Campus round-up - 7 November 2013

November 7, 2013

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Haka backers

The performance of the New Zealand rugby league team during the World Cup 2013 is being monitored by students. Postgraduates from the University of Hull’s department of sport, health and exercise science will use the latest video-based techniques to analyse the players. Undergraduates studying for Hull’s BSc in sport rehabilitation will also provide New Zealand – reigning champions and co-favourites for the tournament – with massage and rehabilitation support. Other Hull students are helping the French and Papua New Guinean teams. The tournament final will be played on 30 November in Manchester.

University of Essex
Pinochet’s long shadow

A week of events dedicated to the history of Chile is to take place at the University of Essex. Latin America Week starts on 18 November and will feature a pre-recorded welcome message from Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s former president, who holds an honorary doctorate from Essex. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup led by Augusto Pinochet. Several Essex staff were among those forced into exile in the 1970s, including Nelson Fernández, professor of immunology, who was imprisoned in the notorious Villa Grimaldi torture centre and the Tres Alamos prison camp.

University of East Anglia
Verses from drowned and saved

Little-known examples of Holocaust poetry have been exhibited as part of a major research project. The year-long study, Translating the Poetry of the Holocaust, is led by Jean Boase-Beier, professor of literature and translation at the University of East Anglia, and is investigating why the poems were written and by whom. The exhibition, which took place at The Forum in Norwich on 4-5 November, aimed to include work relating to as many of the different groups persecuted by the Nazis as possible. “We have found that there is a lot of poetry about the Holocaust…in countries that we don’t generally think of as the main sufferers…for example in Greece, Turkey and Norway,” said Professor Boase-Beier.

The Open University
Boy guides

A university is teaming up with the charity Action for Children to look at the importance of male role models to boys and young men, particularly those in vulnerable situations. The two-year Open University research project, Beyond Male Role Models: Gender Identities and Work with Young Men, has received £200,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council and will consider how boys build relationships with professional welfare workers. “There is increasing public anxiety about boys and young men in society, and this is something our research is responding to,” said senior lecturer Martin Robb, who is leading the project.

University of Wolverhampton
Golden age

A West Midlands campus that is now home to 6,000 students has celebrated its 50th anniversary. The University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall campus, established in 1963 and specialising in sport, performing arts and education, has been radically refurbished over the past five years thanks to investment on the order of £50 million. In 2011, the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure opened its landmark Performance Hub at the campus. A celebratory event held there last month featured speeches by the vice-chancellor, Geoff Layer. Other guests included former cricketer Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.

University of Liverpool
Desktop benchmark

Postgraduate programmes in information technology at the University of Liverpool have become the first suite of fully online degrees to be accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. This means that students on the courses can fulfil the academic requirement to register as chartered IT professionals, widely regarded as a benchmark for IT excellence. They can also become student members of BCS at the start of their MScs, moving on to professional membership once they have successfully completed their courses. Such membership gives them access to a network of established professionals and a range of career development tools.

King’s College London
Godly and cream

A college dean has become the first non-Catholic to win a prestigious prize awarded by the Pope. The Revd Canon Richard Burridge, dean of King’s College London and professor of biblical interpretation, was presented with the 2013 Ratzinger Prize by Pope Francis. The award – sometimes referred to as the “Nobel prize in theology” – recognises those whose academic research relates to or expounds upon the work of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Professor Burridge received the prize from the pontiff on 26 October during a ceremony held at the end of a three-day symposium in Rome on Joseph Ratzinger’s work on Jesus and the Gospels.

University of Worcester
Teaching to the converted

A group of aspiring teachers has visited a university that is strengthening its links with a “pre-PGCE” course taught at a local high school. The course was developed two years ago by Mark Drew, a teacher at Droitwich Spa High School, who claims it offers his AS- and A-level students “the most accurate simulation of teaching possible for their age group”. Thirteen of them came to the University of Worcester’s City Campus last month, where Alison Winson, head of the Centre for Secondary and Post Compulsory Education, talked to them about pursuing teaching as a career.

Queen Mary, University of London
Success is dawning on her

The first recipient of a science scholarship named after the Greek goddess of the day has been revealed. The Hemera Scholarship will cover tuition fees for a single undergraduate at Queen Mary, University of London’s School of Physics and Astronomy, and provide a £9,000 stipend for living costs. Aimed at students from families with little experience of higher education, and who have overcome challenges to achieve success in their studies, the first Hemera Scholarship has been awarded to Honor Elliott.

University of York
Fish fight champion

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is the celebrity chef who has most consistently promoted sustainable seafood, research has found. Scientists at the University of York’s environment department ranked 10 celebrity chefs on the basis of seafood recipes contained in the books they published between 2005 and 2012. Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall was consistently the highest performer; by contrast, Delia Smith scored poorly, as did Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. Bryce Stewart, who supervised the study, said: “Increased promotion of seafood sustainability in popular culture offers a potentially important way of reducing pressure on the marine environment.”

University of Sheffield
The way we lived then

A collection of nearly 4,000 historical images of British urban spaces has been made available online. The photographs and other documents, which were believed to have been lost, were discovered during building work at the University of Sheffield’s department of town and urban planning. They belonged to the late J. R. James, professor of town and regional planning at Sheffield and a government chief planner. The collection has been digitised and curated by two Sheffield students, Philip Brown and Joseph Carr, with support from the university’s Alumni Fund.

St Andrews/Exeter
Poison in them thar hills

Mercury deposits from mining during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century are being spread across the state’s lowlands by floods, a study has discovered. A team including scientists from the universities of St Andrews and Exeter studied how the toxic sediment washes down from the Sierra Nevada, potentially contaminating the food chain. It is hoped that the research will make it easier to predict contamination and mitigate risks to the food chain.

University of Aberdeen
Hope for second sight

Blindsight, a condition where people who have been blinded by brain damage can nonetheless detect something in their visual field, is more common than previously thought, researchers have established. Scientists at the University of Aberdeen found that 70 per cent of patients they tested with conditions such as strokes had blindsight, a finding that strengthens the hypothesis that brain damage never leads to complete blindness. It is hoped that the technique used by the study, which measures pupil responses, could be used to detect whether blind patients could benefit from sight rehabilitation.

Royal Holloway, University of London
Curtains up

A £3.5 million university theatre complex will open next week. Named after the UK’s first female professor of theatre, the Katharine Worth Building at Royal Holloway, University of London will officially open on 13 November. The complex houses two large rehearsal studios, a workshop for set and prop construction, dressing rooms and a front-of-house area, as well as the Caryl Churchill Theatre, which can seat about 200 people. The inauguration will feature a performance of Tim Crouch’s play My Arm, which tells the story of a boy who holds his arm in the air for 30 years.

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