The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice is the second of four Global Research Institutes to be launched at the University. Global Research Institutes are the University’s flagships for interdisciplinary research in areas of major societal challenge. The Institute, based in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, addresses the global challenge of building a peaceful, secure and inclusive world by bringing together unparalleled expertise on these issues. Researchers from fields as diverse as politics, mental health, planning and computer engineering come together with a focus on four research priority areas: legacy issues, justice and rights, security, ideology and beliefs. The launch event, which will be attended by key players in the Good Friday Agreement, will begin with a discussion entitled: What next for Northern Ireland? It will include addresses from guest speakers Jonathan Powell and Tim O’Connor and will be chaired by Dr William Crawley. It will be followed by addresses by the Senator and award-winning author Colum McCann, after which the Senator will unveil a plaque to mark the occasion. Speaking ahead of the event, Senator George J. Mitchell, said: “Through research, education and civic engagement, the Institute aims to make a difference to the lives of ordinary people who are struggling with the aftermath of conflict by empowering them to realise fairness, justice and tolerance. The work of the Institute is vitally important in addressing some of the greatest global challenges of our time.” Professor Patrick Johnston, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, said: “The Institute brings together a critical mass of excellent researchers from across the humanities and other disciplines to tackle some of the greatest global issues of our age. Critical thinking and leadership are traits which have served us well in our transition into peace in Northern Ireland and through this Institute we aim to continue to have a positive impact locally and globally. We are honoured that Senator Mitchell, renowned for his contribution to the Northern Ireland Peace Process, has given his name to, and officially launched, our Global Research Institute.” Professor Hastings Donnan, Director of The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, said: “The Institute responds to the unprecedented global challenge of building a peaceful, secure and inclusive world, drawing on the unparalleled expertise at Queen’s on these issues. The Institute is distinctive internationally in linking peace-making with social transformation, giving attention to the need for governance reform of state institutions alongside cultural and social processes for healing in society.” In addition to The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, the University’s other Global Research Institutes are: The Institute for Global Food Security; The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology; and the Institute for Health Sciences.
Delegates at a conference held in Riddel Hall, have heard from Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill, that she wants to see “A Health and Social Care system where service users, carers and the public are fully engaged in a partnership based approach to health and well-being, whether that is at the strategic or individual level of care planning and provision.” The Minister was speaking at the Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) conference ‘Involving you Improving Care: Our Involvement Story’, organised by the School of Psychology at Queen’s and the Public Health Agency, in collaboration with Health Social Care partners and service users and carers. PPI is about involving ordinary people and local communities in the planning, commissioning, delivery and evaluation of the services they receive. It is about putting the service user first, enhancing service user choice, meeting demands and expectations, and ensuring views are heard and listened to. Speaking at the conference, the Minister, said: “I want to see a Health and Social Care system where service users, carers and the public are fully engaged in a partnership based approach to health and well-being, whether that is at the strategic or individual level of care planning and provision. My vision is for a world class, safe, high quality, person-centred health service and I am fully committed to ensuring that service users and carers will be at the centre of what we do. “Ensuring that service users are fully involved in the design of services that affect them is one of the priorities I want to see going forward. I can see how important patient engagement should be for everyone using or working within the health and social care sector as we strive to deliver the high quality patient focused services we have a right to expect.” Jim Walsh, Expert by Experience, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast and Conference Co-Chair said: “This conference provides a collaborative learning opportunity for service users and carers who use their unique expertise to influence and redesign services. The event brings together crucial ingredients to safeguard positive and progressive transformations in developing health and social care services well into the future”. Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of PHA, said: “When people are meaningfully involved in decision making about their health and social wellbeing, it leads to improved quality and safety, increased effectiveness and improved efficiency, tailoring services to need. That is why Personal and Public Involvement is central to ensuring that the patients and carers are put first when thinking about the future of healthcare. “Working collaboratively across Health and Social Care can help to deliver a consistent approach to the high standards of service users and carer involvement.” At the conference Minister O’Neill met with the Association for Real Change (ARC) NI’s “Roving Reporters”. ARC NI supports people with a learning disability who are keen to learn new skills to become Roving Reporters. ARC NI’s support enables its reporters to tell their own ‘good news’ stories about learning disability services in the social care sector. Caption – Michelle Tennyson, Assistant Director Allied Health Professions and Personal and Public Involvement PHA, Health Minster Michelle O’Neill, and PHA Chief Executive Dr Eddie Rooney.
Professor Phil Scraton, from Queen’s School of Law, is the author of Hillsborough: The Truth - acclaimed as the definitive account of the context, circumstances and aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster which claimed the lives of 96 men, women and children in April 1989. The book has now been revised, with an additional three chapters following the longest inquests in legal history, which concluded in April 2016, with a ruling that those who died had been unlawfully killed. The final chapter presents the compelling ‘inside story’ of the inquests from their preliminary hearings through to the recent verdicts. Professor Scraton will launch Hillsborough: The Truth at 6.30pm on Tuesday 28 June, in the Great Hall at Queen’s, followed by an ‘In Conversation’ interview with the BBC’s Tara Mills and a book signing. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at the event. A collection of papers and documents in relation to Professor Scraton’s work with the Hillsborough families will also be on display at the event. Professor Scraton said: “Hillsborough: The Truth is compelling and harrowing. It reveals how the interests of ordinary people are ignored when those in authority sacrifice truth and deny accountability to protect their reputations. “Drawing on personal accounts and in-depth research from the days after the disaster through to the inquest verdicts,this book exposes how the bereaved families and survivors were failed by successive investigations and inquiries. It considers the impact and consequences of these institutional failures, the negative press coverage and the origins and promotion of the myth that those who died and survived were responsible. “The latest edition draws on my role as head of research for the Hillsborough Independent Panel and principal author of its ground-breaking report published in September 2012. It explains how the report’s 153 findings led to a full apology to the families from the Prime Minister, the establishment of a new criminal investigation and the largest ever investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. “It documents the quashing of the original inquest verdicts and the new inquests that concluded just two months ago, delivering a damning verdict. After three decades of struggle by the bereaved families and survivors, the police were held primarily responsible and the fans were exonerated.” In recognition of his support to the Hillsborough families over 27 years and his prominent role in revealing the truth about the Hillsborough disaster, Professor Scraton will receive the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in September. Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, his wife Marina and former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones are also to be honoured. Anyone who wishes to attend the launch of Hillsborough: The Truth at Queen’s University Belfastis asked to register online at http://qpol.qub.ac.uk/event/hillsborough-phil-scraton/ or phone 028 9097 3758.
Queen’s researchers completed the study in collaboration with partners from Washington University in St. Louis (USA) and North Carolina University (USA). The research team wanted to examine how the built environment in India plays a key role in enabling or prohibiting physical exercise in the country. Speaking about the study, Dr Deepti Adlakha from Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, said “While there have been many studies examining this issue in Europe, Australasia and the Americas, there have been few such studies in low and middle-income countries like India, which are collectively home to 80 per cent of the world’s population. “Our study is the first of its kind in India, a country where rapid, unplanned and unsustainable urban growth are contributing to increasing environmental and health hazards, greater dependence on vehicles for transport, and diminishing open spaces for walking and leisure.” Dr Adlakha, continued: “Non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease are also increasing around the world, particularly in low and middle-income countries. India, with a population of 1.2 billion and soon to be the world’s most populous country, is experiencing an epidemic of these conditions. India has the world’s largest diabetic population at 33 million expected to rise to 130 million by 2030, and has earned the dubious distinction of ‘diabetes capital’ of the world. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, and morbid obesity affects 61 million people in India. These numbers are staggering and highlight a major public health concern. “Physical inactivity is a major risk factor in the development of these diseases, and the built environment is a key factor in encouraging or inhibiting this. Activity-friendly environments are crucial if we are to halt the epidemic of non-communicable diseases. This is a fact that has already been acknowledged by the World Health Organization and United Nations. “But in order to make the necessary modifications to the built environment, we first need to understand exactly what aspects of it are limiting people’s ability to get out and get active. That has been the focus of our research.” Study background For the study, Dr Adlakha adapted the Neighbourhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) for urban India. The Scale is an internationally recognised measure to assess residents’ perceptions of how the built environment relates to their physical activity, and the study was the first time NEWS has been adapted for use in India. The results will add to global understanding of the impact of healthy environments, particularly in low and middle-income countries. Conducted in Chennai, 370 Chennai residents were asked questions on their perception of the built environment in their neighbourhood and about their engagement in physical activity. Chennai, the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, is a major commercial and industrial hub. Home to 8.9 million people, it is India’s fourth most populous city. Within India, the state of Tamil Nadu is the most urbanized state with 48.4 percent of the population living in urban areas and the highest number of diabetic cases, a majority of them being reported in the city of Chennai. Findings and barriers to activity Researchers found that those living in the City felt their physical activity was limited by the city’s inadequate infrastructure, poor aesthetics, and limited public transit connectivity. Respondents outlined several barriers that deterred them from being active. The most common constraints were: Safety from traffic Safety from crime Lack of maintenance of the built environment, and Poor quality pedestrian infrastructure. Rapid urbanisation, an increase in the amount of traffic, and the loss of trees, parks and green spaces were identified as barriers to outdoor walking. Speaking about the findings, Dr Adlakha added: “The research findings provide an important insight into how the people of Chennai view their built environment, and how it might be improved or adapted to help promote physical activity. This study has the potential to be adapted further for use in other Indian cities. It is an important first step in creating better walkable environments, and ultimately healthier lifestyles, for those living in India’s urban areas.” The full research paper, Adaptation and Evaluation of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale in India (NEWS-India), published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is available at http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/4/401/htm
The building has been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects Regional Award and Regional Conservation Award 2016 for Northern Ireland, and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Best Conservation of Built Heritage Award. The Lynn Building was originally constructed in 1846. Designed by William Henry Lynn, this is arguably the best example of Ruskin Victorian Gothic architecture in Belfast and makes an important contribution to the University’s estate and the City’s built heritage. The University’s vision is to create an international university that supports outstanding students and staff, working in world class facilities. The Graduate School is a key element of that vision and represents a £4.1m capital investment to create a global first choice for the postgraduate student. The Graduate School was recently ranked number one out of 159 universities worldwide in the International Student Barometer. The ground floor offers reception and administrative support space, training facilities, group and meeting rooms. The building’s first floor features a central open-plan, double height, vaulted space with masonry gothic arches and aisles to each side. The Dean of the Graduate School, Professor Margaret Topping, said: “This is a truly impressive and beautiful internal space for Postgraduate students to study, relax and socialise and has proven a resounding success. It is a place where our students can aspire and help us to create the leaders of tomorrow.” In their citation, the RSUA judges commented on: “Exemplary judgement, skill and craftsmanship by the design and construction teams.” Queen’s Director of Estates, Damien Toner, said: “The University demand design excellence from all design teams and contractors with particular focus on dealing with the challenges of preserving the university’s historic estate.”
The announcement was made at an event at the University attended by Northern Ireland's new Minister for the Economy, Simon Hamilton. The University’s new School of Law will open in September 2016 following a £15M refurbishment of the University’s former Library Tower. The new Student Hub, sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills, will be a 600m2 space providing social and informal group study facilities, with an estimated 3,500 footfall per day through its café and study area. As part of the sponsorship relationship, Herbert Smith Freehills and Queen’s will work collaboratively to deliver a tailored and innovative programme of activities specifically designed for Queen’s students, beginning this autumn. Welcoming the new partnership, Professor Sally Wheeler, Head of the School of Law at Queen’s, said: “As a leading international University, with one of the top Schools of Law in the UK, Queen’s is committed to working with the foremost employers to ensure its students have access to the kinds of opportunities which help them to reach their full potential. This new aspect of our long-standing partnership with Herbert Smith Freehills builds on our already existing strong links, and our alumni presence, and will further enhance the technical and legal knowledge our students acquire, ensuring they are best-equipped to take up their role in society.” Queen's School of Law has a reputation for excellence and is currently ranked as one of the UK's top 20 law schools in the 2017 Guardian University Guide (11th). The redevelopment of a new home for the School is a key element in the University’s investment of £350m in world-class facilities for research and education for Queen’s staff and students planned over the next decade. While this new sponsorship marks an exciting new phase, Herbert Smith Freehills and Queen’s have enjoyed a long and successful relationship. Lisa McLaughlin, Director, of the firm's Alternative Legal Services business, with responsibility for UK, US & EMEA, and for leading the firm's Belfast office, said, "Herbert Smith Freehills and Queen’s already work closely together in a number of ways, for example on the annual Queen’s Law School visit to London, recruitment roadshows and various student-led activities, such as sponsorship of the Queen’s Mooting Society. We also have a strong Queen’s alumni network in both the firm's Belfast and London offices. As a Queen’s alumna myself, I am very proud to be launching our new partnership and am excited about the opportunities it presents for the firm, the University and – most importantly – future generations of law students at Queen’s." Further information on Queen’s School of Law is available online at www.law.qub.ac.uk
A Queen’s student who has pioneered a mental health programme for students, helped raise over £38,500 for healthcare in developing countries, and assists familes who have had a cancer diagnosis, has been awarded the ‘Special Contribution’ accolade at the Queen’s Students’ Union Volunteering Excellency Awards, sponsored by KPMG. James Nixon, a Medicine student from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh is Co-Founder and President of ‘Mind Matters’, a student society at Queen’s that aims to educate the student body on mental health. He is also a Board Member of ‘Mind Your Mood’, a student-led campaign which helps equip students with skills to protect their mental health whilst at University. Over 250 guests attended the glittering awards ceremony in the University’s Whitla Hall to celebrate the positive impact that the volunteering efforts of Queen’s students, staff, schools and alumni have on the local community and the wider world. James is also a member of the Students’ Working Overseas Trust, a charitable society at Queen’s that fundraises to provide healthcare resources to developing countries. As SWOT Fashion Show Co-Ordinator, he volunteered over a ten-month period to help organise a hugely successful event which raised over £38,500. Alongside these commitments, James volunteers with both Cancer Focus NI’s ‘5 week CLIMB Programme’, which helps children understand the diagnosis of cancer and its monthly ‘Family Support Nights’ where affected families come together to support each other. On receiving the award, James said, “I have met some amazing people through volunteering. Such strong individuals who have gone through such difficulties in their lives - it is so empowering and inspiring. Volunteering is so important, it’s not just what you give but what you get back as well. It has built me up and made me a better person and I know that the people I have met and the experiences I have gone through will make me a better Doctor. I am delighted and honoured to have won this award – it’s a great way to start the Summer!”. The Students’ Union is dedicated to championing volunteering, promoting opportunities and encouraging participation by its students. Through these activities it aims to develop socially responsible citizens like James who participate in society in a positive way. Lucia Kearney, Volunteer & Development Support Officer of Queen’s Students’ Union said, “Queen’s students are enterprising and innovative in their volunteering. Many having developed, implemented and led projects to meet gaps in areas that they are passionate about and so deeply involved in. Their volunteering efforts are truly amazing and continue to make a tangible and powerful difference to communities in need.” Claire Browne of KPMG, sponsor of the Volunteering Excellency Awards said, “KPMG is delighted to again sponsor the Volunteering Excellency Awards. As an organisation we actively encourage our people to volunteer. Spare time is often in short supply but there are many benefits to taking the time to volunteer. In addition to the sheer feel good factor of knowing you have made a difference, volunteering provides an opportunity to share expertise, develop a new skill and meet new people.”
According to recent WHO global estimates, 422 million people have diabetes. One of the most common complications of this disease is vision loss. Diabetic Macular Oedema occurs in approximately 7 per cent of patients with diabetes and is one of the most common causes of blindness in the Western World. In the UK, this sight-threatening complication of diabetic retinopathy is associated with estimated health and social care costs of £116 million. The socio-economic burden will only increase with prevalence of diabetes rising by more than 50 per cent by 2030. Queen’s and UCL researchers, in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, found that the drug Darapladib inhibits an enzyme which is increased in people with diabetes and causes blood vessel leakage in the eye which leads to swelling of the retina and severe vision loss. Currently, the most common treatments for patients with Diabetic Macular Oedema is an injection of a drug directly into to the eye every 4-6 weeks. This therapy is very expensive and not effective for about half of all patients with Diabetic Macular Oedema. The discovery by the Queen’s and UCL teams demonstrates that Darapladib in form of a tablet has potential to reduce the need for monthly injections and provide protection against vision loss in a much wider group of patients with diabetes. Speaking about the breakthrough, Professor Alan Stitt, from the Centre for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University, said: “Diabetes-related blindness is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the blood vessels in the retina. We have found that an enzyme called Lp-PLA2 which metabolises fats in the blood contributes to blood vessel damage and leakiness in the retina. The drug Darapladib acts as inhibitor of Lp-PLA2, and was originally developed for cardiovascular disease. Based on our break-though we are now planning a clinical trial and if successful we could soon see an alternative, pain-free and cost effective treatment for diabetic related blindness.” Dr Patric Turowski from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology said: “With our study we show that a blood lipid produced by Lp-PLA2 constitutes a novel trigger factor in diabetic macular oedema and that use of Darapladib may not only constitute an cost-effective alternative to current DMO treatments but has the potential to be effective for patients that currently do not respond to standard treatment.” The research has been published in the a top scientific journal called Proceeding of the National Academy of Science USA (PNAS).
Professor Anderson, from Queen’s School of Law, will be on hand to provide dispute resolution services for the 2016 UEFA European Championship which began on Friday. Professor Anderson is recognised globally as an expert in the study of match-fixing in sport having worked with Interpol, FIFA, FIFPro and World Rugby. He is a member of a United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Expert group on combatting match fixing in sport, and his work on sports law is cited frequently in sports arbitration awards globally and in sports-related judicial proceedings. He is also the editor-in-chief of the International Sports Law Journal, the leading periodical in the area. Professor Anderson said: “Being chosen to be an arbitrator for the 2016 Euros is an incredible honour. Typical disputes could involve appeals against a ‘field of play decision’ where a team might query a refereeing error, the eligibility or registration of a player or substitute, a dispute over the criteria used to get to decide who goes forward to the knockout stages, or appeals against what is claimed to be an unjust or disproportionate suspension or a player of coach. So there are lots of issues that may call for an arbitrator and I very much look forward to bringing my experience to the table if required.” Professor Sally Wheeler, Head of the School of Law at Queen’s University said: “The School of Law is delighted with Jack’s appointment to the 2016 Euros and we congratulate him on his success. This once again highlights the global reach and impact the School of Law has for its staff and research expertise.” There are 24 arbitrators on call for the duration of the tournament in the event that they are needed to arbitrate a dispute relating to any aspect of the tournament. Arbitrators are not permitted to deal with disputes relating to their own country.
The new School will be a key driver for the development and future growth of the life sciences and agri-food sectors in Northern Ireland, which currently employ some 80,000 people and generate more than £5.5 billion in sales each year. Building the new School will also support 550 jobs in the construction sector, including staff from the main contractor O’Hare and McGovern, and a range of other firms. The new School, which is being built at Chlorine Gardens in Belfast, will offer state-of-the art teaching and research facilities for its 750 students and 170 staff, who will tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. Due to open in 2018, the building will provide the facilities to help grow our life sciences sector, especially in areas such as agriculture/food science, food safety, disease/infection biology, diagnostics, waste management, ecosystems and the environment. The Life and Health Sciences and Agri-Food sectors are key to driving future economic prosperity in Northern Ireland. The Life Science graduates who will be trained within the new building will underpin these areas and help facilitate future growth. Speaking ahead of the unveiling today, Queen’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston, said: “Today is a momentous occasion for the life sciences and agri-food sectors here in Northern Ireland, and further afield. Queen’s new School of Biological Sciences will be a power-house for these sectors, both of which have been identified as cornerstones of Northern Ireland’s future prosperity. From food safety to disease and infection control, the work housed in our new School will not only be of global significance and importance, it will also impact positively on everyone’s lives here in Northern Ireland.” Announcing his support for the new School of Biological Sciences building, Minister for the Economy, Simon Hamilton, said: “The investment by the Department for the Economy helps to support Queens University in providing modern up to date facilities and will enhance the wider infrastructure within higher education. This development is a key part of the University’s long-term vision to create state-of-the-art facilities and will support research and education into the next decade and beyond. Promoting the growth of our knowledge economy is a key aim of my Department and it is vital we create an environment for students to gain confidence, develop their skills and reach their full potential. It is through nurturing creativity and innovation we are able to support future economic development and employment opportunities.” Professor Chris Elliott, Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences said: “The building will be home to globally recognised experts in areas right across the biological sciences with research focus on key global challenges. It will house Queen’s Institute for Global Food Security, one of the University’s four Global Research Institutes, which is leading the world in addressing one of the greatest challenges – how to ensure the safety of our food. Staff within the School of Biological Sciences will also focus on issues including innovative approaches to waste and ecosystem management, the improved control of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, and addressing the challenges posed by climate change.” Head of the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s, Professor Aaron Maule, added: “To ensure Northern Ireland’s crucial agri-food and life sciences sectors can remain competitive at home and internationally, they need access to a highly skilled workforce who have been educated in a way that is directly relevant to their needs. A high quality life science graduate skills base and an internationally recognised academic research capacity in this area are critical to the Northern Ireland economy and its future growth and development. This is where Queen’s and the School of Biological Sciences play a critical role. This new building will ensure we attract the best staff and students from Northern Ireland and around the world, and continue to produce graduates who are making a real and lasting impact in fields as diverse as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food science, infectious diseases, marine sustainability and environmental management.” The new 11,000m² School is the latest building in Queen’s £700M 20-year capital investment programme to support world-class research and education and provide an exceptional experience for its students. In keeping with the University’s commitment to sustainability, the building has been designed to minimize its impact on the environment, and to achieve the target of Building Research Establishment Environmental Method (BREEAM) Excellent. Set over five floors, the building is designed around a central glazed atrium and will incorporate carbon reduction technologies including a combined heat and power engine, ventilation heat recovery units and a Ground Source Heat Pump system. Damien Toner, Queen’s Director of Estates, said: “Today’s unveiling of our foundation stone for the new School of Biological Sciences reinforces Queen’s continuing commitment to supporting the Northern Ireland economy and local construction sector. Construction of the new facility is due for completion in August 2018 and our focus is fully on ensuring delivery of another world class research facility for our academic colleagues and students. “Our delivery partners will help ensure we achieve this aim and we are delighted to be working with renowned architects Scott Tallon Walker and construction partners O’Hare & McGovern who recently delivered the award-winning and world-class Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine for Queen’s University.” O’Hare & McGovern Managing Director Eamon O’Hare said the new building would be a world class facility which strengthened the firm’s long term relationship with the university as they continued to enhance Belfast’s educational landscape. He added: “Our vision for the delivery of this project is to create a catalyst for social, economic and environmental change, providing sustainable employment for local businesses, students, apprentices and long term unemployed.” For more information about the work of Biological Sciences at Queen’s visit www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofBiologicalSciences/