11 - 2010 Press Releases

‘Wish you were here’ at Naughton Gallery’s secret sale

A unique opportunity for art-lovers to see if they can tell international artists from emerging local talent, and snap up a piece of original artwork at the same time, is on offer at Queen’s University’s Naughton Gallery.

Over 100 artists have donated specially commissioned works to an anonymous exhibition – ‘Wish You Were Here: Postcard from an Unknown Artist’, which opens in the Gallery on Friday (3 December). The works will then be on sale for a very modest £50 in the Gallery next Saturday (11 December).

A full list of participating artists will be displayed in the gallery but the works will be displayed anonymously. The exhibition will include works by art students and those just beginning their careers, alongside those by international artists such as Neil Shawcross, Colin Davidson, Jeffery Morgan, Michael Brennand-Wood and John Keane.

The participating artists have also been asked to nominate an emerging or overlooked artist whose work will be exhibited at the Naughton Gallery in early 2012.  All proceeds from the exhibition sale will go towards funding this initiative.

The event follows the resounding success of the first ‘Wish You Were Here’ event in 2008, which resulted in a major solo exhibition by emerging Belfast-based artist Majella Clancy in the Naughton Gallery earlier this year.

Shan McAnena, Director of the Naughton Gallery, said; “We are hugely grateful to all the artists who have generously donated works to this exhibition. It makes art accessible and affordable, and allows art-lovers to buy pieces of art as Christmas presents for themselves or others, or as shrewd investments, at very reasonable prices.

“This will allow us to hold a future exhibition for a new and emerging artist and produce a catalogue of work.”

A panel comprising artist Mark Shields; Kim McAleese, co-director of Catalyst Arts Belfast; gallery director Dickon Hall; and Shan McAnena, will consider the nominations and select the artist for the solo exhibition.

‘Wish You Were Here’ runs from Friday to Saturday, 3 to 11 December. The sale of artwork will begin at 11am on Saturday 11 December, and all pieces will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. For a full list of participating artists, rules of the sale, and to view the donated works please visit www.naughtongallery.org.

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

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Queen’s life-saving research wins education ‘Oscar’

Queen’s University’s work in protecting the lives and livelihoods of some of the poorest people on the planet has won a prestigious national award.

At the Times Higher Education awards ceremony in London last night, Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta and colleagues in the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering received the Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year title.

The award recognises the team’s work in tackling the world’s worst case of ongoing mass poisoning and creating the first low-cost chemical free arsenic removal plant in India.

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said that the award underlined the global impact of the University’s research.

He said: “This pioneering project is a powerful example of how Queen’s expertise and academic research can result in positive outcomes for society as a whole, and I am delighted to congratulate Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta and his colleagues on winning this major award.”

The judges said: “Engineering at its core is about solving critical problems. The team from Queen’s has exemplified this, finding an innovative solution to overcome arsenic contamination of groundwater and thus improve the quality of life in rural communities.

“Through effective team-working locally and internationally, a low-cost techno¬logical approach has been developed and deployed.”

Employment and Learning Minister Danny Kennedy welcomed the news. He said: "I am delighted that Queen's University has won this prestigious Award. The accolade demonstrates in a very tangible way how high quality research can have extremely practical applications throughout the world that benefit every section of society. This has been recognised by the significant funding provided by my Department for Research and Development in Northern Ireland's universities. Dr Sen Gupta and Queen's are to be congratulated on the Award which follows the success of Queen's in being named as the Entrepreneurial University of the Year in 2009."

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.

The award is the latest accolade for Dr Sen Gupta. Earlier this year he received an Excellence Award from the Asian Water Industry and the St Andrews Prize for the Environment.

Media inquiries to Kevin Mulhern, Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 3259, m m07813015431 or email k.mulhern@qub.ac.uk

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Research reveals future of UK infrastructure could be at risk

A leading Queen’s University Belfast academic has said that an urgent policy review is needed of the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) that build many of the UK’s roads, hospitals and schools.

Ten per cent, or £70 billion, of total Government expenditure since the inception of the PPP policy in the 1990s to the end of 2008, was spent on such projects. The schemes have been vital to the economy in terms of building infrastructure and providing much needed employment.

A new study led by Professor Istemi Demirag of Queen’s University Management School, however, reveals a policy review is urgently needed to reassure private financiers that the risks involved in continuing with such projects are worth it, in the face of an unstable financial climate.

Professor Demirag’s research Public Private Partnership: Financiers’ Perceptions of Risks is the first major study to examine the risks involved for those who actually pump the money into these important schemes and how they perceive the risks, in comparison with the perceptions of their public sector partners.

The research decodes the complex network used in PPP schemes and looks at how the credit crunch has impacted on the whole process.

Professor Demirag explained: “Previous research focused on the risks to the construction industry or the risks for other stakeholders including government funders, rather than the private financiers. This research aims to contribute to an understanding of how PPP operates in practice. It points to the need for a policy review that would help reduce the vast costs associated with minimising and spreading the risks involved.

“The financiers’ indicated that these risks can include issues around securing funding. As the credit crunch bites banks are not as keen to invest and have increased margins. Uncertainty is also a factor concerning them, and in order to minimise these risks, financers increase costs by buying in insurance, using consultants or paying for technical and legal advice.

“Ultimately this dispersal of risk adds to costs for the procurer and the taxpayer. But an understanding of how risks are dispersed is important in order to inform future policy.”

The report recommends that any review of PPP policy should include:

  • A re-evaluation of risk pricing and a reduction of bidding costs
  • The possibility of acquiring risk mitigation, or insurance, across a range of PPP projects rather than paying for each project through the ‘middlemen’ of private sector contractors
  • A reduction in the use of consultants
  • More transparency around the availability of contract details

The study also states that it is possible to transfer risk back to the public sector after contracts have been settled. But the impact of this on value for money to the public sector and the taxpayer needs to be assessed.

The report was co-authored by Iqbal Khadaroo, Essex Business School; Pamela Stapleton, Manchester University, and Carol Steven, Oxfordbrookes Universit

Further information on Queen’s University Management School can be found online at www.qub.ac.uk/mgt/.

Media inquiries to comms.office@qub.ac.uk or telephone 00 44 (0)28 90 97 3091.

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Queen’s awarded for breaking down communication barriers
(L-R) Jim Edwards, Signature Chief Executive; Brian Symington, Director of RNID NI; Jayne Woodside, Queen's and Bobby Bailey, Sign Language Tutor, RNID
(L-R) Jim Edwards, Signature Chief Executive; Brian Symington, Director of RNID NI; Jayne Woodside, Queen's and Bobby Bailey, Sign Language Tutor, RNID

Queen’s and RNID Northern Ireland have won a national award for their work in ensuring future doctors are better equipped to communicate with deaf patients.

Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences received the Organisational Achievement accolade at the annual Signature Awards for its Specialist Module on Deafness. The awards, hosted by leading deaf charity Signature, recognise those who have made a significant contribution towards achieving a society in which deaf and deafblind people have full access to society.

Second year medical students at Queen’s are offered the specialist module which is delivered by the RNID in British Sign Language (BSL). It ensures that future doctors are better equipped to communicate with deaf patients, and includes information on deaf awareness, deaf culture and healthcare issues for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Students also work to develop a health-related video British Sign Language Directory.

Speaking at the awards, Signature Chief Executive Jim Edwards said: “Queen’s University Belfast has shown great commitment to helping the deaf community overcome communication barriers, and great credit should go to the team. These vital skills will ensure a legacy of inclusiveness for deaf patients in Northern Ireland. They thoroughly deserve the recognition this accolade brings and should be very proud.”

Following the success of the module, both Queen’s and the RNID now intend to make the module available to all healthcare-related undergraduates at the University, through the development of a website funded by the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Jayne Woodside, who runs the specialist module and is developing the new website, said; “This course is an important opportunity for medical students to develop deaf awareness and communication skills, and we are very keen to both maintain and develop these links with RNID. Following its success, in the future, we are planning to make our new website available to undergraduates in all healthcare disciplines.”

Director of RNID NI, Brian Symington added: “We are campaigning for improved access to healthcare for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Having doctors who are able to communicate effectively with their deaf and hard of hearing patients is a major step forward in making healthcare services in Northern Ireland accessible. The success of this course is due to the excellent partnership working between Queen’s, RNID and Signature.”

Further information on the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences at Queen’s is available online at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/mdbs/

Media inquiries to Donna McCullough, Communications Office, 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391

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The Priests to hit high note at Charter Day celebrations
Singing trio The Priests who will be performing at the Charter Day Dinner
Singing trio The Priests who will be performing at the Charter Day Dinner

Singing trio The Priests will be performing at Queen’s Charter Day Dinner on Friday (26 November), ahead of the launch of their new album Noel, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the event in the Great Hall, which is organised annually by Queen’s Graduates’ Association (QGA) to mark the founding of Queen's as a College in 1845 and as a full University in 1908.

Members of the group, Fathers Martin and Eugene O’Hagan and Father David Delargy, were awarded the QGA Graduate of the Year Award, sponsored by First Trust Bank, in 2009.

Oonagh Ferrity, President of the QGA, said: “It is a great honour for the Queen’s Graduates Association to once again welcome back Fathers Martin and Eugene O’Hagan and Father David Delargy.  We are extremely grateful they have taken time out of their busy schedule to entertain us on what promises to be a most enjoyable evening.”

Adding another musical dimension to the evening will be student-led operatic company Spark Opera. While Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University and Naomi Long MP will also join guests on the night. Currently MP for Belfast East, Naomi graduated from Queen’s University in 1994 and is also deputy leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.

Further information and tickets for the event are available by contacting Adele McMahon on 028 9097 5289 or email a.mcmahon@qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to Donna McCullough, Queen’s Development and Alumni, on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 3872 or email d.mccullough@qub.ac.uk

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Knowledge Transfer key in helping local companies outlive economic downturn
Paul Beaney, Cherry Pipes; Dr Iain Gray, Technology Strategy Board; Justyna Gabrowska, Cherry Pipes, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.
Paul Beaney, Cherry Pipes; Dr Iain Gray, Technology Strategy Board; Justyna Gabrowska, Cherry Pipes, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

QTV Icon New QTV covered the awards, watch the story here.

Northern Ireland companies should tap into the expertise available in the region’s universities and colleges if they want help in outliving the economic downturn. That was the clear message coming from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards in Queen’s University’s Whitla Hall on Thursday evening (18 November).

An average increase in pre-tax profits of around £270,000 per year, per KTP project for companies involved in the scheme, was just one of the benefits highlighted during the event, which honoured some of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic businesses undertaking innovative projects with local universities and colleges.

The overall winner on the night was Dungannon-based company, Cherry Pipes Ltd. Named as Best KTP for 2010, Cherry Pipes Ltd has become one of the largest and most technically proficient plastics recyclers and manufacturers in Ireland. It manufactures high density polythene (HDPE) plastic drainage pipes. Through its Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Polymer Processing Research Centre at Queen’s, the company developed a new approach to pipe extrusion.

The result was an improvement in the quality of their product and a significant reduction in the amount of waste from the manufacturing process.

The project with Cherry Pipes was carried out by KTP Associates Paul Beaney and Justyna Grabowska over the period September 2006 until January of this year under the supervision of Gerry McNally and Professor Raymond Murphy at Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The project was part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the Technology Strategy Board.

Queen’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Postgraduates Professor James McElnay congratulated Cherry Pipes and the other winners on the night, and said the success of the KTP scheme in Northern Ireland demonstrated the tangible benefits of knowledge transfer activity. He said: “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships bring together the key elements which underpin research and development and lead to economic prosperity.

“In addition to reporting an increase in pre-tax profits of around £270,000 per year, they create on average, another three jobs, secure valuable training for an additional 14 members of staff, and make a further investment of £166,000 in plant and machinery.
“By merging innovative and entrepreneurial businesses with the expertise and skills within higher and further education, KTP is proving to be a driving force in local wealth and job creation.” 

Among the guests of honour were Dr Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, and Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI.

Mr Hamilton said: “The KTP programme enables local businesses to access skills and expertise from academic institutions. The programme has a significant impact on the growth of participating local companies allowing them develop innovative solutions to help their business grow.”

“The partnership between Cherry Pipes and Queen’s, backed by Invest NI, is an excellent example of how industry-based graduate research through the Knowledge Transfer Programme can identify and develop products which could open up new commercial opportunities.”

The following businesses received awards at the dinner:

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Queen’s University Belfast:
Cherry Pipes Ltd, Fusion Antibodies Ltd, Uni-Trunk Ltd, Maydown Precision Engineering Ltd, Skea Egg Farms Ltd, Devenish Nutrition  Ltd, Nitronica Ltd, Cherry Pipes Ltd (Short KTP, Valpar Industrial Ltd, CDE Ireland Ltd, PWS Ireland Ltd, Canyon Europe Ltd, Solvay Interox Ltd, Provita Eurotech Ltd, Horizon Renewables Ltd.

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Ulster:
Northstone (NI) Ltd, Colin Glen Trust, Hunter Apparel Solutions Ltd,  The Foyle Food Group Ltd, The Foyle Food Group Ltd, Armatile Ltd, Schrader Electronics Ltd, Dennison Commercials Ltd.

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College:
Breezemount Electrical & Hydraulics Ltd, Biznet IIS Ltd, Mount Charles Catering Ltd.

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Southern Regional College:
Derrys Ltd.


Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 or email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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Feeding people sustainably: first Royal Society lecture at Queen’s in 20 years
Professor Charles Godfray, FRS
Professor Charles Godfray, FRS

Members of the public are invited to attend the first Royal Society lecture at Queen’s in 20 years.

Professor Charles Godfray, Fellow of the Royal Society, will speak on Feeding Sustainably 9 Billion People, at the University next Monday evening (22 November). In his talk he will address the opportunities and challenges presented by continuing population and consumption growth and an increasing global demand for food.

Professor Godfray is the chair of the Foresight project’s lead expert group, which poses the question how can a future global population of nine billion people be fed sustainably, healthily and equitably. The project will publish its findings in January 2011. 

Professor Godfray said: “Queen’s University and the people of Northern Ireland have a proud reputation for making a positive difference around the world and addressing the needs of the world’s poorest. I look forward to discussing with people what we can do to ensure sustainable and equitable food security, against the challenges of climate change and growing competition for land, water and energy.”

Professor Tony Gallagher, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning, Staffing and External Relations said: ‘Through its Institute for a Sustainable World, Queen’s is actively working to tackle the areas raised by Profressor Godfray, and in doing so, is making a real difference to people’s lives around the world. The topic of the lecture is one that is relevant to all of us, and I would encourage people to come along on Monday evening and attend what will no doubt be a stimulating and thought-provoking evening.”

Those interested in attending The Royal Society Lecture should contact Paul Cochrane via email at p.cochrane@qub.ac.uk or by telephone on 028 9097 5323. Admission is free but places should be reserved. The lecture takes place at 6.30pm in G024 on Monday, 22 November, in the Peter Froggatt Centre on the main campus at Queen’s.

Media inquiries to Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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‘Never too early’ – Queen’s urges young people to ‘find their future’
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie and Wellington College principal Matthew Pitts help Year 10 pupils Jonathan Lindsay, Dione Foster and Eoin Trainor 'find their future'
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie and Wellington College principal Matthew Pitts help Year 10 pupils Jonathan Lindsay, Dione Foster and Eoin Trainor 'find their future'

For the first time in Northern Ireland, 14-16 year olds are being given their own guide to what their future may hold as a university student.

Traditionally such guides have always been targeted at post-GCSE students. Now, Queen’s has produced Find Your Future: The young person’s guide to higher education.
Enabling pupils to see how their current learning links with their future, the new guide is the ultimate handbook for young teens who may be thinking of going to University but are unsure of what steps to take next.
Created for students in Years 10-12, the unique publication aims to help young people make key decisions about their future. The user-friendly publication includes information on student life, study facilities, courses and scholarships available, a guide to university vocabulary, a question-and-answer section, and profiles of first-year students sharing their experiences of university life.

Launching the Guide, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie said: “Nothing is more important than preparing a child for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
“Queen’s is aware that many young people find choosing their future education options a very daunting process. We aim to ensure that all prospective students have access to useful information that enables them to make the right decisions. This Guide offers career guidance at a much younger stage in a student’s career, and we believe it will encourage young people to aim high, to make the right decisions at the right time and to realise their full potential.”
The publication also supports the University’s extensive programme of initiatives to raise awareness and aspirations among young people, delivered as part of Queen’s commitment to widening participation, and it has already generated a very positive response among teachers and pupils.
Among those welcoming the Guide is the Principal of Wellington College in Belfast, Matthew Pitts, who said: “The earlier students are made aware of their choices the better. The new Queen’s Guide will be invaluable in raising aspirations and expectations and will ensure that all students are able to link their current learning with their futures.”
The College’s Head of Careers Education and Guidance, Gary O’Hara, described the publication as “a very important resource”.
He said: “The current reform of post-primary education provides young people with the opportunity to take advantage of a much broader curriculum, and gives them many different options to pursue. This Guide effectively addresses the need for earlier intervention and guidance to help them choose wisely and well.”
Copies are currently being distributed to all secondary and grammar schools in Northern Ireland. Further copies can be obtained by contacting the Queen’s Student Recruitment team via email at come2queens@qub.ac.uk or by calling 028 9097 5087.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, on 028 90 97 5310, Mob 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Charity encourages regular eye tests to prevent sight loss from diabetes
Ahead of World Diabetes Day on Sunday 14 November, leading eye research charity Fight for Sight is urging people with diabetes to have regular eye tests to check for signs of diabetic eye disease.

Fight for Sight funds a number of research projects at the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science at Queen's University Belfast, looking at ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy.

Fight for Sight Research Officer, Dr Dolores Conroy, says: "Regular eye tests and screening can detect the early signs of diabetic eye disease - a complication of diabetes which, if left untreated, can lead to sight loss.

"World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to remind people of the importance of regular eye tests especially those at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye disease.”

There are 2.8 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, is the leading cause of sight loss among working age people in the UK. Although many people don’t show symptoms in the early stages of the disease, it can cause blood vessels in the retina to weaken and break leading to bleeding and potential scarring in the retina.

As the disease progresses, new blood vessels continue to grow and break causing scar tissue to develop on the retina. Without treatment, it can lead to loss of vision and to other eye conditions including retinal detachment and glaucoma. 

Over the last year, Fight for Sight has committed funding to a number of research projects at the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science at Queen's School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science.

Professor Graham McGeown and Dr Tim Curtis are investigating the effects of diabetes on sight including the disruption of blood flow to the retina; Dr Reinhold Medina Benavente is looking at a potential new cell-replacement therapy which can be used to halt the progression of diabetic retinopathy by replacing damaged blood vessels; and, based on recent findings linking inflammation to the progression of diabetic retinopathy, Professor Alan Stitt is investigating the causes of inflammation which can damage the retina in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.

“Fight for Sight is funding ongoing research into the prevention of diabetic retinopathy but at the moment, early detection is still the best way to prevent sight loss from this and other diabetic eye diseases."

Fight for Sight is urging people to talk to their doctor or optician about eye tests and screening to detect diabetic eye disease. A screening programme launched by the NHS in 2005 offers free screening for everyone with diabetes aged 12 years and over.

For more information about Fight for Sight see www.fightforsight.org.uk
For more information about World Diabetes Day, visit www.worlddiabetesday.org

For more information call Louise Elliott, Fight for Sight, 020 7929 7755 or the visit website: www.fightforsight.org.uk

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EU Commissioner visit highlights universities role as key driver of economic growth
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn join with (left to right) ECIT researcher Maire O'Neill, ECIT Director John McCanny,  Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster and Minister for Employment and Learning, Danny Kennedy
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn join with (left to right) ECIT researcher Maire O'Neill, ECIT Director John McCanny, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster and Minister for Employment and Learning, Danny Kennedy
The role of universities as key drivers of economic growth in Northern Ireland, and beyond, was highlighted today during a visit to Queen’s by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

The Commissioner emphasised the importance of university involvement in aiding economic development across Europe by coupling research and innovation with rapid commercialisation and job creation. She is in Northern Ireland as part of a drive to raise awareness of £50 billion of EU research funding currently available to companies across the EU.

The Commissioner visited Queen’s £37 million Institute for Electronics Communications Technology (ECIT), where she saw at first-hand how ECIT is rapidly becoming an international role model for coupling leading edge research with economic development.

The Centre focuses on technology transfer to industry, the creation of spin-out companies, facilitation of new locally created spin-in companies and supporting high technology inward investment. ECIT’s research activities include major programmes aimed at creating the next generation of wireless technologies, including future Internet applications.

The Commissioner was also shown exciting new developments within the University’s £30 million Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT). Based at ECIT, the Centre is spearheading research in technologies such as Cybersecurity. It is a UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre, opened last year. CSIT’s core mission is to create novel technologies that have disruptive and widespread economic impact, and through this, aid in the creation of new industries and high value added jobs. 

Researchers at both centres concentrate on tackling ‘mission led’ projects in conjunction with industry and other partners, rather than working in an isolated academic environment.
Speaking at the event, Professor John McCanny, ECIT’s Director, said: “The Commissioner’s visit today highlights Queen’s vital role in ensuring Northern Ireland remains a leader in advanced technologies and so continues to experience economic growth in the years ahead.

 “When we opened ECIT in the Northern Ireland Science Park it was a brown field site. Now there are over 80 companies and 1800 employees working here, providing an estimated £60M per annum in salaries to the local economy. We hope Queen’s and Northern Ireland will have a vital role to play in driving forward Europe’s Research and Innovation strategy, and that the Commissioner’s visit today will help promote the expertise available here to the wider European community.”

Since opening in 2004, ECIT, in addition to the £30M CSIT funding, has attracted over £28 million in additional research funding, created 150 positions, six spin-off companies and facilitated 22 external spin-in companies.

Last year, an additional 80 new posts were created when it was selected by the Government to establish CSIT and to lead the way within academia to develop new technologies to counter malicious ‘cyber attacks’.

Further information on ECIT is available at www.ecit.qub.ac.uk/  and further information on CSIT is available at www.csit.qub.ac.uk

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

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Malachi O’Doherty appointed BBC Writer in Residence at Queen’s
Malachi O'Doherty, centre, the new BBC Louis MacNeice Writer in Residence at Queen's with Mark Adair, left, Head of Public Policy, Corporate and Community Affairs, BBC Northern Ireland and Professor Edward Larrissy, Head of School of English, Queen’s University Belfast.
Malachi O'Doherty, centre, the new BBC Louis MacNeice Writer in Residence at Queen's with Mark Adair, left, Head of Public Policy, Corporate and Community Affairs, BBC Northern Ireland and Professor Edward Larrissy, Head of School of English, Queen’s University Belfast.

Writer, broadcaster and journalist Malachi O’Doherty has been appointed as the new BBC Writer in Residence at the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast.

The BBC Louis MacNeice Writer in Residence initiative was established in 2007 to acknowledge the Belfast poet and playwright’s contribution to broadcasting and the creative arts. It aims to facilitate closer links between Queen’s University and the BBC’s work at local and network level and with the wider creative writing community.

Each residency focuses on a different theme or specialism. These are intended to reflect different aspects of Louis MacNeice’s career, including his extensive work with the BBC. The theme of the current residency is journalism.

Malachi’s work will include research, workshops and events on some of the issues facing journalism in a fast-changing environment. A key objective will be to facilitate wider public debate on the role which journalism plays in local society, working in partnership with the BBC and a range of other organisations with expertise in this area.

Malachi will also contribute to some teaching activities at the School of English. This work will focus on the principles and practice of journalism, drawing on his own experiences in the print and broadcast media.

Speaking about his appointment as the new BBC Writer in Residence at Queen’s, Malachi O’Doherty said: "I see this appointment as an acknowledgement of the important role which journalism plays in the social and creative life of our society. It also recognises journalism as a strand of literature.

“This residency will work if it enlarges a discussion beyond Queen’s and among journalists and others about the value of what we do and the diverse ways in which we write for print and broadcast." 

Peter Johnston, Director BBC Northern Ireland said: “It is entirely appropriate that this BBC initiative at Queen’s should seek to encourage public debate about the principles and practice of journalism – in all its different forms. We want to explore issues around the development and future of journalism and to provide opportunities for the sharing of experiences and ideas and in ways that are accessible to the widest possible community.

“Louis MacNeice played an important role in the development of documentary-making in the BBC. He was also a prolific writer of newspaper articles and commentaries. This initiative, which builds on the work undertaken by our first Writer in Residence, the novelist and critic, Ian Sansom, will celebrate MacNeice’s achievements and help to encourage debate about the role of journalism in a twenty-first century environment.”

Professor Edward Larrissy, Head of School of English, Queen’s University Belfast said: “The School of English and the Seamus Heaney Centre are extremely grateful to the BBC for their support of the BBC Louis MacNeice Writer in Residence. We are delighted at the recent appointment of Malachi O’Doherty, and look forward with keen anticipation to working with him in developing exciting new initiatives around the themes of print and broadcast journalism.”

The BBC Louis MacNeice Writer in Residence post is based in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University. Malachi took up his position on 01 November 2010, for a period of 12months in the first instance.

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Santander banks on Spanish at Queen's
Rebekah Kennedy, Grosvenor Grammar School, Michael Wilson, Santander Universities, Hannah Stewart, Our Lady and St Patrick's College and Dr Isabel Torres.
Rebekah Kennedy, Grosvenor Grammar School, Michael Wilson, Santander Universities, Hannah Stewart, Our Lady and St Patrick's College and Dr Isabel Torres.

Spanish language students across Northern Ireland are being offered the chance to win a £1000 scholarship to study the subject at Queen’s, in partnership with Santander.

All A2 Spanish students who intend to apply for a place to study Spanish at Queen’s in 2011 are being invited to write a Spanish essay, for the chance to win up to £1000. The successful students will also win up to £500 in book vouchers to support the teaching of Spanish in their school.

The competition is open to A2 students applying to study Spanish at single, major or joint honours degree level at Queen’s, or through integrated degree pathways including Law with Spanish, International Business with Spanish, and Accounting with Spanish. Students are invited to submit a 600-800 word piece of creative writing, or an essay on any aspect of contemporary Spain.

Dr Isabel Torres, Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Queen’s School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, said: “We are delighted that Santander Universities has agreed to sponsor this competition and the scholarship prizes. Spanish has been taught here for over seventy years, and this competition will help us continue to attract the best students and build on Queen’s tradition of excellence in modern languages.

“We have a very strong relationship with schools across Northern Ireland and are pleased to be able to launch the scholarship competition here before extending it across the UK next year.

“Thanks to Queen’s world-class staff and facilities, and links with international organisations like Santander, our courses provide students with exciting opportunities not only to learn the language, but also to develop their employability skills.”

Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Queen’s already have a close relationship with Santander through the Santander Iberian Language Scholarship Programme. The Programme sponsors work experience placements for students in a Santander branch in Northern Ireland, after which the students have the opportunity to complete a 9-10 month internship with Santander in Spain, Portugal or Latin America.

Queen’s has been part of the Santander Universities network since 2008. In that time, the University has developed a rewarding and exciting partnership with Santander, which directly benefits students and staff and enhances international research links.

Dr Torres continued: “These Entry Scholarships mark a new stage in the relationship between Santander and Queen’s. We are grateful to the bank for its ongoing support and I have no doubt our partnership will continue to go from strength to strength.”  

Luis Juste, Director Santander Universities UK said: “Santander is proud of its strong relationship with Queen’s, and this scholarship scheme is another excellent example of how universities and businesses can work together to promote innovation in higher education.”

The essay competition has also been endorsed by the Spanish Embassy in London, which will be represented on the judging panel.

Entries should be emailed to g.gray@qub.ac.uk no later than 12.00 noon on Friday 17 December. For more information about Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/spanish-portuguese

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 or email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s goes ‘green’ to raise environmental awareness

SU Vice President Adam McGibbon, Adele McMahon, one of the University's Environmental Champions and Environmental Manager Sara Lych (R) get ready for Green Week

Queen’s staff and students are being encouraged to ‘go green’ this week (8-12 November) as part of a campaign to motivate them to adopt a more sustainable way of life.

The Students’ Union, in collaboration with the University, is hosting Green Week - a university-wide campaign aimed at raising environmental awareness. The week is packed full of activities and events to encourage staff and students to think about their impact on the environment and what small steps they can take to make a difference.

Adam McGibbon, Students’ Union Vice President said: “We have over 17,000 students, so our combined impact on the environment is significant. We want to lead by example and show that if we all do our bit, we can really make a difference in, not only creating a greener future at Queen’s, but helping make Belfast and Northern Ireland more environmentally-friendly.”

The University’s Environmental Manager Sara Lynch said: “Queen’s is committed to becoming an environmentally sustainable low carbon organisation. Green Week is the perfect opportunity for students and staff to demonstrate their commitment to reducing their own environmental impact.”

Each day will focus on a different green theme, including sustainable travel, using less energy, purchasing and eating sustainably, and waste minimisation.

Highlights of the week include:

  • A Cycle Challenge with a cash prize up for grabs for the person who can pedal the furthest in one minute.
  • The launch of the student ‘switch off’ competition in the Halls of Residence at the Elms Village.
  • ‘Frock-Off’ – a clothes swap-shop event in the Students’ Union to encourage students and staff to recycle their clothes.
  • Translink, Belfast City Council, the Energy Saving Trust and Office Depot will also be on campus giving out some eco-friendly tips.

Further information can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/carbon

Media inquiries to Claire Patterson, Queen's Press and PR Unit, c.l.patterson@qub.ac.uk, 028 9097 5355

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Diabetes DVD urges women to plan for pregnancy
With women with diabetes five times more likely to have a stillborn baby than other women, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have produced a new DVD to encourage all women with the condition to plan for pregnancy.


Produced by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast, in conjunction with the South Eastern and Belfast Health and Social Care Trusts, Women with Diabetes - things you need to know (but maybe don’t), raises awareness about important reproductive health issues for women with diabetes.

The project has been funded by Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.

Dr Valerie Holmes from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, who led the project, commented: “It is important that women with diabetes are aware of the importance of planning their pregnancy. Almost all women with diabetes can have healthy babies if good pre-pregnancy blood glucose control is achieved.” As well as raising awareness of the importance of reproductive health issues, such as avoiding unplanned pregnancy, the DVD provides guidance about preconception care for those women planning a pregnancy.

The DVD has been put together by women with diabetes. They were filmed as ‘the cast’, sharing their stories, views and experiences along with commentary which gives the relevant research evidence. Babies born to women with diabetes are more likely to be affected by congenital anomalies, including Spina Bifida, heart and kidney anomalies. It is well established, however, that good blood glucose control before and during pregnancy can reduce this risk.

As part of this project diabetes healthcare teams throughout Northern Ireland will be provided with copies of the DVD for distribution to all women with diabetes of childbearing age.

Dr Michelle Spence, Research Fellow for the project commented: “Only one third of women currently receive optimal preconception care but the lack of awareness about pregnancy planning and reproductive health may be one reason why women are not seeking pre-pregnancy counselling before becoming pregnant.”

Iain Foster, Director of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have funded and been involved in the production of this DVD. I would urge all women with diabetes to watch it. Even if they are not planning a pregnancy it will make them aware of what they need to do should this change. We’re very pleased that it has been delivered by people that women can relate to and hope it helps to prevent serious pregnancy difficulties. We would like to thank everyone involved in the project.” 

For media inqueries please contact Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 3091.

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Queen’s Director awarded AUA Fellowship Award
Wilma Fee
Wilma Fee

Director of Academic and Student Affairs at Queen’s, Wilma Fee, has been awarded the Association of University Administrators (AUA) Fellowship Award.

The award recognises the contribution made by Wilma to the development of the AUA since joining the Association.  She is a member of the Executive Committee, the Conferences Committee, and Regional Co-ordinator for Ireland.

AUA Executive Director, Alison Robinson said: “The ongoing success of the AUA is down to our network and its members. The work individuals do to develop the Association deserves recognition and this award is one way of doing this. I offer my congratulations to Wilma Fee who has shown she is a passionate advocate for our profession and will continue to contribute a huge amount to the Association.”

Accepting her award, Wilma said: “I am delighted to win this award and to be recognised for my commitment to continuing professional development for members of the AUA and of the sector more widely. I am grateful for the opportunities offered to me by the AUA over the last twelve years.”

A Queen’s graduate, Wilma was appointed Faculty Administrator for the Faculty of Humanities in 1995.  She served as the Head of the Postgraduate Office before becoming Director of Academic and Student Affairs in May 2006.

Fellowship Awards give recognition to members of the Association who have made a significant contribution to the development of the Association and to the management and administration of the sector.

Further information on Academic and Student Affairs at Queen’s is available online at www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/AcademicStudentAffairs/

Media inquiries to Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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