Latest news from Lancaster
Leading names announced for first in 50th Anniversary public lectures series
The University’s 50th Anniversary Public Lecture Series is getting off to a flying start next month, with talks from three leading names in their own, very different, fields.
The series will begin with Olympic Champion and Lancaster Alumnus Jason Queally who will describe his journey into cycling before taking your questions in a talk at the Sports Centre on Saturday 3 May. Earlier that day, Jason will also start the Roses Ride 2014 - a major community cycling event hosted by LUSU as part of the Roses weekend. Find out more and register here.
On Monday 12 May there is an opportunity to hear from our own Chancellor, Sir Chris Bonington, about the leadership and motivational techniques he used in his 1985 Everest Expedition in an event at the Management School.
The following day, Dr Fran Bagenal, Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado and Lancaster Alumna will share her work as co-investigator and team leader on NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto at an event at the Storey Gallery in Lancaster City Centre. To find out more and register for these events, or others taking place for the 50th anniversary, go online to www.lancaster.ac.uk/50. Further dates in the 50th Anniversary Public Lecture Series will be announced in the coming weeks.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell to deliver Athena SWAN lecture
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, FRS, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, will deliver Lancaster’s first Athena SWAN lecture as part of the University’s commitment to promote and advance women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
The lecture will be held at Lancaster Management School Lecture Theatre 3 at 2pm on Friday 16th May
The Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research. Lancaster has been the recipient of Athena SWAN Bronze award since 2008. Recent achievements include Physics JUNO Champion and Departmental Bronze awards for Lancaster Environment Centre and the Faculty of Health and Medicine.
Professor Rothwell is the first woman to lead The University of Manchester or either of its two predecessor institutions. She is also Professor of Physiology, and has previously held an MRC Research Chair, as well as holding University positions as Vice-President for Research and as Deputy President & Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Professor Rothwell’s research in the field of neuroscience has contributed towards major advances in the understanding and treatment of brain damage in stroke and head injury. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in June 2004 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in June 2005, in recognition of her services to science. She is the founding President of the Society of Biology, a non-executive Director of AstraZeneca, co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, a Royal Society Council member, a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester and a member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board. Professor Rothwell takes a strong and active interest in public communication of science and regularly gives talks to schools and the public and contributes to television, radio and press, particular on sensitive issues in science
Please register your attendance by email to Organisation and Educational Development
Fulbright Scholarship success in DHR
PhD student Martin Loucka (International Observatory on End of Life Care ) has been awarded a Fulbright Schuman scholarship and he will spend 4 months at the National Palliative Care Research Center in New York at the leading centre for palliative care in the USA.
Martin will submit his PhD in the next few weeks and then return to the Czech Republic to start a palliative care research group at the 3rd Medical Faculty at Charles University in Prague.
Student Employee of the Year Competition
Do you have a student working part time for you who makes a real difference? Someone who always goes above and beyond? Who you think really stands out?
If you do, why not nominate them for the Student Employee of the Year Awards? There are three categories you can nominate your student employee for:
- Above and Beyond – student who have excelled at work and made a real impact
- Step up to Leadership – for those who have managed other people, a project or a department
- Commercial Impact – someone who has come up with an idea which as increased sales or saved money to improve the bottom line
Nominations are open now and until April 17 and can be made here.
Nominees are initially entered into the Lancaster University, with the winners going on to the regional and ultimately national awards, with the chance of winning up to £200. Nominating students for these nationally recognised awards are a great way to acknowledge and reward their hard work and have a really positive impact on their future.
Hot off the Press…the winners!
The story of a light-fingered larcenist hunted down by Segway-mounted pursuers caught competition judges’ attention and earned a FASS student a placement on the national Guardian.
Declan Lloyd, who is studying for an MA in Literary Studies, scooped top place in the Hot off the Press contest. He gets to spend a week-long placement with Guardian Northern Editor Helen Pidd.
Third year English Language student Danny Gallagher and second year English Language and Creative Writing student Simon James also scooped week-long placement prizes. Danny will work on the Lancaster Guardian newspaper and Simon will join the University press team.
The contest had an open brief in which entrants, FASS students with a burning desire to pursue a media career, had to come up with a short exclusive story on a topic of their choice demonstrating research, reporting and writing skills.
The competition followed hot on the heels of a journalism and communications workshop on campus in January when speakers included:
Former Deputy Editor of The Guardian and Emeritus Professor of Journalism at Sheffield University Peter Cole
- Editor of Lancaster and Morecambe Newspapers Group Nicola Adam
- Acting Head of Communications at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and BBC Radio Lancashire football commentator Derek Quinn
The workshop and competition were organised by Lancaster University Press Officer Anne Rothwell and FASS Placements Officer Kate Dunbaven.
Judge and former newspaper editor Anne Rothwell said: “The judges were charmed by Declan’s amusing and exciting news story, complete with photos, about a thief being caught by a pair of Segway instructors who gave chase on their machines to nab the light-fingered larcenist. It was well researched and well presented.
“We also felt Danny Gallagher’s business news story about a local hairdressing entrepreneur and Simon James’s feature on a new Lancaster ‘walk’ being included in the Royal Geographical Society’s Discovering Britain guide were thoroughly investigated, carefully constructed and meticulously written.”
Lancaster celebrates graduation success in India
169 students have graduated with Lancaster University degrees in India.
During the ceremony at the Grand Hotel, New Delhi on 20 February, student Anjali Agrawal (BA, Business Economics), was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for exceptional academic performance.
Akta Gupta received the undergraduate Gopi Ram Goenka Medal awarded in recognition of outstanding performance in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities and Mayank Singh received the postgraduate medal. The late Sri Gopi Ram Goenka was the guiding force behind the GD Goenka group.
The Guest of Honour was Avinash Pandey, a Post Graduate in Modern Indian History and an Alumni of IIM Indore & ISB Hyderabad. Currently Avinash is the COO of ABP News, a Media Content and Communication Services Company which runs three channels: ABP News, ABP Ananda and ABP Majha - a Hindi, Bengali and Marathi channel respectively. He is also on the board of the International Advertising Association – India Chapter.
Through its partnership with GD Goenka World Institute (GDGWI) Lancaster delivers undergraduate and post graduate programs in management and engineering subjects with an industry relevant focus at the purpose built campus.
The partnership, established in 2009, brings together GDGWI’s experience of education in India with Lancaster’s world class academic reputation and is ideally positioned to equip students to meet the challenges of a globalised world. Lancaster is the first and only university to deliver higher educational qualifications at GDGWI Education City.
The students are graduating with Masters of Science in Management and Management & Marketing; PG Diploma in Management and Management & Marketing and Business Management, BA in Business Economics and Economics and BBA in Business Studies.
Overseas partnerships are an important part of Lancaster’s international strategy. International students, from over 100 countries form well over half of the University’s graduate school, while international staff from sixty countries constitute almost one third of academic staff.
Photograph: L - R Nipun Goenka, Managing Director, G. D. Goenka Group with Mayank Singh who received the Postgraduate Gopi Ram Goenka Medal and Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor, Lancaster University.
Lancaster University launches Wind Turbine Community Benefits Fund
Lancaster University is inviting community and voluntary groups in south Lancaster to access its Wind Turbine Community Benefits Fund.
The Community Benefits Fund has been developed to share the benefit of the wind turbine with local communities in south Lancaster area by providing grant funding for community and environmental projects.
The funding will be worth more than £200,000 over the next 20 years. In the initial spring 2014 round of funding £20,000 will be available for grants, with £10,000 available in each subsequent annual funding round. Community and Voluntary groups can apply directly, or proposals could be made to Parish Councils, who can apply to the fund.
Applications for the spring 2014 (Round 1) funding are now being taken. Application forms and guidance notes can be downloaded from Lancaster University’s Community Benefits Fund webpage http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sustainability/community-benefits-fund
Applications for grants will be evaluated, and awards made by the Community Benefits Fund Steering Group, which comprises of representatives from local Parish Councils and Lancaster University.
Lancaster University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark E. Smith said:
“We are committed to sharing the savings of the turbine with our local community. I look forward to seeing the launch of some exciting local community and environmental projects as a result.”
Lancaster University invests in new third generation pitch
Work has started on a new third generation artificial pitch to the south of the two existing Astroturf pitches. The pitch will provide a FIFA and IRB certification, allowing competitive matches to be played.
Lancaster is investing in a new third generation (3G) rubber crumb artificial pitch. The new floodlit pitch will provide a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and International Rugby Board (IRB) certification, allowing competitive matches to be played.
It will be located at the front of the University replacing grass pitch 4. WiFi and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) connectivity, to enable the streaming of live games, will also be installed as part of the project.
To enable the contractors to carry out the work the footpath from the access point by Alexandra Park BBQ station to the Astroturf has been closed and diversion signage is in place giving information on how to access the sports pitches and an alternative route to the Sports Centre. More information including the diversion map can be viewed on the Sports Centre webpage. Please note that Trim Trail stations 1, 2 & 3 will be out of use during the work.
The project will be complete towards the end of May 2014.
Kim Montgomery, Head of Sport said:
“The delivery of this facility will have considerable impact on our sports teams, recreational players and the local community. It will enable rugby and football matches to be played in all weathers and training to take place regardless of grass pitch conditions. This is further testimony to the importance that Lancaster University places upon sport and the wellbeing of its population. We apologise for any inconvenience the building work may cause you but hope you enjoy the new facilities in the summer.”
Emily Pollitt, Student Union Vice President for Activities said:
“I’m so excited about the installation of the 3G pitch. It’s going to be such a great addition to our current facilities. There will be some disruption during its construction but we ask that you bear with us during this time.”
Improved recycling rate reduces University carbon emissions
Improvements in Lancaster University’s recycling rate over the last six years have resulted in carbon emissions from waste and recycling falling by 42%.
Between 2006-07 and 2012-13 the University’s recycling rate has increased from 2.5% to over 64%, with carbon emissions from waste and recycling declining from 441tCO2e p/a to 258tCO2e p/a.
Jonathan Mills, Carbon, Environment and Sustainability manager said:
‘Lancaster University’s carbon emissions from waste and recycling have fallen because the carbon emissions associated with reuse, recycling and recovery are much lower than that associated with disposing of waste to landfill. In 2006-07 the University disposed of 97% of its waste to landfill, whilst in 2012-13 the figure had fallen to 35% of waste going to landfill. A massive amount of effort has been put into improving facilities for reuse and recycling at Lancaster over the years and this shows the sort of impact these changes can make in the long term.
We are really keen for all University staff and students to recycle or reuse as much as possible. Anything that avoids waste going to landfill helps reduce our carbon footprint.’
A right Royal visitor for an all-gold occasion
A Royal visitor added a special touch to the official start of celebrations marking Lancaster University’s 50th Anniversary.
HRH Princess Alexandra, the University’s first Chancellor, was present at the 50th Anniversary Launch Dinner at the LICA building on campus on Thursday (6 February).
Since being appointed as Founding Chancellor in 1964, Princess Alexandra has observed with interest as Lancaster University has evolved from a small but passionate community of academics to an Institution of global significance.
Other guests at the private event included the current Chancellor Sir Christian Bonington, Pro- Chancellor Lord Liddle, former Pro-Chancellor and former diplomat Sir Christopher Audland, and Honorary Graduates actress Patricia Routledge and former England footballer Jimmy Armfield.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith said: “Our anniversary is much more than a chance to look back. It is an opportunity to lay the foundations for our vision for the future and to raise our profile regionally, nationally and internationally.
“Our aspiration is to be a world-renowned University of genuine global significance, providing the highest quality research and teaching. We will play our part in changing thinking on big global issues such as climate change, food security, ageing and cyber security.”
The anniversary celebrations, to run until March 2015, will encompass a host of exciting events across the globe.
Details of events, including those taking place around the official anniversary weekend of 13 and 14 September 2014, a series of Public Lectures, a Campus in the Community initiative and the traditional Roses contest with York in May, will be available on the University’s 50th anniversary website at www.lancaster.ac.uk/50 and will be updated throughout the year.
Photograph caption from left: Lord Liddle of Carlisle, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith, HRH Princess Alexandra, Sir Christian Bonington, Caroline Thomson (Lady Liddle) and Professor Andrew Atherton Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Lancaster University is offering photography enthusiasts the chance to win one of 4 prizes to mark the University’s 50th Anniversary. The competition is open to amateur photographers among our staff and students. Simply send us your best photographs and you could win a £250 prize.
- Campus life (photos of staff, students or the general hustle and bustle of campus life),
- The University estate ( architecture, nature and wildlife)
- Essence of Lancaster (a photo capturing Lancaster University at 50)
- Local community and region
How to enter
Full details of how to enter can be found below.
Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of the terms and conditions.
Winning entries will be judged by a panel apart from the ‘Essence of Lancaster’ category which will be voted for via social media.
Closing date – Friday 23 May 2014.
Lancaster University 50th Anniversary Photography Competition
Closing date Friday 23 May 2014.
- This competition is open to staff and current students of Lancaster University only.
- Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
- Entries should be submitted by email to email@example.com. Image files must be no more than 3MB in size. Entrants should state if they are staff or student, include their name and telephone number together with the category entered. We are unable to accept postal entries. Please include the date and location of the photograph.
- One entry per category
- All entries must be received by the advertised closing date.
- It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any images they submit have been taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe the copyright of any third party or any laws. Entrants must state that the photograph they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright for it.
- Copyright in all images submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. For the purposes of this competition each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to Lancaster University to feature any or all of the submitted images in any of their publications, their websites and/or in any promotional material.
- Photographs entered must not be published elsewhere or have won a prize in any other photographic competition.
- Winning entries will be those which are judged to be the most visually appealing, original or best reflecting the themes of the competition. The winner of the ‘Essence of Lancaster’ category will be voted for via social media.
- One winner will be selected for each category and win a cash prize of £250.
- The winners may be required to take part in publicity.
‘The Master’s Hand’: drawings by G.F. Watts
Ruskin Library, 27 January – 17 April 2014
The Ruskin Library is swapping exhibitions with the Watts Gallery at Compton, near Guildford. Established in 1904, the Gallery reached the final of the BBC2 Restoration series in 2006 and has since undergone major refurbishment. It commemorates the great Victorian artist George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817-1904), recognised at home and abroad as a painter who could preach eternal truths and provoke social reform. A lifelong friend of John Ruskin, he was a versatile painter and sculptor who has been called ‘England’s Michelangelo,’ achieving fame in several genres: history painting; symbolic representations of profound themes, such as Hope; portraits of leading writers, artists and politicians (especially in his ‘Hall of Fame’ series); and powerful sculptures, from Clytie to Physical Energy.
Watts was a superb draughtsman, and the new Ruskin Library exhibition consists of 40 drawings covering all aspects and periods of his work, from youthful exercises and Italian landscapes to preparatory studies for some of his most famous paintings, including Love and Death and The All-Pervading. Portrait drawings include one of the actress Ellen Terry, whom Watts married in 1864, and Mrs Leslie Stephen, mother of Virginia Woolf.
In return, the Ruskin Foundation has lent 20 drawings and 20 daguerreotype photographs to the Watts Gallery, for an exhibition John Ruskin – Photographer and Draughtsman, which runs from 4 February to 1 June.
Image caption: credit © Watts Gallery
Launch of the 2014 China-UK entrepreneurship competition
The Lancaster China Management Centre of Lancaster University Management School will join its partners for the launch of the China-UK Entrepreneurship Competition on Monday January 27. Now in its 7th year the competition is an internationally successful initiative which encourages new business ventures between China and the UK. This year the competition will be launched at the University of East Anglia’s Business School.
Widely supported by universities, governments, businesses in both China and UK and the Chinese Embassy, the competition has been developed by a number of leading universities in the UK and China to bring together existing businesses and new student-led start-ups that are looking to develop commercial relationships and exploit market opportunities offered by collaborations between the two countries.
To kick off the 2014 competition, keynote speakers will address guests, sharing their own expertise and experience of international collaboration and entrepreneurship.
Dr Andy Wood OBE, the chair of East Anglia Local Economic Partnership, will address the event and highlight the significant opportunities of collaboration with China. Andrew Barnes, senior partner of Howes Percival LLP, will discuss the importance of working with China in this region. And James Stewart, partner of Menlo LLP, who is also former partner of the UK’s longest established private equity company ECI, will introduce the Venture capital opportunities between the two countries.
Also speaking are Dr Nick Rousseau, head of International Innovation Strategy at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, director of China Britain Business Council, Chris Cotton and Professor David Brown director of Lancaster China Management Centre.
Prof David Brown said: “This competition is unique in highlighting the important opportunities of working with China, which is critical for the UK. The fact that the competition partners are located in different regions is a big help. It means that anyone with new ideas has easy access to the competition.”
Registration opens to teams of final year students from UK or Chinese institution, post-doctoral researchers and start-up companies less than two years old with university links, on the day of the launch event.
The competition is part of the PMI2 (Prime Minister Initiative II) Connect project, supported by British Council and the Confucius Institute programme funded by Hanban. Teams will be selected for the chance to win a £5,000 cash prize, and an investment opportunity of £250,000 for the best business plans. Initial registration, proposal submission and selection deadline is 5pm Monday 14th April 2014.
The Organizers of this competition are: University of East Anglia, Lancaster University, University College London, the University of Edinburgh, China Innovation and Development Association UK, and Tianjin Association for Science and Technology, Chongqing National Science Park. The competition was co-founded by Dr Yu Xiong, Senior Lecturer Norwich Business School and Professor David Brown, Lancaster University Management School.
To attend the launch event, please email Dr Yu Xiong at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the competition, visit http://business.uea.ac.uk/chinaukchallenge.
Key role in shaping health services
A key appointment to a new regional NHS organisation will ensure Lancaster University is at the forefront of health care transformation.
Lancaster University’s Professor of Musculoskeletal Science John Goodacre has just taken up the major role of Medical Director for the new North West Coast Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) – one of 15 AHSNs recently set up by the NHS across England.
The networks aim to transform healthcare, benefitting both patients and economic growth.
Their role is to establish and support partnerships between the NHS, universities, industry, local enterprise partnerships and other organisations to enhance knowledge exchange, collaborative research and professional training and development with the aim of increasing the amount, rate, scale, quality and take-up of innovation in the NHS.
“What this means in real terms for Lancaster University is that we will be even more forward facing and involved in a significant new piece of NHS infrastructure – involving all Faculties,” explains Professor Goodacre, who is also the Co-Director of the Faculty of Health and Medicine’s Collaborative Partnerships initiative, which supports strategic partnerships with the public and private sector in research and professional development.
He said the significant progress of health and medicine at the University in recent years meant Lancaster could now lead such initiatives.
“Five years ago this probably would all have happened without Lancaster’s contribution,” added Professor Goodacre. “This is a real marker. We now have a key role in shaping regional strategy and policy around this agenda”.
“Lancaster University is well placed because it is ‘joined up’ and has a breadth of skills across a wide range of disciplines. Engagement with the AHSN will encourage and make it so much easier for new partnerships to emerge, and for new approaches to develop, for example through cross-sectoral secondments.”
By building strong relationships with regional scientific and academic communities and industry, it is envisaged the AHSNs could provide a more systematic delivery mechanism so that innovation spreads quickly and successfully throughout the NHS, making the best possible use of resources and ensuring the most advanced treatments, technologies and medicines are available to all patients.
“In short, this is a step change in the way the NHS translates research into innovation and best practice, leading to effective and cost effective treatments and services for patients,” added Professor Goodacre.
He will work with all nine NW universities and NHS organisations, including the 40 NHS and primary care trusts, in the North West Coast area, which includes Lancashire, Cheshire, South Cumbria and Merseyside, to establish the infrastructure and ensure delivery of the AHSN strategy.
“We want to ensure that the North West Coast is recognised as a real ‘go-to’ place to make things to happen,” added Professor Goodacre. “The idea is to bring all the stakeholder enterprises together to enhance the scope and impact of our work. This will enable an holistic approach to innovation, dealing with the ability of industry to work with universities to generate early stage innovations, to improve test systems and to enhance the ability of the NHS to take up new devices, new technologies and new ways of working.”
Professor Goodacre said the AHSN would take a broad approach in which some of the work would be about the innovations themselves while other work would focus on organisational ethos and capability.
“Our job is to join up other parts of the infrastructure to make it easy for industry to work with the public sector on research and innovation, providing clarity, systems integration and the facilitation of major funding bids,” he added.
“This is the first time everyone has recognised that it’s not just about getting industry to work here but to enable something to happen at the end of it - that is enabling the NHS to take up, use and benefit from the innovations. In turn, this will fuel and drive further improvements in the next generation of innovations.
“The NHS is full of brilliant people with brilliant ideas. To spread those ideas across the NHS means working collaboratively with all those who have an interest. “
All nine North West Coast universities took part in an AHSN strategy planning summit last week.
*Professor Goodacre will continue his current roles at Lancaster University and as Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Long term support needed for families displaced by flooding
Planning for the emotional aftermath of devastating floods is as important as dealing with the immediate impact of such emergencies, say researchers from the Hull Floods project at Lancaster University.
As local councils brace themselves for the estimated £400m repair bill for damage caused by the recent storms and flooding, Dr Rebecca Whittle, Lecturer at Lancaster University’s Lancaster Environment Centre said: “It’s actually about what comes after – it’s about that long and very protracted recovery period. It’s about that secondary trauma of having to deal with insurers and builders - trying to recover some semblance of normal family life.”
A new short film released this week, entitled ‘Life after Flooding’, and funded by the Economic And Social Research Council (ESRC), shows how these academics worked with 50 Hull residents for two years following the floods of 2007. During the deluge the city received a sixth of its annual rainfall in just 12 hours. More than 10,500 homes were evacuated and many were unable to return to them for over two years.
The researchers asked those who had been most affected to keep a diary, and brought them together for regular group discussions. Dr Marion Walker, Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University Environment Centre, says parents and teachers were also worried about the youngsters who had been displaced. She said: “We realised then that it was important to talk to the children and young people to find out how they were coping.”
So they encouraged them to draw and write storyboards about their experiences. The researchers found it was a very therapeutic way for the youngsters to deal with their trauma. Ian Lamb, Education Coordinator for Hull City Council, said: “It allowed us to work in a more emotional way. I think if we hadn’t done that with these children then certainly their outcomes and attainment would have suffered. We built that into the curriculum and certainly into the social way that we dealt with families.”
The findings of the Hull Floods Project have influenced government policy – but researchers feel more could still be done. For instance - it should become educational policy that young people severely affected by the disruption caused by flooding carry a record of what happened to them throughout their school life so teachers understand its impact.
In addition, Save the Children UK invited them to work with them to develop a set of resources to help young children and their carers to process their emotions after a disaster.
Photograph caption: Dr Rebecca Whittle and Dr Marion Walker in footage of an ESRC film 'Life after Flooding'
Lancaster announces new Dean of Health and Medicine
Lancaster University is pleased to announce that Professor Neil Johnson will join its senior team.
Neil, who is currently Pro-Dean Education at the Warwick Medical School and a General Medical Practitioner, will join Lancaster as Dean of Health and Medicine in August 2014.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith welcomed the new appointment.
“Neil has extensive experience in the development and leadership of medical education, the NHS and links to biomedical sciences. I am confident that he will help us achieve our future ambitions in the pursuit of outstanding biomedical, medical and social scientific research and education.”
Health and medicine at Lancaster brings together several key areas including ageing and neurodegenerative disease, end of life care, public health, mental health and infectious disease.
Professor Neil Johnson "I am absolutely delighted to be joining the team at Lancaster. The University and Faculty already have excellent reputations for both teaching and research and as a result I believe the Faculty should be very ambitious about its future. I very much hope that the experience I can bring will support the Faculty in its next phase of development and to achieve its rightful place nationally and internationally."
Can Chinese innovation help address the climate crisis?
Sociologists at Lancaster University are leading an international research project, launching this week, which explores lessons for 'low carbon innovation' from the world's biggest polluter.
The £500k UK-China collaboration will look into the implications of low-carbon ‘transitions’ in China, the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter.
To mitigate climate change worldwide we need to transform the way we power our homes, travel and feed the planet's ever-growing population. Decisions made in China on these issues are crucial as they will have an impact on the rest of the world.
With China throwing state support behind electric vehicles, solar energy and next-generation agricultural technologies, where bottom-up successes in electric two-wheelers, solar thermal and agro-ecological farming have also emerged, now is the time to understand the crucial impact of social and political issues on the successes and failures of low carbon innovations.
The Economic and Social Research Council-funded project 'Low Carbon Innovation in China – Prospects, Politics and Practice' will offer in-depth academic analysis seeking to inform opportunities for low-carbon transitions in China and beyond, with case studies spanning energy, mobility and agriculture.
Dr David Tyfield, Co-Investigator of the project, said: "The success or failure of low carbon innovations rests not on how superior the technology is, but on how people use the technology and the issues of power that surround it.
“Sometimes the most productive innovations do not involve high-tech. For example, electric vehicles are a top government priority in China but they’re just not selling. Conversely, putting an electric motor on a bike is cheap available technology but it’s a runaway success. It’s not new technologically but the way it is being used has potential to change the way people live their lives.
"This project is exploring these crucial social dynamics where they are arguably of greatest significance for global prospects of a 21st century shift to sustainability: China."
This new three-year project is an international collaboration between researchers in the UK and at leading institutions in China, led by Professor John Urry at Lancaster University.
Photograph caption: Professor John Urry and Dr David Tyfield (R-L)
Bowland Tower reopens following major refurbishment
Over £4 million has been invested into the refurbishment of Bowland Tower and the East and South wings. The project is now complete providing a total of 136 rooms; 55 Superior Ensuite rooms in the Tower, plus 76 Standard rooms around Alexandra Square and 5 family flats.
Following a nine month refurbishment programme, Bowland Tower and the East and South wings are now complete and the accommodation is fully booked.
Over £4 million was invested by the University to provide five Superior Ensuite rooms on each floor of the tower, as well as a communal kitchen/lounge/dining area with views looking north and west over the rooftops and towards Morecambe Bay.
In total 136 rooms have been developed as part of the project. 55 rooms provide Bowland students with the Superior Ensuite option for the first time, while the 76 new Standard rooms around Alexandra Square add to those already available in Bowland Main and in the family flats.
Bowland Tower was originally built in 1968 with six rooms on each floor plus communal kitchen and bathroom facilities. By 2008 the building was no longer suitable for occupation and was closed pending full refurbishment. The East and South wings had been used as office accommodation in recent years but have now been restored to their original residential use.
Mark Swindlehurst, Director of Facilities said:
“The programme involved a tight timeframe to ensure the work was carried out for students to move into the accommodation at Christmas. The Project Delivery team, college and contractor have worked in partnership to deliver the project on time and within budget, a fantastic team effort.”
Local contractor Askam Construction completed the project on schedule and the University made arrangements to move all students from their contingency accommodation in ASH House prior to their return to Lancaster for the Lent term.
Candace Davies, Residences Manager said; “We expect these rooms to be very popular with current Bowland students, and future Lancaster students that come to choose College membership and accommodation this summer.”
The refurbishment of Bowland Tower is part of the University’s ongoing campus investment to ensure that Lancaster’s students have the very best facilities during their time here.
Transfer computer files with your eyes
A new way of dragging and dropping files has been developed by a Lancaster University student.
A system called EyeDrop enables the user to move items on screen by gazing at the object through an eye tracker. This automatically selects the object which can then be transferred to a tablet or smart phone via the touchscreen.
The system relies on the two devices being connected wirelessly. It was developed by PhD student Jayson Turner at the School of Computing and Communications who said:
“It’s very swift and smooth because I wanted to eliminate the unnecessary steps in the interaction and let people move things quickly and fluently.
"Selected content can contain metadata allowing it to be used for varying purposes. It’s useful if, for example, you want to drag objects to an interactive map and plot a route. It will allow you to manipulate the object – like a photo – as you transfer it and share it.”
He said there are still many issues to be overcome, including the problem of needing to wear eyetracker glasses to be able to use Eyedrop.
“But this could be overcome if instead, the gaze tracking technology was included within say a display so it lets you select and cut and paste an image being displayed. But that has privacy issues since not everyone would want this, so all this needs to be resolved at the same time the technology is being developed.”
He presented his research at the Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia in Sweden.
A new approach to Professional Development
Organisation and Educational Development (OED) is the central service responsible for supporting the ongoing development of professional practice for all University staff. Our remit is wide ranging; covering educational development for academics, researcher development, leadership and management development, professional development and support for organisational development processes. Following the outcomes of a detailed review, we have been improving and updating OED’s development offer in line with the University’s strategic priorities. The result is a significantly updated and improved offer of programmes and learning opportunities, relevant to the full range of academic and professional service staff. Development activity is now focusing on core aspects of teaching, research and professional skills at Lancaster and within our international teaching partnerships.
We are also introducing new approaches to ensuring high-quality provision, including commissioning leading subject experts to deliver specific training and development interventions. This new, impact-focused approach is a key change to the way we support the professional practice of staff across the University.
Development opportunities are being delivered in a variety of formats from longer-term scheduled programmes enabling professional accreditation, to a core series of short-courses focused on key skills and knowledge.
We are responding to demand in three key areas, crucial to the successful delivery of the University’s strategic objectives: high quality teaching and learning; developing appropriate research skills in early career researchers and developing leadership and management capacity across the University. Within this, we have introduced - for the first time - a focus on talent management and succession planning, which we see as critical to the University’s continued success.
Examples of newly developed programmes implemented this academic year include:
- The Management Development Programme is a six month programme aimed at mid-grade staff with management responsibilities, designed to help them develop core people-management skills. The first two cohorts have supported the development of 30 managers from across the University.
- The Successful Researcher Programme is a programme of development for early career and contract researchers which has been specifically designed for the University by Dr William Medd, award winning Lancaster Environment Centre lecturer and certified coach. The programme uses innovative peer coaching techniques to enable researchers to focus on the Researcher Development Framework (RDF)
- The Future Leaders Programme’s first cohort focused on developing the leadership skills of 10 senior female academics from all four faculties (as nominated by their faculty). The second cohort will be focused on individuals within Professional Services and will be launched later this term, with further cohorts to follow.
Additionally, a senior leadership development opportunity is currently being planned, linked to the University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. This innovative programme is being devised in line with the University’s strategic objective of becoming a top 100 global institution; it will support colleagues by enabling projects, research or institutional exchanges aimed at strengthening Lancaster’s development as a global University. The experiences and findings of the successful applicants will then form the basis of further development activity at Lancaster.
The new offer and approach presented by OED provides a range of flexible, targeted opportunities to develop essential core skills and enhance professional practice, relevant to all. Those interested in finding out more about OED and the support we offer can visit http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/oed/ or email OED@lancaster.ac.uk.
Dr James Howard, Head of Professional Development
Organisation and Education Development
Professor’s pioneering OR initiatives earn top accolade
A prestigious lifetime achievement award is testament to the teams who have, over 50 years, placed and retained Lancaster University firmly on the map for Operational Research.
Distinguished Professor of Operational Research in Lancaster University Management School Kevin Glazebrook has received the Beale Medal, the Operational Research Society’s top award.
The Medal is presented in recognition of a ‘sustained contribution over many years’ to the theory, practice or philosophy of Operational Research (OR) in the UK and the excellence of his work.
Operational Research is the application of advanced analytical techniques to improve management decision-making.
The award citation refers to Professor Glazebrook’s ‘significant influence’ on the support and development of Operational Research in the UK.
Modestly, Professor Glazebrook views his award, received recently in London, as a mark of achievement for the passionate and dedicated teams involved in three key enterprising OR initiatives that have earned Lancaster University recognition.
Although Lancaster has been a national leader in OR for some considerable time (it was actually a founding subject for the university despite being a somewhat new discipline), a new phase of this remarkable story of achievement started in 2004.
That was the year when an International Review of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Review identified too few people working on the theoretical side of OR and not enough researchers being trained.
Professor Glazebrook, who came to Lancaster in 2005, stepped into the spotlight, against a UK-wide backdrop of considerable discouragement. Simultaneously, the EPSRC set aside a pot of money for taught course development for PhD students.
“I was convinced there should be a national taught course centre for Operational Research and I, and several Lancaster colleagues, invited universities across the UK to a meeting to discuss it further,” said Professor Glazebrook, previously at Newcastle University’s School of Mathematics and Statistics before moving to Edinburgh as Professor of Management Science.
“I remember that meeting vividly. There was considerable doubt expressed about the viability of the project or that we could secure any Research Council funding for it. We managed to convince people of the importance of working together.”
Lancaster, Cardiff, Southampton, Brunel, Warwick and Nottingham Universities subsequently came together as a consortium and the National Taught Course Centre in Operational Research (NATCOR) was born.
“It was a huge success and we got the EPSRC funding,” added Professor Glazebrook, who was Director for six years. He stepped down last year after securing follow-up funding.
“The EPSRC really liked what we were doing and so did the students. It was something different and our students particularly enjoyed the opportunity to network. To do something important in a national sense you must work with other people, pull resources together and take the best expertise from different areas. That’s what we did.”
The second significant initiative, which created enormous impact, also resulted from the 2004 review and its identification of a lack of research capability in foundational OR.
It was fellow NATCOR members, Lancaster, Nottingham, Cardiff and Southampton Universities (cleverly known as LANCS) who then rose to the challenge and submitted a proposal to strengthen and expand research capability.
“We faced tough competition and had to make a case for our discipline as well as the consortium’s ability to really build research capability,” said Professor Glazebrook.
The bid was successful in attracting £5.4 million EPSRC funding towards the £13 million total cost of the five-year Science and Innovation initiative. The rest of the money came from the four partner universities and represented a major commitment on their part.
“This injected life into the discipline nationally,” added Professor Glazebrook, who took up the role of Director, “and it created an array of jobs and the capacity to really build research capability.
“It has been a real catalyst. The idea was that this would strengthen a more confidant discipline capable of carving out its own future.
“I was keen for people to realise they could shoot for the stars and have a go so I am really encouraged to see that happening. Operational Research at Lancaster has been tremendously strengthened and grown substantially. We are seen as national leaders in the discipline and our international profile has developed very considerably.”
The third significant initiative was the development of STOR-i, the EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistics and Operational Research, of which Professor Glazebrook is chairman, with Professors Jon Tawn and Idris Eckley completing STOR-i’s leadership team.
A past challenge had been encouraging bright, entrepreneurial graduates to invest in another three or four years undertaking a PhD.
“We struggled to convince these graduates, who wanted to be out there earning serious money, that the theoretical side was really worthwhile. It was a real challenge.”
But Lancaster University recognised and seized another golden opportunity when EPSRC, the main PhD funding body, decided half their doctoral training investment should be directed to centres where students would learn in cohorts and develop a broad range of skills along with scientific excellence.
A joint venture between Lancaster’s Mathematics and Statistics and the Management Science Departments submitted a winning bid to set up a £4.5 million doctoral training centre at Lancaster.
“There was a strong emphasis on research and industrial collaboration,” explained Professor Glazebrook. “The funding was for 40 students. That was absolutely brilliant and we recruited amazingly talented students attracted by the entrepreneurial nature of the centre and work with external partners.
“They know the research they do will really make a difference because we have such strong external links with industry. I have simply been bowled over by the quality of students we have been able to attract.”
The centre has just learned that 2014 will see further funding for 60 students.
“This is really changing how people view doctoral training in our area,” he added. “It’s all very exciting with companies like IBM, BT, Shell and Astra Zeneca as major players. These companies really want the people we are developing.”
Professor Glazebrook, who has published extensively in top academic journals world-wide and has co-authored two books, praised Lancaster University’s upper echelons for their commitment to all three initiatives.
Not surprisingly, with such a great track record in OR, Professor Glazebrook is the second Lancaster University Professor to receive this medal. Emeritus Professor Peter Checkland received the Beale Medal in 2006.
A radical new way to create film
A film with no editors or directors is the idea behind Lifemirror which opens up a new kind of film making to anyone with a mobile phone.
This crowdsourced video project allows people to post their clips into a virtual cinema.
Users can create film titles on the Life Mirror website and contribute to each others’ ideas via a mobile phone app for both Android and Apple users.
Each contribution earns so many seconds of ‘Screentime' which can be used to start fresh projects.
Lifemirror has been developed by PhD student Oliver Case from the School of Computing and Communications as part of the £1.9m EPSRC Catalyst project at Lancaster University led by Professor Jon Whittle. He was supported by both the EPRSC “Telling Tales” and the HighWire Doctoral Training Centre.
Oliver Case said: “The challenge was to create an online crowd sourced film making system to provide a new form of citizen communication and engagement.
“I call them “living films” because they are an organic reflection of ideas and thoughts. There is no editor and no director and the clips can’t be manipulated in any way so it’s as far from Hollywood as you can get.”
Lifemirror is now at an experimental stage where clips are looped in time sequence under the film title. Eventually, there are plans to group film titles by location so a film on the theme of “Love” shot in Paris will look very different from one shot in London.
Dozens of collectively produced films are in production on community issues, imaginary stories, political debate and activism.
Oliver said: “This has immense potential, not only for community engagement but for documenting events and giving a new perspective on life.”
Honorary degree for Cambridge scientist
A recognised world leader in the use of solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study structure and function in inorganic materials has been awarded an honorary degree.
Professor Clare Grey is the Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge.
In 2010, she was awarded the John Jeyes award from the Royal Society of Chemistry and in 2011 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society.
She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science at the December graduation ceremonies at Lancaster University by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E.Smith.
Professor Grey has pioneered in situ NMR studies of batteries and fuel cells which have provided a greatly enhanced understanding of the processes that occur when a battery charges and discharges, and when a fuel cell operates.
This work has direct implications for the development of energy storage and conversion systems, and she has always emphasised the contribution which Chemistry can make to addressing major energy and environmental issues.
The Chancellor’s Medal is presented annually to the most meritorious students.
The Medal marks the long service of the former Chancellor HRH Princess Alexandra and was presented by the current Chancellor Sir Chris Bonington at the December graduation ceremonies.
Amali Rodrigo, MA Creative Writing (Distance Learning)
Zhifang Zhang, MRes Accounting and Finance
Janette Buckland, MA Professional Practice
Sarah Fell, MSc Ecology and Conservation
Alumni awards for prominent women
One of the world’s most powerful women and a renowned Kenyan politician have both returned to Lancaster University to receive Alumni awards.
Dr Nahed Taher is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Investment Bank and in 2006 she was voted one of the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes magazine.
She was also listed 24th in a Financial Times table of the 50 most prominent international businesswoman in 2010.
Dr Nahed took an MSc followed by a PhD in Economics at Lancaster University Management School. She turned down a down a high-powered job with the International Monetary Fund, and returned to her home country of Saudi Arabia where she became the first woman to be hired by the National Commercial Bank.
She was appointed CEO for the Gulf One Investment Bank in 2005, making her the first Saudi woman to head a bank in the Gulf region. Gulf One, based in Bahrain with $100 million in capital, became operational in the second quarter of 2006.
Professor Hellen Sambili completed a Master’s degree and a PhD in Education at Lancaster University before returning to a political career in Kenya. She was one of only 16 women returned to Parliament in the general elections in Kenya in March 2013.
Before entering politics, she taught at Moi High School in Kabarak, Kenya, and in 1993 joined Egerton University as a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction before becoming an Associate Professor.
Her career has been devoted to improving the academic opportunities for young people in her country and to women’s rights across East Africa.
A former Kenyan government minister for Youth affairs and Sport, she has also served as acting Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology and held a ministerial post in the Ministry of the East African Community.
Lancaster University on BBC University Challenge
Lancaster University is to field a team of alumni on a Christmas edition of the BBC’s University Challenge hosted by Jeremy Paxman.
The Lancaster graduates will compete against a team from the University of Kent at Canterbury on December 21 at 7.05pm on BBC Two.
The Lancaster team includes Matthew Fort, Food and Drink Editor for The Guardian and Great British Menu judge; Ranvir Singh, ITV Daybreak news presenter; Roger Ashton-Griffiths, actor; and Brian Clegg, science writer.
Lancaster is one of 14 universities across the UK who will compete for the honour of being declared series champions.
Their opponents from Kent include: Fi Glover, writer and television and radio presenter; Robert Wade, screenwriter and co-writer of five James Bond films; Rebecca Lenkiewicz, playwright and film, television and radio screenwriter; and James Wong, television science presenter.
Each team will compete in one of seven first-round matches. The four teams with the highest winning scores will play in two semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final.
Peter Gwyn, executive producer, ITV Studios, said: “Christmas University Challenge demonstrates the strong intellectual and emotional ties that continue to bind people to the places where they studied. This provides an intriguing extra dimension to what is set to be a fiercely contested series.”
Lancaster University to evaluate Big Lottery initiative
A Lancaster University Professor will head up a research team examining if giving people greater control over their lives and community can positively affect their health and wellbeing. Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Lancaster University Jennie Popay will lead a major evaluation funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR).
The research is being undertaken by LiLaC, a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster, in partnership with fellow SPHR member institutions including the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Exeter, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and FUSE, a collaboration of universities in NE England.
The focus of the research is an initiative called Big Local, run by Local Trust and partners and funded by the Big Lottery Fund with an investment of more than £200million.
Big Local is happening in 150 communities across England over the next 15 years. It provides residents in each community with at least £1m and a range of other support and funding to develop ways of improving their neighbourhoods.
Past research suggests greater individual and collective control can improve health and wellbeing and low levels of control may be a significant cause of inequalities in health. However, there is very little evidence about effective ways to support greater individual and collective control and its impact on health.
Professor Popay addressed a special event in London this week organised by Local Trust, attended by policy makers and national organisations including the Big Lottery Fund as well as residents from areas receiving funding.
Speaking about the planned research, Professor Popay said: “There are major gaps in the current evidence on potential health benefits of initiatives that support greater community control. Local Trust should be commended for agreeing to this independent evaluation of the impact of Big Local on the wider social determinants of health of local populations and on health inequalities more broadly.”
Chief Executive of Local Trust Debbie Ladds added: "We are delighted to announce that SPHR will be working with us and Big Local areas to carry out this research. We hope that Big Local will create an opportunity to produce new learning about how to reduce health inequalities through giving residents greater control over things that matter to them. We hope to use this research to influence how charities, funders and local and national Government work to support communities in the future."
Lancaster University appoints a dedicated Energy Manager
The University’s new Energy Manager, Jan Bastiaans, has been tasked with reducing the University’s energy and water consumption and carbon emissions.
A new position of Energy Manager has been created within the Facilities Division, with the primary objective of reducing the University’s energy and water consumption and carbon emissions by 5% per year over the next 2 years. Jan Bastiaans has recently been appointed to the role, having previously been a Consultant in Energy and Carbon Management and an Energy Manager at a UK plc. prior to that.
The new appointment is part of the University’s continued efforts to become increasingly sustainable and reduce its environmental impact; as part of his role Jan will be responsible for promoting awareness of the existing Carbon Management Plan and Energy Policy and ensure compliance with current and emerging energy and environmental legislation. Jan will work in close consultation with the University’s Energy Procurement Partners, Project Managers, Energy Champions and Maintenance Teams to ensure that energy efficiency factors are incorporated into all development planning and operational activities.
One of Jan’s main areas of responsibility is the Energy Centre, the campus’ beating energy heart. The Energy Centre is home to the University’s new biomass boiler, as well the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generator which provides 24% of the University’s electricity and other equipment that provides heating, hot and cold water and electricity to most of the campus. The Wind Turbine is also connected to the Energy Centre; the turbine provides around 12-14% of the annual electricity consumed on campus.
A key part of Jan’s role as Energy Manager will be to consult and engage with stakeholders to ensure that the University’s staff and students are working together to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions on campus.
“One of the challenges in energy management is to engage stakeholders to try to reduce energy consumption without affecting the things they do on a daily basis. To this end I’m really keen to hear from everyone with their suggestions as to how we can reduce energy consumption or costs” commented Jan. “We may not be able to implement all ideas, but we will consider all suggestions.”
Jan is also working with staff and students on energy-related courses and research projects; he is happy to be contacted with any suggestions for collaboration. Several such research projects are currently underway, providing Jan with evidence-based suggestions for improvement and students with valuable applied experienc
You can contact Jan:
Making dementia friendly neighbourhoods
Lancaster researchers will join a team of European experts which will investigate the role of the neighbourhood in the everyday lives of people with dementia and their families in a new research project announced during the G8 dementia summit today (11 December).
The ‘Neighbourhoods and Dementia’ study was one of six research projects announced by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) along with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of a £20 million funding boost which will significantly add to the understanding of dementia.
The project will be the first large-scale research programme to work alongside people with dementia and their families in a variety of roles from advisers to co-researchers. It comes as ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities are gathering in London for the summit.
Dr Siobhan Reilly, senior lecturer in health research, at Lancaster University will be working on the ‘Neighbourhoods and Dementia’ project. She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the research team to be in a position to work alongside people with dementia and their families to significantly improve the research evidence base and improve dementia care.”
Dr Reilly will lead a work package to develop a standard set of outcome measures so that we can assess whether people with dementia and their carers receive the right treatment at the right time. Along with researchers at the University of Manchester she will also co-lead a large scale trial of a dementia training programme for improving acute care for people with dementia who are admitted to hospitals.
Professor John Keady from The University of Manchester, which will lead the study, said: “In our five-year study we want to celebrate the achievements, growth and contribution that people with dementia and their carers make to society.”
Mike Howorth, who has dementia, is one of the people who will work as a researcher and is already employed by Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust where he works with recently diagnosed patients as the Open Doors Facilitator at Woodlands Hospital, Salford. For the last three years, Open Doors has helped to give people with dementia a voice and platform to share experiences and put forward opinions.
Mr Howorth said: “I think the research programme idea is fantastic. I’ve got first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to live with dementia and help those who have it so I know involving people with dementia and their carers will make this project invaluable.”
Other projects funded within the Dementia Initiative will look at: promoting independence in dementia; managing agitation and raising quality of life; living well with dementia; developing a publicly available tool to help meet the future needs of dementia patients and visual aids and the impact they have on the quality of life of patients with dementia and their carers.
ESRC Chief Executive Paul Boyle said: "Dementia is a major challenge for our society, and it is imperative to develop an understanding of the needs of those with dementia, their families and the communities they live in.
"These six funded projects will provide much-needed evidence for changes in future health and social care policy, as well as practical guidance for charities and third sector organisations working with sufferers of dementia.”
There are currently 44 million people in the world living with dementia, and by 2050 this number is set to treble to 135 million. Following on from last year’s announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron of plans to tackle the 'national crisis' posed by dementia, the G8 Dementia summit aims to agree what can be done to stimulate greater investment and innovation in dementia research.
The research team involves seven universities (Manchester, Stirling, Liverpool, UCL, Salford, Lancaster, and Linköping in Sweden) and four user groups: EDUCATE and Open Doors (Greater Manchester, England); The ACE Club (Rhyl, North Wales) and the Scottish Dementia Working Group (Glasgow, Scotland).
Lancaster to develop ‘Big Data’ experts of the future
Lancaster University has secured over £500,000 to train a new generation of MSc students in the area of ‘Big Data’.
From social trends and spending habits to medical records and climate change, information technology has made it possible to amass vast data sets on almost every sphere of life. But as our ability to collect data increases, these datasets can become so large and complex that they are difficult to manage using traditional processing applications.
Business, industry and the public sector now have an acute need for graduates with skills in data collection, analysis and interpretation. There is now a growing skills gap in this area, both in the UK and overseas, where data analytics, business intelligence and both statistical and computational efficiency are rapidly becoming of vital importance.
Lancaster University will now be able to help plug this emerging skills gap thanks to new funding which is part of a £25 million Higher Education Funding Council for England programme.
Lancaster’s Postgraduate Enterprise Academic Partnership (PEAP): Big Data Education Catalyst project will explore how to collect, store and process huge volumes of data across a number of key disciplines. It will also recruit 45 MSc students, starting in 2014.
Dr Chris Edwards of Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications said: “Engagement with industry will be key to designing bespoke MSc programmes to train future users in the management of Big Data across three key areas; Mathematics and Statistics, Cyber Security and Environmental Science. We will work with businesses, and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in particular, to produce highly skilled, industry-ready, graduates.”
Lancaster University was one of the 19 successful projects selected nationwide for HEFCE support as part of their scheme to ensure the continued success of taught postgraduate education by working with universities and employers to enable participation from students who may not otherwise progress to this level.
This comes after the announcement last week by David Willets that Lancaster was awarded funding for doctoral training by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to fill the UK’s skills gap for highly skilled statisticians, operational researchers, nuclear engineers and specialist physicists.
Lancaster University Vice Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith said: “This new funding represents a significant investment in post graduate teaching at Lancaster, positioning us among the world leaders in the education of highly qualified people with the relevant skills necessary to make a real impact in the world in fields from big business and engineering to big data and environmental science. This confirms Lancaster’s position as one of the research elite universities of UK higher education.
“Combined with our new Centres for Doctoral Training, Lancaster University has secured outstanding investment in this area proving we are trusted to deliver in areas which are absolutely critical to the future of our economy.”
Nurse researcher joins Observatory leadership
With 25 years’ experience in the palliative care arena, the new Co-Director of the internationally recognised end of life care group based at Lancaster University is all set for the challenge.
Dr Catherine Walshe will join Professor Sheila Payne as Co-Director of the International Observatory on End of Life Care in January.
Dr Walshe came to the Observatory in September from the University of Manchester’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work as one of four new senior lecturers appointed within the Division of Health Research.
She will be responsible for enhancing research and education standards, maintaining, developing and promoting the Observatory’s high profile brand both nationally and internationally and ensuring the group attracts investment and grant funding.
Dr Walshe started her career as a nurse in the North West, studying for the innovative Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Manchester.
She has worked as a clinical nurse throughout the UK including in palliative care roles in Cornwall, Brighton and Worcestershire.
Apart from working in haematology and HIV (working in one of the first HIV units in the country), Dr Walshe’s clinical experience is primarily in community palliative care as a district nurse and community Macmillan nurse, interests which she maintains in her research career.
She obtained for a PhD in Nursing at the University of Manchester, focusing on referrals within community palliative care services, and held lectureships and a Research Council-UK funded post-doctoral fellowship there before her move to Lancaster University.
“I am delighted to join the International Observatory on End of Life Care and to be involved in important and international programmes of research and education” said Dr Walshe. “There are real opportunities here as my research interests are shared with many of my new colleagues. I am looking forward to working with them to continue to develop a programme of palliative care research, focusing on understanding how best to provide care in different settings, and how to manage a range of symptoms at the end of life”.
She is also Editor-in-Chief and long-serving editorial team member of Palliative Medicine, the key international journal in this field. She was the first nurse to take on the position.
Professor Payne has significantly developed and raised the Observatory profile on a national and global platform during her five years as Director.
She said: “The Observatory has really grown and made a major transition. It is now undertaking a wide portfolio of national and international research on improving end of life care.
“We were very excited to launch the highly successful Doctorate in Palliative Care which has attracted more than 60 PhD students in total and will see its fifth cohort starting in June 2014 .
“The Observatory is held in very high esteem. We have a fantastic team and I wish Dr Walshe well. I am confident that, under her leadership, the Observatory will develop and grow in exciting new ways.”
During the next 12 months Professor Payne will focus on her research work and supporting PhD students. She will also continue to develop her role as President of the European Association for Palliative Care.
Photograph: Professor Sheila Payne (L) Dr Catherine Walshe (R)
Outstanding Engineering students receive awards
Engineering projects including tidal lagoons and planetary exploration vehicle power consumption have attracted national industry recognition for five Lancaster University students.
The students received Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) awards at a presentation ceremony in London last week.
Award recipients and their projects are:
- Sean Petley:Institution Best Project Certificate - MEng Sustainable Engineering: Tidal lagoons as an environmentally friendly solution to tidal range energy production in the UK
- Frazer Stewart:Institution Best Project Certificate - MEng Mechanical Engineering: Persephone Aeration System
- Nilla-Helene Karlsen:Institution Best Student Certificate - MEng Sustainable Engineering: WASP Vertical Axis Tidal Turbine Prototype Design and Analysis.
- Daniel Driver:Institution Best Student Certificate - MEng Mechatronic Engineering: WASP Vertical Axis Tidal Turbine Prototype Design and Analysis
- Peter Jesson:IMechE Project Award (Certificate & Medal) - MEng Mechanical Engineering: Power Consumption Analysis of a Planetary Exploration Vehicle with Flexible Wheel Suspension, Operating upon Deformable Terrain
Peter now works for Rolls Royce and Daniel for Reliance Precision Limited.
Sean and Frazer, year four students, are both involved with a wave energy team project and Nilla-Helene is a year one PhD student researching regenerative liquid ring pumps funded by Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd.
Sean, Fraser and Nilla-Helene are supervised by Dr George Aggidis, a Fellow of the IMechE and a board member of its Power Industries Fluid Machinery Group, who was present at the award ceremony.
“The awards are really good news for Lancaster University and the Engineering Department,” said Dr Aggidis. “It is very pleasing to see that the level and quality of work produced by our students is so highly appreciated by senior UK engineers and IMechE Fellows, who are happy not only to offer praise and awards but also real job offers supporting our students in a positive way towards their next steps in their careers.”
Deputy University Dean
We are expanding the University Deanery team and are seeking an additional Deputy Dean to work alongside the existing University Dean and Deputy Dean.
The team deals with cases that cannot be dealt with by the College Deans, either because of their serious nature, or because they involve members of several colleges. Via the Disciplinary Committee, there is also an involvement in disciplinary policy and updates of the University rules. This post demands a high level of commitment and plays a leading role in the University's approach to non-academic discipline. The appointment would be for a period of between 3 and 5 years and attracts a responsibility allowance of £1000 a year.
Responsibilities include the investigation of cases, including allegations of examination malpractice, arranging hearings and/or presenting cases to the University Tribunal or Standing Academic Committee when required. In exceptional cases, you may be involved in advising the University Secretary to temporarily exclude students, pending investigation or a hearing.
The post involves liaising with colleges, academic and administrative departments, LUSU and external bodies such as police, probation services, aggrieved members of the public, parents, etc, during the investigation and preparation of cases. When required you will provide cover for other members of the University Deanery team.
For more details please contact the University Dean, Matthew Storey on extension 10159. Applications, in the form of a short CV and covering letter, should be submitted to Tom Finnigan, Director of SBS by Friday 24 January,
Project Orpheus: Transforming Lancaster University’s web presence
Project Orpheus began in April 2011 with a review of existing content on Lancaster University’s web pages. The project, as part of the University’s web strategy, is redeveloping the website in line with Lancaster's brand and visual identity
People are increasingly accessing websites through tablet and smart phone technology. The website redevelopment is ensuring that we are meeting the information needs and digital access habits of people wishing to learn more about our organisation, research and teaching.
Transformation of the site is not simply a migration of existing material; it is a re-think of how we are reaching our audiences. Project Orpheus is helping transform current web content and ensuring that expertise, resource, processes and systems are in place to sustain and evolve the web as part of ‘business as usual’.
To date the project has implemented a content management system and a suite of templates, which have been deployed across more than 4100 pages. Unique visits to the Lancaster University website have grown by 29% in the past 12 months, demonstrating that Lancaster’s transformed web presence is contributing to a growth in engagement and is building profile, reputation and, ultimately income.
Three pilots are currently underway:
- The Lancaster Environment Centre: The website launched at the end of July 2013 and provides a baseline ‘blueprint’ for an Academic department. This is the most advanced of the pilots.
- The Lancaster University Management School: This site is a pilot for simultaneous transformation of a Faculty and multiple academic departments and has the most complex requirements for functionality. The LUMS site has been scoped and is currently in development with a phased launch planned from January 2014.
- The ISS website: This is a pilot for Professional Services and is due to commence a phased launch from December 2013. Although Professional Services web pages will transform after Academic Departments and Faculties this pilot has provided valuable insight into the challenge of communicating services, rather than organisational structures, and ensuring that audiences for internal and external content are defined and understood.
The current pilots will act as models for further roll-out. Over the coming months Jenn Thacker and Ashley Coidan from the Orpheus team will be scoping requirements from other departments to see what else is required. They will also be supporting Academic departments and Faculties to focus their efforts on producing high-quality content and develop the skills and working practices to do so.
Recognising that the web will never be ‘finished’, the project is currently working towards a completion date by late summer 2014. At this point the resources, training and support should all be fully in place to allow all areas of the university to create, publish and maintain high quality web content.
For further information please contact the project manager, Alan Haydock (email@example.com).
Gavin Brown Orpheus Project Executive
New Wellbeing Support Service for staff
Lancaster University is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for its employees; an environment in which all staff feel supported and inspired to work to the best of their ability.
We are pleased to announce that we have recently appointed Right Management Workplace Wellness to offer employees around the clock access to confidential, independent, professional information and emotional support. This is known as the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Employee Assistance programmes are not a new idea and many organisations have provided this service for their staff for many years although they are relatively new to the HE sector.
Workplace Wellness -provided by Right Management delivers the largest single EAP contract in Europe and has provided EAP services to The Work Foundation, now part of Lancaster University. Right Management also offers wellbeing support to staff which helps to build resilience and inform positive lifestyle choices.
The service is Free and available to all staff, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days per year. In addition to some of the more routine pathways to advice and guidance, emotional support is also available via a counselling service.
Professor Cary Cooper (LUMS) has evaluated EAPs for the Health & Safety Executive, has written extensively on the merits of EAPs and believes that staff need the social support and counselling that EAPs provide, particularly during times of enormous unrelenting change. Professor Cooper welcomes the new initiative at Lancaster University and, in conjunction with other wellbeing initiatives, feels these resources can make a difference to staff’s quality of working life.
This service is completely confidential and management information available to the University will not identify individuals. Every employee will shortly receive by post to their home address [or via internal mail where this is not possible] all the information they will require to access the service and make use of the advice and guidance available.
The service is up and running and can be accessed via the web pages from our own site:
The login for Lancaster University is – luwell. This will be needed when accessing the site from off campus.