09-2012 Press releases

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Queen’s University celebrates national recognition
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson
Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson

Queen’s University is celebrating after it was named Sunday Times University of the Year runner-up and top University in the UK for Medical Science and Pharmacy.

Competing with universities across the UK, Queen’s also moved up 20 places to 26th position overall in the Sunday Times University Guide 2013, its highest ever ranking. 

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times University Guide, said: “Queen’s plays a pivotal role in the economy and life of Northern Ireland. It is about as far removed from ivory towered academia as it is possible to get. No university in the UK generates more money from companies spun out of its research work and this year’s Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its pioneering cancer research work acknowledges Queen’s’ contribution in this field, which benefits the people of Northern Ireland on a daily basis and has implications for the wider world going forward.

“But the real winners are the students who study here in an environment both rich in history and exuding the dynamism they will all need to succeed in a challenging world environment.”

Commenting on the tremendous achievement Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “Queen’s is recognised as a University that links Northern Ireland to the global community through the life-changing experience we offer to our students, the distinctive contribution made to our society by graduates and the high quality and impact of our research.

“It is encouraging that Medical Science and Pharmacy at Queen’s are  being nationally recognised as best in class. The University has recently invested over £90 million on an ambitious plan to create an internationally recognised School and Institute of Health Sciences, with a further £85 million expenditure anticipated over the next five years. This will ensure that laboratory discoveries translate into advances in patient diagnosis and treatment.

“Queen’s world-class medical school was also recognised earlier this year when the University was presented with a Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Anniversary Prize at Buckingham Palace, in recognition of its leadership of the Northern Ireland Comprehensive Cancer Services programme.

“This is an exciting time to be studying and working at Queen’s, but it is also an exciting time for everyone associated with Queen’s, as the university continues on its upward trajectory.”

Dr Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning congratulated Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson on the achievements of his Institution in the recent Sunday Times University Guide 2013 saying: “I know Queen's University Belfast is committed to being a world class institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and research and these results are a testament to the hard work of all the teaching and support staff at the institution and in particular those of the Medical Science department. The Higher Education Sector is pivotal to the development of a modern, sustainable and knowledge based economy and at a time of increased global competition it is heartening to see a Northern Ireland institution leading the way.”

The Sunday Times awards are the latest in a number of accolades Queen’s University has received in recent months. Last week Queen’s recorded its best ever results in the National Student Survey, with an overall satisfaction score of 87 per cent and its Students’ Union placed in the top quartile of all UK Universities. During the summer the University was ranked 25th in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2013, with 14 of its subjects ranked in the top 20. And in the latest QS World University Rankings, Queen’s moved up to 166, representing significant progress in its ambition to be recognised as a Global Top 100 University.

Media inquiries to Kevin Mulhern, Head of Communications and External Affairs on 028 9097 3259, 07813 015 431 or k.mulhern@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s team ‘start the revolution’ by capturing 25k Award
Tom Robinson from MOF Technologies with Julie-Ann O’Hare, Bank of Ireland
Tom Robinson from MOF Technologies with Julie-Ann O’Hare, Bank of Ireland

A team based at Queen’s University Belfast, has won this year’s NISP CONNECT 25k Award, for their work in developing a simple but revolutionary new technique to exploit a class of nanomaterials known as Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs).

MOFs are highly porous materials that can store, separate and capture specific gases. They have a range of high-value applications, including natural gas storage in vehicles, carbon capture, catalysis and drug delivery.

The work originated from research by Professor Stuart James in Queen’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Through Queen’s spin-out arm QUBIS, the technology has now been commercialised to form a company called MOF Technologies, led by CEO Tom Robinson.

Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT, said: “Congratulations to MOF Technologies for an innovation which shows great commercial potential – this is an exciting time for the team, and for all the category winners and finalists.”

Category winners in the 25k Awards, which are sponsored by Bank of Ireland, were:

  • CleanTech: MOF Technologies, QUB, sponsored by Dow. 
  • Digital Media: I-Innovations, UU, sponsored by Aepona.
  • BioTech:  Expelliere International, QUB, sponsored by Warner Chilcott.
  • Hi-Tech:  FireSERT Technologies, UU, sponsored by IBM.

Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland UK, added: “Developing innovative ideas that have market potential is at the core of Northern Ireland’s mission to create a more vibrant private sector.

The awards were presented last night at a packed VIP gala ceremony in the iconic Titanic Belfast building, next to Northern Ireland Science Park in the city’s Titanic Quarter.”

Further information from Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s builds on lead as top institution for female scientists and engineers
Professor Linda Johnston (R), Dr Valerie Holmes (L) and Dr Jennifer McNeill, School Swan Champions, receive their Silver Swan Award.
Professor Linda Johnston (R), Dr Valerie Holmes (L) and Dr Jennifer McNeill, School Swan Champions, receive their Silver Swan Award.

Queen’s University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has been recognised for its work in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science in higher education.

The School has been awarded a national Silver Athena Swan Award which recognises that in addition to university wide policies, it has a significant record of activity and achievement in its own right, and is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women.

The award is further good news for Queen’s which was recently named the lead institution in the UK for tackling the unequal representation of women in science and engineering.

The Silver Award for the School is the tenth for the University and will be presented later today at a national awards ceremony in Riddel Hall by Athena SWAN Patron Professor Dame Julia Higgins.

Queen’s is the University with the most departmental silver awards in the UK. Eight individual Schools (Nursing and Midwifery; Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology; Psychology; Biological Sciences; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering; Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) now all hold silver awards.

The School of Pharmacy and School of Mathematics and Physics also currently hold bronze awards for their work and commitment to furthering the careers of female academics.

Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, said: “We are delighted that the School has been awarded a Silver Athena Swan Award.  This award is recognition of the enormous contribution and commitment of many staff in the School and around the University, to ensure that the Queen’s continues to lead the way in supporting the careers and career ambitions of female academic staff.”

Director of Queen’s University’s Gender Initiative, Professor Yvonne Galligan said: “The Silver award for the School of Nursing and Midwifery is further recognition that Queen’s is committed to women in science and engineering. As Director of Queen’s Gender Initiative, I am very aware of how much Queen’s and the wider economy benefit from enabling women in science to achieve their potential. To do so we have devised concrete targeted actions across the sciences that we will be implementing in the coming years. These actions build on over a decade of work, and a remarkable team effort across the University.”

Sarah Dickinson, Senior Policy Advisor from Athena SWAN said: “This award is further recognition of the University’s status as a national leader in gender-equitable employment practices.

“The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s have been awarded a prestigious Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science in higher education. The School was previously awarded a Bronze award in 2010 and having successfully implemented their Bronze action plan to promote good practice and support career progression and success for women it was awarded Silver in 2012.”

Queen’s is the only UK University to hold a Silver institutional honour at the Athena SWAN Charter awards, which recognise the commitment of institutions, and science, engineering and technology (SET) departments, to addressing gender inequalities and improving career progression for female academics.

For media inquiries please contact Queen’s Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's flies the flag for European languages

St Brides Primary School P4 pupils Dominika (L) and Kacper (R) with international student Tanja Kehling Jepsen from Denmark

With more languages being spoken in Northern Ireland than ever before, Queen’s University is calling for anyone with exciting ideas for language learning to help celebrate European Day of Languages on Wednesday 26 September.

Schools, colleges and organisations throughout Northern Ireland have been celebrating the European Day of Languages since its inception here in 2002. This year will be no exception.

The Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), based in Queen’s School of Education, is responsible for coordinating and promoting the day.

NICILT Executive Officer, Wendy Phipps, is calling on everyone to get involved and celebrate languages across Northern Ireland. She said: “European Day of Languages takes place each year on 26 September.NICILT has been informed of exciting events planned across Northern Ireland.”

The Northern Ireland Assembly will play its role in highlighting the day alongside local schools. The Assembly’s Education Service, along with Conall McDevitt MLA, will host an event involving around 75 A2 Students from Aquinas Grammar, Methodist College, Rathmore Grammar, RBAI and Wellington College at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The pupils are studying Spanish and will be addressed by Conall McDevitt MLA, a fluent Spanish speaker who wants to encourage students to see the real opportunity in language study. He said: “This offers a unique opportunity for Spanish students across Belfast to live the language they are learning and better understand its application across aspects of society including politics and government.”

This will be an interactive day in Spanish with students comparing the Spanish, Irish and UK Governments, discussing environmental issues and suggesting recommendations for politicians.

Speaking about the celebrations planned at schools around Northern Ireland, Wendy Phipps continued: “Moira Primary School – whose pupils learn some words in a different language each month – will organise a special assembly on the day when songs will be sung in many different languages.  As well as a mouth-watering food tasting session there will also be a variety of fun language activities.

“St Bride’s Primary School, Belfast, in conjunction with Stranmillis University College and Botanic Primary, celebrated their big day on Friday 21 September.  They invited 45 international students, who are based at Stranmillis University College, to share their languages and cultures with the pupils, while improving their English and learning about Northern Ireland.

“Markethill High School in Armagh has planned an exciting and varied day – continental breakfast, a language assembly, European awareness, fun activities and much more. Ballymena Academy will host a variety of language-focused events around a special lunch organised to celebrate the occasion.

“A special concert organised by Belfast City Council and the European Commission Office, and delivered in collaboration with NICILT and the British Council, will take place at Belfast City Hall on 26 September. There will be performances by students from schools across the city. Two schools from Derry/Londonderry will also take part in the concert, marking the city’s 2013 European City of Culture status.

“Here at Queen’s, celebrations will also be take place in the McClay Library where the University Language Centre will host stilt walkers, jugglers and clowns to promote the wide variety of language courses on offer at the university.”

For more information visit www.qub.ac.uk/edu/nicilt  or contact Wendy Phipps on 028 9097 5955 / 07980287670.

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)08 9097 5320 or comms.officer@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s and Lisburn company named first for Knowledge Transfer

(L-R) Queen’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor James McElnay; KTP Associate Tim Kernohan; Invest NI Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton; Dr Mary Flynn, Head of KTP & Business Networks at Queen’s; Mr Iain Rankin from Seven Technologies Ltd; Scott Rutherford, Head of Research and Enterprise at Queen’s; and Tom Edgar, Director of The Northern Ireland Technology Centre.

Northern Ireland companies should tap into the expertise available in our universities and colleges if they want to grow out of the economic downturn. That was the clear message coming from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards in the City Hotel, Londonderry last night.

At the event, Queen’s University’s programme with Lisburn-based engineering company, Seven Technologies Ltd, was named Northern Ireland’s Regional Winner for 2012.

The KTP programme saw Seven Technologies Ltd working alongside The Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s to focus on the development and implementation of a design and manufacturing process. As a result of the winning collaboration, the company has been able to expand its business into new markets and has enjoyed success in collaborating with much larger companies to deliver joint projects as well as producing an effective cost efficient design and manufacturing process.

Seven Technologies Ltd is an engineering company specialising in designing, developing and manufacturing specialist technical SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) products. Seven Technologies Ltd undertakes bespoke design projects to meet the customer’s needs as well as providing consultancy, research and development and training services.  The company was formed in 2005 and employs highly skilled engineers in electronic, software and mechanical design. 

Commenting on the award, Dr Mary Flynn, Head of KTP & Business Networks at Queen’s, said: “This latest KTP success further illustrates the business impact of knowledge transfer activity which translates academic expertise into wealth creation.  KTPs bring together the key elements which underpin research and development and lead to economic prosperity, and their impact on local business has been immense. 

“Businesses are increasingly aware of the value of such collaboration with Queen’s and the rewards it can bring. As one of the lead universities in the UK for KTPs, Queen’s has helped more than 300 companies to innovate through accessing and embedding new technology and expertise.”

Gavin Williamson, Chief Executive of Seven Technologies Ltd said: “Winning the Northern Ireland Regional Award for our KTP is the icing on what has been a very successful time for us. The KTP has exceeded our expectations as it has enabled us to acquire new knowledge at a cost effective rate, and embed it in our staff and day to day operations.

“There has also been an improved level of satisfaction from the customer base which has widened as the company has been recommended on the strength of its new capabilities. Timothy Kernohan, our KTP Associate, has been instrumental in the management, development and embedding of new product design and introduction, and the transfer of a wide range of increased skills and capabilities have been key to the company’s success.”

On average, KTP partnerships report 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.

The project with Seven Technologies was carried out over the period September 2009 until September 2011 under the supervision of Dr Rachel Gibson from the NI Technology Centre at Queen’s.  The project was part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the Technology Strategy Board.

Urging other companies to follow in Seven Technologies Ltd’s footsteps, Dr Flynn added:  “This project is a wonderful example of the benefits to be achieved through knowledge transfer.  KTP brings together the key elements of research and commercial application to deliver sustainable benefits for all parties. I would urge any company, sole trader or business person who feels there are further opportunities for their business out there to contact us. We are always willing to have an initial conversation about how we, or our other partners can help, because we are here to help businesses grow.”

Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive, Invest NI added: “In the current difficult economic climate, KTP offers businesses an innovative, cost-effective and flexible option to help them address business issues. I believe that, as many more Northern Ireland companies become more aware of the commercial rewards of collaboration, this will put the KTP programme in an even stronger position and enable it to play a larger role in boosting business success.”

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.

Further information on KTP partnerships at Queen’s is available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/KTPandBusinessNetworks//
Media inquiries to Michelle Cassidy at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)08 9097 5310 or comms.officer@qub.ac.uk

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Free university education on offer for new Queen’s Scholars
Moore Dickson, Principal of Belfast Royal Academy; Isabel Jennings, Director of Student Plus at Queen’s; Alison Mungavin, Principal of Ashfield Girls’ High School; and David Lambon, Principal of St Malachy’s College, Belfast.
Moore Dickson, Principal of Belfast Royal Academy; Isabel Jennings, Director of Student Plus at Queen’s; Alison Mungavin, Principal of Ashfield Girls’ High School; and David Lambon, Principal of St Malachy’s College, Belfast.

A new scholarship scheme announced today by Queen’s University will pay tuition fees for ten students from schools in Northern Ireland for the duration of their undergraduate course at the University.

Queen’s is calling on schools and colleges across Northern Ireland to each nominate two students to become Queen’s Scholars. From the nominees, the University will select finalists to compete for one of the ten available awards, which will cover their £3,465 annual tuition fee for each year of their full-time undergraduate degree.

The Queen’s Scholars awards are designed to reward excellence and are aimed at students who excel in all aspects of their lives, both inside and outside the classroom.

Schools have been invited to nominate students for 2013 entry before  5pm on Friday 30 November 2012.

Isabel Jennings, Director of Student Plus at Queen’s, said: “We are asking every post-primary school in Northern Ireland to nominate two students who can demonstrate exceptional extra-curricular abilities, with a particular focus on leadership, enterprise and social responsibility. Queen’s Scholars will be expected to have notable achievements outside academic life, whether in sport, music and the arts, business and enterprise, or through community work.”

The Queen’s Scholars awards are among the most prestigious available from any UK university. They are the latest addition to Queen’s annual scholarship package, which is worth around £250,000,  benefits almost 200 students per year, and represents a crucial investment in Northern Ireland’s future prosperity.

Isabel continued: “Queen’s is committed to investing in the delivery of an exceptional academic and non-academic student experience, leading to excellent career opportunities for our graduates.

“In ensuring a holistic experience, our aim is to provide students with the life skills that will allow them to contribute to the Northern Ireland community, both professionally and culturally.  That is why our scholarships include awards for students across all disciplines.

“Our entrance scholarship package also includes STEM Scholarships of £1,000 to the top 50 students enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics subject at Queen’s. The University also offers awards of up to £2,500 per year to full fee paying students from England, Scotland and Wales, while the Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships offer £1,000 to first-year STEM students from underprivileged backgrounds in the UK with the highest academic attainment at A-level.

“Prospective students can find information on all these scholarships and more on the Undergraduate Scholarships page at www.qub.ac.uk/scholarships




Media inquiries to Michelle Cassidy at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0)08 9097 5310 or comms.officer@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s University wins Environmental Project of the Year award
Queen's wins Environmental Project of the Year at Sustainable Ireland Awards. Pictured are, L-R: BBC's Noel Thompson; Queen's Environmental Manager Sara Lynch; Richard Ward, Shelbourne Motors; one of Queen's Environmental Champions Lynda Mahon; and Golda Burrows, Sustainable Ireland
Queen's wins Environmental Project of the Year at Sustainable Ireland Awards. Pictured are, L-R: BBC's Noel Thompson; Queen's Environmental Manager Sara Lynch; Richard Ward, Shelbourne Motors; one of Queen's Environmental Champions Lynda Mahon; and Golda Burrows, Sustainable Ireland

Queen’s University’s Environmental Champion Programme has been named the Environmental Project of the Year at the Sustainable Ireland Awards.

The programme, which has resulted in the implementation of over 800 environmental actions across the University, was praised by the judges for its engagement with all levels of staff.

Since the programme was launched over 100 staff have volunteered to act as Champions to raise awareness of environmental issues among colleagues and to promote positive behavioural change.

During the last year, the Champions have implemented hundreds of environmental actions, covering waste, travel and energy, through the University’s participation in an environmental accreditation and reward scheme called Green Impact. They have been supported in their role by a range of awareness events, training sessions and regular sustainable communications, including an ezine, website and intranet site.

Thanks to their efforts, the University has reduced its overall energy usage by 6.29% over the past year.

Speaking about the programme, Queen’s Environmental Manager Sara Lynch said: “Thanks to the development of the Environmental Champions programme, staff are now actively encouraging others to adopt greener and low carbon behaviours. The programme has successfully engaged with all levels of staff and has demonstrated that environmental improvement is not just a management issue, but one that staff can take ownership of and in which they can play a significant role.”

Environmental Champion in the School of Psychology Lynda Mahon added: “In our School, the Environmental Champions programme has encouraged us to think about our impact on the environment and has motivated us to make small everyday changes which are making a real difference to the environmental performance of our School and the University.  The initiative has been an exciting challenge and I look forward to the next step in Queen’s sustainable programme.”

The University was presented with the award, sponsored by Shelbourne Motors, at a glittering ceremony at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. Organised by the Hillsborough-based publishers of Sustainable Ireland, 4Square Media, the annual awards is now widely regarded as the premier event in the Irish Environmental, Waste Management and Energy sectors.

Media inquiries to the Communications Office at 028 9097 3087 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Darren Clarke makes ‘major’ gift to Queen’s

Play audio Darren Clarke OBE, the 2011 Open Golf Champion and veteran of five consecutive European Ryder Cup teams, visited Queen’s University Belfast today (Friday 14 September) to present a cheque for £80,000 from the Darren Clarke Foundation to the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB).

Through the Darren Clarke Foundation, the Northern Ireland golfer has been a major supporter of cancer research, donating to a number of local and national cancer charities.

Presenting the cheque, Darren Clarke said: “I am delighted to support the Centre for Cancer research at Queen’s University through my Foundation and I am hopeful this is the start of a long-term relationship.”

The gift was received on behalf of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology by Dr David Waugh, Acting Director of the CCRCB in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s.

"More women in Northern Ireland are surviving breast cancer than ever before, thanks to earlier detection and better treatments. But there is so much more to be done to accelerate our impact on this disease.

 "This generous gift from the Darren Clarke Foundation will enable us to continue our research into aggressive forms of cancer, including breast cancer, and accelerate the pace and quality of cancer research worldwide,” concluded Dr Waugh.

Dr Waugh added: “Between 1993 and 2009, the number of women dying from cancer has gone down by 0.9 per cent and survival rates for cancer in Northern Ireland are now among the best in the UK. Some of our survivors are currently alive and well a significant number of years after the kind of cancer that not so long ago would have taken them from us. At CCRCB, with the continued support of donors, large and small, we can continue to wage war on Cancer.”

The Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology has gained global recognition for its pioneering work since it opened in 2007. Survival rates for cancer in Northern Ireland are now among the best in the UK. Earlier this year an initiative led by Queen’s, in partnership with the local Health and Social Care Trusts, reorganising cancer treatment throughout Northern Ireland, won a Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

If you would like to support cancer research at Queen’s please contact the Medical Fundraising Team on 028 9097 1568.

Media inquiries to Gerry Power, Queen’s University Belfast; 028 9097 5321
For more information on the gift presentation please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321; g.power@qub.ac.uk

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Darren Clarke, clip 1
Darren Clarke, clip 2
Public invited to meet world-class researchers at Queen’s

Members of the public are being invited to Queen’s University at lunchtime on Thursday (13 September) to meet and hear from the people behind some of the biggest scientific, medical and technological breakthroughs of recent times.

In a special lunchtime research showcase in the University’s Whitla Hall,entitled Local Talent, Global Impact, members of the public can discover how Queen’s researchers are making an enormous impact around the globe.

Experts working on advances in fertility treatment, cancer care and sight-threatening diseases; cutting-edge developments in laser technology, wave energy and ultra-fast high speed wireless connections; and who use innovative methods of social data collection on demographic aging, poverty and social exclusion that help to shape policies, will all be on-hand to discuss their work.

The event marks the launch of the new publication, 'The DNA of Innovation: Volume 2', which includes case study profiles of many of these researchers, their cutting-edge work and its impact on society.

Speaking about the event, Scott Rutherford, Director of Research and Enterprise at Queen’s, said: “We often read the headlines about the ground breaking research that is taking place at Queen’s and this free event is an opportunity to hear more from the people behind the headlines and about their work that impacts upon our everyday lives. From areas including health, electronics, education, politics and space Queen’s University is paving the way in world-class research.

'The DNA of Innovation: Volume 2' illustrates the work of 34 leading academics and their teams including: Professor Sheena Lewis – whose extraordinarily successful work in the area of male infertility has transformed the lives of many couples: Professor William Scanlon, who is developing smart technology that uses a body-to-body network for data transmission; and Professor Alan Stitt – who is recognised globally for his research into diabetic retinopathy. These examples are just a few from among research projects of extraordinary diversity that are advancing and exchanging knowledge and delivering impact and benefit to Northern Ireland and the wider world.

The showcase will be a fascinating opportunity for people to see what is going on right on their doorstep.”

Earlier this year, Queen’s was honoured with a Diamond Jubilee Anniversary prize from her Majesty the Queen for its pioneering work in cancer research.  The University has been selected as the UK’s Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security and is establishing an Institute of Health Sciences bringing major research areas onto one campus.

The event Local Talent Global Impact is free and open to the public and takes place in the Whitla Hall at Queen’s University between mid-day and 2.30pm on Thursday.  Short presentations by several leading academics will be given at 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814415451 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Northern Ireland's space industry set for lift off

Queen’s University is set to play a key role in doubling the UK’s share of the global market for space products and services by 2030.

The announcement comes as leading figures from UK and European space agencies gather for Northern Ireland’s first Space Summit at Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) this week (Wednesday 12 September).

Currently, the UK’s space industry contributes £9.1bn annually to the economy. The aerospace, defence, security and space sectors contribute over £1bn to the NI Economy.

Those attending the Space Summit at ECIT are aiming to increase this share by outlining future research requirements for antennas and related technologies, and highlighting potential commercial opportunities for both local and other UK-based companies involved in the space industry.

One ECIT research project being highlighted at the event could eventually lead to a huge increase in the number of people able to access the internet around the world, particularly in rural areas and other sparsely populated regions of the planet.

Overseen by Professor Vince Fusco, Director of Research at ECIT’s High Frequency Electronics Cluster, it is sponsored by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Fusco, who has recently been appointed to the UK Satellite Applications Catapult Centre's Applied Research Group (SAARG), said: “At the present time, only 30 per cent of the world’s population is able to get online. The aim of our work is to test ways to increase the telecom and antenna capabilities of satellites. One potential consequence of this work is that it could ultimately lead to greatly increased internet access via broadband satellite connections, so the benefits could be very significant.”

“ECIT is well known within the European space industry for our expertise in this highly specialist field and we are the main supplier of various types of sophisticated components both to the UK space industry and to the European Space Agency.  We now have 30 researchers working at the Institute who have been involved in numerous high-monetary value programmes for UK and European clients in recent years.”

Paul Febvre, Project Director of the UK Satellite Applications Catapult, a new technology and innovation centre currently being established at Harwell in Oxfordshire, is among the key speakers at the Summit, he said: “The rapid growth of the space sector continues to be driven by innovation in technology and applications.  The strong heritage of satellite-based research witnessed at ECIT places the Institute in a strong position to collaborate with industry and other partners across the UK and Europe.

“ECIT at Queen’s provides Northern Ireland with a focal point for the development of novel and innovative satellite applications and technologies, leading to significant potential for commercial exploitation and growth.”

More information on the ECIT Space Summit can be found at http://www.ecit.qub.ac.uk/Space2012

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan at Queen’s University Communications Office on +44 (0) 28 9097 5391 / 07814415451 or at c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Attwood launches Waste Reduction Week with last year’s European winner Queen’s Elms
Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, Councillor Pat McCarthy, Chair of Belfast Council’s Environmental Committee and Gwen Finlay from Queen’s Elms Village
Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, Councillor Pat McCarthy, Chair of Belfast Council’s Environmental Committee and Gwen Finlay from Queen’s Elms Village

Attwood commends Queen’s Elms who won one of only six European awards last year for their imaginative waste reduction initiatives.

Minister Attwood today visited Queen’s Elms village to view their European Waste Reduction Week award-winning initiatives which have significantly reduced the normal levels of waste produced by the 1,800 strong student residents.

Commenting on this award winning initiative Environment Minister, Alex Attwood said: “Visiting Queen’s Elms village is truly inspirational – they have combined both imaginative and practical measures with their everyday activities to significantly reduce their waste and adopt a more environmentally - conscious approach.

“My department’s Rethink Waste campaign focuses on promoting behaviour change in our approach to waste in everyday life – it is impressive to see these supported and put to practice by Queen’s Elms village’s vegetable garden, book/ recipe and clothes swap initiatives that I have seen here today.

“European Week for Waste Reduction will be running this year from 17th to 25th November. I would encourage everyone to take a look at their own routines at home, at work and in their local community, to see if there are any changes that could be made which could be registered as a Northern Ireland activity. Even the smallest measure can make a huge difference to reducing landfill.

“In DOE we need to be bold, draft and agree challenging new laws that robustly protect and deepen the green and clean credentials that makes Northern Ireland such a special place. That is what a robust Climate Change Act, a credible Marine Bill, a National Park Act in the image of our needs, and an Independent Environment Agency would decisively demonstrate.”

Councillor Pat McCarthy, Chair of Belfast Council’s Environmental Committee, who enjoyed the visit to Queen’s Elms, said: “I would commend the efforts of the Queen’s Elms residents in coming up with some really innovative ways to tackle waste reduction.

“Students were given the opportunity to appoint themselves “Green Champion” for the Halls at the start of the project and it’s great that so many engaged with the project. Everyone was also encouraged to grow their own veg, as well as organising ‘swap shops’ to encourage waste reduction through reuse.”

Belfast City Council is the local co-ordinator for European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) and last year 85 organisations and businesses across the city signed up to the pledge to take action on waste. The Queen’s Elms project was one of those involved in the initiative.

Gwen Finlay from Queen’s Elms Village added: “We were proud and delighted to receive the European Award. Staff and students alike embraced the initiatives and made it a success. In partnership with Belfast City Council, the entire Elms village participated to ensure our contributions to landfill were kept at an absolute minimum.

“European Week for Waste reduction is a fantastic platform to promote these actions, and we try to maximise on our efforts by promoting and enabling these habits all year round, which we have found very successful.”

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Belfast’s very own Wall Street Trading Room opens at Queen’s

Northern Ireland's first ever financial trading room will open at Riddel Hall

Play audioNorthern Ireland’s first ever financial trading room will be officially opened at Queen’s later today (Wednesday, 5 September).

Replicating the stock exchanges of New York and London, The First Derivatives Trading Room (FDTR), will provide a dynamic learning environment for students hoping to embark in a career in financial services or technology.

Based at Queen’s University Management School at Riddel Hall, the facility will give students the experience of trading in a busy stock exchange, with the capacity to deal in real-time equities, bonds, foreign exchange and derivative instruments.

Students will have access to 12 trading stations (capacity of 24 students at a time), a real-time electronic ticker tape featuring financial information feeds from Bloomberg, two large-screen displays providing live coverage of CNBC, CNN, and other financial networks, and software for trading, deal capturing, settlement, analytics, pricing, portfolio management, derivatives pricing, and other finance-related challenges.

The Trading Room has been funded by First Derivatives plc, a Northern Ireland provider of software and consulting services to the global capital markets industry, and Invest Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the official opening, Professor Donal McKillop from Queen’s University Management School, said: “The opening of the First Derivatives Trading Room illustrates both Queen’s commitment to delivering a world-class experience for its students and its status as an employer-attuned university.

“With first-hand experience of the high-pressure atmosphere of the trading room, Queen’s finance students will now have even more of an edge in the global job market. I would like to congratulate First Derivatives plc, and Invest NI, in having the vision to back the Trading Room, which will ensure Queen’s can continue to work alongside industry in helping attract further investment in Northern Ireland.”

Brian Conlon, CEO of First Derivatives plc, both a graduate and honorary graduate of Queen’s, views the Trading Room as a platform for closer engagement between the company and Queen’s students and staff. He said: “We already offer one of the largest graduate training programmes in Northern Ireland, employing some 30 Queens University graduates each year. From our perspective this is an opportunity to further collaborate with Queen’s on projects and develop courses in Computational Finance which align more closely with our company’s requirements.

“Partnerships like that seen today between First Derivatives plc, Queen’s, and Invest NI, create synergies between the world of business, government and academia and are exactly what’s needed to drive the development of Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy.”

Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest Northern Ireland, said: “Growing our Financial Services sector through a combination of inward investors and local company growth is a strategic priority for Invest NI.

“Northern Ireland is already recognised as a top global destination for financial technology investments, in part due to the quality of graduates coming from our world-class universities. This new Trading Room will provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable practical experience of working in this dynamic sector and will make a major contribution to ensuring that we continue to develop the talent pool to drive future growth. It is a hugely valuable resource that will benefit both local businesses looking for new employees, as well as future investors considering Northern Ireland as an investment location.”

The new Trading Room will see bespoke modules on financial trading integrated into existing degree provision at Queen’s, including undergraduate Finance degrees and postgraduate degrees in Risk Management and Financial Regulation, and Finance. September 2013 will see the launch of a new MSc in Computational Finance which will be taught almost exclusively within the Trading Room.

The opening of the First Derivatives Trading Room is the latest development at Queen’s Riddel Hall campus following a £15M investment in the site. The University is the first in the UK and Ireland to have a dedicated Graduate and Executive Education Centre comprising Queen’s University Management School, a Graduate School and a Leadership Institute, to meet the needs of global and local business.

Further information on Queen’s University Management School is available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/QueensUniversityManagementSchool/

Watch the Q in 60 seconds news coverage

Play audio  Hear Professor Donal McKillop discussing the Trading Room

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Communications Officer. Tel 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk.

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Hear Professor Donal McKillop discussing the Trading Room
City Celebration for 50th Belfast Festival at Queen’s

Van Morrison, Buena Vista Social Club, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Ray Davies are just some of the internationally acclaimed artists set to appear during the 50th Belfast Festival at Queen's.

The full line-up for this year's Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s was revealed at a Festival 50 launch event today in Belfast City Hall.  Starting as a small campus based event in 1961, Festival has featured names such as Jimi Hendrix, Michael Palin, Billy Connolly, Dizzy Gillespie, Kylie Minogue and Rowan Atkinson.  Today, Belfast Festival at Queen’s is the largest and most diverse arts festival in Ireland.

Running between 19 October and 4 November, the 50th Festival has been billed as a celebration for the entire city, featuring both home-grown and international artists, authors and performers taking part in 185 events across the city. Encouraging everyone to get involved with the 50th celebrations, this year’s Festival will include 60 free events, whilst two thirds of shows will cost less than £15.

Speaking at the launch, Festival Director, Shan McAnena, said: “There is music in shopping centres, churches and museums, comedy at the heart of Queen’s University, theatre in offices, public baths and bars, and art in the open air. From hip-hop to opera, hunting for fairies to ghosts in the dark, from international super-stars to local heroes, we are proud to present to the city of Belfast the largest and most eclectic arts festival in Ireland.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson added: “This year at Queen’s we are delighted to be celebrating Festival’s 50th year of acting as a vital magnet for both talent and tourism in Northern Ireland. Bringing international acts to our shores and allowing local talent to shine on a global stage, has, and will continue to bring, immense cultural and economic benefits to the City of Belfast. I would encourage as many people as possible to enjoy and make the most of the opportunities presented by the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, particularly in this, its wonderful 50th year.”

Commenting on the 50th Festival celebrations, Chief Executive of title sponsor Ulster Bank, Jim Brown, said: “Marking the Festival’s golden Jubilee is a tribute not only to the city’s love of the arts, but a salute to those who over the last five decades have grown this festival to its international status. We believe the Festival is one of the most prolific and ambitious acts of inclusive cultural development in Northern Ireland and are proud to support it.”

Theatrically, the 50th Festival plays host to a number of firsts:  The acclaimed National Theatre Company of Scotland’s production Enquirer, based on interviews with leading figures in the newspaper industry, comes to Belfast for its Irish premier, and the controversial production Minsk, from the Belarus Free Theatre, will also be making its Irish debut as part of the 2012 programme.  Another Irish debut will be the long-awaited new work from Michael Clark, featuring music by a leading and as yet unnamed figure from the UK music industry, whilst the Tron Theatre Company’s brilliant re-imagining of Joyce’s Ulysses will also make an Ireland debut at Festival.

This year’s Festival will also boast performances by leading soprano Lesley Garrett; Stephen Hough - described as one of the most important pianists of his generation; the unique and powerful partnership of pianist Imogen Cooper and baritone Wolfgang Holzmier and the lyrical magic of Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling.  Alongside a strong programme of talks including appearances by Peter Hain, Jonathan Miller, Bjorn Lomborg, Michael Higgins, Bill Janeway, John Gordon Sinclair and Ian Rankin.

Showcasing the very best of local theatre talent, on stage in Belfast’s word-class theatre spaces will be a number of UK and world premieres including Paisley & Me by Belfast-born, Emmy Award-winning writer Ron Hutchinson at The Grand Opera House; Macbeth directed by Lynne Parker at The Lyric, and The Huzzies at The Mac - a collaboration between Tinderbox Theatre Company and award winning playwright Stacey Gregg.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council Northern Ireland said she recognised the vital role Festival played for the local arts sector: “As a platform for our local artists and performers The Belfast Festival at Queen’s has helped nurture the development of our rich emerging arts scene over the last five decades. We are delighted to have been a patron of this important Festival throughout its rich and colourful history.”

The 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s also contains theatre from Europe, art from South Africa and music from South America and is set to boost visitor numbers to Belfast.  Alan Clarke, Chief Executive Northern Ireland Tourist Board said: “2012 is proving to be very special year for tourism in Northern Ireland.  Belfast Festival at Queen’s is a great example of how this region is confidently moving on; the Festival has been a constant for the last five decades and is evolving and expanding to create an ever-changing experience for our visitors and locals to enjoy. This is another chance to showcase arts and culture in Northern Ireland, and how ‘our place’ can punch above its weight in delivering world-class events.” 

The 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s runs from Friday 19 October to Sunday 4 November. To see the entire programme of events and book online visit the website, www.belfastfestival.com or call the Festival Box Office on 028 9097 1197

For media inquiries, pleae contact Cathy Law c.law@qub.ac.uk, 07876 358 842.

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