07-2010 Press Releases

30/07/2010: Olympic Committee begin countdown to 2012 at Queen’s PEC
29/07/2010: Queen’s conference raises climate change threat to fish stocks
28/07/2010: Queen’s Appoints New Director of Research and Enterprise
28/07/2010: National recognition for Queen’s engineer
27/07/2010: Business angels crucial for high growth entrepreneurship
27/07/2010: NI youngsters to be given roles in top Festival play
26/07/2010: Queen’s students ‘engineer’ scholarship success
09/07/2010: Award Winning Nurses at Queen’s
09/07/2010: Former Police Ombudsman and Wrightbus boss honoured by Queen’s
09/07/2010: Engineering graduates turn up the heat at Queen’s
09/07/2010: Degree ‘Plus’ a head start in job market for 400 Queen’s students
08/07/2010: Queen’s Appoints New Director of Finance
06/07/2010: Nobel Laureate opens Queen’s landmark library
08/07/2010: Pioneering surgeon and ‘enterprising’ Vincent win Queen’s awards
08/07/2010: Queen’s honours leading figures from nursing, science and engineering
08/07/2010: Family joy as ‘nursing sisters’ graduate
08/07/2010: Maghera man’s graduation ‘a dream come true’
07/07/2010: Twins double up for graduation success
07/07/2010: TV’s Miss Helen turns new page with writing career
07/07/20010: Composer strikes a chord at Queen’s graduations
07/07/2010: Mark makes waves with overseas exchange programme
07/07/2010: Graduate ‘bowled over’ at Queen’s
06/07/2010: Nobel prize winner honoured at Queen’s
06/07/2010: Stephanie overcomes Meningitis to graduate
05/07/2010: Graduation a double celebration for husband and wife
05/07/2010: Courageous student fulfils late mother’s dream
05/07/2010: Graduating lecturer ‘bowls’ over class
05/07/2010: Dame Kelly Holmes gets graduation off to a running start
05/07/2010: Nobel Laureate ‘in conversation’ at Queen’s
05/07/2010: ‘Dancing Doctor’ graduates
02/07/2010: Queen’s Rowing the only team from UK and Ireland to make Henley Regatta Semi-final
01/07/2010: £4.8m helps new centre focus on finding cures for blindness
Olympic Committee begin countdown to 2012 at Queen’s PEC
Paul Deighton (L) helps launch the two year countdown to the 2012 Games at Queen’s PEC
Paul Deighton (L) helps launch the two year countdown to the 2012 Games at Queen’s PEC
Local schoolchildren have helped the Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) kick off the official two year countdown to the 2012 Paralympics.

Paul Deighton joined children at Queen’s Sport’s Summer Activity Scheme and Disability Sports’ NI’s 5 Star Disability Challenge, as part of a UK-wide day of events to raise children’s awareness of disability sports ahead of the 2012 Games.

Joanne O’Hagan, Disability Sports NI and Johnny McCarthy, player with the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Team, delivered the Disability Challenge project to children attending Queen’s Summer Scheme. To help raise awareness of disability sports, each child was given the opportunity to participate in five challenges, each one based on a Paralympic event.

The innovative project is funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and supported by the Department of Education. It aims to contribute to the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by increasing children’s awareness and understanding of disability.

Kevin Murray, PE & Sport Development Officer at Queen’s Sport said: “Through Queen’s involvement in this project we hope to challenge commonly held negative attitudes about people with disabilities, and to inspire and encourage more disabled and non-disabled children to become more active in sport.

“Queen’s has been included in the official training camps guide for athletes attending the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and we look forward to encouraging more young people to become involved in sports as part of the legacy of the London Games.”

Angela Hendra MBE, Chairperson Disability Sports NI said: “We are delighted with the success of the Five Star Challenge Education Project since its launch last year and are happy that Queen’s Summer Activity Scheme have come on board so enthusiastically with the project to help us mark two years to go to the 2012 Games.”

Disability Sports NI will be running the ‘5 Star Disability Sports Challenge’ in primary schools throughout Northern Ireland up to 2012. For more information on the project contact DSNI on 028 9038 7062 or email@dsni.co.uk  

Further information on Queen’s Sport is available online at www.queenssport.com//

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 9097 5384 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s conference raises climate change threat to fish stocks
Climate change is having a major impact on our loughs, rivers and oceans and is leading to dramatic changes in fish stocks, according to experts at Queen’s University, Belfast. As waters heat up and ecosystems change, fish populations are altering in size and distribution leading to big changes for our wildlife and for the fishing industry.

These important environmental changes are the focus of a major conference at Queen’s entitled Fish and Climate Change (Monday 26 July to Friday 30). The event brings together, for the first time, international fish biologists and those involved in fish management to look at how climate change is impacting fish and fisheries on a global level.

Dr Chris Harrod, Lecturer in Fish and Aquatic Ecology in Queen’s University’s School of Biological Sciences, is one of the organisers of the five day event which has attracted experts from across the world.

He explained: “Climate change should not be underestimated. Although the decline in many valuable fish stocks is largely a reflection of fishing pressure, fluctuations in some exploited warm-water species, such as the sardine, have been closely related to changing water temperature.

“Northern Ireland is of particular interest because many of the fish here, often referred to as glacial relics, are cold water species, which are adapted to the colder conditions of more northern latitudes. As our waters heat up these cold adapted fishes such as Atlantic salmon, Arctic charr and pollan are under particular threat. Populations that depend on these fish and value them for their biodiversity will also have to adapt to change.”

He went on: “Many of our species can be considered to be losers under future climate warming scenarios, but there will also be some winners. These include the non-native and ‘introduced’ freshwater fishes, such as the roach that will thrive as water warm increases their impact in lakes such as Lough Neagh.

“Eels, a species that is very important to Lough Neagh and its surrounding communities, are likely to get bigger as waters get warmer. However, the downside may be that changes to marine currents will result in a reduced supply of juvenile eels from the Sargasso Sea to Irish shores.”

Dr Harrod is confident that his conference, which has attracted 140 delegates from 22 countries and 5 continents will bring a collective focus to this important global issue.

Media Inquiries to Communications Office Tel: 0044 (0)28 9097 3087 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s Appoints New Director of Research and Enterprise
Queen’s University today announced the appointment of Scott Rutherford as its new Director of Research and Enterprise. Mr Rutherford, who will join Queen’s from Imperial College London, is currently on secondment to the Higher Education Funding Council for England where he has been coordinating the development of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) across the UK.

Mr Rutherford has substantial experience within the Higher Education sector and has worked in a variety of roles covering research policy, strategy and management information systems. At Imperial College he manages a significant research portfolio at the College’s Hammersmith Hospital Campus and leads a number of major IT and organisational change programmes. He has also worked for the Medical Research Council, where he was responsible for developing new funding initiatives and policies.

Announcing the appointment, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Queen’s has established itself in the premier league of UK research-intensive universities. As the UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year and an internationally recognised research powerhouse, Queen’s makes an important contribution to economic development and to the delivery of the Programme for Government in Northern Ireland. Scott Rutherford’s appointment, and his proven track record in these areas, will further enhance the University’s reputation for research excellence and its contribution to economic growth. I look forward to welcoming him to the Queen’s team.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Rutherford said: “I look forward to taking up my new position at Queen’s University and to working closely with colleagues across the University to support the academic mission. Queen’s has developed a clear strategy to enhance its world-class research portfolio further and to extend partnerships both within Northern Ireland and internationally. The delivery of this strategy, during challenging times for the Higher Education sector, will require a proactive and innovative Research and Enterprise Directorate that is responsive to the needs of academia and industry.”

Mr Rutherford holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Keele, an MBA from Imperial College London and has conducted several independent research projects within the field of research management.

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National recognition for Queen’s engineer
Professor George Irwin from Lisburn, Director of Research in Intelligent Systems and Control at Queen’s University, who is to receive the 2010 Sir Harold Hartley Medal in recognition of his contribution to control engineering and condition monitoring
Professor George Irwin from Lisburn, Director of Research in Intelligent Systems and Control at Queen’s University, who is to receive the 2010 Sir Harold Hartley Medal in recognition of his contribution to control engineering and condition monitoring
A Queen’s University professor is to receive the 2010 Sir Harold Hartley Medal in recognition of his contribution to control engineering and condition monitoring.

From Lisburn, Professor George Irwin of Queen’s School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will be presented with the Medal by the Institute of Measurement and Control at its Presidential Address and Learned Awards at the Royal Society in London in October. The Medal commemorates the work of Sir Harold Hartley, KCVO, FRS, a former President of the Institute.

Last year, Professor Irwin was one of only nine engineers worldwide to be elected Fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control. His work, including the exploitation of control engineering methods for batch processes, has seen him collaborate extensively with DuPont, Seagate and Randox and other industry leaders in Northern Ireland. He was also a founder and Technical Director of Anex6 Ltd, a Queen’s spin-out company specialising in advanced process monitoring of man-made fibre manufacturing.

Currently Director of Research in Intelligent Systems and Control at Queen’s, Professor Irwin said: “I am deeply honoured by this award. Automatic control is an exciting and stimulating field whose principles not only underpin engineering, but the physical and biological sciences and beyond.

“I have been fortunate to have worked on applications as diverse as monitoring faults in automotive engines, to laboratory-on-a-chip technology which helps in the detection of heart attacks. My field is truly interdisciplinary and this award recognises the excellence of the wonderful team I have worked with over the past 30 years.”

Chair in Control Engineering at Queen’s since 1988, Professor Irwin is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Further information on the work ongoing in Queen’s Intelligent Systems and Control Research Cluster is available online at www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/ISAC/

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

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Business angels crucial for high growth entrepreneurship
Business angels are playing an increasingly important role in the funding of growing businesses, according to research by academics at Queen's University and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

The report, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), provides significant new information into the investment activity of business angels. Business angels invest their money and provide advice for businesses on a formal or informal basis.

The study shows that business angels are increasingly investing in organised groups and alongside other investors, rather than as individuals. This means that while angels typically invest less than £200,000 per project, deals can rise to upwards of £500,000 when investing as a syndicate.

In addition, angels are more likely to make follow-on investments in their portfolio companies than they were 10 years ago. Their investments tend to be concentrated in start-up and early growth businesses with fewer than 10 employees, and in technology sectors including ITC, health, biotech and pharmaceuticals.

The research, carried out by Professor Richard Harrison, Head of Queen's University Management School and Professor Colin Mason of Strathclyde’s Hunter Centre for Entreprenuership, is based on data provided by the British Business Angels Association (BBAA) and LINC Scotland. Professor Mason and Professor Harrison estimate that angels c

ollectively invested £426 million in entrepreneurial businesses in 2008-09, the latest date for which statistics are available.

Professor Richard Harrison said: “As angel groups mature, they make more follow-on investments in their portfolio companies and make fewer new investments. It is therefore vital that we continually create new angel groups. One of the key barriers is finding the right people to become the 'gatekeepers' of these groups - and there is a role for government to play."

Professor Mason added: “Because private venture capital funds have largely disappeared from the early stage market, business angels are having to cover more steps in the so-called funding escalator. Co-investment schemes are now critical.”

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:“The Government wants to make this decade the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in our history and this means ensuring individuals and businesses have the skills, tools and networks they need to understand and access finance.

“This report shows that business angels play an important role in funding new and growing businesses, which are vital to the economic recovery. The support of angels is hugely significant and I welcome their contribution.”

Anthony Clarke, Chair of BBAA, said: “We were delighted to contribute data together with LINC Scotland to this new report. The results show that angel investing continues to be the most significant source of investment in start-up and early stage growth businesses in the UK. The launch of this report is timely in relation to the new government’s policy on enterprise and shows the need for Government to support a range of measures to stimulate the angel market and bring more people forward into this Asset Class”.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 1,700 angels registered with networks during the year (2008-09), with only 473 leaving
  • Only 1 in 10 businesses that approach business angel networks for funding are presented to investors, but 28 per cent of these businesses get funded
  • Three-quarters of business angels use the Enterprise Investment Scheme for at least some of their investments.

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NI youngsters to be given roles in top Festival play
The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is offering young people the chance to star in a hit play.

Talent-spotters from the hit play FML are in Belfast next month to sign up new cast members and are inviting anyone keen to take part to sign up for the open auditions.

Co-produced by Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, Cork Midsummer Festival, CAMPO Ghent, LIFT and Everyman Palace Theatre Cork, FML is a hard-hitting piece using a blend of spoken word and film, true confessions and lies, to explore the highs and lows of teenage life.

Fresh from a successful run at the Cork Midsummer Festival, the play joins the bill at this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, which gets underway in October.

Speaking on the opportunity for local young people to be a part of this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, Festival Director, Graeme Farrow said:

“The Festival is as much about showcasing local talent as it is about bringing the biggest names from the world of classical, opera, visual and performing arts to Northern Ireland and this year we have done our best to strike that balance.

“FML is one element of the festival programme which includes and indeed depends on local talent to really bring it to life. What we are really looking for are, people who don’t like to be on stage, to be on stage; people, who don’t like joining in, to join us. No previous experience is necessary. Whether you are an aspiring actor or not, as long as you have a story to tell about teenage life we want to hear from you.”

Showing at the Waterfront Studio from October 15-17, co-producers of FML are looking to recruit four local people aged 16-18 to join the acclaimed Cork cast on stage for the three separate performances.

Auditions will be held at the Spectrum Centre, Shankill Road, on August 9 with the final selection being made on August 11. Successful applicants will need to be available for an initial all-day rehearsal with their Cork-based counterparts on August 12.

To register your interest and sign-up for an allocated audition slot please email your contact details to festivalservice@qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to Alison Knox at the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s Tel: 028 9097 1356 email: a.knox@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s students ‘engineer’ scholarship success
Dr Mark Sweeney of FG Wilson, students Peter Mathews and Lisa Davison, Dick Elsden, Caterpillar (UK) Ltd; student Aislinn McGinn and Professor Fleck
Dr Mark Sweeney of FG Wilson, students Peter Mathews and Lisa Davison, Dick Elsden, Caterpillar (UK) Ltd; student Aislinn McGinn and Professor Fleck
Sixteen Queen’s engineering students are the first to benefit from a unique new partnership with local company FG Wilson.

The students, from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, have been awarded FG Wilson Caterpillar Scholarships for academic excellence in mechanical engineering.

At a recent ceremony in the University, students received a certificate and a cheque for £1,000 from Dr Mark Sweeney, Managing Director, FG Wilson and Mr Dick Elsden, Caterpillar (UK) Ltd’s Director of Government Affairs.

The FG Wilson Caterpillar Scholarships will not only provide financial support, but will also offer mentoring opportunities and work placements, providing the students with the best possible chance of achieving their full academic potential.

Dick Elsden said: “The Caterpillar Foundation is delighted to support this initiative, which further strengthens the longstanding relationship between FG Wilson and Queen’s.”

Professor Robert Fleck, Head of Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, said: “We are very grateful for the growing support and successful partnership we have with FG Wilson and the Caterpillar Foundation, which is providing these students with an outstanding opportunity for learning and development.”

Dr Mark Sweeney said that a workforce with STEM (science, engineering, technology and mathematics) qualifications is vital for the sustained growth of Northern Ireland’s economy.

He added: “To enable FG Wilson to remain a world leader in the manufacture of generator sets into the future, we require access to high calibre STEM graduates into the long-term. We are therefore pleased to support these scholarships, which will help to ensure a workforce of STEM qualified graduates for many years to come.”

The scholarship winners are: Adrian Gough, Ballymena: Andrew McDowell, John Russell, Mark Stevenson and Calum Thompson, Banbridge; Lisa Davison, Peter Mathews and Aislinn McGinn, Belfast; Charles Stuart, Coleraine; Aaron Cottney, Lisburn; Conor Bradley and David Graham, Londonderry; Kyle Stewart, Magherafelt; Peter McClure, Portadown; Andrew Armstrong, Portavogie; and David McKelvey, Strabane.

Further information on Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofMechanicalandAerospaceEngineering/

Media inquiries to Anne Langford at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5310 or a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Award Winning Nurses at Queen’s
The Florence Elliott Prize winner Luki Adam
The Florence Elliott Prize winner Luki Adam
Jennifer Mairs was awarded The Edward and Ann Smyth Prize for Academic Excellence in Learning Disability Nursing, Jenny was joined by her 91year old granny Jean Bradley, who was a midwife.
Jennifer Mairs was awarded The Edward and Ann Smyth Prize for Academic Excellence in Learning Disability Nursing, Jenny was joined by her 91year old granny Jean Bradley, who was a midwife.
Luki Adam from Carrickfergus is celebrating after being named the best overall nursing and midwifery student at Queen’s University Summer Graduations.

Luki received the Florence Elliott Prize at yesterday afternoon’s (Thursday 8 July) graduation ceremony after she was recognised for her outstanding academic and clinical achievement.

This top student, who has graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Sciences (Learning Disability), has consistently attained top marks throughout the three years of her degree. A busy mum of three school age children, Luki has managed to balance her work with her family life and is also a keen advocate for people with learning disabilities.

Luki said: “Graduation was always going to be a great day, but winning this award is the icing on the cake! I would like to thank all the staff at the School of Nursing and Midwifery who have supported and encouraged me during my studies. I am delighted to leave Queen’s today with this award, having fulfilled my dream of becoming a nurse.

“It has been hard work, but also very enjoyable and fulfilling. I am looking forward to embarking on a PhD in Psychosocial Intervention for the families of Premature Infants at Queen’s later this year. I would like to say that none of this could have been achieved without the support and patience of my family.”

Another seven students have also been recognised by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s for academic or clinical excellence. The winners are:

  • Susan Bradley from Omagh
  • Brid McStay from Aghagallon
  • Gemma Winter from Loughgall
  • Sarah Kelly from Antrim
  • Ruth Cloughley from Portadown
  • William Hall from Ardglass
  • Jennifer Mairs from Crumlin

Awards for Academic Excellence are awarded to the nursing students with the highest marks from the University-based aspect of the degree, while Clinical Excellence awards are 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 Luki 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.

Media inquiries to Judith Rance at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5292 or j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Former Police Ombudsman and Wrightbus boss honoured by Queen’s
Former Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, and Director of Ballymena-based bus manufacturers Wrightbus, William Wright, will receive honorary degrees at Queen’s today (Friday 9 July).

Baroness O’Loan made an outstanding contribution to public service in Northern Ireland through her work as Police Ombudsman, from the foundation of the Police Ombudsman’s Office in 1999 until 2007. She will receive a Doctorate of Laws (LLD) from Queen’s for distinction in public service.

Anne Fenton, Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s, who will deliver the citation, said: “The post of Police Ombudsman is, without doubt, one of the most challenging within the public sector. In that role, Baroness O’Loan established an outstanding reputation for personal bravery, rigour and independence, setting a template for the future. Her selfless and courageous commitment to public service, both in Northern Ireland and internationally, is truly inspirational.”

Professor Colin Harvey, Head of the School of Law, said: "I am delighted to see Baroness O'Loan receive this honorary degree from Queen's. Through her lived experience, determination and personal courage, she has demonstrated true leadership.

"Her sustained commitment to the rule of law, and with it the protection and promotion of human rights, is an example to us all. She has shown us through her actions what a belief in the ethical principle of legality really means. She stands as a role model for all our Law students."

A former law lecturer, Baroness O’Loan was appointed by the Irish Government as Special Envoy in Timor-Leste (East Timor) in 2008 and, in July 2009, was appointed to the House of Lords.

William Wright will be awarded a DSc(Eng) for services to engineering and business and commerce.

Mr Wright was one of the original founders of family-owned company Robert Wright and Son Coachworks Limited, which was established in 1946. He was the key to the company’s change in strategic direction, from Northern Ireland focused commercial body builder, to one of the UK’s leading bus manufacturers – The Wright Group.

The Wright Group is the UK’s leading independent supplier of buses. Still family owned and managed, the company has pioneered low floor buses in the UK, and has earned a reputation for building quality vehicles. Wrightbus – the company’s manufacturing division – is one of Queen’s partners in a £1.5 million project to develop the next generation of surveillance sensor systems for public transport, to increase public safety and security. The company is also the main partner in a £1.6 million project with Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to investigate the total thermal management of a hybrid diesel electric bus.

Professor Robert Fleck, Head of Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who will deliver Mr Wright’s citation at the graduation ceremony, said: “We work closely with Wrightbus in developing some of their latest more energy efficient hybrid buses. The engineering challenges can be testing, but Wright’s vision ensures that we find the solutions. His leadership, knowledge and insight are crucial elements of the company’s success.

“William has demonstrated the innovative and entrepreneurial skills that are necessary to succeed in the modern business world. He has also been quick to realise the societal impact of his products. As a visionary and gifted business leader, with an unwavering commitment to the prosperity of Northern Ireland, he is a shining example for today’s students.”

Media inquiries to Anne Langford at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5310 or a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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Engineering graduates turn up the heat at Queen’s
Vincent Murray, Ballygowan; Cathal Hackett, Eskra, Co. Tyrone; James Friel, Ballyhackamore; Jonathan Glasgow, Cookstown; Colm Connolly, Clones, Co. Monaghan; (kneeling) and David Crudden, Finaghy
Vincent Murray, Ballygowan; Cathal Hackett, Eskra, Co. Tyrone; James Friel, Ballyhackamore; Jonathan Glasgow, Cookstown; Colm Connolly, Clones, Co. Monaghan; (kneeling) and David Crudden, Finaghy
The developers of a new wood pellet fuelled patio heater, aimed a reducing harmful carbon emissions, will graduate from Queen’s University today (Friday 9 July 2010).

David Crudden (South Belfast), Colm Connolly (Clones, Co. Monaghan), Jonathan Glasgow (Cookstown), James Friel (East Belfast), Cathal Hackett (Eskra, Co. Tyrone) and Vincent Murray (Ballygowan) will collect their MEng Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering degrees this morning.

The group developed the new heater as part of their final year project, and recently won the Royal Academy of Engineering Innovation Hothouse Award for Northern Ireland and Scotland. The project also earned the group third place, out of more than 300 entries, at the Enterprise Ireland Student Enterprise Awards. The concept was initiated by a previous team of students in 2008/09, (John Gribbon, Christopher Kelly, Timothy Kernohan, Michael McCauley, Niamh Mulvenna and James Robinson) who produced an initial proof of concept prototype.

The wood pellet fuelled heater is more environmentally friendly, and costs around 50 per cent less to run, than the conventional gas fuelled devices used in gardens and smoking areas in pubs and restaurants across the UK and Ireland.

Professor Robert Fleck, Head of Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said: “I congratulate the group on their graduation and in developing this new product. It required plenty of hard work, and their success is testament to the standard of both engineering and entrepreneurial education at Queen’s.”

For more information about Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofMechanicalandAerospaceEngineering  

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office at 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk  

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Degree ‘Plus’ a head start in job market for 400 Queen’s students

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Almost 400 of Queen’s newest graduates, who participated in an innovative scheme to give themselves an edge in the job market, will have their achievements celebrated at the University today (Friday 9 July).

They are the first cohort of students to graduate with a Queen’s Degree Plus certificate. The University implemented the Degree Plus scheme to recognise and reward students for job-related skills developed through extra-curricular activities such as sport, volunteering or part-time work.

Wilma Fee, Director of Academic and Student Affairs at Queen’s, said: “Degree Plus was introduced in 2008 as an important part of Queen’s Employability and Skills Initiative. It rewards students for job-related skills developed through extra-curricular activities such as sport, volunteering or part-time work.

“Queen’s has a strong record in developing the employability skills of its students. Alongside more traditional approaches, such as work placements, clinical practice and professional training, Degree Plus acknowledges the skills that students develop through extra-curricular activities – skills such as leadership, good communication, team-working and management, all of which are invaluable in the graduate job market.

“The global economic recession has brought into sharp focus the demand for highly talented graduates with a well-defined skills base. The students who have graduated with Degree Plus this week have shown energy, determination and enthusiasm in all aspects of university life – attributes which are highly valued and sought after by employers. These graduates are tomorrow’s business and professional leaders, and I congratulate all of them on their success.”

For more information on Degree Plus visit www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/degreeplus/  

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk  

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Queen’s Appoints New Director of Finance
Queen’s University today announced the appointment of Wendy Galbraith as its new Director of Finance. A chartered accountant, Mrs Galbraith will join Queen’s from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust where she is currently the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance.

An Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland since 1992, she became a Fellow in 2003 and has extensive experience across a wide range of strategic financial management arenas in the public and voluntary sectors.

Announcing the appointment, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Society and, in particular, higher education is facing up to a period of sustained financial challenge. It is, therefore, vital that this University maintains its position as a well managed institution with strong and effective financial leadership and corporate governance. Wendy Galbraith has a proven track record in this area, and I look forward to welcoming her to the Queen’s team.”

Commenting on her appointment, Mrs Galbraith said: “Queen’s University is entering an extremely challenging period. In welcoming this challenge, I look forward to working alongside my new colleagues and firmly believe that higher education will remain central to the Programme for Government and the growth of a successful, and globally competitive, knowledge economy”.

Mrs Galbraith graduated from Dundee University in 1988 with a First Class BSc Honours in Mathematics and Statistics. She trained in accountancy with Price Waterhouse, moving to Deloitte and Touche in 1994 as a manager in their public sector consulting practice.

Between 1997 and 2007, Mrs Galbraith worked for the former Royal Hospitals Trust, holding the post of Director of Finance from 2003. The Trust merged with the other five Trusts in Belfast in 2007, forming the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, the largest healthcare organisation in the UK at that time, with a budget of some £1.2 billion. Mrs Galbraith was appointed Director of Finance of the new Belfast Trust and, in 2009, was also appointed Deputy Chief Executive.

Mrs Galbraith, who lives in Belfast, is married with two daughters.

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Nobel Laureate opens Queen’s landmark library

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One of Northern Ireland’s newest landmark buildings - the £50million McClay Library at Queen’s - will be officially opened later today by one of Queen’s most famous alumni, Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Speaking ahead of the opening, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said it was particularly appropriate for the red-letter event to take place during the University’s Summer Graduations.

Professor Gregson said: “During this graduation week, the highlight of our academic calendar, we celebrate the achievements of our students, and the timing for the opening of the McClay Library could not be more appropriate. For it is our students, present and future, who will benefit from this magnificent new building, the treasures it houses, and the services it provides.

Seamus Heaney described the McClay Library as “a fitting monument to one of the University’s greatest benefactors, an enhancement of its architectural profile and intellectual possibilities.

He added: “The redbrick walls of the new structure match those of the venerable Lanyon Building, and will stand as a symbol of both continuity and ongoing development.”

Last month the library was officially named after the late Sir Allen McClay. Lady Heather McClay, who will attend the opening, said the library was an appropriate way to remember Sir Allen.

“Allen spent his entire life learning, even in his older years. As he set up and grew Galen and then Almac he always said that he was learning every day. He held Queen’s University in very high regard and was acutely aware of the role universities play in driving an economy forward. He would be very pleased to have his name associated with the library and I am hopeful that what he achieved in business can inspire future business leaders in Northern Ireland.”

The McClay Library is the centrepiece of a transformed campus which enables Queen’s to fulfil its ambition to provide a world-class educational experience for current and future generations of students from around the world.

Illuminated by a multi-storey open atrium, the impressive building accommodates 2,000 reader places and houses 1.2 million volumes. Ground floor facilities include IT training rooms, a Language Centre, Library and Computer support areas and a cafe. The upper storeys house the University’s Special Collections, subject-related enquiry points and a vast range of printed works.

Among Queen’s Special Collections are the papers relating to Seamus Heaney’s award-winning translation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf, which was published by Faber in 1999.

Hailed as a model of sustainable design, the building was designed by Boston-based architects Shepley Bulfinch, who had previously designed and developed major academic libraries at Yale and Harvard, and who worked in association with Robinson Patterson Partnership, Belfast.

Shepley Bulfinch President Carole Wedge said: “Not only does the McClay Library give Queen’s a new physical landmark, but it also reflects the University’s commitment to scholarship, the environment, and the future. It is part of the legacy of my colleague, the late Sandy Howe, who was the Library’s design architect.”

In conclusion, Professor Gregson added: “The McClay Library is a shining example of the power of international collaboration and its benefits to the people of Northern Ireland."

For media enquiries please contact Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310, m 07815 871997 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk  

READ Seamus Heaney's speech

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Pioneering surgeon and ‘enterprising’ Vincent win Queen’s awards
A pioneering West Indian surgeon hailed as a miracle worker in his native St Vincent is this year’s Queen’s University Graduate of the Year.

Dr Cecil Cyrus, who graduated from Queen’s in 1957, was the first qualified surgeon to practise in St Vincent when he returned there in 1963.

On taking up his post, he found conditions were unsatisfactory, with chronic shortages of personnel, equipment, drugs, space and basic ancillary facilities. As the island’s first trained surgeon, he had to work across specialties, devoting long hours to clear the backlog of patients and designing and adapting medical equipment and instruments for many functions.

His service to his country over more than 40 years has achieved international recognition. In 1983 he was awarded the OBE and in 2002 was designated as a Local Health Hero by the Pan American Health Organization. A commemorative stamp featured his portrait. And, in 2003, he was awarded the CMG, Companion of the Most Excellent Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, for service in the field of medicine.

Dr Cyrus, who serves as designated surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on Royal visits to the Caribbean, has also compiled one of the largest collections of pathological specimens in the world. These are now on display in the museum in St Vincent which bears his name.

Professor Dame Ingrid Allen, who nominated Dr Cyrus for the award, said: “Dr Cyrus was offered many lucrative career posts in the United Kingdom but he decided to use his skills to serve his homeland, where they were most desperately needed and where he could improve the quality of life for many. He has devoted his life to Medicine. To his people, his skill and ingenuity in curing the seemingly incurable is nothing shy of a miracle.”

Vincent Murray, from Ballygowan, who led a number of peace and reconciliation and environmental projects as Chairperson of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) at Queen’s, is this year’s Student of the Year.

SIFE is a global network dedicated to nurturing students’ entrepreneurial skills to benefit their careers and the wider community. In his role as Chairperson, Vincent also contributed to the portfolio of activities which resulted in Queen’s becoming the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the Year.

A member of the Students’ Union Management Board, Vincent serves as a Trustee of Share-Uganda, a student-led charity pioneered by SIFE that works with orphaned children in southern Uganda.

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards, now in their 11th year, were launched in 1999 by the Queen’s Graduates’ Association and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of First Trust Bank. The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen’s alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community.

Media inquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 9097 5031 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards will be awarded at 7.00pm on Thursday 8 July

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Queen’s honours leading figures from nursing, science and engineering
Professor Dame Jill McLeod Clark
Professor Dame Jill McLeod Clark
Professor Dame Jill McLeod Clark, cited as one of the 20 most influential nurses of the last 60 years, will be honoured at Queen’s University today (Thursday 8 July).

 

At this afternoon’s graduation ceremony she will be awarded an honorary degree for services to medicine and for public service.

 

Also to be honoured today are award-winning physicist Professor Zhang Jie, Vice-Chancellor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the world’s top universities, and chemical engineer Dr Colin Wong, Vice-President Research and Development with Malaysian Fortune 500 company Petronas.

 

Dame Jill McLeod Clark has played a pivotal role in taking nurse education into universities, developing teaching and research in communication skills and health promotion, and championing evidence-based practice.

 

Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences in the University of Southampton, she is an advocate for robust education pathways and advanced nursing roles. She has a distinguished track record in research on the development of clinical and professional skills, inter-professional learning, and health promotion.

 

At this morning’s ceremony, Professor Jie and Dr Wong will be awarded honorary doctorates for distinction in physics and services to business and commerce respectively.

 

Professor Zhang Jie has a worldwide reputation in the fields of x-ray lasers, and high field and laser-plasma physics. His academic achievements have been recognised by numerous honours and awards, and he is the author of more than 100 academic papers. He sits on the editorial board of a number of Chinese and overseas professional journals, and also serves on a number of national and international committees.

 

In November, 2006, he became the President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the youngest President in the University’s history.

 

Dr Colin Wong was recently appointed Vice President Research and Development of Petronas and is a former senior manager of one of the Petronas’s refining businesses within Malaysia.

 

An experienced chemical engineer, Dr Wong plays an active role in Queen’s major research partnership with Petronas, which has contributed some £10 million to the Northern Ireland economy.

 

Media inquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 90 97 5031 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk  

Professor Zhang Jie and Dr Colin Wong will receive their honorary degrees at the 10.30am ceremony on Thursday 8 July
Professor Dame Jill Macleod Clark will receive her honorary degree at the 2.30pm ceremony

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Family joy as ‘nursing sisters’ graduate
For the Braniff family, this afternoon’s graduation ceremony at Queen’s will mark a double celebration when two sisters graduate together (Thursday 8 July).

Jenny Braniff and Bridie Armstrong, from Leitrim, Co. Down, both enrolled at Queen’s three years ago – despite a 10-year age difference.

Jenny explained: “Bridie is the eldest in the family and I’m the baby. Both of us wanted to do Nursing, but she had postponed her studies because she had a young family, but she decided to enrol on the course along with me in 2007. We were very lucky to get into the same class at Queen’s. It made it so much easier for us to have each other to compare notes and to help with assignments.

“We are both really looking forward to graduating together and celebratingwith the family. Our mum and dad are over the moon.”

Joining mum Jennifer and dad Pat to watch the sisters graduate will be brother Nicholas, Bridie’s husband Liam, son Patrick and daugher Aislinn, and Jenny’s fiancé, Colly.

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Maghera man’s graduation ‘a dream come true’
Tony Sweeney
Tony Sweeney
Graduating today from Queen’s is a Maghera man who at one time despaired of ever achieving his aim.

Tony Sweeney, who will graduate in Psychology on Thursday morning, suffered a mild stroke at the age of 15 and shortly after developed Grand Mal epilepsy which brought his education to a temporary end.

He said: “At one stage I was having around 15 seizures a day and schooling was not an option.”

When he responded to medication, however, Tony decided to resume his education and studied for an NVQ level 2 in Business Administration. He then repeated – and passed – his GCSE in English before undertaking an Access course at Magherafelt Technical College and being accepted by Queen’s.

Tony, who is now the President of the Psychology Society at Queen’s, said: “When I receive my degree, it will be a dream come true.”

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Twins double up for graduation success
Deborah and Ashleigh Loyd
Deborah and Ashleigh Loyd

Twins Deborah and Ashleigh Lloyd from North Belfast will both graduate from Queen’s University today with Honours Degrees in Geography.

Deborah will graduate with a 2:1 while Ashleigh will graduate with a 2:2, having both experienced a fulfilling and enjoyable time at Queen’s.

Deborah said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Queen’s and would recommend studying Geography to others. We both have had a great time and enjoyed the varied field trips, including one to Majorca. Geography is a very diverse course and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology has been very supportive to both of us.”

The twins plan to continue their studies at Queen’s with Deborah embarking on a Masters in Management, while Ashleigh will study for a Masters in Environmental Planning.

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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TV’s Miss Helen turns new page with writing career
Helen Madden
Helen Madden

The former presenter of UTV’s ‘Romper Room’ is to graduate from Queen’s today.

Miss Helen, or Helen Madden as she now prefers to be known, is graduating with a Masters in Creative Writing from the School of English.

Earlier this year, Helen was the inaugural recipient of the annual British GQ Magazine Norman Mailer Non-Fiction Writing Award and was recognised for her submission entitled Rod, Roy and Jerry Lee.

Helen, who lives in Holywood, will have her work published in a future issue of GQ. Her prize also consisted of an all-expenses paid month at the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony, a residential educational centre based at the legendary author’s former home in Provincetown, Massachusetts and a cheque for £1,000.

Helen was chosen from a shortlist of six by a panel of judges comprising the Editor of The Times Literary Supplement, Sir Peter Stothard, who, commenting on her work said: “There is a complete absence of cliché in her writing.”

Helen, who is thrilled to be graduating from Queen’s, is as keen as ever to get back to her desk and put pen to paper. She said: “When I return from the Mailer Writers’ colony I intend to concentrate more on my writing with a view to having even more of my work published.”

Helen Madden will receive her degree at the graduation ceremony at 7pm, on Wednesday 7 July

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Composer strikes a chord at Queen’s graduations

Ulster Orchestra conductor Kenneth Montgomery and renowned composer Professor John Chowning will be honoured by Queen’s today (Wednesday 7 July).

Kenneth Montgomery is well known on the international stage for his work as a leading conductor. At this afternoon’s graduation ceremony, he will be awarded an Doctorate of Literature in Music (DLit(Mus)) in recognition of his outstanding services to music.

Mr Montgomery is the Ulster Orchestra’s principal conductor. He is known world-wide as a regular guest conductor with orchestras in the UK, Paris, Rome, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and USA.

His career has been wide and varied and in 1985 he was appointed Artistic and Musical Director of Opera Northern Ireland. In 1991 he was made Director of Opera Studies at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, where a Chair in Opera Studies was established in his name.

When a new Opera Academy was created from the opera departments of the Hague and Amsterdam conservatories, he was appointed its first artistic director. He also continues to give conducting master classes at the Royal Conservatory.

Professor John M Chowning will be awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature in Music (DLit(Mus)) in recognition of his work as a composer and for his contribution to research in audio technology.

Born in Salem, New Jersey, Professor Chowning studied music in Wittenberg University. He secured a doctorate in composition from Stanford University in 1966, having used its Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to implement the first ever on-line computer music system. Professor Chowning worked closely with Stanford and Yamaha in Japan to develop highly successful synthesiser technology. He was also founder and director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford, one of the world’s leading centres for computer music and related research.

Professor Chowning’s computer music compositions, particularly Turanus (1972) and Stria (1977), have become seminal works in the field.

In addition to his outstanding creative work, he has also made highly significant contributions to research in audio and signal processing technologies. Many of today’s audio technologies can be traced back to the important research that Professor Chowning undertook at Stanford.

Media inquiries to Anne Langford at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5310 or a.langford@qub.ac.uk

Kenneth Montgomery will receive his honorary degree at 2.30pm on Wednesday 7 July

Professor John Chowning will receive his honorary degree at 7pm

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Mark makes waves with overseas exchange programme
Mark Rodgers
Mark Rodgers

Graduating in Gender Studies and Sociology today is global thinker Mark Rodgers from Newry.

Mark is President of AIESEC Belfast, a registered charity and student business which sends graduates abroad to work with top organisations, and finds placements for international students who want to experience Northern Ireland.

Mark, who will move to Dublin to work full time as Vice President for AIESEC Ireland, is delighted to be graduating and is looking forward to what promises to be a busy working schedule.

He said: “My degree at Queen’s has given me the opportunity to develop my critical thinking skills. The Gender Studies and Sociology degree has provided a very useful outlook in terms of expanding my world view and understanding other points of view. I think it is important to be more aware of differences between people and I hope to apply these skills in my career.”

Earlier this month Mark was awarded an individual leadership award by AIESEC UK for his work in Belfast.

“This year AIESIC in Belfast was the most improved local committee”, Mark explained. “We sent 23 students abroad to work with companies and charities in countries including Uganda, Brazil, China and Japan. We also agreed a contract with GEM Belfast to take on highly skilled graduates for technical traineeships. We’ve already welcomed one individual from Turkey and are preparing to welcome more.”

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Graduate ‘bowled over’ at Queen’s
Lauren Dugan
Lauren Dugan

One of Northern Ireland’s top ten-pin bowlers will graduate from Queen’s.

Lauren Dugan from Newtownards is among the first group of students to graduate from Queen’s with a BA Criminology degree. Lauren will graduate with First Class Honours. She first developed an interest in Criminology after her brother Grant, who is now her bowling coach, was assaulted in Newtownards on Christmas Eve in 2005. Grant underwent major brain surgery and recovered to graduate from Queen’s in 2008.

Later this summer, Lauren and Grant will travel to Helsinki, where she will represent Northern Ireland in ten-pin bowling at the World Youth Championships. Lauren will also compete against other home nations at the Adult Triple Crown in September. In October, she will become the youngest female ever to represent Northern Ireland at the World Cup in Zagreb, Croatia. The ten-pin bowling World Cup is one of the globe’s biggest sporting events, with over eighty nations competing.

After graduating with a Business IT degree from Queen’s, Grant set up a bowling ball manufacturing company called Seismic. Many top international bowlers now use Seismic equipment, and Lauren will be bowling with a Seismic bowling ball in all of her upcoming competitions.

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Nobel prize winner honoured at Queen’s
Professor Andy Hopper
Professor Andy Hopper
Fred Olsen
Fred Olsen

Internationally renowned economist Professor Amartya Kumar Sen, shipping magnate Fred Olsen and mobile computing expert Professor Andy Hopper will be honoured at Queen’s today (Tuesday 6 July 2010).

Professor Sen will receive a Doctorate of Science DSc(Econ) for distinction in economics at this morning’s graduation ceremony.

Considered one of modern India’s greatest intellectuals and economists, Professor Sen’s reputation is unrivalled in academic circles. He is a renowned philosopher, economist and social thinker. In 1998 Professor Sen won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work in welfare economics and used the prize money to set up a trust fund to help the poor in India and Bangladesh. In recognition of this, the Indian government awarded him with the highest civilian award, the prestigious Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India) in 1999.

Professor Sen’s many other achievements and honours include the Leontief Prize for outstanding contribution to economic theory from the Global Development and Environmental Institute (2000), the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service USA (2000), and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (2003).

Also receiving an honorary degree is Norwegian businessman and shipping magnate Fred Olsen, who was synonymous with Belfast-based shipbuilding firm Harland and Wolff and the development of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

As well as being a businessman, Mr Olsen is an inventor and innovator in areas as diverse as electronics, photography, medical instruments and renewable energy. He will receive a DSc(Eng) for services to engineering and business and commerce.

In 1945, at the age of just 26, Fred Olsen found himself in control of the family’s extensive business interests, which at that time were based on shipping and shipbuilding. Under his guidance, the business developed into many other areas, including oil and offshore energy activities, property, renewable energy and watches - the family has a controlling interest in Timex.

In 1989, when Harland and Wolff faced almost certain closure, Mr Olsen stepped in with a rescue package, which enabled Harland and Wolff to build ships for another 12 years. When, in 2001, it became clear the company could no longer compete with shipbuilding in the Far East, Mr Olsen negotiated an arrangement with the Belfast Harbour Commissioners to convert some 200 acres of former shipbuilding land into one of the most exciting waterfront property developments in Europe - the Titanic Quarter, which today houses Queen’s Institute of Electronics, Communication and Information Technology (ECIT).

Receiving his honorary degree at the same ceremony as Fred Olsen is Professor Andy Hopper CBE.

A world leader in network design and mobile computing, Professor Hopper is distinguished for his unique approach in developing new computational concepts and their commercial exploitations.

Professor Hopper will receive a DSc(Eng) for services to information technology and business and commerce.

Professor Hopper was a co-founder of Acorn, which developed the BBC Micro – a series of micro-computers designed by Acorn for the BBC Computer Literacy Project. In particular, he was responsible for the network design for Acorn’s Econet which became the UK’s most successful LAN (local area network technology), with 10,000 networks installed in UK schools.

He is currently Professor of Communication Engineering at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Professor Hopper regularly briefs Government Ministers, senior Civil Servants and others on matters relating to computing, communication technology and wealth creation. His awards include a Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal in 2003 and the IET’s Mountbatten Medal in 2004.

Media inquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 90 97 5031 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk

Professor Amartya Kumar Sen will receive his honorary degree at Queen’s University at 10.30am on Tuesday 6 July

Fred Olsen will receive his honorary degree at Queen’s University at 2.30pm

Professor Andy Hopper CBE will receive his honorary degree at Queen’s University at 2.30pm

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Stephanie overcomes Meningitis to graduate
Stephanie Bird
Stephanie Bird
A Carnlough student who has bravely battled Meningitis is celebrating her graduation at Queen’s today (Tuesday 6 July).

At the age of five, Stephanie Bird contracted Meningitis B and Meningococcal Septicemia – a deadly form of the disease which causes blood poisoning and inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.

Stephanie rallied to overcome the illness, but lost her left leg as a result. Today Stephanie will graduate with a BSc in Economics with Finance, and hopes her story can be an inspiration to others.

Stephanie said: “I feel extremely proud to be graduating from Queen’s today. I may have been through a lot in my life, but it goes to show that it is possible to overcome anything – including illness and disability - to achieve your dreams.

“I have always tried to be as independent as possible, and participated fully in life at Queen’s. The University’s Disability Services unit was very helpful in providing accommodation at Queen’s Elms Village with full disability access. This helped me to meet new people, make great friends and live completely independently.

“Meningitis is a serious illness that can affect anyone, particularly teenagers and young adults. I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the symptoms and, if they suspect meningitis or septicaemia, to get medical help immediately. Meningitis can be a deadly disease, but I am living proof that it can be beaten.”

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Graduation a double celebration for husband and wife
Proving age is no barrier to learning 69 year old husband and wife Robert and Linda Jordon, from Newtownards, graduated with a Bachelor of Honours in Humanities.  Proud sons Ross, Connor and Stuart joined them to celebrate.
Proving age is no barrier to learning 69 year old husband and wife Robert and Linda Jordon, from Newtownards, graduated with a Bachelor of Honours in Humanities. Proud sons Ross, Connor and Stuart joined them to celebrate.

Graduation is set to be a double celebration for husband and wife team Linda and Robert Jordan at Queen’s today, as both graduate with a Bachelor of Honours in Humanities from the School of Education.

From Newtownards, Robert and Linda, both aged 69, will be joined by their proud sons Ross, Stuart and Connor at today’s ceremony.

Linda is a former teacher at Longstone Special Needs School in Dundonald, while Robert, a former Sales Manager, now teaches Essential Skills as a volunteer tutor at South Eastern Education College (Bangor Campus).

Speaking about their graduation, Robert said: “As a complete diversion from my career role and having completed a City and Guilds qualification enabling me to teach essential skills at South Eastern Education College, I was bitten by the learning bug. My wife also has a lifelong interest in Archaeology, so we both thought why not set ourselves a new challenge.

“We were encouraged by the approach offered through Queen’s Open Learning programme and we will both be very proud, if geriatric, graduates today. It really is never too late to return to education and our studies have certainly helped keep the old grey cells responding. It certainly beats DIY.”

Further information on Open Learning at Queen’s is available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEducation/OpenLearning/

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Courageous student fulfils late mother’s dream
Emma and cousin Paul Barr
Emma and cousin Paul Barr

Courageous student Emma Mallon will achieve one of her late mother’s dreams today when she graduates from Queen’s with a 2.1 classification in her BA in Liberal Arts.

From Orchardville in South Belfast, Emma lost her mother Paula suddenly in April of this year after she battled cancer for six years. A keen advocate of education, Emma’s mother was determined that her children would excel in their education and attend university.

Now after three years at St Mary’s Training College, Emma will achieve her mother’s wish and graduate today, watched by father Jim, grandmother Colette and boyfriend Darren.

Emma’s cousin Paul Barr, who is also graduating from Queen’s today with a PhD in Public Health, said: “Emma has been a rock for our family since her treasured mum Paula passed away so suddenly only two months ago. I think she deserves great praise for persevering with her studies, while also managing to help her brother James (16) and Grace (11) with their school work, and continuing with her part-time work. Emma has shown that young people can achieve their goals, even in the face of the biggest setbacks. I know her mum would be so proud of her, as we all are.”

Emma said: “The past few years have been very difficult not only for myself but for the entire family. On 3rd April 2010, however, my life changed forever. I don’t know where I got the strength from to complete my studies but I know my mummy guided me throughout. My graduation day was one she wouldn’t have missed for the world. I am so relieved that I have fulfilled her dream of completing a degree. I would like to thank my family and friends and the staff at St Mary’s for their great support and advice.”

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office on 028 9097 3087/3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Graduating lecturer ‘bowls’ over class
Dr Bronagh McKee, from Ballymoney, received her PhD in Child Protection Education.  She was accompanied by her daughter Taylor McKee, husband Alistair Steele and parents Don and Dorothy McKee.
Dr Bronagh McKee, from Ballymoney, received her PhD in Child Protection Education. She was accompanied by her daughter Taylor McKee, husband Alistair Steele and parents Don and Dorothy McKee.

Lecturer Dr Bronagh McKee will graduate from Queen’s today alongside students she lectured.

From Ballymoney in County Antrim, Bronagh has been lecturing at Stranmillis College for eight years. Among the first group of students to ever graduate from the Early Childhood Studies course in 2000, she will receive her PhD in Child Protection Education alongside students she lectured as part of their Early childhood Studies degree.

Graduation tops off what has been a busy few years for Bronagh, as in addition to her full time job as Senior Lecturer and part time studies for her PhD, she has represented Ireland in the Ladies International Outdoor Bowling Team Championships. The team recently participated in the Ladies 2010 International Series at Worthing, England, where Bronagh won her 12th cap for Ireland.

Speaking about her graduation, Bronagh said: “Today feels like my studies have come full circle. I’m delighted to be graduating alongside my students, who have worked so hard. I hope to continue my PhD research as child protection is a crucial area in all walks of life. But after a busy few months of books and bowls I want to take a little time out and enjoy the summer.”

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Dame Kelly Holmes gets graduation off to a running start
Dame  Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes
Professor Kevin Cahall
Professor Kevin Cahall

Double Olympic Gold winner Dame Kelly Holmes and Professor Kevin Cahill, one of America’s leading medics, are to be honoured today by Queen’s University.

Dame Kelly Holmes is being awarded a Doctorate of the University for distinction in sport and for public service, while Professor Kevin Cahill, who is Senior Consultant to the UN Health Service, will receive a Doctorate of Medical Science for services to medicine and for public service.

Dame Kelly Holmes made British athletics history by winning gold in both the 800m and 1500m events at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She is making her second visit to Queen’s, after officially opening the University’s new PE Centre in 2007 during her first ever visit to Northern Ireland.

Dame Kelly has now swapped her running shoes for a number of roles including ambassador for the 2012 London Olympic Games and National School Champion. She also runs the On Camp with Kelly programme and has set up Girls Active, an initiative to engage teenagers in sport.

Delivering the citation for Dame Kelly Holmes, James O’Kane, Queen’s Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, said: “Dame Kelly’s life has been about striving to be the best, overcoming all of the challenges before her and remaining focused on achieving her lifetime ambitions. The first British woman ever to do an Olympic double, Kelly is a truly inspirational and respected figure in the world of sport.”

Professor Kevin Cahill will receive his honorary degree this morning in front of graduates from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

Recognised as one of the leading health and humanitarian experts in the United States, Professor Cahill is Chief Medical Advisor for Counter-Terrorism in the New York Police Department.

He first began to study tropical disease in Calcutta beside Mother Teresa, and since then his relief efforts have spanned the globe to include treating refugees in Sudan and Somalia.

He is now President of the Centre for Humanitarian Health and Cooperation, Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University and Director of the Tropical Diseases Centre at Lennox Hill Hospital.

Professor of International Humanitarian Affairs at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Professor Cahill has written and edited 29 books and more than 200 articles on subjects ranging from tropical disease to humanitarian and foreign affairs, Irish Literature and public health.

Professor Cahill also holds the post of Senior President-General of the American-Irish Historical Society. .

Media inquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 90 97 5031 or email a.langford@qub.ac.uk

Professor Kevin Cahill will receive his honorary degree at the 10.30am ceremony on Monday 5 July

Dame Kelly Holmes will receive her honorary degree at the 2.30pm ceremony on Monday 5 July

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Nobel Laureate ‘in conversation’ at Queen’s
Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen will be ‘in conversation’ with the BBC’s William Crawley at a special event in The Great Hall at Queen’s University Belfast this evening (Monday, 5 July).

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest thinkers, the renowned Indian economist was rated as one of the top ten intellectuals of the modern age by Prospect magazine alongside Noam Chomsky. He also featured in Time magazine’s 2010 list of the top 100 most influential people in the world.

The event at Queen’s University is held in association with the British Academy (represented by the Chief Executive, Robin Jackson) and the Royal Irish Academy (represented by President Nicholas Canny). Professor Sen will speak about his work on welfare economics, for which he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1998, and his latest book, The idea of Justice.

Professor Sen used his Nobel Prize money to set up a trust fund to pay for initiatives to help people in need in India and Bangladesh. In recognition of this he was awarded the Indian government’s highest civilian honour, the prestigious Bharat Ratna. He has also received the Eisenhower Medal in the United States for Leadership and Service, and the Life Time Achievement award by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Peter Gregson, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor said: “Professor Amartya Sen has rightly been identified as one of the greatest intellectuals of our time. His work has served to highlight and positively alter injustices and inequality across the globe. A role model for our staff and students, we are privileged to have him join us during graduation week at Queen’s.”

Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy, said: “I have had the incredible privilege of being a colleague of Amartya Sen’s in three great institutions: the London School of Economics, Oxford University, and the British Academy. He has been a pioneer in exploring the connections between liberty and the effective tackling of poverty. In his hands, economics is definitely not the ‘dismal science’ that it’s sometimes said to be. It is wonderful that his huge contribution is being celebrated in Belfast.”

Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy added: “Amartya Sen is distinctive among Nobel laureates in Economics in giving priority always to the possible impact on the wellbeing of people, and particularly on the wellbeing of the weak and the vulnerable, of whatever economic paths are chosen by governments.”

The ‘conversazione’ event comes ahead of the conferment of an honorary doctorate by Queen’s on Professor Sen for distinction in economics during the 10.30am ceremony tomorrow morning (Tuesday, 6 July).

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy, Press and PR Unit. Tel: 00 44 (0)28 90 97 5384 or email lisa.mcelroy@qub.ac.uk

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‘Dancing Doctor’ graduates
Blathnaid Carlin
Blathnaid Carlin
Blathnaid Carlin with mum Sinead, sisters Meabh and Aoife and dad Paul.
Blathnaid Carlin with mum Sinead, sisters Meabh and Aoife and dad Paul.
A former Armagh Rose and dancer in Rhythm of the Dance troupe will graduate from Queen’s University today (Monday 5 July) after performing her way through her recent studies.

Bláthnaid Carlin, who was referred to as the ‘dancing doctor’ by broadcaster Ray D’Arcy during the Rose of Tralee television broadcast in 2006, attended both St Mary’s High and St Michael’s Grammar Schools in Lurgan. Bláthnaid’s dancing ability has seen her perform in numerous cities including Dubrovnik, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.

During her studies, Bláthnaid was also heavily involved in charity work with her fellow medical students. In addition to her work as President of Queen’s St Vincent de Paul Charity, and her involvement in student charities Medsin and SWOT, Bláthnaid also travelled to Tanzania where she worked in two local hospitals assisting the medical teams.

All six members of Bláthnaid’s family have either graduated or are set to graduate from Queen’s, including her parents Sinéad and Paul.

Speaking about her graduation, Bláthnaid said: “I knew that studying Medicine would be challenging and I was right, but the opportunities at Queen’s to get involved in so many different activities have really broadened by horizons. I’d like to thank my family for all their support and hope I can do them proud in my medical career.”

Bláthnaid will take up a post as junior doctor in the City Hospital in August.

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s Rowing the only team from UK and Ireland to make Henley Regatta Semi-final
Captain of Queen's Senior Men, James Graham
Captain of Queen's Senior Men, James Graham
A team from Queen’s University Belfast is the only VIII crew from the UK and Ireland to make the semi-final of the world’s largest rowing event, The Henley Royal Regatta.

The Queen’s men team will now face joint favourites Nereus, Holland in the semi-final tomorrow. (Saturday, 3 July). Nereus beat the Queen’s ‘B’ Team in their quarter-final earlier today. The winner is expected to face University of Washington in the final on Sunday.

Watched by 25,000 spectators, Henley attracts the leading teams from across the world, including Canada, New Zealand, USA and Europe.

Two teams from Queen’s qualified for the final 62 crews, out of a possible 505, due to times they achieved in races throughout the year.

Fresh from his team’s victory over Brock University, Canada, by three lengths, Captain of Queen’s ‘A’ crew, James Graham, attributed their success to coach Mark Fangen-Hall: “It is a testament to Mark’s training that he got two boats into the final eight of Henley, and now we are set for the semi-finals tomorrow.

“Straight out of the starting line Brock were ahead, by the 500m mark they had gained a length. We remained calm and stuck to our plan to pull level. In the final stages a mix of brute strength and determination saw us move ahead and we won by a length.

"Today was the most intense race of my ten year rowing career. Straight out of the starting line Brock were ahead and they continued to open a significant lead over us. As the Stroke rower, I sit at the end of the boat facing the Cox. I can see nothing behind me, so I really rely on him to be my eyes in the race. Despite being down we had the confidence to relentlessly grind them down and eventually pulled level. With the crowds roaring we put in one last determined push to surge on through to the finish line in front”

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We have always known here at Queen’s that our rowers possess something special, and to watch them demonstrate that in style, at the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta makes me, and their University, enormously proud. They have already had an outstanding year and I wish them well in the rest of this fantastic competition.”

Further information on Queen’s Rowing is available online at http://qub.webbelief.com/

The crew are:
Cox – Harry Davies
Bow – Damian Hannon
2 – Gavin Meek
3 – Eoin Macdomhnaill
4 – Abdulrahman Mohamed
5 – Christopher Coyle
6 – Jonathon Mitchell
7 – Marc Butler
Stroke – James Graham (Captain)

Media inquiries to Lisa McElroy. Tel: 028 9097 5384 or 0781 44 22 572.

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£4.8m helps new centre focus on finding cures for blindness
A world-class research centre aimed at tackling blindness and other sight-threatening disorders is to open at Queen’s University.

The University is to further develop its Centre for Vision and Vascular Science following the announcement of a £4.8 million grant award from the Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Awards Initiative.

Focusing on fighting sight-threatening diseases of the retina, a major cause of blindness in the United Kingdom, the Centre will offer new hope to those who suffer from serious eye conditions.

The funding is to be used by Professor Alan Stitt and his team to address the leading causes of blindness, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and a range of approaches including basic cell and molecular biology, and stem cell biology.

Professor Stitt from Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Centre, said: “Queen’s University Belfast is already recognised as being amongst the very best vision research groups in the UK. This award from the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, alongside a major commitment by Queen’s, will further strengthen research in this field.

“Most importantly, it will ensure that our laboratory and clinic-based scientific discoveries result in demonstrable and practical benefits for patients, not just here in Northern Ireland, but across the globe.”

In promoting biomedical research, and further cementing Queen’s and Northern Ireland's position as one of the best research centres in the UK, Professor Stitt believes the Centre will also provide a boost for the Northern Ireland economy.

He said: “The new facility will encourage the brightest science and clinical graduates to pursue careers in biomedical research and help develop the bio-industry as an important part of Northern Ireland’s economy. It will enable partnership with the global biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries through collaborative research, strategic alliance, contract research and consultancy and in doing do contribute to local economic growth.”

Further information on the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science can be found online at www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforVisionandVascularScience/  

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit: Tel: 00 44 (0)28 9097 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Olympic Committee begin countdown to 2012 at Queen’s PEC
Paul Deighton (L) helps launch the two year countdown to the 2012 Games at Queen’s PEC
Paul Deighton (L) helps launch the two year countdown to the 2012 Games at Queen’s PEC
Local schoolchildren have helped the Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) kick off the official two year countdown to the 2012 Paralympics.

Paul Deighton joined children at Queen’s Sport’s Summer Activity Scheme and Disability Sports’ NI’s 5 Star Disability Challenge, as part of a UK-wide day of events to raise children’s awareness of disability sports ahead of the 2012 Games.

Joanne O’Hagan, Disability Sports NI and Johnny McCarthy, player with the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Team, delivered the Disability Challenge project to children attending Queen’s Summer Scheme. To help raise awareness of disability sports, each child was given the opportunity to participate in five challenges, each one based on a Paralympic event.

The innovative project is funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and supported by the Department of Education. It aims to contribute to the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by increasing children’s awareness and understanding of disability.

Kevin Murray, PE & Sport Development Officer at Queen’s Sport said: “Through Queen’s involvement in this project we hope to challenge commonly held negative attitudes about people with disabilities, and to inspire and encourage more disabled and non-disabled children to become more active in sport.

“Queen’s has been included in the official training camps guide for athletes attending the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and we look forward to encouraging more young people to become involved in sports as part of the legacy of the London Games.”

Angela Hendra MBE, Chairperson Disability Sports NI said: “We are delighted with the success of the Five Star Challenge Education Project since its launch last year and are happy that Queen’s Summer Activity Scheme have come on board so enthusiastically with the project to help us mark two years to go to the 2012 Games.”

Disability Sports NI will be running the ‘5 Star Disability Sports Challenge’ in primary schools throughout Northern Ireland up to 2012. For more information on the project contact DSNI on 028 9038 7062 or email@dsni.co.uk  

Further information on Queen’s Sport is available online at www.queenssport.com//

Media inquiries to Press and PR Unit. Tel: 028 9097 5384 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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