Archive for January 29, 2016

Salford academic’s virtual landscapes work featured in Times Higher Education

Umran Ali, University of Salford senior lecturer in creative media and programme leader of BSc in computer and video games has been looking at how the countryside can inspire computer game creators.

The PhD researcher aims to encourage digital designers to return to the great English tradition of landscape writing from Wordsworth to Ruskin to inspire gaming and has taken his debate forward in a series of three books on Virtual Landscapes in video games exploring everything from “the giant mushroom forests of Morrowind” to “the tropical underground caves of Phantasy Star Online”.


Salford academic has new Sports Marketing book published

9781138823518The global sport industry is now estimated by the United Nations to account for approximately 3% of global economic activity. A recent report by PWC (2011) alternatively indicates that the market for sport will be worth $145 billion by 2015, with North America accounting for 45% of global revenues, EMEA for 35%, Asia Pacific for 19% and Latin America for 5%. In the United States, Plunkett Research (2014) believes the total size of American sports industry is currently $485 billion. Sport is consequently seen as being big business by many people, including academic researchers. At the same time, sport continues to fulfil an important socio-cultural role across the world, providing the focus for communities, health initiatives, and so forth. There can be no doubt: sport is central to the lives and activities of innumerable people and organisations, whether they be fans in a stadium, runners taking part in a charity race, sponsors named on the side of a racing car, or local people benefitting from a sport club’s community engagement programmes.


Centre Newsletter January 2016: about our people and their research

news2016 has been a busy and vibrant year in the Centre for Health Sciences Research. We have welcomed a large number of new staff and students and had much reason to celebrate: on the professional side we report various awards, promotions and other achievements of staff and students alike.

Moreover, several weddings have taken place and we congratulate all our newly-weds (some stunning photos are included at the end of the Newsletter!).


Salford academic’s book selected by New York’s Gagosian Gallery for one of its latest projects

Capri Revisited
A translation by Dr William Hope, a member of the Salford Languages Research Group and of the Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Research Centre, has been selected for publication by New York’s Gagosian Gallery in one of its latest projects.

Santander Travel Award granted for innovative public health research

A Santander Travel Award has been granted to Dr Melissa Marselle (University of Salford) to collaborate with Sara Warber, MD and Dr Brenda Gillespie at the University of Michigan (USA) to investigate the frequency and duration (or dose) of group walks in nature required for positive mental health.

Research has shown that interaction with natural environments can have positive mental health benefits, such as reduced stress, depression and improved happiness and concentration. Physical activity in nature – or green exercise – has shown to have greater psychological benefit than exercise indoors. Green exercise is a novel approach to healthcare prevention that could potentially save the NHS billions. GP prescriptions for green exercise are already the norm in New Zealand, and some part of Australia and the USA, and they’re becoming popular in the UK.

Why did the UK give China £3m to invest in football?

Simon Chadwick, professor of sports enterprise, Salford University, explains:


Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron visit the City Football Academy in Manchester (Oct. 23, 2015) © Alamy Live News

In September, ahead of a visit by the country’s president, Xi Jinping, the British government gave £3 million to China to help fund the development of its domestic football. At first glance, this seemed a remarkable gesture; after all, China’s economy is one of the world’s largest having grown at breakneck speed over the last two decades, while the performance of Britain’s economy has prompted a government-enforced austerity programme.

This programme has resulted in severe public spending cuts, which have had grave ramifications for sport across the country. At the same time, there is a perpetual cry for more investment in British football’s grassroots. Set in this context, the payment to China was questioned and condemned. The counter argument to such criticism is that David Cameron’s government is guilty of naïve tokenism.

Why tennis match fixing claims threaten to embroil officials

Prof Simon Chadwick discusses: Another week, another scandal: this time it’s tennis, last week it was athletics, last year it was football. Before that, take your pick: snooker, cycling, cricket – the list seems almost endless. For sports lovers everywhere, this begs the question: is anything clean in sport?


China’s financial muscle makes its mark on the global sport industry

epa04572345 (L-R) Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil, Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin and Atletico Madrid President Enrique Cerezo hold a team jersey during an agreement ceremony in Beijing, China, 21 January 2015. China's Wanda Group officially announced it has invested 45-million euro to acquire a 20 percent stake in Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid.  EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

 Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin has invested €45m in Atletico Madrid. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

The Chinese economy has been growing at break-neck pace for the past three decades. It is the largest in the world by some measures and, as we all know, the Chinese sell the world everything from electronics to iron and steel.
But in one industry the Chinese have been rather slow out of the blocks – sport. The 2008 Olympics may well have been a breath-taking extravaganza, but the country has failed to take full advantage of the exceptional facilities that remain at Beijing’s Olympic Park. The same story is true at Shanghai’s F1 circuit, a US$450m grandiose folly that routinely attracts significantly less than full capacity crowds.

If ever a sport was symbolic of a nation’s sporting plight though, then it is football in China. The country may well be a global powerhouse but it has singularly failed at playing the global game. One poor World Cup appearance in 2002 aside, China has made no perceptible impact on the world’s favourite sport. Historically beset by corruption, poorly managed and often playing second-fiddle domestically to basketball, football is a persistent drag on China’s global ambitions.


Scientists ‘artificially evolve’ sleeping sickness bacterium

eercSCIENTISTS at the University of Salford are to artificially evolve a bacterium linked to the spread of deadly sleeping sickness, African Trypanosomiasis.

They aim to better understand the genomics of Sodalis glossinidius, a bacteria which, when present in the gut, allows the Tsetse fly to become a carrier of the parasitic disease.

Sleeping sickness causes around 10,000 human deaths each year and also kills cattle contributing to poverty and famine in regions of central Africa.

The scientists, led by Dr Ian Goodhead, a lecturer in infectious diseases in the School of Environment and Life Sciences, have been awarded nearly 100k by the Wellcome Trust to investigate how the genetic make-up of the bacteria influences the symbiotic relationship with insects.


How foetal alcohol spectrum disorders could be a hidden epidemic

The new Department of Health guideline on alcohol says that there is no safe alcohol limit for pregnant women. Alcohol should simply be avoided. image-20160108-3317-1nq3qpf

Alcohol exposure during pregnancy can cause damage to the body and brain of the baby, causing a range of lifelong problems. These problems are grouped under the umbrella term “foetal alcohol spectrum disorders” (FASD). The most recognised form of FASD is foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). People with FAS have distinctive facial features, are small for their age and have problems with learning.

                                                                                                         (There is no safe limit of alcohol consumption

                                                                                                          during pregnancy.

The exact number of drinks a woman can have before harming her baby is unknown (and is likely to vary from woman to woman), so most countries, including Canada, Australia and the USA, have taken a conservative approach and recommended that no alcohol is the safest option. This new guideline now brings the UK in line with those and many other countries.