04-2009 Press Releases


30/04/2009: Young people get their say on future of the Internet
30/04/2009: Fluffy purple professor introduces schoolchildren to Queen's
29/04/2009: Older people are not getting their five-a-day
28/04/2009: 2009 India Lecture Series begins
28/04/2009: Future of schools and hospitals under the spotlight
24/04/2009: Poetry event to mark Seamus Heaney's 70th
24/04/2009: Queen's Rowing Regatta
24/04/2009: Survival rates for cancer rise across Ireland
23/04/2009: Emotional distress in call centres highlighted
21/04/2009: Sharpen your skills with part-time study at Queen's
20/04/2009: Child safety high on the agenda at Queen's
09/04/2209: Research prize for Ballymoney student
09/04/2009: Queen's psychologist announced as BPS President
09/04/2009: Focus on 1759 at public event
08/04/2209: Festival means £8m worth of business for Belfast
07/04/2009: Queen's academic secures role at Oxford
06/04/2009: Young women warned of lung cancer risks
06/04/2009: Hillsborough - The Truth
06/04/2009: Northern Ireland International Student of the Year
06/04/2009: Queen's engineers create green air travel
02/04/2009: Bright new 'stars' at Queen's
01/04/2009: QFT and BT Ireland launch new partnership with Reel Genius Festival
02/04/2009: Child safety high on the agenda at Queen's
01/04/2009: Christine Bleakley chooses new kids sport mascot

Young people get their say on future of the Internet

Government must adapt to the ways that young people communicate if it wants their views on its policies.

That's according to a Queen's University Belfast academic who is the UK co-ordinator of a Europe-wide project into e-participation.

Researchers from Estonia, Germany, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland will meet at Queen’s University on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 May as part of the new project which encourages young people to contribute to important policy debates, including how the Internet should be governed.

Following the success of President Obama’s use of social networking in engaging US citizens to set the agenda for the new administration through change.gov, the researchers will decide how exactly they are going to engage thousands of young people on online discussions and feed their creative ideas to national and European policy-makers.

The Hub Websites for Youth Participation project (www.huwy.eu) aims to find a way for young people to become involved in decision-making. It follows research which shows more than two-thirds of voters between 18 and 24 did not vote in the 2004 European elections.

The European Commission has given €0.5 million to the project to find out how parliaments can connect with more young people to help them come up with new Internet policies.

Dr David Newman, from Queen’s University Management School, said the project would tap into the communication methods that young people use.

He said: "Who knows about the Internet? Young people who have grown up with it. They spend part of their lives in cyberspace.

“Who makes laws about the Internet? Politicians and officials who react to the latest scare story in the press, but are still paper-bound.

“To some of them, the Internet is as strange as the automobile was to the 19th century legislators who insisted someone walk in front of each car, waving a red flag.

“We plan to educate our policy-makers by getting thousands of young people across Europe to come up with better ways of governing the Internet."

During the project 80 groups of young people across Europe, aged between 16 and 21, will run discussions about Internet governance in ways they choose, which could include using Bebo or Facebook groups, editing and uploading videos to YouTube or using a discussion forum or chatroom set up by a youth group or school.

Issues they may discuss range from child protection to privacy, security, cybercrime, freedom of expression, ethics of copying and e-commerce.

Partners include researchers from Letterkenny Institute of Technology, the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, the University of Tartu in Estonia, the International Teledemocracy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, software developers from Dog Digital in Glasgow, and policy-makers from the UK Ministry of Justice and the Estonian State Chancellory.

Members of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum and the Youth Parliament will also visit Queen's this week to give their opinions on how to get young people interested in debating Internet governance issues.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Fluffy purple professor introduces schoolchildren to Queen's
Professor Fluffy outside Queen's
Professor Fluffy outside Queen's

Around 50 primary school children from South Belfast will have a unique introduction to Queen's University tomorrow (Friday 1 May).

The pupils from St Ita’s Primary School in South Belfast will receive a guided tour by an academic with a difference - cuddly, purple Professor Fluffy.

They will be taking part in a tour behind the scenes at Queen’s as part of a pilot programme to illustrate life at university and to encourage them to consider higher education as a life choice.

The visits have been arranged under the University’s Discovering Queen’s initiative which works with young people, schools, colleges and parents to address real or perceived barriers to accessing higher education.
 
Professor Fluffy is a colourful academic character created by the University of Liverpool as part of the Government’s Aimhigher initiative to encourage young people to enter higher education.

Queen’s University is one of a group of further and higher education institutions throughout the UK which has signed up to deliver the Professor Fluffy Programme.

Queen’s Widening Participation team member E-J Havlin said: "The Professor Fluffy initiative aims to get the message across to primary school children that they are on a learning journey and to ensure that they are aware of the exciting opportunities available through higher education.

"The programme teaches them about university life in a fun, engaging and interactive way."

As part of the programme, Professor Fluffy has already visited 10 local schools where she has received a very warm welcome. She is now returning the compliment by hosting campus visits to Queen’s University during which she will introduce the vocabulary of University life and the resources accessible to students engaging in higher education.

The young visitors will be led by Professor Fluffy on a tour of the main site and the University’s Physical Education Centre, after which  they will each receive a mini-Professor Fluffy, access to an educational web-based resource and associated comic-book materials.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Older people are not getting their five-a-day
Sandra Maxwell from CAP and Dr Katherine Appleton from Queen's University
Sandra Maxwell from CAP and Dr Katherine Appleton from Queen's University encourage older people to eat more fruit and vegetables. Dr Appleton's research for CAP revealed that older people are not getting their five-a-day.

Research from the Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP) reveals that older people are not eating enough fruit and vegetables.

Dr Katherine Appleton, from the School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast, conducted the research on behalf of CAP. Dr Appleton said: "Fruit and vegetables are vital for psychological as well as physical health. We found that fruit and vegetable consumption became lower with increasing age and that intake was particularly low in males and people living in more deprived areas.

"Older people in Northern Ireland are eating on average four portions of fruit and vegetables per day. This is higher than levels in the rest of the UK, but remains below current government recommendations.

"A huge 22 per cent of respondents were not aware of the current government guidelines on eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. In fact, some respondents who were eating only two portions per day thought they were eating enough.

"Older people should eat more fruit and vegetables. They are more likely to do this if they are aware of the five-a-day recommendations and associated health benefits. We recommend that more should be done to raise older people’s awareness of these issues and increase their exposure to products and dishes that contain fruit and vegetables.

"We plan to build on this research by developing and testing approaches to increase older people’s knowledge of and liking for fruit and vegetables."

To aid greater consumption of fruit and vegetables, the research recommends improving awareness of the health benefits, and increasing awareness of adequate levels of consumption and the range of products or dishes. The research also recommends that specific strategies may be used to improve older people’s motivation and willingness to change eating behaviours.

Dr Katherine Appleton and her co-researcher Dr Jayne Woodside, will present their findings and recommendations of the research at a research launch at the Institute of Governance, Queen’s University on Wednesday 29 April at 1pm.

Top of Page

2009 India Lecture Series begins

Former President, A.P.J. Kalam will be one of three leading Indian scholars taking part in Queen's University India Lecture Series 2009.

The 2009 series begins this week, with a public lecture on Wednesday (29 April) by eminent Indian historian Professor Romila Thapar. Early next month, well-known economist, Professor Deepak Nayyar will also visit Queen’s.

Professor Kalam is also being awarded an honorary degree by the University, and he will deliver his lecture as part of his acceptance speech after the conferment in June.

Professor Thapar’s public lecture entitled Changing Interpretations of Early Indian History will take place in the Council Chamber at Queen’s at 6pm on Wednesday. She will also give a School lecture entitled Perspectives of a Religious Conflict? Mahmud’s Raid on the Temple of Somanatha.

Professor Nayyar’s lectures, entitled India’s Unfinished Journey: Transforming Growth into Development and Economic Reforms in India: Understanding the process and learning from the experience, will take place on Wednesday, 6 May and Friday, 8 May at Queen’s.

Queen’s first formed the India Lecture Series as part of its centenary celebrations last year.

Dr Satish Kumar from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeocology at Queen’s, who has just returned from India after meeting partner institutions said: "Queen's has long and established links with India and on recent trips to New Delhi and Kolkata reinforced our commitment to engage with its higher education sector on mutually beneficial initiatives.

"Our first India Lecture Series last year was developed as part of Queen’s Centenary Celebrations. We are delighted it is returning for a second year with such eminent and leading academics. The Series is a further demonstration and endorsement of Queen's and Northern Ireland's growing links with India."

The lecture series is integrated with the Schools and research clusters within the University and is the first step towards the establishment of the Institute of Indian Studies at Queen’s. This builds on the scholarship in Queen’s on South and Southeast Asia established by the late Professor William Kirk.

The India Lecture Series comes ahead of an exchange visit as part of Queen’s India Welcome Scheme which will see 30 students from BESU, JNU and Amity University visit Queen’s this summer.

Admission to the public lectures is free. Please call the School of History on 028 90 97 3434 for further details on Professor Thapar’s lecture.

Top of Page

Future of schools and hospitals under the spotlight

Professor Istemi Demirag from Queen’s University Management School

Key policy and decision makers will meet at Queen's University tomorrow (Wednesday 29 April) to discuss how the global financial crisis will impact on Private Finance Initiative (PFI) Schemes in Northern Ireland.

PFI arrangements involve joint working between the public and private sector on projects including schools, roads and hospitals.

To date capital investment of £1.36 billion has funded 33 projects in Northern Ireland, including the M1/Westlink upgrade, Laganside Courts and Belfast Metropolitan College, which reached closure this month.

Last month HM Treasury announced Government action to ensure PFI infrastructure projects go ahead as planned despite the current financial market conditions.

Under these plans £13bn of public investment in procurement is to be safeguarded to secure the public infrastructure projects across the UK.

Among those addressing the Roundtable event at Queen’s are Angela Hunter, Senior Policy Adviser for Corporate and Private Finance for HM Treasury and John Dowdall, Comptroller and Auditor of the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

Ms Hunter will speak about safeguarding government infrastructure investment while Mr Dowdall will focus on auditing of PFI projects in the current economic climate.

He said: “‘The PFI is experiencing unprecedented problems – I welcome this roundtable as an opportunity to take stock of the future of the Initiative”.

Other panel members include representatives from the Department of Regional Development, Northern Ireland Water, the Strategic Investment Board and Irish Business Eempoyers Confederation as well as accountants and lawyers.

Professor Istemi Demirag of Queen’s University Management School has organised the event and will chair the discussion groups. 

He is leading a team of researchers from Queen’s and Manchester University exploring the risk issues involved in PFI finance.  He said: “As the banks are becoming more reluctant to finance projects in the current global financial crisis it is even more important to find alternative ways to finance infrastructure projects and boost employment and economic activity.

“The Roundtable discussion will help to examine the form and content of the financial packages recently announced by the UK Treasury and will also enable the stakeholders to have frank discussions regarding the future opportunities and problems surrounding the PFI industry in Northern Ireland and beyond.

“Speakers will reflect on their experiences in a number of other countries including the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Poetry event to mark Seamus Heaney's 70th
An event to mark Seamus Heaney’s 70th birthday will take place at Queen’s University on Thursday, April 30.

A Celebration of the Poetry of Seamus Heaney, which is open to the public, celebrates the poet’s landmark birthday, which took place earlier this month.

Writers associated with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s will come together to celebrate his achievements.

Among those taking part are Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Leontia Flynn, Paul Maddern and Miriam Gamble.

They will read from his work and comment on their selections. The free event starts at 7pm in the Great Hall and tickets are not needed.

Top of Page

Queen's Rowing Regatta
The 47th Queen's Regatta, in conjunction with The Irish University Championships, takes place this weekend in Castlewellan Forest Park.

Organised by Queen’s Rowing, the 1.8km course is one of only a handful of six lane courses in these islands.

Queen’s Regatta is considered one the most important events in the Irish rowing calendar, with clubs from all over Ireland and Great Britain attending.

Last year saw a record number of entries and spectators.

Queen’s has also been given the honour of hosting the Annual Irish University Championships, attended by all Universities and institutes of further education from across the island of Ireland.

Queen’s successes in this season to date include winning the Lagan Head, Erne Head and Galway Head races. They also took the Senior men’s 8's and Novice Men’s 8's at the Neptune Regatta on the River Liffey in Dublin earlier this month.

Queen's Rowing was also recently chosen by Cambridge as their warm-up opponents ahead of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race.

For further information contact the Communications Office 028 90 97 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Survival rates for cancer rise across Ireland
Dr Anna Gavin
Dr Anna Gavin
Survival rates for cancer are continuing to rise even though the number of cases being diagnosed is increasing, an all-Ireland report launched today reveals.

The report entitled Cancer incidence, mortality, treatment and survival in the North and South of Ireland: 1994-2004, was compiled by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR), at Queens University Belfast, and the National Cancer Registry (NCRI) of Ireland, in Cork.

This is the third joint report between the NICR and the NCRI and reveals that each year over 21,000 people across Ireland are diagnosed with a form of cancer, with the most common being breast, colorectal, prostate and lung cancers.

Between 1994 and 2004 the most common cancers among men were prostate, colorectal and lung cancers and lymphoma, while among women breast, colorectal, lung and ovarian cancers were most often diagnosed.

According to its authors people can take action to prevent certain forms of cancer including stopping smoking, reducing their alcohol intake, following a healthy diet, exercising and taking care in the sun.

Total incidence rates were 10 per cent higher for men and 2.2 per cent higher for women in the Republic of Ireland compared with Northern Ireland. The difference for men was mainly due to differences in prostate cancer diagnosis through increased testing in the Republic.

The report also showed that mortality rates were around 4 per cent lower in Northern Ireland for men and women.

While the overall number of cancers has increased due to population growth and ageing and increased detection for some cancers including prostate and breast cancer, the number of cancer deaths has fallen.

Improvements in survival for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer were recorded over the last decade and survival rates are not falling for any cancer.

Dr Anna Gavin, director of NICR, said: This is the first time we have been able to compare treatment differences in addition to the usual incidence, mortality and survival.

Surprisingly, even though we are dealing with two different healthcare systems there is remarkably little variation in treatment, with improvements over time in both countries. Cancer is a significant burden on health and this comparative analysis will point to areas for further research to improve cancer prevention and standardise care for patients.

Over 94,000 people who were diagnosed with cancer between 1994 and 2004 were still alive at the end of 2004. Many of them have been cured but many others still need care and treatment so support services are extremely important.

Dr David Donnelly, lead author of the report, said some of the major cancers in Ireland were preventable: Lung, oesophageal, stomach, head and neck, kidney, bladder and cervical cancer all have a common risk factor in tobacco use. Most of these cancers especially lung, oesophagus and stomach have very poor survival.

Tobacco use is also a major factor in explaining higher rates of cancer in the urban areas of Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Derry and in the most deprived geographic areas in Ireland compared to the most affluent. Fortunately incidence of several smoking related cancers has fallen among males, although incidence of lung cancer among females in Ireland is increasing.

Poor diet and obesity also increase the risk of several cancers, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer, two of the major cancers in Ireland. Improvements in diet and increased physical exercise would likely result in a reduction in the levels of colorectal cancer, and help reverse the increases in breast cancer seen over the last decade.

Dr Harry Comber, Director of the NCRI, said increased testing for prostate cancer in the Republic of Ireland had made a difference to the figures: Comparing survival between the North and South of Ireland reveals that five-year survival for men was higher in the Republic of Ireland than in Northern Ireland by 5.2 per cent, while there was no difference for women.

The difference for men is a result of greater survival from prostate cancer in the Republic of Ireland, a side effect of increased tests to diagnose it. Excluding this cancer, male survival is the same in each country.

Survival is the real test of countries programmes of prevention, early detection and treatment.

The report will be launched at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in Dublin by Mary Harney T.D. Minister for Health and Children.

Among speakers at the event will be Dr Joe Harford, Director of International Affairs at the US National Cancer Institute. He is also Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the Ireland-Northern Ireland-NCI Cancer Consortium.

The report was jointly funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland and the Department of Health and Children in the Republic of Ireland.

For media enquiries about the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry or to interview Dr Anna Gavin or Dr David Donnelly please contact Andrea Clements, press officer on 028 9097 5391, mobile 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Emotional distress in call centres highlighted
Emotional distress in call centres and illegal drug use in Belfast school-children are just two topical issues which are to be discussed by Queen's University psychologists this weekend.

The academics will join other members of the Northern Ireland British Psychological Society (BPS) at a conference in the Manor House Hotel in Enniskillen to showcase the work of local members.

There will also be a focus on many other current issues including the barriers to eating fruit and vegetables, risk behaviour in young people and the psychological well-being of cancer survivors and their careers.

Two of the key note addresses will be given by social psychologist, Professor Evanthia Lyons from Queen’s University’s School of Psychology and Professor Paul Connolly, who is Professor of Education and founding director of the National Foundation for Educational Research Centre.

More than 150 delegates are expected to attend and more than 100 papers, posters and symposia will be given.

The event will run from 24-26 April. For further information please contact Donncha Hanna on (028) 9097 5549 or Anne Kerr on (028) 9097 4129.

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Sharpen your skills with part-time study at Queen's
Martina Carey from Queen's School of Education encourages people to sharpen their skills with part-time learning at Queen's.
Martina Carey from Queen's School of Education encourages people to sharpen their skills with part-time learning at Queen's.
Queen's University has launched a range of part-time courses for those who want to sharpen their skills, but don’t have the time or resources to invest in full-time education.

Courses at all levels across a wide range of areas, from Management and Human Resources, to Community Development and Counselling, are on offer at Queen’s School of Education.

Professor Tony Gallagher, Head of the School of Education said: "What better way to meet the challenge of these difficult economic times than to grasp the initiative and upgrade your skills base? Part-time learning can open the door to new opportunities, improve your career prospects and increase your earning potential.

“If you are considering a new career path, or you want to enhance your chances of promotion, studying part-time is the ideal solution. Cost-effective and flexible, it can accommodate the busiest of lifestyles. We allow you to work at a pace that suits you, so that you can balance your studies with your existing work and home life.

“People who already have jobs, careers and families sometimes feel that there are gaps in their professional or personal lives that could be filled by returning to education. However, because of their already busy lifestyles, they don’t feel able to commit to a full-time university course.

“Part-time study at Queen’s offers these people the opportunity to gain a qualification from one of the most respected university’s in the UK, whilst continuing with their lives at home and in the workplace.

“From those who already have a degree to those who are coming to university for the first time, Queen’s has a part-time course to suit everyone. There are over 40 courses to choose from and each one comes with the guarantee of excellence that distinguishes the standard of teaching and facilities at Queen’s.

“If you want to achieve your educational goals, develop your career and enrich your life, take a look at Queen’s part-time courses brochure at www.qub.ac.uk/edu identify the course that’s right for you and submit your application before 12 June 2009."

Alistair Stewart is studying for a Master’s in Organisation and Management. Alistair said: "I am doing this course primarily to boost my career development. It covers everything from marketing, to human resources, to finance and project management. Lectures from industry experts allow us to see how all the theory works in practice. There are two classes per week, with the rest of the course based on assignments, presentations and exams. This allows those on the course - who work in the private, public and voluntary sectors - to balance their studies with other commitments in work and at home."

To find out more visit www.qub.ac.uk/edu email the School of Education at education@qub.ac.uk or telephone 028 9097 5941/3323.

More information will be available at the School of Education Open Day on Thursday 21 May at 20 College Green, Belfast.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk, 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Child safety high on the agenda at Queen's
Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
Protecting children from sex offenders on the internet will be among the issues addressed by high profile speakers at an international conference at Queen's this week.

Jim Gamble, the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), will be one of the leading figures at the University’s first International Children’s Conference on April 23 and 24.

Entitled Children and Young People in a Changing World, the event has been organised by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s and will be attended by delegates from universities and the health sector both locally and from across the world.

Speakers will address delegates on issues including protecting children and young people, the care of children and young people with life limiting or life threatening illnesses and practice developments in children’s nursing.

Mr Gamble, who is originally from Northern Ireland, heads up the CEOP, a national organisation dedicated to stopping the sexual abuse of children.

He previously led the fight against terrorism as the head of the Northern Ireland anti-terrorist intelligence unit in Belfast and was Assistant Chief Constable of the National Crime Squad.

He will focus on the issues that some young people face today including trafficking and child prostitution.

He will also speak about social networking sites and how they are used to target young people as victims of potential abuse, but also how they can be used by professionals as a means of educating.

Mr Gamble said: “Well over eight million children in the UK have access to the internet. But where children go, child sex offenders will follow and our own work tells us that one in four young people have gone on to meet someone offline who they initially met online.

“That’s why we all share a role in understanding the risks faced in the online world so we can empower those children and young people we work with to better protect themselves- so they can enjoy the internet but know how to stay safe at the same time.”

Other speakers include Professor Jan Noyes from Bangor University in Wales who will speak about care for children and young people with life limiting or life threatening diseases and Professor Valerie Wilson, the Director of Nursing Research and Practice at The Children’s Hospital in New South Wales, Australia. Professor Wilson will focus on family-centred care in children’s nursing.

A workshop on maternal mental health and its effects on the child will be run by a leading psychiatrist from the University of Toronto, Dr Eileen Sloan. She is the Director of Research of the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital and has researched issues including anxiety during pregnancy and the impact of sleep disruption on maternal wellbeing.

Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, said: “The conference is an exciting step for Queen’s, for Northern Ireland, and for the international network of practitioners with a special interest in children and young people.

“Queen’s University has a demonstrably strong commitment to children and young people. The Research Forum for the Child was established at the university in 2005 and has over 100 members from 12 disciplines across the University.

“More recently, The Improving Children’s Lives initiative was established, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and Queens, to conduct an applied program of research, dissemination and advocacy activities in relation to disadvantaged children and young people in Northern Ireland.

“This conference is yet another example of the commitment of the health, education and policy forums of Northern Ireland to developing the health and well being of its future generations.”

For more information about the conference go to http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/ChildrenandYoungPeopleinaChangingWorld//

To register e-mail cypcw@qub.ac.uk or lisa.kirkwood@qub.ac.uk.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Research prize for Ballymoney student
A PhD student at Queen's has won a top research prize at the Economic History Society annual conference.

Gareth Campbell, from Ballymoney, who is studying at Queen’s University Management School, was awarded the New Researcher Prize at the event at the University of Warwick last week for the presentation of his paper.

It focused on the ‘Railway Mania’ which occurred in Britain during the 1840s when the price of railway shares rose sharply, but then crashed. Gareth investigated the causes and consequences of these price movements, and drew parallels with the current credit crunch and the housing bubble which preceded it.

Top of Page

Queen's psychologist announced as BPS President
A Queen's University psychologist has been named President Elect of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

At its Annual General Meeting held in Brighton, the BPS announced that Dr Gerry Mulhern from the University’s School of Psychology, is to embark on a three-year Presidential term.

With 48,000 members and subscribers, the BPS is the second largest and oldest learned society and professional body for psychologists in the world.

Dr Mulhern said: “Naturally, I consider this to be a great honour, both personally and for Queen’s, and 2010 will be a particularly exciting and challenging time to be at the helm of the Society as we embark on a new era following the statutory regulation of practitioner psychologists which will pass into law later this year.”

Since it was founded in 1901, the BPS has taken the lead in promoting the highest standards of research, education, professional training and practice in UK psychology.

Through its Royal Charter, the society has responsibility for the development, promotion and application of pure and applied psychology for the public good.

Professor Peter Hepper, Head of the School of Psychology at Queen’s, said: “The School is delighted with Dr Mulhern’s election as BPS President. Dr Mulhern has been an active member of the Society for more than 20 years and served as its Honorary General Secretary in the mid-1990s.

“In addition to the personal honour, it will be of immense benefit to the School to have someone with Dr Mulhern’s national profile involved in the shaping of the discipline post-regulation.”

Top of Page

Focus on 1759 at public event

A conference to mark the 250th anniversary of the events and publications of 1759 is being hosted by the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Queen’s University’s School of English.

Running from 15 to 17 April, and attracting delegates from across the world, it will provide an opportunity for discussion of this crucial moment in British and global history, literature, and ideas.

A public session on The Making of a Hero: General Wolfe, the Battle of Quebec and the Arts, 1759 – 2009 will take place at the Peter Froggatt Centre, Room 209 at Queen’s on Thursday April 16 at 6pm.

It will focus on visual material and includes a talk by Dr Stephen Brumwell, the author of a series of acclaimed studies of Britain’s involvement in the Seven Years’ War.

Law students scoop national magazine award

Queen’s Law Society are celebrating after their magazine, The Verdict, was named Society Publication of the Year at the SMedia Awards.

The Verdict is packed with news and information for law students including current affairs, careers information and campus news.

Editor Gareth McGreevy, a first year law student from Downpatrick, picked up the prize at the Irish Student Media Awards in Dublin last week.

Gareth said: "It is such a shock to walk away with one of the top National SMedia Awards, which was judged by the editor of a top Irish paper. To beat off stiff competition from many other universities such as UCD, Trinity, Griffith College, University College Cork, and University College Galway is absolutely amazing. Hopefully we will continue to build on this success over time."

Historical insights at Queen’s

An anti-apartheid campaigner who led the redesign of the South African history curriculum after the end of apartheid will be at Queen’s University on Monday 27 April.

Dr June Bam-Hutchison is an award-winning expert in heritage and post-conflict reconstruction. She will share her experiences of the anti-apartheid campaign and her work in reforming how South African children learn about the history of their country.

Her talk on 'Memory, contestation and new journeys of belonging’ is open to the public and free of charge. It will take place at 10am on 27 April in room G06 of the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s.

Award winning television producer and documentary marker Taylor Downing will also be at the University on 27 April.

Taylor Downing is Managing Director of Flashback Television, one of the leading factual independent production companies in the UK. He has made dozens of documentary programmes on a wide range of subjects over the last twenty years ranging from landmark history series to social affairs drama-documentaries.

His talk on Making History on Television: Reflections of a Television Historian is also free of charge and open to the public. It will take place at 4pm on 27 April in Room G07 of the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen's.

Queen’s students reap rewards

Architecture students at Queen’s University are to reap rewards in return for their hard work. McMullen Architectural has joined up with the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s, for the second consecutive year, to launch a student bursaries scheme.

The scheme will reward architecture students who have worked hard throughout the academic year.

Ted McMullen, Managing Director at McMullen Architectural, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the School of Architecture at Queen’s University and to be rewarding students for their hard work and dedication.

“As a local company we fully support the development of industry specific skills and training for young people, as we recognise the important contribution these students will make to the local economy, particularly in the current economic climate.”

Alan Jones, Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of Education at Queen’s said: “Following the success of the inaugural programme, we are thrilled that the student bursaries will be continuing this year.

“The awarding of bursaries for excellence in academic achievement is a welcome boost to all students and I would like to thank McMullen Architectural for their support and contribution towards student education at Queen’s University.”

Student Nicholas Humes has also had his work recognised after being awarded third prize in a national architectural photography competition.

The competition, Bricks and Mortals was held by leading national architectural practice ADP and was open to higher education students of photography and other creative disciplines.

Nicholas’ entry Architecture Under the Obvious impressed the judges who were looking for images that captured the subtle interaction between people and the built environment.

He was awarded £250 worth of vouchers and Adobe Light room software. The winners and highly commended students celebrated at CUBE in Manchester and enjoyed an exhibition of their work. The evening also included a charity auction, for which the winning photographs were available for purchase and the proceeds donated to charity.

Top of Page

Festival means £8m worth of business for Belfast
Ennio Morricone in Belfast where he perfomed as part of the Ulster Bank Festival at Queen's
Ennio Morricone in Belfast where he perfomed as part of the Ulster Bank Festival at Queen's
The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's contribution to the Northern Ireland economy has grown to almost £8m a year, figures released today reveal.

Ticket sales have doubled since 2005. In 2008 43,500 tickets were sold making it the festival’s most successful year to date. Box office revenue has also more than doubled in this period.

The number of out-of-state visitors attending the Festival now accounts for 7 per cent of its total audience, a 250 per cent increase on the previous year. In addition to visitors from the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, people travelled from Australia, Japan, Spain, USA, the Czech Republic and Germany.

The research showed 90 per cent of audiences rated the 2008 Festival experience as excellent or very good. An even higher percentage thought that the quality of the programme was excellent or very good.

Audiences were asked about their overall Festival visit to determine how much they spent on accommodation, travel, shopping and dining. Over 1,300 audience members stayed in hotels during the Festival, together with 479 visiting artists. The number of hotel bed nights occupied as part of the Festival was more than 4,000.

“The Festival is in excellent health,” Director Graeme Farrow said. “Audiences have soared. We are now running a £1.75 million turnover business which brings fantastic benefits to Queen’s University, to Belfast and the region. Visiting Festival goers and international artists have become ambassadors for Northern Ireland.

“The arts make a significant contribution to regional prosperity and to the quality of our lives. They represent a value for money investment and, even in this stringent economic climate, we need to ensure that they are properly resourced. Belfast's festivals are unique, and together they form a diverse, high-quality package unrivalled by any other UK and Irish city apart from London and Edinburgh.

“The Festival has benefitted enormously from being one of the Ulster Bank’s flagship arts sponsorships. We are able to deliver on the bank’s objectives of extending the reach of the arts and re-investing in Northern Ireland. The partnership has helped Festival deliver greater social and economic impact. The 16 day Festival, and the months leading up to it, create the annual full-time equivalent of 311 jobs, providing an important role in business development, particularly for smaller cultural enterprises.”

As a proportion of its turnover, Festival receives a modest level of public subsidy. In 2008 public funding accounted for 25 per cent of turnover with the remaining 75 per cent coming from private investment and box office income. This level of subsidy is low when compared with other comparable UK and Irish festivals and equates to just 5 per cent of the overall economic impact generated.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said: “One of the lessons from the Festival is that public subsidy of the arts makes good economic sense”. “A relatively small investment goes a very long way and can mean all the difference to the success of our arts organisations, to their ability to lever additional funds from other sources, and to their capacity to generate substantial return to the local economy.”

Festival Chairman James O’Kane said: “Partnership between the University, Ulster Bank, regional and local government, and the Arts Council, has created a truly international Festival which delivers tangible results for Northern Ireland.

“The success of the 2008 Festival underscores the benefits of investment in culture and the arts. It is crucial that we build on this success and create a sustainable Festival with a long-term future”.

Details of this year’s Ulster Bank Opening Concert will be announced soon. To register for priority booking and find out first about the festival’s hot tickets, log on to www.belfastfestival.com.

For media inquiries please contact Richard Gaston, Festival Marketing Manager  (028) 9097 1345 r.gaston@qub.ac.uk  

Top of Page

Queen's academic secures role at Oxford
A professor from Queen's has secured a prestigious visiting professorship at Oxford University as a result of his outstanding research into educational assessment.

Professor John Gardner from Queen’s School of Education is particularly well-known for his research into the 11-plus. He and his colleague, Dr Pamela Cowan, showed that the technical aspects of the exam were fundamentally flawed.

He said: “The research spelled the end of this form of testing for the high stakes process of allocating grammar school places."

Professor Gardner is also a member of the internationally renowned Assessment Reform Group, which is made up of a small group of UK experts who have made a considerable impact in many countries.

Their work has featured in assessment developments in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, China and New Zealand.

Professor Gardner joined the group in 1992 and has contributed to many changes including the promotion and adoption of Assessment for Learning principles in the curricula of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the past ten years.

He said: “The now widespread recognition of the importance of using assessment information to support student’s learning is a major triumph of the group’s work.”

Professor Gardner began his new post at Oxford earlier this month where he is focusing on assessment-related research. He said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Visiting Professor to Oxford and I am looking forward to a fruitful collaboration between our two departments,” he said.

“Assessment remains a hot topic from primary schools right through to universities and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work at Oxford with some of the most important people in the field,” he added.

Professor Gardner is working with Professor Gordon Stanley, Director of the Oxford Centre for Educational Assessment, and his team in Oxford University’s Department of Education.

For further information please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Young women warned of lung cancer risks
Dr Anna Gavin, Director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) at Queen's University (left) and Heather Monteverde, Macmillan Cancer Support’s General Manager for Northern Ireland, with Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.
Dr Anna Gavin, Director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) at Queen's University (left) and Heather Monteverde, Macmillan Cancer Support’s General Manager for Northern Ireland, with Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.
Seventeen people are still dying from lung cancer each week in Northern Ireland despite a small improvement in survival rates for the disease.

The figures were revealed by a report launched by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) at Queen’s University.

The NICR held a joint launch with Macmillan Cancer Support which released its own report on the experience of patients living with lung cancer and their carers in Northern Ireland, highlighting that services are not meeting their needs.

The Queen’s report, entitled Monitoring care of patients with lung cancer in Northern Ireland diagnosed 2006, details the facts of the disease from the numbers of people diagnosed, to trends, treatment and survival.

It looked at the experiences of more than 2,200 lung cancer patients over a decade and points to a fall in cases for men under 65 but not for women in this age group. Lung cancer now kills more women than breast cancer in Northern Ireland.

While highlighting the need for continued work to prevent the condition in all sections of the population by addressing smoking, it also acknowledges the commitment of staff who treat patients with the disease.

Among the Queen’s University NICR report’s findings were:

  • Around 900 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in Northern Ireland each year
  • Survival, although slightly improved, is very poor. In 1996 only 23 per cent of patients were alive one year after diagnosis. By 2006 this had improved to 27 per cent
  • In 2006, 81 per cent of patients had serious symptoms including coughing up blood, pain and breathlessness
  • 48 per cent of patients were diagnosed with late stage disease, pointing to the need to further promote earlier diagnosis.
  • One third of patients were unsuitable for any type of surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy More positive aspects of the report show:
  • Patients are seeking medical advice earlier and waiting less time for investigations
  • There is better recording of patients performance and more use of scans
  • Two thirds of patients are discussed at multidisciplinary meetings attended by a range of healthcare staff who deal with patients
  • There is increased referral to respiratory physicians and palliative care and more patients having chemotherapy
  • There is increased equity of service across geographical areas

Dr Anna Gavin, Director of NICR and co-author of the report, said she was concerned that lung cancer was not decreasing in younger women: “Five per cent of female lung cancer cases occurred in those under 50 compared with three per cent of male cases. In fact, lung cancer currently kills more women than breast cancer. Young women who smoke need to think about the risks to their health which may not be fully seen for 20 or 30 years.

“Lung cancer is a preventable illness and as tobacco is the main cause in the vast majority of cases we must never lose sight of the need to work to reduce the number of people who start to smoke, while encouraging those who already smoke to give up.

“The outcome of cancer is improved by multi-professional and multi-disciplinary working and it is encouraging that by 2006 two thirds of patients were discussed at team meetings within hospitals.”

Her co-author, NICR statistician Dr Finian Bannon said rates were much higher in areas of Northern Ireland considered to be deprived.

“Lung cancer highlights the contribution to the health difference between the most and least affluent in our community - if the lung cancer levels in 2006 in the most deprived areas were reduced to the levels in the most affluent areas, then 40 per cent or 360 fewer people would be diagnosed annually.

“Many patients don’t seek medical attention until late in their disease and treatments are then less likely to be effective. We must encourage people who have symptoms of the disease to go to their own doctor as early as possible and have these investigated.

“In many cases it will not be cancer but if it is cancer and it is detected early, treatments are more likely to lead to a cure and improved survival.”

Both the NICR and Macmillan reports have outlined the need for effective communication between hospitals, GPs, patients and carers to enhance the quality of life and survival rates of patients.

The Macmillan Cancer Support study, Patients’ and carers’ experiences of living with lung cancer in Northern Ireland - a report, found that there are high levels of unmet need.

The report highlights the need for better information and support services for patients and carers and says that it is essential that they are better understood and given a higher priority by those involved in developing health services

Macmillan has also stressed the importance, in the light of evidence of improved survival rates, to think about the longer term needs of patients and their carers.

Heather Monteverde, Macmillan Cancer Support’s General Manager for Northern Ireland, said:

“It is encouraging that more people are surviving lung cancer longer however that means there is more need than ever to provide long term support for patients, their families and carers.

“Lung cancer is a devastating disease and, as a high priority for Macmillan, we are campaigning hard to ensure that patients have equal access to services, no matter where they live in Northern Ireland.

“We are well aware of the link between deprivation and lung cancer and we need to ensure that patients do not experience increased poverty at what is already a hugely stressful time.”

Top of Page

Hillsborough - The Truth

Twenty years on from the Hillsborough disaster, the circumstances leading to the tragedy and the injustices that followed are chronicled in a harrowing new edition of the definitive book, Hillsborough: The Truth.

Researched and written by Professor Phil Scraton from the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast, it was originally published in 1999 and has been updated ahead of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy on 15 April.

The book is recognised as the definitive account of the disaster in which 96 people died, hundreds were injured and thousands were traumatised.

In the new edition, Professor Scraton speaks to bereaved families about their continuing campaign for justice, and reflects critically on two decades of legal and policy reform. He further explores unsubstantiated allegations against Liverpool fans that have fed myths of crowd violence for two decades since the disaster.

Professor Scraton said: "This book details the appalling treatment endured by the bereaved and survivors in the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy. It exposes the inadequacies of the police investigations, official inquiries and inquests that followed.

“It chronicles the failures of the authorities, including how police altered statements to deflect criticism from senior officers, and circulated false allegations about drunkenness and hooliganism among Liverpool fans.

“These allegations, still prevalent in the media, have fuelled 20 years of myths around the causes of the tragedy, and have had serious implications for the bereaved, the survivors and the reputation of the city of Liverpool.

“Those affected by the Hillsborough disaster have maintained a dignified opposition, against the unwillingness of the authorities to acknowledge their responsibilities and be held accountable for what happened. They have suffered immeasurably because of the tragedy and the injustices that followed.

“Based on two decades of research, the evidence presented in Hillsborough: The Truth indicts a system that privileges the interests of the powerful over the rights of the powerless."

Phil Scraton is Professor of Criminology in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. Hillsborough: The Truth is published by Mainstream priced £9.99.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Northern Ireland International Student of the Year
A Queen's University student has been named Northern Ireland International Student of the Year.

Miguel Ortiz, from Mexico, is one of 12 regional winners of the British Council Shine! Awards. His inspirational story of student life at Queen’s earned him a place in the UK final in London on 21-22 April.

Over 1,500 students from 289 different educational institutions, and representing 118 nationalities, entered the awards. The biggest competition of its kind in the UK, it asks students to write 'letters home' in English, describing their experiences, the challenges they have faced, and what they have achieved.

Miguel is studying for a PhD at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s School of Music and Sonic Arts. In his letter, he tells how student life at Queen’s has given him the opportunity to travel the world presenting his research, performing and delivering music workshops to students in Europe and South America.

Miguel said: "My time here has been incredible. I came to Belfast looking for the highest education and thus far it has given me more than I ever expected, both within and outside of the University.

“I visited various countries and universities in Europe before deciding to apply to Queen’s, because of the fantastic facilities at the School of Music and the quality of research being undertaken at the Sonic Arts Research Centre. There is a great sense of community at the University, and Belfast is a wonderful place to study and live."

Miguel, a classically trained composer, is conducting research in the field of computer music. He is researching the use of medical technology - specifically biosignals - for the control and transformation of sound using brainwaves, muscle contractions, heart beats and stress levels, effectively using computers to turn the human body into an electronic musical instrument.

Professor Michael Alcorn, Head of the School of Music and Sonic Arts at Queen’s, said: "We congratulate Miguel on being named Northern Ireland International Student of the Year. Miguel’s experiences highlight the wealth of opportunities available to students at Queen’s, and we wish him well in the UK final later this month.

“The School of Music and Sonic Arts was recently ranked as one of the top five music departments in the UK in terms of research. It provides one of the most wide-ranging music degree programmes available in the UK and Ireland and attracts world-leading researchers and students from across the world. We hope that Miguel’s success will be a real inspiration to current and future students in the School."

The International Student Awards shine the spotlight firmly on international students and their unique contributions to life in the UK. It focuses on the virtues of living and studying in the UK, not solely on academic achievements, and aims to celebrate diversity and creativity within UK institutions. From school pupils to postgraduates, international students at all levels enter the competition, detailing the achievements that help make their time in the UK so rewarding.

The two Northern Ireland regional runners-up were also fellow Queen's University students. Fernando Gualda Dantas, who is from Brazil and also studies at the School of Music, and Ali Murad, who is from Bangladesh.

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: "Studying overseas is an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience, building life-long international friendships, understanding and trust. International students make a huge contribution to life here because they create a greater understanding of the world in the UK and they help create a greater understanding of the UK throughout the world. This competition is a fantastic opportunity for them to show the world what they’ve achieved and learnt while studying in the UK."

For more information on the School of Music and Sonic Arts at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/music. For more information on the Shine! Awards visit www.educationuk.org/shine

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, a.watson@qub.ac.uk , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Queen's engineers create green air travel
Engineers at Queen's University Belfast are trying to create greener ways to fly.

Working as part of the Scalable Wirelessly Interconnected Flow-control Technology group (SWIFT), they have secured a second year of funding. The group aims to help the aviation industry reach a 50 per cent reduction in fuel burn per kilometre by 2020.

The SWIFT team is made up of researchers from Queen’s, Sheffield and Warwick universities who believe they can help achieve this target by reducing skin friction.

The project supports the idea of the ‘Active Aircraft’, where a network of skin friction reduction components, made up of sensors, actuators and controllers, are fitted across the aircraft to increase flight efficiency.

The entire system must be connected wirelessly so that the necessary information can be communicated to each component.

Queen’s has been awarded £106,000 to carry out their part of the research this year. The engineers have the important job of researching and putting together the wireless connections needed for the project to be a success.

Principal investigator William Scanlon from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science said: “We are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to work alongside Sheffield and Warwick universities. Through this multi disciplinary collaboration we can use our specialist skills to develop ways of allowing sustained growth in air travel without any further impact of CO2 on the environment.

“Each university has their specialist area to work on throughout the project and Queen’s will be researching and implementing the wireless technology aspects, while Sheffield University will be focusing on an aircraft system ‘health map’ and Warwick on Skin Friction reduction techniques.

“This is a unique opportunity as the project allows us to both exploit our previous work and conduct new research in wireless control and sensor networks for future generations of low carbon aircraft.”

A wireless system offers a number of environmental benefits as it will reduce the weight and complexity of the aircraft.

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Bright new 'stars' at Queen's
From left, Dr Pedro Lacerda, Dr David Jess and Dr Henry Hsieh have joined the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen's
From left, Dr Pedro Lacerda, Dr David Jess and Dr Henry Hsieh have joined the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen's
Three of the world's brightest new scientists have joined Queen's University's Astrophysics Research Centre.

Hailing from the United States, Portugal and Northern Ireland, the three students have all received prestigious fellowships to carry out research which could lead to major advances in the field of astronomy.

Dr. David Jess from Bangor, Co. Down has obtained a rare Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the UK Science and Technology Research Council to fund his research into the outer layers of the Sun.

Dr. Jess will be performing his research using the Rapid Oscillations in the Solar Atmosphere (ROSA) instrument, recently built and commissioned by Queen's astronomers. He will be trying to go some way to resolving the mystery of why the gas on the outer layers of the sun can reach temperatures of around one million degrees centigrade when the visible surface of the Sun below is around 5,500 degrees centigrade.

Dr. Jess said: "By coming to Queen’s I now have a fantastic opportunity to pursue a programme of research that will address one of the few remaining unsolved mysteries in solar physics. By working closely with the group in the Astrophysics Research Centre, I expect my fellowship to produce major advances in this field."

Another of the new appointments is Dr Henry Hsieh from the United States, who was one of the scientists who in 2006 discovered a new type of icy comet orbiting within the rocky asteroid belt, called Main-Belt Comets. It is still unknown how many there are, how they got there and how they evolve. Dr Hsieh, has obtained a STFC Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate them at Queen's.

He will be using the world’s largest telescopes to discover more of these objects and measure their properties. At the same time he will be calculating their evolution over millions of years to unravel their origins. He said: "My work shows that there are still major surprises to be uncovered in our Solar system" he explained. "This fellowship gives me the opportunity to study these new comets within an active research institute".

The third appointee is astronomer Dr. Pedro Lacerda from Hawaii. In the last few years Dr. Lacerda has become a world expert in determining the properties of distant bodies orbiting our Sun, beyond the planet Neptune, in a region known as the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt. In particular he has measured the shape and surfaces of some of the new ‘Dwarf Planets’ discovered in this region.

Dr. Lacerda is one of the first recipients of the new Royal Society Newton International Fellowships, designed to attract young outstanding scientists to work in the UK. He said: "I am very happy to be at Queen’s and I hope to contribute significantly to the scientific endeavour taking place here. The outer solar system promises many exciting discoveries in the coming years, as more powerful telescopes become available to study these extremely distant relics of the formation of the planets."

Professor Philip Dufton, Director of the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s said "The presence of another three world-class researchers within ARC underlines the ability of Queen's to attract funding for front-ranked science".

For further information on the Astrophysics Research Centre in the School of Maths and Physics at Queen’s, please visit http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572, lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

QFT and BT Ireland launch new partnership with Reel Genius Festival
Celebrating the launch of QFT's new three year collaboration with BT are (right) Peter Morris, BT Ireland Director of Consumer and Corporate Services as 'Doc Brown' and (left) Michael Kelly, QFT Box Office Manager, as 'Marty McFly' from the classic time travel adventure Back to the Future.
Celebrating the launch of QFT's new three year collaboration with BT are (right) Peter Morris, BT Ireland Director of Consumer and Corporate Services as 'Doc Brown' and (left) Michael Kelly, QFT Box Office Manager, as 'Marty McFly' from the classic time travel adventure Back to the Future.
Milk chocolate, the DeLorean DMC-12 car and the pneumatic tyre are just some of the local inventions being celebrated in the BT Reel Genius Festival 2009, a new film festival taking place at QFT from 30 April to 3 May.

The festival is being held to announce the launch of QFT’s new three-year partnership with BT. The BT Reel Genius Festival will showcase innovation and lateral thinking in film as well as many of the awesome discoveries and inventions made real by local Irish pioneers.

BT Reel Genius kicks off on Thursday 30 April with a special screening of Citizen Kane, a landmark achievement in cinema which has been consistently voted as the best film of all time. This highly influential masterpiece, co-written, directed by and starring a 26 year old Orson Welles, is based on the life of the late newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

Acknowledged as a source of inspiration by directors including Sam Mendes and Michael Mann, Citizen Kane brings together both QFT’s knowledge of and passion for cinema and BT Ireland’s enduring legacy of technological innovation. To set the mood for this 1941 classic, there will be Rosebud cocktails and a 1940s theme for the evening, with live music and glamour from a bygone era.

Announcing the launch of BT Reel Genius and QFT’s new partnership with BT Ireland, Susan Picken, QFT Manager said:

“For the past 40 years, QFT has championed the best of film culture in Northern Ireland. To be able to work in partnership with BT Ireland which has a history of technological innovation and excellence is tremendously exciting. Working together, we will be delivering a programme of film and events which will bring excitement, entertainment and surprises to Northern Ireland audiences.”

Peter Morris, BT Ireland Director of Consumer and Corporate Services said:

“BT champions innovation, ingenuity and communication and what better way to realise this than through an association with QFT which is renowned for its unique place in cinema here. The QFT and BT brands share many of the same values, philosophies and ambitions and we look forward to a productive and exciting relationship over the coming years.”

On Friday 1 May the festival celebrates Celluloid Genius: Inventions in Cinema with special screenings of Singin’ in the Rain and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Featuring a classic soundtrack and Gene Kelly on the best dance form of his life, Singin’ in the Rain takes its inspiration from the transition of silent movies into ‘talkies’, while also making use of some clever technological wizardry of its own.

In the 1931 version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the transformation sequences from man to monster set an enormous precedent for later horror movies. The technical secret of the astonishing scenes was a series of coloured filters matching the make-up, enabling the contrasting face paint to be gradually exposed or made invisible.

BT Reel Genius takes a closer look at local invention and innovation on Saturday 2 May with screenings of a number of timeless films. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a Cold War masterpiece set at the height of the tensions between Russia and the United States, when all it would take to destroy the world was one push of a button.

Educated at Methodist College in Belfast, Ernest Walton was a physicist who was awarded the Noble Prize for his ‘atom smashing’ experiments with John Cockcroft at Cambridge University in the early 1930s. Their pioneering work paved the way for particle accelerator experiments and the deep exploration of nuclear physics.

Petrolheads will be well catered for during BT Reel Genius with screenings of both Bullitt and Back to the Future. Probably best-remembered for its car chase scene through the streets of San Francisco, regarded as one of the most influential car chase sequences in movie history, Bullitt is an Oscar-winning thriller starring Steve McQueen.

Such chase scenes wouldn’t have been possible without John Boyd Dunlop, who was born in Scotland but lived in Belfast when he developed the first pneumatic tyre and patented it on December 7, 1888.

A massive success upon its 1985 release, Back to the Future has since garnered a permanent spot in the pop-culture lexicon thanks to highly-quotable dialogue. Robert Zemeckis’ time-travel adventure has spawned sequels, theme park rides, and even a mention in Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union address!

Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a restless '80s teen who takes a ride in Doc Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) "flux capacitor"-rigged DeLorean and ends up in 1955. The iconic DeLorean DMC-12 with its famous gull-wing doors and stainless steel finish was manufactured at a car plant in Dunmurry, just outside Belfast.

Chocolate lovers may be unaware that they have a local man to thank for their sweet treats! Sir Hans Sloane, born in Killyleagh, Co. Down, discovered cocoa while exploring in Jamaica in the late 17th century. He devised a means of mixing it with milk to make it more pleasant and when he returned to England, brought his recipe and cocoa powder back with him. BT Reel Genius will celebrate his legacy with a special screening of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Saturday 2 May.

BT Reel Genius will come to a close on Sunday 3 May with a back-to-back screening of The Matrix Trilogy. The Wachowski Brothers’ ground-breaking trilogy brings together ground breaking technical achievement and an epic dystopian narrative.

Tickets for all BT Reel Genius Festival events will be on sale from Friday 10 April. For further information and booking, please visit www.queensfilmtheatre.com or drop in to QFT at 20 University Square, Belfast.

For further information, please contact: Sarah Hughes, QFT Press and Marketing Officer, 028 90971398,  s.hughes@qub.ac.uk  

Top of Page

Child safety high on the agenda at Queen's
Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery
Protecting children from sex offenders on the internet will be among the issues addressed by high profile speakers at an international conference at Queen's this month.

Jim Gamble, the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), will be one of the leading figures at the University’s first International Children’s Conference on April 23 and 24.

Entitled Children and Young People in a Changing World, the event has been organised by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s and will be attended by delegates from universities and the health sector both locally and from across the world.

Speakers will address delegates on issues including protecting children and young people, the care of children and young people with life limiting or life threatening illnesses and practice developments in children’s nursing.

Mr Gamble, who is originally from Northern Ireland, heads up the CEOP, a national organisation dedicated to stopping the sexual abuse of children. He previously led the fight against terrorism as the head of the Northern Ireland anti-terrorist intelligence unit in Belfast and was Assistant Chief Constable of the National Crime Squad.

He will focus on the issues that some young people face today including trafficking and child prostitution.

He will also speak about social networking sites and how they are used to target young people as victims of potential abuse, but also how they can be used by professionals as a means of educating.

Mr Gamble said: “Well over eight million children in the UK have access to the internet. But where children go, child sex offenders will follow and our own work tells us that one in four young people have gone on to meet someone offline who they initially met online.

“That’s why we all share a role in understanding the risks faced in the online world so we can empower those children and young people we work with to better protect themselves - so they can enjoy the internet but know how to stay safe at the same time.”

Other speakers include Professor Jan Noyes from Bangor University in Wales, who will speak about care for children and young people with life limiting or life threatening diseases, and Professor Valerie Wilson, the Director of Nursing Research and Practice at The Children’s Hospital in New South Wales, Australia. Professor Wilson will focus on family-centred care in children’s nursing.

A workshop on maternal mental health and its effects on the child will be run by a leading psychiatrist from the University of Toronto, Dr Eileen Sloan. She is the Director of Research of the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital and has researched issues including anxiety during pregnancy and the impact of sleep disruption on maternal wellbeing.

Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s said: “The conference is an exciting step for Queen’s, for Northern Ireland, and for the international network of practitioners with a special interest in children and young people.

“Queen’s University has a demonstrably strong commitment to children and young people. The Research Forum for the Child was established at the University in 2005 and has over 100 members from 12 disciplines across the University.

“More recently, the Improving Children’s Lives initiative was established, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and Queens, to conduct an applied program of research, dissemination and advocacy activities in relation to disadvantaged children and young people in Northern Ireland.

“This conference is yet another example of the commitment of the health, education and policy forums of Northern Ireland to developing the health and well being of its future generations.”

For more information about the conference go to http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/ChildrenandYoungPeopleinaChangingWorld//  

To register e-mail cypcw@qub.ac.uk or lisa.kirkwood@qub.ac.uk.

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362, a.clements@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page

Christine Bleakley chooses new kids sport mascot
Christine pictured with Sophie Milligan of Stranmilis Primary School. Christine judged Sophie's drawing as the winning entry in a competition to design a new mascot for children's sport at Queen's PE Centre
Christine pictured with Sophie Milligan of Stranmilis Primary School. Christine judged Sophie's drawing as the winning entry in a competition to design a new mascot for children's sport at Queen's PE Centre

Christine Bleakley has ditched her dancing shoes to help choose a new mascot for children's sport at Queen's University's PE Centre.

With over 2,600 children now using the Centre each week, the TV-presenter crowned Sophie Milligan from Stranmillis Primary School the winner of the competition.

Sophie (11) was presented with a new bicycle from Bikedock after submitting a drawing of a monkey wearing a Queen’s children’s sport T-shirt.

Her artwork will now be used as the new Children’s Sport mascot for the Centre.

Queen’s Sport has recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of children who take part in physical education, recreation and sport.

Over 2,600 children use Queen's PE Centre each week and avail of a packed and entertaining programme of events. Queen’s Sport development officer Kevin Murray said: “We have an opportunity to develop our children’s programme and other business development areas related to children, particularly during off-peak times.”

Helen Wishart, Queen’s Sport business and development manager, said: “The children’s activity programme has been designed with the needs of the modern day child in mind. The activities offered are climbing, basketball, R’n’B dance and Gaelic sports to name a few. Our aim is to make sport enjoyable, inclusive and accessible to all children.”

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576, press.office@qub.ac.uk

Top of Page