12-2009 Press releases

21/12/2009: Queen's student's ‘French connection’ earns her national Erasmus award16/12/2009: History lessons with a difference on Queen's 'Out to Lunch' menu
15/12/2009: Bangor swimming star makes a splash at Queen’s Sport Bursary awards
14/12/2009: Motivation the key to entrepreneurial success says Queen’s academic
11/12/2009: From Copenhagen to Belfast: Queen's University discusses climate change
10/12/2009: ‘World citizen’ Kamalesh Sharma installed as new Chancellor of Queen’s
11/12/2009: Gifted musican takes centre stage at Queen's graduations
11/12/2009: You're never too old to learn, says Queen's graduate
11/12/2009: Book deal and MA for Sheena
11/12/2009: Keeping it in the family
11/12/2009: Lifelong learning for life saving graduate at Queen's
10/12/2009: Best-selling author honoured by Queen’s
10/12/2009: Trauma degree eases pain of ‘Troubles’
10/12/2009: New life is the focus of hard-earned degree
10/12/2009: Award Winning Nurses At Queen’s
10/12/2009: Kimberley gets a degree and finds a husband at Queen's
09/12/2009: National innovation award for Oyster project
08/12/2009: Queen’s University group to help tackle domestic violence
08/12/2009: £102 million for Queen’s spin-outs as QUBIS Ltd strikes silver
07/12/2009: New Chancellor to be Installed during Queen's Winter Graduations
04/12/2009: International Human Rights Day at Queen’s
04/12/2009: Queen’s research could lead to new climate change predictions
02/12/2009: Queen's pharmacists offer the right prescription for local schools
03/12/2009: Landmark music therapy trial to be conducted in Northern Ireland
01/12/2009: Spotlight on Geraldine Hughes at the Brian Friel Theatre
30/11/2009: New Director for Queen's Gender Initiative
17/12/2009: Theft of former Cypriot President’s body could jeopardise peace efforts

History lessons with a difference on Queen's 'Out to Lunch' menu

Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney (left), at his recent sell-out 'Out to Lunch' event, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and BBC presenter William Crawley

Following the sell-out success of Queen’s recent ‘out to lunch’ event with Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney, the University is now offering a history lesson with a difference and the chance to ‘come dine’ with a range of exciting speakers in the New Year.

The distinguished Irish political historian, Professor Richard English, and the official historian of the Secret Intelligence Service, Professor Keith Jeffery, will be in conversation with BBC presenter William Crawley on 10 February.
 
Diners can sit in on the interview while enjoying lunch in the University’s magnificent Great Hall.
 
The series continues with poet Cathal O Searcaigh on 24 February. The first ‘out to lunch’ event of the New Year, with veteran politician Dr Ian Paisley, is already sold out.
 
Welcome Centre Manager Lynn Corken, who organises the events, said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the response to this year’s line-up of speakers so far. Given the popularity of the recent events, we would advise people to buy their tickets as early as possible.”
 
Tickets, priced at £25, can be obtained (in advance only) from Queen’s Welcome Centre, Lanyon Building, telephone 028 9097 5252 or email queens.welcomecentre@qub.ac.uk. Each event takes place from 12.30 to 2.30pm.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5310, Mob 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Bangor swimming star makes a splash at Queen’s Sport Bursary awards
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac presents Ashleigh Hyland with her award
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac presents Ashleigh Hyland with her award

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Current Irish 50-metre breaststroke champion Ashleigh Hyland will make a splash tomorrow (Tuesday) when she receives the top award at the annual presentation of Queen’s University Sports Bursaries.

Ashleigh, who recently represented Queen’s and Ireland at the World Student Games, will be among 25 Queen’s athletes receiving the Awards, which are sponsored by Ulster Bank.

Former Ireland Hockey captain and Queen’s graduate Patrick Brown will present the Bursaries to students representing 16 different sports.

The Bursary programme aims to provide cutting edge support services for its high achieving sportsmen and women students. It complements ongoing support for high performers through the already established GAA, Rugby, Rowing and Soccer Academies. More than 90 Queen’s students already benefit from these programmes.

Queen’s Sport Development Officer Karl Oakes highlighted the importance of providing the best possible service to these top athletes.

He said: "Queen’s Sport prides itself on the fact that it delivers a service to all students at all levels. The most recent £13 million investment in outdoor ushers Queen’s into a new era for sport. To match this, we are developing a strong sports development team that will mentor and guide these athletes through all aspects of their sporting experience during their time at Queen’s”

Tim Taylor, Product Manager for Current Accounts at Ulster Bank, said: “Ulster Bank is delighted to be sponsoring these bursary awards for the fifth consecutive year. This relationship highlights our ongoing support of Queen's sport and commitment to the students of Queen's University, who have produced sporting talent of the highest calibre.

“We hope that, through our continued support, these bursaries will encourage the students to remain focused and strive for excellence in the years to come.”

Bursary applicants compete at provincial, national and international level and must demonstrate a proven track record at junior and senior level to qualify for an award.

For media inquiries, please contact Judith Rance, 028 9097 5292, j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Motivation the key to entrepreneurial success says Queen’s academic

Over 1,000 delegates at a business summit in India are set to benefit from advice on entrepreneurial motivation from a Queen’s University Belfast academic who has been recognised as one the world’s top global entrepreneurship educators.

David Gibson, a Senior NICENT (Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship) Teaching Fellow based in Queen’s University Management School will represent Europe when he shares his business knowledge at the 3rd International Entrepreneurship Summit on Saturday (December 19).

The event at the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata, one of Asia’s finest business schools, will be attended by top entrepreneurs and academics from around the world.

West Bengal has not seen the increase in entrepreneurial activities seen in some other Indian states and the conference is bringing together experts from across the globe to speak on what entrepreneurship means to them and what their students aspire to.

The invite to speak at the conference is a unique opportunity to highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of Queen’s University and form new links. It follows previous visits by Queen’s delegations to India.

David is recognised as a trail-blazer for entrepreneurial education. Among his achievements is developing an enterprise for life education model which is embedded across the entire curriculum at Queen’s. It has also been adopted by universities in India, China, Canada, Sri Lanka and throughout the UK and was recognised as a best practice model by the EEC.

He is also the only recipient of a National Teaching Fellowship Award for enterprise education by the Higher Education Academy in the UK and is the author of a leading book on enterprise competencies called The EFactor, which is now used in over 100 universities, including Cambridge, where it is a core text.

David said: “This is a real opportunity to build on strategic academic and business relationships.

“The Indian business and education sectors are intrigued by what we are doing and are very keen to increase their links with Queen’s and Northern Ireland.

“Collaborations can have a real impact on education as transnational education links can benefit both economies and could lead to spin-out companies.

“Some universities in India are already using the Queen’s enterprise for life education model and we want to build on that. Kolkata is not as strong commercially as other areas in India and they want to learn from institutions like ours about how we are reaching out to students and staff to change people’s mindsets.

““I’ll be speaking about how important is to have entrepreneurial motivation in order to create high growth businesses but also for people who don’t necessarily want to start their own businesses to have an entrepreneurial mindset and to be able to think innovatively within their workplace.

“Queen’s University is seen as cutting-edge, especially after winning the Times Higher Entrepreneurial University of the Year title and we are keen to build on our successes.”

In January David will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) conference where he will pitch for the title of Global Entrepreneurship Educator. He was recently named one of three finalists in the competition.

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From Copenhagen to Belfast: Queen’s University discusses climate change
A discussion on climate change will be held at Queen's next week

As world leaders meet in Copenhagen to negotiate a climate change deal, members of the public can take part in a climate change discussion closer to home at a special event organised by Queen’s.
 
Copenhagen: All Hot Air? organised by the Centre for Sustainability and Environmental Governance at Queen’s, will bring together Queen’s researchers, members of the public and delegates from the Copenhagen conference to discuss climate change on Tuesday 15 December.
 
Dr David Favis-Mortlock, from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s, will give an insight into the scientific evidence for and implications of climate change, while Dr Neil Reid, from Quercus, will focus on the local impacts of climate change in Northern Ireland, including biodiversity loss. The panel will also include British Council ‘climate champion’ Zand Craig and Claire Hanna from Concern, on their return from Copenhagen.
 
Dr John Barry, Director of the Centre for Sustainability and Environmental Governance, said: “While global leaders continue to meet in Copenhagen, this event gives the people of Northern Ireland the opportunity to discuss the local impact of climate change, the valuable research taking place here at Queen’s and its contribution to the global climate change debate.
 
“Climate change, peak oil production and the need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions are among the most pressing issues facing our world. The scientific evidence for climate change is beyond doubt and the transition to a low carbon society is inevitable. It will have a huge impact on the politics and economics of the 21st century.
 
“Through world class research in this area Queen’s is committed to helping us better understand the importance of decarbonising our societies. The Centre for Sustainability and Environmental Governance is part of the Institute for a Sustainable World at Queen’s. The Institute brings together over 100 academics and 300 postgraduate students to research the area of sustainability.
 
“Sustainability is the single biggest research area within the University, involving social scientists, engineers, planners, geographers, chemists, economists and many others. Queen’s has made a multi-million pound investment in this area. The University is committed to making its mark in creating a new low-carbon economy through technological innovation and encouraging social and behavioural change.
 
“Last week the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Environment Committee released its report on Climate Change. Many of the issues highlighted are already being researched here at Queen’s. The University is a global leader in the development of renewable energy technologies such as biomass, wave and marine energy. We are working hard to identify regulatory systems to help manage the move from fossil fuels towards a low carbon society. Queen’s researchers are also developing strategies to help reduce climate change, in line with international agreements, and adapt to the change that is already inevitable.
 
“Climate change is a reality that we all have to deal with. Through its research and public events like Copenhagen: All Hot Air? Queen’s is committed to helping us better understand climate change, the challenges it poses, and the opportunities available to us all to move to a sustainable, low carbon future.”
 
Copenhagen: All Hot Air will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 15 December 2009 in Room G07 on the ground floor of the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s University. The event is free and open to the public.
 
For more information on the Institute For a Sustainable World at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/sites/isw/

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson at Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320, 07814415451, a.watson@qub.ac.uk
 

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‘World citizen’ Kamalesh Sharma installed as new Chancellor of Queen’s
Queen’s new Chancellor, His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma

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International statesman His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, will be installed as the ninth Chancellor of Queen’s University this evening (Thursday).

Described by Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson as “a role model and an inspiration”, Kamalesh Sharma is a distinguished career diplomat who has served at ambassadorial level in five missions – including as Indian High Commissioner in London. 
 
Now Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, he works with 54 sovereign states on a global agenda which includes the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights, tolerance, respect and understanding, the rule of law, global access to health and education and the elimination of poverty. 

The Vice-Chancellor, who will deliver the citation at tonight’s ceremony, said: “Kamalesh Sharma’s eminent career demonstrates an unflinching dedication to building a better world through partnership and co-operation.

“One of the defining characteristics of his service as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth is his commitment to young people. I know he will be an inspiration to our students. I know too that he will be an inspiration to the wider University family and to our community.
 
“As India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, he made a series of visits to Northern Ireland, promoting business and trade between the region and the Indian sub-continent.
 
“His appointment will help us to establish deeper and richer international relationships which will bring real benefits to Northern Ireland. His exceptional career provides a perfect platform for his new role as Chancellor of Queen’s – the University’s ambassador to the world.”
 
In response, Mr Sharma said: "I am enormously proud to be invited to serve Queen’s University and look forward to contributing towards strengthening its international influence.
 
“Queen’s has an international academic reputation and its research has made a dramatic impact on the world. We are operating in a competitive, worldwide higher education environment. The stronger a University’s international connections, the greater the contribution it makes to the economic and social development of the community it serves. Northern Ireland should be justifiably proud of Queen’s University Belfast.
 
“Queen’s has high ambitions and I endorse these fully. I am enthused by its aspiration to become a global Top 100 university within the next five years. I believe it has the commitment, the resources and above all the talent to do that, and I look forward to contributing in whatever I can to help it achieve this aim.”
 
Kamalesh Sharma succeeds former Chancellor Senator George Mitchell as Chancellor. Senator Mitchell stepped down in March following his appointment to head up the United States’ peacemaking efforts in the Middle East.
 
Queen’s new Chancellor was educated at Modern School and St Stephen's College, New Delhi, and at King's College, Cambridge University, where he read Literature. He is a Fellow at Harvard University and a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation which promotes international learning. He was formerly a Director of the International Peace Academy in New York. In 2001 he was recognised for his outstanding services to internationalism through the award of the Foreign Policy Association of the United States Medal.
 
He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1965. From 2002 to 2004, he was the first Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to East Timor, with the rank of Under Secretary-General. In this role, he worked to strengthen internal security and public administration, including justice, financial administration, policing and protection of human rights.
 
From 2004 to 2008, he was India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, where he was closely involved in Commonwealth activities.
 
He is committed to the empowerment of young people, the advancement of women's rights, the challenge of poverty eradication and economic growth.
 
He and his wife Babli have two grown up children. His interests include literature, cosmology, jazz, Indian and Western classical music and cricket. He has edited two books on global affairs and poetry.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5310, Mob 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Gifted musican takes centre stage at Queen's graduations

A gifted musician from east Belfast, who has been using her talents to help young people in Northern Ireland, India and Africa, will graduate from Queen’s on Friday 11 December.

Naomi Campbell, aged 25, will graduate with a MA in Composition from Queen’s School of Music and Sonic Arts. A singer, pianist and visual artist, Naomi is Composer in Residence and a soprano singer with Toccata - a group of the UK’s brightest young musicians who perform around the world to raise money for street children in India and Africa. Toccata’s next project is to travel to India in March 2010, where Naomi and her colleagues aim to raise over £60,000 during two weeks of performances.

Naomi said: “Toccata is a fabulous organisation, bringing together young musicians from around the UK and performers from London’s West End through a common love of music and a vision of how we can use our talents to help others. I am proud to be a part of it.

“As well as my work with Toccata I have also been a musical director and vocal coach for theatre and pantomime productions by the Community Arts Forum, bringing together teenagers from across the religious divide in Northern Ireland through music and drama. My latest project involves vocal coaching for Stranmillis College's annual pantomime where I am privileged to collaborate with talented theatre producer and director, Steven Condy, and his team. I have been a guest jazz vocalist for Queen’s Big Band for the last three years and do a great deal of musical performance around the UK. I also teach music privately in across Northern Ireland.

Aside from her musical talents, Naomi is also an accomplished artist and has won various awards for her exhibited art work. Earlier this year, Naomi was named Artist of the Month by Culture Northern Ireland who tipped her as a ‘rising star’.

She said: “My artwork is inspired by music and explores the relationship between visual art and music. My latest collection Musique Sur Toile (Music on Canvas) has received a lot of interest, and I hope to exhibit the collection locally in 2010.”

For more information about Naomi’s work contact naomicampbellmusic@gmail.com

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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You're never too old to learn, says Queen's graduate

A ‘mature’ student, who returned to education in his sixties, will graduate at Queen’s today.

Eamonn Oakes (67), a retired trades union official from the Lagmore area of west Belfast, will graduate with a MA in Irish Politics. Eamonn first returned to education at the age of 62 and received a degree in Borderland Studies from the Dundalk Institute of Technology in 2008, before signing up for a Masters degree at Queen’s.

In a reversal of tradition, Eamonn is following in the footsteps of his son Kevin and daughter Ann Marie, who both graduated from Queen’s in 1993.

Eamonn said: “I have always had a keen interest in Irish Politics and a real thirst for knowledge. So, after I retired, I decided to use my new-found spare time to pursue this interest. Having been out of formal education for 45 years, apart from a brief return in the 1990s, going back to the lecture hall was a little daunting at first, but it has been an invaluable experience and I’m delighted to be graduating with a Masters degree in a subject I have a real passion for.

“I would encourage anyone who is thinking about returning to education to go ahead and do it – you are never too old to learn!”

Eamonn is a former Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Following his retirement, he managed peace and reconciliation training projects for senior shop stewards on a cross-border and cross-community basis. Eamonn is also a Board Member of the Community Relations Council.

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk


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Book deal and MA for Sheena
Sheena Wilkinson with her lecturer novelist Glenn Patterson who graduated with a Doctor of Literature.
Sheena Wilkinson with her lecturer novelist Glenn Patterson who graduated with a Doctor of Literature.

Some say life begins at 40 and for County Down woman Sheena Wilkinson, who is about to have her first novel published, the statement certainly has more than a grain of truth.

She graduates today with a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing from Queen’s and her book entitled Taking Flight, which she describes as “a coming of age novel set in Belfast”, will soon be on the shelves.

Sheena had always loved writing and won the Brian Moore short story award competition in 2006.  As an English teacher in Methodist College she was able to enjoy literature on a daily basis, but when several people mentioned the MA in Creative Writing at Queen’s, she knew that it could be the perfect opportunity to further develop her passion for writing.

The month after she turned 40, she took a one-year career break from her teaching post to start the full-time course, which is run through the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in the School of English.

Sheena, who lives in Castlewellan, said: “I had heard about the course’s excellent reputation and didn’t want to look back and regret not applying and I’m so glad I did.

“Being taught by award-winning writers like Glenn Patterson, Sinead Morrissey, Ian Sansom and Carlo Gebler was amazing and the feeling of being nurtured in a writing community was a great help to me.

“A top Dublin literary agent came to speak to my class and in August she took me on and has since received an offer for my first novel.

“The teaching and support of the staff at the Seamus Heaney Centre played a huge part in my success.”

During the course Sheena continued her success in short story writing, winning first prize in the Writers’ Bureau Short Story Award and coming runner-up in the Sean O’Faolain Competition.
Sheena’s proud mother Poppy and stepfather John will watch her graduate.

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk


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Keeping it in the family
Anne Carroll,  daughter  Patricia and mum Charlotte, graduated with a BSc Hons in Biomedical Science.
Anne Carroll, daughter Patricia and mum Charlotte, graduated with a BSc Hons in Biomedical Science.

North Belfast woman Anne Carroll thought she’d missed out on the opportunity to go to university but when her children were making plans for further education she decided she was going too!

Today the 46-year-old graduates from Queen’s with a BSc Hons in Biomedical Science and is even considering continuing her studies with a PhD.

Anne, from Glencairn, got married at 18 and had four children, so the decision to return to education 25 years after leaving school was more than a little daunting. With family responsibilities and as a keen volunteer with the St John’s Ambulance it took determination to complete her degree.

Anne said: “My brothers graduated from Queen’s and I always felt I’d thrown away the opportunity to go and had missed out. Two of my children are also graduates and I knew I wanted to get my degree.

“As a mature student, at first I was nervous returning to study but it’s been a great experience. I have become good friends with some of the students, even though they are the same age as my children! I also found the staff very supportive. I enjoyed my research project on leukaemia and would like to expand on that by undertaking a PhD at Queen’s.

“I encountered a lot of obstacles during my studies but I just pushed along. I was looking after my disabled mother and I also had to cope with the bouts of illness of another family member but the hard work has been worth it.

“One of my sons is already at Queen’s and next year my two daughters are hoping to go, one to do an MA, so if I do continue my study all four of us could be there at the same time!”
Anne will be joined at graduation by her mother and children.

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Lifelong learning for life saving graduate at Queen's
William McCormick graduated with a MSSc in Management of Lifelong Learning.
William McCormick graduated with a MSSc in Management of Lifelong Learning.

One of Northern Ireland’s longest serving St John Ambulance volunteers will graduate from Queen’s today.

William McCormick (50), from Dundonald, has been a volunteer with St John Ambulance for over 32 years, completing more than 1,000 volunteer hours each year. He will graduate with a MSSc in Management of Lifelong Learning. William also works full-time as a Nurse in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

William said: “I have a strong belief in lifelong learning and this Masters degree is the latest step in my educational journey. I left school in 1975 with two 'O'-levels and since then have gained a range of professional and academic qualifications. I qualified as a nurse in 1982 and received a degree in Health Studies from Queen’s in 1995. 

“I believe everyone should have access to learning and the opportunity to return to education at any point during their lives. Given my work, I am particularly interested in the up-skilling of health care support workers.

“As St John Ambulance Eastern Area Commissioner I am responsible for all the volunteer work in Belfast, Lisburn, Ards, Castlereagh, North Down and part of Newtownabbey. Managing and improving the quality of volunteer training is a very important part of my job. I am sure this degree will help me continue to develop and manage lifelong learning provision within St John Ambulance.”

William will be joined at graduation by his 85 year-old mother and his wife Freda, who is studying for a Doctorate of Education at Queen’s.

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Best-selling author honoured by Queen’s

Alexander McCall Smith, one of the world’s most popular and prolific authors, will be honoured at Queen’s on Thursday 10 December.

At this morning’s graduation ceremony, the creator of the best-selling No 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Scotland Street series will be awarded an honorary Doctorate for distinction in literature.

A former member of staff at Queen’s, where he taught in the Faculty of Law in the 1970s, Alexander McCall Smith was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh for many years.

His books have now been translated into 40 languages, and have become bestsellers all over the world.  
Queen’s Director of Development Norma Sinte, who will deliver the citation for Professor McCall Smith, said: “One of the secrets of his success is that he writes clear, uncomplicated prose that is also insightful and perceptive. The humour is dry but gentle with no malice. He is a keenly observant author. He reminds us how civilised life can be.”

Also the author of collections of short stories, academic publications and over 30 books for children, Professor McCall Smith has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America and was awarded a CBE in 2006. 

Media inquiries to the Communications Office on 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Trauma degree eases pain of ‘Troubles’

A new degree set up to help ease the pain of those affected by the Troubles has left its graduates, which include a west Belfast nurse, feeling much better equipped to help patients.

Isabel Stewart graduates on Thursday 10 December with a first class degree in Trauma Studies from Queen’s University. She and her 13 fellow students are the first class to graduate from the course after starting study in 2007.

The BSc Trauma Studies degree is run through a partnership between the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s and voluntary organisation WAVE, and was introduced as part of a range of new courses to help resolve the trauma caused by the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The courses - a certificate, diploma and degree in Trauma Studies - are designed to bring people together to share their experiences and learn from others in order to help healing in their communities.
 
They focus on both academic research and knowledge from those working in the field, providing a comprehensive insight into the theories of psychological trauma but also addressing how they are applied.

Isabel said: “It is hard to describe in words the impact the degree in Trauma Studies has had on my life, both personally and professionally. I was brought up in west Belfast during the Troubles so although I was no stranger to the phenomena of trauma I never understood it.

“Working as a nurse in psychiatry and medicine I was constantly faced with people who were traumatised and led traumatising lives.

“I wanted to understand in order to help myself help them. The diploma whetted my appetite for more and doing the degree was pivotal to understanding trauma and the challenges it presents at both a local and international level. It gave the concept of trauma a context, substance, shape, diversity and depth I never previously imagined existed.
 
“It was enlightening, challenging and ultimately rewarding. I feel I am more competent in the many roles I have in life, as a nurse, counsellor and teacher and much better equipped and prepared to help others deal with their traumas.”

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New life is the focus of hard-earned degree

At 52 many people are considering retirement but for north Belfast woman Margaret Hesketh it was the time to embark on a new career in midwifery.

Margaret, who graduates from Queen’s today with a BSc Honours in Midwifery Sciences, knows she made the right decision to return to study as she loves her new job in the Ulster Hospital.

Now 55, Margaret from the Antrim Road, had spent most of her life raising four children and building up a career in banking but had always harboured an ambition to be a midwife.

In 2006, with the support and encouragement of her family, she applied for the direct entry course in Midwifery at Queen’s and was delighted to be accepted.

 Margaret said: “I had a good job in banking and at that time it was secure so it was a big decision to go and do the course and survive on a bursary.

 “The course was very hard work and I had many challenges along the way. Last year my oldest brother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and later died which was obviously a difficult time. But any time I felt like giving up on the course the support of my family spurred me on. The course director Anne Nolan and community midwife Pat Rooney were also a fantastic help.

“As the eldest member of the class I suppose I expected some sort of ageism towards me but I can honestly say no-one thought of me as being any different either on my course or in the Ulster Hospital where I am now loving my job as a registered midwife in the Home from Home Unit.

“My mother tells me my great-great-aunt was the first registered midwife in Northern Ireland so it looks like I’m following a family tradition!”

Margaret’s daughter Mairead, a staff nurse now also studying to be a midwife at Queen’s, said: “Not only is her degree a wonderful achievement, she has also remained an excellent mother, wife, daughter and grandmother throughout her student commitments and we are all very proud!”

Margaret will be joined at graduation by her husband Robert and 95-year-old mother Sarah McGreevy.

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Award Winning Nurses At Queen’s
Martina Wilson won the Florence Elliott Prize for best overall nursing and midwifery student
Martina Wilson won the Florence Elliott Prize for best overall nursing and midwifery student

A nurse from Omagh is celebrating after being named the best overall nursing and midwifery student graduating from Queen’s.

Martina Wilson is being awarded the Florence Elliott Prize at this morning’s graduation ceremony.

She is among nine students to be recognised for their outstanding Academic or Clinical Excellence. Around 300 Nursing and Midwifery students will graduate from the University today.

Awards for Academic Excellence will be awarded to the nursing students with the highest marks from the University-based aspect of the degree, while Clinical Excellence awards will be given to those who have received outstanding feedback from staff in the wards where they completed their nursing placements.

Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, said: “Queen’s is the foremost provider of Nursing and Midwifery education in Northern Ireland. Our graduates play a central role in delivering health care to us all and I congratulate Martina and her fellow award winners for their hard work and dedication.”

During the graduation ceremony all students will receive their certificate and Nursing Badge, which they must wear while on the wards. 

Dame Mary Uprichard Prize for Academic Excellence in Midwifery Sciences
 
Catherine Power 
Maydown

Elizabeth Rainey Prize for Clinical Excellence in Midwifery Sciences
 
Ceri Knobbs 
Killaloo

The Cleland Ormond Rogers Prize for Academic Excellence in Children’s Nursing
 
Karen Thompson
(in absentia) 
Banbridge

The RBHSC/QUB Joyce Gardiner Prize for Clinical Excellence in Children’s Nursing
 
Karen Weir 
Portadown

The Professor Sheila Harrisson Prize for Academic Excellence in Adult Nursing
 
Eamon McCusker
(in absentia) 
Downpatrick

The Mary Waddell Prize for Clinical Excellence in Adult Nursing
 
Aaron Elliott 
Rathfriland

The Moutray/McAuley Prize for Clinical Excellence in Mental Health Nursing
 
Anne Domican 
Drumaness

The Lawrence and Nora McAuliff Curtin Prize for Academic Excellence in Mental Health 

Melanie Strain 
Donaghadee

The Florence Elliott Prize
 
Martina Wilson 
Omagh

Media inquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Kimberley gets a degree and finds a husband at Queen's
Kimberly Thompson, David Watters and Gail Thompson
Kimberly Thompson, David Watters and Gail Thompson

There will be celebrations at Queen’s today as Nursing graduate Kimberley Thompson shares her graduation day with her sister Gail and fiancé David, who are also receiving their Nursing degrees.

Kimberley (25), from Ballinderry, and David (27), from east Belfast, got together six weeks after meeting at Queen’s. Almost three years later David proposed and the happy couple are now planning their wedding. They will graduate today alongside Kimberley’s sister Gail (28).

Kimberley started work recently in the A&E department at the Ulster Hospital, while Gail is working at Craigavon Area Hospital and David is working with young people with mental health issues.

Kimberley said: “I am delighted that David, Gail and I are able to share our graduation day. I came to Queen’s hoping to get a degree and the skills and knowledge to follow a career in nursing, but I never expected to find my future husband here too!”

For media inquiries please contact the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s on 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087\3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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National innovation award for Oyster project

The world’s largest working hydro-electric wave power convertor, developed from research at Queen’s, has won a national award for innovation in engineering.

The Oyster project, launched with wave energy developer Aquamarine Power and now supplying power to homes in the Orkney area, won the award in the ‘Energy’ category at the Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards.

Judges praised its excellent potential to be deployed on a commercial scale.
The first full-scale Oyster was officially launched by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney last month, when it began producing power to the National Grid to supply homes in the area.

Oyster was first conceived out of work funded by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research grant to Queen’s between 2002 and 2004 to develop surging power-wave devices.

Professor Trevor Whittaker from Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering was the principal investigator and was supported by his colleague Dr Matt Folley.

Aquamarine Power Ltd was formed by a Scottish entrepreneur specifically to develop the technology. A joint agreement results in Queen’s undertaking all the hydrodynamic testing for Aquamarine.

Professor Whittaker said: “I am delighted that research work which was undertaken here at Queen's and resulted in the development of Oyster is being recognised by the industry with
awards such as this.

“What started as academic research, is being utilised by Aquamarine to produce a commercial product which will benefit humanity and help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for future energy generation. In addition the investment which Queen's has made in wave tank facilities is paying off.”

Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power, said: “Winning this award is fantastic news for Aquamarine Power and for the team at Queen’s University, Belfast. It recognises that together we are driving innovation and progress in the wave energy industry. It is also fantastic news for the wave energy industry as a whole to be recognised in such an important national engineering competition.

“The partnership between Aquamarine Power and Queen’s University, Belfast is a perfect example of how successful alignment of academic research with real industry needs can lead to innovation and ultimately to commercial success. 

“The world market for our Oyster technology is in excess of £130 billion.  By developing innovative new technologies like Oyster we can build a thriving new green industry here in the UK and start to tackle the global challenge of climate change.”

Oyster is currently the world’s only hydro-electric wave energy device which is producing power.  A farm of 20 Oysters would provide enough energy to power 9,000 three bedroom family homes.

Oyster is Aquamarine Power’s first demonstration-scale wave energy device.  Its performance will now be monitored and the results from the testing will provide a basis for the design of the next-generation commercial-scale Oyster.
 
Oyster is designed to capture the energy found in nearshore waves in water depths between 10 and 16 metres. The benefit of Oyster is its simplicity as there are minimal moving parts and all electrical components are onshore, making it robust enough to withstand the rigours of Scotland’s harsh seas.

Now in its third year, the prestigious The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards are run by The Engineer, the leading magazine and website for technology and innovation. 

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Queen’s University group to help tackle domestic violence

A new group at Queen’s will help tackle the scourge of domestic violence, which affects thousands of women, children and men in Northern Ireland every day.

The Domestic Violence Research Special Interest Group is the first of its kind on the island of Ireland to bring together researchers, policy makers, health and social care professionals, charities and support groups. The Group will provide access to the latest research into domestic violence and help shape future research to inform the development of more effective and efficient ways of tackling the problem.

The first meeting of the Group, which is part-funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, will take place at Queen's today (Tuesday 8 December). The meeting will be addressed by Professor Julie Taylor from the University of Dundee, who led the development of a similar initiative in Scotland.

Dr John Devaney from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work is Co-Chair of the Group. He said: “Domestic violence is a significant social problem in Northern Ireland. Last year, the police responded to an incident of domestic violence every 23 minutes, yet we know many cases go unreported. Around 11,000 children are directly affected by domestic abuse and the cost to the Northern Ireland economy is estimated at £180 million annually. This is equivalent to the deferral of water charges each year or the building of nine new post-primary schools.

“The Government’s Tackling Violence at Home strategy in 2005 highlighted the need to develop policies and services to counter domestic violence. These must be based on the latest research evidence on violence in the home, its causes and effects, and evidence as to what works best when tackling domestic abuse. This is where the Domestic Violence Research Special Interest Group will play an important role.

“The Group will provide a forum to share the latest research findings and shape future research to help improve our understanding of the problem. Ultimately, our aim is to help rid our society of the scourge of domestic violence.”

Dr Anne Lazenbatt, NSPCC Reader in Childhood Studies at Queen’s and Co-chair of the group said: “Queen’s researchers are already working hard to better understand experiences of older women who have suffered domestic violence. Violence at home is a common experience for around 15 per cent of women aged over 55 years. While some have been living with an abusive partner for many years others, who have begun a new relationship in later life, may be experiencing domestic violence for the first time.

“Our research, which is funded by the Changing Ageing Partnership, has found that older women are less likely to seek help, partly because of the lack of specialist services available to them. They are more likely to resort to misusing alcohol or prescription drugs in order to cope, resulting in problems for their physical and mental health.

“This research, which will be published next year, highlights the need for more support services for older women and awareness of the fact that they too suffer domestic abuse. It is just one example of how research can help us better understand extent and impact of domestic violence. Through research like this, the Group can help inform the development of policies and services to tackle domestic violence.”

For more information on the Domestic Violence Research Special Interest Group contact j.devaney@qub.ac.uk

For media inquiries contact Anne-Marie Watson at the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320, 07814415451 or a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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£102 million for Queen’s spin-outs as QUBIS Ltd strikes silver

Queen’s spin-out companies are on course for a record turnover of £102 million this year. The businesses, created by the University’s venture spin-out company QUBIS Ltd, represent a significant proportion of new high technology companies in Northern Ireland.

The news comes as QUBIS – one of the most successful university knowledge transfer initiatives in the UK and Ireland – celebrates 25 years of wealth and job creation. Business leaders will gather at Queen’s on Tuesday for a special reception to mark the anniversary.
 
Since its establishment in 1984, QUBIS has created more than 50 businesses, generated more than 1,000 jobs and confirmed Queen’s position as the leading higher education institution in the UK in terms of spin-out turnover. Its track record was one of the key factors in Queen’s winning the UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year title in October.
 
And, flying in the face of the economic downturn, QUBIS has created five new high-tech companies in the last two years. Sengenia Ltd, TOM Ltd, TITAN IC Systems, CapnaDSP and Lamhroe build on Queen’s world-class strengths in the areas of mobile communications, high-frequency electronics and software development.
 
Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said that QUBIS Ltd’s 25th anniversary underlined the University’s leading role as a significant force in wealth and job creation.
 
He said: “Northern Ireland’s Programme for Government places economic development centre stage, and rightly so. Commitment to local economic prosperity is also one of the cornerstones of the University’s mission.
 
“Our status as the UK’s Entrepreneurial University of the Year underlines how Queen’s is well placed to make a really strong contribution in this area, and the achievements of QUBIS Ltd demonstrate, in very tangible terms, our impact on the community we serve. I congratulate all those involved in its success so far.”
 
Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and External Relations, said: “Financial headlines remind us daily that we are in the middle of a global economic crisis but we have an obligation to do what we can to help regenerate the economy.

“The story of QUBIS Ltd illustrates how the entrepreneurial ethos among Queen’s staff and students underpins Northern Ireland’s drive to establish itself in the global market place. It can only enhance our confidence in the future as more successful businesses emanate from our leading-edge research.”
 
Looking to the future, QUBIS Ltd Chairman Gordon Bell said: "The companies within our portfolio reflect the breadth of the Queen’s research base and form a significant part of the local high technology economy.
 
“As we move forward, QUBIS Ltd will strive to inspire and encourage, through financial and other forms of support, the creation and growth of further spin-out ventures. Such technology based companies are essential if Northern Ireland is to compete in an increasingly competitive worldwide market."
 
QUBIS Ltd retains a shareholding in 29 companies, as follows: MarEnCo Ltd, Kainos Software, Lumichem Ltd, Andor Technology Ltd, Hughes and McLeod, Biocolor Ltd, Acksen, Lagan Technologies Ltd, StreamOn net Ltd, Alta Systems Ltd, QUESTOR Technologies Ltd, Vykson Ltd, Fusion Antibodies, Realtime Solutions Ltd, Amphora NDT Ltd, Eventmap Ltd, Trucorp Ltd, Optima Numerics Ltd, Almac Diagnostics Ltd, Stone Conservation Ltd, Embedded Monitoring Systems, APT Licensing Ltd, ED Medical Ltd, I-Path Diagnostics Ltd, Sengenia Ltd, TOM Ltd, Titan IC Systems Ltd, CapnaDSP Ltd and Lamhroe Ltd.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5310, Mob 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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New Chancellor to be Installed during Queen's Winter Graduations
Ulster rugby player Ian Whitten
Ulster rugby player Ian Whitten will graduate from Queen’s this week with a degree in Accounting.

Queen’s will celebrate its Winter Graduations this week with the installation of its new Chancellor, international statesman His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

Mr Sharma will be installed as Chancellor at a special ceremony on Thursday 10 December.

A career diplomat, Kamalesh Sharma retired from the Indian Foreign Service in 2001, serving as India’s permanent representative to the United Nations. From 2002 to 2004 he was the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to East Timor. He was appointed India’s High Commissioner to the UK in 2004 before his election as Secretary General of the Commonwealth in 2007.

He succeeds former Chancellor Senator George Mitchell, who stepped down in March following his appointment to head up the United States’ peacemaking efforts in the Middle East.
Mr Sharma said: "I am enormously proud to be invited to serve Queen’s University and look forward to contributing towards strengthening its internationalist outlook.

“Queen’s is a forward-looking institution which recognizes that in today’s world there are no borders; rather we are all part of a common humanity. The University’s research has made a dramatic impact on the world. I hope that I will be able to help the University, its staff and students, and the wider community it serves, become even better connected to the world in which we live."

Around 2,000 Queen’s students will receive their degrees and certificates during this week’s ceremonies, which begin on Wednesday evening (9 December). The University will also honour best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith.

Professor McCall Smith, a former member of staff at Queen’s, is one of the world’s most prolific and popular authors. His books include the highly successful No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, set in Botswana, and the Isabel Dalhousie series and Scotland Street novels, both set in Edinburgh.  He will receive an honorary Doctorate of Literature at the ceremony on Thursday morning.

Among the students celebrating this week will be rugby star Ian Whitten, from Lisburn, who could change his graduation gown on Friday for his Ulster kit on Saturday if selected to line up for the crunch game against Stade Français.

The former captain of Queen’s Rugby Club, who won his first Irish cap earlier this year, will graduate in Accounting on Friday afternoon.

He said: “I have to thank my tutors in Queen’s University Management School for their tremendous support and understanding which not only enabled me to pursue my rugby career but also to obtain a good degree.”

For media inquiries please contact Anne Langford on 028 9097 5310, 07815 871 997 or a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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International Human Rights Day at Queen’s

Students from the School of Law at Queen’s University will mark International Human Rights Day on Thursday 10 December with a series of events urging people to ‘Appreciate Your Rights’.

Organised by the Student Committee of the University’s Human Rights Centre, the events aim to encourage students’ awareness about human rights issues at home and abroad.

The highlight of the day will be a discussion by Anna Lo MLA (Alliance Party), Dr. Aoife Nolan (Queen’s Law School) and Maggie O’Connor (Pat Finucane Centre) about their experiences working in the field of human rights. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Brice Dickson, Director of the Human Rights Centre at Queen’s and will take place at 7.30 pm in Room 209, Peter Froggatt Centre.

Other events include a workshop hosted by Harry Maguire of Community Restorative Justice Northern Ireland (11am, Room 207, Peter Froggatt Centre), and a screening of Academy Award Winning Das Leben der Anderen (The Life of the Others) (3pm, Room G06, Peter Froggatt Centre).

An exhibition at the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen’s will display art work by primary school children and creative writing by secondary school students on the theme of appreciation. A second exhibition in the Students’ Union will document human rights issues in Northern Ireland and around the globe.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact kmclaughlin31@qub.ac.uk 

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson on 028 9097 5320 a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s research could lead to new climate change predictions

Scientists at Queen's have made a discovery which could affect how future models of predicting climate change are developed.

Dr Maarten Blaauw from Queen's School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, part of an international research team including colleagues from the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and other countries, has shown that the East African monsoon has been less affected by climate variability originating at high latitudes than the other monsoon systems of the world.

Published in a paper in the current issue of prestigious journal Nature, Dr Blaauw's work reveals that this is probably due to cycles of 11,000 years in solar radiation affecting the region, which kept it moist when other areas were experiencing drought.

Dr Blaauw said: "The earth's climate is complex with several interlinked major climate systems such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Pacific El Niño/La Niña, and the Asian Monsoon. External climate forces, such as solar radiation — generate different responses in different regions. Documenting this variability is therefore critical for understanding how such forces influence regional climate over time.

"In our research, Prof. Verschuren from Ghent University and colleagues produced the most reliable archive of rainfall change yet for equatorial East Africa, using analyses of biomolecules and seismic stratigraphy from the sediments of Lake Challa, near  Mt Kilimanjaro, close to the Mount's vanishing ice cap. We then dated the record at very high precision in Queen's Chrono Centre and the carbon dating laboratories at Groningen and Poznan. This showed how the varying solar irradiation at northern, southern and equatorial latitudes causes long-term variations in rainfall.

"While high quality data exists for high and low latitudes, climate information from the tropics is scarce, particularly from regions where the trade winds converge to produce a monsoonal climate of alternating wet and dry seasons.

"Importantly, our study shows that while polar ice cores suggest that climate has varied little over the past 11,700 years, these sites are not representative for climate history in (sub) tropical regions. It is our hope that this information will prove vital in developing future global models for the prediction of climate change."
 
Further information on the work of researchers at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology can be found at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/gap/

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Queen's pharmacists offer the right prescription for local schools

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Queen’s has become the first university in the UK to develop an interactive pharmacy-based programme to encourage schoolchildren to engage with science.

Its School of Pharmacy, currently ranked number one in the Times Good University Guide, today (Wednesday) launches its Pharmacists in Schools initiative which will benefit over 400 pupils in 20 local schools.
Under the scheme children aged eight to 14 will be given the opportunity to be pharmacists for the day. It also encourages them to consider studying science-based career options and to increase their awareness of the role of the pharmacist in the community and in health promotion activities.

Staff and undergraduate students from the School of Pharmacy will visit schools and use props to give children the opportunity to prepare medicines in response to prescriptions, label the medicines and dispense them.
In this way they learn how pharmacists use scientific and medical knowledge to make medicines and to advise patients on their safe and effective use.

Dr Ryan Donnelly, co-ordinator of the Pharmacists in Schools scheme, said: “Within pharmacy there are many roles; compounding and dispensing medications, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy and providing drug information and education and, increasingly, delivering frontline healthcare and clinical services.
“Pharmacists are the experts on drug therapy and they are the primary health professionals who optimise the use of medication to deliver positive health outcomes to patients. For any young person it is a career choice with tremendous scope.”

Professor David Woolfson, Head of the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s, said: “Programmes such as Pharmacists in Schools are a great way to engage with community.
“One study highlighted how a third of students studying science and engineering at one university had made their choice by the age of 12.

“I have no doubt that Pharmacists in School will create a sense of wonder and enthusiasm in those pupils who participate in it. And even if they do not go on to study pharmacy, they will have a real understanding of what pharmacists do and their importance in the community.”

Mary Keating, Principal of St Brigid's Primary School in Glassdrummond, County Armagh, said: “The Pharmacists in Schools programme provides a great opportunity for children to engage with science and to learn about the extended role the pharmacist plays in the community in advising people about their medicines and on maintaining healthy lifestyles. The children at my school really enjoyed their experience being pharmacists for the day."

The initiative is being supported by Northern Pharmacies Trust.
 
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

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Landmark music therapy trial to be conducted in Northern Ireland

Queen’s is to play a major role in the biggest trial ever conducted to investigate how music therapy can help children and young people with severe mental health problems.
 
Researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s will work on the landmark project with Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust (NIMTT), a charity providing music therapy services to people with disabilities and disorders who have profound communication difficulties.
 
NIMTT has been awarded £326,164 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Research programme, to carry out Music in Mind - the largest study ever undertaken into the effects of music therapy on children and young people with severe mental health problems – with Queen’s.
 
The therapy will be trialled over a three year period on over 200 children and young people to test whether it improves their communication, self-confidence and self-esteem.
 
The Queen’s research team is being led by Professor Sam Porter and includes psychologist Dr Katrina McLaughlin and Dr Valerie Holmes, who has extensive experience in carrying out major trials.
 
Professor Porter said: “The role of the Queen’s research team is to take an impartial and objective look at whether or to what extent music therapy improves the communication skills of children with severe mental health problems.
 
“Research to date has not been able to conclusively answer these questions so this is why the Queen’s trial is of such importance.
 
“The Music in Mind trial is by far the largest ever conducted in this area. Its size means that it will be able to generate results in which commissioners and practitioners of health care can have confidence.
 
“It is a landmark in the scientific investigation of music therapy. Given that music therapy is practiced around the world, the significance of its results will be global.
 
 “Through our dynamic partnership with the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust, we have the opportunity to position the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s as the world-leader in this very important area of health care research.”
 
NIMTT Executive Director Fiona Davidson explained that the findings of the pioneering study will have the potential to improve the psychiatric services provided for children and young people in Northern Ireland and across the UK.
 
“The report by the Chief Medical Officer in Northern Ireland in 2005 showed that 20 per cent of children and young people in Northern Ireland are experiencing severe mental health problems by their 18th birthday.
 
“The impact of 30 years of conflict also continues to have an effect on communities in Northern Ireland.
 
 “We want to show that music therapy can improve young people’s communication and mental health and their ability to work with other psychiatric services such as counselling. Music therapy builds a new language of communication for people who can’t use words or find it difficult to express how they feel.
 
“We hope that the findings, which will be presented to professionals and policymakers in Northern Ireland and further afield through an international conference, will, if positive, lead to an increase in the provision of music therapy across the UK. Currently, attracting Government funding for music therapy is very difficult and this sort of evidence is increasingly required given the competing demands on health service funding.
 
John Devine, Principal of Edmund Rice PS, on the Antrim Road in the New Lodge Road area of north Belfast, said he had seen a marked improvement in the communication and confidence of pupils who have taken part in music therapy.
 
 “I hope this research will prove the benefits that music therapy brings to the lives of young people.
 
“The legacy of the Troubles has been passed down through the generations and continues to affect young people today. Some young people struggle to cope with the everyday interactions involved in school and society.
 
 “From the minute they go to the therapist we see a change in them. They look forward to going to the therapist and return to class settled and more receptive. They are more relaxed, so their learning improves, and the learning of everyone around them improves.
 
“Consequently when parents, used to the problems of difficult behaviour, hear their child is doing better in school they themselves take more of an interest in school life.”
 
The funding is part of a grants roll-out of over £20million across the UK from the Big Lottery Fund’s Research programme which supports high quality social and medical research projects across the 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

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Spotlight on Geraldine Hughes at the Brian Friel Theatre
Geraldine Hughes in Belfast Blues
Geraldine Hughes in Belfast Blues

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Belfast-born actress Geraldine Hughes is to star in her award-winning play Belfast Blues at the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s from 16-20 December.

The Queen’s honorary graduate and star of blockbuster movies Rocky Balboa and Gran Torino will take to the stage in her acclaimed one-woman show. The production is one of the highlights of the new season at the Brian Friel Theatre, which is fast becoming one of Northern Ireland’s premier arts venues.
 
Audience members at the Friday evening performance (18 December) will have the opportunity to put their questions to Geraldine during a post-show discussion with the actress.
 
Tickets for Belfast Blues are priced £10 (£8 concession) and are available from the QFT Box Office at 20 University Square or on 028 9097 1097 after 6pm. Other upcoming shows at the Brian Friel Theatre include performances created by Queen’s drama students, such as Translations, Beckett Shorts, and The Libertine.
Belfast Blues is an autobiographical performance, told from Hughes’ perspective as a little girl growing up during the height of the ‘Troubles’ in 1980’s Belfast. Playwright and performer Hughes depicts over 20 characters in the award-winning performance, which has played to rave reviews in London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
 
Geraldine said: “I am delighted to bring Belfast Blues to the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s. Belfast is my hometown, so it is always a treat to perform here. But I am particularly excited about taking to the stage in this fantastic theatre, which is fast becoming one of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre venues.
 
“I have long admired Brien Friel’s work, and I have performed in some of his best known plays, including Translations on Broadway, so it is a real honour to bring my own play to the theatre that bears his name.”
 
Professor David Johnston, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts at Queen’s, said: “We are delighted that Geraldine has chosen to bring Belfast Blues to the Brian Friel Theatre. She is one of Northern Ireland’s leading actresses, and this play chronicles her path from her home in Belfast’s Divis flats to the bright lights of Broadway, and a successful career that many of our students aspire to.
 
“This performance will attract theatre-goers from around Northern Ireland. It is a great start to a fantastic programme of shows which will take place at the Theatre over the next few months, and will reinforce the Brian Friel Theatre’s growing reputation as one of the north’s leading arts venues.
 
“Queen’s is thriving centre for drama research and education, and its strong links with professional theatre are the envy of its peers. With world-class facilities like the Brian Friel Theatre, I am sure we will continue to attract professional actors, directors and playwrights like Geraldine in the future.”
 
The full programme for the new season at the Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s is available at www.brianfrieltheatre.co.uk 

For media inquiries please contact Anne-Marie Watson at the Press and PR Unit at Queen’s University on 00 44 (0)28 9097 5320 or email a.watson@qub.ac.uk  

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New Director for Queen's Gender Initiative

Professor Yvonne Galligan, who founded the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen’s, has been appointed Director of the University’s award-winning Gender Initiative.

 Announcing her appointment, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Yvonne brings enormous commitment and skills to this important role. I congratulate her on her appointment.

“This is an area in which Queen’s has led the sector, but we cannot be complacent. The work of the Gender Initiative is vital if we are to maximise the potential of our staff. I look forward to working with Yvonne and her colleagues in the years ahead.”

 Professor Galligan is also Director of Research (Governance and Public Policy) in the University’s School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy.

She said: “I am delighted to be taking up the position of Director of the Queen's Gender Initiative. 

 “The QGI is a unique project, showing the University's commitment to removing the barriers to women's progress. This goal is reiterated in the institutional aim to enhance the staff experience. Under my leadership, the Gender Initiative will push forward in fostering a culture of gender equality shared by all in the University.

 “It will seek to enhance women's participation in University decision-making, and it will support the contributions of all women to Queen's.”

 Established in 2000, Queen’s Gender Initiative has attracted international attention as a role model for other universities and institutions. It has produced a stream of tangible results ranging from the establishment of a central maternity fund and enhanced childcare provision to the introduction of flexible working for clerical staff and a mentoring scheme for female staff. 

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5310, Mob 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Theft of former Cypriot President’s body could jeopardise peace efforts

Following the desecration of the grave of the former President of Cyprus last week, and the theft of his body, Queen’s researchers have highlighted the possible impact such events could have on peace efforts in Cyprus.

The grave of former President Tassos Papadopoulos was found desecrated and his body stolen on 10 December, one day before the first anniversary of his death. His body has not yet been recovered.

Dr Neophytos Loizides, from the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s, said: “This incident has triggered intense political and public debate as to the motivation behind it at a time when efforts to resolve the conflict in Cyprus are at a critical juncture.

“Tassos Papadopoulos was a former president but also a member of one of the richest families in the island. In 1997 a group unburied the body of Vehbi Koc's, the founder of Turkey's largest corporation, and asked the Koc family for a five million German Mark ransom. Similar incidents have taken place in other European countries recently, so this latest theft could simply imply a new trend of international crime - kidnapping the dead. However, it may also have political motives as radical groups may intend to use the body of the former president to divide the two communities and derail the ongoing Cypriot peace process.”

Iosif Kovras, a PhD candidate at Queen’s, said: “In Cypriot culture the dead body is a sacred symbol. Research conducted here at Queen’s has found that symbols such as the remains of missing persons, can take on powerful meanings in societies with disappeared persons. In some conflicts, the dead body can become a symbol for encouraging reconciliation and truth recovery, as has been the case in Cyprus in recent years, while in other situations it can mobilise radicalism.

“The retrieval of bodies of missing persons buried in mass graves in Cyprus remains one of the most sensitive aspects of the conflict. The Committee for Missing Persons has become one of the most successful bi-communal projects in Cyprus since it resumed its activities in 2004. It has identified and returned several bodies to their families, increasing levels of trust between the two sides in the conflict.

“A new bi-communal group has also emerged, providing a forum for victims and relatives from both sides to share their experiences. The attack on the former President’s grave and the theft of his body could compromise any progress in the negotiations, especially as leaders have agreed to intensify negotiations starting in January.

“In some situations, dead bodies can be extremely powerful symbols in terms of mobilising radicalisation. In the former Yugoslavia, for example, the televised exhumations and reburials of World War Two genocide victims was a critical factor in the revitalisation of Serbian nationalism. The extent to which the desecration of Tassos Papadopoulos’ grave will stir up passions on the island of Cyprus remains to be seen.

“As the search for the former President’s body and its thieves continues, this incident could have a profound impact on peace negotiations in Cyprus and its leaders strive to reach a comprehensive peace settlement before the Turkish Cypriot elections in April 2010.”

Iosif Kovras’ research focuses on post-conflict truth recovery with specific focus on the recent emergence of ‘politics of exhumations’ in Cyprus and Spain.

For more information on the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofPoliticsInternationalStudiesandPhilosophy
 
Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson, Queen’s University Press and PR Unit, 00 44 (0)28 9097 5320, 00 44 (0)7814415451, a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's student's ‘French connection’ earns her national Erasmus award
Nuala McKay (left) with Dr Maeve McCusker, French Studies, Queen's, and David Hibler, Erasmus Programme Manager, British Council
Nuala McKay (left) with Dr Maeve McCusker, French Studies, Queen's, and David Hibler, Erasmus Programme Manager, British Council

A Queen’s University student has won a national award from the British Council for her account of seven months living and working in France.

Nuala McKay, from Randalstown, was named the overall UK Erasmus student essay prize winner for 2009 at the award ceremony in London, after submitting a piece on her time abroad. Her success has made it two in a row for Queen’s. Last year Law student Patrick Cassidy, from south Belfast, won the national award.

A final year French and English student, Nuala lived and worked in a small town called Pont-à-Mousson, in the Nancy-Metz region in the northeast of France, during the 2008-09 academic year. 

Having been nominated as the winning Erasmus essay entrant from Queen’s, she scooped the national award and  Erasmus ‘Stars’ trophy by delivering a presentation at the award ceremony on her experience of living and studying in France.

She said: "I had the time of my life and benefited tremendously from my placement. I had the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills and visit new places, and my confidence has increased immensely in many ways.”

Congratulating Nuala, Cathy McEachern, Erasmus co-ordinator at Queen’s, said: “Nuala’s winning entry highlights what a wonderful experience living in another country can be. We hope that her success will inspire many more students to participate in the Erasmus programme.”

Erasmus, administered in the United Kingdom by the British Council, is the European Union’s flagship exchange programme, enabling students and staff in higher education to study or work in another European country.

Each year up to 80 Queen’s students take part in the Erasmus scheme, studying at universities all over Europe. Another 120 Queen's students undertake Erasmus work placements in enterprises and industry across Europe.

To find out more about Erasmus opportunities for Queen’s students, contact the International Office at erasmus@qub.ac.uk, or visit www.qub.ac.uk/erasmus

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5310, Mob 07815 871997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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