08-2009 Press Releases

Queen's graduates in pole position with jobs at McLaren
Queen's Formula Racing Team Leader Bernie Collins is racing ahead in the automotive industry having secured a place on McLaren's graduate engineering scheme
Queen's Formula Racing Team Leader Bernie Collins is racing ahead in the automotive industry having secured a place on McLaren's graduate engineering scheme

Two Queen's graduates are racing ahead in the automotive industry after securing jobs with motor racing giant McLaren.

Bernie Collins from Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh, and Edward Thompson from Hillsborough, Co. Down, are off to McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, Surrey, after helping Queen’s to a podium position at the recent Formula Student competition at Silverstone race track.

Bernie has secured a place on the prestigious graduate scheme run by McLaren’s Formula 1 team, while Edward will take up a position with McLaren Automotive, who design and build some of the world’s best known super sports cars.

Both recently graduated from Queen’s with First Class Masters degrees in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Bernie led a team of Queen’s engineering students who entered two race cars in the recent Formula Student competition, one of which beat competition from around the world to come third in its class.

Bernie said: "Formula Student is the biggest competition of its kind in Europe,  involving over 2,000 students from 105 universities across 23 countries. It challenges university students to design, build, develop, market and compete as a team with a small single-seater racing car.

"It isn’t simply a case of ‘fastest car wins’ - teams are judged on the car’s speed, safety, reliability, cost and handling qualities. I was delighted to lead the Queen’s team and gained hands-on experience that was invaluable in securing a place on McLaren’s Formula 1 graduate scheme."

Edward said: "Formula Student and my studies at Queen’s, have given me an invaluable insight into all aspects of automotive engineering - from design, manufacturing and project management to marketing, budgeting and team building. It has demanded hard work, commitment, late nights, early mornings and the ability to work under pressure. But getting my dream job with McLaren has made it all worthwhile."

Queen’s Formula Racing entered two teams the Formula Student competition at Silverstone race track. Both teams won the National Instruments Award for Best Use of Data Acquisition thanks to third year student Matthew Campbell from Carrickfergus, who developed a computer programme which allowed the team to gather information on and maximise the cars’ performance. The Class 1(200) car finished a third in its class.

Professor John Orr from Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said: "Queen’s Formula Racing consists of around twenty students from the University’s MEng Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering course. We are extremely proud of the team’s achievements in the face of tough international competition and we look forward to being back on the track at Silverstone next year.

“The competition has a strong reputation for producing top quality racing cars and in recent years around half a dozen Queen’s team members have gone on to work for Formula 1 teams, including Bernie who is the first female student from Queen’s to do so.

“Formula Racing is just one of the many opportunities for hands-on experience available for engineering students at Queen’s. Our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees prepare students for careers in many areas of high performance engineering - from automotive and motor sports to the aerospace industry. And under the STEM scholarship scheme, Queen’s will award £1000 to any student with three A’s at A-level who enrols in an engineering course at the University."
For more information on Queen’s Formula Racing go to www.queens-racing.com For more information on the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering go to www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofMechanicalandAerospaceEngineering

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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Knowledge knows no boundaries at Queen's
Dr Emma McKenna from the Science Shop at Queen's University, alongside Budd Hall from the University of Victoria, Canada, and Rajesh Tandon, President of the Society for Paticipators Research in Asia (Delhi)
Dr Emma McKenna from the Science Shop at Queen's University, alongside Budd Hall from the University of Victoria, Canada, and Rajesh Tandon, President of the Society for Paticipators Research in Asia (Delhi)

More than 150 delegates from 15 countries around the world are at Queen's for a global conference on how students and universities can share their knowledge with wider society more effectively.

The "Engaged Communities, Engaged Universities" event, which runs from 28 to 29 August, will examine how the expertise of universities and research institutions can be made available for non-profit and community groups.

One of the organisers, Eileen Martin, Manager of the Science Shop at Queen's said: "In the last 10 years, Queen's University staff and students have completed some 600 projects for non-profit groups in Northern Ireland.

"Science Shops provide free research expertise which these groups would otherwise not be able to access, and they enable our students to gain valuable life and career-related skills by working on 'real' research projects.

"In the last year alone, Queen's students have carried out research projects on issues ranging from problems with flooding in Newcastle, Co. Down to factors inhibiting female entrepreneurs to the relationship between cancer prevention and diet.

"When you consider that similar projects are being carried out worldwide, it is easy to see that the social impact of community-based research is considerable. One of the main aims of this conference is to raise the issue of community-based research further up the policy agenda in the United Kingdom."

The conference brings together some of the world's leading thinkers and practitioners in the area to discuss best practice in community-based research. It also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Living Knowledge International Science Shop Network - initiatives which harness the knowledge resources of universities for the benefit of civil society.

Conference themes will include sustainable development and climate change, community engagement through arts and culture, ageing and demographic change, and improved knowledge exchange between communities and universities.

Among the keynote speakers will be Paul Manners, Director of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and a passionate advocate of the need for universities to engage in their communities.

Murielle Gagnon of the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; Robin Webster, Chief Executive of Age Action Ireland and Professor Monica McWilliams, Chief Commissioner for Human Rights in Northern Ireland, will also be among those taking part.

The programme also features a series of presentations highlighting a range of community-based research projects across the globe.

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

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International line-up unveiled for Festival
Festival Director Graeme Farrow gets geared up for this year's Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's.  With motorbike chases, stilts, fire and moving metal structures Theatr Biuro Podrózy's Macbeth- Who is That Bloodied Man?  will be a powerhouse of energy and menace at this year's festival.
Festival Director Graeme Farrow gets geared up for this year's Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's.

Queen's University welcomes the world of comedy, music, drama and dance this October as the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s creates headlines for the 47th year, presenting international talent of the highest quality. 

Festival Director, Graeme Farrow revealed the exciting line-up: “This year's huge collection of international talent is mouth-watering. There's no less than four concerts by celebrated violinist Tasmin Little, Opera North, a sensational Irish traditional music concert, Broadway diva Barbara Cook, African desert band Tinariwen, Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi, the return of Fascinating Aida, jazz bingo, a Dutch surrealist, Noam Chomsky, and a new play in North Belfast's synagogue."

Cormac McCarthy, Chief Executive, Ulster Bank Group says the line up reflects Northern Ireland’s ability to attract performers and fans from across the globe: “We are very pleased to continue our association with the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s which boasts a truly international programme. Our investment in the Festival recognises its importance to the community and the economy of Northern Ireland."

Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s  said the line-up was also very diverse: “The content and subjects portrayed address topics such as the recession and women in work, changes in policing, religious and sexual intolerance and the holocaust.  There is hard hitting drama, laugh out loud comedy, invigorating music, mind-blowing dance and a series of exquisite talks and tours.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Naomi Long, said she was delighted that the timing of the festival coincides with the programme of celebration for the re-opening of Belfast City Hall and many of the events will be held in the newly refurbished iconic building.  “This is the 47th year of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's and it paved the path for the numerous festivals and events we now take for granted.

“It has always been a beacon to attract visitors and is still the biggest Festival in Northern Ireland.  In addition to the Waterfront Hall and the Grand Opera House, the Festival is also returning to the newly refurbished Ulster Hall and Ulster Museum as well as those venues off the beaten track such as Barrow Square, Clonard Monastery, May Street Church and the Synagogue in North Belfast, leaving local audiences and visitors alike in no doubt that Belfast is a capital of culture.”

Details of all shows and booking can be found on www.belfastfestival.com

For media inquires, please contact: Joan Grenville, 07808 138 525, j.grenville@qub.ac.uk

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Indian research leaders of the future at Queen's
Tanmay Agnihotri, Shilpi Goel, Pankaj Gupta and Devika Nag from Amity University, Uttar Pradesh attend Queen’s India Welcome Scheme
Tanmay Agnihotri, Shilpi Goel, Pankaj Gupta and Devika Nag from Amity University, Uttar Pradesh attend Queen’s India Welcome Scheme

32 Indian students have visited Queen’s as part of Queen’s India Welcome Scheme, a unique scholarship programme to develop Indian research leaders of the future.

The students from Jahwaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) and Amity University spent three weeks at the University.

Created to allow Indian science and technology students to develop research leaders of the future and experience life and work in Belfast, the scheme has proven so popular it has now been expanded to take more than 30 students.

Opportunities for the students who visited included working alongside scientists from Queen’s who have devised the world’s first low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free water to affected areas in SE Asia and those from the University's Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) who have devised a new electronic filter which will lead to more accurate global weather forecasts and a better understanding of climate change.

As well as working on various research projects, the students took part in a range of cultural, academic and social activities.

In addition to the Welcome Scheme for university students, Queen’s is also currently running a pilot project with several schools in Delhi and Kolkata, including La Martiniere, Kolkata; Modern High School, Kolkata; G.D. Goenka Public School, Delhi and Sri Ram, Delhi.

Speaking about both schemes, Dr. M. Satish Kumar, Director of Queen’s India initiative said: “I am delighted that through our India Welcome Scheme, some of the best Indian students are now having the opportunity to work alongside specialist researchers in the vibrant and international setting that is Queen’s. The sharing of knowledge and skills across international borders is vital in today’s world and I have no doubt significant strides will be made as a result of this partnership.

“We hope our new pilot scheme with schools in Delhi and Kolkata will eventually increase students’ chances of pursuing their chosen disciplines and accessing degree pathways in the United Kingdom which will open up new career opportunities for the future.”

The students’ visit follows the announcement by Queen’s last month that it has appointed international statesman Kamalesh Sharma as its new Chancellor. His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma is currently Commonwealth Secretary General and former Indian High Commissioner in London. He succeeds Senator George Mitchell who stepped down in March following his appointment to head up the United States’ peacemaking efforts in the Middle East.

For further information on Queen’s and India visit http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/ProspectiveStudents/InternationalStudents/QueensandIndia/

For further information please contact Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit. Email: lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk or telephone +44(0)28 90 97 5384

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Everyone welcome with Open Learning at Queen's

From swahili to solar power, feminism to family trees, and hill walking to humanism, there is a course for everyone in Queen's University's new Open Learning Programme.

Over 300 short-courses are on offer through Queen’s School of Education, ranging from popular options in languages, art, music and literature, to new courses such as Great Moments in Jazz, Reading Ulster Scots Poetry and Gothic Churches. Courses are also available in towns throughout Northern Ireland including Armagh, Carrickfergus, Cookstown, Downpatrick, Enniskillen and Portadown.

Dr Tess Maginess from Queen’s School of Education said: "Queen’s Open Learning Programme has something for everyone, regardless of their interests or abilities. Our courses usually take place one day or evening every week. Everyone is welcome, and you don’t need any previous qualifications to enrol. Open Learning is ideal for anyone who wants to pursue a new hobby, learn more about a topic in which they have a particular interest, or advance their personal development.

“With online registration at www.qub.ac.uk/edu it has never been easier to sign-up for our classes. Many courses fill up quickly, so we would encourage you to enrol early, online or by telephone at 028 9097 3323."

Learn how to reduce your carbon footprint with Making Green Energy Work in Your Home. The course explores the potential of green energy such as solar, wind and water power. How does it work? How much does it cost? What, if any, are the drawbacks? And are there any grants available? This course is a must for anyone who wants to reduce their household energy demands and carbon emissions by harnessing the power of renewable energy.

For fans of the television series ‘Who do you think you are’, Family History for Beginners provides an introduction to genealogy to help trace your family tree. If you fancy your chances in Dragons’ Den, but you don’t know where to start, check out So You Want to be an Entrepreneur. From finance to legal issues, the course explores what it takes to get your business idea off the ground. 

Get an insight into the ‘battle of the sexes’ with Myths of Modern Misses: A new look at Feminism, which takes a broad look at the feminist movement its relevance for today’s women. From the women of Wisteria Lane to the wives of the MAd Men, Television and the Suburban Housewife looks at the portrayal of suburban women on TV and what this tells us about gender roles in our society; while What Men Want: How to Manage the Men in Your Life looks at mutual understanding between the sexes as a key to greater harmony in the home and the workplace.
Put on your dancing shoes for Irish Ceili Dancing or Tango Salon classes, or sample some African language and culture with Swahili for Beginners or West African Hand Drumming, Dance and Song.

Budding star-gazers can get an insight into Our Place in the Universe at Armagh Planetarium - the perfect way to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.

Get an introduction to Irish History with Ten Key Moments. From the coming of Christianity to the Battle of the Somme, this course is designed for those who have never studied Irish history but are keen to explore some of its defining moments. Forty years after the rise of the Civil Rights movement, Reform and Revolution: Ireland in the 1960’s looks back at its impact on our history. And as we approach the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, The Phoney Peace: The World between the Wars asks if it was a war that could have been avoided, as Winston Churchill argued.

Dr Maginess said: "Open Learning is open to everyone over the age of 16. You don’t need any ‘ologies’ or prior qualifications to enrol and we are always pleased to welcome new learners. Whilst many of our courses take place at Queen’s, others run in towns across Northern Ireland."

To find out more about Queen’s Open Learning Programme visit www.qub.ac.uk/edu or call 028 9097 3323 or 3539.

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 advises A-level students

The Admissions and Access Service at Queen's University has issued advice to students who will receive their A-level results this week.
The University receives A-level and AS-level results directly from UCAS and candidates do not need to communicate their results to the University.  Students will be contacted if any results appear to be missing.  Those who did not take an examination listed on their application should let the University know, prior to results day, if possible.

Decisions made by Queen's, the University of Ulster, and Stranmillis University College are posted on a website hosted by Queen's on the morning of Thursday 20 August and updated twice each day.  The website address is www.qub.ac.uk/ucas-decisions

Details are also published on the UCAS website at www.ucas.com.  The website also provides additional information if the decision on an application is pending.  It therefore carries the most comprehensive details and is the simplest way to find out about the status of an application and clearing vacancies.
Students will be asked for their UCAS Personal ID number and, in the case of the UCAS website, their username and password.

Applicants who have met the exact grades or points of their offer for admission should have their place confirmed through UCAS following the publication of results.  These applicants do not need to telephone the university or college.  The only official notification is sent by UCAS.  If accepted, students should respond to the appropriate university as soon as possible following the instructions given in an AS12 letter they will receive.

Those students who have ‘averaged out’ or narrowly missed the grades may still be accepted.  This will depend on the availability of places after the university concerned has accepted all applicants who precisely meet or better the conditions of their offer.  Universities recognise this can be a stressful time and Queen’s makes decisions as quickly as possible.

Queen’s has provided all students holding offers with a Change of Course enquiry slip which should be returned to the University as soon as possible if they want to be considered for an alternative course.  Assuming Queen’s can help, a changed course offer would be made. This is simpler than going through Clearing.

Any student unable to gain admission to either of their choices and who are not offered an acceptable alternative course will be eligible to participate in the Clearing process.

Details of Clearing vacancies appear in the national press, on www.ucas.com and on university websites.
Students should make contact with the universities which declare vacancies as soon as possible since Clearing vacancies can disappear fast.  Students who are still keen to pursue their original course may decide to repeat and reapply for 2010 entry.  It is worth checking with the institutions concerned about receiving an offer as a repeat candidate as the entry requirements may be different.

This year a new adjustment process has been introduced which will assist applicants who have done better than expected and would like to be considered for a different course at another university.  Eligible applicants can hold their original conditional firm (CF) choice while they register for adjustment and look for an alternative but it may be difficult to find a vacancy on a high demand course.
To be eligible, applicants must have met and exceeded the conditions of the offer from their CF choice.  Those considering adjustment should think very carefully as to whether they will be happy doing a course they might not have considered before just because they have the grades.  Also, there may be possible implications on applications for accommodation.  Full details are available on the UCAS website.

Jennifer Dwyer, Head of Admissions at Queen’s said: "It is important to make decisions sensibly at this time of year and not to accept alternative courses, Adjustment or Clearing places without careful consideration.  Try not to panic.  Do think seriously about any courses before accepting them.  There are people who can help you.  Discuss your situation carefully with your parents, your school or college or the Careers Service of the Department for Employment and Learning."

Telephone Advice lines with extended opening hours will be operating at Queen’s, as follows: Thursday and Friday, 20 and 21 August from 9.30am to 6pm; Saturday 22 August from 10am to 4pm, and Monday 24 August from 9.30am to 5pm.

The telephone number is 028 9097 3838.

In addition, a personal advice session will be held on Monday 24 August in the Whitla Hall from 2pm to 5pm.  A separate session for applicants to Medicine and Dentistry will also take place in the Larmour Lecture Theatre (Physics Building) at 2.30pm on the same day.

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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Student ‘left-overs’ mean generous helping for local charity
Student staples - Elms housekeeping staff Gail Ross and Gordon Williams present the food to Michael Burns of Thorndale Family Centre
Student staples - Elms housekeeping staff Gail Ross and Gordon Williams present the food to Michael Burns of Thorndale Family Centre

"Left-overs" from Queen's University students have served up a generous helping of £900 worth of food for a Belfast-based charity.

The mini food mountain was donated to The Salvation Army Thorndale Family Centre in Belfast after staff in Elms Village and Queen's houses were given the items from students vacating their rooms for the summer.

Accommodation and Hospitality Facilities Manager Gwen Finlay said: "It was amazing - we found a tin of beans here and a jar of coffee there and when it was all added together we found that we had a store cupboard worth more than £900.

“The hoard included tins of soup, baked beans, noodles, pasta, tuna, cereals, corn, sauces, tea bags and coffee as well as a wide range of international, especially oriental, cooking ingredients. The student diet hasn’t changed much over the years!

“We have an active recycling policy in Student Accommodation and Hospitality and have introduced a number of recycling initiatives in partnership with Belfast City Council.  For example, we provided a service for students at the end of the year to recycle their personal belongings, and organised clothes and book banks from The Salvation Army to be placed on site.

“We also allocated a collection point for students to leave non-perishable food, and assisted in collecting unwanted left belongings which were also donated to charity. These included clothes, shoes, bicycles, and pots and pans. Among the items left behind was a goldfish named Frazier who is now a permanent resident in the Elms Reception."

Michael Burns, Maintenance Supervisor at The Salvation Army Thorndale Family Centre, said: "We were delighted to receive this donation of food items which will be distributed among the 34 families staying at Thorndale Family Centre, and many more of the families who we continue to visit and support when they leave the centre and move back into the community.  Many struggle financially and will really appreciate this donation of practical assistance.

“We’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone at Queen’s University for their ongoing support of The Salvation Army’s work, from food donations to recycling, it really is appreciated and helps us to help those who turn to us in need."

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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Research breakthrough will lead to more accurate weather forecasts
Queen's University engineers Raymond Dickie (L) and Professor Robert Cahill (R) with their new filter which will improve the accuracy of weather forecasting
Queen's University engineers Raymond Dickie (L) and Professor Robert Cahill (R) with their new filter which will improve the accuracy of weather forecasting

More accurate global weather forecasts and a better understanding of climate change are in prospect thanks to a breakthrough by engineers at Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

The ECIT team has developed a high performance electronic device - known as a dual polarized Frequency Selective Surface filter - that is to be used in future European Space Agency (ESA) missions.

The filters will be installed in instruments being developed by ESA for meteorological satellites it plans to launch between 2018 and 2020. The ESA instruments are used to detect thermal emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere. The data measures temperature, humidity profiles, and gas composition, which are in turn entered into operational systems and used to forecast weather and pollution.

Lead ECIT engineer Raymond Dickie said: “Measuring just 30mm in diameter and 1/100mm thick, the devices will help to provide a much more comprehensive analysis of conditions in the Earth’s atmosphere than has been possible previously.

“Up to now, spaceborne remote sensing instruments have only been capable of separating either the vertically or horizontally polarized components of naturally occurring thermal emissions from gases in the Earth’s atmosphere - but not both together at the same time. The invention of the new filter resolves this problem and will enable complex imaging of clouds to be undertaken for the first time at very short wavelengths.”

Global patent applications have already been filed for the filters which are constructed by ECIT engineers and research staff at Queen’s University’s Northern Ireland Semiconductor Research Centre in Belfast. The filters have been developed as a result of a £1.2 million investment in Queen’s by EPSRC, EADS Astrium and ESA to develop the technology, and have taken over 10 years to develop.

Robert Cahill, a member of the project team, added: “As a result of the new filter, scientists will gain access to completely new data on a range of phenomenon including ozone depletion and the size of water particles in cirrus clouds. This in turn will enable more accurate global weather forecasts to be compiled and will provide important new insights into climate change.”

The ECIT research team that developed the filters is also working on versions that operate at much higher frequencies in a project funded by the UK Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation, the European Space Agency and EADS Astrium Ltd.

ECIT is the main supplier of this technology to the UK space industry and the European Space Agency.

ECIT designs and tests the devices using one of only two instruments in the UK capable of measuring the performance of the filters.

Further information on the work of ECIT can be found by visiting www.ecit.qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit. Tel: + 44 (0) 28 9097 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Science 'morphs' into art for unique ceramic exhibition
An example of Helen Moore's intricate work
An example of Helen Moore's intricate work

A unique exhibition, which takes its inspiration from the shape and structure of a range of phenomena in nature, science and culture, opens in Queen’s University’s Medical Biology Centre later this week.

Organised as part of Craft Month 2009, the ‘Material Morphology’ display by award-winning ceramicist Helen Moore opens on Friday 7 August.

Morphology is the study of shape and form, and a major influence on Helen Moore’s work, which she has described as "centred on the hidden, the obscure, and the unknown dimensions that inform our visible reality".

Helen Moore studied Modern History and Criminology at Queen’s before she embarked on an undergraduate degree in ceramics at the University of Ulster.

Helen will also be one of the speakers in a series of talks, ‘The Art of Forensic Science’, to accompany the exhibition. These will delve further into the world of forensic science, forensic investigation and art, and will also feature Thomas Gaston from Forensic Services Northern Ireland and Queen’s experts in geoforensics Dr Alastair Ruffell and Dr Jennifer McKinley.

‘Material Morphology’ will run in the Medical Biology Centre until Sunday 6 September, from 9am to 5pm daily. The venue for the talks, which will be held on Thursday and Friday, 13 and 14 August, from 6.30pm to 8pm, is No Alibis Bookshop, 83 Botanic Avenue.

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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