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News from 2014

Research seminars on Austerity, Cuts and the Impact on Children and Communities


A number of research seminars took place in semester 2 2013/14 on the theme of "Austerity, Cuts and the Impact on Children and Communities".

Topics include Asylum Seekers (Lucy Mort & Dr Debra Hayes), Child Welfare Inequalities (Professor Paul Bywaters) and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (Dr Raja Mukherjee). These have attracted good attendance from within and outside the university and we look forward to more events this year.

Outstanding Research in the Faculty of Social and International Studies


The Faculty of Social and International Studies is celebrating its outstanding research, which places Politics and International Studies in 7th position out of 56 institutions nationwide for impact, and Social Work and Social Policy in the top ten out of the 61 institutions nationwide for research outputs; with 73% of its work being graded as either word leading or internationally excellent.

The results, published in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), assess the quality and impact of university research and see the University significantly improved overall ranking from 62 to 49 in the UK. The REF, replaces the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) undertaken for the last time in 2008.

When graded on research environment, Politics and International Studies was ranked in the top 15 of 56 institutions, making it equal to Cambridge and well above many other leading research-intensive Universities in the UK. The grades received represented a marked improvement on the 2008 results

The Politics and International Relations submission included research and impact activity undertaken by Peace Studies and Centre of International Development academics, whilst the Social Policy and Social Work submission included research and impact activity undertaken by Social Work, Sociology and Criminology, Economics and Psychology academics.

The REF is used by education funding bodies to allocate research grants, provide accountability for public investment in research and evidence the benefits of public investment, as well as providing benchmarking information to establish reputational yardsticks.

International Women's Day


International Women's Day on March 8th was celebrated by wearing green and purple ribbons and donations for cakes and treats. We raised over £50 for FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development, a charitable organisation working to promote the rights and health of African immigrant and refugee communities including supporting women affected by female genital mutilation.

More information about FORWARD can be found here:

World Social Work Day is an increasingly important event in the social work calendar. To mark the event this year we invited Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults in England. Lyn talked to an audience of students, educators and social work practitioners about her role and social work solutions to social and economic crises. The session ended with an interactive panel discussion involving Lyn, Alec Porter from Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Geraldine Graham from the Division of Social Work and Social Care and Eliza Clayton, a final year student on the BA Social Work. This was a very successful event and we are hoping that Lyn will visit again in the future.

University endorsed by Health and Care Professions Council


In April 2014 Social Work and Social Care at the University of Bradford was visited by the Health and Care Professions Council and the College of Social work a part of their approval and endorsement processes for social work education.

During the visits staff were joined by representatives from partner agencies and the Service User and Carer forum.

The College of Social Work's endorsement scheme is intended to promote and celebrate high quality qualifying social work programmes that exceed the standard required by the Health and Care Professions Council.The endorsement shows that education and trianign providers are working to an agreed set of quality criteria and offer provision that meetings the learning needs of social workers. Endorsement means that students can be sure that they will be offered excellent learning experiences.

Service User & Carer Forum


Service users and carers make a vital contribution to social work education including contributing to teaching and assessment as well as recruiting new students. This year Janet Warren has taken a lead in organizing a Service User & Carer Forum where all aspects of service user and carer involvement can be discussed.

Activities so far have included members of the forum attending a regional conference in Hull.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in getting involved please contact Janet

Social Work Book Club


The School of Social and International Studies at the University of Bradford are involved in a national book club, initially started at the University of Central Lancashire, that uses Twitter to bridge different universities across the country.

This has been an innovative idea that many social work students and social workers are using to aid their learning and continuous professional development. Using books in this way has allowed for the sharing of new ideas, themes but bringing together academics, students and professionals across the country. This is mainly achieved through the medium of Twitter.

The book club is being used as an aid to the learning of social worker students but also prospective social worker students to assist in introducing them to the themes and ideas that they will be exploring during their social work training.

BSC and the UBU LGBT society present LGBT History Month


Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month takes place every year in February. It celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community.

We are committed to celebrate its diversity and that of the society as a whole and encourage everyone to see diversity and cultural pluralism as the positive forces that they are and endeavour to reflect this in all we do" (source: LGBGT History Month [external link]).

Yunas Samad presents paper on Pakistan-US Relations


presented a paper on Pakistan-US Relations: Continuity and Change in Pakistan at the Conference on Civilian Ascent To Power? Pakistan, St Antony's College, Oxford 10-12 May 2014. He identified areas of continuity in the relationship and areas of friction.

Overall the international conference looked at the possible opportunities that may arise out of the multiple crises that Pakistan currently faces. During proceedings and presentations, the 27 speakers — including those from Pakistan, the US, Germany, Canada and the UK — dilated on the security, economy, sociology and foreign relations of Pakistan.

Much of the talk centred around the crisis of governance, insecurity, energy issues, ethnic and nationalistic conflicts and Pakistan’s policy discord with India, the US and its skewed policy towards Afghanistan.

Zurich Conference

Prof Yunas Samad was co-covenor of Elections and Democratic Transition in South Asia at European Conference on South Asian Studies, Zurich, July 2014. The panel gathered theoretically grounded perspectives on electoral politics and democratisation in different countries in South Asia focusing on (but not restricted to) electoral campaigns, voting behaviour and government-formation. Prof. Samad presented a paper on Democratization Theory and Elections in Pakistan locating Pakistan transition within theories of hybrid states identifying the positive aspect of the transition and areas of potential roadblock.

Parveen Akhtar takes part in roundtable debate at Conservative Party Conference


Parveen Akhtar, lecturer in the Division of Social Science and Criminal Justice Studies, participated in a high-level breakfast roundtable debate at the Conservative Party conference, organised by the British Academy in association with the Guardian, on the social impact of immigration in the UK.

At the debate explained how the nature of immigration has changed: “Since the 1980s, you’ve got smaller waves of immigration from a wider range of places. The debate was reported by The Guardian, click here for the article

Social & International Studies December 2014 Graduation


December 2014 Graduation in the Faculty of Social & International Studies. Students graduated from Economics, International Development, Peace Studies, Psychology, Sociology & Criminology and Social Work & Social Care.

The faculty has a body of more than 2500 students making us the second largest Faculty in the University in terms of Staff and Student numbers and it enjoys a strong track record of success not only in terms of the completion rates of its students, but also in terms the onward trajectories of many of our student into worthwhile careers. Over one quarter of our students come from outside UK, and December's graduation included students from Tanzania's Mzumbe University, where Bradford offers development programmes.

Flickr slideshow

Outstanding Research in the Faculty of Social and International Studies


The Faculty of Social and International Studies is celebrating its outstanding research, which places Politics and International Studies in 7th position out of 56 institutions nationwide for impact, and Social Work and Social Policy in the top ten out of the 61 institutions nationwide for research outputs; with 73% of its work being graded as either word leading or internationally excellent.

The results, published in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), assess the quality and impact of university research and see the University significantly improved overall ranking from 62 to 49 in the UK. The REF, replaces the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) undertaken for the last time in 2008.

When graded on research environment, Politics and International Studies was ranked in the top 15 of 56 institutions, making it equal to Cambridge and well above many other leading research-intensive Universities in the UK. The grades received represented a marked improvement on the 2008 results

The Politics and International Relations submission included research and impact activity undertaken by Peace Studies and Centre of International Development academics, whilst the Social Policy and Social Work submission included research and impact activity undertaken by Social Work, Sociology and Criminology, Economics and Psychology academics.

The REF is used by education funding bodies to allocate research grants, provide accountability for public investment in research and evidence the benefits of public investment, as well as providing benchmarking information to establish reputational yardsticks.

Bradford City Park praised by academics as example to follow


A TEAM of academics has produced a study on the impact of City Park in Bradford in which they detail how it has brought the city together by "drawing in marginalised groups".

The article, titled "a great meeting place report," says the park offers important lessons for public policy and how to make schemes in other cities succeed.

Dr Anna Barker said: "As social researchers working in Bradford, we have been keen observers of the site and were interested in exploring: the different ways the space is used by members of the public, their experiences, perceptions and feelings for the site; the experiences and perceptions of business owners and workers who share the site; the way the space is regulated and managed by various groups, eg the local authority and different social groups, police and security services.

See the full article on the Telegraph and Argus website.

Anna Barker wins prize for excellence in policing research


Unviersity of Bradford Lecturer in Sociology, , was joint winner of this year’s British Society of Criminology Policing Network Early Career Prize which acknowledges and encourages excellence in policing research and scholarship. Anna was awarded the prize for her sole authored publication ‘Communicating Security? Policing Urban Spaces and Control Signals’ published in the journal of Urban Studies.

The winning publication draws on original empirical research conducted as part of Anna’s PhD. It makes a valuable contribution to the field of policing studies and, in particular, to theoretically-informed policy debates about the reassurance function of the police. The article harnesses insights gathered from focus group and interview data to illustrate the contrasting ways in which visible signifiers of crime and formal controls are received and interpreted by diverse audiences. It challenges traditional wisdom about the impact of criminal activities upon perceptions of safety and explores the unintended effects of formal controls that have implications for our understanding of local social order.

The prize was sponsored by Palgrave Macmillan.

End Racism public engagement event


On 27th May, The University hosted one of four Runnymede public engagement events around their campaign 'End Racism This Generation'

Flickr slideshow

The Question Time style event, attended by an audience of 100 people or so, was organised by the Division of Social Sciences and Criminal Justice Studies. The panel included Omar Khan (Acting head of Runnymede), Aicha Bahij (University of Bradford Students Union Environment and Welfare Officer), Subira Ismail (the newly elected University of Bradford's Students Union BME officer, Tony Reeves (the Chief Executive of Bradford Metropolitan District Council) and Nick Ahad (a core writer on the soap, Emmerdale). The event was opened and closed by the Professor Cantor and chaired by Yunis Alam of SSCJS.

Ian Burkitt's new book, Emotions and Social Relations


Professor of Social Identity new book, Emotions and Social Relations, develops a theory of emotions for the social sciences which reconfigures the understanding of emotion as the product of relations between individuals rather than as experiences which are primarily individual. The theory is developed in connection with historical and cross cultural studies of emotion, empirical studies critiquing the current concept of ‘emotional labour’, and a study of power relations and emotions with reference to the opposition to the Iraq war in 2003.

To find out more about the book and read the introductory chapter, follow the link below

University of Bradford student becomes a Global Laureate Fellow


Mowmita Basak-Mow from Bangladesh is currently studying for her MA in international development management at the Centre for International Development in the Faculty of Social and International Studies with a Global Development Scholarship from the University of Bradford.

Global Laureate Fellow1

Mowmita writes: During the second year of my undergraduate study at The Asian University for Women, I started my social welfare venture, Centre for Leadership Assistance & Promotion (CLAP) foundation, with an aim to provide leadership skills to our youth so that they can serve the minority communities in Bangladesh. Our vision is to create a more inclusive Bangladesh, where gender-based, ethnic, religious, or any other minority groups will not face discrimination, or be the victim of an unjust social system. Right from the start we received enthusiastic support from the students and staff of AUW, as nearly two-thirds of AUW students joined us for various projects and workshops. Together we worked on our signature project ‘Gender Glitch’, which aims to promote civil rights and financial independence to the transgender ‘Hijra’ communities in Bangladesh, who are ostracized from the society and deprived of many basic human rights.

Global Laureate Fellow2

Over the last four years, we had nearly 1200 volunteers across the country who are relentlessly working towards achieving our dreams.

With the goal of spreading our word onto the international stage, I applied for the Laureate Global fellowship program, which provides a year-long training and mentoring program as well as networking opportunities to young entrepreneurs who have pioneered an innovative solution to a local, national or global issue to bring forth a social change in their community. I was fortunate to be part of the 20 selected fellows from 17 countries chosen from a competitive pools of 500 applicants. The program organized by International Youth Foundation and Sylvan Laureate Foundation began by bringing us together to a one-week retreat in Lima, Peru, designed to give us transformative learning experience where we were able to connect with each other by sharing our innovation and strategies, strengths and‌weaknesses, overcoming obstacles, and identifying the leadership goals in our organizations and in ourselves. It was a wonderful experience to meet so many dedicated social workers

Global Laureate Fellow3
who were working from providing quality education in Nepal to revolutionizing unrestricted access to medicine through mobile technology in South Africa. Being able to share the platform with them and raise awareness about our work at an international stage was the highlight of my experience. Enriched by all the new skills and techniques I learned through the event, I am eager to go back to my venture and put these into action, which is precisely the goal of this fellowship program. I sincerely thank the Laureate Global Fellowship Program for giving this support and recognition to young entrepreneurs like us. I also must acknowledge the pivotal role AUW played to make me what I am today, and express my gratitude to the University of Bradford for strongly supporting me on this journey.

Dean of the Faculty of Social and International Studies Professor Donna Lee said: “Congratulations to Mowmita. This is fantastic news and is an example of University of Bradford’s and especially the Faculty’s emphasis on ‘building an inclusive, just, secure and sustainable society’. Well done indeed.”

Paul Jagger MBE, Chair of the Council and Chairman of the Global Development Scholarship selection panel says: “We have added pleasure in the fact that Mowmita is a University of Bradford’s Global Development Scholar. This is precisely the kind of impact that these scholarships aim to have.”

Dr Fiona Macaulay, gender and development expert in the Division of Peace Studies said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear about this through my BCID colleague Dr Anand. The issues of achieving gender equality in societies in the Global South such as in Bangladesh involve many complex challenges. Promoting an understanding of recognition and promotion of human rights of trans-gender persons through enterprise is very innovative. Though what Mowmita describes is just one small project it is important to keep trying different initiatives. Well done Mowmita.”

Graduate Profile - Sam Butterworth


Before studying an MA in International Politics and Security Studies at the University of Bradford, Sam completed his undergraduate degree in Peace Studies, also at the University. Sam is currently working as a Sabbatical Officer for the Students' Union.

News from our alumna Christine Mutisya


We are delighted to hear from our alumna Christine Mutisya, who graduated in 2012 with an MSc Development and Project Planning.

Christine has recently participated in a fieldwork study of 'The Sentinel Project' in the Tana Delta, Kenya.

'The Sentinel Project' is a non-profit organisation that seeks to develop early warning systems for genocide prevention.

More about Christine's participation in the fieldwork can be found under following link:

Professor Neil Cooper interviewed on Radio 4's Today Programme


On the 2nd January 2014, Professor Neil Cooper from the University of Bradford's Peace Studies Division, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, as part of a feature on the UK's arms export policy.

The programme was guest edited by singer/songwriter PJ Harvey, who covered torture, war and morale in the NHS, in a special edition of the daily radio show, which is recognised as 'setting the scene' for the day's news. Professor Cooper was interviewed on the subject of the arms trade, in a feature entitled: Arming Repression, led by the BBC's policy analyst, Mark Curtis.

You can hear the interview on BBC Radio 4's website here: fast forward to 00:38 for the specific item.

The Today programme traditionally hands over the reigns to guest editors during the festive season, where they are given a say in up to half of their three-hour broadcast. PJ Harvey's controversial show included contributions from Julian Assange, Ralph Fiennes and war photographer Giles Julie.

Professor Neil Cooper's research has included work on the political economy of peacebuilding, the regional dimensions of war economies, post-conflict reconstruction in Sierra Leone and ethical trading initiatives, most notably the Kimberley Certifications System to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds. His current research is on the history of conventional arms trade regulation, particularly focussing on regulatory initiatives from the late 19th century onwards.

Peace Studies 40 Football Team raise funds for Bradford children's charity


University of Bradford Peace Studies 40 football team took part in the One in a Million 2014 charity five a side football competition, battling tournament winners Borg Warner and Candelisa People to place runner up.

Peace Studies 40 football team

The teams raised a total of £3,000 for the Bradford-based charity, that helps children & young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing education through sports, the arts and enterprise.

The University of Bradford is celebrating 40 years of peace studies education, with a special conference on the 1-3 May 2014.

A Gold Medal for Peace? Principle 4 and the XXII Winter Olympics, Sochi Russia


The XXII Winter Olympics are now underway in Sochi, Russia. The games started on 7th February surrounded by controversy over a set of issues ranging from concerns about the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people following anti LGBT legislation passed in Russia in June 2013, to threats from jihadi groups linked to the insurgency in the north Caucasus.

Political boycotts and protests around global sporting events are not by any means unusual, and the Sochi games are no exception. Many western governments have refused to send representatives to Sochi in protest especially against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual) oppression and homophobic attitudes in Russia, but as well as boycotts the Games have provided a platform to counter such prejudice and assert the human rights of LGBT people. While President Obama refused to attend, he appointed Brian Boitano, a gold medal figure skater who came out as gay in December 2013, as a member of the American Olympic delegation to Sochi.

In the run up to the Games, the Principle 6 campaign was launched in which over 50 former Olympians protested against the anti-gay laws and called for their abolition. Principle 6 is the clause in the Olympic charter that insists on non-discrimination (on the grounds of race, religion, politics and gender) as an Olympic value. Significantly Principle 4 of the 7 Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter asserts that goal of Olympism is “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”. The Olympic Games will not make peace happen, but they do provide an powerful platform for asserting the values of peace and peacemaking.

Many of these issues are actively being considered at the University of Bradford. The Peace studies Division at the University has been running its programmes for 40 years and as part of the events marking the 40th Anniversary of Peace Studies at Bradford, Emeritus Professor Tom Woodhouse is developing plans for talks and events to demonstrate the positive impact that sport can have in promoting peace and development.

Dan Gudgeon, a graduate of Bradford’s Peace studies degree, is now working in South Korea as part of a planning group for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Dan has also formed a Sport for Peace NGO in Korea which has been broadcast as a Korean TV documentary called Connecting Sports & Peace, shown on the South Korean Internet TV Channel ‘Arirang’ After 10 programme on 29th October 2013. The programme can be viewed here.

In Colombia Tom Woodhouse has helped in the formation of a small NGO, Goals for Peace (Goles por la Paz), centred in the capital Bogota, and in the city of Bucaramanga in the north of Colombia. This too is the subject of a Colombian TV programme which can be seen on on You Tube, (under Voluntarios por la Paz, in Spanish) here

Closer to home, Goals for Peace and the Peace Studies football team, Peace FC, have invited the sporting clubs of the University to mark the Winter Olympics by reminding us all of the peaceful nature of the Olympics in the form of the Olympic Truce, by helping to make university staff and students aware of the following declaration, written by Goals for Peace Colombia. This will be read at Goals for Peace events in Colombia and in Cebu in the Philippines in the course of the Olympics.

Olympic Truce Statement

The Olympic Truce was established in Greece in the 9th Century BC with the intention of stopping armed conflict and war during the celebration of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Truce allowed athletes, spectators, artists and their families to travel to the Olympic Games and return to their places of origin in total safety and is in fact, the first documented use of sport in human history to serve as an agent of peace.

After remaining inactive for centuries, the family of nations and the family of sport have come together to revive the idea of the Olympic Truce acknowledging the potential contributions of sport to build more peaceful and more equitable societies.

Nowadays the Olympic Truce embodies a call for communities worldwide to do anything in their capacity to stop any violent actions, war and conflicts, specifically during the celebration of the summer and winter Olympic Games. It is with great honour and enthusiasm that we respond to this call today joining other initiatives across the planet that believe in the symbolic and practical capacity of sport to positively transform our communities.

While recognizing that sport is not a solution to cure all the world’s most pressing issues, we acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable potential of sport to bring people together, to establish friendships, to entertain and to inspire. We here today, as individuals and as a community, to honour the idea of the Olympic Truce.

Alexander Cárdenas
Tom Woodhouse, Emeritus Professor
Caroline Hughes, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Peace
Goals for Peace International
Sam Butterworth UBU Sports Officer
Vincent Mens Peace FC Club Captain

These issues coincide with the University of Bradford’s annual LGBT History Month, which features a number of screenings at the Student Union Cinema.

For more information about the 40th anniversary of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford see the Peace Studies 40 website.

Peace studies provision features in World's elite institutions


The University of Bradford has been featured in the world's top 200 institutions in for its politics provision, part of the peace studies division at the University of Bradford.

For the third edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, 3,002 universities were evaluated and 689 institutions ranked, with millions of citations, to verify the provision of 10,639 programmes. Politics, alongside the university’s pharmacy provision, was ranked in the top 151-200 universities in the World.

Professor David Francis, Head of the Department of Peace Studies and UNESCO Chair said: "The fact that Peace Studies is ranked in the Top 151 universities globally (Politics), demonstrates the high quality and relevance of our teaching, research, publications and knowledge transfer excellence as well as the rich and inspiring students learning experience we offer. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of global education for peace, Peace Studies will continue to grow as the world’s largest academic centre of excellence for peace and conflict research".

The University of Bradford was the first university to run a Peace Studies degree and it celebrates its 40th anniversary at the University of Bradford this year with a special conference on the 1-3 May 2014. Peace Studies incorporates courses in development and peace studies, international relations, conflict resolution, international politics and security studies; and it offers a unique experience due to its staff being involved in a real-world public debates and policy-making in relation to local, regional, national and international issues.

Peace Studies has a staff and study body of over 400 and it has a reputation for world-class peace research.

The rankings are available on the website, with details about Bradford available here.

'PUTIN - Up Close and Personal: Reminiscences of a Bradford Professor at Valdai'


On Wednesday, 5 March 2014, Professor John Russell gave a seminar on: 'PUTIN - Up Close and Personal: Reminiscences of a Bradford Professor at Valdai'

In September 2013 Professor Russell was invited to attend the prestigious Valdai Discussion Club in Russia. The high-profile conference featured the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. In his presentation, Professor Russell shared his impressions of the Valdai proceedings linking those to the impact of the Sochi Olympics and the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. The slides of his presentation can be found here:


About the Presenter:

John Russell is Emeritus Professor of Russian and Security Studies, Division of Peace Studies, University of Bradford. He is an author of the book Chechnya: Russia's 'War on Terror' (2007). John has published widely on the Chechen conflict, East-West relations, politics and history of Russia/former Soviet bloc and Eurasian regional security. He was appointed Head of Peace Studies in 2010. He retired in 2012 and is currently working on a book on Chechnya's young leader – Ramzan Kadyrov.

Peace Studies 2013/14 Annual Report Launched


The University of Bradford's Peace Studies Division has launched a special edition of its latest Annual Report, which focuses on the theme: "Peace Studies 40th Anniversary: Past, Present and Future"

The Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford has a global reputation as the pre-eminent academic centre of excellence for peace and conflict research. It is impossible to go around the world and not hear the University of Bradford identified regularly and consistently, throughout academic and political circles, as the leading international centre for teaching and research in peace studies.

It combines empirical, theoretical and applied research with sustained engagement at international, regional, national and local levels to analyse, prevent and resolve conflicts and develop peaceful societies. Since the Division was established in 1973/4, it has produced nearly 3,000 graduates and 60 PhDs between 2007 and 2013, making a significant contribution to global education for peace, and peace studies graduates have progressed to important positions and high-profile roles in international relations, peace mediation, conflict management and national development.

The Division will be holding a special conference to celebrate its anniversary in May, more details can be found on the

Peace Studies Annual Report 2013/14 (2.4mb PDF)

Secret CIA testimony identifies real Lockerbie mastermind


University of Bradford Lecturer in Peace Studies, Davina Miller, interviewed on Channel 4 News just before Christmas 2013 about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The Channel 4 news item revealed secret evidence from the CIA that suggested that Libya was not involved in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that was destroyed by a terrorist bomb on the 21st December 2014. , who is interviewed at 4:45 in the video, specialises in research in the arms trade, particularly Britain's defence trade with Iran and Iraq, as well as participation and community engagement.

Independence Day greetings for Bangladesh students


Bradford Centre for International Development wishes its Bangladesh students a Happy Independence Day

26th March Is Independence Day of Bangladesh, commemorating the country’s independence in 1971. We wish

Happy independence day text

to our Bangladesh students, some of whom are shown here during the University’s international day earlier this month.

400 x 225

Technology for International Development


'Big data-what is it?' by Professor Daniel Neagu, School of Engineering and Informatics and 'From being a student to actually managing a project- some reflections' by Imran Hafeez

On 11th March a special programme of two seminars had been arranged in the Bradford Centre for International Development in the School of Social and International Studies at the University of Bradford.

219 x 300 The first one was given by Professor Daniel Neagu from the School of Engineering and Informatics on 'Big data- what is it? What are the governance and policy issues?' In this seminar, Professor Neagu aimed to provide an overview of big data, how it is opening up new insights into consumer behaviour and at the same time how it is creating important policy and governance issues regarding ownership, privacy and targeting.

The seminar was well attended and generated food for thought.

After a short coffee break the second speaker followed.

The second seminar was a reflective discussion by Imran Hafeez and titled 'from being a student to actually managing a literacy project'. Imran is an alumnus having previously studied on our MA in international development management by part time. He has been managing a large project to promote improve literacy attainment in primary Schools in Bradford and in this seminar he is interested in critically reflecting on the project and the way forward.

A practical game was embedded in his seminar which helped to visualize the importance of effective co-ordination in attemps to lower literacy levels.

The participants were encouraged to support a bar reflecting the current level of illiteracy among the population.

Literacy game explanation.

The aim was to lower illiteracy, i.e. lower the bar. But with everybody's support the bar was raised high.

Literacy too high.

Through a co-ordinated effort lowering of the bar - illiteracy - was achieved.

200 x 286

Dr PB Anand on behalf of BCID said this special programme was arranged as a way to promote interaction and discussion on issues concerning technology and society as part of 'Technology for International Development' [T4ID] theme of discussions.

Peace Jam 2014


As part of its 40th Anniversary conference, the Department of Peace Studies is hosting a special, parallel Peacejam Youth Event, with Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Shirin Ebadi, on Saturday 3 May. She was Iran's first ever judge, but lost her post after the 1979 Revolution. She now lives in exile in the UK, due to her defence of women's rights in Iran and criticism of the regime's record on human rights and democracy.

Peace Jam graphic This event is open to all 40th anniversary conference attendees, youth workers, teachers, and teenagers aged 14-18. But you MUST pre-register.

PeaceJam is an international peace education programme, aiming at helping teenagers become active citizens and advocates for peace, justice and human rights. It is directed by a group of leading Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and Aung San Suu Kyi. See

Since 2006 PeaceJam has been based at the University of Bradford Peace Studies department, which has hosted an annual PeaceJam youth conference with different Nobel Laureates. This mini-Peacejam on 3 May will be run by students at the University who act as mentors, facilitators and role models for the teenagers attending. We hope to welcome around 200 teenagers, teachers and youth workers from local schools and youth groups for a fun day of inspiration and practical learning about peace and justice.

The day will include a talk and Q and A session with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, facilitated small group discussions (in what we call ‘family groups’), fun and inspiring ice-breakers and workshops, and a presentation by young people of their own projects for social changes.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What kinds of young people can attend?

Any! We have youth from all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of schools and youth groups, from around the country and overseas. We also welcome young people in care, and those with physical or learning disabilities (please contact us in the latter case).

Q. What age range of young people can attend?

This event is open to young people between 15 and 18.

Q Can young people attend on their own?

We do allow this for students over the age of 16, but we do ask that they commit to attending the whole day.. However, in general we ask for young people to be accompanied by a responsible adult. This can be a teacher, youth leader, parent etc. The ratio of young people to accompanying adults is up to you. All our student mentors are trained in the University’s child protection policy. We will also send you a risk assessment relating to the event, if you need one.

Q. What responsibilities does the accompanying adult have?

It is their responsibility to get the teenagers safely to and from the conference venue at the University of Bradford, and continue to have overall responsibility for the young people throughout the day. We specifically ask that adults supervise their group at lunchtime. For the rest of the time, the young people will be all together in the main hall, or supervised by our trained student mentors in the ‘family groups’ and workshops.

Q. What do the adults do whilst the young people are working in groups?

We run parallel sessions for the adults, generally teachers and youth leaders, where you can find out more about PeaceJam, how it runs internationally, exchange experiences with others about how to integrate PeaceJam into youth work or teaching, run a club and so forth. We will also be running freestanding session on conflict resolution and dealing with conflict at school, in youth settings

Q. Can I, or other adults, attend just as observers to see whether PeaceJam would be a good activity for our young people?

Of course – you would be very welcome! The best way to understand the energising impact that PeaceJam has on young people is to see it in action. Just let us know if you want to attend in this way.

Q. When does the event start and finish, and what is on the programme?

Here is a provisional timetable. If bringing a group, please ensure you arrive in time for the start and let us know if you have to leave early.

8.00 Registration opens - breakfast provided

9.00 Opening and introduction to PeaceJam

9.20 ‘Family Groups’ 1/Teacher Track 1

10.15 Shirin Ebadi talk and Q&A

11.45 ‘Family Groups’ 2/Teacher Track 2

12.35 Lunch provided

13.15 Groups present their current/future peace projects to the Nobel Laureate

13.55 Workshops

15.30 Closing Ceremony and Peace Parade to the main conference

16.00 Home

Q. How much does it cost and what does this cover?

The cost per young person is £20 if you register by Friday 4 April, and £25 thereafter. All teachers and youth workers attend, as usual, for free. This does not cover transport to and from the University of Bradford, nor overnight accommodation. We can pass on details of local bunkbarns, youth hostels, scout camps and hotels if you need that.

The deadline for registration is Monday 28 April 2014. We need to know numbers/details of attendees by then so that we can allocate young people to balanced discussion groups and finalise the workshops.

Q. Are there any free or subsidized places available?

Yes, there are.

a) We have 15 completely free places for young people from Calderdale, thanks to the generosity of the Werner Townley Fund for Community Cohesion, administered by Calderdale Community Foundation.

b) Local Rotary and Soroptimists clubs can be approached to help local youth or school groups attend PeaceJam. Contact us for information on how clubs have supported PeaceJam to date – that will help persuade your local club! The subsidies are generally in the region of £100 - £250.

Q. How would you like to receive payment?

Please be sure when you make payment to send e-mail notification to Sally Milne at and state which school or group the payment is from and how many it is for, with your contact details (email and mobile phone number) in case there is any query.

If you want to payby cheque, please make it payable to PeaceJam UK and send it care of Sally Milne, 5 Honor Oak Rise, London SE23 3QY

If you want to make a direct transfer to our bank account, the details are:-

Name of Account: PeaceJam UK

Account No: 65614680

Sort Code: 08 92 99

Q. What do I need to do in order to bring a group?

The first thing you will need to do is contact Tony Myers on
Mobile: 07772 018571 or Landline 0117 902 9282. He will send you materials, including teaching and learning resources about PeaceJam, and important administrative stuff such as registration forms for yourselves and the young people to fill in, which you need to get back to us as soon as possible. They cover all issues, such as contact details, dietary or medical issues. Tony can also provide a risk assessment which school and youth service heads often want to see.

The next thing you should do is get the young people familiar with PeaceJam , and excited about meeting a Real Live Nobel Peace Prize Winner! There are lots of resources for this…..

Q. How do I find out more?

YouTube clips

The PeaceJam foundation has filmed interviews with participating Laureates and posted them on YouTube e.g.

Introduction to PeaceJam and the Global Call to Action

Interviews with Shirin Ebadi

Book and DVD There is also an excellent book and DVD published by Penguin USA called Peacejam: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace. You can buy copies through Amazon but they tend to be shipped from the USA and take a little while. We have copies in stock in Bradford and can mail one to you for £10. The book has profiles of all the Laureates, including Betty Williams, and follows them whilst they do social action projects with PeaceJammers (a school from Coventry is featured working with Mairead Corrigan Maguire)

Ambassadors Curriculum

This is really a resource pack that consists of two parts. The first is a set of structured activities, such as role plays, that you can do with your young people, to get them talking about diversity, discrimination and conflict. The second part is focussed on the specific laureate and has lots of information about their background and life. You can dip in and out of this pack and use it as you wish. You can use it both before and after the conference. We will email it to you on request.

So, before they get to Bradford your young people need to:

a) Know something about the Nobel Peace Prize

b) Know something about the visiting Laureate, who they are and what they have done in their life

c) Know something about PeaceJam and the Global Call to Action

d) Have had a discussion about what kind of social action project they would like to undertake and be prepared to tell the other participants about their plans

Peace studies academic's book "best non-fiction book in 21 years"


Peace Studies Professor Paul Rogers' book 'Losing Control' has been listed by the Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) as the best non-fiction book published in the past 21 years.

Stuart Parkinson, writing in the SGR Newsletter said: "you will not find a more insightful and accessible analysis of the security challenges that the world currently faces. The book starts by delving into the Cold War, assessing military and security strategies and policies during this period. Drawing on government documents and academic studies, it details just how close we came to nuclear armageddon as military leaders, in both the East and the West, seriously contemplated how they could try to 'win' a nuclear war. It then tracks how security policies since 1990 have evolved, with military thinking remaining dominant. While the 'dragon' of the Soviet Union had been 'slain', it was argued the West now faced 'a jungle full of poisonous snakes'. The first edition of this book was published in 2000, and Rogers warned then that if the West didn't take action to tackle the roots of conflict – especially the unfair economic system, rapidly growing environmental problems, and the spread of weapons – insurgencies and terrorism would likely grow. The September 11th attacks happened just a year after the book was published. The book is now in its third edition (published in 2010) and, in new chapters, Rogers argues that the militaristic mindset – demonstrated so clearly by the 'War on Terror' – is still dominant. We urgently need to change course if we are to have any hope of improving global security."

Read the full article in the SGR Newsletter Autumn 2013‌ (90kb PDF)

Scientists for Global Responsibility is the main UK science and technology society working in the field of the ethics of conflict, security and environmental issues. It was founded 21 years ago, hence the publication of the anniversary list.

Symposium on Philanthropy and Social Justice


A symposium on new philanthropy and social justice - was convened by Dr. Behrooz Morvaridi, senior lecture at BCID - took place in 2013 at the University of Bradford. The event featured high profile national and international scholars addressing the complex issue of new philanthropy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and operational contexts. The cutting-edge debates from this symposium is collated in an edited book, to be published by Policy Press¿ in 2014.

Dr Behrooz Morvaridi welcomes participants and introduces the first speaker, Michael Edwards (Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, New York).

Social Safety Nets and Targeting Mechanism in COMCEC Member Countries Dr. Behrooz Morvaridi and Professor John Weiss were awarded contracted research project by Ministry of Development in Turkey. The objective of this study was to examine the current state of Social Protection and Social Safety and assess poverty targeting mechanisms and their effectiveness in 57 COMCEC members State. Dr Morvaridi conducted field work

‌in 4 countries: Tunisia, Senegal, Sierra Leon, Turkey and Oman. The report from this study was published and presented in Ankara to senior representative from 57 countries in December 2013.

I‌mage left: Social Safety Nets and Targeting Mechanism in
COMCEC Member Countries

University of Bradford Alumni: Dhaka, Bangladesh


Dr John Lawler (Bradford Centre for International Development) and Dr Hamish Main (University of Bradford, International Regional Manager) attended a meeting of Bradford Alumni in Bangladesh, held in February at the Cadet College Club, Gulshan, Dhaka. The meeting was coordinated by Mr Atique Rabbani (the University's Agent in Bangladesh and a Bradford Alumnus) who also attended (and sang!).

‌‌bangladesh alumni 3

Three non-alumni joined the meeting: Mr Shahjahan Ali Mollah (Additional Sec.,MOPA), Mr Iqbal Abdullah Harun, (Director of Training, DMTBF Project), Mr Tomas Doherty (British Council). After a formal welcome from Prof Fazli Ilahi (Bradford PhD 1972) who chaired the meeting, the proceedings were largely informal. The evening provided the chance to meet other Alumni, to renew acquaintances and to share experiences and reminiscences of Bradford. The evening included a meal together and songs and music from various alumni. There were several ideas about how the alumni group might progress and particular interest in developing the group on a more formalised basis. A further meeting is being co-ordinated by Atique of those wishing to be involved in making further plans.

bangladesh alumni 2

Peace Studies FC Win Tolstoy Cup


A fiercely contested Tolstoy Cup saw Peace Studies host their rivals War Studies (from King's College London) at Horsfall Stadium. The large home crowd watched a spirited first half, as both teams threw everything at each other.

Tolstoy football 2014 1 Peace scored the crucial first goal through Zimmer, who neatly rounded the keeper one-on-one to slot home, resulting in scenes of jubilation. The second half saw Peace stay strong and robust in defence, with War extending forward in search of an equaliser.

For this they were roundly punished by Peace, with Saunders blitzing down the right ring to put in a ball that was converted by Cassidy. Peace quickly added a third, with Cassidy scoring again from a goalmouth scramble.

This ended the tie, the scoreline perhaps not reflecting a very even game, which was played in the right spirit by both sides. We would like to thank War for their sportsmanship, friendliness and competition and are eagerly looking forward to them hosting us next year.

BCID Student Spotlight: Md. Tajul Islam


One of our Bangladeshi students shares his experience.

Recieved: March 2014

How would you introduce yourself?

I am Md. Tajul Islam, a civil servant of the Government of Bangladesh. I did my undergraduate and postgraduate in Social Welfare from the University of Dhaka with distinct credit (stood 1st class 1st in both level). Then I joined as a lecturer in a public university of Bangladesh located in Dhaka. In November 2008, I joined in the civil service and worked in different capacities of government system for five years before coming to Bradford in September 2013. I am here for pursuing another postgraduation 'MSc in Economics and Finance for Development' with Bangladesh Government scholarship.

How do you find your programme so far?

In a word, my programme is highly demanding and truly prestigious. It provides technical and specialised knowledge related to economics and finance. However, it should provide a fundamental module in the 1st semester for better understanding of the technical issues of the programme.

What have been the best aspects of your experience so far?

I have been enjoying the life of Bradford. It is a lovely city with its panoramic hilly treasures. Here living cost is not high comparing with other cities of the UK and District Council run free bus for the city dwellers. However, the best experience I gathered here is the BCID annual development lecture delivered by famous Cambridge Professor Ha-Joon Chang on 26 February 2014. I also enjoyed different informal gatherings of BCID that enable the participant to come close to the faculties.

How does this programme relate to your own career goals?

Since I am a civil servant, in future, I have ample opportunity to work in specialised ministries like Ministry of Finance, Commerce, Industry and then , I will be able to apply the technical and specialised knowledge on economics and finance acquired from my programme. Again, the research standard of BCID is world class and I hope it will help me to pursue my Phd in future.

Based on your experience would you recommend this programme to others?

Definitely. I have already suggested my known other civil servants as well as other potential postgraduate pursuants to come to BCID and to have world class learning experiences.

Spotlight on MSc student Decoda Martin


A Commonwealth Scholar from Jamaica, Decoda Martin, speaks about her study impressions.

Decoda Martin. May 2014

How would you introduce yourself?

I am Decoda Martin, from Jamaica. I am currently working in the field of prudential regulation with the Bank of Jamaica, Jamaica’s central bank. I was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and study leave in order to pursue my studies at the University of Bradford.

How did you come to study at BCID?

I wanted international exposure, something that I consider very valuable in the increasingly globalized world. I was interested in a program that could build upon my previous academic background in Finance while strengthening my knowledge in another academic discipline (Economics). I was particularly impressed with the programme offered by the University of Bradford, through BCID, as it not only fulfils this requirement but it tackles this area with particular focus on equipping students with the tools for challenging development issues.

What have been the best aspects of your experience?

I have been particularly pleased with my academic experience thus far. I found the module content engaging and relevant, and was impressed with the keen interest in the student’s development each module coordinator demonstrated. I must, however, say that my best experiences lay with learning from the experiences my colleagues shared. Whether through sharing home country practices, policies or previous experiences in their career, a significant portion of the knowledge gained from this programme was gained from interacting with my colleagues from various countries and backgrounds. This experience forms a valuable and integral part of one’s personal and professional development, and can only be achieved through studying with a university, such as this one, which boasts a truly international body of students.

How does this programme relate to your own career goals?

My ultimate aim is to contribute to the Regulatory policy framework in Jamaica. The MSc in Economics and Finance for Development program was extremely relevant to my career goals. With its inherent focus on fostering development, it has enhanced my 4 year experience in the field of finance by effectively equipping me with the tools to make a meaning contribution in this area.

Based on your experience would you recommend this programme to others?

Based on my experience, I would have no hesitation in recommending this programme to others.

University Lecturer awarded three-year Tanzania research grant


Dr Anna Mdee of Bradford Centre for International Development (BCID), in collaboration with Mzumbe University in Tanzania, has been awarded a 3-year DFID-ESRC grant of £306,000 for research on working with civil society partners to improve the performance and accountability of local government in Tanzania.

Dr Mdee said “This grant further cements our partnership with Mzumbe University, and offers the opportunity to undertake cutting edge action research in Development. I’m really looking forward to working with our partners, INTRAC (International NGO Training and Research Centre) in the UK and the Foundation for Civil Society in Tanzania”.

The University of Bradford with Mzumbe University in Tanzania and hosted a in May 2014.

Professor Jenny Pearce gives keynote address in Tegucigalpa, Honduras


Professor Jenny Pearce gave a keynote address in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on 9 June at a Public Event organised by Oxfam Honduras, to mark the end of a pilot phase of applying participatory methodologies in contexts of chronic violence and insecurity. These methodologies were initially developed by Professor Pearce in collaboration with Alexandra Abello (Bradford Phd Candidate), and known as 'Security from Below'. The event was attended by community researchers and residents from some of Tegucigalpa's most troubled neighbourhoods, as well as by public officials, police, city politicians and congressmen, human rights activists, international organisations and the media. The community researchers themselves presented the findings from their research.

Tegucigalpa The methodology was originally applied in the context of Medellin, where the Canadian research and development body, the IDRC, funded a four year programme with the Observatory of Human Security. Professor Pearce and Alexandra Abello were academic advisors to the project. The Observatory developed and refined the methodology and Lina Maria Zuluaga and Durfay Quintero (Durfay is a community researcher in Medellin) trained community researchers in the implementation of the methodology in Tegucigalpa.

Professor Pearce has worked with a number of organisations in Medellin since the 1980s around agendas for change in a city which in the 1990s had the highest levels of homicides in the world. In fact, it is doubtful whether any city has reached the 392 homicides per 100,000 that Medellin reached in the early 1990s, at the height of the battles between Pablo Escobar and the city’s police, with many young men from the poorest neighbourhoods in the city acting as assassins on behalf of Escobar. Today, San Pedro Sula in Honduras is the most violent city in the world with a homicide rate of 169.3 per 100,000 in 2012 according to a Mexican thinktank , the Citizen Council on Public Safety. Tegucigalpa had an incredibly hight rate of 102.2 murders per 100,000 in 2011, and the city is enveloped in fear. Honduras is today the most violent country in the world outside of war, according to the United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs.Tegucigalpa3

Jenny Pearce’s research has focussed on two fields: participation and violence. But the two fields gradually converged and over a decade ago, she began to explore what kind of participation emerges in contexts of chronic violence and insecurity and how it might reduce violence and enhance spaces for participation. For five years (2005-2010) she convened the Violence, Participation and Citizenship group of the Institute of Development Studies Development Research Centre. She also began working with the Observatory of Human Security in Medellin, bringing participatory methodologies developed in other contexts to the security issue. She also built on the findings from a British Council funded exchange between the Bradford and the Medellin police. Together with Alexandra Abello she published an article on ‘Security from Below, Humanizing Security in Contexts of Chronic Violence in the IDS bulletin 2009 on Transforming Security and Development.

Tegucigalpa4 The idea of ‘security from below’ is that security remains a public good, but that community researchers working with academics and NGOs develop a capacity to articulate the differential security needs of their communities which are often otherwise unheard and invisible due to the difficulties of conducting research in areas of chronic violence. More than this, community researchers can develop with other residents, new approaches to security which challenge the stigma attached to everyone living in violent areas and which categorises everyone as part of the problem. Most are in fact desperate to live in a situation of safety but also to have their basic rights to housing, jobs and food security met.

In Medellin, the Observatory is now a reference point for the local municipality, public bodies and residents, in that it shines a light on what is really happening in the city. At the same time, community researchers have gained a huge amount of voice and confidence. The way violence impacts on women, gays, lesbians and transsexuals, displaced people, children and youth differentially is highlighted.The methodology nurtures horizontal relationships between academics, community researchers and NGOs, and enables shared agendas to be built.

In Tegucigalpa where the work was with women living in the midst of all forms of everyday violence and extortion and in a country where a woman is murdered every 14 hours, the community researchers were able to articulate these experiences with all the force that comes from living the reality on the ground. A number of womens’ organisations have worked in these neighbourhoods for years, and the groundwork of social organisation had been laid. This was now turned to the area of violence and security, and in a way which gave the women researchers protagonism in articulating the problem and seeking a form of security which does not reproduce violence. Despite being very nervous, the women were able to speak from the heart but also from the evidence they had gathered in listening to the experiences of their neighbours, impacting greatly on the audience, including a new anti corruption party, one of whose leaders came to speak to Professor Pearce and the community researchers after the event.

BCID student spotlight - Yvonne Koomson


One of our master student sharing her views

MSc Development and Project Planning

June 2014

How would you introduce yourself?

Yvonne Ekua Deiba Koomson is my name. I am a Ghanaian with a degree in BSc Land Economy from KNUST, Ghana. I have an interest in real estate. My quest in life is to attain what others consider unattainable and reach heights that others have not reached because I believe that anything that can be imagined and thought of is achievable. I am currently enrolled on the MSc Development and Project Planning programme. I love travelling. I am fascinated by nature and therefore particularly enjoy hiking and camping activities.

How did you come to study at BCID?

Interestingly University of Bradford was not in my league of Universities for a Masters qualification. However, after a thorough research on schools with reputable Scholarships in Development and Projects, I realized that BCID stands as a leading centre for development providing excellence and professionalism in all of its programmes. I couldn’t have been in a better place than University of Bradford. BCID has been a step in the right direction.

What have been the best aspects of your experience?

My experiences at the University of Bradford have been awesome. I honestly cannot point out which has been my best experience. I can only say that the inter-cultural mix is fantastic and I cannot express how invaluable the learning experience has been in the greenery environment of the university with support from both teaching and non-teaching staff.

How does this programme relate to your own career goals?

I look forward to becoming a real estate developer in addition to establishing an NGO that seeks to bridge the education gap facing deprived children in societies through the provision of funding initiatives and Trust. I therefore consider the modules in project planning and development as foundational and very relevant in achieving this career goal.

Based on your experience would you recommend this programme to others?

Most definitely. I consider this programme to be pioneering for anyone who seeks to be successful in undertaking any development enterprise as a career. The MSc Development and Project Planning course is a cutting-edge programme. It does not only equip you for a profession, but it also builds your personality and develops skills such as team skills, presentation and communication skills as well as leadership skills. In summary, it is a course that tells no lie about the realities out there but teaches you to face the challenges and find opportunities to be successful not only on a local platform but also in a global world

House of Commons Report on UK Arms Exports Responds to Evidence Submitted by Professor Neil Cooper from Peace Studies


The latest report of the UK House of Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls has responded to evidence submitted by Professor Neil Cooper from Peace Studies and Dr Gerald Walther (Manchester University) on the decline in the number of inspection visits undertaken by HMRC to companies holding open defence export licences.

In their evidence and Dr Walther pointed out that a significant proportion of inspection visits to open licence holders still reveal examples of non-compliance yet the government has actually reduced the number of inspection visits.

They also noted that despite the government’s commitment to greater transparency with regards to arms exports, recent reports on the inspection visits had stopped distinguishing between different categories of licence misuse and that the government had ceased to provide data on the number of unlicensed shipments altogether. In response to the evidence from Prof Cooper and Dr Walther, the Committees has asked the government to explain why the number of inspection visits has declined from over 800 in 2009 and 2010 to just 300 in 2012. The Committee also recommended that the government should restore reporting on the different categories of misuse identified, including the number of unlicensed shipments discovered during compliance visits.

The full report can be found here (external link)

America and Islamic State: mission creeping?


The United States is increasing support of its Iraqi and Kurdish allies and escalating attacks on its jihadist enemies. Islamic State's long-term plan, though, remains on track.

Article on Open Democracy website by 21 August 2014

When President Obama authorised the use of United States air-power against Islamic State (IS) forces on 7 August 2014, there were just two stated purposes: to protect refugees, especially the Yazidi, and to counter any IS move towards the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil, the argument being that it was necessary to protect US personnel based in that city.

By that time there were reported to be around 1,000 US military deployed to Iraq because of the crisis, They joined US citizens already in the countryemployed in diplomatic, military-training or private-security roles, though it is hard to estimate the exact number (see "Islamic State, Iraq, America: a new front", 14 August 2014).

In the first few days of the air-strikes, few targets were hit, mainly IS artillery and logistics support that was considered too close to Irbil. There was some irony in this, since much of the IS equipment was American and had been seized by IS from Iraqi army bases in and around Mosul. It was, at least, good news for US defence companies, with their weapons being used by the US navy to destroy their weapons: a truly win-win situation, profit-wise.

Read the full article here

Report shines spotlight on incapacitating chemical agent weapons


The Universities of Bradford and Bath have produced a joint report highlighting how contemporary chemical and life science research may potentially be applied to the study or creation of incapacitating chemical agent weapons.

The report 'Down the slippery slope?’ coincides with the 12th anniversary of the Moscow theatre siege, where many hostages were ultimately killed by an incapacitating chemical agent (ICA) intended to aid their release. This report highlights specific areas where concerns or mis-perceptions might arise as to the nature and intended uses of chemical and life-science research. The report also explores how States can ensure that such dual-use research is not used in prohibited chemical weapons development.

Poster for “BBQ-901 narcosis gun� on display on State 9616 Plant stand at Asia Pacific China Police Expo 2006, Beijing, China, 24th -27th May 2006. © Robin Ballantyne/Omega Research Foundation The study was produced jointly by the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project and the Biochemical Security 2030 Project in Bath. It examines contemporary research in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and neuroscience exploring a range of pharmaceutical chemicals potentially applicable to the study or development of ICA weapons.

Professor Malcolm Dando co-author of the report and Professor of International Security at the University of Bradford states: “The development and introduction of ICA weapons threatens to create a “slippery slope”. Once introduced there is a danger that such weapons will consequently be used for an increasingly broad range of purposes.

“Our study indicates that dual-use research being conducted in a variety of institutional environments and for a range of (stated or unstated) purposes could potentially be applied to the study or creation of ICA weapons.”

As well as documenting contemporary research by Russian scientists, the report highlights the possession of ICA weapons by the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army, their previous use by the Israeli security services, and examines unconfirmed allegations of use in Syria. In addition, the report explores potentially relevant research activities undertaken since 1997 in the Czech Republic, India, Iran, the United Kingdom and the United States.

ICA weapons come under the scope of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and their use in armed conflict is absolutely prohibited. However there are differing interpretations as to whether, and in what circumstances, such toxic chemicals could be employed for law enforcement purposes.BBQ-901 tranquiliser gun

In 2013, certain States - including the U.K. and U.S. – formally declared they do not develop or possess ICA weapons; however others remain silent. To date this issue has not been satisfactorily addressed by the CWC States Parties as a whole. This new report, published as governments prepare for the forthcoming CWC Conference of States Parties in December, is intended to spotlight this issue. The report calls on States to halt all development, stockpiling and use of ICA weapons until CWC States Parties have collectively determined whether or not such weapons should be permitted in law enforcement.

Dr Michael Crowley co-author of the report argues that: “Because the possession and utilisation of ICA weapons currently appears to be restricted to a relatively small number of countries, there is still time for the international community to act.

“There is now a window of opportunity for the CWC States Parties to take a precautionary and preventative approach. If the international community does not adequately respond to these challenges, there is a danger that more States may be become intrigued by these weapons, with the consequent threat of their proliferation and misuse.”

Professor Rod Flower, FRS and Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology at the William Harvey Research Institute said: "Twelve years ago, Russian Special Forces terminated the seige of a Moscow Theatre by Chechen Separatists by pumping a potent anaesthetic gas into the ventilation system. During the operation, 130 hostages lost their lives following exposure to the gas, prompting a widespread debate on the use of such 'incapacitating chemical weapons'. Crowley & Dando's Report provides an in-depth study of the subsequent development of incapacitating chemical weapons by states around the world. It provides a valuable resource for those who are concerned about the proliferation of such weapons as well as a timely reminder that there is no such thing as a 'safe' incapacitating chemical agent."

Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Biology (neuroscience) at the Department of Life Health and Chemical Sciences, The Open University said: “Continuing advances in neuroscience, pharmacology and biotechnology are fueling a new interest in the military and law-enforcement potential of incapacitating agents (ICAs)–‘non-lethal’ or better ‘less-lethal’ anaesthetic or disorienting chemicals . Published on the 12th anniversary of the disastrous use of an ICA in the attempt to rescue hostages trapped in a Moscow theatre, Crowley and Dando have compiled an authoritative account of the state of the art in ICAs. Drawing on open-source literature, they assess the scale of research and development of the agents among the major international players, and conclude with recommendations as to how the international treaties prohibiting chemical weapons should be amended to deal with these new threats. An important and salutary report.”

The full report can be found here

Image above left: Poster for “BBQ-901 narcosis gun” on display on State 9616 Plant stand at Asia Pacific China Police Expo 2006, Beijing, China, 24th -27th May 2006. © Robin Ballantyne/Omega Research Foundation.

Image above right: “BBQ-901 tranquiliser gun” being displayed at a People's Liberation Army “open day”, Shek Kong Air Base, Hong Kong, 2nd May 2011. © Gordon Arthur / King Arthur's Writes.

Senior diplomat visits Bradford's pioneering new MSc programme delivered in Tajikistan


From the Essays of Francis Bacon we are familiar with a famous aphorism "if the hill will not come to Mohammad then Mohammad will go to the hill". As it happens, when Mohammad Ali and 23 other staff members of Aga Khan Foundation in Afghanistan and Tajikistan wanted to do a Masters programme but could not leave the important work they are doing here to come to Bradford, the University of Bradford programme comes to the region.

On Sunday 12th October, a group of University of Bradford staff and students welcomed Ms Nurjehan Mawani, Diplomatic Representative of Aga Khan Development Network in Afghanistan to the “class room”. Well, in this case, a meeting room in a hotel in Dushanbe has become the ‘class room’ for two weeks for the staff and students on this programme. Ms Mawani who previously held senior positions within Canadian public institutions and was holding diplomatic positions in Central Asia before taking up recently as the diplomatic representative in Afghanistan. Ms Mawani said how genuinely pleased she was to know of University of Bradford's involvement in this important programme to contribute to the development of professional capacity in this region.

The team leader of this programme Dr PB Anand thanked Ms Mawani on behalf of all academic and administrative staff of the University of Bradford involved in this programme.

Professor Donna Lee in her message said: "We are delighted to be working so closely with colleagues in the Aga Khan Development Network. The Bradford Centre for International Development is committed to delivering and continuing to develop innovative programmes in International Development and Management with colleagues in Afghanistan."

After more than year in preparation, a new and bespoke MSc in International Development Policy and Management is being delivered by staff of the Faculty of SIS. The Bradford Centre for International Development (BCID) was approached by Aga Khan Development Network in Geneva with a view to developing a new programme especially for building the capacity of AKDN organisations mainly in Afghanistan. The programme is a pioneering development on several levels.

Design of the programme: First of all, in depth discussions took place with a wide group of stakeholders from AKF Afghanistan at the very start of the design of the programme. At this stage all potential modules within the Faculty of SIS were considered in relation to training needs of the organisation and academic integrity of a possible programme. Based on this the new MSc was designed. The draft proposals were shared with Staff Student Liaison Committee meeting of students back at Bradford and their views enriched the design of the programme. Second while BCID has delivered other intensive programmes those were mainly for international Development Banks whereas through this programme the University is directly contributing to strengthening the capacity of a non-governmental organisation that is using a multiple input area development approach in a number of provinces in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Third, the programme involves modules from both Development Studies and Peace Studies and this covers both development and peace issues contributing directly to the promotion of well-being in Afghanistan. Fourth, over a period of time the Faculty of SIS divisions have been involved in external and collaborative programmes elsewhere such as the programme in Mzumbe University. While the AKF programme is not a collaborative programme i.e., all modules are delivered entirely by Bradford staff, the experiences with collaborative programmes helped in putting in place the necessary quality assurance mechanisms. As our Pro-Vice Chancellor Shirley Congdon emphasised in her inaugural message of this programme, the fact that these are UoB students even if they are not on campus informs the ethos of the programme.

For example, at the commencement of the programme in May 2014, Ms Ellie Clement, our Subject Librarian, also travelled along with academic staff Dr PB Anand, Prof John Cusworth, Dr H Jalilian and Dr B Morvaridi to ensure that along with academic modules students also get necessary training and inputs concerning access to library, electronic resources and using EndNote. Twenty-two staff members of AKDN organisations from Afghanistan were joined by two staff members of AKF from Tajikistan.

Modular structure: Two modules were delivered in May/June - these covered Public Policy Analysis and Management and Issues in Development Theory. Two further modules are being delivered right now in October 2014 - these are Gender, Conflict and Development led by Dr Fiona Macaulay and supported by Dr PB Anand and a Project and Programme Management module being delivered by Prof John Cusworth.

At the end of the Gender, Conflict and Development module, the academic leading the module Dr Fiona Macaulay said: "I am absolutely delighted to be here- these students are so highly motivated and bring so much to the programme. I am amazed by the quality of the discussions and feel that I have also learned something about the region".

A new feather in the cap: BCID already has a track record of delivering our MA to staff of Aga Khan Foundation and related organisations back in 2004 to 2008. That programme started with the first module of Project Planning and Design delivered in November 2004 in Khorog in the Pamir mountains in the GBAO region of Tajikistan. That programme began initially as a PG Certificate programme and gradually additional modules were delivered as per demand. Finally some 10 participants including four women completed the MSc programme. ¿Yodgor Faizov, CEO of AKF Tajikistan noted that many alumni from that programme including Kishwar Abdullaev, Mohammad Bodurbekov, Zuloby Mamadfazilov, Shodmon Hojibekov and Nafisa Gulshaeva are now in senior positions within the AKDN organisations in Tajikistan.

Aimal Ahmdedzai, a senior manager in monitoring, evaluation and research in AKF and a student on the current MSc programme said that he can already see a difference in the way he looks at information or analyses information in designing strategies in his role as a programme manager. Student representatives of the current course namely, Hadi Hashemi and Rudoba Rahmatova, said that all the participants who are studying on this programme while managing their full time jobs are very committed and that, as they take more responsibility and reach leadership positions in the organisation, this learning will be definitely useful. Dr Shama Dossa, senior manager of monitoring, evaluation and research within AKF Afghanistan said that this is a very important initiative for the organisation that has already taken steps to facilitate all the participants on the programme by allowing some time for them to study, research and work on assessments.

All members of Bradford and AKF teams thanked Ms Mawani for taking time off her very busy schedule to drop by to the lecture and meet with all the participants.

Assessing China's Aid in Africa - Evidence given to the Africa All-Party Parliamentary Group


China's aid programme in Africa raises many issues but there has been little serious analysis of its extent and implications. Dr P B Anand, Head of the Bradford Centre for International Development, gave evidence on this key issue to the APPG earlier this year and work based on this has now been published.


African cities seem to be undergoing a transformation. Shiny new ring-roads, spanking new ports and airports and other infrastructure projects are springing up in many capitals. Financial journals and newspapers attribute a lot of this to China’s aid to Africa. However, most assessments of China’s aid to Africa include polemics such as: “China is buying up all resources in Africa”, and “China’s aid with no strings attached is propping up corrupt non-democratic regimes in resource rich Africa countries”.

The Africa All Party Parliamentary Group initiated an inquiry in 2013 to examine the key challenges to development of democratic institutions in Africa. In one of its meetings held in June 2013, the APPG focused exclusively on China’s aid to Africa. I was invited to give evidence at this session.

At Bradford, I had the privilege to co-ordinate the China Development Bank executive education programme since 2007. This experience has given me some insights to understand the largest development bank in the World. Based on this familiarity and analysis of both secondary literature and some macro-level data on China’s aid to Africa, I tried to present some analysis of facts as my evidence to APPG.

Traditional aid donors are members of what is known as the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD-DAC). China is not yet a member of the OECD-DAC. Assessing China’s aid is very difficult mainly because data is not available in the same format as data on activities of the OECD-DAC members. Though Chinese government has recently published a White Paper on its aid, there are many reasons why it is difficult to assess Chinese aid. Some of China’s aid is given in kind as bilateral co-operation- how this is monetised is not clear. Also various aid instruments are used including: grant-in-aid, soft loans, natural resource-for-infrastructure swaps and so on. Also, some of the aid is actually in the form of export credit guarantee given to Chinese private firm that can mobilise resources from the capital market and build the facility in Africa.

Notwithstanding these difficulties and shortcomings, I have tried to analyse Chinese aid to Africa during 2000 to 2012 and compare this with OECD-DAC assistance also during the same period. Some startling results were observed. Overall Chinese aid is approximately equivalent to a fifth of OECD-DAC aid during that period. Chinese aid per annum more than doubles after 2005 and much of this aid seems to be going predominantly to physical infrastructure and productive activities whereas significant share of OECD-DAC aid has gone mainly to social infrastructure, governance peace-keeping and humanitarian issues. The most important finding was that there was no significant difference between Chinese aid and OECD-DAC aid in terms whether one is skewed towards more corrupt or non-democratic regimes.

The APPG published its report in May 2014 with the title ‘Democracy Soup’. It is available here (PDF):

Further analysis of this is being presented in a chapter on the development assistance by BRICS countries in a forthcoming book on BRICS and emerging economies that I am co-editing with Dr Flavio Comim, Dr S Fennell and Dr John Weiss.

An analysis of finance for infrastructure in Africa is available in a paper I have co-authored with Professor Tony Addison, Deputy Director of the UNU-WIDER. This is available here (PDF):

In that paper we have tried to assess the role of aid from China and other BRICS countries as also domestic finances of infrastructure in Africa. One of main findings was that most of infrastructure investment and maintenance in Africa is not funded by OECD-DAC donors, nor by Chinese or other new donors but by African citizens themselves. Our main recommendation was that OECD-DAC aid in Africa must have paradigm-shift – instead of building individual infrastructure projects we suggested that the OECD-DAC aid should focus more on building the necessary regulatory and analytical institutional capacities so that African governments can use the available resource far more effectively and also access the capital markets to generate resources.

Comments are most welcome: email


University of Bradford marks the centenary of World War One with the city's first Peace Pole


Last Saturday the University of Bradford unveiled Bradford's first Peace Pole.* The eight-foot pole is inscribed with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in eight different languages (English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, and Swahili) and in braille. These languages were chosen in part as they represent the major protagonists in the two World Wars. The others were chosen to represent the department's international reach and remit.

The Peace Pole was a kind gift to the University and its world-famous Department of Peace Studies by Soroptimist International, Bradford club (see picture below), specifically to mark the centenary of the Great War, and particularly to note the crucial role that women play, often in the background, in waging both war and peace.

Soroptimist International was founded in 1921, in the aftermath of the Great War. It is a global volunteer movement working together at local, national and international level to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls. They have 80,000 club members in 130 countries. With the residue of their generous donation the Peace Studies department has established a bursary fund specifically to support women students.

The Department of Peace Studies is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It was the first full department established in any university in the world to dedicate itself to peace and conflict issues. Over 3,000 students from around the world have graduated with BA, MA and doctoral degrees and can be found working in the service of peace and justice around the world.

The Head of the Peace Studies department, Professor said, ‘We are privileged to unveil the first Peace Pole in the City of Bradford, and, as far as we know, on any university campus in the UK. This is a permanent reminder to us of the need to work together at every level, every day, personally, spiritually, politically, and internationally, to avoid repetition of the horrors of the Great War anywhere in the world.’

There are tens of thousands of Peace Poles in 180 countries around the world. They serve as a focal point for peace. The Peace Pole is located in the University’s Peace Garden, between the front of Chesham Building and Great Horton Road. In the Peace Garden there are a number of other commemorative trees, including one planted by Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, from Guatemala, and another planted in memory and honour of Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai. On the same day that the Peace Pole was unveiled the Department of peace Studies planted a flowering cherry tree to commemorate the Department’s 40th anniversary

The University of Bradford¿s new Peace Pole

The University of Bradford’s new Peace Pole with(from left to right) Marion Le Pla (SI), Beatrice Williams (SI), Professor David Francis (Head of Peace Studies), Dr Fiona Macaulay (Peace Studies department), Geraldine Tolan (SI), Lynn Wiggan (SI), Pat Rhodes (SI), Nora Whittam (SI), Beryl Eakin (SI)

The close of the ceremony to inaugurate the Peace Pole

The close of the ceremony to inaugurate the Peace Pole with staff and students of the Peace Studies department, and representatives of Soroptimist International, Rotary International and the Quaker Peace Studies Trust

Photos courtesy of Rotary Peace Fellow Meg Fenton.

Outstanding Research in the Faculty of Social and International Studies


The Faculty of Social and International Studies is celebrating its outstanding research, which places Politics and International Studies in 7th position out of 56 institutions nationwide for impact, and Social Work and Social Policy in the top ten out of the 61 institutions nationwide for research outputs; with 73% of its work being graded as either word leading or internationally excellent.

The results, published in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), assess the quality and impact of university research and see the University significantly improved overall ranking from 62 to 49 in the UK. The REF, replaces the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) undertaken for the last time in 2008.

When graded on research environment, Politics and International Studies was ranked in the top 15 of 56 institutions, making it equal to Cambridge and well above many other leading research-intensive Universities in the UK. The grades received represented a marked improvement on the 2008 results

The Politics and International Relations submission included research and impact activity undertaken by Peace Studies and Centre of International Development academics, whilst the Social Policy and Social Work submission included research and impact activity undertaken by Social Work, Sociology and Criminology, Economics and Psychology academics.

The REF is used by education funding bodies to allocate research grants, provide accountability for public investment in research and evidence the benefits of public investment, as well as providing benchmarking information to establish reputational yardsticks.

Friend or Foe and football - remembering the 1914 Christmas truce


The University of Bradford is making its own unique contribution to a national project to mark one of the most iconic episodes of the First World War, the Christmas truce of 1914.

Football Remembers week, from 6-14 December, is a joint initiative from the British Council, Premier League, Football League and FA, commemorating the moment in 1914 when British and German soldiers left their trenches and weapons and mingled in no man’s land to chat, exchange gifts and, in some instances, play football.

During the week, players in all matches will pose together as a mark of respect and there will be a tournament in Ypres, organised by the Premier League.

The British Council approached Professor Tom Woodhouse, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford, to contribute to an education pack for schools nationwide and he created a conflict resolution simulation game called Friend or Foe.

Based around the Christmas truce, the game involves two teams using Friend and Foe cards and challenges students to think about their actions as well as the cause and effect of conflicts. It explores a process two sides might use to reach a truce and how that might succeed or break down.

The game also includes original source material including regimental and personal diaries from the time and has been made available to 30,000 schools.

Professor Woodhouse said: “The aim of the week is to use football to highlight what happened during the Christmas truce. Friend or Foe particularly highlights the value of peace and peace-making and gives pupils the opportunity to reflect not only on what happened in 1914 but also on how they approached the issues presented by the game.”

Friend or Foe can be seen here (PDF)

University welcomes Chevening Scholars


Over the years a number of Chevening scholars and fellows have chosen Bradford as their university of choice. This year, the University of Bradford is home to four Chevening scholars - Tony Ku from Timor Leste and studying for an MSc in forensic archaeology, Su Su Htay from Myanmar studying for an MA in peace, conflict and development; Thanit Leerahateerapong from Thailand studying for an MA in conflict resolution and Liu Chen from China studying for an MSc in economics and finance for development.

Chevening scholarships are awarded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and tend to be very competitive with several rounds of shortlisting and elimination. On behalf of all academic and administrative staff at the University of Bradford, Dr PB Anand welcomed the scholars to Bradford. Prof Donna Lee, Dean of the Faculty of Social and International Studies in her message said "We have an outstanding set of programmes here at Bradford and we hope that these scholars have a fantastic time at Bradford."

For more information about Chevening Scholarships click here.

Spotlight on current BCID student


Student profile of current MSc student at the Bradford Centre for International Development

Joyce Alaroker, MSc Project Planning and Management

How would you introduce yourself?

My name is Joyce Alaroker, am from Uganda both by nationality and birth. I am simple, open minded, dynamic and very passionate about development project management.

How did you come to study at BCID?

I came to study at BCID through the Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship programme. I have always wanted to be sponsored for a degree in development project management discipline and BCID is one centre that is known in the UK for offering quality project management courses.

What have been the best aspects of your experience?

Almost everything has been so rewarding however the level of support from the respective professors according to me is the best aspect of my learning experience. I never thought I perform well in any module with economic analysis and calculations but the method of delivery and guidance from the professors made me score highly in the assignments.

How does this programme relate to your own career goals?

I am studying the Msc Project Planning and Management and in all honesty the programme suits perfectly well with my career goals. I come from a region that suffered a 20 year old civil war (LRA war in Uganda), my family was directly affected and when I completed my first degree I wanted to go back home and help my people rebuild their lives. I have now spent 8 years in development project work and am very passionate about it. I would like to develop expertise in this area but with specific focus to Africa.

Based on your experience would you recommend this programme to others?

I would definitely recommend this programme for anybody interested in development work both in the public and private sector.

Dr Ha-Joon Chang delivers the 20th Bradford Development Lecture


Taking production seriously: Dr Ha-Joon Chang gave the 20th Bradford Development Lecture, calling for a new development discourse.

Dr Chang. The Bradford Development Lectures are a series of lectures given by key practitioners and academics working in the International Development field since 1992. Over the years the lecture has become a prestigious event where prominent figures in the international community present an address on current issues relating to development and human welfare.

‌To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this lecture it was our extraordinary pleasure to present Dr Ha-Joon Chang, from the University of Cambridge. Dr Chang needs no introduction to students and researchers of economic development, or even readers of the Financial Times where his comments have become a regular feature since the onset of the financial crisis.

As we in the Western Europe are obsessed with 'green shoots' of recovery to emerge out of the most recent financial crisis, bigger questions remain on the received wisdom or orthodoxy of development and whether we need a new discourse. In this context, it is appropriate that Dr Ha-Joon Chang chose the topic of 'taking production seriously' for the 20th Bradford Development Lecture on Wednesday 26th February. It is appropriate globally with regard to the nature of development discourse we have and we must be having and it is also appropriate locally given Bradford's heritage of industrial revolution and also its current economic strategy to attract manufacturing employment in the district. The lecture was chaired by the Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor and was attended by over 120 individuals including academic and administrative staff, students, and guests from the Bradford Council and also Bradford Chamber of Commerce. Dr Chang used a number of anecdotes from history to highlight how we tend to ignore or disregard industrial sector be it in the way we think about countries such as Switzerland or Singapore or in thinking about promoting enterprises in developing countries. Using the data on self-employment as a proxy for enterprise Dr Chang suggested that in many developing countries entrepreneurship is already a dynamic fact of economic life.

Dr Changs lecture.

In the Q and A session a number of students asked questions including on the role of new economic thinkers who are bringing heterodox perspectives, on the trade-off between spending on defence versus education, and on the issue of different forms of corruption and its impact on development.

The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offered at special price several of Dr Chang's books and those who got them were thrilled to get the signature of Dr Chang.

The staff and students of the Bradford Centre for International Development were delighted and relieved that the event went well. However, some of them have already begun to worry as to how we can match this as we start planning the 21st Development Lecture in about a year's time. If you have suggestions of a potential speaker do please get in touch with .

For more details, including a full video of the lecture, see the .

Africa regional conference marks the 40th anniversary of Peace Studies at Bradford


The African regional conference convened to mark the 40th anniversary of Peace Studies programme at the University of Bradford was held at the prestigious Serena Hotel in Kampala, Uganda on 14th November 2014. The Conference focused on the theme - Why War? Africa. The conference was organized by the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford in partnership with the Kampala-based Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE). Other local partners that co-hosted the Conference are Mbarara University of Science and Technology and the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme at Makerere University.

The principal objective of the Conference was to bring together academics, political leaders, policy practitioners and alumni to:

  1. Share ideas on how to understand and end the scourge of wars in Africa.
  2. Develop practical solutions to build peace and reconcile bitterly divided communities.

Furthermore, the conference presented an ideal opportunity to take stock of past achievements and to debate how peace and conflict research as a field of academic endeavour might be redefined in the coming decades. The conference was opened with a welcome address and some introductory remarks by Prof. David Francis, Head of the Peace Studies Department, presented on his behalf by Dr David Harris. Prof Francis noted that the conference was taking place against the backdrop of the commemoration of the First World War Centenary and the role Africa played in the war. There have been a number of violent wars and armed conflict which have portrayed Africa as a hopeless continent. In spite of this seemingly cynical portrayal, Africa has emerged in recent years as one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world and these recent achievements have been made possible because of the peaceful end of several wars and armed conflicts that have ravaged the continent. Hence, peace is a prerequisite for security, stability, socio-political and economic development.

The official opening and keynote address was given by General Aronda Nyakairima, Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs - he was represented by Col. Felix Kulayigye, UPDF Chief Political Commissar.

Col. Kulayigye spoke on the conference theme and his presentation provided the historical context of wars in Africa, attributing the phenomena to a nexus of indigenous and exogenous factors namely colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism and the consequences of the Cold War on the continent. The solution to Africa’s challenges lies in dealing with internal state weaknesses to build strong institutions. Col. Kulayigye emphasized that Africa has in recent years demonstrated enormous prospect as the continent has some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Africa’s rising economies increasingly attract high levels of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to strengthen their resource base. He called on African states and leaders to work towards regional economic integration in order to build a more viable market and bolster their competitiveness in international trade.

The conference had five plenary sessions in which eleven papers were presented and discussed. The papers touched on a wide range of subjects including the cost of war in Africa, electoral democracy, the role of regional organizations, the principles of peace-building in marginalized societies, among others. Three key strand of discussion from the plenary sessions were firstly, the relevance of peace studies and the necessity to publicly share a narrative of the discipline and its intellectual and applied-policy achievements. Secondly, a number of papers stressed the need to encourage a culture of electoral democracy in Uganda and Africa by ensuring that there is an independent electoral commission, constitutional imposition of presidential term limits and professionalization of the security forces. Thirdly, it was strongly argued that the role of gender in conflict resolution, particularly the power of women and the youth, needs to be explicitly recognized and fostered.

The conference ended with an African cultural night and cocktail graced by scintillating performances from Ndere Dance Troupe and the famous stand-up comedian Stephen Rwangyezi. General Caleb Akandwanaho, Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs performed the official closing in which he was tasked to present a paper titled: ‘From a Freedom Fighter to a Civilian; a Personal Experience.’ The General retitled his paper to read: “From Military Freedom Fighter to Democratic Freedom Fighter,” stressing that he is still fighting for freedom albeit no longer militarily but to establish food and human security in Uganda. His paper emphasized the importance of grassroots agricultural production and food security to democracy and governance in Africa, arguing that poverty was at the root of armed violence and war on the continent. There was a question and answer session after the General’s stimulating paper presentation. Dr David Harris gave an official vote of thanks to the Ugandan government, local conference organising team and participants.

Evaluation feedbacks received from participants applauded the conference as intellectually invigorating and successful. Most participants remarked that more of such conferences are needed to educate people on the relevance of peace studies and the educational, research and training opportunities available at the University of Bradford and elsewhere in the UK.

Twitter coverage of the event was strong with 411 tweets about the event; the impact (i.e. the potential number of times someone could have seen the conference hashtag [#WhyWar Africa]) was placed at over 2,000,000 and an overall reach of over 750,000. Regarding national news coverage, two leading Ugandan national dailies reported on the conference. New Vision reported on the event under the caption ‘UPDF Blames West for Wars’, published on 17th November 2014 while the Daily Monitor reported same with the headline: ‘Changing Constitutions Causing Conflict in Africa says DP Leader’, published Sunday 16th November 2014. The conference was also broadcast on national news. Ugandan National TV Broadcast on the conference is available on Utube on the following link:

Conference Papers, Presenters and Institutional Affiliations

Conference PapersPresenterInstitutional Affiliation
‘Why War? Africa’ Colonel Felix Kulayigye Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Chief Political Commissar
‘The Cost of War in Africa; An Overview of the Price of Peace’ Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha, Executive Director, ACODE, Uganda
‘The Role of Regional Organizations in Promoting Peace and Security in Africa’ Professor Phillip Kasaija, Department of Political Science and Administration, Makerere University, Uganda
‘The Importance of Security Sector Reforms in Building a Professional Army; Perspectives from Uganda’ Brigadier General Matthew Gureme, Chief of Staff, Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre
‘The Principles of Peacebuilding in Marginalized Societies’ Dr Tony Karbo, Director of the Karamoja Cluster Project, Associate Professor, University for Peace, Africa Programme, Addis Ababa and Director of the Karamoja Cluster Project in Uganda
‘State, Non-State Development Agencies and Post-Conflict Recovery and Development in Northern Uganda: Attaining Sustainable Development or Sustaining Minimum Recovery?’ Dr Eric Awich Ochen, Lecturer, Makerere University, Uganda
‘The Invisible Actors in Conflict De-Escalation: The Role of Youths and Women in the Uganda National Rescue Front II Armed Conflict’ Ms. Agatha Alidri, Lecturer, Department of History, Gulu University, Uganda
‘The Global Theatre of Politicized Faith Groups and State Policies: The Influence on African Politics and Political Leaders’ Mercy Fekadu Mulugeta and Zeynya Shikur, Assistant Researchers, Institute for Peace and Security Studies, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
’Electoral Reforms and Democracy in Africa’ Norbert Mao, President, Democratic Party, Uganda
‘Research for Building Peace in Africa’ Professor Kiran Cunningham, ACODE Research Fellow and Professor of Anthropology, Kalamazoo College, USA
‘The SPLM Government and the Challenges of State-Building and Peace-Building in South Sudan’ Prof Kenneth Omeje, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, JEFCAS, University of Bradford, United Kingdom

Social & International Studies December 2014 Graduation


December 2014 Graduation in the Faculty of Social & International Studies. Students graduated from Economics, International Development, Peace Studies, Psychology, Sociology & Criminology and Social Work & Social Care.

The faculty has a body of more than 2500 students making us the second largest Faculty in the University in terms of Staff and Student numbers and it enjoys a strong track record of success not only in terms of the completion rates of its students, but also in terms the onward trajectories of many of our student into worthwhile careers. Over one quarter of our students come from outside UK, and December's graduation included students from Tanzania's Mzumbe University, where Bradford offers development programmes.

Flickr slideshow

50 Years of Development in Sub-Saharan Africa - The Experience of Tanzania


International Conference held on 29th and 30 May 2014 by Bradford Centre for International Development in association with the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS), Mzumbe University, Tanzania and the Britain Tanzania Society

The conference was organised by Bradford Centre for International Development in association with the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS), Mzumbe University, Tanzania and the Britain Tanzania Society. More than twenty speakers contributed to the conference on a variety of topics related to the conference theme and a number of lively debates took place both in the conference hall and outside. Speakers included some who have contributed to research on Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa over many years as well as more recent researchers. It is hoped that the conference will lead to the publication of an edited book as well as journal articles and that it will provide valuable materials relevant to our students both in Bradford and our Tanzanian partner, Mzumbe University.

Flickr slideshow

Downloadable papers from the conference

Abdel Latif (367kb PDF)

Coulson From the Arusha Declaration to Big Results Now The Political Economy of

Ilembo‌ (134kb PDF)

International Aid and Tanzania's Development v2.pdf‌ (711kb PDF)
International Aid and Tanzanian Development‌ (260kb PPTX)

Lofchie_Reflections_050514‌ (240kb PDF)

Lujia Feng Paper on the Conference in Bradford.pdf‌ (545kb PDF)
Lujia Feng PPT for Bradford Conference 30th May‌ (523kb PDF)

Michael Tribe International Aid and Tanzanian Development.pdf

Peter Lawrence Industrial Development of Tanzania in African Perspective (358kb PDF)

David Potts: Development and Inequality in the African Lions
Potts Development and Inequality in the African Lions 2 (326kb PDF)

Bradford students excel in global sustainability test


University of Bradford School of Management's students have excelled in an international, UN-backed programme that aims to measure the understanding higher education graduates have of sustainable development.

Sustainability Test - Kristine Pledaite

Professor Jon Reast and Kristine Pledaite

The Sustainability Literacy Test has been taken by 25,000 students around the world and analyses how green issues are being taught in universities around the globe.

Bradford’s top performing student, Kristina Pledaite, scored 92 per cent in the test and a further 13 scored more than 70 per cent in the multiple choice exam. The global average for the test is 53.28 per cent.

Sustainability is a key focus of the University of Bradford School of Management, which also offers the world-first Circular Economy MBA, and the test will help to shape future teaching to ensure all students understand the importance of sustainable development.

Senior lecturer in marketing at Bradford, Dr Kyoko Fukukawa, has led the test programme at the school and says they are already planning to rerun it at the end of the school year.

Sustainability Test - Natalia Frovola

Professor Jon Reast and Natalia Frovola

She says: “We embed sustainability and sustainable development into everything we do here at Bradford and we leapt at the chance to take part in this global UN initiative which will provide a benchmark for every higher education establishment to aim for.

“Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the business world and our continuing focus on introducing sustainability concepts to every part of our education programme will ensure our students continue to be among the most attractive to potential employers.

“We’re very proud of the scores our students have achieved. We hope to run the test again at the end of this school year and we know every one of our students will have an opportunity to have an even deeper understanding of the importance of sustainability.”

Sustainability Test - Mark De Bruijn

Mark De Bruijn and Professor Jon Reast

Among the undergraduates, Natalia Frovola and Oladapo Agboola both scored more than 70 per cent. In years two and three, Alexander Popov, Kaur Parvinder and Muqadis Jabbin all scored more than 80 per cent, while post graduate student Mark De Bruijn scored 88 per cent and a further seven post graduate students also scored more than 80 per cent.

Top performer Kristina Pledaite said the sustainability element of the education at Bradford was hugely important and would play a critical role in her future success.”

Bradford secures ranking as top European business school


The Financial Times has once again named University of Bradford School of Management as one of the leading business schools in Europe and has also rated its MBA programme in the top 40.

Financial Times logo The latest Financial Times European Business Schools 2014 rankings lists the 80 best institutions, assessing the quality of the education on offer across a number of key factors.

University of Bradford’s Business School has consistently been named in the annual league and has maintained its position among the European elite, ranked at 58th overall. The MBA programme at the school has also retained its ranking at 34th overall. The research shows the average salary you can expect after securing a Bradford MBA is almost $71,000.

Earlier this year the School was also named in the 2014 Financial Times Masters in Management world rankings and Global Online MBA rankings. Bradford is one of just 11 UK Universities to be recognised in The Masters in Management ranking, with a World Top 10 ranking for Marketing.

The Bradford Distance-learning MBA achieved another world ranking for the business school in February 2014. This included a World No.1 ranking for career development, No.3 for value for money and an overall ranking of 11th in the world.

Dean - Professor Jon Reast

Dean - Professor Jon Reast

The Financial Times’ definitive guide of the best management programmes available in the world today showed Bradford is a world leader in terms of student career prospects, international exposure and value for money. The FT findings follow success earlier this year when both the Guardian University Guide and the Complete University Guide named Bradford as one of the top business schools in the UK.

Jon Reast, Dean at the Triple Crown accredited University of Bradford School of Management, said: “Yet again we have been recognised as one of the top business schools and we are hugely proud to maintain our reputation for delivering a world-class education.

“Innovation, enterprise and sustainability lies at the heart of everything we do and I’m confident our expertise, knowledge and drive to succeed will ensure we continue to be a feature of the FT rankings for many years to come.”

Government REF results confirm that Bradford research has huge international impact


The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), a UK Government audit of the quality of UK university research, sees University of Bradford School of Management retain our position in the top tier of UK business schools.

Bradford University School of Management The REF assesses higher education institutions based on the strength of their research. The School of Management is ranked above other high quality business schools such as Glasgow, Leicester, Hull and Brunel and we have similar research scores to top quality schools like Kent, Birmingham and Exeter. An impressive 65% of our research was judged to be 3 or 4 star – that is internationally recognised or world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

We are especially pleased that in assessing the impact of our research the REF panel of experts judged that almost 90% of Bradford’s submission demonstrated very considerable impact on business practice and policy and of that 47% was judged to be “outstanding”. As a University that believes in “Making Knowledge Work”, we are pleased that external experts have confirmed that our research really does make a difference and has an impact on the world outside academia. The impact of our research is ranked above larger, high quality schools such as Bath, Imperial, Lancaster, Manchester, Warwick and London Business School and it puts us in the top third of business schools.

The Dean, Professor Jon Reast said "As one of the UK’s oldest research-led business schools, we are extremely pleased that the REF panel have confirmed our belief that our applied, highly relevant research makes a difference to the world. Bradford has some world leading researchers and our excellent performance has contributed to the University’s rise up the rankings into the top 50 UK Universities overall."

Bradford Police Museum collaboration brings the old courtroom to life


Bradford students are bringing the old courtroom to life following a ground-breaking agreement between the School of Law and the Bradford Police Museum.

Old Courtroom 1 This unique collaboration allows Law students’ learning to be linked with the Museum, broadening their experience and developing their confidence. The Museum will host joint events and activities, and will encourage student volunteers to get involved.

Events already planned for students in 2015 include:

  • Mock crown court trial: students will act as advocates and volunteers as witnesses
  • Mooting competitions: students argue hypothetical cases to learn how to apply the law
  • Court room etiquette: students demonstrate legal etiquette during public tours.

The public will also be invited to attend events, such as practical demonstrations with volunteers and students explaining how a court works. This will provide the local community with a valuable insight into how crime, justice and punishment operate in our current legal system.

Old Courtroom 3 The Police Museum and the School of Law will also organise career seminars to showcase the career paths and possibilities opened up by a Law degree, and student dissertations have the chance to inform the Museum’s publications and influence strategies.

‌Dr Jessica Guth, Head of Bradford University School of Law, said: “This is a very exciting joint venture we’ve initiated with Bradford Police Museum. Giving students the opportunity to practice their learning and skills in such an evocative way will bring a new dimension to their experience. They can develop their confidence as advocates and get to grips with the law in a realistic setting.”

Martin Baines, Chair of Under the Clock Bradford (a charity that runs the Bradford Police Museum) added: “This new and exciting partnership is definitely a win-win for us. This project will help bring the Museum to life and enhance the visitor experience. The joint working between the Museum and the School of Law will also provide real benefits for Bradford’s students. The Museum has been open to the public since October 2014 and we’ve already attracted over 1,000 visitors in our preview weeks alone. It will be open for visits again in February after a short winter break.”

Old Courtroom 2 Second year Law student Sannah Khatoon, who had the opportunity to look around the Museum in December, said: “The Police Museum trip was an excellent opportunity which I just had to take advantage of. The tour guides were well-informed and friendly, and I really enjoyed looking around the cells.”

Angelika Weber, a final year Law student, stated: “The visit was an interesting insight into policing services in Bradford. It’s a very useful experience for Law students as we will work closely with the police, and it’s essential to understand their dynamics and how they work to meet the needs of the community.”

Damini Sharma, a second year Law student, added: “We were able to learn a lot about how the police have developed their roles, uniforms and weapons up until current time; learning about the history of police procedures and even getting to see original records of criminals.”

Researchers receive grant to improve dementia care in care homes


Researchers from the Bradford Dementia Group, University of Bradford, have received £2.4 million of funding from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme to conduct a four year national study looking at how the quality of care for people with dementia in care homes can be improved.

Led by Dr Claire Surr, the research team comprises of Professor Murna Downs and Mr Paul Edwards from the University of Bradford as well as leading academics from Kings College London, University of Leeds, Newcastle University and the University of Technology Sydney. The research also includes experts from Oxfordshire Health NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care Trust, Bupa and the Alzheimer’s Society.

The study, known as DCM-EPIC, will involve 750 people with dementia and care staff in 50 care homes across the North of England, London and Oxfordshire. The aim is to investigate whether Dementia Care Mapping™ (DCM), a technique developed at the University of Bradford, is effective in helping care home staff to deliver better quality care to people with dementia.

In the news:

Born in Bradford Research


New research, published today in The Lancet, highlights important information for health professionals and parents about the factors which may increase the likelihood of a baby being born with a birth defect.

The findings, from researchers at the Universities of Bradford and Leeds, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), confirm that the two main factors associated with an increased risk of babies being born with a birth defect are being born to an older mother or to parents who are blood relations.

Find out more, view the full research publication (external link)

NIHR / HEE Clinical Academic Training Programme for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Health Education England (HEE) are pleased to announce the launch of a further round of the NIHR / HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship scheme. This scheme, managed by the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre, is designed to support nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to develop careers which combine research and continued clinical practice in support of the NHS.

This fellowship scheme is aimed at those graduate nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and, in 2014, pharmacists who work in England and would like to obtain a PhD by research whilst still developing their clinical skills. Applicants must have at least 1 year’s experience of practice since graduating and have sufficient research experience or training to undertake a PhD.

A Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship will fund the salary costs of the award holder, their PhD tuition fees, and the costs of an appropriate research project and training and development programme.

Applicants must hold current registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health and Care Professionals Council or the General Pharmaceutical Council at the point of award.

Further information and instructions for applicants are available on the website of the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre (NIHR TCC) at

Applications must be received by the NIHR TCC by 1.00 pm on 30th April 2014

3.2 Million Euros Awarded for GENOVATE Research


Professor Uduak Archibong has been awarded a research grant of 3.2 million Euros to lead the GENOVATE project.

Lead by the University of Bradford and funded by the European Union EC FP7 framework programme, GENOVATE is an action-research project based on the implementation of Gender Equality Action Plans in six European universities.

It brings together a consortium with diverse experience with gender equality mainstreaming approaches, with varying institutional and disciplinary backgrounds and located in different national contexts.

GENOVATE aims to ensure equal opportunities for women and men by encouraging a more gendercompetent management in research, innovation and scientific decision-making bodies, with a particular focus on universities.

Hospice Apprenticeship Project


Sue Ryder's Manorlands received a grant from the Department of Health's 'Third Sector Investment Programme' in 2009 to run a pilot project. The main aim of the Hospice Apprenticeship Project was to increase the number of referrals to end of life care and palliative care services by the local Black Minority Ethnic (BME) community, by improving access and community engagement.

Traditionally people from minority groups who need end of life care and palliative care to control their symptoms and pain do not often access the services available in their area such as hospice care. In addition, unemployment levels in some parts of West Yorkshire are higher than national averages, and more so in youth unemployment. Sue Ryder identified this an area of improvement for local services but also for the sharing of good practice amongst other local providers and within our other care centres.

Through the Project funding, Sue Ryder:

  • recruited a dedicated project coordinator;
  • focused on the recruitment of apprentices, along with the mixture of learning and hands-on experience;
  • chose different work settings for the apprentices to work in;
  • identified unemployed individuals as their target audience, which helped actively contribute to community development and regeneration.

Dr Vanessa Taylor completed the final evaluation report for the Hospice Apprenticeship Project.

A summary version of the report and a two page summary looking at the key impacts and learning as well as opportunities for other providers/ organisations looking to implement a similar scheme is available to download at:

Born In Bradford group taking part in Europe-wide programme to tackle obesity and bad diet


The Born In Bradford group has been chosen to deliver a European Commission funded scheme to tackle obesity and bad diet.

It will "use positive messages to promote healthy lifestyles" and target three main groups - children and young people, pregnant women and new mothers and people over 60 years old. Once complete, the findings could be used by the Commission to develop healthy eating and lifestyle programmes across the continent.

Born in Bradford is one of the biggest and most important medical research studies undertaken in the UK.

The project started in 2007 and is looking to answer questions about our health by tracking the lives of 13,500 babies and their families and will provide information for studies across the UK and around the world.

The aim of Born in Bradford is to find out more about the causes of childhood illness by studying children from all cultures and backgrounds as their lives unfold.

Prof Neil Small is one of the original founders of Born in Bradford and is the Academic Lead for the birth cohort study. Since its inception it has grown considerably and now employs further academic members of staff at the University of Bradford who are working on the project.

Find out more about the Born in Bradford project

Prof Murna Downs one of the keynote speakers at The 6th International Dementia Care Conference


Prof Downs, Head of Bradford Dementia Group, will be speaking about person-centred care: the research evidence.

The conference takes place Monday 28th & Tuesday 29th April, 2014 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dublin.

This year's theme is 'Supporting staff as facilitators of change: Towards flourishing dementia care cultures.'

To book your place at the conference online, please click here.

The RCN International Research Conference 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, 10-11 March 2015


The RCN International Research Conference 2015 took place at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham on 10-11 March 2015 and was attended by one of our PhD students, Jane Wray. Here is her post on the University of Hull's blog about the event:

It has been an active and packed conference programme at the RCN research conference this year which started with a fascinating keynote on ‘Invisible Care in Soulless factories: the challenges of humanising healthcare for patients and nurses’ by Professor Jill Maben (Kings College London). I also got the opportunity to present the first paper from my PhD entitled “Why undertake pilot work in a qualitative PhD study? Lessons learnt to promote success’ on day two of the conference. I got some really helpful comments from those in attendance and positive encouragement to get my pilot study published. I finished up on day two by seeing Professor Roger Watson present ‘To measure is to know’ as part of a symposium on ‘Big Data: opportunities and challenges for nursing’.

Professor Joanna Latimers’ keynote first thing Wednesday morning was a fascinating insight into the challenges for nurses working within a complex organisational system such as the NHS and how legitimate nursing skills have been devalued by the system and the profession.

You can following all the conference tweets on #research2015 and the 2016 conference will take place in Edinburgh on 6-8 April so make a note of the date.

The original posting can be found here

The We Love Eating project launched


Families in Bradford are being encouraged to get healthy as part of a European pilot project

The We Love Eating project involves seven cities across the continent, and is focused on creating initiatives to improve people's health, mainly encouraging better eating habits and more exercise.

The Bradford project is being co-ordinated by Born In Bradford, and involves organisations such as Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Jamie's Ministry of Food and Bradford Food Network.

The project works with three main groups: children, pregnant women and older people. A special focus is also placed on reaching representatives of these three target groups from low socio-economic backgrounds.

We Love Eating celebrates healthy food as a delightfully essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It provides tips and activities to be shared with citizens, empowering them to make their lives and communities healthier.

Key health role for University Professor


The University of Bradford's Professor Mohammed A. Mohammed has recently been announced as the new Deputy Director to the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR). Mohammed, a Professor of Healthcare Quality and Effectiveness at the University, is due to start in his new role on 1 August 2014.

The BIHR is a unique research partnership between the primary and secondary care NHS Trusts in Bradford and Airedale and the Universities of Bradford, Leeds and York. Their work aims to strengthen knowledge and areas of good practice through applied research in various healthcare fields.

Professor John Wright, Director of BIHR, said: “Professor Mohammed’s appointment is a very important step in strengthening the bonds between the University of Bradford and the Bradford Institute for Health Research. We live in exciting times for medical innovation and research and this partnership will ensure that Bradford continues to develop as a leading centre for applied health research and that patients in Bradford are able to receive the latest treatments at the earliest opportunity.”

The calibre of Professor Mohammed and his colleagues’ vital research highlights the importance of the £10 million investment in healthcare at the University of Bradford building on its reputation for world-class healthcare research.

Commenting on his new role, Professor Mohammed said: “I am delighted with my appointment as Deputy Director to the BIHR. The work the Institute undertakes is crucial to the continued advances in healthcare at both a local and national level and is of international significance.”

Braking systems research delivers improved design, safety and performance


Engineers at the University's Automotive Research Centre have been applying their expertise to the technical, environmental and economic challenges faced by major vehicle and brake manufacturers for over 20 years.

Working directly with Bentley, Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Bosch and Toyota amongst others, Bradford has developed novel techniques and solutions that have led to increased safety, optimised performance, increased customer satisfaction as well as reduced manufacturing costs.

The team’s deep understanding of the underpinning science of dynamics, thermo-mechanics, contact and pressure distributions of components and the behaviour of materials under different forces has led to fundamental changes in the design of braking systems, components and materials used. In addition, the team’s ability to develop new techniques to accurately measure and predict performance at the design stage has been effective in avoiding later operational problems.

Bradford’s expertise has been used to investigate and fix specific problems such as brake judder and squeal noise – finally allowing one new vehicle to be released for production and substantially reducing warranty costs with another manufacturer.

Bradford researchers also share their knowledge with industry, through an annual “Braking of Road Vehicles” short course, attended by hundreds of engineers from all over the world, and regarded internationally as the ‘industry standard’ course in the road vehicle and braking industries. In addition, Bradford’s research is incorporated into Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house Master’s-level professional training programme.

For more about this type of research go to the .

Related academics:

Digitised Diseases website goes live on 9th December


The Digitised Diseases Project website went live at 1700 GMT on Monday 9th December.

This represents the culmination of 2 years hard work from a large project team, including members of the Centre for Visual Computing, in which 1600 separate individual specimens were digitised in 3D.

The project has already receieved some press attention; including a write-up in The Guardian.

Digitised Diseases website.

Prof Ugail talks about Lie Detection to the BBC


Prof Hassan Ugail of the CVC was interviewed by the BBC news programme "Look North" on the 21st November. Prof Ugail was featured discussing his recent work on Lie detection, as part of a wider piece on the use of lie-detectors in the police force.

A link to the broadcast (valid for a short time) fast forward to 3mins 25s

New research publication on Equine Motion Capture


Karl Abson has published some of his research work in "The Visual Computer" journal. The work looks at the accurate capture of Equine motion using biomechanically correct motion models.

You can read more at the on-line version of the article here:

European Space Agency (ESA) collaboration on Space Weather


Prof. Qahwaji's space weather research group have started an important collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA will work with the University of Bradford to develop a web-based solar flare prediction engine, based on the Automated Solar Activity Predictor (ASAP) developed by Prof. Qahwaji's group.

The aim of the project is to improve the accuracy of solar flare prediction, and to make it more accessible to end-users. Other partners working on the project include Universidad de Malaga, and Universitat Politechnica de Catalunya.

More information on the project can be found on ESA's website.

Congratulations to Abdulhakim Elbita


The staff and students of the CVC would like to congratulate Abdulhakim Elbita, who successfully defended his PhD thesis on 20th March 2014.

The thesis was supervised by Prof. Rami Qahwaji, Dr. Stan Ipson and Mr. Faruque Ghanchi who is a consultant opthalmologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals. The work is entitled "Efficient Processing of Corneal Confocal Microscopy Images" and looks at the image processing pipeline from corneal confocal microscopy scans. It includes improvments in the state-of-the-art for image enhancement, alignment, ordering, classification and segmentation.

The examiners of the thesis were Dr. Waleed Al-Nuaimy, from the School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics at the University of Liverpool, and Prof. Raed A Abd-Alhameed, from EECS in the University of Bradford, with independent chair Dr. Mumtaz Kamala, also from EECS in the University of Bradford.

We wish Abdulhakim all the best for the future.

Karl Abson presenting research at FMX 2014


Karl Abson will be speaking at the FMX conference, taking place in Stuttgart, Germany, 22-25 April 2014. The talk will be presented on Thursday April 24th, and will describe the animal motion capture work done by Karl Abson at the University of Bradford. The presentation will be carried out in conjunction with Vicon, and DA Studios.

Part of the motivation for Karl's work is the observation that in many cases, it is not possible to use real animals in motion pictures: it's either too dangerous or too time consuming to train the animals to perform the desired actions. As such their essence must be captured and re-created digitally. Traditionally this has been done by gathering reference material, such as photographs and video, and animating the animals manually. However, even with high quality reference material, it is possible for even seasoned animators to produce results which are inaccurate or unrealistic.

Overcoming the uncanny valley requires knowledge of both the subject and the techniques used to recreate it digitally. Karl's work is an attempt to build a highly accurate and animal friendly approach which is also cost effective. Motion capture is an ideal solution in this case, especially since the development of outdoor capable cameras. Karl's approach focusses on initially studying horse anatomy and movement. This is done by painting real horses with an anatomical skeleton (a technique regularly used by veterinary surgeons), so that they are then able to build an anatomically correct approximation of the skeleton, decide on marker placement and observe and address possible problems such as skin sliding.

During animal motion capture it is essential for the animal to behave naturally, that they are comfortable with the presence of the equipment. The horse used in this study, Marie, was encouraged to investigate the equipment before shooting, which proved to be effective.

Using Vicon cameras, in conjunction with Blade 2, meant that system setup and capture were straightforward. It was possible to acquire solved data with minimal manual intervention even in real time conditions. The University holds an up-to-date 16 camera motion capture studio and regularly works with Vicon and motion capture studios around the world. Karl and is currently working with Vicon to make the model and data available to the community.

Bradford Medical Imaging Research Group website launched


Researchers at the CVC have launched a new website showcasing their work in different areas of medical imaging.

Researchers at the CVC have launched a new website showcasing their work in different areas of medical imaging. The Medical Imaging Research Group, led by Prof Rami Qahwaji, are active in many different areas particularly Confocal Corneal Imaging Analysis, PET Tumour Analysis, and "Reading Your Mind: Intelligent Analysis of EEG Signals". The work is funded by a diverse range of bodies including the NHS.

Read more about the work »

Dr. Ian Palmer awarded prestigious Teaching Fellowship


Congratulations to Head of Media, Design & Technology, and member of the Centre for Visual Computing, Dr Ian Palmer who has been chosen from over 180 nominations across the UK to be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy.

Congratulations to Head of Media, Design & Technology, and member of the Centre for Visual Computing, Dr Ian Palmer who has been chosen from over 180 nominations across the UK to be awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy.

National Teaching Fellowships are the most prestigious award for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning and each will receive an award of £10,000 which will be used to support their professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.

More details on the award and Ian's profile can be found here:

Workshop on Visual Image Interpretation in Humans and Machines


Prof. Marina Bloj to Speak at EPSRC Network Event

Prof. Marina Bloj from the Centre for Visual Computing will be a keynote speaker at the inaugral meeting of the Visual Image Interpretation in Humans and Machines Network, run by the EPSRC. The meeting will take place from September 24th - 25th, 2014, at the Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The goal of the event is to foster collaboration between researchers in biological vision (human and non-human animals), computer vision, and machine vision, and will include keynotes from other leading researchers in these areas.

Reducing waste and keeping the noise down


A sound-proofing material made almost entirely from recycled industrial waste has been developed by researchers at the University of Bradford.

Designed to dampen the effects of vibration as well as absorb sound, the material was demonstrated to be up to 50 per cent more effective than other materials on the market - despite being around three times as thin.

The University of Bradford set up a spin out company, called Acoutech, to commercialise the technology used to produce the material.

This technology was licensed to Armacell, a global company specialising in insulation products, which began to produce sound insulation products under the brand name ArmaSound. These have been used throughout the world in sound-proofed linings for vehicles and industrial-scale machinery. The company is now able to use up to 95 per cent of its own waste materials to produce ArmaSound products.

A real breakthrough for the technology came when it was approved for use in large-scale pipework projects. This led to the development of a compact insulation system that is now used widely to reduce the noise from large pipes at facilities such as petrochemical plants and offshore oil platforms.

In 2012 Armacell were awarded a contract to supply ArmaSound to the Gorgon Gas Project, a $45 billion natural gas facility to be constructed off the coast of Western Australia. This is the largest facility of its kind ever constructed and will use ArmaSound insulation in around 200km of pipe-work.

The technology developed at the University of Bradford has had a huge impact on large industries worldwide which need to control noise pollution. Not only has it been effective in reducing noise pollution, it has also created an environmental benefit, through using recycled materials that would otherwise go straight into landfill.

Through Armacell, the technology has created a significant economic benefit as well, creating over 20 jobs and enabling the company to achieve significant growth each year.

For more information about this type of research, visit .

Related academics:

Mapping traffic noise


Research at the University of Bradford using novel boundary element methods has resulted in more accurate and efficient predictions of the noise created by roads and railways and of how sound spreads from the transport corridor, enabling more effective design and positioning of noise barriers and earth banks. Bradford researchers refined two areas of modelling applied to noise prediction, which helped to ensure that two new models 'NORD2000 and HARMONOISE' were able to provide more accurate results.

NORD 2000 was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministries and is used by Scandinavian national and local governments, to predict noise from roads and railways. It is mandatory to use Nord2000 in Denmark for strategic noise mapping. The model is also used by the Federal Department of Health in Canada.

Both models were incorporated into six new software packages used around the world to map noise and design noise reduction strategies and barriers, for road, rail, wind turbines and industry. The software packages – Predictor-LIMA, CadnaA, ExSound2000, SPL2000, SoundPlan and WindPRO – are used in over 40 countries, including most European countries, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chile, and Taiwan.

For more information about this type of research, visit .

Related academics:

Two years funded project with Incommunities


The University of Bradford is collaborating with Incommunities ltd to start a two year funded project.

Incommunities ltd, the largest Social Landlord in Bradford with 22,500 properties provides affordable, high quality homes in and around the Bradford area. The collaborative project, which has been awarded a grant of over £120,000, hopes to support and sustain Incommunities’ positive, community led work.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project titled: “Bespoke decision supply chain engagement, customer satisfaction and deliver sectorial customer change” will provide tools and techniques at operational, middle management and senior management level that will allow Incommunities, a social landlord, to make optimal long term decisions in meeting sustainable affordable housing needs.

With the climate of the economic world ever-changing in our modern society, it is important to have a decision support system that will allow Incommunities cost savings and reduce waste, water use, resources and emissions, but also deliver customer satisfaction, quality of life and organisational cultural change long term.

From the University of Bradford; Dr Crina Oltean-Dumbrava is the Principal Academic leading the project with Dr Anastasia Konstadopoulou.

Braking systems research delivers improved design, safety and performance


Engineers at the University's Automotive Research Centre have been applying their expertise to the technical, environmental and economic challenges faced by major vehicle and brake manufacturers for over 20 years.

Working directly with Bentley, Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Bosch and Toyota amongst others, Bradford has developed novel techniques and solutions that have led to increased safety, optimised performance, increased customer satisfaction as well as reduced manufacturing costs.

The team’s deep understanding of the underpinning science of dynamics, thermo-mechanics, contact and pressure distributions of components and the behaviour of materials under different forces has led to fundamental changes in the design of braking systems, components and materials used. In addition, the team’s ability to develop new techniques to accurately measure and predict performance at the design stage has been effective in avoiding later operational problems.

Bradford’s expertise has been used to investigate and fix specific problems such as brake judder and squeal noise – finally allowing one new vehicle to be released for production and substantially reducing warranty costs with another manufacturer.

Bradford researchers also share their knowledge with industry, through an annual “Braking of Road Vehicles” short course, attended by hundreds of engineers from all over the world, and regarded internationally as the ‘industry standard’ course in the road vehicle and braking industries. In addition, Bradford’s research is incorporated into Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house Master’s-level professional training programme.

For more about this type of research go to the .

Related academics:

Die drawing of polymers more durable than wood


Research into die drawing of polymers at Bradford has resulted in a new building material that is stronger and more durable than wood.

The material has also resulted in new bioresorbable shape-memory polymers for use in medical implants that reduce patient trauma and costs. The wood replacement material is commercialised by the United Forest Products/Dow USA 2010 spin out company Eovations LLC for use in a range of construction applications; the bioresorbable shape-memory polymers have recently been patented (4 patents filed) by Smith & Nephew for use in soft tissue fixations. These impacts form part of a range of exploitations of our oriented polymer technology.

New Centre to Revolutionise Technology


The University of Bradford is a partner with four other leading universities as part of a £5.7 million, government-backed initiative to transform the way replacement joints and other medical implants are made.

The Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices will bring together academics and industrialists in a bid to maintain the UK's leading role in the medical technologies industry and improve the quality of lives of patients.

It is one of four new centres for innovative manufacturing announced by Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts that will share a pot of £21 million grant funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Root Canal Treatment


Thousands of people are benefiting from the latest technology in root canal fillings, thanks to a nanotechnology and engineering collaboration between the University of Bradford and dental products company, DRFP.

DRFP wanted to find a modern replacement for the traditional natural rubber fillers, shaped like a tooth pick, which are pressed into place to fill root canal cavities. As the rubber doesn’t always fill the area completely, DRFP came up with the concept of the ‘smartseal’ system: using a bespoke polymer core, to which a coating could be applied that would expand on contact with water until all of the cavity was filled.

Read the full case study.

Prof. Paul Rogers: Moving from Blair to Brown - June 2007


As Tony Blair's long goodbye draws to an end, Gordon Brown will inherit the leadership of a country that has made significant military commitments overseas. Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, assess the impact of Blair, and looks to a future of Brown.

When Tony Blair came to power ten years ago, most of the emphasis of his new administration was on domestic issues. 'Education, education, education' was the mantra, but there was also an emphasis on the health service, devolution, and the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. Beyond a commitment to the European Union and a determination to stay close to the United States, foreign and security policy did not figure greatly in his original plans.

There were two exceptions. One was an evident commitment to international development, leading to an immediate increase in the aid budget, and the other was a concern with the conflict in the Balkans, leading ultimately to a major military commitment in Kosovo. This was followed by another military involvement, this time in Sierra Leone in 2000, the two examples doing much to convince Mr Blair that Britain should be committed to 'liberal interventionism'. This involved the willingness to deploy troops to curb conflicts, especially in what were termed failed and failing states, but went it further, including an interest in peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

These policies were not greatly controversial, even if some analysts saw individual ventures as having more to do with Britain's foreign policy interests than with humanitarian motives, but the real change came with the response to the attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001. This was very soon after Labour had been returned to power with another massive majority, and many of its supporters looked to a more radical focus on domestic issues, especially a programme for narrowing the wealth-poverty divide that had remained an intractable feature of the British economy for generations.

Instead, most of Mr Blair's remaining six years as Prime Minister have been dominated by his unqualified support for President Bush and his vigorous pursuit of the global war on terror. In spite of the intense controversy over the development of this war, it is worth remembering that there was not a great deal of opposition to the termination of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11.

The real change came in early 2002, when George Bush extended the war on terror. His State of the Union address in January 2002 depicted an 'axis of evil' involving Iraq, Iran and North Korea as being a key focus for that war, and his graduation address at the West Point military academy at the start of June spoke of the right of the United States to pre-empt threats to its security.

By mid 2002, Iraq was clearly in US sights and the Bush administration was greatly aided by the fulsome support of his closest ally, Tony Blair. By early 2003, war with Iraq seemed inevitable in spite of a massive anti-war movement that included one of the largest political demonstrations ever mounted in Britain. Even so, the war went ahead, with consequences that may determine the Blair legacy for decades to come.

In Iraq, four years on, over 100,000 civilians have been killed and nearly four million people are now refugees, either displaced in Iraq or forced out to neighbouring countries. US forces have lost over 3,300 people killed and 24,000 injured and April was the worst month for British troops in Iraq since the war began over four years ago. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, a Taliban revival is under way, with daily violence; furthermore, some districts of western Pakistan are controlled by Taliban and al-Qaida militias.

Far from being defeated, the al-Qaida movement itself has actually been more active in the years since 9/11 than in an equivalent period before. Attacks in Indonesia, Pakistan, Morocco, Kenya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Spain and Britain have been accompanied by a pronounced increase in anti-Americanism, especially across the Middle East. By inserting 150,000 soldiers into the heart of the region, the United States has done a remarkable service to the al-Qaida movement ¿ Osama bin Laden in his cave (or possibly his Karachi apartment) must be hugely satisfied.

In spite of all of these problems, and in spite of the electoral damage done to the Labour Party, Mr Blair remains absolutely convinced of the rightness of his support for George Bush. He sees it almost in a Manichean good-versus-evil picture and is determined to leave a legacy of a Britain punching above its weight in world affairs. His defence legacy speech on HMS Albion at Devonport last January made clear his commitment to 'hard power', and his administration has taken two major decisions to ensure Britain remains a significant military power.

In addition to the well-known plan to replace the Trident nuclear system, Britain is to build two massive aircraft carriers, the 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth-class warships, deployed with the hugely expensive US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. These will be by far the largest warships ever to see service in the Royal Navy and will enable Britain to engage in expeditionary warfare, presumably alongside the United States, wherever thought necessary but most likely in the oil-rich Persian Gulf.

At the end of June, Gordon Brown will thus inherit a Britain committed to deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to a defence policy that has major interventionist capabilities. Both elements, though, come at a price. In Iraq and Afghanistan, that price includes people's lives as wall as financial costs, and in the new defence projects it means budgetary pressures for at least the next decade.

What will be significant is whether Mr Brown makes any major changes, and there are two things to watch for in the remainder of 2007. One is a speeding up of a withdrawal from Iraq. In defence circles, it is privately accepted that the withdrawal is in reality a retreat ¿ whatever 'spin' is put on it, Basra is controlled by militias, not the central government in Baghdad.

Mr Brown may well complete the withdrawal in a very few months, perhaps leaving a couple of thousand troops to help the United States guard supply routes towards Baghdad and thus enable Mr Bush to claim that there is still a coalition remaining in Iraq, however minimal.

The real indicator, though, is whether Mr Brown allows the plan for the new aircraft carriers to go forward. The final decision has not yet been taken and he could well decide against it on grounds of cost if nothing else.

More generally, though, what will be interesting is whether Mr Brown sees global security as an issue that goes well beyond traditional ideas of defence. There are some indications that he and his team believe that the major issues for the next couple of decades will be the consequences of climate change for a global system that remains deeply troubled by social and economic divisions. If that turns out to be the case, then 'Brownism' could be significantly different from the Blair era, perhaps more so than many people might expect.

Dr Qun Shao: can Chinese Herbal Medicine break into accepted Western healthcare? - September 2007


Traditional Chinese Medicines have existed for about 2,000 years and have greatly contributed to medicine development and community health care in China and across the world.

They are an ancient and holistic system of health and healing based on the notion of harmony and balance and employing the ideas of moderation and prevention.

Dr Qun Shao, Computational Officer at the University's Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation (IPI), is helping to interpret their mysterious healing powers as part of a pan-UK research effort to develop these medicines and bring them more into mainstream healthcare. Dr Shao, who was born and brought up in China, has used Traditional Chinese Medicines all his life.

If you visit the British Museum you will find a section describing a case about Chinese doctors treating HIV patients with therapies based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Africa since the 1980s.

In a UK NHS environment at the South Western Hospital in Brixton, the use of TCM has been successful for treatment of pain, drug dependence and strokes. These are some examples of how the influence of TCM is extending outside of China to other countries across the globe.

Nowadays in almost any cities or towns in the UK there are TCM clinics and herbal shops selling traditional Chinese medicine as well as providing consultancy service, acupuncture (Zhenjiu) and related medical massage (Tuina). Although orthodox Western medical doctors keep warning people that TCM are not yet well understood and unexpected side-effect exist, many patients persistently keep visiting TCM shops for help.

The potential demand for TCM has led to an increasing number of TCM clinics opening in high street markets in the past 10 years in the UK, Europe and the USA. The trend reflects a surge of consumer interest in alternative therapies to complement or replace Western drug treatment, especially when it comes to caring for chronic problems against which Western medicine may seem to be ineffective. In particular, several scientific studies backing the effectiveness of TCM in treating certain disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease have helped fuel the boom in its popularity.

What is TCM?

TCM is a complete system of health-care with its own unique theories of anatomy, health, and treatment. It emphasizes diet and prevention and using acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and exercise; and focuses on stimulating the body's natural curative powers. The basic theory of Chinese medicine attempts to explain the nature of life cycle and disease changes. It includes five theories: Yin and Yang, the five elements, how to direct one's strength, zangfu (internal body organs), and Channels. It also researches dialectics, and explains why diseases occur, how to diagnose and prevent diseases, and how to keep the body healthy.

TCM is largely based on the philosophical concept that the human body is a small universe with a set of complete and sophisticated interconnected systems, and that those systems usually work in balance to maintain the healthy function of the human body. The balance of yin and yang is considered with respect to qi ("breath", "life force", or "spiritual energy"), blood, jing ("kidney essence" or "semen"), other bodily fluids, the Five elements, emotions, and the soul or spirit (shen).

TCM seeks to harmonize and rebalance the entire human system rather than to treat just symptoms. Since proper internal balance is considered to be the key to human health, TCM strives to cure disease by restoring that balance and therefore allowing the body to repair itself. Its continuing medical goal is to detect and correct abnormalities before they cause permanent physical damage.

In Western medicine, patients with similar complaints or diseases will usually receive virtually the same treatment. In TCM however, the physician treats the patient and not the condition, believing that identical diseases can have entirely different causes.

Using TCM in the West

In terms of the principles upon which it is based and the methods used, TCM, therefore, is considered by many in the West to be a radically different system of healthcare. However, unlike Western medicine at its best, TCM is not able to render the kind of emergency crisis intervention that saves lives during physical traumas. Nonetheless, it works best at achieving its goal of practicing preventive medicine.

A major part of TCM is the herbal medicine which mainly consists of natural medicines and processed ones, namely medicines made from herbal, animal, mineral, and some chemical and biological substances. Some herbs have known active ingredients which are also used in western pharmaceuticals. For example, ma huang, or ephedra, contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

However, due to the risk of adverse impact on the cardiovascular system and some deaths linked to consumption of extracts in high doses, the use of ephedra is restricted in the United States. Another example, Chinese wormwood (qinghao) was originally the source for the discovery of artemisinin, which is now used worldwide to treat multi-drug resistant strains of falciparum malaria.

With increasing demand of TCM type of therapies, the medical profession in the west have expressed both interests and concerns on the use and practice of TCM. Quality, efficacy, and safety of TCM have been commonly quoted among the main concerns.

To address these issues, the Chinese government has had a 'National Champion' in place since the 1980s on TCM modernisation, strongly endorsing in the implementation of good agricultural, sourcing, laboratory and manufacturing practices, as well as effective clinical trial practices.

Whilst these practices have improved the quality and safety of TCM products and despite the strenuous efforts of China, scepticism in the West still remains and TCM products are finding it difficult to enter the mainstream healthcare system. As a result, most Chinese herbal medicines have been marketed as functional food in the West, which undervalues its clinical effect and damages its image.

Active ingredients

Based on the Western medicinal principle, extracting active ingredients from TCM herbs have inevitably been the major part of the research related to TCM. However, single compounds isolated from organic solvents are either too toxic or have decreased or no activities. Most TCMs are used as aqueous decoctions (i.e. herbal tea) or as aqueous-ethanolic extracts prepared from the mixture of up to 20 herbs.

A traditional Chinese herbal formula (Fufang) typically contains four classes of ingredients, arranged in a hierarchical order:

  1. a chief, the principal ingredient chosen for the patient's specific illness
  2. a deputy, to reinforce the chief's action or treat a coexisting condition
  3. an assistant, to counteract side effects of the first two ingredients
  4. an envoy, to harmonize all the other ingredients and convey them to the parts of the body that they are to treat.

Currently, most activities have focused on trying to fit TCM into a Western medicine system, which is unlikely to realise the true value of TCM as it is based on a very different philosophy.

Research value

TCM theories have been established and developed on the ground of ancient philosophical concept when the modern scientific methodology on pharmaceutical and clinical evaluation was not available. Thus, the explanation of clinical outcome of TCM therapies based on these concepts is difficult to be accepted by modern biopharmaceutical science. The current lack of mechanistic understanding for these therapies has been the major constraint for the development and moderation of TCM.

As a result, novel TCM compounds and effective therapies are not discovered and transferred into a modern pharmaceutical dosage forms. The future solution in TCM modernisation lies on the integration of TCM philosophy into the design of modernised TCM products.

This will require Chinese TCM and Western researchers of multi-disciplinarity working together with the aim to develop a theoretical foundation for explaining the clinical outcome of TCM therapies using modern biopharmaceutical theory, pharmacokinetic evaluation, advanced analytical science and innovative computational techniques.

An example is the research consortium formed by a number of leading institutes in the UK (including Cambridge University, London School of Pharmacy and Guy's and St Thomas's Medical Toxicology Unit) and China to support the establishment of a TCM research centre funded by both Chinese public and private sources. Each member institute contributes with their research strengths in complementary areas. As one of the members, the Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation (IPI) provides the advanced computational capability to interpret high dimensional experimental data with the aim of explaining the complex interactive relationships among the TCM therapies, formulations, demographic characteristic to pharmacokinetic data and clinical efficacy.

The IPI is a leading centre for pharmaceutical applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Knowledge Engineering (KE) technologies, including Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs), neurofuzzy logic, genetic algorithms, genetic programming, visualisation and expert systems.

AI technologies, such as ANNs, are valuable in detecting complex, often hidden, relationships between a set of inputs and outputs, and in estimating the magnitude of the relationships without knowledge of mathematical descriptions of the dependency between inputs and outputs.

AI and KE tools have been used widely at the IPI for pharmaceuticals, such as in formulation design, process understanding, PK/PD modelling, in vitro/in vivo correlations, and the technologies can cope with historical, fractured and missing data.

With the complexity of TCM formulations, clinical practice and patient demographics, the laboratory and clinical analyses will provide complex and diverse data sets which will be a major challenge for data interpretation and new knowledge discovery. AI and KE can provide the solution, and will be used to interrogate and model generated data to establish underlying relationships between specific TCM components, patient characteristics and important metabolic responses associated with beneficial or adverse clinical effects.

I believe that, with improved communication between China and the West, increasing acceptance of TCM philosophy in the West and collaborative research breaking through, the contribution of TCM to the medicine development will significantly benefit the wellbeing of the Western population.

Paul Edwards: Dementia Care in the UK - November 2007


Paul Edwards from the Bradford Dementia Group, based within the University's School of Health Studies, talks about the state of dementia care in the UK and how the government's new strategy could improve the patient experience.

In August 2008, Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis announced that the government is to produce a national dementia strategy in response to the ever-increasing numbers of people being affected by dementia. There is a clear recognition in this announcement that the current systems of care are failing too many people with dementia and their families.

The government's recent announcement sets out a twelve-month programme of development that eventually will lead to an overall strategy to respond to some of the core areas of concern around dementia care. The working parties set up will look at developing a strategy across three key areas:

  • Improving awareness and understanding of dementia across health and social care professionals and also amongst the wider public
  • Early diagnosis and interventions
  • Improving the quality of care for people with dementia and their carers

Teams are currently being set up with key stakeholders leading and inputting into the development of the strategy. This is the first time we have seen such a concerted effort to improve dementia care in the UK and, broadly speaking, it is very welcome. There is a clear need to raise our collective awareness about dementia in our society and also develop a range of services that meets the need of a growing population living with the effects of dementia. The questions are, will the strategy lead to improvements in services, and crucially, will the strategy recommendations be accompanied by the necessary resources?

Current indications are that there is no new funding to accompany any recommendations and, at its worst, this whole exercise may leave workers in the field, carers and people with dementia more frustrated and disillusioned. Already doubters and cynics have been quick to dismiss the impact this strategy will have. My view is that the issues are too important to ignore and for too long people with dementia, their carers and those who work in dementia care services had received a lower level of service, a lower status in society and lower resources than other challenges to health and social care.

Dementia explained

Dementia is misunderstood by many in our society, and it can be one of the most feared aspects of ageing. The term dementia is really an umbrella term for many different diseases that affect the way the brain functions. Typically people who experience a type of dementia may have difficulties with memory, perception, judgement and language expression and communication. A person¿s ability to undertake daily tasks may also become increasingly disabled.

Generally, most types of dementia are progressive and at present many forms of dementia have no cure. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, and this was first diagnosed by German psychiatrist Dr Alois Alzheimer in 1906. The UK-wide picture of people with dementia is as follows:

  • Dementia currently affects over 700,000 people in the UK - this is estimated to rise to over 1 million by the year 2025
  • 18,500 people with dementia are aged under 65 years
  • Dementia affects one person in 20 aged over 65 years and one person in five over 80 years of age

Information from the Alzheimer's Society (2007) Dementia UK: The Full Report.

It is no surprise then that action is going to be needed if we are to meet the demands of this patient group. These figures are well known, and have been for a number of years. It can be argued that we as a nation have been slow to respond in the face of this growing demographic.


Behind all these figures are real people facing real challenges in their everyday lives. Some of their stories reflect our society's collective failure to respond to their needs and make uncomfortable reading. Some of the stories we receive at Bradford Dementia Group from the carers of people with dementia have the power to reduce even the strongest of personalities to tears.

The following comments were sent to the Bradford Dementia Group from a sibling of a person who passed away in a nursing home in the UK. It recounts a story of a woman with dementia whose underlying pain and distress related to lung cancer was never investigated by care professionals and the woman's cries of pain were interpreted as part of her dementia:

"My sister died of untreated Lung cancer, not even an Aspirin was given, when she was screaming around the nursing home. The staff told her family that this behaviour was part of the dementia and obviously her young children and her husband were distraught.

"My reason for emailing you is that maybe somewhere along the line someone will step in and say just because a person has dementia doesn't mean they don't have something else wrong with them when they are screaming, banging and throwing furniture around the home."

It is possible that the team caring for this person may have misunderstood how people with dementia express their feelings and that often, physical pain can manifest itself in unconventional ways when a person's cognitive abilities are failing.

How can we as a society ignore such powerful accounts of the sometimes devastating effects of living with dementia? And why have we for too many years ignored the voices of people with dementia and their carers who have been struggling to access care that meets their needs?

I believe that the central reason for our society's lackluster response to dementia lies within the attitudes embedded in our society. If the 700,000 people currently living with dementia were all aged between the ages of 11 and 35, then our societal response would be very different to the one we have today. There would be an outcry if services were not in place, if individuals ended their lives in dreary residential and nursing homes and if there was no serious medical research money ploughed into finding a cure.

How would the 'demented' be described in the media or by politicians or even by professionals? Would we be describing these people in the same derogatory way as we current describe people with dementia in our society? Can you imagine having to sell your house so you could pay extra top up fees for your children to get into the best nursing or residential home?

In short, the current status quo of care for people with dementia would not exist. Politicians would be forced to respond, or lose their seats. Medical professionals would find it less easy to explain away, and assess and diagnose people much quicker than they do at present.

Nurses, (my own profession) would be less quick to leave people to struggle to eat, drink, wash and dress on their own and would spend far more time engaging in a more human way than I currently observe on my travels through health and social care in the UK. There would be clear, basic levels of knowledge about dementia for all those who work in health and social care. Currently, I meet far too many professionals who do not possess even a rudimentary understanding of dementia and its effects on the brain and yet are asked to care for people with many complex needs.

Changes ahead

We as health professionals need to place more importance than we currently do, in educating ourselves about dementia. Any government strategy has to have this at its heart, and crucially we then have to change how we speak, educate and ultimately provide care for people with dementia. Within the new strategy there needs to be an unequivocal promotion of professional education and training in dementia care and the central funding needs to follow.

It would be fool hardy though, if the strategy focused only on societal attitude change and education and training of professionals. Any strategy must address the quality of services and provide clear structures for improvement. The strategy should dictate the boundaries of what is and what isn't acceptable in care services. It should leave commissioners, inspectors, care providers and the public in no doubt of what people with dementia and their carers are entitled to.

Our media-savvy care organisations need to be encouraged to actually mean what they say in their glossy brochures, newsletters, and focus group-driven mission statements. At its most basic level, the strategy should have an insistence that people can expect good human care, where choices are respected and acted upon, where the experience of dementia is taken seriously and where the relationships are based on respect, dignity and trust.

Much work has been done across the UK and internationally to improve the care for people with dementia and their carers. In the UK minimum standards of care are monitored, national inspection services have raised the bar of what is expected in care homes, and there are many enlightened care professionals, researchers, service managers and policy leaders carrying out fantastic work. There is a struggle though, to meet demand and without a strong political will to address shortfalls in supply, dementia care has often received much less attention and funding than other health issues.

We need to invest more into dementia care at the point of diagnosis and community care so that people with dementia are able to live in their own communities for longer and with support from their local services. Currently not enough is being done to support people with dementia and their carers in their own homes.

We have seen developments in all aspects of dementia care over the last 20 years. Our knowledge is better, our services are becoming more person-centred, and across the UK there are expanding pockets of excellence in dementia care.

Largely this has been done in an uncoordinated way, on shoestring budgets, and with little central support. My view is that it is time now to take these issues more seriously than we have before and to raise our collective consciousness about the needs of people with dementia and their carers.

It will be a monumental societal failure if we cannot make things better for all concerned. Dementia forces us to face up to moral, ethical, clinical and financial challenges. If we can, through this strategy, make things better for some of the most overlooked and marginalized in our society, we make things better for all.

Prof. Rae Earnshaw: Harnessing the Digital Age - January 2008


Computer and information technology is evolving, and fast! We're hearing words like downloads, podcasts, streaming, interactive, wikis and blogs more and more. But how is the University adapting to these evolving technologies and using them to improve teaching, learning research and administration for students and staff?

The University's eStrategy programme was created initially in 2003 and as an integral part of the University's Corporate Plan for 2004-09. Professor Rae Earnshaw, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Systems Development, gives an insight into what it is, what it's doing, and, with a little help from his friends, how it's making a difference already.

The eStrategy has three principal components; wireless and web, smart administration, and communication. It is about Information Technology (IT) facilities, access, and support.

As part of eStrategy, we are aiming to bring about a number of improvements to the technological infrastructure of the University. These include:

  • Creating a wireless and web-enabled campus for all students and staff, supported by the latest innovations in technology such as virtual environments, online information systems, and facilities to interact and share information - such as 'blogs' and 'wikis'.
  • Providing a friendly and easy to use IT environment which complements the real environment.
  • Improving facilities in teaching rooms so most are equipped with projector and sound system along with video/DVD facilities.

Ideally, we want people to be able to use IT whenever and wherever they like and avoid the constraints of having to be in a certain place at a certain time - except for lectures and tutorials of course!

Whilst accelerating our provision, we still need to support users whether beginners or experienced to develop or evolve key skills - from online courses, help files, Frequently Asked Questions to personalised help and support such as that offered by the Student Support Centre.

eStrategy has already delivered noticeable improvements to our working lives. The University can now provide online information and transaction systems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and allow users at a distance from the campus or in a different time zone to receive the same level of service and support as users on campus. We have seen this through e:Vision - the web version of the student information system - which allows students to update their own details and to see their exam marks and keep in touch after graduation.

The number of distinct users of mobile or wireless facilities on campus has jumped from a peak of 2,000 per month last academic year to 2,500 per month in October this year. This corresponds to 15,000 logins via mobile in October compared with 11,000 last year.

Such is the popularity of wireless connectivity, the number of users of the University broadband service in Halls of Residence has fallen since last year. In October this year, there were 1,251 users making 59,761 logins compared with 1,500 users and 66,000 logins last year.

Our eStrategy will evolve to meet the users' needs and requirements and to take advantage of developments in IT. It is difficult to predict where the University of Bradford will be in 20 or even 50 years' time but get ready for more change!

Communicating in the information age

"With the vast amount of information available at the touch of a button, skills for searching, filtering, interpreting and communicating that information to others are increasingly important," says Ruth Whitfield, Learning Architect for the University's Learner Support Services.

"Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networking tools provide opportunities for collaborative working so that individuals can pool their knowledge to develop online communities of practice from which others can draw information in a timely manner. For me, this is communicating in an information age.

"We offer a 'Communicating in an Information Age' module that focuses on developing group working and information, communication and technology skills so that students can work with others more effectively and exploit technology for presenting and sharing information within a multicultural society.

"It makes use of blogs, wikis and e-portfolios for group project work and personal reflection, and challenges students to reflect on their behaviour in group situations, demonstrate an awareness of others' feelings, beliefs and opinions and consider the legislative and security issues relating to online communication."

The value of SAINT

"The student information system (called SAINT) is crucial to the efficient running of our business," says Dr Nigel Lindsey, Associate Dean of the School of Life Sciences.

"This system provides an integrated record of all the information that we need to hold on our students. This should enable both staff and students to access information such as exam results via e:Vision. It should provide easily accessible information for monitoring of programmes and student achievement. New innovations such as the new Data Centre are starting to deliver this.

"We use SAINT in a variety of ways. For example, a student's progression and awards are run through SAINT where possible which enables communication of results via E-vision. SAINT data is being used for review at both the programme and modular level, student recruitment is run effectively through SAINT and it can provide an effective mechanism for communicating with students, by text messaging for example.

Digital X-rays

"Our complete digital imaging system ensures that our Radiography students gain practical experience using equipment which replicates those found in a modern hospital," says Steve Milner, Associate Dean of the School of Health Studies.

"The new filmless digital system replaces the former and now outdated system which used X-ray films and wet processing, installed when the Radiography team joined the University 11 years ago.

"The former darkroom and adjacent film viewing room have been converted to a dedicated teaching suite with viewing equipment replicating image quality found using radiological viewing facilities in the hospital environment and making the students' learning experience much more meaningful. From their workstations, students can download their images onto memory sticks or CDs for incorporation into their notes, presentations and assignments.

"Fuji's Synapse picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is networked to the Computed Radiography plate reader and workstation and is the repository of all stored images. Being 100 per cent web-based it can give authorised users on-demand access to data at any time, anywhere in the School of Health Studies.

"Very few X-ray Departments use conventional X-ray films and wet film processors any more, so the system represents a very necessary acquisition for the Division of Radiography's staff and students. Few UK Universities can currently offer similar facilities, so we are rightly proud of the fact that we have it here. It has also opened up many new opportunities for staff and student research from within the Division and elsewhere in the University relating to radiographic image quality and radiation dose."

E-plan a career

"The next semester will see the launch of a new interactive eSkills program," says Susan Wilson, Careers Information Officer in the University's Careers Development Office.

"eSkills will help students learn about the employability skills recruiters require, find out ways to assess and develop their own skills, and prepare evidence so they can prove to a recruiter that they do have what they are looking for.

"Students can choose from examples which reflect their own experiences and use them to write statements of evidence, getting hints and tips along the way. These statements are then emailed to us for feedback and linked into students' own development portfolios.

"eSkills will help students to build up a range of evidence to create their own job-seeking resource. This will not only help them answer those tricky questions on application forms and at interviews such as ¿give us an example of a time when . . ." or "tell me about when you have had to influence a group of people", but will also enable them to create and target their CVs."

MBA at a distance

"Our postgraduate Distance Learning programmes are run from Bradford, Hong Kong and Singapore and we use a variety of methods to support them," says Dr Damian Ward, Director of Studies for Executive and Distance Learning MBAs at the University's School of Management.

"The core element of our support is a study guide and textbook. We also use the virtual learning environment Blackboard, discussion boards and provide MP3 recordings of our onsite MBA lectures. We are currently exploring the use of online social networks and are investigating how our text-based material might be converted into an integrated online package.

"Distance learning provision is not a cheap and easy way of exploiting existing intellectual property. There is a need to make significant investments in support materials and to help staff to understand, use and exploit new e-based learning technologies."

Dr John Baruch: Robot cars - a vision for the future? - Spring 2008


Dr John Baruch, from the University's School of Informatics, says robotic driver systems for cars could slash the death toll on the roads, but will the car manufacturers welcome it?

In January, Rick Wagoner, the Chief Executive of General Motors, told the global Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that his company wanted to revolutionise the car industry by dropping reliance on fossil fuels and handing over control of cars to 'robot drivers'.

The car, nicknamed Boss and part of the Cadillac range owned by General Motors, is being developed in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, with reported plans for public testing by 2015 and full production three years later.

Here, Dr John Baruch, from the University's School of Informatics, says robotic driver systems for cars could slash the death toll on the roads, but will the car manufacturers welcome it?

Earlier this year, The Guardian newspaper reported on the development of Cadillac's Boss car, and implied that its driverless feature was a mere afterthought.

Driverless cars are not an afterthought and would make the biggest impact on our lives of any of the current technologies. They would end 90 per cent of vehicle accidents and deaths, remove parked cars from our streets, accelerate hydrogen fuel for vehicles and make an immense saving of the time now spent on congested roads. Driverless cars or cabs could be parked off the streets waiting for their owner or a user to call them.

The Guardian quoted a General Motors spokesman saying: "The technology exists right now to move cars without a driver. This [model] would know where all the vehicles are around it, dramatically reduce accidents and even reduce congestion."

He failed to say that VW and Mercedes are believed to have had robot cars on the road for a year or more. The motor companies appear to oppose robot cars because they would completely change the market's business model. You could no longer sell the 'driving experience' and it would blur the divide between public and private transport - it would make no difference whose robot took you to work or to the pub.

There are predictions that driverless cars would become part of a social network, exchanging information about road conditions - just as is becoming possible for owners of the BMW series 7.

The difficult parts of all this include moving away from the thinking of transport experts who predict intelligent roads, which would tell drivers and eventually cars what to do - a lucrative future that road building companies are planning. Another problem is the need to develop the law to license software for driverless cars.

The key technologies are familiar to British universities, like Bradford. We can construct the systems for robot vehicles using strengths in mathematics, physics, law, communications, computing and engineering. The objective of the collaboration would be to make money for the universities. A key problem is the law.

The road to robot cars

The law must be changed to allow driverless cars on the road and the development of software licensed to drive them. The software development will merge intelligence, knowledge of the road system and a library of driving situations and what should be done. Once the software had been developed, the licensing process would take at least a year with the software taking vehicles through many different driving situations on many types of roads.The two components of a legal framework and a licensing process will pave the way for robot taxis and cars in the UK. Other countries will follow.

Most of the engineering would be to ensure that every aspect of the vehicle control is completely electronic. There is also the challenge of rethinking how people would sit in a vehicle where there is no driver. These teams will not be led by vehicle engineers but by the sort of people who have put together our phone networks. We already have the basic vehicle that uses electronic systems to control its operation. We can purchase vehicles with driverless parking from Lexus, Mercedes and BMW with their electronic control systems. That is the basis for a robot vehicle.

The next step is to sensorise the vehicle so that there can be a record of everything that it does. It would have cameras and radar systems to map out the road ahead and the space around it. Sensorised cars would be especially attractive to insurance companies or people with high insurance premiums since they could replay accident scenarios and show where the responsibility lay.

With sensorised vehicles it becomes possible to develop the software. The key is the mathematics of relative motion. UK researchers lead the world in this. A group in Newcastle showed how locusts could fly with complete collision avoidance with only one brain cell. Robot vehicle software would copy these techniques using different software for moving off and for travelling.

Computer games could support the programme with software learning the basics of how to drive cars in special computer game scenarios, before it is tried out on vehicles in simulated road situations. Of course there would be sat nav for navigation.

Accidents would trigger a learning process to ensure such an accident did not happen again. There would be updates to the situation libraries in the black boxes. Most accidents would still be with human drivers like today who were not totally sober or just driving too fast. The key job for the systems engineers is to put together these building blocks for autonomous vehicles and win the confidence of the public to let these vehicles greatly improve our quality of life especially our quality of transport.

Expertise at Bradford

We run the only autonomous robot available to all on the internet, which is changing the way school children do experimental science.

At present the real world facility is the Bradford Robot Telescope operating by itself 3,000 km away, high up on the island of Tenerife. The robot telescope currently services three groups of people. There is the which is a subscription site to support the National Curriculum studies of English school children from the age of 9 to 16.

There is also a subscription site for Scottish schools and there is a free site without the UK curriculum support material, which is used by amateurs around the world, by many students studying A level and by many astronomy undergraduate programmes.

To date the Bradford Robotic telescope has serviced over 50,000 requests and has over 14,000 English school students registered to use it with over 500 school teachers. The system is totally autonomous. If you ask the telescope to observe for you there is no human intervention and most school children receive their requested observation in time for their lesson the following week. Bradford understands about autonomous robots and with the law, maths and physics departments of our sister universities we could deliver robot taxis in a three year programme.

So why isn't this at the top of the agenda for our research councils? Well, now that universities have to respond to commercial interests, their vehicle and transport sections are dominated by the business models of the major car manufacturing and road building firms.

Driverless vehicles are about thinking outside the box; if you always ask the same people the same questions, driverless cars will remain an afterthought.

Prof. Des Tobin: Skin - a Jewel in Bradford's Crown - Autumn 2008


Des was very grateful therefore for this opportunity to share with colleagues how Bradford is a prominent participant in the recent explosion of knowledge in the science of skin and hair follicles at both basic and applied research levels. He shares his thoughts and opinions with you.

In a recent conversation with colleagues involved with the University's recent RAE2008 submission preparations in struck, Professor of Cell Biology Des Tobin, that many people were unaware that the University of Bradford is home to Britain's largest group of academic researchers working on skin - our body's largest organ.

Although my own entry into the skin and hair follicle research field may be best shared over a long pint of the black stuff, this cliché-ridden 'superficial' field is now where I have made my academic research career. I continue to be amazed however, by its scope and relevance for science and society in general. So over next couple of pages I would like to share this fervour, together with an account of Bradford's leading position in this area, as well as perhaps get you to pause a moment when you ogle, judge, wash, scratch, slap, shave, spray, paint, tickle, rub, pinch, caress, discriminate, squeeze, inject, comb/brush etc . . . Skin carries our very thoughts and many of our actions too. When a giant of 20th century dermatology was asked to write on the 'true' function of skin, he felt inclined to invert this question asking instead "Is there anything that the skin can't do?"

As social beings we communicate significantly via our physical appearance and so the rich and varied palette of skin/hair colour and type accounts for most of the variation in the phenotype (physical form) of different mammals and between different human subpopulations. Although some of us may see skin as nothing more than an unsophisticated wrapping holding our more important bits in, skin provides an enormous range of other critical functions and potentials (see below).

Some Functions of Skin and Hair follicle:

  • Establishes, controls and transmits contacts with the external world
  • Protects us from deleterious environmental impacts (physical, chemical, microbiological)
  • Maintains our temperature, electrolyte and fluid balance (you have 5 million sweat glands!)
  • Is a bio-factory for synthesis, processing and/or metabolism of a huge range of products (e.g. structural proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and signalling molecules etc.)
  • Is an integral component of our immune, nervous and endocrine systems, with highly active cross-talking networks
  • A physical barrier and sensory organ
  • Social, sexual, age communication (incl. visual stimuli, odorant dispersal etc)
  • Most accessible organ for study of our evolutionary and embryonic origins.
  • Perception of identity, social congruence and health status

Skin and Hair Follicle - tools to understand all of biology:

  • Hair follicles as true mini-organs characterized by autonomous and integrated system biologies that reflect its evolutionary drivers.
  • Similar regulation of hair follicle development before birth and hair growth and cycling in the adult provide unrivalled opportunities to explore basic questions in mammalian biology.
  • Hair follicles are the human body's only cyclical organ system - i.e. hair growth, shedding and regrowth (even if not cosmetically satisfying - a bald man's head keeps its hair follicles, albeit as tiny invisible hairs.
  • Skin and hair follicles are full of adult stem cells with enormous regenerative power, potentially for our entire body.

We are witnessing a renaissance in our understanding of the body's largest organ. A true biologic universe, the skin incorporates all major support systems; vascular, muscles and innervation as well as its role in immune competence, psycho-emotion, ultraviolet radiation sensing, endocrine function etc. Together these are crucial for keeping our bodies stable by means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments, controlled by inter-related regulation mechanisms. The 'new' technologies of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Signal Transduction, Proteomics and Genomics etc. have each been applied to skin and have been invaluable in unravelling complexities of skin function. Bradford's skin researchers are engaged in several of these research platforms.

Perhaps the most exciting recent advance in skin sciences has been our greatly improved understanding of skin as a neuro-endocrine system that engages it in a very broad spectrum of stress sensing. Without getting too science-y, it has now been established that skin has an equivalent of the so-called 'hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis' once thought to be the preserve of the brain and central nervous system. While this was heretical when first proposed just a few years ago, when we think about how life forms evolved one can easily appreciate why increasingly sophistication of the brain and other sensory organs (eyes, ears) could have been dependent on the life form perceived/communicated with the world around us via their skin or outer surface.

The most important stressor on planet earth is ultraviolet light from the sun. Therefore we needed to invest much adaptability in our sun-screening pigmentary system (including via its melanin-producing cells called melanocytes). It is no accident that these 'sensing' cells and our neurons share a common origin in the embryo. Indeed, epidermal melanocytes have preserved sensory, regulatory and computing properties that allow them to serve as primitive "neurons of the skin". Bradford University has several of Europe's leading pigment cell researchers (for skin and hair) and hosts a clinic for pigmentary disorders.

But research in skin should not only be an academic pursuit, and particularly so for a University with a strap-line of Making Knowledge Work. At any one time one-in-three of us will experience symptoms of skin disease. Remarkably, skin conditions are among the most common health problems in the West, collectively exceeding the prevalence of obesity, hypertension and cancer. The burden of skin disease extends beyond its financial toll, estimated in the US at $50 billion/year in medical services and lost productivity. The six most economically burdensome skin conditions are skin ulcers and wounds, melanoma, acne, non-melanoma skin cancer, dermatitis (incl. eczema), and hair loss disorders. Researchers at Bradford are actively studying several of these.

An estimated 3,000 varieties of skin disease cause symptoms ranging from simple burning and itch, to severe emotional and social effects, to physical disfigurement or death. Wound care is a hugely important area on the public health agenda, with actual costs for wound management and pressure ulcer treatment estimated at up to £1.5 billion/year in the UK alone. Skin ulcers also pose significant infection risks to patients, and have a substantial impact on quality of life due to pain, prolonged hospitalization, daily dressing changes, and decreased mobility. Researchers at Bradford are actively engaged in this area, including via its spin-out company (AGT Life Sciences) and Plastic Surgery & Burns Unit (established after the devastating fire at Bradford football stadium in 1985).

The casual observed perusing the isles of high-street stores will recognize the increasing interest in using the full power of the scientific approach in the skin and hair personal care sector. This is an area where academics at Bradford lead the field in Europe, both regarding our work on understanding the biology underneath the skin as well as understanding how to deliver agents into the skin. Marketeers are increasingly aware that science appeals to the consumer and this is reflected by the huge growth in 'cosmeceutical' products (though the term is not recognized by the regulators), which claim to marry pharmaceutical power to appearance preparations, as well as nutraceuticals - intended to be ingested to promote healthier looks. The boys are getting in on the act too with Euromonitor reporting a 61% growth in the male grooming market between 2002 and 2007, though the entire cosmetics and personal care market grew by a very credible 49% during the same period. Just to put some figures on all of this - the skin and hair personal care market is predicted to be worth $337 billion by 2012. Quite astounding. You will be familiar with some of the money spinners - vitamins (A, E and C), peptides that boost collagen production (protein which gives skin its elasticity and plumpness and declines with age), retinoids (vitamin A derivatives that speed skin renewal), antioxidants (designed to slow the aging process) etc.

I hope these few words have tweaked some of your antennae, be they on your skin or in your cerebrum. Given the enormous potential, we are establishing of a centre of excellence here in Bradford called the 'Centre for Skin Sciences' which will draw on the hugely relevant clinical and scientific experience from across campus from basic skin/hair researchers, clinical researchers at the Institute of Pigmentary Disorders and the Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit based in Biomedical Sciences, to the transdermal delivery and computational pharmaceutics researchers at the Bradford School of Pharmacy, to bioinformatics scientists at the School of informatics, and on to the skin's psychosocial aspects at the School of Health. This is really an exciting period for Bradford to continue and develop further its lead position in this field. After all, take your skin away and what is left . . . a sticky mess.

Prof. Neil Small: Partnerships in health research - Winter 2009


Professor of Research, Neil Small from the School of Health Studies shares his views with us.

In recent years the rationale for the NHS supporting research has been a subject of much debate, culminating in 2006 in both the White Paper Best Research for Best Health and A Review of UK Health Research Funding, also known as the Cooksey Report. These heralded a change in the assumptions and organisational structure for NHS research and this change has implications for universities as they seek research collaborations with the NHS.

Partnerships in health research

The Medical Research Council retains its basic science remit but NHS funding is now much more overtly focussed on applied research. A little more difficult to understand, but of considerable significance locally, was a decision that money previously given to NHS organisations to provide research support (the Levy) would be allocated not to organisations but to specific studies. If a study was peer reviewed and funded by an approved source, such as a Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research or a major charity, then it would be classified as an NHS Portfolio study and would be eligible to receive research support costs - these cover costs to the NHS of undertaking research and are additional to money awarded via a research grant. In the past large NHS teaching hospitals received the bulk of the NHS levy; they will now get nothing. Thus an opportunity opens up for new players to emerge in NHS research. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for example, increased its annual funding from non-commercial sources from about £500,000 in 2005/6 to £1,800,000 in 2007/8.

The new organisational structure for NHS research funding sees a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) that oversees a series of Clinical Research Networks designed to increase recruitment into clinical trials in key areas of health; the University leads on Stroke research.

The Patient Safety and Quality Research Centre at Bradford co-ordinates grants for major pieces of research which includes obesity. There are also research projects funded in a number of categories including Research for Patient Benefit, Service Delivery and Organisation, Invention for Innovation, Health Technology Assessment and the NHS Physical Environment Research and Development Programme (an area of successful collaboration between Professor Beggs at the University and Bradford Hospitals). All constituent parts of the new structure focus on the benefit to patients that will result from the research; that benefit must be achievable quickly. In addition Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) have been set up in seven locations in England; Bradford (working collaboratively with Leeds and York) has one. Our local CLAHRC includes emphasis on the translation of research into practice and the improvement of NHS information systems so that they generate research-quality data.

NHS Trusts that had little involvement in research now have the potential to develop because of the need for proposals that sit close to service delivery concerns. They can be reassured that a study taken into the portfolio will be fully supported financially. They are likely to be the lead partners because this reassures funders that the research concerns are close to practice and that findings can be readily implemented. Universities need to consider how they can bring added value to collaborations that will be led by NHS organisations. They need to emphasise: the skills that are central to applied research; mixed methods; and a focus not just on identifying what works and why it works, but also on the system change that is required to cement innovation into routine practice. About 30% of Department of Health research spend will be on treatment evaluation and another 30% on health service delivery concerns. The role of NHS Trusts as lead organisations in the new NHS research environment is evident in Bradford where the Bradford Institute for Health Research has been set up. It is located on the Infirmary site and includes both research teams and research support and governance functions. It exists as a collaboration between the three NHS Trusts in Bradford, representing Acute, Primary and Community Care, and the Universities of Bradford and Leeds.

Born In Bradford An example of a major research study which has developed within this new NHS research context is Born in Bradford. Officially launched in October 2006, but which in practice began in spring 2006, this study has the former and current Bradford University Chancellors, Baroness Lockwood and Imran Khan, as patrons. Born in Bradford's establishment was in response to the very high levels of infant mortality and childhood illness evident in Bradford. It is a study based in the NHS, incorporating Bradford Acute Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford and Airedale Teaching Primary Care Trust. At its centre the Universities of Bradford and Leeds are represented on the study executive. Professor John Wright (Director of Bradford Institute for Health Research) is Principal Investigator while I take the academic lead. Funding, now amounting to over £7 million, comes from a range of different sources: the European Union, the Welcome Trust, the NIHR via programme grants, CLAHRC funding, and disease-specific charities. In addition the study is an NHS Portfolio study so service costs are available via that route.

Infant mortality and inequalities in child health are central concerns of the NHS nationally and locally. Between 1996 and 2003 infant mortality (deaths in the first year of life) peaked at 9.1 per 1000 live births in Bradford, almost double the 5.3/1000 recorded in England and Wales overall. (There has been some improvement since this peak but relatively worse figures for Bradford persist.) Half of Bradford's 5500 births a year are babies born to mothers of Pakistani origin and for these infants mortality figures are even higher. Subsequent patterns of illness in children are also generally higher in Bradford. Born in Bradfordis designed to first investigate why, and then to offer routes to intervene to effect a change. It is, in essence, an applied research study that can be understood by Best Research for Best Health. It additionally seeks to improve the way routine data are collected, analysed and used in the NHS. For example, data on rates of growth in infants have always been collected but they need to be collected systematically and rigorously to be useful in generating research data that can then influence practice; doing this is central to Bradford's CLAHRC. It has the aim of attracting leading academic researchers to this city - academics have always come to Bradford because of its ethnic mix. However, now they can contribute to an overall programme that is designed to ensure findings are made available in such a way that they can be acted upon locally. This aim is succeeding: Born in Bradford has academic partners that include colleagues from universities in Bristol, Loughborough, York, Durham, Edinburgh, London (Imperial College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Leeds.

The logistics of undertaking the Born in Bradford study are challenging - every pregnant woman planning to have her baby in the Bradford Royal Infirmary from March 2007 has been invited to join. The fathers have also been asked to sign up. The target is to sign up 10000 babies of which we currently have over 6000. More than 80% of mothers invited to join say yes. We take samples of blood from mother and baby and saliva from fathers; these together constitute a bio-bank with tremendous potential as a research resource. Baseline questionnaire data are collected and we obtain NHS routinely collected data. The aim is to follow babies as they grow to relate the circumstances of their birth to the subsequent health experiences they have. For example, one focus will be on patterns of growth and on subsequent obesity (this is supported by our NIHR programme grant).

We know some of the fundamental things about patterns of infant mortality and child health; the most important determinant is poverty. We know that Bradford is a poor city, one of the most deprived in the UK, and we know that within it people from Pakistan are disproportionately disadvantaged. In this sense some of the basic science has been done. What we need to know before we can do anything practical is to understand the nuanced interactions in this city of all the different factors: poverty, ethnicity, environment, behaviours, genetics and how services are provided. These factors may have an impact on babies and children. We then need to consider how the understandings of the results can be translated into interventions. It is this that makes Born in Bradford an example of the sort of research study that fits well with the new NHS. In addition to this, in relation to the University of Bradford, there is some symmetry in our aspirations. Born in Bradford is centrally engaged in confronting inequality in one of its starkest and most disturbing manifestations that babies are five times more likely to die in the first year of life in the poorest fifth of society compared to the richest. Its findings cannot be implemented without embracing the strengths of diversity in the city. Perhaps Born in Bradford would expand the University mission statement to capture the idea of discovery as well as application: "making knowledge and making knowledge work".

Born in Bradford has a website,, with access to the detailed protocol for the study and up-to-date material on recruitment. The questionnaires we are using and the details of our partners are also available.

Neil Small
Professor of Health Research
School of Health Studies

Dr Fiona Macaulay: PeaceJam - Making Peace 'Cool for school' - Spring 2009


Fiona shares with News & Views why PeaceJams are important to the children of today.

The University of Bradford is the only university in the UK - indeed in the whole of Europe - that plays host every year to a different Nobel Peace Prize winner. For three days in March, for the last four years, the University has been honoured by the presence of four globally-recognised peace activists, all, as it happens, women of enormous conviction, courage and charisma. Máiread Corrigan Maguire, founder of a peace movement during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Jody Williams, coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, spokeswoman for her indigenous people during the civil war in Guatemala, and Shirin Ebadi, a women's rights advocate from Iran, have all come to Bradford because of PeaceJam, an international youth peace education programme.

Although each one has given a public lecture to the University community of staff, students and alumni, and members of the public on the Friday night, they are here primarily to work with teenagers - normally around 200 in number - who have come to be inspired by these extraordinary individuals, to learn from a Peace Laureate and from one another about how to resolve conflict peacefully, and gain new skills and confidence so that they can take practical action themselves for a safer and more just society.

I became involved with PeaceJam when I was admissions tutor in the Department of Peace Studies. I quite innocently agreed to a meeting with one of the co-founders of PeaceJam, Dawn Engle, in late 2005. By the time she had left my office two hours later, I realised that this was an amazing opportunity for the University, for our students, and for the young people in Bradford and the surrounding district. I was determined that PeaceJam should come to a city that not only suffers more than its fair share of multiple deprivations and social tensions, but also has a long and proud history of activism for peace and social justice (few people know that Bradford boasts its very own Nobel Peace prize winner, Sir Norman Angell, who was awarded the honour in 1933).

PeaceJam was dreamt up in Denver, Colorado in 1994 by Ivan Suvanjieff, a long-haired, leather-clad rock-and-roll musician. One day he challenged some teenagers hanging out on his street, who were clearly dealing drugs and toting handguns. To his astonishment, when the conversation veered round to South Africa, they started singing the praises of Archbishop Desmond Tutu whom they saw as 'really cool' for having stood up - non-violently - to apartheid. It was a light-bulb moment. He recruited his friend Dawn Engle, who had had contact with the Dalai Lama's office. On a wing and a prayer they travelled to Dharamsala and convinced His Holiness that young people needed positive role models such as himself. He agreed, invited his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners, and PeaceJam was born. The group of 12 participating Laureates form the board of the organisation and decide its vision, educational curriculum and strategies - this level of direct involvement of the Laureates makes PeaceJam unique.

What has always surprised me at the PeaceJam youth conferences in Bradford and at the international PeaceJam events in Denver and Los Angeles is how teenagers - from an incredibly wide range of backgrounds, nice liberal middle-class kids, Latino gang members, Tibetans, Argentinians, South Africans, British white working class, Asian Muslim, asylum-seekers - can relate so passionately and directly with the Laureates. The Laureates themselves come in all shapes and sizes - some are religious leaders or religiously-inspired, others are secular, some have a very calm spiritual quality, others are more a whirlwind of righteous anger and passion - yet they all manage to communicate their absolute conviction that in the face of injustice everyone and anyone can, indeed should, raise their individual voice and make a difference.

So, why would a lecturetheatre full of 13-17-year-olds respond to a diminutive, middle-aged lawyer and academic like Shirin Ebadi? First of all, the young people do not feel patronised. I think that we greatly underestimate just how much young people understand about the nature and causes violence in their own environments and in the wider world. Jody Williams, whom we hosted in 2007, was on her way home from an exhausting and traumatising month of interviewing refugees in Darfur for the United Nations. She did not pull her punches: she talked of the endless testimonies she had heard of rape of women refugees by the janjaweed militias. The young people responded by asking her detailed and well-informed questions about the apparent inaction of the United Nations, the Sudanese government, her capacity to deal with stress and trauma in her work, her views on international justice issues. In turn she listened to them discussing their problems of bullying, racism and drugs in their schools and communities.

A view often voiced by participants is that young people are too often viewed as a 'problem' rather than as a solution. We have created a society in which young people are invited above all to be consumers but not citizens. They are expected to find identity and status in their mobile phones and MP3 players, or in their sexual attractiveness, not in what they actually do or think. Jody Williams put it succinctly: "Listen, shopping is not a human right. Instead of hanging out in the mall for hours every Saturday, go do some volunteer work, raise money, do some campaigning."

Teenagers are often very passionate - and angry - often frustrated at a world in which adults do not behave in a fair or responsible manner. When they do not feel listened to, their self-esteem plummets and they channel this frustration into apathy, bad attitude or harming themselves or others. Shirin Ebadi talked of her anger at losing her job as a judge after the Iranian Revolution of 1979-80 (she was the first-ever woman judge). I was furious, but I didn't go and shout and demonstrate. I thought, I'll make them really regret this one day. So I worked hard in my private law practice, standing up for women and children's rights, working for a new equality law. And on the day I received my Nobel Peace Prize in Norway and it was broadcast all over the world, and in Tehran, I thought, they'll be sorry now they underestimated me! After the 2006 PeaceJam with Máiread Corrigan Maguire, one girl returned to tell us 'I realised through hearing her speak [about her response to the death of her sister's children in the violence in Northern Ireland] that I was hanging out with some mean people. We were always looking for other girls to pick on and bully. But I didn't like them really. So I changed my group of friends, they like me, and now I do my homework and don't get into trouble; my parents are much happier too'.

This personal transformation can result from the encounter with the Laureate - and with each other. For those from comfortable backgrounds, PeaceJam is an event that they share with people and life experiences far removed from their own. For some participants, struggling with English as a second language, with their school work and their behaviour, involvement in PeaceJam, in school and at our events, is a very important anchor in sometimes chaotic lives. One teacher noted "I am sure that many of the young people I bring would have been excluded from school by now, were it not for PeaceJam. And best of all, especially as far as the boys are concerned, it's made peace cool in school."

But personal transformation needs to be linked to community transformation. And our PeaceJammers have had lots of great ideas about how to change their communities and world. Their projects, designed and carried out by the teenagers, fall within the PeaceJam Global Call to Action, 10 priority areas of social change drawn up by the Nobel Laureates, ranging from tackling racism and extreme poverty to environmental and human rights protection and disarmament. Projects to date have included raising money for partner schools in Africa, peer mentoring, campaigning for disability rights, educating their peers on domestic violence, achieving school Fairtrade status, setting up Amnesty International, organising day events on human rights in Burma, on asylum-seekers...all done with great creativity, passion and student ownership. The slogan of PeaceJam is 'One person can make a difference', and PeaceJammers return to their school or youth group from the conference fired up and ready to inspire their classmates because collectively they can make an even bigger difference. Another girl commented, "I am really proud of who I am now." Shirin Ebadi stressed "Listen, I don't want to be your role model. Your life will have different challenges from mine. Look around and learn from lots of different people that you admire and find your own path in life." The Laureates are adept at inspiring young people but are careful not to be put on a pedestal. As Ivan says: "If a fool like me could set up PeaceJam, just imagine what you can do if you put your mind to it!"

Professor Jackie Ford - Importance of upskilling in today's climate


Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies, from the School of Management, Jackie Ford shares with us her views on how organisations need to engage with the latest thinking on researching leaders and leadership so as to tap the talent and potential of their workforces.

As we remain in the midst of the recession, media reports continue to list the challenges facing individuals, teams and organisations. These challenges include redundancies, short-time working, wholesale closures and tumultuous change. These continue to dominate the business press.

My research interests and achievements broadly relate to engagement with and critical exploration of the ways in which management and leadership are conceptualised and practiced in organisational life. My career and experiences to date lead me to argue the need for more critical, relational and reflexive accounts of what is happening in the employment relationship. The specific focus of much of my research is on those individuals who are managers and leaders, who are often deemed to be in privileged positions in organisations. The stories and experiences that they share do not always reflect this perceived advantage and I continue to explore managers' biographical accounts of their lives and encounters to develop new approaches to the study and practice of leaders and leadership in organisations. This led, six years, ago, to the development of a narrative 360% approach on which I am continuing to build through my research and development work.

Given this contemporary climate of uncertainty and financial turmoil, greater pressures abound to secure customers, meet demands for higher quality, and at the same time retain and motivate our remaining workforce. It is even more important that we keep staff involved in the decision-making processes, keep them up-to-date with changes in the business that are likely to affect them, and also remain receptive to feedback from them. These are just a few of the challenges faced by organisational leaders. There are numerous dilemmas and tensions facing organisations in the current climate that call for new, more insightful leadership understandings, not least of which include:

  • The need to respond effectively to the current financial climate at the same time as seeking more creative ways of supporting staff into the economic recovery
  • The requirement to deliver increasingly demanding performance targets within the workforce at the same time as ensuring that our staff feel valued and supported
  • The ability to attract, retain, nurture and develop good staff at a time of considerable disorder
  • The importance of ensuring that we are responsive to changing situations at a time when we are struggling to restore stability within the workplace

Many organisational settings are still drawing on models and approaches to leadership and management that are outmoded and much more suited to bygone eras. Leaders are still portrayed in the media and popular press as individuals who surpass all known limits and many organisations seem to continue to adopt such approaches. Leaders are presented as heroic and distant beings almost completely disconnected from everyday human experience and interaction. These so-called heroic leaders (some of whom have led their organisations to failure) have created a legacy of suspicion and distrust in leaders and this is well earned. New approaches to leadership need to depart from this lone hero who single-handedly was deemed to have inspired the organisation and created its success. Contemporary leaders need to tap the creativity and potential of their workforce by active conversations, building relationships and shared understandings, and greater levels of involvement. This means not only knowing the skills and talents of the workforce, but also being able to appreciate that new ways of thinking about leadership recognise the contribution of diverse groups and individuals. Irrespective of individual roles and job tasks, employees can participate in organisational problem-solving, they can work independently without close supervision, and they can create new ideas and solutions to improve their work and the ultimate success of the organisation.

Insights generated through such new research approaches identify an imperative to generate more dialogue (i.e. constructive conversations) and relationship-building in our organisational settings, to ensure we are equipping managers and leaders to cope with the opportunities that will emerge out of the recession and into the future. This will require a commitment to the ongoing education, training and development of our staff to ensure that their potential is achieved and that they are signed up to a secure future. The current economic climate has increased the stakes on honing the skills of leaders, managers and staff to meet the challenges faced by the recession and to survive the ongoing pressures for change. At the same time, many organisations are beginning to shift their focus beyond the recession and towards exploring ways in which to take advantage of the new opportunities that are already beginning to emerge. Those more forward-looking entrepreneurs are already turning their attention to addressing the development potential and talents of the workforce to secure a healthy future. Traditional approaches of bygone eras still focus on the very short term agenda which has led to measures to decimate education and training expenditure when budgets are under pressure at the very time that strong investment in the development of our staff is required.

Furthermore, our research indicates that more creative ways of working need to be encouraged, exemplified by collaborative organisational forms where knowledge and skills are distributed across individuals, divisions, firms, regions and possibly countries, and where leadership can emerge from any part of the collaboration. What remains of concern is that this approach is in scant supply, featuring more as rhetoric than as established practice.

Schools of Management are well placed to work with organisations in the public, private and the voluntary sectors to translate this rhetoric into established practice. Our experiences at the School of Management of developing leaders both through leadership development programmes and other interventions, as well as through the postgraduate Master's programmes that we teach, encourage us to shy away from the prescriptive and closed models and approaches of yesteryear and towards more context-specific and customised activities. Our aims have been to encourage participants to challenge some of the taken-for-granted, dominate concepts of leadership and to introduce them to other ways of seeing, interpreting and understanding themselves and their work organisations. The aspiration is that they can explore alternative (more complex) approaches that use more critical perspectives in a practice-oriented way. Our rationale is that through offering a range of possible interpretations, notably more reflexive, conversational understandings, we aim to avoid the explicit fixing of identities and positions found in much mainstream leadership thinking. This all chimes with a better understanding of the changing nature of leadership and the new challenges facing leaders in the 21st century.

The research approach that underpins this work is one which argues that context, individual biographies and perceptions of the managerial self cannot be ignored as leadership, indeed work in general, involves interpersonal relationships (Ford et al, 2008). Much current research into leadership is located in a very narrow perspective and is based on large, quantitative surveys, which are frequently uncritical and can, at best, report statistical information. Although statistics can be useful, they tell us little about people's subjective experiences or about their beliefs and ideas. As leadership's focus is very much upon subjectively located interactions, there is a need for more studies that tell us something about the subjective and the personal, about ideas and beliefs, about how people talk and dream about leadership, and the stories and narratives they construct in their talking and dreaming and life experiences. We bring our multi-faceted selves, our psyches, our histories, our idiosyncrasies, our ways of talking and thinking and acting, to these workplace relationships. If we present all those aspects of the self uncritically to the workplace, and are then encouraged to behave as if we are transcendental, homogeneous beings whose impact on others is justified by our positions as leaders or managers, then we may do untold harm to others. Indeed, stories of organisations are littered with the harm done to the majority by the minority who occupy powerful positions. So, being reflective on the part of managers is important if they are to know how they interact with others and with themselves, why they interact with others in the ways they do, and the impact this has on self and others.

More relational and local approaches through building relationships and recognising more distributive forms of leadership within and across work groups present the opportunity of moving away from universal understandings to examine the unique elements which unfold in personal exchanges. This enables people to surpass the idea that the leader is a leader and a follower a follower, and to explore how these prescribed roles are enacted jointly, as well as recognising the active participation of many others in our working lives. The intention is to build on joint conversations between leaders and their staff, peers, boss and others in the employment relationship as well as taking account of the particular institutional contexts in which the relationships take place and the multiple and shifting narratives of the self that are produced in these relationships.

In conclusion, new and more critical understandings of leadership encourage much more attention to be given to the performing of leadership and to a recognition that leadership is not an individualistic and heroic quest, but a shared performance delivered within the social and organisational context; a performance that is also connected to personal history and character of the individual and others in the working context. Organisations need to engage with the latest thinking in researching leaders and leadership to become more creative and experimental by encouraging individuals, groups and teams to interconnect in new ways and to draw upon new paradigms and behaviours to discover more meaningful and constructive ways of relating and working together.

Dr Martin Brinkworth: The key to our beginning, pathology and evolution


Martin shares with us his views on research in male reproduction and how these new findings fit into our understanding of male infertility.

Recently The Independent on Sunday newspaper reported on work that Senior Lecturer Dr Martin Brinkworth is carrying out with scientists at the University of Leeds. They have discovered a unique 'DNA packaging signature' in human sperm, which may act as a key that unlocks an egg's fertility and trigger new life.

Recently The Independent on Sunday newspaper reported on work that Of the 3,000 of you to whom News & Views are distributed, some 450 are likely to suffer from infertility, whether recognised yet or not. The problem afflicts men and women roughly evenly, and for about a third of the former, i.e., ~75 men working at the University, the problem will have no currently identifiable cause (i.e. idiopathic). Infertility thus represents a medical problem of far greater prevalence than, say, diabetes. Furthermore, whilst assisted conception techniques are increasingly available, only around 30% of treatment cycles are successful. Those of us fortunate enough to be able to have children tend to take it for granted, and find it hard to grasp the depression and long-term mental anguish of an unfulfilled desire to be a parent. And because many people, especially men, find it difficult to discuss their fertility, it is an easily overlooked problem.

Despite the embarrassment potential of the topic, there are many very good reasons for studying the intricacies of the male reproductive system. There is considerable public concern about the possibility that environmental, occupational, therapeutic or other agents damage men's production of sperm. There is no rational treatment for idiopathic infertility; some may be helped to father a child by IVF and Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) but these treat only the symptom while the underlying problem remains. In addition, there is still uncertainty about the extent to which heritable diseases may be induced in a small proportion of offspring produced this way. It is often argued that too much of the burden of contraception is left to women. After several decades of research, a workable alternative to the condom for men is still unavailable. Finally, behind all these biomedical problems remain intriguing, fundamental questions in biology: Why are the testes held outside the body in humans and some other mammals? Why are only the mother's mitochondria (the cell's energy producers) passed on to the offspring? How do mutations produced in sperm contribute to the evolution of species?

Nearly 20 years ago, a paper published in the British Medical Journal made the startling claim that human sperm counts had dropped by 50% over the previous 50 years. This work attracted an enormous amount of interest worldwide and stimulated numerous follow-up studies and hypotheses. As a result, even now, there is widespread acceptance among the public that environmental pollutants are damaging sperm production and that infertility is on the increase. Unfortunately, the study was deeply flawed and seriously misused a particular statistical approach. Nevertheless, the idea caught the attention of the public and media in a way that no amount of dry statistical rebuttal could not. Likewise, the main explanatory theory - that oestrogen-like compounds in the environment were disrupting the development of the male reproductive system - soon acquired the status of gospel. Since then, follow-up studies have found sperm-count declines in some countries but not others, the oestrogen hypothesis has been found wanting and has migrated into a general theory of "testicular dysgenesis" and there is still no agreement about what if any environmental agents may be detrimental to sperm production. There is also no evidence that infertility is increasing. The lack of scientific clarity and the public confusion are very unsatisfactory and need resolving urgently.

Some agents (anti-cancer therapies for example) unquestionably damage the reproductive system in the male. A classic study in the 1970's identified a particular pesticide as causing infertility in farm workers. However, the vast majority of daily-life exposures do not cause particular damage to adult male reproductive capacity. What is much more likely to be responsible (if anything at all) is exposure of the embryo or foetus via the pregnant mother. Much current research focuses on compounds capable of interfering with hormone signalling but there is little evidence yet that these could be effective at the levels at which they are found in the environment. A study we conducted here in Bradford, in partnership with colleagues in Germany, indicated that a DNA-damaging chemical already known to be capable of affecting the adult testis caused damage in embryonic testes at levels up to 50-times lower. Humans can be exposed to DNA-damaging compounds, for example through cigarette smoking, and a couple of recent studies have indicated that men whose mothers smoked in pregnancy are more likely to have testicular defects. This promising lead is therefore something we hope to follow up in the future.

We have also shown that infertile men who nevertheless produce some sperm, have slightly increased levels of DNA damage in those sperm. Whilst that lends weight to the argument above, it may also have implications for any offspring they may be able to achieve as a result of assisted conception techniques. There is certainly a correlation between the amount of sperm DNA damage and success rates in IVF or ICSI. That suggests that high levels of sperm DNA damage would cause a failure of the embryo to develop - but what happens in the case of sperm with lower, but still elevated, levels of DNA damage? The answer highlights a curious paradox in male reproductive toxicology: the higher the damage to the sperm, the less serious the potential outcome. This is because high amounts of damage are likely to cause infertility; lower amounts may permit the development of a child with genetic defects and a higher risk of genetic disease. There is evidence for this from laboratory studies, including some I undertook with Professor Diana Anderson before we were at Bradford, however, there are as yet no comparable data for humans, which would require trans-generational, longitudinal studies.

Treatment of cancer often involves the use of very high doses of drugs (and/or radiation) that can damage DNA of dividing cells. Many of these treatments cause collateral damage to the DNA of the cells in the testis that develop into sperm. As a result, such therapies can be associated with long-term infertility. That is hardly the first concern of someone with such a severe illness, however survival rates for many of these diseases are improving and they often affect young men of reproductive age. There is therefore concern that sperm produced subsequently could be genetically damaged and perhaps pose a risk to the genetic health of future children. A variety of attempts have been made to develop ways of avoiding this but up to now, none has been followed through because of the risk of serious consequences. However, there is a limited amount of encouraging evidence suggesting that the problem may not be as great as feared. Small-scale epidemiology studies on the children of cancer survivors suggest no increase in the levels of abnormality or cancer. Additionally, investigations of mutation rates in the sperm of cancer patients by ourselves and others indicate no elevation of risk as a result of treatment. This prompts the intriguing speculation that there might be a `quality control¿ mechanism in the testis to eliminate damaged cells.

Efforts to prevent DNA damage to testicular cells involve suppression of cell division and this could also be exploited for contraceptive purposes. Over the last 30 years, male contraceptive research has concentrated on the use of testosterone. This has come very close to succeeding but reliability never quite reached acceptable levels. That unreliability, exacerbated by fears that women might not trust men to take a pill, caused the pharmaceutical companies to cease funding the research. Other, non-hormonal, approaches did not get underway while the endocrine strategy was dominant so there is now, perhaps, an opening for alternatives. Based on some recent work in my lab, we hope to target cells just before they develop into sperm and halt their development pharmacologically, work that lends itself to Research and Knowledge Transfer.

In this year of Darwin celebrations and in the wake of our recent International Darwin Conference, it is appropriate to consider what the study of DNA alterations in sperm can tell us about evolution. A collaboration with colleagues at the University of Leeds (and featured by the Independent on Sunday over the summer) has recently uncovered a novel mechanism by which the egg may `recognise¿ sperm DNA from its own species. This implies that DNA not marked in the appropriate way would not be recognised, leading to a failure to develop. That would help drive speciation but it would also mean that errors in the marking in individual sperm would cause them also not to be recognised, and hence could be a cause of some idiopathic infertility.

The level of public interest in reproduction research is extraordinarily high for a science subject and is not even confined to the topics discussed here (lack of space prevents me discussing cloning and reproductive ethics). Furthermore, the commercial potential for agents that assist or inhibit fertilisation is enormous. Added to that, infertility is a major problem in Society, causing distress, a diminished quality of life and clinical depression among thousands. You, like me, may find it extraordinary therefore, that levels of funding are extremely low. Only a tiny proportion of Research Councils¿ budgets are spent in this area; industrial interest is currently negligible; and there are no specialist charities supporting male reproduction research. This last point is particularly scandalous in the light of the healthy profits made by private fertility clinics.

Professor Hassan Ugail - Research in Visual Computing at Bradford


Hassan currently leads research in Visual Computing at Bradford and he shares his thoughts and opinions with our readers. He views research in this area to be a re-working of known laws of nature such as Newton's laws of motion and Einstein's theory of relativity in a suitable form applicable to a virtual world where physical matter does not exist.

Computer graphics is a field that is approximately 40 years old. Over this period the field has developed enormously, to the point where the techniques and technology of computer graphics are ubiquitous in both the home and workplace and underpin fields as diverse as entertainment and e-Research.

Yet despite these rapid technological advances, the shape of computer graphics as a subject does not yet resemble a core discipline in science or engineering. A group of academic researchers at Bradford are working in this area under the theme of Visual Computing. Their task is to enable computers to efficiently perceive process and understand visual data such as images, videos and complex 3D scenes.

Most of us when we hear the terms such as "computer graphics" and "visual computing" associate them with the entertainment industry such as computer gaming and films. The fact of the matter is that this is an area which has a rich variety of applications beyond films and computer gaming. For example, let us take the case of human facial animation, i.e. generating human facial expressions (facial stimuli) on the computer. Human facial stimuli are used to help understand disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It can be used for teaching social skills and has been found to be successful in improving recognition of emotions in autistic individuals. Facial stimuli can help to better understand mental illness, e.g. to test the effects of emotion recognition in sufferers of schizophrenia and depression.

In 1999, while I was still a PhD student I came across a hypothesis called the "uncanny valley" which was developed by a Japanese researcher called Mori who was working on the design of robots. Mori's hypothesis states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong revulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive again and approaches the same level of human empathy.

This so-called uncanny valley effect is actually not just limited to robots. In fact it is applicable to any type of human-like object, e.g. dolls, masks, avatars in virtual reality and characters in computer graphics games and movies. For example, while we might empathise with a cartoon-type character (e.g. Bambi) we find it more difficult to relate to facial animations which aim to mimic real humans (e.g. The Polar Express) – in fact, our reaction can be negative.
Much of the current research in computer graphics relates to the generation of realistic scenes by means of identifying ways of efficiently dealing with the uncanny valley effect.

Practitioners (such as those working in the movie-making industry) use a combination of ad-hoc tools to achieve reasonable results, and of course with a lot of effort and resources.

However, in order to create a truly realistic computer graphics, one needs to take into account many other factors (beyond the uncanny valley effect), and this requires not only the knowledge in the field of computer science but also other fields such as mathematics, engineering and psychology. Computer graphics as a subject is relatively young and very dynamic. Though it does have some of the more basic engineering features and much of it derives from scientific principles, there has been little consolidation of the theory.

In recent years much published work has bee strongly driven by secondary technology developments, such as computer power and graphics cards; or by big-budget but highly specific applications, such as movies.

Understandable though this is, it has the effect that the corpus of knowledge is growing faster than the opportunity to consolidate, amplify and unify that knowledge. In turn this makes it difficult to discern new experimental work to test or challenge the theory.

A mature science discipline is characterised by a corpus of knowledge leading to a range of theory and then to experiment to test that theory. It makes progress by identifying research problems needing solutions. These may arise from where the theory does not match the experimental results or where no experiment has yet been devised to test a certain aspect of the theory. More rarely, major theoretical breakthroughs may occur, detached from known experimental lines. Typically, theories within a given discipline converge to common principles and less-diverse assumptions. The explanatory power of the unified theory is accordingly magnified.

For example, a mature engineering discipline takes the relevant science and established practice to predict the behaviour of its materials and the ways they can be combined or formed to make useful artefacts. It explores and quantifies the limits of materials and technologies. It investigates, by combining them in novel ways, to produce enhanced qualities or to permit their use in more extreme environments. Practice may drive early exploration but theory is always sought to explain the experimental results and so extend the range of application. Computer graphics as a subject is relatively young. Though it may have some of the more basic scientific features, there is little in terms of a theory.

In many ways I view research in this area to be a re-working of known laws of nature such as Newton's laws of motion and Einstein's theory of relativity in a suitable form applicable to a virtual world where physical matter does not exist. Having access to a "theory" of computer graphics will enable one to create truly realistic computer graphics which will have a major impact not just on the entertainment industry (e.g. for movies and video games), but also for understanding and treating a wide range of psychological and neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, autism, schizophrenia and depression. This will indeed require serious effort from researchers and practitioners in order to combine knowledge from various fields, particularly from applied mathematics, engineering, core computer sciences, as well as psychology.

Much research and knowledge transfer work in this field is currently being undertaken at Bradford. A core group of researchers based at the School of Computing, Informatics and Media, School of Life Sciences and School of Engineering, Design and Technology are working on related research. Our research is publicly funded by leading research grant-awarding bodies such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

A notable research project we are currently engaged in includes the development of a "passive lie detector" for border control applications. In partnership with the University of Aberystwyth, UK Border Agency and QinetiQ we are developing a computer system to detect human guilt by means of analysing human facial expressions both in the visual and thermal domain. The system will link human emotions and physiological processes such as blood flow, eye movement patterns and pupil dilation and body language. The potential application for this system we have in mind is to profile people as they pass through border controls to help security agencies identify smugglers.

Of course we also have been working in the area of computer graphics applicable to computer games. Our recent research in computer graphics has led us to develop efficient ways of compressing 3D data especially those used in computer games. This has led us to the formation of a University spin-out company Tangentix Ltd with substantial funding from venture capitalists through Enterprise Ventures and South Yorkshire Investment Fund. Through Tangentix technology we are currently developing a platform for digital distribution of computer games content which has a global business market of $8bn.

As a further development we have recently received inward investment from the University which has enabled us to establish a centre of excellence here in Bradford called the "Centre for Visual Computing". This new centre brings together world-leading research in areas such as digital imaging and metrology, visualisation and human visual perception. The centre aims to be the partner of choice for private sector companies and public sector organisations operating in the global digital space and who are seeking digital solutions.

With the enormous potential this field has to offer and with these recent new developments, this is truly an exciting period for Bradford. After all, we are working within virtual worlds and hence imagination is the only limit!

Ron Harle - Dark clouds above. Can we dodge the storm?


Ron Harle talks about the situation graduates across the country find themselves in when looking for work after getting their degree and how the University of Bradford is making the difference.

Ron Harle, Director of Support Progression and Employability, first started liaising with the University in the late seventies when he worked in graduate recruitment and training for an electronics company and sponsored a lot of students at the University. Since 1989 he's been employed at Bradford as a Careers Adviser, and for the last ten years has been Head of Career Development Services.

I've seen lots of changes over the years including several recessions and boom periods, the traditional "Milkround" (recruitment interviews) disappearing, the development of online services and electronic applications rather than paperbased brochures and forms. The interview though is still core to recruitment.

The one thing that has remained constant is the need for students to access professional advice and guidance services to help them explore opportunities, understand what is required by employers and to refine their skills of engaging with the employment market. Career planning is a complex process involving a lot of inter-related factors and it frightens many people as a consequence.

With the increased access to HE, the notion of a segregated graduate recruitment market has changed. Nowadays a graduate job is any job that a graduate can or does do. Some elite entry, highly competitive schemes still do exist and much has been written in the media over the last year about the number of graduates chasing every vacancy. I've seen quotes referring to 70 graduates chasing every job!

Let me state emphatically here that although things are tough in the employment market at the moment for young people, this media hype is not to be believed. If it were true, only 1 in 7 of graduates would be employed, when the reality is that around 1 in 10 is unemployed. Our proportion in this situation from Bradford mirrors the national picture. Obviously that is still a real problem for those affected and all university careers services have been doing all they can to support them.

This University's traditional strength in the employment league tables, regularly capturing No 1 spot in Yorkshire, shows how much our graduates are valued by employers. Many of our graduates have completed professional accreditation as part of their degrees; others have completed an integrated sandwich placement which has given them real work skills. But there is a variety of ways in which students develop employability, the in-vogue word which describes a whole set of attributes, skills, and knowledge that enhance an individual’s potential to engage in professional roles. Part-time or vacation employment is an invaluable way of developing employment skills.

A range of schemes, including mentoring, workshadowing project work, volunteering, serving in responsible roles in clubs or societies, and particularly sabbatical roles in the Students' Union give people the evidence they need to convince employers about their capabilities.

But one of the things I am acutely aware of is that we can't merely stand still or churn out the same old stuff in these turbulent changing times. So I'm immensely proud to lead a team of people who are constantly looking for new ideas, are very tuned in to the student psyche, and are tremendously supportive but equally capable of challenging and pushing their clients to work at realising their cherished ambitions.

For instance over the last year our team has undertaken a fundamental review and redesign of our "needs-based" website which has been used by many other institutions as an exemplar. We have devised and delivered an innovative Postgraduate Certificate in Employability and Entrepreneurship, currently unique in the sector.

To respond to the increasing demand from small businesses and to fulfil a belief in nurturing enterprise skills we have launched YoYo (you organise your opportunities) which is a structured approach to offering skills in the context of self employment.

We already deliver an extensive range of undergraduate Career and Personal Development modules, and these have been significantly revised over the last year to ensure that assessment is relevant and fit for purpose. In addition to our own academic modules we contribute to many others, working closely with academic colleagues to embed employability and skills development elements into courses from first year to postgraduate level.

A new innovation, which has already been tested in pilot form and will build up steam over the next year, is Challenge Yourself which has been designed to inspire students to stretch themselves and reflect on the learning they acquire, with the option of having this work accredited for an additional University Certificate.

We organise a number of events which bring employers onto campus, including focus days, careers fairs and presentations, and we are really excited about the potential of using the fantastic facilities in Student Central in creative ways to help students engage with employers. Collaborative work is strong in the careers sector and the Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair held in June, a joint venture with the University of Leeds, brought together over 100 employers offering vacancies with around 2,000 graduate job seekers from the region.

Over the last year we have gained funding from HEFCE, along with other regional careers services to develop graduate internships, and against stiff competition we secured funds to lead and run a pilot scheme in four Universities to increase access to the professions through a summer internship scheme for students completing their second-year studies.

In a "normal" employment market we would expect well over 90% of Bradford graduates to be employed or in further study within six months of graduation. In exceptional good years this combined percentage has been as high as 96%. But clearly these are exceptional not normal times, and inevitably even Bradford graduates are suffering. Graduates from 2009 had a combined percentage of 89% success into employment or further study, and within this total there was a big shift towards further study, demonstrating the fragility of the employment market.

Our strength and success in recruiting locally-based students over the last decade is also our vulnerability in the current recession as so many of our students are intent on remaining in the district to find work after graduating. For many this translates into an expansion of part-time hours they worked as students, expanding into full-time as graduates, but the risk associated with that is the lack of opportunity to develop or engage in higher-level work.

Yet others are finding that the Bradford district is not well equipped to provide the volumes of higher-level jobs required for an increasing graduate population so flexibility, adaptability and a preparedness to travel some distance to seek work in the wider region becomes a vital component of them successfully landing a job.

As I write this we embark on a new academic year in which we will be engaging in a debate about how we can enhance the employability of our students, how we can ensure that every one of our graduates will leave Bradford with accredited experience of work-based learning and how we can continue to pursue our mission of Making Knowledge Work. This is a tall order.

We cannot stand still because all other institutions are now pursuing the agenda which has in the past been one of our core strengths. Unless things go disastrously wrong we should still be able to hold claim to one of the best, if not the best, record for employment in the region, but others are pushing hard at our heels. All Universities recently had to publish an Employability Statement on their websites declaring how they aimed to facilitate the development of core skills.

Over the next couple of years our students and graduates are going to have to be more determined than ever. They are going to have to be thick skinned, to develop the capacity to bounce back from disappointments, and to be able to learn quickly from any feedback so that they refine their job-seeking skills, become more self aware and enhance their self-promotion capabilities.

All of us have a duty to help them do so. Our students have significant fears about the society they will graduate into and how they can reap the benefits of investment in education. As individuals they have a duty to engage with this environment, to be resilient to the pressures and to have a dream. They will get no reward if they give up before they start, thinking that it is impossible.

I recognise that life is tough for all of us, and working in a university nowadays brings its own pressures. Our resources in careers are being refocused as a result of staff reductions, but our commitment to clients remains as strong as ever.

I came into careers work in the early 80s when we were starting to emerge from a recession. One of my first tasks then was to prepare some Electrical and Electronic Engineering students for interviews for some newly emerging vacancies with a Canadian Telecommunication company. After passing on my insights of how to cope with interviews, I mused that one student was not going to be employable. I learnt a swift lesson when he was the first to be offered a job. He fitted their requirement, and of course I was no longer making the employment decisions.

A few weeks later I saw another student who was despairing because he had made over seventy applications with no hint of success. After going through his applications, CV and interview technique in fine detail I had nothing to suggest in terms of improvement. All I could proffer were words of encouragement that it would all come good if he could just stick at it. It seemed so inadequate! Two weeks later he contacted me to say he had been offered a job.

Sometimes what students or graduates need most is the reassurance to know that what they are doing is along the right lines. Doing it right means not doing it wrong, and unfortunately too many people blow their chances because of lack of attention to detail on applications. In a tough market there is little forgiveness for sloppiness or spelling errors. So I'll end with my ten tips for securing that job. They may be obvious but believe me they do work!

Ten tips to help you get that job

1. Make sure you know exactly what the employer is looking for to fulfil the role. They have a shopping list.

2. Review what you have to offer and identify the explicit evidence to prove the match. Can you get in their basket?

3. Find out all you can about the organisation and how the role fits in.

4. Identify why securing this job really means a lot to you. Work out how you can convey this.

5. Think about what you can bring to the role – not what you can take from it.

6. Spend a lot of time collecting your thoughts about how you should pitch your application.

7. Spend even more time writing it, rewriting and refining it. Too little time invested means too many rejections.

8. Don’t waffle or make claims you can’t prove. Be precise and plant the seeds that you can grow if you are offered an interview.

9. Think about what makes you different, and what extra you can bring. How can you stand out from the competition? Don’t be wacky though.

10.When you have finally completed the application read it critically and objectively. Do you think you have done the best job you can for yourself? If not don’t send it!

And finally whatever the outcome always review the response and learn from your experience. Be a survivor and you can succeed!

John McIlwaine - Celebrating Archaeological Sciences


The University of Bradford is proud to celebrate top-quality international research especially when it comes to knowledge transfer and the University's strapline of 'Making Knowledge Work'. However, in the area of the forensic work undertaken by Archaeological Sciences at Bradford, it is hard for the University to celebrate their achievements openly due to the work being done as part of an operation for criminal investigation.

Forensic Archaeologist at the University John McIlwaine is proud to be sharing with our readers details of a project that Archaeological Sciences are involved in; the search for some of the victims of Northern Ireland's Troubles.

As far as most of the world is concerned 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland came to an end with the signing of 'The Good Friday Agreement' in 1998. For many in the Province however, there continues to be a powerful legacy of loss, pain and grief. It is said that 'time heals all' but for the families of 'The Disappeared' the suffering has continued for decades.

'The Disappeared' of Northern Ireland were people abducted, murdered and secretly buried during the 1970s and early 1980s by proscribed organisations, principally the Provisional IRA, although other organisations also participated in the practice. The families of 'The Disappeared' have had to struggle with not just the trauma of loss and the pain of bereavement, but also the agony of not knowing how, or why, their loved ones were taken. For them, there have been no funerals. They lack graves to mourn at, and so for them the grieving process has never properly started. In addition, the families have been left feeling isolated and vulnerable as the community has often been silent concerning these cases, due to an underlying fear of the consequences of speaking out. Despite this, the families have continued to campaign for decades, in the face of intimidation, for the return of their loved ones.

In 1999 as part of 'The Good Friday Agreement' a unique organisation, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR), was established by Treaty between the British and Irish Governments. The sole purpose of the ICLVR (usually referred to as 'The Commission for the Disappeared/ the Commission') is to obtain information, in strict confidence, which may lead to the location and recovery of those listed among 'The Disappeared'. Whilst it is supported by both governments, the Commission acts independently and any information gleaned by it cannot be passed to any other agency and cannot be used in any court of law. This model has attracted a lot of international interest from places where similar tragic events have taken place. In 1999 and 2000, on the basis of information received by the Commission, a number of sites were investigated and several bodies recovered.

However, there are still a number of outstanding cases and the Commission asked independent forensic expert Geoff Knupfer to conduct a review of these cases and suggest a new way forward. Geoff was selected for his expertise having been the Director of the Centre for Applied Socio-legal Studies at the University of Teesside and previously Chief Superintendent with Greater Manchester Police (GMP). During his time with GMP Geoff played a pivotal role in the 1980s investigations of the Moors Murders which saw the recovery of Pauline Reid's body. His review recommended that a team be established that should include specialists in investigation, geophysics, imagery, forensic science and forensic archaeology.

The project began in 2007, with Bradford providing the Forensic Archaeology team. It is an immensely painstaking process. Some, the Press in particular, seem to expect us to literally parachute on to a site with a map containing the location of the remains, excavate a body and go home at the end of the day. It may be like that in CSI and Bonekickers but not in real life. If it was that easy, the bodies would have been recovered during the first set of searches. A lot of background work is undertaken by the whole team. Geoff worked tirelessly out of the public eye to win the engagement of the Republican Movement and other interested parties. This led to the acquisition of vital information as to the whereabouts of the remains but this, together with information provided via the confidential
telephone line, had to be checked and verified. Jon Hill, a former Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad, has been invaluable in sifting and collating this material. He liaises with various agencies and with the families to keep them up to date with the work on their specific case. Once the Commission feels that they have confidence in the information, further background research is undertaken, old maps, imagery, specially trained body detection dogs, geophysics and landscape reconstruction all have to be undertaken so that we can produce a detailed search strategy, and only then can any excavation work begin.

Excavations have been conducted in extremely difficult terrain, from the seashore of County Antrim to exposed mountainsides in County Wicklow, but most excavation work has been in areas of extensive peat bog in Counties Monaghan, Louth and Meath. The precise locations of these clandestine graves are difficult to identify as these areas were specifically selected for their remoteness and to make any recovery of the bodies as difficult as possible. This has led to large areas having to be investigated and substantial amounts of material being excavated. The largest search so far undertaken was in County Wicklow, from which the remains of Danny McIlhone were recovered in late 2008. The search area was just over 10 hectares (20 football pitches) with peat that varied in depth between 1.5 to 2 metres. To make matters worse on this very exposed mountainside, the weather conditions ranged from unpleasant to truly grim, but through persistence and patience Danny was located and recovered. Work on other sites has led to the recovery of Charlie Armstrong, Gerry Evans and Peter Wilson.

Critical to forensic work is the fact that it does take a special type of individual. There is a lot of pressure associated with forensic work. You need to be not just a highly skilled archaeologist but someone capable of dealing with the psychological issues. These are real bodies and you see some pretty unpleasant things. It is very different from excavating human remains on a standard archaeological site. Normal field archaeology requires a fair amount of patience and determination, but forensic work takes that to a whole new level. You have to concentrate the whole time; if you miss a piece of pottery or a flint on a normal archaeological excavation then it is unfortunate. You have lost an artefact from our past but, in the forensic environment, it could be a vital piece of evidence that could lead to a murderer being arrested. Miss that item and they may not even be arrested much less convicted, potentially killing again.

The work for the Commission is different in a number of respects. Firstly, we aren't there to gather evidence, just to recover the remains for the families. Secondly, the work itself is far from easy. The remains are stained brown by tannins in the peat, so basically you are looking for something brown against a brown background with bits of tree in places that look just like bone would look in this deposit. But added to that you need a special degree of toughness to undertake this work given the terrain and extremely adverse weather conditions often in the rain, sometimes in a howling gale but occasionally snow for a bit of light relief. It is all very different from CSI on TV.

Fortunately, I am not trying to do this on my own. I have the support and expertise of my academic colleagues, Rob Janaway and Andy Wilson, both of whom have substantial amounts of forensic experience with extensive criminal cases work in the UK. They are able to contribute their specialist knowledge which comes from their internationally respected research in taphonomy, textiles, fibre, hair and other forms of trace evidence. Rob contributed significantly to the early stages of the field programme, but as the demands have grown he has taken more of an advisory role due to his heavy work commitments. Whilst Rob had to downsize his direct contribution, our fieldwork continued thanks primarily to the efforts of two key members of the team, Bobby Friel and Niamh McCullagh. Bobby was a mature student with us back in 1999 and has built up a vast array of archaeological and forensic experience over the years, whilst Niamh McCullagh, a highly experienced Irish archaeologist, undertook an MSc degree in Forensic Archaeology and Crime Scene Investigation at Bradford in 2006/7. She has played a vital role in the project since then. She has undertaken some of the most arduous work and deserves a medal for her efforts. Added to them has been a highly skilled and dedicated team most of which have strong connections with the University. They have been quite simply outstanding throughout a gruelling programme of work in sometimes horrific conditions. For example when the team arrived on site a couple of weeks ago, the temperature was -15C, and when asked by our machining contractors whether the team was going to work, the response was: 'Well, that’s what we came here for'.

Usually as forensic archaeologists, we work for the Police in a criminal case and we know little or nothing about the person we are looking for above the key operational details we need. One unusual feature of this work is that I have come to know the families very well as the Commission has regular meetings with them to keep them informed of the work programme and the developments. I brief them on the work of the forensic archaeology team. This makes it all very real especially for myself and Bobby (Friel) as we both grew up in Northern Ireland during 'The Troubles' and have witnessed at first hand the destruction and suffering that those days brought. The families recognise this; at the second meeting I ever attended one of the driving forces of the families, the brother of one of The Disappeared, asked a couple of questions about the work. He then just looked at me and said: 'This isn't just a job to you is it?'.

It was a privilege to be asked to lead the team but on occasions it has proved very hard and not just due to the constraints of weather and terrain. We have had successes which are wonderful but not every search has been fruitful. When things don’t go to plan it is really tough when you have to tell a family that we can't bring them their loved one home. The worst was a search we did in France. It took nearly two years of tripartite negotiations between the British, Irish and French governments to allow the work to take place. We were led to believe that the intelligence was reliable; however, this proved not to be the case. The team was very down afterwards and personally I was absolutely gutted. The family was very understanding and appreciated that everything that could have been done for their loved one, had been done. It still doesn’t make you feel any better. Bobby and Rob constantly remind me that 'our job is to search for remains and once located, recover them. No matter how good you are, you can't find what isn’t there’. They are right, but still, it doesn't sit well.

However, we have had more success than anyone predicted possible at the start of this project, and there are still a couple more sites to investigate. If new information comes forward on the site where we have not yet recovered the victim's remains we will return to continue our work. Hopefully one day the victims will be recovered and their families can have peace and closure. Whatever happens next, the families can always rest assured that everything humanly possible has been done to bring their loved ones home.

University Professor of Diversity named in New Year Honours list


The University of Bradford's Professor of Diversity, Uduak Archibong, has been listed in the New Year Honours list 2015. Her contributions to higher education and equality during her career were officially recognised when she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire on 31 December.

When first joined the University of Bradford, only 1% of nursing students were from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Working with local healthcare providers and other higher education institutions she soon raised this to over 30% ensuring that universities students more accurately reflected the community from which they were drawn and would ultimately serve.

This is just one example of Professor Archibong's commitment to equality and diversity. It is a commitment that now sees her lead an international team of researchers on multiple large-scale research projects on representational diversity and inclusive workplaces. These projects include , a European Union funded 3.2 million Euro project which seeks to ensure equal opportunities for women and men by encouraging a more gender-competent management in research, innovation and scientific decision-making bodies, with a particular focus on universities.

Her success has seen her being called upon throughout the NHS and Higher Education and she has also contributed extensively to the development of health care in developing countries including Pakistan and numerous countries in Africa. She is a Visiting Professor at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa, Visiting Professor at the Central University College in Ghana, Visiting Professor at the National Open University of Nigeria, Fellow of the West African College of Nursing and Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.

Speaking of her honour Professor Archibong said: "I am thrilled to have received an MBE and be recognised for my work. It is a privilege to work in an institution which is committed to promoting inclusive workplace and study environment."

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said: "I am enormously pleased to hear that Professor Archibong has received this honour. As the University of Bradford approaches its 50th year, this honour further demonstrates that Bradford is fiercely committed to making change in society and always has been."

Professor Archibong, whose career began as a general and public health nurse and midwife, was born and raised in Nigeria. While studying she was named best nurse and then best midwife by the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and also gained the Outstanding Young Person award for her contribution to health care development in Nigeria in 1990.

Professor Archibong will officially receive her MBE during 2015.

University of Bradford's world-leading research recognised


The University of Bradford has been ranked 49th in the UK for the quality of its research with three quarters being classed as either world-leading or internationally excellent.

The results, published in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), assess the quality and impact of university research and see the University significantly improve in overall ranking from 62 to 49 in the UK.

The REF replaces the previous Research Assessment Exercise, last conducted in 2008. It places greater emphasis on the impact of research, considered by the REF to be making a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

The REF particularly measures the output – the number and quality of publications - of a university’s research, and the real impact of research based on case studies submitted.

Nearly 40% of Bradford’s impact case studies have been ranked world leading (4*) and almost 90% ranked as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) combined, putting the University 43rd in the country for the impact of research. The University is also 43rd for the quality of research output.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of the research overall was rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). A further 22% of the University’s research was internationally recognised, meaning that overall 96% was ranked as internationally recognised through to world leading.

The results for Allied Health, Management and Archaeological Science were particularly good. In Allied Health the overall assessment of research placed 92% of it in the 4* and 3* categories, and 100% of the impact and environment in 4* and 3*. Impact was strong in Archaeological Science where 100% was classed as 4* and 3*, 60% in the 4* category. Politics and International Studies also scored 100% for impact across 4* and 3*. Management did particularly well in impact with 87% in the 4* and 3* categories.

Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “We pride ourselves on the high quality of our research and knowledge transfer activity. These results underline that excellence and demonstrate Bradford’s continued development as a world-leading, research-intensive university that brings real solutions to issues affecting society and communities worldwide.

“Bradford is fiercely committed to making a difference – producing research that impacts on real-world problems and equipping our graduates to go into the world able to make a significant contribution to society. We are proud of that commitment and delighted to see the excellence and impact of our research recognised.”

Examples of the University's research can be found on our .

Notes to editors

Research Excellence Framework 2014

The four UK higher education funding bodies [Note] allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research. They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

Aims of the Research Excellence Framework

To distribute funds selectively on the basis of quality, the funding bodies assess universities’ research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and was last conducted in 2008.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaced the RAE. It assessed the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results will be published in December 2014 and will be used by the funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16.

As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

REF2014 key facts

  • 154 UK universities took part. They made 1,911 submissions for:
    • 52,077 academic staff
    • 191,232 research outputs
    • 6,975 impact case studies.
  • 36 expert sub-panels reviewed the submissions, overseen by four main panels
  • around £2 billion per year of research funding will be allocated on the basis of the results.

Note: The four UK funding bodies are: the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and Department for Education, Northern Ireland.

Valley Parade Fire Drama Raises Money for the University of Bradford's Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit


Members of the FYSA theatre company have raised money for the University's Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit (PSBRU)

The theatre company has raised £500 for the unit so far, through profits from the show they performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival entitled 'The 56' based on real-life testimonies from witnesses and survivors of The Bradford City Fire.

‘The 56’ is a play that represents the amalgamation of spoken witness accounts, primary resources and written testimonies from the Bradford City FC Fire. The script came about after members of the company attended a memorial service at Centenary Square, Bradford, which marked 29 years since the Valley Parade fire.

Eight members of the Theatre Group will come to the University to present a cheque to Mr Ajay Mahajan, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Director of the Unit and Prof Des Tobin, the Director for Centre for Skin Sciences who is responsible for the academic supervision of researchers in the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit.

Matt Stevens-Woodhead from the FYSA Theatre Company, said: “The reason that FYSA Theatre has donated £500 to the University’s Burns Research Unit is because we want to help to support the ground-breaking research and training they facilitate.

“Over the past few months, we have interviewed and met several people who were significantly burnt in the Bradford City Fire. They were all fortunate enough to have made a full recovery due to the work of Prof David Sharpe and his team. We hope that our contribution will go some way in helping those who are similarly burnt to make a full recovery. We hope to be able to keep raising money for the burns unit in our future projects.”

Mr Ajay Mahajan, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Director of the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit, said: “We at the research unit are very grateful to the members of the FYSA theatre company for their generosity. It is gestures such as these that keep the memories of the 56 alive amongst us and help us towards our efforts to improve health care through our research activities."

The theatre group is also scheduled to perform the play in regional theatres in the Spring of 2015, this includes the Alhambra Studio in Bradford, April 23 - 25. They plan to continue to donate some of the proceeds of the show to the PSBRU. This will be launched alongside an educational outreach initiative that aims to educate the younger generation about The Bradford City Fire. This will be achieved through a series of workshops that will be free of charge to schools in the local area.

FYSA is an independent theatre company committed to a series of local works within the community.

Friend or Foe and football - remembering the 1914 Christmas truce


The University of Bradford is making its own unique contribution to a national project to mark one of the most iconic episodes of the First World War, the Christmas truce of 1914.

Football Remembers week, from 6-14 December, is a joint initiative from the British Council, Premier League, Football League and FA, commemorating the moment in 1914 when British and German soldiers left their trenches and weapons and mingled in no man’s land to chat, exchange gifts and, in some instances, play football.

During the week, players in all matches will pose together as a mark of respect and there will be a tournament in Ypres, organised by the Premier League.

The British Council approached Professor Tom Woodhouse, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford, to contribute to an education pack for schools nationwide and he created a conflict resolution simulation game called Friend or Foe.

Based around the Christmas truce, the game involves two teams using Friend and Foe cards and challenges students to think about their actions as well as the cause and effect of conflicts. It explores a process two sides might use to reach a truce and how that might succeed or break down.

The game also includes original source material including regimental and personal diaries from the time and has been made available to 30,000 schools.

Professor Woodhouse said: “The aim of the week is to use football to highlight what happened during the Christmas truce. Friend or Foe particularly highlights the value of peace and peace-making and gives pupils the opportunity to reflect not only on what happened in 1914 but also on how they approached the issues presented by the game.”

Friend or Foe can be seen at

Dirt Provides New Insight Into Roman Burials


The first scientific evidence of frankincense being used in Roman burial rites in Britain has been uncovered by a team of archaeological scientists led by the University of Bradford. The findings - published in the Journal of Archaeological Science - prove that, even while the Roman Empire was in decline, these precious substances were being transported to its furthest northern outpost.

The discovery was made by carrying out molecular analysis of materials previously thought to be of little interest – debris inside burial containers and residues on skeletal remains and plaster body casings. Until now, evidence for the use of resins in ancient funerary rites has rarely come to light outside of Egypt.

The samples came from burial sites across Britain, in Dorset, Wiltshire, London and York, dating from the third to the fourth century AD. Of the forty-nine burials analysed, four showed traces of frankincense – originating from southern Arabia or eastern Africa - and ten others contained evidence of resins imported from the Mediterranean region and northern Europe.

Classical texts mention these aromatic, antimicrobial substances as being used as a practical measure to mask the smell of decay or slow decomposition during the often lengthy funeral rites of the Roman elite. But it was their ritual importance which justified their transportation from one end of the empire to the other. Seen both as gifts from the gods and to the gods, these resins were thought to purify the dead and help them negotiate the final rite of passage to the afterlife.

Rhea Brettell from the University of Bradford, whose research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was the first to realise that these grave deposits were an untapped reservoir of information which could provide the missing evidence:

“Archaeologists have relied on finding visible resin fragments to substantiate the descriptions of burial rites in classical texts, but these rarely survive,” she says. “Our alternative approach of analysing grave deposits to find the molecular signatures of the resins – which fortunately are very distinctive – has enabled us to carry out the first systematic study across a whole province.”

These resins were only recovered from burials of higher status individuals, identified from the type of container used, the clothing they were wearing and items buried with them. This is consistent with the known value of frankincense in antiquity and the fact it had to be brought to Britain via what, at the time, was a vast and complex trade route.

University of Bradford Professor of Archaeological Sciences, Carl Heron, who led the research, adds: “It is remarkable that the first evidence for the use of frankincense in Britain should come from such seemingly unpromising samples yet our analysis demonstrates that traces of these exotic resins can survive for over 1700 years in what others would reject as dirt.”

The project was a collaboration between the University of Bradford and specialists at the Anglo-Saxon Laboratory in York, the Museum of London and the Universities of Bamburg and Bordeaux.

Dr Rebecca Redfern, research osteologist in the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London, said: “This eye opening study has provided us with new and amazing insights into the funerary rituals of late Roman Britain. The University of Bradford’s significant research has also rewarded us with further understanding of a rich young Roman lady, used in the study, whose 4th century skeleton and sarcophagus was discovered near Spitalfields Market in the City of London in 1999, making her burial even more unique in Britain.”

Image of Spitalfields woman courtesy of Museum of London

University of Bradford honours six in graduation ceremonies.


The University of Bradford will this week honour figures such as NHS England National Director for Commissioning Dame Dr Barbara Hakin OBE and Morrisons Chief Executive Dalton Philips.

Notable names from the fields of health, archaeology, biology, retail and engineering will be presented with honorary degrees to recognise their achievements and contributions to the local, national and international communities.

Receiving honorary degrees from the University will be:

  • Dalton Philips, Chief Executive of Morrisons, will receive a Doctorate of the University
  • Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe CBE, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford, will receive a Doctorate of Science
  • Ron Lee, Director of Powertrain for Jaguar Landrover, will receive a Doctorate of Engineering
  • Sir Keith Pearson, Chair of Health Education England, will receive a Doctorate of Health
  • Dame Dr Barbara Hakin OBE, National Director overseeing operational delivery of healthcare in NHS England, will receive a Doctorate of Health
  • Professor Bertil Andersson, world-renowned plant biologist and President of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, will receive a Doctorate of Science

Honorary graduates will receive their awards from the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, during degree ceremonies taking place in the University’s city campus Great Hall on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December.

Professor Cantor said “We are proud to honour six individuals who represent some of the very best practice in their chosen fields. Their contributions, both within their fields and to society as a whole, make them true inspirations and I hope that their personal drive and accomplishments inspire our graduates to strive for greatness too. It is an honour to welcome them as honorary graduates into our University of Bradford family.”

Honorary graduate biographies

Dalton Philips

Doctor of the University

Dalton Philips has been the Chief Executive of UK retailer Morrisons since March 2010. After growing up on a poultry farm in Ireland, he attended University College, Dublin. He has since held managerial and executive positions in retail companies around the world including Jardine Matheson in New Zealand and Wal-Mart Inc. running divisions in Brazil and Germany. Dalton is a non-executive director at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe CBE

Doctor of Science

Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe CBE is a distinguished archaeologist and academic and is currently Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford where he taught from 1972-2008. He has served in various notable positions such as President of the Council for British Archaeology and as a Commissioner of English Heritage. Sir Barrington has published many excavation monographs, research reports and books.

Ron Lee

Doctor of Engineering

Ron Lee has held the position of Director of Powertrain for Jaguar Landrover since 2013 following 12 years as Group Chief Engineer of Powertrain. He has been instrumental in developing the new collection of low emission, 4-cylinder petrol and diesel engines which Jaguar Land Rover is currently preparing for their new range. Ron was included in the 2014 Sunday Times Britain’s 500 most influential people.

Sir Keith Pearson

Doctor of Health

Sir Keith Pearson has been Chair of Health Education England since June 2012 after 16 years of holding chair positions in the NHS. Prior to the NHS, he held chief executive posts in East and South-East Asia. Outside of his healthcare work, Sir Keith is Chair of the Tri-Base British-American Community Relations committee for the MOD and Chair of the GMC UK Revalidation Programme Board and was Chairman of the National Advisory Group on Health and Criminal Justice. Sir Keith has been a Magistrate since 1999 and received a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2010.

Dame Dr Barbara Hakin OBE

Doctor of Health

Dame Dr Barbara Hakin OBE is the National Director responsible for overseeing operational delivery of healthcare in NHS England seconded from the Department of Health. She qualified in medicine in Leeds in 1975 and then worked as a GP in Bradford for 20 years before holding various chief executive positions within healthcare. Dame Barbara is renowned for her work on the development of clinical commissioning.

Professor Bertil Andersson

Doctor of Science

Bertil Andersson is a world-renowned plant biologist and President of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is a research adviser to the Swedish government and was Vice-President of the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) of the European Commission in Brussels 2004-2009. An author of more than 300 papers, Bertil received the Wilhelm Exner Medal in Vienna, Austria, recipients of which include Nobel Prize winners.

A week in Westminster


Dr Lijun Shang from the University of Bradford is swapping a lab coat for legislation, when he visits senior civil servant Dr Marcus Main at the House of Commons for a Week in Westminster from Monday 24 November as part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science.

During his visit Dr Shang, international lecturer in medical sciences from the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences, will shadow Dr Main, Senior Organic Chemist at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory, and learn about his work.

As well as attending seminars and panel discussions, while in Westminster Dr Shang will also attend Question Time in the House of Lords, a mock Science and Technology Select Committee and meet with local MP Philip Davies. The visit will provide Dr Shang with a behind-the-scenes insight into how science policy is formed as well as an understanding of the working life of a civil servant.

Dr Main will pay a mutual visit to the University of Bradford to see Dr Shang’s laboratory facilities and meet with Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences Professor Richard Greene and other members of staff.

Dr Shang said: “I am looking forward to being part of this scheme because I want to be involved in effective communication between politicians and scientists and contribute to the educational and international collaborations in the Bradford area. It is becoming ever more pressing that policy-makers ensure that society understands and enjoys the benefits from progress in sciences nationally and globally.”

The Royal Society’s Pairing Scheme aims to build bridges between parliamentarians and some of the best scientists in the UK. It is an opportunity for parliamentarians and civil servants to become better informed about science issues and for scientists to understand how they can influence science policy. More than 300 pairs of scientists, parliamentarians and civil servants have been partnered up since the scheme was launched in 2001.

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:

“We live in a world facing increasing challenges that can only be addressed with a clear understanding of science. From climate change to outbreaks of infectious diseases, GM organisms to technology and security, our policy makers have to make decisions about issues that will affect the lives of all those in the UK and, in many cases, the global community. This means policy-makers and scientists have a responsibility to engage with each other to get the best possible scientific advice into public policy making.

We set up the Royal Society’s Pairing Scheme in 2001 to provide the opportunity for MPs and scientists to build long term relationships with each other. We have now organised more than 300 pairings and have expanded the scheme to include partnerships between scientists and civil servants and members of the House of Lords.

Parliamentarians and scientists who have taken part in the scheme have gained from their experiences and the shaping of public policy can only improve over time as these relationships continue to grow.”

New partnership strengthens Bradford and Penang relationship


The University of Bradford has taken a major step forward in developing its presence in Malaysia by signing a collaboration agreement with an agency of the Penang State Government.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor and State Minister for Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs, The Honourable Dato Abdul Malik Kassim, was witnessed by Penang’s Deputy Chief Minister, Professor Dr Palanisamy Ramasamy.

This new relationship with PIHH Development SDN BHD, an agency of the Penang State Government, is specifically designed to promote the internationalisation of higher education and cultural co-operation in Penang, Malaysia and UK. The MoU seeks to develop and strengthen the bonds between academic communities in Penang and Bradford; and in the process also contribute to generating understanding, cooperation and communication between the two cultures.

Highlighted as one of the reasons behind the new relationship was the University of Bradford’s strong business offering. This includes its business school which has once again been named top in the world, with its Distance-Learning MBA and its prestigious Triple Crown accreditation. Professor Cantor and the Deputy Chief Minister also discussed the University’s Peace Studies Department and its renowned reputation across the world, Bradford’s strong Research and Knowledge Transfer Centres, including leading on polymer engineering, medical and automotive sectors and the recent announcement of a new £3.8m Digital Health Zone. This will enable companies developing new healthcare products and services to connect with Bradford’s outstanding capabilities in healthcare systems research, practice-based medicine and information and communications technology.

The signing of the MoU comes after a Penang State Trade Mission to the UK in September as the University seeks to develop its strategic partnerships with leading institutions.

Professor Cantor said: “As one of the world’s leading technology universities, Bradford is at the forefront of researching and developing solutions to the big global issues, including sustainable development and climate change, poverty, ill-health and disease, production and manufacturing, and terrorism and security.

“The University of Bradford is a truly international University, both in terms of its research and teaching and in attracting students from all over the world. Penang and its great institutions are well placed to partner with us as we jointly develop responses to issues that affect us all. I am delighted that we have agreed our memorandum of understanding and look forward very much to developing our joint working in the future.”

The agreement sets out areas of collaboration between the two organisations. These will focus on staff development and exchange, student exchange, curriculum development and joint research programmes.