06-2005 Press Releases

30/6/2005: Queen's opens refurbished genetics unit at RVH
29/06/2005: Film students' talents on show
29/06/2005: Queen's opens up new dialogue with local schools
29/06/2005: Queen's celebrates sporting excellence
28/06/2005: Greek art to the fore in Belfast
27/06/2005: Queen's spin out company gives medics head start
23/06/2005: Queen's astromoners wait for cosmic collision
23/06/2005: Queen's Library fund nearly there with 2000th donation from Barclays
22/06/2005: Queen's conference explores arts-based educational research
22/06/2005: Queen's welcomes new Charter for Women in Science
22/06/2005: Queen's opens �9 million physics centre
21/06/2005: O'Neill leads team of Honorary Graduates at Queen's
20/06/2005: Queen's researchers examine if fruit and veg prevent eye disease
20/06/2005: Jobs boost for graduates
16/06/2005: Artist David Mach visits Belfast
16/06/2005: Chinese Higher Education delegation visits Queen's
15/06/2005: New web TV for Queen's nursing students
15/06/2005: Nutrition Society focuses on vitamins and minerals
15/06/2005: Research examines the golden jubilee of the 1916 Easter Rising
15/06/2005: Exhibition explores notion of forgiveness
15/06/2005: Mystery Man? Report from the Men's Life and Times Survey
14/06/2005: Sign up now for Queen's University professional development courses
14/06/2005: Queen's launches new School of Agri-Food and Land Use
14/06/2005: Bike to Work Week at Queen's
13/06/2005: Artist David Mach visits Belfast
09/06/2005: Report published on older people in Northern Ireland - the 'angry generation'
07/06/2005: Learning Lessons? The future of Human Rights Commissions
06/06/2005: New developments in medical polymers
06/06/2005: Magnificent seven in running for top sports award at Queen's


Queen's opens refurbished genetics unit at RVH
At the opening of newly refurbished genetics unit labs are (seated) Professor Anne Hughes, who leads the Medical Genetics team, with guest speakers Professor Mike Doherty and Professor Irwin McLean (standing). Included is Mr Colin Willoughby, senior lecturer/consultant in Ophthalmology.

At the opening of newly refurbished genetics unit labs are (seated) Professor Anne Hughes, who leads the Medical Genetics team, with guest speakers Professor Mike Doherty and Professor Irwin McLean (standing). Included is Mr Colin Willoughby, senior lecturer/consultant in Ophthalmology.
At the opening of newly refurbished genetics unit labs are (seated) Professor Anne Hughes, who leads the Medical Genetics team, with guest speakers Professor Mike Doherty and Professor Irwin McLean (standing). Included is Mr Colin Willoughby, senior lecturer/consultant in Ophthalmology.

Researchers at Queen's University who have been working on genetic diseases affecting vision, bones and joints, have celebrated the refurbishment of new labs in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The Medical Genetics team, led by Professor Anne Hughes, has developed a research programme to identify the genes responsible for disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of irreversible blindness, and osteoarthritis (OA), a condition which requires hip replacement. Both can develop in late to middle age. The team is also examining rare inherited diseases of similar type but which occur at an earlier age.

The main interest in ophthalmic genetics is aimed at identifying those who are susceptible to AMD. Projects involving several hundred patients and their families are already underway, in collaboration with Professor Usha Chakravarthy and Miss Julie Silvestri in the Centre for Vision Science at Queen's. Genes for corneal and retinal diseases have also been mapped at Queen's, with ongoing research to identify pathogenic mutations.

Northern Ireland has a high rate of osteoarthritis and families with several arthritic relatives from Northern Ireland and Nottingham are taking part in a study to find the causes of this problem. The work is being carried out in collaboration with Rheumatology and with Orthopaedic Surgery, both at Musgrave Park Hospital, and with Professor Mike Doherty, from Nottingham University, who was one of the guest speakers at the official opening of the labs.

Medical Genetics was established by Prof Norman Nevin in the early 1970s and at first the clinical work was based in the Royal Victoria Hospital, with laboratories in Queen's at the Medical Biology Centre site. When the Tower Block opened in Belfast City Hospital the department moved there in its entirety, but increasing numbers of NHS staff and lack of sufficient space in recent years led to separation of the NHS and University parts.

A symposium was held to mark the opening of the newly refurbished facilities for the Queen's academic unit, which is now based on the Royal Victoria Hospital site within the Pathology building. Medical Genetics has strong links with the Queen's Centre for Vision Science located nearby in the Institute of Clinical Science.

Guests at the event heard from both Professor Mike Doherty and Professor Irwin McLean, from Dundee University, a Queen's graduate, who started his scientific career in Medical Genetics here. He has an international reputation in skin genetics and is now investigating novel possibilities for gene therapy of inherited problems.

For further information contact: Professor Anne Hughes, (028) 9063 2718

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Film students' talents on show

A special end of year screening showcasing the creative talents of Queen's University film students will be held at QFT this Thursday afternoon (30 June).

The event, which has been organised by the Film Studies department, will feature five short films as well as a photographic exhibition of students’ work.

All five films are very different and reflect the diverse interests of the students.

Karalja is one of those films. It tells the moving story of a young Irish student who discovers from his Finnish grandmother the tragic story of the expulsion of the Finns from Karelia during World War 2. In this 12 minute short film the young man also learns that his family had always yearned to return to Karelia but never had the opportunity.

Bush Comes to Belfast is two six-minute pieces that takes an irreverent look at the visit of US President George W Bush to Hillsborough and Tracks and Traces focuses on a film student who plans to make a film on a single parent and her daughter but ends up discovering many unanswered questions about her own life.

Homesick deals with the difficult choices faced by a student who on finishing his studies in England is reluctant to return to his conservative home.

In addition to the short film screenings the photographic exhibition Rituals of Time and Place has been produced in association with Belfast Exposed and will be on show in the QFT lobby. I

t is hoped the event, which starts at 4.45pm, will draw attention to the work of this new generation of film makers who have cultivated their talents while studying at Queen's.

For further information contact: QFT on 028 9097 1097 or Queen’s Communications Office on 028 9097 3087.

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Queen's opens up new dialogue with local schools

Queen's University aims to forge even stronger links with schools in Northern Ireland as it implements its ambitious Vision for the Future, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said last night.

Addressing the University's first dinner for head teachers, the Vice-Chancellor said: "Queen’s connections with your schools - from which we recruit around 90 per cent of our students - are strong and deep. These have been built up over many years and have resulted in a stream of many excellent students coming to the University.

"I hope that tonight's event will help us to build on this special relationship. The aim of this dinner is to open up a new dialogue with you at a very exciting time in the University's history. The Vision for Queen's will ensure our position as an international centre of academic excellence serving the whole of Northern Ireland."

The Vice-Chancellor said the University's track record of achievement is reflected in a range of new initiatives which see the development of world-class centres of research excellence across the full range of disciplines. It is also underlined by its teaching quality, as measured by independent assessments.

"Our academic performance is proof, if proof were needed, that students from Northern Ireland who want a first-class university education do not have to leave these shores to get it."

Describing Queen's as "a student-centred university", Professor Gregson said: "We aim to create an environment where our students - the leaders of tomorrow - can achieve their full potential, and work closely with us in creating a brighter and better society.

"We believe that the most able students in Northern Ireland, from whatever background, require the highest quality education that can be provided.

"This is the main reason why we welcome the new funding arrangements for higher education in Northern Ireland. These new arrangements will mean the end of up-front tuition fees - a deterrent to many potential students. The additional revenue to the University will support the provision of a world-class educational experience for our students."

The Vice-Chancellor also told the head teachers that Queen's is committed to instilling a strong sense of social responsibility in its students.

He said: "To this end, we are working with a range of agencies to deal with the challenges of student behaviour.

"Significant developments in this area in the months ahead will see the appointment of a new community relations officer to work with students and the communities in which they live, the introduction of a community warden scheme, and the second phase, in September, of a successful awareness-raising campaign."

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

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Queen's celebrates sporting excellence
Martin McGrath with Ulster Bank representative Andrew Healy, Pamela Ballantine, Master of Ceremonies and Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson.
Martin McGrath with Ulster Bank representative Andrew Healy, Pamela Ballantine, Master of Ceremonies and Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson.
Clare O'Connell with (from left) Ulster Bank representative Andrew Healy, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson and Denis Clarke.
Clare O'Connell with (from left) Ulster Bank representative Andrew Healy, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson and Denis Clarke.

Special Achievement Sports Awards and Blues Awards were presented at the recent Queen's University Blues Awards Dinner, which is supported by the Ulster Bank.

The awards presented were:

Sports Achievement Individual Award was presented to Martin McGrath from Fermanagh for Men's Gaelic Football.

Martin McGrath is a born leader, he has captained Fermanagh at minor, under21 and senior levels, and the Queen's Sigerson team that were beaten in the final of the competition this year. He was a Railway Cup winner with Ulster and an All-Ireland Championship semi-finalist with Fermanagh in 2004. He represented his country in the International Rules Series and has many individual awards to his name such as: Irish News Ulster All Star Award, Cormac McAnallen Irish News Ulster Player of the year, GAA Writers Ulster Player of the Year, Vodafone GAA All Star. He was a recipient of a gold award through the Queen's GAA Academy this year.

Sports Achievement Team Award to the Queen's Basketball Men's Club.

The men's basketball team won the Irish University Championships for the first time in 13 years this season. They defeated a well-drilled Trinity College team in the final and won every game in the tournament. Seven members of the squad were selected for the Northern Ireland Universities' team that travelled to the British Universities' Home Nations Championships hosted by the University of Wolverhampton.

Coach of the Year Award was presented to Paul Welsh from Newry for Camogie coaching.

This year was Paul's ninth year as manager/coach with the Queen's Camogie Club. He worked tirelessly on the highly successful hosting of the Purcell Cup this year. He also achieved much success on the field as the Club reached the Purcell Cup final and won Division 3 for the first time in their history. Paul is also a member of the National Executive of the governing body for universities' and colleges' Camogie - the CCIA.

Special Contribution to Queen's Sport was presented to two recipients namely:

Clare O'Connell from Derry for Ladies Gaelic Football Clare is the Chairperson of the Ladies' Gaelic Football Club and Treasurer of the Ulster Ladies' Higher Education Council. Clare was awarded Club Person of the Year at the annual Ladies' Gaelic Football Club Dinner Dance as she was the driving force behind the Club's successful year. Not only did she put in place a new and very experienced manager in Gregory McGonigle but also secured a significant sponsorship deal with the Hatfield House. She brought credit to the University both within Ulster and throughout Ireland after a very successful hosting of the Dowd Cup, which the Queen's team won.

Denis Clarke from Ballynahinch for Men's Soccer Club.

Denis has been an active member of the Queen' Men' Soccer Club for over 30 years. His hard work and dedication was evident when the Club was awarded the CUSAI Intervarsity Event of the Year for 2004. He has been described as the 'beating heart of the Queen's Men's Soccer Club'.

In addition Blues Awards were presented to 35 sports men and women, who are students at the University and have achieved high standards of performance in their sport.

For further information, contact: Debbie McLorinan, Development Manager - Marketing & Customer Services Tel: 02890 387660 Email: d.mclorinan@qub.ac.uk  or Bill Gardner, Development Manager - Student Sport Tel: 02890 387663 Email w.gardner@qub.ac.uk

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Greek art to the fore in Belfast
An example of the work of Greek artist Alecos Fassianos whose work will be on show from 22 September at Gormley’s Fine Art Belfast, presented by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s University Belfast.
An example of the work of Greek artist Alecos Fassianos whose work will be on show from 22 September at Gormley’s Fine Art Belfast, presented by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen’s University Belfast.

A ten-day celebration of Greek language and culture has begun in Belfast as the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen's University hosts its fourth Greek Summer School.

Running until 8 July, the Byzantine Greek Summer School is the only one of its kind in Ireland and the UK. Attending it are students from  the UK and Ireland who intend to do academic research in the field or who simply enjoy learning a new language. The School offers tuition in basic Byzantine and New Testament Greek, so that students can engage with Greek texts in the original.

The Greek language teaching will be complemented by two evening lectures by Queen's University staff. On Wednesday 29 June, Professor Margaret Mullett Director of the Institute of Byzantine Studies will speak about Byzantine culture and secular literature, and on Wednesday, 6 July, Dr Robert Jordan, will give an introduction into Byzantine monasticism and religious literature.

Looking ahead to September, local art lovers will have the unique opportunity to see an exhibition of 'Works on Paper' by the distinguished Greek painter-printmaker Alecos Fassianos, arranged by the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen's in association with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. The art work will be on show at Gormley's Fine Art Gallery, Belfast from 22 September to 6 October.

Fassianos, who designed a series of commemorative postage stamps for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, now lives and works in Athens, where he studied painting under Yannis Moralis in the 1950s. He has also produced set and costume designs for the theatre. His work, which attracted great interest when it was sold for high prices earlier this year at Sothebys in London, draws collectors and the wider public alike.

"People might not readily associate Belfast with a flourishing interest in modern Greek and Byzantine culture, but Queen's University has an international and long track record of successful studies in this field," said Professor Margaret Mullett, who has been instrumental in the development of Byzantine Studies at the University over the last 30 years and who secured the Fassianos exhibition for Belfast.

In addition to the current Greek Summer School taking place, Queen's has also in recent months hosted a major international celebration of Byzantine and Greek culture in April when the Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies was held in Belfast for the first time, hosts the regular Byzantium in Belfast Seminar Series and boasts a beautiful and unique mural in its courtyard, on the theme of 'The Feast of Wisdom', executed as part of a second-year module in Byzantine Patronage.

Commenting on the Greek Summer School and Fassianos exhibition, Professor Mullett said: "I am delighted to welcome so many students to our Summer School and look forward to seeing the Fassianos exhibition in Belfast. These demonstrate the commitment to Hellenic Studies of the Institute of Byzantine Studies at Queen's, and the role it plays in fostering closer relationships between Greece and Britain. In addition, we strive to create further opportunities for our students and researchers to bring together their academic findings with examples of creative achievement, and to do soon an international stage."

End

For further information, contact: Professor Margaret Mullett, Institute of Byzantine Studies, 028 9097 3817

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Queen's spin out company gives medics head start

A revolutionary new training tool has been developed by a Belfast company for paramedics, hospital anaesthetists and other healthcare professionals.

Known as Airsim, the device resembles a human head and throat, and experts say it is the only simulator in which the reactions of the airway are virtually identical to those of a human patient.

Airsim has been developed by a new company called TruCorp, a spinout from the Department of Anaesthetics at Queen's University. The materials, such as a polymer compound which has the tactile qualities of the human airway, were sourced locally, while the design and tooling to manufacture the simulator were created by the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen's.

Medical simulators are sophisticated training devices for healthcare professionals, similar to the flight simulators used for training in the aviation industry. However, until Airsim was developed existing airway training devices lacked anatomical and functional realism.

Professor Howard Fee and Dr Jim Murray of Queen's University School of Medicine identified a requirement for more realistic medical simulation products driven by a growth in competency-based training, where the emphasis is on proving that specific skills have been acquired and can be applied appropriately. Medical and nursing education therefore needed anatomically realistic components to stand alone for specific skills training, or to be inserted into complete mannequins.

"The model was based on earlier developmental work undertaken by TruCorp on behalf of METI in Florida, who commissioned a realistic airway for incorporation into their advanced human patient simulator," said Jim Murray.

According to the company Airsim has a number of special features including a one piece airway moulded from a master, created from CT scan data, which enables the airway to behave like it would in real life.

"The Airsim is a faithful reproduction of the human airway anatomy and as such is invaluable as a training aid to facilitate the learning and development of airway management skills for all health professionals, including medical students, paramedics, surgeons, first aiders and police," said Dr Murray.

Start-up funding for TruCorp was provided by QUBIS ltd, the University's business incubator unit; the University Challenge Fund, which supports the commercialisation of university research; the American company Medical Education Technologies Inc (METI), the world leader in top-level simulators; and the TruCorp team itself.

At present the simulators are being manufactured by a company in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

For further information, contact: Dr Jim Murray, (028) 9033 5785

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Queen's astromoners wait for cosmic collision

Astronomers at Queen's University are looking forward to playing an important role in NASA's Deep Impact mission.

Using telescopes around the world and in space, the Belfast scientists will be studying what happens when the spacecraft hits the comet at a speed of 10 kilometres per second (7 miles per second).

The Deep Impact mission will encounter Comet Tempel-1 on 4 July this year. A copper projectile weighing a third of a tonne will strike this icy body at high velocity, excavating a crater somewhere between 40m and 400m across. The main spacecraft will fly-past at a safe distance of 500km (300 miles), and peer into the resulting hole to discover what is inside a comet.

Back on Earth, astronomers across the world will be watching the comet from a distance of 130 million kilometres (80 million miles), studying the effects of the impact.

Four astronomers in the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Division at Queen's will be carefully watching to see what happens using a variety of telescopes.

"This is a fantastic experiment designed to really tell us what comets are made of, where they come from and how they evolve", said Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen's.

Professor Fitzsimmons will be in Hawaii at the time of impact, using the Faulkes Telescope to observe the impact itself and its immediate aftermath.

Dr Stephen Lowry will be in La Palma in the Canary Islands, using the Isaac Newton Telescope to observe the dust, gas and plasma in the comet. Dr. Lowry said "Observations of the comet from Earth before, during, and after the probe impact form a critical part of the mission. Our observations of the comet's coma and plasma tail are part of a coordinated world-wide campaign to record every possible outcome from the impact."

Mr Colin Snodgrass is a PhD student and will be in Belfast but controlling the robotic Liverpool Telescope also in La Palma. "The impact will release material from the inside of a comet, something which we have never been able to observe before", he said. Mr Snodgrass will be studying how the make-up of the dust in the comet changes after the impact.

In some senses using the most distant telescope, Dr Damian Christen will be using NASA's Chandra Space Telescope to study the X-rays emitted from the comet before and after the encounter. Dr. Christian said "It was a big surprise when X-rays were discovered from comets back in 1996, and although Tempel-1 has a modest amount of X-ray emission normally, we expect a big increase in X-ray emission during and possibly after the impact."

The impact on the comet will not noticeably alter its orbit around the Sun. It is also highly unlikely to be seen by eye, although from Belfast it might be visible in telescopes low down in the Western sky after sunset.

For further information contact: Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, (028) 9097 3124; E-mail: a.fitzsimmons@qub.ac.uk Dr Stephen Lowry, (028) 9097 3692. E-mail: s.c.lowry@qub.ac.uk Dr Damian Christian, (028) 9097 3143. E-mail: d.christian@qub.ac.uk Mr Colin Snodgrass, (028) 9097 3143. E-mail c.snodgrass@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's Library fund nearly there with 2000th donation from Barclays

A £15,000 gift by Barclays PLC has become the 2000th donation to the campaign to fund the new multi-million pound library at Queen's University Belfast.

The Barclays Room in the library will support the University's outreach activity. It will contain multi media equipment and will be networked with flexible seating options to cater for diverse needs.

Receiving the gift on behalf of the University, Queen's Foundation Board member Ed Vernon said: "The new library at Queen's will be the focal point of the campus symbolising the importance of scholarship. The Barclays gift will help us to achieve our fundraising target. Thanks to our 2000 donors, we will be able to build a state of the art library - one of the most modern in the world. We are within £500,000 of our fundraising target for this project."

Adrian Doran, Head of Business Banking, Northern Ireland said: "At Barclays we are committed to communities and we are delighted to support Queen's University by creating a Barclays Room. This is a fantastic project and is a great opportunity for us to help make a real and lasting difference to the local community."

Media enquiries to: Queen's University Communications Office, telephone 028 9097 5323.

For further information on Barclays Community Investment Programme contact: Stella McRae, Regional Community Manager, Tel: 0191 2002409; Email: stella.mcrae@barclays.co.uk  

Notes to Editors

  1. The new £44 million library project epitomises Queen's University's vision to be an international research-driven centre of excellence at the heart of the local community.
  2. One of the most ambitious building projects in Northern Ireland, due for completion in 2009, it will enable Queen's to fulfil its ambition to provide a world-class educational experience for future generations of students.
  3. In 2004 Barclays global commitment to the community amounted to £32million. As one of the UK's largest corporate community contributors, the bank aims to achieve real and lasting benefit both for the community and Barclays, by supporting education, social inclusion, people with disabilities, the arts and the environment.
  4. The Queen's University of Belfast Foundation is an international, independent, volunteer Board established to raise funds from philanthropic sources to advance the aims and objectives of Queen's University Belfast. The Foundation is a charity registered with the Inland Revenue, XR22432.

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Queen's conference explores arts-based educational research

The first major international conference in the United Kingdom exploring arts-based educational research is taking place at Queen's University Belfast this week, hosted by the Graduate School of Education (23-25 June).

Comprising a tool-kit of innovative research methods and a particular approach to understanding the social world, arts-based research is used increasingly by educational researchers and other social scientists. Arts-based methods show how various visual, dramatic and textual practices can be employed to explore issues during inquiry. They also provide different ways to interpret and represent research process and outcomes. At the conference, local and international researchers will outline how they use a range of methods such as visual sociology, narrative inquiry, drama, music and visual arts, autobiography and ethnographic studies in their work. Presentations will show how arts-based research methodologies are used to illuminate experiences of lives made difficult by aspects of social and psychological difference – for example, by gender, sexuality, ethnicity, illness, disability and sectarian division, among other issues.

"We are very excited by the conference that has been lined up and believe it will be an event with a difference, given the range of presentations, the variety of participants and the rich supporting entertainment programme," commented Dr Ruth Leitch, Head of the Graduate School of Education and a member of the conference organising committee. She added. "This conference is intended to provide an initial forum for the growing number of arts-based researchers in the UK and impetus for the future development of arts-based research."

The dynamic conference includes a variety of performances from a range of poets, dramatists and other artistes, many from within Queen’s University itself.. "In addition," Dr Leitch said, "we are delighted to be welcoming Professor Elliot Eisner from Stanford University in the USA, who is the world’s leading exponent of arts-based inquiry. Professor Eisner will examine the evolution of arts-based research and consider its future development."

As well as the cConference papers and workshops, some of the performances that the international delegates will enjoy are:
- An experiment in applied theatre led by David Grant, Head of the School of Drama and students.
- A musical performance of the Gamelan (an orchestra of percussion instruments from Indonesia) directed by Jonathan McIntosh, an ethnomusicologist with the Queen's School of Anthropological Studies.
- 'Traditions Meet' a youth dance performance celebrating both Irish and Ulster Scots dance, and
- A concert of readings and music presented by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

Ends

For further information, contact: Peter Clough, Graduate School of Education, 028 9097 5941  or Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

Notes:
Queen's University Belfast is being supported by the universities of Bristol and Sheffield in running the Arts-based Educational Research conference in Belfast 23-25 June 2005.

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Queen's welcomes new Charter for Women in Science

Queen's University today welcomed an innovative new initiative which aims to tackle the lack of women academic staff in science, engineering and technology (SET) in United Kingdom universities.

The University is a founder member of the Athena SWAN Charter, launched today at the Institute of Physics in London, which recognises excellence in science, engineering and technology (SET) employment in higher education.

The Charter will help universities to create more equitable working environments for women scientists and reward performance in this area through a national award scheme.

The Athena Project aims to promote the advancement of women in science, engineering and technology in higher education and a significant increase in the number of women recruited to the top posts. Its Charter developed out of the work of SWAN (the Scientific Women's Academic Network), co-ordinated by London Metropolitan University.

Universities who become Charter members pledge themselves to action at organisational and departmental levels, to monitoring their progress and to providing an annual account of their action and plans to improve women's participation and progression in SET.

In 2003 Queen's received first prize in the inaugural national Athena awards for the development and performance of its Gender Initiative, which has sparked a culture change across the University.

The Charter was welcomed by Gender Initiative Director Professor Margaret Mullett, who attended today's launch. She said: "We are delighted that Queen's, which has already committed itself to the advancement of all its women through the Gender Initiative, has joined the other founder members of the Charter in pledging itself to correcting gender imbalance at management level, and in science, engineering and technology.

"The SWAN Charter will play a crucial role in tackling these issues. We particularly welcome the Charter's recognition that we need to examine the implications of the absence of diversity at management and policy-making levels, and its acknowledgement that the transition from a PhD to a sustainable academic career in science can be particularly difficult for women."

Also representing Queen's at the Charter's launch were Pro-Chancellor Brenda McLaughlin, Chair of the University's Women's Forum, and Professor Jean Orr, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The other founder members of the Charter are: Bristol University, Cambridge University, Heriot Watt University, Imperial College London, Loughborough University, Oxford University, Plymouth University, Southampton University and University College London.

For further information contact: Professor Margaret Mullett, Tel 028 9097 3712 or 028 9097 3238 or Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's opens £9 million physics centre
The future of physics at Queen's…… Belfast school children Eloise Murray from St Malachy's Primary and Tyler Mairs from Blythfield Primary get to grips with some of the equipment in the 'clean room' of the new £9 million International Research Centre for Experimental Physics at Queen's University which officially opens on Wednesday. The room is used to process materials and fabricate devices using nanotechnology - piecing together, or removing materials a few atoms at a time. Researchers working in the room must wear protective clothing to ensure that the environment remains free from dirt and contaminants which can destroy the devices.
The future of physics at Queen's…… Belfast school children Eloise Murray from St Malachy's Primary and Tyler Mairs from Blythfield Primary get to grips with some of the equipment in the 'clean room' of the new £9 million International Research Centre for Experimental Physics at Queen's University which officially opens on Wednesday. The room is used to process materials and fabricate devices using nanotechnology - piecing together, or removing materials a few atoms at a time. Researchers working in the room must wear protective clothing to ensure that the environment remains free from dirt and contaminants which can destroy the devices.
At the launch of the International Research Centre for Experimental Physics are (from left): Professor Bill Graham, Centre Director, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Professor Wilson Sibbett, Scotland's chief advisor on science and Queen's physics graduate, who officially opened the building.
At the launch of the International Research Centre for Experimental Physics are (from left): Professor Bill Graham, Centre Director, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Professor Wilson Sibbett, Scotland's chief advisor on science and Queen's physics graduate, who officially opened the building.

A £9 million state-of-the-art facility, which will act as a centre for world-class international physics research, will be officially opened by Queen's University today (Wednesday 22 June).

The International Research Centre for Experimental Physics (IRCEP) will be formally opened by Scotland's first chief advisor on science and Queen's physics graduate, Professor Wilson Sibbett, who said the world-leading centre represents a landmark development for Queen's.

"It can be expected to secure for the University and its physicists a yet further enhanced profile which will serve as an important attractor to students, graduate researchers and international visitors. This is a very exciting and imaginative initiative in physics upon which many major new achievements will undoubtedly be built in the future," he said.

The Centre has been funded under the SPUR initiative (Support Programme for University Research), through a public-private partnership programme between the Department for Employment and Learning and Atlantic Philanthropies over a four-year period.

According to Queen's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, the new Centre will make Queen's a pioneer in the field of experimental research.

"It will play a central role in building upon Queen's reputation as a world leader in this fundamental branch of science," he said.

Built to encourage collaborative research within the School of Maths and Physics, other academic disciplines inside and outside Queen's, as well as industry, the Centre features a number of interactive areas and often unique and highly sophisticated equipment.

According to its Director Professor Bill Graham, the new facility will ensure that essential research can be carried out in developing the concepts, tools and skilled personnel for next generation technologies.

"It will provide local hi-tech companies with access to the highest quality research and facilities and allow young people studying physics in Northern Ireland to have access to world class facilities. It will also enable the School of Mathematics and Physics, which achieved a grade 5 in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) to maintain its international profile.

Designed by London-based architects Sheppard Robson and local company Robinson Patterson Partnership, the 3,000 m sq building was built by contractors H & J Martin.

The study of physics has made possible the development of many everyday objects which we take for granted, including fluorescent lights, lasers, microwave ovens, computers, mobile phones, MRI machines and iPods.

It is appropriate that the Centre should be opened during the United Nations' Year of Physics which marks the centenary of Einstein's first publications in the areas of quantum mechanics and relativity, since these ideas fundamentally influenced the way we view our world.

As well as having a significant impact on the way we view the world, physics has also had an influence on other disciplines, including chemistry, engineering, computer science, biology and medical sciences. To mark the growing importance of multidisciplinary research, the official opening will be followed by a three-day conference on "Physics at the Interface".

A total of 16 international renowned speakers will highlight the ongoing and potential connections between physics and other scientific disciplines, among them IRCEP distinguished visiting professors and fellows, who visit the University to collaborate with staff in the Centre.

Guests at the official opening will include representatives from academia and industry, as well as physics teachers and students from grammar and secondary schools across Northern Ireland who will be taking part in two events organised by the School of Maths and Physics.

The Horizons in Physics event will show young physicists the relevance of the subject in everyday life, while the annual conference of physics teachers keeps teachers up to date with recent developments in their field.

Note to Editors:
The International Research Centre for Experimental Physics (IRCEP) will be officially opened by Professor Wilson Sibbett on Wednesday 22 June at 11.30am. The facility can be accessed via the University's physics building, on the main campus site.
Originally from Portglenone, Co Antrim, Professor Wilson Sibbett is Professor of Physics at St Andrew's University, a Fellow of the Royal Society and is widely recognised as a world authority on laser physics and optoelectronics. His work has wide-ranging applications in the field of ultrafast science and technology, including optical communications and photobiology.

For further information, contact: Professor Bill Graham, Director of IRCEP, (028) 9097 3564 Or Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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O'Neill leads team of Honorary Graduates at Queen's

Former Celtic boss and Northern Ireland soccer international Martin O'Neill is to receive an honorary doctorate for services to sport from Queen's University next month.

Originally from Kilrea in Co Derry, O'Neill embarked on an undergraduate law course at Queen's in 1971 but his time as an undergraduate was short-lived because of the lure of playing full time professional football in England.

He won 64 international caps for Northern Ireland, captaining the team at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. On his retirement as a player he entered football management where he made his name as a committed and determined leader. He recently stepped down as boss of Glasgow Celtic.

O'Neill is one of a number of honorary graduates who will receive degrees this summer including broadcaster Gloria Hunniford, journalist Fergal Keane, business men Dr Alan Gillespie and David Dobbin, and former Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain.

Queen's graduations are the highlight of the year and the University is currently putting the finishing touches to its arrangements. Some 4,000 students and their families will celebrate their academic achievements in 12 ceremonies. The ceremonies take place from Monday 4 July until Friday 8 July in the Sir William Whitla Hall.

In addition to two daytime ceremonies, there will be evening ceremonies on Monday and Wednesday. The University's Chancellor, Senator George Mitchell, will preside at the ceremonies on Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

Graduate and Student of the Year awards, to honour special achievement will be presented at the ceremonies on Wednesday 6 July, and the main social event of the week - a gala dinner for the Summer 2005 honorary graduands - will be held on Tuesday 5 July in the Great Hall.

Media arrangements: There will be press officers on duty at the Sir William Whitla Hall before and during each of the ceremonies. Media packs will be available for journalists containing copies of the addresses and citations. Requests for interviews with honorary graduands should be made to the Communications Office.

For further information contact: Communications Office, (028) 9097 5323.

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Queen's researchers examine if fruit and veg prevent eye disease

Researchers at Queen's University examining how naturally occurring compounds found in fruit and vegetables can affect the risk of eye disease.

Funded by the Food Safety Promotion Board, the Carotenoid and Retinal Disease (CARD) study is recruiting 150 healthy volunteers who will be asked to eat foods rich in compounds, known as carotenoids, contained in certain fruit and vegetables for eight weeks. Following this they will be asked to take a supplement containing the same compounds for a further eight weeks. This is to compare the availability of these compounds from foodstuffs and supplements.

Volunteers will visit the Royal Victoria Hospital on four occasions to have a blood sample taken and have an eye assessment. Smokers and non-smokers will be tested.

So how might these compounds protect against eye disease? According to principal investigator, Dr Jayne Woodside, from the Department of Medicine, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in Western societies.

"In one American study, carried out in more than 3,500 people with macular degeneration, it was shown that vitamins C, E, b-carotene and zinc reduced the risk of developing this condition by about 25%. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are found in the retina of the eye and so they may also be able to protect against AMD. We are looking at mechanisms by which these food substances may protect the retina," she said.

Those who wish to participate in the study should be aged between 18 and 60, with good eyesight in both eyes, and not taking any vitamin supplements. To register please contact trial co-ordinator Ryan Graydon on telephone (028) 9063 2557 or email r.graydon@qub.ac.uk

For further information contact: Dr Jayne Woodside, Principal Investigator, Department of Medicine, (028) 9063 2585 or email: j.woodside@qub.ac.uk

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Jobs boost for graduates

Northern Ireland's only graduate recruitment fair gets under way tomorrow at Queen's University, when more than 60 organisations will be showcasing jobs and training opportunities on offer to graduates this year.

More than 2000 graduate jobseekers are expected to attend the annual event which has been organised jointly by the Careers Services at the University of Ulster and Queen's.

Among those taking part in the Recruitment Fair will be exhibitors from the worlds of finance, business and commerce, the public sector and academia.

Careers advisers from both the University of Ulster and Queen's will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on the applications process to students attending on the day.

Fair co-ordinator Dr John Copelton, from Queen's Careers Service, said: "This event has always proved popular with a wide range of graduate employers, educational institutions and training providers who want to recruit from among Northern Ireland's brightest young people.

"This year should prove no exception and we are very pleased with the response so far. We particularly wanted to attract the small to medium sized local enterprises and we have been successful in this, which is good news for the many local graduates who would love to start their first job here.

"As well as attracting many hundreds of our own graduates, this fair is being promoted to graduates originally from Northern Ireland who may have gone elsewhere in the United Kingdom or to the Republic to study for their degrees."

The Fair will take place in the Whitla and South Dining Halls, Queen's University from 10am to 4pm. A full list of the organisations attending can be viewed on the Careers Service web page at www.qub.ac.uk/careers/fairs/NIGradRecruitFair.htm  

For further information contact:
John Copelton, Tel 028 9097 4209
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Artist David Mach visits Belfast
Artist David Mach unveils at Queen's University this week an image of the 50 foot high Big Woman sculpture that is proposed for erection in Belfast, possibly at the City Hall, during 2006 as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.
Artist David Mach unveils at Queen's University this week an image of the 50 foot high Big Woman sculpture that is proposed for erection in Belfast, possibly at the City Hall, during 2006 as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

David Mach, an artist of international reputation, visited Belfast this week to discuss the public sculpture that he has been asked to propose for the centre of Belfast at the invitation of the Belfast Festival at Queen's.

A meeting took place with the artist on Tuesday evening at Queen's University, attended by political representatives, community groups and representatives from the arts community. A scale model of the head of the Big Woman sculpture proposed by David Mach and an image giving an impression of what it will look like when finished were unveiled.

The Scottish artist David Mach is well-known for his large-scale monumental works and sculptures and for his collage pieces. His creations are often constructed from multiple materials including magazines, bricks, tyres and even coathangers. Among his public commissions are:

· Big Heids – three giant heads on plinths standing in Lanark on the M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

· Train – an architectural sculpture of 185,000 bricks on the A66 on the edge of Darlington, and

· Temple at Tyre - which first appeared in the sculpture park of the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp in 1985.

Other large-scale public sculptures that have become popular land marks in the UK and Ireland include Anthony Gormley's The Angel of the North in Gateshead; and The Spire of Dublin, the 120 foot-high monument in O'Connell Street by architect Ian Ritchie.

For Belfast, Mach is proposing a 50 foot high female figure. It is anticipated that the sculpture would be welded by local suppliers and be constructed on site.

Belfast City Hall is the proposed site for the dramatic monument. The work would remain on display for one year, for the duration of city-wide celebrations that will take place during 2006 as the centenary of the City Hall building is also marked.

Shan McAnena, Curator of the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University, who invited David Mach to create a new work for Belfast and for the Belfast Festival at Queen's, commented: "This is an exciting opportunity for Belfast to have its own world-class artwork in the city centre. Already John Kindness' The Big Fish by the river Lagan has become one of our city's most visited and photographed tourist attractions. Cultural tourism is growing dramatically in importance and other cities that have their own iconic image have seen significant increases in their visitor numbers as the artwork attains a national and international reputation."

Explaining his idea for the figurative sculpture and why he wants to create this especially for Belfast, David Mach said: "When I visit Belfast, I see a city that's full of life – it feels young to me. I meet people there who are fresh and full of ideas, ready to go into the future taking all the strengths of their past with them. I guess it's this outlook I want to reflect, create something new and vibrant, something that doesn't exist already, something colourful and futuristic.

"I think I’ve come up with the idea of a figure because Belfast is a very human city. I might even think of Belfast as 'her', probably in the same way as ships are referred to as 'she'. The form of the figure is nude but that's a bit of a red herring. She will be made up of hundreds of lenticular postcards, highly colourful and flashing double and treble images, again reflecting Belfast's spirit. She's a multi-faceted character, not just one thing. I think the postcards will serve to break down the nudity of the figure – you might even say she is 'dressed' by them. In any case, I think the people of Belfast will have no problems accepting her – quite the opposite, I think they'll love her."

Funding for this exciting project is being sought from a number of sources that include the Belfast City Millennium Fund, administered by Belfast City Council.

"David Mach’s artwork will not only provide an artistic focus for Belfast's celebrations, but will, as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen's programme, be the centre of an extensive outreach programme with schools and community groups across the city, that will include workshops, guided tours and artist's talks," Shan McAnena added.

ENDS

Notes: 1. Further information on the artist David Mach and his work can be found on his website www.davidmach.com

For further information, contact: Shan McAnena, 028 9097 5383; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320 or 07980 013362

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Chinese Higher Education delegation visits Queen's
Pictured at Queen’s meeting with a delegation of senior staff from 22 Chinese Universities were (L-R) Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s; Colm McGivern, Director of British Council; ; Long Chao Yuni, Head of the Chinese delegation visiting Queen’s; Guo Guifang, Consul General of the Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh and Catherine Bell, Deputy Secretary, Department for Employment and Learning.
Pictured at Queen’s meeting with a delegation of senior staff from 22 Chinese Universities were (L-R) Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s; Colm McGivern, Director of British Council; Long Chao Yuni, Head of the Chinese delegation visiting Queen’s; Guo Guifang, Consul General of the Chinese Consulate-General in Edinburgh and Catherine Bell, Deputy Secretary, Department for Employment and Learning.

A delegation of senior staff from 22 Chinese Universities is in Belfast for a three-day educational visit to Queen's University (14 -16 June), as part of mission to learn from best practice overseas.

The visit has been jointly organised by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs of the People's Republic of China. It is the third annual visit of the group of Chinese university Presidents and Vice-Presidents to the UK, following on from previous successful visits to Cardiff University and the University of Cambridge.

The delegation is meeting with a number of senior Queen's University staff to learn of successful initiatives and developments at Queen's with a view to assisting with the reforms currently underway in higher education in China.

Queen's President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "Queen's is a research-driven university with strong international connections and a world-class education and research portfolio. The University's vision for the future is as a major player in today's global higher education market. We are in the process of implementing changes at Queen's that will enable us to achieve this vision."

The Chinese visitors learned that Queen's is giving greater emphasis than ever before to its international role, viewing it as crucial to the future development of the university. This includes welcoming international students to Belfast.

"We value our international students very highly," Professor Gregson stressed. "Queen's is very much rooted in its local community but it is neither narrow nor parochial in its approach. More than 90 countries are represented in our student community, including over 300 students from China studying at Queen's currently. A cosmopolitan student body strengthens Queen's position."

Included in the high-level group's itinerary are visits to several internationally highly-rated Queen's Schools and Institutes. These include: the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen's; the School of Aeronautical Engineering; the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering; and the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at the Northern Ireland Science Park. These facilities help to build Queen's reputation for research excellence, supporting research to develop next-generation technologies, and giving local companies access to world-class facilities and expertise.

As part of the 2005 UK visit, the delegation from China have also visited the Universities of London and Manchester.

"This prestigious visit by senior Chinese university representatives will serve to enhance Queen's profile within China, strengthening its links with universities there," said Dr Liming Wang, Head of the China Unit in the International Office at Queen's who co-ordinated the visit.

Ends

For further information, contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

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New web TV for Queen's nursing students

All student nurses at Queen's University now have the chance to use the latest technology to develop their basic nursing skills.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery's Clinical Education Centre has created its own television system on the web, through the increasing development and availability of broadband.

Students, who can access it through the School's website, will be able to see demonstrations of a variety of techniques, including hand washing, oxygen therapy, urinalysis, pluse and respiration, peak flow technique, and how to take temperature and blood pressure readings.

Using high quality digital video, it can be viewed online by students who can recap on a practical procedure or view a practical session before coming to class. The centre will continually update the information adding more nursing procedures on a regular basis.

In addition, the School also offers students the opportunity to book a room within the Clinical Education Centre in order to practise their newly learnt skills. Groups of up to 15 students are supervised by a teaching assistant during training sessions.

Head of the School Professor Jean Orr said she believed they were the first Nursing School in the United Kingdom to offer students such a range of visual aids on the web in a bid to help their study.

For further information contact: Professor Jean Orr, School of Nursing and Midwifery, (028) 9097 2078

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Nutrition Society focuses on vitamins and minerals

The Nutrition Society today begins a three-day meeting in Queen's University to explore the benefits of vitamins and minerals for people of all ages.

Most people know that vitamins and minerals are essential to health and well-being. For example, vitamin C can prevent scurvy, iron can prevent anaemia and vitamin D can prevent rickets. In recent years, scientists have been discovering more and more benefits deriving from 'micronutrients', a term that includes vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and polyphenols – all nutrients that can benefit health, even in tiny amounts.

"Today we are welcoming 130 nutritional scientists from all over Europe to Queen's", said Dr Jayne Woodside, lecturer at Queen's and the local organiser of the meeting.

"The topics will range from how antioxidants can help prevent pre-eclampsia in pregnant women to the controversial topic of folic acid fortification and how this could mask vitamin B12 deficiency in older individuals."

As well as examining the role of micronutrients for different age groups, the speakers will also address the relationship between micronutrients and specific diseases. These include heart disease, lung disease, cancer, eye disease, male infertility and Alzheimer's.

Professor Barbara Livingstone, from the Northern Ireland Centre For Diet and Health at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, chairs the Nutrition Society on the island of Ireland. She commented "This vital area of nutrition is constantly changing and new research is emerging all the time. This helps us build our understanding of the relationship between diet and disease. This conference offers our members an opportunity to hear the latest science from leading European scientists from home and abroad. We are delighted to host this important scientific meeting."

For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Woodside, contact Dr. Aileen McGloin, PRO to the Nutrition Society on 087 9965893 or on mcgloina@tcd.ie

Note to Editors: The Nutrition Society was established in 1941 to advance the scientific study of nutrition and its application to the maintenance of human and animal health. Highly regarded by the scientific community, the Society is the largest learned society for nutrition in Europe. Membership is worldwide but most members live in Europe. For more information click on www.NutritionSociety.org

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Research examines the golden jubilee of the 1916 Easter Rising

Researchers from Queen's University Belfast and University College Dublin come together in Dublin today (Wednesday 15 June) to discuss their research to date into the impact of the Easter 1916 Rising and its Golden Jubilee commemoration in 1966.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising has been held responsible for everything from the outbreak of the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the alienation of an entire generation in the Republic which rejected its 'theatrical masochism'.

A three-year collaborative project was begun in October 2003 between the two universities in Belfast and Dublin to return to that moment in April 1966 and confront not just the meanings of the Rising at that time but the myths surrounding its jubilee.

The research has been made possible under Strand 1 for the Collaborative Research of the National Development Plan's North-South Research Programme announced in 2003. Around 300,000 Euro has been awarded to the project which is the first formal north-south historical and political research into the 1966 commemoration.

At Queen's University Belfast, the project is headed by Dr Margaret O'Callaghan of the Centre for Irish Politics within the School of Politics and International Studies. She explained the northern research agenda: "Our most challenging task has been to put together a narrative of how and where and by whom the various unofficial commemorations were organised, what this tells us about northern nationalists at the time, and how the commemorations functioned in relation to a whole series of contemporary issues. The jubilee celebrations were in fact viewed with a certain disapproving tolerance by O’Neill's government at the time. The official outlook viewed Paisley's manipulation of Unionist fears to be a greater threat to the stability of Northern Ireland than the commemorations themselves."

At University College Dublin, headed by Professor Mary Daly, researchers have constructed a picture of a fractured Republic which faced multiple spectres muttering loudly at the commemorative feast. Under the leadership of Sean Lemass, the heroic message of the Rising was being re-invented as it was being re-enacted and the memory of the dead was harnessed to the needs of the economic development. During the jubilee of the Rising it therefore appeared that the Republic looked backwards while at the same time being propelled forward into an unknown future.

At the one-day conference, the research findings to date of the impact of the jubilee commemorations in the Republic of Ireland, in Northern Ireland and the commemorations viewed from a historical and cultural viewpoint, will be discussed by the project researchers with an informed audience.

Ends

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

Notes:
The conference is taking place on Wednesday 15 June in the Humanities Institute at University College Dublin.

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Exhibition explores notion of forgiveness
Some of those who attended the opening of the' F word' exhibition in the Institute of Governance at Queen's. The exhibition is open to the public and runs until Friday.
Some of those who attended the opening of the'F word' exhibition in the Institute of Governance at Queen's. The exhibition is open to the public and runs until Friday.

An exhibition exploring the idea of forgiveness in the face of atrocity has opened in Northern Ireland.

Hosted by the Institute of Governance at Queen's University, in association with the Women's Network, the 'F Word' exhibition aims to tell the stories of people from as far apart as Belfast and South Africa who have discovered that the only way to move on is to set aside hatred or blame.

The exhibition is part of a new initiative that explores and celebrates the less publicised stories of people who have survived tragedy, who have lived through atrocity, and who have found it in themselves to forgive.

Drawing together voices from South Africa, Romania, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland and England, it aims to open up debate around forgiveness, calling into question our beliefs about right and wrong, weakness and strength, justice and morality. The exhibition examines forgiveness as a healing process, a journey out of victimhood and, ultimately, a journey of hope.

This exhibition is the first articulation of the Forgiveness Project, a new organisation, working with grassroots projects in the fields of conflict resolution, reconciliation and victim support. Set up by a small team working purely independently with no religious or organisational affiliation, the Forgiveness Project aims to raise the profile of, and funds for, relevant grassroots projects.

Dates for the tour and more information about the Forgiveness Project can be found at http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/project/

The 'F word' exhibition, which is free, is open to the public and runs until Friday 17 June at the institute on University Road, Belfast.

For further details contact: Kelly Ann Hunter, Marketing and publicity officer, The Women's Network, (028) 9031 9888 or Stephen McGrath, Institute of Governance, Queen's University, (028) 9097 2547

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Mystery Man? Report form the Men's Life and Times Survey

We're in the middle of International Men's Health Week which ends with Father's Day on Sunday, so it's timely that a new report released today (15 June) focuses on issues facing men in Northern Ireland.

Mystery Man provides a glimpse of the attitudes of both men and women to a range of key topics including family law, paternity leave, domestic violence and men's health.

The report uses data from the 2004 Men's Life and Times module within the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey.

Paula Devine, the report author, is Research Director of ARK, based at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, Queen's University Belfast. She explains that, "men's issues have received increasing attention in the last few years, with, for example, the perceived disadvantage of fathers in family law highlighted by both Bob Geldof and 'Batman'. Men's health too has come to the fore, with the setting up of organisations such as the Men's Health Forum of Ireland."

The key points to come out of the Mystery Man report research are that:

- The negative effect of long working hours on family life was blamed on employers (71%), fathers' choices (72%) and societal expectations of men as workers (65%). 
- There was almost unanimous support for two weeks' fully paid paternity pay. Low take-up of paternity leave was blamed on financial concerns within families and pressure by employers, rather than men not wanting to stay at home with their child. However, only one in five respondents thought that men did not take paternity leave as they did not want to stay at home with their new baby. 
- 79% of respondents thought that violence by women against men happens more than most people think. 
- 93% of respondents thought that men ignore minor health problems until they become more serious, and 89% thought that men feel embarrassed to go to doctors. 
- 78% of respondents supported shared parenting after a separation, and 84% thought that the couple should sort out this agreement among themselves.

Paula Devine commented: "These figures highlight the strong support for specific policies, such as paid paternity leave, the idea of equal parenting after separation of divorce, and for couples to work out custody issues among themselves."

The Life and Times Survey is a constituent part of ARK – Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (www.ark.ac.uk) – which makes social and political material based on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience.

Full results of all questions from the 2004 Life and Times Survey are available on the website from today as is the Mystery Man report, at ww.ark.ac.uk/publications

Ends

Notes for editors
1. The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey is carried out annually and documents public opinion on a wide range of social issues.
2. In 2004, 1,800 adults were interviewed in their own home.
3. The Life and Times Survey is a joint project between Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster.
4. The Men's Life and Times module was part-funded by Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
5. Full details and results from the Life and Times survey can be found on the survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/nilt

For further information contact: Paula Devine, ARK, Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, Queen's University Belfast, Tel: 028 9097 3034 Email: p.devine@qub.ac.uk

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Sign up now for Queen's University professional development courses

Have you been meaning to boost your career prospects by gaining an additional professional qualification? If so, now is your chance to sign up for one of a range of undergraduate Certificate and Diploma courses, postgraduate courses up to Masters level, or a short training and development course offered by the Institute of Lifelong Learning at Queen's University in its Professional Development prospectus.

Popular part-time professional courses that are enrolling currently for a September intake include the Undergraduate Certificate in Management Studies and the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Supervision.

Among the range of undergraduate Diploma and Certificate courses are the:
- Diploma in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations
- Diploma in Conflict Studies
- Certificate in Personnel Practice, and the
- Certificate in Horticulture.

"Queen's University has been providing opportunities for adult learners since 1849, with the Institute of Lifelong Learning the main provider and organiser of such courses," explained the Institute's Assistant Director for Continuing Professional Development Richard Jay.

"In addition, the Institute of Lifelong Learning runs a wide range of short courses to meet the training needs of staff in the areas of management development, quality management, information technology and process and engineering. Over 13,250 participants from public and private sector organisations have attended the 945 short courses delivered by experienced presenters and practitioners that have been offered by the Institute over the last 36 years," Mr Jay added.

Recent student of the Institute's Professional Development programme, Jane Holmes of Glenabbey Counselling Service, said of her studies: "The Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Person Centred Counselling has stretched me more than I could have imagined and has been immensely challenging. Spending two years with a small group of people, challenging and supporting each other has been a highlight of the course."

Michelle Ennis of the Cedar Foundation, added: "The Diploma in Vocational Guidance has provided me with the knowledge, experience and confidence to reinforce the skills I currently use in my work role. I thoroughly enjoy the classes and have made some good friends and contacts."

If you feel you'd like to find out more about a course that would suit you, check out the Institute of Lifelong Learning's website at www.qub.ac.uk/ill pick up a brochure in your local library, or ring 028 9097 3539 for further information.

The closing date for enrolment in most courses starting this September has been extended to the end of August, and some courses are filling up fast!

Certificate and Diploma courses are generally run over one or more academic years, normally during evening hours, while short, non-award bearing courses involve one- or two-day intensive training sessions.

Ends

For further information, contact: The Institute of Lifelong Learning, 028 9097 3539

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Queen's launches new School of Agri-Food and Land Use
Taste of things to come….Queen's student Claire Cockerill, from Drumbeg, tests the nutritional value of some ice cream and strawberries at the launch of the University's new School of Agri-Food and Land Use. The School, which will be formally launched on Tuesday 14 June, will give its graduates the skills and knowledge to deal with the multi-faceted changes facing the food and rural sectors in Northern Ireland.
Taste of things to come….Queen's student Claire Cockerill, from Drumbeg, tests the nutritional value of some ice cream and strawberries at the launch of the University's new School of Agri-Food and Land Use. The School, which will be formally launched on Tuesday 14 June, will give its graduates the skills and knowledge to deal with the multi-faceted changes facing the food and rural sectors in Northern Ireland.

Queen's University's new School of Agri-Food and Land Use will be launched today (Wednesday 14 June).

The new School, which opens in September, will give graduates the knowledge and skills in order to deal with the multi-faceted changes facing the food and rural sectors in Northern Ireland.

The new School will be based in purpose-built accommodation in the David Keir Building on the main University site in Belfast. Its establishment as the Province's primary provider of high-level education in agriculture and food science came after a bidding process, followed by an independent report, published three years ago, which recommended changes in the way education and research in agriculture and food science was carried out.

Queen's tradition of excellence in this area of study stretches back almost 80 years and the new School will build on the University's breadth of knowledge which has made it a recognised premier centre of agri-food education and research, according to Professor James McElnay, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture.

"Queen's expertise within SAFLU, combined with relevant knowledge elsewhere in the University, will mean graduates are well equipped for the demanding challenges facing the sector in the years ahead.

"A major factor in graduates gaining employment is the attainment of relevant work experience. Through the integrated work placement component of our undergraduate programmes, students will graduate equipped with the diverse range of academic and practical skills necessary for a successful career in the industry," he said.

During today's launch in the Canada Room, guests will hear from staff members who will highlight the latest developments with the new unit, discuss the teaching curriculum, the student experience and the planned research themes.

Farming and the food industry account for more than 8 per cent of Northern Ireland's employment, while 40 per cent of its population live in rural areas. The degrees provided by the new School will have great importance for society and the economy for many years to come.

Students will be taught by research leaders in their fields, including those from cognate schools within the University, who will ensure a high quality, up-to-date intellectual experience for students. Within the School the academic staff will also create core research groups to underpin the teaching and serve local needs.

Two innovative degrees have been specially designed to focus on the main areas of particular relevance to the future of the agri-food sector. They are the BSc (Hons) Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition and the BSc (Hons) Land Use and Environmental Management, which are available in both three and four year formats.

The four year programme includes a year long work placement, while the three year programme offers a four/five month work placement. Opportunities are available for students to undertake placement in companies and businesses within Northern Ireland, Great Britian and the Republic of Ireland, but they will also be encouraged to undertake overseas and international placements.

The Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition degree addresses the importance of the food sector in the local industry and reflects increasing public concern with food quality. Students will combine their study in this area with a sound understanding of the nature and composition of fresh and processed foods and how the body nourishes itself in health and disease.

With demand for good food science graduates exceeding supply throughout the UK, opportunities exist for careers within product development, quality assurance, food analysis and production management.

The degree in Land Use and Environmental Management will provide students with an understanding of the integrated and holistic nature of land use and environmental management. As a result of the many changes affecting the natural environment today, new and challenges career opportunities are emerging for those familiar with issues of sustainable development, conservation and environmental protection and management.

Students will find employment within government and related services and agencies, private sector industries, financial institutions and agribusiness concerns of various kinds.

Note for Editors: The new School of Agri-Food and Land Use will be officially launched on Tuesday 14 June 2005 in the Canada Room, Queen's University, from 10am. Photographic and media opportunities will be available from 12.30pm.

In March 2003, in response to the O'Hare review of agri-food education and research and development in Northern Ireland, the minister responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development announced that the current provision of education and research and development in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at Queen's would be transferred, by competitive process, to a new university department, with funding ring-fenced for an initial period of three years. After comprehensive consultation with stakeholders, Queen's submitted its bid in late February 2004 and was chosen as the site for the new School in April 2004.

The new School is funded by the Department of Employment and Learning, after the initial three-year ring-fenced period, and staff will be Queen's employees.

For further information please contact: Dr Donna Rogers, School of Agri-Food and Land Use, (028) 9097 6516

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Bike to Work Week at Queen's
Cycle mounted Police Service officer Constable Ricky Coates and Adam van Winsum, from Queen's University, take to the roads to promote Bike to Work Week at the University. Staff are being encouraged to ditch the car and cycle to work for at least one day this week.
Cycle mounted Police Service officer Constable Ricky Coates and Adam van Winsum, from Queen's University, take to the roads to promote Bike to Work Week at the University. Staff are being encouraged to ditch the car and cycle to work for at least one day this week.

Staff at Queen's University are being urged to get on their bikes and take part in Bike2Work Week, by cycling to work this week.

The University's recent staff travel survey revealed that just over 10 per cent of staff live or travel within one mile of their place of work and yet nearly 12% of car drivers are 'usually' driving a distance of between one and two miles. It's highly likely that given congestion and parking problems, these journeys could be cycled quicker.

So, if you live a couple of miles from your workplace and usually drive, why not try cycling for at least one day this week.

According to Adam van Winsum, the University's travel plan co-ordinator, cycling provides a number of benefits. "It's a great way to keep fit and beat the rush hour traffic; it helps reduce congestion and travel to your destination quicker, especially if it's a short distance and it's an effective alternative to the private car and save on petrol and parking costs. So why not get pedalling," he said.

As part of the initiative cycle mounted PoIice Service officers were at the University on Monday distributing security marking kits for bicycles and giving advice on cycle security.

South Belfast Crime Prevention Officer, Constable Gail Haddock, said police were delighted to help with the initiative and that if any member of the public wanted to have their bike security-marked, they could make an appointment with their local crime prevention officer. In addition local retailer Lifecycles offered advice on cycle and cycle related products and services.

The University's Estates and Sport & Recreation Services have teamed up to make the event as pain free as possible. Specifically, on Thursday 16 June, participants can benefit from the following: ·

Free ‘Belfast by Bike’ Maps to all staff participating. Copies of this map and other info is available from Adam - email a.vanwinsum@qub.ac.uk

· Free shower and storage of cycling clothes at the Physical Education Centre

· Free secure cycle storage inside the Physical Education Centre

· Reduced day rate cycle hire (from £9 to £6) in association with Lifecycles. For further information telephone (028) 9043 9959.

For further information contact: Adam van Winsum, Travel Plan Co-ordinator, Estates Department, (028) 9097 1154

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Artist David Mach visits Belfast

David Mach, an artist of international reputation, has been asked to propose a public sculpture for the centre of Belfast at the invitation of the Belfast Festival at Queen's.

The artist is visiting Belfast today (Tuesday 14 June) to unveil a scale model of the head of the Big Woman sculpture and images that will give an accurate impression of what it will look like when finished.

The Scottish artist David Mach is well-known for his large-scale monumental works and sculptures and for his collage pieces. His creations are often constructed from multiple materials including magazines, bricks, tyres and even coathangers. Among his public commissions are:

· Big Heids – three giant heads on plinths standing in Lanark on the M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

· Train – an architectural sculpture of 185,000 bricks on the A66 on the edge of Darlington, and

· Temple at Tyre - which first appeared in the sculpture park of the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp in 1985.

Other large-scale public sculptures that have become popular land marks in the UK and Ireland include Anthony Gormley's The Angel of the North in Gateshead; and The Spire of Dublin, the 120 foot-high monument in O'Connell Street by architect Ian Ritchie.

For Belfast, Mach is proposing a 50 foot high female figure. It is anticipated that the sculpture would be welded by local suppliers and be constructed on site.

Belfast City Hall is the proposed site for the dramatic monument. The work would remain on display for one year, for the duration of city-wide celebrations that will take place during 2006 as the centenary of the City Hall building is also marked.

Shan McAnena, Curator of the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University, who invited David Mach to create a new work for Belfast and for the Belfast Festival at Queen's, commented: "This is an exciting opportunity for Belfast to have its own world-class artwork in the city centre. Already John Kindness' The Big Fish by the river Lagan has become one of our city's most visited and photographed tourist attractions. Cultural tourism is growing dramatically in importance and other cities that have their own iconic image have seen significant increases in their visitor numbers as the artwork attains a national and international reputation."

Explaining his idea for the figurative sculpture and why he wants to create this especially for Belfast, David Mach said: "When I visit Belfast, I see a city that's full of life – it feels young to me. I meet people there who are fresh and full of ideas, ready to go into the future taking all the strengths of their past with them. I guess it's this outlook I want to reflect, create something new and vibrant, something that doesn't exist already, something colourful and futuristic.

"I think I've come up with the idea of a figure because Belfast is a very human city. I might even think of Belfast as 'her', probably in the same way as ships are referred to as 'she'. The form of the figure is nude but that's a bit of a red herring. She will be made up of hundreds of lenticular postcards, highly colourful and flashing double and treble images, again reflecting Belfast's spirit. She's a multi-faceted character, not just one thing. I think the postcards will serve to break down the nudity of the figure – you might even say she is 'dressed' by them. In any case, I think the people of Belfast will have no problems accepting her – quite the opposite, I think they'll love her."

Funding for this exciting project is being sought from a number of sources that include the Belfast City Millennium Fund, administered by Belfast City Council.

"David Mach's artwork will not only provide an artistic focus for Belfast's celebrations, but will, as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen's programme, be the centre of an extensive outreach programme with schools and community groups across the city, that will include workshops, guided tours and artist's talks," Shan McAnena added.

ENDS

Notes: 1. Members of the media are invited to meet David Mach and photograph the model head and scale image at 2pm on Tuesday 14 June in the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University.

2. Further information on the artist David Mach and his work can be found on his website www.davidmach.com

For further information, contact: Shan McAnena, 028 9097 5383; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320 or 07980 013362

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Report published on older people in Northern Ireland - the 'angry generation'

The 'angry generation' believes older people are treated with less respect – and that not enough is being done for them by Northern Ireland's authorities.

A new report published today (10 June) presents the latest findings of a team of researchers based at the Queen's University Belfast Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, led by Eileen Evason, on older people in Northern Ireland.

The research project focuses on people in the 50-64 years age group. The project team is drawing together data from a number of sources to make it accessible to those campaigning for older people.

There is a sense that this is a generation under pressure: caring for their parents; helping their children and grandchildren, and worrying about the implications for themselves of the general crisis surrounding pensions in the United Kingdom. So much so, that they make up the 'angry generation'.

Some of the key points highlighted in the new report are that:

-  More than half of all respondents in the 'angry generation' believe that older people are treated worse and with less respect because of their age.
- Over three quarters of people in this age group feel that the authorities in Northern Ireland do not do enough for older people.
- Almost half (48%) of all respondents aged between 50 and 64 years have a long-standing illness or disability.
- Mental health is poorer in the 59 to 64 year age group than in any other age group, with women in this age group having the poorest mental health of all.
- A central plank in current pensions policy is to encourage people to work up to – and beyond – the state retirement age. In practice amongst males, economic activity rates decline sharply in the ten years preceding retirement age.
- 26% of people aged between 50 and 64 provide care for someone and this figure is higher than for any other age group; indeed for 17% of carers in this age group, caring is the equivalent of a full-time job.
- 73% of grandparents in the 50 to 64 age group say they have often put themselves out to help look after their grandchildren. In fact, one in five grandmothers in this age group reported that they had given up paid work or reduced their hours so that they could help look after their grandchildren.
- 22% of grandparents are also carers and, of these, 77% say they often put themselves out to help look after their grandchildren.

Eileen Evason, a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's,  who heads the research team, said: "This is the fourth in a series of fact sheets to be published on older people in Northern Ireland. This particular age-group is under strain from a number of directions. Despite this, current policy places considerable emphasis on encouraging a higher proportion of this age group to remain in employment up to and beyond retirement age. Our data suggest that the policies promoting a return to work need to be supportive and sensitive, and not an added source of strain for this age group."

The research project has been funded by Atlantic Philanthropies. The full report is available on the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research website at http://www.governance.qub.ac.uk.

Ends

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

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Learning Lessons? The future of Human Rights Commissions

The future of Human Rights Commissions in the UK and Ireland will be examined at Queen's University Belfast this week.

The Human Rights Centre at the Queen's School of Law, in co-operation with the Faculty of Law, University of Bristol, will hold a half-day conference in Belfast on Friday 10 June on the role of Human Rights Commissions.

The conference will examine the lessons learned so far from the experience of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights Commission. The current uncertainty over the Northern Ireland Commission, proposals for a Commission for Equality and Human Rights in Britain and a Scottish Human Rights Commission mean that there is considerable scope for discussion.

Those speaking on Friday include: Dr Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission; Paddy Sloan, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Dr Rachel Murray, Faculty of Law, University of Bristol; Aideen Gilmore, Committee on the Administration of Justice; Francesca Klug, London School of Economics and Political Science; and Brian Peddie, Human Rights and Law Reform Branch, Scottish Executive.

Professor Colin Harvey, Director of the Human Rights Centre at Queen's, commented: "This is an important time in the debate over the future of Human Rights Commissions in these islands. As is well known, the debate in Ireland, North and South, continues. The Equality Bill proposes the establishment in Britain of a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights. There are also proposals for a Scottish Human Rights Commission. In other words, we feel this conference is timely and our aim is to offer a forum for reflection and discussion on the lessons that might be learned from experiences so far."

Ends

Notes:
1. The ‘Learning Lessons? Human Rights Commissions in the UK and Ireland’ conference will take place in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s University Belfast on Friday 10 June 9.15am - 2pm. 2. The Human Rights Centre at Queen’s University was established in 1990, offering a focus for the School of Law’s expertise in human rights law. It is recognised internationally as a leading centre for research and education on human rights law. The Centre provides within Northern Ireland a much needed focus on research in human rights law, as well as helping to promote understanding of human rights. Professor Colin Harvey took up the position of Director of the Centre on 1 January 2005.
3. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was established in 1999 under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

For further information, please contact: Professor Colin Harvey, 028 9097 3141 c.harvey@qub.ac.uk or the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

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New developments in medical polymers

Medical Polymer researchers from universities and industry across the UK and Ireland will hold a meeting in Ireland for the first time, at Queen's University Belfast, on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 June.

The Medical Polymers Research Institute at Queen's is hosting the meeting, run jointly with the MediTech network.

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

The medical polymers healthcare sector is growing rapidly in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where there is one of the highest concentrations of medical devices companies in the world.

At this week's meeting, the gathered experts will explore the emerging technologies in the medical polymers field and exchange information on new and novel applications and on new products being developed.

"Our new £4.3 million Medical Polymers Research Institute (MPRI) at Queen's was opened by the Vice Chancellor last September and we are delighted to welcome researchers in our field to our new centre," commented John Orr Director of the MPRI. "This meeting presents great opportunities for the academic partners and staff of the Institute to foster additional and more active links with other established research groups."

The MediTech network brings together experts from the fields of bioengineering, biomaterials engineers, biophysicists, biomechanicians, clinicians and medical device manufacturers to identify and develop collaborative projects and share information.

Ends

Notes:
1. Interviews and photographic opportunities will be available at 10.00-11.00am and 1.00-2.00pm on Tuesday 7 June at the MPRI within the Ashby building on Stranmillis Road.
2. The £4.3 million Medical Polymers Research Institute at Queen's University opened in September 2004 provides a state-of-the-art research facility. It is one of 18 Research and Technological Development Centres of Excellences announced by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in 2003.

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Magnificent seven in running for top sports award at Queen's

Seven of Queen's top sporting students are in the running for the University's top sporting honour the 'Individual Achievement Award.'

The nominees announced today cover a range of sports including gaelic football, athletics, handball, camogie, snooker and pool, with the winner being announced at the 13th Queen's University Blues Awards Dinner on 8 June.

The awards - supported by Ulster Bank - celebrate students' achievement in sport through the presentation of Blues and the prestigious Sports Achievement Awards. The annual 'Coach of the Year' and 'Special Contribution to Queen's Sport' awards will also be presented.

Maureen Cusdin, Director of Sport and Recreation at Queen's said: "Achieving sporting excellence requires talent. It also requires good time management and access to modern facilities with the right specialist support services to inform top quality coaching and training programmes.

"At Queen's we are building a better, more sophisticated, sporting infrastructure so that more students can fulfil their sporting potential alongside their academic activities. This includes building a state-of-the-art £7 million sports centre which will be the envy across Ireland and the UK.

"We hope, with support from student-friendly companies like Ulster Bank, to build on past successes and continue to enrich the student experience through sporting endeavour and achievement at the highest level."

Supporting the event, Andrew Healy, Managing Director, Retail Banking NI, Ulster Bank said: "Ulster Bank is pleased to support the Blues Awards again this year. It is terrific to see Queen's students matching their high standards in academic studies with such terrific achievements in sport."

Previous winners of the University's Sports Achievement Award (Individual) include Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lisa Bradley (judo), rugby international David Humphreys and Gaelic footballer Anthony Tohill.

Notes to Editors
This year's nominees include: Laura Lavery (Camogie), Victoria Mallett (Gaelic Football), Martin McGrath (Gaelic Football), Caroline O’Hanlon (Gaelic Football), Darren Oldroyd (Snooker and Pool), Paul Pollock (Harriers/Athletics) and Charlie Shanks (Handball).

Queen's University Belfast annually presents Blues awards to sports men and women who have achieved high standards of performance in their sport. These standards have been agreed jointly by the University Blues Committee and the relevant University sports clubs.

For further information, contact: Debbie McLorinan, Development Manager - Marketing & Customer Services, Tel: (028) 9038 7660, e-mail: d.mclorinan@qub.ac.uk or Bill Gardner, Development Manager - Student Sport, Tel: (028) 9038 7663, e-mail w.gardner@qub.ac.uk

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