Campus round-up

June 30, 2011

Sheffield/London College of Fashion

Reactionary fashion

Clothes that help to clean the air could be produced as a result of a collaboration between a university and a fashion college. Anthony Ryan, pro vice-chancellor for the Faculty of Science, University of Sheffield and an expert in polymers, has teamed up with Helen Storey, professor of fashion and science at the London College of Fashion, to explore how textiles and clothes could be developed to tackle air pollution. The project, called Catalytic Clothing, will coincide with the launch of a campaign for clean air. Professor Ryan said: "We will engage the public in formulating (the clothing's) nature and application, allowing us to develop something that is both user-friendly and technically excellent."

De Montfort University

Distractions removed

Results of a university's first annual competition to grant research leave have been announced. Ten academics at De Montfort University have been awarded research leave in 2011-12 to help prepare the university for the 2014 research excellence framework. Four of the successful bidders are from the Faculty of Humanities, three from Technology and three from Health and Life Sciences. De Montfort's pro vice-chancellor for research and innovation, Heidi Macpherson, said: "The range of projects supported offers evidence of our excellence and the impact of our work."

Newcastle University Business School

Open for new business

Newcastle's flagship city-centre regeneration project - Downing Plaza - will be the home of a business school. Ian Clarke, director of Newcastle University Business School, said: "Our new building is one of Newcastle's newest and most architecturally innovative developments. From the inside and out, it represents the huge strides we are taking as a progressive international business school." The Plaza is the first phase of a multi-million-pound redevelopment scheme that will also greatly expand the amount of student accommodation in the city.

Anglia Ruskin University

On/off switch

An art exhibition will explore how teenagers' involvement in social networking websites represents a new form of emotional expression. Christine Webster, senior lecturer in photography at Anglia Ruskin University, will exhibit the work, entitled Transitions, at the institution's Ruskin Gallery until 7 July. The exhibition looks at the role of desire and desirability in image creation, how that image is projected online, and how modern teenagers change between their virtual and actual selves.

University of Hertfordshire

Beating the competition

A revolutionary strap to monitor fetal heart rate has been announced as the winner in a competition that supports and encourages entrepreneurship in students. The University of Hertfordshire's annual Enterprise Ideas Challenge - now in its sixth year - bestowed its "flare" Business of the Year prize on midwifery student Betina Andersen. Ms Andersen won a £5,000 cash grant sponsored by the university and businesses Deloitte and Exemplas, which will go towards developing her business idea, dubbed Fetofit.

University of the Highlands and Islands

Home-grown is best

Researchers in Scotland plan to harvest a bumper crop of wheats and oats to discover the best strains to grow in northern climates. In conjunction with local partners, Peter Martin of the Agronomy Institute at Orkney College, University of the Highlands and Islands, is studying the advantages of northern European wheat and oat varieties, with the aim of harvesting the first crop in September. He said: "We are so far north that UK milling varieties of cereals are usually too late in coming to harvest. So we've started looking at early maturing wheat and oat varieties from northern Europe."

University of Dundee

Healthy balance

Research indicates that tens of thousands of patients in Scotland are being prescribed medication that puts them at high risk of side-effects. The University of Dundee study analysed 315 Scottish general practices and found that 60,000 patients were being prescribed medication that put them at risk because of their age or pre-existing medical conditions. Bruce Guthrie, project leader and professor of primary care, said it was important to balance risk and benefit in medication.

Durham University

Past presence

Medieval studies will be based in a new £1.25 million visitor centre at Durham Cathedral and Castle.

Durham University's Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies will move to the centre, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, as part of a drive towards public understanding. The institute is also developing interdisciplinary research about the site. Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of Durham, said: "We are proud, in partnership with the cathedral, to be a custodian of what is one of the world's great treasures."

University of the West of England

Sustained effort

A £7.5 million Architecture and Product Design Centre has been formally opened by David Willetts, the universities and science minister. The new centre at the University of the West of England includes sustainable features such as a heating system powered by recycled cooking oil, and has achieved a Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method rating of "excellent" in its overall performance. Mr Willetts said it was "particularly fitting that UWE's product design and architecture students will be able to benefit from such a cutting-edge and sustainable new building".

Harper Adams University College

Hand delivery

Visitors to a farming college will be able to find their way around campus using a new mobile app. Harper Adams University College has signed a deal with oMbiel to develop the app for its Shropshire site in preparation for open days this autumn. It will provide maps of the campus, tours, an event programme, contact details and news alerts. Lorraine Westwood, Harper Adams director of communications, said the service would give students "an interactive aspect to their campus visit".

University of Salford

Look at it this way

A new master's programme aims to remove the divide between art and technology and create "new ways of thinking and doing". The University of Salford's digital performance course will be launched in October at the institution's MediaCityUK site. It will be led by academics and artists in conjunction with industry. Mary Oliver, programme lead and head of the Performance Research Centre in the School of Media, Music and Performance at Salford, said the course was "designed to help our students explore the limits of technology, to work beyond the as-yet impossible towards the creation of new ways of thinking and doing".

University of Central Lancashire

Eat well, live long

The global challenges of ensuring that children get the best nutrition was the theme of a conference attended by experts ranging from anthropologists to midwives. The University of Central Lancashire hosted the conference, titled Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives, and welcomed more than 100 delegates from nations around the world. Fiona Dykes, conference organiser and professor of maternal and infant health, leads the Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit at Uclan. She said: "Political, economic and cultural challenges were illuminated, and practical and research-based initiatives to improve the situation were also presented."


Tempting offer

Two UK universities have launched schemes to boost their research collaboration with Brazil. The universities of Nottingham and Birmingham are offering 20 Brazilian junior lecturers or postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to spend three months working at either institution. They are also providing 20 full-fee scholarships for Brazilian PhD students to study in the UK for three years.

Stroke of genius

A university's staff and students will gain free access to Liverpool's public fitness and leisure centres thanks to a commitment by their institution to help the council with running costs. The recent agreement between Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool City Council means staff and students can use top-of-the-range gym equipment and make the most of the city's swimming pools. Liverpool John Moores will make a contribution of £400,000 a year towards the running costs of the facilities in return for free, off-peak access for its 25,000 students and 3,000 staff starting in September. Michael Brown, vice-chancellor, said the range of centres across the city "promotes great levels of access, really improving on what we can offer as a university to people studying and working at LJMU".

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