Latest News

Latest News

Leading international scientists to be honoured by Queen’s University

Three leading international scientists will be honoured by Queen’s University today (Friday 3 July). Professor Stephen Furber, who is best-known for his work as one of the main designers of the ground-breaking BBC microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor in the 1980s, will be honoured for services to engineering. His latest project, known as ‘SpiNNaker’, and nicknamed the ‘brain box’, is an attempt to build an IT system based on the workings of the human brain. In 2014, Steve was made a Distinguished Fellow at the British Computer Society (DFBCS), joining the likes of Bill Gates and Tim Berners Lee. Commenting on his award, Professor Furber, who currently teaches at the University of Manchester said: “I am really honoured to be recognised by Queen’s University. As someone with extensive links to the University, I am a very strong advocate for the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) and Queen’s activities on the Northern Ireland Science Park. ECIT is a very strong contributor to the local economy, as is Queen’s as a whole, and it’s a delight to see a University at the forefront of the technology revolution.” Meanwhile, another distinguished figure on the international stage will also be honoured today. A tireless advocate for cancer research across the EU, oncologist Dr Françoise Meunier has been the Director General of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) for 24 years and is “Director Special Projects” as of April 1st2015. A Fulbright scholar, she has worked at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and is a fellow of the UK’s Royal College of Physicians alongside her academic and professional career in her native Belgium. A key member of the European Cancer Concord Steering Committee, Meunier was instrumental in supporting the Queen’s University-led European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights which was launched in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on World Cancer Day 2014. Speaking of her DMedSc for services to science and medicine, Dr Meunier said: “I am so grateful to be given this accolade. Queen’s University is a world-class institution which is carrying out world-leading research in the area of cancer. It has been a privilege to work with the university and I look forward to many more collaborations as, together, we try to improve outcomes and treatments for cancer patients.” Also being recognised today is Professor Sir Alex Markham, an internationally acclaimed leader and advocate for cancer research. Professor Markham, who is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK using his vision and drive to turn the organisation into the largest funder of cancer research in the UK and one of the world’s largest.   Knighted in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List for his services to academic medicine, Professor Markham is a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, providing support and advice that has helped the school’s Centre for Cancer Research expand its growing reputation for excellence across the world.   Professor Markham said: “I am delighted to be recognised in this way by Queen’s University, a world-leading institution for medical research where I have had the pleasure of supporting and mentoring many of the world’s leading cancer specialists. If I had any words of wisdom for my fellow graduates today, it would be to challenge themselves and to pursue their passions. Their education, from the top-class university that is Queen’s, can and does change lives.” Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.

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Female high-fliers honoured by Queen’s

The first woman to be appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford will be honoured by Queen’s University today (Thursday 2 July). Professor Louise Richardson, a renowned scholar on terrorism and security studies, will be recognised for her exceptional services to education.  She currently leads St Andrews University as its Principal and Vice-Chancellor and will take up the new position at the University of Oxford at the beginning of next year. A native of County Waterford, Professor Richardson studied at Trinity College Dublin where she received a Rotary Scholarship to study in the US and completed a PhD at Harvard University, where she taught for many years and held a succession of high-profile positions. Commenting on her honorary degree, Professor Richardson said: “I am both delighted and honoured to receive this award from Queen’s University, a university which has played such a pivotal role in the history of these islands, and which has educated so many leading figures in public life, the arts, academia and sport.” Meanwhile, another female history-maker will also be honoured today. Leading businesswoman Rona Fairhead CBE, is the first female to chair the BBC Trust, the body in charge of overseeing the corporation. She will be awarded for services to business and commerce. Born in Cumbria, she attended St Catharine’s College, Cambridge where she was president of the University’s Law Society and graduated with a double First in Law. She later obtained a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Her corporate career has straddled consulting to many well-known businesses including Bombardier, the Financial Times Group, Morgan Stanley and British Aerospace. A qualified pilot, Ms Fairhead was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 for services to UK industry. She was also appointed as one of the Prime Minister’s business ambassadors in 2014. Speaking ahead of the graduation ceremony, Ms Fairhead said: “I’m delighted to be graduating with a DSc Econ from Queen’s University; it’s a very exciting day. I would encourage all of my fellow graduates today to live their lives to the full and grab every opportunity to make a positive difference to their world.”  Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.

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Award winning student lands employment after graduation

An award winning student will graduate today with a First Class BSc Degree in Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition with Professional Studies from Queen’s University before beginning employment. Victoria Brady, from Glennane, Co Armagh, has just landed employment, as a New Product Development Technologist in TS Foods, a family-owned, fresh and frozen food producer based in Castlewellan, Co Down. Victoria was also recently named runner-up in the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) NI’s Young Scientist of the Year 2015, with a prize including £500 and a year’s membership of IFST. Victoria’s final year research project was on Food Fraud and the Stakeholder in the Beef Supply Chain – a very topical subject in the wake of international food-fraud scandals. Reflecting on her time at Queen’s Institute for Global Food Security, Victoria said: “I am passionate about the production of food and have always wanted to be part of the growing agri-food industry. I chose to study at Queen’s as it has such a strong reputation in this area and I was not disappointed. The course provided me with scientific knowledge and skills through both academic and practical avenues. “The professional-studies module allowed me to apply what I had learned with a year’s placement at Deli Lites Ireland. Through this, I gained an invaluable insight into the agri-food industry and the various roles within it. By going straight from my degree into a Northern Ireland firm, I am an example of how Queen’s supports and grows our local industry with a steady supply of market-savvy graduates.” Victoria joins the 94 per cent of Queen’s students who are in employment or further study six months after graduating. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.

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UK Student Volunteer of the Year prepares for medical career

UK Student Volunteer of the Year, Aidan Bannon, who helped establish the Red Cross at Queen’s University, is celebrating his graduation this week.  Aidan, from Belfast, who is graduating with a degree in Medicine, was awarded the title of the UK’s ‘Student Volunteer of the Year for 2014’ for his tireless work to improve the lives of students at Queen’s. He has already secured a job as a doctor at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.  As a founder of the Red Cross Society at Queen’s, an organisation which aims to support disadvantaged people in society, Aidan has helped improve the confidence and skills of over 3,500 young people across Northern Ireland. He has also been involved in the student Volunteer Academy and spearheaded the ‘Mind Your Mood’ campaign at Queen’s, which has raised awareness of mental health issues across the University.  Aidan said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Queen’s. I’ve met so many good people, learnt so much from my lecturers, and been inspired to make a difference. The School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences is a hub of volunteering and leadership opportunities, and it has given me the chance to give something back and to help improve the lives of other people. “I’m really looking forward to the next step. I will be working as a doctor, something I’ve always dreamed of doing, but I also plan to continue to volunteer and to try and improve society for everyone.” Aidan joins the 94 per cent of Queen’s students who are in employment or further study six months after graduating. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.  

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At the heart of success for Queen’s scientist

A Queen’s University student, who is due to graduate today, has been successful in securing funding from the British Heart Foundation to do a PhD. Rachel Caines from Ballyclare, graduates with a degree in Human Biology this week before beginning her PhD researching the role of a DNA remodelling protein. She hopes her research will translate from bench to bedside for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, which is the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Rachel has previously worked with the Centre for Experimental Medicine’s Summer Studentship programme and her goal is to work towards the role of a Principal Investigator, at the forefront of stem cell research. Rachel said: “During my time at Queen’s I was selected for two summer studentships at the Centre for Experimental Medicine which helped me develop my practical laboratory skills, scientific writing and communication skills and showed me pathways in which my degree could take me. These placements were crucial for demonstrating my commitment to a career in scientific research and no doubt were vital in securing my PhD. “This also allowed me to register for Degree Plus, a scheme run by Queen’s to nurture its students to become global citizens as well as proud Queen’s graduates and workplace ready.” During her time at Queen’s, Rachel was also a member of St John Ambulance QUB Links, taking up the post as President in her final year. Rachel joins the 94 per cent of Queen’s students who are in employment or further study six months after graduating. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.

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Double celebration for proud mum

It’s a double celebration today for a proud Queen’s University student who has balanced being a new mum with her busy studies. Amie Graham, from Bangor, who is graduating with a BSc in Biological Sciences,will be joined on her big day by her proud husband Jordan and her 17-week old son Lincoln, who was born as Amie was completing her final dissertation. Amie said: “It’s been quite tough at times and I’ve had to go without sleep during my exams, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Having Lincoln with me on my big day will be a dream come true. “A Queen’s degree is more than just a qualification, it has given confidence and skills that I never thought possible and I’m looking forward to moving on to the next step in my career.” Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.  

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Fourth time’s a charm for dedicated doctor

A dedicated doctor who volunteers to support disabled people across Ireland, is celebrating his fourth degree from Queen’s University today. Michael Moran, from Belfast, is graduating with a PhD in Medicine from the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s - having already achieved a Bachelor of Science degree, a Bachelor of Medicine degree, and a Masters in Medical Education. In his free time, Michael helps to organise trips for people who are sick or disabled to a   religious shrine in Lourdes, France. He is also a member of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes, a panel of doctors who evaluate medical evidence in regard to unexplained cures at Lourdes. Michael currently works as an Academic Clinical Lecturer at Queen’s, as well as an Ear, Nose and Throat registrar in the Belfast and South Eastern Health Trusts. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.  

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U.S. exchange proves life-changing for Queen’s graduate

From the academic halls of Queen’s University to a life-changing exchange programme in America – one student graduating today has had an unforgettable year of study. Lauren McMahon, from Belfast, was chosen to represent Queen’s School of History in their first ever exchange programme with the University of Illinois. During her time there Lauren also completed an internship with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library. Lauren, who is graduating with a degree in English and History, said: “My time in the USA really helped to broaden my horizons and I learnt so much. I was able to travel across the country, whilst meeting people that I now regard as friends for life. They helped me to have the ultimate American experience. “A degree at Queen’s is more than just a qualification, it’s a chance to try new things, and it gives you the confidence and skills to achieve your full potential.  Without the support of staff at Queen’s none of this would have been possible. The exchange programme allowed me to explore the world and meet some of the nicest people I have ever known.” Queen's students have access to over 200 work placements and study programmes each year - an opportunity that really changed Lauren’s perspective on life. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087. 

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Graduate entrepreneurs celebrate Google success

A team of student entrepreneurs who won a prestigious €10,000 business competition at Google’s Headquarters in Dublin, are set to graduate today. Victoria Potts and Alex Caskey, graduating in Computer Science, and Adam Whiteside, graduating in computer games development, won the ‘Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition’ for their product Visit - an innovative new smart phone ‘app’ that has the potential to boost the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. The Visit app - which the students developed through their new start-up company Ivea Labs - provides tourists with videos and information about local attractions such as museums and galleries, as well as giving owners information about how they can improve their businesses and boost the visitor experience. Victoria said: “None of this would have been possible without the help of staff in our school and the team at Queen’s Enterprise Student Union. They were a big support and we now plan to trail the app with some local businesses and to develop a viable business plan, so the future looks really exciting. Our time here at Queen’s has shown us that a degree from Queen’s isn’t just a qualification – it opens a door to a world of opportunities”. Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.

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Homeless benefit from Queen’s Graduate

A student whose volunteering commitment and entrepreneurial drive has helped support the homeless community in Belfast is celebrating his graduation today. Paul Loughran, who is graduating with a degree in Business Information Technology, co-founded Regenerate NI, a student led community organisation that gives homeless people in Belfast the opportunity to gain part-time jobs in regeneration projects. Paul, from Belfast, came up with the idea for Regenerate NI when he joined Enactus Belfast – a Queen’s programme that encourages students to develop social projects that support disadvantaged people in the community. Since it was founded in 2013, Regenerate NI has gone from strength to strength. Twelve Queen’s students now work on the programme, providing support, training and employment opportunities for homeless people across the city. Along with his work on Regenerate, Paul has also received international recognition for his volunteering work at Queen’s, winning the Queen’s Student Union President's Award For Student Achievement, as well as ‘Volunteer of the Year’ from the Union of Students in Ireland. This year he also sat on the steering board of the ‘Mind Your Mood’ mental health campaign at Queen’s, while he was selected as a Northern Ireland Social Ambassador for a project working with No.10 Downing Street, and for the last two years he has been on the Board of Directors for CAUSE, one of Northern Ireland’s biggest mental health charities. Paul has also been elected to the Queen’s Student Union Council for the past two years and was elected to serve as the Student Union Vice President for Community for 2015/16. He said: “I helped start Regenerate because I wanted to make a difference in society and support those people who are vulnerable or have gone through a tough time in their lives. It has proved a great success and I’m proud that I was involved. During my time at the University I feel I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of my fellow students and that’s something I’m very proud of. “Queen’s is renowned for creating global citizens who are workplace ready after graduating and I believe I have accomplished both attributes. A degree from Queen’s is more than just a qualification, it helps you aspire to achieve your goals in life, reach your potential and make a difference in society.” Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on comms.office@qub.ac.uk or 028 9097 3087.

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