National News in Brief – April 16th 2013


Tutor allowance axed in TCD

Lecturers at Trinity College will no longer receive a lucrative allowance of up to €3,000 for providing confidential support to students. Trinity Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast last week confirmed that the tutor’s allowance, paid to lecturers who support students struggling with academic, personal and financial issues, will soon be axed.

Over 100 lecturers currently receive an annual allowance of €3,070 a year to act as tutors to groups of up to 100 students. A further 29 lecturers are paid a half-rate of €1,535 for supporting groups of 45-50.

Dr Prendergast expressed hope that the university will continue to provide a tutor support service, though lecturers will no longer be paid to act in a pastoral capacity. He said that: “[they] don’t believe the work tutors do is part and parcel of the normal work of a lecturer. Tutors are involved in pastoral care of students, which is not normally[their] work.”

The tutor’s allowance has been paid to Trinity lecturers since the 1970s. However, since 1997, the college is required to request permission from the Department of Education to fund its continued payment. Following pressure from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, permission for payment of the allowance has been revoked from September 2013.

NUIG to lead EU Big Data project

Researchers at NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) will lead Ireland’s involvement in a €3 million EU project to create a clear strategy for Big Data in Europe.

The Big Data Public Private Forum (BIG) brings together industry partners, research institutes, policy makers, and community initiatives from six EU countries to discuss challenges posed by the emerging Big Data economy and develop action plans for addressing these challenges at European level.

Director of DERI, Professor Stefan Decker, believes that the EU has reached “a critical juncture where industry, government and academia must come together to put in place methods to deal with data and maximize opportunities for Europe”.

Specifically, the project will increase the proliferation of data technology in Europe by identifying key requirements for Big Data across industry sectors, including transport, energy, finance and manufacturing. Roadmaps developed by the BIG project will help business communities understand the potential competitive advantages…[of]…Big Data technologies.

The project will also identify the required technology research and innovation necessary for a European competitive advantage in the Big Data market.

Fundamental movement skills conference to be held in UCC

University College Cork (UCC) will hold an interdisciplinary conference on fundamental movement skill development on April 19th and 20th. Fundamental movement skills such as running, jumping and balancing, are the foundation for the development of further sport skills and increasing ability to engage in quality physical activity in later life.

The conference, organised by Sports Studies and Physical Education students at UCC and Health Action Zone (HSE), will combine expertise from the fields of Education, Health, Disability and Sport.

Over the course of the conference, a first of its kind, participants will engage in active workshops that aim to address the development of fundamental movement skills for different ages, abilities and settings. Dr Susan Crawford of UCC says that “the conference…boasts a huge hands on component, so there will be lots of opportunity for delegates to develop and explore new skills”.

Health Minister James Reilly will address the conference to reinforce the importance of fundamental skill development across the lifespan from a health perspective.