11-2003 Press Releases

November 2003
28/11/03: Queen’s rise “resulted from recognition of need to change” - Bain
27/11/03: Santa appeals for toys at Queen’s University
24/11/03: Innovative Cross-Border study of Irish Sea prawn populations
20/11/03: Queen’s graduate collects award for social isolation research
19/11/03: American foreign policy on agenda in Queen’s public lecture
18/11/03: Knowledge – the key to prosperity for small countries
18/11/03: Freedom of the press – fact or fiction?
14/11/03: Queen’s PhD student most promising in the UK!
13/11/03: A question of faith? Queen’s lectures examine evolutionism and religion
13/11/03: Lift-off for a career in the Aerospace industry
12/11/03: SO YOU WANT TO WORK IN TV, RADIO OR NEWSPAPERS … THEN STEP THIS WAY
12/11/03: Queen’s students sweep the board in foreign placements
10/11/03: Partnership of oak in biodiversity
09/11/03: Queen’s reaches out to West Belfast at Clonard
07/11/03: Game on for Assembly election!
07/11/03: Queen’s Service of Remembrance

Queen’s rise “resulted from recognition of need to change” – Bain

Queen’s University’s current place in the top 20 United Kingdom universities for teaching and research resulted from its recognition of the need to change, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain said last night.

Professor Bain, who was delivering the Association of University Administrators Annual Guest Lecture on the Belfast campus, said that, when he took up office in January 1998, the University’s main objective “was to restore its self-respect, to make it once again one of the leading civic universities of the United Kingdom”.

Speaking on the theme of “Leading Universities”, the Vice-Chancellor addressed an audience of more than 100 university administrators from universities throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

He drew on his experience at Queen’s, and also from his time as Principal of London Business School and Chairman of Warwick Business School, to talk about the process of leading change in an academic institution.

Professor Bain defined leadership as “the ability to cope with change, to establish a new direction, and to get institutions and individuals to move in that direction.

“The key function of a vice-chancellor is to lead the university: to harness the social forces within it, to shape and guide its values, to build a management team, and to inspire it and others working in the university to take initiatives around a shared vision and a strategy to implement it.”

He said: “At Queen’s, the vision was summarised as ‘Access to Quality’, providing the widest possible access to national and international excellence in teaching and research.

“And we agreed that an important milestone on the road to achieving this goal would be passed when Queen’s was seen in the United Kingdom as a top-20 university for both teaching and research.”

Professor Bain said that, as part of the process of change at Queen’s, the University quickly delayered the administrative structure and rationalised the University’s committee system.

He added that “more fundamental” changes need to be made to turn rhetoric into reality and that at Queen’s, the most fundamental was the introduction of a £25 million re-structuring exercise which paved the way for the employment of new academic staff.

“Over 35 per cent of Queen’s academic staff have been hired since July 1998, greatly improving its position in the academic labour market. As a result, the University has achieved its goal of becoming a top-20 university for both teaching and research.”

He went on: “A vice-chancellor will not be able to create successful and sustainable change, however, unless he sees himself as a leader rather than a manager. He must organise the university and himself in such a way that he has time to perform the leadership functions, such as development and communication, that are central to his role and that he is better placed than anyone else to undertake.”

The Association of University Administrators is the professional association for higher education administrators. Its key objective is the promotion of excellence in higher education management.

The Annual Lecture series was established in 1998 to celebrate the Association’s fifth birthday. The series aims to provide a visionary and challenging perspective on the future of higher education and to contribute to the national debate on some of the topical and controversial issues facing the sector today.


For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9033 5310

Top of Page

Santa appeals for toys at Queen’s University

In a change from his usual role giving out presents, Santa recently called in at Queen’s University with some empty sacks to enlist help from University staff and students in filling them!

Santa Claus, represented by Queen’s University Head Porter Chris Shannon, arrived with two special helpers and several empty sacks to launch the annual porters’ Christmas toy appeal to staff and students. Helping to fill Santa’s first sack was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac and also supporting the appeal was Marion Smyth, N I Hospice Community Fundraiser.
Santa Claus, represented by Queen’s University Head Porter Chris Shannon, arrived with two special helpers and several empty sacks to launch the annual porters’ Christmas toy appeal to staff and students. Helping to fill Santa’s first sack was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac and also supporting the appeal was Marion Smyth, N I Hospice Community Fundraiser.

Chris Shannon, Head Porter at the University, was more than happy to co-ordinate the annual Christmas toy appeal on Santa’s behalf. As he reported, “With the help of all the porters around the University I’ve been collecting Christmas gifts for good causes for many years. Last year, there was tremendous support for our campaign from University colleagues and we were able to give a fantastic range of toys and presents to the NI Children’s Hospice, together with a substantial cash donation towards Hospice Christmas parties and outings.”

This year once again, the gifts donated by staff and students will be delivered to the Children’s Hospice for Christmas Day. At the launch of Santa’s toy appeal at Queen’s, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac was pleased to hand over the first gifts to Santa and his two helpers. He said, “The porters’ Christmas toy appeal is an excellent idea and I fully support it. Queen’s University places a strong emphasis on playing an important role in the community that it serves. This charity initiative taken by our staff to help brighten up Christmas for the children and families cared for by the Northern Ireland Hospice is one example of how we can contribute to our local community.”

Ends

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office: 028 9033 5320

Top of Page

Innovative Cross-Border study of Irish Sea prawn populations

The Aquatic Systems Group of the School of Agriculture and Food Science at Queen’s University has recently been involved in a cross-border research study with staff from the Marine Institute in Galway into the quantities of Dublin Bay Prawn in the Irish Sea. The Anglo Northern Irish Fish Producer Organisation (ANIFPO) was also involved.

Members of the Aquatic Systems Group of the School of Agriculture and Food Science at Queen’s University deploying the novel underwater cameras used in their research into Dublin Bay prawns.
Members of the Aquatic Systems Group of the School of Agriculture and Food Science at Queen’s University deploying the novel underwater cameras used in their research into Dublin Bay prawns.

The study, led by Dr Richard Briggs of the Aquatic Systems Group and Dr Colm Lordan from the Marine Institute, involved an investigation using a new underwater video research method. The project was funded jointly by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Irish Marine Institute.

The study is the first of its kind ever to be carried out in the Irish Sea and while analysis of the data is ongoing, preliminary results indicate very high densities of the Dublin Bay Prawn.

Bottom sediment samples have been collected for particle analysis and acoustic mapping data using multi-beam technology also played an important part of the study and will contribute towards a more holistic assessment of the Irish Sea Dublin Bay Prawn grounds.

The Dublin Bay Prawn or Nephrops is locally prepared in breadcrumbs or batter and sold as the popular dish known as ‘scampi’. They inhabit burrows in the bottom sediment of offshore waters at depths of 14 – 800 meters, from Iceland to the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The UK fishery alone for these prawns is worth over £50 million per annum at first sale. The Irish Sea stocks (from where the popular name ‘Dublin Bay Prawn’ arose) are exploited mainly in the waters west of the Isle of Man. Most landings in this area are by Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and with a combined first sale annual value of about £10 million, making this the most valuable single fishery in these waters.

Describing the project Dr Briggs said: “Early attempts to assess the state of Nephrops stocks were from interpretations based on the trends in the average size of animals in catches. More recently, however, methods have evolved which apply computer-based mathematical models to commercial catch data, as is done to assess fin-fish stocks such as cod. Now, a new method is being employed, using underwater video to study prawns in their natural habitat.” Dr Richard Briggs of the Aquatic Systems Group of the School of Agriculture and Food Science at Queen’s University on one of the ships (RV Lough Foyle) used to deploy under water cameras to research the quantities of Dublin Bay prawns in the Irish Sea.
Dr Richard Briggs of the Aquatic Systems Group of the School of Agriculture and Food Science at Queen’s University on one of the ships (RV Lough Foyle) used to deploy under water cameras to research the quantities of Dublin Bay prawns in the Irish Sea.

Underwater video has the advantage over trawl surveys as the latter tend to give more variable results depending as it does on whether the prawns actually emerge from their burrows. With this new underwater photography method however, the scientists can count prawn burrow clusters and thus estimate the Nephrops density. This data can then be used to map the ground and enable researchers to calculate the size of the prawn population or biomass.

Dr Briggs added, “The technique requires a good knowledge of the prawn burrow appearance so that they may be distinguished from those of other bottom-dwelling creatures. As the Irish Sea is regularly trawled, it is likely that unoccupied burrows are quickly filled with silt and disappear from view. Hence, it is reasonable to assume that visible burrows are occupied by living Nephrops.”

The Irish Sea camera surveys were carried out during the summer of 2003 by two research vessels, one from Northern Ireland (RV Lough Foyle) and one from the Republic (RV Celtic Voyager). During these surveys, a TV system mounted on a purpose-built sledge was towed slowly across the seabed. Overall, around 200 tows, each of ten minutes in duration, were made at stations situated two to three miles apart throughout the Irish Sea and covering the full extent of the Nephrops grounds.

The study Involved the local fishing industry with Mr Gerrard Curran, a Kilkeel trawlerman and representative of the Anglo Northern Irish Fish Producer Organisation (ANIFPO), aboard for much of the time, where he made valuable contributions based upon his fishing experience of the grounds.

Ends

For further information, contact: Dr Richard Briggs028 9025 5503 Richard.Briggs@dardni.gov.uk; or Communications Office, 028 9027 5323

Top of Page

Queen’s graduate collects award for social isolation research

Graduate Michelle Cahill received the Queen's Science Shop 2003 Award from Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac
Graduate Michelle Cahill received the Queen's Science Shop 2003 Award from Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac

Research carried out by Queen’s graduate Michelle Cahill into the issue of social isolation among elderly men has earned her the Queen’s University annual Science Shop Award.

The Science Shop Awards are presented each year to students who have completed the best community-based research projects with voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland. Over the past 12 months, the Science Shop helped over 60 Queen’s students, including Michelle, become involved in a range of very varied projects.

Before graduating in July from the School of Sociology, Michelle Cahill visited and talked to elderly men in North Belfast for her student project, to examine the issue of social isolation of this group in our society. She said of her award: “I enjoyed hearing at first-hand the views of elderly men on their position in our society, and was surprised at the level of isolation they reported. I hope the report I produced may serve in some way to ensure that their views are considered in future planning. I am delighted that my work has been singled out for this honour.”

Olaf Hvattam of the North Belfast Senior Citizens Forum represents one of the several groups who are now using the case study material that Michelle prepared. He said of her work: “Michelle’s project brought fresh perspectives to the thorny problem of how to include older, isolated men in our work. The case studies she put together are most useful.”

The Science Shop Annual Awards dinner takes place on Thursday 20 November at 7pm at the University of Ulster’s Portrush campus, where Michelle is to be presented with her Award by Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University.

Eileen Martin, Co-ordinator of the Queen’s Science Shop, confirmed that many of the student projects make valuable community contributions. She said: “Over the last two years, since the University appointed Professor McCormac as Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Community and Communications, there has been an increased impetus to ensure that the University is developing ever closer links with the community. Through Science Shop projects, everyone gains - students gain greater awareness of the relevance of their learning to wider social issues and the community groups benefit from the wide range of skills that students bring to their organisations. I’m delighted to see the quality of Michelle’s work being recognised in such a public forum.”

Ends

Notes:

The Northern Ireland Science Shop is part of an international initiative linking universities with community organisations. The Science Shop is a part of the community resource at Queen’s University, playing its role in the University’s commitment to making a contribution to the wider community. It has close contacts with a wide range of non-profit groups throughout Northern Ireland. Community and voluntary groups often require the specialist skills of the universities to develop their work. The Science Shop puts these groups in touch with students or staff who might be able to work with them, either as part of course-related student projects, or as student volunteers.

For further information contact: Eileen Martin, Science Shop, Queen’s University 028 9027 3410 or 07813 924436; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9033 5320

Top of Page

American foreign policy on agenda in Queen’s public lecture

In the week that news headlines are dominated by American President George Bush’s controversial visit to London, United States foreign policy will come under the spotlight in a major public lecture at Queen’s University.

Neta Crawford, an Associate Professor at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and an academic specialist in international relations theory and international security, will discuss some of the contentious issues arising from current American foreign policy in her lecture on Thursday.

In her talk, entitled “The Institutionalisation of Fear and the Logics of US Foreign Policy”, Professor Crawford will examine and evaluate changes in American foreign policy since 9/11.

In particular, she will ask whether current policy could be counter-productive and inadvertently trigger the global terrorism it aims to eradicate.

Professor Crawford’s lecture will take place in Room 21.101, 21 University Square, on Thursday 20 November at 5pm. Admission is free.


For further information contact:

Dr Karin Fierke, Tel 028 9027 3650/028 9146 2826 (H)
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9033 5310

Note for editors:

Professor Crawford’s lecture is open to the press. Interview arrangements can be made by calling one of the above numbers.

Top of Page

Knowledge – the key to prosperity for small countries

An expert on “the knowledge economy” is to speak at Queen’s about how small countries can reinvent themselves in order to compete in the global, high-technology marketplace.

In his First Trust Innovation Lecture at Queen’s, Professor Jorma Routti is expected to describe how his native Finland has become ranked as the world’s most competitive economy. During the 1990s it transformed itself from being a country largely dominated by the forestry industry into an extremely prosperous high-technology exporter. Its turnaround was precipitated by an economic crisis linked to the collapse of its major trading partner, the former Soviet Union.

Professor Routti believes that his country’s success is due to a strategic political decision to invest heavily in research and development. At 3.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), this is well above the EU and OECD average of around 2 per cent. The result has been a structural change, as a consequence of which high-technology goods and services now account for over 20 per cent of exports, and the economy as a whole is increasingly diversified.

As President of SITRA - the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development - Professor Routti oversaw the creation of a knowledge-based economy in which close links are nurtured between researchers, local enterprise, and both public and private sources of funding. The process is guided by a benign central government committed to ensuring that good ideas are rapidly harnessed for local and national benefit.

Routti points out that the advantages of this kind of innovation feed through to traditional industries such as forestry and agriculture, where technology is playing an increasingly important role.

Professor Jorma Routti is currently Executive Chairman of Creative Industries Management Ltd, the first European venture capital fund for creative industries, which was launched in 2001 with private and public investment. He is a former Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate for Science Research and Development.

Professor Roy Crawford, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development said: “We are delighted to host this lecture at a time when Northern Ireland is stepping up its commitment to developing a knowledge-based economy through university research and Invest Northern Ireland, the government’s economic development arm. There are sure to be many important lessons for Northern Ireland in what Professor Routti has to say about the successful transformation that has occurred in Finland.”

Dennis Licence, Managing Director of First Trust Bank, said: “If we hope to create a growing, dynamic economy in Northern Ireland, it is essential that business, government and education are committed to the development of an economy based on knowledge and innovative thinking. Finland’s success demonstrates what can be achieved.”

During his career Professor Routti has also been Dean of Helsinki University of Technology and a visiting scientist at CERN in Geneva.

Notes for editors: Professor Routti’s First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture, entitled `Innovation Systems for Small Countries Towards Knowledge-Based Economies’, is at 6pm on Wednesday 19 November in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s University.

For further information, contact: Richard Millen, Research & Regional Office, Tel 028 9027 2571

Or Robert Baxter, Communications Office, Tel 028 9033 5323

Top of Page

Freedom of the press – fact or fiction?

Press freedom in the United Kingdom and Ireland is to be the focus of a major one-day conference at Queen’s University on Saturday.

Entitled “Journalism Under Threat”, the event has been organised by the National Union of Journalists Ethics Council in association with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Queen’s University’s Human Rights Centre.

Speakers will include a line-up of leading figures from journalism and the law, and among the issues to be examined will be conflict between journalists and the criminal justice system, journalism in a human rights context, and the political landscape in which journalists work. A number of journalists will also speak from personal experience. The conference will be opened by Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the NUJ.

Dr Rory O’Connell, Acting Director of Queen’s Human Rights Centre, said: “This conference will examine a range of matters which go to the very heart of the principle of freedom of the press. It is particularly timely in the current social and political climate, when intensive journalistic scrutiny of the Executive, and others acting in the public sphere, is needed more than ever.”

The event will take place in the Canada Room, Queen’s University on Saturday 22 November, from 10.30am to 5pm. Admission costs £10 (£5 concessionary rate) and anyone wishing to attend should contact John Toner on 0207 278 7916.

For further information contact:

Dr Rory O’Connell (QUB), Tel 028 9027 3459
John Toner (NUJ Ethics Committee), Tel 0207 278 7916

Notes for editors:

The conference is open to the press. For more detailed programme information, or to make interview arrangements, please contact John Toner.

Top of Page

Queen’s PhD student most promising in the UK!

Roma Oakes, a Queen’s University School of Chemistry PhD student, has been announced as the winner of a prestigious national competition to find the ‘Most Promising PhD Student of 2003’.

Roma Oakes, from the School of Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast, has been announced as the UK’s most promising PhD Student. She received the award in London recently from (to her left) Ashley Shepherd representing the award sponsors ‘Laboratory News’ and the evening’s host, Jonathan Gould from Channel 5.
Roma Oakes, from the School of Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast, has been announced as the UK’s most promising PhD Student. She received the award in London recently from (to her left) Ashley Shepherd representing the award sponsors ‘Laboratory News’ and the evening’s host, Jonathan Gould from Channel 5.

The competition, organised by ‘Laboratory News’ and sponsored by Olympus Ltd and ThermoElecton Inc, covers all branches of science and technology. Roma learnt of her achievement when she travelled to London last week to attend a gala Awards Ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel.

Announcing the Award, the judges said how impressed they were by the quality of Roma’s research and cited her long list of publications, posters and presented talks as key to her success in the competition.

Roma Oakes is in the third year of her PhD studies and is funded by the McClay Trust, a charitable body set up to support research in the University's Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy. She is supervised by Dr Steven Bell and her project is concerned with computational chemistry. She uses high-level theory to help interpret the group’s experimental results on the laser analysis of materials that range from light-driven anti-cancer agents to ‘ecstasy’ tablets.

Commenting on her award Roma said, "I was already thrilled to have made it through to the final in London, but to hear that I was the overall winner was even better! I’m now busy writing my PhD thesis, but I hope to stay in academic research, preferably at Queen’s. My eldest daughter is already a Queen’s student and her younger sister hopes to study here next year."

Dr Bell was delighted with Roma’s success and remarked that, "It has been a pleasure to act as Roma’s supervisor and her award is thoroughly deserved. She has been an outstanding student and role model. This award confirms what we already knew: good post-graduate students are the key to successful research, and in the School of Chemistry at Queen’s our students really are first class."

Ends

Note:
The McClay Trust is a charitable body set up to support research in the University's Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy. It was established by Dr. Allen McClay, founder of Galen Holdings plc, following the company's successful flotation on the London Stock Exchange in July 1997.

For further information, contact: Communications Office, 028 9033 5320; or Dr Steven Bell, School of Chemistry, 028 9027 4470

Top of Page

A question of faith? Queen’s lectures examine evolutionism and religion

The controversial relationship between evolutionism and religion is to be the focus of two major public lectures at Queen’s University next month.

Two leading American scholars – Professor Michael Ruse from Florida State University and Professor Ronald L Numbers from the University of Wisconsin – will debate the issues involved in their talks on Thursday and Friday, 11 and 12 December.

Professor Ruse will talk on “Darwinism and Atheism: A Marriage Made in Heaven?” while Professor Numbers will give a lecture entitled “Anti-Darwinism: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design”.

An expert on Darwinism and its implications, Professor Ruse has written extensively on the religious implications of evolutionism. His books include “Can a Darwinian be a Christian? The Relationship between Science and Religion”, and “Darwin and Design: Does Evolution have a Purpose?”, which was published this year.

Ronald L Numbers has written extensively on the topic of Creationism in America and is currently working on the Creationist movement in other parts of the world. He is the author of “The Creationists”, “Darwinism Comes to America”, and co-editor of “Disseminating Darwinism”.

The lectures, hosted by the School of Anthropological Studies, are sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation/American Scientific Affiliation lecture programme for the encouragement of constructive dialogue between science and religion.

Organiser Professor Peter Bowler said: “We are delighted to welcome to Queen's two of the leading North American commentators on the debates surrounding the religious implications of evolutionism. Michael Ruse is a prominent authority on Darwinism and its wider implications, while Ronald Numbers is an internationally respected analyst of the anti-evolution movement.”

Professor Ruse’s lecture will take place on Thursday 11 December in G07, Peter Froggatt Centre, at 4.15pm. Professor Numbers’ talk will be held at 4.15pm the following day, in GO6, Peter Froggatt Centre. Admission to both lectures is free.


For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9033 5310

Notes for editors:

The lectures are open to the press. Arrangements to interview the speakers can be made by calling the above number.

Top of Page

Lift-off for a career in the Aerospace industry

Around 300 14-18 year-olds who are taking courses in Information and Communications Technology and Business Studies at AVCE level are to descend on Queen’s University next Tuesday (18 November) to discover how ICT and business applications are used in the local aerospace industry.

An image from the advanced computer aided engineering software illustrates how ‘virtual world’ technologies are used within the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s University.
An image from the advanced computer aided engineering software illustrates how ‘virtual world’ technologies are used within the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s University.

The Society of British Aerospace Companies reported that the turnover in 2002 of the Northern Ireland aerospace industry exceeded £500 million, with an employee base of approximately 7,000.

During the stimulating half-day Queen’s in the Community event to focus on ‘Aerospace in the Virtual World’, the young people from 12 schools in the Greater Belfast area will have an opportunity to learn more about Northern Ireland’s aerospace industry from some of its key figures.

Local company, Bombardier Aerospace, will outline how ICT features in internal communications and customer support within the local aerospace programme. Tony Monaghan, Education Liaison Officer at Bombardier, stated: “We are delighted to be the lead partner in ‘Aerospace in the Virtual World’ and see it as a great opportunity to showcase the amazing world of aerospace and the exciting ICT applications that exist throughout the industry. The Bombardier Learjet 45 was the world’s first all-digitally designed business aircraft, and we in Belfast played a major role in that.”

Tom Edgar, Director of the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s University, will highlight some of the new technologies which are being used successfully by leading companies and provide an insight into how they are achieving a competitive advantage through using the idea of ‘virtual engineering’. He welcomes this chance to let young people see how exciting this industry can be: “Northern Ireland has an unrivalled history of creativity and innovation in the fields of engineering and digital technology. The Technology Centre in association with the newly-established Virtual Engineering Centre at Queen’s is now delivering some of the most exciting solutions that make full use of our first-class modeling facilities in the virtual world of digital technology.”

The Flight Simulator from the School of Aeronautical Engineering at Queen’s will be on display during the event in the Whitla Hall.

The Northern Ireland Aerospace Consortium, established in 1998 to promote the local aerospace industry and develop plans to drive forward its success, is also supporting the event. Its member organisations are the key players in the local industry. The Consortium Chairman, Dr Paul Madden, who will give the closing address at Tuesday’s event, said: “The Northern Ireland Aerospace Consortium is committed to raising the profile of the Northern Ireland Aerospace Industry. This is of particular importance at a local level to ensure that young people are attracted to the industry in order to maintain and enhance the skills base required to meet the challenges of future opportunities. By supporting the ‘Aerospace in the Virtual World’ event at Queen’s University, the NIAC is generating awareness of the extent of its members’ activities and the many different career options on offer.”

Ends

For further information, contact: Tony Monaghan, Education Liaison Officer, Bombardier Aerospace on 028 9045 8444: or Queen’s University Communications Office, 028 9033 5320.


Notes:
1. ‘Aerospace in the Virtual World’ is a joint initiative by Bombardier Aerospace (lead partner), The Northern Ireland Technology Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, and the Northern Ireland Aerospace Consortium.
2. AVCE: Advanced Vocational Certificate in Education level qualifications.
3. The event will take place on the morning of Tuesday 18 November in the Whitla Hall at Queen’s University. Media facilities and interviews may be arranged during the coffee break at 11am.

Top of Page

SO YOU WANT TO WORK IN TV, RADIO OR NEWSPAPERS … THEN STEP THIS WAY

Hundreds of media industry hopefuls are set to get a unique insight into the industry at a special Northern Ireland Media Careers Information Day on Wednesday 12th November, from 10.30am to 4.00pm, in the Whitla Hall, Queen’s University Belfast.

The Northern Ireland Media Careers Information Day is part of a national road show of similar events across the UK this year. Co-operatively organised and funded by the BBC, UTV, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission, Skillset, Northern Ireland Business Education Partnership, AVID and the University of Ulster, it is aimed at sixth-formers, students in further and higher education and graduates from across Northern Ireland.

The event aims to raise awareness of the variety of roles that exist in the industry and will incorporate a series of workshops fronted by industry professionals including Mark Simpson, Stephen Nolan Paul Clark and Frank Mitchell. Topics such as ‘Breaking into Broadcasting’, ‘Television Journalism’, ‘Working in Radio’, ‘So You Want to be a Camera Operator’ and ‘Working in Newspapers’ will be discussed.

Attendees will also have the chance to put their questions to the professionals, including on-air presenters from both BBC and UTV, at the specially designated “In Conversation” area. For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, there will be the opportunity to test their skills at a variety of tasks including; reading from an autocue, editing, sports commentary and make-up.

The BBC’s Head of Recruitment Communications, Roger Hammett, says, ‘No matter what aspect of the media industry you’re interested in, you will find it here. It is the only event that brings together many and varied representatives of the media under one roof. If the success of the last Northern Ireland Media Careers Information Day is anything to go by, then there'll be no better opportunity to get your career in the media off to a great head start.”

Mairéad Regan, Group Human Resources Director at UTV, is pleased to be included in the co-operative venture. “We are delighted to be joining forces with BBC, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission, Skillset and other industry organisations to provide young people interested in the media with as much relevant information as possible to assist them with their career choices.”

Queen’s University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning, Professor Ken Bell, said: “Queen’s is delighted to be hosting this event which will provide a range of invaluable advice and guidance on one of the most popular areas of employment for our graduates.

“An impressive number of Queen’s alumni, including the BBC’s Nick Ross and ITN’s Bill Neely, have gone on to pursue highly successful careers in the electronic media and the world of newspapers. As a result of this Fair, many more could follow suit.”

Admission to the information day will be by ticket only. Any remaining tickets will be available from the Whitla Hall on the day for £4.

To check out the latest information on the Media Careers Information Day log onto www.qub.ac.uk/mediaday.

Top of Page

Queen’s students sweep the board in foreign placements

Entrants from Queen’s have won first, second and third positions in an annual competition to mark the most successful overseas work placements by Northern Ireland students.

The IAESTE NI Trainee of the Year award was won by Christina Agnew (left), a Physics student at Queen’s. Also pictured are (from left) Neil Martin (British Council), Michael Caulfield (Invest Northern Ireland), James Parker (3rd prize) and Peter Marlin (2nd prize).
The IAESTE NI Trainee of the Year award was won by Christina Agnew (left), a Physics student at Queen’s. Also pictured are (from left) Neil Martin (British Council), Michael Caulfield (Invest Northern Ireland), James Parker (3rd prize) and Peter Marlin (2nd prize).

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) arranges placements for around 100 science, engineering and architecture students each year, and facilitates work experience for a similar number of overseas students with companies and university departments in Northern Ireland.

The title of IAESTE Northern Ireland Trainee of the Year was awarded to Christina Agnew, a third-year Physics student from Dundalk. At the award ceremony, in the elegant Canada Room at Queen’s on Monday 3 November, Christina gave a presentation on her placement in Lodz, Poland, where she was involved in research into laser therapy.

Second prize went to Peter Marlin from Newmills in Co Tyrone. Studying Computer Science, Peter is currently on a year’s placement with Belfast City Council. During his spell in Lithuania he worked for a corrugated cardboard company. James Parker from Rathfriland in Co Down took third place for his work with refrigeration and compressed air systems with one of Thailand’s largest manufacturers and marketers of dairy products. He studies Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s.

The 10 finalists spent last summer on work placements in countries as diverse as Brazil, Thailand, Hungary and Switzerland.

The candidates each gave a five-minute presentation to a panel of judges who assessed them on the extent to which they appeared to have developed as a result of their experience.

The judging panel was chaired by Invest Northern Ireland executive Michael Caulfield, and also included Lynda Wilson, Deputy Director of the British Council in Northern Ireland, David McAuley of the Department for Employment and Learning, Professor Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory, and Maire Lenihan, a 2002 award finalist. The Trainee of the Year award was sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland and the British Council Northern Ireland.

Queen’s leads the world in the number of its students involved in the programme, and is amongst the leaders in the number of placements offered to incoming students. Within the UK, it is by far the main player in both categories.

From January, the University will house the organisation’s international headquarters when Pauline Ferguson, who has been Northern Ireland local organiser for some years, takes up the position of IAESTE General Secretary.


“I am extremely impressed by the quality of the students and by the quality and extent of the programme,” said Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning Professor Ken Bell. “This programme sends over 100 students each year to foreign parts, mainly from Queen’s. The students gain enormous benefit from it professionally and personally, while their counterparts return home as lifelong ambassadors for Northern Ireland.”


For further information, contact: Neil Martin, British Council Northern Ireland, Tel 028 9024 8220, email neil.martin@britishcouncil.org or http://www.iaeste.org.uk

Or Robert Baxter, Communications Office, Tel 028 9033 5323

Top of Page

Partnership of oak in biodiversity

A new centre has opened at Queen’s University which will help protect and preserve Northern Ireland’s rich natural heritage.

Entitled QUERCUS, the centre is a partnership between the University and the DOE Environment and Heritage Service (EHS). Earlier this year Queen’s won the contract to carry out research into biodiversity and conservation biology after an open, Europe-wide tendering competition.

QUERCUS is already providing expert research and advice to the EHS on the current state of Northern Ireland’s flora and fauna, which will help the development of the Government’s conservation policy

The centre has a number of aims. It will promote, publish and publicise high-quality research into biodiversity and conservation biology. It will also establish innovative programmes to monitor flora and fauna, which will enable longer-term studies to be conducted into environmental change and its causes. This, in turn, will help scientists and environmental conservation officers to manage and protect the rich diversity of biological species and their habitats.

Key themes will be the biology of vulnerable and threatened species such as the Irish hare, mapping of ecological resources, and the impact of alien species on native biodiversity.

The EHS is funding the centre to the value of £1.2 million over the three years of the contract, which may be extended by two additional one-year terms. The funding is being used to employ five additional experienced researchers, and to provide refurbished laboratories, additional equipment and office accommodation within the Medical Biology Centre on the Queen’s University campus.

Already, additional research funds have been secured from National Parks and Wildlife, the Republic of Ireland counterpart to EHS.

At an opening ceremony on Monday 10 November, Richard Rogers, Chief Executive of the Environment & Heritage Service, unveiled a commemorative plaque at the Centre’s premises.

Speaking at the ceremony, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Resources Professor Ken Brown said: “"Queen's University welcomes this new partnership with the Environment & Heritage Service. The spirit of partnership is central to Queen’s role in the community, and this initiative will serve Northern Ireland’s needs to conserve its valuable biodiversity. QUERCUS will provide a focus for research benefiting the region’s environment, and will provide training and continuity for young researchers in the field."

QUERCUS is the generic name for the oak tree, and the title symbolises the research ethos of the centre, reflects the University’s name, and represents the strength of the partnership between the Environment and Heritage Service and Queen’s.

The centre is using its University links to broaden its focus so that it can act as a centre of Conservation Biology and Biodiversity which will facilitate research of international standing.


Notes for editors

QUERCUS is managed by a committee comprising representatives of EHS and Queen’s. The Centre Director is Professor Ian Montgomery; Projects Director is Dr Howard Platt (EHS); and the Centre Manager is Dr Robbie McDonald. The committee approves research projects and agrees the level of resources they will require.

The opening ceremony for QUERCUS will be held at the Medical Biology Centre, Lisburn Road, at 6pm on Monday 10 November.

For further information, contact: Robbie McDonald, QUERCUS Manager, Tel 028 9027 2281, email r.a.mcdonald@qub.ac.uk
Or

Robert Baxter, Communications Office, Tel 028 9033 5323

Top of Page

Queen’s reaches out to West Belfast at Clonard

Queen’s University staged the latest in a series of outreach events on Friday evening when it held a reception for members and representatives of the West Belfast community at the Clonard Monastery on the Falls Road.

The Ulster Orchestra performed music by Estonian composer Arvo Part at the Clonard Monastery on the Falls Road, a Belfast Festival at Queen's event.
The Ulster Orchestra performed music by Estonian composer Arvo Part at the
Clonard Monastery on the Falls Road, a Belfast Festival at Queen's event.

The reception was linked to a performance by the Ulster Orchestra as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Addressing the reception, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac said that playing a full part in Northern Ireland society was central to Queen’s University’s mission. “The Festival helps put Belfast on the international map, bringing worldwide attention to the rich diversity of this great city,” he said.

“Working with partners in the city council, the Arts Council and the wider community, Queen’s Festival is a significant investment in the cultural life of the island.

“The University is a committed social partner, engaged day and daily with people at every level in our society on issues which matter to them.

“‘Contribution to the community’ is one of our four end-goals, and many of you here tonight have first-hand experience of the value that can be derived from developing closer links between Queen’s and the community groups, schools and businesses of West Belfast,” Professor McCormac said.

The Clonard Monastery is run by the Redemptorist community who have lived and worked in West Belfast for the past 100 years. It borders the Belfast peace line and has played a significant role in the peace process and in the field of ecumenism over many years, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Notes for editors: The Ulster Orchestra’s performance of music by contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Part begins at 8pm on Friday 7 November at the Clonard Monastery, Falls Road, Belfast.

For further information, contact: Robert Baxter, Communications Office, Tel 028 9033 5323.

Top of Page

Game on for Assembly election!

A Queen’s University researcher has launched an international competition to predict the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 26 November.

Visitors from anywhere in the world are invited to forecast which parties will win seats in each of the 18 constituencies. They can do this either through a form on the Internet at www.ark.ac.uk/elections/ or by email to explorers@whyte.com

Nicholas Whyte is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen’s and also works as a political analyst in Brussels, specialising in the politics of the Balkan region.

He first established a web archive of information about Northern Ireland elections after the 1996 Forum elections, and he says he set up the pages at least partly as a reaction to the ill-informed debates that were prevalent at the time on the Internet. His pages came to be seen as an essential resource by politicians, researchers, the media, students and anyone interested in Northern Irish elections and their outcomes. “I felt that at least if the results of recent elections were available on line, the debate might become better informed - if not better mannered!” Nicholas said.

The competition was introduced to inject some of the thrill of a game into the political process, and to help counteract one of the greatest threats to democracy – apathy.

Since 1998, Nicholas has run four prediction contests on the elections site within ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive, which makes social and political material on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience.

The 2001 election received by far the greatest response with 131 submitted sets of predictions. Four of these accurately predicted the winner of all 18 Westminster seats. “The winner was a primary school teacher from Wales, the second prize went to a community activist in Derry, and one of the runners-up was a humanitarian aid worker in the Balkans, so the site does generate a certain amount of world-wide as well as local interest,” Nicholas said.

“The Internet opens up all kinds of opportunities for ordinary people to get involved with politics that were undreamed of five years ago when the last Assembly was elected,” he continued.

The site has received financial backing from the Electoral Commission’s New Initiatives Fund, and detailed information has recently been added on local elections as far back as 1973 and 1981.


Notes for editors:

ARK (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive) (www.ark.ac.uk) was established in 2000 as a joint resource between Queen's University and the University of Ulster with the single goal of making information on the social and political life of Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience. It provides various kinds of information, including survey results, research reports and summaries.

Northern Ireland Elections (www.ark.ac.uk/elections/) is a comprehensive resource within ARK containing facts, figures and maps. It gives details of:

  • local government, Westminster and European Parliament election results;
  • political parties and their web sites;
  • voting systems;
  • geographical boundaries of constituencies;
  • the history of noteworthy elections since 1885;
  • useful web sites, books and other resources.

For further information, contact: Nicholas Whyte, mobile +32 485 555 944, email explorers@whyte.com

or

Robert Baxter, Communications Office, Tel 028 9033 5323

Top of Page

Queen’s Service of Remembrance

Queen’s University will hold its annual Service of Remembrance on Sunday 9 November.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain will lead representatives from a number of University associations as they lay wreaths at the War Memorial in front of the main Lanyon building to honour the University’s war dead.

Among those represented will be the Students’ Union, the University Officers’ Training Corps, the Queen’s Graduates’ and Women Graduates’ Associations, the Senior Employees’ Club, and the Ulster Division of the Royal Naval Reserve. Members of Senate and Academic Council will also attend the ceremony, along with family and friends.

The ceremony will begin at 11am and soup and coffee will be served afterwards in the Great Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend.

For further information, contact:

Robert Baxter, Communications Office, (028) 9033 5323

Top of Page