Campus round-up - 11 July 2013

July 11, 2013

Source: Alamy

Art class hero

A university’s art and design academy building will be named after the Beatle who studied at the institution. The award-winning building at Liverpool John Moores University will be named the John Lennon Art and Design Building. Fittingly, it is just down the road from 68 Hope Street, where Lennon studied at the College of Art (as it was then). Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, sanctioned the project. She said she was “touched” because Lennon’s studies there had “provided the springboard for so many influential aspects of his life”.

Institute of Contemporary Music Performance
Go where Muse takes you

A music student has performed for a crowd of 80,000 after she was asked to open for the rock band Muse. Polly Money, a second-year songwriting student at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, had been performing at the Marylebone Summer Fayre unaware of the presence of Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and his fiancée, actress Kate Hudson. The Cornish student was contacted the next day by Muse’s management, who asked her to open for the band at its sold-out show last month at the Stade de France near Paris. Ms Money said she was “honoured” to have supported Muse, calling it “the most incredible experience” of her life.

Royal Agricultural University/University of Bath
Best bitter’s your best bet

The student company Muddy Wellies has won the enterprise competition Uni Popshop 2013. Organised by the University of Bath’s Students’ Union Enterprise unit, the competition set students from 15 universities the task of making as much money as possible for social enterprise ventures in a day of trading at London’s Spitalfields market. Beer brewed by the Muddy Wellies team from the Royal Agricultural University earned £119, which will be donated to the institution’s First Steps Enterprise Fund. The competition was organised in association with UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. It was sponsored by Ernst & Young.

Anglia Ruskin University
Four-star treatment for veterans

A course to help meet the mental health and social care needs of the UK’s 5 million military veterans has been launched. The Anglia Ruskin University master’s in military and veteran mental health is thought to be the first in the UK to provide specialised education and training for people working with military veterans. About 20 per cent of veterans develop mental health problems after leaving the services; alcohol and substance misuse as well as social exclusion are common. The course, which will begin in September, will cover the effects of traumatic exposure, adjustment to injury and reintegration to family and civilian life. It was developed by Jamie Hacker Hughes, visiting professor of military psychological therapies, who served in the Army in the 1970s and 1980s.

King’s College London
Platform for science

A £12 million science gallery is set to open at a London university campus. King’s College London has said that it intends to open the new exhibition space, which will bring together science and the arts, at its Guy’s campus in London Bridge in 2015. The institution has a received a £3 million gift from the Wellcome Trust and £4 million from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity for the site. The gallery, which will be free to visit, will be part of a new 2,000 sq m space opposite The Shard that includes a theatre, cafe and courtyard. “The Science Gallery at King’s College London will give us a completely new way to engage audiences with science, art and innovation,” said Daniel Glaser, the gallery’s director.

University of Gloucestershire
The gift of time

Students and staff have logged more than 10,000 hours of voluntary service following a university campaign. The project at the University of Gloucestershire, which was launched in January, invited the university community to record time spent volunteering in the local area and farther afield. The target of 10,000 hours has already been exceeded, with more than 150 organisations benefitting. Stephen Marston, Gloucestershire’s vice-chancellor, said: “We derive enormous benefit and support from Gloucestershire – and we are committed to giving something back, and to playing our part in promoting the well-being of the community in which we live and work. The 10,000 Hours campaign has illustrated the amazing range and diversity of that contribution.”

University of Reading
Here to make a better life

Twenty-eight climate and environment experts have been hired as part of a university’s £50 million investment programme. The appointments, made over the past year, are part of the University of Reading’s Academic Investment Project, which aims to establish 50 new academic posts in areas such as climate change, sustainable buildings and environments, food security and healthy ageing. Sir David Bell, the vice-chancellor, said the posts would help Reading “build on its reputation as one the strongest research-led universities in the UK and provide a platform for researchers to develop solutions to problems that affect the quality of life and sustainability of our planet”. Posts across all subject areas are due to be filled by September.

University of Wolverhampton
Clear steps to higher orbit

A university has signed an agreement to make it easier to promote progression for adults into higher education. The University of Wolverhampton aims to support students on access courses in colleges – which are designed for adults who want to start on a path into higher education – with better information on what credits and grades they will need for a degree course. The institution has signed “progression information” agreements with the Open College Network West Midlands Region. The new documents “should make it a lot easier and clearer to make the move to university”, said Geoff Layer, Wolverhampton’s vice-chancellor.

Teesside University
The haters are logging on

Three-quarters of anti-Muslim hate crimes reported to a monitoring organisation took place online, a study has found. A report by Nigel Copsey, professor of modern history at Teesside University, also reveals that there has been a rise in the number of anti-Muslim attacks since the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in South London in May, from a daily average of one and a half reported incidents to six to seven a day. The data from Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) suggests that two-thirds of such cases are not reported to the police. “Clearly, the far Right is utilising the internet to disseminate its anti-Muslim vitriol more widely and more effectively,” Professor Copsey said.

University of Leicester
Sociopathic Apprentices

The award-winning BBC programme The Apprentice has been branded “false” and “morally bankrupt” by a leading business expert. Martin Parker, professor of organisation and culture at the University of Leicester, said that the behaviour presented on the show suggested that people had to be sociopathic in their relations with others in order to succeed. “Apparently, you have to say things like ‘I would sell my own grandmother for a bag of chips’ to do well in business. It actually encourages people to behave in ways that are morally bankrupt and reprehensible,” he said.

Newcastle University
A sting in the tail

Scientists have discovered a way to make protein-based antibiotics that could pave the way for a new class of medicines that do not create drug-resistant bacteria. Researchers at Newcastle University found that the “tail” of a bacteria-killing protein was able to destroy germs on its own. One obstacle to making protein-based antibiotics has been their complexity, but working with just the “tail” would be much simpler. The discovery could lead to medications that can be targeted at particular bacteria, which would prevent other germs from gaining immunity. The findings were published in the journal Molecular Microbiology.

University of Nottingham
Buzzkill?

Researchers have discovered that insecticides cause changes to the genes of bees, which could be related to the decline in the honeybee population. A team led by Reinhard Stöger, associate professor in epigenetics at the University of Nottingham, has found that even very low exposure to a neonicotinoid insecticide can affect the development of honeybee larvae. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that exposure to the insecticides forces the cells of honeybee larvae to work harder and increases the activity of genes involved in breaking down toxins. The insecticides also affect genes needed to regulate energy, and such alterations are known to reduce the lifespan of the common fruit fly.

Durham University
God of the dump

A first-year archaeology student has found a carved stone head believed to be that of a Romano-British god. Alex Kirton, from Durham University, unearthed the artefact in an ancient rubbish dump at Binchester Roman Fort in County Durham. It is believed to date from the 2nd or 3rd century AD and could be a representation of the Celtic god Antenociticus, whose help was sought by those going into battle. The deity was unique to the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

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