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LU Text is published by the Press Office on Fridays during term time and aims to keep you regularly informed of the University's news and developments. To view previous editions see LU Text Archive.

| 9 July 2010 | Issue 486

Contents: news; Lancaster in the news; people; notices; what's on; ads

We regret to report that on Tuesday 6th July 2010, Elaine Adams lost her bravely fought battle against cancer. Elaine was a much loved and popular member of staff at the Pre-School Centre. Our condolences go out to Elaine’s family including her twin sister and brother-in-law who work in Conference and Events and the Hospitality Division on campus. She will be missed by everyone who knew her. There will be a book of condolences for Elaine open in the front office at the Pre-School for any parents, past or present, who wish to leave a comment.


Graduation Ceremonies – 12-15 July

Nearly 3,000 students of Lancaster University and its Partner Institutions in the North West will visit the University from 12-15 July to receive their degrees. The degrees will be conferred by the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and Deputy Pro-Chancellor in eleven ceremonies, which take place over four days. They will be accompanied by up to 10,000 guests who will watch the ceremonies in the Great Hall or in a live web link in the Faraday Lecture Theatres.

Other major hubs of activity will be the George Fox Building - hosting robing, photography and other associated services and Lancaster Square - where group photography will take place after each ceremony. The Colleges will also be hosting celebration events for their graduating students. Almost 300 staff will be participating, either by joining academic platforms, or assisting with the smooth-running of the ceremonies.

To view the full timetable visit: All the ceremonies can be viewed live via the web at:

Parking and Travel during Graduation Week

Around 3,000 additional cars will arrive on campus each day next week as part of the University’s graduation celebrations. Facilities has put in place a parking management plan, which includes minibus shuttles from Alexandra Park and extra parking signage. Staff are kindly asked to travel to work by other modes of transport or make a special effort to car share for the week, if at all possible, as pressure on parking spaces will be very high. Contractors are asked to park on the Sports Field Car Park, accessed from Green Lane.

Pension News

The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) met on 7th July this week, and have confirmed that a package of proposals for benefit reforms from the employers would be recommended to the USS Trustees on 22nd July. This conclusion was reached when independent chairman, Sir Andrew Cubie, exercised his casting vote in favour of the employers' proposals.

If the employers' proposals are approved by the Trustees on 22nd July, there will then be a full consultation with USS members. The 400 individual employers in membership of USS will be responsible for carrying out this consultation with the scheme’s 130,000 active members. The format of the consultation exercise is determined by regulation under the Pensions Act 2004 and allows for a greater degree of feedback from members than a ballot. It is proposed that a consultation would be initiated in late September and would run for at least 70 days.

Following the end of the consultation period early in December, the outcome would be considered by the USS board. Any resulting changes to the reform proposals would then be considered by the JNC which would approve the rule changes necessary to ensure that the changes were implemented as from 1 April 2011. Go to the Pensions section of the HR website for the full Media Release from the Employers Pension Forum.

Centre for Ageing Research Regional Launch

Over seventy older people and representatives from the statutory, public, private and third sectors across the North West attended the official regional launch of the Centre for Ageing Research (C4AR) on Friday June 18th 2010. Presentations on policy and the changing healthcare needs of an ageing population by guest speakers Mike Hill (Executive Chair of 5050 Vision) and Prof Douglas Mitchell (Associate Medical Director (R&D) & Consultant Neurologist, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), set the scene for a series of ‘bite-sized briefings’ delivered by academics from across the University. Full Story.

Lancaster researchers show that early humans occupied Britain over 800,000 years ago

Lancaster University researchers have contributed key palaeomagnetic dating expertise to a project which has discovered that ancient humans occupied Britain over 800,000 years ago, marking the first known human settlement in northern Europe, far earlier than previously thought.

Working with a team of scientists and archaeologists from the Natural History Museum, the British Museum , UCL and Queen Mary, University of London, at an archaeological site in East Anglia, Professor Barbara Maher and Dr Vassil Karloukovski (LEC) analysed sediments from the site, using palaeomagnetic dating techniques. The research - Early Pleistocene human occupation at the edge of the boreal zone in northwest Europe - is published in Nature Vol 466, No. 7303, Pg 229 – 233, 2010. Full Story.

'Twitter-like' technology could make cities safer

Instant feedback technology that allows the public to voice spontaneous opinions about their surroundings is being tested to help make cities safer. The research is being led by Professor Jon Whittle from Lancaster's Computing Department. The 'Voice Your View' (vYv) technology has been developed by scientists from the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Programme, led by EPSRC, and allows people to provide feedback about their environment, including how safe they feel. For example, people might report that they feel unsafe in an area with poor lighting. Or they could express their fears about the visibility of the police in their area. Full Story.

China should take account of low-cost and/or low-tech ways to carbon reduction says new report

China has significant opportunities for creating a low carbon society if it develops its own low-cost and/or lower tech ‘disruptive’ innovations instead of focusing exclusively on hi-tech solutions according to Dr David Tyfield (Sociology), and colleagues from Zhejiang University in China and Oxford University. The authors of the report ‘Game-Changing China’ funded by NESTA – the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts - say that these types of innovations are far more compatible with the needs of developing countries.

Poster presentation by school Pupils

Nineteen pupils from Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School have had a taste of research after working with staff from the Physics Department. The Year 12 girls looked at various topics including Biomedical Physics, Solar Cell technology, Nanotechnology and Semiconductors before presenting their posters to the department, teachers and parents. Dr Edward McCann, who is Director of Studies for 2nd year undergraduates, said their work was of a high standard. “It was surprising how much they managed to learn about areas which are very specialized. They gave very confident presentations after working in small research groups, which is a taste of what our undergraduates only do in their third or fourth year. It’s a completely different environment for them and they’ve benefited from exposure to cutting edge research. “ The Schools Outreach programme in the Physics Department is now in its third year and it is hoped this will lead to a rise in applications from local schools. Follow link for a photograph of the event.

Lancaster in the news

Lancaster in the news - The Press Office monitors all media coverage and this is a selection of stories from the past week including, Professor Phil Haygarth (LEC) who was interviewed on BBC NW Tonight and local radio about the hosepipe ban and Professor Jon Whittle (Computing) about research into instant feedback technology that allows the public to voice spontaneous opinions about their surroundings.


Over a hundred experts on water management in the UK have gathered at the Lancaster Environment Centre for the first Annual Meeting of the Catchment Change Network. Lancaster University has been leading work in sustainable water management for decades and manages this national network which brings together some of the UK’s leading thinkers, regulatory agencies and businesses. Many of the speakers later went sailing on Lake Coniston which is one of several lakes in the region which are significantly lower than usual. The current hosepipe ban in the North West was featured on BBC TV's North West Tonight whose reporter went to Lake Windermere to interview Professor Phil Haygarth, who is Co-Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management at LEC. He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Radio Cumbria.

Research co-authored by Dr Fiona Measham (Applied Social Science) into legal alternatives to the banned drug mephedrone appears in the British Medical Journal. Dr Measham, who is a senior lecturer in criminology, is also the social science specialist on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which has now advised the Government that the " legal high" naphyrone, which is sold as NRG-1, should be made a Class B drug. The research published in the BMJ suggests that many substances sold legally contain similar ingredients to mephedrone, which was banned in April, and poses health risks. Researchers bought 17 drugs from 12 UK-based websites over a six-week period after mephedrone became a Class B drug. They found these substances tend to contain the same substance or related chemicals. Mephedrone, which was also known as Meow, Bubbles and M-Cat, is made up of a compound class called cathinones. The analysis showed that those sold as legal alternatives turned out to be related to mephedrone. Dr Measham, along with colleagues from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool, said many drugs being sold legally are also cathinones.

Representatives of the Dynamics of Memory Research Group - Mercedes Camino (DELC); Nayanika Mookherjee (Sociology); Corinna Peniston-Bird (History), David Sugarman (Law) and John Welshman (History) - visited the Imperial Museum of the North on July 5 at the invitation of the Museum to discuss, amongst other things, possible collaboration with respect to workshops, conferences, applications for external research funding, the provision of expertise and the sharing of resources.


Flexible Benefits Enrolment 2010/11

This year’s enrolment will take place between 10th August and 9th September. Please ensure that HR have your current home address details by logging onto “ employee self-service” on the HR Home Page or Self-Service is accessed using your main university username and password from any campus PC or via VPN. The Flexible Benefits Roadshow will take place on Wednesday 1 September in the Management School Hub, at which benefits providers and members of HR/Payroll will be available present to answer any questions. Further information will appear on the HR web site shortly.

Temporary HR Department Move

Please note that sections of the HR Division will be moving to B Floor, Furness College on Friday 16th July. The Directors Office, Recruitment/Contracts Team and HR Partner team will be based there from Monday 19th July until the planned move to a newly refurbished HR Building (formerly the ISS building) at the end of January 2011. The Directors Office, Recruitment/Contracts Team and HR Partner team will have limited email and phone access from 5pm, Thursday 15th July, until 9am on Monday 19th July. During Friday 16th July this group will be based in Ash House alongside the Professional & Leadership Development team. To help us manage our workload over this time, please ensure everything is sent to HR in a timely manner.

Alexandra Park Summer Refurbishment Works

Graduate College houses 1-11 are undergoing major refurbishment this summer. This work should be fairly unobtrusive to the rest of the University. The contractor’s compound will be situated on the South West main car park on Alex Park.

UPP will also be carrying out improvement works to some of their residential accommodation on Alexandra Park over the summer period. This will include the replacement of some kitchens, carpets and some painting. In addition some entrances have been identified for drainage improvements. The works will involve a compound area being set up on Alexandra Park car park and some skips located on the perimeter road. For more information on work going on across the campus please visit

ISS Failover Proving Exercise

On Saturday 24th July ISS are planning a failover exercise on the consolidated resilient infrastructure; the result will be that some university services are not available for periods during the day and should be considered at risk between 9am and 5pm. Details of the affected services will be made available here:

New student complaints procedure now available online

With effect from 1st July 2010, Lancaster will operate a revised student complaints procedure – details are available here. The main changes are at the first formal stage of the process, when a student lodges a complaint with a particular department, college or division. We have sought to make the process for all stages clearer with regard to conduct, deadlines and what types of complaints will be investigated. There have also been some changes to the composition of the standing complaints ‘Panel’ from which individuals are selected to investigate second stage complaints on behalf of the University. Should you have any questions, do contact Jackie Hughes in the first instance on tel: 01524 5-92987 or email:

Friends Programme funding available

Application forms can now be obtained from the Alumni and Development Office for funding available under the Lancaster University Friends Programme. Departments, colleges, and individuals can apply for funding (most grants will be in the £2,000 - £5,000 category). The next round of disbursement of funds will take place in September. Applications for funding will need to tie in with the University strategy and fall under at least one of the following categories: Priority Fund, Student Support Fund, or Research & Academic Excellence Fund. Please note: applications from individuals (academic or student) seeking support for tuition, other course fees or personal maintenance costs do not fall into the criteria for Friends Programme funding. Unfortunately we can only allow one application per college and a maximum of five applications per faculty. The Friends Programme is part of the University's fundraising programme and the funds are made possible by donations from Lancaster alumni. Deadline for applications: 5pm Wednesday 1st September 2010 Please note: Department, College and LUSU applications MUST be authorised before submission. Please ensure that applications have been submitted for authorisation by Monday the 23rd August at the latest. Please see the Guidance Notes for Applicants for more details. For further information and an application form, please download the details from or call Rachel Davis in the Alumni & Development Office on ext 94897 / email

Parents required for Online Child Protection Focus Group

Isis Forensics, a Lancaster university spinout based in InfoLab21, is seeking parents of children who use the Internet to take part in a set of focus groups over the next few months. The aim is to find out from parents their concerns about how their children use the Internet in order to help develop the next generation of online child protection solutions. For parents it’s a chance to share their views and concerns about this sensitive area with other parents and help shape the online child protection technology of the future. The first focus group will take place on Tuesday the 20th of July from 12noon to 2pm. It will take place in InfoLab21 and lunch will be provided. A few places are still available - visit to register your interest. Depending on interest, a separate evening event may also be arranged.


For a full list of all items submitted for What's On, please see Events.

Energy Lancaster Symposium on Nuclear Non-Proliferation

To mark the official opening of the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Nuclear Engineering Laboratory in the Engineering Department, Energy Lancaster is hosting a one day symposium “The Nuclear Renaissance and its implications for Nuclear Non-Proliferation”.

Confirmed external speakers include:

  • Dame Sue Ion (Royal Academy of Engineering)
  • Professor Richard Clegg (The National Nuclear Centre of Excellence)
  • Dr Robin Taylor (The National Nuclear Laboratory)
  • Dr Kevin Hesketh (The National Nuclear Laboratory)
  • Dr Neil Smart (Radioactive Waste Management Directorate, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority)

The symposium will be held in the Masters Training Suite, Engineering Department on Wednesday 14th July, starting at 10:15 (for coffee) and will close at 3 pm. A full programme can be found at If you would like to attend this event, please contact Claire Duff ( ) by noon, Monday 12th July.

Energy Lancaster: Thermo-Photovoltaics for Reduced Carbon Emissions

Also on the 14th July in the conference centre, Professor Tony Krier of the Department of Physics will be hosting a TSB event on the development of thermo-photovoltaics – devices that can turn heat directly into electricity. If you would like to learn more about thermo-photovoltaics, please feel free to drop by the conference centre for lunch at 1 pm that day.


All adverts - posted by staff.

Contact Victoria Tyrrell on (01524) 594120 with items for LU text, LU News or for external publicity.
Events information should be sent to Laura Mitchell (01524) 592103.

LU text is usually published on Fridays. On occasion it is necessary to delay publication until the following week. ITEMS FOR INCLUSION SHOULD BE EMAILED TO THE EDITOR BY 12PM THURSDAY BEFORE PUBLICATION. Adverts are limited to University members and we are unable to check incorrect contact numbers or email addresses. All attempts will be made to include adverts sent via email, but no guarantee is made. The editor reserves the right to edit copy. The opinions expressed in this bulletin are not necessarily those of the university management.

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