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Professor Peter Hogg is honoured with a Visiting Professorship at Hanze University, Groningen

The photograph is of Professor Paul van Wijk (left), Pro Vice Chancellor at Hanze University and Peter. It was taken as part of the professorial inauguration ceremony.

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.


Dementia Services: fit for purpose?

Finding out you have dementia is one thing, but then finding services are tailored for people who are much older than you can be an added blow. As researchers, we have found people with young onset dementia (before the age of 65) want to know things that they cannot readily find from existing services. For example, dementia is not just about memory loss and participants in our interviews said they wanted to know the ‘early warning signs’ of dementia so they knew what to look out for and seek help earlier. Others wanted greater psychological support at the point of diagnosis, ideally with someone to be there throughout their dementia journey such as a counsellor.

Some people with dementia felt that information about exercise and healthy activities was lacking and wanted more readily available information so they could make healthy lifestyle changes. This they believed would help them keep active and therefore independent for longer whilst preventing loneliness.

Family carers on the other hand felt peer support mechanisms were under-developed. They want help to identify practical and psychological coping strategies and they believe that carers have their own coping mechanisms but just need help to share them. A particular need was for greater information in a format that is digestible and timely.

This week sees the start of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival 2017. The ESRC Festival of Social Science takes place from 4-11 November with over 300 free events across the UK. The festival, now in its fifteenth year, is designed to promote awareness of social science research by enabling scientists to engage with the public through debates, talks, workshops, seminars, film screenings, theatre, exhibitions and much more. The festival is a unique opportunity for people to meet with some of the country’s leading social scientists and to discover more about the role research plays in their everyday life.

A full programme is available at www.esrc.ac.uk/festival. Join the discussion on Twitter using #esrcfestival. Logos for the festival can be downloaded from the ESRC website.

Our own ESRC event is a dementia services event on November 7th at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, being delivered jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University. As well as hearing about recent dementia services research at both universities, including that outlined above, we will be seeking audience views about services and their tips for others living with dementia.

For example, family carers have told us they can better support each other by sharing positive statements such as these:

“You cannot control the illness – it is OK to step back”

“Take calculated risks”

“Accept when you need help”

“Put yourself first sometimes”

“It’s OK to get it wrong”

 

Possible ‘early warning signs’ which carers and people living with young onset dementia said to look out for and seek help about include:

“When you can’t find the words”

“Needing reminding”

“Covering up through joking”

“Writing down instructions wrongly”

“Getting lost on a familiar route”

“When the above become regular or a problem”

 

We need other examples of positive statements to include in a booklet and video we are producing as an output from our Young Onset Dementia study funded by the Booth Charities Salford. We are also consulting on other ‘early warning signs’. If you have experiences of young onset dementia and/or want to hear more about involvement in our study you can contact Dr Tracey Williamson on T.Williamson@salford.ac.uk or tel 0161 295 6424. We especially need to interview people from less heard populations living with young onset dementia.

 

Blog author: Dr Tracey Williamson, Salford Institute for Dementia, School of Health & Society, University of Salford

Acknowledgements: Young Onset Dementia study Advisory Group and research team – Luisa Rabanal, Dr John Chatwin, Chris Sewards, Andy Walker, Maria O’Sullivan. MMU research team led by Prof Josie Tetley 


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.


THINKlab partnership project receives €425K funding

THINKLabTHE University of Salford will lead the way in helping to create more energy efficient cities, after receiving a €425,000 grant from the EU.

Buildings waste huge amounts of energy but annually just 1-2% of the building stock of cities is upgraded for efficiency – a process known as retrofitting.

It is estimated that the majority of European building stock will need to retrofit at a rate of 2.9% a year to achieve the target, versus the current 1.2% rate, in order that EU achieve its emission reduction targets by 2050.

However, current retrofitting processes are expensive, and face many uncertainties and complexities. Experts in the School of the Built Environment are partners in a €8.7 million project, and will lead the development of a knowledge-based tool which will select the integrated solutions with highest impact.

The other nineteen industry and academic partners involved in the project are from the UK, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Estonia. The wider project will explore innovative components, processes and decision making methodologies to guide all value-chain actors in the building renovation process; including a specific knowledge based tool for Real Estate Industry.

Professor Fernando, Director of the School of the Built Environment’s THINKlab and an expert in digital visualisations and simulation, said: “This project offers us further funding to continue our work on designing energy efficient buildings and neighborhoods that we have been doing over the last three years as a part of the Design4Energy project.

“We plan to apply our knowledge in advanced visualisation and collaboration in creating an interactive platform for the stakeholders involved in the retrofit market to create innovative solutions that can not only enhance the energy efficiency of the building but also the value of the property.”

This new technology platform will be built on the THINKlab’s ongoing work on advance data visualisation and building simulation.

Find out more

Victoria Barker

0161 295 4779


Engineering industry event – JMEE: Enhancing the Participation of Industry in Research Projects in Telecommunications and Energy Sectors

Attendees at JMEE Engineering EventEarlier in April Professor Haifa Takruri MBE, Director of the JMEE (Joint MsC Electrical Engineering) programme, organised a special industry event which presented the project’s progress to date. The workshop entitled ‘JMEE: Enhancing the Participation of Industry in Research Projects in Telecommunications and Energy Sectors’ covered the processes involved in developing the JMEE programme, as well as knowledge sharing, academia-industry collaboration and EU and Palestine cultural exchange.

A fantastic example of industry collaboration in action, the event was attended by a number of high-profile engineering partners. Mr Nigel Platt, System Engineering Manager at Siemens Energy, presented about AC and HVDC interconnections for offshore wind farms, from the platform installation to the energy transfer to land. Nigel answered audience questions about wind farm designs, voltage transfer and average output yield on the farms.

Professor Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architecture at BT and a visiting Professor in CSE, presented state-of-the-art research and standards development in 5G telecommunications technology, demonstrating how future IMT technology development is shaping the strategies for 2020 and beyond.

Dr Sam Grogan, Pro-Vice Chancellor Students Experience, brought the discussion back to student experience by speaking about the work the University is doing both locally and internationally in developing the entrepreneurial skills of students.

The talks were followed by an intense and technical discussion showing the vast experience and understanding of the sector by the speakers and participants. After lunch the JMEE team visited Siemens Ardwick railway maintenance facilities. Delegates got to see the new electric train and diesel train maintenance methodology. The group gained an understanding into the capacity and operation required to ensure commuter services are sustained in the Manchester region.

Haifa, who recently received an outstanding achievement award for her work in engineering, said: “It was a great pleasure to host the JMEE workshop at our Media City campus. I am grateful to the speakers for sharing their industrial knowledge and experience with the consortium and for EU TEMPUS for funding the JMEE project.”


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.


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…..


International Research event held at MediaCityUK

LaBritish Academy logost week, the University Alliance joined up with the British Academy and Salford University to host an event exploring international research.

Professor Gerry Kelleher Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise and Alun Evans Chief Executive of the British Academy launched proceedings at the University of Salford’s Media City campus. Over 100 researchers and senior academics from the across the region where invited to attend the day-long event which included presentations from Salford academics Professor Ralph Darlington and Dr Samantha Newbery.

The event highlighted British Academy funding opportunities, explored policy and structural issues around international research and shared best practice and was accompanied by a supporting exhibition of delegate research.

Matt Robinson, Policy and Programmes Manager at the University Alliance said: “We found it incredibly useful to hear first-hand about the barriers and solutions encountered while undertaking international projects. This is a really interesting time for international research. The formation of the Global Challenge Research fund and UK Research and Innovation means that the way these international projects are funded and run will change over the coming year so having heard experiences of researchers presenting today greatly enhances our understanding and helps to inform discussions we will be having.”

The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences – the study of peoples, cultures and societies, past, present and future.