07-2012 Press Releases

 

New Queen’s spin-in company to revolutionise cancer detection
Dr. Hugh Cormican CEO of Cirdan Imaging.
Dr. Hugh Cormican CEO of Cirdan Imaging.

The development of novel medical imaging techniques to revolutionise cancer detection and treatment will be the result of a new partnership announced today between Queen’s University Belfast and Cirdan Imaging Ltd.

The research will focus on developing new imaging equipment using X-rays and near Infrared (NIR) Fluorescence to assist clinicians in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Complete surgical removal of a tumour is vital for the patient, and one of the most important prognostic factors for survival.  The new devices will be used in diagnostic procedures, as well as cancer surgery, to better discriminate between healthy and malignant tissue.

Cirdan Imaging’s first new device will be an imaging tool developed to assist Radiologists to take a biopsy from a suspect lesion to help diagnose breast cancer.  This product is planned to be launched within the next 12 months.

Queen’s University have taken an equity shareholding in Cirdan Imaging Ltd through its venture spin-out company QUBIS Ltd, representing their first ever company spin-in.

Dr. Hugh Cormican is CEO of Cirdan Imaging. His previous collaboration with QUBIS led to the creation of Andor Technology, the fastest growing company manufacturing high performance digital cameras in the world today, employing some 260 people in 16 offices worldwide.

Speaking about the new partnership, Dr Cormican said: “I am delighted to be working with QUBIS and Queen’s University again, and I look forward to the collaborative efforts in developing new cancer imaging techniques.  We know that speed of detection and treatment of cancer is critical to patient outcomes and we hope that through this new faster, more efficient technology, patient outcomes and survival will be improved.

“Queen’s University is one of the world’s leading research centres for cancer research, and with our collaboration we can help bring the benefits of that research to impact on patient’s lives in considerably shorter timescales than occur elsewhere in the world.  In business terms we anticipate that there is also the potential to be the next IPO (AIM stock exchange listing) for Northern Ireland in five years time.”

QUBIS CEO, Frank Bryan, said: “QUBIS is delighted to be involved in supporting this research initiative which will help develop safer, more cost effective, user friendly and compact diagnostic tools for early, more accurate diagnosis of cancer globally.  Research into cancer has predominately been on getting an improved understanding of the disease, or on new therapeutics.  Cirdan Imaging is focused on developing more accurate detection tools for the clinicians to better diagnose and treat the cancer, an area which has lagged behind.  The team in Cirdan have an impressive track record in imaging technology and we are excited to be involved in this project.”

For further information visit www.cirdanimaging.co.uk and www.qubis.co.uk
 
For further information contact Claire O’Callaghan, Communications Officer Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Software development and food safety initiatives to boost local economy
Professor Chris Elliott
Professor Chris Elliott

Local skill shortages in both the Food Safety and Software Development sectors were addressed today by Queen’s University, when it announced exciting new plans that will help boost the Northern Ireland economy. This has been made possible by the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, who has just committed additional funding to these critically important sectors.

The new MSc in Software Development at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences was also endorsed by the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster who said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland and the economy as it will address the current shortage of software developers here. We know that an increase in the number of software developers available in Northern Ireland is an attraction for companies considering investing here.”

The course which starts in September 2012 has already seen strong interest from non-IT graduates, with over 50 being offered a place. Selection onto the programme is via a rigorous industry endorsed selection process.  The welcome financial support from DEL has allowed the School to put in place additional measures that will enhance the overall student experience and employment opportunities for graduates of the programme.  

John Healy, Director and Head of Technology Citi, said: "It is vital to international companies like Citi that we have a world-class University on our doorstep providing quality graduates equipped with the skills we need. The launch of the MSc in Software Development demonstrates Queen's is listening to employers, and by doing this is ensuring global companies such as ours will continue to invest in Northern Ireland."

Food Security
With growing problems in international food fraud and a need to improve food traceability, the world renowned Institute of Agri-food and Land Use is offering a brand new MSc in Advanced Food Security. Students will be taught by internationally recognised experts in many aspects of current and emerging topics in global food safety.

They will also gain an understanding of the links between the consumption of different types of foods and the effects (good and bad) on human health. Students will have full access to one of the most advanced food safety laboratories in the world to undertake a research project on an important and current food safety topic.

Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute of Agri-food and Land Use at Queen’s said: “The course has been specifically tailored to students who aim to work within the local or global agri-food industries or who wish to follow a career in laboratory based food safety research.

“Food scares such as dioxins in eggs, melamine in milk or E coli in vegetables are reported in the media frequently. What lies behind these contamination incidents is a highly complex global trade in food, and science is seeking solutions to ensure what we eat is safe, wholesome and free from fraud. The MSc will give a unique insight into these problems and give students first-hand experience of developing science based solutions to global issues.”

Professor Elliott concluded by saying that the government of Northern Ireland has recognised the importance food safety plays to the local economy as well as playing a major role in protecting the health and well being of its citizens.

For further details and to submit an application on the MSc in Advanced Food Security please contact Dr Mark Mooney, mark.mooney@qub.ac.uk and for the MSC in Software Development please contact Dr Darryl Stewart, dw.stewart@qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to the Communications Office at 028 9097 3087 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Children of ‘The Troubles’ more prone to suicide
Professor Mike Tomlinson
Professor Mike Tomlinson

People who grew up in the worst years of ‘The Troubles ‘ are more prone to suicide in Northern Ireland, according to new research carried out at Queen’s University Belfast.

The research, which examined death registration data over the last 40 years, found that the highest suicide rate is for men aged 35-44 (41 per 100,000 by 2010) followed closely by the 25-34 and 45-54 age groups. The findings showed that children who grew up in the worst years of violence between 1969 and 1977-78 are the cohort which now has the highest suicide rates and the most rapidly increasing rates of all age groups.

The study found that the overall rate of suicide for both men and women in Northern Ireland doubled in the decade following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, rising from 8.6 per 100,000 of the population in 1998 to 16 per 100,000 by 2010.  Suicide rates for men went from 13 per 100,000 of the population in 1997 to 24 per 100,000 by 2008; for women the increase was from a rate of 3.9 to 7.3 over the same period.

Speaking about his research, Professor Mike Tomlinson, from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s, said: “The rise in suicide rates in the decade from 1998 to 2008 coincide with the move from conflict to peace in Northern Ireland.  The increase in suicide rates can be attributed to a complex range of social and psychological factors.  These include the growth in social isolation, poor mental health arising from the experience of conflict, and the greater political stability of the past decade.  The transition to peace means that cultures of externalised aggression are no longer socially approved or politically acceptable.  Violence and aggression have become more internalised instead. We seem to have adjusted to peace by means of mass medication with anti-depressants, alcohol and non-prescription drugs, the consumption of which has risen dramatically in the period of peace.”

The research also compared hospital presentations resulting from self-harming in nine cities across Britain, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.  It found that Derry had the highest rate of such presentations, with 611 per 100,000 of the population in 2009, while Dublin, had a rate of 352 presentations in the same year.  The self harm rate in Derry was higher than that of Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford.

Professor Tomlinson said: “During the 1970s and 1980s, the suicide rate rose steadily up to a rate of 10 per 100,000, low by international standards. It then fell slightly over a ten year period. The puzzle is, why have we seen such a dramatic increase in the rate since 1998? What this research reveals for the first time is that the age groups with the highest suicide rates are the cohort who were children during the worst years of violence. Those born and growing up in the conflict experienced no other social context until the late 1990s.  There are clear indications from the research that this cohort not only has the highest suicide rate but also the most rapidly increasing rate when compared with other age groups.

 “Northern Ireland’s suicide prevention strategy has so far made little impact on the upward trend. It may well be missing the target by over-emphasizing interventions with younger age groups and failing to focus on those who experienced the worst of the violence.”

For media enquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on +44 (0) 289 097 5391 or at c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s Professor to Chair Ministerial Advisory Group
Professor Paul Connolly
Professor Paul Connolly

Professor Paul Connolly, Head of the School of Education at Queen’s University, has been invited by the Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, to chair a Ministerial Advisory Group on the future of shared education in Northern Ireland.

Promoting shared education is a key commitment within the Programme for Government for Northern Ireland and the Advisory Group will advise the Minister on how best this can be done.

In announcing the membership of the Group, the Minister said: “There is scope, and need, for more shared education which will deliver quality education to all children, as well as equality, good relations and community cohesion benefits. Shared education has an important role to play and now is an opportune time to debate this across civic society.”

“I have appointed Professor Connolly, chair of the Advisory Group and he will be assisted by Dawn Purvis and PJ O’Grady in this important work. The members of the Group have been chosen because of their personal commitment to improving education – not because they represent any organization or sector.”

Over the next six months, the Ministerial Advisory Group will consider existing evidence and examples of good practice and will consult widely with parents, pupils and key stakeholders.

Speaking of his appointment, Professor Connolly said: “We are delighted to have been invited to undertake this fundamental review of how best to take forward shared education in Northern Ireland. As one of the key commitments in the Programme for Government we are also aware of how strategically important our advice to the Minister will be on shared education.”

“The group is committed to being open and inclusive in its approach and will seek to consider all arguments and options. Underpinning our work will be a commitment to being evidence-based.”

“We are due to meet in the coming weeks to set out our methods and programme of work.”

Media inquiries to the Communications Office at 028 9097 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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Northern Ireland students to benefit from Santander funding

Northern Ireland students are to benefit from £7 million committed by Santander to support higher education in the UK in 2012.

The announcement was made by Ana Botín, Chief Executive Officer of Santander UK, at the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony in London, marking the fifth anniversary of Santander Universities in the UK.
                                            
Ms. Botín also announced an internship scheme which will allow 500 university students across the UK to work in a SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) for a period of three months. The students will receive a salary of £1,000 per month. Santander and several SMEs have joined efforts to fund this initiative. 100 new mobility grants of £2,500 each have also been made available to UK students who want to study abroad. These scholarships are in addition to the 571 mobility awards Santander gave in the UK last year.

Queen’s University has been part of the Santander Universities network since 2008. In that time, the University has developed a rewarding and exciting partnership with the Bank, which directly benefits students and staff and enhances international research links. Queen’s students will be eligible to apply for the internships and grants announced by Ms. Botín.

Over 50 UK Vice-Chancellors attended last week’s Awards ceremony, organised by Santander UK, through its Santander Universities Global Division. During her speech, Ms. Botín praised the work of UK Vice-Chancellors saying: “There is no doubt that the UK is home to the finest higher education system in the world.”

At a time when budget cuts are affecting the Higher Education sector, the CEO of Santander UK highlighted the role universities play in economic recovery. “Your ideas, your innovations, your students will drive economic growth. We need you to be the world’s engines of progress and invention. We need you to incubate the enterprises of tomorrow.”

She then went on to describe SMEs as “the backbone of the UK economy” as they create three-quarters of all new jobs. The Bank is committed to support SMEs through the Santander Breakthrough programme, which was launched earlier this year to provide funding for SMEs at a time when these companies are struggling to receive bank loans. Ana Botín announced the first investment made by Santander Breakthrough for a total figure of £1m to Vocality, a company that delivers data and voice solutions for satellite and constrained bandwidth communications.

Ms Botín and Lord Terry Burns, Chairman of Santander UK, welcomed prominent figures from the financial, academic and political spheres, among others: David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science and Professor Eric Thomas, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol.

Earlier in the day, and also as part of Santander’s funding to universities, Emilio Botin, Chairman of the Santander Group, together with Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, handed out 100 Formula Santander scholarships to UK university students. The scholarships, of € 5,000 each will allow students to continue their studies abroad. 

The event came to a close with the announcement of the winners of the second Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. Three undergraduate and three postgraduate business plans received cash prizes of up to £20,000 after being selected from projects submitted by universities across the country.

Media inquiries to Marketing and Communications, Santander Universities UK. Carlos Leira 07824526390 carlos.leira@santander.co.uk

 

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New international plan to tackle cyber crime launched

A new international plan to tackle cyber crime has been launched Queen’s University Belfast.

The new research roadmap has been developed by leading international cyber security researchers along with industry and government experts who gathered for Second World Cyber Security Summit at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s in March.

More than 80 invited participants from around the world attended the event. They included Chief Scientific Advisor from the UK Home Office - Professor Bernard Silverman, Cyber Security Division Director of US Homeland Security - Dr Douglas Maughan, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Labs - Eugene Kaspersky, Director of Innovation, Connected Energy Networks Cisco - Barbara Fraser, and Raj Samani, CTO, EMEA, McAfee.

Now available online, the summit report contains strategic recommendations under four main research themes critical to the on-going creation of cyber security defences.

The collective strategy includes the following elements:

Adaptive Cyber Security Technologies - using ‘big data’ in adaptive techniques and harnessing nature-inspired mechanisms to provide faster response and provide hi-fidelity detection

The Protection of Smart Utility Grids – Smart Meter as a Platform (SMaaP), standardisation of smart meters, their platforms, authentication protocols and sensing technologies; the mitigation of realistic threat scenarios

Security of Mobile platforms and applications - investigating common policies and technologies that can be applied to all components in the mobile architecture and focusing on trust models, authentication and application certification

Multi-faceted approach to cyber security research – studying social norms and user behaviour to exploit opportunities for cross cutting research based around ownership, identity, privacy and measuring trust.

CSIT Principal Investigator, Professor John McCanny, said: “The success of the inaugural 2011 World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit is reflected in the fact that even more of the biggest names in global cyber security attended this year’s event.

“The annual summit is unique in that it brings together cyber security experts, researchers and government policy makers from around the world for two days to identify, map out and ultimately combat the biggest threats to online security.

“Ultimately our objective is to help make the Internet of tomorrow a safe and secure platform which is vital for global economic growth and societal development.” 

Media inquiries to Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Queen's University scientist awarded top prize

A female scientist from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre has won a prestigious fellowship for her work on ionic liquids enabling biomedical applications.

Dr Geetha Srinivasan is one of four outstanding female scientists to be awarded the 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women In Science Fellowships (FWIS)
The fellowships,worth £15,000 each, can be spent on whatever they may need to continue their research, from buying scientific equipment to paying for childcare or travel.

The winners were selected by a jury of eminent scientists, chaired by Professor Dame Athene Donald (DBE, FRS), Professor of Physics and Gender Equality Champion at the University of Cambridge and FWIS Laureate.

The other winners were Dr Silvia Giordani, from Trinity College Dublin, for her work on a new avenue towards “smart” medicines; Dr Katrina Lythgoe, from Imperial College London, for her work in multiscale evolutionary dynamics of important human diseases; and Dr Claire Spottiswoode, from the University of Cambridge, for her work on the genetics of cuckoo egg mimicry: solving a century-old evolutionary puzzle.

Chair of the jury Professor Donald said: “These awards are always a joy to judge.  We had an outstanding shortlist of eight bright young women who care deeply about their areas of study. This made selecting the winners an incredibly tough task, but it also showed the extraordinary range of scientific research being carried out by female scientists in the UK and Ireland.

“I am delighted that the scientific community in UK and Ireland is waking up to the fact that we have to provide men and women with a level playing field in scientific study, allowing us judges the privilege of making our selection from such a fantastic shortlist.”

The fellowships, now in their fourteenth year internationally and sixth year in the UK, promote the importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science by offering awards to outstanding female postdoctoral researchers. The UK fellowships have been designed to provide flexible financial help for the winners to undertake research in their chosen fields.

The awards are run in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the Irish National Commission for UNESCO and the Royal Society.

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Stage Is Set For 50th Belfast Festival At Queen’s

The 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s today (Thursday 5th July) announced details of the first 15 acts in a line-up of over 100 names that will perform as part of the 50th Festival celebrations which will take over the city from 19th October – 4th November.  Leading Soprano, Lesley Garrett, Festival favourite Van Morrison, comedian Jon Richardson, Grammy Award winning  Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the world renowned Buena Vista Social Club were some of the names revealed  by  Festival Director Shan McAnena in what will be the first of many announcements due over the coming weeks.

This year the Festival is part of the ni2012: our time our place programme which recognises its ranking on the international festival market and its role as an attraction for visitors to the region. Welcoming today’s announcement Queen’s University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “Festival 50 is a momentous milestone for both the Festival and the University. The Festival has delighted audiences down through the years and is recognised as a cultural powerhouse for the city and the region. The 2012 line up sets even higher standards and, coming in a year that has meant so much to Belfast, is a fitting finale to all of the year’s events.”

To mark the 50th Festival, this year’s programme will welcome back Festival founder Michael Emerson whose original vision to celebrate the creative spirit of Belfast has shaped the cultural landscape of Northern Ireland over the last five decades.  Michael will return to Belfast from his home in Mexico to witness how his vision - which began as a small campus based event – has evolved to become an internationally acclaimed cultural showcase bringing together diverse art forms and engaging audiences in new artistic experiences. 

In honour of Michael’s return a Mexican flavour will be running throughout the programme including performances from Michael’s wife, Mexican flautist Elena Duran, and one of the most distinguished groups within the Mexican musical scene today - Pate de Fua. To add to the carnival feel, Cuban music phenomena Buena Vista Social club will be making an appearance and promise a knock out performance.
Festival Director Shan McAnena is delighted with the programme for 2012 saying: “It’s a really exciting line-up this year and this first release of shows should whet the appetite for what is to come. Our vision this year is to celebrate the past but also to deliver new experiences encouraging new audiences to ‘get in on the act’. We want to engage, excite, inspire and even provoke audiences with an eclectic mix of performances. It will be a great celebration of culture for everyone to be part of.”

The Festival will open with a fanfare of 50 trumpets as they play a new work by local composer Michael Alcorn.  This overture sets the scene for a strong music programme which will feature names such as Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo who will be bringing their rich harmonies to Belfast audiences whilst critically acclaimed soprano Lesley Garrett will perform alongside world renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson in the magical surroundings of the Clonard Monastery.  The Monastery will also play host to a rare performance by Polyphony who were recently described as “possibly the best small choir in the world” by USA magazine Encore. 

To celebrate the 50th Festival a number of favourites will be returning including a reunion of  “The Folk Club” which this year will take place in the Elmwood Hall. Festival veteran Van Morrison will be playing in a couple of intimate ‘supper concerts’ at The Europa Hotel and “Turn down the Lamp” returns with narration and traditional music featuring Dan Gordon, and many more.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of Arts Council and the Festival’s principal public funder, is looking forward to an exciting line up at this year’s Festival, “As always the range of local and international talent that will be on offer throughout the Festival is as tantalising as anywhere else on the island of Ireland. It’s a great platform for local acts to show what they can do in the company of top international performers, and it’s a unique opportunity for audiences to see major acts which come to Northern Ireland on the strength of the Festival’s reputation.”

2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s will be offering a wide selection of shows for children and young people with its largest line up of family orientated shows for many years.  The popular Enchanted Garden returns to Botanic Gardens but this time with a new twist and a first for Festival is the introduction of a new show “Comedy 4 Kids” which comes to Belfast following six successful runs at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Comedy on the whole is back by popular demand for 2012 and a headline name will be Jon Richardson, who boasts years of success at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is a regular participant on television programmes such as “8 out of 10 Cats”, “Have I got news for you” and” Never mind the Buzzcocks.”

Susie McCullough, Director of Marketing and Events at Northern Ireland Tourist Board, commented “The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is a key event within the ni2012: our time, our place’ programme.  We are showcasing the very best of Northern Ireland to the world and The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is a fitting finale for what is proving to be a huge year for the region.”

The 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s will run from 19th October – 4th November 2012. More show announcements will be made over the coming weeks on the Festival Facebook page and via twitter. For more information visit www.belfastfestival.com and become a Facebook Friend to be kept up to date with announcements. For further information on ‘ni2012: our time, our place’ events and activity see ni2012.com

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First Schumacher Ireland Summer School examines Ireland’s economic future
Robin Murray, Industrial Economist, The Young Foundation (left), with Professor Peadar Kirby, University of Limerick.
Robin Murray, Industrial Economist, The Young Foundation (left), with Professor Peadar Kirby, University of Limerick.

Ireland’s economic future was under the spotlight at the inaugural Schumacher Ireland Summer School, which took place in Belfast recently.
Organised by Queen’s School of Law and Schumacher College in Devon, the Summer School welcomed an impressive line-up of international leaders in economics and sustainability. It was hosted by the Camphill Community at Glencraig.

John Woods, event organiser and Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Law, said: “It was wonderful to have such enthusiastic participation from so many people committed to finding a sustainable future for Ireland, north and south. We are grateful to the School of Law at Queen’s for sponsoring the event and to Camphill Glencraig for being such amazing hosts.”

Professor Sally Wheeler, Head of Queen’s School of Law, said: “The partnership with Schumacher Ireland is an exciting new departure for the School of Law and Queens in our pursuit of excellence in education and leadership for sustainable development. The tradition of the summer school model – combining learning with conviviality - is the perfect vehicle for bringing the Schumacher experience to Ireland.”

Jonathan Dawson, Head of Economics at Schumacher College, set the tone of the event with a challenging question, 'Why, when scientists are telling us that exponential economic growth is impossible in a finite planet do our politicians remain addicted to growth?'

The Summer School drew students from a number of fields engaged in the social economy and the Third Sector. They were engaged by some of the world’s leading teachers and experts in new economics, including Hazel Henderson, an Honorary Member of the Club of Rome and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. Other contributors included: industrial economist, Robin Murray; Professor of International Politics and Public Policy in the Department of Politics and Public Administration  at the University of Limerick, Peadar Kirby; and Head of Economics at the Schumacher College in Devon, Jonathan Dawson. The Building Change Trust organised a seminar on social finance.

The Schumacher style of teaching is innovative in content and style, challenging participants at every level – from the intellectual through to the biographical - and delivering what is described as an ‘immersive experience’, so that everyone becomes a teacher and a learner, sharing the exchange of ideas as well as the chores and upkeep.

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Entrepreneur, broadcaster and minister honoured at Queen’s
Dr William Crawley
Dr William Crawley

Broadcaster Dr William Crawley, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Rev Norman Hamilton, and Entrepreneur Jim Herbet, are to be honoured today (Thursday 5 July) by Queen’s University.

Dr William Crawley will be honoured for his services to broadcasting.  The journalist and broadcaster presents programmes covering current affairs and hard-hitting debate to entertainment, arts, religion and ethics. His television work includes Blueprint, a three-part multi-platform series which told the story of 600 million years of Ireland's natural history; the documentary Frozen North, which explored the likely future impact of climate change; and a trilogy of semi-autobiographical films examining three Northern Ireland taboos: death (Sorry For Your Trouble), religion (Losing Our Religion) and alcohol (Dying For A Drink).  Sunday Sequence, which he has presented for BBC Radio Ulster each week since 2002, has won the UK religion and ethics programme of the year award and other specialist religion reporting awards.

Delivering the citation for Dr Crawley, Pro-Chancellor at Queen’s, Rotha Johnston, said: “William Crawley combines real intelligence, a lively curiosity and a thirst for knowledge with huge wit and humour. William’s rapier like questioning on a range of issues ranging from religion and ethics to art and literature make complex topics accessible to his audience. His infectious enthusiasm and genuine gift for telling stories has been put to good use across a range of BBC network and local audiences on TV and radio.  It is for his expansive career in broadcasting that we have the great privilege of honouring him today.”

Rev Norman Hamilton will receive his honorary doctorate for public service.  The Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, is currently minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church in North Belfast.  Mr Hamilton was ordained as assistant minister in Lowe Memorial congregation in Finaghy, before being called as minister to Ballysillan in 1988, where his ministry has been marked by extensive involvement in community relations work, for which he was awarded an OBE in 2007. He is presently a member of the General Assembly's Church and Society Committee.  He has been based in an inner city Parish in North Belfast for over 20 years, during which time he has committed himself to improving educational opportunities for young people in the greater Ballysillan area, through his involvement with BELB and the local schools.
 
Professor Tony Gallagher, Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s, delivering the citation said: “Norman has been an inspirational leader in community development work for over 30 years, and his achievements include the development of sustainable employment opportunities, the promotion of cross community dialogue and engagement, and work with ethnic minorities.”

Also receiving an honorary degree is entrepreneur Jim Herbert for his services to science. He will receive his doctorate in front of graduates from the School of Biological Sciences.

Mr Herbert is an entrepreneur based in Lansing, Michigan.  Originally a Texan cattle farmer, he formed his own food diagnostics company in 1982.  From humble beginnings, this company, Neogen Corporation, is now a Nasdaq listed, multinational entity with a valuation in excess of $1 billion.  Mr Herbert is an excellent example of a very successful science entrepreneur.  Neogen Corporate and its UK subsidiary, Neogen Europe, are now among the most important commercial sponsors of research within the Institute of Agri-Food and Land Use.

Delivering the citation, Professor Chris Elliott from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s, said: “On this momentous day it is apt that the CEO of Neogen (taken from the Greek meaning for ‘new generation’) also receives his award with our new science graduates.  Eulogising over Jim’s many incredible achievements, his close friend and work colleague, Rick Current, singled out two of Jim’s qualities for adoption by new graduates; dedication and unending interest in what makes things tick.”

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Deputy Chief Constable honoured at Queen’s

Deputy Chief Constable, Judith Gillespie OBE, and businessman Ronnie Kells OBE will be honoured by Queen’s University today (Friday 6 July).

Judith Gillespie will receive an honorary Doctorate for public service in front of graduates from the School of Education.

Having achieved the Baton of Honour during her initial training in the RUC, Ms Gillespie went on to rise steadily through the ranks, gaining a wide range of experience in various policing roles.  Judith was the first female officer from the RUC/PSNI to attend the Strategic Command Course at Bramshill and the female Assistant Chief Constable with the PSNI.  In this role Judith established the new Criminal Justice Department and led on military withdrawal as ACC Rural.  In June 2009 Judith was appointed Deputy Chief Constable.

Professor Yvonne Galligan, from the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s, delivering the citation, said: “'In conferring an honorary degree on Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, we recognise her path-breaking achievements as a professional police officer. We also celebrate her as an outstanding role model for women in Northern Ireland and a champion of women's equality with men within the police service.  This incredibly accomplished woman has successfully negotiated the task of balancing professional and family responsibilities - one that working women in every country and in all walks of life face. As a police officer, she is committed to developing women in the service, and has spoken passionately about the need to tackle the causes of crimes against women.”

Ronnie Kells will be honoured for services to business and commerce, the University and the wider community.  Mr Kells retired in 1998 as Group Chief Executive of the Ulster Bank, following a career in stockbroking and banking spanning 44 years.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators and of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland. Ronnie was the founding Chairman of the Northern Ireland Film Commission and the Northern Ireland Small Business Institute.  He is also a Director of a number of public and private companies, a member of the Board of Directors of QUBIS Ltd and also serves as a Non-Executive Director of Readymix Plc.; Chairman of United Drug PLC; and a number of other companies.

Delivering the citation for Ronnie Kells, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer of Queen’s, James O’Kane, said: Ronnie’s business and financial expertise have been invaluable to us at Queen’s. He has not only been an outstanding business man but a far sighted and committed servant to Northern Ireland. The expertise, knowledge and wise counsel he has freely given to Queen’s will leave a lasting legacy and we thank him for this.”

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Christine goes from back-stage to centre-stage at Queen’s graduations

Budding stage manager, Christine Collins, will be under the spotlight at Queen’s graduations today (Friday 6 July).

Christine, from Finaghy, will graduate with a BA (MM) Drama (Major)-English (Minor). She will begin a six-month internship with the Lyric Theatre later this month, during which she will shadow the theatre’s Production Manager. Christine has also secured a six-week placement with Kabosh Theatre Company, and will work with the production and technical team on their production for this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Christine said: “I have always aspired to a career in stage management. Thanks to the practical experience I gained during my course, I have been able to get my career off to a great start by securing these two sought-after placements.

“Queen’s Drama department is the largest university drama department in Ireland and has close links with the professional theatre company. This, along with the opportunity to participate in productions at the University’s Brian Friel Theatre, has given me an invaluable insight into what life would be like as a production or stage manager. There is no better place to study Drama – I would recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue a career in theatre, whether on stage or behind-the-scenes.”

Christine’s secured her internship with the Lyric Theatre through the Northern Bank’s Freedom Experience Scholarship. Her placement with Kabosh Theatre Company is through the Northern Ireland Theatre Association (NITA) Technical Theatre Bursary Scheme, which aims to strengthen the professional theatre infrastructure across Northern Ireland.

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

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Banbridge student overcomes Asperger’s to graduate from Queen’s

Rachel Carlisle, from Banbridge, will graduate from Queen’s today (Thursday 5 July), having overcome the challenges of Asperger’s syndrome and ill health, with the help of the University’s Disability Services department.

Graduation with a 2:1 in Zoology, Rachel said: “I came to Queen’s in 2006 and settled in well to University life. The first year of my course went perfectly, but at the beginning of my second year I collapsed and was forced to take the year out, due to ill health. While I was able to return the following year, full-time study proved difficult as my health was still poor.

“Thankfully, the School of Biological Sciences were very understanding of my circumstances and they worked closely with Disability Services at Queen’s to provide invaluable support and ensure I had every opportunity to complete my degree.

“I was able to return to my studies on a part-time basis and the University put in place arrangements to accommodate my own specific needs. These included note takers, a study skills advisor, and a specially-trained Asperger’s Syndrome support worker. I was able to record lectures on a dictaphone when I wasn’t able to take notes, and was given extra time to submit assignments during periods of illness.

“I can honestly say that without the support of the School and Disability Services, I would not have been able to continue with my studies, and I wouldn’t be looking forward to graduating today. I hope that my story will inspire other would-be students with disabilities or ill health to follow their dreams and come to Queen’s. The support available here is first-class and it has allowed me to enjoy a much fuller student experience than I could have imagined.”

Linda Maguire, Head of Disability Services at Queen’s, said:  “Over 1,350 students with a wide range of disabilities currently study at Queen’s. Disability Services works closely with staff across the University to create an inclusive environment which widens participation and learning opportunities for disabled students.

“Each student who discloses a disability is provided with the opportunity to discuss their individual needs with a Disability Officer to ensure that the support they receive is tailored to meet their individual needs. This enables them to have an equitable experience on their chosen course and all aspects of university life.

“We are delighted to have been able to support Rachel during her time at Queen’s and everyone who worked with her is proud to see her graduate today.”

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

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Adventurer and inspirational speaker Mark Pollock honoured by Queen’s
Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Tony Watson CBE
Tony Watson CBE

Adventure athlete, rower, author and motivational speaker, Mark Pollock is among those being honoured at Queen’s University today (Wednesday 4 July).

Also being honoured are astronomer Professor Didier Queloz, computer scientist Professor Dame Wendy Hall, French chemist Professor Jean-Marie Lehn and businessman Tony Watson.

Mark Pollock will receive a Doctorate for his services to the community. Unbroken by the loss of his sight at 22 years of age and a paralyzing fall 13 years later, Mark Pollock has made surviving catastrophic change an art form and inspired audiences worldwide.  For the last decade, the adventure athlete competed in the harshest environments on the planet.  In his determination to overcome the biggest of challenges Mark has competed against professional explorers like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Olympic gold medalists and special forces personnel - all able-bodied athletes.

Norma Sinte, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Queen’s, who will deliver Mark Pollock’s citation said: “By Mark’s example he continues to give hope and determination to people he may never meet.  He has adopted as his own the motto of famous explorer Sir Edward Shackleton  - ‘by endurance we conquer’.  Mark Pollock is an inspiration to thousands who themselves are overcoming adversity. He is an athlete, adventurer, motivator, a man who knows no boundaries – and it is our privilege to honour him today.”

Professor Didier Queloz, who will receive a Doctorate for services to science, is a Geneva based astronomer with a prolific record in finding extra-solar planets.  He was a PhD student at the University of Geneva when he and Michel Mayor discovered the first exoplanet around the “sun like star” (an exoplanet is a planet around another star other than the sun).  This was the first discovery of a planet around another star and was immediately recognised as a ground breaking discovery, which has changed the direction of astronomy since 1995, with large, multimillion euro telescopes and instruments and space missions being designed to work in this new area. 

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, will be honoured for her services to engineering.  She was one of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, she has been at its forefront ever since. The influence of her work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and the emerging research discipline of Web Science. 

Professor Jean-Marie Lehn will receive his doctorate for services to science in front of graduates from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. 
Professor Jean-Marie Lehn received the Nobel Prize together with Donald Cram and Charles Pedersen in 1987 for his work in defining the field of supramolecular chemistry.  He earned his degree and PhD at the University of Strasbourg, followed by postdoctoral work on the synthesis of vitamin B12 at Harvard.  His academic career continued at the University of Strasbourg and, in 1980, he was elected to a position in the prestigious College de France.  He is a commander of the Legion d’Honneur, an Officer of the Ordre National du Merite, a Knight of the Ordre des Palmes Academiques and winner of Davy Medal for Science.  Professor Lehn has a long and distinguished record of eminence in science.  He has also been recognised by the leading Academies in the world, including the Royal Scoiety and the French Legion d’Honneur.

Tony Watson CBE, will receive a Doctorate for services to business and commerce for his work on the economic redevelopment of Northern Ireland.

After graduating from Queen's in 1967 with a degree in Economics, Tony Watson joined Prudential as an economist.  His career has included terms with the investment firms Touche Remnant, Citibank and AMP Asset Management.  Tony retired as Chief Executive of Hermes Pensions Management in January 2006.  He currently serves as Chairman of Marks and Spencer Pension Trust Limited and the Asian Infrastructure Fund.  He retired as Chairman of the Strategic Investment Board in Northern Ireland at the end of March 2009.  Tony is a non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group plc, Hammerson plc, Witan Investment Trust and Vodafone Group – he is also on the Advisory Board of Norges Bank Investment Bank and is a member of the Shareholder Executive Board.  Called to the English Bar in 1976, he is now a Bencher at Lincoln's Inn.  In January 2009, Mr Watson was awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for his services to the economic redevelopment of Northern Ireland. 

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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UK’s Brightest Business Brain graduates from Queen’s

The UK Universities Brightest Business Brain student graduates from Queen’s University today (Wednesday 4 July) before embarking on a prestigious entrepreneur programme, which will see him have one-to-one meetings with the likes of David Cameron and Richard Branson.

David Galbraith, from East Belfast, outshone more than 3,000 competitors to be crowned the UK’s Universities Brightest Business Brain earlier this year. Since then, he beat over 6,000 other students to secure first place in the GradIreland National Student Challenge, and competed in the AB InBev European University finals.

David is taking a break from his award-winning run to graduate today with a degree in Computing and Information Technology. Having received job offers from a number of international companies, he has chosen to spend a year on the prestigious New Entrepreneurs Foundation programme, which gives up to 30 of the UK’s brightest, entrepreneurially minded young people the opportunity to work for a year with some of the country’s leading business, including Virgin Active, 2 Sisters Food Group and DFS.

Most recently, David’s Q Consulting team of Queen’s students beat off strong competition to become Irish champions at the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) Global Business Challenge (GBC). David will travel to Sri Lanka to represent Queen’s and Ireland at the GBC Global Final at the end of July. The CIMA GBC is designed to give students a taste of the boardroom and business, by casting them in the role of a firm of consultants reporting to the board of a fictitious company.

The honour is the latest in a list of accomplishments, which also saw David and fellow Queen’s students win the Belfast City Council Meximum Business Challenge, taking over the running of  Mexican eaterie Boojum in Belfast for four days.
David said: “The last year has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. I got off to a shaky start at University and had to repeat my first year. It was only after my final year industrial placement that I realised the benefits of throwing myself into University life, giving one-hundred per cent to everything I did, both inside and outside the lecture hall.

“Alongside my studies and competition entries, I signed-up to Queen’s International Buddy Scheme, volunteering to help international students settle into University life in Belfast. I was also a founding member of the Computer Science Mentors programme within the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, mentoring students through their first year at Queen’s.

“I’ve had a busy few years, but I have realised that I thrive under pressure – an attribute that I’m sure will be useful over the next year as I will be working alongside some of the UK’s leading business people. That said, I am delighted to be taking a day off today to relax and enjoy my graduation – I think I deserve it!”

David will celebrate his graduation alongside his mum Deborah and sister Amy.

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

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A jurassic achievement for Queen’s graduate

Dinosaur enthusiast Gavin Bradley will graduate from Queen’s University today (Wednesday 4 July) as he prepares to jet off to Canada to continue his studies under one of the world’s leading dinosaur experts.
 
Gavin, from Dunmurry in West Belfast, has been awarded a coveted Canadian Foundation Memorial Scholarship, which will see him begin a Masters in Dinosaur Palaeobiology at the University of Alberta, under the guidance of world-renowned palaeontologist Dr Philip Currie.
 
Gavin graduates from Queen’s today with First Class Honours in Archaeology-Palaeoecology. This week sees a double-celebration for the Bradley family as Gavin’s sister Anna graduated from Queen’s yesterday (Tuesday 3 July) with a degree in Medicine.
 
Gavin said: “I have always dreamed of a career in archaeology, not least because of the opportunities to travel and take part in excavations around the world. One of the things that appealed to me most about the Archaeology- Palaeoecology course at Queen’s was the opportunity to study abroad. Thanks to Queen’s international links, I was able to complete the second year of my course at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, studying alongside some of the world’s leading palaeontologists, with access to their huge collection of dinosaur samples.
 
“That year in Canada was a life-changing experience for me, and I was determined to return to Alberta to pursue a Masters. The Canadian Memorial Foundation Scholarship offered me the opportunity to do just that. My studies at Queen’s gave me a solid foundation on which to apply for the Scholarship and, thanks to the support of my lecturers here, I was accepted. I will return to Canada next month and, after I’ve completed my Masters, I hope to study for a PhD, excavate around the world and one-day return to Queen’s as a lecturer.”
 
The Canadian Memorial Foundation Scholarship is a highly competitive award offering final-year undergraduate students from the UK the opportunity to complete a fully-funded year of study in pursuit of a Masters at a Canadian university. Having been shortlisted from hundreds of applicants, Gavin was offered the Scholarship after completing a rigorous interview at the Canadian High Commission in London.

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

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Be part of the online conversation during Graduation on Twitter and Facebook.

You can either tweet directly to us @QueensUBelfast or use the hashtag #QUBGrad and we will be retweeting lots of your messages.

A new forum page has been launched on the Facebook. You can post all your thoughts about your graduation here.

Tag yourself

Check the graduation photo album on Facebook, updated daily, to see if you or anyone you recognise is featured. You can tag yourself and your friends just as you would on your own Facebook account. If you would like your own photographs included in the album email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Join us on Facebook and Twitter

Be part of the online conversation during Graduation on Twitter and Facebook.

You can either tweet directly to us @QueensUBelfast or use the hashtag #QUBGrad and we will be retweeting lots of your messages.

A new forum page has been launched on the Facebook. You can post all your thoughts about your graduation here.

Tag yourself

Check the graduation photo album on Facebook, updated daily, to see if you or anyone you recognise is featured. You can tag yourself and your friends just as you would on your own Facebook account. If you would like your own photographs included in the album email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Three of Northern Ireland’s top business leaders are honoured at Queen’s
Brian Conlon
Brian Conlon

Three of Northern Ireland’s top business leaders will be honoured for services to business and commerce at Queen’s University today (Monday 2 July).

Brian Conlon, the founder and chief executive of one of Northern Ireland's most successful technology companies, leading businesswoman Joanne Stuart, and Vice President for the European and South American operations of Caterpillar Electric Power Division, Dr Mark Sweeney OBE, will all receive honorary Doctorates.

Brian Conlon is Chief Executive and Founder of Newry-based First Derivatives, which he established in 1996, with a starting capital of just £5,000. First Derivatives is now a leading global service provider to the capital markets industry. Its client list boasts nine of the ten largest US investment banks, thirty of the world's top hedge funds, two of the world's largest stock exchanges and three of the largest retail banks in south-east Asia.

Delivering the citation for Brian Conlon, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s, Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie, said: “Brian Conlon is an inspiration to the students of the Queen’s University Management School graduating here today.  The meteoric rise and success of his business, which started off in the spare bedroom of his family home with his mother acting as secretary and now employs 550 people in providing software services to capital markets in around the globe, is a shining example to follow.”

Joanne Stuart will receive her honorary degree this morning in front of graduates from Queen’s University Management School.

Best known for her role as the former Chair of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland, Joanne Stuart is also a successful businesswoman in her own right, with a career spanning almost 20 years in the IT industry.  In 2009, the Department for Employment and Learning commissioned her to undertake an independent review of tuition fees and student finance arrangements in Northern Ireland, which was published in 2010.

Delivering the citation for Joanne Stuart, Director of Research and Enterprise at Queen’s, Scott Rutherford, said: “Joanne is a tireless champion for the local business community and has worked exhaustively to help Northern Ireland on its path to economic growth.  She hopes to see a real change in the development of our economy– and no doubt will continue to play a leading role in that transformation.”

Also receiving an honorary degree is eminent engineer and businessman Dr Mark Sweeney OBE, Vice-President for the European and South American operations of Caterpillar Electric Power Division.

His industrial career started with a marine engine company, Mercury Marine, based in Wisconsin USA, where he spent almost eight years in different engineering management roles.  He returned to Northern Ireland in 1994 to join FG Wilson as Engineering Manager and was appointed Managing Director in 2002.  In 2004, FG Wilson was integrated into a newly formed Electric Power Division of Caterpillar.  Dr Sweeney was appointed Global Operations Director for the Division with responsibilities for the operational facilities in Northern Ireland, USA, China, Brazil and India.  He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and is a Board member of Business in the Community in Northern Ireland. He was President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce from 2006 – 2008 and was awarded an OBE 2007 for Services to Business and Commerce in Northern Ireland.

Professor Mark Price, Head of the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s, who will deliver the citation said: “Dr Sweeney is an outstanding example of engineers who both help make our world better and who drive our economy forward.  One of Dr Sweeney’s key tenets that he tries to follow the mantra “begin with the end in mind”. Regardless of whether the task is large or small, the outcome is usually more satisfactory if you have a clear idea in your mind of the result you want before you begin.  Given the success of Dr Sweeney’s career, this is great advice for today’s graduates.”

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Award winning nurses at Queen’s

Joanne Fulton from Portadown is celebrating at Queen’s University today (Wednesday 4 July) after being named this year’s best overall nursing and midwifery graduate. 

Joanne will be awarded the Florence Elliott Prize at this evening’s graduation ceremony. Voted for by School teaching staff, and staff on the wards where the students carried out placements, the Florence Elliott Prize recognises outstanding academic and clinical achievement.

Joanne 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 my nursing career as I begin my new job working with people with dementia.”
 
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.

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:

Zoe Hall from Newcastle
Loren McGinley from Lisburn
Emma Joy McCulloch from Newry
Carla Wylie from Lisburn
Chanelle Crawford from Dungannon
Mairead Gates from Dungannon
Tracy McAllister from Newtownabbey

Professor Linda Johnston, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s said: “The School of Nursing and Midwifery is delighted to reward the hard work and dedication of our students on their graduation day. Queen’s is the foremost provider of Nursing and Midwifery education in Northern Ireland. Our graduates play a central role in delivering healthcare to us all and I congratulate Catherine 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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University’s £200 million investment to boost Belfast and Northern Ireland
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson with Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee, Basil McCrea MLA and local business woman Joanne Stuart who today received an honorary degree from the University.
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson with Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee, Basil McCrea MLA and local business woman Joanne Stuart who today received an honorary degree from the University.

Queen’s University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, today announced an ambitious investment programme over the next four years totalling £200 million.

Speaking at the beginning of the summer graduation ceremonies, the Vice-Chancellor said: “Today’s announcement is good news for Queen’s University the local economy and the education of our young people. The funding settlement for higher education agreed last year by the Northern Ireland Executive creates more places for local students, allows for an increase in international students and, in turn, will provide a much needed boost to the local economy.

“The investment programme will allow us to enhance the quality of the student experience through improved services and facilities, to invest in world-class teachers and researchers and extend our commitment to promoting graduate employability.

“Over the past decade our investment in new buildings and facilities has supported over 10,000 jobs in the construction industry. The investment plan we are announcing today will lead to more construction jobs, support local businesses and inject much needed money into the Northern Ireland economy. It will also support the University’s objective of doubling the number of its international students, which will inject an additional £20 million of spending power per annum into the local economy.

“In addition to increasing international student numbers, we will provide more opportunities for our students to take international internships, invest in world-leading research programmes and support the City Council in its ambition to make Belfast a leading, global learning city.”

Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry said: "The University is to be congratulated for continuing to invest in the future of our students and for its efforts to attract international students to Northern Ireland.  The Programme for Government will fund up to 700 additional higher education places here by 2015 and these will be taken up by Northern Ireland students.  It is good news to hear that the increase in international students will bring with it a much needed economic injection and that the announced capital investment will be a welcome boost for the local construction sector.  This demonstrates that higher education is about much more than just teaching and research.  The higher education sector is an important economic driver that we must continue to support and I am pleased to see Queen's University leading the way."

Welcoming the announcement, Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee, Basil McCrea MLA said: “There is no greater challenge for Northern Ireland than to provide sustainable employment for our young people, particularly those who have invested years in study and exams. I welcome the acknowledgment from the University that investment in research skills and finding employment for graduates are core activities of any modern university and I look forward to seeing the particular outworking of this strategy”.

Professor Gregson continued: “The impact of Queen’s is one that benefits everyone within Northern Ireland. Our reputation as a University of international significance grows steadily, and will continue to grow.  And all of us in Queen’s will play our key role as Northern Ireland continues to build for the future, a future that will be forged by our students and graduates – those who are graduating this week and those who will graduate in the years to come. Our investment in them is an investment in Northern Ireland and it is an investment in the global community in which they are set to play a part”.

Media inquiries to Kevin Mulhern, Head of Communications and External Affairs, telephone 028 9097 3259 / 07813 015431 or email k.mulhern@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s honours leading figures from medicine, philosophy and education
Teresa Rees
Teresa Rees
Professor Martha Nussbaum
Professor Martha Nussbaum

Internationally renowned medical oncologist, Professor Bruce Chabner, American philosopher, Professor Martha Nussbaum, and distinguished social scientist and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University, Professor Teresa Rees CBS will receive honorary degrees from Queen’s University today (Tuesday 3 July).

Professor Bruce Chabner is being awarded a Doctorate of the University for services to science and medicine.  He is an internationally renowned medical oncologist and cancer pharmacologist, who has devoted his medical career to clinical research and the improvement of patient care.  Professor Chabner is currently the Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Clinical Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. 

Delivering the citation for Professor Bruce Chabner, Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, said: “One of the major features of Dr Chabner’s career has been his focus on the improvement of treatments for patients which remains his major goal.  Both his clinical and research work have led to significant advances in patient treatment and improvements in the quality of care provided to patients during both his time at the National Cancer Institute and, more recently, at Harvard Medical School.  He has been an inspiration to many leading US and international oncologists and cancer specialists who have gone on to implement his legacy of quality cancer care throughout the world.”

Professor Martha Nussbaum will receive her honorary degree this afternoon in front of graduates from the School of Law.

Recognised globally as a most distinguished philosopher, with a deep commitment to humanity, human diversity and social justice.

Professor Sally Wheeler, Head of the School of Law at Queen’s, who will deliver the citation said: “Martha Nussbaum is one of the world’s leading public intellectuals and one of the most distinguished academics of our time. Her work addresses the big questions that societies across the world, including ours in Northern Ireland face. She asks how we should approach the idea of freedom, justice and equality for all. What does this mean in the context of development which may produce structural gender inequality? How do we accommodate such human emotions as love, disgust and grief within a framework that wants to support humanity in all its projects. This has found her offering views on questions as diverse as gay rights and wage inequality. Her ideas about the importance of education to creating citizens of the world committed to liberal values is something that every state should commit to.”

Also receiving an honorary degree is distinguished social scientist, Professor Teresa Rees CBE.

After six years as Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University, where she is a Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Professor Rees is now combining strategic work for Cardiff University with being Director for Wales of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Her research is focused on gender mainstreaming and the analysis of how policies and practices can reproduce patterns of inequality. She is a long-term expert adviser to the European Commission Research Directorate-General on women and science.  Professor Rees’ awards include her election as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (2001), Honorary Life Membership of the National Union of Students Wales, Western Mail ‘Welsh Woman of the Year Val Feld Award’ (2002) and Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to higher education and equal opportunities (2003).

Delivering the citation, Professor Barbara McDermott, who is Director of Gender Equality in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, said: “Professor Teresa Rees is a distinguished social scientist, having an illustrious record of research and consultancy in fields such as education, training and the labour market.  Her achievements have been recognised by a number of high profile accolades including with the award of the CBE in 2003.  It is a privilege for us to be able to recognise the achievements of Professor Rees at Queen’s today.”

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s University Communications Office, Tel: 028 9097 5391 or email c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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‘Sister act’ for Derry duo at Queen’s graduations
Emma and Cara
Emma and Cara

It will be a double celebration for the Nangle family from Londonderry today (Tuesday 3 July) as sisters Emma and Cara both graduate from Queen’s University.

Emma is graduating with a Law degree, while older sister Cara is graduating in Medicine.

Looking forward to their graduation day, Emma said: “When Cara began her studies at Queen’s she loved it so much that I decided straight away that Queen’s was the place for me. I started my Law degree two years later and, with my sister on hand to show me the ropes, I very quickly settled into university life.

“We have both loved our time at Queen’s and have made a great circle of friends, particularly those we met while living at the Elms Village. We have shared so much during our student days, so we were delighted to find out that we would be graduating on the same day – although it did present a dilemma as we both wanted to wear the same pair of shoes. We settled the argument in the end by buying one pair each!”

Emma plans to return to Queen’s in September to study for a Masters degree, while Cara has secured a new job at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

They will celebrate their graduation alongside their mother, younger brothers Sean and James, and uncle Gerard.

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

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Supreme Court justice and Toomebridge student honoured by Queen’s
Lord Kerr
Lord Kerr
Owen McMeel
Owen McMeel

Lord Brian Kerr, Justice of the UK Supreme Court and former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, is this year’s Queen’s University Graduate of the Year.

Lord Kerr is receiving the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public life, to the legal profession in Northern Ireland, and to student life at Queen’s.

Also being honoured at this evening’s ceremony (Monday, 2 July at 7.00pm) is Toomebridge student Owen McMeel who will receive the University’s coveted Student of the Year Award.

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards, now in their 12th 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. The student winner receives a trophy and £500 and the graduate winner also receives a trophy.

Lord Kerr graduated from Queen’s in 1969, before embarking on a distinguished legal career which saw him appointed a Judge of the High Court and knighted in 1993. He was in charge of judicial review in Northern Ireland from 1995, sat as an ad hoc judge in the European Court of Human Rights and Strasbourg, and travelled extensively in the United States as an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow in 1999, studying the administration of justice and court practice in America.

He served as Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 2004 until 2009, when he became one of the inaugural Justices of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

As Supreme Court Justice, Lord Kerr has officiated in several high profile cases. In recent weeks, along with his colleagues, he has been deliberating on the extradition case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Alongside his illustrious legal career, Lord Kerr has made an ongoing contribution to life at Queen’s. He is a regular attendee and speaker at events at the University’s School of Law and the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise with a new generation of legal minds.

The University marked his contribution to public life in 2009 with the conferment of an honorary degree, and this evening’s Graduate of the Year Award is further recognition of his important role in the legal wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland, and further afield, and to student life at Queen’s.

Owen McMeel will be awarded the Student of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to University life. Owen, who is studying Product Design and Development at Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been a leading light in many entrepreneurial, charity and community projects at Queen’s.

Owen will receive his award this evening, having just returned from the Euro-Africa Youth Summit in Brussels. He was one of only eight young people from the UK, selected from over 1,500 from across Europe and Africa, to take part in the event. Owen spent a week at the summit, discussing the latest developments in social issues ranging from human rights and poverty reduction to climate change and social entrepreneurship.

In the past year alone, Owen has won the prestigious titles of Queen’s Entrepreneurial Student of the Year and the UK Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Student of the Year. He was crowned winner of the first ever Queen’s University Apprentice competition, competing over a four-week period in a range of ‘apprentice-like’ tasks which tested his negotiation, creativity, product design, communication, and team work skills. Owen also received the Individual Contribution to Queen’s Students’ Union Award in recognition of his contribution to student life.

Throughout his time at the University, Owen has been active in Queen’s Students in Free Enterprise, which helps nurture students’ entrepreneurial skills while benefitting the local community, and led a SIFE project which revitalised the Orchard Cafe, a social enterprise on Belfast’s Malone Road. 

Supporting the awards, John Lilly, Manager of First Trust Bank University Road, said: “We have been sponsoring the Awards since their inception and are very proud to be associated with such an important event in the Queen’s University calendar.  Our endorsement of these Awards recognises and celebrates the achievements of Queen's students and graduates who make such an invaluable contribution to life in Northern Ireland.”

Jonathan Hill, President of the Queen’s Graduates’ Association, believes that the awards are a true recognition of all that is best about Queen’s. He said: “These Awards recognise the huge achievements of our graduate and student winners and are richly deserved. Owen McMeel is an individual of great drive, determination and achievement, while Lord Kerr is a graduate of real integrity and someone who has risen to the very pinnacle of his chosen profession. Both are inspirational role models for future generations of students at, and graduates of, Queen’s University.”

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

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Castlereagh Mum fulfils lifelong dream to graduate
Elizabeth celebrated her graduation with (L-R) her partner John Tumilson, who is a groundsman at Queen's, and sons Ryan, Robert and Christopher.
Elizabeth celebrated her graduation with (L-R) her partner John Tumilson, who is a groundsman at Queen's, and sons Ryan, Robert and Christopher.

A Castlereagh mum-of-three will celebrate her graduation at Queen’s University today (Monday 2 July), 31 years after leaving school with three O’levels.

48 year old Elizabeth Martin will graduate with a BSc Sociology and Social Policy. She is the latest person in her family to forge links with the University. Her eldest son Robert graduated from Queen’s last year, middle son Christopher is currently studying for a Masters, sister Ditanya has a PhD from Queen’s, while her partner John Tumilson is a groundsman at Queen’s and has been busy preparing the University to look its best for Summer Graduations.

Elizabeth said: “I left school in 1981 with only three O’levels. As the main carer for my disabled mum, looking after her was my priority at that time, so my education had to take a back seat.

“As time went by, I met and settled down with my partner, becoming a stay-at-home mum to my three sons, two of whom had special needs. As they grew up, I took various courses in my local college, including an access course in Social and Behavioural Sciences. I had always dreamed of going to University, but I never actually believed it would happen.

“Eventually, I decided to take the plunge and apply to Queen’s. To my delight, I was accepted into the second year of the BA Sociology and Social Policy course. I threw myself into University life. I completed the Study Skills course to help me identify my own learning style and study more effectively, became the student representative on the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Education Committee, and sat on the Staff/Student Consultative Committee, providing feedback on behalf of students on the courses, academic provision and support offered by the School. I also worked for the Jobshop at Queen’s, helping out during enrolment and registration. All of this also helped me achieve a Degree Plus Award for my involvement in extra-curricular activities.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time at Queen’s, and I hope my experience will show others that it is never too late to return to education, and to do well.”

Elizabeth will celebrate her graduation alongside her son Robert and her partner John.

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

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

Be part of the online conversation during Graduation on Twitter and Facebook.
You can either tweet directly to us @QueensUBelfast or use the hashtag #QUBGrad and we will be retweeting lots of your messages.

A new forum page has been launched on the Facebook. You can post all your thoughts about your graduation here.

Tag yourself
Check the graduation photo album on Facebook, updated daily, to see if you or anyone you recognise is featured. You can tag yourself and your friends just as you would on your own Facebook account. If you would like your own photographs included in the album email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Student recovers from stroke to graduate from Queen’s

A Dungiven student will be celebrating at Queen’s University today (Monday 2 June), after overcoming a number of mini-strokes to graduate with a BSc Finance degree.

Colin Quigg suffered a number of mini-strokes during the second year of his BSc Finance course, which left him in hospital for three weeks. Having made a spectacular recovery, he is now graduating with a 2:1 from Queen’s University Management School and is looking forward to starting a new job with a local web services company.

Colin said: “My health problems began in December 2009 when my optician discovered damage to my peripheral vision during a routine eye test. I was too unwell to complete my exams in January 2010. While I managed to catch up on my exams, I had fallen too far behind on my studies and my results were poor. I had suffered damage to my eyesight, and my concentration levels had been affected. All in all, I wasn’t very hopeful for my future.

“But I was determined not to let my circumstances beat me, and decided to persevere with my studies and career aspirations. It was a requirement of my BSc Finance course to complete a work placement and, twelve months after falling ill, I started my one-year placement in the Finance department of Net-finity.

“The placement couldn’t have come at a better time. I thrived in the working environment, received top marks for my placement project, and the company have now offered me a full-time job, which I am looking forward to starting in August.

“During that year I also completed the Dublin marathon in 3 hours and 56 minutes, raising £500 for the Cedar Foundation, a charity who supported me when I was ill.

“The past couple of years have been a rollercoaster for me. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but I am delighted to be celebrating my graduation today, knowing that my health and my career are firmly back on track.”

Colin will celebrate his graduation alongside his parents.

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

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

Be part of the online conversation during Graduation on Twitter and Facebook.

You can either tweet directly to us @QueensUBelfast or use the hashtag #QUBGrad and we will be retweeting lots of your messages.

A new forum page has been launched on the Facebook. You can post all your thoughts about your graduation here.

Tag yourself

Check the graduation photo album on Facebook, updated daily, to see if you or anyone you recognise is featured. You can tag yourself and your friends just as you would on your own Facebook account. If you would like your own photographs included in the album email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Join us on Facebook and Twitter

Be part of the online conversation during Graduation on Twitter and Facebook.

You can either tweet directly to us @QueensUBelfast or use the hashtag #QUBGrad and we will be retweeting lots of your messages.

A new forum page has been launched on the Facebook. You can post all your thoughts about your graduation here.

Tag yourself

Check the graduation photo album on Facebook, updated daily, to see if you or anyone you recognise is featured. You can tag yourself and your friends just as you would on your own Facebook account. If you would like your own photographs included in the album email j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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