03-2005 Press Releases

23/03/2005: Cancer report reveals improved service
22/03/2005: 'Flags and Emblems' report published
21/03/2005: Queen's astronomers awarded �1.4 million for research
18/03/2005: From Mars to the Moon
16/03/2005: Performing Byzantium
16/03/2005: University finance on agenda at Queen's conference
16/03/2005: Queen's graduate is new president of the Royal Irish Academy
15/03/2005: Queen's 5K Race Around the River
15/03/2005: Queen's Innovation Lecture examines 'the big idea'
15/03/2005: Doctor Who Day at Queen's
14/03/2005: St Patrick's Day web survey to be repeated
14/03/2005: Queen's Alzheimer's experts gather in Dublin
10/03/2005: Public lecture at Queen's to examine Inuit self-governance
10/03/2005: Young people more optimistic about community relations
10/03/2005: Queen's celebrates National Science Week
09/03/2005: Child management experts come together to discuss behavioural problems
09/03/2005: Queen's launches International Centre for System-on-Chip and Advanced Microwireless (SOCAM)
09/03/2005: No Smoking Day at Queen's
09/03/2005: 'Healthy Figures' lectures at Queen's
08/03/2005: Innovative exhibition opens in Naughton Gallery
08/03/2005: Snooker team at the double!
07/03/2005: St Patrick's Day celebrations the focus of seminar at Queen's
07/03/2005: British Academy panel debates 'A Question of Culture? Europe and Islam'
07/03/2005: $1.4 Million Challenge Grant Bookmarked for New University Library at Queen’s
04/03/2005: Queen's Innovation Lecture examines 'the big idea'
04/03/2005: Queen's scientist's discovery could reduce bowel infection risk
04/03/2005: Bringing art to life
03/03/2005: Irish schoolgirls speak up at Queen's!
03/03/2005: British Academy panel debates 'A Question of Culture? Europe and Islam'
03/03/2005: Canadian VIPs visit Queen's
02/03/2005: Ireland Professor of Poetry, Paul Durcan, lecture at Queen's

Cancer report reveals improved service

Patients with stomach and oesophageal cancer are more likely to receive treatment from expert cancer teams, thanks to a major shake-up in Northern Ireland's cancer services, a new report has claimed.

The report, launched by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry today (Wednesday), is the first in a series monitoring changes in cancer services recommended by Chief Medical Officer Dr Henritetta Campbell eight years ago. It compares services provided in 1996 with those of 2001.

A total of 334 people die each year in Northern Ireland from stomach and oesophageal cancer, while 412 new cases are reported.

The report revealed that patients are more likely to be investigated and operated on by multidisciplinary teams than in 1996. There was more information about the extent of a patient's cancer, which in turn led to more appropriate treatments, while discussions with patients and their families were more likely to be recorded, leading to improved communication with GPs and other care providers.

"There was increased involvement of dietitians, palliative care specialists, Macmillan nurses and counsellors. This indicated better availability of these services and more consideration of the long term needs of patients", said Cancer Registry director, Dr Anna Gavin.

The benefits of patient support group were also praised in the report, which stressed the need for early detection.

"Survival improvements can only come about if patients are detected earlier. This report shows that the most common symptom of oesophageal cancer was difficulty in swallowing but that many patients delayed having symptoms investigated which meant it was more difficult to treat the cancer," she said.

Stomach cancer is often ignored by patients because symptoms are often similar to common problems such as indigestion, while oesophageal cancer affects the tube which links the stomach to the mouth and is often one of the most difficult cancers to treat.

Despite the improvements highlighted by the report a meeting of clinicians and surgeons organised by Northern Ireland Cancer Network (NICAN) on Tuesday suggested that a number of key areas needed to be improved.

These included better investigation to highlight the extent of cancers; more multidisciplinary team working in the planning and delivery of treatment, and centralisation of services and concentration of expertise to improve patient outcomes.

Note to Editors: The Campbell Report Clinical cancer services have been significantly re-organised in Northern Ireland following the release of the Chief Medical Officer Dr Henrietta Campbell's 1997 report entitled "Cancer Services - Investing for the Future."

The report acted as the major catalyst for the redevelopment of cancer services in Northern Ireland and resulted in the development of a Cancer Centre for Northern Ireland built at Belfast City Hospital as well as the development of four Regional Cancer Unit Hospitals in Altnagelvin, Antrim, Ulster, and Craigavon Hospitals.

For further information contact: Dr Anna Gavin, director, Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, (028) 9063 2573 or mobile: 0771 204 2149.

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'Flags and Emblems' report published

A new report from the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast explores controversies surrounding flags and emblems in Northern Ireland. It puts forward as its key finding that by far the best way of resolving controversy surrounding the flying of flags is to examine the context within which conflicts arise and, if necessary, to transform that context.

In the document the report authors, Dr Dominic Bryan, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies and Research Fellow Dr Gordon Gillespie, recognise the legitimacy of the need to express cultural identity through the display of flags in celebration and commemoration, but also warn that intimidation and the marking of territory is a significant problem in Northern Ireland.

Dr Bryan said: “The report, Transforming Conflict: Flags and Emblems, highlights imaginative projects where local communities have worked with agencies to clean up their environments and transform the context in which displays of flags take place. Removal of flags is best undertaken as a collaborative project involving local representatives and agencies.”

The report also points to evidence that the majority of people in Northern Ireland believe paramilitary flags should be removed.

“There remain frequent examples of displays of flags and emblems that are intimidating and require effective policing. The existence of sectarian territory costs money since it frequently demands duplication of services and makes economic development more problematic,” Dr Bryan added.

The report offers a range of policy options including:

  • the need for improved co-ordination in multi-agency work;
  • the need for continued funding for organisations engaged in transforming the environment and encouraging affirmative, non-threatening, displays of identity;
  • the use of dedicated fieldworkers to co-ordinate conflict transformation;
  • greater enforcement of existing legislation by the PSNI.

The authors also suggest that agreed protocols are useful developments in managing displays of flags. A protocol might indicate whether particular areas should be kept free from flags and whether the flying of flags should be restricted to designated times of the year.

If new legislation was to be considered it would need to address the role of specific agencies.

Dr Bryan commented: “While it can be difficult to distinguish an act of celebration and commemoration from one of intimidation and territory marking it should be possible to develop a broadly agreed set of principles through which displays of flags might take place.

“By improving the environment in local areas the economic regeneration of that area can also be progressed.

“In particular there is a need for agencies such as the Roads Service, the NI Housing Executive, District Councils and the PSNI to develop clear policies, improve co-ordination with each other and develop protocols for dealing with contentious displays of flags as well as other displays of emblems.”

Dr Bryan also points out that there remain numerous examples of displays of flags used to intimidate as well as flags left on lampposts to deteriorate.

The report also highlights continuing debate surrounding the flying of flags on local council buildings. It lays out the current policy in all Northern Irelands District Councils and compares them with councils in the Republic and the rest of the UK. It also explores recent legal advice on the issue.

The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council under the Devolution Programme (http://www.devolution.ac.uk/ and http://www.qub.ac.uk/iis/for-researchers/index.htm) and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister as part of the new Shared Future strategy.

For further information contact: Dr Dominic Bryan: 028 9097 3386 or 07775577112

Information

The full report can be downloaded from the Institute of Irish Studies web site at: www.qub.ac.uk/iis  

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Queen's astronomers awarded £1.4 million for research
An image of million degree coronal loops above the solar surface, obtained with the NASA TRACE mission. Queen's staff and students are working with NASA personnel on the analysis of such images.
An image of million degree coronal loops above the solar surface, obtained with the NASA TRACE mission. Queen's staff and students are working with NASA personnel on the analysis of such images.

Astronomers in the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Research Division within the School of Mathematics and Physics have been awarded a grant of nearly £1.4 million by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC).

The grant, awarded for a five-year period, will allow Queen's astronomers to undertake world-leading research in a number of high priority areas, including the study of the Sun and other stars, investigations of supernovae (stellar explosions which release enormous amounts of energy), and the study of comets and asteroids.

Funding has also been provided for the operation and exploitation of the SuperWASP telescope at the ING Observatory on La Palma,Canary Islands. SuperWASP is part-funded by Queen's University and is being used for a number of projects, in particular to search for planets orbiting stars other than the Sun.

Professor Francis Keenan, Principal Investigator for the grant and also Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics, said: "This is a great success for the Astrophysics Research Division and also for Queen's University. It is a recognition of the excellence of the astrophysics research performed at Queen's. The grant award is for five years and hence will provide major funding for our research programmes up to the next Research Assessment Exercise and beyond."

A major topic of study within the grant will be on the study of near-Earth objects that can hit our planet. Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons, who leads the Division's efforts in this area, said: "Being able to plan our research over this length of time ensures that we can keep our leading role in observational astronomy in the UK ".

Similarly, Dr Mihalis Mathioudakis leads the Division's research programme on the study of the Sun, much of which uses an instrument called the Rapid Dual Imager (RDI) constructed at Queen's University, which obtains images of the Sun at very high frequency (up to 80 images per second).

Dr Mathioudakis said: "This grant will allow us to continue and develop our solar physics research programmes with RDI, and ensure that Queen's maintains its leading role in high frequency solar observing."

For further information contact: Dr Alan Fitzsimmons (028) 9097 3124 or Dr Mihalis Mathioudakis (028) 9097 3573

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From Mars to the Moon

The British led mission to explore Mars, Beagle2, will be discussed during a talk at Queen's University next week.

Organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the public lecture entitled "From the Moon to Mars: The Story of Beagle 2 and Beyond" will be given by Dr G.H.Morgan on Monday 21 March.

Dr Morgan, from the Open University's Planetary and Space Science Research Institute, will examine how the Beagle2 mission captured the imagination of the country with its bold ambition of investigating our neighbouring planet for signs of present and past life.

He will explain the scientific rationale behind the mission and following the events of Christmas 2003 when, having successfully separated from the Mars Express spacecraft, Beagle 2 failed to make radio contact, Dr Morgan will also suggest solutions to the question ..'where do we go from here?'

The lecture, in the Main Lecture Theatre, Ashby Building, Stranmillis Road, begins at 7pm.

For further information contact: Dr D Thornhill, (028) 9097 4132 or email: d.thornhill@qub.ac.uk

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Performing Byzantium
The colourful mural typifying Byzantine art that adorns the courtyard walls of the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s, with artist Colin McGookin.
The colourful mural typifying Byzantine art that adorns the courtyard walls of the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s, with artist Colin McGookin.

A major celebration of Byzantine culture will take place at Queen's University Belfast over three days, 2-4 April, hosted by the AHRB Centre for Byzantine Cultural History at the Institute of Byzantine Studies.

An annual international event, it will be the first time that the Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies will be held in Belfast.

"Few people might associate Belfast with a flourishing interest in Byzantine culture, but Queen's has an international and long track record of successful studies in this field," said organiser Professor Margaret Mullett, Director of the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen's, who has been instrumental in the development of Byzantine Studies at the University over the last 30 years.

"Taking the theme 'Performing Byzantium', we have arranged a packed programme that includes lectures, exhibitions and a wide range of musical, film and theatrical performances," Professor Mullett added.

The event will celebrate the works of art, architecture, history and other aspects of culture associated with the Byzantine period. The successor to the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire’s capital was Constantinople, and the Empire lasted roughly from the fall of Rome in the fifth century AD to the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century AD.

Commenting on the theme of the event, Professor Mullett said, "Byzantium has been characterised as a society without a drama. While it is not absolutely certain that this is true, further investigation reveals that performance and spectacle suffused Byzantine civilisation. This symposium will investigate the case for Byzantine drama in theatres, in church festivals, in the use of dialogue, the spectacle of the street and more"

As part of the conference programme, academics from around the world will present papers examining aspects of Byzantine performance in different contexts: in the theatre, in church, in monasteries and pilgrimage centres, at home, on the streets and in the empire.

Performances to take place during the ‘mini-festival’ being held alongside the academic lectures include:
- An exhibition of photographs by well-known Greek photographer Dimitris Sofikitis, taken during the filming of the film Trilogy: Weeping Meadows, in the Film and Drama Centre (opening 6.30pm Sat 2 April)
-A concert by leading musicians from the United States of America, Cappella Romana, of The Heavenly Liturgy: Byzantine Chant from the 12th-14th centuries (The Harty Room, 9pm, Sunday 3 April)
-A performance by Queen's Drama students Theatrical Legacies of Late Antiquity (9.30pm, Saturday 2 April, Film and Drama Centre)
-A special late-night screening in the QFT of Greece’s best-known film-maker, Theo Angelopoulos’ latest film, Trilogy: the Weeping Meadow (11pm Sunday 3 April)
-An exhibition in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's of costume and photographs from Macedonia, Greece and Turkey (opening 6.30pm Saturday 3 April)
Puppetry shows.

Guest of Honour at the event opening on Saturday 2 April will be Dr Victoria Solomonidis, Cultural Counsellor at the Greek Embassy in London, and UK representative of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. She will be introduced by Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic Planning, Professor Ken Brown.

Looking forward to the symposium event, Professor Brown said: "Originality and innovation, coupled with academic excellence, are the hallmarks of our Institute of Byzantine Studies which is renowned for the quality of its teaching and research.

"Hosting such a full and varied programme for this 39th spring symposium is yet another example of the Institute's enterprise. This performance extravaganza promises a feast for the eyes, ears and the mind, capturing the essence and vigour of such a vibrant period of history."

Professor Brown added: "This event presents a splendid opportunity for local people to come into the University and sample some of the many Byzantine performances and displays that are to take place here this April."

 Ends

For further information contact: Margaret Mullett or Vivien Hewitt of the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s: 028 9097 3817 

 Notes:
1.The full conference programme may be viewed at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/InstituteofByzantineStudies
2.The Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s University Belfast came into being in 2000 when Queen’s was awarded around £1 million from the Arts and Humanities Research Board to create, together with the Universities of Newcastle and Sussex, the AHRB Centre for Byzantine Cultural History. The grant was the largest ever made to Humanities at Queen's. 3.The ‘Performing Byzantium’ programme is supported by the British Academy, the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies; the Hellenic Foundation for Culture; easyJet and an anonymous local donor.

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University finance on agenda at Queen's conference

The future management of university funding in the United Kingdom will be debated at a major national conference at Queen's University next week.

Around 120 finance chiefs from universities throughout the UK and Ireland will be visiting the campus for the annual conference of the British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG).

Addressing the theme "Leadership in a Competitive World", the event takes place from Sunday to Wednesday, 20 to 23 March.

Keynote speakers will include Mike Beasley, former Managing Director of Jaguar Cars; Edward Wooldridge, Chief Executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and former Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain.

Among the topics to be discussed will be competition in the home market and internationally, the role of marketing in universities, full economic costing and leading change.

Welcoming the conference, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "My fellow Vice-Chancellors and I look to the British Universities Finance Directors Group to highlight strategic issues and how we influence our external stakeholders, whether they be funders of research or commissioners of healthcare education.

"The Group therefore plays a hugely important role both at a strategic and operational level in the sector, and its annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for discussion, networking and the sharing of good practice.

"The content of the 2005 programme underlines the crucial position of finance directors in contributing to and implementing higher education policy at the most senior level, by facilitating change and managing the acquisition, growth and allocation of resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.

"This is especially true for Queen’s as we seek to develop a dynamic, world-class education and research portfolio leading the society we serve here in Northern Ireland and making an ever growing contribution to the global higher education marketplace.

"This conference is taking place at a pivotal time in the higher education sector. I have no doubt that it will play a major role in informing future debate and in charting the way forward."

Queen's Director of Finance Norman Bennett said: "We are very much looking forward to welcoming BUFDG, which is visiting Queen's at a time when the funding of higher education has been dominating national headlines."

For further information contact:
Norman Bennett, Tel 028 9097 3018
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors: The BUFDG conference will take place at Queen's from Sunday to Wednesday, 20 to 23 March. Full programme details are attached.

The keynote sessions are open to the media. Arrangements for interviews and photographs can be made by calling either of the above numbers.

Media facilities will also be available in the Marquee, Queen's quadrangle from 11 to 11.30am on Monday 21 March and at the pre-dinner reception at Queen's at 7pm that evening.

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Queen's graduate is new president of the Royal Irish Academy
Queen's graduate Dr James Slevin who has been elected President of the Royal Irish Academy
Queen's graduate Dr James Slevin who has been elected President of the Royal Irish Academy

The Royal Irish Academy has elected Queen's graduate Dr James Slevin as its new President and has honoured four of Queen's finest scholars and scientists.

He succeeds Dr Michael Ryan and is the 52nd President of the Academy in its 220 year history. Amongst his predecessors as President were T.K. Whittaker, Frank Mitchell, Eoin McNeill, Robert Lloyd Praeger and Sir William Rowan Hamilton.

The Royal Irish Academy, founded in 1785, is an all-Ireland, independent, academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. It is the principal learned society in Ireland and has approximately 412 Members elected in recognition of their academic achievement.

Dungannon born, Dr Slevin graduated with a BSc degree from Queen's in 1962 and from CUNY (New York) with a PhD in 1970. He lectured at the University of Stirling (1970-85) before returning to Ireland in 1985 to become Professor of Experimental Physics at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His research interest is in Atomic Physics and he has collaborative programmes of research at CERN, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and at University College, London. He has been a member of the Royal Irish Academy since 1991 and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a member of the American Physical Society.

The Academy also honoured four of Queen's finest scientists and scholars by electing them as Members of the Academy. They are William Montgomery, Professor of Environmental Biology; Kenneth Taylor, Professor of Theoretical Physics; Marie Therese Flanagan, Senior Lecturer in History and Jonathan Lamb Gorman, Professor of Moral Philosophy.

Those elected are entitled to use the designation 'MRIA' (Member of the Royal Irish Academy) after their name. Well-known Academy members include: Dr Gerry McKenna, University of Ulster; Dr Garret FitzGerald; Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney; Mr Dermot Gleeson; Mr Peter Sutherland; Professor Joe Lee; Professor Ronan Fanning; Mrs Mary Robinson; Professor David McConnell; Professor Richard Kearney and President Mary McAleese.

For further information contact: Pauric Dempsey 087-6386651

For further information please see www.ria.ie

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Queen's 5K Race Around the River
On your marks… Getting ready for the Queen's 5K Race Around the River on 13 April are organiser Paul Wilson and Eilis Renich, both from Queen's University Athletics Club. Cheering them on are Kerry Megrath and Ben Hanvey from Belfast City Marathon office. Entry forms are now available for the event, which also features a 1K family fun run.
On your marks… Getting ready for the Queen's 5K Race Around the River on 13 April are organiser Paul Wilson and Eilis Renich, both from Queen's University Athletics Club. Cheering them on are Kerry Megrath and Ben Hanvey from Belfast City Marathon office. Entry forms are now available for the event, which also features a 1K family fun run.

This year's annual Queen's University "Race around the River", which is fast becoming a must on the local athletics calendar, will be held on Wednesday 13 April.

As the official warm-up event for the Belfast City Marathon, the 5K race, organised by the University's Athletics Club, is expected to attract more than 600 runners, both serious and recreational. Entry forms are now available for the race, which is in its third year.

Starting at the Physical Education Centre at Queen's at 7pm, the race follows two ¾ laps of a 1.8km course, finishing outside the PEC entrance. The course record is held by Paul Rowan at 14mins 38secs.

Race organiser Paul Wilson said the race offers something for everyone. "The route is flat and fast, and has been accurately measured, so for all of those athletes looking for a good fast 5km time to end the cross country season or to begin the track season with, this race cannot be missed.

"If you are not too concerned about how fast you can run then the challenge of the 5km could be just the thing to see if all that exercise in the gym after Christmas has paid off. If you are hoping to run as part of a team in the Belfast City Marathon then the timing of Queen's 5K and its distance is perfect," he said.

Councillor Pat Convery, chairman of the client services committee, said: "Belfast City Council is delighted to be involved in the Race Around the River, which is a terrific event, well organised and is the perfect opportunity for those training for the Marathon Relay to see how they are getting on.

"I would like to congratulate the race co-ordinator Paul Wilson and his fellow students for organising this event, which is growing in strength year by year, and hope to continue our partnership with them," he said.

The race was recently awarded a BARR (British Association of Road Running) Bronze Award for Race Management – only the second event in Northern Ireland, after the Marathon, to do so.

As part of the event there will also be a Family Fun Run in support of Disability Action, which will be one lap of the 5K course and starts at 6.30pm.

Those who want to participate in either the 5K or the fun run can access the entry forms from the race website at www.queens5k.co.uk and send it with a cheque for the correct entry fee made payable to QUBAC. Closing date for pre-entries is the 6 April.

As an incentive to enter early the organisers are offering limited edition Queen's 5K T-Shirts to the first 200 entries which can be picked up on the day when collecting race numbers. There will be attractive prizes for the top finishers, random spot prizes for all finishers and special prizes for the top Queen’s student club and society teams.

Note to Editors: The Queen's University Athletics Club "Race around the River" begins at 7pm on Wednesday 13 April at the Physical Education Centre and finishes outside the Centre. The Family Fun Run in aid of Disability Action begins at 6.30pm.

Media facilities will be available.

For further information contact: Paul Wilson 07791428450, queens5k@qub.ac.uk or Communications Office, (028) 9097 5384

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Queen's Innovation Lecture examines 'the big idea'
Larry Prusak (second right) is pictured with (from left) David McFeeters, Senior Manager, First Trust Bank; Tracy Meharg, Managing Director, Innovation and Capability Development, Invest NI; and Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development Professor John Mann.
Larry Prusak (second right) is pictured with (from left) David McFeeters, Senior Manager, First Trust Bank; Tracy Meharg, Managing Director, Innovation and Capability Development, Invest NI; and Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development Professor John Mann.

International knowledge management guru Larry Prusak recently delivered a major First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture at Queen's University.

In his major lecture for the local business community, entitled 'What's the Big Idea?', Larry Prusak provided an insight into the many achievements of idea practitioners, how they initiate and develop ideas within organisations, and how they have those ideas accepted.

Larry Prusak was the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Knowledge Management (IKM), a global consortium of organisations engaged in advancing the practice of knowledge management.

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.

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Doctor Who Day at Queen's

A day-long event celebrating the classic science fiction series, Doctor Who, will be held at Queen's University this weekend.

Organised by the University's Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, the event comes just a week before the Time Lord makes a come back, this time in the guise of Christopher Eccleston.

For those who cowered behind the sofa as the show's haunting theme tune struck up the Doctor will be best remembered for saving the Earth from a variety of alien invasions, including his arch enemies, the Daleks.

According to one of the organisers, Michael Perkins, the event will be a celebration of British television's most enduring science fiction series.

"We will be showing stories from three of the best-known Doctors as a reminder to old fans who haven't seen the series in a while, and an introduction to those who have never seen the series before," he said.

The event, in aid of the Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke Association, will begin at 11am in room G06, Peter Froggatt Centre and admission is free.

For further information contact: Michael Perkins, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Queen's University Belfast m.j.perkins@qub.ac.uk

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St Patrick's Day web survey to be repeated

A successful web survey into the variety of St Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world, launched fittingly last St Patrick’s Day, is to be repeated this year by a team of researchers at Queen’s University.

St Patrick’s Day parades worldwide take a wide range of guises, incorporating in places Chinese dragons, Bhangra drummers and carnival-costumed participants alongside more traditional celebrations of Irish music and dance.

“Traditions of celebrating St Patrick’s Day have been developing over the last decade in Belfast, Dublin, London, New York - and further afield,” commented Dr Dominic Bryan, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s who leads the web survey project.

“Last year, from the Institute of Irish Studies, we initiated a web-based survey of these celebrations,” Dr Bryan reports. “The first phase of this exciting project is now complete and we are currently finalising a report to be published next month.”

Commenting on the survey findings, project team member Dr John Nagle said: “We got an incredible amount of valuable feedback and responses from the web project. The web approach to gathering data has meant that in addition to receiving information on how St Patrick’s Day was celebrated all around Ireland and the UK, we got many responses from around the world. For example, we are really pleased to have made new contacts with people in Tokyo, Scandinavia and Russia.”

A second phase of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations web project will be launched following this St Patrick’s Day.

“We have prepared a more detailed questionnaire to gather in-depth information on the range of celebrations that take place,” Dr Nagle explained. “This will be posted to the web for anyone to complete. In addition, we will specifically target those who responded previously.

“This second phase of the project will substantially develop the comprehensive research database we are compiling on the variety of St Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. This will lead to improved understanding of the reasons behind the celebrations - and create a valuable research resource.”

The Queen’s researchers invite people near and far to have their say on what celebrating St Patrick’s Day means in 2005. For example, St Patrick’s Day is enthusiastically celebrated by many outside Ireland North and South who adopt an ‘Irish state of mind’ for the day, donning green wigs, drinking green beer and playing Irish music.

To have your say on celebrating St Patrick’s Day, or to describe how you spent 17 March, simply log onto the Queen’s University Institute of Irish Studies we site at www.qub.ac.uk/iis and complete the short online questionnaire.

For further information, contact: Dr John Nagle, 028 9097 1297, or Dr Dominic Bryan, 028 9097 3232.

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Queen's Alzheimer's experts gather in Dublin

Researchers from Queen's University who work in the field of Alzheimer's disease will be attending a major international conference in Dublin this week.

Organised by the Biochemical Society and Neuroscience Ireland, the three-day meeting brings together the world's leading scientists and clinical specialists in the field and will highlight the latest research being carried out in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Specialists will also examine current treatment regimes for those with these debilitating conditions. Increasingly, these diseases are touching the lives of Irish families, with Alzheimer's disease affecting 20 per cent of those over 85 years old.

Among the internationally renowned experts speaking at the conference, which runs from 14-16 March, will be Professor Dennis Selkoe, Harvard Medical School, widely regarded as the leading expert in the field of Alzheimer research. Others include Professor John Hardy, director of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institutes of Health who discovered the first mutation associated with Alzheimer's; Professor Karen Ashe, University of Minnesota, who made the first mouse model of a neurologic disease and Dr Martin Citron, head of neurodegenerative research, Amgen who was nominated by Time magazine in the 90s as one of the "most intriguing people of decade".

According to Professor Brian Lawler, Mercer's Institute of Research on Ageing (MIRA) at St. James' Hospital, this meeting is a "milestone" for Alzheimer's disease research in Ireland, bringing together clinical and basic scientists in an interactive forum.

"We believe that this approach has the potential to increase the likelihood of producing translatable research that can impact on the quality of life of people with Alzheimer's disease and help those who are at risk of cognitive decline".

Professor Ingrid Allen, from Queen's University, who is the opening speaker, said: "The meeting explores the genetic and biochemical basis of several neurodegenerative diseases that, although clinically distinct, have certain mechanisms in common. Understanding these mechanisms could lead to improved and indeed curative therapy for all."

Note to Editors: The three-day conference entitled Neurodegeneration Ireland: Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration will run from Monday 14 March to 16 Wednesday March in O'Reilly Hall, University College Dublin.

For further information contact: Dr Dominic Walsh, Conference Organiser, Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Tel: +353 1 716 6751 Email: dominic.walsh@rics.bwh.harvard.edu Web: http://www.biochemistry.org/meetings/programme.cfm?Meeting_No=SA039

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Public lecture at Queen's to examine Inuit self-governance

A major public lecture on Inuit self-governance will take place at Queen's University on Friday, 11 March.

Dr Michael Bravo, of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, will deliver the University's 2005 Eaton Lecture, entitled "Determining the Self: the science of governance in Nunavut". Nunavut is a self-governing territory of the Inuit peoples which came into being in 1999.

Dr Bravo will address how current attempts to forge self-governing political regions and environmental management regimes in Canada raise profound questions about the relationship between community and territory. He is studying models of governance around the circumpolar regions, examining how their constituent communities can resolve historical conflicts with the sovereign claims of nation-states.

Dr. Susan Hodgett of the Queen's Centre of Canadian Studies said “This lecture offers us a rare insight into developments in new forms of governance being created in Canada’s self-governing territories."

The lecture will take place in Room 0G008, Elmwood Learning and Teaching Centre, Queen's University, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast at 5pm on Friday 11 March. Admission is free.

There are further lectures on Inuit culture, film and related topics on Saturday 12 March at Queen’s University, Peter Froggatt Centre, room 212, between 9am and 1pm. All welcome.

The Eaton Lecture series at Queen’s started in 1994 when Fredrik Eaton, the then Canadian High Commissioner in London, decided to support the work of the Queen's Centre of Canadian Studies. The annual lectures are funded by Canada’s Eaton Foundation.

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

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Young people more optimistic about community relations

Marking Community Relations Week 2005, a new report published today (10 March) by the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (ARK) presents data on the views of 16-year-olds in Northern Ireland to community relations and cross-community contact.

The What Now? report was written by Dirk Schubotz and Paula Devine of the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's University, as part of the joint ARK project between Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster. Data in the report is drawn from the 2004 Young Life and Times (YLT) survey.

YLT found that young people are more optimistic about community relations, despite the increasing polarisation of politics in Northern Ireland in the last 18 months.

The key points that emerge from the publication are:

· In 2004, almost half (48%) of all respondents thought that community relations had improved compared to five years ago. Four in ten (39%) respondents thought that community relations would be better in five years' time.

· Compared to 2003, there was an increase in young Protestants' belief that community relations would be better in five years time.

· Respondents living in segregated neighbourhoods and those attending segregated schools were much more likely to have no friends who were of a different religion.

· Support for integration of schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods had slightly decreased compared to 2003.

· Most respondents overestimated the proportion of people from minority ethnic communities living in Northern Ireland, but only 7% of respondents said they felt unfavourable towards them.

The research also looked at attitudes towards religious identity and the respondents' contact with members of the other communities.

Dirk Schubotz commented: "The findings of this research project provide optimism for the future of community relations: those respondents who experience mixed-religion schools and neighbourhoods have developed friendships across the socio-religious divide, which will potentially last into adulthood. The positive experiences that young people had in cross-community projects will hopefully also be recorded and encourage more such projects to take place and be set up," he said.

There is also room for pessimism, he says: "Despite positive cross-community experiences, support for mixed-religion schools and workplaces has actually decreased since 2003."

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 Notes:
1. 824 16 year olds responded to the 2004 Young Life and Times Survey.
2. 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.
3. The survey has been funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland 2000-2004, Measure 2:1 – Reconciliation for Sustainable Peace.
4. Full details and results of the Young Life and Times survey (launched at a seminar 3-5pm Thursday 10 March in the Queen’s University Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, 57-63 University Road) can be found on the survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

For further information contact: Dirk Schubotz, ARK/Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research Tel: 028 9097 3947 Email: d.schubotz@qub.ac.uk Or, Paula Devine, Research Director, ARK/Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, Tel: 028 9097 3034 Email: p.devine@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's celebrates National Science Week

Members of the public will have a chance to reconstruct the past when the School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology opens its doors on Saturday to celebrate National Science Week.

The School’s Palaeoecology Centre, based in Fitzwilliam Street, will host an open day on Saturday 12 March to give adults and children the chance to see how science is used to investigate the past and predict the future.

Entitled "Archaeological detectives: Bones, Bugs and Bog Oaks", the event marks National Science Week, which runs from 11-20 March. It will be open to young people aged from six to 13 years old who are interested in archaeology and their families.

On the day there will be lots to do and learn. Visitors will get the chance to take part in a number of hands-on demonstrations and activities.

The organisers, Dr Emily Murray and Prof Valerie Hall explain what will be available.
"You will be working with archaeologists and can discover how they use animal and human bones in their studies and how bugs can tell us about the weather and past climate change. You will also have the chance to search for artefacts in soil samples from a real excavation and 'The Professor' will be there to answer the very hard questions!"

Co-ordinated by the British Association (BA), National Science Week aims to celebrate science and its importance to our lives, giving people from everywhere in the UK the chance to participate in science activities and experiments and to engage in science discussions in their local area.

The event runs from 11am to 4pm, in 42 Fitzwilliam Street, off University Road.

Note to Editors:
The School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology successfully achieved a five star rating in the Research Assessment Exercise of 2001. The Palaeoecology Centre within the School is a purpose built environmental research facility specialising in the chronology and nature of past environmental change. In November 2000, it was awarded the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize.

For further information contact: Dr Emily Murray, (28) 9097 2555, email: e.v.murray@qub.ac.uk Or Communications Office, (028) 9097 5384

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Child management experts come together to discuss behavioural problems

A conference organised by the Queen's University School of Social Work, in association with the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and Barnardos, will tomorrow (10 March)bring together experts from a range of fields to explore how best to handle child behaviour problems.

Child behaviour problems are on the increase and difficulties in the management of child and adolescent behaviour have hit the headlines in recent years.

The School of Social Work has consulted with a wide range of statutory and voluntary agencies to organise the one-day conference entitled 'Bridging the Gap: Behaviour Management in Social Contexts'.

Dr Karola Dillenburger of the School of Social Work comments: "This very timely conference brings together a multi-disciplinary group of experts in child management from tots to teens with the aim of showing in very practical terms how to take the challenge out of behaviour problems."

The conference, which is supported by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Research and Development Office, features internationally-renowned speakers such as Professor Brian Sheldon from the Centre for Evidence Based Social Services at the University of Exeter, Professor Dorota Iwaniec from the Institute for Child Care Research at Queen’s University, and Dr Mickey Keenan from the Charity Parent's Education as Autism Therapists.

A range of practice-based workshops, facilitated by multi-disciplinary behaviour management experts, will be offered during the afternoon of the conference.

Dr Dillenburger added: "This conference sets the occasion to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Multi-disciplinary Diploma/Master in Social Learning Theory offered at Queen's University. Over the past decade, this post-qualifying course has been utilised by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, all Health and Social Services Boards and Trusts, and voluntary agencies to train child behaviour experts from many professional backgrounds."

The conference will take place on Thursday 10 March at the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action premises at 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast.

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For further information, contact: Dr Karola Dillenburger, Queen's School of Social Work, 028 9097 5426; or Queen's Communications Office,028 9097 3087

Note: Media facilities will be available during the ‘Bridging the Gap’ conference lunch break, 1-2pm, at the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action premises at 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast.

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Queen's launches International Centre for System-on-Chip and Advanced Microwireless (SOCAM)
Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Professor Vincent Fusco, director of SoCaM, inside the Centre's anechoic chamber which is used to measure radiation patterns of microwave antennas being developed for use in mobile communications. The £5.4 million International Centre for Research on System on a Chip and Advanced Microwireless Integration was officially launched today.
Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Professor Vincent Fusco, director of SoCaM, inside the Centre's anechoic chamber which is used to measure radiation patterns of microwave antennas being developed for use in mobile communications. The £5.4 million International Centre for Research on System on a Chip and Advanced Microwireless Integration was officially launched today.

A new £5.4 million world-leading research centre will be launched at Queen's University today (Wednesday) by Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

The International Centre for System-on-Chip and Advanced Microwireless (SoCaM) will develop high performance wireless orientated communication chips for use in advanced mobile applications such as phones, video streaming and vehicular sensors.

The Centre's research programme brings together experts from across the Faculty of Engineering who will develop entire electronic systems based on a single silicon microchip.

Driven by a demand for increased functionality, miniaturisation and efficiency, the Centre will integrate previously separate technologies to design and create the systems of the future which will, beyond doubt, engender new products and industries.

The new research centre represents the first major project to be secured by Queen's Institute for Electronics Communications and Information Technology (ECIT). Based in the Northern Ireland Science Park, the purpose-built £40 million centre will open later this year.

SoCaM is funded through a public-private partnership under the SPUR initiative (Support Programme for University Research) and has already attracted a host of talented researchers from a number of countries. They are among more than 30 experts in high frequency electronics, microelectronics, DSP architectures and computer science who are working on a number of issues critical to the development of future highly complex electronic integrated circuits.

These include sophisticated video processing and cryptography hardware, ultra high-speed data processing and advanced packaging of devices.

Further significant aspects of SoCaM's programme include the modelling of signal propagation in semiconductor materials and the creation of novel electronic devices which rely on the creation of new materials with properties that do not occur naturally. Known as metamaterials, these could eventually permit the advanced control of signal flow in the next generation of high performance integrated circuits.

Already the work of the Centre has produced a number of important breakthroughs. Late last year, Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow Dr Maire McLoone - a SoCaM lecturer – won a national prize in the Set for Britain Younger Engineers competition for her work in the area of cryptographic algorithms. SoCaM has also been credited with the creation of technology which has resulted in the development of the world's highest performance spatial filter for use in advanced space borne pollution monitoring equipment.

Speaking at today's SoCaM launch, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "As a major interdisciplinary project which has already attracted leading researchers from around the world, the Centre will contribute to major advances in a number of areas which are strategically important to the development of future high performance electronic chips."

Professor Vincent Fusco, SoCaM Director said: "This is an exciting innovative initiative which will contribute significantly to Queen's capability to conduct world-leading research in the electronics field. This in turn strengthens Northern Ireland's position in attracting high-technology inward investment and enables Queen's to continue to supply industry and business with highly qualified graduates and technical expertise.

"We are particularly excited by the fact that aside from providing a platform for world leading research, the Centre will also generate a substantial amount of new intellectual property which will undoubtedly produce both new products and new companies," added Professor Fusco.

Notes to editors: SoCaM will be launched by Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, in the Great Hall at Queen's on Wednesday 9 March at 11am. Media facilities will be available.

SPUR 2, administered by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), is a 50-50 partnership between the Government and the private sector. The private sector component comes from Atlantic Philanthropies, an American organisation that supports regional development worldwide.

About ECIT

Announced in 2003, the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (www.ecit.qub.ac.uk) will open officially in summer 2005. With a unique focus on blue skies, strategic and industrial research projects, it brings together, in one building, internationally renowned research groups from Queen's University, specialising in key areas of advanced digital and communications technology.

The Institute extends the significant links Queen's has already developed with major industrial partners and research centres throughout the world. It also provides hot-housing and incubation facilities to encourage and support the establishment and development of new companies.

For further information, please visit www.ecit.qub.ac.uk/SoCaM/ or contact: Professor Vincent Fusco, director of SoCaM, (028) 901806 or Communications Office, Queen's University, (028) 9097 5384

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No Smoking Day at Queen's
Colm MacGreevy, a final year accounting student, gets his carbon monoxide levels checked by student nurse Kathleen Law during the School of Nursing and Midwifery's No Smoking Day event at the Peter Froggatt Centre.
Colm MacGreevy, a final year accounting student, gets his carbon monoxide levels checked by student nurse Kathleen Law during the School of Nursing and Midwifery's No Smoking Day event at the Peter Froggatt Centre.

Staff and students from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University will be encouraging smokers to give up the dreaded weed on No Smoking Day today.

As part of their efforts to support those who want to kick the habit, lecturers and students will be staffing a stand in the foyer of the Peter Froggatt Centre from 10am to 3pm. Those who want to give up smoking will be given leaflets and other helpful advice and they can also have their carbon monoxide levels checked. There will also be a chance to enter a quiz with novelty prizes.

For further information contact: Communications, Queen's University Belfast, (028) 9097 3087

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'Healthy Figures' lectures at Queen's

Around 300 young people from across Northern Ireland will get the chance to find out more about the essential role of physics and maths in the world of medicine during two lectures at Queen's University today.

Organised by the School of Physics and Mathematics, the "Healthy Figures" lectures will give 'A' level students from 17 different schools the opportunity to discover the vital part played by physics and maths in treating patients.

Professor Bob McCullough, who is helping to organise the event, said the lectures would show how important physics and maths were in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine.

"The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, uses magnetism to build up a picture of the inside of the body instead of X-rays, and particle beam therapy, a new form of radiation therapy in the battle against cancer, were both created from physics research," he said.

"Seeing Inside the Human Body: Transforming Medicine using Physics", by Dr Jason Greenwood and "Does Maths and Stats Affect your Health?" by Dr Adele Marshall and Dr Francesca O'Rourke will be held in the Larmor Lecture Theatre on the main Queen's campus from 2pm.

For further information contact: Professor Bob McCullough, School of Physics and Mathematics, (028) 9097 3709 or Communications Office, (028) 9097 5384

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Innovative exhibition opens in Naughton Gallery
Painting by Jean Duncan, from 'a pale yellow sky' exhibition on in the Naughton Gallery until 22 April March
Painting by Jean Duncan, from 'a pale yellow sky' exhibition on in the Naughton Gallery until 22 April

"Pure simplicity
Marks the arrival of spring
A pale yellow sky" 
                      Issa (Haiku inspiring the exhibition title)

An innovative exhibition of collaborative installation work by one of Ireland's leading artists and printmakers and one of the country's promising new composers is set to open tomorrow (9 March) in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's. Running through until 22 April, a pale yellow sky will showcase the work of Jean Duncan and Deidre McKay.

The show is inspired by Japanese haiku. Haiku poems are short works of generally 17 syllables, arranged in three units of five, seven and five syllables, separated into two parts which each enriches the understanding of the other.

Having worked together previously, artist and print maker Jean Duncan and composer Deirdre McKay explore in a pale yellow sky the common ground of their artistic personalities and have found in haiku a starting point which is aesthetically sympathetic to this new exploration.

Commenting on their creative collaborative process, artist Jean Duncan said: "Each haiku has its own personality and really dictated my approach and choice of medium.

"Working in close collaboration with Deirdre, with the haiku texts between us, it became clear that both of our media used the same vocabulary – balance, colour, timbre, tone, texture and harmony – while reflecting our separate approaches to the poems. I find working across disciplines very rewarding and exciting in itself."

Deirdre McKay, who studied composition at the Queen's School of Music, added: "When composing these short movements, it has felt as though the music has been leading the art to the dance floor… The solitary tones of the haiku spoke for a solo instrumentalist to sound response. The harp, a demonstratively visual instrument of ancient Easter origin, announced itself the natural and delicate voice of a pale yellow sky."

Seven haiku poems provide the structure for the work that consists of a series of short contrasting pieces written for the harp, interacting with a series of paintings, original prints and sculpture.

Acclaimed harpist, Cliona Doris, (a Queen's graduate) is to give a live performance of the show's music at the exhibition opening. Thereafter, music will be broadcast on the gallery's audio system.

Delighted to have orchestrated such a truly multi-disciplinary and novel show, Shan McAnena Curator of the Naughton Gallery commented: "The Naughton Gallery at Queen's was established to encourage creative partnerships and inter-disciplinary projects.

"When Jean and Deirdre first came to see me about their idea for this show they stressed that this would be a true collaboration – the visual and the musical would evolve together. … Two years on, I have finally seen and heard all the elements of a pale yellow sky together for the first time and the elegant poetry, the ethereal music and evocative paintings together produce an intricate and potent harmony," Shan added.

A DVD has been made to accompany the show that is included in the exhibition catalogue. It contains the music and images from the show, together with readings of the haiku poems and a short essay by Jan Smaczny, Head of the School of Music.

The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s is open to the public, 12-4pm, Monday to Friday, and Saturdays 10am- 4pm.

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For further information, contact: Shan McAnena, Curator of the Naughton Gallery, 028 9097 5383; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 07980 013362

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Snooker team at the double!

Queen's are the British Universities snooker champions. The team regained the title after a gap of five years by defeating old rivals Cardiff 3-2 in a pulsating final held at the prestigious Willie Thorne Snooker Centre, Leicester, from 3-5 March.

This victory, Queen's sixth in 15 years, equals the record for any institution.

Special mention should go to Darren Oldroyd from Drumaness, who won 15/16 frames played, and to Paul McKay from Lisburn who achieved the almost impossible task of winning from needing a snooker on the pink ball in the final frame. The other team members were John Currie, Paul Hamill, who potted the winning ball, and captain Andy Hutchinson.

To cap a memorable trip, the University's second string made it a double by lifting the Junior title, again after close 3-2 victory over Warwick in the decider. This was our fifth win in a row in that category and a record eighth overall.

In conveying her congratulations to the members of the Snooker and Pool Club, Queen's Students' Union President Maria McCloskey said that its achievements and awards continued to grow and that the future redevelopment of the union premises would see even more interest in the club and potential new members to continue the winning tradition.

Snooker and billiards have been played at Queen's since the early 1900s, although the Club was not formed until the opening of the present Students' Union in 1967. Since then it has risen to prominence as the undisputed leader in intervarsity cue sports, winning both the Irish and British pool titles last season. The Club has approximately 100 student members, drawn from all parts of Northern Ireland.

The British intervarsity snooker championships have been held since 1984 and attract upwards of 30 teams each year.

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St Patrick's Day celebrations the focus of seminar at Queen's

'On St Patrick's Day everybody is Irish' is an oft-quoted cry by organisers of St Patrick's Day parades around the globe. But is that the case?

A topical seminar, to take place on Tuesday 8 March in the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen'’s University Belfast, will focus on St Patrick's Day commemorations.

The seminar is part of a series being hosted this spring by the Institute of Irish Studies exploring the theme of 'Memory and Representation in Ireland. Entitled 'St Patrick's Day Commemorations and the Act of Forgetting', the seminar will be given by Dr John Nagle of the Institute of Irish Studies.

"The weekly seminar programme is a key feature of the Institute and was initiated within the first year of its existence in 1965." Dr Dominic Bryan, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's explains. "It is open to the public and gives an opportunity for academics and specialists to communicate to a wider audience the results of their research in the field of Irish Studies and for all present to engage in lively debate."

 At the seminar, Dr Nagle will suggest "St Patrick's Day celebrations provide a model for forgetting the past and for starting anew, rather than being backward looking acts of commemoration."

In his paper he will look at three different celebrations of St Patrick's Day - London, Belfast and Montserrat, places where public St Patrick's Day celebrations have been reinvented in the past few years. "I will also explore how the tradition of St Patrick's Day can be interpreted in many different ways and can be either a force for inclusion or exclusion, involving a host of political, ethnic and cultural identities," Dr Nagle said.

"As we know from our own local experiences, St Patrick's Day can provide either a focus for harmonious celebrations across the globe - whether in Belfast, Montserrat or New York City – or can be the root of bitter arguments over the political and ethnic meanings of the festivities," Dr Nagle added.

The St  Patrick's Day seminar is free of charge and open to all. It will take place at 4pm on Tuesday 8 March, in the Institute of Irish Studies at 53-67 University Road.

Ends

Note:
1. The main research strategy of the Institute of Irish Studies (which acts as a focus for the larger body of research being undertaken at Queen's University and beyond) is to explore the social, political, cultural and geographical factors that have influenced the people of this island and its diasporas.
2. The spring seminar series on ‘Memory and Representation in Ireland’ at the Institute of Irish Studies reflects the increasing interdisciplinary interest in issues of memory and forgetting at the University. The series is bringing together outstanding academics from across Ireland in an area of research that is being developed further at the Institute.

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office Tel: 028 9097 5320 or John Nagle, Institute of Irish Studies, 9097 1297.

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British Academy panel debates 'A Question of Culture? Europe and Islam'

The School of Anthropological Studies at Queen's University Belfast, in partnership with the British Academy, is to host this evening a highly topical panel debate (Monday 7 March). The debate, entitled: 'A Question of Culture? Europe and Islam', will take place 5.30 – 7.30pm in the Great Hall at Queen's.

"Culture seems to explain everything at the moment, the way gender once did, or, before that, class, or, a long time ago, race," commented Professor Hastings Donnan of the School of Anthropological Studies, who is coordinating the debate.

A decade ago we were warned that the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict would be cultural. According to one commentator after another, celebratory or indignant, every European country is multicultural. Is immigration policy a matter of dealing with cultural difference? Today, these debates are at their most acute as European countries shape policies on 'Muslim' minorities, and confront the intricate crises of the Middle East, and the challenge of terrorism.

The event will take the form of a panel discussion between three leading intellectuals who will visit Queen's: Professor Adam Kuper, Brunel University; Professor Fred Halliday, London School of Economics; and Professor Jytte Klausen, British Academy Visiting Professor at Nuffield College, Oxford, and Brandeis University.

"The subject for discussion is very topical indeed and the panel guests promise a lively and engaging debate," Professor Donnan added. "It is an honour that the British Academy has chosen Queen's University and Belfast to host a top-level academic debate on a subject of national and international significance."

The event is free of charge and open to members of the public.

Ends

For further information contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320 or 07980 013362

Notes:
1. Panel members will be available for photographs at 5pm, before the debate begins in the Great Hall
2. The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It is an independent, self-governing fellowship of approximately 750 scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in one or more branches of the academic disciplines that make up the humanities and social sciences.

The Academy's objectives are:
to represent the interests of scholarship nationally and internationally;
to give recognition to excellence;
to promote and support advanced research;
to further international collaboration and exchange;
to promote public understanding of research and scholarship; and
to publish the results of research.

With the help of a Government grant-in-aid the Academy also acts as a grant-giving body, sponsoring its own research projects and facilitating the work of others, principally by offering research appointments and personal research grants.

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$1.4 Million Challenge Grant Bookmarked for New University Library at Queen’s

Queen’s University has bookmarked $1.4 million (£822k) for its new state-of-the-art Library thanks to a challenge grant from the United States based Kresge Foundation. Queen’s is the first university in Ireland and one of the first organisations outside of London to receive an award from this source.

Costing $63 million (£37m), much of the Library’s funding has been raised by The Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation which is now close to its overall target.

In order to receive the $1.4 million challenge grant, Kresge requires the Queen’s Foundation to raise the outstanding balance of $2.7 million (£1.6m) by 31 October this year.

Queen’s Director of Development, Aíne Gibbons, said: “The University greatly appreciates The Kresge Foundation’s recognition of the importance of the new Library for international scholarship and for the wide-ranging benefits it will bring to Queen’s, its students and to Northern Ireland.

“I know our graduates, the business community and the many friends of Queen’s locally and internationally will help us meet the Kresge Challenge and reach our goal.”

The Kresge Foundation said: “The Foundation is known for making grants for capital projects. However, we believe a challenge grant toward an organisation's capital project does more than just build a building. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for the organisation to broaden and deepen its support base, leaving it stronger for the future.”

Notes to Editors

The Kresge Foundation is an independent, private foundation created by the personal gifts of Sebastian S. Kresge in 1924. It is not affiliated with any corporation or organisation.

Grants are made to institutions operating in the areas of higher education, health and long-term care, arts and humanities, human services, science and the environment, and public affairs.

Grants are made towards projects involving construction or renovation of facilities and the purchase of major capital equipment or real estate. Grant recipients have raised initial funds toward their respective projects before requesting Foundation assistance. Grants are then made on a challenge basis, requiring the raising of the remaining funds, thereby insuring completion of the projects.

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Queen's Innovation Lecture examines 'the big idea'

International knowledge management guru Larry Prusak will be asking 'What's the Big Idea?' in a major lecture for the local business community at Queen's University on Tuesday night.

Based on his award-winning research, Larry’s lecture will provide an insight into the many achievements of idea practitioners, how they initiate and develop ideas within organisations, and how they have those ideas accepted.

Larry Prusak was the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Knowledge Management (IKM), a global consortium of organisations engaged in advancing the practice of knowledge management. He has extensive international consulting experience, helping companies, government agencies and many other organisations work with their information and knowledge resources.

He currently teaches in the knowledge management executive education program at the Harvard Business School and co-directs a knowledge research program at Babson College.

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.

While visiting Queen's, Larry Prusak will also 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 deliver a masterclass to MBA students, senior management and clients of the First Trust Bank.

Larry Prusak's innovation lecture will be held in G9, Lanyon North at 6pm on Tuesday 8 March. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Claire McGivern at Queen’s University on 028 9097 1145 or e-mail c.mcgivern@qub.ac.uk 

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

Notes for editors: Media facilities will be available at the lecture. Arrangements to interview Larry Prusak can be made by calling the above number.

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Queen's scientist's discovery could reduce bowel infection risk

Research by a Queen's University scientist may help to reduce the risk of deadly infection after a burst appendix, childbirth or bowel surgery.

Dr Sheila Patrick, from the School of Medicine, who is working in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, has discovered how the dangerous bacterium responsible for these infections is able to fool the body's defences.

And the breakthrough could lead to new drugs to help neutralise its effect.

The bacteria responsible, Bacteroides fragillis, lives in huge numbers in the human colon – it actually makes up as much as half of our faeces. Although it helps with digestion and fights against food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella, it can cause serious infections if it escapes into other parts of the body. This can happen as a result of a burst appendix, childbirth or abdominal surgery.

Before effective antibiotics were available, up to a third of infections from this bug proved fatal. Currently doctors can only use very effective antibiotic to fight these infections.

But some resistant bacteria have now appeared and there is concern that resistance may spread, as it has with other types of bacteria.

Only by studying the bacterium can scientists understand how it works so new drugs can be developed.

As part of her research Dr Patrick has discovered why molecules on the surface of the bacterium are so variable. With the Pantogen Sequencing Unit at the Sanger Institute, she has been analysing and mapping all the genes of the B. fragilis genome. Over 4,000 genes have been identified.

According to Dr Patrick the variation in the bacterium is caused by inversion of bits of the DNA. No other bacterium is known to use this same mechanism so extensively.

"The link between bacteria and disease was first proven at the end of the 19th century so we have come a long way in just over 100 years.

"Because of these and other complete bacterial genome sequencing projects we are at the start of a revolution in our ability to understand what makes bacteria tick and also our ability to combat those that cause disease," said Dr Patrick.

The research will be published in the journal Science on 4 March. The complete detailed analysis of the genome is available in the supplementary on-line material and the complete annotation available at the Sanger website.

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

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Bringing art to life
Professor Dónall Ó’Baoill, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Arts, and Amanda Croft, Lecturer in History of Art congratulate the A’Level ‘Bringing Art to Life’ competition winners - Liam McNally and Thomas Hodkinson from Christian Brothers Grammar School, Omagh; and the GCSE winners Ciara Moore and Michelle Furey both from Loreto Grammar School, Omagh.
Professor Dónall Ó’Baoill, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Arts, and Amanda Croft, Lecturer in History of Art congratulate the A’Level ‘Bringing Art to Life’ competition winners - Liam McNally and Thomas Hodkinson from Christian Brothers Grammar School, Omagh; and the GCSE winners Ciara Moore and Michelle Furey both from Loreto Grammar School, Omagh.

Prize winners in an innovative competition for post-primary school students organised by the School of Languages, Literatures and Arts at Queen’s have been announced at the University.

Young people in schools across Northern Ireland were invited to take part from October to January in the ‘Bring Art to Life’ competition. Students who produced the short-listed entries visited Queen’s yesterday (2 March) to showcase their work, before the winners received their awards at the special ceremony.

Amanda Croft, Lecturer in Art History, who arranged the competition explains: “Students were asked to act out and film a three-minute scene based on a famous painting using foreign language dialogue, film making skills and their own artistic interpretation. They had to select a well-known painting from a list of French, Spanish, German or Irish speaking artists and act out their interpretation of the scene in the language of the country of origin of the artist.”

Commenting on the high quality of the video entries submitted, Ms Croft added: “The competition brief was complex and the School of Languages, Literatures and Arts was delighted when the competition attracted a number of innovative and entertaining entries. These were well researched, scripted, acted and produced, demonstrating considerable commitment to the project on behalf of both the students and staff involved.”

The two top prizes, at A’ Level and GCSE Level, went to two schools in Omagh.

A’Level pupils at Loreto Grammar School, Omagh, took as their starting point ‘L’Absinthe’ by the French artist Edgar Degas. “Theirs is a well scripted, confidently delivered and innovative approach, set in a local Omagh hostelry (McElroy’s) in which two viewers of the painting actually step into the painting and intervene in the Absinthe couple’s relationship, before all the actors leave the painting and meet the artist Degas,” Ms Croft explained.

Meanwhile, Christian Brothers Grammar School GCSE students, also from Omagh, considered ‘3rd May 1808’ by Francisco de Goya. Deemed a “most impressive entry,” Amanda Croft praised “the well paced drama in both Spanish and French”, adding that “the back streets of Omagh will never look the same again!”

“The School of Languages, Literatures and Arts was particularly attracted to launching this competition as it reflects the interdisciplinary make-up of the School and encourages team work amongst students and staff in schools across the disciplines of language, history of art, film and drama,” commented Head of School, Professor Dónall Ó’Baoill, who presented prizes to the winners.

Prizes were presented to the winners at Queen’s by Professor Dónall Ó’Baoill after the winning videos produced were shown. The winning schools received gift vouchers.

For further information, contact: Amanda Croft, 028 9097 3405, or Communications Office, 9097 5320

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Irish schoolgirls speak up at Queen's!

Teams of schoolgirls from Dublin, Galway and Northern Ireland will be making their voices heard at Queen's University on Saturday.

They will be taking part in the final of the Irish Federation of University Women’s public speaking competition for girls under 15 – the first time that the event has been held in Belfast.

Teams from heats in NUI Galway, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin will be competing for honours with Northern Ireland representatives Assumption Grammar of Ballynahinch who won the local heat at Queen's last month.

The local team – Chloe Bell, Ciara McCafferty and Catherine Cheetham – will be taking part alongside Cliona Burke of St Dominic's High School who won the Best Speaker prize in the local contest, organised by Queen's Women Graduates, part of Queen's Graduates Association.

Competition convenor Maureen Jelly said: "Preparation for this competition helps to enthuse pupils and improve their motivation and self esteem as they learn to lose their shyness and speak out with confidence. They also learn to present ideas and factual information in a clear and logically structured manner.

"We purposely chose this age group because there are few, if any, competitions in public speaking for girls under 15 and we have found that they are able to produce a remarkably high standard.

This is the 16th year of the competition which aims to give girls under 15 an opportunity to communicate confidently and clearly in front of an audience in an encouraging and supportive environment and the chance to meet their peers from a cultural cross-section of schools in friendly interaction. It also reinforces the link between Queen’s University Women Graduates and the other University Women's Associations of the Irish Federation of University Women.

This year's topics are environment, careers and employment, health and fitness, relationships, modern technology and competition.

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

Note for editors: The Irish Federation of University Women’s public speaking competition for girls under 15 will take place in the Peter Froggatt Centre, Queen's University on Saturday 6 March, starting at 2.30pm and ending at 4.30pm. Media facilities will be available.

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British Academy panel debates 'A Question of Culture? Europe and Islam'

The School of Anthropological Studies at Queen's University Belfast, in partnership with the British Academy, is to host a highly topical panel debate on Monday 7 March. The debate, entitled: ‘A Question of Culture? Europe and Islam’, will take place 5.30 – 7.30pm in the Great Hall at Queen’s.

“Culture seems to explain everything at the moment, the way gender once did, or, before that, class, or, a long time ago, race,” commented Professor Hastings Donnan of the School of Anthropological Studies, who is coordinating the debate.

A decade ago we were warned that the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict would be cultural. According to one commentator after another, celebratory or indignant, every European country is multicultural. Is immigration policy a matter of dealing with cultural difference? Today, these debates are at their most acute as European countries shape policies on 'Muslim' minorities, and confront the intricate crises of the Middle East, and the challenge of terrorism.

The event will take the form of a panel discussion between three leading intellectuals who will visit Queen’s:

Professor Adam Kuper, Brunel University; Professor Fred Halliday, London School of Economics; and Professor Jytte Klausen, British Academy Visiting Professor at Nuffield College, Oxford, and Brandeis University.

“The subject for discussion is very topical indeed and the panel guests promise a lively and engaging debate,” Professor Donnan added. “It is an honour that the British Academy has chosen Queen’s University and Belfast to host a top-level academic debate on a subject of national and international significance.”

The event is free of charge and open to members of the public.

For further information contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320 or 07980 013362

Notes:

1. Panel members will be available for photographs at 5pm, before the debate begins.
2. The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It is an independent, self-governing fellowship of approximately 750 scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in one or more branches of the academic disciplines that make up the humanities and social sciences.

The Academy's objectives are:
to represent the interests of scholarship nationally and internationally;
to give recognition to excellence;
to promote and support advanced research;
to further international collaboration and exchange;
to promote public understanding of research and scholarship; and
to publish the results of research.

With the help of a Government grant-in-aid the Academy also acts as a grant-giving body, sponsoring its own research projects and facilitating the work of others, principally by offering research appointments and personal research grants.

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Canadian VIPs visit Queen's
Members of the Canadian delegation which visited Queen's to find out more about the University's links with Canada are pictured with Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications and Susan Hodgett, Co-Director of the Centre of Canadian Studies.
Members of the Canadian delegation which visited Queen's to find out more about the University's links with Canada are pictured with Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications and Susan Hodgett, Co-Director of the Centre of Canadian Studies.

A delegation of Canadian politicians and dignitaries has visited Queen's to learn more about the University's links with Canada. The delegation included members of the Canadian Parliament and representatives from the Canadian High Commission.

The group met academic staff from the Centre for Canadian Studies, which is based in the University's School of Geography. Queen's has been officially recognised as a Centre of Canadian Studies since 1986. It is one of just five centres in the UK and the only one in Ireland. The Centre encourages research and teaching about Canada, both within the University and beyond, and facilitates contact between communities and interest groups here and in Canada.

The meeting took place in the Canada Room in the University's main Lanyon Building. Over 20 years ago, a University appeal generated a substantial response from Canadian based Queen's alumni, resulting in the refurbishment and naming of the Canada Room, which now plays host to regular meetings, dinners, receptions and seminars. Queen's has over 700 alumni living in Canada. The University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, will be visiting Toronto in April to attend a Graduate Dinner being held by the Queen's University Association, Ontario.

Speaking at the ceremony, Susan Hodgett, Co-Director of the Centre of Canadian Studies, said: "The Centre for Canadian Studies at Queen’s is distinctive for its outreach programmes which bring a greater understanding of Canadian issues and culture to the wider community. A programme of seminars, conferences, prizes and travel awards support students and academics with an interest in Canada."

Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications at Queen’s University said: "The development of strong and strategic international connections is a priority for Queen’s University. Northern Ireland has very strong links with Canada and these are strengthened and enhanced by the academic learning and research taking place at Queen's."

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

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Ireland Professor of Poetry, Paul Durcan, lecture at Queen's

Paul Durcan, one of Ireland's best-known and most highly regarded poets, will give his inaugural lecture as the Ireland Professor of Poetry at Queen's University on Thursday 3rd March.

The Ireland Professor of Poetry will discuss the work of Anthony Cronin and in particular his long poem, The End of the Modern World, in a lecture entitled, ‘The Poet as Chronicler of Modernism: Cronin’s Cantos’. The lecture will take place in the Great Hall at Queen’s University at 8pm.

Born in Dublin in 1944, Paul Durcan’s first book, Endsville, appeared in 1967, and has been followed by nineteen others including The Berlin Wall Café (Poetry Book Society Choice), Daddy, Daddy (winner of the Whitbread Award for Poetry, 1990), A snail in My Prime: New and Selected Poems (1993) and Cries of an Irish Caveman: New Poems (2001). In 2001 he received a Cholmondeley Award. His most recent collection of poems was published in 2004 The Art of Life which has received critical acclaim. His eloquent readings draw large and enthusiastic audiences.

Paul Durcan has been appointed Ireland Professor of Poetry 2004-2007. The Ireland Chair of Poetry was founded in 1998. It is supported by five institutions: Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin; University College Dublin, and the two Arts Councils (north and south). Paul Durcan is the 3rd Ireland Professor of Poetry and will spend a term in each of the three universities over a three-year period giving lectures, presentations, readings and seminars. The inaugural lecture is being hosted in association with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University.

Commenting on Paul Durcan’s lecture and his current period of residency at Queen’s, Professor Ciaran Carson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry said: "Paul Durcan is a passionate advocate of the relevance of poetry to contemporary issues. It is a privilege for the Seamus Heaney Centre to host his residency at Queen's, where he will engage with students and the general public."

Writing in the Times Literary Supplement, Colm Tóibín has said of the poet: “Paul Durcan’s Ireland is the one we inhabit. At times he is ready to celebrate the bizarre and the ordinary: at other times he is full of surreal rage against both order and disorder.”

Anthony Cronin is widely known for his biographies of Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien, his classic memoir Dead as Doornails, and his novels The Life of Riley and Identity Papers. But it is his poetry for which he is renowned and his recently published Collected Poems (New Island) includes the full, revised text of his 1989 long poem The End of the Modern World which, according to critics such as Derek Mahon and George Szirtes, is one of the great poems of the twentieth century.

Notes:
Media facilities will be available during a pre-lecture reception 7-8pm in the Canada Room at Queen’s University on Thursday 3 March.
The lecture will begin at 8pm in the Great Hall.

For further information please contact: Alison Scott, Ireland Professor of Poetry Administrator, 028 9042 4131; or Dolores Vischer, Queen’s Communications Office, 07980 013362

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