DCU Online Research Access Service

    Experts’ perceptions versus firms’ experiences of corruption and foreign direct investment*

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    This paper documents that standard measures of corruption based on the perceptions of experts and opinion surveys and measures based on the experiences of firms can in some cases lead to quite different conclusions as to how much of a problem corruption is in a country. We then show that while perceptions of corruption are significantly associated with the amount of foreign direct investment that a country attracts, the experience on the ground is not. We find some evidence that greenfield investment is significantly associated with the experience of corruption while mergers and acquisitions is driven by perceptions

    Software process improvement in graduate software engineering programs

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    At the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), software process improvement (SPI) is taught in lecture format and with a 10-week implementation project in an organization by teams of students of the graduate software engineering curriculum. The SPI course is taught using a ‘problem- goal-solution’ approach where students learn that any process improvement initiative must be based on issues preventing an organization in achieving its organizational goals whether the organization is a company or a not-for- profit organization. An important aspect of this course is the management of technological change where students learn and put in practice in their project the ‘soft’ issues which are part of most SPI organizational initiatives

    Encouraging distance education? An analysis of eu policy on distance education, 1957-2004

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    This report analyses the development and implementation of the European Union’s policies in distance higher education 1957-2004; it identifies the actors involved in developing these policies; and it investigates the barriers to implementation in the form of the digital divide and attitudinal factors. From the 1960s, the pace of technological and economic change led to obsolescence of skills, and a demand for a more educated workforce. Distance education emerged in the 1960s and 70s as an instrument at national level to redress disadvantage, and to provide flexible, high-quality and cost-effective access to higher education to adults who were unable, for geographical, employment or personal reasons, to attend on-campus. The expansion of distance education led to the opening of a policy window in the 1980s with the Maastricht Treaty (1992) commitment to ‘encouraging the development of distance education’. Supported by influential policy entrepreneurs and networks, distance education held centre stage in European Union education and training policy for a brief period in the early 1990s. However, by 2004, a form of policy amnesia had set in. Despite rhetorical references to social cohesion in the context of the Lisbon goals of making Europe the most competitive economy in the world, the original concept of distance education had been superseded by an unquestioning acceptance of ICTs as the solution to the problem of lifelong learning. Yet, analysis of the digital divide in Europe and a survey of student attitudes to ICTs and elearning, reveal formidable barriers to the adoption of technology-led solutions. The thesis concludes that the European Union has sought to encourage the use of technology in education and training. However, it has failed to encourage the flexibility in terms of time, place, pace, and indeed accessibility, which would enable adult students to participate in education on a truly lifelong learning basis

    Using the resonance hairpin probe and pulsed photodetachment technique as a diagnostic for negative ions in oxygen plasma

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    In this work the resonance hairpin probe technique has been used for detection of photoelectrons generated during photodetachment experiments performed to determine negative ion density in an inductively coupled oxygen plasma. An investigation of the temporal development of the photoelectron population was recorded with the hairpin probe located inside the laser beam region and at various points outside the beam. Varying the external microwave frequency used to drive the probe resonator allowed the local increase in electron density resulting from photoelectrons to be determined. At a fixed probe frequency, we observed two resonance peaks in the photodetachment signal as the photoelectron density evolved as a function of time. Inside the laser beam the resonance peaks were asymmetric, the first peak rising sharply as compared with the second peak. Outside the laser beam region the peaks were symmetric. As the external frequency was tuned the resonance peaks merge at the maximum electron density. The resonance peak corresponding to maximum density outside the beam occurs at a delay of typically 1–2 µs as compared with the centre of the beam allowing an estimate of the negative ion velocity. Using this method, negative ion densities were measured under a range of operating conditions inside and outside the beam

    Staging the clinical status from blood of cancer patients by chip-based cell enumeration following targeted removal of normal cells

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    Even though an agreed phenotypic definition of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) remains elusive in the literature, many current detection technologies isolate candidate cells based on molecular recognition of cellular epitopes that may not accurately predict CTC load. Rather than using such an epitope specific “positive-capture” strategy, we present a chip-based, centrifugal microfluidic platform integrating “negative-capture” magnetophoretic removal of normal white blood cells (WBCs) from a sample and subsequent, array-based enumeration of individualized, (untagged) abnormal cells. We compared the numerical recovery of cells on the array with the status of the donor patient, showing that the chip can has the potential to indicate the oncogenic severity of the blood donor

    A machine-based personality oriented team recommender for software development organizations

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    Hiring the right person for the right job is always a challenging task in software development landscapes. To bridge this gap, software_rms start using psychometric instruments for investigating the personality types of software practitioners. In our previous research, we have developed an MBTI-like instrument to reveal the personality types ofsoftware practitioners. This study aims to develop a personality-based team recommender mechanism to improve the e_ectiveness of software teams. The mechanism is based on predicting the possible patterns of teams using a machine-based classi_er. The classi_er is trained with em-pirical data (e.g. personality types, job roles), which was collected from52 software practitioners working on _ve different software teams. 12software practitioners were selected for the testing process who were recommended by the classi_er to work for these teams. The preliminary results suggest that a personality-based team recommender system mayprovide an effective approach as compared with ad-hoc methods of teamformation in software development organizations. Ultimately, the overallperformance of the proposed classi_er was 83.3%. These _ndings seemacceptable especially for tasks of suggestion where individuals might beable to _t in more than one team

    Medical device software as a subsystem of an overall medical device

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    Embedded software is a sub-system that needs to be integrated with the electrical and mechanical subsystems for a functional medical device to be developed and marketed. In order to be able to develop a medical device system through integrating its sub-systems, the complete system requirements should be known at the start of the project and managed throughout development. Software requirements are then derived from the systems requirements. We have developed and piloted a medical device software process assessment framework called MDevSPICE® that integrates processes from various medical device software standards as well as generic software development standards. This paper describes how the MDevSPICE® framework has been designed so as to enable medical device software developers to produce software that will be safe and easily integrated with other sub-systems of the overall medical device. We also describe the lessons learned from piloting MDevSPICE® in the medical device industry and challenges medical device software developers meet in tracing requirements and risks to and from the system level

    What questions are MOOCs asking? An evidence-based investigation

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    Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are a core building block of many MOOCs. In this exploratory study we analyze a sample of MCQs from a number of MOOCs and evaluate their quality. We conducted this analysis using a framework informed by a body of empirical research, which describes several common flaws that may occur in the way MCQs are written or phrased. Studies have shown that the presence of these flaws are likely to compromise the reliability and validity of tests containing these MCQs, potentially leading to poorer pedagogical outcomes. Through our study we contribute to the broad debate of whether MOOCs are a force that can enable enhanced and improved pedagogies or whether they will be susceptible to replicating existing poor pedagogies or practises at scale

    Photoswitchable ratchet surface topographies based on self-protonating spiropyran-NIPAAM hydrogels

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    in this work, self-protonating spiropryan based poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) polymer networks are prepared. These photoresponsive hydrogel coatings can change their surface topography upon exposure with visible light in neutral environment. Photoresponsive surface constrained films have been fabricated of which the swelling behaviour can be controlled in a reversible manner. In a first step, symmetrical switchable surface topologies with varying cross-link density are obtained by polymerization-induced diffusion. Under light exposure, the areas with low cross-link density swell more than the areas with high crosslink density thus forming a corrugated surface. Asymmetric ratchet-like photoresponsive surfaces have been prepared on pre-structured asymmetric substrates. Due to thickness variations of the surface confined hydrogel layer as asymmetric swelling behavior is obtained. Depending on the cross-link density of the hydrogel it is possible to switch between a ratchet and flat surface topography or even an inverse ratchet surface by light

    Ireland’s unseen majority – microbial diversity of the seabed

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    Despite their size, prokaryote (bacteria and archaea) biomass is estimated to represent between 15 and 30% of total living biomass1,2. Prokaryotes play major roles in marine ecosystems and in global biogeochemical cycling3,4. Molecular phylogenetic approaches have revolutionised microbiology and have revealed that the complexity of microbial life is orders of magnitude greater than previous estimates based on cultivation-based approaches5. This highlights how little we currently know about the microbial world and the clear potential of this vast untapped resource for human application. Here we present the first in-depth analysis of microbial community diversity and composition in the Irish Sea. The western Irish Sea is characterised by distinct hydrographic conditions, resulting in summer stratified offshore deeper waters and settling of fine mud, while well-mixed waters and coarser sediment type dominate in the south and coastal regions. We wished to assess whether these factors play a role in prokaryote abundance and diversity
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