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| 14 December 2012 | Issue 592

The last issue of LU Text before the Christmas break will be on 21 December

Contents: news; Sir Patrick Moore; people; Lancaster in the news; notices; food and drink; training and courses; what's on; ads


Honorary degrees for distinguished scientist and economist

Lancaster University received over 3,000 visitors as postgraduates and their family and friends attended ceremonies for the conferment of Higher and Honorary Degrees on 12 December. During the ceremonies, the Chancellor, Sir Christian Bonington, awarded honorary degrees to Professor Sir Brian Follett FRS and Professor Stewart C. Myers. Full story.

Science and Technology Christmas Conference 2012

Tuesday 18 December

Come to this year’s Science and Technology Christmas Conference to hear Professor Jonathan Butterworth, Head of Physics and Astronomy at University College London and science blogger for The Guardian, talking about the relationship between science, the media and the public in 'Science in public: finding a Higgs boson in the media spotlight'. Professor Peter Fielden, Lancaster University's new Head of Chemistry, will present the strategic vision for the new department, exploring the opportunities to stimulate vibrant interdisciplinary research at Lancaster and beyond. In addition, there will be talks from all departments in the faculty and a Graduate School poster competition. A full list of talks and Conference Programme are available on the website. All are welcome to attend.


Lancaster University has signed up to actively explore participation in Futurelearn Ltd, an entirely new company being launched by The Open University (OU) which promises that students from the UK and around the world will have free access to some of the country’s top universities. This is in response to the developments in massive open on-line courses (MOOCs) from some of the US’s leading universities (e.g. Stanford, Harvard, MIT). Some of the UK’s leading universities Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick have also signed up to join Futurelearn. By signing, Lancaster has indicated support for the project and an intention to explore how it can contribute to this project. Futurelearn will be independent but majority-owned by the OU. It will:

Full story.

Taster Day at Lancaster Medical School

Over thirty students from eight schools and colleges have attended a taster day at Lancaster Medical School. The widening participation event was aimed at giving Year 12 students an insight into studying medicine plus the opportunity to speak to medical students, doctors and Medical School staff and the chance to find out what a medical admissions tutor is looking for in the UCAS application. Full story.

First study of new treatment for early stage bipolar disorder

A North West clinical trial of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for less than five years will be the first study of its kind to shed light on how new treatments could be more effective in the early stages of the condition. The Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, a centre dedicated to research aiming to improve the day to day lives of people living with bipolar disorder, will test a new intervention called Recovery focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on volunteers from eleven NHS Trusts in the North West of England. Full story.

Computer project to seek early signs of dementia

The first signs of mental decline could be recognised by computer to enable people to refer themselves for medical care and support. Currently, only half of people with dementia ever receive a diagnosis so researchers are trying to find new ways to persuade people to seek help. Lancaster University is leading a project to see if computer interaction can offer new opportunities for self-referral. The £700,000 Software Architecture for Mental Health Self-management (SAMS) project will look at the use of data and text-mining techniques, combined with adaptive user interfaces to detect early signs of cognitive decline from the way people use their computers. Full story.

Pay Award (non-clinical staff)

The 2012-13 national pay negotiations have been concluded and have resulted in a 1 percent pay award backdated to 1 August 2012. The revised salary values and arrears will be processed in January salary payments.

Sir Patrick Moore

Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who died on Sunday (9 December) aged 89, was an honorary graduate of Lancaster University. Lancaster was the first university to confer an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Sir Patrick in 1974 and he personally opened the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw observatory on top of the Physics building in 2002. He will be particularly sadly missed by two now-retired Lancaster faculty members: Dr Gilbert Fielder, whose many contacts with Patrick Moore went back to pre-Apollo days when the Moon was the main focus of both their interests, and Professor Lionel Wilson, who once spent a memorable hour with Patrick recording an episode of "The Sky at Night".


Mark Diggle will be joining Lancaster University as the head of the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre (CEEC) in early March. He is currently Head of Careers and Employment Service at the University of Bedfordshire. Thanks go to Tara McLaughlin who has been acting head of the service.

Two Lancaster computer scientists have won a best paper award at MUM2012, a leading international multimedia conference. John Hardy from the HighWire Doctoral Training Centre and Dr Jason Alexander from the School of Computing and Communications were awarded the best long paper award of MUM2012, an annual conference which provides a forum for presenting the latest research results on mobile and ubiquitous multimedia.

The EPSRC Catalyst funded Patchworks team led by Dr Rod Dillon (Biomedical and Life Sciences) and Dr Maria Angela-Ferrario (School of Computing and Communications) ran a showcase workshop at Engage 2012, the UK Universities annual public Engagement conference in Bristol last week.

Oxford University Press has digitalised the audio version of Professor David Sugarman’s (Law) interview with HLA Hart, the leading legal philosopher of the twentieth century, and posted it on the Web as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations marking the publication of Hart’s most important book, The Concept of Law. OUP also invited Professor Sugarman to write a blog about his interview, which can be accessed (along with the interview) here.

Dr Maggie Mort (Division of Medicine and Dept of Sociology) contributed to the independent report ‘Trident Alternatives Review and the Future of Barrow’ which had its Parliamentary launch on Thursday 13 December. Commissioned by the Nuclear Education Trust charity, the report seeks to influence the Coalition’s Trident Alternatives Review, which is being held in private.

Librarian Andy Holgate is to publish his second book Can’t Sleep, Can’t Train, Can’t Stop : More Adventures in Triathlon (Pitch Publishing) on 1 January with an ebook release due on December 24. The book chronicles his attempt to complete two Ironman triathlons six weeks apart and follows on the success of his first book Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run which was a UK top 10 sports book, and a number 1 Kindle sports book. He was also shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category in the 2012 British Sports Book Awards.

Isis Forensics has secured significant investment from The North West Fund for Venture Capital and Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Fund. Isis Forensics was founded by CEO Dr James Walkerdine in 2007 and is based in co-location facilities at InfoLab21. The company is an international digital forensics company which specialises in developing solutions to protect individuals and assist law enforcement with digital investigations. Full story.

Professor Maureen McNeil (Cesagen/SociologyDepartment) delivered the Assuming Gender Annual Lecture at Cardiff University on 12 December. Her lecture was entitled: The Right Stuff and Immodest Witnessing: Gendering Lives in and through the New Genetics and Genomics.

Dr Anne-Marie Fortier (Reader in Sociology), is conducting a study on the citizenship naturalisation process (funded by the British Academy), and is looking to interview people who are either going through the process of applying for citizenship or have recently acquired British citizenship. If you fit this criteria and are willing to talk to her, please email Anne-Marie for more information about the interview.

Lancaster in the news

Lancaster colleagues in the news this week have included a radio programme by Professor Simon Bainbridge (English and Creative Writing) which will be broadcast on Radio 3 this Sunday (16 December) at 7.45pm. In it he travels to Paris and Waterloo to examine the responses of the British Romantic writers to their contemporary Napoleon Bonaparte.

Also Professor Mark Shackleton (LUMS) was interviewed on BBC Breakfast on 13 December about the economics of shale gas ahead of the announcement by the energy minister about fracking . He was also interviewed by several BBC Radio stations. To see other news items featuring colleagues follow the link.


New look for LancasterAnswers

A new version of LancasterAnswers, the searchable information base, will be launched on Monday 17 December 2012. This version, which has a new look, includes:

You can access LancasterAnswers at here.

Campus roads

From Monday 17 December, work will begin to repair damaged areas in the road surface on the cycle route on Bailrigg Lane. Roads will remain open although delays may occur to create space for passing traffic. Please note that work is weather dependent. Should adverse weather conditions prevent completion, the contractor will return after the Christmas break. If you have any queries please contact the Facilities helpdesk on 93333.

Temporary closure of main entrance to the Round House building

On Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 Dec, there will be a contractor working on the glass canopy over the main entrance to the Round House. The contractor will be working from a tower scaffold and therefore the main entrance doors will have to be closed for the duration of the works. Alternative entrance/exit route will be provided via the fire exit door to the east side of the Round House. If you have any queries please contact the Facilities helpdesk on 93333.

Bus services over the Christmas and New Year period

From Monday 24 December - Wednesday 2 January, Stagecoach will be running a revised timetable on most days. For further details including the revised bus timetables please see the Stagecoach website.

Christmas –New Year on Campus

Between Christmas and New Year the following are still open:

Full details on opening times and events on campus over the Christmas vacation period can be found on this website.

Help us save Energy - Switch off for Christmas

If you are leaving your University office, room or flat for the Christmas Break, please ensure you switch everything off for the Christmas Holidays. As you leave you can help by:

If you notice any lighting or heating faults, or are unable to switch off lighting or equipment, please report it to the Facilities helpdesk or call 93333.

Festive fitness

Join in with the Christmas tree advent calendar challenge, which releases a new fitness challenge each day. Children can get creative and design a Christmas bauble to decorate the Christmas tree. There are prizes to be won, pick up your template from reception. Plus, the £1 a day membership is back for a very limited time only. For more information on ‘Festive Fitness’ click here, or you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Food and Drink on Campus

Vacation Opening Times - Campus Bars and Cafes

All venues will close on Friday 14 December for the vacation period and will reopen over the weekend of 12 January 2013 with the exception of:

Training and courses

Staff IT training

Staff IT training Training sessions will be repeated in the Lent term. More information is available on the ISS Staff IT Training pages.

Information Security training looks at the kinds of information we hold at the University, why we need to keep that information secure and focuses on the processes for keeping data safe and what to do if security is breached. Taught sessions will be available in the Lent term or, alternatively, the training can be taken on-line at Information Security Online Training.

More information is available on the ISS Staff IT Training pages.

Organisation and Educational Development

Please find below a list of upcoming staff development opportunities that may be of interest to you. For more opportunities please visit the OED Website or email us directly on


For a full list of all events, please see Events.

Supporting the mental wellbeing of Chinese Students studying in UK HE – on campus training course

Graduate College and SBS will be hosting the above training on 9 January 2013 here at Lancaster University. The training, run by the Thinking People team considers the cultural and contextual factors that might affect access to our support services and provides colleagues with the opportunity to share experience, reflect on good practice and listen to Chinese perspectives. The cost of the training is £90 per person (including refreshments and lunch). Places are limited and will therefore be allocated on a first come first served basis. You can register your interest through the online store. If demand is high we will look to deliver a further session later on in the term.

Mikimoto Memorial Lecture 2012 – Dr Tristram Hunt on ‘Ruskin, Engels and the City’

For those who didn’t manage to get to the lecture, it is now available online.


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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.

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