11-2004 Press Releases

30/11/2004: Protecting the public from dangerous offenders
30/11/2004: Sex, drugs and rock and roll?
25/11/2004: Queen's graduate collects award for research into domestic violence
24/11/2004: Queen's receives ARM International's Organisational Service Award
24/11/2004: Place Names of Northern Ireland book launch
22/11/2004: Queen's launches its Hospice Toy Appeal
18/11/2004: Mitchell's ambassadorial role for Queen's \"invaluable\" - Gregson
17/11/2004: World Philosophy Day celebrated at Queen's
17/11/2004: Major new history of Queen's focuses on community role
17/11/2004: Queen's award winning work on male fertility
16/11/2004: Leading businesswoman returns to Queen's
16/11/2004: Older People in Northern Ireland
15/11/2004: Queen's appoints distinguished chemist as Pro-Vice-Chancellor
12/11/2004: Overseas Students Can Benefit Local Society
11/11/2004: Swashbuckling silver screen heroes focus of lively public lectures
11/11/2004: Entrepreneurial approach to Innovation Lecture
11/11/2004: Female engineering students sweep top awards
10/11/2004: Facing up to binge drinking
09/11/2004: Queen's Service of Remembrance
08/11/2004: Asteroid impact - could it happen?
05/11/2004: Queen's head of Nursing receives CBE
04/11/2004: Bangor schoolgirl meets top entrepreneur
04/11/2004: Portuguese the focus of international conference at Queen's
03/11/2004: Queen's University students take to the stage
03/11/2004: Queen's eyesight research receives Wellcome Trust grant
02/11/2004: Queen's PhD student wins physics award
01/11/2004: Queen's invites recent graduates to keep in touch
01/11/2004: Severe child poverty in Northern Ireland
11-2004 Press Releases

Protecting the public from dangerous offenders

Psychopaths in the workplace, public protection and treatments for sexual offenders are just some of the topics being covered in a three day conference on the workings of the criminal mind.

The Northern Ireland branch of the British Psychological Society is holding its conference 'Protecting the Public: The Assessment & Management of Dangerous Offenders' at the Wellington Park Hotel, Malone Road, Belfast from Wednesday 1 December to Friday 3 December.

Professor Robert D Hare PhD, from University of British Columbia, Canada and one of the world's leading experts on psychopathy, will start the event with a public lecture called 'Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work' at 6.30pm on Wednesday 1 December.

He will explain that psychopaths are not confined to prisons - they exist everywhere. Indeed their cold-blooded ability to manipulate others without remorse, coupled with a veneer of charm, can make them extremely successful in many walks of life.

The conference will continue on Thursday and Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm with presentations from speakers SSA Mary Ellen O'Toole from the FBI Academy and Professors Ron Blackburn and Clive Hollin who have lectured and published extensively in the area of dangerous offenders.

Dr Margaret O’Rourke, who has worked with offenders in England and Ireland, Prof David Bamford, Chair of the NI Mental Health Review and Mr Paul Leighton, the Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, will be among the other presenters.

The conference has been sponsored by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), the NI branch of the British Psychological Society (BPS), the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Prison Psychology Service and Probation Board for Northern Ireland giving it an all-Ireland dimension. The Presidents of PSI and BPS will also give keynote addresses.

Note to editors: Professor Hare’s public lecture on 1 December will be followed by a buffet supper to which members of the media are invited. There will be an opportunity for the media to interview any of our speakers at this event.

For further information contact: Anne Kerr at NI Regional Office 028 9097 4129 or mobile 07931 467283 (during the conference), Dr Donncha Hanna 07779 330401 or Geraldine O’Hare 07710 523014

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Sex, drugs and rock and roll?

Tomorrow( Wednesday 1 December), the results from the 2004 Young Life and Times Survey results will be made available online at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

As in 2003, the Young Life and Times team invited around 2,000 16 year-olds across Northern Ireland to voice their opinions about community relations and politics, as well as their experience of school.

For the first time, this year's survey also included questions on:
- smoking, drinking, drugs and sexual intercourse,
- mental health,
- bullying, and
- attitudes to voting and elections.

Young Life and Times is a constituent part of ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. Dirk Schubotz of Queen's University, Young Life and Times Project Director, highlights some of the key findings of the survey below:

Community relations
- 48% of respondents felt that the relations between Catholics and Protestants were better now than five years ago. 39% of respondents were optimistic that community relations would improve further within the next five years.
- However, 86% of 16 year-olds felt that religion will always make a difference in how people feel about each other in Northern Ireland.
- 67% of respondents said they would prefer to work in a mixed-religion workplace, 52% would like to live in a mixed-religion environment, and 43% said they would like to send their children to mixed-religion schools.

Politics and attitudes to voting
- 26% of respondents felt that they could really make a difference if they got involved into politics;
- yet, only 5% of respondents said they had a great deal of interest in politics and 55% of 16 year olds said they knew nothing or not a lot about politics.

Smoking, drinking, drugs and sexual matters
- One out of two respondents had smoked at least once, and more than one third of respondents said they had smoked a few or many times (35%.)
- Over two thirds of 16 year-olds had drunk alcohol a few or many times.
- 18% of respondents had taken illegal drugs at least once, and 5% had used solvents to get high.
- 21% of all respondents reported that they had had sexual intercourse on at least one occasion.

Bullying in school and stress
- Over one third of respondents (34%) said they were bullied in school.
- Over one quarter of respondents (26%) said they felt always or often pressured by the school work they had to do.
- School and exams was by far the most common response when the respondents were asked what made them stressed. 70% of respondents mentioned school as a stress factor. Over one quarter (26%) said that family problems stressed them, and 15% felt stressed by financial problems or work-related problems.

"These results highlight some of the issues 16 year-olds face in Northern Ireland today," Dirk Schubotz said. "Whilst the relationship between Catholics and Protestants remain an important aspect of 16 year-olds' identity in Northern Ireland, the findings in relation to respondents' health show that many young people aged 16 experience considerable pressure to make the decisions that they feel will have a lasting impact on their adult life," he added.

In the next two to three months, Young Life and Times will make available more detailed information from the research findings on community relations and issues related to the health of 16 year-olds.

Ends

Notes:
 824 16 year-olds responded to the 2004 Young Life and Times Survey. Young Life and Times is a constituent part of ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. ARK is a joint initiative of the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast. For further information contact: Dirk Schubotz, 028 9097 3947, e-mail d.schubotz@qub.ac.uk; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320 or 07980 013362. Details of the survey are available on website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

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Queen's graduate collects award for research into domestic violence
Queen's graduate Catriona Daly receives the 2004 Science Shop Award from Queens Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac for her project work with Women's Aid.
Queen's graduate Catriona Daly receives the 2004 Science Shop Award from Queens Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac for her project work with Women's Aid.

Research carried out by Queen's graduate Catriona Daly into domestic violence policies on behalf of a Women's Aid centre has earned her the Queen's University annual Science Shop Award.

The Science Shop Awards are presented each year to students who have completed the best community-based research projects with voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland. Over the past 12 months, the Science Shop worked with Queen's students and staff, including Catriona, to complete 57 projects in a wide range of areas.

Before graduating from Queen's in July with a degree in Politics and Modern History, Catriona Daly worked on the project for Cookstown and Dungannon Women's Aid centre between January and May this year. "I carried out an audit among a range of different organisations who at times work in partnership with the Women's Aid centre. I wanted to identify just what policies they had in place for handling domestic violence incidents, and how much they knew about what services the Women's Aid centre offers," Catriona explained.

"I learnt a tremendous amount from doing this project," the 22 year-old from Tannaghmore near Antrim added. "I had a general knowledge beforehand of what domestic violence was, but in carrying out the survey I realised that it goes much wider than physical abuse of women. Domestic violence incidents can affect men and can also be of a psychological and financial nature as well. I found the whole Science Shop project, arranged through the School of Politics and International Studies, to be a very rewarding experience and am delighted to be receiving this award."

Using paper-based questionnaires, telephone and face-to-face interviews, Catriona prepared a comprehensive report on the handling of domestic violence incidents by voluntary and statutory organisations that included the PSNI, Social Security office, the Probation Service, Citizen Advice Bureau, Victim Support , the Housing Executive and others. Her survey also ascertained just how aware these organisations were of the Women's Aid centre, what they thought of the service provided and the circumstances in which case referrals were made to Women's Aid.

Shirley McMurray of Cookstown and Dungannon Women's Aid commissioned the student research project and is now using the report that Catriona brought together. She said of her work: "Catriona put a lot of time and effort into producing this information and we at Cookstown and Dungannon Women's Aid were most interested to learn what the various local organisations knew or didn't know about domestic violence in general, and about the services of Cookstown and Dungannon Women's Aid in particular. We were very impressed with Catriona's findings and in light of these, will continue to promote awareness-raising among our partner organizations. One of our core aims is to educate and inform the public, media, the courts, social services and other agencies."

The Science Shop Annual Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 25 November at Queen's University, where Catriona was presented with her Award by Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University with responsibility for Community and Communications.

Eileen Martin, Co-ordinator of the Queen's Science Shop, commented: "I’m delighted to see the quality of Catriona's work being recognised in such a public forum. The work of the Science Shop is supported by academic departments from across the University and the humanities subjects are increasingly making a contribution to these community based projects. Through Science Shop projects, everyone gains - students gain greater awareness of the relevance of their learning to wider social issues and the community groups benefit from the wide range of skills that students bring to their organisations."

Science Shop is one of a number of initiatives led by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac to strengthen the University’s close links with the community.

An award was also being presented at the ceremony to the University of Ulster Science Shop project winner, Beverley Keir.

Ends

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

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

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Queen's receives ARM International's Organisational Service Award
Professor Roy Crawford, outgoing Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development, with the ARM International Organisational Service Award which was presented to the University recently. Included are (from left): John Kissick, technician; Mark Kearns, Moulding Research Manager and Mark McCourt and Paul Hanna, process engineers.
Professor Roy Crawford, outgoing Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development, with the ARM International Organisational Service Award which was presented to the University recently. Included are (from left): John Kissick, technician; Mark Kearns, Moulding Research Manager and Mark McCourt and Paul Hanna, process engineers.

Queen's University's lengthy partnership with the Association of Rotational Molders (ARM) International has been rewarded, with the University winning its 2004 Organisational Service Award.

Presented during a special awards ceremony at the Association's 29th Annual Fall Meeting & Technical Exhibits in Cleveland, Ohio, the award honors a member company that has contributed significant resources over the years, including people or funds, to ARM International in general or to specific projects.

Queen's link with ARM International stretches back over 28 years when it first began carrying out research on rotational molding. The University produced the world's first PhD graduate in rotational molding in 1986 and three years later the University became a member of ARM International. Current or former members of the research group at Queen's have served on numerous ARM International Committees.

Professor Roy Crawford, outgoing Prof-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development, has been ARM International's Director of Technical Services since 1999.

The University collaborates with ARM International to offer a three-day 'hands-on training course', which is presented in Europe and North America each year and has been attended by delegates from all over the world.

The University also organised the very popular student workshops at the association's Fall Meetings. The majority of these workshops were presented by students from Queen's, while current and former staff members from the research group at the University also offer ARM International seminars for the industry.

In addition, an advanced training seminar was held in the Chicago area and plans are underway to travel to the Far East in January to conduct a similar seminar.

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Place Names of Northern Ireland book launch

On Thursday 25 November the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast, will host the launch of a new book by the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, followed by a public lecture on 'Irish Mountain Names'.

The first Fermanagh volume in the highly-acclaimed 'Place-Names of Northern Ireland series will be launched in the Institute of Irish Studies by the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project - Lisnaskea and District: the Parish of Aghalurcher by Dr Patrick McKay.

"Place-names for many people form one of the most evocative aspects of the landscape and the study of place-names provides a revealing window on the land and its people," said Dr Kay Muhr, Senior Research Fellow with the Project and Chair of the Ulster Place-Name Society. She added, "Many early Irish names for settlements, districts, hills and rivers are in use today and most townland names are of Irish origin. Successive waves of Norse, Anglo-Norman, Scots and English settlers added to this rich tapestry, bringing some names with them from their former homelands and creating many more."

Dr Patrick McKay began work with the Place-Name Project within Irish and Celtic Studies at Queen's University in 1992. He is the author of volume 4 in the 'Place Names of Northern Ireland' series (on the baronies of Toome in Co. Antrim) and of A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names (1999). Since 1997 he has been Secretary of the Ulster Place-Name Society and has lectured widely on place-names in the north of Ireland.

"My new book (volume eight in the series) covers the very large civil parish of Aghalurcher," said Dr McKay. "Aghalurcher contains 238 townlands and is situated entirely in east Fermanagh, except for 17 townlands which lie east of Fivemiletown in Co. Tyrone. Its chief centre of population is the town of Lisnaskea which takes its name from the inauguration site of the Maguire rulers of Fermanagh and the parish contains the summit of Slieve Beagh, a mountain range which straddles three counties and according to legend contains the burial cairn of Bith, the leader of the first band of settlers in Ireland."

Since 1987 the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project has been assembling a database of the historical spellings of all the place-names of Northern Ireland and these provide the vital evidence on which reliable interpretations can be based. An exciting new development is that for the next two years the Project is to funded by the Ordnance Survey to provide interpretations of place-names for the new Northern Ireland Mosaic: Information on Location database.

Following the book launch, Paul Tempan MA will give a public talk on 'Irish Mountain Names', hosted by the Ulster Place-Name Society.

For further information contact: Dr Patrick McKay, 028 9097 3689 

Notes:
1. The book launch will take place at 7pm in the Institute of Irish Studies, 53-76 University Road. The public lecture will begin in the same venue at 8.30pm.
2. For further information, contact the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project at (028 90) 973689 or consult the Ulster Place-Name Society website at www.ulsterplacenames.org
3. Other titles in the series include: Vol I Newry and South-west Down, Vol II The Ards Peninsula, Vol III The Mournes, Vol IV The Baronies of Toome, Vol V The Moyola Valley, Vol.VI North-West Co. Down: the Barony of Iveagh, Vol. VII Ballycastle and North-East Antrim.

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Queen's launches its Hospice Toy Appeal
Queen's University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and his wife, Rachael, get the University's Hospice Toy Appeal off to a good start with the help of six year-old Aaron McLain, whose brother is cared for by Hospice staff.
Queen's University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and his wife, Rachael, get the University's Hospice Toy Appeal off to a good start with the help of six year-old Aaron McLain, whose brother is cared for by Hospice staff.

Queen's University has launched its annual Toy Appeal, which is fast becoming a Christmas tradition at the University.

Every year staff from the University collect gifts and toy for the Children's Hospice and this year they are hoping it will bigger and better than ever!

Last year the Children's Hospice received over 350 gifts and toys of fantastic quality – there was something to suit boys and girls of all ages and abilities. The children, along with their well siblings, were delighted with the gifts they received. The staff also handed over £902.70, which was boosted by a donation from the Armagh campus of £322.

Financial donations will really make a big difference to the work the hospice does. In 2004/5 they must raise £1.5million to provide care at the Children's Hospice and in the community. With no government funding it therefore depends entirely on the local community to maintain the vital services provided. During 2003/04 121 children were cared for by hospice with a total of 2,402 nursing hours provided in the children’s own homes.

This year Queen's head porter Chris Shannon and his team of dedicated helpers have launched a fresh campaign, with the assistance of the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and his wife, Rachael, to do even more to help this local charity at the festive season.

"I would love to be able to increase our support to the Hospice at this seasonal time of year," said Chris. "As before, the focal point for the Appeal will be the Christmas tree in the Administration Building around which colleagues may leave their gifts. But, we're also more than happy to take donations in cash, and know that this money will be specifically allocated to sponsoring a Christmas party for the Hospice children and their families."

Helping to launch this year's appeal was Belfast schoolboy Aaron McLain (6), from Dunmurry, whose 12 year-old brother Stuart is cared for by the Hospice. He was on hand to receive some of the first gifts for the appeal from Professor Gregson and his wife, Rachel.

Commenting on this year's campaign, Professor Gregson said in the past staff had been extremely generous and all their efforts were much appreciated by all those at the Hospice. "Rachael and I fully support this wonderful staff initiative to brighten up Christmas for the children in the Hospice and their families.

"As the parents of three young girls we know what a special time it is for families so why not make this Christmas one to remember for these children by taking part in the Hospice Toy Appeal."

Passing on a message from the team at the Children's Hospice, fundraiser Suzanne Irvine, said: "We’re delighted that the staff of Queen's University are again helping us to provide Christmas gifts for our life limited children. On behalf of all the children and families we are caring for I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone involved in this appeal."

For anyone wondering just what gift to choose, Suzanne is happy to offer some advice: "This Christmas we have a 'wish list' of gifts available from the Early Learning Centre in Castle Court, Belfast, which is kindly offering a 10 per cent discount.

"All of the gifts are valued £10 or under and have been specifically chosen with the special needs of our sick children in mind. As well as our younger children we would also ask you to remember that the life-limited teenagers, like their peers, love to receive presents such as cosmetics and CDs."

Toys and cash donations – by the appeal deadline of 20 December - can be left at a number of collection points throughout the campus including porters' offices at the Ashby Building, David Keir Building, Newforge, Medical Biology Centre, the Administration Building, the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Peter Froggatt Centre.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Mitchell's ambassadorial role for Queen's "invaluable" - Gregson

Senator George Mitchell's international ambassadorial role as Chancellor of Queen's has proved invaluable to the University, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, has said.

Professor Gregson was speaking ahead of the University's annual Charter Day Dinner tonight (Thursday) at which Senator Mitchell will be the guest of honour.

Professor Gregson said: "Queen's is at the centre of the community it serves, as underlined by its role as a training ground for the professions, its outreach to local schools, its work as a patron of the arts and its links with industry and commerce.

"But Northern Ireland is best served if Queen's is also part of a worldwide community. It increasingly needs to adopt an outward-looking approach if it is to achieve its aspirations to be a leading university in the United Kingdom and Ireland, ready to play its role in today's global higher education market.

"+By enhancing their international credentials, universities create a better learning environment for their students, and forge connections and build relationships which are crucial for the economic and cultural development of their local communities.

"Senator Mitchell's contribution in this respect is immense. His reputation as an international statesman and a public speaker gives him an entree to arenas when he can act as a powerful ambassador for Northern Ireland and the University."

The University's Charter Day Dinner, organised by Queen's Graduates' Association, is one of the social highlights of the University year. It celebrates the formal founding of Queen’s University, which took place with the granting of the Charter on 2 December 1908.

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

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World Philosophy Day celebrated at Queen's

Marking the UNESCO designated World Philosophy Day on Thursday 18th November, the Queen's University Philosophy Society invites members of the public to join them for lively debate that afternoon.

 This is the third year that events have been organised around the world to recognise World Philosophy Day. Last year 70 countries took parts in celebrations.

The main aim of the Day is to get people talking. With 'talks' at various levels frequently in the news in our own part of the world, this new initiative by students and staff of the Queen's School of Philosophical Studies is to be welcomed.

Philosophy - no less than the study of "the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence" itself in one dictionary definition - centres on resolving issues through informed debate. As a discipline it has 4,000 years of talks to draw upon.

Professor David Evans, Head of the Queen's School of Philosophical Studies, is delighted that the School is hosting a reception to celebrate the World Day of Philosophy. A particular research interest of Professor Evans is the teaching of Philosophy, where he works in particular to promote the subject at secondary school level. A Member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, he is an advocate for philosophical debate. He said, "We want this event to give opportunities for everyone, including those not directly involved with the discipline, or the University, to come along and engage in some sort of philosophical dialogue! Informal discussion is what it’s all about!"

The emphasis of the University Philosophy Society's reception is on socialising, taking as its model the established European tradition of the ‘café philosophique’. All are welcome regardless of academic background or level. However, there will be plenty of philosophical types in attendance should you wish to have a natter about justice, freedom, peace, immortality, or whatever.

Simply come along and join in the debate over a glass of wine between 4 pm and 6 pm in Room G01, 13 University Square. Further thinking may continue on after that at another venue!

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

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Major new history of Queen's focuses on community role

A major new history of Queen's University Belfast in the second half of the 20th century will be launched today (Wednesday).

"A University in Troubled Times: Queen's Belfast 1945-2000", by former Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Emeritus Leslie Clarkson, charts developments at the University during one of the most challenging periods in its history.

Published by Four Courts Press in Dublin, the volume – a sequel to Moody and Beckett’s definitive history "Queen’s Belfast 1845-1949"– examines the University's development during the Northern Ireland 'Troubles' and its closely interwoven relationship with the local community.

Professor Clarkson, a member of staff at Queen's from 1965 to 1998 said: “As I became increasingly involved in administration and management, I grew more and more aware of the close relationship between Queen's and its local community, and the writing of this book reinforced this impression still further.

"This relationship is unlike anything that exists between universities and their regions in other parts of the United Kingdom. It has many advantages but it can also create challenges, such as those facing the University during the Troubles. The discussion of these challenges – and Queen's response to them – is an important part of the study."

Welcoming the publication, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said that the title of the book tells its own story. He said: "In his book, Leslie Clarkson very clearly views the recent history of Queen's through the prism of the Troubles. In a strange way, this is also a source of hope. Given what Queen's has achieved against that backdrop - is there any limit to the advances the University can make in today's very different times?

"My belief is that the future will see Queen's established as a research-driven university with a world-class research and education portfolio, a university which is an integral link in an international network of world-class institutions and scholars and one which is committed to its leadership role in education and research, at home and abroad.

"As Professor Clarkson's book demonstrates, that vision flows from the strong tradition of public service and commitment to excellence which marks Queen's out as a unique place."

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Queen's award winning work on male fertility
Dr David Glenn, who won the Blair Bell prize, a UK national award for research in obstetrics and gynaecology, for his work on male fertility.
Dr David Glenn, who won the Blair Bell prize, a UK national award for research in obstetrics and gynaecology, for his work on male fertility.

Research examining the effects of Viagra on sperm function has led to an award for a Queen's University-based research fellow.

Dr David Glenn, who is now a Specialist Registrar at the Royal Maternity Hospital, carried out work which showed that while Viagra enhances sperm motility, it also seems to speed up the "acrosome reaction", which normally occurs only when the sperm reaches the egg.

The acrosome reaction enables the sperm to fertilise the egg by releasing digestive enzymes that break down the egg's protective outer layer, allowing sperm to penetrate more easily. If the acrosome enzymes are released too early, when Viagra is present, sperm are rendered infertile.

Dr Glenn's work has now won the Blair Bell prize, a UK national award for research in obstetrics and gynaecology. Established in the early 1960s to promote research within the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the competition invited submissions from each obstetric and gynaecology department in Britain and Ireland, with a judging panel made up of 21 professors.

Commenting on his award Dr Glenn, who is from south Belfast, said he was shocked but delighted. "I was very pleased to have even been considered for this award. To have won it was fantastic. I must, however, acknowledge the excellent help and support of my supervisors Professors Neil McClure and Sheena Lewis and their team without whose help none of this work would have been possible."

This is the third award that Dr Glenn has received for his work on male fertility. During the British Fertility Society's annual meeting earlier this year he won the Best Clinician prize for how Viagra affects sperm function in vitro, and he also gave the Rachel Morrison lecture at a conference of consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology from Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, held in La Manga, Spain.

Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Professor Neil McClure said: "This is a great honour for David and for us. His work is very significant for those working in the field of infertility. Too many assisted reproduction units are already using this type of drug to assist men in the production of semen samples."

Sheena Lewis, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, said: "David's success shows the importance that this issue has been given within the specialty nationwide and is recognition of the quality of our research here at Queen's."

For further information contact: Dr David Glenn, Royal Maternity Hospital Belfast, (028) 9063 2150

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Leading businesswoman returns to Queen's
Maddie Hamill is pictured with Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications (right) and Professor Roy Crawford, outgoing Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development
Maddie Hamill is pictured with Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications (right) and Professor Roy Crawford, outgoing Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development

A Queen's University graduate who went from being a research scientist in Northern Ireland to Vice President Worldwide Strategic Planning for Coca-Cola before co-founding a new business in Atlanta returned to her Alma Mater recently.

Madeline Hamill, who graduated from Queen's with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1982 and a PhD in 1985, re-visited the University to give a presentation to local business leaders on the Society of International Business Fellows, a global network which aims to support competitiveness, bridge cultural differences and promote free markets.

Welcoming her back to Queen's, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac said: "Queen's commitment to supporting local business and its contribution to economic development in Northern Ireland is a crucial component of its leadership role in the community it serves.

"Maddie Hamill is a wonderful role model for our students. We were delighted to welcome her back to the campus and to learn from her success. Her visit gave both Queen's and the local business community the chance to explore useful networking and business opportunities for the future."

Ms Hamill's visit to Northern Ireland was co-ordinated by Investment Belfast, the business development and marketing arm of Belfast City Council.

Investment Belfast Chief Executive Brendan Mullan said: "Successful business growth, particularly entering new markets, often depends as much on who you know as what you are offering. Through the Society of International Business Fellows, local companies now have access to a unique network of business contacts to support their growth internationally. We will be working with Maddie over the coming months to establish formal links with SIBF."

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

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Older People in Northern Ireland

Contrary to popular perceptions, the majority of older people report their health as being 'good' or 'fairly good'.

This is one of the findings put forward today (Tuesday 16 November) by researchers at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's University Belfast, in a first fact sheet compiled from their research project on older people in Northern Ireland.

The project on older people is headed by Eileen Evason, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, Queen's University Belfast.

"The primary aim of the project is to bring together data that is currently scattered across a number of sources and make it accessible to those campaigning for older people," explained Eileen Evason. "In addition, the project seeks to challenge the negative and alarmist perspectives which surround the debate on ageing. We also intend to place the spotlight on pensioner poverty to ensure that their needs receive as much attention as that of other groups."

 Drawing on the data that the project research team has drawn together, this first fact sheet on older people in Northern Ireland sets the scene.

Some of the key points highlighted in the new fact sheet are that:

· Many of the assumptions taken as given in the debate about ageing are questionable.
· Contrary to popular perceptions, the majority of older people report their health as being "good" or "fairly good".
· One in eight female pensioners (15.8%) and one in ten male pensioners (11.1%) are caring for someone in the same household. Older people help to alleviate pressures on services through the considerable amount of informal care they provide.
· Half of all male pensioners have pensions from work compared with just over one fifth of women.
· 34% of those claiming Income Support are retirement pensioners.
· 86% of people over the age of 65 identified crime as one of the main problems facing older people in Northern Ireland today.

Eileen Evason says of the new publication, "We have set out the broad picture and also, we hope, challenged some of the stereotypes and assumptions that are a feature of much of the discussion surrounding older people and the fact that we are an ageing society. A number of these issues will be picked up in more depth in further publications over the coming year."

 The research project has been funded by Atlantic Philanthropies. The full report (Older People in Northern Ireland: Report 1: Setting the scene) is available on the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research website at http://www.governance.qub.ac.uk.

Ends

For further information, contact: Katrina Lloyd, Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, 9097 3585 or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 9097 5320/07980 013362

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Queen's appoints distinguished chemist as Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Professor John Mann, who takes up the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development in January
Professor John Mann, who takes up the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development in January

 

Queen's University today announced the appointment of distinguished chemist Professor John Mann to the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development.

Professor Mann, who takes up the post on 1 January, has an international reputation in the fields of natural product chemistry and drug design, particularly in relation to cancer chemotherapy.

He succeeds Professor Roy Crawford who has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Waikato University in New Zealand.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Professor Mann, who was born in Kent, is a graduate of University College London. He was appointed to the McClay Chair of Biological Chemistry at Queen's in 1999 and was Head of School from January 2000 to July 2003. He had formerly held a Personal Chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of Reading. Professor Mann was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's Adrien Albert prize for Medicinal Chemistry in 1997.

His research group at Queen's concentrates on the design and synthesis of chemical substances for use in cancer treatment and in anti-viral therapy. The group contributed to the development of one of the drugs that is used for the treatment of hormone-dependent breast cancer.

The group's work has won funding from the Cancer Research Campaign, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the pharmaceutical industry.

The author of numerous research papers and five textbooks, Professor Mann has also written two highly successful popular science books. 'Murder, Magic and Medicine' tells the story of the evolution of modern medicine. The second book, entitled 'The Elusive Magic Bullet', traces the history of drug development. A new version of this book, under the title 'Lifesaving Drugs: the Elusive Magic Bullet', has just been published.

Professor Mann said: "It is both a huge honour and a daunting prospect to take on the job of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development at Queen's, but it comes at a very exciting time, with our drive to build a dynamic world-class education and research portfolio.

"One of my primary roles will be to ensure the best possible performance for Queen's in the next national Research Assessment Exercise in 2008. Queen's has research strengths across the University and I look forward to harnessing these and to driving our research agenda forward."

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

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Overseas Students Can Benefit Local Society

Queen's University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson has sent out a clear message on the importance of international students to Queen's and to Northern Ireland as a whole.

Speaking at the Queen's University Association annual dinner in London, Professor Gregson said:

"In recent years, Queen's has placed increased emphasis on the recruitment of international students - the University now has 2,400 international students with more than 90 countries represented in our student community.

"We value our international students very highly, but we need to do much more. A cosmopolitan student body strengthens Queen's position in the student market, enriches the student mix, provides the opportunity to learn from diversity and benefits our local society greatly.

"To increase our overseas students Queen's must become a recruiting University. By becoming a recruiting university we will change faster, and become the kind of university we need to be to compete internationally. International students will form the bedrock of this policy and intertwined with our home grown students will assist Queen's in becoming one of the best universities in the UK.

Notes to Editors

The main speakers at this year's Queen's University Association, London (QUAL) dinner are - Dr Jack Kyle and Colonel Tim Collins.

QUAL was founded as the Queen's University Club on October 18, 1923. Eleven medical graduates arranged a dinner on that date, attended by 62 graduates and students. The first formal dinner was held two months later in the Criterion Restaurant in Piccadilly and was attended by over 100 guests. The current President, Dr Rodney England, will hand over to John Kelly at the end of the Dinner.

QUAL organises a number of annual social, cultural and educational gatherings where alumni of all ages can develop new networks and keep up old friendships. The Association maintains formal links with the University (the Alumni Officer is a member of Council) and informal contacts with the London alumni organisations of other Irish universities.

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Swashbuckling silver screen heroes focus of lively public lectures

The prestigious 2004 Visual Arts Lectures at Queen's University Belfast will celebrate the great swordsmen of the cinema.

Jeffrey Richards, Professor of Cultural History at Lancaster University, an authority on the swashbuckling movie genre, will tackle the subject with gusto in three lectures from Tuesday 16 - Thursday 18 November. The lectures, which will take place each evening at 6pm in the Queen's Film Theatre, are open to the public and entry is free by ticket. Tickets are available from the Queen's Visitors' Centre in the Lanyon Building.

The Visual Arts Lecture series, started in 1990, plays an important role in the visual arts provision at Queen's and, is being sponsored by the David Lean Foundation for the third year.

The first lecture, "Swashbuckling! The story of a genre" at 6pm on Tuesday 16 November, will take a board look at key figures and history. The following evening at the same time, Professor Richards will examine hidden politics in 'Robin Hood, King Arthur and Cold War Cinema'. On Thursday, 'Errol Flynn: the Changing Image' turns the spotlight on the greatest of the swashbuckling stars - and one with a local connection, as his father was a Queen's Professor.

Professor Richards has written many books examining cinema and society in Britain, including 'Swordsmen of the Screen' and also presented a series of programmes for Radio 4 examining the attraction of the swashbuckler.

"If there's one kind of film that I love more than any other it is the swashbuckler!" enthused Professor Richards. He explained with passion - just what the swashbuckler offers:

"Never to have sailed the Spanish Main with Errol Flynn, never to have ridden the King's Highway with Louis Hayward, never to have fought the Cardinal's Guard with Douglas Fairbanks, is never to have dreamed, never to have lived, never to have been young. For at their best, the swashbuckling films brought to life the heroic dreams and romantic fancies that are at the heart of the folk tradition of the English-speaking world. To see them today, their power undimmed by the years is not just to recapture the golden, carefree days of childhood, but to encounter lost ideals and vanished virtues - chivalry, gallantry, patriotism, duty and honour.

"At its best, the swashbuckler is an exhilarating excursion into pure style, a heady blend of male beauty and agility, the grace and colour of historical costume, the opulence and splendour of period sets and the spelling-binding mix of horseback chases, chandelier swinging and dazzling swordplay.

"Since the way a swashbuckler moves and looks is just as important as what it says, we must look to the art director, costume designer, fencing master, stunt arranger, actor and cinematographer as much as to the director and writer for their contributions. For the swashbuckler is truly the sum of all their work."

To accompany the Visual Arts "Swashbuckling!" lectures, a matinee series of classic swashbuckling films will be shown at 1.30pm in the Queen's Film Theatre in November and December. The Stewart Grainger 1952 film 'Scaramouche' (1952) will be screened on Tuesday 16 November and 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' (1938), starring Errol Flynn, on Wednesday 24 November. Then there will be a chance to see the 2002 'The Count of Monte Cristo' on Wednesday 1 December.

Professor Richard's final lecture on Thursday 18 November will be followed by a rare screening at 7.30pm of the great 1962 film 'Lawrence of Arabia' starring Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif and Alec Guinness and directed by David Lean.

Nicole Mezey, senior lecturer in visual arts in the Queen's Institute of Life-long Learning, who invited Professor Richards to Belfast, said: "Most of us have our own favourite silver screen swordsman from childhood or in some of the hugely successful recent examples, like 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. This is a great opportunity to find out more about this fascinating genre from one of the UK's distinguished cultural historians and to relive some of our treasured cinematic moments through the illustrated lectures and the film programme."

For further information, contact: Nicole Mezey, Institute of Life-Long Learning, 028 9097 3810; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Entrepreneurial approach to Innovation Lecture

Entrepreneurship will be the theme of the latest First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture at Queen's University when leading American academic Professor Joe Lassiter speaks at the campus on Wednesday (17 November).

Entitled "Entrepreneurial Marketing: How Young High-Potential Ventures Teach Us All to Survive and Thrive", Professor Lassiter's lecture will be held in G9, Lanyon North at 6pm.

During his talk, Professor Lassiter will share the findings from his research on entrepreneurial ventures and his first-hand experience as a senior executive in high-potential founder-driven companies.

Joe Lassiter teaches Entrepreneurial Marketing in the MBA Program and Marketing Strategy in the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School. His research focuses on high potential ventures, including both those formed as new companies and those formed within existing organisations. He is active in new ventures and currently serves on the boards of Bluefin Robotics and RSA Security.

During his week at Queen's, Professor Lassiter will deliver a series of seminars and masterclasses to a mix of audiences. In addition to speaking to Queen's students in Engineering and Computer Science, he will also deliver a masterclass to MBA students, senior management and clients of the First Trust Bank, and chief executives from QUBIS spin-out companies.

To mark the fact that his visit will take place during Enterprise Week, the Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship (a partnership between Queen's, the University of Ulster and Loughry College) will also host Professor Lassiter at a joint event to celebrate and promote the culture of entrepreneurship in higher education.

Sponsored by First Trust Bank and Invest NI, the Chair of Innovation initiative brings world experts in innovation to Northern Ireland to share their insights and knowledge with local business audiences.

Anyone wishing to attend Wednesday's lecture should contact Claire Sinnerton at Queen's University on 028 9097 1145 or e-mail regional@qub.ac.uk.

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Female engineering students sweep top awards
Winners of the IAESTE Northern Ireland Trainee of the Year Award, Máire Lenihan (centre), Karen Scott (left) and Patricia McAfee (right), with the sponsors Bob Jellie (Invest Northern Ireland), Neil Martin (British Council) and Ray Moore (White Young Green).
Winners of the IAESTE Northern Ireland Trainee of the Year Award, Máire Lenihan (centre), Karen Scott (left) and Patricia McAfee (right), with the sponsors Bob Jellie (Invest Northern Ireland), Neil Martin (British Council) and Ray Moore (White Young Green).

Engineering is often thought of as a man's world – but three local students have shown that it ain't necessarily so.

Queen's University students Patricia McAfee and Karen Scott and Máire Lenihan from the University of Ulster have taken the top three prizes in the annual IAESTE Northern Ireland Trainee of the Year Award, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, White Young Green, Queen’s University Belfast, Armagh Observatory and Consarc Design Group.

IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) arranges work placements around the world for students of engineering, science and architecture. The programme is administered in the UK by the British Council.

The winner of the first prize, Monaghan's Máire Lenihan, has recently graduated in environmental engineering and spent the summer on a work placement in Bangkok, Thailand. "During my stay in Thailand," she said, "I have not only learned about the field of soil mechanics and civil engineering, but have also been able to learn more about the culture of this country. IAESTE provided me with a fantastic opportunity to travel to the opposite side of the world and still feel at home."

Second prize winner Patricia McAfee, a student of mechanical engineering, who is from Belcoo in Co. Fermanagh, took up a work placement in Queen's University, Kingston (Canada), while the third prize went to Karen Scott, from Coleraine, who is studying aeronautical engineering and spent her summer placement in the Netherlands.

IAESTE enabled students from Northern Ireland to gain course-related work experience in around forty countries this year, including Japan, Germany, Ukraine and Tajikistan.

Notes for editors:  The ten finalists, with subjects and destinations, were: Rachel Bowles, Architecture, Jordan; Richard Kirk, Civil Engineering, Tajikistan; Máire Lenihan, Environmental Engineering, Thailand; Patricia McAfee, Mechanical Engineering, Canada; Paul McAuley, Electrical Engineering, Japan; Joseph McCullagh, Electrical Engineering, Ukraine; Catherine Maguire, Mechanical Engineering, Germany; John O’Connell, Computer Science, Hungary; Karen Scott, Aeronautical Engineering, Netherlands; Andrew Wright, Electrical Engineering, Portugal.

Each finalist gave a presentation before a panel of judges: Michael Caulfield, Alan Dick (UK) ; Colm McGivern, British Council Northern Ireland; Mary McKeown, Northern Ireland Housing Executive; David McAuley, Department for Employment and Learning; Christina Agnew, IAESTE NI Trainee of the Year 2003.

Further information on the IAESTE programme can be obtained from Neil Martin at the British Council Northern Ireland on 028 9024 8220 ext 230 or neil.martin@britishcouncil.org

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Facing up to binge drinking

A unique study, using images of facial and mouth trauma to cut down on teenage binge drinking, has been carried out by researchers from Queen's University and the Royal Group of Hospitals.

Six Belfast schools signed up to the study, which aims to highlight the link between heavy binge drinking and the possibility of oral and facial injury. With violent crime increasing by 77 per cent in recent years, researchers noted that the majority of injuries relate to the face, with nearly a quarter of cases involving alcohol.

Lead researcher Dr John Marley, Consultant/Senior Lecturer in Oral Surgery at Queen's School of Dentistry, said the highest incidence was among 15 to 25 year olds who account for 46 per cent of people with these injuries.

"Adolescents are considered an "at risk" group and would seem an ideal group to target," he said.

Almost 200 fifth formers (Year 12) from across Belfast took part in the ethically approved study. Test groups were given a brief visual presentation showing real, but anonymous, cases of young people who had sustained various degrees of injury.

The pupils were then invited to complete a series of questionnaires before, immediately after and one month later to monitor the impact of the presentations and any change in behaviour. A control of group of pupils did not see the presentation.

Questioned about their drinking habits 79 percent reported they had drunk alcohol at some time. Of those who had previously drunk alcohol, 81 per cent said they still drank.

Worryingly, the majority of them (78 per cent) obtained their alcohol from off-licenses whilst just over half obtained alcohol from bars or clubs. Eighty percent drank beer, with 63 per cent also drinking ready-mixed alcohol beverages. Forty-five per cent obtained the alcohol for themselves, while 36 per cent used someone older to get drink for them.

Amongst other indicators, pupils were asked to describe what adverse experiences they had following a drinking session. A total of 22 per cent reported injuring themselves as a result of being drunk, with 26 per cent getting into fights. Nearly nine per cent reported performing poorly at school, 17 per cent had been in trouble with the police and four per cent had to attend hospital as a result of their drinking.

Dr Marley said that the study confirmed a "significant difference" between those who saw the presentation and the control group, who didn't see it.

"Those who saw the presentation expressed a willingness to change their behaviour. This observation was still sustained after one month, demonstrating that the presentation had begun to change the pupils' view on their drinking habits," he said.

The research group believe that with appropriate support and follow-up, similar initiatives should form an important part of health promotion activities for this vulnerable group and further work was required in this area.

The collaborative group includes Dr John Marley, Consultant /Senior Lecturer in Oral Surgery, Dental School & Hospital, RGH), Dr Martin Dempster (Lecturer in Health Psychology at Queen's), and Mr Geoff Newell, (Specialist Registrar in Surgical Dentistry, Dental School & Hospital, RGH). Their research was sponsored by the British Academy.

For further information contact: Dr John Marley, Consultant /Senior Lecturer in Oral Surgery, (028) 9063 3215 Email: j.marley@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's Service of Remembrance

Queen's University will hold its annual Service of Remembrance on Sunday 14 November.

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

Among those represented will be the Students' Union, the University Officers' Training Corps, the Queen's Graduates' Association and the Senior Employees' Club. Members of Senate and Academic Council will also attend the ceremony, along with family and friends.

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

For further information contact: Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Asteroid impact - could it happen?

The prospects and implications of an asteroid impact on Earth will be the topic of the November meeting of the Cafe Scientifique.

Reader in the Department of Pure and Applied Physics at Queen's University Dr Alan Fitzsimmons will give the talk on Tuesday 9 November at 6pm in the Malone Lodge Hotel, 60 Eglantine Avenue.

The Belfast branch of Café Scientifique was established by Queen's University's Dr Jill Turner who wants local people to be able to explore the latest ideas in science and technology outside a traditional academic setting.

On average 30- 40 NEOs are discovered each month - asteroids and comets that could one day collide with the Earth. Over 3,000 NEOs have been found, and a world-wide effort involving professional and amateur astronomers attempts to keep track of these objects. Now a team of astronomers at Queen's will be tracking these objects each week using large high-performance telescopes.

Dr Fitzsimmons and his colleagues from the UK Astrometry and Photometry Programme (UKAPP) for Near-Earth Objects, based at the University, are currently tracking NEOs and feeding their crucial information into the international programme of protecting the Earth from any future impact by a comet or asteroid.

Everyone is welcome to the free event and the bar will be open for drinks and coffee.

For further information contact: Dr Jill Turner, (028) 9097 5839 or jill.turner@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's head of Nursing receives CBE
Professor Jean Orr, head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University, with her CBE which she received recently at Buckingham Palace. Professor Orr, who lives in Belfast, was awarded the honour for services to nursing education.
Professor Jean Orr, head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University, with her CBE which she received recently at Buckingham Palace. Professor Orr, who lives in Belfast, was awarded the honour for services to nursing education.

Professor Jean Orr, head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University, received her CBE for services to nursing education at Buckingham Palace recently.

Professor Orr, who lives in Belfast, has been in post since 1991 and has played an integral role in the development of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the creation of more training places for nurses. She has also led the way in other different areas of the profession including developing programmes for recruiting new trainees from China and the Far East.

Commenting on her award she said: "I consider it an endorsement of the work of the School and the University to make the integration and subsequent development of nursing so successful and such an integral part of the University. I am certainly honoured that nursing at Queen's has been so publicly endorsed.

"Often these types of honours are seen to be about the individual, but in this case I consider it a tribute to my colleagues and all of my staff in the School. Queen's is rightly proud of its nursing and midwifery students and we have very good student recruitment and one of the lowest attrition rates in the UK.

"The contribution that our students are now making to health and social care is well recognised as they begin to achieve a critical mass in the workforce."

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Bangor schoolgirl meets top entrepreneur
Bangor schoolgirl Sharon McClure from Glenlola Collegiate, with Dr Dill Faulkes (left) and Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, from the Department of Pure and Applied Physics at Queen's
Bangor schoolgirl Sharon McClure from Glenlola Collegiate, with Dr Dill Faulkes (left) and Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, from the Department of Pure and Applied Physics at Queen's.

A Bangor schoolgirl has met the founder of an educational trust, set up to inspire young people in science and technology, during a visit to Queen's University recently.

Sharon McClure, a sixth former at Glenlola Collegiate, met Dr Martin C Faulkes, (nicknamed Dill), who established the Faulkes Foundation, aimed at supporting educational programmes to encourage the next generation to become interested in a career in science and maths.

One of the initiatives funded by the Faulkes Foundation is the Faulkes Telescope project, which assists school children to track Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) using specially designed educational projects and allows them to work alongside professionals in an exciting area of research.

Sharon was involved in the Faulkes Telescope project through the Nuffield Science Bursary Scheme, managed in Northern Ireland by Sentinus. As part of the scheme Sharon was placed in Armagh Observatory under the supervision of Dr Simon Jeffrey.

The initiative allows Year 13 science and technology students to participate in research projects during their summer holidays. The placement offers an opportunity for students to gain between four to six weeks valuable hands-on experience.

The Faulkes telescopes, in Hawaii and Australia, are currently being used by a team from the UK Astrometry and Photometry Programme (UKAPP) for Near-Earth Objects, which is based at Queen's.

On average 30-40 NEOs are discovered each month – asteroids and comets that could one day collide with the Earth. Over 3,000 NEOs have now been found, and a team from the University will be tracking these objects each week using the telescopes.

Project leader Dr Alan Fitzsimmons, from the Department of Pure and Applied Physics, said the robotic nature of the Faulkes telescopes means that it is much easier to observe numerous NEOs than can be achieved by using conventional telescopes.

During his visit to the University Dr Faulkes was the guest speaker at Queen's Chief Executives' Club meeting where guests included representatives from the science community in Northern Ireland such as the Armagh Planetarium and Observatory, as well W5, Department of Education for Northern Ireland and the Education and Library boards. His address focused on "Industry's Role in Education".

Note to Editors: Sentinus is one of the largest providers of business/education activity in the UK. Through the establishment of partnerships between education and industry, the organisation creates exciting opportunities for young people aged between 5 and 19 to interact with business and industry. These activities include structured work placements, personal development programmes, conferences and exhibitions.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Portuguese the focus of international conference at Queen's

International researchers gathering at Queen's University Belfast this week will examine the impact of the Portuguese and their language, literature and art in the world today.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Portugal was the centre of a mighty empire. Subsequent centuries witnessed mass migration from the country and a decline in its powers. The international conference taking place at Queen's University for the first time on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 November explores aspects of postcolonial Portuguese.

Anthony Soares of Spanish and Portuguese Studies within the School of Languages, Literature and Arts at Queen's organised the event. "Essentially we have brought together academics from the US, Portugal, the Netherlands, the UK and the Republic of Ireland to look at issues relating to the Portuguese abroad and their identities.

“For example, we will examine the broad issue of migration, with one case study focusing on the position and impact of the migrant Portuguese population in Northern Ireland. In addition, we will explore the impact of emigration on Portugal, and the changes have been brought about in the country as a result of Portugal's EU membership."

Professor Dónal O Baoill, Head of the School of Languages, Literature and Arts at the University said that he welcomed the visit to the School by leading international researchers in the field. "It is an excellent opportunity for us to foster research links with the individuals coming and also to strengthen Queen's' international links with their universities."

Coinciding with the post colonial Portuguese conference, the Queen's Postcolonial Research Forum will be launched, holding its first meeting on Friday. An interdisciplinary research Forum, its founding members include staff from many Schools at Queen’s: History, Politics, Law, Sociology and Social Policy, Anthropology and Geography - in addition to Language, Literature and Arts – together with individuals from other institutions in the USA, UK, Ireland, Denmark and Portugal.

"The Queen's Postcolonial Research Forum will bring opportunities for members to engage in collaborative research projects with colleagues who have expertise in a range of areas within the field. It will enable us to identify potential research partners, to strengthen links on an international level, to improve the quality of research and to identify potential sources of funding," Mr Soares said.

Ends

Notes:
The conference, ‘Towards a Portuguese Postcolonialism’ will take place at Queen's University on Friday and Saturday 5 and 6 November. The opening address will be made by Professor David Johnston, Head of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at 9am in Room 206 within the Peter Froggatt Centre.

The conference has been funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, an international charitable foundation, and the Luso-American Foundation that supports initiatives developing relations between Portugal and the USA.

For further information contact: Anthony Soares, 028 9097 5362 a.soares@qub.ac.uk; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Queen's University students take to the stage

The emphasis this week in the new Studio Theatre in the Drama and Film Centre at Queen'sUniveristy is on student performance as drama students tread the boards in two exciting shows.

Part of the Belfast Festival at Queen' programme, The Laramie Project will run Wednesday to Friday 3 - 5 November at 8pm, and Offending the Audience will be performed on Thursday and Friday 4 and 5 November at 6pm and 11pm.

Members of the public will have a chance to enjoy facilities at the new Drama and Film Centre which contains a theatre and rehearsal room, spacious foyer and bar area and is also home to Queen's Film Theatre.

The Laramie Project is being performed by The Cringer Theatre Company, set up in September 2003 by Drama Studies students at Queen's. Earlier this year, the student company represented Queen's and Northern Ireland at the UK National Student Drama Festival where their performance received a special commendation. The play's director, Des Kennedy (who graduated during the summer),won the Bush Theatre Directing Award. Next February, as part of the Award, Des will start a three-month Directing Residency in London at the Bush Theatre.

Des Kennedy explains that The Laramie Project is a powerful true story re-enacting the impact on a small US community after the murder of 21-year old gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard: "Shepard's murder sparked a media frenzy and led to a national outcry demanding the enactment of hate crime legislation. Eight actors portray over 60 inhabitants of Laramie in this harrowing piece of theatre, created from hundreds of testimonies, interviews, and news reports. Our intention is to draw parallels between the reported rise in homophobia here and the murder of Matthew Shepard."

The gauntlet thrown down in Offending the Audience - radical Austrian playwright Peter Handke's 1966 work – has been taken up by current first, second and third year drama students who set out to find if current theatre practice is still guilty as charged! In Offending the Audience, the student cast of the Tyrone Guthrie Society is directed by David Grant, Head of Drama Studies at Queen's. “This 45 minutes performance promises an exquisitely uncomfortable experience!” David Grant said.

"Drama Studies was established five years ago at Queen's and the quality of the work we're seeing from students testifies to its success.” Mr Grant said. “We are just settling in to splendid new facilities, as the result of substantial investment in the arts. Our purpose-built drama studio and rehearsal room provides a positive endorsement of the important work being accomplished by our Drama Studies students. Another important advantage of the new Centre is that members of the public now have greater access to students' work, including the two Belfast Festival at Queen's pieces this week."

Tickets for The Laramie Project and Offending the Audience may be purchased through the Festival Box Office on 028 9097 2626 and (subject to availability) at the venue before each performance.

For further information, contact: David Grant, Drama Studies, 9097 3329; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 9097 5320

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Queen's eyesight research receives Wellcome Trust grant

Researchers at Queen's University have been awarded a £300,000 grant to find out how defects in the blood vessels of the eye can lead to sight-threatening conditions.

The team, from the School of Medicine, will be looking at how contraction is controlled in the muscle of the very small arteries which regulate blood supply to the retina. Defects in their structure can lead to loss of sight in a number of conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy.

A complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness. It occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.

The work is being carried out by Dr Graham McGeown and Dr Norman Scholfield, from the Smooth Muscle Group and Dr Tim Curtis in the Retinal Vascular Group of the Ophthalmic Research Centre, based at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"These small vessels are very important in regulating the amount of blood which gets to the retinal nerves and receptors. When this fails, many new vessels can grow in an attempt to supply blood to the oxygen starved cells.

"However, these vessels pose a problem because they scatter the light coming into the eye and this leads to a reduction in vision. It is problem like this that threatens sight in diabetic retinopathy.

"We hope to find out more about how these vessels work normally and provide a foundation on which a study of diseased vessels can build," said Dr McGeown.

As part of their work the team will use new state-of-the-art equipment to take pictures of the changes in calcium concentration in individual cells up to 40 times a second. Detection of calcium levels are known to be a key regulator of muscle contraction.

The technique, known as Ca-imaging, will allow researchers to explore exactly how cells communicate both with their own contractile machinery and with neighbouring cells in the intact vessel.

Fragments of the small arteries in the eye will be isolated and incubated with a special calcium-sensitive dye which lightens up when calcium levels increase.

"We will take picture, or movies, of this fluorescence using a specially designed laser system and a very sensitive CCD camera.

"By analyzing the patterns seen and the effects of different drugs on this activity, we hope to find out how the muscle cells generate these intracellular signals and how they spread from cell to cell", explained Dr McGeown.

Funding for the three-year study, totalling £306,373, has been provided by the Wellcome Trust, an independent research-funding charity which fosters and promotes research with the aim of improving human and animal health.

For further information contact: Dr Graham McGeown, (028) 9097 2090

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Queen's PhD student wins physics award
Dr Hyun Seok Jeong, who won the joint PhD thesis prize from the Institute of Physics Quantum Electronics and Photonics Group
Dr Hyun Seok Jeong, who won the joint PhD thesis prize from the Institute of Physics Quantum Electronics and Photonics Group

A former Queen's University student has won a major physics prize for his cutting-edge research.

Dr. Hyun Seok Jeong, who was awarded his PhD at Queen's, won the joint PhD thesis prize from the Institute of Physics Quantum Electronics and Photonics Group.

After studying at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, Dr Jeong, whose work on quantum information processing with coherent states of light has attracted a lot of attention, came to Queen's with an Overseas Research Studentship.

Quantum information processing aims to understand how quantum mechanics can improve acquisition, transmission and processing of information. This field has seen explosive growth in recent years; stimulated by applications such as quantum cryptography, quantum communication, quantum computation and precision measurement, all of which have the potential to surpass their classical counterparts.

This new technology will provide deep insights into many other areas of science including the understanding of optical and electronic device operation at nanotechnology scales.

Dr Jeong is now an active researcher at the University of Queensland, Australia, the world's premier research institution in quantum information processing.

For further information contact: Dr. Myungshik Kim, School of Mathematics and Physics, m.s.kim@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's invites recent graduates to keep in touch

Recent Queen's University graduates are invited to a new weekly quiz and live band evening in the Live Lounge at the King's Head in Belfast, starting on Wednesday (3 November).

The offer is open to graduates of the Classes of 2003 and 2004 who automatically became members of the Queen's Graduates' Association (QGA) on graduation. Association membership cards (which must be produced to secure free admission) have already been issued.

Association President Alan McKelvey said: "We are particularly keen to target recent graduates because they represent the future of our Association."

Membership of the QGA offers a range of benefits, including special discounts at local and national companies - including Dial-a-Phone, Direct Wine Shipments, several local hotels, Indie Spice Café and Jharna Restaurant, Stena-HSS and the Lyric Theatre.

Details of all benefits can be viewed at www.qub.ac.uk/alumni/benefits.

Wednesday's event starts at 9pm. Admission for alumni from other years, and for guests, costs £3.

Queen's graduates are also invited to a Christmas reunion in the Visitors' Centre in the main University Lanyon Building on Monday 20 December at 5pm. Those who wish to reserve a place should e-mail alumni@qub.ac.uk.

For further information contact:
Alan McKelvey, Tel 028 9066 3263

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Severe child poverty in Northern Ireland

Save the Children reveal that 32,000 children are living in severe poverty in Northern Ireland.

Save the Children and Queen's University Belfast are co-hosting a seminar entitled: "Severe Child Poverty in Northern Ireland" at 4pm on Monday 1st November 2004 at the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University.

Dr Eithne McLaughlin and Marina Monteith, research consultants, carried out the research on behalf of Save the Children. While the full research report will be published later this year, the authors will preview some of the key findings from their research at the seminar.

Speaking of this research, Sheri Chamberlain, NI Programme Director of Save the Children commented, "We welcome the fact that child poverty has emerged as a major priority at both national and international levels and we also welcome the commitment shown by the British government and the devolved administration to tackling the issue. However, what we found was stark - 32,000 of our children are severely poor."

What is it like to be really poor?
The report outlines the grim reality for the 32,000 children who are severely poor (that's 8% of all children in Northern Ireland).

Marina Monteith, describing how these 32,000 children do not have the basic necessities of life, such as enough food or enough of the right kind of food, said, "For example, 1 in 5 do not have fresh fruit and vegetables and 1 in 7 do not have three meals a day. These children do not have enough clothing or a warm, safe and healthy environment - 40% live in households where the gas, electricity or phone have been cut off. They also lack the things so many of us take for granted, such as school trips, holidays, going to the cinema and participating in sports and social activities. In addition, their families live with the constant anxiety of unaffordable debt."

Who are these families?
The research also reveals that:
- 70% of children living in severe poverty are most likely to live in a household where no one works and more than
- 50% live with a lone parent.
- 27% have parents with health problems or disabilities and
- 14% of the children are disabled themselves.
- 24% live in large families with more than four children.
- Over a quarter of children who are severely poor live in households where the parents believe that they live in poverty either often or most of the time – a figure slightly higher than that found for comparable children living in Great Britain.

Sheri Chamberlain added: "It is extremely worrying that in 2004 8% of children in Northern Ireland are deprived of things such as proper food, clothing and housing. Additionally, many of them miss out on the normal childhood activities like sport and even something as basic as having a friend round for tea. It is essential that we take action on this and create policy initiatives to tackle severe child poverty and support children currently living in these unacceptable circumstances."

Ends

For further information please contact: Jo Keating, Save the Children on 028 90431123; or Dolores Vischer, Queen's Communications Office, 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 Queen's University Belfast. It aims to explore social, political and cultural factors that have influenced the people of this island and its diasporas.
· A transcript of the talk and a paper containing key findings from the report will be available at the seminar.
· The research report, The Bottom Line - Severe Child Poverty in Northern Ireland, will be published later this year. The report replicates the methodology used in Britain's Poorest Children a study carried out by Save the Children and the Centre of Research in Social Policy and published in 2003. This analysis could not be carried out previously due to unavailability of comparable data in Northern Ireland.
· Save the Children are grateful to the directors of the Poverty and Social Exclusion (NI) survey (Professor Paddy Hillyard, Professor Eithne McLaughlin and Mr Mike Tomlinson) and the survey's funder (Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister) for the use of the Poverty and Social Exclusion (NI) dataset prior to its archiving for general use. Laura Adelman, Sue Middleton and Karl Ashworth (Centre for Research in Social Policy) advised on the adaptation of the Britain's Poorest Children methodology.

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