Lancaster University

SciTech bulletin

Christmas Conference Next Week!

The SciTech Christmas Conference begins with coffee and pastries at 9.00am next Tuesday in the George Fox Building. The all-day event will feature talks from all faculty departments on aspects of their research.

A keynote lecture will be delivered by Professor Swapan Chattopadhyay, Director of The Cockroft Institute:

Beams: Inner and Outer Dimensions!

Beginning with the "splitting of the atom" by late Sir John Cockcroft in 1932, progressive innovations in charged particle acceleration, storage and manipulation have led to major discoveries in molecular, atomic and sub-atomic sciences throughout the twentieth century. It has been a glorious past. As we enter the twenty-first century, the scientific and technological challenges to science-driven innovations are enormous - production of bright, energetic and ordered charged particle and light beams that focus energy and information in brilliant bursts at nanometre scales for fleeting moments lasting femto- to atto-seconds! But the potential scientific rewards are even greater.

Professor Swapan Chattopadhyay will outline these challenges and explore a few sample territories of potential innovations and discoveries in the ultra-small and ultra-fast space-time domains under extreme energy densities with every-day as well as cosmic implications for matter and life.

Engineering's Roger Kemp, together with Tobias Krueger from Environmental Science, will give a talk on Transport Energy - Research in the Political Spotlight:

Over the past 3 years Roger Kemp has written a number of papers on the energy use of transport, two of which were quoted in July's White Paper on sustainable railways. His work has featured on the front page of The Telegraph, formed the basis of a Times editorial and has been misquoted by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. He will talk about the research and the experience of working in an intensely political area.

The day will also include the postgraduate poster competition, with 40 posters from across the faculty on display.

The conference is for all faculty staff, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students. More details of talks and times are on the faculty website.

SciTech Teaching and Learning Forum

The new Teaching and Learning Forum is open to anyone who teaches undergraduate or postgraduate students in the faculty. It is informal and aims to do the following:

The first forum will take place on Monday 28 January 2008 in the Senior Common Room, Fylde from 12-2pm. Dr Gillian Lancaster, Director of the new Postgraduate Statistics Centre, will talk about the centre and what it offers to postgraduate students across Science and Technology and the wider university. A sandwich lunch will be provided.

Topics for the future will include core skills for scientists and technologists and continuing professional development.

If there is an aspect of teaching that you wish to discuss informally with other colleagues in the faculty, please suggest a topic for a future meeting of the forum to Dr Jane Taylor, Associate Dean for UG Teaching.

Look out for further information about the forum in the SciTech bulletin!

Crucible 2008

Crucible is a unique programme run by The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts' (NESTA). Over three weekends between April and September it offers 30 early-career researchers in science and technology the opportunity to explore new collaborations across disciplines.

Participants must have a high level of achievement and an ongoing commitment to a career in research (within academia or industry). NESTA are particularly interested in people who have an interest in science and society beyond their own research.

To apply to take part, go to the NESTA website and complete the online application process before 31 January 2008.

Contract Research Corner

New Contract Research Staff Training Adviser

Barbara Tigar has joined the Professional and Leadership Development Team as Contract Research Staff (CRS) Training Adviser. Together with CRS Careers Adviser Elaine Davies, Barbara will help deliver the University's response to the Roberts Review and the Concordat for CRS by supporting the career development and employability of researchers.

In her new role Barbara will provide training to support career development for contract research staff, as well as organising networking opportunities where researchers can talk informally to people who regularly appoint staff in academia and industry.

Barbara is also investigating a pilot project to support the professional development of Principal Investigators (PIs) who manage fixed-term research staff.

If you have any queries or suggestions for CRS or PI career development and training contact Barbara at (ext. 94926).

More details of support and training for CRS

Courses for Skills and Career Development for Contract Research Staff

There are several courses designed for Contract Research Staff on offer next term. Places are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

CRS workshops for Spring Term 2008 (PDF)

Funding Roundup

Some recent grant awards for Science and Technology research:

Project Super Six - Rapid Manufacturing tools applied for the creation of bespoke Suzuki motorcycle components

Allan Rennie - Engineering - North West Development Agency - 52,585

Classic Suzuki bikes are extremely popular and demand for spare parts has created a multi-million pound niche market. Original parts are no longer in production however and enthusiasts rely on second hand or difficult to source new parts.

Crooks Motorcycles Ltd is one of a handful of Suzuki specialists throughout the world. They have over 50,000 parts in stock and networks globally to maintain a constant source of stock. The company has developed a small network for reverse engineered parts in the United Kingdom but is unable to procure reverse engineered components in commercial volumes and without exception, parts are limited to simple components because of the difficulties associated with reverse engineering.

This Project will investigate the opportunities available from creating a digital catalogue of consumable components, using 3D scanning and reverse engineering tools and techniques, then applying the technologies of Rapid Manufacturing in the production of these components on a bespoke and 'on-demand' basis.

Flood, vulnerability and urban resilience: a real-time study of local recovery following the floods of June 2007 in Hull (2007-2009)

Will Medd - Geography - ESRC, EPSRC & Environment Agency - 150,336

This project is a response to the events of June 2007 in Hull which dramatically exposed the vulnerability of urban communities in the face of major flood events. While the initial impact in Yorkshire, Humberside and Worcestershire was documented by the media, the extended process of physical, social and personal recovery from the flood experience will be lost from the headlines as local people, key agencies and government departments seek to re-establish the social and physical fabric of affected local communities.

The aim of this project is to undertake a real-time longitudinal study using an action research model to document and understand the everyday experiences of individuals following the floods of June 2007 in interaction with networks of actors and organisations, strategies of institutional support and investment in the built environment and critical infrastructure.

Jagged shedding; elucidating the biochemical mechanisms and physiological relevance to prostate cancer - PhD studentship

Edward Parkin - Biological Sciences - North West Cancer Research Fund - 103,563

Jagged1 is a cell surface membrane protein levels of which have previously been linked to prostate cancer. The protein is one of a range of membrane proteins which can be proteolytically released from the cell surface in a process known as ectodomain shedding. This proteolytic shedding is regulated by members of the ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloprotease) family of proteins. It is possible that ectodomain shedding represents an important biochemical mechanism by which cells may down regulate surface levels of Jagged1 thereby moderating cell growth and development.

We intend to identify the enzyme responsible for Jagged1 shedding and to investigate the molecular mechanisms which regulate the process. Furthermore we intend to determine the physiological significance of Jagged1 shedding in relation to the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer cells.

Faculty Postgraduate Reception

Thanks to those of you that attended the faculty postgraduate reception on Wednesday and made it such an enjoyable event for graduands and their families ahead of the degree ceremony.

Congratulations to the following postgraduate students who were awarded the Princess Alexandra medal at the degree ceremonies:

News and Events

From LU News:

Lancaster scientists contribute to new UK centre for Zoonosis Research

Lancaster University research is set to play a key role in a new centre dedicated to understanding diseases such as SARS and avian flu

Lancaster Team wins Environment Competition

A team of young researchers from Lancaster University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have won a national competition for environmental entrepreneurs

Third plc moves in to Lancaster Environment Centre

A company offering green energy solutions to home owners has become the third public limited company to move into the Lancaster Environment Centre