosts major autism conference
11/05/2009: Spyfest at Queen’s - the secret history of MI5
12/05/2009: Research funding call on International Nurses Day
07/05/2009: Liam Neeson accepts honorary degree from Queen's University
08/05/2009: From Second Life to Real Life - a unique performance at Queen's
08/05/2009: Next Attorney General talks about Nationality and Identity
06/05/2009: Queen's event set to inspire business leaders
06/05/2009: E-Factor Fair at Students' Union
05/05/2009: Public help sought to find Queen's Graduate and Student of Year
05/05/2009: New designs on architecture at Queen’s
01/05/2009: Encouraging more women to become surgeons
01/05/2009: Byzantium in Belfast
01/05/09: Portraits and poets in Morgan exhibition at Queen's
01/05/2009: Public event highlights Alzheimer's Research
01/05/2009: Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS
Type 1 Diabetes cases in children under five set to double by 2020

Cases of type 1 diabetes in children under five look set to double by 2020 according to a Queen's University academic.

Dr Chris Patterson, from the Epidemiology Research Group at the Centre for Public Health at Queen's, jointly led the research published in the on-line version of the medical journal The Lancet today.

By studying data involving nearly 30,000 children across Europe the group also found that, if present trends continue, diagnoses of older children with the condition will also increase substantially.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by insulin deficiency and is treated with insulin injections, whereas type 2 diabetes is caused by reduced sensitivity to insulin along with some insulin deficiency and is more commonly controlled by diet or tablets.

In the general population, type 1 diabetes represents only a small proportion of total diabetes cases but among children, there are many more cases of type 1 diabetes than type 2 in European countries.

Although obesity is known to be a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, it’s of little relevance to type 1. As no major environmental risk factors have been identified for type 1 diabetes there is no clear medical advice on how to prevent it.

To predict the future burden to health services of type 1 diabetes, the authors analysed diabetes data from 29,311 cases across 17 European countries, recorded between 1989 and 2003. 

Dr Patterson, who is based in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, worked on the paper with academics from Hungary, Denmark and Sweden.

He said: “The changes over time are so rapid that they clearly cannot be because of genetic factors alone.
“Modern lifestyle habits such as increased weight and height in infancy, women having children later and greater numbers of caesarean section births may be possible contributory factors.

“However, these risk factors are too weak to explain anything more than a small part of the rise in incidence rates that has been observed in the 15 year period of the study.
 “The highest rates of increases are seen in Eastern European countries which currently have the lowest incidence rates and where lifestyle habits are also changing more rapidly than in the more affluent European countries.”

 The researchers found that the overall increase in incidence of type 1 diabetes was 3.9 per cent per year, while the annual increase in the birth to four years age group was 5.4 per cent, with a 4.3 per cent rise in the five to nine years age group, and a 2.9 per cent rise in 10 to14 year-olds.

Dr Patterson explained: “A younger age of onset of type 1 diabetes is concerning because it is usually associated with more acute symptoms including potentially life-threatening ketoacidosis*.

“Some of the most serious complications of diabetes which include blindness, heart disease renal disease, are likely to occur in younger ages in patients.”

There were estimated to have been around 15,000 new cases in children under 15 in Europe in 2005.

This total is predicted to increase to 24,400 new cases in 2020, with a doubling in the number of cases in children aged under five, from under 10,000 in 2005 to just over 20,000 in 2020.

If present trends continue, the total number of new and existing cases in European children under 15 years is predicted to rise from 94,000 in 2005 to 160,000 in 2020 — a 70% increase.

Dr Patterson added: “In the absence of any effective means to prevent type 1 diabetes, European countries need to ensure appropriate planning of services and that resources are in place to provide high-quality care for the increased numbers of children who will be diagnosed with diabetes in future years.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's management academics publish 'best paper'

Research carried out by Queen's University Belfast academics on sustainable and socially responsible policies has been announced as one of the Academy of Management’s best papers.

Ralf Barkemeyer and Giulio Napolitano co-authored the paper, “The UN Global Compact: Moving Towards a Critical Mass or a Critical State?”

The paper addresses the United Nations Global Compact, an initiative which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and practices, and to report on their performance.

Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.

Ralf Barkemeyer from Queen’s University Management School said: “The UN Global Compact has become the largest and most visible corporate citizenship initiative worldwide.”

The Queen’s researchers applied a medical statistics technique to analyse and predict compliance levels of member companies in the UN Global Compact. The analysis revealed that compliance levels are extremely low and that this is unlikely to change.

While the study did not evaluate the various learning mechanisms that have been created for Global Compact participants, the researchers concluded that this type of learning may be limited to a minority of participants that actively engage in the initiative.

Giulio Napolitano said: “The analysis reconfirms criticism regarding the extent to which purely voluntary corporate citizenship initiatives can actually make an impact and help close ‘global governance gaps’.”

The research is just one of a range of activities the academics are carrying out in assessing and evaluating corporate sustainability performance.

For further information on the Sustainability and Management research group at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/mgt/sustainability.

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's works towards a healthier way of ageing
The Management Committee of COGWORKS
The Management Committee of COGWORKS

Queen's University is working towards a healthier way of ageing for those aged 50+ after being awarded funding to carry out research and networking in the area.

The University's School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering has been awarded £50k by the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme (LLHW), a major cross-council initiative supporting multi-disciplinary research addressing factors across the life course that influences healthy ageing and wellbeing in later life.

LLHW programme is a partnership between the UK research councils and the Health departments of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales.

The funding partners are the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office, Northern Ireland; the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates; Department of Health/National Institute for Health Research, England;  Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care, Welsh Assembly Government; and the five UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC and MRC). The programme is managed by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The grant will be used to fund a new Cognitive Health and Wellbeing Hub (COGWORKS). The hub is a collaborative network made up of 11 investigators from across Queen’s in education, law, medicine and sociology, along with a number of researchers from the University of Ulster, Brunel, Stirling and Oxford Brookes universities and other international partners.

Members of the network will work together to create a research strategy focused on what can be done at various stages throughout a person’s life to ensure they remain as alert and healthy as possible.

Queen’s is the leading institution in the project and the team are hoping to develop a new era of cognitive health for those aged 50+.

Karim Hadjri, principle investigator at Queen’s said: “This network brings together an exceptional mix of people from various institutions and disciplines who are currently working in ageing-related issues ranging from education in childhood to assistive technology and dementia.

“The activities of the network will be focused on building strong collaborative relationships and the generation of a robust research strategy.

“The fact that Queen’s is the lead university for this network highlights our commitment to effectively contribute to growing bodies of research in healthy ageing.”

Dame Joan Harbison, the older people’s advocate for Northern Ireland who will chair the Cogworks steering group, said: ‘’I am delighted to be involved in this exciting and important initiative. COGWORKS provides a vehicle to harness the wealth of expertise and experience that exists in Northern Ireland. My role within the network will help to ensure that the voice and contribution of older people is acknowledged at every stage.’’

Dr Una Lynch, co-investigator and research manager of the Changing Ageing Partnership at Queen’s, said: “Cogworks places Northern Ireland in an excellent position to influence developments in research and practice aimed at promoting cognitive health and wellbeing across the lifespan.”

The network provides a fountain of knowledge and expertise in a range of areas that impact on health and quality of life including architecture, education, ICT, law, medicine, occupational therapy, psychology, public health and sociology.

Its aim is to develop a comprehensive research programme to maximise mental functioning throughout life. The Queen’s team plan to become one of the main players of the LLHW initiative and Ageing research in the future.

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's scientist helps search for Colombian 'disappeared'
Alastair Ruffell
Alastair Ruffell

A geoscientist from Queen’s University Belfast has been advising police and legal professionals in Bogota on techniques to recover the bodies of Colombia’s ‘disappeared’.

Dr Alastair Ruffell from Queen’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology joined a team of international experts at the first Ibero-American Conference in Forensic Geology in the Colombian capital - the first conference of its kind in South America.

Leading geologist Dr Ruffell was involved in the search for one of Ireland’s ‘disappeared’, Belfast woman Jean McConville, in 2002 and has been involved in searches for missing persons throughout Ireland and Europe. Dr Ruffell has reviewed geological evidence in high-profile murder cases and serious crimes throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. 

Dr Ruffell said: "Colombia has a long and complex legacy of crime. Many victims of violence have been buried in unmarked graves, and there are suspicions of genocide and the existence of mass graves.

“The Colombian authorities want to locate these burial sites to help bring some closure to the families of the ‘disappeared’ and bring their murderers to justice. Forensic Geology, or Geoforensics, can play an important role in this process.

“Geoforensics is a specialist branch of geology that helps the authorities and humanitarian organisations solve crimes and recover buried persons. In the case of Colombia, we can use aerial photography and geophysics to help identify unmarked or mass graves. By analysing rocks and soils, forensic geologists we can uncover physical evidence linking suspects to victims or burial sites.

“The Ibero-American Conference in Forensic Geology provided an opportunity to collaborate with the Columbian authorities regarding the latest techniques to help recover the bodies of murder victims, and prevent further crime by locating buried firearms, explosives or illegal drugs.

“There is a growing network of geo-forensic specialists in academia, law enforcement, the military and industry around the world, and in Europe and North America in particular. The success of this conference has brought Latin America into the global association of geo-forensics. Colombia must be congratulated on its proactive stance of fighting crime and recognising the potential role of forensic geologists."

Further information on the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/gap

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

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The art of noise - David Holmes soundtrack season at QFT
Holy Pictures
Holy Pictures

DJ and soundtrack artist David Holmes has curated a season of the films which have most inspired and influenced him, for QFT.  Entitled Holy Pictures, the season will run at QFT from Friday 29 May to Thursday 4 June and will feature work from artists and composers including Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Kraftwerk and David Bowie.

Speaking about the season, David Holmes said: "These films represent the many ways in which music and sound can be orchestrated, manipulated and simply placed in film to create moments of pure magic."

The season opens on Friday 29 May with Daisies, a surrealist comedy way ahead of its time which uses unconventional film techniques in its telling of two girls' wholeheartedly creative way of destroying what surrounds them.

Oscar-winning classic Midnight Cowboy takes to the screen on Saturday 30 May.  Exploring and unearthing the underbelly of urban life, John Schlesinger’s tale of a naïve male prostitute’s (Jon Voight) life on the streets of New York also features timeless music by John Barry and Harry Nilsson.

Classic political-thriller The Battle of Algiers (Sunday 31May) gets more important with each passing year, providing as it does fascinating insight into terrorism, guerrilla warfare and state control.  An urgent recounting of the war between French colonial forces and Algerian rebels, the film is a masterpiece of vivid you-are-there action and compelling procedural detail. 

Michael Winterbottom's dystopian thriller Code 46 (Monday 1 June) is a sci-fi noir set in the near future, revolving around two people struggling to find solace in a world of disorder - a world where cloning has become so widespread that total strangers can, in law and biological fact, be siblings.  The atmospheric score by the Free Association (David Holmes and Steve Hilton) is truly evocative.

A charming vignette of 1960s Bronx life, The Wanderers (Tuesday 2 June) follows the lives of boyhood friends and Italians-only gang, the Wanderers, as they fight their local gang rivals and struggle to make it to a big football showdown.  The soundtrack features classic tunes by Dion, the Shirelles and the Four Seasons.

Filmed in Paris in 1970, Les Stances à Sophie (Wednesday 3 June) is a 'lost classic' from the French new wave which explores post-'68 society - feminism, art and music - and examines social aspects of middle-class life.  The film is now perhaps best known for its incredible soundtrack from the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago (who also feature in the film) with guest vocalist, Fontella Bass.

One of the most striking feature debuts in British cinema, Chris Petit's cult classic Radio On (Thursday 4 June) is a haunting blend of edgy mystery story and existential road movie.  Following a young London DJ (David Beames) on the road to Bristol to investigate the mysterious death of his brother, the film offers a unique, compelling and even mythic vision of a late 1970s England.  Driven by a startling new wave soundtrack featuring David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Ian Dury and Wreckless Eric, the film also reveals an early screen performance by Sting.

For further information and booking for all the films in the Holy Pictures season, please visit www.queensfillmtheatre.com

For further information and film images, please contact Sarah Hughes, Press and Marketing Officer, tel. 028 90971398, email s.hughes@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's masters the martial arts
Queen's victorious Jui Jitsui team: Back row: James Gallagher (Belfast), Alan Harrison (Portadown), Gary Robinson (Ballymena) Front row: Mark Curry (Belfast), Paul Campbell (Newry)
Queen's victorious Jui Jitsui team: Back row: James Gallagher (Belfast), Alan Harrison (Portadown), Gary Robinson (Ballymena) Front row: Mark Curry (Belfast), Paul Campbell (Newry)

Queen's University's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team are top of their game after winning the intervarsity title in Dublin.

The team fought off stiff competition from other universities across Ireland at the prestigious martial arts competition.

Students Alan Harrison (Portadown), Gary Robinson (Ballymena), James Gallagher (Belfast), Mark Curry (Belfast) and Paul Campbell (Newry) made up the five-strong team and were victorious against Dublin City University, Institute of Technology Tallaght, University College Dublin and University of Limerick.

The team were also successful in an individual event and returned home with four gold medals and one bronze.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the fastest growing martial art in the world, focusing on grappling and ground fighting.

Classes are held every Wednesday at Queen’s PE Centre from 7.30pm to 10pm. For more information visit www.qub-bjj.co.uk.

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Tom and Captain Najork entertain children at Queen's
Captain Najork
Captain Najork

The characters from one of the world’s best loved children's books will take to the stage at the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen's University during the Belfast Children's Festival next week.

'How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen: A lesson in the art of fooling around' is a new performance by Curious Doings - a brand new theatre company made up of 19 students from Queen’s new postgraduate performer training programme. It will run in the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s from Friday 29 until Sunday 31 May.

Director Anna Newell, from the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen’s said: "Adapted from Russell Hoban’s much loved book, this play tells the story of a little boy named Tom, who loves fooling around. In fact, he's really rather good at it, much to the annoyance of his Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong, who thinks this is too much like having fun.

“One day Aunt Fidget decides to teach Tom a lesson and calls upon Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen. The Captain challenges Tom to three rounds of womble, muck, and sneedball, certain that he will win. When it comes to playing around, however, Tom doesn't joke, and his skills prove so polished that the results of the contest are not exactly what the Captain expected!

"This is a wonderful performance, full of energy, colour, human pyramids, silly games and a fantastic original score by Justin Yang from the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's.  Like the book, it is sure to delight children, parents and grandparents alike."

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen will run at 7pm on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 May and at 3pm on Sunday 31 May at the Brian Friel Theatre in the QFT Building, 20 University Square, Belfast. Tickets are priced £6 and are available at www.belfastchildrensfestival.com or from the Box Office at the Waterfront Hall or the Ulster Hall.

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Queen's student 'cements' victory
Queen's student Rochelle O'Hara from West Belfast, winner of the 2009 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Young Persons' Lecture Competition.
Queen's student Rochelle O'Hara from West Belfast, winner of the 2009 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Young Persons' Lecture Competition.

A Queen's University student’s work on bone cements has won her the 2009 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Young Persons’ Lecture Competition.

Rochelle O’Hara, a second year PhD student from West Belfast, was recognised for her work on developing injectable cements for the treatment of burst fractures which are highly traumatic spinal injuries.

Bone cements, similar to those used in joint replacement surgery, are already being used to strengthen damaged vertebrae of patients with diseases such as osteoporosis, in a procedure known as ‘vertebroplasty’. But ‘burst fractures’ to the spine and injuries sustained in major impact accidents and falls are much more difficult to treat. They account for over 1,000 emergency NHS admissions each year and often require highly complex, invasive surgery and a long stay in hospital.

Rochelle said: “To use bone cements for ‘burst fractures’ would be a simpler, quicker and much less invasive surgical approach for the patient, reducing both recovery times and NHS costs.

“My research is focused on developing a novel injectable cement for the treatment of burst fractures which are highly traumatic spinal injuries. This technique is minimally invasive, whereas traditional options include fusing the spinal fragments together using metal screws or rods.”

Rochelle was presented with a £750 cheque and will now represent Northern Ireland in the competition’s world final which takes place in South Africa in October.

She added: “Winning the competition was a total shock as the other competitors were of an extremely high standard. I am very happy and excited to be going to South Africa for the world finals. The competition is a great chance to represent Queen’s University and I feel extremely privileged to have been given such a fantastic opportunity.”

Rochelle is undertaking a three-year postgraduate research position within Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and submitted a 15-minute presentation on ‘Development of an Injectable Medical Material for Spinal Repair’.

The presentation explored how the properties of calcium phosphate bone cement (CPC) can be improved to make it less brittle and more suitable for supporting a load.

Calcium phosphate bone cements offer the potential to resorb and promote the formation of new bone. CPCs may be a suitable candidate for the restoration of the vertebral body after spinal fractures.

Current CPC systems however have low mechanical properties and are highly brittle and not suited for load bearing. The introduction of materials such as natural collagen fibres, may provide a way of improving the mechanical integrity of the cement.

Rochelle’s lecture explains the production process of a CPC system, and describes the effects on the mechanical and handling properties with the addition of collagen fibres.

Sponsored by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, with support from The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers, the Young Persons’ Lecture Competition (YPLC) hosts a number of lecture competitions. The YPLC is organised by the Institute’s Local Affairs Board.

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

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Gender Lecture gives new insight on 'women's war work'

The grandson of a female Queen's academic during the First World War will tomorrow (Thursday) give a unique insight into the First World War and its impact upon the role of women at the University.

In the first annual lecture organised by Queen’s award-winning Gender Initiative, Professor Charles Lock of the University of Copenhagen will reveal extracts from his grandmother’s correspondence around the years 1914-1918. His grandmother, Rubie Warner, replaced Algernon Okey Belfour as Head of English Language at Queen’s while he was imprisoned in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

Professor Lock said: "The lecture will shed new light on the position of women scholars during the First World War.

“Okey Belfour was held in a German prisoner-of-war camp near Magdeburg, where he acted as official interpreter between inmates and guards. I have a number of letters which he wrote to my grandmother during those years.

“They reveal details of life in the camp but are also concerned with advising and encouraging Rubie in her work at Queen’s. I also have a number of other documents which reveal much about the experience of female academics at that time.

“These include two of the most distinguished women scholars to emerge from Northern Ireland, the writer Helen Waddell and the historian Maude Clarke, who were both graduates of Queen’s. My grandmother became close friends with both of them and remained so through their subsequent careers in London and Oxford."
Following the war Okey Belfour resumed his post and remained at Queen’s until his retirement in 1949. Rubie Warner obtained an MA from Queen’s in 1919 and returned to England where she married in 1921.
Professor Lock’s lecture, entitled ‘English Studies at Queen’s 1914-1918: The view from a prisoner-of-war camp’, will take place in the Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University on Thursday 21 May at 5pm. The event is open to the public.

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

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Queen's scientists discover eco-friendly wood dissolution
Dr Héctor Rodríguez
Dr Héctor Rodríguez

Scientists at Queen's University have discovered a new eco-friendly way of dissolving wood that may help its transformation into popular products such as bio fuels, textiles, clothes and paper.

Dr Héctor Rodríguez and Professor Robin Rogers from the University’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering worked along with The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, to come up with a more cost and energy efficient way of processing wood.

Their solution, which is reported in the journal Green Chemistry, may see a new sustainable future for industry based on bio-renewable resources.

At present wood is broken down mainly by the Kraft pulping process, which originates from the 19th century and uses a wasteful technology relying on polluting chemicals.

The key reason for tolerating this method is that it is very difficult to break down and separate the different elements of wood. Until now any alternatives to the process have presented similar problems.

The Queen’s researchers found that chips of both softwood and hardwood dissolved completely in ionic liquid and only mild conditions of temperature and pressure were needed. By controlled addition of water and a water-acetone mixture, the dissolved wood was partially separated into a cellulose-rich material and pure lignin.

This process is much more environmentally-friendly than the current method as it uses less heat and pressure and produces very low toxicity while remaining biodegradable.

Professor Robin Rogers said: “This is a very important discovery because cellulose and lignin have a wide variety of uses. Cellulose can be used to make products such as paper, biofuels, cotton and linen, as well as many other commodity materials and chemicals.

“Lignin can be used to create performance additives in various applications, such as strengthening cars and airplanes with a fraction of the weight of conventional reinforcement materials. It is also a source of other chemicals which are mainly obtained from petroleum-based resources.”

Dr Héctor Rodríguez said: “The discovery is a significant step towards the development of the biorefinery concept, where biomass is transformed to produce a wide variety of chemicals. Eventually, this may open a door to a truly sustainable chemical industry based on bio-renewable resources.”

The approaches that the scientists are considering for the future include the addition of eco-friendly additives to the ionic liquid system or the use of catalysts.

The researchers are hoping to eventually achieve better dissolution under even softer conditions and are also trying to achieve complete separation of the different elements in one single step.

Both teams are also focusing on biomasses which are rich in essential oils and can later be used in processes such as the manufacture of fragrances.

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

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Hillsborough: The Truth launched in Belfast
'Hillsborough - The Truth' by Professor Phil Scraton
'Hillsborough - The Truth' by Professor Phil Scraton

A harrowing new book on the Hillsborough disaster will be launched at The Black Box in Belfast next week (Monday 25 May).

Twenty years after the tragedy, the circumstances that led to the disaster and the injustices that followed are chronicled in a new edition of the widely-acclaimed Hillsborough: The Truth, written by Queen’s University Professor Phil Scraton.

Sponsored by the Northern Bank, admission to the event is free and will feature readings from the book.

Hillsborough: The Truth was first published in 1999 and is recognised as the definitive account of the disaster in which 96 men, women and children died, hundreds were injured and thousands were traumatised.

In the new edition, Professor Scraton from the School of Law at Queen’s interviews bereaved families about their continuing campaign for justice, and reflects critically on two decades of legal and policy reform. He assesses the impact on the investigations and public opinion of persistent, unsubstantiated allegations made against Liverpool fans. 

Professor Scraton said: "This book details the appalling treatment endured by the bereaved and survivors in the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy. It exposes the inadequacies of the police investigations, official inquiries and inquests that followed.

“It chronicles the failures of the authorities, including how police altered statements to deflect criticism from senior officers, and circulated false allegations about drunkenness and hooliganism among Liverpool fans.

“These allegations, still prevalent in the media, have fuelled 20 years of myths around the causes of the tragedy, and have had serious implications for the bereaved, the survivors and the reputation of the city of Liverpool.

“Those affected by the Hillsborough disaster have maintained a dignified opposition, against the unwillingness of the authorities to acknowledge their responsibilities and be held accountable for what happened. They have suffered immeasurably because of the tragedy and the injustices that followed.

“Based on two decades of research, the evidence presented in Hillsborough: The Truth indicts a system that privileges the interests of the powerful over the rights of the powerless."

Playwright Jimmy McGovern, writer of the award-winning drama-documentary Hillsborough comments: "This book is dynamite. A brilliant achievement. Passionate and committed, yet meticulously researched and fiercely intelligent."

The launch is sponsored by Northern Bank. Chief Executive Officer, Gerry Mallon, said: "I’m delighted to be able to support this event and Phil Scraton’s extremely important work."

The event at The Black Box is ticket-only. Tickets are free and are available from Deaglan Coyle at Queen’s School of Law on 028 9097 3472 or email d.p.coyle@qub.ac.uk

Phil Scraton is Professor of Criminology in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. Hillsborough: The Truth is published by Mainstream priced £9.99.

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

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Queen's builds £2.3 million bridge with the Far East
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson with Chinese students Wanqing Zhao (left), and Aolei Yang
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson with Chinese students Wanqing Zhao (left), and Aolei Yang

Queen's is to sign a series of research and education agreements with leading Chinese universities this week. The partnerships are being created under a £2.3 million initiative which underpins technology transfer and wealth creation in both Northern Ireland and China.

The new agreements, with Tsinghua, Zhejiang, Shanghai Jiao Tong and Shanghai Universities, and the National Research Centre for Building and Construction, will play a crucial role in enhancing Queen’s longstanding relationship with the Far East.

The University already has extensive links with China, and it is forging new connections with Japan, where, on Monday, it conferred an honorary degree on the Buddhist peacemaker and educationalist Daisaku Ikeda.

Queen’s University’s links with Chinese institutions have been created through the Science Bridge scheme, funded by the Research Councils UK and the University. The scheme supports innovation and cutting-edge research in sustainable energy and the built environment. It includes a Queen’s investment of more than £1 million for a major new student bursary programme to attract outstanding Chinese postgraduates to Northern Ireland.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said:  "Queen’s is committed to forging dynamic international relationships which benefit society. In the current economic climate, Northern Ireland’s regional development will be driven by strong international partnerships. China and Japan are major players, and these partnerships will further strengthen Northern Ireland’s economic ties with the Far East.

“The Science Bridge alliance is an important building block in our internationalisation strategy. It builds on existing and valuable links between Queen’s and China. Technologies from Queen’s have already been tested in the Hangzhou Bay Sea-Crossing Bridge, the longest such structure in the world.

“The focus on the fields of energy, the built environment and sustainability is very timely. The actions we take now on research and development in these areas will have far-reaching implications for future generations and for the future of our planet."

The Science Bridge funding has been awarded to a team from Queen’s School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering.

Queen’s also has strong ties with Japan, and is cementing research and study abroad links with the prestigious Soka University in the areas of law, politics, management and sociology. In addition to signing an agreement which will see the exchange of students between Queen’s and Japan, Professor Gregson conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws on Daisaku Ikeda - the international peacemaker and educationalist.

A prolific writer, poet and peace activist, Dr Ikeda is recognised as the world’s leading interpreter of Buddhist philosophy.  He played an active role in opening dialogue between Japan and China and also between Russia and the USA during the Cold War. He has ceaselessly pursued the universal values of peace, culture and education. 

Dr Ikeda has received numerous awards for his work, including the United Nations Peace Award; the International Tolerance Award of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre; the Rosa Parks Humanitarian Award; Medal of the Grand Officer of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture; and the AS Pushkin Gold Medal.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dr Ikeda said: "Many world-class individuals, including my respected friend Nelson Mandela, have been honoured by Queen’s. I feel humbled to receive an honorary doctorate from your esteemed University, with its outstanding reputation for excellence in education and research."

The Vice-Chancellor said: "Throughout his long career Daisaku Ikeda has tirelessly harnessed his skills as a writer, a philosopher, an educator and a leader to inspire humanity in the search for peace. His life and work is a lesson and an inspiration to humanity as we strive towards a better future."

In 2005 Queen’s hosted an international exhibition celebrating Dr Ikeda’s contribution to society alongside that of two other extraordinary individuals - The Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. In 1971 Dr Ikeda founded the Soka education system which is based on the principle of nurturing each student's unique creative potential and cultivating an ethic of peace, social contribution and global consciousness. Among world leaders he has worked with on his quest for peace were Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Thabo Mbeki, Henry Kissinger, Rajiv Gandhi, Lech Walesa, Kurt Waldheim, Kofi Annan, Margaret Thatcher and Jacques Chirac.

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

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Queen's academics awarded highest honour
Queen's RIA members l-r Vincent Fusco, Richard English, Nicholas Canny (President of the RIA), John Morison, Peijun Hu, Keith Jeffery.
Queen's RIA members l-r Vincent Fusco, Richard English, Nicholas Canny (President of the RIA), John Morison, Peijun Hu, Keith Jeffery.
Six academics from Queen's University have received the highest honour available to a scholar working on the island of Ireland.

They have been admitted as Members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin.

Queen’s has more Members elected in the Humanities and Social Sciences than any other university this year.

The six new Members are Professors Vincent Fusco from North Belfast; Keith Jeffery from South Belfast; John Morison from South Belfast, Richard English from Belfast; Peijun Hu from China and Myungshik Kim from Korea.

Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the RIA, said: “The Academy's new members are amongst a small group of academics in Ireland that set the international hallmark of excellence in their fields of study.”

Richard English is Professor of Politics and a world-leading interpreter of terrorism, politics and nationalism. He is a well-known author whose books have received major awards. His publications include Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland and Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA. His approach to research is multidisciplinary, encompassing subjects including Irish history and politics, the state, political violence and intellectual history.

Keith Jeffery is Professor of British History. His research has focussed on Irish nationalism, British patriotism and the imperatives of imperial and colonial governance. His many works include The GPO and the Easter Rising and the Cambridge Lees Knowles lectures, published as Ireland and the Great War. He served as editor of Irish Historical Studies for ten years and is currently the official historian of the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6.

John Morison is Professor of Jurisprudence, and was Head of the Law School at Queen's from 2003-2007. He is at the forefront of research in law, political science and sociology, putting forward original ideas in the fields of governance and new constitutionalism.

Vincent Fusco is Professor of High Frequency Electronic Engineering, whose research involves the creation of innovative solutions for advanced wireless frontends for use in radio communications. He is a world leader in microwave and millimetre wave antenna and integrated circuit techniques.

Peijun Hu joined the school of Chemistry at Queen’s in 1994 and has been a Professor since 2004. His research concerns physical and theoretical chemistry, with his main interest being chemical reactions, particularly catalytic reactions.

Myung Shik Kim is Professor of Theoretical Physics. His research centres on quantum optics and quantum information processing theory. Professor Kim is Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics at Queen’s.

In addition to these six new Members, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, former Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (1984-1981) and Dr Geraldine Kennedy, editor of The Irish Times were also admitted as Members. Both have been awarded honorary doctorates from Queen’s. Many of the University’s faculty have previously been elected to the RIA, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

The criterion for election to membership is a significant contribution to scholarly or scientific research as shown in the candidate’s published academic work. Membership of the Academy, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to those scientists and scholars normally resident in Ireland.

For further information please contact Anne-Marie Watson, Press and PR Unit.  028 90 97 5320 or email a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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World authority on swine flu to speak at Queen's
Dr Ultan Power
Dr Ultan Power

One of the world’s leading experts in swine flu is to share her knowledge with local and international healthcare professionals at an event at Queen's University next month.

Dr Jackie Katz from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, will speak as part of a conference organised by the Ulster Immunology Group on June 8 and 9.

Dr Katz is Chief of the Immunology and Pathogenesis Branch of the Centre’s Influenza Division and a world renowned expert on avian and pandemic influenza immunity. She will present an overview of what causes some influenza strains to become highly virulent and of pandemic potential.
Also speaking will be Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty from the University of Melbourne. He is a world opinion leader in the study of immune responses to respiratory viruses, including influenza and will present an overview of how influenza causes pneumonia.

The event entitled Inflammation – from cell to clinic has been organised in association with the British Society for Immunology, The Centre for Infection and Immunity at Queen’s, The University of Ulster and the Northern Ireland Research and Development Office.

Dr Ultan Power, President of the Ulster Immunology Group and Senior Lecturer in Molecular Virology at the Centre for Infection and Immunity in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's said: “The conference will be of significant interest to academic and healthcare professionals with an interest in inflammation in general and will provide a timely update on current matters relating to influenza in particular.
“We are thrilled to have such an eminent panel of internationally acclaimed invited speakers and are excited about the prospects that the conference holds for forging top international biomedical research collaborations for Northern Irish institutions.”

Health professionals or researchers interested in attending the conference should visit www.uig.org.uk or contact Dr. Lisa Connolly at l.connolly@qub.ac.uk, Tel 028 9097 6668, or Dr. Ultan Power at u.power@qub.ac.uk or Tel 028 9097 2285.

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

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

Time is running out for parents to access the free advice and support on offer in a study being conducted by Queen's University Belfast on behalf of the Lifestart Foundation.

Researchers are looking for parents with babies under 12 months to take part in one of the largest studies of families and parenting ever undertaken on the island of Ireland. 

The aim of the Lifestart Study is to evaluate the Lifestart Home Based Parenting Programme.  Those who participate will receive free feedback on their child’s development. Over 300 families have already signed up for the study. The researchers are particularly calling on parents in Derry, Dungiven, Enniskillen, Strabane, Limavady, Lifford, Letterkenny, Newtowncunningham, Inishowen, Donegal Town, Ballymunn (Dublin), Sligo, Offaly and Kildare to take part.

The study is being carried out jointly by the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s and the University’s Centre for Effective Education. Dr Helga Sneddon from the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social work said: "The Lifestart programme aims to support families, with children aged from birth to five, through the ups and downs of parenting by helping them learn and understand more about their child’s development on a month by month basis.

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

“The Lifestart Study will evaluate how well the Lifestart Home Based Parenting Programme works for parents and children.  Rather than making assumptions about what we think parents need, we are giving them the opportunity to share directly with us their experiences and the type of support they find useful in their role as parents.

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

“Participating in the study will help us improve early years parenting support and identify gaps in the services available to parents throughout Ireland.  Anyone who is interested in taking part should contact us for more information before the end of June. From Northern Ireland freephone 0800 0855031 or text 07870 509677, from the Republic of Ireland freephone 1800 818 688 or text 08583 48617; or email lifestartstudy@qub.ac.uk"

Pauline McClenaghan, Executive Director of the Lifestart Foundation, said: "This evaluation is very important to Lifestart and to local parents. We believe that the Lifestart Programme is a very useful resource for parents in that it provides them with information and tools to support their child’s learning and development. We at Lifestart are delighted that our programme has been chosen for this study."

The Lifestart Study is funded by Lifestart with support from Atlantic Philanthropies.  Helga Sneddon is based at the Institute of Child Care Research within Queen’s and Sarah Miller is based in the Centre for Effective Education in the University’s School of Education.

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

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Queen’s Research Centre still 'cleaning up' 20 years on
Dr Wilson McGarel, Director of QUESTOR and Olive Hill, Invest NI's Director of Technology and Process Development pictured before a dinner to celebrate QUESTOR's 20th anniversary
Dr Wilson McGarel, Director of QUESTOR and Olive Hill, Invest NI's Director of Technology and Process Development pictured before a dinner to celebrate QUESTOR's 20th anniversary

A Queen's University research centre which is a global leader in environmental and sustainable technologies celebrates its twentieth anniversary this week.

Described at the launch of its new laboratory in 1989 by Professor David Bellamy as a ‘bright light at the end of a dark tunnel’, Queen’s University’s Environmental Science and Technology Research Centre (QUESTOR) is Europe’s only Industry/University Co-operative Research Centre.

The Centre conducts industry-driven research in the areas of water and wastewater treatment, remediation, waste management, renewable energy and sustainable technologies on behalf of member companies for an annual fee; these range from innovative local SMEs to multinational companies.

The Centre’s membership boasts prominent local companies such as B9 Energy and Northern Ireland Water, as well as global multinationals like Bombardier Aerospace, ExxonMobil, Shell Global Solutions and BP.

The 20 year milestone of the Centre highlights the important contribution the Centre has made to worldwide commercial research.

Dr Wilson McGarel, Director of QUESTOR, said: “I am very proud that our research has developed so much in the last twenty years. Environmental issues have never been more sharply in focus and our work can help companies maximize the many commercial opportunities that are arising in this area.

“Our partner universities and institutions in the UK, in the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Canada and the USA have added to our capability and range of specialist areas. This, together with the support of Invest NI, will help us carry out useful research on behalf of more local businesses than ever before.”

The outstanding work of both QUESTOR and QUILL (Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories, which is modelled on the QUESTOR Centre) were crucial building blocks in the formation of Queen’s £10 million Institute for a Sustainable World.

The Institute is a core element of Queen’s University’s response to one of the greatest challenges facing civilisation.

The QUESTOR Centre is supported by Invest Northern Ireland and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

More information on QUESTOR, which was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, an honour also more recently awarded to QUILL (Queen's University Ionicl Liquid Laboratories), is available at www.questor.qub.ac.uk

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

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President's Medal awarded to Queen's academic
Dr Glenn Dickson has been awarded the President's Medal from the Institute of Biology
Dr Glenn Dickson has been awarded the President's Medal from the Institute of Biology

A Queen's University academic has been awarded the prestigious President's Medal from the Institute of Biology.  

Dr Glenn Dickson, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, was presented with the national award by Professor Raymond Dwek FRS, the President of the Institute of Biology UK, at an event at the Royal Society in London.

The President’s Medal recognises the hard work put in by long-serving branch committee members of the Institute of Biology, the professional body for UK biologists.

Only 10 President’s Medals have been awarded to recognise the work of volunteers.

Dr Dickson’s award was made in recognition of his contributions to Biology and for meritorious service to Biology.

During his career at Queen’s which spans several decades, Dr Dickson, from east Belfast, has worked on bone research in areas including Anatomy, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery and Surgery and Perioperative Care.

He has been head of the Tissue Engineering Research Team at Queen’s since its formation, and has worked with biomaterials researchers there on the design of medical devices for bone repair.

He recently joined the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s where he works with oncology colleagues on novel radiotherapy approaches using uptake of extremely small nanogold particles to study cancer cells. 

Dr Dickson said: “I have enjoyed enormously the experiences I have gained while serving the Institute of Biology and I am delighted with the significant recognition afforded by this award.”

“I wish to thank all my colleagues who have worked hard on the Northern Ireland committee over many years helping to organise community outreach activities, conferences, lectures and visits across academia, the teaching profession, industry, health service, government departments and environmental agencies.” 

Dr Patrick Dunlop, Northern Ireland Branch Secretary of the IOB, one of those who nominated Dr Dickson, said: “The award of the President’s medal recognises the substantial effort Glenn has made over many years to the local branch of the Institute of Biology.”

Dr Dickson has served on the National Finance Committee of the Institute of Biology and completed nearly 30 years voluntary service with the Northern Ireland Branch.

In that time he has organised many events and held several committee posts including Honorary Treasurer for 12 years. He was also Vice-Chairman for 2 years and is currently the Branch Chairman. 

Dr Dickson holds Fellowship of the IOB, the most prestigious grade of membership. 

At the same ceremony former Science Minister Lord Sainsbury, FRS was inducted into Fellowship of the Institute of Biology.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's hosts major autism conference
Queen’s hosts major autism conference
Queen’s hosts major autism conference

The importance of early treatment and education for people with autism will be the focus of a conference in Belfast next month.

Queen's University, in collaboration with charity Parents' Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT) and the University of Ulster, will host the fourth Facing Autism Ireland Conference on 26-27 June.  The conference will take place at the Europa Hotel and registration is via the PEAT website at www.peatni.org.uk

The conference Effectively Educating for Life will explore the importance of early diagnosis, intervention, and effective education for children with autism, and how it should continue across different age spans.

Dr Karola Dillenburger from the School of Education at Queen’s said: "An estimated 15,000 people in Northern Ireland have Autism Spectrum Disorder. This includes approximately 3,000 school-age children. It is thought that more than 300 children born every year will later be diagnosed with the condition. The provision of evidence-based treatment for these children, however, is severely lacking.

“The key to effective treatment for those with autism is to diagnose the condition as early as possible and provide treatment based on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). For the past four decades, ABA has provided a framework for effective treatment across the world, yet it is not routinely available in Northern Ireland.

“ABA analyses the behaviour of autistic children and adults, so that intervention treatments can be tailored to their individual needs. Through ABA, the decision-making strategies that are inherent in the science of behaviour can help break down the barriers that isolate those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder from the rest of the world, and allow them reach their full potential.

"We are proud to host this important event at a time that has seen many changes in the awareness and treatment of autism. The conference aims to highlight the challenges faced by those with autism, their parents and carers, and the importance of early intervention and lifelong education.

“Parents and families of those diagnosed with autism, teachers, health professionals, social workers, speech and language therapists and anyone who works with children or adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder will benefit from this event. To find out more, or to register your attendance, visit www.peatni.org"

Helen Byrne, a mother of two boys with autism, said: "It is fantastic that the top people in ABA and autism are coming to Northern Ireland. It is important for parents and carers to be educated about interventions so they can make an informed choice to help their children. My boys have benefited so much from ABA."

Dr Mickey Keenan from the University of Ulster welcomed the conference saying: "Parents and professionals will have an opportunity to learn why the American Academy of Pediatrics has lauded the effectiveness of ABA based interventions."

Many of the finest minds in ABA and autism will speak at the conference, including Professor Gina Green from San Diego, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Queen’s in 2005; Professor Bobby Newman from New York, who helped set up the first ABA programmes in Northern Ireland; Dr Bill Ahearn, Director of Research at the New England Centre in Boston; Dr Karen Wagner from Florida; and Dr Neil Martin from TreeHouse Trust in London.

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Spyfest at Queen’s - the secret history of MI5
Spyfest at Queen’s
Spyfest at Queen’s

One hundred years after the foundation of the British Secret Service Bureau, a history conference at Queen's University will delve into the secret world of spooks, spies and espionage.

Professor Christopher Andrew from Cambridge University, whose Official History of MI5 will be published later this year, will provide a glimpse into the covert agency’s past at Spyfest 3 at Queen’s on Wednesday 13 May.

He will join intelligence history experts at the one-day conference organised by Professor Keith Jeffery from Queen’s School of History. Professor Jeffery is currently writing the official history of MI6, and leads Queen’s new Masters degree in Intelligence History.

Professor Jeffery said: "One hundred years on from the foundation of the secret intelligence services, most people’s knowledge of spies and secret agents is based on what they see in James Bond movies.

“Professor Andrew’s talk on A Hundred Years of MI5 is a rare opportunity to hear about the agency’s development, successes and failures from its official historian. He is the world’s leading specialist on intelligence history, and has been given unprecedented access to MI5’s archives. He can recount stories about real spies in real wartime situations, which are just as exciting and intriguing as any spy fiction.

“Over the last century, MI5 worked against German agents in two world wars, communist revolutionaries who aimed to subvert Britain from within and, more recently, home-grown and foreign terrorists. Professor Andrew’s talk will give a unique insight into its role in protecting UK security. It is a must for anyone with an interest in the fascinating world of secret intelligence."

Professor Andrew’s talk is free and open to the public. It will take place at 5.30pm on 13 May in Room 212 of the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s.

This event is part of Spyfest 3 at Queen’s: From hot war to Cold War. This one-day conference will explore the work of MI5 and MI6 in the late 1940’s, European resistance in the post-war years, colonial intelligence in Vietnam and Indonesia, and the role of the Joint Intelligence Committee in estimating the scale of the Soviet atomic bomb programme.

Spyfest 3 is open to the public at a cost of £20 per person. For more information visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/History/NewsandEvents/Conferences

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

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Research funding call on International Nurses Day
Queen's University student nurses Nadine Murphy (centre) and Sarah Rice (right) carry out healthchecks on Denise Kelly. Students will be carrying out healthchecks at Queen's University Students' Union today (Tuesday) between10am and 1pm and 2pm and 4pm to mark International Nurses Day.
Queen's University student nurses Nadine Murphy (centre) and Sarah Rice (right) carry out healthchecks on Denise Kelly. Students will be carrying out healthchecks at Queen's University Students' Union today (Tuesday) between10am and 1pm and 2pm and 4pm to mark International Nurses Day.

More government funding is needed to carry out research into the effectiveness of hospital treatments used by nurses, according to the Head of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University.

Speaking on International Nurses Day, Professor Linda Johnston said it was vital to support nurses in providing the best possible clinical care for patients.

Around 600 nurses and midwives graduate from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University each year.

Professor Johnston said: “There is little evidence to support the benefits of a lot of treatments still used for patients in hospitals today.

“More funding is needed to help nurses deliver evidence-based healthcare which will ensure that effective treatments are being used.

“The funding would enable them to research the evidence for healthcare, implement that evidence and evaluate the outcomes throughout a process of continual reflection.

“Without investment in such research how can we be sure patients are getting the best care possible?”

Professor Johnston said that increased funding for research would give nurses more expertise to provide answers to the questions posed by colleagues, and patients and their families.

She added: “In 2007, the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) published recommendations for preparing and supporting clinical academic nurses of the future.

“An enhanced funding stream in Northern Ireland to support such recommendations would be a welcome addition to the current funding available for health research.

“It would help build on the skills of nurses, who continue to be the largest proportion of healthcare providers across the world.”

Queen’s University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has planned several events including free healthcare checks at the Students’ Union for International Nurses Day which is celebrated every year on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.

The nurses are also highlighting the innovations in care delivery that nurses in Northern Ireland have developed in collaboration with healthcare providers.

The theme for this year is Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading Care Innovations, to demonstrate the contribution nurses make on a daily basis to improving outcomes for patients, clients and families.
Professor Johnston, who took up her position at Queen’s last year from the University of Melbourne, said: “Queen’s nurses are internationally recognised for their research expertise in creating, implementing and evaluating innovative approaches to healthcare.

“On example is our Maternal and Child Health theme, a multi-disciplinary funded programme which focuses on 'high risk' groups in pregnancy, childbirth, infancy and childhood. 

“This programme makes a high quality contribution to the international research and service agenda in maternal and child health.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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Liam Neeson accepts honorary degree from Queen's
Liam Neeson, who has been awarded an honorary degree from Queen's, with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson
Liam Neeson, who has been awarded an honorary degree from Queen's, with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson
Liam Neeson, HM Consul-General Sir Alan Collins and the VC Professor Peter Gregson
Liam Neeson, HM Consul-General Sir Alan Collins and the VC Professor Peter Gregson

 Liam Neeson

Actor Liam Neeson, OBE has been awarded an honorary degree in New York from Queen's University Belfast - 38 years after first enrolling at the institution.

The star of blockbuster films including Schindler’s List and Michael Collins enrolled at Queen’s in 1971 as a Physics and Computer Science student, before leaving to work in Guinness.

Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson awarded the actor with a Doctorate of the University (DUniv) for his Outstanding Contribution and Service to the Arts at an event at the residence of Her Majesty’s Consul-General.

Professor Gregson surprised guests at the ceremony by revealing details from Dr Neeson’s original university application form from 1970.

The Vice-Chancellor revealed how Dr Neeson’s academic referee from Ballymena Technical College said Liam was confidently expected to obtain high grades in Maths, Physics and Geometrical Drawing. As well as commenting on his pleasant personality and hard-working approach, his teacher hinted at what was to come for Queen's newest graduate when he wrote: ‘Liam’s chief interest would appear to be amateur dramatics, in which he has played the leading role in the last two productions of the College play.’

Professor Gregson also said: “From an acting career which first began at the age of 11, Liam Neeson has gone on to become one of the leading, international motion-picture figures of our time.

“Liam’s outstanding drive and resolute belief that the arts can contribute much to society has seen his star remain in the ascendency. He is to be commended for his continuing contribution to the sector both on the big screen and at his home in Northern Ireland, where he continues to provide vital support for local theatre. The staff and students of Queen’s, particularly those on our arts and literature-based courses, are delighted Liam has accepted this honour.”

Accepting his honorary degree, Dr Neeson joked that at last he would be able to tell his mother he had graduated from Queen’s.

He also said: “My home will always be Northern Ireland. I have often found that no matter where I meet people in the world, there is a path that leads back to Queen’s. Queen’s University flies the flag for the arts in Northern Ireland and beyond. It is to be commended on its commitment to the arts sector and in nurturing new talent through its broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses."

Dr Neeson has starred in over 50 television and film productions.  He has received numerous coveted awards and nominations. He is a patron of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and has been an ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising over €1.25 million with a charity auction entitled Movie Action for Children.

Media inquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer. Telephone +44 (0)28 90 97 5384, m+44 (0)781 44 22 572 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

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From Second Life to Real Life - a unique performance at Queen's

Drama and Music students from Queen's been working with professional artists in virtual world Second Life.

Improvisation for Two Crowds is an innovative new project by the Sonic Arts Research Centre and the Drama Department at the University. In March, students were introduced to Second Life - an online platform where users socialise and interact with eachother as characters in a digital world.

Through Second Life, they have been working with London-based theatre director Chris Johnston and US-based composer and improviser Pauline Oliveros. Next week, they will come together in ‘real life’ for the first time, during an intensive three-day workshop, which will culminate in a final showcase performance.

This performance - Improvisation for Two Crowds - will take place at 8.30pm on Friday 15 May at the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s, 20 University Square, Belfast. Free tickets for the event can be booked with Juliana Licinic at j.licinic@qub.ac.uk

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Next Attorney General talks about Nationality and Identity

The new Attorney General designate for Northern Ireland will deliver the MacDermott Lecture at Queen's on Wednesday 13 May.

John F Larkin QC will take up the post of Attorney General upon the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. He will deliver a free public talk at Queen’s on Nationality and Identity in the new Northern Ireland Constitution.

Appointed by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the Queen’s Law graduate will be the first Attorney General for Northern Ireland since the office was assumed by the Attorney General for England and Wales in 1972.

The free public talk will take place at 5.30pm on 13 May in the Larmor Lecture Theatre at the Physics Building on Queen’s main campus.

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Queen's event set to inspire business leaders
Professor Richard Harrison
Professor Richard Harrison, Director Queen's University Management School, will chair the event

The Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute will be just one of the top names in business offering advice to local companies at Queen's University next week.

Ruth Spellman will be among those giving tips on how to develop leadership skills at the Northern Ireland Leadership Conference 2009 on Friday 15 May.

The event is being run jointly by Queen's University Management School and the Chartered Management Institute and is set to attract a wide range of delegates from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Entitled Developing Real Leadership Skills in Challenging Times, it will address a variety of issues facing today’s business leaders.

Bro McFerran, President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Managing Director of Allstate Northern Ireland, will speak about The Economic Challenge explaining ideas about the local economy in the current climate.

Peter Dixon, Group Chief Executive of Phoenix Energy Holdings, and Geoff Smyth, Carbon Trust Manager for Northern Ireland, will address The Green Challenge, arguing that caring for the environment is good for business both in societal status and financially, providing examples of good practice.

Gavin Cargill, Co-founder and Director of Value the Person International, a motivational speaker, seminar leader, conference facilitator, mentor and coach will speak about The Personal Challenge.

He will help each delegate identify a personal improvement in their own style to help them better motivate, develop and lead their people.

Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute, will focus on The Strategic Challenge facing leaders in the next ten years and beyond. She will speak about how delegates can manage their way out of the economic downturn and tackle issues around redundancy and remotivating the workforce.

Professor Richard Harrison, Director of Queen’s University Management School, will chair the line-up of speakers.

He said: “Whether you are management, leader, advisor, practitioner or academic, this conference will provide a unique opportunity to present, exchange ideas and develop knowledge informed by current leading edge professionals and ongoing academic research.

“It will bring together delegates from the public, private and voluntary sectors to discuss and network with the leading keynote speakers.”

Stanley Wallace, Regional Manager of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Delegates will be able to share experiences, develop new ideas and return to the office inspired to make a difference.

“I’m delighted that our organisation’s Chief Executive Ruth Spellman, recognised as one of the best known HR influencers in the UK, is making her first visit to Queen’s University and to Northern Ireland for this conference.

“She will look at the opportunities open to businesses here and pose questions about managing talent and investing in skills development so that the country prospers.”

The event takes place in the Great Hall at Queen’s University from 10am to 3.30pm and costs £80.50 including VAT. You can register at www.managers.org.uk/QUMS

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

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E-Factor Fair at Students' Union

Queen's Students' Union is to host an E-Factor Fair in partnership with Belfast City Council today (Wednesday 6 May) as part of European SME Week.
The E-factor: Enterprise, Employability and Education Fair will take place in The Space’ at Queen's Students' Union and is aimed at local students and graduates.

They can find out about starting their own business and meet young entrepreneurs as well as brushing up on their CVs.
Those attending the event can also enter an enterprise competition to win prizes and attend interactive workshops on Creating the Right Image and Presentation Skills.
The E-Factor Fair, which is free, will take place from 11am until 3pm. It is open to students and graduates from Queen’s University, University of Ulster and Belfast Metropolitan College.

Denise Murtagh, Societies and Enterprise Co-ordinator at Queen’s Students’ Union, said: “I am delighted to be involved in organising and promoting this event to Northern Irish students. There is a very strong message that we are hoping to get across, a message which is very apt in the current climate. 

“We want students to consider incorporating enterprise and entrepreneurship into their education and beyond. We want students to look beyond what is currently available to them and carve out their own paths and I feel that the E-Factor Fair will be the first step for many students in fulfilling this.”

Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The Council is very keen to support local students and graduates when looking at and exploring their options for employment when they leave university or college.

“The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report noted the need to encourage more people from this sector to enter into business and this is what we hope the E-Factor Fair will encourage some of our students and graduates to do. Entrepreneurship is also very important for the development of a successful city.”

European SME Week aims to promote entrepreneurship across Europe and to inform entrepreneurs about the support available at European, national and local level.

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Public help sought to find Queen's Graduate and Student of Year
Queen's Student of the Year, soprano Marcella Walsh (centre), Queen's Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell and President of Queen's Graduates' Association Oonagh Ferrity invite nominations for the Queen's Graduate and Student of the Year Awards.
Queen's Student of the Year, soprano Marcella Walsh (centre), Queen's Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell and President of Queen's Graduates' Association Oonagh Ferrity invite nominations for the Queen's Graduate and Student of the Year Awards.

Queen's University is inviting the public in Northern Ireland to nominate high-achieving Queen's graduates and students for a major award.

Entries are being sought for Queen's Graduate and Student of the Year Awards which recognise excellence, achievement or service by the University's alumni and students.

Now in their 10th year, the awards have honoured many individuals including rugby star David Humphreys, pilot Bill Hagan, who saved the lives of 400 passengers following a cockpit takeover bid, and wildlife broadcaster Jonathan Scott.
They have also recognised the achievements of Queen’s graduates and students in numerous other fields, including medicine, social and community work, education, broadcasting and creative writing.

The awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen’s Graduates’ Association and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of First Trust Bank. 

The winners will be presented with their trophies during graduation week in July. To mark the 10th anniversary of the awards, this year’s winner of the Student of the Year title will also be awarded a £1,000 cash prize.

Launching this year’s award scheme, Queen’s Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell said: "All our winners in the last 10 years have been exemplars in their own fields and an inspiration to generations of Queen’s students and graduates.  

“At Queen’s we are aware that our single greatest asset is our people - our students who go on to become tomorrow’s leaders and our graduates who contribute to society in so many ways around the world.

“The Graduate and Student of the Year Award scheme represents a unique and very tangible way of celebrating their contributions.  The presentation of these awards is an integral element of graduation week and a real showcase for all that is best about Queen’s."

Official nomination forms can be downloaded from http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/Alumni/FileStore/Filetoupload,140246,en.pdf or are available by calling the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office on  028 9097 5322. The closing date for nominations is Monday 25 May.

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

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New designs on architecture at Queen’s
Professors Michael McGarry and Ruth Morrow
New appointments to the School of Architecture at Queen's - Professors Michael McGarry and Ruth Morrow

Queen's University Belfast has appointed two new professors to enhance the education and training of Architecture students.

Professor Ruth Morrow and Professor Michael McGarry are renowned for their work in architecture education and practice. Their appointment will lead to a fresh approach to teaching and will set new standards in both the theory and application of Architecture.

Both will contribute to the undergraduate BSc and the postgraduate MA architecture degree programmes at Queen's.

David Cleland, Head of the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: “This is an exciting time for Architecture at Queen’s. The discipline is stronger and better equipped than at anytime in its history, with many new staff from a broad range of international backgrounds.

“I am delighted that Professors Morrow and McGarry have joined the team and look forward to the leadership which they will provide. They have excellent experience from which current and future students will benefit greatly.”

Professor Michael McGarry is a working architect and is partner of McGarry Ni Eanaigh Architects, which is an award-winning design-based practice.

Working with the practice, Professor McGarry has worked on a wide range of projects from housing, schools and civic buildings to boardwalks, public places and urban design.

In addition to work with his own practice, Michael has also worked collaboratively with colleagues as a constituent of Group 91 Architects Ltd, Urban Projects Ltd and Dublin Central Architects Ltd.

His work has been widely commended and he has won over 40 awards both locally and internationally with the joint CCCB European Prize for Urban Public Space and the RIAI Silver Medal for Housing awards.

Professor Morrow is well-known for her innovative approaches within Architectural Education in the UK.

She has won numerous awards and contributes to discussions about the nature of architectural education within the Royal Institute of British Architects and individual Schools of Architecture across the UK.

Despite a strong commitment to theoretical and revisionist thinking, Professor Morrow has said she finds she can only make sense of and resolve concepts with the realisation of the idea.

Professor Morrow’s research interests are interconnections and potentials between people, place, pedagogy and creativity. Her research is invariably project-based with multiple outputs, across product, exhibition, printed text and e-media.

For further information on studying architecture at Queen’s go to www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPlanningArchitectureandCivilEngineering/

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

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Encouraging more women to become surgeons
Queen's Medical student society Scrubs has organised a Women in Surgery talk in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons, on Thursday 7 May.

Launched by the Royal College to readdress the under-representation of women at consultant level, the Woman In Surgery campaign has held several high profile events in London, but this is the first event in Ireland.

Bringing the event to Queen’s was the idea of current Scrubs President Bryan Murphy: "Women in Surgery is vital for students’ futures and patient care, currently only 6.45 per cent of consultant surgeons are women, despite 60 per cent of medical students being female. It is important that the highest quality students and those with the greatest aptitude for surgery become the surgeons on the future.

“My stance as President has always been to bring the events to Belfast that students tend to miss out on in this island. Our location shouldn't be a barrier to some of the great things that all the other universities gain benefit from. The cost of travel and accommodation should not be a limitation, and bringing events like these to the University will only enhance our international reputation."

The event will take place in Space, in the Students' Union at 7.30pm and admission is free of charge.

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Byzantium in Belfast

Byzantium will come to Belfast next week when the curator of a major exhibition on the Byzantine Empire visits Queen's University.

Professor Robin Cormack is an eminent Byzantinist. He was co-curator of the Byzantium exhibition which ran in the Royal Academy in London earlier this year and is Professor Emeritus at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

He will give a unique insight into the splendour of the Byzantine Empire at a public talk in G05, 6 University Square at Queen’s at 6pm on Wednesday 6 May. At 12pm on Thursday 7 May Professor Cormack will answer questions on the Byzantium exhibition in Room G01-02, 5 University Square. The exhibition provided a grand-scale survey of 1,000 years of history and incorporated over 300 objects, some of which had never been displayed in public before.

The events hosted by the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s. The Institute specialises in the study of the people, society and culture of the Byzantine Empire, the successor to the Roman Empire, centred on Constantinople, from the 4th to the 15th centuries.

For more information contact the institute of Byzantine Studies on 9097 3817 or email byz.studies@qub.ac.uk to confirm your attendance.

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Portraits and poets in Morgan exhibition at Queen's
Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley beside his portrait by Jeffrey Morgan
Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley beside his portrait by Jeffrey Morgan

Three of Ireland's leading poets - Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson and Medbh McGuckian - will read from their work in a unique evening of paintings and poetry at Queen's University on Tuesday.

The three poets are among those whose portraits feature in a new exhibition, 'Paintings and Other Portraits', by Welsh-born artist Jeffrey Morgan, a joint venture between the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s and the Ava Gallery, Clandeboye.

The two galleries will host two linked exhibitions of over 50 paintings and drawings representing Morgan’s long and distinguished career as a portraitist and painter.

The Naughton Gallery will exhibit portraits of Nobel Prize winner and Queen’s graduate Seamus Heaney, as well as Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley, Professor Ciaran Carson and Medbh McGuckian of the University’s Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. It will also feature a number of portraits now in important public collections.

Meanwhile, the Ava Gallery will showcase over 30 paintings and drawings by Morgan of his wife, Patricia Craig, the Ulster-born writer and journalist.  Craig has been the subject of many of Morgan’s paintings, and all artwork will be for sale.

Now living in Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Morgan was born in South Wales in 1942 and studied at Cardiff School of Art and Central School of Arts and Crafts, London.  He has exhibited extensively in London, New York, Athens and Wales, most notably with The Portal Gallery, London and Peggy Wynne, New York.

These exhibitions will be Morgan’s first in Ireland for over 13 years.

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

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Public event highlights Alzheimer's Research

Health professionals caring for people with dementia will give a number of talks at a public meeting in Belfast next week.

The Alzheimer's Research Trust (ART) Northern Ireland Network Centre will host its second annual event at the Waterfront Hall on Tuesday 5 May.

The public meeting has been organised by Dr Christian Holscher from the University of Ulster and Dr Janet Johnston from Queen's University.

Anyone wishing to attend the event which runs from 7pm to 9pm, can contact Karen Coyles on 028 7032 3091 or email km.coyles@ulster.ac.uk.

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Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS

Queen's University students are aiming to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS at a special information evening next week (Thursday 7 May).

HIV/AIDS: The illness, the injustice, the individual will be hosted by students from Medsin - a network of students who aim to promote health and increase awareness about health inequalities in local and global communities.

Medsin’s Stop AIDS campaign strives for equal access to essential medicines and treatment for HIV/AIDS sufferers around the world. The Queen’s event aims to raise local awareness of the illness and impact on patients. It will also provide information on the Push for the Pool petition, which calls for the development of a voluntary patent pool to enable the generic, and therefore cheaper, manufacture of HIV drugs.

HIV/AIDS: the illness, the injustice, the individual is open to the public and will take place at 6.45pm on Thursday 7 May at the North Lecture Theatre in Queen’s Medical Biology Centre.

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