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THE UNIVERSITY of Salford is one of seven North West institutions set to benefit from funding to train new researchers.
The North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP), led by The University of Manchester, is one of 10 consortia who will share more than £170 million in funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) over eight years.
This equates to funding and training for at least 225 new researchers in the arts and humanities through the NWCDTP.
DTPs provide innovative training environments for doctoral researchers. They include opportunities for PhD students to undertake broader training or development, such as language learning, overseas research visits, or placements with non-academic partners.
The consortium includes a wide variety of bodies beyond the university sector that students can engage with to further their experience, from multinational organisations to local museums and galleries.
Professor Seamus Simpson, Consortium Institutional Lead at the University of Salford, said: “I am delighted that the North West Consortium has been awarded this substantial funding to allow it to build on the achievements of the first phase of our Doctoral Training Partnership.
“We at Salford are proud members of the consortium and recognise the contribution AHRC funded students make to our postgraduate research community. We look forward with particular pleasure to hosting the annual consortium student research conference this October at our MediacityUK campus.”
Dr Erica Baffelli, NWCDTP Director, said: “On behalf of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership I am delighted by this new award from the AHRC, which will allow us to fund and train at least 225 new researchers in the arts and humanities. Since its formation in 2014, the NWCDTP has established a successful partnership that provides high-quality doctoral training across the whole range of the arts and humanities. In the new phase of the DTP we will build on our effective partnership to continue to innovate to produce impactful research.
“One-fifth of our studentships will be for collaborative PhDs, where projects are designed by the student and academic supervisor in collaboration with organisations from business, the public sector or the third sector. Our Early Career Strategy will support early career researchers by offering post-submission impact fellowships with non-HEI partners and therefore addressing the crucial challenge of transition to employment.
“We will also develop our collaboration with the ESRC NWSSDTP and with other DTPs based in the north of England. By providing high-quality and innovative research training, and promoting knowledge exchange with non-HEI organizations we aim at enabling doctoral students to develop into highly skilled leaders within and beyond the academy.”
Professor Edward Harcourt, the AHRC’s Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation, said: “The AHRC is delighted to announce its renewed commitment to the Doctoral Training Partnerships model. Our support for the next generation of arts and humanities researchers is critical to securing the future of the UK arts and humanities sector, which accounts for nearly a third of all UK academic staff, is renowned the world over for its outstanding quality, and which plays a vital part in our higher education ecosystem as a whole.
“We were extremely pleased with the response to our call, which saw high-quality applications from across the UK from a variety of diverse and innovative consortia, each with a clear strategy and vision for the future support of their doctoral students.”
The DTPs will start recruiting the first cohort of students imminently ahead of starting their studies in October 2019.
The NWCDTP is a Consortium of seven Research Organisations led by The University of Manchester and comprising:
Manchester Metropolitan University
Royal Northern College of Music
University of Liverpool
University of Salford
in partnership with:
FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology)
Manchester City Council
Museum of Science and Industry
The British Library
The National Football Museum
Two members of staff from the Directorate of Journalism, Politics and Contemporary History, School of Arts and Media, have been shortlisted for the prestigious Whitfield Prize for 2018, awarded annually by the Royal Historical Society for the best first monograph on either British or Irish history. Dr Dan Lomas, Lecturer in International History, and Dr Brian Hall, Lecturer in Contemporary Military History, have both been selected by the jury for the shortlist. Dr Lomas’ book, entitled Intelligence, Security and the Attlee Governments, 1945–1951: An Uneasy Relationship? was published by Manchester University Press, while Dr Hall’s book, Communications and British Operations on the Western Front, 1914-1918, was published by Cambridge University Press.
Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History, and Research Lead for Politics and Contemporary History, said, “I am delighted for both Brian and Dan, not just because they are excellent colleagues but also because they are developing into equally excellent historians in their own right. ”
To be eligible for the Whitfield Prize, a book must be the author’s first published work, on a subject of British or Irish history, and the author must have received his/her PhD from a British or Irish university. The other authors shortlisted received their doctorates from the universities of Oxford, Royal Holloway, King’s College London, Queen’s Belfast and Birmingham. As Alaric noted: “What makes this recognition all the more noteworthy is that both Dan and Brian received their PhDs from the University of Salford; and, Salford has never had either a member of staff, or a former Salford PhD student, shortlisted for this award. Thus, to have two nominations in the same year is a great achievement. It provides just one more indicator of the quality of research being conducted in Politics and Contemporary History at the moment.”
He added: “I am not that surprised about the nomination as I know the quality of work both Dan and Brian have been publishing. In fact, Brian’s book was shortlisted earlier this year for the Templar Medal for the Best First Book, awarded by the Society for Army Historical Research.”
The winner of the Whitfield Prize is to be announced next month by the Royal Historical Society, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
ECR was held in Vienna, Austria from 28th February until 4th March inclusive; each day it runs from 8.00am until 7pm. It attracted around 25,000 participants, making it the second largest radiology conference in the world. It is of interest to physicists, radiographers, radiologists and a wide range of other health care professionals, including industry. As always the Directorate of Radiography at the University of Salford had a large presence, with contributions from BSc, MSc and PhD students as well as staff. The Directorate of Radiography first or co-authored 28 scientific posters and oral papers with friends and colleagues from U.K., Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, Portugal, South Africa, Brazil, Netherlands, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Greece. They also launched their OPTIMAX 2017 book (http://usir.salford.ac.uk/46104/7/OPTIMAX%202017%20ed.pdf, Figure 1). All lectures can be seen online free of charge (http://ecronline.myesr.org/ecr2018/).
This year two 2nd year BSc Diagnostic Radiography students (Lucinda Gray and Shaun Dorey, Figure 2) presented extracurricular research into smart glasses as a poster and also as an oral presentation. The work was developed with Consultant Radiologist Dr Shofiq Al-Islam (Royal Blackburn Hospital), Helen Baxter (Tameside Hospital) and staff from the Directorate of Radiography at Salford. Figures 3 and 4 show Andrew England and Leslie Robinson, from the Directorate of Radiography, presenting their papers at ECR.
Figure 1: OPTIMAX book launch
(Editors left to right: Annemieke Heij-Meijer; Carst Buissink (Netherlands) and Peter Hogg (Radiography/Salford)
Figure 2: Lucinda and Shaun presenting their work at ECR
Figure 3 Andrew England, Radiography/Salford, presenting a paper at ECR
Figure 4 Leslie Robinson, Radiography/Salford, presenting a paper at ECR
UNIVERSITY of Salford researchers have won a £1.4m grant to look into ways of providing better upper limb prostheses for people in lower and middle income countries.
The project will enable researchers at the University – one of only two in the UK that teach prosthetics and orthotics – to develop better, low cost prostheses.
The funding has come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) who are committing £16m to a range of projects through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5b government fund to support cutting-edge technology that addresses challenges faced by low and middle income countries.
The team will be partnering with Makere University in Uganda and the University of Jordan, as well as University College London (UCL), and the Universities of Southampton and Greenwich.
New ways of making prosthetic limbs
Engineering and clinical researchers across the three countries will collaborate to develop new designs, as well as novel ways of creating, fitting and evaluating how well the prosthetic limbs work, enabling more people to benefit from them.
Earlier this year, a team of prosthetics students from the University were able to create prosthetic upper limbs for a Ugandan woman who had suffered a horrific machete attack. The students built the prosthetic limbs in the University’s own Brian Blatchford lab before they were sent to Uganda to be fitted.
In many poorer countries, there is a huge demand for prosthetic limbs, because of problems with conflict or road traffic accidents, but there are very few hospitals and medical centres able to provide this specialist work, and few clinicians able to help patients maintain the limbs once fitted.
Researchers at the University believe simple ‘body powered prostheses’, which work by using cables to link the movement of the body with the artificial limb, could be the answer as they are easy to manufacture and maintain.
Researchers hope to address problems
Amputees in Africa and the Middle East often have very poor access to prosthetic services and the devices they are offered are often not fit for purpose, being expensive, providing limited function and being uncomfortable to use. Researchers working on the project now hope to address these problems.
The two countries were chosen because of the unique challenges they face. While Uganda is one of the least developed countries in the world, with poorly resourced and fragmented rehabilitation services, Jordan is classed as an ‘upper middle income country’ with well-trained clinicians, but facing huge pressure on its prosthetic services partly because of regional conflicts.
Life changing experience
Losing an arm is always a horrific and life changing experience, but in many lower or middle income countries it can have a truly devastating effect. It can deprive people already existing at a subsistence level of any ability to support themselves or their families.
Professor Laurence Kenney, research co-lead for Rehabilitation Technologies and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Salford, said: “Losing an arm is always a horrific and life changing experience, but in many lower or middle income countries it can have a truly devastating effect. It can deprive people already existing at a subsistence level of any ability to support themselves or their families.
“Sadly, it is these countries where there is a greater need for prostheses, but for a whole host of reasons it is incredibly difficult for anyone who needs an artificial limb to be able to get one.
President of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
Professor Malcolm Granat has recently been elected as President of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour (www.ismpb.org). The ISMPB is a non-profit scientific society that aims to promote and facilitate the study and applications of objective measurement and quantification of free-living physical behaviour(s) and its related constructs (e.g. energy expenditure, context) using wearable devices. Alongside organising the biennial International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring and Physical Activity Measurement (ICAMPAM), the Society aims to bring together people from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise, including researchers, clinicians, therapists, signal analysts, computational scientists and commercial companies.
Seeing a rapid growth of research activity in this field, Malcolm Granat together with Professors David Bassett (University of Tenessee, USA), Hans Bussmann (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and Patty Freedson (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA), formed the Society in 2016. Malcolm was also co-chair of the most recent and highly successful ICAMPAM in the USA (Bethesda, June 2017). The latest initiative of the Society has been the launch of the Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour, which publishes high quality research papers that employ and/or apply sensor-based measures of physical activity, movement disorders, sedentary behaviour and sleep (https://journals.humankinetics.com/page/about/jmpb).
Malcolm believes that his position within the ISMPB will lead to opportunities for University of Salford staff to collaborate with leading international research groups in this fast-expanding field. An example of this is the joint project of the Universities of Salford and Leicester funded by the National Institute of Health Research – a three arm cluster randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the SMArT Work & Life intervention for reducing daily sitting time in office workers.
At the University, Malcolm leads the Physical Behaviour Monitoring research theme within the Health Sciences Research Centre and the Technology theme within the Institute for Dementia.
Professor Peter Hogg has recently been honoured with a Visiting Professorship at Hanze University, Groningen, Netherlands. The purpose of the Visiting Professorship is to develop a research and teaching relationship between Hanze University and the University of Salford with a particular emphasis on radiography.
Over the next few years Peter will initiate discussions which should lead to honorary appointments for staff, teaching and student exchanges and also joint research. Peter believes the relationship will add value to our teaching and research portfolios at the University of Salford. The directorates of radiography in Hanze and Salford have been working together for over 6 years and so far they have co-authored over 30 conference/journal papers and published 3 books. They have a common research interest of radiation dose optimisation in medical imaging and Hanze has a major research emphasis on healthy aging, similar to the University of Salford.
At the University of Salford Peter is our Professor of Radiography. He is also Associate Dean Research in the School of Health Sciences and he leads the Diagnostic Imaging Research Programme within the Health Sciences Research Centre.
Dr Yeliz Prior, the Deputy Director of the Postgraduate Research Studies at the School of Health Sciences was presented with the Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT) Merit award this autumn, which is given to occupational therapists, recognised by their peers for excellence in their sphere of work, and are making an aspirational contribution to the occupational therapy profession.
Yeliz is an excellent ambassador of occupational therapy (OT), having represented the profession on national and international platforms through her roles in the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology (BHPR) Council as the Education Officer, European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scientific Committee and the Greater Manchester Allied Health Professionals in Research Network (GMAHPRN) in the North West of England.
She has also served as a Research and Development Officer at the COT Specialist Section for Rheumatology previously. Yeliz has produced a number of peer-reviewed research articles in the field of rheumatology rehabilitation, delivered invited talks at prestigious international conferences and policy meetings in the UK, and published a book chapter on work rehabilitation in the 7th edition of the ‘Occupational Therapy for people Experiencing Illness, Injury or Impairment.
Yeliz is currently supervising a number of PhD students, and actively promotes rheumatology as a specialism to the OT students both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition to her full-time academic and research career, she also works as an Advanced Clinical Special OT in rheumatology (0.2fte) at the Mid Cheshire NHS Trust. Here she bridges research with clinical practice, and leads evidence-based practice to promote self-management of rheumatic conditions, and the use of evidence-based interventions.
Julia Scott, the CEO of the RCOT said: “Some of our award winners are recognised for doing an exceptional job; it sounds so simple put like that, but do we all deliver excellence every day? Probably not, but those four people in the room who have received Merit awards, have been recognised by their peers for doing just this.
More information about the RCOT Merit Awards are available on: https://www.rcot.co.uk/news-and-events/awards-and-funding/merit-and-fellowship-awards
Alix Chadwell, a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Technologies and Biomedical Engineering research group (http://www.salford.ac.uk/research/health-sciences/research-groups/rehabilitation-technologies-and-biomedical-engineering) recently presented on her work at the Myoelectric Control Symposium (http://www.unb.ca/conferences/mec/), a prestigious conference held in Canada every 3 years. Alix’s presentation on work she has carried out to characterise the real world use of prosthetic hands was awarded the prize for the best student presentation . Alix’s work, carried out in collaboration with Malcolm Granat’s group, was the first study to report on the long term patterns of use of upper limb prosthesis outside of the laboratory. The conference was attended by leading research groups from all over the world, including teams from Northwestern University, and Yale, making her achievement all the more impressive. Well done Alix!