04-2010 Press Releases

29/04/2010: Autism book by local authors to be translated into Hindi
26/04/2010: Global invite to Queen's 10th Irish Studies International Summer School
21/04/2010: Breast Cancer Campaign funding for Queen's University
19/04/2010: Michael Palin funds Queen’s drama scholarships in memory of late Festival Director
15/04/2010: Sharpen your skills with part-time learning at Queen’s
14/04/2010: Queen's team aims to win £1M Dragons' Den competition with 'new' antibiotics
14/04/2010: Dancers with disabilities partner Queen's in pioneering project
12/04/2010: New Pro-Vice-Chancellor appointed
12/04/2010: Political Psychology Research Centre to open at Queen’s University Belfast
09/04/2010: Mephedrone users at risk of impotence says Queen's professor
08/04/2010: Queen's-Canyon partnership 'triggers' business success
07/04/2010: New STEM website encourages budding scientists
01/04/2010: Queen’s poet scoops prestigious €5000 award
Breast Cancer Campaign funding for Queen's University

A Queen’s University researcher has been awarded funding from Breast Cancer Campaign to further investigate the role of the BCRA1 gene in the development of the disease.

Dr Konstantin Panov from the School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology at Queen’s has been awarded a £20,000 pilot grant. The grant forms part of £5 million awarded by Breast Cancer Campaign in 2009.

Dr Panov believes that the BCRA1 gene could be crucial in a process called ribosome production. Ribosomes are produced in large numbers when cells become cancerous and are vital as they generate molecules required to help them grow and multiply. This pilot project aims to establish the role of the BRCA1 gene in this process.

Dr Panov will study breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory that either have no BRCA1 gene or one that doesn’t work well. He will investigate the effect this has on the cells’ ability to produce molecules that are building blocks for the ribosomes; enabling him to determine at what stage BRCA1 could be involved.

Dr Panov said: “I am grateful to Breast Cancer Campaign for this grant. I hope the study will provide vital knowledge about the BRCA1 gene that could help us stop ribosome production spiraling out of control and causing cells to become cancerous.”

Arlene Wilkie, Director of Research and Policy, Breast Cancer Campaign said: “There are many genes involved in breast cancer development and we need to find out their role in starting the disease in the first place. This pilot grant could be the first step in finding urgently needed new treatments to help beat breast cancer and increase the chances of survival for thousands of people.”

Media inquiries to Queen's Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5292,  j.rance@qub.ac.uk or telephone Claire Learner, Media Relations Officer, Breast Cancer Campaign, 020 7749 3705, clearner@breastcancercampaign.org

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Michael Palin funds Queen’s drama scholarships in memory of late Festival Director
Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes
Actor Michael Palin is funding a new bursary scheme for drama students at Queen’s University Belfast, in memory of his good friend Michael Barnes, former Director of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

The Michael Barnes Scholarships and Travel Bursaries will support five MA Drama students over a five year period, and will also provide travel scholarship for students to undertake a research visit or theatre placement related to their postgraduate study. All postgraduate Drama students at Queen’s are eligible to apply. The funding for the scholarships and bursaries was secured by the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Queen’s.

Michael Palin said: “Michael Barnes made the Belfast Festival at Queen’s into one of the greatest international artistic gatherings. The scholarships and bursaries that bear his name will also carry his spirit of love for the theatre, for Belfast and for the power of art and culture to unite people from all over the world.”

David Grant, Head of Drama at Queen’s School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, said: “Michael Barnes was director of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s for over 20 years and also served as the first Artistic Director of the refurbished Grand Opera House. In both roles, he played a unique and crucial role in ensuring that Northern Ireland retained international cultural links throughout the ‘Troubles’.

“After coming to Queen’s as a history lecturer, Michael became Festival Director in 1973. Against the odds, he devised ambitious Festival programmes, attracting performers such as the Scottish Ballet, the Royal Shakespeare Company, opera singer Felicity Lott, many of the world’s great orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus and, of course, Michael Palin. He succeeded in filling large halls and theatres throughout Belfast and transformed what was then a modest event into one of the highlights of Northern Ireland’s social and cultural calendar.

“Michael Barnes’s own education was supported by scholarships, which allowed clever children from less affluent backgrounds to gain access to educational excellence. So it is fitting that we should remember Michael, and his contribution to Queen’s and the city of Belfast, through these new scholarships and travel bursaries."

Professor Anna McMullan, Chair in Drama at Queen’s, said: “Queen's is a thriving centre for drama research and education, and its strong links with professional theatre are the envy of its peers. The University has a reputation for excellence in producing world-class research in Irish theatre and practice-as-research, as recognised in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

“In 2009 we opened the Brian Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research, which provides a focus for cutting-edge research into theatre practice, attracting postgraduate students from around the world. The Centre is part of the state of the art Drama and Film Centre at the heart of the University campus.

“The Michael Barnes Scholarships and Travel Bursaries will allow postgraduate students from Northern Ireland and around the world to study for the MA in Drama and Performance in one of Ireland’s largest university drama departments, supported by world class facilities, research and teaching staff.”

Anyone who is interested in applying for the Michael Barnes Scholarships and Travel Bursaries should contact Professor Anna McMullan at anna.mcmullan@qub.ac.uk or telephone 028 9097 5231. For more information on Drama at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/drama  

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320, 07814 415 451 or a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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Sharpen your 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.

Over forty part-time pathways, including two new modules aimed at those working in special education needs or learning support, will be showcased at an Open Day at Queen’s School of Education on Thursday 20 May. The new modules, in the area of Co-ordinating Learning Support, are designed to meet the needs of aspiring, new, or experienced Special Education Needs or Learning Support Co-ordinators.

As well as enabling students to receive credit for completing units of the British Psychological Society’s Level A Award in Testing and Assessment, there is an opportunity to progress to a Diploma or MEd in Inclusion and Special Needs Education.

Hosted by the School of Education, the Open Day will present an array of undergraduate and postgraduate courses across a wide range of areas, from Management and Human Resources, to Community Development and Counselling, designed for both vocational and recreational learners.

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 you can balance your studies with your existing work and home life. “We have over forty courses on offer and each one comes with the guarantee of excellence that distinguishes the world-class standard of teaching and facilities at Queen’s.”

The new part-time courses brochure is available at www.qub.ac.uk/edu and applications should be submitted before 31 May 2010.

The open day will be held at 20 College Green between 12.00pm and 7pm on Thursday 20 May. Staff members will be available to discuss part-time learning options and there will be taster sessions on some of the courses on offer at 5.30pm. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information or for a copy of the prospectus, contact the School of Education at education@qub.ac.uk or telephone 028 9097 5941/3323.

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Watson at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5320, 07814 415 451 or a.watson@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's team aims to win £1M Dragons' Den competition with 'new' antibiotics
A team from Queen’s University is hoping to conquer the growing problem of resistance to conventional antibiotics as part of an international £1 million ‘Dragons’ Den’ competition.

The competition, now in its third year, is part of the China Tomorrow scheme which was launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Encouraging links between China and the United Kingdom, it is open to those involved in new business ventures.

The Queen’s team, led by PhD student Ms Min Wang from the University’s School of Pharmacy, will be pitching a novel process to produce AntiMicrobial Peptides (AMPs). These are molecules that exist throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. It is feasible to advertise AMPs as new antibiotics with low cost but high yield, conquering the growing problem of resistance to conventional antibiotics.

The event, which has now reached the semi-final stage, replicates the well-known ‘Dragons' Den’ process where entrepreneurs secure start-up funds from early stage investors and capital firms.

Dr Yu Xiong, Director of the competition’s organising committee and a lecturer at Queen’s University Management School explained: “This is the only event of its kind that is supported by universities and authorities from both China and the United Kingdom. Doing business overseas can be daunting for many entrepreneurs but this exciting programme aims to promote opportunities that exist and highlight potential business leaders of the future. Those taking part learn a great deal through the process and their ideas can translate to real business opportunities.

“The competition is particularly exciting in light of the fact that China is becoming an increasingly important country economically. It has not been affected by the recession in the same way that other countries have, and business opportunities there are huge. And, as it has a rising scientific and technological base, it is attracting worldwide attention.”

There are eight teams in the semi-final. Their business ideas include an innovative mountain board that emulates the movements associated with snowboarding without the need for snow, and a purifying additive aimed at solving the problem of indoor pollution. Another project from Cambridge University strives to improve the technology behind the flat panel display industry.

Professor Richard Harrison, Director of Queen’s University Management School, is delighted that such strong links have been forged by this scheme: “We are pleased to be working with a number of leading UK universities and the Chinese authorities in this exciting competition.

“The judges will assess each business plan on criteria including market and competitor analysis, their project development and financial plans, risks and proposed mitigating factors, management of intellectual property and promotion of UK-China business links.”

The Minister Counsellor for Science and Technology of the Chinese Embassy, His Excellency Mr Futao Chen, will address the first semi-final which is taking place in Queen’s on Thursday 29 April, with the second taking place in Lancaster University. The overall winner will be announced at the national finals at University College, London in June.

Those who wish to attend the event need to register with Ms. Karen Close at k.close@qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 3087 or email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Dancers with disabilities partner Queen's in pioneering project
Local dancers with learning and physical disabilities have joined forces with Queen’s University students and service users with mental health difficulties in a pioneering collaborative dance project.

The project centres on the work of the two integrated dance companies, Orbit Dance and Kompany Maine, created by Arts Care, the Northern Ireland arts and health charity. The dance troupes comprise service users with severe brain injury or physical and learning disability and the healthcare staff who care for them.

The project is captured in a new exhibition, ‘Levels’, the first photographic dance-in-health show ever staged in Northern Ireland, which opens on Thursday 15 April in the prestigious Naughton Gallery at Queen’s.

The exhibition tells the story of service users of all ages from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust who partnered Queen’s medical, social work and film students to dance, make art and music over a one-year period. The activities took place at the Arts Care Dance Studio in Knockbracken Healthcare Park.

The project was a collaboration between Arts Care dancer-in-residence Jenny Elliott, Belfast photographer Colin Cairns, and the Centre for Excellence in Interprofessional Education (CEIPE) at Queen’s.

The exhibition features black and white images which showcase students and service users creating dance together, and exploring and learning from each other what it is to live with disabilities or mental health difficulties.

The innovative dance programme provided an educational opportunity for the students – the doctors, social workers and film-makers of the future – to better understand the people they may care for within their future professions.

David Bell, a final year medical student at Queen’s University, said: “Today when I went into the hospital to see a few patients, I felt like there were some elements of the dancing in the sense of moving around the restrictive cubicles and interacting with the patient at the same time. I felt so much more comfortable and I could see that there was a quicker rapport with the patient and that they felt more at ease, just by being able to keep things flowing.”

Dr Jenny Elliott, Arts Care dancer-in-residence at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, explained: “One of the aims of Arts Care is to generate a vibrant cultural life within healthcare environments, developing meaningful partnerships with community-based agencies such as schools, colleges and universities.

“Arts in Health projects that involve young students participating with service users in a series of arts activities provide a wonderful learning opportunity that goes way beyond the classroom and lecture theatre deep into real life experiences. When you are supported in the dance by someone with a severe learning/physical disability your life and perceptions are totally transformed.”

Dr Sue Morison, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Interprofessional Education at Queen’s outlined how the project has enhanced the traditional learning process.

“The creative and performing arts are not the first place you would expect to go to prepare tomorrow’s doctors but this programme has provided an opportunity to truly develop the art and science of medicine. For medical students, having the opportunity to interact with service users through the medium of dance has challenged and shaped their views on clinical practice.”

Capturing all of this activity through a camera lens was Belfast-based photographer Colin Cairns, who said: “In chronicling this project, I have been challenged in the process to reconsider how truly open minded I am in judging other people’s ability. It has been a truly enjoyable and fun experience. The seriousness of the choreography and need to perform is intrinsic to every dance session, but I cannot recall one that did not have laughter and smiles. I hope this collection will leave those who view it with that same sense.”

An integral part of the exhibition is a short film created and produced by Queen’s students and service users from Ravenhill Adult Education Centre who participated in the Interprofessional Arts in Mental Health Project 2010. The film articulates the participants’ experiences and concepts of mental illness and well-being. The Arts Council Northern Ireland, the lead funder for this whole project, has made it possible for the exhibition to tour to four different locations across Northern Ireland following the Naughton Gallery event. The tour will be accompanied by a series of integrated contemporary dance classes facilitated by the dancers of Orbit Dance and Kompany Maine and offered to schools and day centres in each area.

The exhibition is supported by the Arts Council Small Grants Lottery Fund, The Naughton Gallery at Queens, the Centre for Excellence in Interprofessional Education at Queen’s University, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Arts Care. It will run from Thursday 15 April until  Friday 2 May, Tuesday to Sunday, 11am - 4pm, at Naughton Gallery at Queen's.

On Saturday 17 April at 1.00pm Colin Cairns, photographer and Jenny Elliott, choreographer will deliver a Gallery Talk.

For further information on the exhibition contact Naughton Gallery at Queen’s on 028 9097 3580, art@qub.ac.uk or log on to. www.naughtongallery.org

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Press & PR Unit, 028 9097 5310, 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk.

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New Pro-Vice-Chancellor appointed

Professor Tony Gallagher has been appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning, Staffing and External Relations. He takes up his post on 1 May 2010, succeeding Professor Gerry McCormac who has been appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Stirling University.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “I am delighted Tony has accepted this appointment. He has demonstrated excellent leadership as Head of the School of Education over the last five years and will be an outstanding addition to the University’s Senior Management Team. I know I speak for all his colleagues in congratulating him.

“As we work towards becoming a global 100 University, our internal and external relationships have never been more important. Tony’s portfolio is a vital one for Queen’s, both at home and internationally, and his widespread experience in education will be invaluable. I am confident Tony’s appointment will ensure we can further our core mission of delivering world-class education and research, build on our international links and help Northern Ireland reach its full economic, social and cultural potential.”

Professor Gallagher joined Queen’s as a Lecturer in Education in 1992 and was later appointed to a Readership in 1995 and a Chair in 1999. In 2005 he was appointed Head of the School of Education and in 2008 he was Elected Academician of the Academy of Social Science. His research interests lie in the role of education in societies marked by ethnic conflict and in issues related to equality and social inclusion in learning. Tony is also Lead Editor of the academic journal Education, Citizenship and Social Justice and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Children’s Services and Irish Educational Studies.

Speaking after his appointment he said: “Higher education is entering a challenging period, but the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves at Queen’s remain undimmed. I have just spent five of the most rewarding years of my career as Head of the School of Education. It will be a wrench to end this day-to-day involvement with some of the most dedicated colleagues I have ever worked with, but I am excited at the new challenges provided by the opportunity to work as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

“In recent years Queen’s has invested significantly in the future and we have seen this bear fruit: we have witnessed substantial achievements across all areas of our work, we have steadily advanced our regional and global impact, and we have set goals for ourselves that would have been barely imaginable only a few years ago. I cannot think of a better time to be working in such a role at Queen’s. I am looking forward to engaging with colleagues across every School and Directorate as we work together to make Queen’s one of the top Universities in the world.”

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Senior Press Officer, 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Political Psychology Research Centre to open at Queen’s University Belfast
Professor Evanthia Lyons
Professor Evanthia Lyons

Political Psychology is the focus of a timely new research centre being launched at Queen’s University Belfast this week.

Queen’s Centre for Research in Political Psychology (CResPP) will mark its launch with an international conference entitled Tearing Down the Walls: Rethinking the Political in Political Psychology, from Wednesday 14 April to Friday 16 April.

Political psychologists from across the globe will be discussing topics such as political participation and civic engagement; perceptions of the legitimacy of political violence against the West among Saudi students; adversarial discourse in Prime Minister’s questions; and policing psychology, democracy and human rights at the event.

Members of the public are also being invited to attend an evening climate change debate at 6pm on Wednesday 14 April in the Canada Room at Queen’s. Entitled A Climate of Crisis? A public conversation on what psychology, politics, religion and technology can contribute to addressing climate change, the event is being chaired by the BBC’s William Crawley.

Director of the new Centre is Professor Evanthia Lyons from Queen’s School of Psychology. She said: “Political Psychology examines the psychological dimensions of political processes, including not only formal politics, but also the relationships between individuals and societies. Questions we as political psychologists are often faced with include how do individuals process political information and form their opinions? What role do emotions play in forming political opinions? And how do political leaders make decisions?

“With a general election on the horizon, the battle to win hearts and minds is raging. I am delighted therefore that the opening of our new Centre has turned out to be so timely. CResPP is well placed in Belfast, benefiting from the socio-political history of, and recent developments in, Northern Ireland.As part of Queen’s continuing contribution to the wider community we hope our research will provide innovative and useful answers to ongoing global and societal concerns.”

The new Centre will undertake research, teaching and community projects with a particular focus on understanding new forms of political engagement, citizenship, inter-group relations and political life in the context of diverse societies.

Also on offer through the Centre is the only MSc programme in Political Psychology in any University within the UK/EU.

The full conference programme is available at www.psych.qub.ac.uk/CRESPP/Conference/programme.aspx

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk  

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Mephedrone users at risk of impotence says Queen's professor
Professor John Mann
Professor John Mann
Clubbers who regularly use mephedrone are at risk of impotence, a leading scientist has warned.

John Mann, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Queen's University said: "Could the dangers of this drug have been predicted? Of course they could.  I think that the UK could have responded earlier because mephedrone is a very close structural analogue of cathinone - the major psychoactive ingredient of khat. In the Yemen and Somalia most men chew this from late afternoon and become euphoriant and then lethargic. Mephedrone is already banned in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, also in Israel. All of which might have encouraged the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to move towards restriction."

Sweden banned mephedrone in 2008 when a teenager died after taking the drug in a nightclub. "In addition, most mephedrone users will be unaware that long-term use may cause impotence since this is one of the effects of habitual use of khat and the structurally similar natural product cathinone. This should put off most clubbers," said Professor Mann, who has had a long association with medicinal chemistry. "Mephedrone also has similar chemical structures to the amphetamines which are controlled substances with known dangers."

Professor Mann said the ACMD is fundamentally flawed because under present legislation it considers one designer drug at a time. "Yet the designer drugs market is being supplied with dozens of new substances each year, many of them, like mephedrone, being produced by chemists in China and elsewhere.

"Any so-called designer drug or legal high that resembles a known psychoactive substance, such as amphetamines, should be placed in their drug class (B in this case) until it can be established that they have no dangerous activities. This is the opposite view to the ACMD where new substances are presumed to be 'safe' or at least not dangerous until proven otherwise."

Professor Mann, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), has written several books on drugs, most recently Turn On and Tune In: Psychedelics, narcotics and euphoriants. In an article for the RSC's Chemistry World, Professor Mann says the UK should follow the US model when it comes to banning drugs.

"In the US the Federal Analog Act covers all compounds that are 'substantially similar' to the most highly controlled substances and they can then be treated in the same way as that controlled substance.  Although this section of the all encompassing US Controlled Substances Act has had a number of legal interpretations, it is now routinely used to include any analogue that has stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic actions in the central nervous system. Unsurprisingly, mephedrone has not yet been much used in the US.

"It would seem to be easy for any government that is keen on crime prevention to follow the lead of the US, and I believe Norway, and implement an analogue law. Under this type of law, the default setting is that a compound is presumed 'guilty' by structural association until proved 'innocent'. It would then be the job of the ACMD to establish the safety of the compound - but this would not be a priority since the drug dealers are hardly going to scream that they have been unfairly treated."

Professor Mann said that no legal highs can be considered safe despite claims to the contrary from sellers. "Whatever the basic pharmacology of the main component, this compound is likely to be contaminated with side-products of the synthesis and agents added to the drug to 'cut' it. The consumer will never know what these contaminants are. Even if the compounds are pure, their effects on the consumer will differ from person to person. This is what makes LSD so dangerous: one person's fantastic trip is another's invitation to commit suicide."

For media inquiries, please contact Queen's Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5292, j.rance@qub.ac.uk or Paul Gallagher, RSC, 01223 432 652.

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Queen's-Canyon partnership 'triggers' business success
An innovative partnership with Queen’s University has triggered business success for Mallusk-based Canyon Europe Ltd and won a major national award.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the University’s Polymer Processing Research Centre and Canyon, a manufacturer of trigger sprayers and dispensers, helped boost turnover from £9.5 million to £12 million.

The partnership led to raw material reductions through material substitution and improvements to tools, quality and processes. The number of units manufactured annually also rose from 100 million to 125 million.

The winning partnership scooped the Business Impact Award at the recent national KTP Awards in London. The prize was awarded for the business that benefitted most from its KTP project 12 months after completion.

Director of Queen’s Knowledge Transfer Centre Dr Mary Flynn said: “I am delighted that Canyon Europe is the inaugural recipient of this prestigious national award. This partnership has proved extremely rewarding not only for Canyon but for the academic team and the KTP Associates who worked on the project.

“It is a shining example of what can be achieved through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Queen’s. It demonstrates how the benefits of knowledge transfer continue beyond the formal partnership, and it also reinforces Queen’s position as the top KTP university in the UK.”

Hugh Ross, Managing Director of Canyon Europe Ltd, said the partnership had exceeded expectations.

“Our KTP with Queen’s has allowed the company to develop its capabilities and customer offerings, which in turn has grown our market space and transformed the business.

“It has produced beneficial outcomes beyond our initial goals, established innovative R and D capabilities, and a strong partnership with Queen’s on other projects.”

The KTP awards recognise the most successful partnerships fostered through the Technology Strategy Board’s KTP programme, which supports innovation-led, three-way partnerships between businesses, academic institutions and graduate associates.

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

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New STEM website encourages budding scientists
Prof Tom Millar and Methodist College pupils Jake Cush and Yixi Bi help launch Queen’s STEM website.
Prof Tom Millar and Methodist College pupils Jake Cush and Yixi Bi help launch Queen’s STEM website.

Queen’s has launched a new STEM Academy and website to encourage more pupils to choose a career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Available online at www.qub.ac.uk/STEM, the new STEM Academy and website offers pupils an easy to use guide to the huge choice of careers and benefits open to them should they choose a STEM degree. It also offers a simple guide to which A-level subjects will help pupils gain entry to the various degrees on offer.

The new online resource provides pupils with the chance to discover what career options might best suit their interests and skills through a fun, interactive ‘futurise me’ section.

On average, early career salaries in science, technology, engineering and maths are £23,000 per year, against a £19,000 average for graduates across all sectors. Last year’s graduates from Queen’s School of Electronics, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science began their careers on starting salaries ranging from £16K-£36K.

Professor Tom Millar, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen’s said: “For too long STEM subjects have been a bit of a mystery to pupils, as it was often difficult to obtain simple, clear information on the career pathways that different degrees lead to. Pupils understand that if they successfully study medicine, they can become a doctor, but pupils can often be unaware of the array of exciting career paths open to them should they choose to study subjects such as physics, maths or chemistry.

“Choosing the subjects needed to enter a degree and then choosing an actual degree, are two of the most important decisions pupils have to make. We hope this new website will take a lot of the stress out of making those decisions and inform them of the career paths open to them should they choose to study a STEM degree.

“Increasing the number of STEM graduates is key to securing a prosperous economic future for Northern Ireland. Queen’s is confident that the launch of its STEM Academy and accompanying website will play an important part in achieving that goal.”

A recent CBI study found that nine out of ten firms want STEM-skilled graduates and 40 per cent of employers across all sectors need STEM-skilled people to design and innovate new products and services.

The new STEM Academy will be introduced to pupils through a programme of school visits aimed at helping those under 16s who have yet to decide on their A-level choices and those aged 16 plus who are faced with choosing their Higher Education options.

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 5384 or lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's poet scoops prestigious €5000 award

Queen’s poet Dr Sinéad Morrissey has won the prestigious €5000 Irish Times Poetry Now Award for her book Through the Square Window.

The award was presented to Sinéad, who is based in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's, at the DLR Poetry Now festival in Dun Laoghaire’s Pavilion Theatre. Irish Times reviewer Fiona Sampson called the book a work of ‘confident, inquiring intelligence that makes itself felt on every page’.

The author of three previous books of poetry, Sinéad said: “It was extremely stiff competition this year as the five shortlisted collections were so strong. I’m delighted to have had my work selected for the prize.”

Sinéad received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2007 and one of her previous books, The State of the Prisons, was also nominated for the Irish Times poetry prize. Through the Square Window is the third of her collections to be nominated for the T S Eliot award.

Also honoured by the judges and shortlisted for the award was well-known Queen’s poet Ciarán Carson for his book On the Night Watch.

The judging panel for the award included poets John F Deane and Alan Gillis (Edinburgh University) and academic and literary critic Maria Johnston.

Through the Square Window is published by Carcanet Press and is now available from The Bookshop at Queen’s and other leading outlets.

Media inquiries to Communications Office, 028 9097 3091, comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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