Posts tagged: university of salford

Researchers win £1.4m bid to improve prosthetics in Uganda and Jordan

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.

The University of Salford is also now collaborating in two other projects in the area of prosthetics, also funded through the Global Challenges Fund of EPSRC – one led by the University of Southampton and another led by Imperial College London.

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.

“This much-needed research project will enable us to bring together an experienced team in the UK, Uganda and Jordan who can create better prostheses, designed for use in lower and middle income countries across the world, which I hope will have a long term impact on millions of people.”

President of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour

Figure caption: Rick Troiano (Program Director at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda) and Malcolm Granat co-chairs of the International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring and Physical Activity Measurement (Bethesda, June 2017). At this meeting Malcolm was elected President of International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour.

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.


Research Impact and Funding

There is a growing body of opinion that holds that researchers have a responsibility to articulate the impact of their research to non-academic audiences. Indeed, the way in which research funding is allocated now increasingly reflects researchers’ ability to generate and demonstrate impact.

A renewed emphasis on the importance of both planning and evidencing research impact requires researchers to develop increasingly robust and integrated ‘pathways to impact’ (as illustrated by Research Councils UK) within research funding bids in order to identify and reward the contribution that high-quality research will make to the economy or to society.

 

Newton's cradle impact imageIn the current research funding climate there is also an urgent need for HEIs to generate income streams from sources other than the Higher Education Funding Councils. Now more than ever HEIs are seeking to raise their profiles and develop relationships with industry, policymakers and other stakeholders in a bid to identify new sources of revenue and facilitate knowledge exchange.

Generating impact, and consequently ensuring that a full range of stakeholders will benefit from the research, is therefore integral to Salford’s research strategy and feeds into its single strategic priority around the Industry Collaboration Zones (ICZs).

The recent announcement by HEFCE that Impact will have a 25% weighting in the forthcoming REF2021 exercise (compared with its 20% weighting in REF2014) serves to further reinforce the importance and relevance of the research impact agenda to HEIs today and in the future.

 

Research Impact Fund

To support researchers at Salford in becoming more ‘impactful’, the University operates an internal Research Impact Fund.

This offers small grants of up to £1000 (match-funded by School/Research Centre) to individuals and groups in support of activities that:

  • reflect the University’s desire to increase the impact and reach of its research
  • highlight strategic engagement that builds upon the University’s vision to pioneer ‘exceptional industry partnerships’

The Fund is currently open for new applications, with a deadline of Friday, 19th January 2018 for the latest round. Further details and the application form can be found here:  https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Impact%20Funding.aspx

 

If you would like to find out more about the Research Impact Fund, or impact in general, please contact Emma Sutton, Interim Impact, Engagement and Environment Coordinator on research-impact@salford.ac.uk

Alternatively, please visit the Impact pages on our REF intranet site for further details on impact resources, funding opportunities and upcoming training events: https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Impact.aspx

 


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 


Talking Teaching: Why I became a Principal Fellow – A blog post by Dr Jackie Leigh @JackieALeigh

Dr Jackie Leigh, Reader Teaching and Learning at the University of Salford, moved into academia from being a Senior Nurse Manager in the NHS. After qualifying as a registered nurse Jackie has since gained a BSc (Hons) in Nursing, MSc in Health Professional Education and completed her PhD in 2012.  In February 2017 she became a Principal Fellow of the HEA, as well as recently being awarded a prestigious HEA National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) in September. The NTF award recognises, rewards and celebrates individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student learning and the teaching profession.

I became an HEA Fellow in 1999, then a Senior Fellow in 2015. I thought I’d been in education a long time and that I met the criteria for Principal Fellow so decided to apply. It was a good time to start the process as it’s similar to the route of becoming a future professor in teaching and learning.

I’m the first Reader in Teaching and Learning, Nursing and Health Professional Education here at Salford and I’m a strong advocate for supporting healthcare workforce development through teaching and learning excellence. As a strategic champion here at the University and Non-Executive Director at Healthwatch Salford, I’m able to influence the healthcare services being developed to improve patient experience in Salford.

The process of applying for Principal Fellow was a very useful reflective practice for me, especially considering the impact of my teaching on the student experience and consequently on patients. Ultimately what we do at university level has to be about the needs of the patients.

The timing has been great due to the incredible synergy between becoming an NTF, Principal Fellow and receiving a University of Salford Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. I feel I can now truly demonstrate the impact I’ve had at institutional and national level. It’s a win, win on both a personal and institutional level. For anyone seeking a chair in teaching and learning, I’d say becoming a Principal Fellow is a must; it gives you the evidence you need and is a great way of demonstrating national presence.

Since becoming National Teaching Fellow I’ve been working with the quality and enhancement team on academic leadership across the university which has been fantastic.

Becoming recognised through the Principal Fellowship definitely helps to open up a whole range of new opportunities. It’s really amazing what’s happened so far, and my recent award of a National Teaching Fellowship has also been fantastic.

I applied for National Teaching Fellow recognition so that I could showcase my achievements in teaching and learning, as well as emphasising my ability to enhance the student experience. I was also keen to highlight the quality of teaching at Salford and instil pride in both the nursing profession and student learning.

In the future I will continue to work with others to help them face the challenges of an evolving higher education system and the changes which are taking place within the field of nursing and health professional education.


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!


Chinese Academic Visitor: Dr Wang Wei from Nankai University hosted by Arts & Media

The School of Arts and Media has played host over the last week and a half to Dr Wang Wei, Lecturer in International History, Faculty of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, PR China. Dr Wang delivered a paper at New Adelphi on Thursday afternoon, 4 May, on the subject of her current research: ‘Arnold J. Toynbee and British Planning for the Post-war World Order during the Second World War’. She has also been undertaking research at the People’s History Museum, as well as examining some of the collections held in the Working-Class Movement Library in Salford.

 

Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nankai University, said: ‘It has been a great pleasure to organise this visit to Salford by Dr Wang while she is spending time in the UK. This is not only because I am anxious to strengthen ties between Salford and Nankai, but also because her research interests fit very closely with those in Politics and Contemporary History, where we have considerable expertise in international history during the twentieth century. It has been very enjoyable for colleagues in Politics and Contemporary History to engage in a productive dialogue with Wei over the last week.’

 

Prof Alaric Searle, Dr Wang Wei (Nankai University) and Dr Moritz Pieper

 

Prof Alaric Searle, Dr Wang Wei (Nankai University)

and Dr Moritz Pieper

 

Dr Wang commented: ‘It is such a wonderful experience to visit Salford University. I immensely enjoyed meeting staff and students in Salford. In particular, I am very grateful to Professor Alaric Searle for inviting me, to Dr Moritz Pieper for chairing my lecture, and to Professor Allan Walker for supporting the visit. The conversations with scholars in Salford and the visits to the People’s History Museum and the Working-Class Movement Library have helped me to understand more about the significance of history from below, to view my current project from different angles, and to pose new research questions. I am hopeful that the ties between Nankai and Salford will be further strengthened with future research collaboration.’


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.


Salford Military Historians Deliver Papers at Practitioner Conference at Pembroke College, Oxford

On Monday, 6 March 2017, three Salford academics delivered papers at a one-day conference held at Pembroke College, Oxford. The conference on ‘Military Doctrine: Past, Present and Future’ saw historians and armed forces practitioners meet to discuss the way in which military doctrine has been formulated and disseminated in the past, with a discussion on how past and current experience can inform future practice. The conference was hosted by the Oxford Changing Character of War (CCW) Programme. Three Salford military historians – Dr Brian Hall, Professor Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum – delivered papers, together with other academics and several practitioners.

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

 

‘The idea for the conference emerged after a discussion I had with Dr Robert Johnson, Director of the CCW Programme, while I was a Visiting Fellow at Pembroke last semester’, explained Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History in the School of Arts and Media. ‘The basic idea was that if we considered how military organisations had developed their doctrines from a historical perspective there might be lessons which contemporary military organisations could draw to inform future practice. If we invited those who had written recent doctrine, then that would create a discussion between practitioners and historians.’

 

Military doctrine is, in essence, what armies put in their manuals; the process itself can be very contentious, often leading to major internal controversies inside armed forces. The aim of the conference was to provide an international, historical perspective, and combine these papers with presentations by those who had been involved in the process in the past. Professor Searle began the conference with an overview of historical experience and the lessons which suggested themselves. Dr Brian Hall, Lecturer in Contemporary Military History, offered a case study of British communications doctrine in the First World War. Dr James Corum, Lecturer in Terrorism and Security Studies, one of the co-authors of the US Army FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency manual of 2006, written under the direction of General David Petraeus, reported on the experience of doctrine-writing for what has turned out to be the most down-loaded field manual in history.

 

The conference provided an opportunity for Salford to showcase its expertise in both military history and high-level practitioner experience. Professor Searle noted: ‘It is always very pleasurable as a historian to be able to engage in debate with military professionals and test one’s ideas and interpretations with those who have been involved in real-world policy making, even if it is at times slightly intimidating to be debating with high-ranking officers. However, my experience has been that quality research can very often throw interesting new perspectives on practical problems.’ He added: ‘While the general public often regard history as something which is not particularly practical, it often is extremely useful for policy-makers. Events such these demonstrate the relevance and importance of historians and political scientists for the University of Salford’s ICZ agenda.’


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.

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