09-2004 Press Releases

30/09/2004: Creating a Culture of Entrepreneurship for Students
30/09/2004: 'Righting the Wrongs' - lecture series to highlight the state of children's rights in Northern Ireland
28/09/2004: Top Chinese University Signs Working Agreement with Queen's
24/09/2004: Transforming Border Conflicts in the European Union - lessons from Ireland
24/09/2004: Queen's welcomes record numbers of international students
23/09/2004: Need to harness the spirit of innovation - Gregson
22/09/2004: New premises open for Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research
22/09/2004: Don't write off UUP and SDLP just yet, 'Polls Apart' conference told
22/09/2004: Slam dunkin' with the best
21/09/2004: �4.3million Queen's Institute boosts plastics research
20/09/2004: Curtains close on an epic ... and open on new facility
17/09/2004: European Day of Languages
16/09/2004: Governing the Corporation
16/09/2004: Language and politics examined at Queen's
15/09/2004: Technological first for Queen's
14/09/2004: Academic presents data to hate crimes inquiry on racial and sectarian prejudice among young children
09/09/2004: Queen's opens its doors to the student experience
08/09/2004: Queen's welcomes lifelong learners
07/09/2004: Irish hares bounce back
06/09/2004: New Research Team in Molecular Therapeutics joins Queen’s School of Pharmacy
02/09/2004: Death of the stars recorded by Queen's astronomer
01/09/2004: Gregson stresses international dimension
01/09/2004: Catherine McWilliams retrospective opens at Naughton Gallery at Queen's
01/09/2004: Queen's set to build on international reputation - Gregson
01/09/2004: Extended smoking ban could lower lung cancer death, report claims

Creating a Culture of Entrepreneurship for Students

Queen's University Belfast is today hosting a major event encouraging the teaching of entrepreneurship among its undergraduate students.

Organised by the Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship (NICENT), a partnership between Queen's University, the University of Ulster and Loughry, the theme of the workshop is 'Enterprise in Undergraduate Education'.

Welcoming entrepreneurship practitioners from across the UK to the event, being held at Queen's for the first time, Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "The Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship plays an important role in this region.

"It is impossible to overstate the need to ensure that entrepreneurial skills are embedded in the work of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

"This region will be better able to grasp the opportunities of the global economy if its graduates are innately entrepreneurial."

Representatives from 13 Science Enterprise Centres in the UK SEC network will attend the event which is a best practice workshop for embedding enterprise in the university undergraduate curriculum. The session will address the practical aspects of augmenting the curriculum in existing courses within a variety of disciplines, the development of new enterprise courses and the relationship between enterprise and the rest of the curriculum. In Northern Ireland in the past year, entrepreneurship teaching was delivered to over 2,500 students at NICENT's three partner institutions with students graduating with a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Studies.

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For further information contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 5323

Notes to Editors

NICENT embraces Queen's University Belfast, University of Ulster and the Loughry Campus of CAFRE.

NICENT is part of UK Science Enterprise Centres, a national association of 13 Science Enterprise Centres, involving over 60 universities and higher education institutes. It is part of a government initiative to promote enterprise nationally and foster links between education and business.

UK Science Enterprise Centres form a part of the UK Government's strategy to add enterprise to Higher Education's mission alongside teaching and research. SECs aim to embed a spirit of enterprise as a mindset for university departments and enterprise entrepreneurship as a discipline building on existing excellence in traditional activities. The Centres contribute to business creation by:

  1. Equipping students and staff with the skills to innovate and the commercial awareness to succeed
  2. Encouraging technology transfer by supporting academics in dealings with industry
  3. Providing advice and routes to support for spin-out business

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30/09/2004: 'Righting the Wrongs' - lecture series to highlight the state of children's rights in Northern Ireland

On Monday 4th October, Save the Children and The Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast co-host the first event of an eight week seminar series designed to look at the current state of children's rights in Northern Ireland.

Entitled 'Righting the Wrongs' the entire series is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC is the most widely ratified treaty on Children’s rights since it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 and its roots can be traced directly back to the pioneering work of Eglantyne Jebb, Save the Children’s founder.

Each of the lectures is framed within one or more of the articles of the Convention and is intended to stimulate debate on how children's rights can best be protected and promoted. A wide range of topics will be included, such as severe poverty, health and wellbeing, violence, justice and asylum.

Speaking of the lecture series, Dr Katy Radford, Senior Researcher at Save the Children commented:

"We believe that it is vital, in the light of the pending Government ten year Children'’s Strategy, that we keep children's rights firmly on the agenda. All children and young people in Northern Ireland, however vulnerable, have the right to be protected by the UNCRC and we hope that this seminar series will highlight areas of good practice as well as potential violations of children's rights."

Dominic Bryan Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast added:

"Righting the wrongs is aimed at all those concerned with the future of children and young people in Northern Ireland. It will be of interest to a general audience as well as to specialist researchers, undergraduates, post graduates, academics and practitioners working in the areas of children's rights and social inclusion."

Sarah Boyce of the Children'’s Law Centre will examine 'Child Rights' at the first meeting on 4 October at 4pm in the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s.

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For further information please contact: Christine King at Save the Children on 028 90431123.  Or, Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, Queen’s: 028 9097 5320

Notes to Editors
· Save the Children fights for children in the UK and around the world who suffer from poverty, disease, injustice and violence. We work with them to find lifelong answers to the problems they face.
· The Institute of Irish Studies is an inter-disciplinary research and teaching centre at the Queen's University Belfast. It aims to explore social, political and cultural factors that have influenced the people of this island and its diasporas.

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Top Chinese University Signs Working Agreement with Queen's

One of China's top universities will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Queen's University Belfast to help bring about closer working relationships.

Wuhan University is a key university directly under the administration of the Ministry of Education in the People's Republic of China. Located in Hubei Province's capital Wuhan it is ranked as one of the top twenty of over 1000 universities in China.

Queen's and Wuhan have for a number of years been discussing possible co-operation between the two institutions, especially in the areas of law. Today a formal Memorandum of Understanding will be signed in order to promote co-operation between the two institutions. Queen's Law School will work towards the establishment of a joint LLM in Corporate Governance and Public Policy. In addition top graduates of Wuhan's programmes will be able to come directly to Queen's existing LLM programme.

Welcoming the signing Queen's Pro Vice Chancellor, Ken Bell said: "Queen's values greatly the links it has successfully built with Chinese universities. Such links support the work of this university as one of the UK's leading universities and are part of a wider network of relationships that bring both educational and economic benefit to the people of Northern Ireland."

The delegation from China will visit Queen's as part of a wider 14 day visit to the UK and Ireland. In 2001, the Ministry of Education, China and Hubei Province decided to make efforts jointly in order to build Wuhan University into a "high-level university well known both at home and abroad" by the year of 2010.

For further information contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 5323

Notes to Editors

The University was founded in 1893 by Zhang Zhidong, governor of Hubei and Hunan Provinces in the late Qing Dynasty. The new Wuhan University, an amalgamation of the original Wuhan University, Wuhan University of Hydraulic and Electrical Engineering, Wuhan Technical University of Surveying and Mapping, and Hubei Medical University, was approved by the State Council and came into being on 2nd August 2000.

The new Wuhan University now has:

  • 45,000 students including 12,000 postgraduates;
  • 5,000 academic staff including 3,000 Professor and associate Professors.

The Wuhan University Delegation

The delegation consists of 7 members from the Wuhan:

Mr. GU Hailiang, Professor of Economics; Chairman, University Council (equivalent to Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Education of PRC): Mr. JIANG Changzhong, Professor of Physics; Director, Office of Scientific Research and Cooperation: Mr. WAN Honghui, Director, Publicity Office: Mr. PENG Yuwen, Acting Dean, School of Political Science and Public Management: Mr. QIN Jingui, Professor of Chemistry: Mr. PENG Yuanjie, Director, International Office: Ms. GUO Liang, Program Officer, International Office.

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Transforming Border Conflicts in the European Union - lessons from Ireland

The findings of researchers' work on border conflicts are being presented today and tomorrow (Friday 24 and Saturday 25 September) at a workshop at Queen's University Belfast.

Research on the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border case study is being directed by Professor Antje Wiener and conducted by Dr Katy Hayward at the School of Politics and International Studies at Queen's.

Funded under the EU's Fifth Framework Programme, the Ireland case study forms part of a major comparative project to assess whether and how the European Union can help to transform the nature of borders from lines of conflict to lines of cooperation. Four other border areas are being examined: Cyprus; Greece/Turkey; Israel/Palestine; Europe's North.

Dr Katy Hayward who organised the workshop said, "As well as presenting the project's preliminary findings, the workshop will include contributions from international academic experts, policymakers and community actors with particular insights and experience regarding the EU, conflict resolution and north-south relations in Ireland. It will thus provide a unique forum for discussion between leading researchers in the field and representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors across the island."

The key points from the report on the preliminary findings of the Ireland case study are:

  • Contrary to assumptions about the EU transforming identities or even providing an alternative identity as a means to conflict resolution, this report contends that the EU's approach to the conflict in Ireland has legitimated and reinforced a binary division of British/unionist and Irish/nationalist.
  • The EU facilitates change through legitimating and supporting new structures for political cooperation (particularly cross-border), as well as providing inspiration to key political actors in the peace process.
  • The focus on development in the activity of the EU means that it is generally accepted as a beneficial, non-threatening context for progress in the otherwise controversial area of cross-border relations.
  • The EU’s impact in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland is mediated through local organisations/actors and is vulnerable to local political conditions.
  • EU funding may be seen as central to a complex process in which cross-sector, cross-border and cross-community networks of support between groups and agencies become increasingly significant. However, problems regarding sustainability, measurement of outcomes, and the burden of bureaucratic regulation for community projects in receipt of EU funding can detract from the positive impact of this funding.
  • It is possible to credit the EU as a major factor in the ongoing transformation of the Irish border from a locus of division to one of cooperation. The influence the EU now has at community level through its funding provision can give certain actors and agencies increasingly important roles, and multilevel and multi-sectoral networks are growing around EU programmes. Thus, the EU can encourage the establishment of bodies and structures that cross (or, to be more precise, criss-cross) these divides and in this way gradually transform the everyday significance of the border conflict at all levels.

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Notes: The workshop is being held in the Canada Room, Lanyon Building, Queen's University. For additional information on the project see www.euborderconf.bham.ac.uk

For further information contact: Dr. Katy Hayward, School of Politics & International Studies 028 9097 3279 (or 00 353 1 6349969) k.hayward@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's welcomes record numbers of international students

Queen's this week is welcoming over four hundred new international students, from thirty-nine countries, enrolling on academic courses throughout the University. The new intake, combined with the intake of the last two years, means that the total number of countries with students enrolled at Queen's is eighty.

This year's record numbers of students come from right across Europe and further a-field, including Japan, China, Ghana, Lebanon, South Africa, India, Malaysia and North America. Many students are enlisting under the auspices of established university student exchange agreements, such as the EU-funded Socrates-Erasmus Programme and the Study Abroad Programme, and are participating in a three-day orientation programme organised by the International Office at Queen's.

As well as providing an opportunity for the students to get to know one another, the programme is designed to help them settle quickly into life at Queen's. It will also assist them in getting to know Belfast which, for some of the students enrolled on full-time undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, will be home for the next three or four years at least.

Robin Halley, Director of the International Office at Queen's said:

"The students that come to study at Queen's come often with their focus on gaining a qualification from a great university. But usually they leave having had their prejudices about Northern Ireland shattered and with a deep affection for the people of Belfast".

"International students at Queen's bring a great deal to the University and to the wider community. They bring enthusiasm for not only their programmes but also for their temporary home".

International student Hsu Chia Fang, who has enrolled for a MSc in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), said that it was the recommendation by a friend who had studied at Queen’s and another by a teacher, that had made her choose Queen's:

"My teacher at my school back in Taiwan, who is half-English, half-Irish, recommended Queen's University as a safe place to come to, so I felt comfortable coming here". Having already completed a summer course at the English Language Support Unit at Queen's, Hsu has already had a sample of what life at the university has to offer: "I have found the staff at the University and the people of Belfast very helpful, approachable and friendly and I look forward to meeting the local students and travelling around the country".

An integral part of the programme is to inform and advise students on the practicalities of studying and living at Queen's such as - language tuition, accommodation, health care, banking, shopping and personal safety. The Students' Union will also host a number of social events throughout the week with the new intake getting a taster of the authentic 'Queen's experience'.

The first day of the programme included a guided bus-tour of Belfast City, the highlight of which was a personal welcome from Deputy Lord Mayor Joe O'Donnell in the marbled splendour of Belfast City Hall. Addressing the students, Councillor O'Donnell said: "the city is becoming more cosmopolitan; but while Belfast is in the throes of reinventing itself, it does not need to reinvent itself in terms of academia, with an institution such as Queen’s on its doorstep".

The Deputy Lord Mayor said that students were "the conscience of society" and pledged to help Queen's international students in any way he could. He said that his door in the City Hall would always be open to them and he hoped that after completing their studies at Queen's, some would choose to make Belfast their home.

The orientation programme at Queen's will culminate on Friday evening (24 September). A reception in the Great Hall followed by a buffet dinner in the Sir William Whitla Hall will give students and teaching staff the opportunity to become more fully-acquainted with one another before the academic semester gets under way.

Ends.

For more information contact: Communications Office, Queen’s University (9033 5331)

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Need to harness the spirit of innovation - Gregson
Sights set on the First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation initiative at Queen's: (front, from left) David McFeeters, Senior Manager, First Trust Bank; Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson; initiative Chair Sir Gerry Loughran; and Harry Cherry, Innovation Research and Technology Division, Invest N (back) don 3D glasses in Queen's Virtual Engineering Centre
Sights set on the First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation initiative at Queen's: (front, from left) David McFeeters, Senior Manager, First Trust Bank; Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson; initiative Chair Sir Gerry Loughran; and Harry Cherry, Innovation Research and Technology Division, Invest N (back) don 3D glasses in Queen's Virtual Engineering Centre

The transformation of innovative ideas into business results is crucial to Northern Ireland's future prosperity, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has said.

The Vice-Chancellor was welcoming the 2004-05 First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation Lecture series at Queen's University. The series, sponsored by First Trust Bank and Invest NI, brings world experts in innovation to Northern Ireland to share their insights and knowledge with local business audiences.

Professor Gregson said: "Innovation is not just about invention, or being able to generate brainwaves. It is also, and very importantly, about having the ability, the will and the resources to exploit them to their fullest. Harnessing the innovative spirit and converting it to business success is vital to Northern Ireland's economic development.

"The First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation programme gives us a unique insight into this process. We are very grateful to the Bank and to Invest NI for making this possible."

Commenting on the upcoming lecture series, David McFeeters, Senior Manager, First Trust Business Banking said: "Innovation is creating value by implementing new ideas. However, an organisation must be fertile for the seeds of ideas and solutions to grow. An environment that is empowering, flexible, welcomes ideas and celebrates success is crucial.

"These values, promoted by the First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation programme, are closely aligned with our own brand values, creating a strong affiliation for us. We know that this year's programme of lectures will continue to build on the excellent reputation of the series so far."

Welcoming the series, John Thompson, Director of Innovation, Research and Technology with Invest NI, said: "Creating a tangible product or service from an innovative idea can be challenging, but is vital to our economic prosperity. These lectures offer an opportunity for our local businesses to learn from those who are ‘best in class’ in the fields of innovation and enterprise."

This year's Chairs of Innovation are: Professor Rob Handfield, the Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University; Dr Shoji Shiba, a visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an international expert in Total Quality Management; Professor Joe Lassiter from Harvard Business School; and knowledge management guru and consultant Larry Prusak, from Babson College in Boston.

The first lecture, entitled "How Mature is Your Supply Chain?", will be given by Professor Handfield at 6pm on Tuesday 28 September in Lecture Room G9, Lanyon Building, Queen's University.

This talk should be of interest to any organisation involved in or considering outsourcing and other aspects of the integrated supply chain, including design, make, deliver, sell, and service processes.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact Claire Sinnerton at Queen’s University on 02890 971145 or e-mail regional@qub.ac.uk.

For further information contact: Claire Sinnerton, Regional Services (QUB), Tel 028 9097 1145

Notes for editors: Arrangements to interview Professor Handfield can be made by calling Claire Sinnerton on the above number. Media facilities will be available at the lecture.

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New premises open for Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research

Queen's University today (Wednesday 22 September) celebrated the opening of new £2.6 million premises on University Road for the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research.

Lord Alderdice, a Patron of the Institute, officially declared the building open at a special lunch-time ceremony.

The Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research was established at Queen's University in 2001 with a £5 million award from the Support Programme for University Research (SPUR), funded by the Department for Employment and Learning and Atlantic Philanthropies.

The creation of the Institute reflects a recognition that the ways in which public policy is conceived and delivered are changing rapidly in the face of social, economic and political developments, such as globalisation, devolution, privatisation and Europeanisation. The Institute works on a wide range of projects with staff from four partner Schools within the University and also enjoys formalised links with the practitioner community of policy-makers.

Guests at the opening toured the new premises at University Road, built behind the carefully retained Victorian terraced façade. Visitors could see for themselves that the work was completed to a high quality standard, and admired in particular the innovative open three-story atrium feature contributing to the building's brightness. The project was also completed on time and within budget.

President and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University Professor Peter Gregson, speaking at the opening ceremony said he was delighted to see the Institute “finally installed in superb, purpose-built premises”. He emphasised the quality and international scope of the Institute's research work, saying that the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research is “a unique interdisciplinary research centre which will consolidate Northern Ireland's pivotal role as a focus of intense political and social interest for academics.”

Professor Gregson said that, “Already the Institute has brought to Northern Ireland the opportunity to engage with issues at the cutting-edge of research and disseminate to others some of the thinking here that has attracted international attention, such as that on conflict resolution, human rights and equality.” He added that “the current research projects within the Institute focus on how changes in the structure of the state are impacting on the lives of citizens at every level.”

Professor Elizabeth Meehan, Director of the Institute, commented on the fact that two major conferences were organised at Queen's this week by Institute staff. She said, "It signifies the productivity of the Institute and its research staff. The Institute's first very successful international conference, on Corporate Governance, concluded yesterday. In fact, the opening coincides with a conference at Queen's today that is being run by Professors Bernadette Hayes and Ian McAllister, both Honorary Fellows of the Institute and which also involves ARK (the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive) and its Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey. ARK is a major initiative between Queen's and the University of Ulster, with the Queen's ARK staff based at the Institute. The Conference is entitled, 'Polls Apart: the 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly Elections' and a number of eminent figures are participating."

Professor Meehan added, "It's very appropriate that the building also houses the Institute of Irish Studies, as one of the leading Irish painters, Paul Henry was a former resident here. Marking this, the Ulster History Circle invited Lord Alderdice to unveil today a plaque in the painter's honour".

Mrs Doreen Corcoran, Chair of the Ulster History Circle, also attended the ceremony during which Dr Brian S Kennedy of the Ulster Museum spoke briefly on the painter before Lord Alderdice unveiled the plaque.

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 For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Don't write off UUP and SDLP just yet, 'Polls Apart' conference told

Although their parties have been hit hard at recent polls, it may be premature to write the political obituaries of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and SDLP leader Mark Durkan, a conference at Queen's University will hear today.

A study carried out by a team of academics from the University of Ulster, Queen's University, Oxford University and the London School of Economics revealed that Mr Trimble and Mr Durkan are the only political leaders to emerge with any cross community trust.

Some 42% of respondents to the study said they would trust Mr Durkan to act in the best interests of all the people of Northern Ireland with 36% backing Mr Trimble to do the same. By contrast only 28% of respondents – and only 6& of nationalists – would trust Dr Ian Paisley.

The cross-community standing of Mr Trimble and Mr Durkan may be some consolation to the party leaders as the talks aimed at ending the impasse in the peace process continue.

Other important findings from the study which are pertinent to this week's political talks include:

- Protestant disillusionment with the Agreement began almost as soon as the May 1998 referendum was  over, and increasingly both Protestants and Catholics have come to believe that the Agreement benefits nationalists at the expense of unionists. 

- Support for decommissioning has risen overall and is particularly noticeable among Catholics. Where 83% of Catholics in 1998 supported decommissioning, this has risen to 93% in 2003. 

- Support for power-sharing has risen overall and is particularly noticeable among Protestants. Where 62% of Protestants in 1998 supported power-sharing, this has risen to 76% in 2003. 

- Support for a Northern Ireland Assembly remains relatively steady, with 83% supporting this in 1998, compared with 79% in 2003/4. 

- Just over half of Protestants (53%) in 2003 believed that reform of the police had "gone too far".

- For Protestants who were anti-Agreement in 1998 and remain so in 2003, opposition to power-sharing and North-South bodies are key factors. 

- For Protestants who are against the Agreement in 2003 but were pro-Agreement in 1998, the existence of the Assembly (or lack of it) is a key factor.

Professor Ian McAllister of the Australian National University and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's, who will be speaking at the conference, said: "Clearly a common theme for everyone opposed to the Agreement is that it is perceived to be unfair".

He added: "Those who initially supported the Agreement in 1998 but have since turned against it appear to feel that the Assembly has not performed well enough – with its frequent suspensions – to retain their support".

The study, which questioned voters after last year'’s Assembly elections, found that a clear majority – including even a majority of SDLP supporters (51%) - felt that Sinn Fein had proved the most effective voice for nationalists.

The DUP emerged as the most effective voice for unionists, though by a narrower majority (55%). Only 58% of UUP supporters believed their own party was the most effective voice of unionists.

The study revealed that 13% of people who had voted for the UUP in 1998 have since defected to the DUP. The DUP is doing significantly better than the UUP among younger voters.

The SDLP is also facing a problem of ageing support with 68% of its voters being over 45 years of age.

Dr Paul Mitchell of the London School of Economics said: "If the peace process has very clearly been the handmaiden of Sinn Fein's electoral success, there is a real risk that the making of the Agreement ultimately looks like being the highwater mark for the SDLP. Ever since they have been in decline and are in danger of going into freefall".

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For further information contact: The Press Office ,University of Ulster: 028 9036 6178, or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, Queen's University: 028 9097 5320

 Notes to Editors

The conference 'Polls Apart: The 2003 Northern Ireland ASsembly Elections' is being held at Queen’s University on September 22, 2004. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and ARK - the NI Social and Political Archive.

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Slam dunkin' with the best

Teams from all over Northern Ireland as well as Dublin and Donegal will be slam dunking their way to success during a major one day basketball tournament to be held in Belfast next week.

Organised by the Queen's Basketball Club, the event will be held on Saturday 25 September at Queen's University's Physical Education Centre and will also feature guests from the United States who will be participating in the Playing for Peace team.

Established in Belfast in 1999, the organisation uses basketball to bridge divides and develop leaders in regions historically separated by strife. As a result of its work new cross-community basketball clubs have been set up in Dungannon, Armagh, Londonderry, Cookstown, Craigavon and Claudy and the group also has a branch in South Africa.

Among those who will be showing off their skills on court will be Americans Justin DeBerry, Lafayette University, and Matt Quinn, Bucknell University, who have played in Division One of the NCAA – the highest amateur level.

Tournament director David Cullen said the pre-season event would give teams and individuals the chance to introduce new ideas and players, all with the support of some of the most established organisations in world sport, including NASN (North America Sports Network), And 1, suppliers of basketball footwear and apparel, and Lucozade Sport.

"Saturday will be a feast of basketball in Belfast. We have players of all levels from the best division in NCAA college ball in America to the under 16 and under 12 children's games. The kids will get the opportunity to play in front of an audience before the men's final at 4pm and the Playing for Peace team will have a chance to show their abilities and meet the Northern Ireland community. I wish everyone well and good luck," he said.

Director of Sports and Recreation Services at Queen's University Maureen Cusdin, said she was fully supportive of the initiative and staff at the University's Physical Education Centre were looking forwarding to hosting this popular and prestigious event.

She said the past year had witnessed major improvements within the Centre, with Sport and Recreation provision at Queen's moving into a new era of expansion and development of its programmes and activities.

"These are all part of an exciting new investment strategy for Queen's aimed at modernising its sporting infrastructure – primarily for student benefit - but to which others can join through special membership packages designed for University staff or graduates and, of course, wider public use," she said.

The teams taking part in the tournament include Queen's Eagles, Lisburn Scorpions, Newry Basketball Club, North Star in Derry, Queen's Hornets, Ballymena Grouse, Rathmines Dublin, Team Belfast, Heat Basketball Club in Donegal as well as Playing for Peace/Tyrone Towers.

Sponsored by the Errigle Inn and supported by Belfast City Council, the tournament will begin at 10am and run until 6pm. The event will also feature children's games for both under 16 and under 12 just before the men's final at 4pm.

Admission is free and there will also be information on how to join Queen's Club and take up the sport.

Note for Editors: Media interviews can take place on the afternoon of Friday 24 September with Justin DeBerry and Matt Quinn, and Kris Cates-Bristol, Northern Ireland director of Playing for Peace.

Photographic opportunities are available on Saturday 25 September in the PEC between 3pm and 6pm.

For further information on the Playing for Peace initiative visit its website on www.playingforpeace.org and Queen's Basketball Club visit www.queensbasketball.org

For further information contact: David Cullen, (028) 9097 3082 or mobile: 079 5181 2751 Or Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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£4.3million Queen's Institute boosts plastics research
Research assistant Paula Douglas at work in the £4.3 million Medical Polymers Research Institute, which officially opened today.
Research assistant Paula Douglas at work in the £4.3 million Medical Polymers Research Institute, which officially opened today.

A £4.3 million research institute, which will help develop advanced medical plastics, will be officially opened at Queen's University today (September 21).

The Medical Polymers Research Institute, located within the Ashby building, will bring together researchers from the Schools of Chemical and Mechanical Engineering and the School of Pharmacy's McClay Research Centre to develop new materials for medical devices, such as plastic ventilator tubes, catheters, implants and prostheses.

The new Institute was officially opened by Queen's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, who said the link between pharmaceutical scientists and engineers was a "unique selling point" for the Institute.

"It will be essential for the development of new bioactive materials and will build on the vast experience of world-class scientists from both disciplines. This Institute is an excellent example of Queen's commitment to high-quality research which both boosts local economic development and contributes to the well-being of the wider community," he said.

Medical plastics, or polymer biomaterials, as they are correctly termed, are used in a wide range of medical devices to treat patients in areas such as respiratory medicine, cardiology, orthopaedics, urology and ophthalmology.

However, the body often rejects the plastics and problems arise including blocked drainage tubes and infection. The Queen's research team will be developing a new generation of polymeric biomaterials that will target these current clinical problems.

The Institute's Director, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Raymond Murphy, said the new state-of-the-art research facility will carry out leading edge, industrially relevant and market leading fundamental and applied research on medical polymers for both medical devices and advanced medical packaging systems.

"The Institute will provide a research facility to support the rapidly growing healthcare sector in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which has one of the highest concentrations of medical devices companies in the world.

"It will allow these industries to further exploit the high technology, value-added sector of a world market that is currently worth £11 billion per annum, with an annual growth rate of between 10 and 15 per cent," he said.

Speaking at the opening, Bruce Robinson, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said: "The new Institute will enable Queen's to continue to strengthen Northern Ireland’s research and development base. The appointment of first rate researchers, including some from overseas, and the use of advanced research equipment, represents significant investment in the knowledge economy. The work carried out within the Institute's laboratories will produce tangible benefits for the people of Northern Ireland and have a positive impact on the local economy."

The Institute complements the facilities and services offered by the existing Polymer Processing Research Centre, established at Queen's in 1996. A total of 20 members of staff, working in conjunction with 25 academics and 50 researchers currently engaged in polymer related research in laboratories equipped with £6 million worth of processing and analytical equipment for the benefit of local, national and international industry.

The MPRI is one of 18 Research and Technological Development (RTD) Centres of Excellence - the original funding decisions were announced by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in 2003.

Funding for the Institute came from the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE II), administered by Invest Northern Ireland.

Note to Editors: The Medical Polymers Research Institute, based on the ground floor of the Ashby building, Stranmillis Road, will be officially opened by Queen's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, on Tuesday 21 September, at 2pm, following a tour of the premises beginning at 1.45pm. Media facilities will be available.

Interviews can be conducted with Professor Peter Gregson, Mr Bruce Robinson, Professor Raymond Murphy and Professor Sean Gorman, School of Pharmacy at 2.20pm.

For further information contact: Professor Raymond Murphy, Medical Polymers Research Institute, (028) 9097 4700 or

Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, Queen's University, (028) 9097 5384

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Curtains close on an epic ... and open on new facility

An era in Belfast's cultural history comes to an end this month when Michael Open retires from his post as 'Administrator' of Queen's Film Theatre. He has held that post for almost a third of a century, arriving in Belfast in March 1969 when QFT was only six months old, and remaining in post ever since except for three years spent in England during the mid 70s.

There have been immense changes in the cinema in the intervening period. There were 29 different cinemas in Belfast when he arrived, but QFT was then the newest of the city's cinemas. Now there are only six venues, but over forty screens, and QFT is the second oldest.

His passion for the cinema and commitment to QFT became legendary far and wide across the years, and he augmented his cinema work by writing a history of Belfast cinemas – Fading Lights, Silver Screens, in 1984.

In recent years there has been major capital investment in QFT, a bar facility was added in 2002, and the University showed ongoing commitment to the Theatre when incorporating enhanced facilities in it with the development of its new Centre for Drama and Film Studies that will open this autumn.

Michael Open explained the reason for his retirement: "I have done the difficult bit, keeping the place going for three decades when it was just an ill-equipped lecture theatre up an alleyway. Now it has a fine building with the sort of facilities that everyone expects when going to see a great film.

"I hope that those who saw the films that I presented will have had their lives enhanced by the wonders that the art of the cinema alone can bring. Now it is over to a new generation and I hope that they maintain the commitment to quality that I have always sought."

QFT chairman Alistair Dunn praised Michael Open's contribution to cinema. "His complete commitment to film as an art form has been a real strength for QFT. His skills as an intelligent programmer, and his enormous knowledge of the industry have been a real asset.

"As QFT looks to the future, in a new building which will significantly enhance the cinema-going experience, it does so with confidence and on firm foundations established by Michael and his colleagues."

Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac said Michael Open had made an enormous impact on cinema in Northern Ireland. "QFT has helped Queen's deliver a number of its key aims, not least by making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the region. Michael's passionate advocacy for film as an art form has opened new horizons for QFT’s patrons.

Michael Open will present a season of films that exemplify what he has brought to QFT during November and early December.

Ends

For further information, please contact: Graeme Farrow, 028 9097 2628, or Dolores Vischer, 028 9097 5320

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European Day of Languages 2004
Wendy Phipps(Left)  of the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, Dr Peter Tames of French Studies and Una O’Dowd of the Language Centre at Queen’s University raise flags to celebrate the European Day of Languages  (26 September)
Wendy Phipps(Left) of the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, Dr Peter Tames of French Studies and Una O’Dowd of the Language Centre at Queen’s University raise flags to celebrate the European Day of Languages (26 September)

Language specialists at Queen's University are preparing to lead Northern Ireland’s annual celebration of the European Day of Languages for the fourth time. Falling on a Sunday this year (26 September), events are taking place on Friday 24 and Monday 27 September.

The Language Centre, which provides language learning opportunities, facilities and resources for both University students and the Northern Ireland business community, has organised a 'fun' morning for Monday 27th September. Staff and students from throughout the University will be given a taster of just some of the 17 different languages on offer from the Language Centre. Members of the business community are also invited along to sample some of the specially designed on-line computer courses available for 'languages for business and 'languages for tourism and leisure' courses.

Meanwhile, teacher trainee students from all disciplines at the Graduate School of Education will be invited to take part in an on-line European Day of Languages Fun Quiz which will test their knowledge on language and cultural aspects of all things European. Winners will receive a variety of language-related prizes. Information leaflets and posters promoting and celebrating the lifelong learning of languages will also be on display in the Graduate School.

The School of Languages at Queen's is using the day to launch an exciting competition for post-primary schools which will involve pupils in not only using their language skills, but in using film and drama as well. Full details of this innovative competition, which will have separate entries for French, German, Irish and Spanish, are being sent to all schools this month.

The Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), which is based in the Graduate School of Education at Queen's University, is the local co-ordinator of the European Day of Languages. With the support of the modern language advisers in all five Education and Library Boards, NICILT has been promoting the day to all schools - nursery, primary, post-primary and special schools. FE colleges, universities and the teacher training colleges, as well as language and cultural organisations and libraries, have also been encouraged to plan special activities to celebrate languages at this time.

Outside the world of Education activities are also taking place in the wider community. A few of the organisations doing something special to promote languages and celebrate the European day of languages include: the Linen Hall Library, The European Commission, Ulster Scots Language Society and Belfast City Council.

Languages Network Northern Ireland (LNNI), part of the CILT UK-wide Languages Network, works to encourage wider use of languages for business. LNNI is working closely alongside NICILT to promote the European Day of Languages to the Northern Ireland business community. "The European Day of Languages is a good opportunity for companies and individuals to take stock of their language needs and capabilities. They can use the occasion to celebrate their success and to make plans to meet their future international communication needs," explains Arthur Bell, the LNNI officer.

"The European Day of Languages has become an annual event to celebrate the linguistic diversity of the community in which we live", said NICILT Executive Officer Wendy Phipps. "It will be a day for encouraging people of all ages to start learning a new language, to take part in events celebrating learning and speaking other languages, and to focus on the benefits that language learning brings."

Ends

 For further information, contact: Wendy Phipps, NICILT Executive Officer, 028 9097 5955, email w.phipps@qub.ac.uk or Dr Eugene McKendry, NICILT Director, tel 028 9097 5948, email e.mckendry@qub.ac.uk

Notes for editors:
The European Year of Languages 2001 was organized throughout Europe by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to celebrate the rich linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe. The Council of Europe subsequently designated 26 September as the annual European Day of Languages.

Information and advice on how to mark the European Day of Languages 2004 is available at the NICILT website www.qub.ac.uk/edu/nicilt (click on EDL – European Day of Languages). The CILT website: www.cilt.org.uk/edl contains further information giving a UK-wide perspective as well as links to other useful web sites.

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European Day of Languages
(Left) Wendy Phipps of the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, Dr Peter Tames of French Studies and Una O’Dowd of the Language Centre at Queen’s University raise flags to celebrate the European Day of Languages  (26 September).
(Left) Wendy Phipps of the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, Dr Peter Tames of French Studies and Una O’Dowd of the Language Centre at Queen’s University raise flags to celebrate the European Day of Languages (26 September).

Language specialists at Queen's are preparing to lead Northern Ireland's annual celebration of the European Day of Languages for the fourth time. Falling on a Sunday this year (26 September), events are taking place on Friday 24 and Monday 27 September.

The Language Centre, which provides language learning opportunities, facilities and resources for both University students and the Northern Ireland business community, has organised a 'fun' morning for Monday 27 September. Staff and students from throughout the University will be given a taster of just some of the 17 different languages on offer from the Language Centre.

Members of the business community are also invited along to sample some of the specially designed on-line computer courses available for 'languages for business' and 'languages for tourism and leisure' courses.

Meanwhile, teacher trainee students from all disciplines at the Graduate School of Education will be invited to take part in an on-line European Day of Languages Fun Quiz which will test their knowledge on language and cultural aspects of all things European. Winners will receive a variety of language-related prizes. Information leaflets and posters promoting and celebrating the lifelong learning of languages will also be on display in the Graduate School.

The School of Languages at Queen's is using the day to launch an exciting competition for post-primary schools which will involve pupils in not only using their language skills, but in using film and drama as well. Full details of this innovative competition, which will have separate entries for French, German, Irish and Spanish, are being sent to all schools this month.

The Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), which is based in the Graduate School of Education at Queen's University, is the local co-ordinator of the European Day of Languages. With the support of the modern language advisers in all five Education and Library Boards, NICILT has been promoting the day to all schools - nursery, primary, post-primary and special schools. FE colleges, universities and the teacher training colleges, as well as language and cultural organisations and libraries, have also been encouraged to plan special activities to celebrate languages at this time.

Outside the world of Education activities are also taking place in the wider community. A few of the organisations doing something special to promote languages and celebrate the European day of languages include: the Linen Hall Library, The European Commission, Ulster Scots Language Society and Belfast City Council.

Languages Network Northern Ireland (LNNI), part of the CILT UK-wide Languages Network, works to encourage wider use of languages for business. LNNI is working closely alongside NICILT to promote the European Day of Languages to the Northern Ireland business community. "The European Day of Languages is a good opportunity for companies and individuals to take stock of their language needs and capabilities. They can use the occasion to celebrate their success and to make plans to meet their future international communication needs," explains Arthur Bell, the LNNI officer.

"The European Day of Languages has become an annual event to celebrate the linguistic diversity of the community in which we live", said NICILT Executive Officer Wendy Phipps. "It will be a day for encouraging people of all ages to start learning a new language, to take part in events celebrating learning and speaking other languages, and to focus on the benefits that language learning brings."

Ends

For further information, contact: Wendy Phipps, NICILT Executive Officer, 028 9097 5955, email w.phipps@qub.ac.uk or Dr Eugene McKendry, NICILT Director, tel 028 9097 5948, email e.mckendry@qub.ac.uk

Notes for editors: The European Year of Languages 2001 was organized throughout Europe by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to celebrate the rich linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe. The Council of Europe subsequently designated 26 September as the annual European Day of Languages.

Information and advice on how to mark the European Day of Languages 2004 is available at the NICILT website www.qub.ac.uk/edu/nicilt (click on EDL – European Day of Languages). The CILT website: www.cilt.org.uk/edl contains further information giving a UK-wide perspective as well as links to other useful web sites.

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Language and politics examined at Queen's

Delegates from Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and further afield have come together at Queen's University Belfast to explore issues of language and politics today (Thursday 16 September) and on Friday.

Language and the development of language policy in Northern Ireland has been propelled centre stage following the Good Friday Agreement, the North-South Implementation Body Act and other legislation.

In the Republic of Ireland, an Official Languages Act was passed last year, and a Language Commissioner appointed. The Republic of Ireland has also made a bid for Irish to become a working language of the European Commission, inspired perhaps by the success of Maltese that is now a recognized EC language. In Scotland, it is reported that the Scottish Executive is now seriously examining the Scots language issue.

"The conference is an excellent forum to bring together all those interested in discussing language policy pertaining to Irish, Ulster-Scots and Gaelic in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland,” said Professor Dónall Ó Baoill and Dr John Kirk of Queen's University, organizers of the fifth language and politics symposium. "The speakers this week include not only academic researchers, but politicians, economists, journalists and other informed individuals."

"Over the next two days, we shall be reviewing the latest legislative initiatives to take stock of current language policy," Dr Kirk said. "For example, the new Irish Language Commissioner from the Republic, Seán Ó Cuireáin, will speak on the Official Language Act 2003, there will be contributions on the Gaelic Language(Scotland) Bill and a panel discussion on the formation of the Ulster-Scots Academy."

While it is tempting to think that the debate here is unique, Northern Ireland is not alone in being a place where language issues provoke an important debate about its social, political and cultural future. The conference also looks beyond these shores to find parallels and to learn lessons. For example, eminent speakers have travelled from the Ukraine in Russia, Poland and Malta to outline the experiences of language developments in their regions.

The conference programme also tackles two other topics central to language development – literary development and sociolinguistics.

In partnership with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, the conference welcomes award-winning novelist Christopher Whyte of the University of Glasgow to speak on the work of the acclaimed twentieth century Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean.

Too often battles over language have been fought out on the streets. The work of the three Universities forming the AHRB Research Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies – University of Aberdeen, Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s – demonstrates that it is possible to deal with tough and difficult issues in a spirit of inquiry and mutual respect.

Ends

Notes: 
1. The theme of the 5th Language and Politics Symposium is: Taking Stock in the Literature, Sociolinguistics and Legislation of Minority or Regional Languages in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
2. The Language and Politics Symposium is a project with the AHRB Research Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, in which Queen’s University is a partner.
3. The conference sessions take place in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s University and are open to all wishing to attend. (Ring numbers below for conference timetable.)
4. Papers from the previous two Politics and Language conferences are published in a new book ‘To the other shore: Cross-currents in Irish and Scottish Studies’. It will be launched in the Visitor’s Centre at Queen’s on Thursday 18 September at 6.30pm.

 For further information, contact: Dr John Kirk 028 9097 3815, Professor Dónall Ó Baoill 028 9097 3390, or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Technological first for Queen's
International students Markus Sipila from Finland and Shannon Little from Canada show off the new mobile equipment awarded to Queen's School of Computer Science from Hewlett Packard. The students, who visited Queen's as part of an international work placement course, worked on applications for the equipment, which includes 'tablet' shaped PCs and PDA hand-held devices connected to a wireless network.
International students Markus Sipila from Finland and Shannon Little from Canada show off the new mobile equipment awarded to Queen's School of Computer Science from Hewlett Packard. The students, who visited Queen's as part of an international work placement course, worked on applications for the equipment, which includes 'tablet' shaped PCs and PDA hand-held devices connected to a wireless network.

The School of Computer Science at Queen's University has been awarded a prestigious 2004 Hewlett Packard "Technology for Teaching" grant.

A total of seven grants were awarded to European universities with Queen's the only UK university to have been selected.

The award, which includes $100,000 worth of HP mobile computing equipment, will be used to create a Digital Lecture Theatre and Mobile Computing Suite in the School of Computer Science.

The aim of the project is to explore how mobile computing, in the shape of 'tablet' PCs and PDA hand-held devices connected to a wireless network can be incorporated into teaching. It is anticipated that the freedom afforded to students by the HP devices will permit greater interactivity in class, both between the tutor and students and between the students themselves.

Mobile technologies will provide a much richer learning environment than that available through the traditional lecture format. The project will examine the most effective ways of exploiting mobile technology in order to maximise students' learning through the use of contingency teaching, voting, access to web-based resources and the instantaneous sharing of ideas between students - all within the confines of the lecture theatre.

Dr Lillian Greenwood, from the School of Computer Science, is the Principal Investigator on the project. Dr Greenwood said: "This is an exciting opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment and will have a dramatic impact on the learning experience of Queen's student. This equipment will allow us to tailor teaching to individual abilities and permit greater use of peer learning."

The Digital Lecture Theatre and Mobile Computing Suite have now been established and the first courses to make use of this new facility will begin in September. Information Services are working closely with School staff on the project and will be considering the possibilities of expanding these facilities across the rest of the University campus.

On receiving the HP equipment on behalf of the School, Dr Pat Corr, head of Computer Science said: "The techniques that will be developed as a result of this award have the potential to be applied across a variety of disciplines within the university. The results could have great significance for the way in which future generations of Queen's students are taught."

For further information contact: Dr Lillian Greenwood, Principal Investigator, School of Computer Science, (028) 9097 5464, email: l.greenwood@qub.ac.uk

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Academic presents data to hate crimes inquiry on racial and sectarian prejudice among young children

An academic from Queen's University today presented findings from his research on sectarian and racial prejudice among young children to the parliamentary Northern Ireland Affairs Committee's inquiry into hate crimes in the region.

Dr Paul Connolly, based in the Graduate School of Education at Queen's, argued strongly that if hate crimes in Northern Ireland are to be effectively tackled then intervention programmes are required in the early years.

Dr Connolly was invited to present evidence to the inquiry at a public session on 'young people and the future' in Belfast this morning (14 September). He drew upon the findings of a number of major studies he has completed over the years on the nature and extent of racial and sectarian prejudice among nursery and primary-aged children in Northern Ireland.

The key recommendations Dr Connolly made to the inquiry are that:

- A properly resourced curriculum should be developed from nursery-age onwards to encourage children to understand and respect cultural diversity and to be more inclusive of others.

- From the beginning of Key Stage Two (ie 7-8 year olds onwards), this curriculum should also focus on helping children develop a better and more rounded understanding of their own society by examining some of the key historical and political events that have taken place in Northern Ireland.

- In areas characterised by high levels of sectarian tensions and violence, it is important that conflict resolution efforts should include significant and meaningful work with younger children.

Speaking about his recommendations Dr Connolly said: "There is now strong evidence to suggest that racial and sectarian prejudices begin to emerge among children in the early years. In fact for some children, these prejudices can be already deeply engrained before they are even half-way through their primary education.

"With this in mind, it continues to surprise me that very little work is being done with children at this age. The early years is a critical time in young children’s lives when they often learn and internalise a wide range of attitudes and prejudices. And yet, at present, we’re really only taking these matters seriously in the later years of secondary school. A case of ‘locking the stable door after the horse has bolted'!

"What I tried to impress upon the Committee is the need for any strategy aimed at addressing hate crimes in Northern Ireland to be proactive and to include a significant element of work in the early years. Evaluative research I am currently involved in clearly shows that much can be done to encourage young children to respect diversity and to include others who may be different to themselves."

Some of the findings of his previous research that Dr Connolly shared with the Committee include:

- By the age of three, children are already beginning to internalise the political and cultural preferences of their own communities. Over twice as many Catholic children stated that they did not like the police or Orange marchers compared to Protestants. Clear differences also existed with Catholic three-year olds being much more likely to prefer to Irish Tricolour flag and Protestant children the Union flag.

- From the age of four onwards, children in Northern Ireland also begin to express preferences for names associated with their own tradition. Catholic children have been found to prefer names such as Seamus and Sinead, and Protestant children names such as Stuart and Alison. They also show clear preferences at this age for Celtic and Rangers shirts.

- 3-4 year olds in Northern Ireland have also been found to be less willing to want to play with Chinese children and children with disabilities than with others.

- By the age of six, one third (34%) of children in Northern Ireland already recognise that they belong to one of the two main communities and one in six (15%) are making sectarian statements.

- Children living in areas characterised by high levels of sectarian tensions and violence, tend to already have developed strong, negative attitudes towards those from the other community by the ages of 7-8. Many are also routinely witness to and often participants in verbal and physical confrontations with children from across the divide.

- A major new pilot programme aimed at preschool children in Northern Ireland has shown positive effects in encouraging children to be more inclusive of those who are different to themselves. The pilot programme – representing a partnership between NIPPA (the Northern Ireland early years organisation) and Pii (US-based Peace Initiatives Institute) – involved the showing of purpose-made cartoons on television earlier this year (UTV, Channel 4 and RTE) and the use of related curricular-materials in a diverse range of preschool groups in Northern Ireland (for details see: http://www.mifc-pii.org).

Ends

NOTES: 
Dr Connolly presented his evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at the Tuesday morning session, whcih also heard from the following witnesses on ‘Young people and the future’ - Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball Trust, Glencree Centre for Reconciliation; Mr Barney McNeany, Acting Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People; Young people from the JEDI Project (Joined In Equity, Diversity and Interdependence). Church leaders: The Most Rev Rt Hon Lord Eames, Archbishop Sean Brady, Rev Dr Brian Fletcher, Rev Dr Ken Newell. More details on the sessions to take place in relation to the inquiry into hate crimes can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/northern_ireland_affairs.cfm

For further information and interviews, please contact: Dr Connolly on: 07795 310465; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320.

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Queen's opens its doors to the student experience
Flying high: Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson with Abbey Grammar School pupil Mark Kearney and Our Lady's Grammar School pupil Sinead Kealey, both Newry, at the University's Open Days
Flying high: Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson with Abbey Grammar School pupil Mark Kearney and Our Lady's Grammar School pupil Sinead Kealey, both Newry, at the University's Open Days

Queen's University's commitment to the student experience is coming alive for around 13,000 potential undergraduates during its annual Open Days today and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said that the Open Days offered a unique opportunity for prospective students to learn about the range of options which the University has to offer and to sample the "Queen's Experience" for themselves.

He said: "The University's annual Open Days regularly attract thousands of potential students who are about to make decisions which will determine the course of their lives.

"In deciding to come to Queen's they will be joining a university with an excellent teaching record and a national and international academic reputation. But they will also be coming to a university which is committed to providing a fully-rounded student experience.

"We look forward to helping them make the right choice. Our Open Days are designed to do just that."

The Open Day Information Centre is based in the Whitla Hall where staff from all five Faculties are on hand to offer advice about courses on offer in September 2005. Information on the many services which ensure a happy and fulfilling student life, such as Sport and Recreation, Student Accommodation, the Careers Service and the University Health Service is also available.

The programme includes a series of talks on subject areas and career opportunities, and visits to a range of facilities such as the University’s Computing Services, Libraries, Language Centre, and the Northern Ireland Technology Centre.

Future students also have the chance to gain hands-on experience in a number of subjects, including the opportunity for potential dentists to practise their drilling and filling skills on a virtual patient.

Although most of the visitors are final-year students at schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, mature students undertaking foundation courses and other qualifications at further education colleges are also attending. The Open Days have also attracted considerable numbers of students from the Republic of Ireland and a contingent from Great Britain.

For further information contact:
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's welcomes lifelong learners

There's a lot to whet an enthusiasm for learning within the pages of this autumn's new Open Learning brochure from the Queen's University Institute of Lifelong Learning. New courses on offer include garden design, DJ skills, companion animal behaviour and how to make your home healthier and greener!

Alongside these varied leisure courses, the Institute's diverse line up also features traditional academic disciplines including literature, history, philosophy and many more. On top of that, there are courses and workshops to improve your practical skills in a wide range of areas from ayurveda (ancient Indian system of healing) to XML usage (internet ordering system).

"We are offering a very diverse programme as we are catering to an increasingly diverse student population," said Paul Nolan Director of the Institute of Lifelong Learning. "Our courses are open to all adults over 16, regardless of qualification or experience. There is plenty of room for experimentation, and no need to be cautious. The Institute offers an intellectual adventure and an adventure in personal development!"

 In all, almost 150 courses are on offer, across a broad range of areas that include:
- computing
- guidance and counselling
- languages
- history and culture
- music
- philosophy and religion
- creative writing
- visual arts.

There is a wide choice of study options, including the possibility to earn credits towards a degree with the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme and a range of formal certificate and diploma programmes. In addition to the classes on the Queen's campus, a number of courses are also run in centres throughout Northern Ireland.

Acknowledging that Queen's has been providing extra mural lectures for local citizens for over 150 years, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "The Institute is a resource for the whole community of Northern Ireland. It offers a range of opportunities for people to help with their career development or their personal growth, or to satisfy the need for learning for its own sake, or for social and recreational purposes.

"As a forward-looking University with an international reputation for excellence, our aim has always been to have a powerful impact on the cultural, social, economic and of course, educational well-being of the community we serve."

For further information, please contact the Institute of Lifelong Learning, Queen’s University on 028 9027 3323/4 or 028 9033 5058.

 

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Irish hares bounce back

Quercus scientists have recently completed a survey of Irish hares in Northern Ireland, the results of which are released by the Environment & Heritage Service and Queen's University Belfast today.

The work indicates that hares have bounced back from previously very low numbers and that the present population is estimated to be between 69-98,000 hares, compared to the 2002 estimate of between 7-25,000.

"These exciting results provide evidence of a significant increase in Irish hare numbers across Northern Ireland over the last two years," said Quercus scientist Robbie McDonald. "We should not be complacent" cautioned Dr McDonald, "but our work is encouraging. It shows the potential of the species to increase rapidly from very low densities".

Hare numbers vary widely from year to year and the team warns against making predictions for numbers next year or beyond, "this positive survey is no guarantee of the future status of the population."

Project scientists David Tosh and Ross Towers conducted spotlight surveys for hares at night between February and April earlier this year. Counts were up in nearly all areas. The team attributes the marked increase to unusual weather conditions over the last two years, leading to increased survival of young hares.

The report recommends keeping a close eye on hare numbers from one year to the next and emphasises the importance of understanding more about the basics of hare biology and the effects of farming practice. "Given their importance to the wildlife of Northern Ireland, there is a lot to learn about the breeding and survival of Irish hares" said Dr McDonald.

Ends

Notes for Editors: 1. Quercus is Northern Ireland's Research Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and is a partnership between Queen's University Belfast and the Environment & Heritage Service.

2. The Northern Ireland Irish Hare Survey 2004 was commissioned by the Environment & Heritage Service in December 2003 and the report was submitted on 31 August 2004.

3. The surveys were conducted by David Tosh and Ross Towers. The project was led by Dr Robbie McDonald, Dr Jane Preston and Professor Ian Montgomery.

4. The survey was based on observations of hares made at night using a spotlight while driving transects along roads throughout Northern Ireland.

5. In spring 2004, the density of Irish hares was estimated to be 5.87 hares per km² (and with 95% confidence was between the intervals 4.94–6.99). In 2002, density was estimated to be 1.0 hares per km2 (95% CI 0.5–1.8). In 2004, the population of Irish hares in Northern Ireland was estimated to be 82,200 (95% CI 69,200–97,900). In 2002, the estimate was 14,000 (95% CI 7,000–25,200).

6. The report made four recommendations: 

· Continue with regular surveys of Irish hare numbers. Until the extent of annual fluctuations is well known, these should be conducted annually.

· Improve the ability of surveys to detect trends in hare populations over time. This requires a specific study to develop monitoring techniques and could involve a collaborative project with the developers of Distance Sampling.

· Conduct research into the population biology of Irish hares. There is insufficient information on the most basic aspects of demography, such as survival and fertility, and their relationship with intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

· Investigate the impact of agricultural practices on hare survival and recruitment. This should focus on grassland management and specifically the effects of grass rolling and silage cutting on leveret survival.

7. The full report is available at www.quercus.ac.uk

8. Photographs are available by arrangement with Neil Reid neil.reid@qub.ac.uk

9. For further information contact Queen's University Communications Office, 028 9097 3087/3091

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New Research Team in Molecular Therapeutics joins Queen's School of Pharmacy
Professor Chris Shaw, Dr Tracy Robson and Professor David Hirst outside the McClay Pharmacy Centre at Queen's
Professor Chris Shaw, Dr Tracy Robson and Professor David Hirst outside the McClay Pharmacy Centre at Queen's

The School of Pharmacy at Queen's University has announced the establishment of a new multidisciplinary research group in Molecular Therapeutics.

The group will consist of Professor David Hirst, Professor Chris Shaw and Dr Tracy Robson, together with postdoctoral scientists and postgraduate students. The new team joins Queen's from the School of Biomedical Science (RAE 5* in 2001) at the University of Ulster.

Welcoming the team, Professor David Woolfson, Head of Research in the School, said: "This exciting development represents the latest phase of our planned expansion in key strategic areas of pharmaceutical research. It builds on our substantial existing research programmes in biomolecular science and will make the School a leading player in this fast developing field, from which many of the future advances in drug therapies are likely to emanate."

Professor David Hirst takes up the new post of Professor of Experimental Therapeutics in the School of Pharmacy. Professor Hirst has considerable research experience in tumour physiology, gene therapy and vascular biology and this will be applied within the School of Pharmacy to the further development of novel approaches to the treatment of cancer, particularly in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Professor Hirst has specific expertise in the role of nitric oxide in tumour biology and will use molecular approaches to apply this in anti-cancer strategies. Targeting of tumour vasculature is also a long-standing research interest.  At Queen's, Professor Hirst will continue research into the identification and characterisation of novel vasoactive and anti-angiogenic peptides of amphibian origin.

Dr Tracy Robson joins the School as Reader in Molecular Pharmacology, bringing cell and molecular biology expertise to the team. Her research interests are focused on the development of novel therapeutic strategies to target cancer and to sensitise tumours to radio and chemotherapy. In particular, she aims to further develop novel gene therapy strategies that are transcriptionally targeted to tumours and to identify novel targets through the characterisation of novel genes such as the Hsp90 interacting protein FKBP-L/DIR1 and a tumour specific cytochrome P450 CYP1B. She has expertise in a wide variety of molecular biological techniques, including human and yeast based assays to assess protein:protein interactions.

Returning to Queen's, where he held the Chair in Peptide Biochemisry in the Faculty of Medicine until 1998, is Professor Chris Shaw, who now takes up the new Chair in Drug Discovery within the School of Pharmacy. Professor Shaw's exciting work involves the discovery and characterisation of biologically active agents within nature, most notably from amphibian venoms that are harvested worldwide. High-throughput molecular technologies involving de novo peptide sequencing, "shotgun" cDNA cloning and pharmacological screening will be directed towards the functional genomic understanding of peptidomes, thus allowing rapid acquisition of structural data and the generation of peptide molecular libraries for novel drug leads.

For further information contact: Professor David Woolfson, (028) 9097 2024 Fax: +44 (0)28 90247794 e-mail: d.woolfson@qub.ac.uk

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Death of the stars recorded by Queen's astronomer
M64, otherwise known as the Black Eye galaxy, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
M64, otherwise known as the Black Eye galaxy, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

A Queen's University astronomer, whose research involves using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to take stunning images of the galaxies, has had his work showcased by NASA.

Lecturer Dr Stephen Smartt is based in the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Research Division of the School of Mathematics and Physics. Last month NASA featured some of his recent work with Hubble in a media release illustrating one of the magnificent images he has taken.

The beautiful galaxy NGC3949 is a typical spiral galaxy that looks just like our own Milky Way. It has a blue disk of young stars and a bright central bulge of older red stars. Dr. Smartt and his team have taken pictures of several hundred galaxies to study the most massive stars in the Universe which can be up to 100 times larger than the Sun. They are hoping that some day one of these stars will explode as a supernova and they can then look back to pinpoint the exact star that has exploded. Only three such supernova 'mother stars' have ever been identified, two by Dr. Smartt's team.

Dr Smartt explains: "When a massive star dies its central core collapses and you get a huge explosion of energy. It is only then that a star can be identified. Obviously we don’t know when this is going to happen – they usually occur every century – and by expanding our search into far-away galaxies we hope to see one every year."

Using the Hubble Space Telescope provides amazingly detailed pictures of distant galaxies. Images from Earth based telescopes would be blurred too much by the atmosphere to allow individual stars to be detected.

There is stiff competition from astronomers all over the world to use Hubble and Dr Smartt says he feels incredibly privileged to be able to use it.

Hubble was originally designed in the 1970s and launched in 1990, with an estimated lifespan of 20 years. It is the first astronomical mission of any kind that is specifically designed for routine servicing by spacewalking astronauts.

However, due to safety concerns following the Columbia disaster, NASA has recently taken the decision to stop all manned missions to Hubble and the future of this great observatory is now uncertain.

"Hubble was designed to be visited periodically by astronauts who would perform repairs and install new equipment, but now NASA, having cancelled all manned missions, is looking at different options for extending Hubble's life. These include using robotic servicing. This has never been done before in space and therefore the chances of success are uncertain.

"Many astronauts are still keen to go on servicing missions to Hubble, despite the safety risks, but the issue is a balance between safety and cost. If NASA is going to continue with Hubble it will need to spend money on safety, which it would prefer to divert into manned missions to the Moon and Mars," said Dr Smartt.

The decision to halt manned servicing missions has been not been popular with the scientific community. Over the last few months a committee of esteemed US engineers and scientists reviewed NASA's decision to halt manned missions and recommended a rethink. Dr Smartt agreed with the panel's conclusions.

"I believe there is much more we can learn about the Universe and our place in it by keeping Hubble working rather than going to the Moon. Hubble has produced the deepest and sharpest images of our Universe in human history. Scientists and the public would both loose out if this fantastic observatory is not maintained," he said.

Originally from Belfast, Dr Smartt completed his primary and PhD degrees at Queen's before working in the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge and the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma in the Canaries. As well as being a lecturer, Dr Smartt holds a prestigious Advanced Fellowship from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council.

For further information on Dr Smartt's images from Hubble see: HubbleSite - Hubble Images Majestic Cousin of the Milky Way - 8/5/2004 HubbleSite - An Abrasive Collision Gives One Galaxy a "Black Eye" - 2/5/2004 Science & Technology: Photo Release: Waiting for a supernova [heic0311]

For further information contact: Dr Stephen Smartt Office: (028) 9097 1245 Home: (028) 9059 3261 Mobile: 07754 782758 Email: S.Smartt@qub.ac.uk Homepage: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~sjs

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Gregson stresses international dimension

 

Greater emphasis on its international role is crucial to the future development of Queen's University, its new Vice-Chancellor said today.

Speaking to international students during his first day of public engagements, Professor Peter Gregson said higher education was now operating in a global context.

"Knowledge knows no boundaries, and higher education institutions have to recognise that.

"By enhancing their international credentials, universities create a better learning environment for their students, and create connections crucial for the economic development of the regions they serve."

He said that in recent years, Queen's had placed increased emphasis on the recruitment of international students - the University now has 2,400 international students.

"Your decision to come to Queen's reinforces the University's role as a centre of international academic excellence, and you bring an important new dimension to the culture of Queen's," he said.

"Queen's is very much rooted in its local community but it is neither narrow nor parochial in its approach. Its reputation is global. More than 90 countries are represented in our student community and the wider Queen's family of 100,000 graduates ensures the name of Queen's is known around the world.

"We value our international students very highly. A cosmopolitan student body strengthens Queen's position in the student market, enriches the student mix and gives local undergraduates the opportunity to learn from diversity.

"A university like Queen's must set its sights to attract the best students locally, nationally and internationally."

The Vice-Chancellor met the students on a visit to the University's new International Research Centre for Experimental Physics. The Centre builds upon Queen's reputation as a world leader in this fundamental branch of science. It supports research to develop next-generation technologies, and gives local hi-tech companies access to the world-class facilities and expertise.

Its futuristic new building, on the University's main site, is just one of a number of building projects which are part of Queen's investment in its research infrastructure.

Later this month will see the opening of the new building for the University's Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, and the completion of work on the new Centre for Drama and Film Studies and the Medical Biology Centre teaching centre.

Work on other projects, such as the Elms Village – a new concept in student accommodation – is continuing, with the completion of the latest phase, which includes a student services centre, due in November.

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Catherine McWilliams retrospective opens at Naughton Gallery at Queen's

The first major retrospective exhibition of the work of well-known local artist Catherine McWilliams opens today (1 September) in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's.

Born in Belfast in 1940, Catherine McWilliams attended Belfast College of Art and combined painting with teaching as an art tutor in various schools before becoming Head of Foundation Studies in Art at Rupert Stanley College until she left teaching in 1990.

McWilliams has been exhibiting her work in solo and group shows since 1966, and her work is represented in public and private collections throughout the UK and Ireland. Together with her husband Joe, she opened Belfast's Cavehill Gallery in 1986.

Reflecting on how the idea for a retrospective show of her paintings and drawings since 1961 germinated, Catherine McWilliams commented: "After unearthing a self-portrait I painted as a student in 1961, I though about the changes my work had gone through in 40 years. I have almost always been involved with landscape or figures in landscape where the expressive handling of paint is the predominant feature."

 McWilliams' expressive use of paint and brushwork is indeed the predominant feature of her painting, while her strong sense of observation gives the work an entirely personal feeling for the familiar, be it the hills of North Belfast or a breakfast table.

Landscape is the most prominent recurring theme of her work and initially her focus was on her immediate surroundings, such as Cushendall in County Antrim, while her work from the 1970s and 1980s featured landscapes populated and personified by female figures, permeated with personal anxiety and emotion reflecting the political upheaval of the time. Recent work shows an increasingly secure and settled attitude, focusing on the strong outlines of Cave Hill and the suburbs of North Belfast. Still life also plays a major part in McWilliams' work, with many paintings inspired by her time spent producing book illustrations.

Shan McAnena, Curator of the Naughton Gallery at Queen'’s, who worked with the artist to gather and select the work on display, said: "This major retrospective provides an opportunity to reassess the work of an artist whose work is driven by the medium of paint which translates the images of her own life and surroundings into something universal."

McWilliams added: "I am delighted that this retrospective has been brought together and is being exhibited in The Naughton Gallery at Queen's University - a new gallery in Belfast's most distinguished centre of excellence."

Catherine McWilliams: A Retrospective 1961-2004 will run in the Naughton Gallery until 15 October. The gallery is open Monday – Friday 12-4pm and Saturday 10am-4pm. 

Ends

For further information, contact: Shan McAnena 028 9097 3580; or Dolores Vischer 9097 5320

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Queen's set to build on international reputation - Gregson
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson says Queen's is set to build on its international reputation
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson says Queen's is set to build on its international reputation

 

Northern Ireland's commitment to education is the foundation on which a better society will be built, Queen's University's new Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said today.

Speaking as he took office, Professor Gregson said Queen's was recognised around the world for the quality of its teaching and its research.

"My challenge is to build on that reputation, and ensure that Queen's sits at the centre of an international network which brings wealth and prosperity to this region."

Professor Gregson, 46, served as deputy Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University before his appointment to Queen's. He has a distinguished record of achievement as an engineer and an academic leader.

"This is the era of opportunity," he said. "The world belongs to those who innovate, who take risks and who make the most of the resources they have got. Queen's has one of the most important resources of all: intellectual capital."

Professor Gregson said: "Queen's has an abundance of international research in key areas across all disciplines: engineering, medicine, social sciences, humanities and the sciences.

"Although it is an established university with a track record in traditional areas of research, Queen's academics are also at the cutting edge in the global development of new technologies such as information technology, nanotechnology and cancer studies."

The new Vice-Chancellor said that one of the things which had attracted him to Queen's was its strong focus on the student experience and its determination to make a major contribution to the community it served.

"I want to build on those strengths," he said. "I know I shall have the support of the University and the wider community in developing a renewed vision of Queen's working for the betterment of the society it serves through the achievement of international excellence.

"First-class universities don't just happen, they come about because societies make investment in them a priority, and because the institutions themselves create a community of learning with world-class academics inspiring the finest students.

"Queen’s has that exhilarating mix. Northern Ireland has a right to be proud of it, and it is an honour for me to join the team and to lead it."

The new Vice-Chancellor will perform his first official duty later today when he welcomes guests to the launch at Queen's of the All-Ireland Cancer Report. Following this, he will meet representatives of Queen's international student population during a visit to the University's new International Research Centre for Experimental Physics.

Notes for editors:

Peter Gregson was born in 1957. He is married to Rachael and they have three children. He graduated with a first-class degree in Materials Science from Imperial College London, and went on to earn a PhD before being appointed to the academic staff at Southampton.

At Southampton he combined a distinguished academic career with a reputation as a forward-looking leader. Appointed to a personal Chair in 1996, he was awarded the prestigious Rosenhain Medal and Prize of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining the same year, and elected a fellow of the Institute in 1998.

In 2000 he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Southampton. In 2001, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and became a member of the Windsor Leadership Trust in 2002.

He was appointed to the governing body of one of the UK's most important research organisations - the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils - in 2003.

His research profile - particularly in the fields of aerospace materials and innovative approaches to the replacement of hip and other joints - has attracted international interest.

Professor Gregson succeeds Professor Sir George Bain who retired in July 2004. He is the 11th holder of the post since it was created in 1908.

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Extended smoking ban could lower lung cancer death, report claims

The Republic of Ireland's smoking ban should profoundly lower the rates of lung cancer, the country's leading cancer killer, a new report has claimed. The 'All Ireland Cancer Statistics Second Report 1998-2000' says that prevention initiatives need to be implemented right across the island in a bid to target urban areas which have the highest incidence.

Launched today at Queen's University Belfast, the collaborative report by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and the National Cancer Registry (Ireland) examines data from both regions to assess the cancer incidence and mortality on the island of Ireland. Most information is based on 1998-2000 data; trends are from 1994 to 2000. The report focuses on cancers that are life-threatening, represent a substantial burden to the general population and can be prevented or cured. Additionally, all cancer sites combined, all childhood cancers and lymphoma are profiled since these are often a concern to the public, researchers and policy makers. Each year there are over 19,000 new cancer cases and 11,000 cancer deaths throughout Ireland.

As well as recommending more lung cancer prevention initiatives island-wide, the report also recommends that the Republic increases its breast cancer screening services. While breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women across Ireland, mortality rates in Northern Ireland, where screening programmes are well established, have fallen by more than 20 per cent between 1994 and 2000. In the Republic breast cancer mortality rates were the same in 2000 as they were in 1994.

These findings support the planned extension of the National Breast Screening Programme in the Republic of Ireland. BreastCheck commenced in March 2000 with phase one of the Programme covering the Eastern Regional Health Authority, Midland Health Board and North Eastern Health Board areas. Screening is being offered free of charge to all women in those areas in the target age group 50 to 64 years of age. Last year, the Minister for Health and Children announced the extension of the programme to Counties Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford and also the national roll-out to the Southern and Western counties.

The report reveals that incidence and mortality rates for prostate cancer in the Republic of Ireland are significantly higher than those in Northern Ireland. Increased PSA testing may be responsible for the rise in incidence rates as well as the wide variation in incidence rates between regions. The report points out that the benefits of prostate cancer screening are unclear. Added to this uncertainty is the widespread and growing use of PSA tests.

The report reveals that for childhood cancers, incidence and mortality rates are the same or lower than the rates in the EU and the US. The five year survival rate for all children in Ireland is essentially the same as in the US and better than in Europe.

The report also highlights differences from region to region and among the sexes. For colorectal cancer the incidence in men is 1.5 times higher than in women. "Understanding why regional variations exist, and targeting prevention programmes to those regions and populations at highest risk should be a public health priority", the report says.

Commenting on the report, Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Henrietta Campbell said it proved the importance of cancer registration as one of our most important public health tools. "It provides concrete evidence of the benefits of the National Cancer Institute, Ireland and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry Consortium which aims to promote joint programmes of work. This report, the result of several years of collaboration, highlights some areas of success and identifies areas for action to improve cancer outcomes in Ireland. We must take note of its recommendations", she said.

Welcoming the publication Dr. Jim Kiely, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Children in Ireland, said: "This aspect of the work of the Consortium has proven to be particularly valuable, both in terms of the actual information it gives us in relation to cancer in the island as a whole, and the clear example it provides us of the type of co-operation that lies at the heart of the mission of the Consortium. The authors of this report deserve our commendation for the excellence of their work which will provide a sound basis for future planning in this most important of public health policy areas.

"The key goal of the National Cancer Strategy 1996 was to achieve a 15% decrease in mortality from cancer in the under-65 year age group in the 10 year period from 1994. The Evaluation of the National Cancer Strategy demonstrated that this figure was achieved in 2001, which was 3 years ahead of target. The National Cancer Forum is currently developing a new National Cancer Strategy. The new Strategy will set out the key priorities for the development of cancer services over the coming years, building on the achievements to date, and will make recommendations in relation to the organisation of cancer services nationally. The Strategy is due to be published at the end of this year."

The report was jointly funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Department of Health and Children in the Republic. The full report and summary are available on the websites www.qub.ac.uk/nicr and www.ncri.ie

Note to Editors: The 2nd All Ireland Cancer Report will be launched on Wednesday 1 September 2004, in the Great Hall at Queen's University Belfast, at 10.30am.

Media opportunities will be available from 10am – 11am. Interviews can be conducted with Dr. Henrietta Campbell, Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer; Dr Jim Kiely, Chief Medical Officer, Ireland; Dr. Anna Gavin, Director, Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and Dr. Harry Comber, Director, National Cancer Registry Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, based at Queen's University Belfast, was established 10 years ago, while the National Cancer Registry (Ireland) was set up in 1991 and began registering cancers nationwide in 1994.

The report's authors are Dr. Joe Campo, Dr. Harry Comber and Dr. Anna Gavin. For further information contact: Dr. Anna Gavin, Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, (028) 9063 2573, or email: a.gavin@qub.ac.uk

Dr. Harry Comber, National Cancer Registry Ireland, 003532 1431 8014 or email: h.comber@ncri.ie or

Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Governing the Corporation

Recent corporate failures have highlighted serious structural problems both within corporations and in the wider governance of financial markets.

At a major international conference to take place next Monday and Tuesday, 20-21 September, Queen's University Belfast will bring together many of the key players at a critical stage in the debate to develop common standards in international accounting and effective corporate governance structures.

A global centre of excellence in the study of governance, the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's has organised the 'Governing the Corporation' conference to map what went wrong in corporate governance design and what processes are required to change deficient institutional structures. Regulatory solutions that have been proposed will also be discussed.

Two of the most influential regulators in the world will be among those taking part: William McDonough, Chair of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the Director General of Internal Markets at the European Commission, Alexander Schaub. The Head of the US General Accounting Office, David Walker, a former partner in Anderson, will join them in debating responsibility for past failure and the dilemmas involved in moving towards more stringent regulation.

"The management of the conflicted, dynamic and interdependent power relationships between the market and its key actors – the state, parties, regulators, corporations and the community of market professionals – has become one of the most pressing issues facing contemporary society," says Dr Justin O'Brien of Queen's University, the Academic Director of the conference.

"Corporate governance and its relationship with wider public policy are pivotal to a new research initiative here at Queen's, which includes post-graduate tuition as well as the facilitation of a transatlantic dialogue among regulators and practitioners. To be able to bring to the University such senior players in the regulation of financial markets for the conference is evidence of our increasing global capacity," says Dr O’Brien.

The conference is designed to be as interactive as possible, with a mixture of plenary sessions, roundtable discussions and master classes as well as panel discussions. A range of disciplines will be represented with leading academics from fields as diverse as psychology and criminology joining colleagues from forensic accounting, management, law and political science.

The conference coincides with the launch of a new LLM/MSSc in Corporate Governance and Public Policy. Based in the School of Law at Queen's, the course is both interdisciplinary and international in its focus. It will include modules on legal issues in corporate governance and the political determinants of corporate governance design. Its introduction follows extensive discussions with legal, regulatory and corporate entities and meets a growing international demand for post-graduate expertise in corporate governance and its relationship with public policy.

Dr O’Brien says of the new course, "In order to fully understand what went wrong within corporate America and wider afield, it is necessary to factor in to the discussion the political determinant of corporate governance design. It is the pursuit of that wider enquiry that forms the basis of the new LLM/MSSc."

 . EDITOR’S NOTES:
1. There will be an opportunity for media interviews and photographs at 10.50-11.20am on Monday 20 September, in the Canada Room in the Lanyon Building at Queen’s University. (Speakers including William McDonough and Alexander Schaub will be in attendance, together with Dr Justin O’Brien, Queen’s Conference Organiser).
2. Further details on the conference ‘Governing the Corporation: Mapping the Loci of Power in Corporate Governance Design’ can be found at: www.governance.qub.ac.uk/govcorp 
3. Dr Justin O’Brien is author of Wall Street on Trial published globally last year. The book offers a detailed explanation of the structural defects in governance of the financial markets in the United States. It highlights that the malfeasance and misfeasance owe their origins to a system rendered susceptible to corruption, rather than merely individual corrupted actors.

For further information, contact: Dr Justin O’Brien, 07766 527 407, or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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