Posts tagged: university of salford

New Chernobyl grant for Salford researchers

Award-winning researcher, Dr Mike Wood, is back in Chernobyl.  This time he’s accompanied by fellow Salford academic, Dr Neil Entwistle, as they undertake fieldwork in Chernobyl’s ‘Red Forest’ for their latest NERC grant.

The Red Forest is the most anthropogenically contaminated radioactive ecosystem on earth.  Located just a few kilometres from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant where the 1986 accident occurred, this 4 – 6 square kilometres area of coniferous forest was killed by high radiation levels.  Before the trees died, their needles turned a red/orange colour and the area was named the Red Forest.  In the 30 years since the accident, the area has transitioned into a deciduous woodland (deciduous trees are more resistant to radiation than conifers).

A severe fire in the Red Forest during July 2016 was reported to have burnt approximately 80 percent of the forest. This presented a unique opportunity to study the effect of fire on i) radionuclide mobility/bioavailability and ii) the impact of radiation on the recovery of the forest ecosystems exposed to another stressor (ie. fire).

The new NERC grant, RED FIRE (Radioactive Environment Damaged by Fire: a Forest in Recovery), is funding an international research team to study the aftermath of the fire.  Dr Wood and Dr Entwistle, both from the School of Environment & Life Sciences at the University of Salford, are working in collaboration with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, University of Nottingham, Chornobyl Center, the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Dr Wood and Dr Entwistle

Dr Wood (second from left) and Dr Entwistle (4th from left) with some of their ‘RED FIRE’ collaborators at the edge of the Red Forest

The team are using a combination of techniques, from soil analysis to drones, to study the fire damaged area.  The project builds on Dr Wood’s previous radioecology research collaborations, including those developed through the NERC TREE project (www.ceh.ac.uk/TREE).  Dr Entwistle, an expert in drone-based research, is a new and valuable addition to the research team due to his specialist expertise.

 

RED FIRE drone

RED FIRE drone-based research begins

RED FIRE is led by Prof Nick Beresford at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.  Initial findings from the project will be reported at the 4th International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (ICRER) in Berlin in September 2017.


Salford Military Historians Deliver Papers at Practitioner Conference at Pembroke College, Oxford

On Monday, 6 March 2017, three Salford academics delivered papers at a one-day conference held at Pembroke College, Oxford. The conference on ‘Military Doctrine: Past, Present and Future’ saw historians and armed forces practitioners meet to discuss the way in which military doctrine has been formulated and disseminated in the past, with a discussion on how past and current experience can inform future practice. The conference was hosted by the Oxford Changing Character of War (CCW) Programme. Three Salford military historians – Dr Brian Hall, Professor Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum – delivered papers, together with other academics and several practitioners.

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

 

‘The idea for the conference emerged after a discussion I had with Dr Robert Johnson, Director of the CCW Programme, while I was a Visiting Fellow at Pembroke last semester’, explained Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History in the School of Arts and Media. ‘The basic idea was that if we considered how military organisations had developed their doctrines from a historical perspective there might be lessons which contemporary military organisations could draw to inform future practice. If we invited those who had written recent doctrine, then that would create a discussion between practitioners and historians.’

 

Military doctrine is, in essence, what armies put in their manuals; the process itself can be very contentious, often leading to major internal controversies inside armed forces. The aim of the conference was to provide an international, historical perspective, and combine these papers with presentations by those who had been involved in the process in the past. Professor Searle began the conference with an overview of historical experience and the lessons which suggested themselves. Dr Brian Hall, Lecturer in Contemporary Military History, offered a case study of British communications doctrine in the First World War. Dr James Corum, Lecturer in Terrorism and Security Studies, one of the co-authors of the US Army FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency manual of 2006, written under the direction of General David Petraeus, reported on the experience of doctrine-writing for what has turned out to be the most down-loaded field manual in history.

 

The conference provided an opportunity for Salford to showcase its expertise in both military history and high-level practitioner experience. Professor Searle noted: ‘It is always very pleasurable as a historian to be able to engage in debate with military professionals and test one’s ideas and interpretations with those who have been involved in real-world policy making, even if it is at times slightly intimidating to be debating with high-ranking officers. However, my experience has been that quality research can very often throw interesting new perspectives on practical problems.’ He added: ‘While the general public often regard history as something which is not particularly practical, it often is extremely useful for policy-makers. Events such these demonstrate the relevance and importance of historians and political scientists for the University of Salford’s ICZ agenda.’


Publishing in Scholarly Journals

Peer review of scholarly writingAs a researcher, sharing your work is essential to furthering the discussion, development and potentially even funding of your findings. The sheer quantity of guides available on “how to write” and “how to target X journal” perhaps signifying the impact of targeting the right place and the best audience for your research.

Before reaching the stage of submitting in the hope of publication, many publishers expect researchers to have already made some key considerations:

  1. Is your research original, engaging, innovative?
  2. Who do you expect to be the audience for your research?
  3. Which journal(s) do you think might be interested in accepting your article for publication and does your article fit with their aims, scope and style?
  4. What are your open access needs?
  5. Is your manuscript suitably and well written (free from grammatical error, solid narrative, clear abstract and conclusions) in accordance with the journal’s style guide?

Your researching peers and foremost, your supervisor, are the best place to start for advice on where to publish and whether your manuscript is ready. Then, once you think you have found the right journal for your article, you should read their Author’s Guide and make sure you can freely submit to them as some journals are invitation-only.

Read more…..


Salford ICZs at Work in a Research Partnership with NEC, BT & EE

ICZs in Action BT, EE, NEC

Photograph – Nick Harrison

Telecommunications student Odum Rowani is conducting a leading-edge study of how weather affects mobile networks in partnership with top engineers from NEC, BT and EE.

Odum, who graduated in MSc Data Telecommunications Networks, is researching for his PhD on the effects of variations in global weather conditions on the quality of data transmission for mobile networks.

And he has the perfect test-bed for his work at the University of Salford after telecom giants NEC, BT and EE chose Salford as a research partner to test new 4G evolution and 5G related network technology.

Odum, who is from Nigeria, said: “A challenge for engineers is how to connect the evolved 4G and 5G cell sites back to the operators core network, and one solution is the use of V-band point to point radio systems.”

Much testing is still needed on the optimum deployment and robustness of ‘point-to-point’  transmissions which use radio millimetre wave frequencies in the 60GHz band; particular how they may stand up to the rigours of the British weather.

Using the University of Salford as a base, the NEC, BT and EE have created a research site to measure the performance of the V-band radio system over a 12-month period when exposed to rain, wind, fog and ice.

“This will be one of the most detailed tests of this type done anywhere in the world to date, so we are delighted it will be hosted in Salford with our partners NEC, EE and British Telecom,” explained Professor Nigel Linge, one of Odum’s professors.

“Millimetre wave point-to-point links operate at very high frequencies to transmit high volumes of data over relatively short distances.  However, the high frequency does mean that it is possibly affected by climatic conditions – the question being by how much.”

The University has installed a radio system complete with transceivers and antennas on the Newton Science and Engineering building and the Maxwell Building at its Peel Park Campus and will monitor transmissions until early 2018.

Stephen Walthew, Manager – Transport Networks at NEC Europe, said Salford was a perfect choice for the testing:  “We were looking for an urban area, somewhere the weather is very variable and where there is expertise in network engineering. Given our long-standing relationship with Professor Linge and his colleagues, we are delighted the University of Salford can host the tests.”

“The 60GHz connection has the opportunity to become the solution of choice for high capacity backhauling, so the more scientific evidence we can collect about its performance, the better we can make decisions about design and deployment.”

 


New free access ebook about image quality optimisation for medical imaging

OPTIMAX LogoThe OPTIMAX 2016 medical imaging research summer school was held at the University of Salford. This is the fourth rendition of the summer school, with others having been organized at the University of Salford (2013), ESTeSL, Lisbon (2014) and Hanze UAS, Groningen (2015). Each year we distribute the research outcomes either as journal papers or an open access ebook. The 2016 OPTIMAX ebook, edited by Hogg, P1, Thompson-Hogg2, R and Buissink3, was published online last week:

2016 – http://usir.salford.ac.uk/41428/1/OPTIMAX%202016%20final%20version.pdf

Previous editions of the ebooks are available as follows:

2015 – http://usir.salford.ac.uk/38008/1/Ebook%20Hanze%202015.pdf

2014 – http://usir.salford.ac.uk/34439/1/Final%20complete%20version.pdf

72 people participated in OPTIMAX 2016 from eleven countries and they comprised PhD, MSc and BSc students as well as tutors from seven European partner universities. Professional mix was drawn from engineering, medical physics / physics and radiography. OPTIMAX 2016 was partly funded by the partner universities and partly by the participants. Two students from South Africa and two from Brazil were invited by Hanze UAS (Groningen) and ESTeSL (Lisbon). One student A level from the United Kingdom was funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

The summer school included lectures and group projects in which experimental research was conducted in five teams. Each team project focus varied and included: optimization of full spine curvature radiography in paediatrics; ultrasound assessment of muscle thickness and muscle cross-sectional area: a reliability study; the Influence of Source-to-Image Distance on Effective Dose and Image Quality for Mobile Chest X-rays; Impact of the anode heel effect on image quality and effective dose for AP Pelvis: A pilot study; and the impact of pitch values on Image Quality and radiation dose in an abdominal adult phantom using CT.

1. University of Salford, UK; 2. University College London, UK; 3. Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands

 


University of Salford launches first student safety and wellbeing accreditation scheme developed by the Design Against Crime Solution Centre

 

 

A new accreditation scheme launched by the University of Salford has been developed by the Design Against Crime Solution Centre with the Head of Security at Salford that will make it easier for prospective students and their parents to identify safe universities in the UK.

All higher education institutions across the UK are now being encouraged to join ProtectED an accreditation scheme assessing the work done by universities to ensure their students’ safety, security and wellbeing.

They can then work towards accreditation by providing details about the services and structures they provide to enable students to avoid problems and achieve their full potential.

 

ProtectED is the first accreditation scheme in the UK’s higher education sector to comprehensively consider practices across the areas of student safety, security and wellbeing.

It is founded on the belief that HEIs have a critical role to play in student safety, security and wellbeing — one that does not end at campus boundaries but encompasses the wider student experience.

Professor Helen Marshall, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford, said: “An issue which the higher education sector has grappled with for years is that institutions have varied and different ways of considering the safety and wellbeing of their students, without a higher education specific code of practice and benchmark for policies and best practice.

“These are huge issues to students and parents, but up until now there has been no standard way of benchmarking and assessing how effectively universities manage the issue. I really welcome this work developed by our dedicated and internationally-recognised security and community relations team at Salford.”

Through the accreditation process, ProtectED will gain insight into issues and collect evidence on what works. This will be anonymised, aggregated and analysed, and findings shared with members, enabling them to focus resources on effective strategies that provide demonstrable benefits.

ProtectED accreditation focuses on five areas: Core Institutional Safety and Security – covering campus security measures; Wellbeing and Mental Health; International Students; Harassment and Sexual Assault; and the Student Night Out.

There are 2.3 million university students in the UK’s 162 HEIs — more that the population of Qatar. Office of National Statistics figures show full-time students are more at risk than the general population of being victims of crime, while an NUS survey of more than 1,000 students found 78 per cent had experienced mental health issues during the previous year.

ProtectED brings together university staff and students in tackling these issues, and requires HEIs to implement practical measures. For example, ProtectED universities will deliver training and awareness-raising initiatives to highlight the support available to students, and to facilitate conversation around sensitive subjects such as mental ill-health and sexual assault.

Research suggests that international students are particularly concerned about safety in their choice of where to study overseas.

Helen Clews, External Relations Adviser for the British Council and member of the ProtectED Advisory Board, said: “Personal safety in the UK for students, their dependents, visitors and workers coming to the UK is a duty of care the British Council takes very seriously and we work with partners such as ProtectED to help international students take care of themselves and settle happily into their community.”

Student retention is another significant issue. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 26,000 UK students failed to complete their first year in 2010/11. ProtectED is based around the need for effective prevention, early intervention and timely support, raising levels of student satisfaction and enabling more students to complete their studies.

Mark Sutton, chairman of the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO), said: “The ProtectED code of practice gives a clear opportunity to benchmark processes and procedures that will allow universities to focus on sector best practice, continuous improvement and the student experience. It will raise standards throughout HE and therefore I fully support this excellent initiative.”

Ben Lewis, chairman of the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE), said: “ProtectED gives real potential for institutions to think more strategically about how they structure their security and support services, how they work with one another and how they can improve all aspects of the student experience. AMOSSHE is fully supportive of the work being led by ProtectED and the team at Salford University.”

Dave Humphries, Director of Partnerships & Interventions at the Security Industry Authority, said: “As the UK Government’s regulator of private security, we support the ProtectED initiative as it is an innovative way to ensure a higher university security standards. We have been pleased to work alongside colleagues at the University of Salford.”

Institutions wanting to join must sign up to the five key ProtectED Principles, committing to adopting within their policies, structures, processes and culture.

To gain accreditation, applicant institutions must self-assess their own policies, processes and practice against the ProtectED Code of Practice. This is followed by peer review and a verification visit by a ProtectED approved assessor and student assessors.

Membership is open from Monday 6 February 2017, with the first group of ProtectED Accredited Institution award holders expected to be certified in early 2018.

For more information, visit www.Protect-ED.org, follow @ProtectED_HEI or email info@protect-ed.org

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. ProtectED has benefitted from the support and guidance of organisations including the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO), the British Council, the Security Industry Authority (SIA), the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE), the University Mental Health Advisers Network (UMHAN), Greater Manchester Police, student insurers Endsleigh, International Professional Security Association (IPSA), National Landlords Association, College & Universities Business Officers (CUBO).
  2. The launch of the ProtectED Code of Practice is especially timely given the publication in October 2016 of the Universities UK ‘Changing the Culture’ task force report, which examines violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students. For example, the National Union of Students (NUS) ‘Hidden Marks’ report (2010) found that 68% of female students experienced one or more incidents of sexual harassment at university — a problem that has been increasingly reported upon in recent months. Further, the NUS ‘No Place for Hate’ survey (2012) found that 18% of students from ethnic minority backgrounds described experiencing at least one racial hate incident whilst at university. The Universities UK Task Force report clearly signals that HEIs can no longer continue to ignore these issues. The ProtectED Code of Practice incorporates all of the report’s recommendations and goes further in addressing staff-to-student sexual harassment, hate crime and cyber bullying.
  3. The wide-ranging measures contained in the ProtectED Code of Practice (the indicators universities must meet to achieve accreditation) were developed using an evidence-based approach. To better understand the issues facing contemporary HEIs and their students, the ProtectED team conducted a literature review of the mental health and wellbeing of students and young adults. They also ran focus groups with University Security Managers, Police Higher Education Liaison Officers and Students Union Sabbatical Officers, and surveyed 800 university NUS students.
  4. Eric Baskind, senior lecturer in law and consultant in violence reduction at Liverpool John Moores University, and a member of the ProtectED Advisory Board, said: “ProtectED provides institutions with an excellent tool for implementing best practice procedures and improving campus safety and thereby enhancing the student experience. It is an excellent initiative and has my full support.”
  5. It is proposed that the ProtectED accreditation scheme will eventually be expanded to cover UK further education (FE) colleges, as well as universities in other parts of Europe.

For press enquiries please contact: Conrad Astley, Senior Press and PR Officer, University of Salford at c.l.astley@salford.ac.uk  / +44 (0) 161 2956363


Young scientists to present research at House of Commons

Young Salford scientists have been selected to present their research at the House of Commons.House of Commons

Sun Mingxu, 32, and Alix Chadwell, 28, will unveil projects to help stroke patients and amputees respectively at the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics STEM for Britain event on March 13, 2017.

The event is organized by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, together with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics and the Society of Biology.

Dr Mingxu, a BSc Computer Science graduate, originally from Shandong in China, is a postdoctoral researcher with the cross-school Rehabilitation technologies and Biomedical Engineering group where he’s currently engaged in a National Institute of Health Research funded project to develop an advanced  functional  electrical  stimulation  system  for  stroke rehabilitation. The project is led by professors Laurence Kenney (School of Health Sciences) and David Howard (School of Computing, Science and Engineering).

Medical engineer

Alix Chadwell, a medical engineering graduate from the University of Bath, is conducting her PhD at Salford University into improvements in myoelectric upper-limb prosthesis.

There are 130,000 new stroke cases each year in the UK and, of those who survive, the majority find themselves having to adjust to life with reduced function in their upper limbs. Intensively movement early after stroke can lead to long term improvements but this is impeded by limited NHS therapy time.

Sun MingxuWorking with Odstock Medical, Sun Mingxu (pictured left) has developed a novel system which allows a patient to practise movements with much-reduced support from their therapist, and provides the clinician with data on their performance both during and after practice. The new system has recently received  MHRA  approval  for  a  clinical  investigation, which is now running at three clinical sites. Providing the results are positive, the manufacturers hope to commercialise the system later this year.

Alix Chadwell’s research aims to establish why it is that some users of myoelectric prostheses can find their devices difficult to control. She has developed a portable system allowing her to assess users outside of the laboratory and has begun measuring how well users can control the required muscle  signals,  how  well  the  electrodes  can collect these signals, overall functionality and  patterns of prosthesis use in everyday life.

Supportive culture

Alix ChadwellAlix (pictured left) said: “My interest in the design of prostheses brought me to Salford in 2014 and I am very glad I made that decision. Having previously trained as an Engineer, my highlight has been working alongside colleagues from both technical and clinical backgrounds, which  I  believe  is  key  to  developing solutions which are clinically applicable. I have found my supervisory team and the wider research group to be extremely supportive and my knowledge and interest in the field has expanded significantly. I look forward to seeing where it will take me next.”

School of Health Sciences Dean, Kay Hack said: “Many congratulations to Mingxu and Alix on their involvement in STEM for Britain.

“Their selection for this prestigious event is well-deserved and a testament to the quality of their research and the excellent support we offer to early career researchers at the University of Salford. The work they are doing not only extends knowledge in these areas but will make a real impact  on  people’s  lives.

“To present at the House of Commons is a wonderful opportunity to meet some important figures in STEM and importantly also to make their mark as rising stars in their field. I hope they enjoy it.”


Salford-Nankai Cooperation Up and Running

Prof Alaric Searle, who was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, PRC, in June of last year, has already started to cooperate with staff from Nankai. Within the framework of his recent Visiting Fellowship to Pembroke College, Oxford, and the Changing Character of War (CCW) Programme in particular, undertaken during his sabbatical in Semester 1 of AY 2016/17, Alaric was able to arrange a guest lecture in Oxford by Dr Wang Wei of Nankai.

Dr Wang, Lecturer in International History in the Faculty of History at Nankai, delivered a talk on 23 January as part of the CCW lecture series entitled, ‘British Planning for the Postwar World Order: The Role of the Foreign Research and Press Service, 1939-43’ at Pembroke College. Alaric commented: ‘It was one of the great blessings of the Visiting Fellowship on the CCW Programme in Oxford that I was able to make the suggestion that Dr Wang deliver a lecture at Pembroke. I am most grateful to the Director of CCW, Dr Rob Johnson, for agreeing so readily to the suggestion. It is one example of the type of cooperation which I am hoping to pursue with the Faculty of History at Nankai in the future.’

 

Nankai Lecture

During the course of the visit to Oxford, Prof Searle and Dr Wang also had the opportunity to meet with Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, at the University of Oxford China Centre. Prof Mitter, who is well-known for his research on twentieth century Chinese history, most recently through his book China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival (2013), discussed a variety of topics and projects relating to Chinese history with Alaric and Wei.

China Centre Building University of Oxford

Dr Wang is currently spending a year in the Department of International History, London School of Economics, as a Visiting Scholar. Wei commented: ‘I am immensely grateful to Professor Alaric Searle for making it possible for me to give talks in Oxford and soon in Salford. I look forward to visiting Salford; and, I hope more staff and students from Salford can come and visit Nankai in the future.’

Dr Wang will be visiting Salford University in April/May of this year and will be delivering a guest lecture. She also intends to take the opportunity to conduct archival research in the People’s History Museum and the Working-Class Movement Library. Alaric noted: ‘I am delighted that Wei is able to come to Salford. Much of her research intersects well with the interests of staff in Politics and Contemporary History. It will be a great way to cement the relationship with Nankai and for students and colleagues in English, Politics and Contemporary History to get to know her as well. We look forward immensely to hosting her for two weeks in Salford.’

 


UPRISE, ELS and SHUSU Exploring Local & Regional Approaches to Ecology & Flooding

Irwell Flooding

Photo of a flooded Irwell by Dr Luke Blazejewski

Researchers from UPRISE are collaborating with colleagues from the School of Environment and Life Sciences, Research and Innovation and SHUSU (Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit) on a HEIF-funded project to explore local and regional approaches to ecology and flooding.  This project will involve engaging with organisations, agencies and communities in the Salford and wider Manchester region to understand how ecological principles can be applied to the issues surrounding floods, and the wider functioning of a city.  This diverse partnership draws from a pool of expertise, and demonstrates precisely the interdisciplinary approach required to look at 21st century urban issues – keeping in spirit with the ICZ strategy of the University of Salford.

Led by the Dean of School, Prof. Hisham Elkadi, the project will run until the end of July.  By strengthening partnerships with UPRISE across the university and beyond, this important area of study will provide a basis for a larger and longer term body of work which will evolve our thinking on cities and how they function, Dean of School, Prof. Hisham Elkadi says “Climate change results in more severe and more frequent adversial weather conditions.  Flood-control infrastructures in our contemporary cities are not reliable mitigation defenses in the face of climate change uncertainties. The aim of the project is to build-in ecological resilience measures to mitigate against flooding”

A series of workshops and interviews are being organised by UPRISE as part of the project.  UPRISE Research Fellow, Dr. Nick Davies, described the co-creation approach of the project: ‘The workshops will provide a platform for organisations involved in various sectors concerned with flood resilience to interact, and be involved in designing and sharpening the key research focus of this project.’


Psychology lecturer awarded EPS grant

 

Dr Catherine Thompson has been awarded a Small Research GranExperimental Psychology Society grantt from the Experimental Psychology Society to investigate “The effects of emotion and demand on the Attentional Blink”.

Effective allocation of attentional resources is vital to the successful completion of any task and the research will explore how visual attention may be limited under demanding and emotional situations (conditions common to a range of tasks). The study is part of a larger body of work that aims to demonstrate how cognitive performance can be influenced by factors such as work related stress and anxiety. Catherine will be working on the project with her Research Assistant, Danila Ranieri, who previously studied Psychology to post-graduate level at La Sapienza University in Rome.


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