12-2005 Press Releases

19/12/2005: Queen's world-leading research centre part of new G8 group
19/12/2005: New study examines links between genes and treatment
16/12/2005: Graduation photographs
16/12/2005: Sparing a thought for the homeless at graduation
16/12/2005: Queen's honours Irish Times editor
16/12/2005: Queen's honours Melvyn Bragg
16/12/2005: Graduation sweet music to sisters' ears
16/12/2005: Swedish graduate to take off on her bike
15/12/2005: Pioneering American psychologist honoured by Queen's
15/12/2005: Husband and wife graduate together
15/12/2005: 'Queen's competes on global scale' says Gregson
15/12/2005: Queen's medical student who beat cancer to graduate
15/12/2005: Eight international engineering students graduate with distinction
15/12/2005: Queen's honours Northern Ireland-born President of the British Academy
15/12/2005: Queen's honours leading scientist
14/12/2005: Part-time students rewarded at Queen's
14/12/2005: Queen's students told "society needs your skills"
13/12/2005: Queen's team appeal for help with wind farm research
13/12/2005: Queen's holds its own Dragons Den
12/12/2005: Community-based training for Senior Detectives
12/12/2005: Childcare Research Forum launched at Queen's
09/12/2005: New state-of-the-art Mobile Communications facility to be launched at Queen's
09/12/2005: Queen's graduate collects award for research into alcohol and drug abuse
09/12/2005: Students discover Narnia through Queen's
07/12/2005: Queen's University rolling out red carpet for Narnia premiere
06/12/2005: Queen's academic to pen MI6 history
06/12/2005: Great fun at Queen's InterSports Night.
06/12/2005: Young Life and Times survey 2005
05/12/2005: Members of the public invited to voice hopes for equality
02/12/2005: Comet smasher visits Belfast
02/12/2005: CS Lewis celebration this weekend at Queen's University Belfast
02/12/2005: "Hell Bent" on having a Flaming Good time with the Naughton Gallery.
01/12/2005: Queen's annual Toy Appeal
01/12/2005: Queen's University winter graduation ceremonies 2005

Queen's world-leading research centre part of new G8 group

Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) is the UK representative on the newly formed International Green Network, an international scientific consortium focused on developing green chemistry.

The IGN was formed after Italian Minister for Education, Research and University, Letizia Moratti, proposed that the Carnegie Group (the international body for Science and Technology in the G8 countries) put together a research and training network that was dedicated to tackling environmental concerns.

The International Green Network, which consists of eight research centres, one based in each of the G8 countries, met for the first time earlier this month at a special conference in Marghera, Venice to discuss the overall direction and targets of the network. Its main goals are to accelerate movement towards a sustainable energy and materials economy, by bringing together scientists, engineers, research institutions, firms, policy analysts and government regulators from around the world.

By the end of the conference a final version of the IGN Working Document was created and was then immediately endorsed at a special meeting of the Carnegie Group in New York on 2-3 December 2005.

QUILL director Professor Ken Seddon said the inclusion of QUILL in the IGN was a great honour.

"The International Green Network is a consortium of the world’s best scientists who are dedicated to developing green technologies," he explained. "This means the research centres that have been invited to take part are the world leaders in this field. The problems that we will be tackling will be of the highest priority for the sustainable future of our planet and it is such a great honour that Queen’s will be a part of this."

However the inclusion of QUILL as the UK representative on the IGN is just another accolade for the University.

Last month, the centre received a Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research into ionic liquids. Under the direction of Professor Seddon and Professor Jim Swindall, QUILL develops the industrial applications of "designer solvents" that, when used, emit no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), hence avoiding atmospheric pollution. This new green technology could have significant environmental benefits around the world.

Professor Seddon added: "By being part of this new green scientific consortium, Queen's will be at the forefront of these new discoveries. We are already leading the way in the area of ionic liquids and now we have the opportunity to build on this by working with some of the best scientific minds in the world."

For further information, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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New study examines links between genes and treatment

A new study by Queen's University that examines the links between genetics and the effectiveness of treatment in Multiple Sclerosis sufferers was published in a prestigious pharmaceutical journal earlier this month.

The study, which was conducted by the School of Pharmacy under the guidance of Professor Koen Vandenbroeck, was published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Professor Vandenbroeck and his team set out to discover why a significant proportion of Multiple Sclerosis sufferers did not benefit from specific treatment. "Interferon-B (IFN) is the most common form of therapy for Multiple Sclerosis," Professor Vandenbroeck explained. "The main problem with this therapy is that a significant proportion - about 50 percent - of patients show poor clinical response to it.

"It is thought that someone's capability to respond or not respond to therapy is determined by their genes. If we know which genes are responsible for a good response, we could use that knowledge to target therapy to patients who are genetically likely to respond.

"This would not only help to alleviate the financial burden on the NHS, but would also help to devise new and more effective therapies for those who have a low disposition to Interferon-B."

In a recent study on Multiple Sclerosis researchers found that Northern Ireland had one of the highest prevalence of MS in the world. They found the number of sufferers more than doubled from 41 per 100,000 in 1951 to 104 per 100,000 in 1986.

Professor Vandenbroeck said this statistic was relatively high and was a starting point for this new study.

After securing funding from the Northern Ireland HPSS R&D Office, Professor Vandenbroeck put together a team of nine researchers to verify whether genetic influences determined someone's ability to respond to IFN.

With the help of Dr Stanley Hawkins from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and Dr Michael Hutchinson of St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin, the team selected 100 genes from 150 patients that contained DNA elements called signatures that identified them as genes affected by IFN. From this they discovered genetic variants in four of these genes. Of those four, two genes showed an association with reduced probability of response meaning their analysis revealed genetic determinants that can predict lack of response.

Professor Koen Vandenbroeck said although a lot of work remained to be done, the study had increased hope that it would be possible to unravel the complex issue of why some patients did not benefit from IFN therapy.

For further information, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office on 028 9097 5384.

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Students from Queen's University celebrate after the Winter graduation
Students from Queen's University celebrate after the
Winter graduation
David Mach's "Hell Bent" ensures the new graduates have a flaming good time at today's Winter Graduation.
David Mach's "Hell Bent" ensures the new graduates have a
flaming good time at today's Winter Graduation.
Sparing a thought for the homeless at graduation

One young woman collecting her BA Sociology degree from Queen's University on Friday afternoon has done more than spare a seasonal thought for the homeless at this time of year.

Twenty-one year-old Carolyn Mason worked with the Simon Community during her final year to assess for the charity the levels of awareness of homeless issues among the general public. Carolyn's research project was arranged through the Queen's Science Shop.

The Northern Ireland Science Shop acts as a link between Queen's students and staff and local voluntary and community groups to match and guide students as they work on research projects for the groups alongside their studies. Over the past 12 months, the Science Shop worked with Queen's students and staff, including Carolyn, to complete 52 projects in a wide range of areas.

"The Simon Community was keen to find out if its billboard campaigns had made any impact on how people consider homelessness in Northern Ireland," Carolyn explains. "For example, do people still come up with the typical stereotyped ideas of cardboard boxes, sleeping rough and drug or alcohol abuse."

Carolyn conducted her research by questionnaire and analysed the results afterwards for the Simon Community.

"What I found was that although people were still putting forward stereotypical ideas, there was awareness that these were in fact stereotypes and, in all likelihood, were only applicable to some cases of homelessness.

"A significant number of people I interviewed could recall one or more of the Simon Community advertisements without prompting, and yet more recognised them when shown reproductions of the posters. In general, where knowledge was present about the issues, there was also knowledge of the Simon Community. In my report to the charity I concluded that their campaigns are having an impact," said Carolyn.

Since completing the project last summer, Carolyn spent some time travelling in Canada with her boyfriend Peter. Now back in Belfast, she has taken a one-year position with a local bank. "This is really to give me a chance to take a break from academia for a while and to have a chance to really think about my next steps. I am still very interested in further study, but am not clear which area I would like to concentrate on."

Accompanying Carolyn to Friday's graduation ceremony are her parents Helen and Mark from Monyreagh, County Down.

For further information, please contact: Communications Office097 3087

Notes:
Media opportunities will be available outside the Whitla Hall after the Degree ceremony, on Friday afternoon at approximately 3.40pm.

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Queen's honours Irish Times editor
Geraldine Kennedy, Irish Times editor, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, was today awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to journalism by Queen's University.
Geraldine Kennedy, Irish Times editor, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, was today awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to journalism by Queen's University.

Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Ms Kennedy, the first female editor of a major Irish newspaper, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to journalism.

Delivering the citation, Politics Professor Richard English described Ms Kennedy as "a world-renowned and pioneering Irish journalist, whose achievements have deservedly gained her great respect and admiration, both within and beyond the journalistic and political communities".

Born in County Tipperary in 1951, Geraldine Kennedy was educated at Rathmines College of Commerce. She held early posts at the Munster Express and at the Cork (now the Irish) Examiner, before moving to the Irish Times. She moved to the newly-founded Sunday Tribune in 1980 as that paper’s political correspondent, and subsequently worked with the Sunday Press.

In 1987, she became a member of the Irish Parliament (the Dáil) as Progressive Democrat TD for the Dun Laoghaire constituency, a seat which she held until 1989, acting as her party’s spokesperson for foreign affairs and Northern Ireland. She then returned to journalism, taking up a post at the Irish Times - where she was to become political editor in 1999, and editor in 2002.

Professor English said: "Her tenure as editor of the paper has been marked by her characteristically high standards of journalistic integrity and vision. Her courage and tenacity have brought her, on occasions, into conflict with the powerful: politicians are not always thrilled by the robustness of journalistic spirit. In 1987, she successfully sued the then Fianna Fáil government, led by Charles Haughey, for invasion of privacy. Her telephone had been tapped in 1982, in an attempt by the government to establish the source of political leaks. Geraldine Kennedy’s public courage in this famous encounter reflected the admirable integrity which has been the foundation of her deeply impressive career."

He added: "The relevance of this to politics in Northern Ireland is, of course, obvious. Momentous changes have taken place here in recent years; and these world-famous political developments have involved not only the changing, and more harmonious, relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, but also a growing sophistication of understanding on all sides of the complexity of politics in Northern Ireland. The role of Geraldine Kennedy as political commentator and newspaper editor has been of tremendous importance here, and in recent years her newspaper has played a crucial role in reporting, analysing and facilitating debate upon the evolution of a new and more peaceful Northern Ireland.

"It is in recognition of such a major contribution to politics in this part of the island of Ireland, and as a reflection of the broader importance of her role as a pioneering journalist of outstanding ability and achievement, that the University wishes to honour her today."

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

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Queen's honours Melvyn Bragg
South Bank Show host and author Melvyn Bragg, Lord Bragg of Wigton wsa today awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in literature and broadcasting, by Queen's University, Belfast.
South Bank Show host and author Melvyn Bragg, Lord Bragg of Wigton wsa today awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in literature and broadcasting, by Queen's University, Belfast.
Lord Bragg, signs the Graduation Ceremony book, in the Whitla Hall at Queen's University today.
Lord Bragg, signs the Graduation Ceremony book, in the Whitla Hall at Queen's University today.

Queen's University today honoured one of the United Kingdom's most influential broadcasters, South Bank Show host and author Melvyn Bragg, Lord Bragg of Wigton.

At this morning's graduation ceremony, Lord Bragg was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in literature and broadcasting.

Delivering the citation, Queen's Director of Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Tom Collins described Lord Bragg as "unquestionably one of the most lucid and adept chroniclers of the television age". Mr Collins said: "In a career spanning some 40 years, he has helped turn television from a mere means of transmitting pictures from one space to another into an artform in its own right; and he has used the mass media to expose and explore the creative spark which sets humankind apart from every other creature which inhabits this earth.

"It is no exaggeration to say that he has done more than any other individual in these islands to deepen understanding of the arts and to make them meaningful to people who would never have thought they were relevant to their lives.

"That the South Bank Show has survived, and thrived in a world where the bottom line is everything, speaks volumes of Melvyn Bragg’s skills as a communicator, the viewing public's desire for substance amid celebrity, and the genuine commitment of commercial television to public service broadcasting.

"His record in television would be enough to secure him recognition and this honorary degree. But even television is too small to hold his talent. In addition to being a broadcaster and a producer, he is an accomplished novelist and writer of non-fiction and has written stage musicals and screenplays. He is also a journalist, writing regularly for a raft of newspapers including The Guardian and The Independent."

Melvyn Bragg, who also presents the BBC radio programme In Our Time, which attracts a weekly audience of two million, was born in Cumbria in 1939 and educated at Oxford, where he read Modern History.

His public appointments include membership of the Arts Council, Northern Arts, the National Campaign for the Arts and the House of Lords, which he joined in 1998. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Television Society; Lancashire Polytechnic, and St. Catherine's College, Oxford and President of the mental health charity Mind.

He is a recipient of numerous honorary degrees and a range of awards, including the Writers' Guild Screenplay Award; Rhys Memorial Prize; Northern Arts Association Prose Award; Silver Pen Award; Broadcasting Guild Award; Ivor Novello Musical Award; the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Dimbleby Award, and the WH Smith Literary Award for 2000.

Mr Collins said: "In awarding honorary degrees, Queen's recognises its honorary graduands' lifetime achievements, but it also hopes they will be an inspiration to its graduating class.

"You can have no better inspiration than the man we honour here: a man who has put creativity at the centre of his life, and who has allowed millions to share in the transformational power of culture and the arts; a man whose life has been dedicated to public service; a man who recognises that, with privilege comes responsibility."

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

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Graduation sweet music to sisters' ears
Sisters Georgina (left) and Amy Mulligan from Newry look forward to graduating together on Friday morning from Queen's University Belfast when they will each collect a Masters degree in Musinc.
Sisters Georgina (left) and Amy Mulligan from Newry look forward to graduating together on Friday morning from Queen's University Belfast when they will each collect a Masters degree in Musinc.
Amy Mulligan today received a Masters Degrees in Music.  Pictured with Amy is her fiancé Neil and dad.
Amy Mulligan today received a Masters Degrees in Music. Pictured with Amy is her fiancé Neil and dad.

Winter graduation at Queen's will sound a particularly sweet note today (Friday 16) to the Mulligan family from Newry, when two sisters, Georgina and Amy, cross the platform to collect Masters Degrees in Music.

Twenty-two year-old Amy completed her first degree in Music at Queen's in June 2004 and embarked straight away on the one-year MA in Music Composition degree course the following September.

Her sister Georgina, aged 24, also completed a first degree in Music, but at a different university, joining Amy at Queen's to begin the MA together.

"We both enjoyed the course tremendously," Georgina commented. "We mostly did different modules within the programme, though we took one class together on Research Methods. We did however study together in the library and it was good to bounce ideas off one another," she added.

Not only have the siblings studied together, but they also regularly perform together too. "We have played a few times at functions in Newry City Hall and are becoming better known there for performing," Amy said modestly. "The highlight of our joint performances to date must be when we played together in 2002 in Dublin at the National Conference Hall. I had composed the piece especially for percussion, which Georgina played, while I accompanied her on piano," she added.

Both sisters are committed to making careers for themselves using their musical talents. In fact both of them gave music tuition to pupils while they studied for the MA degrees. Amy is currently working as a supply teacher, giving instrument tuition to school pupils in the Newry area. "I'm still composing on the side, though as a hobby only at the moment," she said. Georgina is now a self-employed piano and percussion tutor, also working from her home town. "I started right away after my course ended and I love the work," she commented.

Accompanying the young women to Friday's graduation ceremony will be their proud parents, Brigina and George Mulligan, with Georgina's fiancé Fergal and Amy's fiancé Neil, all from Newry. Watching proceedings too will be their aunt, Leontia Hoy, who works at Queen's as a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

"The name Mulligan is well known in the Newry area as being a musical family name," Georgia laughed, "So, it's not too surprising that the two of us have always loved music."

For further information, please contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 3087

Notes:
Media opportunities will be available outside the Whitla Hall after the Degree ceremony, on Friday morning at approximately 11.40am.

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Swedish graduate to take off on her bike
Noomi Mozard, who graduates on Friday 16 December, completed a dissertation on a group of motorcyclists as part of her Masters degree in Social Anthropology and developed a taste for biking. Pictured here on a friend's bike at Queen's University
Noomi Mozard, who graduates on Friday 16 December, completed a dissertation on a group of motorcyclists as part of her Masters degree in Social Anthropology and developed a taste for biking. Pictured here on a friend's bike at Queen's University

A young Swedish woman, who graduates from Queen's University on Friday morning, is preparing to take to the roads of North America by motor bike after collecting her Masters degree in Social Anthropology.

Noomi Mozard, who is 24 years old and from Hudiksvall north of Stockholm, came to Queen's four years ago to study for her first degree after a group of Queen's students she met in Spain gave her very good reports on the University and Belfast. She so enjoyed the Social Anthropology course and life in Belfast generally, that she stayed on to study for a Masters degree.

As part of the MA programme, Noomi had to produce a dissertation. She chose to dip into the world of motorcycling and has developed a wholesome enthusiasm for biking as a result.

Noomi, who has been working in the Visitors' Centre at the University for the last year of her studies, explains her project: "I spent last summer working in Sweden and north America with members of the worldwide group, the Association of Recovering Motorcyclists. This is a sober organisation for people who have been addicted to alcohol or drugs but have now cleaned up and still love their motorbikes.

"I was introduced to the association by my brother in Sweden. I spent a lot of time with these motorcyclists and rode with them. Riding makes one feel much more vibrantly aware of the world around you: there's a heightened sense of the surrounding sights, smells, weather, and sounds. The focus of my research was on the way people perceive the world differently, depending on how you move through the world.

"Through their interest in bikes, I found that these bikers find a sense of home and belonging which helps them in their process of recovery," Noomi added.

The young woman's resulting dissertation helped her to gain a distinction in her MA degree and has fuelled her determination to delve deeper into her research on this topic. "I want to go on to work for a PhD degree and ultimately want an academic career. I’ve applied to several universities in the United States which would give me easier access to the biking association for my research."

The project experience has also given Noomi a whole new personal interest in life: "I now desperately want to get my own motorcycle licence and bike," she laughed.

Noomi's mother is making the journey from Sweden to see her daughter graduate on Friday morning, and she'll also be well cheered on by her current colleagues in the Queen's Visitors' Centre and all the many friends she has made in the School of Social Anthropology.

For further information, please contact: Marketing, Recruitment and Communications, 028 9097 3087

Notes:
Media opportunities will be available outside the Whitla Hall after the Degree ceremony, on Friday morning at approximately 11.40am.

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Pioneering American psychologist honoured by Queen's
Eminent American psychologist Professor Gina Green, an international expert in autism and mental disability, received an honorary Doctorate of Science today at Queen's University.
Eminent American psychologist Professor Gina Green, an international expert in autism and mental disability, received an honorary Doctorate of Science today at Queen's University.

Eminent American psychologist Professor Gina Green, an international expert in autism and mental disability, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Professor Green was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science for distinction in psychology and for contribution to the understanding of autism.

Delivering the citation, Head of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Professor Rod Hay said: "Through her work on behavioural intervention Gina Green has been able to bring hope to children and their families. Her major contribution has been to improve the ability of children with this and other learning disorders to lead their lives as normally as possible."

Currently a Professor at San Diego State University and the University of North Texas, Gina Green also runs a professional practice in the management of children with mental disorders. She is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, former President of the Association for Behaviour Analysis, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Council for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health. The winner of an Award for Excellence in Behavioural Analysis in the Public Service, she was named as "Mental Health Professional of the Year" by Psychology Today in 2000.

Professor Hay said: "Professor Green has an international reputation in the field, authoring three books and numerous scientific papers. She is a member of many US Boards of Advisers in child development from East to West coasts. Her contributions have varied from the development of techniques of focusing learning skills to tests for analysing psychological deficits. In developing this work she has championed the need to base treatments on sound evidence and the analysis of quality.

"She has been actively involved in promoting a technique of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) which aims to help each child to be as successful and independent as possible at school, at home and in the community. This technique has been widely hailed as a major breakthrough in the management of autism."

Professor Green has previously visited Northern Ireland to deliver invited talks at conferences organised through PEAT (Parents' Education as Autism Therapists). She has given much needed support to families in Northern Ireland through providing literature and advice on therapies and has also been an expert witness on their behalf.

Professor Hay added: "Work in the field of mental disability is difficult, often frustrating, emotionally draining and yet, potentially, enormously satisfying. Our graduand today is recognised internationally for her contribution to the better understanding and care of children with these conditions and is a role model for those setting out in their careers in this field."

While in Northern Ireland Professor Green will be the keynote speaker at the "Facing Autism: ABA Ireland" 2005 conference taking place at the University of Ulster at Coleraine on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December. The conference is being held in collaboration with Queen's and is supported by the National Autistic Society and the European Association for Behaviour Analysis.

For further information, please contact: Anne Langford, Communications Office, 028 9097 5310

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Husband and wife graduate together
Carmel and Mark Reilly, a husband and wife team, today collect their BSc degrees in Nursing Science. Carmel is being awarded a Diploma with Commendation, while Mark obtained a first-class Honours Degree.
Carmel and Mark Reilly, a husband and wife team, today collect their BSc degrees in Nursing Science. Carmel is being awarded a Diploma with Commendation, while Mark obtained a first-class Honours Degree.

A couple in their early thirties, who have shared closely-interlinked career and study paths so far, are preparing to collect their BSc degrees in Nursing Science at Thursday afternoon's graduation ceremony at Queen's University, Belfast.

Carmel and Mark Reilly, from Belfast, first met nine years ago when Mark was studying for a Food Science degree at Queen's. Later, they both worked together in the pensions industry. Married in 1999, they both decided on a change of career and each chose nursing. The couple also had two babies during the three-year degree course and by sharing these additional home responsibilities they have both achieved remarkable degree success.

Mark is graduating with a first-class Honours Degree, while Carmel is being awarded a Diploma with Commendation.

"Mark took the plunge first and began at Queen's six months before I did," Carmel explains. "When our son, Ethan, was born in October 2003, I kept on with my studies while Mark took a six-month career break to care for our baby. That's how we ended up in the same class group, graduating at the same time."

With daughter Eva joining the family in July 2005, the couple juggled the home and study responsibilities. Carmel confirms. "I just got on with it all really. If I’d thought about it too closely I might not have thought we could do it. But Mark's fantastic with the kids and we also received a lot of help from our family and class mates throughout the course."

Confirming that teamwork is just the ticket, Mark commented: "The work at home and at Queen's was hard, but I enjoyed it and wouldn't go back and change a thing - even though I felt sorry for Carmel who only had a week off for the birth of our first child! I couldn't have done it without Carmel. With two little ones in our home, she looked after them and gave me the time and space I needed to complete my study assignments in times of pressure."

Continuing the remarkable streak of shared experiences, both Mark and Carmel have now taken up new jobs nursing on the psychiatric ward in the Mater Hospital. "Everywhere we go, we're known as a couple," Carmel said. "During our clinical placements we have always had to work opposite shifts so that one of us could be with the children. We'll continue to do this at the Mater Hospital."

Accompanying the couple on graduation day will be Carmel's sister, Briege, who is also studying for the same Nursing degree at Queen's, Mark's parents and Carmel's mother Mrs Beggan.

"The children will be there too, though I hope we can find someone to look after them while we're actually in the ceremony," Mark commented. "Having children posed challenges to our completing the course, but they were also our motivation to succeed and we would not have done so well without them!"

For further information, please contact: Marketing, Recruitment and Communications, 028 9097 3087

Notes:
Media opportunities will be available outside the Whitla Hall after the Degree ceremony, on Thursday afternoon at approximately 3.40pm.

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'Queen's competes on global scale' says Gregson
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson at Queen's University's Winter Graduation.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson at Queen's University's Winter Graduation.

Queen's University's reputation as a global player in higher education will be enhanced by its new vision, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said today.

Speaking to students as the University's winter graduation ceremonies got underway, he said: "As we approach the centenary of the University's Charter in 2008, we can see the next century taking shape. It will be exciting - a future where we will enhance our reputation as a global player in higher education, and add value to your degree and to Northern Ireland.

"The new vision for Queen's is a blueprint which will secure our status as a broadly-based, research driven University with a research and education portfolio which is competitive with the best in the world.

He said: "Queen's is at the heart of the local community and is a training ground for the professions, a patron of the arts, and a driving force in wealth and job creation. We will continue to build on this role."

And the Vice-Chancellor said that Queen's could and would deliver at the highest level. This month, the University had secured the final money it needed for its £44 million library project with the gala fundraising film premiere of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'.

"This ambitious building will offer a world-class learning environment for students and staff of Queen's and provide Northern Ireland with another architectural masterpiece. It is a symbol of confidence in our future."

He said Queen's University's academic excellence had been underscored last month when it was named as one of this year’s recipients of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.  "The awards recognise and honour outstanding achievement by universities and colleges in the United Kingdom and Queen’s is one of just four universities in the UK to have won this prize four times.

"The prize was secured by QUILL - our Ionic Liquids Laboratories - where researchers are leading the world in the design of 'green' technology to develop more efficient, pollution free chemical processes. This research will impact on the lives of everyone on the planet.

"In short," he said, "Queen's makes a difference."

For further information, please contact: Communications Office, telephone 028 9097 3087 / 028 9097 5310

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Queen's medical student who beat cancer to graduate
Scott McCain, today received his Degree in Medicine from Queen's. Scott , pictured with his grandmother, cycled from Land's End to John's O'Groats to raise money for the Ulster Cancer Foundation despite having his leg amputated last year.
Scott McCain, today received his Degree in Medicine from Queen's. Scott , pictured with his grandmother, cycled from Land's End to John's O'Groats to raise money for the Ulster Cancer Foundation despite having his leg amputated last year.

A Queen's medical student who underwent a major life saving operation a year ago will graduate with a Degree in Medicine from Queen's University this morning.

Scott McCain (23) was diagnosed with a synovial sarcoma (cancer) in his right foot last September, just a day before he was meant to leave for India to complete part of his medical training.

Doctors told the young Omagh man the cancer was treatable but advised him the best option was an amputation from below the knee.

After three major operations Scott was released from hospital just before Christmas in 2004. He was fitted with a prosthetic limb then spent the next four months preparing himself for another big challenge - to cycle 870 miles from Land's End to John's O'Groats.

The gruelling task was in aid of the Ulster Cancer Foundation, an organisation that has now become very important to the 23-year-old.

Scott, along with some of his dad's friends, set off on the nine-day trek in late June. A few days into the ride, the medical student encountered problems with his leg and had to cut short his ride but he still managed to complete 450 miles - more than what most able-bodied people would do in their lifetime.

Scott said he was disappointed he did not complete the ride because he was physically and emotionally fit, but he had developed abscesses on his leg from his limb which prevented him from continuing.

But this minor setback has only made him more determined. Not only has Scott made plans to do another ride in the near future but he managed to complete his medical degree in time for this year's winter graduation.

Scott explained he was very happy that he was finally graduating this morning.

"When I found out I had cancer, it was a big shock to the system. I mean I was studying to be a doctor so I could treat patients then I ended up being the patient. Then I had to make one of the hardest decisions in my life. At the time I was not sure what I was going to do but I had a lot of support from my family and friends and my lecturers were great too. I was able to defer my studies for a while so I could recover then I returned to complete my degree. Overall I have been studying for five and a half years so I guess you could say I am glad it is all over."

Scott is currently working at Belfast City Hospital and will start a new 2-year contract next year and while he is unsure which area of medicine he wants to specialise in, he says he now has a new understanding of what patients go through.

"I think the whole ordeal has definitely changed me. I think it has made me look at things with a different perspective and will also help me as a doctor. I feel I can empathise with what patients are going through a lot better having gone through something this traumatic myself."

Scott said he wanted to thank everyone who has supported him this year and to thank the people who sponsored him for the ride.

He also wanted to thank all the organisations who have kindly donated gifts for his charity auction which will be held in February next year. Some of the prizes up for grabs include a Northern Ireland shirt signed by all the players who defeated England at Windsor Park earlier this year.

Note:
Scott McCain will be available for photographs outside Whitla Hall about 11.45am after the graduation ceremony.

For further information, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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Eight international engineering students graduate with distinction
Eight School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering students from China graduated from Queen’s University with distinction this morning.
Eight School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering students from China graduated from Queen’s University with distinction this morning.

Eight School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering students from China will graduate from Queen’s University with distinction this morning.

The students are part of an exchange programme which was set up between one of China's top universities, the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), and Queen's in 2003.

The postgraduate course in process engineering has proved very popular with student numbers increasing each year. This year, the course had 17 students, all of whom are graduating today.

A team from Chemical Engineering at Queen's provided full time teaching and assessment of two modules at BIT during the first semester, while the students prepared their visa applications to study abroad.

Course co-ordinator Dr Quan Gan said: "This gave the students an opportunity to gain understanding and experience of learning, teaching and assessment in a UK accredited chemical engineering school before being transferred to Queen's for a further nine-month intensive academic study and research programme.

"We maintain a carefully structured teaching and research programme to attract the very best Chinese graduates and our entry standards are very good.

"Chemical Engineering staff also went out of their way to help the students and to get to know them during their time at BIT."

After arriving at Queen's the students were given additional guidance and help by staff from the school.

According to Dr Gan the students, who had never been out of China before, settled very quickly into their new life, despite the uncertainty of a new country and a new educational system.

He added: "Another great thing about this programme is that four of these recent graduates will stay on at Queen’s to complete their PhDs at the university's research centres QUILL, CENTACAT and QUESTOR. This is fantastic as it reinforces Queen’s high reputation in these fields."

For further information, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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Queen's honours Northern Ireland-born President of the British Academy
Baroness O'Neill, President of the British Academy, today received an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in philosophy and ethics, from Queen's University.
Baroness O'Neill, President of the British Academy, today received an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in philosophy and ethics, from Queen's University.

Queen's University today honoured the President of the British Academy, the distinguished Northern Ireland-born philosopher, Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve.

At this morning's graduation ceremony, Baroness O'Neill was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in philosophy and ethics.

Delivering the citation, Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, described the honorary graduand as a "philosopher, writer and champion of practical reason".

She said: "Onora O'Neill is living proof that the philosopher can be as important to our society as the applied scientist. And society has recognised that importance in the case of Onora O'Neill in the prominent roles and honours that she has been given. She has been a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (which she chaired from 1996 to 1998) and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and is currently Chair of the Nuffield Foundation. She was awarded the CBE in 1995 and was created a Life Peer in 1999.

"She was a member of the Select Committee on Stem Cell Research and a member of the Select Committee on BBC Charter Review. She is Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She delivered the distinguished BBC Reith Lectures, on Trust, in 2002. This year she became President of the British Academy."

Onora ONeill was born in Northern Ireland in 1941. She was educated in the UK and Germany before going on to study philosophy, psychology and physiology at Oxford University. After graduating she moved to Harvard where she studied under the well known philosopher John Rawls and obtained her PhD. During the 1970s she taught at Columbia University, New York. In 1977 she took up a post at the University of Essex. She became Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, in l992 and an Honorary Professor in Ethics and Political Philosophy in the Faculty of Philosophy at Cambridge. In 1999 she was made a life peer as Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve.

Baroness O'Neill has had a number of links with Queen's. In 1986 she was one of a number of philosophers invited to take part in a Royal Institute of Philosophy conference at the University. She returned to Queen’s in 1991 to give a paper to the Philosophy department and in July 2003 she gave the Inaugural Address at a very successful Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association held at the University.

For further information, please contact: Anne Langford, Communications Office,  028 9097 5310.

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Queen's honours leading scientist
Professor Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Officer, was today awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science for distinction in science and for public service at Queen's University, Belfast.
Professor Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Officer, was today awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science for distinction in science and for public service at Queen's University, Belfast.

The Government's Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Sir David King, who led the committee which tackled the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this morning's graduation ceremony, Sir David was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science for distinction in science and for public service.

Delivering the citation, Professor John Mann, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, described Professor King as "one of the outstanding physical chemists of his generation".

Born in South Africa in 1939, Sir David attended university in Johannesburg where he gained a BSc in Chemistry and a PhD in the area of catalysis, before pursuing a career in academic research. He held appointments at Imperial College London, the University of East Anglia and Liverpool University before taking up his present position as Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. At the time of his appointment as Chief Scientific Advisor in October 2000 he was also Head of the University Chemistry Department and Master of Downing College.

The author of 440 research publications in top scientific journals, Sir David has been the recipient of numerous prizes. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002, and a Knight Bachelor in 2003.

Referring to Sir David's handling of the foot and mouth crisis, Professor Mann said: "It was due very largely to his swift and radical approach that the epidemic was not even more devastating, and did not, except for one minor outbreak, spread to these shores. He has also encouraged a very open and frank debate of the issues surrounding genetically modified crops, and in the last couple of years has been leading the UK’s 10 year Science and Innovation Framework discussions which have done much to bring the issues of sustainability and environmental change onto the global agenda."

Professor Mann added: "The UK Government is hugely fortunate to have such a fine scientist as its Chief Scientific Advisor - we must hope that it and future governments heed his words of wisdom."

For further information, please contact: Anne Langford, Communications Office, 028 9097 5310

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Part-time students rewarded at Queen's


Almost three hundred and fifty adult students are to be rewarded for their achievements at a special presentation ceremony at Queen's University Belfast on Wednesday evening, 14 December.

Some of these individuals are students who have completed a Foundation Studies programme in Further Education colleges who will use the qualification as a bridge into the University, others are professionals in different occupations who are coming back to Queen's on a part-time basis to update their knowledge and skills.

The Institute of Lifelong Learning's Director, Paul Nolan, said that each of these qualifications marks a step forward not only in the professional development of each student, but also in the increasing professionalism of the Northern Ireland workforce.

"The pace of change now is such that everyone has to become a lifelong learner", Mr Nolan said. "Knowledge is dynamic, fluid, ever-changing, and we all have to try to keep up with it. Queen's would be failing in its responsibilities if it didn't act as a resource for all of those who wish to upgrade their skills. But that is exactly what we are doing, and it is what we will continue to do to ensure that we are at the forefront of the lifelong learning revolution. We want to help the individual, and we also want to meet the skills needs of the Northern Ireland economy.

"The people who walk across the stage of the Whitla Hall to receive their certificates, diplomas and degrees on Wednesday evening are all people who have achieved a personal success. But when they take that learning back into the workplace they will be improving the quality of our most important resource, our workforce," Mr Nolan added.

There are currently 400 students in the part-time degree programme run through the Institute of Lifelong Learning at Queen's. Over 300 students will this week pick up certificates and diplomas in subjects as various as Personnel Management, Guidance and Counselling, Tourism and Cultural Management and the teaching of both literacy and numeracy skills.

A number of prizes will also be presented on the evening to top students. Prize winners from the Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations certificate and part-time degree module are as follows:

  • Belfast Telegraph Award for the top degree student – Madeline Morgan
  • British Telecom Award for the best degree written paper – Lynne Deighan
  • News Letter Award for the top certificate student – Tania Johnston
  • The UTV Award for the best written paper certificate student – Shirlie Murtagh
  • Anderson Advertising Award for the best essay certificate student – Aisling Gallagher
  • Anderson Spratt Advertising Award for the best essay degree student – Philip Patterson.

Notes:
The ceremony will begin in the Whitla Hall at Queen's University of Wednesday 14 December at 7.30pm. Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Ken Bell, will address the audience before the awards begin.

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

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Queen's students told "society needs your skills"

Queen's students will provide the skills which will enhance the quality of life for society in general, the University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Ken Bell, has said.

Professor Bell was speaking at a special presentation ceremony for around 350 part-time and Foundation Studies students at Queen's on Wednesday night.

He told the successful students: "You will provide the skills on which ultimately our society will rely for economic growth which will permit the raising of living standards, the reduction of inequalities, the improvements in the social services and the enrichment of civic life to which we all aspire.

"Yet above all, the future will need your input as people who are educated in the fullest sense of the word, tolerant, open-minded, impartial and capable of recognising that individual worth rests not on accidents of birth, race, or geography, but on personal human qualities."

Professor Bell also stressed that learning is a lifelong process.

He said: "The day on which any of us stop learning is a day on which we are dead and we have at long last in society recognised that that is the case. From the day that you are born until the day that you die, you have before you huge opportunities to enable a learning process to be undertaken and a learning outcome to be achieved.

"Perhaps the big difference is in the taking of the opportunities. And that is where the universities must engage with society in not only providing courses and educational opportunities through, for example, our own Institute of Lifelong Learning, but also in encouraging and trying to ensure as far as is possible, that those opportunities are taken up by those who are best able to use them."

He added: "Education is not about training and skills although these aspects of it are important. More fundamentally education in the proper sense of that word is about understanding. It leads to an attitude of mind in which you think laterally and finally, it is about standards."

For further information, please contact: Anne Langford, Communications Office, 028 9097 5310

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Queen's team appeal for help with wind farm research

A research team from Queen's University Belfast, who are carrying out work on wind farm developments, are seeking the assistance of local residents.

The team, based at The School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering 'SPACE' and the Institute of Governance, Public Policy & Social Research, are looking at the issues surrounding the Tunes Plateau/Tunns Bank proposal in Northern Ireland and are keen to hear from people in the North Coast area.

According to the team a number of factors make this particularly appropriate as the region has been identified as having some of the greatest potential in the UK for wind energy and high recorded public support for renewable energy. In addition, the region has a low level of environmental awareness and where public policy is seen to be among the most environmentally regressive.

There have also been criticisms of the region's planning system and there is also the trans-national issue of ownership of the sea bed and who will benefit from the scheme. As a result of this, the research team is very interested in hearing the views of those on both sides of the arguments.

Research assistant Clive Robinson explained: "Although there has been some attempt to understand the issues surrounding wind turbine developments and the increasing numbers of attitudinal surveys, it appears that there has been little deeper research that could cover the complexity and variety of factors that may inform the public."

The team are keen to the hear from those both opposed and in favour of the Tunes proposal; the research is currently in its second stage and looking for participants to take part in a simple exercise which involves sorting a series of statements into a preferred order.

"We can be contacted by either email or phone and would be very interested in meeting with some people in person. You do not have to be a technical expert on wind farms. We are interested in peoples views, and how they perceive the various arguments put forward in the case of this wind farm proposal," said Mr Robinson.

Interviewees will remain anonymous and the team can be contacted on 028 9097 5307, or by email: c.a.robinson@qub.ac.uk

The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the outcome of the research will be published in peer reviewed academic periodicals, as well as being presented at a number of conferences, including the UK Planning Research Conference, Political Studies Association Annual Conference, UNESCO Conference on Sustainable Development.

For further information, please contact:
Geraint Ellis, Senior Lecturer, 028 9097 4370,  g.ellis@qub.ac.uk
Clive Robinson, Research Assistant, 028 9097 5307,  c.a.robinson@qub.ac.uk, mobile: 07812 490464

For media queries, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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Queen's holds its own Dragons Den

Budding entrepreneurs will have their chance to kick-start their business careers when Queen's University holds its own version of Dragon's Den this evening.

The Institute of Lifelong Learning is holding the event to give students the opportunity to pitch ideas to local business experts in a professional capacity.

Director of Education at the Institute Michele Crilly said rules for the Queen's event were loosely based on the popular BBC2 programme which allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to five successful business experts in order to secure financial investment.

And just like the programme, students have to secure the entire specified amount of funding from the Dragon's however instead of walking away with money; students will be awarded 5 marks to go towards their final grade of their Business Enterprise module.

"This event is a great opportunity for students," Ms Crilly explained. "They have to pitch their ideas to four local business experts then convince them that their idea is a worthy investment and answer any question that comes up. It is a great practical exercise that will help prepare students for what it is like in business."

The four 'Dragons' the students have to convince are TBF Thompson Financial Director Raymond Crilly, PR consultant and Queen's senate member Shelia Davidson, Pharmacist Adrian Rice and Head of Regional Office, Research & Regional Services at Queen’s Richard Millen.

And while the Dragons will decide if they will be willing to invest, Ms Crilly will be the one judging the student's pitches.

Ms Crilly added: "Students will also have the opportunity to gain up to 5 additional marks depending upon how well they pitch."

The Dragons Den event will be held upstairs inside the Canada Room at Queen's University from 6.30pm until 8.30pm on Tuesday 13 December.

For further details, please contact: Michele Crilly at the Institute of Lifelong Learning on 028 9097 3406.

For press queries, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 097 5384.

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Community-based training for Senior Detectives

Northern Ireland's most senior detectives are to take part in a unique educational initiative, which sees the Police Service link up with Queen's University, Belfast. The Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Institute of Lifelong Learning will offer Senior Investigating Officers a professional Postgraduate Certificate in Law, Policing, the Investigation of Serious Crime (Work-based Learning). The fully accredited certificate will be a tailor-made programme taught jointly by the School of Law and the Work-Based Learning Unit of the Institute of Lifelong Learning. In addition to Queen’s staff, the course will involve representatives of the gay and lesbian community and minority ethnic communities.

At the launch in Queen's today Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton said that this was an important day for policing and for the whole community because it marked a unique educational initiative which would take Senior Investigating Officers out of the formal in-service training environment and place them firmly in a community-based setting. He said:

"This is a new and exciting approach to training and we are delighted to join with Queen's University in providing this course. Policing with the community sits at the very heart of all that we do and training and education are the drivers which help us do this. More and more people are choosing policing as a career of first choice and we believe that they are all entitled to the best possible training. But training is just not about newcomers to the job but an ongoing and dynamic process which should continue throughout the professional lives of police officers and their civilian colleagues. Every single senior detective in the Police Service will take this course and the first intake of fifteen students is comprised of the most senior detectives in Northern Ireland who will be taken out of the policing environment and placed into a situation where they will learn from university staff and members of the community who have specialist skills and experiences. The course will include two specific course elements namely homophobic and racist crime which we feel will give the senior officers a greater understanding of the community context in which their investigations take place."

Elda Nikolou-Walker, Senior Teaching Fellow Head of Work-Based Learning at Queen's said the University was very proud to be involved in the development of policing in Northern Ireland. A few years ago the Institute developed a Certificate in Work-Based Learning for all new recruits to complete as part of their formal training for the police force. The programme proved very successful and led to the development of this new certificate for senior investigating officers.

"Like all of the work-based learning programmes these postgraduate courses offer a combination of academic learning and work-based skills," she explained. "These will ensure that all participants receive enough theory and practical based training to enhance their working abilities. Specifically the course will further enhance the investigative skills of the participants and their appreciation of the related community context."

For further information,please contact: Lorna Duffy, PSNI Press Office, 028 9070 0084.

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Childcare Research Forum launched at Queen's

An innovative Childcare Research Forum is being launched today, Tuesday 13 December, at Queen's University Belfast to ensure better co-ordination of childcare research in Northern Ireland.

Welcoming the initiative, Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "The Forum is an excellent partnership, bringing researchers and academics together with statutory and non-statutory organisations to develop a collaborative childcare research culture in Northern Ireland. Members come from a broad range of professions, including social care, psychology, education and nursing.

"The Forum's objectives reflect its pivotal position in the childcare research field. It is an exciting new venture which I am confident will bring considerable added value to children's research," Professor Gregson added.

One of the first initiatives of the new Childcare Research Forum has been to compile a new web-based database to house details of childcare research that has been carried out in Northern Ireland. Also being launched on Tuesday 13 December, the database will provide a central point of reference for researchers. The database is part of the ARK website, the Northern Ireland Political and Social Archive, and has been funded by the Children and Young People's unit within the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), as part of the development of a ten-year Children's Strategy.

Dr Kathy Higgins of the Queen's University Institute of Childcare Research and Chair of the Forum commented: "This is an exciting initiative for all of us who work in the area of childcare research. The forum will assist in developing ideas for research, sharing best practice and research and in co-ordinating our efforts. With the forthcoming new ten-year Children's Strategy we have the opportunity to inform and develop services to meet the needs of children: local research will be key to evidencing and shaping better outcomes for children.

"We hope the new database will provide an easy, central point of contact for all those wishing to access childcare research carried out in Northern Ireland and that it will be of great benefit to researchers and those who work with children,”" Dr Higgins said.

Billy Gamble, on behalf of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister Children and Young People's Unit, said of the new Forum and web site: "The new ten-year Children's Strategy will be launched by Government early next year and underpinning its development and success will be local research, evaluation and outcome measurement. We very much welcome the launch of the Childcare Research Forum and the work that has been done to establish the database. We hope that the Forum will play a key role in promoting collaborative childcare research in Northern Ireland between all those working in this important area."

Editors' notes

  1. The Childcare Database can be found at: http://www.ark.ac.uk/orb/child.html
  2. Membership of the Childcare Research Forum comprises: academics from Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Barnardos, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Social Services, Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Research and Development Office 
  3. An event to launch the new Childcare Research Forum and the database takes place on Tuesday 13 December at 3.00pm in the Canada Room, Queen's University Lanyon Building. Media opportunities will be available.

For further information,please contact: Dr Kathryn Higgins, 02890 975401 and 07759 390967; The Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Office, 028 9097 3087

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New state-of-the-art Mobile Communications facility to be launched at Queen's
Professor Vincent Fusco, Head of High Frequency Research, Queen's University Belfast with Professor John McCanny, Director of ECIT and Tom White, Managing Director of Agilent Technologies UK Ltd.
Professor Vincent Fusco, Head of High Frequency Research, Queen's University Belfast with Professor John McCanny, Director of ECIT and Tom White, Managing Director of Agilent Technologies UK Ltd.

Queen's University has announced it is teaming up with a leading US high tech corporation to establish an advanced mobile wireless communications research facility in Belfast.

Due to open early in 2006, the new facility will be located at the University's Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Titanic Quarter.

The initiative is being supported by Agilent Technologies Inc - the world's leading manufacturer of communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis measurement equipment. Under a collaborative arrangement with the university, the California-based company is supplying the advanced test equipment to be used at ECIT.

According to Professor Vincent Fusco, Head of High Frequency Research at Queen's, the new facility will make an important international contribution to the development of systems used in a variety of leading-edge applications. These include wireless sensors, components for mobile telephone handsets, and short-range radar systems for use in road vehicles.

"Our 30-strong high frequency electronics team is one of the largest of its kind in the UK. The group's funding of around €10 million comes from a variety of government sources and national and international clients including EADS Astrium, a world leader in the design and manufacture of satellite systems," says Professor Fusco.

"The linkage with Agilent Technologies is of major significance, and will enable Queen's to undertake leading-edge research and development of high performance integrated circuits. In addition, it will also enhance our ability to train undergraduate and postgraduate students in microwave theory and techniques through internships and collaborative research with Agilent Laboratories," he adds.

Tom White, Managing Director of Agilent Technologies UK Ltd, said:

"Queen's University is undertaking exciting research in key technology areas and the new facility will serve to boost its international reputation further. We are delighted that we have been able to extend our long-standing relationship with Queen's through supporting this facility, and we are exploring the potential for closer collaboration with the university’s engineers. This is great news for Queen's and great news for Northern Ireland."

For further information, please contact:
James Wood, Agilent Technologies UK Ltd, 0131 335 7315, Mobile: 07765 897030 james_wood@agilent.com
Emily Moulton,  Communications Office, Queen's University Belfast,  028 9097 5384.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com)
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 21,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $5.1 billion in fiscal 2005. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at www.agilent.com.

ECIT (www.ecit.qub.ac.uk)
Officially opened in May 2005, ECIT is a new £40 million world class research centre set up by Queen's University, Belfast to exploit Northern Ireland's expertise in key areas of electronics, communications and information technology.

The 40,000sq ft ECIT building is based at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. The Institute's 120-strong staff includes four research teams whose interests cover areas such as broadband wireless communications, electronic data security, video and image processing, telecommunications software and antenna design for mobile communications.

RTD Centres of Excellence
ECIT is one of eighteen Research Technology and Development (RTD) Centres of Excellence which have been established in Northern Ireland with support from Invest NI. The RTD Centres of Excellence Programme is delivered by Invest NI. It is principally funded by the European Union Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland (PEACE II), managed by the Special EU Programmes Body in partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning.

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Queen's graduate collects award for research into alcohol and drug abuse
Queen's graduate Lynsey Mayberry receives the 2005 Science Shop Award from Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac (left) and Mike Tomlinson, Head of the Queen's School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, for her project work with Coleraine Rural and Urban Network on behalf of the Safer Dancing committee
Queen's graduate Lynsey Mayberry receives the 2005 Science Shop Award from Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac (left) and Mike Tomlinson, Head of the Queen's School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, for her project work with Coleraine Rural and Urban Network on behalf of the Safer Dancing committee

Research carried out by Queen's graduate Lynsey Mayberry into alcohol and drug abuse among young people in the Coleraine area has earned her the Queen's University Annual Science Shop Award.

The Science Shop Awards are presented each year to students who have completed the best community-based research projects with voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland. Over the past 12 months, the Science Shop worked with Queen's students and staff, including Lynsey, to complete 52 projects in a wide range of areas.

22-year-old Lynsey from Holywood, graduated in July at Queen's with an Honours Degree in Sociology. She worked on the Science Shop project between September 2004 and May 2005. As part of this she obtained information from young people in the Coleraine area on their experiences with alcohol and drugs using anonymous questionnaires.

The findings that she presented in her report focused on how some junior pupils in secondary and grammar schools - some as young as 11 - had experienced drink and drugs. Over half of the young people questioned had tried alcohol, but few were regular drinkers, while around 11 per cent had experience with drugs.

Commenting on her findings, Lynsey said: "They were very much in keeping with other research which suggests that children are experiencing drugs and alcohol at a younger age and that more educational awareness is needed."

"Lynsey was a great student to work with, flexible, communicated well and most of all delivered the analysis and report we needed in order to secure future funding for this age group in our area," said Sharon Bingham at Coleraine Rural and Urban Network on behalf of the Safer Dancing committee that commissioned the student project.

The Science Shop Annual Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 08 December at the University of Ulster's Jordanstown Campus, where Lynsey was presented with her Award by Professor Gerry McCormac, Queen's University Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Outreach and Economic Development.

Since graduating in the summer Lynsey has enrolled on a Nursing degree course programme to start in October 2006. In the meantime she has been working as a carer in the community.

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

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

An award was also being presented at the ceremony to the University of Ulster Science Shop project winner Cara McGrory, whose project was completed in partnership with Foyle Women's Aid and Rainbow. 

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

Note to Editor:
The Science Shop at Queen's University and the University of Ulster accepts requests for information and research on all subjects including environmental issues, art and design, information technology, community health issues, local history, social policy and legal issues.

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Students discover Narnia through Queen's

More than 450 school children were transported to the magical world of Narnia this morning as part of a special programme designed to encourage students to consider higher education.

The students have been invited to the Odyssey to watch a screening of The Walt Disney Company and Walden Media's The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by the University's Discovering Queen's initiative.

Students from Campbell College, Ashfield Boys and Ashfield Girls High Schools, Orangefield High School, Lisnasharragh High School, Balmoral High School and St Patrick's College all attended the event and were treated to popcorn as well as a soft drink. They were also given an educational DVD about the film from Walden Media.

Stephanie Wilson from Discovering Queen's said the school premiere of CS Lewis' much loved children's story was just one of the many projects the university undertakes to promote higher education to secondary school students.

"Through events like this, Discovering Queen's is able to make links with the community, foster a sense of connection between young people and their local university while at the same time reflecting part of our literary heritage."  

Note:
The screening will start at 10.30am. There will be an opportunity for media to interview the four 'budding journalists' after the film at about 1.00pm.

For further information, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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Queen's University rolling out red carpet for Narnia premiere
Hours before the Irish Premiere of Disney blockbuster 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' at Queen's University with from left Foundation Board Chairman, Tom Lynch; Director of Development, Aíne Gibbons; BT's Business Director, Alastair Hamilton and Vice-Chancellor, Peter Gregson
Hours before the Irish Premiere of Disney blockbuster 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' at Queen's University with from left Foundation Board Chairman, Tom Lynch; Director of Development, Aíne Gibbons; BT’s Business Director, Alastair Hamilton and Vice-Chancellor, Peter Gregson

Queen's University Belfast will roll out the red carpet tomorrow night for the much anticipated Irish film premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media's The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Director Andrew Adamson (who directed Shrek one and two), academy award-winning producer Mark Johnson, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, co-founder and President of Walden Media, Michael Flaherty, along with the University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell and the President of Ireland Mary McAleese are among some of the many guests expected to walk the red carpet in Belfast on the night.

The glittering spectacle is the final fundraising event for the University's new £44 million library which will feature a special reading room dedicated to Belfast author CS Lewis who wrote the much-loved children's book. The Walt Disney Company and Walden Media have provided the design of the wardrobe doors used in the film for use in the CS Lewis Reading Room.

Following the screening at the Odyssey, a special gala dinner will be held in the University's Great Hall where senior Disney and Walden Media executives and local dignitaries are expected to attend. The lead sponsor of the evening is BT Northern Ireland.

Speaking about hosting the premiere, Queen's Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Disney, Senator George Mitchell said:

"It gives me great pleasure that Queen's University and The Walt Disney Company have come together for this unique celebration. CS Lewis has inspired so many children throughout the world that it is appropriate the Irish film premiere of his much loved book be held in his home town. Queen's has a solid reputation for fostering and producing creative talents through courses in drama, music, creative writing and film studies that it is marvellous the university could honour this literary great in such a way."

Queen's University President and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said he wanted to thank Disney and Walden Media for their collaboration with Queen's in hosting the Irish film premiere.

"Belfast is rightly proud of CS Lewis and Queen's will be naming a reading room in our landmark new library in his honour. We are delighted to host this premiere of his most famous work. This will be one of the most sparkling occasions in Ireland's cultural calendar this year."

Danny McLaughlin, Managing Director of BT Regions said: "BT strongly values education and the creative arts, and the life and joy they are given in film and new media. We're delighted to support this visual celebration of the genius of one of the world’s greatest writers."

Media inquiries please contact: Communications Office on 028 9097 5323 / 07813 015431

For further information on the nationwide release of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE in Ireland on 09 December please contact: the Buena Vista International (Ireland) press department on 00353 1677 3484 x 22 or email ruth.bradley@disney.com

IMAGES are available via www.image.net (free registration required)

Please visit: www.narnia.com

Notes:

  • The All Ireland Premiere of 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' will take place on 08 December in Warner Villages Cinemas, at the Odyssey.
  • A schools preview will take place on Friday morning 09 December at the Odyssey for approximately 450 children from schools involved in the 'Discovering Queen's' access programme.
  • Queen's Film Theatre (QFT) will screen a season of films in December in honour of CS Lewis.

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Queen's academic to pen MI6 history

A Queen's University Belfast academic, Professor Keith Jeffery, has been appointed as author of the official history of one of the most famous intelligence services in the world, MI6.

His task will be to pen a history of the Secret Intelligence Service from its foundation in 1909 to the early Cold War. The publication will celebrate the Service's centenary.

The book promises to cover the activities of the Service as well as its place in the British Government machine. It will draw on a range of government and other archives, including MI6's own. But even after the passage of time, nothing can be allowed to compromise the secrecy of MI6 operations, agents and staff.

Professor Jeffery, who is Professor of British History at Queen's, said he felt very honoured to have been selected for this prestigious role and looked forward to the challenge of writing such a significant piece of history.

"I feel like a child in a sweetie shop" he explained. "I have been given complete access to all of the relevant secret files for the period covered by the book, and the freedom to explore anything I find, although there are some necessary security constraints within which I will be working. I will not only be researching the service's history but I will be looking at the organisation in the context of its role as part of government during the period in question and I will be able to throw light on certain parts of history that have not had light shone on them before. This is such a tremendous honour for someone in my position because I have been given the opportunity to write such a crucial part of history."

Professor Jeffery has a long and distinguished career in Irish and British history. He was born and bred in Belfast but moved across the water to study history at Cambridge University in the 70s before returning home to teach history at the then Ulster Polytechnic and subsequently became Professor of Modern History at the University of Ulster.

In 1997-1998 he was visiting scholar at the Australian National University and the Australian Defence Force Academy and gave the prestigious 'Lees Knowles Lectures in Military Studies' at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1998. In 2003-2004 he was Parnell Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge and in July this year he took up the post of Professor of British History at Queen's.

Besides being a renowned educator, Professor Jeffery has also been the editor of the leading Irish history journal, Irish Historical Studies, for the past 10 years and is currently chair of the journal's Board of Management. He is the author and/or editor of 10 books including A Military History of Ireland (with Thomas Bartlett), The Sinn Fein Rebellion as They Saw It, and Ireland and the Great War (the Lees Knowles Lectures). His next book, which is due out early next year, is a biography of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, the Irish-born Chief of the (British) Imperial General Staff who was assassinated on his London doorstep in 1922 by two IRA men.

He has also recently completed a special two-hour documentary called Revealing Gallipoli which examined the history of the Australian, Turkish and Irish involvement during the First World War.

Professor Jeffery will officially take up his new post on the 01 February 2006 but will continue at Queen's on a part time basis.

He added: "Being appointed to write the first official history of the SIS is not just a great honour for me but also for Queen's as it confirms the university as prominent leader in historical studies."

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said:
"This appointment marks another progressive move by SIS, this time by producing an authoritative history which is intended to appeal both to professional historians and the general public. Professor Jeffery's record of scholarship and established vivid and lively writing-style equip him admirably for this challenge".

Mr Straw added the purpose of the SIS initiative was to make the Service more accessible, while continuing to protect the secrecy of its operations, agents and staff.

For further information about the service visit the website at www.sis.gov.uk and www.mi6.gov.uk

Notes:

  1. It is planned to publish the Official History of SIS in the autumn of 2010. It will cover the period 1909 - 1949. The reason for this cut-off date is to protect information still considered to be especially sensitive.
  2. Care will be taken to ensure that SIS's commitment to protect the identities of agents and staff is not compromised by the publication of this history. This history will parallel the Official History of the Security Service, currently being written by Professor Christopher Andrew, and scheduled for publication in 2009.
  3. It is established Civil Service policy not to provide details of selection procedures. But representatives of SIS and the Cabinet Office History, Openness and Records Unit were involved in the process. Professor Jeffery's appointment was agreed by John Scarlett, the Chief ('C') of SIS, and approved by the Foreign Secretary.

Questions about SIS, and the Official History, and bids for interviews with Professor Jeffery on the history should be addressed to: Nev Johnson, FCO Press Officer responsible for liaison with the Intelligence and Security Services (020-8008 3103 or nev.johnson@fco.co.uk).

Questions about Professor Jeffery's academic role and position at Queen's University Belfast, and bids to interview him on these issues, should be addressed to Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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Great fun at Queen's InterSports Night.


Over 200 students representing 15 different sports have come together at Queen's PE Centre for a night of fun-filled, recreational sport organised by students for students.

This is the sixth time the University has hosted the InterSports Night, in which participants have an opportunity to play new sports and interact with people from other sporting backgrounds.

Gaelic footballers played rugby for the first time and vice versa. Other activities included netball, soccer, handball, squash, tennis, table tennis, badminton, basketball and hockey - all for both men and women – as well as waterpolo, canoeing, hurling and camogie.

Queen's Student Sport Development Manager, Bill Gardner said: "This event gives our students the opportunity to participate in a range of diverse sports, not only developing their playing skills but also their understanding of other sports and associated cultures. It is a unique opportunity which fosters intercommunity development amongst the various club members."

Notes for editors:
The sixth Queen's InterSports Night was held at the Physical Education Centre (Botanic Park) , and at Malone Playing Fields (House of Sport).

For further information, please contact: Debbie McLorinan, Development Manager - Marketing & Customer Services, Sport & Recreation Services, 028 9038 7660, d.mclorinan@qub.ac.uk

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Young Life and Times survey 2005

The first results from the 2005 Young Life and Times survey are released today (Tuesday 06 December), at a seminar taking place at Queen's University Belfast.

The Young Life and Times survey is carried out annually for ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. ARK is a joint initiative of the University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast.

During the autumn of this year, over 2,000 16 year-olds across Northern Ireland were invited to voice their opinions about a range of issues, including:

  • Community relations,
  • Mental health and stress,
  • Bullying in school,
  • Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and
  • Identity.

The key results from the survey include:

Community relations

  • 42% of respondents felt that relations between Catholics and Protestants were better now than they were five years ago. 36% of respondents were optimistic that community relations would improve further within the next five years.
  • However, 84% of 16 year-olds felt that religion will always make a difference to how people feel about each other in Northern Ireland.
  • 70% of respondents said that they would prefer to work in a mixed-religion workplace, 56% would like to live in a mixed-religion neighbourhood, and 45% said that they would like to send their children to mixed-religion schools.
  • 47% of respondents agreed that young people were at risk of being asked to join a paramilitary organisation.
  • However, 81% of 16-year olds also said that they felt safe in their neighbourhood.
  • 81% of respondents agreed that there are not enough social places for teenagers.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

  • 89% of respondents had heard of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), most of them hearing about it at school.
  • More than one quarter of respondents said that EMA had influenced their decision about whether or not to stay on in school.
  • 87% of respondents agreed that staying on in full-time education improved their career prospects and over half (51%) agreed that those who stayed on longer in education would eventually earn substantially more money.

Bullying in school and stress

  • Just under one third of respondents (30%) said they were bullied in school and 7% of respondents admitted that they themselves had participated in bullying other pupils in school.
  • Over two thirds (67%) of respondents said that there were dedicated staff in their schools to deal with bullying, and over half (55%) felt that these staff provided real help for students who were bullied.
  • Over one quarter of respondents (27%) said they got stressed often or very often. The most common causes of stress were pressure in school, exams and family problems.
  • 38% of young people who have been bullied at school said they got stressed very often or often compared with 23% of those who had never been bullied.

Mental Health

  • Using the General Health Questionnaire to measure mental health, the survey found that 21% of young people were 'psychologically distressed'.
  • More females (28%) than males (11%) were psychologically distressed.
  • Young people who described their families as 'not very well off' were more than twice as likely to be psychologically distressed than those who said their families were 'well off' (31% and 15% respectively).
  • There was a clear link between poor mental health and bullying - twice as many young people who had been bullied in school were psychologically distressed (32%) compared with those who had never been bullied (16%).

Dirk Schubotz of the Queen's University School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Director of the Young Life and Times Survey, commented that "the attitudes and experiences expressed by 16 year-olds as part of the 2005 Young Life and Times survey add a very valuable and timely voice to current discussions on issues such as school bullying, mental health and ongoing paramilitary involvement in Northern Irish politics.

"This survey confirms the results of previous Young Life and Times surveys: while 16-year olds are generally optimistic about community relations in the future, they also anticipate that socio-religious affiliation will continue to be an important factor in Northern Ireland politics. However, the survey results are also evidence that 16 year-olds in Northern Ireland face a range of challenges that are not very different from those of 16 year-olds elsewhere in the UK and Ireland," he added.

All the results are available on the Young Life and Times Survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

In the next two to three months, the Young Life and Times survey team will release more detailed analysis of the survey data relating to community relations and issues related to the health of 16 year-olds.

Notes to the editor:

  1. 819 16 year-olds responded to the 2005 Young Life and Times Survey.
  2. Further information and tables of results are available on the Young Life and Times website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt
  3. Young Life and Times is a constituent part of ARK, the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. ARK is a joint initiative of the University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast. 
  4. The 2005 Young Life and Times Survey data is being released at a seminar taking place at mid-day, Tuesday 06 December at the Institute of Governance, 63 University Road, at 12.00 noon. Media opportunities will be available at 1.00pm.

For further information, please contact: Dirk Schubotz, 028 9097 3947, e-mail d.schubotz@qub.ac.uk; or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320.

Details of the survey are available on website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

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Members of the public invited to voice hopes for equality

An event to explore the hopes for equality of people in Northern Ireland will take place in Belfast on Tuesday 06 December, arranged by researchers from the Queen's University, Belfast School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.

Members of the public are invited to attend the event in Grosvenor House (Glengall Street) between 7.30-9.00pm. They will have an opportunity to view artwork on equality that has been produced by four community groups in Belfast and to see a newly launched booklet of 'word-pictures' on equality that have been provided by figures in public life. Those attending may take part in a discussion, chaired by Bob Collins, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, with some of the word-picture contributors (James Dingley, Bronagh Hinds, Mark Langhammer, Paddy Kelly, and Donald Watts).

The 'Visualising Equality' event has been arranged as part of the work of the Equality and Social Inclusion in Ireland project. A joint two-year project of Queen's University, Belfast, the University of Ulster and University College Dublin, it aims to apply and develop leading scholarship on equality to issues of peace-building and social reconstruction in Ireland, North and South. It is being funded under the Special EU Programmes Body, Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace II).

"We have arranged this innovative 'Visualising Equality' event to provide an opportunity for members of the public to voice their ideas and hopes for what equality might be and how we can together build a just and good society" commented Eithne McLaughlin, Project Co-ordinator and Professor of Social Policy at Queen's University.

"We hope that those who view the artwork, read the word-pictures and/or attend the public meeting will contribute to building new ways of thinking and talking about our relationships with each other. The Equality and Social Inclusion in Ireland project hopes to produce priority actions for equality as well as an archive of 50 papers on aspects of equality, and one or more books," Professor McLaughlin added.

Two community artists, Anne Quail and Tim McCarthy, worked on the project.

Anne Quail guided participants of the PATCH (Political Awareness through Citizenship and History) women's group, based in East Belfast Community Education Centre and the Community Dialogue Women's Group to create expressive artworks using felt-making.

Tim McCarthy facilitated Ballymacarrett Arts & Cultural Society young people, and a group at Falls Community Council in creative work with acrylic paint and brown paper bags. He explained, "Each participant was provided with a brown paper bag to use as their 'canvas' onto which they painted their equality issue. This could be perceived as the participant's 'baggage' or burden should the viewer disagree with the issue in question."

The other contributors of a 'word-picture' on what a society of equals would look like to them and why we should seek to have one were: Sean Brady; Seamus McAleavey; Jim McCusker; Pat Rabbitte; Monica Wilson, and Patrick Yu. Queen's postgraduate student Bronagh Byrne also wrote a 'word-picture' to have a younger voice represented in the collection.

The 12 'word-pictures' produced have been published in the booklet, Visualising Equality: Personal Reflections on Equality in Northern Ireland, launched at the event.

For further information, please contact: Dr Fran Porter, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, 028 9097 3917; or Communications, 028 9097 3087

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Comet smasher visits Belfast
Photo of Comet Tempel 1, one minute after the collision which was taken from the Deep Impact mothership. Debris from the impact can be seen extending kilometres into space. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD
Photo of Comet Tempel 1, one minute after the collision which was taken from the Deep Impact mothership. Debris from the impact can be seen extending kilometres into space. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD
The comet 24 hours after impact as seen by Queen's astronomers using the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii
The comet 24 hours after impact as seen by Queen's astronomers using the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii

The scientist who realised his dream of hitting a comet this summer will give a public lecture next week at Queen's University Belfast.

In July, the NASA Deep Impact mission achieved its primary goal of hitting comet Tempel 1 with a spacecraft at 22,000 mph. The images sent back from space stunned the world.

Professor Mike A'Hearn from the University of Maryland was the person who proposed the space mission to NASA and was in charge of Deep Impact to make sure it was a success. He is visiting Belfast next week and will be showing the amazing results to the public.

In his lecture, Professor A'Hearn (whose family originated from Ireland) will explain why the mission was important, what happened during the encounter and what scientists have learned so far from the pictures and data sent back by the mothership.

The Deep Impact mission encountered comet Tempel 1 on 04 July this year. A copper projectile weighing a third of a tonne hit this icy body at 10 km per second, excavating tons of material from below the surface. The mothership flew past at a safe distance of 500 km (300 miles) and transmitted pictures and data back to Earth.

Back on Earth, QUB astronomers watched the effect on the comet from a distance of 130 million km (80 million miles). Queen's University Professor Alan Fitzsimmons was one of those astronomers who observed the impact using a telescope in Hawaii.

"This was a beautiful experiment designed to really tell us what comets are made of, where they come from and how they evolve", said Professor Fitzsimmons.

On the other side of the world, another Queen's academic Dr Stephen Lowry used another telescope based at the Canary Islands to study the impact.

Dr. Lowry said: "It became clear early on, from images sent back from the probe and images taken from observatories on Earth, that the impact produced far more dust than expected which may force a rethink of how comets are composed. This is just one of the exciting discoveries that resulted from the mission."

The lecture will take place at 7.00pm on Wednesday 07 December in the Larmor Lecture Theatre in the Department of Physics and Astronomy (next to the Whitla Hall) at the University.

Entrance to the lecture is free. People wishing to attend should email the Department of Physics and Astronomy at physics@qub.ac.uk or call 028 9097 3941 and leave their details and the number of people wishing to attend.

For further information, please contact:
Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, School of Mathematics and Physics, on 028 9097 3124 or a.fitzsimmons@qub.ac.uk
Dr. Stephen Lowry, School of Mathematics and Physics, on 028 9097 3692 or s.c.lowry@qub.ac.uk

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CS Lewis celebration this weekend at Queen's University Belfast

A series of events commemorating the work of Belfast born author CS Lewis will take place at Queen's University Belfast on Saturday 03 December.

The day-long programme begins Saturday morning when people will gather to discuss the influence the author's work had on other children's authors who have followed in his footsteps and on the significance Belfast and Northern Ireland had in his work.

Author Glenn Patterson, who arranged the literary celebration hosted by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, explained: "This is a timely opportunity to reflect on Lewis' writing and is the first of what will be an annual celebration of the work of CS Lewis at the University. Two key speakers will lead what I expect to be lively discussion."

Professor Terence Brown of Trinity College Dublin, an authority on Irish literature in English, will consider how the author's own background influenced his work and his position as a notable Irish writer. Later, Patricia Craig, an acclaimed anthologist and critic, whose works include The Belfast Anthology, a literary guide to Belfast, will introduce the topic of Lewis as children's writer.

In the afternoon, the celebration moves across to the Queen's Film Theatre where those attending will watch a 2.00pm screening of the 1988 BBC adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

On Saturday evening the Queen's CS Lewis celebration, in conjunction with the Creative Writers' Network, will host a reception at which established and emerging local writers will give readings with a Lewis twist.

Queen's University will continue to play a part in celebrating CS Lewis next week. QFT will show Shadowlands on Wednesday 07 December, the 1993 film tracing the author's relationship with his wife Joy Davidman.

Then, on Thursday 08 December, courtesy of The Walt Disney Company and Walden Media, Queen's University is to host the much anticipated Irish film premiere of the well loved children's story, The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

For further information, please contact: the Communications Office, 028 9097 3087.

Notes:
The CS Lewis Celebration will take place at Queen's University on Saturday 03 December in the Harty Room 9.00am - 2.00pm; the QFT 2.00pm -5.00pm; and at the Ormeau Baths Gallery, 5.30pm -8.00pm.

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"Hell Bent" on having a Flaming Good time with the Naughton Gallery.

The Naughton Gallery at Queen's University is delighted to announce that Scottish sculptor David Mach will be bringing one of his unique public sculptures, Hell Bent, to Belfast, as part of an event to celebrate the launch of the gallery's new website.

Hell Bent consists of a figure based on the body of the sculptor, whose mouth fires flames up to 20 feet in the air, creating a breathtaking spectacle. The nine foot high fibreglass figure on a nine foot steel plinth will be on display on the lawn outside the Whitla Hall at Queen's University from 02 December 2005 until 05 January 2006.

Although the sculpture has previously been exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and the Goodward Sculpture Park, this is the first time that it has been on display in Ireland.

David Mach, artist, said: "People must have been fire-breathing for thousands of years across all sorts of cultures - Western, Egyptian, Chinese - so this short, spectacular performance is ingrained in our consciousness. Brash and celebratory, to me it's perfect for a festive event."

Fire has featured heavily in Mach's work from early on in his career and the machinery which drives the fire display of Hell Bent allows it to produce flames of different sizes and speeds. During the creation of the work, Mach even took lessons in fire-breathing!

Hell Bent will be launched at a special event at the Whitla Hall on Friday 02 December, with flaming cocktails (sponsored by The Apartment), hot and spicy food, fire-juggling and a performance by the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra.

The event will also see the official launch of the new website for the Naughton Gallery at Queen's - www.naughtongallery.org The new site contains details of over 1000 works - paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, silver and glass – which have been collected by Queen's University since its inception in 1845.

Shan McAnena, curator of the Naughton Gallery, said: "We are thrilled to be showing David Mach's work and hope that lots of people come to Queen's University to see this fabulous, celebratory sculpture. The new Naughton Gallery at Queen's website is an important development for the gallery and will be a useful new resource for students, researchers and the general public alike."

The Naughton Gallery, which has just been named as one of the Top 10 University Galleries in the UK and Ireland by The Times Higher, opened in 2001 and has been a registered museum for the past two years. Key features on the gallery's new website include:

  • A guest book, where visitors can leave their comments on Naughton Gallery exhibitions.
  • Information about past, present and future Naughton Gallery exhibitions. Details of the publications on sale at the gallery, including catalogues of individual exhibitions and of the overall university collection.
  • Gallery mailing list - email and hard copy - which will keep the public updated on exhibition news and include invites to openings, etc.
  • Images of highlights from the gallery’s collection - including work by John Luke, John Lavery and Louis Le Brocquy - with a fully searchable database coming soon.
  • Gallery education and outreach projects - past and present.
  • Educational and interactive activities, such as worksheets linked to exhibitions and online puzzles based on the university's art collection.

Hell Bent has been funded by the National Lottery Millennium Commission, which is administered by Belfast City Council and is part of the Celebrate Belfast 2006 events.

For further information on the Naughton Gallery, log on to www.naughtongallery.org or telephone 028 90973580.

For further information, please contact: Sarah Hughes, Communications Officer, Belfast Festival at Queen's on telephone 028 90971398 or email festival.press@qub.ac.uk  

Notes

  1. The Naughton Gallery at Queen's: Since 2001, The Naughton Gallery has become one of Belfast's most sought after and exciting visual arts platforms, featuring a rolling programme of works from the University's own collection, touring exhibitions and shows by local and international artists. The Naughton Gallery is a registered museum, which presents up to six exhibitions per year and also co-ordinates commissions of new art works for Queen's University. Further information at www.naughtongallery.org
  2. Hell Bent - by David Mach: A lively, action-packed piece, Hell Bent has proved very popular with audiences throughout the UK. Mach likes to situate his art right among the public, to see their reactions. He has said that he hates the pretentiousness of contemporary art - he wants to break down barriers between art and audiences, while still retaining the quality of his work. The title of the piece reflects what was a very productive time for Mach, and the fact that he feels that an artist can often feel like a circus act - just the next thing on the cultural conveyor belt.
  3. David Mach - the artist: David Mach was born in Methil, Fife, in 1956. He studied at Duncan Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee (1974-79), and at the Royal College of Art, London (1979-82). A random look at his biography shows a life full of activity. For example, in 1989 there are listed twelve exhibitions or installations in ten different cities, ranging from San Francisco to Madrid and Milton Keynes to Melbourne. This is typical of his hectic work pattern which built up to this pitch within four years of his leaving the Royal College, and continues unabated.

    Multiple mass-produced objects, most notably magazines, newspapers and car tyres, have been used consistently by Mach throughout his career. He brings diverse items together in large-scale installations with humour and social comment. His work is representational and controversial. David Mach's sculpture is on the verge of being completely overwhelming in its scale and audacity. Making classical pillars from thousands of newspapers and magazines at the Tramway Gallery in Glasgow in 1990 was a marathon of physical effort in which he was helped, as in much of his work, by his wife Lesley. Papers were fanned and stacked around existing supporting pillars in the tram sheds, transforming them to the scale and form of columns that would support the Acropolis. Mach also uses magazines to form swirling waves which carry other objects in their turbulence. The density of these installations is echoed in his smaller sculptures where multiple objects are used to make the whole. Typical are the 'match head' series: portraits, similar to Chinese and Venetian theatre masks, made from unstruck matches glued together so that only the coloured heads show on the surface. Sometimes these are fired to form faces of a sombre hue. A series of Mach's monumental photo-collages was displayed at the Millennium Dome.

    Further information at www.davidmach.com  

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Queen's annual Toy Appeal
Queen's University head porter Chris Shannon aka Santa dashed in on his sleigh this morning for the launch of the University's annual Christmas Toy Appeal.
Queen's University head porter Chris Shannon aka Santa dashed in on his sleigh this morning for the launch of the University's annual Christmas Toy Appeal.

Dashing in on his sleigh to Queen's University this morning for the launch of the University's annual Toy Appeal was the jolly man in red himself.

Santa Claus aka Queen's head porter Chris Shannon was on hand to spread a bit of Christmas spirit around the campus and inform staff and students of the annual event.

For the past six years, the porters at Queen's University have taken time out of their busy days to ensure hundreds of local children have an enjoyable Christmas.

Last year they collected more than 500 gifts and this year they hope to collect even more!

"Since the Toy Appeal began we have managed to collect a substantial number of gifts to give to families who are less fortunate than ourselves," Chris explained. "And each year that number continues to grow. We are always astounded by the generosity of staff and students at Queen’s. They really do get into the spirit of giving."

As with the year before, the focal point for the Appeal will be the Christmas tree in the Administration Building where colleagues can leave their gifts.

Commenting on this year's campaign, Professor Gregson said in the past staff had been extremely generous and all their efforts were much appreciated.

"Rachael and I fully support this wonderful staff initiative to brighten up Christmas for the local families. As the parents of three young girls we know what a special time it is for families so why not make this Christmas one to remember by taking part in the annual Toy Appeal."

This year the porters have decided to donate all gifts to the BBC Christmas Family Appeal.

Gifts can be left at a number of collection points throughout the campus including the porters' offices at the Ashby Building, David Keir Building, Medical Biology Centre, the Administration Building, the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Peter Froggatt Centre between 01 December and16 December.

For further information, please contact: Emily Moulton, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

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Queen's University winter graduation ceremonies 2005
Sisters Georgina (left) and Amy Mulligan from Newry look forward to graduating together from Queen's University Belfast on Friday 16 December, when each will collect an MA in Music degree at the University's winter graduation ceremonies, 14-16 December.
Sisters Georgina (left) and Amy Mulligan from Newry look forward to graduating together from Queen's University Belfast on Friday 16 December, when each will collect an MA in Music degree at the University's winter graduation ceremonies, 14-16 December.

Lord Melvyn Bragg and The Irish Times editor, Geraldine Kennedy, will be among the notable figures from the worlds of literature and broadcasting, science, social sciences, and journalism to receive honorary degrees at the winter graduation ceremonies at Queen's University Belfast.

Graduation ceremonies will take place from Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 December in the Sir William Whitla Hall. Almost 1,600 students will graduate at the five ceremonies, beginning on Wednesday evening.

Receiving honorary degrees will be:

  • Lord (Melvyn) Bragg - Doctor of Literature Degree for distinction in literature and broadcasting. Writer, novelist and pre-eminent figure in arts broadcasting in Britain, Lord Bragg is responsible for editing, producing and presenting a wealth of pioneering, award-winning television and radio programmes, most notably through The South Bank Show. He has published numerous works of fiction and non-fiction since 1965, is President of the National Campaign for the Arts and was made a Life Peer in 1998.

  • Geraldine Kennedy - Doctor of the University for services to journalism. Editor of The Irish Times since 2002, the first woman to hold such a senior post in the Irish newspaper industry, Geraldine Kennedy's career in Irish journalism also included the role of political correspondent with the Sunday Tribune. In 1987 she became a member of the Irish Parliament for the Dun Laoghaire constituency. As a TD, she represented the newly formed Progressive Democrats and was the party's spokesperson for foreign affairs.

  • Professor Sir David King - Doctor of Science Degree for distinction in science and for public service. The Government's Chief Scientific Advisor and Head of the Office of Science and Technology, he has chaired the Foot and Mouth Disease Panel (2001) and the GM Science Review Panel (2003), in addition to leading a range of other specific and on-going public advisory groups and committees. Considered one of the outstanding surface scientists of his generation, and an active researcher, he has received numerous awards in recognition of his achievements: he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and became a Knight Bachelor in 2003. Professor King has also enjoyed a distinguished career in academia, holding posts at Imperial College, London, the University of East Anglia, the University of Liverpool and the University of Cambridge. At Cambridge he became Master of Downing College (1995-2000) and Head of the University Chemistry Department (1993-2000).

  • Rt. Hon. Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve - Doctor of Literature Degree for distinction in philosophy and ethics. Chair of the Nuffield Foundation, former President of the Aristotelian Society, life peer, the Rt. Hon. Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, born in Belfast, held academic positions in universities in America and the UK, becoming Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge in 1992. Awarded a CBE in 1995, and made a life peer in 1999, she has written widely on political philosophy and ethics, international justice and bioethics.

  • Professor Gina Green - Doctor of Science Degree for distinction in psychology and for her contribution to the understanding of autism. A psychologist, and an expert in the fields of autism and mental health, Professor Green is a former President of the Association for Behaviour Analysis, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, who was named 'Mental Health Professional of the Year' in 2000 by Psychology Today. She has also held a number of university and research appointments, including Director of Research at the New England Centre for Children in Massachusetts (1991-2001) and Director of Professional Training and Research at the Institute for Effective Education in San Diego(2001-2003).

Details of the ceremonies are as follows:

Wednesday 14 December

7.30pm
Institute of Lifelong Learning
Address by:
Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education

Thursday 15 December

10.30am
Faculty of Engineering; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Honorary graduands:
Professor Sir David King; Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve
Address by: President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson

2.30pm
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Honorary graduand:
Professor Gina Green
Address by: Professor Gina Green

Friday 16 December

10.30am
Faculty of Humanities; Faculty of Science and Agriculture
Honorary graduand:
Lord (Melvyn) Bragg
Address by: Lord Bragg

2.30pm
Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences
Honorary graduand:
Geraldine Kennedy
Address by: Geraldine Kennedy

Notes for editors:

  1. Press officers will be on duty at the Sir William Whitla Hall for each of the ceremonies. Media packs will be available.
  2. Requests for interviews with the honorary graduands should be made to the Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Office.

For further information, please contact: Communications Office: Tel (028) 9097 3087

ENDS.

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