Archive for November 23, 2015

What do our dogs think of us?

large_1447926210-dogsresizedusnewschannelDogs may be man’s best friend – but aren’t they a member of the family too?

Dog-lovers can now help find the answer to this by contributing to a ‘citizen science’ project to examine the social intelligence of dogs and their sense of place in a human world.

Researchers at the University are seeking dog-owning volunteers to conduct a series of simple observations of their dog’s behaviour around the house, in a bid to learn more about what our dogs are thinking, and what they think about us!

“We know that dogs feel comfortable around humans and feel part of the group, but how do they see their role in that group and how do they interpret or even manipulate us?” asks Dr Sean O’Hara, a lecturer in wildlife cognition and behaviour in our School of Environment and Life Sciences.


The Salford Viewpoint: Why men don’t need to be screened for breast cancer, but should still do regular checks


Screening aims to detect disease in its early stages while there’s still a chance that treatment will be effective. Programmes are usually targeted at people who are at high risk of developing a particular disease. For example, the NHS invites people over the age of 60 to be screened for bowel cancer because age is a risk factor for the disease – the older you are, the greater the risk. And for women, breast screening is automatically offered between the ages of 50-70.

But if men can get breast cancer too, why are they not included in screening programmes?


EcoValve technology achieves first European sales


Eco-Valve – the University’s ‘next-generation aerosol’ technology has achieved its first major commercial breakthrough in Europe.

Interest has been growing in the technology which allows the use of compressed gas as a propellant in place of the more environmentally-damaging propane and butane.

Brand owners, including some large global players have made enquiries with the technology’s commercial arm the Salford Valve Company (Salvalco) which is currently testing in Europe, Asia and South America.

And crucially, the first product has been launched by Italian aerosol manufacturer BM, which is using the valve for its TamTam, Splendida and Fresh Aroma household aerosol brands that are sold across the country.


Massive Change Series – 20th November 2015



2015 sees the launch of the Massive Change Series: Pop goes the Biosphere – Ecological infrastructure for Smart City Growth event series by The Biospheric Studio. This series will focus on using technology-based solutions to bring nature back into cities in order to realise health, economic and cultural benefits, making cities resilient in the face of global competition and climate change, and to establish them as a core driver of the shift to smart city growth.

The next event will take place on 20 November, 5.30pm-8.30pm at The Study at Manchester Museum.

The panel debate will discuss the future possibilities for biological tech development within Manchester. The series is co-sponsored by the Greater Manchester Local Innovation Platform funded by Mistra Urban Futures.

Interested in UK city devolution? Come to ‘Salford’s take on Devolution’, a networking and ‘research download’

Manchester_Town_Hall_from_Lloyd_StThe SURF team is running a ‘devolution download’ workshop for Salford University colleagues to map our existing and potential interests relevant to the devolution agenda in Greater Manchester and beyond.


With over 250,000 residents, substantial cuts to public sector funding and a rapidly evolving workforce, Salford is set to transform over the next 10-20 years. The devolution agenda will play a significant role in how these changes take place. This event is to scope out the devolution agenda and Salford’s engagement with it – both as a city and in the university.


The event takes place Friday 11th December, Council Chambers in Old Fire Station, University of Salford and runs from Midday to 2pm. Dr Beth Perry, Director of UPRISE/SURF, will give a short welcome and provocation based on her previous and forthcoming research on urban governance and co-production.


Dr Jess Symons will then invite participants to get some lunch and visit 4 different activity tables to ‘download’ information and insight around four questions:


  1. How does your previous and existing research/activity speak to the devolution agenda?
  2. What are the key challenges and opportunities for Salford as a city in a devolved Greater Manchester?
  3. What is distinctive about Salford University’s existing and potential responses to devolution?
  4. What ideas and capacity do you have for taking this forward?


Who should attend? The event is primarily aimed at Salford University staff across all Schools as a first networking opportunity around this key strategic theme. If you are not able to come for the start, you are welcome to ’drop in’ anytime to share your research, activities and ideas.


This workshop is being funded by Mistra Urban Futures, an international centre for sustainable cities with headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. It focuses specifically on co-production between different urban stakeholders through Local Interaction Platforms in Gothenburg (Sweden), Greater Manchester (UK), Cape Town (South Africa) and Kisumu (Kenya)(


RSVP: If you would like to attend, please contact<


(Photo: Mark Andrew)

KIDSCAN, the Salford University-based children’s cancer research charity, has awarded £40,000 to a talented local scientist

KidscanChloe Jones, 22, who hails from Rochdale, was selected for Kidscan and The University of Salford’s prestigious ‘Pathways to Excellence’ programme, after wowing the selection committee with both her academic achievements and commitment to discovering new, more targeted treatments for childhood cancer. The University of Salford has matched Kidscan’s contribution, funding the remainder of the PhD course.

Chloe achieved a first class honours degree in Pharmaceutical Science at the University and has just embarked on her three year PhD research programme with Kidscan. She is already making excellent progress in pursuing pioneering research into gentler, more targeted treatments for leukemia, a devastating cancer which affects young children. Current chemotherapy treatment is 80% effective, but can have severe implications for growth and development in children.


Chloe will be supervised by Kidscan grant holder, Dr Lucy Smyth, a lecturer in Human Physiology and Biomedical Science Programme Leader at Salford.

Dr David Pye, Scientific Director of Kidscan, commented: “There is a real shortage of researchers specialising in childhood cancer and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure we attract bright young minds to the field.

“Assisted by Dr Smyth, Chloe will be working on a previously untouched area of research, which if better understood, could have a huge impact on the treatment of childhood cancer patients. We can’t thank our charity’s supporters enough for allowing us to make such vital steps forward in our quest to make suffering from childhood cancer a thing of the past.”

Dr Lucy Smyth added: “Not only is Chloe incredibly talented academically, but she understands the urgency in which we need to find effective yet gentle treatments for children with cancer. She has already got a wide range of work experience in medical environments behind her and is passionate about what she does.”

Science behind European river restoration finalists

A PROJECT to revive one of Britain’s most famous rivers involving the University of Salford is one of three finalists for a European environmental award.


A 6km stretch of the river is being held up as a model for boosting biodiversity and reducing flood risk in rivers across the continent by the International River Foundation (IRF).

The Trent is up against projects for the Aragon and Segura rivers (both in Spain) for the European River Restoration Prize. – never before won by a UK river project.

Dr Neil Entwistle of the School of Environment and Life Sciences and his MSc student Rhys Kibble advised on the project from concept helping advise on river ecology, flow dynamics and habitats, and the researchers are still involved in monitoring the success of the changes.

River ‘health’

Historically, the River Trent was heavily engineered into a single, straight and deep watercourse, leaving a ‘fossilised’ river bereft of natural features and lacking in quality habitat.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust implemented the Central Rivers Initiative—a multi-partner program to which Salford University was invited to share its expertise in restoring the stretch of the river near Burton-on-Trent.

Works included increasing the channel width to allow shallows to form, re-grading banks, lowering the floodplain, re-connecting backwaters, forming islands and planting woodland.

By 2050, the Trust anticipates the Trent becoming one of Britain’s greatest wetlands once again, providing an artery for wildlife.

Scientific basis

Dr Entwistle said: “I am delighted that the University of Salford has played an integral part in the restoration, from data capture for the design concept, through modelling to create what we thought was the best restoration design, in partnership with JBA Consulting and AECOM.

“Outcomes are fantastic, as the river had little diversity and habitat availability before and now it’s thriving, plus we’ve reduced flood risk down river.

The IRF awards the Riverprize annually for outstanding results in sustainable river management and protection. The winner will be announced on 3 March at the European River Symposium in Vienna.

For more about Masters degrees in Environmental Science go here.

Urban Ethnography Maphack to take place at Media City

MediaCityUK-hi.res.094You are invited to the following event :

Urban Ethnography Maphack

Monday 7th December 12-2pm

Room 2.03/04, Mediacity Campus

University of Salford

M50 2HE Salford


The Universities of Salford and Manchester are collaborating to host a ‘map hack’ where people interested in urban ethnography put ethnographies about particular cities onto a Google map. Come along to get involved.

Two anthropologists, Dr Jessica Symons (University of Salford) and Dr Camilla Lewis (University of Manchester) are inviting people from across different disciplines to take part in a fun exercise that will map urban ethnographies in cities across the world to create a freely available online resource. By the end of the workshop, there will be an interactive map of urban ethnographies categorised by city and theme available and updatable via the Realising the city website.

This workshop is supported by Mistra Urban Futures so particular attention will be paid to fieldwork and ethnographic accounts in the cities of Greater Manchester (UK), Cape Town (South Africa), Kismu (Kenya) and Gothenburg (Sweden). However all cities can be included in the maphack, based on the interests of the people who attend.

This workshop will also launch the Urban Ethnography Reading Group announcing a programme of reading group gatherings from January 2016. This Reading Group is supported by SURF, a research group within SOBE (School for the Built Environment) at the University of Salford and Cities@Manchester at the University of Manchester. More details on the Realising the city website

Places are *free* but limited so best to book via Eventbrite here:




Salford aims to become ‘UK’s most Dementia-friendly City’ with ground-breaking new study

A new three year action and research study into living well with young onset dementia has been announced by our Institute for Dementia and Salford City Council.

The project funded by a significant grant from the Booth Charities will be run in partnership with people in Salford who have experience of young onset dementia, both first-hand and as informal carers or spouses. Users and staff of the Humphrey Booth Resource Centre in Swinton and colleagues from other services, sectors and support groups will also be part of the project team.

Despite acknowledgment that developing a dementia in midlife is associated with specific challenges, little is known about the needs of younger people with dementia, defined as those who receive a diagnosis before the age of 65. The aim of this joint action and research project is to gain a greater knowledge of how younger people can live well with dementia.

Currently, due to the rarity and range of types of young onset dementia, people often end up on a protracted and lonely path to diagnosis. Support for younger people and their families is not as readily available as it is for older people who develop dementia. Younger people with dementia are also more likely to be juggling a complex set of commitments including work, being parents, caring for older relatives and major financial commitments.

The project will run a series of individual and small group meetings across Salford to gain real-life insights into young onset dementia. Information from these groups will be fed into a main stakeholder advisory group made up people with experience of young onset dementia. The study is being overseen by a Steering Group comprising a range of service providers and representatives from different sectors. The Steering Group is chaired by Dr Anna Richardson from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

The project aims to find practical solutions which can be developed during the lifespan of the three year project. The research team comprises a Research Fellow Luisa Rabanal and a Development Worker Andy Walker who together will ensure findings impact on services. The team will look at where existing support can be adjusted or enhanced to support people with young onset dementia more effectively. The project hopes to explore the potential of cutting edge assistive technology to support people with young onset dementia and their carers. .

Ecocity World Summit 2015


Professor Hisham Elkadi attended the Ecocity World Summit (ECWS) on 11th-13th October 2015. The event was hosted by the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the first Ecocity Summit to take place in the Middle East. The ECWS is the longest running international conference series on sustainable cities, commencing in 1990. The ECWS initiative aims to gather likeminded individuals and organisations from around the globe with the aim of proposing forward thinking and innovative solutions to today’s urban problems. The aim is to transform cities around the world in order to make them greener, healthier and better places to live in.

This conference theme focused on ecocities in challenging environments, specifically those with resource limitations imposed by hot and arid climates. Professor Elkadi argued that cities have reached a point of climate departure with no possibility to return to their original status. Regeneration is essential to enable the sustainable re-development of cities and to maintain viability and creativity in ecological responses. Many cities face major societal and ecological transformations that require immediate intervention for their future survival. Much of the current literature is concentrated upon the challenges of natural adaptation and mitigation practices in burgeoning Western metropolises. However, proposed cultural, socio-economic and technical transformative solutions might be ‘too little too late’ for a large number of metropolises in the face of increasingly more intensive and more frequent natural aggressions.  There is urgency to develop and work simultaneously on complex ecological frameworks to suit the varied status of urban environments in the Middle East and North Africa region.