05-2005 Press Releases

31/05/2005: Queen's wishes Stella Hall well in new role
31/05/2005: Cancer diagnosis software launched
30/05/2005: Queen's Language Centre manager appointed chair of AULC
27/05/2005: Queen's conference examines violence in prehistory
25/05/2005: Queen's launches �40 million research institute in historic Titanic quarter
25/05/2005: 'Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland' book launch
24/05/2005: Citizenship Education and Social Justice
24/05/2005: Gregson urges global audience to claim virtual space for democracy
23/05/2005: Fertility expert Winston discusses way forward for NI science
18/05/2005: National 'first' for former Queen's Senior Medical Officer
18/05/2005: Leading statistician attends Queen's conference
17/05/2005: Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry launches new journal
16/05/2005: Sounds like Science at Queen's
13/05/2005: U.S. think tank celebrates 20 years with cultural visit to Queen's
13/05/2005: Breast cancer report reveals improved service
11/05/2005: University boat race launched on Lagan
11/05/2005: Prestigious lecture series explores Christianity in England
10/05/2005: Fairtrade at Queen's University Highlighted
09/05/2005: Queen's provides EU awareness training for Northern Ireland Civil Servants
09/05/2005: Queen's researcher is FameLab finalist
06/05/2005: 'Body Mind Spirit' winners announced
05/05/2005: Focus on human rights abuse at international Queen's conference
05/05/2005: Queen's and DARDNI lead European pig virus project
04/05/2005: Queen's Vice-Chancellor becomes IEI Fellow
03/05/2005: Nick Laird reading at Queen's
03/05/2005: Making \"Connections\" with Architecture
03/05/2005: Northern Ireland must compete on world stage – Gregson
03/05/2005: Queen's art exhibition links arts and medicine

Queen's wishes Stella Hall well in new role

Stella Hall is stepping down from her role as Head of Culture and Arts and Director of Belfast Festival at Queen's after five years at the helm. Stella has been appointed creative director with the NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), the destination marketing agency for Newcastle-Gateshead. She will head up its culture10 programme.

Stella will be responsible for managing the culture10 team, developing and devising new, world-class cultural events and festivals and, working with strategic partners across the region, building a long-term infrastructure to sustain cultural activities in the future.

Speaking about her appointment Stella said: "I am delighted to be taking on this role. NewcastleGateshead has become a magnet for all that is best in cultural development and I could not resist the gravitational pull.

"I will of course be sad to leave Belfast, which has sustained and inspired me for the past five years. I hope to maintain the many relationships developed here and to continue to raise the profile of the excellent artists in Northern Ireland. The North East has a reputation for extending a warm welcome to all, and I look forward to encouraging visitors from here."

The University said: "Stella has played a significant role in revitalising culture and arts in Northern Ireland through her work with Queen's and the partnerships she has built with other arts organisations. During five years as Festival Director and as the University's first Head of Culture and Arts, she has built a strong team who will build upon her successes.

"Queen's is central to the cultural life of Northern Ireland. It is home to one of the UK and Ireland's major international festivals, Northern Ireland's cultural cinema and one of the region's most dynamic and diverse galleries.

"Stella has helped give each a new edge and everyone at Queen's wishes her well with the new and exciting challenge that awaits her."

For further information contact: Communications Office telephone 028 9097 3091.

Notes to Editors
Stella Hall takes up her post on 1 September 2005. This year's Belfast Festival at Queen's 2005 runs from 21 October - 6 November 2005.

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Cancer diagnosis software launched
The team at Queen's responsible for the new computer-based cancer diagnosis tool. Professor Peter Hamilton (centre), Head of the Centre for Health Care Informatics within the Faculty of Medicine at Queen's, and Managing Director of the new spin-out venture  i-Path Diagnostics, with team researchers and venture partners Dr Perry Maxwell (left) and Dr Jim Diamond (right).
The team at Queen's responsible for the new computer-based cancer diagnosis tool. Professor Peter Hamilton (centre), Head of the Centre for Health Care Informatics within the Faculty of Medicine at Queen's, and Managing Director of the new spin-out venture i-Path Diagnostics, with team researchers and venture partners Dr Perry Maxwell (left) and Dr Jim Diamond (right).
InView software, developed by a QUIBIS supported research team at Queen's University Belfast, is generating international interest following its recent launch in Australia.
InView software, developed by a QUIBIS supported research team at Queen's University Belfast, is generating international interest following its recent launch in Australia.

i-Path Diagnostics, a QUBIS Ltd supported spin-out venture from a Queen's University Belfast research group, has launched a novel e-learning software product at two major international conferences in Australia.

The Informatics research team at Queen's developed the new computer-based tool for decision-making in cancer pathology. The system, called InView, has an important role in training young pathologists to make better and more reliable diagnoses.

The new product was launched at a meeting of over 2,000 doctors and scientists at the International Association for Pathologists in Brisbane and at the 'Path Update' conference in Sydney.

For the first time, pathologists in Australia could see how the Northern Ireland developed software package could improve cancer diagnostics and training in a very difficult area of medical practice.

Professor Peter Hamilton, Head of the Imaging and Informatics Research Group within the Faculty of Medicine at Queen's and Managing Director of i-Path Diagnostics Ltd, explains the product: "The software has been designed to train doctors in diagnosing cancer from microscopic samples of tissue, cells and blood. It allows trainee doctors to compare their performance against digitally stored samples from experts around the world. By digitally recording how a decision is made, it is possible to analyse the way a doctor makes diagnostic decisions, measure individual performance, and identify and correct errors in the diagnostics process. It therefore has an enormous benefit both in training and in quality assurance."

At the launch, Professor Richard Williams, Chief Examiner in Australia and Director of Anatomical Pathology at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, said: "This provides a novel method for benchmarking and standardising diagnosis and is going to be central to the practice of diagnostic cancer pathology in the 21st century."

The development of InView from a research idea to a commercial product was supported by Invest NI and the University Challenge Fund.

Professor Hamilton added, "This is a major development for cancer pathology, a development that will provide the best training and decision support to pathologists around the world through the use of computers and the internet. Having made a major impact in Australia, there is now significant interest in using this software from New Zealand, China, India, UK and USA.

"We are very excited about the international interest shown in our e-learning software. This reflects the worldwide shortage of specialist doctors and the need to maintain high levels of training in cancer diagnostics. The product is the result of many years of research and we are delighted that this will now be used to support training and improve diagnostic standards around the world."

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For further information, contact: Professor Peter Hamilton, 028 9063 2604, p.hamilton@qub.ac.uk or the Communications Office, 028 9027 3091

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Queen's Language Centre manager appointed chair of AULC
Pam McIntyre, who has been appointed chair of the Association of University Language Centres in the UK and Ireland
Pam McIntyre, who has been appointed chair of the Association of University Language Centres in the UK and Ireland

The manager of Queen's University's Language Centre has been appointed chair of the Association of University Language Centres in the UK and Ireland.

Pam McIntyre was co-opted to the position at the annual general meeting in December 2004 and the appointment was ratified at the Executive meeting in the London School of Economics recently.

The Association of University Language Centres (UK and Ireland) was established in 1998, bringing together a wide range of experience in the fields of language teaching, management and administration, multimedia applications and research.

It brings together 76 language centres and departments in higher education institutes whose main responsibility is the learning and teaching of language. While actively encouraging and fostering good practice in language learning, teaching and advising, the Association also promotes research into language learning and teaching methodologies.

According to Pam, one of the key roles of the position is to monitor emerging national and international language standards and develop appropriate quality assurance mechanisms.

In addition, the Association promotes the role of language centres beyond the university community in the world of commerce and industry.

The AULC also represents the interests of UK and Ireland Language Centres on the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS).

Pam has managed the Language Centre since its inception in 1998. The Centre offers all students in the University an opportunity to learn a foreign language or continue a language already learned, enabling Queen’s graduates to play an active role in the international arena of academia, commerce and industry.

"Holding this position and playing such a major role in language issues in the UK and Ireland is an indication of the standing and respect held for languages at Queen’s,” said Pam.

For further information contact: Pam McIntyre, (028) 9097 5291 

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Queen's conference examines violence in prehistory

A major international conference will be held at Queen's University this weekend to examine violence and warfare in prehistoric Europe.

Organised by the School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology, the conference, which runs from May 27 to 29, will bring together researchers investigating different aspects of prehistoric violence, from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age.

According to Rick Schulting, one of the conference organisers, prehistoric Europe has a rich collection of material from which to draw, but with no written records archaeologists have to use a variety of tools to find out more about how our ancestors lived. By studying weaponry, architecture, violent trauma on skeletons and the use of iconographic symbols and images, they can build up a picture of the role of warfare in prehistory.

As well as the examination of warfare in the past Dr Jonathan McCormick from Dundee will give a talk on the use of the modern iconography of violence as represented by the political murals of Belfast.

Other highlights of the conference include a keynote speech by Professor Lawrence Keeley from the University of Chicago, author of the ground-breaking book on archaeological warfare, "War Before Civilisation".

The conference will close with a screening of the classic 1961 documentary film "Dead Birds", which looks at the life of the Dani tribe, from Papua New Guinea. Traditionally regarded as a 'warlike' people, the film examines their elaborate customs of intertribal warfare and revenge: "Each death had to be avenged… the ghosts of slain comrades satisfied as a compensating enemy life was taken" (Robert Gardner, anthropologist).

Members of the public are invited to attend the conference, which includes evening lectures and wine receptions, as well as academic sessions. The fee is £25 while students/unwaged pay £10.

The conference is sponsored by the British Academy and the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland.

For further information contact:
Dr Ian Armit, Tel: 028 9097 3826, or email: i.armit@qub.ac.uk, (available in morning Tuesday 22 or morning Thursday 26) or
Dr Rick Schulting, Tel: 028 9097 3824, or email: r.schulting@qub.ac.uk or
Margaret McCartney, Tel: 028 9097 5287

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Queen's launches £40million research institute in historic Titanic quarter

Queen's University will officially open a major £40 million international centre today (Wednesday) to act as a hub for high-technology research and enterprise in Belfast's former dockland.

Supported by Invest Northern Ireland, the Department of Employment and Learning and the EU Peace and Reconciliation Programme, the Institute for Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) brings together world-renowned experts in electronics and computer science in a purpose-built flagship centre at the 25-acre Science Park in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

It provides the university with a leading-edge international research facility and a focus for extending the important links Queen's has already developed with major universities, high technology companies and research centres throughout the world.

The Institute is led by director, Professor John McCanny FRS, a world expert in the design of complex silicon chips for electronics and video communications applications. Professor McCanny says the centre will seek to provide a healthy balance and rich mixture of speculative 'blue skies' and strategic/industrial research.

"ECIT's mission is to stimulate major opportunities for economic growth by pioneering future directions and innovations in key areas of advanced technology, through the integration of complementary research expertise.

"ECIT will combine advanced high technology research with mechanisms to create and nurture related high technology companies in their early phases. These fledging companies will then subsequently move out to other facilities in the Science Park such as the Innovation Centre," he said.

Activities at ECIT are overseen by an advisory board comprising local and international industrialists representing companies such as BT, Infineon and Xilinx. Also on the board are senior researchers from universities worldwide. These include the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Aachen, the universities of Oxford, Manchester and Cambridge and the Tyndall (electronics) Institute at University College Cork.

ECIT's three-storey building houses state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and one of the largest RF (microwave and millimetre wave) anechoic chambers in Europe. Currently, 120 people are based there including 40 highly qualified industrial and academic researchers who have been recruited from around the globe. In addition, TDK - the Japanese electronics company - has recently located a six person R&D unit in the new building.

At present, the Institute accommodates five teams whose interests cover areas such as broadband wireless communications, electronic data security, video and image processing, telecommunications software and antenna design for mobile communications. Already research undertaken by the teams has led to important advances in areas such as electronic security, video-on-demand and high speed image processing.

Aside from its research activities, ECIT also aims to help accelerate the creation, growth and attraction of innovative high technology companies locating in the Science Park site. These will include new spin-out enterprises emerging directly from the Institute’s research activities and spin-in companies established by others to capitalise on the centre’s expertise. ECIT is working closely with government agencies, as well as business and financial organisations to achieve these objectives.

In addition, the Institute is acting as a flagship to attract further high technology inward investment to Northern Ireland and has developed close relationships with Invest Northern Ireland and the organisation’s offices overseas.

Funding for the initiative has totalled £40 million and of this Queen's has provided £26.4 million while £8.3 million of support was offered by Invest Northern Ireland through the Centres of Excellence programme. An additional £5.2 million of support has been provided by the Department of Employment and Learning.

Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said the University already had an impressive record of international achievements in research, technology transfer and the creation of high-technology companies.

By matching world-class research with commercial opportunities, ECIT is a role model of innovation, ideally placed to make a major contribution to Northern Ireland's continuing economic development, he said.

"ECIT is a compelling demonstration of the qualities and values enshrined in our vision for the future of the university, a vision which will ensure its position as an international centre of academic excellence rooted in the heart of Northern Ireland."

ECIT is one of eighteen Research Technology and Development Centres of Excellence which have been established in Northern Ireland with support from Invest NI.

Speaking at the official opening of ECIT, Leslie Morrison, chief executive, Invest Northern Ireland said: The future of our economy depends on commercially focused innovation, a strong knowledge base and effective business education partnerships. By supporting Centres of Excellence such as ECIT, we can enhance the market driven technological capability of Northern Ireland businesses and universities, whilst exploiting the potential of new technologies and scientific advancements."

Notes to Editors: The institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) will be officially launched on Wednesday 25 May at 11.30am. Photographic opportunities will be available from 11.45pm and interviews can be conducted at 12.50pm.

The RTD Centres of Excellence Programme is delivered by Invest Northern Ireland. It is principally funded by the European Union Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (PEACE II), managed by the Special EU Programmes Body in partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning.

For further information contact: Communications, Queen's University, (028) 9097 5384

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'Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland' book launch

The first modern biography of Edward Carson, the major figure in Irish and British politics credited with the partition of Ireland in 1921 and the birth of Northern Ireland, is to be launched at The Bookshop at Queen's on Thursday 26 May at 5.30pm.

Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland is authored by Geoffrey Lewis, who has also written biographies of Lord Atkin and Lord Hailsham.

Edward Carson, born in Dublin in 1854, was a brilliant lawyer, whose cross-questioning of Oscar Wilde at his libel trial brought about Wilde's downfall. An inspiring orator and a heavyweight at Westminster, his defence of Unionism in the years before the First World War, and of the rights of Ulster, made a united Ireland a political impossibility.

Geoffrey Lewis' new book is the first examination of the man and his life to be published in 25 years.

Special guest at the book launch is A T Q Stewart, one of Ireland's foremost historians and the author of numerous books on Irish affairs, including his own 1981 Edward Carson and The Shape of Irish History.

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Notes: The book launch will take place 5.30-7.00pm at The Bookshop at Queen's. Media facilities will be available.

Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland is published by Hambledon and London and is on sale at £19.99.

For further information, contact: Tim Smyth, The Bookshop at Queen’s, 028 9066 6302

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Gregson urges global audience to claim virtual space for democracy

Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has called on policy-makers worldwide to "claim a space for democracy" in the global telecommunications revolution.

Professor Gregson was addressing a gathering of leading thinkers from around the world at the 7th Olympiad of the Mind - the intellectual counterpart to the Olympic Games - in Paris at the weekend.

The two-day meeting, on the theme of "Improving Global Welfare and Security via Communication", was organised by the International Science, Technology, Economics and Politics for Society (STEPS) Foundation.

In the opening address, entitled "A Shrinking World - A Growing Challenge?", Professor Gregson also urged the information communications industry internationally to tackle the economic and other challenges arising from spam and cybercrime.

The Vice-Chancellor's paper reviewed some of the technological challenges and opportunities arising from the explosion in global communications, their sociological implications, and the role of communications in a modern democracy.

He said: "The full power of the communications explosion has still to be effectively harnessed as a global force for the greater good.

"In aiming to exploit positively the potential of our increasingly virtual world, we also need to claim a space for democracy.

"I would therefore recommend the setting-up of on-line civic debating spaces, to assist citizens to become truly involved in decision-making.

"While these should be supported and facilitated by government, they must be independent and should not be controlled by any group or organisation with special interests. They would create neutral, public spaces which would generate genuinely participative decision-making and so renew and revitalise formal democracy."

Professor Gregson also said that it was essential to recognise that the growth in the amount of data available - to individuals, businesses and other organisations - has not resulted in a corresponding growth in the quality and usefulness of this information.

"Indeed, it is becoming more and more apparent that this largely unstructured upsurge in accessible data - and in particular the inexorable increase in unsolicited information - has led to a loss in business and economic productivity. Staff hours are increasingly consumed by the management of e-mail and, in particular, by uninvited and often unwelcome e-mail.

"Clearly we need to move to a more sophisticated era which emphasises quality and useful information content rather than simply volume of data. It will require a combination of both technical and sociological developments, including regulatory frameworks, to counter this challenge.

"I would therefore recommend that this Olympiad stresses the need for the information communications industry internationally to recognise this as a major issue.

"I would call on them to invest, as appropriate, in the ongoing collaborative development of a new generation of tools to filter misinformation and to liberate relevant information."

Professor Gregson also told the influential, international audience that, in his role as Vice-Chancellor of Queen's, he is already watching new and emerging technologies unfold which will play a leading role in healthcare, in business and commerce and in ensuring security of information.

He cited as examples the work taking place in the University’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), which will be officially opened on Wednesday.

The Olympiad proceedings will be published and disseminated among political, business, and academic institutions worldwide.

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

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Citizenship Education and Social Justice

Queen's University this week welcomes international delegates as educationists gather to take stock of current theory and practice in relation to citizenship education.

Part of the national curriculum delivered in UK primary and secondary schools citizenship education has significant potential in relation to addressing issues of social justice in the classroom: but many claim that its potential has to date been largely unrealised.

The seminar on 'Citizenship Education and Social Justice' taking place at Queen's University Belfast on Wednesday 25 May is jointly organised by the international Society for Educational Studies and the BERA Special Interest Group on Social Justice and is hosted by the Queen's Graduate School of Education.

Professor Tony Gallagher, one of the conference organisers at Queen's commented: "There has been a growing interest in citizenship education in many countries in recent years, but often this is little more than an uncritical focus on the mechanics of governance. This seminar, one of a series on the theme of social justice in education, will provide a critical appraisal of the role and purposes of citizenship education as well as the basic premises upon which it is based."

Dr Paul Connolly, also of the Queen's Graduate School of Education, will focus in his seminar talk on just what we want children to learn to be citizens of, especially in a divided community. He explains: "An appraisal of citizenship education is especially needed given recent national and international developments that have led to a renewed politicisation of the whole notion of citizenship and who is included and excluded as citizens within this. This is most evident in relation to the political aftermath of 9/11 but can also be seen in a number of national developments such as the introduction of citizenship tests and associated rituals within the UK and also the French decision to ban the hajib in public schools. Moreover, there are also fundamental problems relating to the very notion of citizenship education in regions such as Northern Ireland where there remain deep political divisions and where there is little consensus over what people desire to be citizens of."

Delegates will learn about the experience of speakers from a range of differing contexts. "The seminar has attracted massive interest and we are very pleased that some of the leading commentators on this topic from Britain and Ireland will be giving presentations," Professor Gallagher added. "We are also particularly pleased that Professor Ira Harkavy, from the University of Pennsylvania, will talk on the Role of Universities in Advancing Citizenship and Social Justice in the 21st Century."

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Notes: The seminar will take place in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen's University Belfast on Wednesday 25 May.

For further information, contact: Professor Tony Gallagher, 028 9097 5958; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Fertility expert Winston discusses way forward for NI science
President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Lord Robert Winston with Mervyn Farrell, from Queen's, chair of the Northern Ireland Science Education Forum, at the 'Science Futures' conference.
President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Lord Robert Winston with Mervyn Farrell, from Queen's, chair of the Northern Ireland Science Education Forum, at the 'Science Futures' conference.

Leading fertility expert, Lord Robert Winston will be visiting Queen's University today (Monday 23 May) to give his thinking on the way forward for science in Northern Ireland.

Lord Winston, one of the great popularisers of science on television, will be at the University in his role as president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA) which aims to make science accessible for all.

He will be the keynote speaker at the Sciences Future one day conference, organised by the Northern Ireland Science Education Forum and supported by the Astra-Zeneca Science Teaching Trust. It aims to be an initial step towards enhancing communication within the science community in Northern Ireland, hopefully leading towards a local strategy for the Province.

Among those attending will be Tracy Meharg, Invest Northern Ireland; Irvine Richardson, principal science inspector with the Education and Training Inspectorate; Dublin-based journalist Leo Enright, chairman of the Discover Science and Engineering in the Republic, and Professor Ian Montgomery, head of the School of Biology and Biochemistry at Queen's.

In his welcome Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen's Professor Ken Bell said he was delighted to welcome Lord Winston to the University which was highly supportive of the need to encourage a love of science and engineering throughout the education system.

"To many, science may seem remote from everyday life, but in fact it has an impact on all of us, every single day. What we want to do is nurture a love and interest in science, from the very young at primary school, to those involved in research at the highest level so that all our skills can be harnessed to improve the quality of life here and to make Northern Ireland more competitive and prosperous.

"To this end Queen's has been involved in numerous outreach projects involving hundreds of young people across Northern Ireland. Among the most successful are the Medics in Primary Schools initiative, Chemistry at Work, Horizons in Physics and the science conference for primary school children, Primary ConneXions," he said.

Note to Editors: 1. Lord Winston Lord Winston is Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London University, and Director of NHS Research and Development for Hammersmith Hospital, one of the UK's leading infertility research centres. Created a Life Peer in 1995, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for services to medicine and for broadcasting by Queen's University last year.

2. NISEF (The Northern Ireland Science Education Forum) Northern Ireland Science Education Forum was established by the Association for Science education (ASE) and NISTRO, the local SATRO/SETNET, now Sentinus, in the mid 1980s as a medium for the exchange of information and ideas between people and agencies in science education in Northern Ireland. Participating bodies included the science inspectorate, examining boards, science advisers, higher education science and education departments, science centres, Sentinus, ASE and science teachers.

3. The BA, locally represented by Sentinus, is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation dedicated to connecting science with people, so that science and its applications become accessible to all. The BA aims to promote openness about science in society and to engage and inspire people directly with science and technology and their implications.

4. Media opportunities. The conference will run from 9.30am to 3.15pm. Lord Winston will be speaking at 9.50am and media opportunities will be available between 10.30am and 11am.

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Leading statistician attends Queen's conference

The world's leading statistician will be the guest speaker at a major conference organised by Queen's University's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Professor Sir David Cox, from Nuffield College, Oxford, who received a knighthood for his work in cancer research, will give the keynote address today (Wednesday) entitled "From Public Policy to Particle Physics: Some Problems and Challenges". The event runs until Friday 20 May.

Located in Enniskillen's Manor House Hotel, the Conference on Applied Statistics in Ireland is held annually under the auspices of the Irish Statistical Association (ISA), and is the main forum in Ireland for methodological and Applied Statistics.

This year the conference is also celebrating its 25th anniversary. The event will also co-host a meeting of the Royal Statistical Society and the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland where the eminent Professor Sir Tony Atkinson, one of the world's leading economists and an expert in public economics will address "Measurement of Government Output and Productivity in National Accounts".

Other eminent keynote speakers will include Professor Alan Gelfand (Duke University,USA), Professor David Spiegelhalter (University of Cambridge), Professor Jane Hutton (University of Warwick) and Professor Andy Grieve (Pfizer).

During the three day conference around 100 delegates, including some from Jordan, Canada, USA, Luxembourg, Italy and Germany, will discuss the importance that statistics play in medical research.

For more information on the conference and the invited speakers please visit: http://www.am.qub.ac.uk/users/a.h.marshall/CASI05/welcome.html

Note to Editors: The conference begins at 2pm on Wednesday 18 May and Professor Cox will give his keynote address at 2.05pm. Media opportunities will be available for Professor Cox at the conference opening and between 6pm and 8pm for both Professor Cox and Professor Atkinson.

For further information contact: Dr Adele H Marshall, Department of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics, Telephone (028) 9097 3155

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National 'first' for former Queen's Senior Medical Officer
Dr Harland (centre) with Professor Sir Denis Pereira Gray, Past President of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Chair of the Rose Prize Committee (left) and William Shand, Master of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London.
Dr Harland (centre) with Professor Sir Denis Pereira Gray, Past President of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Chair of the Rose Prize Committee (left) and William Shand, Master of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London.

Queen's University's former Senior Medical Officer, Dr Robin Harland, has won a major national award at the age of 79.

He is the first winner of the Rose Prize, awarded jointly by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London and the Royal College of General Practitioners. This biennial prize aims to stimulate interest in, and increase knowledge of, the history of British general practice. Dr Harland received the award at a special ceremony in London last week.

"Throwing Light in Dark Places: GP Education in Northern Ireland 1920-1990 - A Study of the Use and Misuse of Power" was written specifically as his submission for the competition. The 8,000-word essay was based on the thesis for his PhD, which he received from Queen's in 2003.

Dr Harland said: "Naturally, I am delighted to have been awarded the Rose Prize. I am quite intrigued as to how competitive I still am. t my age I should have more sense! However, this study is a serious message for our profession and politicians alike. I do hope the future will learn from the past."

Dr Harland's study investigates the conflicts of power between the hospital consultants, the universities, the general practitioners, central and local government, and the pharmaceutical industry, as the profession sought to improve the education of its specialty of general practice both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Dr Roger Neighbour, RCGP President, said: "At a time when the NHS is being modernised, it’s good to be able to acknowledge the contribution of the past. The Rose Prize gives us a chance to celebrate medical history. The RCGP is delighted to have this opportunity for collaboration with the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London in this innovative project."

Mr William Shand, Master of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, added: "Dr Harland is a worthy first recipient of the newly inaugurated Rose Prize. Although the Prize is awarded for a topic related to the history of general practice, Dr Harland's submission raises many points of immediate relevance today to the education of the mainstay of the medical profession - the GP; and he is to be most warmly congratulated."

A 1948 Queen's graduate, Dr Harland was the University's Senior Medical Officer from 1970 to 1991. After retirement, he was elected to the University Senate, on which he served from 1992 until 2001. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University in 2002 and gained his PhD in 2003.

He also played an active role in other areas of University life, in particular in the field of sports. He was assistant manager of two touring sides of the QUB Rugby team and that club's President in 1972\3. He is a life-member of the Past Players Union of QUB Gaelic FC. Among his many achievements was the establishment of sports injury clinics at Queen's where he also introduced sports medicine to the undergraduate curriculum.

The Rose Prize commemorates William Rose, Apothecary of London, whose court case of 1701-04 established the legal foundation of general practice in England, and Fraser Rose, a co-founder of the Royal College of General Practitioners (1952).

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

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Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry launches new journal

The launch of a new literary journal, The Yellow Nib, is to be marked at Queen's University Belfast on Thursday 19 May.

The Yellow Nib is published by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, in association with Blackstaff Press, and is edited by poet Ciaran Carson, the Centre's Director.

"The title comes from the Seamus Heaney Centre's emblem, the blackbird," explains Ciaran Carson. "The aim of the journal is simple: to publish good writing, whether in poetry and prose."

This first issue of the journal includes work by Seamus Heaney, Jorge Luis Borges, emerging poets such as Maureen Boyle, and a mini-anthology of modern Polish poetry translated by Cathal McCabe, Director of the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin.

"The whole publication is a good read and we hope it brings the ethos of the Seamus Heaney Centre to the world at large," Ciaran Carson enthused.

A reception to celebrate the publication of The Yellow Nib will take place at 6pm on Thursday 19 May, 2005, hosted by the Institute of Irish Studies (53-67 University Road). Ciaran Carson and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, one of Ireland’s foremost women poets writing in Irish, will give readings. The journal will be published annually and is on sale at £7.

The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, opened in February 2004, is a world-class centre for literary excellence, and is giving a new and dynamic focus to Queen's University's contribution to the literary arts.

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For further information, contact: Professor Ciaran Carson, 028 9097 1074; or Abigail Vint, Blackstaff Press, 028 9073 0113

Notes: 1. Media facilities will be available at the launch of the new literary journal, The Yellow Nib at 6pm on Thursday 19 May, at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University, 53-67 University Road.

2. Cathal McCabe is a graduate of the Universities of York and Oxford. He has worked as a lecturer at the University of Lodz and as Literature Consultant with the British Council in Warsaw. He is currently Director of the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin. His poems have been published in numerous periodicals over the years, and a first collection is in preparation. He is also working on a study of Derek Mahon and an anthology of twentieth-century Polish poetry in English.

3.Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill's works include Astrakhan Cloak, Pharaoh's Daughter, Selected Poems, and Spionain is Roiseanna. Nuala has the distinction of being one of the few women Irish poets who writes exclusively in Irish and has been praised for her efforts to revitalize the Irish language in modern poetry.

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Sounds like Science at Queen's
Pupils from Ligoniel Primary School got the chance to make plenty of noise during their 'Sounds like Science' project which they will present during a two-day conference at Queen's University.
Pupils from Ligoniel Primary School got the chance to make plenty of noise during their 'Sounds like Science' project which they will present during a two-day conference at Queen's University.

Primary school children from across Northern Ireland will get the chance to show off their science knowledge during a special conference at Queen's University later this week.

Around 200 children from 20 schools will be taking part in the University's "Primary ConneXions" programme during a two-day science conference in the Peter Froggatt Centre.

The young delegates will get the opportunity to share their studies and research with other pupils from different primary schools and with an audience of invited scientists, engineers and educationalists.

This year's conference, entitled "Sounds Like Science", will focus on sound in the environment and takes place on 17 and 18 May. Now in its third year, Primary ConneXions was established as a key University outreach event and is supported by way of advocacy and practical advice, from school advisors in four different Education and Library board areas. The conference is organised and delivered by education consultants, Colin Press and Martin Brown, along with education advisors Peter McAlister (South Eastern Board), Joan Shine (Southern Board) Maura Hughes (North Eastern) and Gill Humes (Belfast).

Helping to co-ordinate the conference is Mervyn Farrell, special projects officer at the University's Regional Office, who said Queen's is keen to foster a practical interest in science and engineering among young schoolchildren.

 "Young children are fascinated by science and engineering and love to study the world around them. In a bid to encourage and preserve this level of interest, which can often be lost in later school years, this project encourages schools to use existing educational materials that are produced each year by schools and business," he said.

Principal of Ligoniel Primary School Claire Hillman, whose school has taken part in the initiative in the past, said it was marvellous for pupils to mix with others and learn from the other presentations.

"Being able to present to a large audience was a challenging and exciting opportunity for the pupils, who thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience," she said.

Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Gerry McCormac said: "The Primary ConneXions event is a superb demonstration of the effective links that can be forged between primary school children and the University. The confidence with which these 9 -11 year old pupils presented their findings and the quality of their project results, testify to the enormous potential that exists in all our schools."

Note to Editors: The "Sounds like Science" event will be held in the Peter Froggatt Centre on 17 and 18 May. Media opportunities will be available at 12.30pm.

The primary schools which are participating in the event are: Ballydown PS, Banbridge; Clea PS, Keady; The Cope PS, Loughgall; Markethill PS; St Colman's PS, Annaclone; St John's PS, Middletown; Balloran PS, Portadown; Our Lady's and St Mochua's PS, Derrynoose; Rathore School, Newry; Sperrinview Special School, Dungannon; Queen of Peace PS, Dunmurry; St Carnmoney PS, Newtownabbey; Ballyhenry PS, Newtownabbey; Rathcoole PS; St James' PS, Newtownabbey; Thornfield House School, Newtownabbey; St Nicholas' PS, Carrickfergus; Suffolk PS, Dunmurry; Taughmonagh PS; Ligoniel PS; St Teresa's PS, Glen Road; Stranmillis PS; Rosetta PS; Glenveagh School, Malone Road; Leadhill PS, Castlereagh.

For further information contact: Mervyn Farrell, Research and Regional Office, (028) 9097 5150.

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Breast cancer report reveals improved service

Patients with breast 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 (Friday), is the second in a series monitoring changes in cancer services recommended by Chief Medical Officer Dr Henrietta Campbell eight years ago.

It compares services provided in 1996 with those of 2001. Each year 877 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Northern Ireland and about 300 deaths are recorded, the number of deaths is falling as survival improves.

The report reveals 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 has 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.

"Waiting times were reduced and there was increased involvement in clinical trials. More women were referred to a breast care nurse indicating better availability of these services," said Cancer Registry director, Dr Anna Gavin.

The benefits of patient support groups were also praised in the report, which continued to stress the importance of early detection as one in 12 women had symptoms for more than one year.

The effects of the breast screening programme were evident with fewer women presenting with lumps as cancers were detected at an earlier stage. Survival improvements can only come about if patients are detected earlier. This report shows that the most common symptom of breast cancer was a lump, but breast pain, nipple discharge and skin changes were also common presenting symptoms.

The report concludes that although much change has taken place the process of specialisation of breast cancer services, was not fully complete by 2001 and further work needs to be done on this.

The report is being launched at a conference in the Waterfront Hall organised by the Royal Society of Medicine.

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. Dr Gavin is available for interview on Friday 13 May before 9.30am and after 1pm.

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U.S. think tank celebrates 20 years with cultural visit to Queen's

An influential American think tank has visited Queen's University for a major cultural event twenty years after its first visit. The California Irish Forum has arrived in Northern Ireland to mark the 20th anniversary of their first peace-seeking and fact-finding mission in 1985.

The Irish Forum was founded in San Francisco in 1980 by Irish-Americans who wanted to educate Americans about the Northern Ireland conflict.

The purpose of their 2005 agenda is to parallel that of 1985, with Forum members gaining direct perspectives on the many changes in Ireland, renewing acquaintances and affirming their commitment to peace in Northern Ireland.

A party of eighteen led by their Executive Director Patrick Goggins, includes senior lawyers, eminent physicians, educationalists, journalists and public service officials.

Commenting on the Forum's return to Queen's after 20 years Patrick Goggins said: "When Americans interested in Ireland might read that the place where young people growing up in the North could first meet someone from across the sectarian divide would be at Queen's University, we decided that we needed to go there.

"We wanted to get to know, understand, appreciate and maybe love somebody's ideas from the other side. This was the ultimate purpose of the Forum, hearing other's views.

"This return visit in 2005 fulfils an aspiration for a cultural exchange between San Francisco and Belfast at Queen's University and we are delighted to be here."

Hosting the Forum at Queen's, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac said: "I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to our American visitors. Their interest in the politics and cultural life of Northern Ireland has extended over more than 20 years. Their current proposal for an exchange programme between San Francisco and Belfast will ensure that there are ongoing links between the west coast of the United States and Northern Ireland.

"Queen's University continues to play a very significant role in the life of Northern Ireland through its contribution to the professions, the arts and culture, social development and economic prosperity of the region. It is heartening that the California Irish Forum recognise and put so much weight on the contribution this University makes to the fabric of society."

For further information contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 5323

Notes to Editors
The Forum's 20 year anniversary trip to Ireland runs from 8 May to 21 May 2005. Their schedule includes visits to Belfast, Portstewart, Derry, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

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Prestigious lecture series explores Christianity in England
An extract from the 1601 publication that inspired the structure for this year’s Wiles Lectures series by Dr Christopher Haigh at Queen’s University Belfast 17-20 May.
An extract from the 1601 publication that inspired the structure for this year’s Wiles Lectures series by Dr Christopher Haigh at Queen’s University Belfast 17-20 May.

Tuesday 17 May sees the delivery at Queen's University Belfast of the first in the annual series of Wiles Lectures in the History of Civilisation, which this year examines Christianity in Post-Reformation England.

The Wiles Lectures have been delivered each year since 1954, following the foundation of the Wiles Trust. Over the years they have become known amongst historians worldwide as one of the most prestigious of such series.

This year's Wiles lecturer is Dr Christopher Haigh of the School of Modern History at Christ Church College, University of Oxford. He has written about the Reformation in England, post-Reformation Protestantism and Catholicism, and Elizabethan politics. He is currently writing a book on religious belief and practice in England, 1559-1642, and researches most aspects of politics and religion in the period 1509 to 1642. He is the author of a number of works in this area including the book The English Reformation Revised.

The 2005 Wiles lecture series is entitled 'The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven: Kinds of Christianity in Post-Reformation England, 1570-1640'.

Dr Haigh explains the background to the four lectures that he is to deliver: "It was an honour to be asked to give the 2005 Wiles Lectures. I have been working for ten years on a big project on post­-Reformation popular religion in England: what ordinary people thought and did about God between roughly 1570 and 1640. This is to lead to publication in book form.

"In pondering how to carve out four Wiles lectures from my research, I found the answer in the work of Arthur Dent, an Essex preacher in the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1601 he published The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven - a fictional debate between four stereotypical characters about how to live a Christian life. I determined to adopt this structure and use each character as the focus of one lecture each. The characters are Theologus 'a divine', Philagathus 'an honest man', Asunetus 'an ignorant man', and Antilegon 'a caviller'."

Dr Haigh said that he will look at how each of these stereotypes was used in religious polemic and social discourse, and "how real people like them got along together in villages and towns. I will draw on court and visitation records from a dozen county record offices in southern England, and try to reconstruct the religious attitudes that influenced social interaction at the parish level."

Dr Haigh will be joined in discussion of his lectures by distinguished historians from around the world. His guests will include: Professor Eamon Duffy of the University of Cambridge; Professor John Bossy from the University of York; Professor David Cressy from Ohio State University; Drs Felicity Heal and Martin Ingram, both from Oxford University; Professor Peter Marshall of the University of Warwick; Dr Bill Sheils of the University of York; Dr Anthony Milton of the University of Sheffield; Professor Nicholas Tyacke of University College, London; and Dr Alexandra Walsham of the University of Exeter.

The Wiles Trust was founded by Mrs Austen Boyd of Craigavad, Co Down, in memory of her father, Thomas S. Wiles of Albany, New York. Its purpose is to encourage the extension of historical thinking into the realm of general ideas by inviting eminent scholars to deliver a series of lectures - normally four - relating their research to the general history of civilization.

Dr Haigh’s talks are as follows:

Tuesday 17 May
Lecture 1: ‘Theologus, a divine’: the preacher and his people

Wednesday 18 May
Lecture 2: ’Asunetus, an ignorant man’: knowledge and neglect

Thursday 19 May
Lecture 3. `’Philagathus, an honest man’: the professors and the profane

Friday 20 May
Lecture 4: ‘Antilegon, a caviller’: liberty and laughter.

The four lectures take place 5–6pm in Room G07 of the Peter Froggatt Teaching Centre at Queen's University. Members of the public are particularly welcome

End

For further information, contact: Professor Peter Jupp, School of History, Tel 028 9097 3426

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University boat race launched on Lagan
Local sponsor Mr Jim McMullan MD of Lomac Tiles with captains Chris Wylie of Queen's (left) and Richard Moore, from Trinity, at the launch of the University Boat Race.
Local sponsor Mr Jim McMullan MD of Lomac Tiles with captains Chris Wylie of Queen's (left) and Richard Moore, from Trinity, at the launch of the University Boat Race.

The official challenge between Queen's University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin took place yesterday at Queen's Boat Club on the River Lagan to launch the second University Boat Race.

This unique head to head rowing event, which mirrors the Oxford Cambridge Boat race, will take place on Saturday June 11 at 3pm with pre-event races at 1pm and 2pm. Last year Trinity took home the trophy beating Queen's by four lengths.

Local sponsor Mr Jim McMullan MD of Lomac Tiles was present at the Challenge and commented, "I was so encouraged by the success of the inaugural race that I am delighted to be continuing with this great sporting event and to add to the excitement this year we have included two more races, the novices and ladies."

Asked why he chose the River Lagan for a second year, Jim responded "I was guided by the captains here - both crews wanted to battle it out again on the same course against the same odds, just as Oxford and Cambridge always compete on the Thames. The Lagan also provides better vantage points for spectator viewing."

Crew captain for Queen's, Chris Wylie added "Last year's defeat has only spurred the squad on to train harder than ever and they are looking forward to proving it was only a one off. The head season so far this year has been dominated by Queen's and Trinity, so this year's event promises to be a bitterly contested race."

Trinity captain Richard Moore said: "Being a part of the very first University Boat Race was an experience that the Trinity crew will not forget. Although the Oxford and Cambridge boat race is in its 151st year and the Gannon Cup has been going for 50 years, the University Boat race stands for something extremely important here in Ireland and that is co-operation between North and South where friendships are forged through sport. We are all looking forward to this very exciting re-match."

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Fairtrade at Queen's University Highlighted

Queen's University along with its Students' Union is today hosting an event to raise awareness of Fairtrade among its students and staff.

The event marks the progress of Queen's and the Students' Union as they strive to achieve Fairtrade status for the University. The campaign is supported by local political representatives and Belfast City Council. Guest speakers will include Suzie Hamilton from Oxfam and Hugh Gilmartin from Bewley's.

Organising the event, Student Union President Maria McCloskey said: "Fairtrade is an issue which has been on the agenda at Queen's for some time now. Already Queen's provides Fairtrade products in all its catering outlets and actively encourages staff and students to buy the products. We also highlight the issues and implications of the Fairtrade Campaign.

"This event is all about highlighting the Fairtrade Campaign so that we may continue in our efforts to educate the Queen's Community about the importance and value of this work."

Supporting the event, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac said: "Queen's University is fully committed to the Fairtrade Campaign. In today's commercially driven world producers often see very little profit from their produce. Third world farmers are particularly vulnerable to commercial exploitation. They need the support that Fairtrade can offer to ensure that a fair price is paid for their produce.

"By buying Fairtrade products we are ensuring that production costs are covered and that a small profit is returned to farmers. This enables communities to develop and provides schooling, basic amenities and a decent quality of life for these vulnerable people."

Staff and students at Queen's are committed to raising awareness of Fairtrade and its ethos. Today's event is one of a range of initiatives organized through the Students' Union in association with the University to promote Fairtrade products. The Students' Union at Queen's has produced a poster and a website to highlight its efforts to encourage the purchase of Fairtrade products.

For further information contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 5323
Website address www.qubfairtrade.com  

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Queen's researcher is FameLab finalist
Queen's University researcher David Booth who is through to the finals of FameLab on 11 June in Cheltenham.
Queen's University researcher David Booth who is through to the finals of FameLab on 11 June in Cheltenham.

A Queen's University researcher is in the finals of a nationwide science competition to find the next face of science communication.

Belfast's David Booth (29), who is a postdoctoral researcher in evolutionary genetics in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, could be the next David Attenborough or Johnny Ball, if he wins the final of FameLab next month.

Billed as the science equivalent of Pop Idol, FameLab challenges entrants by giving them just three minutes to impress a panel of judges with an entertaining and informative talk on a scientific subject for a non-scientific audience.

"I've always has a keen interest in science and was keen to discover how my interpretation of science and communication skills would go down in front of an audience and judges, " said David, who researches population genetics of peat bog plants.

David's presentation was on the science of fear - a topic that impressed FameLab judge and W5 director, Dr Sally Montgomery.

"In the midst of a high calibre of entrants, David's presentation on fear captured the imagination of the audience. In the second round he gave an entertaining talk on cryogenics. He's a confident communicator, who without using any props, successfully engaged the audience and held their attention.

"I wish David well as he represents Northern Ireland in the national finals and his quest for the title that could make him the new face of science communication."

David will now receive two days of intensive training before travelling to the Cheltenham Science Festival on 11 June to compete with the 11 other regional winners for the FameLab title, when the judges will include leading fertility expert Lord Robert Winston and author and broadcaster Simon Singh.

The lucky winner will win broadcasting time on Channel 4 and £2,000 prize money.

FameLab is the brainchild of the Cheltenham Science Festival in partnership with NESTA (The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and supported by Pfizer, The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4.

For further information contact: David Booth, Tel: 07968 369 349

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Queen's provides EU awareness training for Northern Ireland Civil Servants

An important new, comprehensive EU Awareness Training scheme for Northern Ireland civil servants is underway at Queen’s University. Organised by the School of Politics and International Studies at Queen’s, the specially tailored two-day programmes have been devised by Senior Lecturer David Phinnemore, in conjunction with the Civil Service’s Centre for Learning and Development and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Dr Phinnemore and his colleagues work from the research intensive European Studies group within the School, which achieved a 5A rating in the 2001 University Research Assessment Exercise. They will impart their expertise on EU policies, institutions and decision-making processes to civil servants working here on European issues.

Dr Phinnemore said: “approximately 60 per cent of our legislation comes from, or has been influenced by Brussels. In order that issues and interests affecting the region are taken into consideration at European level, it is imperative that Northern Ireland’s civil servants engage in the policy-making process: they need to play an active role in formulating legislation not just in implementing it.

“The expansion of the EU to a membership of twenty-five and, possibly in 2007, a membership of twenty-seven, means that ensuring a presence for Northern Ireland in EU policy debates will become increasingly difficult. The aim of the Awareness Training programme is to arm them with the knowledge, and equip them with the skills, to do this best.”

Included in the awareness training programme are seminars on the EU institutions such as the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council; policy areas such as the Common Agricultural Policy; and methods for influencing the policy-making process. Also included in the programme is a session on the Draft Constitutional Treaty which, if ratified by the UK and the other EU member states, will have binding effect on Northern Ireland.

The programme taking place this week, on 9 May, coincides with Schuman Day otherwise known as Europe Day, which was adopted by EU member states in celebration of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950. On this day the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made a proposal which led to the creation of what is now the European Union.

For more information on the EU Awareness Training Programme contact: Dr David Phinnemore or Catherine Madden in the School of Politics and International Studies on 02890 973449.

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'Body Mind Spirit' winners announced
Competition judges Professor Jean Orr, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Professor Rod Hay, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, with prizewinners Hazel Neill (second right) and Bob Sloan at the preview of the Body Mind Spirit exhibition in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University.
Competition judges Professor Jean Orr, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Professor Rod Hay, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, with prizewinners Hazel Neill (second right) and Bob Sloan at the preview of the Body Mind Spirit exhibition in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University.

Three Co Down artists have scooped the top prizes in a competition organised by Queen's University's Naughton Gallery.

Hazel Neill, from Killinchy, won first prize of £2,000 in the Body Mind Spirit competition, sponsored by the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery. Carryduff's Bob Sloan took the £1,000 second prize while third prize went to Jean West, from Newtownards, who picked up a cheque for £500.

The competition – the fourth organised by the Naughton Gallery - took as its theme the historic links between artists and health in the light of contemporary practice.

Healthcare in the 21st century is characterised by the growing recognition of the importance of the relationship between body, mind and spirit. This is within the context of delivering health care to an increasing older population at one end of the spectrum and sustaining the life of a premature new born at the other.

While the technical aspects of care are increasing there is a need for those delivering health care to be mindful of the unique nature of each individual and to ensure that care is given in a manner that reflects human dignity and respect.

Hazel's winning entry was a digital print entitled 'Restore', while Bob's featured a carved stone and bronze sculpture entitled 'Caring'. Jean's entry was a photograph entitled 'Hospital Series # 3'.

"We had a great response to the competition from artists across the whole range of contemporary art practice," commented Shan McAnena, Naughton Gallery curator.

"Over 80 artists entered and the work of 32 has been short-listed for the exhibition. These pieces respond to health in the broadest sense, and cover all aspects of contemporary art practice – including lens-based media, sculpture, painting, print-making, mixed media and textiles."

Professor Jean Orr, head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said the School was delighted to be sponsoring the competition, which aims to reflect a broad range of issues affecting both healthcare professionals and members of the public in the 21st century.

The competition judges were Professor Rod Hay, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Jean Orr and Dr Brian Kennedy, head of the Division of Fine & Applied Art at the Ulster Museum.

The exhibition will continue in the Gallery until 30 July.

For further information contact: Shan McAnena, Curator of Art, (028) 9097 1034

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Queen's and DARDNI lead European pig virus project

A major 5.5 million euro research project, headed and co-ordinated by a team of researchers from the DARDNI Science Service and Queen's University, will attempt to find the cause of, and a cure for, a new pig disease which has been spreading across Europe (and Northern Ireland), the USA and the Far East with devastating effects.

Co-ordinated by Dr Gordon Allan, from the Veterinary Sciences Division of DARDNI and the Department of Veterinary Sciences at Queen's, the project involves 15 partners from eight different countries, including the USA and Canada, and will bring together experts to look at porcine cirovirus diseases (PCVD), which have emerged recently within the European Union with disastrous consequences for both pig welfare and the pork industry.

This EU-funded project will compliment and expand an existing 300,000 euro Higher Education Authority-funded Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland programme of collaborative research on this disease between Queen's, DARDNI and Dublin City University.

Costing EU pig producers losses in excess of 600 million euro every year and forcing some producers out of business, the diseases target the pig immune systems. Symptoms include a slower growth rate, lingering disease and immune dysfunction. This results in affected herds having a greatly increased incidence of secondary bacterial infection, such as salmonella.

In a bid to tackle the symptoms the use of antibiotics is substantially increased and leads to a reduction in the quality of the meat.

During the three-and-a-half year project the multidisciplinary group, featuring experts from a range of related disciplines, will try to understand more about the virus and how it interacts with the pig immune system in a bid to control the disease through vaccination and/or improved husbandry practices.

Having examined a range of aspects including epidemiology, pig genetics, nutrition, pathology, immunology, vaccinology and bacteriology, the team will create control measures across the EU member states leading to a reduction of the use of antibiotics which will meet consumer concerns for the quality and safety of pork and pork products.

It is hoped that this research project will be expanded under QUB/DARDNI co-ordination in 2005 under a 500,000 euro Strategic Support Action (SSA) to incorporate the new EU member states and accession countries in Eastern Europe. This SSA is currently under review in Brussels.

Meanwhile, Dr Allan and his team at VSD are also involved in a second EU-funded project aimed at developing new diagnostic tests in the fight against nine pig diseases, including FMD and classical swine fever.

This 1.5 million euro project called Lab-on-Site is being co-ordinated by the National Veterinary Institute in Sweden and brings together nine partners across Europe, who will work together to develop tests for use inside and outside the EU.

The project will develop new tests for reference laboratories that are based on cutting edge technology and also simple, easy to use and inexpensive dipstick tests that can be used by field veterinarians, abattoirs and simply equipped laboratories, with a view to eventually eradicating the diseases.

Funding for these EU projects was made under the Sixth EU Framework initiative.

Note to Editors: The PDVD project will include experts from Northern Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and USA.

For further information contact: Dr Gordon Allan, Telephone, 0044 2890 525679

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Focus on human rights abuse at international Queen's conference

A number of Europe's most influential human rights lawyers and political scientists are to join local experts from the Queen’s University Belfast Schools of Politics and International Studies and Law on 20 May to explore recent challenges to international law and European human rights law in global politics.

German human rights lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck of Berlin, will attend: earlier this year he filed for Criminal Indictment with the German General Prosecutor against US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others for war crimes perpetrated against Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib Detention Centre. The particular history and meaning of the German ‘World Law Principle’ applied in this case will be discussed in the UK for the first time at the Queen’s event.

The event has been organised by Professor Antje Wiener, Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and Professor Colin Harvey, Director of the Human Rights Centre in the School of Law. It is sponsored by the Centre of European Studies and the Cluster of International Relations within Queen’s School of Politics and International Studies, as well as the Human Rights Centre in the Law School.

“We have invited experts from Canada, the USA, Germany, GB and Northern Ireland to take part in a stimulating and topical debate on a range of challenges to international law and how individual countries react in these crisis situations,” Professor Wiener commented. “The discussions will focus on the implementation and contested interpretation of human rights norms, the principle of non-intervention and the UN Convention against Torture.”

Professor Wiener added that the 20 May also marks the first major event of the ‘Cluster of International Relations’ within Queen’s: “This represents a strong working group of internationally-respected academics within the Schools of Law and Politics and International Studies who together offer expertise on most regions of the world.”

Entitled ‘Global Norms under Siege’ the symposium presents eight cutting edge papers, and panel discussions on instances of international security, human rights abuse, torture and state crime around the world.

Further details on the symposium programme can be found at: www.qub.ac.uk/SchoolofPoliticsInternationalStudies/NewsEvents/SchoolEvents  

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

Notes:

  1. Media are invited to meet and interview participants at 11am or between 2-2.30pm on 20 May at the Institute of Governance, 63 University Road. Among those speaking are: Wolfgang Kaleck (who filed the Criminal Indictment against Donald Rumsfeld); Michael Bothe (who sat on the Donald Rumsfeld panel); Damian Chalmers of the London School of Economics; Jeff Huysman of the Open University; Professors Kieran McEvoy, Colin Harvey and Antje Wiener of Queen’s University.
  2. The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence/ The Centre for European Studies. The Centre for European Studies serves as a focal point for research and teaching concerned with both the European Union and the broader historical and cultural processes which have shaped contemporary Europe. In 1998 the European Commission recognised the Institute's achievements when it designated Queen's as one of the first twenty-five Jean Monnet European Centres of Excellence in the European Union. The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence currently hosts two Jean Monnet Chairs, one on European Foreign and Security Policy, held by Dr David Phinnemore; and one on European Politics held by Professor Antje Wiener. The Centre is at the heart of a thriving research culture encompassing a broad spectrum of interests.
  3. The Human Rights Centre at Queen’s aims to support a community of researchers in the area of human rights and to promote other academic and human rights organisations, so as to produce scholarship of excellence in this field. Colin Harvey was appointed its Director in January 2005.

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Queen's Vice-Chancellor becomes IEI Fellow
Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, who was recently awarded the Fellowship of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, demonstrates the use of the School of Aeronautical Engineering's aircraft simulator. The School recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Queen's University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, who was recently awarded the Fellowship of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, demonstrates the use of the School of Aeronautical Engineering's aircraft simulator. The School recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Queen's University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has been awarded the title Fellowship of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland.

The largest professional body in Ireland, it has 17,000 members in all engineering disciplines throughout the island of Ireland, in Britain and many other parts of the world.

Professor Gregson received his award, by presidential invitation, during the Institution's annual conferring of titles ceremony at the Helix, in Dublin City University. The award was presented by President of the IEI Paddy Caffrey.

The title of Fellow is the most senior grade of membership offered by the Institution. It is a grade of distinction which is conferred by the Council on Chartered Engineers (of a minimum of 5 years) who have achieved distinction in the profession and who hold or have held senior positions with major responsibilities.

Professor Gregson graduated with a first-class degree in Materials Science at Imperial College London and went on to earn a PhD before being appointed to the academic staff at the University of Southampton.

Appointed to a personal Chair in 1996, he was awarded the prestigious Rosenhain Medal and Prize of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining the same year, and elected a Fellow of the Institute in 1998. In 2000 he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2001 and appointed to the governing body of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils in 2003.

He took up his post as President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast in 2004.

For further information contact: Communications, (028) 9097 3091

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Queen's art exhibition links arts and medicine

A new exhibition will open in Queen's University's Naughton Gallery later this week, featuring short-listed entries to an open art competition sponsored by the School of Nursing & Midwifery. It is the fourth annual competition organised by the Naughton Gallery.

Entitled Body Mind Spirit the competition took as its theme the historic links between artists and health in the light of contemporary practice.

Healthcare in the 21st century is characterised by the growing recognition of the importance of the relationship between body, mind and spirit. This is within the context of delivering health care to an increasing older population at one end of the spectrum and sustaining the life of a premature new born at the other.

While the technical aspects of care are increasing there is a need for those delivering health care to be mindful of the unique nature of each individual and to ensure that care is given in a manner that reflects human dignity and respect.

"We had a great response to the competition from artists across the whole range of contemporary art practice," commented Shan McAnena, Naughton Gallery curator.

"Over 80 artists entered and the work of 32 has been short-listed for the exhibition. These pieces respond to health in the broadest sense, and cover all aspects of contemporary art practice – including lens-based media, sculpture, painting, print-making, mixed media and textiles."

Professor Jean Orr, head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said the School is delighted to be sponsoring the competition, which aims to reflect a broad range of issues affecting both healthcare professionals and members of the public in the 21st century.

Prizes of £2,000, £1,000 and £500 will be awarded to the three winners selected by the judging panel at the exhibition preview on 3 May, between 6pm and 8pm. The judges this year are Professor Rod Hay, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Jean Orr and Dr Brian Kennedy, head of the Division of Fine & Applied Art at the Ulster Museum.

The exhibition will continue in the Gallery until 30 July.

Note to Editors: The exhibition preview will be held on Tuesday 3 May in the Naughton Gallery between 6pm and 8pm. Photocalls with the artists will take place at 5.30pm and the winners will be announced around 6.45pm.

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Northern Ireland must compete on world stage - Gregson

Queen's and Northern Ireland must compete with the best in the world if the local economy is to thrive, the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, has said.

Outlining his vision for the future of Queen's in the University's annual review, published today, the Vice-Chancellor said: "Queen's has set itself an ambitious aim of building on strong foundations to establish itself as a global force in research and teaching.

"By fuelling the knowledge-based economy, Queen’s is perfectly placed to help Northern Ireland realise its ambitions to develop a strong and dynamic social, political and cultural life for all its people. It is by being globally competitive that Northern Ireland’s economy will thrive, creating wealth for all its citizens."

He added: "The new Vision for Queen's focuses on the development of a research and education portfolio which is competitive with the best in the world; the creation of powerful international connections; and strengthening the University’s leadership role in Northern Ireland and beyond.

"The Vision will promote a spirit of creativity, enterprise and innovation enabling the University to play a larger role in the global higher education market."

"In doing this, Queen's will reinforce Northern Ireland's international profile and underpin sustainable economic development. It will enable us at Queen's to build on our track record of cutting-edge research by allowing us to develop world-class centres of research and education across the full range of subject disciplines and to boost our reputation for innovation and excellence."

The Vice-Chancellor said that new structures recently agreed by the University, will place great emphasis on academic leadership, and ensure clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability.

Already one of the biggest employers in Northern Ireland – with 3,500 staff – the University is also one of the most significant investors in its capital infrastructure.

Underpinning the Vision is a £200 million building programme which will make Queen's campus the envy of its peers nationally and internationally, and which will enhance the 'Queen's Experience' for future generations of students.

Professor Gregson said: "Students are the lifeblood of Queen's. They are tomorrow's leaders, making a crucial contribution to life in Northern Ireland and around the world."

The University's annual review, published as a supplement in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter, provides an insight into life and work at Queen's, and the University's ambitious plans for the future.

Contents include profiles of Professor Gregson and Panos Lioulias, Chief Executive of Queen's technology transfer company, Qubis Ltd; features on the University's research on the potential of "emotional" computers, its major capital development programme, student sports achievements, cultural developments and its role in the community.

Copies of the annual review can be obtained from the Communications Office, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, BT7 1NN, telephone 028 9097 3091. More information about Queen’s is available from the University's website at www.qub.ac.uk

For further information contact: Kevin Mulhern, Tel 07813 015431 Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Making "Connections" with Architecture

Architecture students from Queen's University and 235 Belfast primary school pupils have joined forces to learn more about design and the built environment.

Following on the success of last year's pilot initiative entitled "Connections 2004", the School of Architecture has teamed up once again with four Belfast primary schools to help youngsters explore the links between architectural design and a number of curriculum subjects.

The project marks the second year of a partnership between Queen's Architecture and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which supported the initiative with a £7,500 Development Fund grant, in line with the Arts Council's promotion of architecture in the field of education.

Project co-ordinator, Brendan Carabine, from the School of Architecture, said the initiative forms part of the Design and Communication studio project work at stage two of the BSc (Hons) in Architecture.

 "A total of 66 students work in teams with 9 classes of primary seven pupils who will 'learn by doing' in a series of practical workshops.As well as developing skills in English and Design & Technology the project should increase awareness of built environment issues among teachers and schoolchildren by making connections between architecture and Geography, History, Mathematics, Science and Art and Design at key stage two in the National Curriculum," he explained.

During the workshops pupils will be able to create architectural drawings, models and structures, which will help their team work skills, as well as build confidence and encourage some of them to think about design-related careers.

"The architecture students also benefit by developing their creative ideas and knowledge and build confidence and experience through explaining design concepts to children in language they can understand," he said.

To mark the culmination of the project students and pupils will unite for a grand finale in the Whitla Hall on Wednesday 4 May. During the event the school children will get the chance to prepare posters for displays, with the help of the stage 2 tutors, the Arts Council's Architecture and Public Art Officer and volunteers from the Royal Society of Ulster Architects.

"The event will bring diverse groups of children from different communities across the city into a single environment to learn from each other and offers an exciting opportunity to be involved in university life," said Mr Carabine.

Note to Editors: The Connections outreach project has been run successfully in Birmingham for the past 12 years. This is the second year that it has been delivered at Queen's. The schools taking part in Connections 2005 are: Cranmore Integrated Primary, Holy Rosary Primary, St Bride's Primary and Stranmillis Primary.

The grand finale will be held in the Sir William Whitla Hall at Queen's on Wednesday 4 May from 9.30am to 11.45am. Media opportunities are available at 11.45am.

For further information, contact: Brendan Carabine, School of Architecture, (028) 9097 4214, email: b.carabine@qub.ac.uk

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Nick Laird reading at Queen's

The series of exciting book launches, poetry readings and lectures hosted by the Queen’s University Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry continues, with the visit on 5 May by one of the UK’s most hotly tipped new poets and authors, Nick Laird. The Centre’s Director, Professor Ciaran Carson, will also give his inaugural public lecture on 4 May.

Nick Laird will read from his first published collection of poems, To A Fault, in the Queen’s Visitors’ Centre on Thursday 5 May at 7pm. His eagerly-anticipated new novel, Utterly Monkey, is also published in May.

Born in Cookstown, Co Tyrone in 1975, Nick Laird entered the legal profession after Cambridge University, leaving the law at the end of 2003 to write full-time. He has been recently described as one of the brightest new lights on the poetry scene and is the winner of a prestigious poetry Eric Gregory Award in 2004. The publication in January this year of his debut collection, To A Fault, (Faber & Faber) marks the arrival of a significant talent.

Also at the 5 May event, American poet Anne Rouse will read from her most recent collection. Currently Writer-in-Residence at St Mary's University College, Belfast, Anne Rouse was born in Washington DC and grew up in Virginia. After reading History at the University of London, she worked as a general and psychiatric nurse, before becoming a freelance writer. She has published three collections of poetry with Bloodaxe: Sunset Grill (1993) and Timing (both Poetry Book Society Recommendations – and, most recently, The School of Night (2004).

The event is to be hosted in association with publishers Bloodaxe Books and Faber & Faber, and also with Poetry Ireland.

Ciaran Carson, Professor of Poetry at Queen’s and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry commented: “The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry is giving a new and dynamic focus to the University’s contribution to the literary arts. As part of this, we have a strong and vibrant programme of regular events that are open to the public. I am delighted to welcome two very exciting and talented young writers to the University on 5 May.”

Ciaran Carson, will himself be giving his inaugural lecture as Professor of Poetry the evening before (4 May), entitled ‘Whose Woods These Are...: Some Aspects of Poetry and Translation’.

“In this lecture I will take Robert Frost's poem On Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening as a paradigm of the difficulties, and serendipities, which occur to both the maker of poems and of translations,” Professor Carson explains. “I will trace connections between that poem and some of my own translations: of the Inferno of Dante, of poems by Seán Ó Riordáin and Brian Merriman, and of Baudelaire. The lecture will be a personal journey beginning with my bilingual upbringing in Belfast.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend Professor Carson’s lecture, to take place at 5pm on Wednesday 4 May in the Harty Room in the Queen’s School of Music, and the reading event on 5 May.

Notes:

  1. Media photographic opportunities will be available on 5 May in the Visitors’ Centre at 7pm. For further information, or interview requests, please contact: The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, 028 9097 1074 2.
  2. Nick Laird’s first novel, Utterly Monkey, is to be published by Fourth Estate in May. It is a funny, energetic and uplifting novel about where we are from and where we’d like to get to that centres on a young lawyer working in a top London law firm over an intense five-day period. Times reviewer Jane Shilling concluded I her review of 23 April that “Utterly Monkey is the real thing, a novel rich in both achievement and promise, by a writer who can actually write”.
  3. The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, opened in February 2004, is a world-class centre for literary excellence, named after one of Queen’s University’s and Northern Ireland’s most famous sons, poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney.

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