Posts in HS Category

Salford student wins Best Presentation award at international prosthetics conference!

Salford student wins Best Presentation award at international prosthetics conference!

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!


5th international research summer school is a success

 

5th international research summer school is a success

Some of the student participants and tutors at OPTIMAX 2017

 

This year OPTIMAX, a 3 week residential summer school, was hosted by Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway, during July and August 2017. This was the 5th rendition of OPTIMAX and to date 189 students and 65 tutors from 12 countries have participated in it.

The purpose of OPTIMAX is to give radiography students a chance to participate in multinational team-based research. This is consistent with providing a near to real life experience, because quality research is often conducted in multinational teams. Each OPTIMAX team comprises students and tutors and they work together on an equal basis; tutor-student contact is extremely high and tutors spend around 40 hours per week working within their research team. This has significant benefit to the student learning experience as they receive constant feedback and support throughout the entire research process. OPTIMAX commences with the development of effective [research] teams; it then progresses rapidly to doing research about medical imaging. The latter includes formulating and testing methods, gathering and analysing data and finally producing outputs (draft journal paper, physical conference poster and also a PowerPoint presentation which is delivered on the final day in a formal conference). Beyond the conference a book is published in which the research articles become chapters; the abstracts are always submitted to the European Congress of Radiology (Vienna, Austria) and normally they are accepted for presentation. All student participants become authors, which is an important first step in establishing a professional CV. So far 3 books and 14 journal papers have been published and also 29 conference presentations have been delivered (see Appendix I). Another book and 4 conference presentations are planned to arise from this year’s summer school.

Participant countries this year included Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland and the UK (University of Salford). As always students gained immense benefit from the experience, not simply in terms of the research skills and knowledge they acquired but also through learning about other cultures. There is always a high emphasis on learning about the host country and this is achieved through formal and informal activities. Examples of formal activities include cultural trips on Saturdays; informal activities include student-led social events organised in the evenings. Each research team is multicultural which can comprise 7 or 8 nationalities and we have found that simply working in such a team allows for the development of intercultural awareness and understanding.

OPTIMAX is an intense target-driven experience. Each week day runs from 9-5 and often the students and tutors need to do additional work in the evenings and at the weekends. Production of the 3 outputs is essential as failure to do so would result in a fail; all students are awarded European Credit Transfer Scheme credits and a certificate but these can only be achieved if the 3 outputs are completed and reach the pass standard. Not surprisingly OPTIMAX is a tiring experience, but the approach is fully consistent with how researchers work to achieve their goals within strict deadlines. Nevertheless it is a very rewarding experience.

The funding model was originally based on a successful Erasmus grant. This paid for travel, accommodation and subsistence for tutors and students for the first two years. From then on it became self-sustaining with no need for external grant funding because good value for money was sought in various ways. For instance, the host organisation does not charge for the use of its teaching / research facilities. Accommodation costs are driven down through the use of student accommodation which has self-catering facilities. Student and tutor participants give approximately £100 each to pay for lunch on all working days, a welcome and farewell party and the Saturday socio-cultural events, this approach allows for better buying power / value for money.

OPTIMAX 2018 will be held in University College Dublin and planning will commence in September 2017 with monthly Skype meetings by members of the multinational steering committee.

 


Research awarded Certificate of Merit, British Nuclear Medicine Society Annual Conference 2017 To breathe or not to breath…

Dr John Thompson and Sinead Donnelly won a certificate of merit at this year’s British Nuclear Medicine Society’s annual conference. Sinead is an MSc dissertation student on our MSc Nuclear Medicine (Radiography) at the University of Salford and John is her supervisor. The poster focused on a quantitative assessment of simulated respiratory motion using a lung phantom. A bespoke piece of equipment known as the ‘skateboard’, on loan from The Christie, was used to simulate the speed and amplitude of respiratory motion. The aim was to determine whether this simulation of breathing motion had an impact on lung cancer detection performance; a comparison was made between breathing and breath hold. Detection performance was found to be statistically worse when motion was simulated, suggesting an advantage of a breath-hold technique for nodule detection in low-resolution CT images.

Sinead with the poster at this year’s BNMS conference in Birmingham

This work continues a 7 year stream of work from the Diagnostic Imaging Research Programme where the value of the x-ray computed tomography [coincidental] image has been evaluated for diagnostic value from heart imaging using SPECT/CT. SPECT/CT is a common technique used for assessing heart muscle viability in cases of ischemia and infarct.


How to Write a 4* Journal Article

Professor Mark Reed, Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University

In December, Prof Mark Reed, Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University and the man behind Fast Track Impact, tweeted some thoughts on how to write a 4* paper for the REF and wrote a blog about it. This post is published here with the author’s permission.

How do you write a 4* paper for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)? It is a question I’ve asked myself with some urgency since the Stern Review shredded my REF submission by not allowing me to bring my papers with me this year to my new position at Newcastle University.

Obviously the answer is going to differ depending on your discipline, but I think there are a few simple things that everyone can do to maximize their chances of getting a top graded research output.

I’m going to start with the assumption that you’ve actually done original, significant and rigorous work – if you haven’t then there is no point in reading any further. However, as I am increasingly asked to pre-review papers for colleagues across a range of disciplines, I am seeing examples of people who write up work as a 2* or 3* paper that has the potential to get a better score. I should point out that I believe that there is an important role for 1* and 2* papers, and that I regularly write these on purpose to address a problem of national significance and frame it for the specific, narrow audience that is likely to be able to benefit most from my work. However, whether I like it or not, as a Professor in a research-intensive University, there is an expectation that I will be submitted as a 4* researcher, which means I need a few 4* papers as well.

You can see some more detailed thoughts on what I think makes 4* for different types of paper in this Tweet:

https://twitter.com/profmarkreed/status/801348612345253888/photo/1

As you’ll see from the discussion under that tweet though, my more detailed thoughts probably only apply to Units of Assessment across panels A-C, and probably isn’t relevant to the arts and humanities.

Having said this, I think there are a number of things we can all do to maximize the chances of our work being viewed favourably by REF panelists.

  1. Write to the criteria:when I was learning to drive, my instructor told me that in the test I should make sure I moved my head when I was looking in the rear view mirror, to make sure the examiner noticed I was using my mirrors. We’re all used to writing to the criteria of funding calls, and in fact we are all perfectly used to writing papers to the criteria of our target journals. In the last REF, research outputs were judged against three criteria: originality, significance and rigour. Whatever the interpretation of these criteria in your discipline, have you made it explicit to REF panelists reading your work exactly what is original, and why it is so original? Have you explained and effectively justified the significance of your work? And have you included evidence that your methods, analysis and interpretation is rigorous, even if you have to use supplementary material to include extra detail about your methods and data to get around journal word limits?
  2. Get REF feedback before you submit your work for publication:find out who is going to be reviewing research outputs for REF internally within your Unit of Assessment at your institution and ask them to review your work before you submit it. They may be able to make recommendations about how you might improve the paper in light of the REF criteria. Sometimes a little bit of extra work on the framing of your research in relation to wider contexts and issues can help articulate the significance of your work, and with additional reading and thinking, you may be able to position your work more effectively in relation to previous work to demonstrate its originality more clearly. Adding a few extra details to your methods and results may re-assure readers and reviewers that your approach is indeed rigorous. This is not just about doing world-leading research; it is about demonstrating to the world that your work is indeed world-leading. For me, these criteria are nothing new and are worth paying attention to, whether or not we are interested in REF. Meeting these three criteria will increase the chances that you get through peer-review and will increase the likelihood that your work gets cited.
  3. Analyse and discuss good practice in your own area: the only way to really “get your eye in” for REF is to actually look at examples of good and poor practice in your own area. Below, I’ve described how you can design an exercise to do this with your colleagues. You can do it yourself and learn a lot, but from my own experience, you learn a lot more by doing this as a discussion exercise with colleagues who work in your area. If you can, take notes from your discussion and try and distill some of the key lessons, so you can learn collectively as a group and more effectively review and support each other’s work.

How to organize a discussion to work out what makes a 4* paper in your area:

  • Identify top scoring institutions for your Unit of Assessment (UOA): download the REF2014 results, filter for your UOA (columns E or F), then filter so it only shows you the outputs (column J), and then filter for 4* (column L), showing only the institutions from your UOA that had the highest percentage of 4* outputs. Now for those institutions, look across the table (columns L-P) to see which has the highest proportion of outputs at either 3* or 4*. For example, an institution may have 80% of its outputs graded at 4* and 15% graded at 3*, meaning that 95% of its outputs were graded at 3-4*
  • Download a selection of papers from the top scoring institutions: go to your UOA on the REF website, find and click on the institutions you’ve identified in step 1, under “view submission data”, click on “research outputs”, copy and paste output titles into Google Scholar (or your search engine of choice) and download the articles. You may want to select outputs randomly, or you may want to go through more selectively, identifying outputs that are close to the areas your group specialize in
  • Repeat for low scoring institutions so you can compare and contrast high and low scoring outputs
  • Discuss examples: print copies of the high and low scoring outputs, labeled clearly, and in your next UOA meeting, let everyone choose a high and a low-scoring example. Given them 10-15 minutes to quickly read the outputs (focusing on title, abstract, introduction, figures and conclusions so you’re not there all day) and then ask the group (or small groups if there are many of you) to discuss the key factors that they think distinguish between high and low scoring outputs. Get your group(s) to distill the key principles that they think are most useful and disseminate these more widely to the group, so that anyone who wasn’t present can benefit.

It would be great if I could tell you that these are my “three easy ways to get a 4* paper” but doing work that is genuinely original, significant and rigorous is far from easy. If you have done work that is of the highest quality though, I hope that the ideas I’ve suggested here will help you get the credit you deserve for the great research you’ve done.


ESRC Festival of Social Science 2017 – Call for Proposals

ESRC Festival 15th Year BannerBuilding upon the successful collaboration from last year, University of Salford will partner with the Economic and Social Research Council, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to deliver the ESRC Manchester Festival of Social Science.

The aim of the Festival is to showcase Manchester social science research to a broad non-academic audience. Last year we hosted an eclectic blend of activities designed to celebrate the social sciences, including discussions and debates, exhibitions, schools visits, workshops, and lots more.

The call for applications is now open. The Festival runs from 4-11 November and will involve academics working alongside community and cultural partners to create engaging and inspiring research-led events, aimed at a broadly non-academic audience. The goal is to provide an insight into the many ways social science contributes to social, economic and political life across our cities, regions and beyond.

Any researcher or team can apply to hold an event under the ESRC Festival banner. Applicants can also request up to £1,000 sponsorship from the University of Salford to hold an event as part of the Festival. This will also be an excellent opportunity to tag these events to the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Events must include social science and seek to engage groups outside of academia including young people, third sector organisations, business, local government, policy makers and the general public.

We particularly welcome applications that:

  • Seek to bring together two or more festival partners
  • Seek to deliver interdisciplinary events
  • Consider the role and future of social science as a discipline
  • Involve early career researchers
  • Address issues pertinent to the Manchester city-region

For inspiration and ideas for the kind of event you might run, you can find out about the 2016 events at www.esrcmanchesterfest.ac.uk

Please note, applications SHOULD NOT be made directly to the ESRC, but rather via the University of Salford. The application deadline is 4pm on Friday 5th of May. The application form and guidance can be requested through research-impact@salford.ac.uk.

Further details can be found on the ESRC website, including eligibility criteria: www.esrc.ac.uk/public-engagement/festival-of-social-science/apply-to-organise-an-event/

 


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…..


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

 


Dr Clare Allely: 2016 First Place Winner of the Henry Stonnington Award for Review Articles

Brain Injury LogoLast year I published a manuscript: “Prevalence and assessment of traumatic brain injury in prison inmates: A systematic PRISMA review” in the journal Brain Injury as part of my VC Scholarship award. This month, I was absolutely delighted when the journal Brain Injury awarded my paper the 2016 first place winner of the Henry Stonnington Award for review articles (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02699050500322695).

My review of the prevalence and assessment of brain injury in offender populations highlighted a number of key issues within the area. Some of the studies identified in this review touch on the issue of traumatic brain injury (TBI) being largely unrecognised and that, within the criminal justice system, it is a ‘hidden disability’. The studies identified in my review clearly supported the need for screening for TBI within the criminal justice system (at any stage such as: during parole, court diversion or while the individual is in a correctional programme). Currently, TBI receives no medical attention in a large number of cases and, therefore, access to medical records to determine history of TBI is, largely, of no ‘diagnostic’ use. In order to address this issue in the assessment of TBI, the Ohio State University developed The Ohio State University (OSU) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Identification Method (OSU-TBI-ID) (See: http://ohiovalley.org/tbi-id-method/). One study highlights the clinical utility of the OSU-TBI-ID in identifying TBI in inmates and advocates that it can be easily incorporated and combined with existing screening instruments.

In terms of the implication for further research and practice, the studies identified in my review clearly emphasise the need to account for TBI in managing care in offender populations, which may contribute to reduction in offending behaviours. Despite studies highlighting the significant prevalence of TBI in inmates, there has been little consideration of this in the development of policies and procedures. A review, conducted in the UK and published in 2009, exploring the mental health needs of prisoners made no reference to TBI. In prison populations TBI remains inadequately addressed. Further understanding and recognition of the prevalence of TBI in inmates and its psychiatric associations is necessary in order to inform TBI-specific prison rehabilitation programmes.

 

For link to the review article in Brain Injury see: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02699052.2016.1191674?journalCode=ibij20


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.”


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.


Follow Dr Thompson on Twitter

See Dr Thompson’s online profile