Campus round-up

January 27, 2011

Kingston University

Orange fruits shared with public

A London university has acquired material relating to a major literary award. The Orange Prize for Fiction archive at Kingston University contains material dating back 20 years to the first meeting to discuss the foundation of a new prize for women's writing. The Orange Prize is now awarded annually to a female author of any nationality for the best full-length novel written in English and published in the UK. The archive also includes information about educational, lifelong-learning and literacy projects funded by the award scheme. It will open to the public in the summer.

University for the Creative Arts

Wave of inspiration

Artwork for an alternative rock box set produced with help from students has been nominated for one of the US' most prestigious music awards. Graphic designer Vaughan Oliver, a visiting tutor at the University for the Creative Arts, invited a team of his students to help him work on the Pixies' Minotaur Deluxe Edition box set, which includes all five of the band's studio albums. The artwork has been nominated for a Grammy Award, with the winner to be announced during a ceremony in Los Angeles next month. Mr Oliver, who produced the original artwork for the Pixies' albums, said the students "truly rose to the occasion".

Royal Holloway, University of London

Act of God? Count on me

People are more likely to donate to victims of disasters that are perceived to have natural causes than events precipitated by human agency, research has found. Academics at Royal Holloway, University of London found that people are more willing to part with their cash for victims of disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, the Haiti earthquake of 2010 or the more recent floods in Australia and Brazil. In contrast, there is a reluctance to donate to victims of wars or civil conflict, such as the ongoing civil war in Darfur. The researchers say that people's decisions are influenced by psychological processes of which they are not necessarily aware. The study could provide important tools to help design more effective relief appeals for victims, the university said.

Bath Spa University

Open-access horror shows

Lectures on Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper are among those on offer to the public at an "open-access" week being held by a university next month. The Open Learning Week at Bath Spa University, being held from 14 to 18 February, will allow visitors to attend up to 30 scheduled classes alongside undergraduates. Highlights include a talk on Frankenstein by William Hughes, a Bath Spa expert on Gothic studies. One of the scheme's target audiences will be visitors who have children or grandchildren currently studying at university.

University of Nottingham

Vital talks

Dialogue between Europe and China will be given a boost by a new project. The University of Nottingham will coordinate the EU-China Civil Society Dialogue on Participatory Public Policy, which aims to build long-term links between European and Chinese universities, research institutes, non-profit organisations and advocacy groups. Nottingham has won a EUR1 million (£844,000) European Union grant for the project. The China Policy Institute, a think tank run by the university's School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, will bring together experts from 10 participating organisations to debate policy issues in areas such as climate change, social entrepreneurship, freedom of information and environmental health.

Birkbeck, University of London

Dramatic insights for Pentagon

A lecturer is about to see his play go to Washington DC for a private performance attended by Pentagon staff, policymakers and the military. Colin Teevan, lecturer in the department of English and humanities at Birkbeck, University of London, wrote The Lion of Kabul as part of The Great Game series, which considers foreign intervention in Afghanistan from 1842 to the present. After two successful London runs, The Great Game was presented at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC in September 2010 before touring other US cities. Mr Teevan's play centres on a confrontation between a female United Nations official and a Taliban mullah that takes place outside the cage of Marjan, the one-eyed lion living in Kabul Zoo.

Dundee/Oxford

Bug-hunt breakthrough

Researchers have made a breakthrough in the race to overcome antibiotic resistance. Scientists from the University of Dundee and the University of Oxford have produced a 3D molecular image that will help researchers design antibiotics to target Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The common bacterium can cause serious diseases, especially among burn victims, cystic fibrosis patients and those undergoing chemotherapy.

University of Sunderland

Graduating out of Africa

MBA graduates who studied for a UK degree in Kenya have taken part in a graduation ceremony at Intel College in Nairobi. The cohort is the first to graduate from a part-time programme delivered by a partnership between the University of Sunderland's business school and the college. Chris Marshall, head of Sunderland Business School, said the programme would boost the Kenyan economy, as well as the lives of students and graduates. "All of the MBA graduates are working full-time as business owners, private sector managers and government officials," he said.

University of Leeds

Consortium's healthy figure

Experts are aiming to improve basic healthcare in the world's poorest countries. A consortium of international non-governmental organisations led by the University of Leeds has won a £7.5 million UK government contract to improve basic curative and preventative programmes that tackle common diseases such as TB, malaria and HIV/Aids. The six-year project will entail research in Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Nigeria. The project is part of the government's efforts to maintain progress towards the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Animal accolade

A module from a Welsh master's degree in anthrozoology has won an international award. The course, Human-Animal Interactions in Anthropological Perspective, taught at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, won the Animals and Society Institute and the Humane Society of the United States' Animals and Society Distinguished Established Course Award 2010. It was recognised for the insights it offers into the bond between animals and humans, and human obligations towards the animal kingdom. Samantha Hurn, coordinator of the degree, said the accolade showed that anthrozoology could "make important contributions to understanding how humans think about and treat other animals".

Newman University College

Get a grip

Money saved through carbon reduction schemes bought a new gritter to keep a campus open during snowy weather. Newman University College, in Birmingham, funded the gritter through its waste management fund, designed to improve environmental performance and reduce the institution's carbon footprint. Stuart Maddy, security and estates adviser at Newman University College, said: "We're delighted that the scheme is beginning to pay dividends on both an environmental and financial basis."

University of Central Lancashire

Workings of the mind

Academics are aiming to show the economic, ethical and socio-cultural arguments behind the need to improve mental well-being. Experts from the University of Central Lancashire have designed a toolkit for health and local authority commissioners that will also be used by local government more broadly. Research reveals that improved mental well-being is directly linked with reduced mortality, better health, greater emotional resilience, and enhanced creativity and innovation.

De Montfort University

Cultural cooperation

The British Library has teamed up with a university to boost cultural activities and research. Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University, and Kristian Jensen, head of arts and humanities at the British Library, have signed a letter of cooperation and are planning a programme of joint projects. One component will be a jointly sponsored PhD studentship on the work of dramatist David Rudkin, extending the research of De Montfort's Theatre Archive Project. The archive, hosted by the library, contains material about key figures associated with UK post-war theatre.

University of Oxford

Cash to dig Chinese tech scene

A centre dedicated to the study of Asian culture has received its first major research award. The Lever-hulme Trust has awarded a grant of almost £500,000 to researchers at the Oxford Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art and Culture, based at the University of Oxford's School of Archaeology. The grant will fund research into how foreign materials and technologies changed early Chinese societies and track how the Chinese reacted. The project will be led by Dame Jessica Rawson, professor of Chinese art and archaeology at Oxford.

Bound to enthrall

Digital technology will allow scholars to read the pages of a fragile - and enormous - manuscript of the Koran. The ornate book - measuring 88 x 60 x 18 cm - is kept at the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library. Experts at the library are using digital technology and the internet to reunite the 470-page Rylands Koran of Kansuh al-Ghuri with two missing leaves, discovered in the 1970s at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Until now, scholars have been unable to study the precious items - thought to be at least 500 years old - because of the risk of damage. But the digitised resource will be freely available for research, teaching and learning on a dedicated website.

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