03-2010 Press Releases

31/03/2010: New book puts geology of local landmarks on the map
31/03/2010: Queen’s entrepreneurial artist scoops funding award
25/03/2010: Jordan shines as Northern Ireland’s International Student of the Year
25/03/2010: Queen's scientists help boost endangered freshwater mussels population
25/03/2010: Sweet-toothed teens in diabetes risk
23/03/2010: A study of cocaine use in Northern Ireland 2009
23/03/2010: Queen’s researcher is recognised as a breath of fresh air
22/03/2010: Spring into summer with a short course at Queen’s
22/03/2010: £60M investment creates new science PhD posts at Queen’s
19/03/2010: Northern Ireland ‘ideal testbed’ for entrepreneurial ideas
18/03/2010: Psychologists invite public to discuss cyberspace at Queen's
15/03/2010: Ireland's ethnic minorities want more self-expression in St Patrick's Day parades
12/03/2010: £15,000 Mother’s Day boost for Queen’s breast cancer research
11/03/2010: Queen’s ‘inspires’ school pupils to sporting excellence
11/03/2010: Queen’s shows pupils science behind cancer research
10/03/2010: Queen’s scheme gives graduates a boost in tough jobs market
09/03/2010: Queen's expert to take up Renal Registry Chair
05/03/2010: The United States After Slavery – Queen’s historian leads US conference
04/03/2010: Queen’s spearheads £1m international research effort into liver fluke
03/03/2010: Queen’s nets €3.5m for water quality research
03/03/2010: The 'Real Cracker' speaks at Queen's
02/03/2010: Queen's students scoop IT scholarships
26/02/2010: Queen's welcomes UN expert on disability law
26/02/2010: Kinoteka - 4th Polish Film Festival at QFT
26/02/2010: Belfast-based research on older men’s learning launched in Australia

Building a future for UK universities at Queen's conference

The challenges of creating the finest campus facilities for future generations of United Kingdom students during an economic recession will be debated at a major conference at Queen’s University today.

Around 130 delegates from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are in Belfast for the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) conference from Monday to Wednesday, 29 to 31 March.

AUDE is the professional association for Estates and Facilities Management in Higher Education, with close links with Universities UK, the Government and UK Funding Councils.

Keynote speakers will include Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, who will discuss the importance of maintaining a high quality infrastructure within the national context of higher education. Paul Finch, Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, will talk on promoting good design in a recession, while Bahram Bekhradnia, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, will speak on the role of the student experience at the heart of higher education development.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “The estate of any university must be developed to support the strategic aims of that institution. Balancing competing demands can be challenging, especially in times of economic challenge and rapidly changing student aspirations.

“Directors of Estates in our universities have a huge responsibility. Many universities, like Queen’s, are custodians of their region's architectural heritage. But the estate is about more than bricks and mortar – it provides the environment within which individuals research, learn and work with the wider community.

“We also recognise that the ongoing development and maintenance of the estate must be based on partnership between the Government, the University and its many stakeholders. This approach is exemplified by the £50 million McClay Library at Queen’s, which opened for business last summer. The funding for this ambitious project was raised from Government, from the University itself and from private sources through the Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation.”

Queen’s Director of Estates Gary Jebb said: “Our annual conference provides an important opportunity to reflect on our role, the challenges we face and the opportunities too. It is a valuable forum for us to get together for discussion and debate, to share good ideas and practices, and to identify synergies and develop partnerships with our colleagues throughout the sector.

“Our programme aims to address as many of the challenges that currently face the sector as possible – from the sustainable refurbishment of older buildings to future library design and construction, carbon management and integrated emergency planning.”

Patrick Finch, Chairman of AUDE and Director of Estates (Bursar) at the University of Bristol, said: "AUDE is delighted that Queen's University Belfast is hosting our Annual Conference. This will be the first time the AUDE conference has been held in Northern Ireland for over 20 years and Queen's has assembled an exciting and challenging programme.

“The Conference is very well supported by UK universities and by our various partners in industry and consultancy and internationally. The conference will represent a wonderful learning and networking opportunity for Directors of Estates and Facilities and those with whom they engage."

Media facilities will be available throughout the three days. For programme details, please visit www.qub.ac.uk/aude2010

For media inquiries please contact: Anne Langford,  028 9097 5310, 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Jordan shines as Northern Ireland’s International Student of the Year
Jordan Junge
Jordan Junge
An American student’s inspirational account of life at Queen's has led to her being named Northern Ireland’s International Student of the Year.

Jordan Junge, from Denver, Colorado.is one of 12 regional winners of the British Council Shine! Awards . She will challenge for the title of UK International Student of the Year 2010 at the national finals in London on 20 and 21 April.
Over 1,300 students from 118 nationalities countries entered the awards which highlight the unique contributions of international students to life in the United Kingdom. Entrants were asked to write 'letters home' in English, describing their experiences, the challenges they have faced, and what they have achieved.
Jordan is in the second year of her BA course in International Studies in Queen’s School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy. In her letter, she highlighted how coming to Queen’s has enriched her studies in international affairs.
She said: “The ability to uproot your life and completely immerse yourself in another culture is an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone. My beliefs, perceptions and hopes have all been altered during my time abroad. I came to Queen’s University in Belfast in hopes of gaining a new global perspective and enriching my studies in international politics.
“I have learned that you can never fully understand a conflict from textbooks, but that it is necessary to live and interact with people who have survived conflict. Sensitivity and knowledge are instrumental in conflict negotiations and it is important to understand the powerful role of emotions. I never would have learned this if I would have stayed in Denver and am forever grateful that I came to Belfast.”
Jordan said that she came to Queen’s because of its academic reputation and found that the University more than met her expectations.
 “The course content is brilliant. All the lectures are extremely interesting and the lecturers are amazing. Some are the top in their field of research, but they are always willing to chat further about the topics discussed that morning in lectures.”
In her 18 months at Queen’s, Jordan has thrown herself fully into student life. She is a member of the Student Council, sits on the Students’ Union Committee for Equality and Diversity, and is an active member of RAG, Raise and Give, which raises money for local charities.

She is also Women's Officer for the National Student Union of Northern Ireland, NUS-USI, Secretary of the Politics Society and a member of the School of Politics Student Staff Consultative Committee. She also serves as Queen’s Vice President of Talent and Management for AIESEC, the world’s largest student organisation, which aims to help young people develop their potential.
Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said, “Studying overseas is an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience, building life-long international friendships, understanding and trust. International students make a huge contribution to life here because they create a greater understanding of the world in the UK and they help create a greater understanding of the UK throughout the world. This competition is a fantastic opportunity for them to show the world what they’ve achieved and learnt while studying in the UK.”
The two Northern Ireland regional runners-up are also studying at Queen's. Svetislav Zavic from Serbia and Luke Simon from India are both PhD students in the University’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.
For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310, Mob 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s discusses the transition to sustainable communities

Experts from Holland, the UK, Ireland and locally with gather at Queen’s on Monday 29 March to discuss some of the most pressing and challenging issues facing society in the 21st Century. 

The Transition to Sustainable Communities: Justice, Resilience and Practices of Sustainable Living is a free public event that will explore the implications of climate change, peak oil, the transition to a low carbon lifestyle for people, communities and the economy.

The event is organised by Dr John Barry from the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, who is Associate Director of the University’s Institute for a Sustainable World.

Richard O'Rourke from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) will outline the inevitability of a post-oil future in terms of how we have now extracted more than half of the available oil on the planet. He will explore the implications of this, including higher oil prices and the need to plan for a post-oil energy future. 

Professor Marius de Geus from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands will talk about how, in the context of resource and environmental constraints, there is a need to develop new forms of 'ecological consumerism' as part of the transition to a low carbon future.

Dr Geraint Ellis from the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s will explore the need to include, and not dismiss, those who object to renewable energy proposals such as wind farms, as their inclusion in local decision making can spur local level innovation.

Dr Barry said: "Today in the context of what many are calling the 'triple crunch' of the economic, climate and energy crises, it is more important than ever to look at the social and cultural changes that are needed to make us less dependent on scarce and costly fossil fuels. In Northern Ireland we are particularly vulnerable as we are over 90 per cent dependent on imported oil, coal and natural gas - are we as a regional economy resilient in the face of oil and gas price increases?

“Beyond the economic impacts, these issues of peak oil and climate change also have profoundly cultural and psychological dimensions and this will be the subject of my own contribution to Monday’s event. I will explore the growing evidence that it is wrong to simply represent either the climate or energy crisis as a technological or economic issue. 

“Technological innovation is important, but the climate and energy crises raise political, cultural and ethical issues about our society and culture, which cannot be addressed solely by technology. Ultimately we need to look at what cultural and personal 'story lines' are presented by these challenges, how we are to understand them and, ultimately, what sort of society do we wish to live in as we cope with them.”

The workshop will take place from 10.00am-5.00pm at Room 305 in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s. The event will be followed by the launch of a new book series Advances in Ecopolitics co-edited by Dr Barry and published by Emerald Press.  For further information about the event contact Dr Barry on 07876 597 900 or email j.barry@qub.ac.uk.

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Queen's scientists help boost endangered freshwater mussels population
Conor Wilson from Quercus with a PIT-tagged Freshwater Mussel
Conor Wilson from Quercus with a PIT-tagged Freshwater Mussel

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The endangered freshwater mussel species has been given a welcome boost by scientists from Queen’s following a 12 year cultivation project.

Over 300 of the mussels, which are threatened in many parts of Europe and North America, have been released back into the wild at a range of secret locations in Northern Ireland.
And in a novel development, the Queen’s conservation scientists will be able to keep tabs on the precious mussels after attaching tags to the outside of their shells. The Passive Integrated Transponders or PIT tags can be located by a receiver much like a metal detector, meaning the researchers can then relocate the animals in the riverbed and monitor each mussel’s progress.
Conor Wilson a PhD student at Quercus, Queen’s research centre for biodiversity and conservation science in the University’s School of Biological Sciences said: “Queen’s had been working alongside experts at Ballinderry Fish Hatchery in Co. Tyrone since 1998 in order to cultivate these precious but very slow growing mussels. They can grow to 17 cm in length and can reach 285 years old, but in Northern Ireland they are currently teetering on the brink of extinction. The only counties the mussels currently exist in are Tyrone and Fermanagh.
“Freshwater mussels are an important part of the ecosystem in many rivers as they filter water keeping it clean and clear. This improves the environment for other plants and animals, and ultimately, humans.
“Our hope is that eventually, through a programme of breeding and tracking we will be able to see the equilibrium restored in these rivers and bring the levels of mussels back to what they were 100 years ago, before they were affected by a variety of factors including overfishing and habitat degradation.”
The year-long release programme of the mussels has just been completed and those involved in the project say it has been a big success. Dr. Dai Roberts, academic lead on the project said: “Ultimately, this work which has been funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), evaluates whether captive breeding and release is a successful means to halt the decline of severely depleted populations. We hope it will be a success and that it can be replicated in many other areas of need across Europe and beyond.”
Further information on the research can be found online at www.quercus.ac.uk   
Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384, lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk 

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Sweet-toothed teens in diabetes risk

Researchers at Queen’s have discovered a link between sugar intake in the teenage years and risk factors for diabetes and heart disease in later life.

The findings were announced at the Diabetes UK annual conference in Liverpool earlier this month by Dr Steven Hunter, an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen’s and Consultant in Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

For the first time, the Queen’s researchers have extended their observations to cover childhood. Dr Hunter said: “Other studies have investigated the impact of high sugar intake in adulthood on health, but this study extends the observation to childhood. This means we can look towards planning preventative strategies.

“What this study emphasises is that there may be long-term consequences of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle in childhood, and that efforts to improve health need to start in childhood to try and stop the development of diabetes and heart disease.”

The group of volunteers involved in the research were initially studied in adolescence and then followed up 10 years later when the effect of diet on heart and bone health was examined.

Dr Hunter explained: “Individuals with higher intakes of sugar had higher blood sugar levels and greater insulin resistance, a feature which contributes to the development of diabetes and heart disease, compared to individuals who had a lower sugar intake. This association was not related to total calorie intake, body weight or activity levels.

“In order to examine the association between sugar intake and risk of diabetes further, more robust prospective randomised studies are being carried out in overweight and obese adults.”
Those involved in the research were Dr Michelle McKinley, Dr Jayne Woodside and Professor Ian Young from the Nutrition and Metabolism group, Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Anthony Lewis from the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit, 028 90 97 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's academic appointed to two prestigious UK education roles
Professor Paul Connolly
Professor Paul Connolly

An education expert from Queen's has been appointed to two prestigious positions in the UK education sector.

Professor Paul Connolly has been appointed Co-Chair of the Campbell Collaboration Education Coordinating Group and also as Donald Dewar Visiting Chair in Social Justice and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. Professor Connolly is currently Director of the Centre for Effective Education at Queen’s School of Education.

As Co-Chair of the Campbell Collaboration Education Coordinating Group, Professor Connolly will contribute to the leadership of the Campbell Collaboration – an international research network which helps people make well-informed decisions by preparing, maintaining and disseminating systematic reviews of research evidence in education, crime and justice and social welfare.

The Education Coordinating Group is one of five groups within the Collaboration. It is an international network of scholars, policy makers, practitioners, funders, students, and others who are interested in promoting an evidence-based approach to policy-making and practice.

In a separate appointment as Donald Dewar Visiting Chair at the University of Glasgow, Professor Connolly will give academic leadership in the area of social justice and public policy within the Faculty of Education at Glasgow. The position was established in honour of the first holder of the office of the First Minister for Scotland to promote teaching and research programmes on the origins and extent of social exclusion and disadvantage, and provide intellectual focus to public debate and policy making.

Professor Connolly said: “These are extremely significant appointments, which reflect the innovative work we are undertaking at the Centre for Effective Education at Queen’s. These appointments are testament to the increasing impact the Centre is having nationally and internationally and its growing reputation as a centre of excellence in the design, delivery and evaluation of educational programmes and interventions.”

For more information about the Centre for Effective Education at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEducation/CentreforEffectiveEducation

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson at Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320, 07814 415 451 or a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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A study of cocaine use in Northern Ireland 2009

A study led by researchers at Queen’s has given an insight into cocaine use among adults in Northern Ireland.

The study was led by Dr Patrick McCrystal at Queen’s Institute of Child Care Research on behalf of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Along with Dr. Paula Mayock at Trinity College Dublin, the patterns of cocaine use and the lifestyles of users in Northern Ireland in 2009 were explored.

The report will be used to inform the ongoing development of policy, prevention and treatment services in respect of cocaine use.

Dr McCrystal said: “This research offers important insights into the lifestyles of drug users in general and cocaine use in particular.  In doing so, it provides important messages for drug treatment services, which has also been a key aim of ongoing research at Queen’s into adolescent drug use in Northern Ireland.”

The main findings of the research are as follows:

  • The study identified two types of cocaine user (i) recreational users who were typically young, educated and anchored to a largely conventional lifestyle and whose pattern of non-work activities involved partying and drug use and who claimed to be in ‘control’ of their use and (ii) those referred for drug treatment who had low level educational qualifications and were typically unemployed and living on state benefits and saw themselves as addicted to cocaine.
  • Both groups of users were already drug-experienced when they used cocaine for the first time, with initiation to other drugs typically occurring several years before first use of cocaine.
  • All cocaine users were polydrug users who had considerable experience with a range of illicit drugs.
  • Cocaine initiation typically occurs in familiar settings where the drug is invariably offered by familiar people.
  • Recreational users were more animated than treatment users in their portrayal of cocaine linked to self- and social- enhancement including increased self-confidence and feeling more energetic – their accounts focused to a greater extent on the chemical highs they experienced from use. They often reported no negative consequences or side effects arising from their use.
  • Treatment users were relatively well-versed on the range of risks associated with cocaine use, including its impact on their physical and mental health and well-being. They frequently referred to their ‘addiction’ to cocaine, whereas the recreational users claimed to ‘control’ their cocaine consumption.
  • The researchers suggest that these differences in user perceptions of cocaine risks may have implications for both prevention and treatment initiatives. For example, the report’s authors’ suggest that health messages stressing cocaine’s addictive potential may be ineffective if a majority of recreational users experience and perceive no addictive risk. These users are likely to be more open to messages that match their experiences and to place greater value on advice about how to reduce the potential physical and/or psychological hazards associated with cocaine use.
  • The experience of those referred for treatment was varied on this provision across the sample.  In contrast, those referred for treatment often diminish the negative impact of cocaine on their lives and on their physical and psychological health, believing that the negative impact of drugs is more related to another substance(s). This has implications for how treatment services respond to this group.

For more information about the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work visit www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/InstituteofChildCareResearch

The authors are available for interview and can be contacted through Anne-Marie Watson at the Queen's Press Office on 028 9097 5320.

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Queen’s researcher is recognised as a breath of fresh air

A Queen’s researcher has been crowned ‘Young Investigator of the Year’ by The British Lung Foundation. The award was made at the annual British Thoracic Society’s conference which sees scientists from around the globe come together to discuss current respiratory research.

Dr Surendran Thavagnanam from the Centre for Infection and Immunity was awarded an £800 prize fund for his work, which investigated the use of nasal cells as surrogates for lung cells when studying inflammation in children’s lungs.

His work was significantly interesting as cells from the nose are easier to obtain for research than lung cells. Dr Thavagnanam’s team found significant differences between the nasal and lung cells both in normal and asthmatic children, and have therefore questioned the use of nasal cells for investigating asthma in the future.

Dr Thavagnanam said: “I am delighted to be announced as young investigator of the year. I have been working on my research for the last two years and it was extremely interesting as there are not many studies that look into asthma in children. I’m very keen to pursue a career in academic medicine and so, by winning this award, I have proved that I can confidently work in this field. I’m now looking forward to building on the results that I have produced so far.”

In conjunction with the British Thoracic Society and the British Association for Lung Research, the British Lung Foundation organises the Young Investigator of the Year competition to find young researchers who have conducted innovative studies. Researchers were invited to submit applications, which were judged and narrowed down to just six. Six of these candidates present their work at the BTS winter meeting to a panel of scientific experts and a winner is picked on the day.

The application process for this year’s Young Investigator of the Year is now open and closes at midnight on Thursday 29 July 2010. Please see the following website for further information www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/education-hub/winter-meeting-2010/abstract-submission.aspx

Media inquiries please contact: Donna McCullough, Press Officer 028 9097 5391,  07980 013 362  d.mccullough@qub.ac.uk

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Spring into summer with a short course at Queen’s

As spring finally arrives why not shake off the winter blues, de-stress and get ready for your summer holiday with a part-time course at Queen’s?

Queen's Open Learning programme offers around one hundred short courses covering everything from golf to geology, photography to psychology and music to motivation techniques.

The Spring timetable will help you de-stress with courses on complementary therapies such as Indian Head Massage, acupressure, meditation and Shiatsu. And what better way to relax than by planning a summer holiday? Brush up on the language of your chosen destination with classes in holiday French, Spanish, Italian or German.

If you are planning a trip to Italy, get an insight into the country’s culture and culinary tastes with Sicily and Sardinia: Food, traditions and Landscapes, or Exploring the Culture behind the Italian Wine Tradition.

Dr Tess Maginess, Senior Teaching Fellow and Open Learning Co-ordinator at Queen’s School of Education, said: “Open Learning is the perfect opportunity to pursue an old interest or try something completely new. The courses are open to everyone over the age of 16, and you don’t need any ‘ologies’ or qualifications to enrol.

“From popular choices in languages, art, history and literature to more unusual options like West African Hand Drumming or A Guide to Inheritance Tax, we have courses to suit all interests and abilities.

“At this time of year, we spring clean our homes, but how would it feel to Spring Clean Your Life? Our course will help you do just that, by encouraging you to become your own life coach and explore what you truly want from important areas of your life, such as health, work, family and relationships.

“Get out and about in Counties Cavan and Fermanagh with a daytrip to Burren Forrest and the Marble Arch Caves, and find out more about the geology and landscape of the area with Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark: Landscapes and Livelihoods.

“Make the most of the brighter evenings with golf lessons, capture the beauty of Spring with a digital photography course, put your best foot forward in the Irish Ceili Dancing class or wind-down during your lunch hour with Lunchtime Yoga De-Stress.

“Literature fans can sort out their summer reading list with Booker Books. Forty years after the inaugural Man Booker Prize, this course looks at some of works that have won the coveted prize, including Amsterdam by Ian McEwan and Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road. And aspiring actors can develop classical acting techniques and script analysis skills in Playing Shakespeare, which explores the language, themes and characters of Hamlet.

“Embark on an intergalactic adventure with Exploring Space, which takes you on a journey through the solar system and human space adventures from the first moon landing to the development of the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope. Or learn how to use your own telescope to spot stars, planets and satellites in The Night Sky.

“For those with an interest in history, The Plantation of Ulster looks to the 400th anniversary of the plantation and its legacy on the region, while Eamon de Valera – The Rebel Statesman examines the life and times of one of Ireland’s most complex and controversial political leaders.”

Dr Maginess concluded: “Queen’s takes pride in its relationship with the city of Belfast. Alongside our degree programmes, Open Learning offers everyone – regardless of their background or qualifications - the opportunity to come to the University, try something new and enjoy learning in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

“With online registration at www.qub.ac.uk/edu/ol  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 / 3539.”

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson at Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320, 07814 415 451 or a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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£60M investment creates new science PhD posts at Queen’s

A new collaboration between Queen’s and Seagate Technology has created eight new PhDs in the area of advanced materials.

The studentships are currently being advertised following a £47.3m investment by Seagate in its Springtown plant, enhanced with £12.7m in grants from Invest Northern Ireland.

The new PhD positions will be based in Queen’s state-of-the-art Centre for Nanostructured Media within the School of Maths and Physics. As part of the investment, researchers are establishing a new research facility at the University with a dedicated laboratory of large area depositions systems, magnetometers, focused ion beam and atom probe microscopes. The new facility will be launched in the early summer.

Professor Robert Bowman is Director of Research at Queen’s Centre for Nanostructured Media. He said: “Seagate’s Springtown operation is already recognised as the United Kingdom’s most advanced nanotechnology scale manufacturing facility. PhD studentships offering the type of opportunities created by this partnership do not come along very often. Their creation as part of this large investment will create real leaps forward in the area of data storage and related fields and ensure Queen’s and Seagate remain at the forefront of developments in these areas. Through our new program we intend to also apply the expertise to other commercial sectors that rely on advanced materials. ”

Steve Luczo, Chairman, CEO and President of Seagate Technology said: “We are looking forward to further developing our strong and mutually productive association with Queen’s University Belfast. Queen’s has a worldwide reputation for excellence and innovation in digital electronics and related fields and we hope that this collaboration and the establishment of a new research facility at the University’s School of Maths and Physics, will be a catalyst for many more positive developments for the future”

The eight PhD studentships are focusing on engineered magnetic alloy thin films, advanced magnetoresistive thin film systems, thin film magnetic shielding and plasmonics for magnetic recording. Two positions are available in each area and four studentships are available immediately. The remainder will begin in October 2010.

More details on how to apply for the PhDs can be found online at www.qub.ac.uk/home/ProspectiveStudents/PostgraduateStudents/

Further information on the Centre and posts can be obtained by contacting Professor Robert Bowman on +44 (0)28 9097 3572 or email r.m.bowman@qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384, lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Northern Ireland ‘ideal testbed’ for entrepreneurial ideas

Professor Peter Russo

Northern Ireland has been identified by a leading entrepreneurship expert as a potentially important region in Europe for the testing of new ideas which could lead to economic growth.

Professor Peter Russo, founder and Director of the Strascheg Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the European Business School, Frankfurt, Germany, said the region’s compact size makes it an ideal testbed for an experimental entrepreneurial programme.

He will be visiting Queen’s University on Tuesday (23 March) to deliver an InterTradeIreland Innovation lecture.

He said: “If a strong strategy can be developed and put in place to implement new ideas, then Northern Ireland could expect to enjoy significant economic gains.    

“Effective innovation is the primary source of sustainable competitive advantage in the twenty-first century. Companies are left with no choice but to innovate: otherwise they will disappear from the market.

“Generating good ideas is generally not the bottleneck in the innovation process for companies. The real challenge lies in commercialising the new ideas in the right way. This critically important last step in a well-functioning innovation value-chain requires employees to act as entrepreneurs.”

Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Postgraduates Professor James McElnay said: “Professor Russo will provide valuable insights into corporate entrepreneurship as a way to exploit emerging market opportunities. Queen’s is delighted to offer the local business community and our students the chance to learn from this renowned entrepreneurship expert and we thank InterTradeIreland for its continuing support of the Innovation Programme.”    

According to Liam Nellis, InterTradeIreland  Chief Executive: “Innovation is critical to the future of both economies, North and South. As markets contract, businesses need to become more innovative in aligning their products and services to market needs and exploiting new opportunities quickly. InterTradeIreland has a key focus on innovation as a means to improve business capability and competitiveness.”

Professor Russo’s Innovation lecture, entitled Corporate Entrepreneurship: the key to making innovation happen, is being delivered as part of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme. This Programme, a partnership between InterTradeIreland, Queen’s University Belfast, NovaUCD (University College Dublin’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre) and the Centre for Innovation and Structural change at NUI Galway, aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland.

Professor Russo’s lecture will take place at 6pm on Tuesday 23 March, in the Great Hall at Queen’s University Belfast. Further information is available from Roisin Coulter, Research and Regional Services, Queen’s University Belfast, tel: 028 9097 5150, email r.coulter@qub.ac.uk

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0) 28 9097 5310: Mobile 07815 871997

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Psychologists invite public to discuss cyberspace at Queen's

Cyber-bullying and morals in cyberspace and will be just some of the subjects being explored at a public event on Queen’s on Friday (19 March).

The British Psychological Society and the School of Psychology at Queen’s are inviting members of the public to hear from some of Britain’s leading psychologists in the University’s Great Hall from 9.30am to 1.30pm.
Areas up for discussion at the Avatars, Virtual Reality & Cyberspace: What Psychology Says event, include Virtual Training: Reality or Myth; Morals in cyberspace; The realities of cyber-bullying and Engaging users through immersive learning environments.

The talks are part of a range of events organised to celebrate National Science Week 2010.

Admission to the event is free but places should be booked by emailing n.ireland@bps.org.uk

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384, lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's students urged: "Enjoy St Patrick’s Day responsibly"

Queen’s University and Students’ Union have urged students to enjoy St Patrick’s Day responsibly and conduct themselves in a manner which fully respects their role as good neighbours and public citizens.

In a letter to all students, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Students’ Union President Shane Brogan condemned the actions which led to disturbances in the Holyland area last year.

They went on to stress that it is important that St Patrick’s Day is enjoyed by everyone, adding:  “The best way to achieve this is by each of us taking personal responsibility for our behaviour.
“As many of you will be aware, last year there were serious disturbances in the Holyland district during St Patrick’s Day.  The vast majority of Queen’s students celebrated the day in an enjoyable and peaceful manner but, unfortunately, a number became involved in totally unacceptable anti-social behaviour which damaged the reputation of the University and all its students.

“We condemn such actions and have liaised closely with the statutory agencies in developing a comprehensive plan to ensure that there is no recurrence in 2010.” 

The Vice-Chancellor and the Student President encouraged students to take part in the St Patrick’s Day Student Festival, jointly hosted by Queen's and the University of Ulster, which takes place from Monday to Wednesday, 15 to 17 March.  The Festival’s wide-ranging programme includes a range of music, sports, film, visual art and spiritual events in a number of venues, including the Students’ Union and the Physical Education Centre.

The letter goes on to warn students of the consequences of anti-social behaviour.

 “If any Queen’s student is found to have brought the University into disrepute, they will be subject to the full rigour of its disciplinary code.  As a result of anti-social behaviour on St Patrick’s Day last year, 23 Queen’s students were disciplined, five were suspended and three are awaiting the outcome of court proceedings – the impact on future careers is likely to be much greater. 

“The PSNI, Community Safety Wardens and University staff will be patrolling the Holyland district during the St Patrick’s Day period and we ask for your full co-operation.”

It concluded: “We wish you an enjoyable and peaceful St Patrick’s Day - by acting responsibly, together we can ensure that 2010 is remembered for the right reasons.”

For media inquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, 028 9097 5310, 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Ireland's ethnic minorities want more self-expression in St Patrick's Day parades

Those members of Ireland’s ethnic minorities who participated in last year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin want to be able to express their own cultures more fully in future events.

The claim has been made by academics from Queen’s who have been working with colleagues in the University of Limerick and St Andrews in Scotland on a research project into Irish identities.

While the parade participants congratulated the organisers on creating an impressive and inclusive event, many from Ireland’s ethnic communities said they would prefer it if they were allowed to express themselves on their own terms, rather than have to adhere to an overarching theme.

Dr Samuel Pehrson, from the Centre for Research in Political Psychology at Queen’s, said: “Our research explores how the idea of the St Patrick’s Day parades being promoted as a multicultural event, actually shaped the experience of the people taking part.

“We found that people born in Ireland felt experiencing diversity in the parade could make their lives more interesting and enable them to sample something new and exotic. Equally they could carry on their lives as usual while feeling good about themselves for being ‘tolerant’.

“On the other hand, Ireland’s new ethnic minorities are on much less secure ground in taking up their place in public life. We found that while last year’s St Patrick’s Day parade made strenuous efforts to include a lot of different communities within Ireland, it was less good at providing a place for those different groups to represent themselves on their own terms.

“More broadly, the initial findings from this research are important because they help us all to understand that multiculturalism can be experienced quite differently by different people, according to how secure their inclusion is within the national community.”

The next stage in the project, entitled Embodying Imagined Communities: The Role of Collective Participation in the Transformation of Irish Identities, will study more systematically whether Irish identities are changed in any way by the experience of taking part in such events.

Dr Pehrson will present the initial research findings at a conference in Belfast next month to mark the launch of Queen’s Centre for Research in Political Psychology. The Centre, which is based in the School of Psychology at Queen’s, offers an MSc in Political Psychology, the only university in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe to do so.

Further information on the forthcoming conference at the Centre for Research in Political Psychology can be found online at www.psych.qub.ac.uk/CResPP/Conference/

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Senior Press Officer, 028 9097 5384 or lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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£15,000 Mother's Day boost for Queen's breast cancer research

Cancer researchers at Queen's have benefitted from the sale of Mother's Day cards thanks to funding of £15,000 from Hallmark’s Cards for a Cure(TM) to support the Breast Cancer Campaign.

The campaign, which has seen £1 million being donated to research projects, has now pledged £15,000 to Queen's for a project led by Dr Jennifer Quinn and her PhD Student, Elisabeth Lamers, from the University’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.

The project is investigating why some people are resistant to chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment, with a hope of one day being able to tailor treatment to the patients that it will definitely benefit.

Dr Quinn said: "This is a huge sum of money and we are extremely grateful to Hallmark for continuing to support Breast Cancer Campaign, which in turn benefits the important work that we do.

"With previous Breast Cancer Campaign funding, we discovered that people who have a working copy of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 do not respond well to some chemotherapy drugs. This new research is therefore hoping to find out why this happens so that patients could be tested for this gene prior to receiving chemotherapy, to ensure only people who are likely to respond to treatment actually receive it."

Tamsyn Johnston-Hughes from Hallmark Cards, said: "Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and affects many thousands of women and a number of men every year, as well as impacting on the lives of friends and family.

"It is for this reason that the research being carried out by Queen's is significant as it may one day help to find a cure for people with breast cancer worldwide. Our Cards for a Cure(TM) campaign donation directly benefits this on-the-ground research and is vital to ensuring that it can continue."

Media inquiries please contact: Donna McCullough, Press Officer 028 9097 5391,  07980 013 362  d.mccullough@qub.ac.uk

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100 years of moving image at QFT with launch of Digital Film Archive

Over 100 years of fascinating historical film footage, including the first existing film of Northern Ireland, shot by the Lumière brothers in 1897, will be on view for the public at QFT from Tuesday 16 March with the launch of Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive (DFA).
Susan Picken, Head of QFT, said:  “Whether you are a teacher, student, historian, or just have a keen interest in moving images, the Digital Film Archive is an invaluable resource, with footage covering drama, animation, documentaries, news, newsreels, amateur and actuality film.”
The DFA is stored on a computer in the QFT foyer which allows easy access to all the material. The archive is very user-friendly allowing you to explore a list of highlights or simply browse, using a keyword search.
Not only can you come to QFT and view the archive yourself, but the DFA can also come to you. Northern Ireland Screen delivers free themed presentations on a range of subjects based on the content of the archive. For further information on this, please contact Northern Ireland Screen’s DFA team on 028 9023 2444, education@northernirelandscreen.co.uk 
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said:“Northern Ireland Screen aims to ensure that our rich moving image heritage is safeguarded for current and future generations, and made accessible to the public in a way that is stimulating, entertaining and sustainable. We are delighted that QFT has come on board to host the DFA, bringing the total number of sites where the archive can be viewed across Northern Ireland to seventeen. We hope that over the coming months and years this number will increase so that more people can enjoy this wonderful collection of historic film.”
If you would like to view the Digital Film Archive (DFA) at QFT, visit 20 University Square from 9.30am-11.00pm, Monday to Friday and 6.00pm-11.00pm, Saturday and Sunday.

Media inquiries please contact Sarah Hughes, 028 9097 1398, 07905 276 399, s.hughes@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's 'inspires' school pupils to sporting excellence
Sporting inspirations (L to R): Dame Mary Peters, Dr Janet Gray, Dr Jack Kyle pictured with Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.
Sporting inspirations (L to R): Dame Mary Peters, Dr Janet Gray, Dr Jack Kyle pictured with Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.
Young rowers, Rhianna Craig & Rebecca Shirten (Methody) with Mark Pollock and Mark Fangen-Hall, Queen's Head Rowing Coach.
Young rowers, Rhianna Craig & Rebecca Shirten (Methody) with Mark Pollock and Mark Fangen-Hall, Queen's Head Rowing Coach.

Blind adventurer and international rower Mark Pollock has helped Queen’s University launch its new Inspiration in Sport series. He was joined by school pupils and other sporting greats including Dame Mary Peters, Dr Jack Kyle and Dr Janet Gray at the event in Queen’s PEC.

The series has been created to help inspire young sportsmen and women across Northern Ireland and offers post-primary pupils an opportunity to hear and learn from some of our most well-known athletes.

At the first event in the series, Mark, who is now a globally renowned motivational speaker, spoke to dozens of young rowers and their parents in a bid to inspire them to greatness.

Other speakers at the event included Queen’s Head Rowing Coach Mark Fangen-Hall, a former U23 rower for Great Britain whose appointment has now brought Queen’s Rowing in line with other successful rowing universities such as Durham, Reading, Oxford and Cambridge.

Queen’s Sport, which is continuing its programme of investment in sport for both students and the wider community will be contacting schools across Northern Ireland in coming months about events across a range of other sports.

Further information on sport at Queen’s University is available at www.qub.ac.uk/sport/
Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 9097 5384 lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s shows pupils science behind cancer research

Sixth formers are to get a unique insight into the science behind cancer research at Queen’s University’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, (CCRCB) this Saturday (13 March).

The event is giving AS-level students the chance to gain practical experience and learn more about a career in science from experienced world-class research scientists.

Director of the Centre, Professor Dennis McCance, explained: “The aim of the event is to encourage students to consider a career in cancer research.  They will have the opportunity to experience cutting edge technology first hand and will take part in practical sessions.”

Twenty-five students from nine schools in and around Belfast will attend the event which is part of the Centre’s ongoing commitment to engage the public in its work and further science education.

The researchers based at the Centre work closely with Cancer Research UK and other partners, carrying out research into cancer and taking research all the way from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside.

The cross-faculty, interdisciplinary research centre has over 220 clinical and basic researchers from across the world. These researchers are developing new avenues for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Further information on the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology and the Cancer Research UK Centre is available online at www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforCancerResearchCellBiology/

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s scheme gives graduates a boost in tough jobs market
Queen's undergraduate students who completed a year on work placement received a City & Guilds Award from Professor Ken Mortimer, Council Member of City & Guilds.
Queen's undergraduate students who completed a year on work placement received a City & Guilds Award from Professor Ken Mortimer, Council Member of City & Guilds.

A leading Queen’s academic has stressed how important it is for students to have a head start in today’s challenging job market.
Professor Tony Gallagher, Head of the University’s School of Education, was speaking ahead of Queen’s annual City & Guilds Senior Awards ceremony today (Wednesday 10 March).
He said: “Queen’s was one of the first universities in the UK to become involved in the City & Guilds scheme. It is an investment that has always yielded rich returns for our students and is even more important these days as the economic downturn has made the jobs market more competitive.
“City & Guilds enables students to acquire skills such as team working, good communication skills, creativity and leadership which, alongside their academic ability, will help them greatly.”
This year 194  students will receive Licentiateship Diplomas for skills gained during work placements with a range of employers in the public and private sectors, including IT and engineering companies, financial institutions and charities.
In addition, five academic staff from Further and Higher Education colleges in Northern Ireland will receive Membership  Awards under the Learning and Skills Development Agency's ‘Lecturers into Industry’ initiative funded by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL). Roy Humphries and Carol Thompson from Northern Regional College, Linda Martin and Debbie Morton from South Eastern Regional College, and Douglas Walker from North West Regional College will be presented with membership level awards under the scheme.

The students will receive their awards in Accounting with French; Accounting with Spanish; Agricultural Technology; Chemical Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Civil Engineering; Economics; Economics & Accounting; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Finance; Food Quality Safety and Nutrition; Information Technology; Land Use and Environmental Management; Management and Hispanic Studies; Management with German; Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and Structural Engineering with Architecture.
Media inquiries please contact: Donna McCullough, Press Officer 028 9097 5391, 07980 013 362,  d.mccullough@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's expert to take up Renal Registry Chair
Dr Damian Fogarty
Dr Damian Fogarty

Dr Damian Fogarty, Senior Lecturer in Renal Medicine at Queen’s and a Centre for Public Health principal investigator, has been appointed Chairman of the United Kingdom Renal Registry.

The Renal Registry is the National Audit arm of the UK Renal Association and undertakes quarterly reviews of activity and performance standards which are published in its annual report. It has 18 permanent staff covering database roles, statistical analyses and project management in addition to research students.

The chair is the outward face of the Registry, leading the management team strategically and is responsible for liaising with a wide range of national bodies such as the Department of Health and the NHS Information Centre on matters related to kidney disease.

Commenting on this role Dr Fogarty said: “This type of work highlights the huge potential of integration across the higher education and health care sectors. Such projects are often impossible to do away from the NHS but need the protected time and academic resources that Universities can offer to healthcare.”

Dr Fogarty will spend on average one day a week in the Registry offices which are housed beside colleagues and collaborators in the University of Bristol/North Bristol Trust. He hopes to develop further collaboration with the world-renowned Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol.

More information on the Centre for Public Health at Queen's can be found online at www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforPublicHealth/

Media inquiries to Donna McCullough, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email d.mccullough@qub.ac.uk

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The United States After Slavery – Queen’s historian leads US conference

Nearly a century and a half after the emancipation of around four million slaves in the American Civil War, a Queen’s University Belfast historian is bringing together some of the world’s leading scholars to explore the aftermath of slavery in the United States.

Dr Brian Kelly from Queen’s School of History and Anthropology leads the After Slavery project, an international research initiative between historians from the UK, Ireland and the USA. The project will welcome some of the world’s leading history scholars to a major conference at the College of Charleston in South Carolina next week (11-13 March 2010) to discuss race, labour relations and citizenship in post-emancipation America.

The conference keynote will be delivered by Professor Steven Hahn, whose 2003 study A Nation Under our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration (Harvard University Press), won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize in American History, and the Merle Curti Prize in Social History from the Organization of American Historians. Hahn will be joined by more than 100 scholars, journalists, and educators from 28 US states, Ireland and the UK, offering an exceptional opportunity for engagement between professional historians, American high school educators, and the wider public.

Dr Kelly said: “There are few chapters in the American experience that speak to us more powerfully than the crucial years during which four million former slaves tried to make something out of freedom. Yet for over a century after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, most historians regarded slavery as an incidental aspect of the American past.

“Some argued that slavery had been an appropriate, even humane means for organising a society comprising two inherently unequal races. Most claimed the end of slavery came about without any initiative on the part of the slaves themselves. On the whole, much of the early scholarship on the aftermath of slavery was infused with racial assumptions no longer acceptable in the mainstream. “One hundred years ago the African American scholar WEB Du Bois challenged this view, and since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, a new generation of historians influenced by the black freedom movement and by Du Bois’ pioneering work have countered this version of the past.

“This ‘revisionist’ view will be the focus of our conference. For the last generation, it has reshaped our understanding of the late nineteenth century United States. The sharp confrontation between ex-slaves and their former masters over what freedom would mean was the source of the bitter conflict that emerged in the post-emancipation South. This conference will explore in depth the profound impact of this conflict, both on the tragic history of the South, and on the development of American society in the years since.”

The After Slavery project is directed from Queen’s University Belfast and funded by the (UK) Arts and Humanities Research Council. For more information visit www.afterslavery.com  

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

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Queen’s spearheads £1m international research effort into liver fluke

A buffalo infected with Fasciolosis

Queen’s is spearheading a £1 million international research effort to combat liver fluke - a parasite which causes disease in livestock, resulting in billions of pounds in losses every year to farmers around the world.

The disease caused by liver fluke worms – Fasciolosis – has a huge impact on livestock globally, causing ill health in animals and dramatically reducing productivity.  Losses to UK farmers are estimated at over £300 million per year, while in India, Fasciolosis costs the agricultural sector between £1.3 and £3 billion per year.

This disease is a food-borne pathogen which can also infect people. An estimated 17 million people are infected with the liver fluke worm and the disease has been designated a Neglected Tropical Disease by the World Health Organisation.    

Parasitologists from Queen’s School of Biological Sciences will work with partners at Aligarh Muslim University and Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in India, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University in Wales, in efforts to uncover a new vaccine for the disease.

Professor Aaron Maule from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s said: “Liver fluke worms cause serious losses in cattle, buffaloes, goats and sheep and are a serious threat to the livelihood of farmers in many areas of Asia and Africa. A farmer in India whose buffalo is infected can see a 30 per cent drop in milk yields. This parasite represents a huge burden to India’s largely agricultural economy.

“In the developed world, liver fluke are mainly controlled using drugs which kill them. Drug resistance, however, is spreading. As these drugs become less effective, outbreaks of the disease in the UK are on the rise.

“A new control strategy, based on vaccination or chemotherapy, is urgently needed. This is exactly what we will be working to develop over the next three years, along with our partners in Wales and India.

“Key to the development of an effective treatment will be the careful selection of a suitable vaccine or drug target from within the worm. We will identify this target with the help of new molecular technologies, such as gene silencing, whereby potential targets are temporarily removed from the worm in order to determine their importance to the worm’s survival. Following the selection of the best vaccine targets, our research partners in India will conduct field trials in livestock to identify the best vaccine to control liver fluke disease.

“We also believe this technology based strategy for the selection of vaccine and drug targets will be directly transferable to other animal and human parasites, such as blood flukes and tapeworms.”

The £1 million research funding is part of the £13 million Combating Infectious Diseases of Livestock for International Development initiative co-funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Department for International Development and the Scottish Executive.

Welcoming the research, Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said: “This collaboration demonstrates the UK's determination to share our world-leading science in the search for improved treatments and diagnostic tools in animal health. Animal disease is a deadly threat that leaves no corner of the Earth untouched. This research will allow communities to protect food chains and economies at home and in developing countries.”

Details of all the projects being funded by the Livestock for International Development initiative are available in a media briefing at: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/media/releases/2010/100215-livestock-threat-reduce-poverty-increase-food-security.aspx

For more information contact Anne-Marie Watson at Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320 or 07814 415 451 or a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s nets €3.5m for water quality research
Dr Wilson McGarel
Dr Wilson McGarel

A Queen’s research centre has netted a €3.5m grant from the European Union to fund research into improving water quality and quantity for future generations.

Queen’s Environmental Science and Technology Research Centre, known as QUESTOR, was awarded the grant under the ‘People’ Marie Curie Actions theme. Described by Professor David Bellamy at its launch, as a ‘bright light at the end of a dark tunnel’, 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 new four year project, which will involve 16 researchers, will be co-ordinated by Dr Wilson McGarel, Director of QUESTOR, and will be known as 'Advanced Technologies for Water Resource Management' (ATWARM).

Explaining the importance of the grant Dr McGarel said: “This project will address the technology gaps that prohibit the EU from achieving an integrated water resource management strategy. The performance and sustainability of water and wastewater treatment plants will be enhanced and the project will also lead to improvements in the quality of surface and ground water.”

Queen’s will head up this project which will involve seven host organisations located in the UK, Ireland and Germany. The project is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN), and will involve 14 PhD students and 2 post-doc positions.

Further information on QUESTOR, which was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, is available at www.questor.qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to Donna McCullough, 028 9097 5391, Mob. 07980 013 362, d.mcullough@qub.ac.uk

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The 'Real Cracker' speaks at Queen's

The star of Channel 4's The Real Cracker, Dr Julian Boon, will be one of six leading psychologists visiting Queen’s this week to speak to undergraduates and A-level students. The psychologists from across Ireland and the UK will be discussing their work in the Whitla Hall on Wednesday 3 March from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Organised by the Northern Ireland British Psychological Society and Queen’s, Dr Boon will be revealing the myths and reality behind his work as one of the UK’s top forensic profilers, and Dr. John Kremer from Queen’s School of Psychology will be drawing on his 20 years of experience as a leading sports psychologist to tell how athletes will be mentally preparing for the 2010 Olympics. Professor Nichola Rumsey (UWE Bristol) will be outlining her internationally recognised research which explains the psychological effects of society’s increasing obsession with physical appearance.

Speakers on the day include: 

  •  Dr John Kremer (Queen’s University Belfast) on ‘In Search of the Winning Mind: Sport Psychology in Action’
  • Professor Nichola Rumsey (UWE Bristol) on ‘I Don't Like the Way I Look: The Psychological Consequences of Body Dissatisfaction"
  • Professor Keith Sullivan (NUI Galway) on ‘Let the Play Begin: Using Social Action Drama to Understand and Deal with Bullying in Secondary Schools’
  • Professor Ed Cairns (University of Ulster) on ‘All we are saying is "Give Psychology a Chance": Psychology and World Peace’
  • Dr Michael Paterson OBE (TMR Health Professionals, Belfast) on ‘Post Traumatic Stress: How it’s acquired and how it’s treated’
  • Dr Julian Boon (University of Leicester) on ‘Myth and Reality in Psychological Profiling’

Although aimed at students and A-level students, anyone with an interest in the diverse subject of Psychology is welcome. Attendance is free but applicants must e-mail to register before the event to a.kerr@qub.ac.uk or telephone 028 9097 4129.

Media inquiries to Anne Kerr, 028 9097 4129 or Dr Donncha Hanna, 028 9097 5549

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Queen's students scoop IT scholarships
Dr Pat Corr and Dr John McAllister from Queen’s, Matthew Wilson, Angela Canavan (Asidua), Barry Haughey, Dr Phil Hanna (Queen’s)
Dr Pat Corr and Dr John McAllister from Queen’s, Matthew Wilson, Angela Canavan (Asidua), Barry Haughey, Dr Phil Hanna (Queen’s)

Queen’s students Barry Haughey (Omagh) and Matthew Wilson (Dundonald) have been awarded prestigious scholarships with Belfast-based IT company Asidua.

Launched in 2008, in co-operation with both Queen’s University and the University of Ulster, the Asidua Scholarship Programme aims to attract fresh talent into the IT sector and also support IT students, professionally and financially, during their studies.

The company delivers software and consultancy services to government and corporate clients and employs over 120 people.

At an awards ceremony, which was held recently at Asidua’s head offices in Belfast, Barry and Matthew were congratulated by Dr Philip Hanna, Assistant Director of Education for the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s. He said: “We would like to thank Asidua for offering these scholarships, investing in the future, and providing students with an outstanding opportunity for growth and development.”

Angela Canavan, Asidua Chief Operations Officer said: “Despite the downturn in the economy, Asidua is once again proud to continue its investment in the future of Northern Ireland with the extension of the Scholarship programme.”

A third student, Dinuka Wijesinghe, from the University of Ulster, has also been awarded an Asidua scholarship.

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New book puts geology of local landmarks on the map

Experts from Queen’s have helped produce the first-ever guide to the natural resources used to build some of Northern Ireland’s best known landmarks.

Entitled Stone by Stone, the book is a collaborative project between Dr Patricia Warke and Professor Bernard Smith from the Weathering Research Group in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology and Dawson Stelfox from the Stone Conservation Services in Consarc Design Group.

Launched by Environment Minister Edwin Poots at a ceremony in the University’s Canada Room, the book throws new light on the history and use of stone in the construction of iconic buildings, including the Albert Clock in Belfast and Dunseverick Castle in County Antrim.

Dr Warke explained: “The book reflects accumulated knowledge gained during 15 years of partnership and involvement in a wide variety of projects related to the conservation of the historic stone built heritage of Northern Ireland. The book is unique because, in one volume, it provides an overview of the performance of stone in buildings with a detailed examination of the best management practices to ensure its longevity. The book seeks to make complex research findings accessible to the non-specialist and to demonstrate their relevance to the conservation of historic buildings.”

Capitalising on cutting-edge research, the publication also includes bedrock maps from the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and the Geological Survey of Ireland to help easily identify where specific building stones naturally occur.  

Co-author and Chairman of Consarc Design Group, Dawson Stelfox, said:  “Used for millennia, natural stone is the definitive building element on the island of Ireland and it remains the vanguard of innovative design and construction. Over the last century however we have lost much of that instinctive understanding of how best to use it.
“As a result, our rich masonry heritage has not been cared for as well as it deserves and local resources have been ignored in favour of imported stone. This book is based on the experience of academic research, practical testing and live restoration projects and is intended to both promote good practice for those working with stone and act as an informative guide for anyone interested in learning more.”

Dr Garth Earls, Director of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland said the book provided important insights.

“Stone By Stone is an important and accessible guide to one of Ireland’s richest and most important resources and a definitive guide to working with it now and in the future.”

‘Stone By Stone’ is on sale at all good bookshops priced £12.99.

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Queen’s entrepreneurial artist scoops funding award
Adrian Margey with some of his artwork
Adrian Margey with some of his artwork

A Queen’s PhD student has received funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to exhibit his art over the next eight months. 

Exhibitions of work by Adrian Margey, who is studying at the University’s School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, will begin at the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen over Easter weekend and culminate in October with a show at the Culloden Hotel, Belfast.

The large-scale solo exhibitions have been funded through the Arts Council’s Creative Industries Innovation Fund.

Adrian’s research at Queen’s investigates the role of entrepreneurship in the creative industries, focusing mainly on the application of business and marketing principles in Northern Ireland’s visual arts and theatre sectors.

Entrepreneurial education is embedded in degree pathways across Queen’s which is the UK’s Entrepreneurial University of the Year.

Adrian, who already has a string of commercially successful solo exhibitions under his belt, was recently hailed as ‘one of the rising stars of a new generation of Ulster artists’ by the Belfast Telegraph. 

Adrian said: “The Arts Council funding is a very welcome endorsement of the work that I do. I am creating a new body of work for the solo shows and look forward to introducing it to new audiences.  I see the funding as key to the long-term self sufficiency of my practice and am heartened that the Arts Council is taking steps to foster the entrepreneurial activities of the region’s artists.”

Suzanne Lyle, Arts Council Head of Visual Arts commented: “In just five years, Adrian has made a growing impact on the local arts scene with a portfolio of work which appeals to both traditional and contemporary art collectors. With support from the Creative Industries Innovation Fund arts enthusiasts across Northern Ireland will now have the opportunity to view Adrian’s work first hand.”

To find out more about Adrian’s work, visit www.adrianmargey.com

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