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RICS President formally accredits Gibson Institute LUEM degree
Image of Professor Maggs with President of RICS, Robert Peto
HOS and RICS President signs for RICS accreditation
of the LUEM Degree
Image of RICS representatives, Professor Maggs and Gibson staff
Senior RICS representatives with HOS and
Gibson Institute staff

President of RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Robert Peto was at Queen's today to meet with staff, tour the University's impressive award-winning McClay Library, and formally welcome the University's BSc in Land Use and Environmental Management into the RICS and Queen's partnership.

Welcoming Robert Peto on behalf of the School of Biological Sciences, Head of School, Professor Christine Maggs said: "We are delighted to receive RICS accreditation for our Land Use and Environmental Management degree.  This is the culmination of a long period of hard work by the course team from the Gibson Institute within the School.

"We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Gibson Trust in funding the Institute, which provides Northern Ireland's farming and rural communities with world-class teaching and research in rural land management subjects, agricultural and food marketing, and sustainability."

Mr Peto said: "Sustainability, land use and diversification are increasing challenges globally. RICS and its members are committed to creating and maintaining a healthy environment, not only for today but also for future generations.

"I'm delighted to be in Northern Ireland to meet with local members and to be able to formally welcome this new degree course into the RICS partnership.

"As a result of the many changes affecting the natural environment today, new and challenging career opportunities are emerging for those familiar with issues of sustainable development, conservation and environmental protection and management.

"A fundamental knowledge and understanding of the physical, social, economic and cultural aspects of land use is essential to appreciate the interaction between land use and the environment and how this drives policy."

Career options for graduates of the new course include private and public sector environmental management, environmental consultancy and conservation.

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Gibson Director Appointed as IPCC Contributing Author
Image of Professor Hutchinson
  Professor George Hutchinson

A leading researcher at Queen's will evaluate the impact of climate change in rural areas of Europe as part of an assessment report on the global issue.

Professor George Hutchinson, Director of The Gibson Institute for Land Food and Environment in the School of Biological Sciences and Director of The Institute for a Sustainable World in Queen's, has been appointed as a Contributing Author to the 5th Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change to be published in 2014.

The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations and is an intergovernmental body that assesses scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to the understanding of climate change and in particular the risk of climate change caused by human activity.  The IPCC shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with US statesman Al Gore.

Professor Hutchinson who is chair of Rural and Environmental Economics in Queen's will be part of the Working Group II team, which reports on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.  He will contribute to the newly added chapter on Impacts in Rural Areas where he will concentrate on valuation of impacts of climate change in rural areas in Europe.

Professor Hutchinson said: "This appointment reinforces the Gibson Institute's research remit in Rural Economy.  The Gibson Trust should be praised for its continuing support of research and teaching in this area at a time when other major institutions are withdrawing from the rural sector."

Professor Hutchinson is a member of the Management Executive of the UK Combined Research Councils Centre of Excellence for Public Health NI, he is an ESRC Visiting Research Fellow in the University of Manchester's Sustainable Practices Research Group and a partner in QUERCUS the biodiversity and conservation research centre at Queen's.

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The Gibson Institute's student, Adam Harbison, receives Mitchell Scholarship
Image of Adam Harbison (Mitchell Scholar) and Minister Michelle Gildernew
Adam Harbison (Gibson Institute's Mitchell Scholar) and Minister Michelle Gildernew

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Gibson Institute's Student Helps Compile Kesh Community Audit

by Catriona Loughran of The Impartial Reporter

KESH Development Association is to embark on an ambitious community audit aimed at shaping the village's economic and social development over the next 10 years.

The audit, which is the first comprehensive study of the area in the last decade, will be used towards the development of its community action plan called "Kesh 2020 Vision" aimed at drawing up a social and economic vision for the future.

Kesh Development Association was founded 1965 to address the social and economic needs of Kesh and District.  The Association continues to address these needs 45 years later and hopes that the findings will inform its work and focus for the next ten years.

A household survey covering 100 questions on 20 key areas such as health and social welfare, community services and infrastructure, youth, older people, housing and provision of social housing, recreation and attitudes to free time.

To heighten community response, Kesh Development Association is to launch a dedicated website called in April that will allow people to complete the survey online and submit it back to the Kesh2020 office.

The Project has been supported by the Good Relations Office in Fermanagh District Council through the Community Relations Unit of OFMDFM.

Speaking about the project, Dr Sharon Loane, Chairperson of Kesh Development Association said, "the results of this important research will help the wider community focus on real need and will help to draw up a vision for future need based on real community consultation.  Kesh has a strong record of promoting Good Relations and this audit will further galvanize that experience".

Previous audits conducted in Kesh in 1990 and in 2000 helped shape the popular North Fermanagh village and directly led to the development of a community marina and an embracing Rural Childcare Centre in Mantlin Enterprising Centre.

Leading the research, is Manager of Kesh Enterprise Co Ltd, Neville Armstrong and Masters student, Claire Hannigan both of whom have considerable experience in good relations work and social auditing.

"This audit is about fact-finding as well as promoting good community relations," said Mr Armstrong.

"The last audit in Kesh was carried out in 1990 and 2001 and we got a better understanding of the community and its needs from this research and 10 years later we feel it's important to renew our community consultation.  The town has witnessed a lot of change over the last 10 years such as the closure of the Duke of Westminster School and the closure of Kesh Police Station.  So we want to find out the impact of this on the community so we have enough scope to develop the Kesh 2020 Action Plan and hopefully encourage future business and tourism to the area. "Clare Hannigan, who is 21 and from Lisbellaw is a student from the Gibson Institute, Queen's University Belfast and she is really happy to be involved in the project.

"It's been an excellent learning experience and fun to do and will serve me well when I complete my dissertation.  I will gather the information and along with Neville I will help write up the report so it's important we get everything accurate so that the Association can use the audit in bringing forward the Kesh2020 action plan."

They hope to complete the audit analysis and present the results before the end of May, while seeking to collate a working action plan for public launch by July 2010.

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Gibson Student Completes 12 Week Work Placement with Action Renewables
UK Pavillion Shanghai Expo 2010 logo Challenge Europe Climate Change logo British Embassy Cultural and Education Section logo   Barry McCarron - Action Renewables Placement
Barry McCarron

I have recently completed a 12 week work placement with Action Renewables who are the leading organisation in Northern Ireland of the promotion and development of renewable energy which was a great opportunity for me to complement my studies.  My time with Action Renewables was spent carrying out the production of a composite publication on renewable energy aimed at architects in conjunction with the Department of Enterprise trade and Investment.  In the remainder of my time with Action Renewables I became aware of a programme run by the British council called "Challenge Europe" for which I was lucky enough to get selected.

Challenge Europe is a three year project aiming to accelerate change to a low carbon future.  It brings together ambitious young people from 15 European countries who want to make a lasting impact on climate change.  In 15 countries Climate Advocates, aged 18-35, are working together on climate challenges and local projects to reduce carbon use.  Our Local Project is to raise the awareness of retrofitted renewables energy systems for sports organisations in Ireland.  In July as part of the Challenge Europe programme an opportunity to apply to attend the Finance Forum for Climate Champions for 8 days at the Shanghai Expo in China in September.  There were two places available and final selection was made by the British Council in China.  During our time in China we will voice their opinion about economic and financial solutions/approaches to tackling climate change, and form a declaration at the end of the session, which, hopefully, could be submitted to negotiators from all participating countries before or at COP16.

Edwin Poots Action Renewables Group photo

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Contact Information

The School of Biological Sciences
Gibson Institute for Land Food & Environment
Room 01.409
Medical Biology Centre
Lisburn Road
Belfast BT9 7BL
Tel:  028 9097 5787

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