05-2010 Press Releases

Everybody's talking about BT Talking Pictures.
A special screening of E.T. will take place on Saturday 5 June in the QFT.
A special screening of E.T. will take place on Saturday 5 June in the QFT.

To celebrate their continuing partnership BT and QFT are proud to present BT Talking Pictures (Friday 4 – Thursday 10 June), a week of films inspired by BT’s unique contribution to the art of communication.
Susan Picken, Head of QFT said: “BT Talking Pictures illustrates just some of the multi-faceted forms of human, animal and extraterrestrial communication. From talking, listening and singing to sign language, writing and literally painting pictures with a camera, there are films here to enchant and delight.”

The event opens with the star-studded crime caper The Brothers Bloom (Friday 4 June), which sees Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo as a couple of silver-tongued conmen who talk their way into the affections of a beautiful young heiress, played by Rachel Weisz. 

Romance can often involve a certain degree of duplicity as Steve Martin discovers in Roxanne (Sunday 6 June),when he woos his beloved by proxy.  And then there’s Eliza Doolittle, whose language and vocabulary are changed beyond recognition by the initially insufferable Henry Higgins in the much loved Oscar-winning musical My Fair Lady (Sunday 6 June).

Peter Morris, Consumer Director, BT said: "As principal sponsor, BT is delighted to be supporting QFT in this week long film festival demonstrating the strength of good communication, a skill that is core to our business. Bringing together carefully chosen and wonderful examples from the film industry, including a number of special access screenings, BT Talking Pictures demonstrates the sheer power communication can have when used in many diverse ways. From a screening of My Fair Lady to classic head to head political interviews, there really is something to appeal to everyone."
In the season’s two world cinema classics, The Lives of Others (Friday 4 June) and Wings of Desire (Wednesday 9 June), the main characters can only eavesdrop on the conversations of others – all they want is to be able to say something.
There are many different ways of communicating and, with this in mind we have special Access screenings of Frost/Nixon (Saturday 5 June) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (Monday 7 June) with audio enhancement, audio description and on-screen captioning, as well as a special screening of E.T. – the Extra-Terrestrial (Saturday 5 June) for people with autism and their families.

In cinema, every picture tells a story and who better to personify this than the late, great Jack Cardiff, the legendary cinematographer and subject of new documentary, Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (Tuesday 8 June).

Finally, the wonderful, groundbreaking Pixar animation UP (Thursday 10 June), is the week's closing night film.

Tickets for BT Talking Pictures are £6/£5 concession. For further information and online booking, visit www.queensfilmtheatre.com 

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‘Olympian effort’ sees Queen’s win opportunity to attend Youth Games
Queen's student Andrew Johnston pictured with Prof Richard Harrison, QUMS (R); Glenn Roberts, Deloitte (L) and Rosalie Flanagan, DCAL (Centre).
Queen's student Andrew Johnston pictured with Prof Richard Harrison, QUMS (R); Glenn Roberts, Deloitte (L) and Rosalie Flanagan, DCAL (Centre).

A second-year Queen’s University Management School (QUMS) student has been selected by Sebastian Coe to attend the Singapore Youth Olympic Games this summer.

Second year accountancy student Andrew Johnston from Ballyholme, Co Down, won the inaugural Deloitte Business Competition. He will also gain two weeks’ paid work experience in Deloitte’s London 2012 team as part of his win.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), had high praise for Andrew's entry to the competition which was a paper focusing on what a successful Games might look like for residents local to the Olympic and Paralympic venues.

Coe highlighted Andrew’s practical recommendations to create a positive experience for residents, including community programmes, ticketing and business partnerships and his views on which indicators might be measured to gauge the success of the programmes he suggested.

In his entry, Andrew was keen to emphasise the importance of the Games as a catalyst for lasting change and the need to inspire young people through sport. He highlighted the spirit and the power of the Games and recommended a number of ways to connect with the local community, including artwork, text messages, volunteering opportunities and partnerships with job centres and training colleges.

Andrew said: “The opportunity to work with the Deloitte 2012 team will be a hugely beneficial and unique experience for me professionally. To get an inside, operational viewpoint on one of the world’s great events is an unbelievable opportunity and I’ll be focused on learning as much as I possibly can from it. I’m really looking forward to what will no doubt be a fantastic experience.”

Glenn Roberts, Senior Partner at Deloitte in Belfast, said: “Andrew’s Olympian effort demonstrated the business awareness, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking that we were looking for. To beat so many rivals from across the UK is true demonstration of the impressive quality of Andrew’s entry and of the high standards of teaching to be found at Queen’s University Belfast.”
Rosalie Flanagan, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, said: “I am delighted that local student Andrew has been successful in this UK-wide competition. My Department is responsible for ensuring that Northern Ireland benefits from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the vision is to get everyone involved in some way – including volunteering opportunities, business opportunities and participation in the Cultural Olympiad. Although sport is at the heart of the Games, London 2012 is about much more than sport and this competition demonstrates the opportunities that are available and that Northern Ireland can be a part of it.”

Media inquiries to Communications Office,  028 9097 5384 email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Royal Irish Academy honours Queen's academics

The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) admitted five of Queen’s University top academics as new members today (Friday, 28 May) in recognition of their academic achievement.This is the Academy’s 225th admission of new Members since it was founded in 1785.

The RIA is Ireland’s premier learned body and vigorously promotes excellence in scholarship, recognises achievements in learning, direct research programmes and undertakes its own research projects, particularly in areas relating to Ireland and its heritage.
Dr. Martin Mathieu and Professors Mary Daly, Mary O’Dowd, Mark Thornton Burnett and James Curls from Queen's were among only 24 academics on the island of Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction.
Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the RIA, said: "This latest group is as accomplished and as academically diverse as any cohort elected since our founding members signed the roll in 1785." 
For the past 225 years membership of the academy has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. The Academy now has 420 Members, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Mary Daly is Professor of Sociology at Queen's University Belfast. She is one of Ireland's foremost analysts of welfare regimes. Daly has published extensively on gender and welfare which has established her world-wide reputation in this field. As a comparative sociologist, she works on the divide between social policy and sociology and engages closely with European policy making.
Mary O’Dowd is Professor of Gender History at Queen’s University Belfast. She is an authority on early modern Irish history, and the leading Irish practitioner of gender history. She was a founding member of the Women’s History Association of Ireland and served as president of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History, 2000–2005.Her many publications, combine archival knowledge with an awareness of the most recent trends in historiography.
Mark Thornton Burnett is Professor of English Literature at Queen’s University Belfast. He is acknowledged to be one of the leading figures in Renaissance literary studies today. Professor Burnett is the author of a series of highly influential monographs and editions. He has recently been a key figure in opening up the area of adaptations of Shakespeare in modern culture and across the world, as seen in his book Filming Shakespeare in the Global Marketplace and his current project Shakespeare and World Cinema.
Dr Martin Mathieu is a member of the Department of Pure Mathematics at Queen's University Belfast. He is a leading world authority on the theory of local multiplier algebras. Dr Mathieu specialises in the area of functional analysis. His research includes a diversity of techniques and results from various areas of algebra and analysis. He is extensively involved in promoting mathematical research through organisation of conferences and journal editorship.

James Curl is Honorary Research Fellow at Queen's University of Belfast. His specialist interest is in Architectural History. He has established an international reputation for scholarship and thorough research in little-known fields of research. His ground-breaking research has resulted in numerous books.  Among his many works are: Victorian Architecture: Diversity & Invention (2007), Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (2006); and The Egyptian Revival: Ancient Egypt as the Inspiration for Design Motifs in the West (2005). 

Media inquiries to Comms.Office@qub.ac.uk or telephone 028 9097 5384

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Queen’s to take part in UK’s largest study on poverty and social exclusion
Professor Mike Tomlinson
Professor Mike Tomlinson

Queen’s researchers are taking part in the UK’s largest ever study on poverty and social exclusion. The research project has been launched with the aim of helping to find solutions to tackle the problems of poverty and deprivation.
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the investigation will be led by a team of top flight researchers, who will examine trends from the past ten years.
The findings will identify the causes and outcomes of poverty and social exclusion and could have a significant impact on policies to improve the standard of living across the social divide.
The initiative, which will span three and a half years, is a major collaboration between Queen’s, the University of Bristol, Heriot-Watt University, the National Centre for Social Research, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, The Open University, the University of Glasgow and the University of York.
Professor Mike Tomlinson, Head of the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s said: “This is a very significant project, which allows us to compare how Northern Ireland has changed since the poverty and social exclusion survey carried out here in 2001/2.
“We are especially interested in how living standards vary by the equality dimensions included in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998). We also want to address the continuing debate over the legacy of the troubles and to establish how people are dealing with the consequences of the crisis in financial services and associated impacts on employment and public services.
“Northern Ireland faces serious challenges in meeting its obligations under the Child Poverty Act (2010), but it does so with a high degree of political consensus that child poverty must be eliminated. This research will provide policy makers with key insights into different forms of social exclusion and how these may be addressed through the devolved government.”
The research project will:

  • Improve the measurement of poverty, deprivation, social exclusion and standard of living.
  • Measure the change in the nature and extent of poverty and social exclusion over the past ten years.
  • Produce policy-relevant results about the causes and outcomes of poverty and social exclusion and how best to address these problems.

Professor David Gordon, Director of the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, said: “Billions of pounds are spent each year in the UK on trying to reduce poverty and yet poverty rates remain stubbornly and persistently higher than during the 1960s and 1970s.
“Wages and benefits are too low and too much money and talent is wasted on ‘socially useless activities’ in the financial sector. A radical re-think is needed on how to end poverty and exclusion once and for all.
This study will provide the kind of deep analysis that can inform the work of the new Government - and that of Frank Field MP, who has been invited to lead a review on levels of poverty and how it should be measured.”
For more information visit www.poverty.ac.uk 
Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson at Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320 or

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New book prompts call for rethink on war in Middle East
HAMAS: The Islamic Resistance Movement is available now from Queen’s bookshop.
HAMAS: The Islamic Resistance Movement is available now from Queen’s bookshop.

The full story of Islamic resistance movement Hamas has been uncovered in a new book co-authored by a Queen’s academic.

HAMAS: The Islamic Resistance Movement is written by Queen’s politics Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards, along with Stephen Farrell a New York Times Foreign Correspondent’ who runs the NYTs At War blog http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com

Professor Milton-Edwards is an internationally recognised expert in the field of religious extremism, political violence and terrorism. She leads Queen’s master’s degree course in Violence, Terrorism and Security at the University’s School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy.

Professor Milton-Edwards said: “Declared a terrorist menace yet elected to government in a free election, Hamas now stands as the most important Sunni Islamist group in the Middle East. But how did Hamas grow to be so powerful? Who supports it? And what is its future? This book provides an essential insight into the movement and answers these questions.”

Professor Milton-Edwards has spent two decades researching Hamas from the movement’s Palestinian heartland. Together with Stephen Farrell, she has gained unrivalled access to the world of Islamic resistance and radical Islam.

She said: “Drawing on our frontline experiences of recent events, access to secret documents from the western intelligence community and interviews with leaders, militants, and commanders of Hamas' armed battalions, this book reveals the full story of Hamas and the future of political Islam in the Middle East.

“We show Hamas to be a broad and more powerful regional phenomenon than previously thought, and by doing so contend that it is time to rethink the war and the nature of Islam and its role in the Middle East.”

HAMAS: The Islamic Resistance Movement is published by Polity and will be launched at the Queen’s Bookshop on Friday 28 May 5.30-7.00pm (www.queensbookshop.co.uk).

Further information on the book is available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy--_NU99lI&feature=player_embedded

For more information on Queen’s School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPoliticsInternationalStudiesandPhilosophy

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

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Queen's life-saving research recognised
Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta from Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta from Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

A Senior Lecturer from Queen’s University Belfast has been honoured for his research work in tackling the world’s worst case of ongoing mass poisoning.

Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta, from Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering has received an Excellence Award from the Asian Water Industry and a second award, the St Andrew’s Prize for the Environment, for his work in creating the world’s first chemical free arsenic removal plant in India.

Currently over 70 million people in Eastern India and Bangladesh, experience involuntary arsenic exposure from consuming water and rice; the main staple food in the region. This includes farmers who have to use contaminated groundwater from minor irrigation schemes. It is estimated that for every random sample of 100 people in the Bengal Delta, at least one person will be near death as a result of arsenic poisoning, while five in 100 will be experiencing other symptoms.

Leading an international research team, Dr Sen Gupta implemented an innovative method of removing arsenic from groundwater without using chemicals. The team established a trial plant in Kasimpore, near Kolkata, offering chemical-free groundwater treatment technology to rural communities for all their drinking and farming needs. Six plants are now in operation in rural locations in West Bengal and are being used to supply water to the local populations using subterranean arsenic removal technology.

Dr Sen Gupta received his Asian water industry at a Gala Ceremony in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The St Andrew’s Prize is a joint environmental initiative by the University of St Andrew’s and the international integrated energy company ConocoPhillips. The prize aims to find practical solutions to environmental challenges from around the globe.

Speaking about his awards Dr Sen Gupta said: “I am honoured and humbled by the recognition given to me by both the Asian Water Industry and St Andrews. These awards recognise the contribution of Queen's to the Asian water industry in general and the novel arsenic removal from groundwater in particular.”

The St Andrew’s prize includes a cash award of $75,000. Speaking of his team’s plans for the money, Dr Sen Gupta said: “This award will enable us to transfer our knowledge to other groups who will be able to set up 25 more operations with around 25,000 people benefiting from the provision of safe drinking water."

Further information on civil engineering at Queen’s is available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPlanningArchitectureandCivilEngineering/

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s researchers reveal parasitic threat
Acanthocephalan worm, Echinorhynchus truttae, in the invader Gammarus pulex, the parasite extending from the host’s head to about half way along the body
Acanthocephalan worm, Echinorhynchus truttae, in the invader Gammarus pulex, the parasite extending from the host’s head to about half way along the body

Researchers at Queen’s have discovered animal populations may often be under a much larger threat from parasites than previously recognised.

It is widely believed that the absence of parasites in species which ‘invade’ ecosystems gives these ‘invaders’ an advantage in their new homes (the ‘enemy release hypothesis’). But now, researchers from Queen’s have discovered quite the opposite, with the presence of parasites in these invasive species actually increasing the damage they can do.

The research was carried out by scientists in the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s using invasive and native crustacean species from Belfast’s River Lagan and Lake Kiltonga in Newtownards. The first results have been published in Biology Letters, a prestigious Royal Society Journal.

Explaining the significance of the finding, Dr Jaimie Dick from Queen’s, Principal Investigator on the project said: “We have uncovered a significant threat from parasites which is lurking in our rivers and lakes, and which could have major implications for animal populations across the globe, the environment and the economy.

“It is widely known that ‘invaders’, those species which become transplanted from their native range, can have a negative impact on local invertebrates and fish stocks and cause wider ecological harm. Now, we have made the discovery that the presence of parasites can actually increase, rather than decrease, the damage that these invaders can cause.

“Our experimental approach at Queen’s used a fresh water shrimp ‘invader’ species as a first direct test of theory. We found that this particular invader had more impact on our freshwater animals when it actually harboured parasites, than when it was without them. This has significant implications for previous thinking, that when invaders are free from their parasites they do well in new locations.

“The next vital step for researchers worldwide is to use this information from Queen’s to help understand and predict the impacts of invasive species and their parasites. This is a global research priority and if work is not carried out in this area, we could reach a situation where our native species disappear, ecosystem services are affected by issues such as water purification, and we suffer great economic losses. In short, we need to protect biodiversity and reduce the economic impact of invaders.”

The next stage of the research will see how the effects of parasites propagate through entire communities, using experiments, surveys, new mathematical models and analysis of isotopes in body tissues that reveal the feeding history of invasive species in our freshwaters.

The work is funded by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and will last for 3 years.
Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s student wins prestigious GQ Norman Mailer Award
Helen Madden
Helen Madden

A Queen’s PhD student has been chosen as the inaugural recipient of the annual British GQ Norman Mailer Non-Fiction Writing Award.

Helen Madden from Belfast, who is currently completing a postgraduate taught programme in Creative Writing within Queen’s School of English, was recognised for her submission entitled Rod, Roy and Jerry Lee. Helen, who recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, will have her work published in a future issue of GQ. Her prize also consists of an all-expenses paid month at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, a residential educational centre based at the legendary author’s former home in Provincetown, Massachusetts and a cheque for £1000.

Helen was chosen from a shortlist of six by a panel of judges comprising the Editor of The Times Literay Supplement Sir Peter Stothard; novelist and critic Geoff Dyer; Canongate publisher Jamie Byng; novelist and Contributing Editor to GQ Tony Parsons; Condé Nast Managing Director and bestselling author Nicholas Coleridge; GQ Editor Dylan Jones; GQ Features Director Alex Bilmes; leading literary agent Ed Victor; publisher and investor Spas Roussev, and platinum-selling singer-songwriter Lily Allen.

Sir Peter Stothard, remarking on the winner, said: “there is a complete absence of cliché in her writing”, while literary agent Ed Victor added: “If I were only allowed to sign one of the shortlisted writers it would be Madden”.  Lily Allen said: “I am delighted there’s such a strong representation of women writers on the shortlist”.

Dylan Jones, Editor of British GQ said: “The work of our winner exemplifies this spirit, and sets the benchmark for future competitors.”

Further information on education programmes in Creative Writing at Queen’s is available online at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEnglish/

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Sectors join forces to tackle child poverty

A series of public events focusing on positive outcomes for children and young people, including the elimination of injustices such as child poverty, begins at Queen’s today (19 May).

The seminars are being organised by Queen’s Improving Children’s Lives (ICL) research initiative, Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) and the Health and Social Care Board.

Participants will hear from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on Government efforts to tackle child poverty. The Office’s guest speaker will also address how new UK wide legislation on child poverty can provide the impetus to pro-actively deliver on commitments around the eradication of child poverty and the delivery of the Ten Year Children and Young People’s Strategy.

A wide range of views from research, policy and practice will be presented on the most effective ways to address child poverty through the joint planning and commissioning of services that can reach the poorest children in local communities.

Geraldine McDonald, Deputy Chair of Improving Children’s Lives at Queen’s said: “Improving Children’s Lives is an interdisciplinary initiative at Queen’s promoting work that is children’s rights-based, outcome-focused and evidence-informed.  In partnership with Children in Northern Ireland and the HSCB, ICL is delighted to provide this public seminar on Child Poverty.

“Working together to promote social justice is the ethos that underpins this seminar.  Academics, practitioners and policy makers need to work together to eliminate injustices such as child poverty, and improve outcomes for children.  This seminar makes a contribution to cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration in an area of immense significance for Northern Ireland’s children.”

Pauline Leeson, Director of Children in Northern Ireland said “CiNI is delighted to represent the children’s sector in this partnership which seeks to enable improvements in children’s lives. As a partner in the joint planning and commissioning of services we are mindful of the future for public expenditure in Northern Ireland. We are committed to working with our partners to maintain and protect the direct frontline work that is making a measurable difference by lifting children and families out of poverty.”

Fionnuala McAndrew, HSCB, Director of Social Care and Children said “I am delighted to hear messages from children today on the effects of poverty, and I will be feeding today’s findings into the new Northern Ireland wide partnership, to be called the Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership. This will lead integrated planning and commissioning of services for all children and young people aimed at improving outcomes, including addressing child poverty.”

Further information Improving Children’s Lives at Queen’s is available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/ImprovingChildrensLives

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Public asked to take part in new online ‘uncertainty’ research

Dr David Newman, Queen's University Management School

Researchers at Queen’s are asking for 300 volunteers to take part in an experiment aimed at improving people’s ability to make better decisions.

Staff from Queen’s University Management School (QUMS), are inviting volunteers to try a new World of Uncertainty quiz game online or in an experimental group.

The researchers are hoping the new game, available at http://quiz.worldofuncertainty.org, will help individuals improve the skills needed in decision making by asking them to deliberate carefully about their ‘true uncertainty’ and attempt to quantify it honestly and accurately. 

The World of Uncertainty game is being tested by PhD student Jyldyz Tabyldy kyzy, under the supervision of Dr David Newman. Explaining about the new experiment, Dr Newman said: “We all face a range of decisions everyday. A single question underlines all of these decisions and that is ‘How sure am I?’ We hope this new research and online experiment will allow participants to increase their accuracy on a range of questions and answers, and train in how to quantify their confidence.

“This project aims to get people who are involved in decision making to understand uncertainty as often our decisions can be distorted by our natural instinct to believe in stories. Instead of trying to eliminate uncertainty, it is our objective to explore it and look at how it can be handled with the aplomb of a bookmaker or a volcanologist forecasting ash clouds. We also hope the concept will be further developed by games manufacturers in the future.”

Jyldyz Tabyldy kyzy hopes that as many people as possible will register online and enjoy the game in their spare time. She explained: “We really want players to play the game regularly and come back often to track their performance, as by doing so, they will contribute greatly to the research.

“We want to find out how well the game trains people to handle uncertainty better - whether they are experienced decision makers, risk experts, or students. Also, we would like to talk to teachers and trainers about involving their students. The results can add to the formal evaluation and even shed more light on a student’s grasp of their course.”

Queen’s University Management School is also looking for up to three groups of trainees or students to test the game in their classes.

Media inquiries to Donna mccullough, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 3087 or email d.mccullough@qub.ac.uk

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Rowing rivals launch Ramada Hotel Shaw’s Bridge University Boat Race

Rowing rivals from Queen’s and Trinity have clashed oars on the banks of the Lagan to help launch this year’s Ramada Hotel Shaw’s Bridge University Boat Race on the 5th of June. Pictured enjoying the rivalry between Peter Croke, Captain of Trinity’s Dublin University Boat Club ( in white) and Charles Cunningham, Deputy Queen’s Boat Club Captain (in blue) is Lord Diljit Rana, sponsor of this year’s event.

A new spectators enclosure has been created in Queen's PEC car park for this year’s event. The public enclosure sponsored by The Ramada Hotel Shaw’s Bridge in association with Jack Wills, boasts a live music DJ, entertainment, beer tent, Spice Club Indian Restaurant and trampolines.

Members of the public are encouraged to cheer on the rowers along the route, and join the crews at Queen’s PEC as Trinity attempt to regain the Senior Men and Women’s titles from the Belfast University.

Media inquiries to Judith Rance, Press and PR Unit, 028 90 97 5292 or email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s students named in UK’s Top Ten Undergraduates of the Year
L to R: Queen’s University students Craig McCarter, Coleraine; Caron Malone, Belfast and Paul Magee, Lurgan, pictured after being included in the UK’s top ten undergraduates of the Year.
L to R: Queen’s University students Craig McCarter, Coleraine; Caron Malone, Belfast and Paul Magee, Lurgan, pictured after being included in the UK’s top ten undergraduates of the Year.
Three Queen’s students have been included in the UK’s top ten undergraduates of the Year.

Caron Malone from Belfast, an electrical and electronic engineering student, was named in two categories, Systems and Electronics Undergraduate of the Year and Engineering Undergraduate of the Year. Craig McCarter from Coleraine and Paul Magee from Lurgan, both studying computer science, were included in the IT and Computer Science Undergraduate of the Year category.
All three students are from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s. Professor Stan Scott, Director of Education within the School, said: “I am delighted three of our undergraduates were shortlisted for UK undergraduate of the year. They are all very hard working and diligent, and deserve this recognition.
“We already know students from our School are highly thought of as they are snapped up by employers, even in the current economic climate, but it is terrific to receive this endorsement which recognises our students can not only compete with, but rank among the best, in the whole of the UK.”
All three students are currently working with companies during their placement year as part of their course. Caron is on placement with NIE, Craig with Liberty IT and Paul with Equiniti ICS. Both Caron and Craig are also being sponsored through their courses with their placement companies.
The undergraduate of the year competition is run by TARGETjobs and entrants were required to go through various stages, including answering a series of questionnaires and delivering a presentation in order to be shortlisted. 
Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk 

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‘Changing the conversation’ between communities

MSc students from the School of Planning, Architecture & Civil Engineering (SPACE), have teamed up with the South Belfast Partnership Board and community representatives to address tough questions on the sustainability of local communities.

The new project examines the geography of part of inner South Belfast. It is considering how areas could be ‘opened up’ to the rest of the city to encourage tourism, increase trade, improve services and share resources.

To tackle these issues, MSc students from SPACE, specialising in urban design and spatial regeneration, have been working alongside the four inner south Belfast communities of Sandy Row, Donegall Pass, Lower Ormeau and the Markets area. They have undertaken a comprehensive study combining the needs, fears and aspirations of each community, alongside in-depth data analysis of each area’s problems, and the opportunities which exist for community regeneration.

The students will present their findings on Friday 21 May at 2pm in the Canada Room at Queen’s.

The study area, extending across part of inner south, will also look at connecting routes and key nodal points. The report, presentation and valuation will help inform the bidding for future resources. 

Further information on the range of urban design, planning and spatial regeneration courses on offer at Queen’s is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPlanningArchitectureandCivilEngineering

Further information from  Chris Martin, Marketing & Communications Officer, South Belfast Partnership Board 028 9024 4070 or email intern4@southbelfast.org

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Queen's celebrates Nursing in the 21st Century
Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
The 100th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale is being marked in Northern Ireland with an international nursing conference.

The conference, co-hosted by the Florence Nightingale Foundation, in partnership with Health and Social Services Trusts, the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s and the School of Nursing at the University of Ulster, will critically examine the relevance of Nightingale’s ideas on Nursing in the 21st Century.

International keynote speakers at the Nursing conference will include Emeritus Professor Judith Parker from The University of Melbourne, Australia and Associate Professor Sean Clarke, University of Toronto, Canada. Professor Parker is known internationally for her work in relation to nursing programmes, practice innovations and nursing research and Professor Clarke has published extensively on the nursing workforce and its impact on patient outcomes. Other notable speakers who will be chairing sessions include Martin Bradley, Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, Sheila O’Malley, Chief Nursing Officer for Republic of Ireland and Mary Hinds, Director of Nursing & Allied Professions, Public Health Agency, N.I.

Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's said: "This important conference is linked to the worldwide celebrations surrounding International Nurses Day held on May 12 each year, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. The theme this year is Delivering quality, serving communities: Nurses leading chronic care.

"The International Council of Nurses is issuing a call to action for nurses everywhere to lead the fight against chronic disease, to act as healthy role models for their families, their patients and their communities and, through their national nurses associations, to engage with ICN and its partners to advocate for necessary social, economic and political change."

The conference is being held at University of Ulster Magee Campus.

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

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

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Royal visit gives ‘green’ light to world-leading research at Queen’s

QTV Icon New Watch the QTV piece on the Royal visit

Queen’s University’s global contribution to the renewable energy and marine sectors was recognised today when His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, visited Queen’s Marine Laboratory (QML) in Portaferry.

His Royal Highness was welcomed by The Lord Lieutenant for Co. Down David Lindsay Esq; the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Mrs Arlene Foster MLA; Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson; and Mr Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines.

The Prince of Wales met staff from the School of Biological Sciences who are based at the Laboratory and are currently involved in researching the use of algae as a viable source of bio-fuel. Research at the Laboratory also covers the areas of sustainable fisheries, evolutionary ecology and biodiversity.

During a tour of the Laboratory and the University’s large scale wave basin, His Royal Highness met members of Queen’s staff, including Professor Trevor Whittaker who was instrumental in the creation of the world’s largest working hydro-electric wave energy device known as Oyster, which is currently installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We welcome His Royal Highness today, not just as an honoured guest, but as a global ambassador for the importance of sustainability.  Queen’s is committed to sustainable development – in its campus, through its research and in educating future generations of leaders.

“This Marine Laboratory is a vital part of Queen’s Institute for a Sustainable World within which researchers from different disciplines are providing innovative solutions to the challenges posed by the social, economic and environmental impacts of our day-to-day living. I am proud to say that our marine biologists are globally recognised and our engineers have a well deserved reputation as a world-leader in the field of Marine Energy Renewables.”

Before leaving, His Royal Highness joined Queen’s staff and guests from the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland for a lengthy round table discussion on the subject.

Media inquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer, 028 9097 5384, Mob 07814 422 572 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s ‘Spyfest4’ taps into secret world

A one-day ‘Spyfest’ on intelligence in neutral states in wartime will take place on Wednesday 12 May in the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University.

Among those participating in the investigation into the secret world of spies and espionage will be Professor Keith Jeffery, official historian of the Secret Intelligence Service. This is the fourth year of the event and Professor Jeffrey plans to review the situation of spies and spying in neutral states during the World Wars.

Intelligence historians speaking at the event will include Jimmy Burns, author of Papa Spy, a book about his father’s covert work in Madrid in the Second World War. Other experts include Craig McKay, author of From Information to Intrigue;  Mark Seaman, historian at the Cabinet Office and author of Bravest of the Brave and Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of war (editor), and Eoin Ryan, Cambridge University.

The event is aimed at an undergraduate history audience and space is limited. Queen’s postgraduates and staff, as well as others, are welcome. It starts at 10am and there will be a charge of £20 for non-Queen’s attendees. Anyone interested in attending should register at k.jeffery@qub.ac.uk

The Institute of Irish Studies is located at 53-67 University Road, Queen’s University Belfast.
Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Study asks ‘Is dark chocolate good for you?’

Volunteers are to have chocolate delivered to their homes and be encouraged to eat 50g of it every day for eight weeks as part of a new research study.

Researchers at Queen's, funded by Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke and the NI Research and Development Office, are to study 110 people with high blood pressure for the opening stage of a three-year project starting in August.

The aim is to discover if a high fruit and vegetable diet incorporating dark chocolate and berries - which are all rich in important compounds called polyphenols - is better for the cardiovascular system than a diet low in fruit and vegetables.

Dr Pascal McKeown from Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences who is leading the study, said: "The important thing to stress is that the chocolate we will be using will be very high in cocoa - at least 70 per cent. Standard milk chocolate has nothing like the polyphenol content of dark chocolate.

"One group of patients will be put on a low polyphenol diet - probably the average UK diet, since most people tend to eat only two portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Another group will be encouraged to eat six portions of fruit and vegetables, including one portion of berries, each day, together with the 50g of dark chocolate. We will examine people's blood vessel health and the stickiness of their blood at the start and end of the study to discover whether a diet rich in polyphenols can reduce the risk of developing heart disease."

Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of NI Chest, Heart & Stroke (NICHS), said: "This is a great example of high quality research which has the potential to benefit first and foremost the people of Northern Ireland, but also has applications further afield. We hope it will provide a solid evidence base for fine-tuning the government's advice on healthy eating."

NICHS has provided funding of £32,000 for the project. One of the researchers, Dr Rebecca Noad, has also secured a Fellowship award from the Department of Health's Research and Development Office.

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit. Tel 00 44 (0)28 90 97 5384 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s academics appointed co-editors of leading social work journal

Two social work experts from Queen’s have been appointed Co-editors of the British Journal of Social Work, the UK’s leading academic social work journal.

Professor John Pinkerton, from South Belfast, and Dr Jim Campbell from South East Belfast, are based in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s. They are the first Northern Ireland academics to hold the prestigious positions of co-editors.

The journal covers every aspect of social work, with papers reporting research, discussing practice, and examining principles and theories. It is read by social work educators, researchers, practitioners and managers who wish to keep up to date with theoretical and empirical developments and is regarded as one of the top ten international journals in its field.

Professor Pinkerton said: “The British Journal of Social Work is ideally positioned to connect the world of British social work research and practice to the increasingly global profession that is social work today. The journal already has an impressive international reputation and to see that further strengthened is one of the major goals of our term of office.”

Dr Campbell said: “We are looking forward to working with the British Journal of Social Work’s Editorial Board to expand and develop its network of academic and practitioner contributors and readers. With the support of the Oxford University Press team we are confident we can ensure the Journal continues to provide the highest standards of contemporary publishing, making full use of the constant developments in information technology.”

Professor Mike Tomlinson, Head of the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s said: “These are significant appointments, which reflect the international standing of Professor Pinkerton and Dr Campbell, and the innovative work being undertaken at the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.

“These appointments are testament to the increasing impact the School is having nationally and internationally and its growing reputation as a centre of excellence in social work research and education.”

For more information on the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofSociologySocialPolicySocialWork

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

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Trauma-related referrals on increase in Northern Ireland
Marianne Moutray
Marianne Moutray

The number of referrals for trauma-related support as a result of the violence in Northern Ireland has increased by 34 per cent in the last year.

The figure relates to referrals made to the WAVE Trauma Centre. According to WAVE Chief Executive Sandra Peake, the referrals are largely the result of a “ripple effect” from cases being addressed by the Historical Enquiries Team. 

The figure has been revealed ahead of an event at Queen’s today attended by actor James Nesbitt.

The event will highlight the launch of a new Trauma Training and Learning Pathway delivered by WAVE, and financially supported by the EU PEACE III Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the Community Relations / Pobal Consortium. 

Speaking ahead of the event, James Nesbitt, who is patron of WAVE said: “Events like this are vital in showcasing how expertly-led programmes, held in the true spirit of partnership, are vital in forming a better society for all in Northern Ireland.

“Their collaboration in the field of trauma studies has a real, tangible impact on the lives of those who they care and support on a daily basis. It is vital that the forthcoming Executive recognise this and enable this unique, vital and valuable work to continue.”

James Nesbitt will be in conversation with former BBC security correspondent Barney Rowan at the event.

Marianne Moutray, Director of Education in Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s said: “In Northern Ireland the need to deal with the past is growing in emphasis. I am proud that WAVE, Gaslight Productions, and Queen’s through its School of Nursing and Midwifery and School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work are making a real difference in assisting and enabling our local communities to resolve at least some of the pain of the past.

“For the first time Social Work students will be trained by members of WAVE who have had direct personal experience of the troubles. They will gain an invaluable insight into what life is like for the many they may well be helping in their future career.

“Such initiatives are vital to the future success of our health and caring professionals. I hope today’s event will encourage more people from the healthcare field, the emergency services and the victim survivor community, to come on board and continue this crucial and necessary work which is set against the context of the violence experienced by many in Northern Ireland”.

Sandra Peake, Chief Executive of WAVE, said: “For many of those affected by the Troubles, the past is not in the past, it forms the present and it needs to be addressed in order that individuals can progress to the future.

“Today’s event will highlight the positive and often transformational effects our trauma-studies programmes have on people who access our services and study on our courses. It is also a celebration of the trauma training courses we run in the community and of course, the launch of our PEACE III European Union funded training and learning pathway which works across Northern Ireland and the border counties to provide specialist trauma training programmes and equip members of the community to assist with learning from the past in order to shape our future.

“The work undertaken as a result of the collaboration between WAVE and all our partners offers a real opportunity to assist communities and also to contribute to an overall societal response in dealing with the past. I would like to thank James Nesbitt for his ongoing support in highlighting this important and very real issue and hope it will stay as a priority on the political agenda.”

Also speaking at today’s event will be Dr Karen Murphy from New York, Director of International programmes for Facing History and Ourselves and students who have benefitted from the courses on offer.

Further information on studying Trauma Studies at Queen’s is available online at the School of Nursing and Midwifery website via www.qub.ac.uk
Further information on WAVE can be found online at http://www.wavetraumacentre.org.uk/ 
Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Senior Press Officer, 028 9097 5384 or m07814 422 572, lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Autism book by local authors to be translated into Hindi
Smita Awasthi (L) and Dr Karola Dillenburger (R)

A leading book on autism by a Queen’s researcher is to be translated into Hindi and published in India, where currently over one million people are thought to be affected by the condition.
The book entitled Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists has already been translated into Japanese and provides a useful introduction to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for parents and professionals working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The book’s co-editor is Dr Karola Dillenburger from Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Education, who is also ABA consultant at the Applied Behaviour Academy in Bangalore. ABA is the application of the science of behaviour analysis to socially relevant behaviours. When used for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ABA-based treatments are individually tailored, child centered, and can produce remarkable results.
Dr Dillenburger said: “There are over 1 billion people in India and, at a conservative estimate, approximately one in 150 people are affected by autism. The key to effective treatment is to diagnose the condition as early as possible and provide early intensive behavioural intervention based on ABA. For the past four decades, ABA has provided a basis for effective treatment across the world, and now this book will help parents in India who want to become educated as ABA therapists for their own children.
“Aimed at enhancing people's lives in ways that they or their carers feel are important, ABA forms that scientific bases for a wide range of methods and techniques to promote a full range of skills. It can help break down barriers to learning that isolate individuals diagnosed with autism, allow them to reach their full potential, and consequently enhances inclusion.”
The translation of the book into Hindi, alongside the translation of Simple Steps, an innovative multi-media guide to ABA, has been organised by Smita Awasthi, President of the Association for Behavior Analysis in India, who is an external research student at Queen’s. Following her first visit to Belfast in January, Smita said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belfast. I am impressed with the commitment of professionals and parents to bring evidence-based interventions based on the science of ABA to families affected by autism.”
Currently being translated, the Hindi edition of Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists will be available from October 2012. SIMPLE STEPS: The multimedia ABA Autism Training Box will also be translated into Hindi. Further information is available at www.peatni.org.

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 00 44 (0)28 90 97 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Global invite to Queen's 10th Irish Studies International Summer School
Valerie Miller and Dr Dominic Bryan from Queen’s University's Institute of Irish Studies, launch the University’s tenth annual Irish Studies International Summer School.
Valerie Miller and Dr Dominic Bryan from Queen's University's Institute of Irish Studies, launch the University's tenth annual Irish Studies International Summer School.
Queen's University is calling on Irish culture, history and politics enthusiasts worldwide to join in its 10th annual Institute of Irish Studies International Summer School. Over the last decade, more than 400 people from over 20 countries have participated in the School in order to learn about Irish and Northern Irish cultures.

This year's Summer School takes place from 19 July until 6 August 2010.

Dr Dominic Bryan, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's said: "For ten years, Queen's International Summer School has welcomed people from home and around the world who want to explore Irish culture, politics, literature and language.

"In 1965, Queen's became the first university in Ireland or the UK to establish an Institute of Irish Studies, so we are well placed to offer a unique perspective of the relationship between Irishness and Britishness found in Northern Ireland.

"The School offers learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. During their visit, participants meet with MLAs at Stormont and local church and community group leaders. They also visit the PSNI to learn about community policing in post-conflict Northern Ireland.

"Internationally acclaimed scholars will deliver lectures on everything from history and politics to music, film, theatre, literature and the Irish language and Ulster-Scots. There will be a visit to the North Coast and the Giant's Causeway, a tour of Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and a Ceilidh in the University's Great Hall."

Michael Merrifield from Saddleback College in California has been bringing students to the Summer School for eight years. Mr Merrifield said: "Belfast is a fascinating city with rich history and culture and it has undergone unprecedented change in recent years. To be exposed to this culture is as much a part of the summer school experience as the academic programme itself. Queen's is the ideal place for students to engage in lively debate and discussion about Ireland and Irish Studies. I have no doubt that, like me, they will find it a rewarding and enjoyable experience and return again in the future."

Nancy Anderson from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, USA, is now in her second year of PhD studies at Queen's Institute of Irish Studies, having completed the Summer School in 2007.

Nancy said: "Queen's Irish Studies Summer School offers the perfect balance of academic and social activities and attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. For me, taking part in the Summer School was an incredibly enjoyable, interesting and rewarding experience, after which I decided to move to Belfast to pursue my PhD studies. Belfast is a wonderful city. It is easy to travel to, is one of the safest cities in the UK and Ireland, and the people here are incredibly friendly. There is no better place to explore Ireland's rich history and culture."

The Queen's Institute of Irish Studies International Summer School will take place from 19 July until 6 August and is open to anyone over the age of 18. For more information visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/IrishStudiesGateway/InternationalSummerSchool

Media inquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 90 97 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk 

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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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