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Athlone, Ireland

Athlone Institute of Technology is a higher education institution in the midlands of Ireland. Established in 1970 as Athlone Regional Technical College, it has expanded in size, scope, and influence over the period. Its focus in the early years was on providing training in a broad spectrum of occupations ranging from craft to professional level, notably in engineering and science, but also in commercial, linguistic, and other specialities. This has evolved considerably, and at present the institute caters for an educational spectrum that stretches from craft and apprentice training through to doctoral studies and post-doctoral research.The college operated under the management of County Westmeath Vocational Education Committee until 1993, when legislative changes established it as a self-governing entity. Five years later it underwent a name change by statutory order to Athlone Institute of Technology. The Higher Education and Training Awards Council granted the institute delegated authority in 2004 to develop, design, and validate its own courses, to conduct examinations, and to confer its own academic awards up to and including Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications .The student population in Athlone is characterised by a high proportion of learners from overseas. This number is split approximately evenly between European and non-European students, although within that there are large variations. China remains the largest source of international students. Recent agreements signed with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have impacted on the numbers coming from the Middle East.In the years since 2000, AIT has secured more than €23 million in research funding. This has been obtained from a broad range of national and international funding agencies, including the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions , Science Foundation Ireland , Health Research Board , the Technological Sector Research programme, as well as Enterprise Ireland’s Applied Research Enhancement Programme.Among the new purpose-built facilities introduced are the hospitality, tourism and leisure studies building , nursing and health science building , midlands innovation and research centre , engineering and informatics building , and postgraduate research hub . Wikipedia.

Van Hout M.C.,Waterford Institute of Technology | Brennan R.,Athlone Institute of Technology
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy | Year: 2011

The synthetic cathinone derivative club drug 'mephedrone' [4-methylmethcathinone (4MMC)] has been recognized in the EMCDDA early warning system since 2008 [EMCDDA (2010a). 'Article 5 of the Council Decision' council decision 2005/387/JHA of 10 May 2005 on the information exchange, risk assessment and control of new psychoactive substances. Official Journal, L 127. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX: 32005D0387:EN:HTML] and is currently under legislative control in Ireland. Research on this drug remains scant, and primarily UK based. This exploratory research aimed to present a 'consumptive snapshot' of this emerging drug in the Irish drug scene, with specific focus on mephedrone user experiences, social situatedness of use and risk discourses. Twenty two in-depth interviews were undertaken with young Irish people aged 1835 years, who had used mephedrone in the 6 months prior to fieldwork. The resulting narratives were phenomenologically and thematically analysed; and identified unique mephedrone user decision-making processes, particular drug effects and outcomes, socially contextualized mephedrone use and user harm reducing strategies grounded in prior illicit and poly drug taking careers. The research supports UK-based findings, which suggested the presence of drug displacement patterns between licit and illicit, with Irish mephedrone user preferences centralized in mephedrone availability, competitive pricing and general lack of quality illicit stimulants in the street trade. Policy makers and drug educational specialists are dealing with rapid metamorphoses and re-branding of cathinone derivatives circumventing legislation amid widespread internet availability. Copyright © 2011 Informa UK Ltd.

Rowan N.J.,Athlone Institute of Technology
International Journal of Microbiology | Year: 2011

This timely review primarily addresses important but presently undefined microbial risks to public health and to the natural environment. It specifically focuses on current knowledge, future outlooks and offers some potential alleviation strategies that may reduce or eliminate the risk of problematic microbes in their viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state and Cryptosporidium oocysts in the aquatic environment. As emphasis is placed on water quality, particularly surrounding efficacy of decontamination at the wastewater treatment plant level, this review also touches upon other related emerging issues, namely, the fate and potential ecotoxicological impact of untreated antibiotics and other pharmaceutically active compounds in water. Deciphering best published data has elucidated gaps between science and policy that will help stakeholders work towards the European Union's Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), which provides an ambitious legislative framework for water quality improvements within its region and seeks to restore all water bodies to "good ecological status" by 2015. Future effective risk-based assessment and management, post definition of the plethora of dynamic inter-related factors governing the occurrence, persistence and/or control of these presently undefined hazards in water will also demand exploiting and harnessing tangential advances in allied disciplines such as mathematical and computer modeling that will permit efficient data generation and transparent reporting to be undertaken by well-balanced consortia of stakeholders. © 2011 Neil J. Rowan.

McDonnell-Naughton M.,Athlone Institute of Technology
Irish medical journal | Year: 2012

A population based case control study was conducted to examine alcohol consumption and maternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of SIDS in an Irish population. Each SIDS case (n = 287) was compared with control infants (n = 832) matched for date and place of birth for infants born from 1994 to 2001. Conditional logistic regression was used to investigate differences between Cases and Controls establishing Odds Ratio's (OR) and 95% Confidence Intervals (CI). Mothers who smoked were 3 times more likely to have a SIDS Case, and a dose response effect was apparent, with mothers smoking 1-10 cigarettes/day OR 2.93 (CI 1.50-5.71), and those smoking > 10 cigarettes/day OR 4.36 (CI 2.50-7.61). More Case mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy than Control mothers and, within drinkers, the amount of alcohol consumed was also greater (p < 0.05). A dose response with frequency of drinking was apparent. The adjusted odds ratio for those consuming alcohol in all three trimesters was 3.59 (CI:1.40-9.20). Both of these risk factors are modifiable and need to be incorporated into antenatal education from a SIDS point of view.

Flynn R.,Athlone Institute of Technology | Jones E.,National University of Ireland
Speech Communication | Year: 2012

This paper proposes a method to reduce the bandwidth requirements for a distributed speech recognition (DSR) system, with minimal impact on recognition performance. Bandwidth reduction is achieved by applying a wavelet decomposition to feature vectors extracted from speech using an auditory-based front-end. The resulting vectors undergo vector quantisation and are then combined in pairs for transmission over a statistically modeled channel that is subject to packet burst loss. Recognition performance is evaluated in the presence of both background noise and packet loss. When there is no packet loss, results show that the proposed method can reduce the bandwidth required to 50% of the bandwidth required for the system in which the proposed method is not used, without compromising recognition performance. The bandwidth can be further reduced to 25% of the baseline for a slight decrease in recognition performance. Furthermore, in the presence of packet loss, the proposed method for bandwidth reduction, when combined with a suitable redundancy scheme, gives a 29% reduction in bandwidth, when compared to the recognition performance of an established packet loss mitigation technique. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Morrissey F.,National University of Ireland | Morrissey F.,Athlone Institute of Technology
European Journal of Health Law | Year: 2012

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires us to engage in new approaches to decision-making in mental health law. The reclassification of mental health rights to the realm of disability rights is an important step towards equal treatment for persons with psychosocial disabilities. Law reformers worldwide are beginning to consider the implications of the provisions. Legislators will be required to understand the underlying philosophy of the CRPD to realise the rights set out in it. The CRPD possesses a number of innovative provisions which can transform decision-making in the mental health context. Article 12 provides a new conceptualisation of persons with disabilities and their capacity to participate by requiring support to exercise legal capacity. While good practice exists, the provision has yet to be fully implemented by many State Parties. This article discusses the impact of the CRPD on mental health law, legal capacity law and describes examples of supported decision-making models for mental health care. © 2012 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

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