Campus round-up

April 4, 2013

Wearing well

Research by a university’s neuroscientists has inspired catwalk fashion for a unique scheme. The Changing Minds project - involving neuroscientists at the University of Southampton and students at the university’s Winchester School of Art - challenges second-year fashion design and knitwear students to create garments inspired by research into conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. The project has been running for the past three years. Six outfits from the project - some of which are displayed here, modelled by students - will be on show at the Wonder Street Fair from 7-9 April, at the Barbican, in London, which forms part of a wider season of brain-related events organised by the Wellcome Trust and the Barbican.

University of Salford

Are you having a laugh?

Comedian John Thomson passed on advice and tips to students during a masterclass for the University of Salford. In the session with the university’s comedy practices and other performing arts students, at the BBC’s Quay House in Salford, Mr Thomson talked about his experiences, from starting out in stand-up through his work with Steve Coogan writing and appearing in Knowing Me, Knowing You…with Alan Partridge, to his acting and comedy career, which has included roles in The Fast Show, Cold Feet, Coronation Street and Waterloo Road. Mr Thomson, who was born in Salford, believes the university’s campus at MediaCityUK offers students huge opportunities. Traditionally, he said, TV and entertainment has been “very London-centric, but MediaCityUK is in the process of changing this and Salford students are in the right place to take advantage”.

University of Wolverhampton

Ace up the sleeve

A West Midlands school has become an academy under a new university-led trust. The Ace Academy, in Alexandra Road, Tipton, opened last year after a £24 million rebuild. It has now become the first secondary school to be sponsored by Education Central Multi Academy Trust (MAT), within the University of Wolverhampton. It is the third school to join the MAT. Geoff Layer, vice-chancellor, said the university has a “vision for regional regeneration through education to help raise standards and aspirations of young people in the area…This vision now extends to sponsorship or working in partnership with schools across the West Midlands.”

University of Essex

A click down memory lane

A university is to digitally recreate Paternoster Row in London as it would have looked around 1800, when it had the highest concentration of bookshops in Europe. University of Essex history professor James Raven is leading the project, which will allow users to virtually travel down the street, seeing the bookshops and publishing houses as they would have appeared at the start of the 19th century. They will also be able to click on properties to reveal how they were used, who the tenants were and what books and magazines were produced. Paternoster Row was destroyed during the Blitz and Paternoster Square, home to the London Stock Exchange, now sits on the site.

University of Manchester

Allergic response

A UK university is spearheading the world’s biggest-ever study of food allergies. In the €9 million (£7.6 million), three-year project, the University of Manchester will team up with 38 partners from the UK, continental Europe, Australia and the US, including food companies and patient groups. Lead researcher Clare Mills, from Manchester’s Institute of Inflammation and Repair, said the “massive” European-funded project aimed to improve the accuracy of allergy warnings on food. “The evidence base and tools that result from this [project] will support more transparent precautionary ‘may contain’ labelling of allergens in foods, which will make life easier for allergy sufferers,” she said.

University of Bedfordshire

Carry on, Campus

A new university campus in Milton Keynes will open its doors to 120 students in September, it has been confirmed. University Campus Milton Keynes is a partnership between the University of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Council. It will focus on courses in engineering and technology, with a range of foundation courses, undergraduate degrees, pre-master’s courses and postgraduate degrees available. Bedfordshire vice-chancellor Bill Rammell said: “This is an exciting new chapter. We will have a physical presence from September to meet demand in the local area and deliver courses for which there is a tangible demand. Each of the university’s faculties and departments will be represented at the new campus.”

University of St Andrews

Healthy sum

A medical graduate has left an estimated £600,000 legacy to benefit research at his alma mater. Neurologist Bryan Ashworth, who died last year aged 83, bequeathed one-fifth of his estate to the University of St Andrews’ School of Medicine. It represents the largest single gift to the new school since it opened its doors in November 2010. The legacy will support the university’s research programmes in areas including cancer biology, infection and immunity, child and adolescent health, and health psychology. After studying at St Andrews, Dr Ashworth returned as an honorary senior lecturer in medical history from 1997 to 2002.

University of Edinburgh

Chicken feed

The welfare of poultry could be improved as a result of research into how chickens regulate their appetites. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute identified how a chicken’s genetic make-up affects the signals sent from its stomach to its brain. As farmers often have to restrict food for chickens because some are insensitive to feelings of fullness and can overeat, the study could make it easier to develop methods to properly regulate their diets. The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, focused on a protein called cholecystokinin that has a key role in sending signals about being full.

School of Oriental and African Studies

Words and deeds

A group of postgraduate law students have set up a free legal advice service for charities and human rights groups. About 50 students from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London are offering to advise or conduct policy research for any groups or individuals with clear development, human rights or social justice advocacy goals through its Banyan network. In the past 12 months, students from the network have worked with the Revenue Watch Institute to support the introduction of a new mining code in Guinea, drafted a report on Sudan and the International Criminal Court, and helped to brief lawyers working on a US Supreme Court case on alleged corporate human rights abuses.

University of West London

Gourmet affair

Celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale has accepted a student award from her alma mater. The model-turned-chef, who presents the BBC Two series Baking Made Easy, graduated from the University of West London last year in culinary arts, gaining a first-class degree. She attended the university’s annual hospitality and tourism awards on 22 March to receive the David Gaydier Memorial Trophy for chef of the year, picking up one of 50 student prizes awarded that night. Other hospitality students showed off their impeccable culinary skills at the ceremony at the Hilton, Heathrow.

University of Nottingham

Snakes and career ladders

A university has invested £1 million in the hiring of 22 new careers advisers. The University of Nottingham made the investment in its Careers and Employability Service to allow it to provide specialist career guidance to specific faculties. Jan Perrett, acting director of the service, said: “By creating five faculty teams, we will be able to work closely with academic and administrative colleagues to deliver bespoke career guidance and employability activities to our students.” The service will search for job opportunities in China and Malaysia - where Nottingham has campuses - as well as the UK.

Kingston/St George’s

Show you care

People applying to study nursing at a university campus will have to complete a series of short role-play scenarios to test their empathy and integrity. Those wishing to study nursing at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London will be invited to an assessment day to identify characteristics crucial for those entering the profession. The approach is in line with recent recommendations in Robert Francis QC’s report into failures of care at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust, which said aspiring nurses should have to complete an aptitude test to demonstrate their desire to care for patients.

University of Reading

Know the score

Football investors can check that the price of a club is right with the help of research from a university business school. Tom Markham, a researcher from Henley Business School, University of Reading, developed a bespoke method for valuing clubs after finding that six established corporate valuation methods did not correctly estimate the worth of Premier League clubs. Through his model - which uses performance indicators specific to the football industry - he found that Manchester United, the league’s most valuable club, were worth £1.06 billion - more than twice as much as their closest rivals, apart from Arsenal, who were worth £943 million. Wigan (£42.8 million) were bottom of the table.

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