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News from 2017

Bradford: Capital of Cycling

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Bradford Capital of Cycling (in the cycling hub/former shoe shop opposite City Park) are offering free learn to ride cycle training for University staff and students on Tuesday afternoons.

Want to brush up your cycling skills? You might currently cycle in your leisure time or maybe you haven’t cycled for 20 years. Whatever your cycling experience or ability, these free lessons will have you confidently riding on two wheels in no time. The free training is open to anyone who lives in West Yorkshire and is over the age of 16.

www.capitalofcycling.org/events/

Mental Health Awareness Week 8-14 May 2017

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Visit our stand in the Richmond Atrium on Wednesday 10th May, 11:30 : 14:30 (part of the Staff Networks event).

This year the theme is Surviving or Thriving? Too many of us accept that experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety are the price we pay to keep our lives on track. Working hours blur into leisure time and the rise of social media changes the way we interact with friends, families and our communities.

Mental Health Awareness Week will be celebrating good mental health as an asset that helps us to thrive. This is not just the absence of a mental health problem, but having the ability to think, feel and act in a way that allows us to enjoy life and deal with its challenges. With this in mind we’ll be asking how we can cultivate good mental health?

In the meantime why not take the mental health quiz and lets start talking about mental health…

Development Studies Association Conference: Call for Papers' Panel 42: Forced Migration and Protection in Uncertain World

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Development Studies Association Conference, University of Bradford, 6-8th September 2017. Call for Papers
, Panel 42: Forced Migration and Protection in Uncertain World.

Conveners

Behrooz Morvaridi (University of Bradford) email: b.morvaridi@bradford.ac.uk

UlaÅŸ Sunata (BahçeÅŸehir University) email: ulas.sunata@eas.bau.edu.tr

Short Abstract

The panel welcomes conceptual and policy papers relating to the narratives of the most vulnerable displaced people, including women, children and young female refugees who have lost their livelihoods and supporting networks and who live in uncertainty in urban areas and refugee camps.

Long Abstract

Despite the unquestionable significance of current patterns of forced migration, the impact of the policy context has remained surprisingly understudied. The current forced migration discourse around national and global security has effectively reconstructed notions of forced migrants and the commitment of some states to protect their rights. Increasingly restrictive refugee policies in Europe, as part of the ‘war’ against ‘terrorism’ and ‘political Islam’, have made it harder for displaced people to seek asylum. The shift in the refugee discourse, from one of ‘burden sharing’ to ‘state security threat/protectionism’, is reflected in policies of containment in many countries, several of which aspire to be ‘non-entree regimes’. Political discussion focuses primarily on two issues: how migration impinges on local lives and the extent to which injustices experienced by forced migrants suggest an institutional denial of their basic human rights. Analysis of the policy impact of forced migration is, however, both limited and poorly theorised.

This panel aims to provide a forum to discuss theoretical and policy questions about how we think about forced displacement, resettlement and refugee protection and a forum to consider the merits of ideas that incorporate the possibility of transforming pre-existing development issues through displacement policy. It considers whether the adoption of policy measures such as social protection, as a strategy for displacement and resettlement, would provide a longer-term response to the risks and impoverishment associated with forced migration than current humanitarian assistance approaches.

The deadline for submissions is 26th April. All proposals must be made via the online form here:

Propose a Paper

You can find more information about the conference here

EQUIS celebrates its 20th Anniversary

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of EQUIS - EFMD Quality Improvement System, launched two decades ago at the Deans and Directors General Conference at Schloss Gracht, now part of the ESMT Berlin.

The University of Bradford School of Management is part of an elite group of business schools worldwide with the triple-crown of accreditations, which includes EQUIS.

This international quality benchmark and improvement process was created to give European and, subsequently, business schools worldwide, a rigorous tool to assess, certify and improve their quality in 10 key areas, including governance, programmes, students, faculty, research and, foremost, internationalisation, ethics, responsibility and sustainability as well as corporate engagement.

A solid framework for quality measurement

Since its establishment, a strong emphasis on internationalisation and corporate connections have been the differentiating points of the EQUIS business school accreditation system. Coupled with recently added ethics, responsibility and sustainability standards, they have created a solid framework for quality measurement for international business schools.

The leading 1% of business schools

In its short history, EQUIS accreditation has become widely recognised by potential students, employers, the wider business education industry and the media as the most holistic and rigorous accreditation process, often being a pre-requisite for entry to rankings. With an estimated number of 15,000 business schools worldwide, only a handful (167 institutions from 41 countries) hold the EQUIS quality label. These institutions can say, without being too boastful, that they are part of the leading 1% of business schools.

To commemorate this landmark achievement, EFMD plans to celebrate the success of EQUIS over the course of 2017 at EFMD events across the international community.

Accelerating the transition to a Circular Economy

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Leading figures from business and academia met at the Faculty of Management and Law to explore new sources of competitive advantage via the circular economy business model.

The event, which took place at on Thursday 16 February 2017, is part of a regular series of Deans' Dinners hosted by Professor Zahir Irani, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law.

Professor Irani was joined by and Professor Stuart Roper: leading academics on the circular economy and marketing respectively. They hosted discussions on how we can accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

Representatives from a range of leading businesses, including Ideo, Yorkshire Water, Transport for the North, Grant Thornton, Deloitte, and Morrisons were in attendance, with guests flying in from Madrid, Paris and Milan.

Attendees heard about the University’s recent Global Pioneer circular economy research and unique educational programme, and explored the strategic opportunities for circular value for businesses.

About the circular economy

The circular economy is a business model which is able to generate business profit and economic growth, radically increase resource productivity whilst also regenerating, rather than depleting natural capital.

The Faculty of Management and Law runs the world's only MBA focused on the circular economy and an on-line executive programme to global businesses, city leaders and innovation companies. To date we have over 100 MBA students and 1000 delegates through our executive education course. We also conduct internationally significant research on the business case for a circular economy.

Bradford MBA - Global Leader for Career Progression

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The Bradford School of Management Distance Learning MBA ranked the world's number one for career progress in the 2017 Financial Times Online MBA global rankings.

The Financial Times measure career progress based on progression in the alumni’s level of seniority, and the size of the company they now work for, versus three years ago.

For the second consecutive year, the course is also ranked number two globally in the value for money category, and this year has ranked third globally for salary increase. On average, three years after graduation, MBA graduates at Bradford have increased their salary by 42%.

Professor Zahir Irani, who joined the Faculty of Management and Law as Dean in December, commented:

It is fantastic to see our MBA as the global leader for career progression and it is important to us to ensure our alumni are successful in their careers after graduating. International mobility is high on our agenda, and we are striving to ensure our MBA programme suits individual needs with the opportunity to study contemporary business issues

The School of Management has been ranked fifth in the world for international mobility and not only been a pioneer in launching one of the world’s first distance learning MBAs back in 1998, it has introduced the world’s first online MBA in Innovation, Enterprise and the Circular Economy.

This MBA was conceived and developed with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to take the lead in a business curriculum focused on the principles of the circular economy and sustainable development.

The programme is endorsed by the United Nations for its support of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and supports Bradford’s strategy to be one of the world’s most sustainable universities.

Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship 2017 winners announced

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We are delighted to announce that one of our students, Dawne Skinner, has been awarded a place on the prestigious Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship.

Dawne is studying the Innovation, Enterprise and Circular Economy Distance Learning MBA. She commented:

Being awarded the Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship is a dream come true. I look forward to engaging with, and learning from, the Circular Economy pioneers whose work I have been studying for the last two years as well as other Fellowship recipients and their mentors.

This year’s Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship generated a record amount of interest and after a careful shortlisting and interviewing process, 18 students were selected to join the programme.

The 2017 cohort consists of students and their academic mentors from 13 Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship Partner Universities, three from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Pioneer University programme, and two Wild Card winners - from the University of Innsbruck and Network University - University of California Davis.

Now in its fifth year, the Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship is the only circular economy fellowship programme in the world and is aimed at postgraduate students studying design, engineering and business. To be considered for the Fellowship, students were tasked with submitting a 90 second audio visual presentation which addresses two questions on the circular economy and is a critical opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their understanding.

The winning students and their mentors will participate in a week long summer school in London, an online learning programme, have the opportunity to develop their own Circular Economy Innovation Project and receive a cash bursary.

2017 Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship Students

  • Christelle Rohaut - University of California Berkeley
  • Anna Waldman-Brown - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ilaria Rossi - MIP Politecnico di Milano
  • Yubei Gong - Tongji University
  • David Perez Castillo - Tecnológico de Monterrey
  • Alexander Choksi - London Business School
  • Daniel Moccia-Field - Yale University
  • Martin Dugas - KEDGE Business School
  • Thomas Wastling - Cranfield University
  • Deborah Sumter - Delft University of Technology
  • Georgia Parker - Imperial College London
  • Matteo Maccario - Royal College of Art
  • Palash Ghawde - National Institute of Design, India
  • Daniel Guzzo - University Sao Paulo
  • Eve Richer - Arizona State University
  • Dawne Skinner - University of Bradford
  • Anna Köhl - University of Innsbruck - 2017 Wild Card Winner
  • Natalie Popovich - University California Davis - 2017 Wild Card Winner

The year long international programme will officially begin in April 2017 with an online webinar programme.

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For more information, please contact: Emily Scadgell, Education Communications Coordinator: emily.scadgell@ellenmacarthurfoundation.org

Follow the conversation on Twitter:

@circulareconomy
#circulareconomy

Notes to editors:

The Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship, launched in 2013, is an international programme for postgraduate students and their academic mentors from design, engineering and business on the circular economy. The Fellowship is open to postgraduate students from a global network of fourteen Partner Universities including: Imperial College London, Cranfield University, London Business School and the Royal College of Art in the UK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Yale University, University of California Berkeley and Stanford University in the United States, Kedge Business School, Delft University of Technology and MIP Politecnico di Milano in Continental Europe, Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico, Tongji University in China and India’s National Institute of Design. Every year we run a Wild Card competition to identify one or two exceptional students from any other university in the world to join the programme. The Fellowship is created by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org) in partnership with the Schmidt Family Foundation (www.theschmidt.org). For more information please visit www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/programmes/education/schmidt-macarthur-fellowship

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was created in 2010 to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Foundation works across five areas: insight and analysis, business and government, education and training, systemic initiatives, and communication. With its Knowledge Partners (Arup, IDEO, McKinsey & Co., and SYSTEMIQ), and supported by Core Philanthropic Funder (SUN), the Foundation works to quantify the economic opportunity of a more circular model and to develop approaches for capturing its value. The Foundation collaborates with its Global Partners (Cisco, Danone, Google, H&M, Intesa Sanpaolo, NIKE, Inc., Philips, Renault, Unilever), and its CE100 network (businesses, universities, emerging innovators, governments, cities and affiliate organisations), to build capacity, explore collaboration opportunities and to develop circular business initiatives. The Foundation has created global teaching, learning and training platforms on the circular economy, encompassing work with leading universities, schools and colleges, and online events such as the Disruptive Innovation Festival. By establishing platforms such as the New Plastics Economy initiative, the Foundation works to transform key material flows, applying a global, cross-sectoral, cross value chain approach that aims to effect systems change. The Foundation promotes the idea of a circular economy via research reports, case studies and books series, using multiple channels, web and social media platforms, including circulatenews.org which provides a leading online source for circular economy news and insight.

Bradford Executive MBA tops world rankings for work life balance

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The Bradford School of Management Executive MBA has ranked world number one for work life balance in the 2017 Ivy Exec League Executive MBA Rankings.

The rankings are based on a quantitative survey based perception study Ivy Exec undertook with the help of its professional community of high achieving, high aspiring executives.

The Executive MBA offers a flexible structure of three day block weekend study. Supported distance learning allows students to manage their studies alongside work and family commitments, whilst applying their learning directly back to the workplace. There is also an Executive MBA offered in Dubai, with academics flying out to teach students face to face.

This is the second outstanding ranking this month for MBA programmes at the Faculty of Management and Law, having scored first for career progression in the FT global rankings for the Distance Learning MBA at the beginning of March 2017.

Securing the top spot in rankings is extremely important to the Faculty - it shows our programmes are effective in the curriculum they are delivering, and the methods being used to deliver them.

There are a variety of MBAs on offer at the University, including the pioneering Innovation, Enterprise and Circular Economy MBA.

Bradford MBA programmes highly rated in CEO Magazine 2017 MBA Rankings

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The Distance Learning MBA at the University of Bradford School of Management has been rated 8th in the world, and 2nd in the UK, in the CEO Magazine 2017 MBA Rankings.

Our Executive MBA was ranked 5th in the UK, and our Executive MBA in Dubai was the only programme in the UAE to rank. Our MBA provision is rated Tier One in the European MBA rankings, and is one of only eleven UK universities to feature.

CEO Magazine has been showcasing top business schools from around the globe since it first launched in 2008. In 2012 the publication launched its annual Global MBA Rankings, profiling MBA, Executive MBA and Online MBA programmes. This year CEO Magazine rankings featured business schools across North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the BRICS, and includes over 160 institutions.

The rankings are based on a number of different factors, including quality of faculty, international diversity, class size, accreditation, faculty to student ratio, price, international exposure, work experience, professional development, gender parity, and delivery methods – with each factor receiving a different weighting.

These results build on other recent ranking successes:

We are recruiting to our MBA programmes now:

Distance Learning MBA features in QS world rankings

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Our Distance Learning MBA is rated 27th in the world in the latest QS Distance Online MBA Rankings 2017.

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds), one of the leading providers of World University Rankings, have released the fifth edition of their annual QS Distance Online MBA Rankings. The table ranks the world’s top 40 programmes, serving as a valuable information source for prospective students.

Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, said: “QS distance online MBA ranking is unique in evaluating opportunities for interaction with class-mates and professors as well as looking at the reputation with employers. The technology behind online learning continues to advance, improving the learner experience. But data on completion rates and employer feedback reinforces the view that the blended model including some physical meet-ups is most effective.”

QS have also seen an increase in interest in part-time and online MBAs – they are now on the radar of around a third and nearly one in five MBA applicants, respectively. In the case of the latter, the increased interest can be ascribed to the rapidly increasing quality of online MBA provision. In this increasingly competitive market it is a fantastic accolade for our distance learning MBA to feature in these rankings.

Dr Jannine Williams to present at London media gender misrepresentation conference

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Dr Jannine Williams, lecturer in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour at the University of Bradford, will present a workshop alongside The University of Lancaster's Dr Valerie Stead at the final Challenging Gendered Media Mis(s)representations of Women Professionals and Leaders conference.

The event takes place on Thursday 15 June 2017 at Goodenough College, London. It brings to a close the successful three-year ESRC Seminar Series, a collaboration between representatives from the universities of Bradford, Lancaster and Roehampton.

Analysing Media Representations

The series has focused on challenging gendered media misrepresentations of women professionals and leaders, and how a continued media focus on women’s gender rather than achievements, misrepresents their ability, contribution and advancement. Dr Jannine Williams and Dr Valerie Stead’s workshop will take an analytical look at these media representations.

Keynote Speakers

Also speaking on the day are Professor Karen Ashcraft from the University of Colorado and Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center, Washington DC.

This final seminar in the series will be the eighth in total. The most recent instalment took place in December 2016 and was hosted by Bradford’s Dr Jannine Williams. Journalists, academics and business people joined Ruth Cadbury MP at the event, held at the House of Commons.

More information and tickets

You can read more about the Gendered Media Mis(s)representations of Women Professionals and Leaders conference and book your tickets online.

Students from Qatar University attend International Master's Summer School

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Five graduate students from the College of Business & Economics at Qatar University recently attended the the University of Bradford's International Master's Summer School, spending a week examining sustainability in business.

was held 22-26 May 2017 at the School of Management, University of Bradford.

Led by , the event explored challenges and opportunities for sustainability in business globally, covering issues such as the Circular Economy, ethical leadership, international sustainable strategies and social media marketing.

It included seminars, practical workshops and company visits, along with the opportunity to explore the historic city of Bradford.

Dean of the Faculty of Managment and Law Professor Zahir Irani said: “The International Master’s Summer School for Sustainability in Business offers graduate students a unique opportunity to enrich their experience and knowledge of contemporary issues in global business sustainability. Simultaneously, it is offering us, as a school, an opportunity to build strong foundations with Qatar University. There is much synergy between our institutions.”

CBE Associate Professor of Information Systems Dr Ramzi El-Haddadeh said: “Qatar University in general and the College of Business and Economics in particular, does really value the scholarships offered by the Triple Crown School of Management to our carefully selected graduate students. This summer school offered our students unique settings that enrich their learning journey and experience in global business sustainability at one of the internationally leading management schools. We are sure this is the first of many future collaborations.”

Student Aseel Bardawil (Masters in Marketing) said: “My experience at University of Bradford has been incredible. There were practical and theoretical exercises taking place throughout our time. I learned a lot more about business sustainability and ethical leadership. This has triggered my thoughts on how circular economies should be applied throughout the world and their impact on the future. I am quite pleased to have been given this opportunity and I do strongly encourage other graduate students at QU to take the initiative and actively seek similar events and activities.”

The Jean Monnet Network initiates work on developing sustainable societies and improving EU-Africa cooperation

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The Jean Monnet Network is a research and training project funded by the EU Commission. It brings together academic partners and institutions from five East African countries, the UK, Greece, and China.

It aims to improve EU-Africa cooperation, and contribute to building sustainable societies.

The Jean Monnet Network comprises partners from Bradford, Lancaster Management School and its Shandong campus, the University of the Peloponnese (Greece), USIU-Africa (Kenya), the Uongozi Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania) Gulu University (Uganda), the Protestant Institute for Arts and Social Sciences (Kigali, Rwanda), and the University of Burundi with its UNESCO Chair. It also has a partner from the University of Juba (South Sudan).

On 11 April 2017 , who holds the Jean Monnet Chair at the Faculty of Management & Law, organised the first meeting of the Jean Monnet Network in Nairobi (Kenya) - ‘The European Union, Africa and China in the Global Age – Sustainable Development through Tripartite Cooperation and Regional Integration: The Case of the East African Community (EU-EAC)’.

The meeting was followed on 12 April by the Network’s First International Workshop at the US International University – Africa (USIU-A) in Nairobi. This first event was a great success which brought together scholars from three continents, as well as leaders from the East African community and from the EU Delegation in Kenya.

From 30 May to 2 June Jean-Marc led a delegation of Jean Monnet Professors to Arusha (Tanzania) to hold consultations with top level officials of the East African Community (EAC), and to develop training and research cooperation.

First, Jean-Marc and Prof. Wei Shen (Lancaster / Shandong) met with Ambassador Libérat Mfumukeko, Secretary General of the East African Community, to discuss how the Jean Monnet Network can contribute to the four regional integration pillars in East Africa – Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union, and Political Federation. Ambassador Mfumukeko displayed a strong interest in future collaboration.

Jean Monnet Network 1

On 2 June, Jean-Marc, accompanied by Prof. Wei Shen, Prof. Asteris Huliaras (Corinth, Greece) and Moses Onyango (USIU-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya), met Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega, Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

The Speaker kindly agreed to address the forthcoming International Conference on the European Union and the East African Community due to take place in Tanzania next year, as well as the Third International Research Workshop in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Jean-Marc and his delegation were honoured to receive a special invitation to attend the concluding Dinner of the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Jean Monnet Network 9

Finally, Jean-Marc and his team also had fruitful talks with the German Corporation for International cooperation, a German development agency based in Arusha, who have kindly offered to collaborate on the initiative and provide logistical support in organising a training session for the EAC, and the Second International Workshop at the EAC in September.

The International Master's Summer School for Sustainability in Business 2017

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The International Master's Summer School for Sustainability in Business (IMSS) took place 22:26 May 2017 at the Faculty of Management and Law, University of Bradford.

The International Master’s Summer School 2017 - 1

The IMSS is an innovative and exciting event designed to engage students through critical and experiential learning in the context of global sustainability.

The event includes research-led lectures on topics such as the circular economy, sustainable international challenges and strategy, ethical leadership and social marketing. It included a week long simulation, industry guest speakers and local company visits. We also included a guided tour of Saltaire Village, a UNESCO site, to give participants a historical context of sustainability and to experience first hand the Victorian model village that is part of Bradford’s Industrial heritage.

The IMSS 2017 had 45 participants from 17 nationalities across 4 continents including master’s students from five universities:

  • University of Bradford School of Management
  • Audencia Business School (France)
  • Deusto University (Spain)
  • Qatar University (Qatar)
  • Ahlia University (Bahrain)

International Master’s Summer School 2017 2

Student feedback was very positive and many students told us how they were inspired and full of new ideas about sustainable business models.

"To me, the intensity of the programme in which theory and practice came together seamlessly was the best aspect of the summer school.

This intensity made sure that the students, in a short period of time, had to process and understand the knowledge in order to be able to apply it in the simulation game played throughout the week…the international students, whom had not met before, had to work closely together in order to fulfil the tasks given...the programme deepened my understanding, but also inspired me to implement sustainability into my thinking process in regard to setting up new ventures, whereas before I was mostly focused on the economics.

Therefore, I am grateful for the mind widening impact the programme had on me.’

Arwin Pietre Bosman (Audencia Business School student and IMSS graduate

The Director of the IMSS, , commented:

‘This year we welcomed students from the Ahlia University and Qatar University, in addition to students from our European partners. We also have the first participant from industry.

The diverse makeup of the group enriched the experience of the event and bought the global impact of sustainable development to Bradford. We are delighted about the very positive feedback received from all participants and the excellent learning outcomes. I thank all contributors and colleagues for their tremendous work. The quality of the presentations was so high that the judging panel decided to give the award to both finalist teams.

This was a truly remarkable week and I hope will create a lasting impact on the participants’ understanding of sustainable business practice that they will take with them in their personal and working lives.’

International Master’s Summer School 2017 - 3

Roundtable event examines impact of Franco-German alliance revival

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Jean-Marc Trouille, Senior Lecturer in European Business Management at the Faculty of Management and Law, was an expert contributor to a roundtable event examining the revival of the Franco-German tandem.

The event, which took place at Gatehouse Advisory Partners, London, on 20 July 2017, set out for the business community the potential impact of the revival of the Franco-German alliance on EU reform, on Brexit negotiations, and on future relations with the UK.

Gatehouse Advisory Partners is a geopolitical consultancy advising corporates and investment funds on the way in which national and international developments may affect their business, markets and clients. The event was attended by CEO Chairmen, Heads of strategy, corporate relations and supply chains, and portfolio managers.

The panel consisted of:

Expert Contributors

  • Hans-Hartwig Blomeier, Director of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung London office
  • Sir Peter Ricketts, the UK’s first National Security Adviser (2010-12) and former UK Ambassador to France
  • , Senior Lecturer in European Business Management, Chair of the European Commission Jean Monnet Network

Chairman

  • Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Chairman of Gatehouse Advisory Partners

Bradford MBA programme one of first to be endorsed by NHS

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The University of Bradford is one of seven higher education institutions (HEIs) appointed by the NHS Leadership Academy to deliver the NHS Masters in Business Administration (MBA) programme, as announced in a speech by the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, last year.

After an open bidding process, Bradford joins Lancaster, Nottingham, Durham, Hertfordshire, The Open University and Manchester Alliance Business School, who will have their MBA programmes endorsed by the NHS Leadership Academy.

Stephen Hart, national director for leadership at Health Education England and managing director for the NHS Leadership Academy said: “I’m pleased that we’re able to progress with endorsing the first ever MBA specifically designed to help build better leaders within the NHS.

“Since the Secretary of State’s speech last year, we’ve been working with partners to bring this ambitious programme to life. Work will continue into the exact detail of the programme and we look forward to working closely with HEIs and the Department of Health to develop this further.”

Professor Zahir Irani, Dean of the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Management and Law, said: “Bradford’s MBA programme is a world leader, pioneering management and leadership training and winning countless accolades and topping international rankings. This endorsement is due recognition for our programmes and we look forward to working closely with the NHS to help deliver their leaders of the future.”

Launching in the autumn term of 2017 and into 2018, the MBA programme will give students the opportunity to develop their skills in business administration. The programme will be open to those students who can demonstrate that they meet the HEI criteria for acceptance on to the programme and can meet the university requirements for application of learning.

Each HEI will form a relationship with their Local Leadership Academy (LLA) to ensure that students are supported as needed. The LLA will provide students with an opportunity to access talent management resources and career advice from NHS Executive Search throughout the duration of the programme.

Further information on the NHS-endorsed MBA at Bradford is available from Dr Craig Johnson, Director of Studies, MBA, tel: 01274 234347 or email c.l.johnson@bradford.ac.uk

Study tours to the Middle East for Bradford's international entrepreneurs of the future

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As part of the Faculty of Management and Law's commitment to nurturing international thinking in our students, and our dedication to enhancing graduate career prospects, we are offering our students two exciting opportunities to experience how business works in foreign locations and cultures.

All undergraduate students progressing to year two in 2017-18, and who have an interest in international business, can apply for the opportunity to visit Ahlia University in Bahrain for one week (September 10-15, 2017). There are five places available.

We are also funding five places for a study tour to Qatar University for all MSc postgraduate students submitting their Dissertation in September 2017. This tour, also for one week, takes place 24-29 September 2017

These prestigious institutions will organise a mix of theoretical and practical activities including workshops, site visits, cultural visits, guest talks and social activities, all to help our students develop an international mindset. The tours will help our students to understand and acquire important skills needed for successful entrepreneurship and business on the international stage, and offers the opportunity to build international ties and networks.

This is a competitive selection process open to all eligible students with a current UK or EU passport. The cost of the experience will be covered by the University.

Full details on how to apply will be provided to our students, but if you would like further information in the meantime please email Dr Deirdre McQuillan.

Professor Zahir Irani analyses resilience within food supply chains

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Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law Professor Zahir Irani has written on food security in desert nations, in response to the ongoing blockade of Qatar.

The article, originally published in The Conversation and adapted for the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula, is republished below.

Qatar blockade is a warning to all desert countries that rely on imported food

"The wealthiest nation on the planet is facing a sudden experience of what poverty might be like, if relationships with its neighbours are not restored. Though Qatar has an extraordinary per capita income of US$130,000, compared with around US$57,000 in the US, it has a glaring weakness – the small desert peninsula imports around 90% of its food.

This has come to a head as a result of the blockade placed around Qatar by neighbouring members of the Gulf Co-operation Council, who accuse it of supporting militants. It furiously denies the claim. Because most of Qatar’s food had previously arrived across its only land border with Saudi Arabia, the blockade created the potential for imminent shortages, food inflation and unrest. Severe food shortages have only been averted thanks to urgent new deals with Iran and Turkey, which are flying and shipping food in.

Qatar is an important example of a nation potentially made complacent by its wealth. Why cultivate your own food when you can simply buy it in? The country also has a major food waste problem exacerbated by a regional culture of social extravagance. It appears to have given little attention to securing resilience within its food supply chains.

The blockades have exposed Qatar’s lack of domestic food production. Its hot, dry climate means most land is unsuitable for agriculture, and costs are high. The local food industry therefore does not have the knowledge, expertise or infrastructure to compete with cheaper, sometimes “loss leader” ranges of food imports that are seeking to create an anchor presence in anticipation of other food ranges to follow. Huge economic inequality also plays a role: wealthy, status-conscious Qataris prefer higher quality imported food, while at the other extreme a cost-conscious imported workforce cannot afford to be choosy.

So what can be done? The connections between food, water and energy are at the heart of security issues in many parts of the world – and Qatar is no different. Huge oil and gas reserves mean the country is obviously rich in energy, but it needs secure supplies of all three to underpin its development. Qatar at least has the financial resources to invest, reducing its reliance on others in respect of food and water.

Desalination plants have been used since the 1950s in the Middle East to convert seawater for drinking and agriculture. But the financial and environmental costs are unsustainable: it has been estimated that the 30 desalination plants in Saudi Arabia rely on around 300,000 barrels of crude oil each day. Solar-powered desalination plants look to be the future as they are capable of producing a litre of water for around 2 cents (compared with US$1 for a litre by conventional desalination plants), but it still isn’t certain whether these plants can be deployed quickly and cheaply at the sort of scale required.

To get its food industry going, Qatar needs to promote new generations of “agro-preneurs”. They’ll need to be backed with subsidies, business-friendly start-up policies and the necessary capital for facilities. The fledgling enterprises will need an ecosystem of knowledge and expertise in agriculture to demonstrate how they can become established in local markets and be more attractive than imported goods. Limited land mass and already large numbers of small individual plots means that creating some sort of “Qatar National Food Corp” would not be easy – but not impossible.

Current legislation tends to encourage rather than limit food waste – and this needs to be reversed. Qatar has a system of strict expiry dates, with no “best before”. This affects consumer attitudes and, in a more major way, that of retailers. Any expired products are often sent to landfill as this is cheaper than returning them to distant manufacturers.

Smart marketing and widespread education is needed to change “normal behaviour” among consumers who currently reject “non-perfect” foods, see excess food as rubbish, and prefer luxury global brands as a definition of status. A culture of good hospitality and buffets for every social occasion and event isn’t helping the food waste problem. In particular, Qataris will need to learn to accept the lower standard (at least initially) of food produced locally by an immature industry but one with much potential for enhancement.

A combination is needed of new enterprise, new regulations to limit waste and new technologies. Here, Qatar should develop its own research, and become a leading innovator in technology designed to grow, transport and store food even in an arid climate – it certainly has the resources.

University of Bradford appoints new Associate Deans

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The University of Bradford has appointed Professor Amir M. Sharif and Professor Dilek Önkal as Associate Deans in its Faculty of Management and Law.

Professor Sharif joined the University on 1 August as Associate Dean (International) and Professor in Circular Economy, whilst Professor Önkal joined the University on 1 September as Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Transfer) and Professor in Decision and Organisational Science.

Professor Sharif, a previous Head of Brunel Business School, will help develop and grow the reach and quality of international partnerships, student mobility and transnational education. Amir has held a number of academic leadership positions previously and prior to academia, Amir enjoyed an extensive and successful career in the commercial world working with many leading global firms such as JPMorgan, UBS Investment Bank, KPMG, BAE Systems, Sony, and the BBC.

Allied to this, he brings a wealth of experience in terms of both internationalisation of programmes and overseas global partnerships and has successfully led, directed and contributed to key business school accreditations such as AACSB and AMBA.

Amir is research active across a number of areas including food security, humanitarian operations, and causal decision-making. His research on the impact of European Union farming subsidies on the UK agribusiness sector and the resulting effect on UK climate change policy, was identified as a 4* impact case study in 2014 by the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) sub-panel for Business and Management.

He continues to be an active member on leading national and international grant funding bodies such as the EPSRC, ESRC, the British Council, the EU, and the Qatar National Research Foundation.

Professor Sharif said: “I am delighted to join an innovative and forward-looking institution at a time of transformation but also at a time where we can realise great potential. I want to bring my combination of academic and commercial experiences to add value to leading and managing the Faculty’s international portfolio.

“Internationalisation across teaching and research should ultimately enrich the student learning experience and increase knowledge transfer between academics also.”

Joining Professor Sharif at the University, Professor Önkal has been teaching statistics, forecasting, decision and organisational science at undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA and PhD levels. She has taught extensively in the US, UK and Turkey. She has also worked as a Director of the International Institute of Forecasters, as well as a member of the Bloomberg Insight Exchange (previously known as Bloomberg Businessweek Markets Advisory Board).

Professor Önkal said: "I am deeply excited to join the Faculty of Management & Law as Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer.

“As a strong believer in collaborative and multidisciplinary research, I look forward to working with all members of the Faculty to broaden the University's vibrant mosaic of R&KT activities. With research infused throughout all our programs and strategic global partnerships, we will aim to develop synergistic R&KT platforms to promote the University's vision and 'make knowledge work' for all."

Professor Önkal is a quantitative researcher, working in the Judgemental Organisational Science area and has published extensively innumerous prestigious journals. She is currently the Co-Editor of the 3* ‘International Journal of Forecasting’ and is a reviewer for grant councils such as the Economic & Social Research Council, The British Academy, European Science Foundation, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, TÜBÄ°TAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), Qatar National Research Fund, and Greek Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs.

Professor Önkal joins Bradford from UCL where she is a currently a visiting Fellow at the Judgement and Decisions Lab. Prior to joining UCL, Dilek was the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. Professor Önkal received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, where she taught prior to joining Bilkent University in 1988. She has also been an academic visitor at Oxford University Department of Economics and an associate member of the Nuffield College during 2006-2007. She also spent 2010 at Brunel University.

School of Management ranked in Management FT Rankings

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Our MSc Management gains international rankings in the Finance Times Master in Management Rankings 2017

FT Rankings 2017

‌The MSc Management at the University of Bradford School of Management has been ranked in the world top 95 Master in Management programmes, placing 79th in the 2017 FT league table.

The Financial Times have recently changed the methodology to include salary increase from graduation with a weight of 10 and career progress since graduation with a weight of 5. The rankings are also based on a variety of other factors including: salary increase, career progress, value for money and placement success; each with different weightings.

This MSc Management ranking sits alongside other global rankings the School of Management have gained for Distance Learning MBA earlier this year in the FT, CEO Magazine and QS World Rankings. Achieving a place in the FT global rankings demonstrates the quality of the programme the School of Management offers and the quality of alumni the courses produce.

Former British EU Ambassadors join forces with the Faculty of Management & Law's Jean Monnet Network

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Two former British EU Ambassadors and the University of Kigali (Rwanda) are joining forces with the Faculty of Management & Law's Jean Monnet Network 'The European Union, Africa and China in the Global Age'.

On 29 August 2017 , Lead Partner of the Jean Monnet Network, and Professor Wei Shen, both Jean Monnet Chairs respectively in Bradford and Lancaster, organised a very constructive meeting with Amb. David Macrae and Amb. Tim Clarke. The meeting took place at the Confucius Institute in Lancaster. Both were very enthusiastic in their support for the FoML’s Jean Monnet Network on strengthening regional economic integration in East Africa and promoting tripartite cooperation between Europe, Africa and China to generate sustainable growth in Africa. They will lend their expertise to the series of events planned by the Jean Monnet Network.

Amb. David Macrae is Chancellor of the University of Kigali (Rwanda). He was previously Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Rwanda. His diplomatic career also covered Chad, Gambia, Senegal, Zambia and other countries. He also worked for the EU’s DG Development on agricultural programmes in Sudan and Ethiopia. Most recently, he has been the Vice-President of the US University of Nigeria. Amb. Macrae and the University of Kigali will be valuable partners for the Network’s training and research activities scheduled next year in Rwanda and Burundi. David will also be involved in further events scheduled in the next three years around the world.

Amb. Tim Clarke spent eight years as Ambassador / Head of Delegation posted in Addis Ababa, where he was responsible for relations between the EU and the African Union, IGAD, Ethiopia and Djibouti; then later to Dar Es Salaam, where his responsibilities encompassed relations with Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC). Tim will be actively involved as a Honorary Member in the training and research events organised by the Jean Monnet Network. He has kindly agreed to give keynote speeches at the Second International Research Workshop and the First Training and Dialogue Session on Regional Integration, which will take place on 18 and 19 September in Arusha (Tanzania) in cooperation with the EAC.

About the Jean Monnet Network

The Jean Monnet Network is a unique endeavour to foster dialogue between academia and policy makers in a trilateral way between the European Union, Africa, and China, with a view to building sustainable societies in Africa for the benefit of all. This project is at the heart of the University of Bradford’s vision on sustainability.

The Network comprises partners from Bradford, Lancaster Management School and its Shandong campus, the University of the Peloponnese (Greece), USIU-Africa (Kenya), the Uongozi Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania) Gulu University (Uganda), the Protestant Institute for Arts and Social Sciences (Kigali, Rwanda), and the University of Burundi with its UNESCO Chair. It counts several honorary partners and also has a partner from the University of Juba (South Sudan).

Business & Finance Careers Exploration Day

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On Thursday 14th September 2017, the Faculty of Management and Law hosted an event for local schools (Bradford Girls Grammar, Carlton Bolling, Grange), to introduce their year 11 & 12.students to careers in Business and Finance.

The event was to launch the Industrial Centre of Excellence for Business and Retail’s programme for 2017/2018 to new students.

Students had the opportunity to meet employers and find out about careers in accountancy / finance, and the different routes into the profession. The employers who took part included PWC, Santander, Yorkshire Water, Barclays, NG Bailey, and Richard Wadkin’s Business Consultants.

They then had the opportunity to experience a taster lecture in accountancy, find out what it’s like studying for a degree, and meet some students about the enter their final year of the BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance.

Stacey Jobson, Director of ICE commented “the day has been a great success with students engaging in some great discussions to understand roles and careers within the business environment. And latterly in the afternoon they got a real insight into what it would be like to study at University of Bradford School of Management".

Alumni dinner in Qatar

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University of Bradford alumni based in Qatar and current MSc students met up for a dinner as part of the School of Management's recent study tour to Qatar University.

Held in Katara, the cultural village between West Bay and The Pearl in Doha, the dinner was the perfect opportunity for past students to share their experiences, to talk about career development since studying at Bradford and to network.

Our MSc students received advice on how to take the first steps in launching their careers (and in particular how to build a business, career or profile internationally) from alumni holding senior positions in such prestigious organisations as Qatar National Bank and Qatargas.

The dinner had multiple objectives including:

  • Maintaining our close connections with UoB alumni in Qatar, and discussing their ideas for future engagement with the University
  • Help MSc students to develop their engagement and networking skills, and gain local knowledge in an international setting to help them understand international entrepreneurship
  • Share common experiences and best practice between our past students and those completing the MSc programme

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Bank of England - Inflation Report briefing and seminar

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The Faculty of Management and Law is once again hosting the annual Bank of England Briefing in Bradford.

The Bank will publish its next Inflation Report at the start of November. Following this, on 9 November 2017, the Faculty will host a seminar to analyse the key points raised.

The session will be presented by Will Holman, Bank of England, Deputy Agent, Yorkshire and Humberside. Will holds bachelors and masters degrees in economics. Before joining the Bank of England, Will worked as an economist in the private sector and in government, most recently at an economics consultancy and the communications authority Ofcom.

Following the presentation there will be an open discussion on current economic conditions.

For further details please contact Lorraine Lucas, Head of Business Engagement.

Jean Monnet programme discussed at East African VC meeting

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On 21 September 2017, Jean-Marc Trouille of the Faculty of Management and Law was invited by the EU Delegation in Tanzania to address an audience of East African Vice-Chancellors and Deans in Dar Es Salaam.

The event, ‘European Union Meets Academia – a Networking Session’, took place at the Coral Beach Hotel and was launched by Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, Head of the EU Delegation. The aim of the event was to inform Tanzanian universities about opportunities offered by EU programmes to set up academic cooperations with Europe.

Jean-Marc gave a talk on the Jean Monnet Programme, its purpose and objectives, and the range of EU funding opportunities that it offers. In his speech he pointed out that Africa was still uncharted territory in terms of Jean Monnet projects. There was indeed only one Jean Monnet Chair on the whole continent, at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), but thanks to the University of Bradford’s EU-funded initiative ‘The EU, Africa and China in the Global Age’, the reach of Jean Monnet programmes now encompasses the member states of the East African Community (EAC). Promoting cooperation between the European Union and Africa, within and beyond academia, is one of the core aims of Bradford’s initiative.

Jean-Marc has acted several times as a Jean Monnet Expert on behalf of the EU Commission’s EACEA Agency. He gave talks last year at the Lebanese University in Beirut to academics from Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, and this year at the US International University – Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and at the East African Community Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Jean Monnet Network organises two events at the East African Community HQs

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On 18 September Bradford's Jean Monnet Network 'The EU, Africa and China in the Global Age (EU-EAC)' organised its First Training & Dialogue Session on Regional Integration' in close cooperation with the East African Community (EAC). The event took place at the EAC Headquarters, in the Plenary Hall of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) [photo: Arusha.jpeg]. It was attended by EAC top officials and EU ambassadors, and supported by the EU Delegation to Tanzania and the EAC. The principal organiser of the event was Jean-Marc Trouille, Lead Participant of the Network and Jean Monnet Chair at the Faculty of Management & Law.

The purpose of the event was to engage in a dialogue on regional integration and EU-EAC cooperation with policy makers from all EAC member states. Representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan demonstrated keen interest in confronting ideas with the speakers. The Jean Monnet Network found an engaged audience for this new concept of cross-continental European-African-Chinese dialogue between the worlds of academia and policy makers.

The event began with a Welcome Address by Kenneth Bagamuhunda, EAC Director General for Customs and Trade, followed by Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, Head of the EU Delegation in Dar Es Salaam. Three Plenary Sessions followed, with a focus on regional integration: Moses Onyango, Network Representative for Kenya, gave a talk on ‘Foundations of Regional Integration’, followed by Jean-Marc who provided a comparative approach of African integration with European and Asian experiences. Prof. Macharia Munene, from the US International University-Africa (USIU-A Nairobi), gave the third presentation on ‘Interregional Cooperation in Africa’. An insightful keynote address was pronounced by Amb. Tim Clarke, former Head of EU Delegation to Tanzania and the EAC, on ‘How Does the European Union Work in Practice?’. The afternoon was devoted to parallel dialogue sessions which offered EAC participants opportunities to engage in debates following Chatham House rules. The sessions were facilitated by Jean Monnet Network experts and rapporteurs.

The Jean Monnet Network plans to run similar Training & Dialogue Sessions for EAC officials in each of the EAC member states. The second one is scheduled in January 2018 and will take place in Kampala, Uganda. It will be followed in the same week by an international conference at Gulu University in Northern Uganda.

The series of events continued on 19 September with the Jean Monnet Network’s Second International Research Workshop. It comprised:

A first session on The EAC and International Development Cooperation, with presentations made by Fabio Di Stefano (Head of Infrastructure at EU Delegation), Ambassador Tim Clarke, and Lawrence Othieno, EAC Regional Trade Adviser.

A second session on The EU, Africa and China: Challenges and Development affecting Africa’s Partners, with a paper on ‘China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road – Potential for East Africa?’ jointly written by Prof. Wei Shen, (Jean Monnet Chair, Lancaster/Shandong), Dr Frannie Léautier (Former Vice-President of World Bank and African Development Bank and Honorary Member of the Jean Monnet Network), and Amb. Michael Schaefer (Chairman of BMW Foundation and Former German Ambassador to China). Prof. Asteris Huliaras (Jean Monnet Chair at the University of the Peloponnese, Greece) then provided insights on ‘Aspects of (in)coherence in EU Policies’, followed by Jean-Marc, whose talk was entitled ‘A Marshall Plan for Africa’s Industrialisation? Perspectives and Recent Initiatives’.

A third session was dedicated to Challenges and Developments affecting Africa. Dr Penine Uwimbabazi (Kigali, Rwanda) examined social dimensions of African development, whilst Julaina Obika (Gulu, Uganda) addressed issues of land conflicts, tensions on land access and refugees in East Africa, with emphasis on Northern Uganda and South Sudan.

A fourth session on Education and Training in East Africa. Prof. Léonidas Ndayisaba (UNESCO Chair, Burundi) informed the audience about the role and action of UNESCO Chairs in Africa. Jean-Marc gave a talk on ‘Promoting Jean Monnet Academic Activities in East Africa: An Information Session to the Jean Monnet Actions’. Finally, Dr Gwamaka Kifukwe (Uongozi Institute, Dar Es Salaam) explained the key role played by the Uongozi Institute in advising East African governments on sustainability and leadership issues.

The concluding session was a particularly lively open discussion with EAC officials keen to see more similar seminars in future with the Jean Monnet Network. Closing remarks were provided by Aime Uwase, Head of Planning and Research at the EAC.

On 20 September, the members of the Jean Monnet Network organised a lunch meeting with James Otieno Jowi, EAC Principal Education Officer, to discuss the support that the EAC will provide in organising the next Jean Monnet Training & Dialogue Sessions in each EAC member state. After this excellent meeting, Network members left to Kilimandjaro Airport to catch their flight back home.

The following morning, Jean-Marc, accompanied by Moses Onyango, attended a meeting with Ambassador Roeland van de Geer at the EU Delegation in Dar Es Salaam.

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It was agreed that the EU Delegation will contact the EU representations in each of the EAC member states with a request to provide support and safety advice to the Jean Monnet Network in their future activities across East Africa. Finally, the Jean Monnet Network and the EU Ambassador agreed to coordinate the respective events that they plan to organise in Arusha, Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma (Tanzania’s capital city) next May to coincide with Europe’s Day.

EAC

Emerald Scholarship winners

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Five University of Bradford postgraduate students have been awarded the Emerald Scholarship.

The Emerald Scholarship is a competitive, full-fee-paying award sponsored by the Emerald Foundation. It covers any MSc degree at the School of Management. All home and EU final-year students, from any faculty, are eligible.

Application process

The tough application process requires students to write 1000 words on a given topic. In this case, the applicants were challenged to write on: ‘What you think will be the major game changers over the next five years, and how businesses should respond’.

Emerald Scholarship winners

The successful students, as pictured from left-to-right, are:

Irfan Ahmed (MSc Strategic Marketing), Matthew Oldroyd (MSc Marketing and Management), Mary Adeleye (MSc Finance and Investment), Mohammed Naz (MSc Finance and Investment), Muhammed Abdul Aziz (MSc HRM).

Nurturing fresh thinking

Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 by academics at the School of Management. They championed new ideas in the research and practice of business and management.

The Foundation continues to nurture fresh thinking. They aim to make a difference in fields including health and social care, education and engineering.

A new breed of entrepreneurial consultant

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Students on our exiting new Masters programme, MSc Applied Management & Entrepreneurship (AME), have been working with Yorkshire based companies over the summer to develop real entrepreneurial ideas.

The students – international students from a range of experience and backgrounds - have been acting as a new breed of ‘entrepreneurial consultants’, learning about the entrepreneurial process by exploring real life entrepreneurial opportunities with local entrepreneurs.

Their first of the three week projects was for a textile manufacturer based in West Yorkshire. The company’s MD had identified a potential idea: manufacturing recycled fabrics made from waste plastics in the world’s oceans. The students’ challenge was to pick up this potential sustainable business idea and explore whether there was an opportunity worth pursuing further (or not). Having researched the ocean waste problem, analysed the market and spoken to both industry experts around the world and consumers on the ground, the students put together options for a business model together with specific opportunities for the company to link in with a global campaign for 2020.

Commenting at the presentation of the team’s report, the company’s MD said “The students genuinely helped me to take an embryonic idea and move it along to the next stage”. Far from a paper exercise, this will now be one of the ideas he seriously intends to take forward to the feasibility stage. Engaging with students was originally just a good way to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. Now he saw the value in being forced to focus and articulate a seedling idea and letting others help move it closer to becoming a real project for the business.

The other projects entailed working on ideas at different stages and in different sectors. Two projects were related to Crowdfunding, with the challenge to test the market for products/services that were already prototyped or concept ready – including a new sustainable portable box for livestock and pets. The final project was working with a highly successful social entrepreneur to consolidate his globally recognised social actions in a sustainable business model.

The entrepreneur behind a proposed radio station project, valued the amount of ‘positive progress’ the students made quickly with his business concept. Rather than following to the letter his brief to devise and launch a crowdfund campaign to raise funds for the start-up, the students impressed with their ability to rethink what was really needed – coming up with a revised concept for a community internet station based on a co-creation concept. He is now intending to implement their strategy and design for a crowdfunding campaign in the near future.

Commenting on their projects, the students who are half way through their 15 month Masters programme, said “the learning experience is so different. It is no longer a theoretical concept on a screen, but more a real life experience, of breaking down an idea and coming up with something tangible. You get a more rounded experience”. They have seen that working with entrepreneurs and applying what they know to real ideas and opportunities is learning by doing and can also have real impact.


We are currently accepting applications for the MSc Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, for a January 2018 start. Find out more about the programme and apply online.

MENA Network Meeting Friday 1st December

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Universities UK International are holding their network meeting at The Faculty of Management and Law on 1st December 2017. The event will be an opportunity for Universities to receive updates from UUKi, and discuss the British Council Programmes in the Gulf regions.

Participants will also receive the Department for International Trade regional updates alongside the trade policy.

The event will also focus on policy in mini sessions for Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia and there will be a discussion session focussing on Turkey, GCC admissions and Egypt.

Please complete the Eventbrite link here to reserve your place. Due to limited space, it is requested that reservations are limited to one participant per institution. There will be time reserved during the meeting for members to raise items for discussion with the group. If you have any questions or feedback on the event please contact the organisers via email.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

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The Faculty of Management and Law (FoML) has created the new role of Entrepreneur in Residence. The purpose of this position is to inspire students and members of staff within the faculty to embrace, practice and learn from entrepreneurial activities and help to identify opportunities to support our staff and students.

We are very excited to announce the appointment of our first Entrepreneurs in Residence and – both alumni of the School of Management. Over the coming months they will begin to engage with staff and students.

Tony Fish

Tony FishI am delighted to be able to bring my experiences back to Bradford and share them with students and graduates. I plan to encourage and support them on a path to generating value and opportunity for themselves by creating businesses which bringing some new and disruptive to the market.’

Martin Allison

Martin AllisonReflecting on the roles I have fulfilled in life there is no doubting that a curious and continual learning approach has been of benefit, this role is no different, it is new, iterative and exciting. I greatly enjoy seeing new ideas and projects succeed and more importantly the people who are associated with them grow and thrive. Just imagine if we could create a “production line” of world class entrepreneurs, products and organisations.’

The concept of Entrepreneur in Residence is part of the new FoML business engagement strategy that is integral to the Faculty 2017-2027 vision - in a more challenging graduate job market we want to inspire our students to be entrepreneurial, to have the confidence to think differently through to consider setting up their own businesses. Students are increasingly seeking entrepreneurial skills and it is in this regard that the FoML is enhancing the student experience.

Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law commented ‘I am delighted to welcome both Tony and Martin to the Faculty, and with their knowledge this is a very exciting time, the creation of these two roles will ensure our focus on entrepreneurship remains at the forefront of everything we do. This is another example of how we are pushing the boundaries and challenging the norm to the benefit of our students’

Transforming Government 2017 Programme: Identifying Critical Success Factors for Government Projects

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On the 14-15 December 2017 the Faculty and Management of Law will be hosting the annual Transforming Government Workshop.

The focus of this year’s Transforming Government workshop (tGov) is to debate and better understand how to manage and institutionalise the as yet unknown but potentially radical changes needed to the UK Government’s IT systems (including technology, people, and governance), with an overall theme of capability and readiness in the context of post-Brexit Britain. The output will be a synthesis of ideas to inform advice to the Government and the scope of any emerging potential joint research funding bid.

The workshop has called for papers on proposals for tackling the challenge of preparing the IT systems in public administration in line with policy and legislative changes that will be introduced to support Brexit.

In particular, position-viewpoint papers and proposals that aim to explore the potential measures that would enable the design of coherent approached to managing a complex multi-institutional ‘process and IT systems reengineering initiative’ across government are sought.

Attending the workshop will be academics from FoML and across the sector, EU officials and current and retired Government officials, alongside current MPs and retired CIOs of government.

If hundreds of very smart and very able people have spent more than 20 years struggling to manage such projects, and others have meanwhile been trying to work out why there are repeated failures, then maybe it isn't that project managers are all continually doing things badly. Instead, perhaps they are all trying to solve the wrong problems — so that despite their talent and best efforts they cannot succeed. Therefore we are exploring whether there is an alternative problem definition or model that suggests a different approach to dealing with the challenges presented by major government projects.

Accounting and Finance Student Prizes 2017

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On Wednesday 29th November the Faculty of Management and Law held a small ceremony to award undergraduate Accounting and Finance students. The awards were based on student performance from last academic year.

The awards are sponsored by WYSCA (West Yorkshire Society of Chartered Accountants) and RSM an accountancy firm based in Leeds and Manchester. In attendance at the event there was Tim Parr from RSM and WYSCA, Amir Sharif Associate Dean, International, Head of Research Centre Accounting, Finance and Economics - Tamer Elshandidy, Rahim Memon (now 2nd year Accounting and Finance student). Nabeel Rathoer (now 3rd year student) and Helena Pinto Programme Leader of Accounting and Finance

Accounting and Finance Student Prizes 2017

The winner of the WYSCA Prize for Best 1st year Accounting and Finance student went to Rahim Memon and the winner of the RSM Prize for Best 2nd year Accounting and Finance student went to Nabeel Rathoer, which was particularly special as he also won the prize last year.

the programme leader for Accounting and Finance said: “these prizes recognise the hard work of the Accounting and Finance students and demonstrate how highly the industry and accounting professional bodies value our degree and our students.”

Faculty of Management and Law reaccredited by CIMA

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The Faculty of Management and Law are pleased to announce that we have been awarded indefinite accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Prior to this award the Faculty received accreditation on a yearly basis. The CIMA have changed the way they award institutions as part of a broader picture that pertains to the way the CIMA professional qualification is recognized and acquired in the future.

At the beginning of this year, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants joined forces to create the most influential body of professional accountants in the world, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants – this partnership enables broader recognition of the CIMA qualification.

Students who pass the following undergraduate modules are exempt from certain examinations from the CIMA, as they have already covered the content during their degree:

  • Management Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Taxation
  • Financial Accounting
  • Corporate Reporting

Having these exemptions means our graduates can achieve professional chartered accountant status faster.

Tamer Elshandidy Head of Accounting, Finance and Economics said:

‘This is a great achievement, which reflects the recognition of the rigorous of our modules’ contents in accounting and finance. It further shows that how these contents are in line with CIMA requirements.

Likewise, we are also proud that the contents of our teaching mirror the cutting-edge research academic staff within the Accounting, Finance and Economics Research Centre are constantly publishing in internationally recognised academic journals. Collectively, this improves our students’ employability by combining professional with academic knowledge which also gives our graduates a great advantage in the job market’.

Sustainability Literacy Test Prizes 2017

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On 29 November 2017 students from the Faculty of Management and Law were awarded prizes for achieving high scores in the Sustainability Literacy Test (Sulitest). Sulitest is a tool to assess and verify students' core literacy globally in terms of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The Faculty of Management and Law is deeply committed to Education for Sustainability as a signatory of UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). For the last four years, the Faculty has adopted the Sustainability Literacy Test (or Sulitest) as part of our induction to raise students’ awareness of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Sulitest is becoming a standard for higher education worldwide; more than 600 universities are using it in 58 countries. The test is available online and consists of 30 questions in relation to knowledge in the area of:

  • Sustainable humanity and ecosystems
  • Global and local human-constructed systems
  • Transition towards sustainability
  • Role to play, individual & systemic change.

This year over 200 students participated, with competitions for top scores in the following three categories:

  • Undergraduate Level 4
  • Undergraduate Levels 5 & 6
  • Postgraduate

Top performing students were presented their certificates and prizes by Professor Amir Sharif, Associate Dean International, and the winners were

  • Undergraduate Level 4 - Maciej Ficek (BSc International Business and Management) 77% and Saba Khan (BSc Accounting and Finance) 77%
  • Undergraduate Levels 5 & 6 - Georgios Gialedakis (BSc Accounting and Finance) 97%
  • Postgraduate - Dudley Chown (MSc International Business and Management) 90% and Marcel Huber (MBA Distance Learning) 90%

Sustainability Literacy Test Prizes 2017

(From the left: Amir Sharif (AD International); PG winner Dudley Chown; UG Levels 5 & 6 winner Georgios Gialedakis; UG Level 4 winner Maciej Ficek; Helen Preece (Year 1 Director of Studies); Kyoko Fukukawa (Ethics Responsibility and Sustainability Lead)

Winner of Level 4 Maciej Ficek (BSc International Business and Management) said "The Sulitest presented itself to me as an appealing opportunity to assess myself in terms of my knowledge about sustainability, which nowadays is an issue of great and still of growing importance. Interested in the subject, I took the test and to my double satisfaction, soon I was honoured to be one of the top-score winners."

Winner of Levels 5 & 6 Georgios Gialedakis (BSc Accounting and Finance), whose score is the highest, said "I first tried Sulitest in 2015 and found it interesting, so I tried it again this year and I was surprised with my score."

Winner of PG category Dudley Chown (MSc International Business and Management) said: "I was really surprised and delighted to win in the postgraduate category of Sulitest. Completing the test enabled me to reconsider how I view sustainability, helping me to realise the importance of raising awareness about sustainability, both as individuals and within the wider community."

Professor Amir Sharif (AD International) said: "this is a fantastic achievement and recognition for our students which highlights the importance and level of interest and significance that sustainability plays in our student learner lives. We are delighted that our strategy for embedding ethics, responsibility and sustainability is having a positive impact on student learning. Congratulations to students as well as staff who have led and supported this initiative."

Law rises 30 places in Guardian University League Tables 2018

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The hard work undertaken in the Faculty of Management and Law has been recognised in the latest edition of The Guardian's University League Tables, with a 30 place rise for the School of Law.

Positive NSS feedback

A number of factors influence the rankings, with student feedback via the National Student Survey (NSS) being a major contributor. Our Law programmes received very positive NSS scores in categories relating to course satisfaction, teaching quality and feedback from lecturers.

The School also performed well in the “Value-added” category, which compares student’s individual degree results with their entry qualifications, to show how effective the teaching is.

“Testament to the quality of teaching”

Professor Zahir Irani, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law said “A thirty place jump in the league table is a fantastic achievement. It is a real testament to the quality of teaching at the school".

Accelerating the transition to a Circular Economy

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Leading figures from business and academia met at the Faculty of Management and Law to explore new sources of competitive advantage via the circular economy business model.

The event, which took place at on Thursday 16 February 2017, is part of a regular series of Deans' Dinners hosted by Professor Zahir Irani, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law.

Professor Irani was joined by and Professor Stuart Roper: leading academics on the circular economy and marketing respectively. They hosted discussions on how we can accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

Representatives from a range of leading businesses, including Ideo, Yorkshire Water, Transport for the North, Grant Thornton, Deloitte, and Morrisons were in attendance, with guests flying in from Madrid, Paris and Milan.

Attendees heard about the University’s recent Global Pioneer circular economy research and unique educational programme, and explored the strategic opportunities for circular value for businesses.

About the circular economy

The circular economy is a business model which is able to generate business profit and economic growth, radically increase resource productivity whilst also regenerating, rather than depleting natural capital.

The Faculty of Management and Law runs the world's only MBA focused on the circular economy and an on-line executive programme to global businesses, city leaders and innovation companies. To date we have over 100 MBA students and 1000 delegates through our executive education course. We also conduct internationally significant research on the business case for a circular economy.

Law Clinic prize giving at the Broadway House Chambers Annual Garden Party

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On 30 June 2017, a group of our third year participants in our Law Clinic attended the Broadway House Chambers Annual Garden Party.

Five students were shortlisted for the Law Clinic Prize, with Abigail Sisnett winning the Outstanding Achievement and Commitment to Social Justice prize.

Abigail won £100 and a weeks mini-pupillage at Broadway House Chambers, and all five of our students were each offered a weeks placement with the Chambers.

Abigail Sisnett

Michelle Colbourne Q.C (Head of Broadway House Chambers) announced the winner and said:

"These are dedicated young lawyers, committed to social justice, who told us with enthusiasm about their work at the Law Clinic. We heard how they assisted wives who were unable to obtain legal advice to support them in obtaining a divorce; father's for whom there is no legal aid to assist them to see their children and people who were at risk of losing their homes.

Their dedication and passion represent the finest traditions of public service in the legal field. We at Broadway House Chambers wish them every success for in their future careers and look forward to watching them develop into fine young lawyers, which having met them, we know they will doubtless become"‌

Law Clinic Prize Giving
Left to right Michelle Colbourne Q.C (Head of Broadway House Chambers), Luqman Chaudry, Sima Khan, Abigail Sisnett, Shuheda Uddin, Mohammad Haroon and Ian Miller (Deputy Head of the law School)

Ian Miller, Deputy Head of the School of Law, commented

"We are very proud of our students and the hard work they have demonstrated which is testament to the dedication to the Law Clinic – which is a truly innovative initiative we have here at the School of Law in Bradford. It provides our students with valuable real world experience which increasingly employers look for"

Our Law Clinic works in partnership with the Bradford and Airedale Citizens Advice Bureau and Law Centre, and our students offer comprehensive legal advice to those who might otherwise be unable to access justice.

Judge to chair newly established University of Bradford School of Law Industry Advisory Board

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As part of the School of Law's plans to further enhance the student experience and to guide the School through a new legal landscape, we have established an Industry Advisory Board to help guide the future of the School and the programmes it offers.

Chaired by Employment Judge David Jones (pictured right), the board has a diverse membership made up of senior academics from other universities and legal practitioners from the local region. The remit of the board is to advise the School on maters as diverse as strategic development and vision, curriculum design and employability.

Zahir Irani, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law said:

“As well as advising the School on their academic programs, the Board will help ensure that our programmes remain relevant and exciting. A key feature of the School is in enhancing the employability skills of our students so that when they leave us they are ready for the career they seek to pursue. We believe the guidance from members of the Judiciary and practicing barristers and solicitors will be invaluable and I am thrilled that they have agreed to join the board

I am delighted that Judge Jones has agreed to Chair the Board. Judge Jones practiced as a barrister for 28-years, ultimately becoming the Head of Broadway House Chambers before being appointed as a full time Judge. David is a son of Bradford and his commitment to the University and the city together with his vast experience in practice will be invaluable.”

Abimbola Olowofoyeku Professor Abimbola Olowofoyeku of Brunel University (pictured right) has accepted the post of Deputy Chair. Professor Olowofoyeku has over 30 years experience in academia, holding several senior managerial roles in a number of law faculties, and is an expert in constitutional and taxation law.

A key focus for the School is to instill in our graduates the skills required to enter the workplace with confidence and in possession of the skills that employers need.

The School already incorporates clinical legal education, legal ethics, professionalism and career development into in to its core modules but the aim of the School is to place employability side by side with academic excellence.

Deputy Head of the Law School, Ian Miller, himself a barrister with many years experience in practice, said:

“In years to come we want to see ‘employability' as a byword associated with Bradford student’s. Whether our students enter the legal profession or business or any other profession, our aim is to provide every opportunity for our students to be seen as some of the most employable graduates in the country”

The Industry Advisory Board will meet three times a year and will review the curriculum of the all schools programmes and pathways as well as discussing the schools future and ensuring that the education we provide is relevant and engaging.

Prize winning Law student writes on CPS placement experience

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Abigail Sisnett, a recent LLB Law (Commercial Law) graduate, undertook work experience with the Crown Prosecution Service as a reward for winning the prestigious CPS Yorkshire and Humberside Criminal Law Prize.

She has written about her experience for the Faculty of Management and Law blog.

My week’s itinerary was planned with the intention of exposing me to every area and department at the CPS. I was able to shadow a number of lawyers in the Magistrates’ court; witnessed a live trial in the Crown court and met with all the mangers of each department where they gave an overview of each department.

In addition to this I shadowed a Crown Court Lawyer where she explained her role in CPS; how the casework process operates and even witnessed an ongoing case which involved reviewing CCTV coverage that was actually going to be used as evidence.

Read the full blog post here.

The University of Bradford welcomes new Head of Law

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The University of Bradford has announced Professor Engobo Emeseh as its new Head of Law School.

Professor Emeseh will join the University on October 1 2017 after leaving her current role as Director of Learning and Teaching in the Institute of Business and Law at Aberystwyth University.

Professor Zahir Irani, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law comments: “We are delighted to have Engobo join us, as our new Head of Law. She has a very impressive track record and will be leading the School of Law at the University during its next phase of growth and success.”

Professor Emeseh has had responsibility for the quality assurance, evaluation, and review of all programmes across the institute of Business and Law in her current institution. She is a seasoned academic, with extensive experience in higher education both within and outside the UK. Professor Emeseh has led the development of innovative market relevant degree schemes, portfolio reviews, and diversification of delivery formats to cater to a wide audience, maximise resources, and improve the student learning experience, including external engagement and skills development.

Engobo obtained her PhD from the Centre for Energy Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee. She graduated with a first class from the Nigeria Law School and Distinction from the University of Wales Cardiff. She is a former British Council Chevening Scholar, and a Ford Foundation (IFP) doctoral fellow. Prior to her academic career, she practiced as a barrister and solicitor in Nigeria, having been called to the Nigerian Bar in 1992.

Professor Emeseh’s research is broadly in the area of environmental law and policy, with particular interests in regulation and enforcement, environmental justice, corporate social responsibility, and the interface between environmental regulation and international economic law. She has published widely and presented papers at academic conferences and other international fora, usually within the context of the natural resources industry in Africa. She has been invited as an expert or appointed as a consultant on these issues by distinguished organisations such as the UNDP, the Africa Capacity Building Foundation, the African Legal Support Facility and the UN Economic Commission for Africa Institute for Economic Development and Planning. Professor Emeseh has demonstrated sustained interest in knowledge transfer and wider engagement, and has led the establishment of several initiatives to create spaces for discourse, networking, and capacity building both within and outside academia.

Crown Prosecution Service Award Prize Giving 2017

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On Wednesday 29 November 2017, Gerry Wareham, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, and Sabreena Mohammed, Senior Crown Prosecutor, visited the School of Law to deliver their annual lecture on the work of the CPS, and present the University of Bradford CPS award to the student achieving the best grade in the Criminal Law module 2016-17.

Last year’s winner, Nahiyan Helal, won a prize of one week’s work experience with the CPS and was presented with a certificate by Mr Wareham.

This is an extremely prestigious prize awarded on a competitive basis each year. Nahiyan is in the third year of an LLB, and the work experience at the CPS will be valuable experience which will assist Nahiyan on his path to becoming a qualified lawyer.

Helen Trouille, Senior Lecturer in Law commented ‘The Law School is delighted that the CPS visits each year to share with students what it is like to work as a prosecutor. Work experience is hard to come by and very competitive, and we really appreciate the continued support offered to our students by the CPS in this respect.’

Relationships with China go from strength to strength

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Since its inception Science Bridges China, a University of Bradford-RCUK international research platform in advanced materials for healthcare, has been responsible for many major research successes and highly valued relationships with China, and continues to go from strength to strength.

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last month, an interview with Professor Phil Coates, the Director of Bradford-, was broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV). Professor Coates spoke about the success of SBC, his experience collaborating with China, and he praised China’s growth in technology and innovation, and the “can do” spirit. It was another step forward for the visibility of Bradford in China.

The RCUK-Bradford Science Bridges China platform was founded via a £1.25m RCUK grant in 2009, combining our polymer engineering, pharmaceutical and cancer research areas. It is led by the world-class Polymer IRC, which incorporates our University centres of excellence in Advanced Materials Engineering, Polymer MNT Pharmaceutical Engineering Science, and Materials Chemistry); the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics is also associated. The Polymer IRC has 3 joint international research laboratories in China.

In 2012, following a very successful initial 3 years developing relationships with a wide range of leading Chinese partners and gaining a further £3m of EPSRC and Chinese government funding, the UK-China Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI) was established. Co-directed by Professor Phil Coates, and Prof Guangxian Li of Sichuan University, AMRI is a collaboration between 5 Chinese Universities and Institutes and the UK Polymer IRC Universities of Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield and Durham.

Most recently, our extensive China links have attracted the formal involvement of the EPSRC UK Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices (MeDe), comprising five UK universities, Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.The SBC, AMRI platform has achieved:

  • over 200 research members
  • 3 joint patents
  • 40 joint high quality publications
  • over 25 funded collaborative projects (including a Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship)
  • 19 open innovation projects
  • over 150 international conference presentations
  • over 50 UK-China researcher exchanges

Professor Coates said: “Science Bridges China continues to be an opportunity to take the University’s warmth of relationship with China to a new level. Science Bridges has for us become ‘People Bridges’ – it is a real community of researchers, celebrating friendship and internationally leading science. It is an honour for us to have become so involved in the upward trajectory of science in China, bringing our strengths to theirs, and promoting increased co-operation between our countries.”

We are continuing to build the community, both in the UK and China, aiming for further active members, new grant support and continuing high quality outputs in journals and conferences. We aim to continue to be a top UK-China collaboration platform.

Decade long relationship enhanced by knowledge transfer partnerships

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The Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Sciences (CPES) has secured its second Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Natures Laboratory to support their latest innovation goals using the healing properties of propolis.

Natures Laboratory, a natural medicine manufacturer, have been working with the Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science (CPES) since 2007. Propolis is a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees to seal and sterilise their hive. It has a range of reported biological properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and analgesic due to it containing of a large variety of flavonoids, terpenes and phenolic compounds.

In January 2011 the two parties entered into their first KTP with the aim of developing innovative and consumer acceptable propolis products. This initiative and other grant funded projects led to the introduction of new products branded the “BeeVital” range which includes a deodorised water soluble propolis drink manufactured specifically for in Korean market and an alcohol free, bioadhesive oral gel for the treatment of mouth ulcers.

The company have recently uncovered an important relationship between the chemical composition of propolis and local disease structures. The bee colony is combining plant material (mostly resins) and producing a material capable of defending the hive against unique local disease. The company hopes to purify the crude propolis and concentrate the key active compounds leading to novel medicinal products.

The latest 2 year KTP, led by Professor Anant Paradkar, Director of CPES, will bring together a multidisciplinary team with expertise in natural products to help Natures Lab refine, characterise and quantify these active compounds. The project will result in new refining processes and the establishment of a Propolis Activity Factor (PAF) based on a Composition-Activity Relationship (CAR) model which will allow the company to better understand the grade of propolis at the raw material stage as well as helping them develop and optimise potential new medicines.

The CPES is an interdisciplinary research and industrial collaboration centre, which has expertise across the pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry and polymer engineering disciplines. A major achievement of the centre has been to develop strong relationships with regional industry partners resulting in a range of collaborative research projects aimed at helping local SMEs to develop their in-house innovation capabilities and driving forward the introduction of new products and processes.

Bradford is tranquillity trailblazer

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The University of Bradford is leading the way in showing city dwellers how they can escape the hustle and bustle and recharge their batteries, without leaving the city.s.

Researchers at the University have developed a method of identifying tranquil walking routes in urban areas - tranquillity trails - and can assess how successful they are at achieving the goal using the Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool.

The process measures how relaxing urban environments and public spaces are, linking green open spaces and watersides and using quiet residential roads or footpaths to form a circular walking route.

In a new paper published in the Urban Forests and Urban Greening journal*, lead researcher Professor Greg Watts uses the tool to predict the variation of tranquillity along the various routes and the proportion of time spent at each level of tranquillity. The routes described are in Bradford, Kingsbridge in South Devon and Guildford, covering a range of urban areas of different sizes and in widely different regions of England

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Tackling obesity through Motivational Avatars

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Experts from the Universities of Bradford and Leeds are changing the way healthcare professionals tackle obesity with the creation of motivational avatars.

In a feasibility study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Bradford and Leeds academics will work alongside clinicians from Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust to create and test a unique programme where patients get their own personal avatar to help spur on their weight loss. The avatar will be used to demonstrate the effects obesity can have on the body and how even small changes can make a big difference to a patient’s wellbeing.

Lead on the project Maryann Hardy, Professor of Radiography and Imaging Practice Research at the University of Bradford, said: “Research shows that patients are not always great at following the advice of healthcare professionals, for example returning to work too early after an injury or not completing a course of antibiotics because they feel better. This has an effect on not only the patients but on society and the NHS as a whole.

“We know that people often respond better to visual demonstrations than they do to listening to advice, so we hope that by creating an avatar that looks like themselves, patients will be able to connect with the advice of health professionals better and see for themselves the many benefits that could come with losing weight.”

Professor Hardy is working with Professor Andrew Hill and Professor Maria Horne from the University of Leeds and Mr Trevor Murrells from Kings College London on the project, with the programme being co-created by Professor Hassan Ugail and his team from the University of Bradford’s Centre for Visual Computing.

Read the full article.

New diagnostic offers hope to sufferers of serious eye infections that pose biggest risk to contact lens wearers

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Some of the most devastating eye infections leading to possible blindness and to which contact lens wearers are particularly vulnerable have until now proved difficult to diagnose quickly enough for effective treatment.

Now researchers at the University of Bradford and ophthalmologists at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital have developed an automatic diagnostic system to improve the detection, and treatment, of two of the most serious eye infections.

Infectious keratitis (Acanthamoeba keratitis and fungal keratitis or Fusarium) attacks the cornea and can lead to irreversible complications and even blindness.

A significant risk factor is contact lens wear for acanthoamoeba infections, especially in unhygienic circumstances such as swimming while wearing contact lenses, the use of non-sterile lens solutions, and insufficient disinfection practices. In the United Kingdom, Europe, Hong Kong, and the USA, the estimated infection rate is 1.2 per million adults per year, but this rises to between 0.2 and 1 per 10,000 amongst contact lens wearers.

Successful treatment needs early diagnosis and intervention but accurate and rapid identification of the infectious agent involved and proper management of corneal ulcers are challenging clinical problems. Microorganisms need time to be detected using corneal cultures and smears, which are currently considered to be the gold standard diagnostic tools for infectious keratitis, and they may not be detected because of inadequate sample material, delay in performing the investigations, deeply seated lesions, and previous use of empirical antimicrobial treatments.

The affected areas of Acanthamoeba keratitis (cysts) and Fusarium (fungal filaments) need to be detected first using confocal microscopy (an optical imaging technique for increasing optical resolution and contrast) and then need to be tracked in the sequence of images that are captured from different depths of the patient's cornea. However, manual detection and tracking of those signs in confocal images are subjective, time-consuming and error-prone.

DoctoralResearchBrad

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Stay effortlessly updated on all of our research and scholarship training provided by the Postgraduate Research Framework.

Follow us on Twitter for all faculty and support service training and development opportunities.

Bradford cyber security master's degree gets GCHQ stamp of approval

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The University of Bradford's master's degree in cyber security has been certified by Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

The University of Bradford's master’s degree in cyber security has been certified by Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

The certification means that Bradford’s degree has been independently judged by national experts as providing well-defined and appropriate content, delivered to a high standard, by knowledgeable and skilled staff.

Bradford joins just 17 other UK universities in achieving the standard required. The national scheme is aimed at setting the standard for good cyber security education in the UK. In particular it is delivering against Section 7 (‘Develop’) of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy, and objective 7.1 (“to ensure the sustained supply of the best possible home-grown cyber security talent”).

With so many UK universities offering degrees containing cyber security content, it can be difficult for students and employers alike to assess the quality on offer and to identify the degree that best suits someone’s preferred career path. GCHQ-certified degrees help:

  • universities to attract high quality students from around the world
  • employers to recruit skilled staff and develop the cyber skills of existing employees
  • prospective students to make better informed choices when looking for a highly valued qualification

Read full article.

West Yorkshire's PCC and University of Bradford join forces to tackle online radicalisation

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West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police, the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and the University of Bradford have joined forces to tackle online radicalisation.

The University of Bradford will work with the Office of the PCC, West Yorkshire Police and the North East Counter Terrorism Unit to carry out an in depth study into online radicalisation.

The University has created a Cyber Security Interdisciplinary Centre to carry out focused research into cyber security issues, the first of which will be the joint radicalisation project.

The Centre has a wealth of expertise from many different backgrounds including computer science, digital forensics, cryptography, peace studies and social science, which will enable them to look at the data available from different perspectives to that of the police, to understand how an individual can be radicalised through online means.

Read full article.

Baroness Harris opens our Cyber Security Centre

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The University of Bradford will welcome Baroness Harris to officially open its new Cyber Security Interdisciplinary Centre.

Baroness Angela Harris will be visiting the University on Thursday 10 August and will join the Vice-Chancellor, academics and students in celebrating the creation of the new centre.

The University has created a Cyber Security Interdisciplinary Centre to carry out focused research into cyber security issues, the first of which was a joint radicalisation project with West Yorkshire Police.

The Centre has a wealth of expertise from many different backgrounds including computer science, digital forensics, cryptography, peace studies and social science, which enables them to look at the data available from different perspectives to that of the police, to understand how an individual can be radicalised through online means.

Baroness Angela Harris will be visiting the University on Thursday 10 August and will join the Vice-Chancellor, academics and students in celebrating the creation of the new centre.

The University has created a Cyber Security Interdisciplinary Centre to carry out focused research into cyber security issues, the first of which was a joint radicalisation project with West Yorkshire Police.

The Centre has a wealth of expertise from many different backgrounds including computer science, digital forensics, cryptography, peace studies and social science, which enables them to look at the data available from different perspectives to that of the police, to understand how an individual can be radicalised through online means.

Read full article.

Underestimating the power of persuasion in online radicalisation

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University of Bradford PhD student, Sumaia Sabouni explores how extremists recruit and radicalise individuals online through the five principles of persuasion.

University of Bradford undergraduate student, Ms Sumaia Sabouni, along with Dr Andrea Cullen and Ms Lorna Armitage presented a paper at the Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment Conference in June 2017 on their preliminary radicalisation framework on social engineering techniques.

The ways in which extremists access targets online (e.g. through social media), has been studied extensively by researchers, but how extremists persuade people to take action (or Socially Engineer them) has been neglected. The team have therefore developed the Principles of Persuasion in Social Engineering (PPSE) framework which maps social engineering tactics to a targets’ social traits with a view to understand how and why individuals might become radicalised.

  1. Authority maps to compliance
  2. Social proof to naivety
  3. Liking to social deprivation
  4. Commitment, reciprocation and consistency to duty and
  5. Distraction emotional vulnerability.

Following a period of activities by individuals attempting to radicalise others, the thoughts, ideas and concepts become normalised and radicalisation has been “successful”. The research carried out by the team has found that extremists exploit personality traits and emotions in their targets. For example, targets who are social deprived and marginalised are more susceptible to extremists Social Engineering tactics.

The research indicates that an understanding of Social Engineering and the psychology of how it works in extremism is crucial to developing preventative techniques.

MICROMAN Micro Injection Moulding Workshop

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MICROMAN is a Marie Curie EU funded project triggered by the continuous trend towards miniaturization and multi-functionality embedded in products and processes.

Our MICROMAN new-look workshop combined seminar presentations from leading experts with unique hands-on sessions in our laboratories.
We provided the attendees with the theoretical background to understand key mechanisms for micro-manufacturing processes using polymer melts.
We gave them the chance to test their skills and expertise by using our state of the art equipment to configure processes for real measurements and manufacturing processes.
This was also an opportunity to meet, share ideas, network and socialise, especialy during our exciting away day.

Interplas 2017

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You are invited to visit us at Interplas Birmingham 2017

Interplas is the UK's leading plastics industry event - the only event to cover all of the manufacturing processes, technologies and services essential to the plastics sector.

For over sixty years, Interplas has been the key show for more than 400 exhibitors to present solutions, products, machines and ideas to the UK manufacturing industry.

Interplas is a forum where innovations in plastics technology are presented to an audience eager to seek solutions to their challenges.

Polymer IRC, University of Bradford, as leading group in polymer science had a stand at this event every year. We showcase our state of the art equimpment and capabilities that we make available for our industrial and academic collaborators.

Awarded Funding for TrakRap Aerosol Packaging Innovation Project

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A consortium of organisations led by retail-ready secondary packaging company TrakRap has been awarded a grant by Innovate UK to develop a prototype that could change the way aerosols are packaged and improve industry safety.

The consortium, which comprises international courier and contract packer DHL, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry and the University of Bradford, plans to use the grant to build a prototype stretch wrapping packaging machine specifically for use in the aerosol industry, to replace the shrink wrapping systems which are currently used. The use of shrink wrapping to package aerosols is inherently dangerous as the high temperatures required to shrink the film carry significant explosion risks.

The grant was secured from Innovate UK, the agency responsible for driving scientific and technological innovations to grow the UK economy, following the successful completion of a proof of concept. The proposed prototype eliminates the need for high temperatures entirely by using a 100% recyclable polymer stretch film. Its innovative technology will also reduce energy requirements by over 90% and reduce the use of plastics by over 60% compared to current shrink wrapping technologies, offering additional financial and environmental benefits to users.

DHL will provide the production line on which the finished prototype machine will run for several months under manufacturing conditions, while MTC will model the prototype machine in a virtual factory, allowing the design to be tested and amended before physical production occurs. The University of Bradford will evaluate the performance and characteristics of various films to ascertain their suitability for use with the machine.

Martin Leeming, CEO of TrakRap, said: “It’s no secret that aerosols present significant challenges to the packaging industry; they are pressurised and highly inflammable by design, so the need to protect them - and those working with them - at every stage of the packaging process is of paramount importance.

“Historically, packaging manufacturers have been able to get around the problem by using traditional packaging methods, but a safe, energy efficient solution which sets the bar for the whole industry is still required. With the backing of Innovate UK, and the support of our partners, we’re confident that we will be able to provide it.”

Bespoke blast cabinet donation by Guyson International Lltd

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The initial contact with the company was made during the TCT + Personalize show, held at the NEC, which Guyson and University of Bradford regularly attends. Mr Mark Viner visited University of Bradford stand, and arrangements were made for the company to visit our laboratories. During the visit common research interests were established and Guyson kindly agreed to produce and donate a bespoke cabinet for our group.

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This collaboration, that is initiated through this donation, is seen as a development platform for our students. The company is interested to collaborate on final year projects (undergraduate or master level) and in hosting students for placement. Furthermore common research ground was identified and funding sources are investigated.

The Euroblast 6 with a pencil blast is a highly flexible blast cabinet with wide ranging parts loading options with front, side and top opening doors. The large armholes give a comfortable reach inside the cabinet for the operator and full width foot pedal allows operation of the blast gun with either foot. The pencil blast is a very useful addition and can be used for cleaning intricate microinjection moulds or highly finishes 3D printed products.

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CPES strengthens capabilities in pharmaceutical applications of Hot Melt Extrusion

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The Xplore Instruments PME 5 micro extruder has recently been installed in facilities at the University of Bradford. This easy to operate twin-screw micro extruder allows easy development of new HME formulations by reducing extruder volumes to a minimum allowing rapid screening for pharmaceutical and biomedical R&D applications.

Hot Melt Extrusion (HME) is becoming accepted in the pharmaceutical industry because it formulates insoluble compounds into successful drug/polymer systems with much improved bioavailability. Until now it was difficult to develop new HME formulations cost-efficiently in early stage developments because of too large extruder volumes. The PME 5 is a small volume, tabletop, twin-screw micro extruder that is very reliable, reproducible, flexible, fast and easy to operate and cost-effective with a minimum extruder volume of 2 ml and maximum volume of 5 ml. It meets the demanding GMP compliant screening requirements of pharmaceutical and biomedical R&D applications.

The relationship between the University and Xplore goes back many years so, when the requirement arose to be able to screen small high cost materials, particularly in the healthcare industries or within companies needing a high quality, consistent, technical product, the University looked to Xplore for the solution.

CPES to visit Propolis Conference Glasgow June 2016

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Prof Anant Paradkar will be presenting at the Propolis Conference at Glasgow Technology & Innovation Centre June 16th-17th

For more information on the conference please visit:

http://propolisconference2016.com

Engineering data international workshop invites contributions

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EDMA-2017, the international workshop on Engineering Data and Model driven Applications, is inviting original contributions.

University of Bradford Professors Felician Campean, Marian Gheorghe and Daniel Neagu, along with Dr Jon G Hall of the Open University, are on the organising committee of EDMA-2017.

The international workshop aims to provide a forum for presentations and discussion on the use of data and computational models to deal with complexity in industrial, engineering, cyber-physical and related domains.

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Researchers receive almost 300,000 Euros to improve patient safety

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Researchers from across Europe have joined forces to reduce disparities in health and healthcare for patients with diverse needs and to better equip health professionals through increased cultural competence.

Project Manager Dr Gabrielle Tracy McClelland from the University of Bradford explains: “Cultural competence in a health context is how we as health professionals ideally think, feel and behave towards people who may be different to ourselves. Health care examples may be a nurse looking after a partially sighted child or a radiographer caring for an older Black woman who defines herself as a lesbian.”

The project team, led by Dr Gabrielle Tracy McClelland and Professor Uduak Archibong from the University of Bradford, has been awarded €299,538.00 from Erasmus+ 2017 Key Action 203 Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education fund.

The funding will enable the three year project, known as ‘Sim-Versity’ (Simulation-Diversity), to start this September with the aim of stimulating the development, piloting and implementation of new web- based resources as a novel approach to optimizing patient safety. This will be done by combining best practice, new guidelines and feedback from services users and experts.

Relationships with China go from strength to strength

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Since its inception Science Bridges China, a University of Bradford-RCUK international research platform in advanced materials for healthcare, has been responsible for many major research successes and highly valued relationships with China, and continues to go from strength to strength.

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last month, an interview with Professor Phil Coates, the Director of Bradford-, was broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV). Professor Coates spoke about the success of SBC, his experience collaborating with China, and he praised China’s growth in technology and innovation, and the “can do” spirit. It was another step forward for the visibility of Bradford in China.

The RCUK-Bradford Science Bridges China platform was founded via a £1.25m RCUK grant in 2009, combining our polymer engineering, pharmaceutical and cancer research areas. It is led by the world-class Polymer IRC, which incorporates our University centres of excellence in Advanced Materials Engineering, Polymer MNT Pharmaceutical Engineering Science, and Materials Chemistry); the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics is also associated. The Polymer IRC has 3 joint international research laboratories in China.

In 2012, following a very successful initial 3 years developing relationships with a wide range of leading Chinese partners and gaining a further £3m of EPSRC and Chinese government funding, the UK-China Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI) was established. Co-directed by Professor Phil Coates, and Prof Guangxian Li of Sichuan University, AMRI is a collaboration between 5 Chinese Universities and Institutes and the UK Polymer IRC Universities of Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield and Durham.

Most recently, our extensive China links have attracted the formal involvement of the EPSRC UK Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices (MeDe), comprising five UK universities, Leeds, Bradford, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.The SBC, AMRI platform has achieved:

  • over 200 research members
  • 3 joint patents
  • 40 joint high quality publications
  • over 25 funded collaborative projects (including a Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship)
  • 19 open innovation projects
  • over 150 international conference presentations
  • over 50 UK-China researcher exchanges

Professor Coates said: “Science Bridges China continues to be an opportunity to take the University’s warmth of relationship with China to a new level. Science Bridges has for us become ‘People Bridges’ – it is a real community of researchers, celebrating friendship and internationally leading science. It is an honour for us to have become so involved in the upward trajectory of science in China, bringing our strengths to theirs, and promoting increased co-operation between our countries.”

We are continuing to build the community, both in the UK and China, aiming for further active members, new grant support and continuing high quality outputs in journals and conferences. We aim to continue to be a top UK-China collaboration platform.

Tackling obesity through Motivational Avatars

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Experts from the Universities of Bradford and Leeds are changing the way healthcare professionals tackle obesity with the creation of motivational avatars.

In a feasibility study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Bradford and Leeds academics will work alongside clinicians from Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust to create and test a unique programme where patients get their own personal avatar to help spur on their weight loss. The avatar will be used to demonstrate the effects obesity can have on the body and how even small changes can make a big difference to a patient’s wellbeing.

Lead on the project Maryann Hardy, Professor of Radiography and Imaging Practice Research at the University of Bradford, said: “Research shows that patients are not always great at following the advice of healthcare professionals, for example returning to work too early after an injury or not completing a course of antibiotics because they feel better. This has an effect on not only the patients but on society and the NHS as a whole.

“We know that people often respond better to visual demonstrations than they do to listening to advice, so we hope that by creating an avatar that looks like themselves, patients will be able to connect with the advice of health professionals better and see for themselves the many benefits that could come with losing weight.”

Professor Hardy is working with Professor Andrew Hill and Professor Maria Horne from the University of Leeds and Mr Trevor Murrells from Kings College London on the project, with the programme being co-created by Professor Hassan Ugail and his team from the University of Bradford’s Centre for Visual Computing.

Read the full article.

Decade long relationship enhanced by knowledge transfer partnerships

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The Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Sciences (CPES) has secured its second Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Natures Laboratory to support their latest innovation goals using the healing properties of propolis.

Natures Laboratory, a natural medicine manufacturer, have been working with the Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science (CPES) since 2007. Propolis is a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees to seal and sterilise their hive. It has a range of reported biological properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and analgesic due to it containing of a large variety of flavonoids, terpenes and phenolic compounds.

In January 2011 the two parties entered into their first KTP with the aim of developing innovative and consumer acceptable propolis products. This initiative and other grant funded projects led to the introduction of new products branded the “BeeVital” range which includes a deodorised water soluble propolis drink manufactured specifically for in Korean market and an alcohol free, bioadhesive oral gel for the treatment of mouth ulcers.

The company have recently uncovered an important relationship between the chemical composition of propolis and local disease structures. The bee colony is combining plant material (mostly resins) and producing a material capable of defending the hive against unique local disease. The company hopes to purify the crude propolis and concentrate the key active compounds leading to novel medicinal products.

The latest 2 year KTP, led by Professor Anant Paradkar, Director of CPES, will bring together a multidisciplinary team with expertise in natural products to help Natures Lab refine, characterise and quantify these active compounds. The project will result in new refining processes and the establishment of a Propolis Activity Factor (PAF) based on a Composition-Activity Relationship (CAR) model which will allow the company to better understand the grade of propolis at the raw material stage as well as helping them develop and optimise potential new medicines.

The CPES is an interdisciplinary research and industrial collaboration centre, which has expertise across the pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry and polymer engineering disciplines. A major achievement of the centre has been to develop strong relationships with regional industry partners resulting in a range of collaborative research projects aimed at helping local SMEs to develop their in-house innovation capabilities and driving forward the introduction of new products and processes.

Bradford is tranquillity trailblazer

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The University of Bradford is leading the way in showing city dwellers how they can escape the hustle and bustle and recharge their batteries, without leaving the city.s.

Researchers at the University have developed a method of identifying tranquil walking routes in urban areas - tranquillity trails - and can assess how successful they are at achieving the goal using the Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool.

The process measures how relaxing urban environments and public spaces are, linking green open spaces and watersides and using quiet residential roads or footpaths to form a circular walking route.

In a new paper published in the Urban Forests and Urban Greening journal*, lead researcher Professor Greg Watts uses the tool to predict the variation of tranquillity along the various routes and the proportion of time spent at each level of tranquillity. The routes described are in Bradford, Kingsbridge in South Devon and Guildford, covering a range of urban areas of different sizes and in widely different regions of England

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New diagnostic offers hope to sufferers of serious eye infections that pose biggest risk to contact lens wearers

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Some of the most devastating eye infections leading to possible blindness and to which contact lens wearers are particularly vulnerable have until now proved difficult to diagnose quickly enough for effective treatment.

Now researchers at the University of Bradford and ophthalmologists at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital have developed an automatic diagnostic system to improve the detection, and treatment, of two of the most serious eye infections.

Infectious keratitis (Acanthamoeba keratitis and fungal keratitis or Fusarium) attacks the cornea and can lead to irreversible complications and even blindness.

A significant risk factor is contact lens wear for acanthoamoeba infections, especially in unhygienic circumstances such as swimming while wearing contact lenses, the use of non-sterile lens solutions, and insufficient disinfection practices. In the United Kingdom, Europe, Hong Kong, and the USA, the estimated infection rate is 1.2 per million adults per year, but this rises to between 0.2 and 1 per 10,000 amongst contact lens wearers.

Successful treatment needs early diagnosis and intervention but accurate and rapid identification of the infectious agent involved and proper management of corneal ulcers are challenging clinical problems. Microorganisms need time to be detected using corneal cultures and smears, which are currently considered to be the gold standard diagnostic tools for infectious keratitis, and they may not be detected because of inadequate sample material, delay in performing the investigations, deeply seated lesions, and previous use of empirical antimicrobial treatments.

The affected areas of Acanthamoeba keratitis (cysts) and Fusarium (fungal filaments) need to be detected first using confocal microscopy (an optical imaging technique for increasing optical resolution and contrast) and then need to be tracked in the sequence of images that are captured from different depths of the patient's cornea. However, manual detection and tracking of those signs in confocal images are subjective, time-consuming and error-prone.

Guinness World Record - Officially Amazing!

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In celebration of Disability History Month 2016, n-able and Choices for All joined together to hold an event to attempt the Guinness World Record for the Most participants in a static hand cycle relay in eight hours.

We have now received confirmation from Guinness World Records to say that we were sucessful and are now the Guinness World Record Title Holder.

Huge thanks go to the 455 participants (staff, students and members of the public), timekeepers, witnesses and student volunteers who contributed their time to make sure we became record breakers.

International Day of Disabled Persons 2017

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This year, n-able will be celebrating the International Day of Disabled People by joining the #PurpleLightUp.


n-able's Purple Light Up event will take place on 4 December 2017. Our pledge has been added to the Purple Light Up 2017 roll-call. Further information to follow, but in the meantime, keep your eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

National Day for Staff Networks

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The first National Day for Staff Networks was held on Wednesday 10 May 2017. This day was the first to give formal recognition to the fantastic efforts of staff networks operating the UK.

The University staff networks joined together to celebrate and mark the occasion with an event in the Richmond Atrium. The theme of the event was #ProudToBe and #makingworkbetter.

International Day of disabled Persons 2017 Update

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Please join n-able on Monday 4 December for our Purple Light Up event to celebrate International Day of Disabled People.

Our #PurpleLightUp event will include:

  • Lighting up the Atrium and Amphitheatre in purple (from 3-8 December)
  • n-able stand in the Richmond Atrium (11am – 2pm) with information, face paint / glitter, and purple freebies including donations from Chewits and Ribena.
  • Purple themed food / cakes in University catering outlets.
  • Events in the Library, FoML and Students' Union.
  • Purple pictures, tweets and posts on social media - please join in!
  • City walk / scoot / wheel from the Atrium at 3.30pm to follow the #makeBradfordpurple route.

n-able’s wider aim is to spread the purple theme into the city and #makeBradfordpurple. To date we have confirmed support from:

  • Bradford Council – they will light up the Mirror Pool, City Hall Clock Tower, Forster Square arches and the Old Library in purple and put our event on the big screen in City Park.
  • The Alhambra will light up purple.
  • Bradford College are going to ask their staff / students to wear purple and see if they can light up purple too.

We would like to invite all staff and students to wear purple on the day to show their support for the #PurpleLightUp and donate 50p (optional) to our chosen local charity. Collections buckets will be at our stand, on the Library Counter, Students' Union and FoML (location to be confirmed).

Are over-the-counter painkillers a waste of money?

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Dr Jonathan Silcock writes in The Conversation about the effectiveness of over-the-counter painkillers.


Simple painkillers (such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen) are widely bought over the counter and prescribed by doctors. But the stark truth is that most of these medicines don’t work very well.

Professionals can’t be satisfied advising consumers and patients to take ineffective medicines. And consumers and patients can’t be happy that they’re spending cash or NHS resources on something that doesn’t do the job. But those with minor ailments who opt for such drugs aren’t necessarily wasting their money – and may well be saving yours by reducing the burden on health services.

An evidence-based approach to pain relief must consider realistic alternatives. Trials demonstrate that simple over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, such as paracetamol for low back pain and aspirin for episodic tension-type headaches in adults, work no better than placebo. But in practice, we need to consider how harmful this really is – and what people would do if they weren’t popping their favourite pills.

Cochrane reviews are internationally-recognised systematic reviews. The most recent review of asprin for the treatment of occasional, acute, tension-type headache tells us that patients taking active medication are unlikely to be pain free. However, over half the patients taking aspirin were satisfied with their treatment, as were one third taking placebo.

Similarly, in a Cochrane review of paracetamol for the treatment of acute low back pain, 4g of paracetamol daily was found to be no more effective than placebo.

In both studies, active and placebo treatments had similarly low rates of side-effects.

More placebo, please

This isn’t a good situation, but the placebo effect itself is often overlooked or treated with disdain. Which is a pity – it could be better employed in the fight against pain. A 2002 review of placebo effects in clinical pain killer trials concluded:

If the factors that contribute to placebo analgesia are identified, they could be optimised in clinical practice whereby the general effectiveness of pain treatments could be enhanced.

And placebo effects were greater when studies specifically tried to investigate how placebos work. In another context, a 2009 meta-analysis of anti-depressant trials concluded:

The placebo effect accounted for 68% of the effect in the drug groups. Whereas clinical trials need to control the placebo effect, clinical practice should attempt to use its full power.

Patient demand for pain relief in the UK is clear, around £575m a year is spent on OTC analgesics and another £567m on analgesics prescribed in primary care. The primary care spend includes £90m on products that could be bought OTC and £115m on compound painkillers that are the next step up the pain ladder.

It could all be in the mind. Shutterstock

Indeed, people may be willing to pay significant sums for pain relief, which is a measure of economic benefit – a few pounds to relieve everyday pain, tens of pounds to relieve post-operative pain, and hundreds of pounds to relieve chronic pain.

But the current supermarket price for paracetamol is little more than 1p per tablet – and stronger painkillers use codeine and related drugs, which significantly increase the risk of harmful side-effects.

For acute pain, simple safe painkillers are cheap (it’s certainly worth buying generic rather than more expensive branded varieties) and promote active self-management of minor ailments. They may also help to engage the placebo effect. The evidence for effectiveness beyond the placebo effect is mixed (as the Cochrane reviews demonstrate), but doing something does have an effect and painkillers may actively help in some cases.

When people buy these painkillers, they also save the NHS – and taxpayers – the expense of visiting a doctor and having them prescribed. Generic paracetamol costs 19-30p for 16 in the supermarket and 35p on prescription. However, consultation and dispensing costs are considerable.

The spend on OTC painkillers might therefore be like buying a lottery ticket – they will work really well for some people, and rather less well for others. Either way, the losses are insignificant. If there’s a chance that they’ll work for you, then it’s a small price to pay.

The bigger picture

Nevertheless, non-pharmacological actions (for example, rest, fluids, change in activities) are equally or more helpful than painkillers in many cases. So people should buy, obtain or use their painkillers in a supportive environment. For example, non-branded medicines are nearly as cheap in pharmacies as supermarkets, and your pharmacist should be able to talk you through the options and offer other advice, too. Doctors, meanwhile, need more time to explore problems with patients and shouldn’t need to write prescriptions to signal the end of a consultation. Their time could be better spent.

Imagine there was enough evidence to ban the OTC sale and prescription supply of simple painkillers. The supply of tea and sympathy would certainly have to increase. It is likely that the demand for compound pain killers or untested treatments would also increase, which risks more serious harm. There would also likely be an increase in visits to the doctor.

A goal to reduce the use of ineffective medicines is desirable. But we must also consider the alternatives and consequences. The treatment of pain isn’t the only area of clinical practice where hope is maximised over effectiveness. Improving the safety and effectiveness of chronic pain relief is a higher priority than reducing acute painkiller consumption. For now, people will keep using cheap (perhaps even quite expensive) OTC painkillers – and it’s hard to say they’re acting irrationally.

Jonathan Silcock, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice, University of Bradford

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Critics hated the forgotten 'mondo' genre, but their influence can be seen in Oscar-winning films today

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Mark Goodall, University of Bradford

BBC Four is about to air The History Channel’s remake of Roots, the 1970s American television miniseries based on Alex Hailey’s bestselling novel of the same name which caused a stir for its unflinching portrayal of the transatlantic slave trade. The original remains one of the most watched television series of all time. Returning to our screens after 40 years this new adaptation draws from the original series but also numerous more recent films about slavery in America, such as Birth of a Nation, 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained.

While much has been said about these acclaimed, Oscar-winning films’ honest brutality and their willingness not to shrink from the horrors of slavery, their unflinching stance owes a debt to a series of much less reputable films from an earlier era: the European “mondo” films, the “shockumentaries” which in their day also caused a stir.

Mondo is a genre invented by a team of Italians: journalist Gualtiero Jacopetti, marine biologist Franco Prosperi, and TV film director Paolo Cavara. The first of its kind was the 1962 film Mondo Cane, a Tuscan colloquialism that translates roughly as “it’s a dog’s life”. At the time, documentary films were serious, factual, respectful and (most importantly) black and white. Mondo Cane, on the other hand, was based on Jacopetti’s sensationalist independent newsreel, with rapid-fire editing and mocking narration that was far from the more conventional, sedate, state and church-sponsored reels of the era.

Magazine cover © 1962 Cineriz

Mondo Cane took the viewer on a whistle-stop tour of weird rituals and practices from around the word, presented in glorious Technicolor and accompanied by Jacopetti’s sneering narration and a lush score by composer Riz Ortolani. It took box offices by storm, along the way offending nearly every film critic of the day – an exception was the novelist JG Ballard who loved Mondo Cane and the Jacopetti aesthetic, working it into his anti-narrative classic novel The Atrocity Exhibition.

Ballard noticed what the intelligentsia failed to see: the mondo methodology was symptomatic of a growing obsession with death and mutilation as glossy entertainment. “Screen the JFK assassination enough times and people will laugh,” he told me when I discussed the Jacopetti films with him. It was the moral relativism of the films, where “civilised wrongs” (the absurdities of Western culture) were as much in evidence as “primitive rites” that confused and angered the critical establishment of the day.

Jacopetti and Prosperi’s subsequent film, Africa Addio (“Goodbye Africa”, also known as “Africa Blood and Guts” and “Farewell Africa”) focused on the harrowing dimensions of the post-war decolonisation of Sub-Saharan Africa and the civil and independence wars fought there and was even more controversial, leading to a debate at the United Nations and accusations in Italy that they had colluded in genocide.

But it was the duo’s next film – Addio Zio Tom (“Goodbye Uncle Tom”) – that connects with contemporary portrayals of slavery. Addio Zio Tom pushed the mondo envelope as far as it could go: a dramatised pseudo-documentary in the style of Peter Watkins, whose nuclear war masterpiece The War Game was deemed sufficiently harrowing that it was 20 years before the BBC would release it.

In Addio Zio Tom, Jacopetti and Prosperi land by helicopter in the American deep south, cine-journalists on the lookout for a scoop. What they find and document are the stomach-churning perversions of the slave trade, from the deadly shipments of Africans to the “New World”, to human stud farms by way of what can only be described as the continuous sexual exploitation of the African body by jaded and evil whites. The point-of-view camera brings us uneasily close to the sensations of both the exploited and the exploiter. It sounds gross, yet as with all Jacopetti and Prosperi’s work it poses a moral conundrum.

The coda of the film features a wild and psychedelic retelling of the Confessions of Nat Turner (the same text adapted in Birth of Nation). But in this version the setting is late 1960s America, where black consciousness and the Black Panthers are gathering pace. The horrific revenge violence of the finale to the film was intended to express the African-American anger that had simmered since the 18th century and boiled over in the urban America of the 20th century. Never has John Grierson’s definition of documentary film as the “creative treatment of actuality” been so severely contorted and stretched.

Each of Birth of a Nation, 12 Years a Slave, and Django Unchained owe a debt of sorts to the mondo sleaze aesthetic, be it in depicting the sadism of the white plantation owners, or the framing of those sumptuous colonial white mansions stained with blood. Humans are pushed around like animals and dragged along on leads. We witness the dangerously repressed sexuality and stomach-churning violence of the slave trade, not to mention the cruelty that can exist within all violent rebellions against such brutality.

The mondo film, for all its faults, encapsulates our tangled responses to the darkest moments of our collective history. For that reason the modern rendition of Roots will consciously or subconsciously – perhaps even grudgingly – owe Jacopetti and Prosperi a debt of gratitude.

The Conversation

Mark Goodall, Head of Film and Media, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

A possible alternative to morphine-inspired by spit

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Marcus Rattray, University of Bradford

Would you take a painkiller that had been developed from human saliva? A recent study suggests you might in future.

Pain is an essential sensation. Sensory nerves with endings in our skin, tissues and organs, are activated by heat, cold or pressure, or by chemicals that are released from cells after tissue injury. The fibres of these nerves reach the central nervous system, activating neurons in the spinal cord which in turn connect with and activate neurons in a part of the brain known as the cerebral cortex. The cortex gives you the conscious perception of pain - that “ouch!” The system has evolved to produce a quick response. It takes a split second for you to withdraw your hand from a burning flame.

While pain is essential for survival and good health, unless you have masochistic tendencies, too much pain isn’t a good thing. Especially if it persists. Millions of people live with chronic pain. And chronic pain, whether backache, joint pain or neuropathic pain (neuralgia) can make people’s lives unbearable.

Two centuries of morphine

Throughout recorded human history we have searched for substances to dull pain. The most powerful painkillers are the opioids. Morphine, derived from the opium poppy, is an opioid that has been known to alchemists and medics for centuries. Morphine was one of the first ever medicines and has been available in a pure pharmacological form since 1817.

Morphine and synthetic opioids, such as codeine and fentanyl, bind to opioid receptors located on neurons in the spine and inhibit their activity. This prevents them signalling pain sensations to the brain. Some of our nerve cells, positioned in key places on the path along which pain signals travel, release opioid peptides (fragments of proteins) such as enkephalin. These enkephalins attach to opioid receptors and block pain signals reaching the brain. In the 1970s we discovered that opioids like morphine, codeine or fentanyl act as mimics of these naturally-occurring opioid peptides.

Morphine - effective but dangerous. Henk Albert de Klerk/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

So what has this all got to do with saliva? Well in 2006, a peptide named opiorphin was found in human saliva by researchers at Institut Pasteur International in Paris, France.

Opiorphin resembles enkephalin, but, rather than binding to opioid receptors to inhibit their activity, they prevent enkephalins from being broken down. So the amount of enkephalin – the body’s natural painkiller – is increased and pain signals are blocked. When you experience pain, enkephalins are released and opiorphin boosts their action.

Opiorphin should only work in the places where enkephalin is being actively released and not affect other neural systems. So unlike conventional opioids it would only have a localised effect. In theory it would have the same effect on pain but without the wider unwanted side effects, such as addiction, tolerance with long-term use, and suppressed breathing.

Opiorphin with a tweak

One problem is that opiorphin would be broken down in the digestive system or in the bloodstream so would not be able to get to particular sites in the body to block pain. So the researchers at Institut Pasteur worked with a company, Stragen, to create a modified version of opiorphin called STR-324, designed to increase its stability. STR-324 should be able to be taken orally or intravenously, though so far only an injectable form is being tested.

The team’s most recent study looking at post-operative pain showed that STR-324, when injected, is effective at blocking pain in rats. The response compares well to morphine, with a lower painkilling effect than morphine.

Later this year, the company developing STR-324 will be testing the drug on humans for the first time. The current evidence suggests that STR-324 will work well for some types of pain, when injected.

The scientists will have a bigger challenge to show that the oral form of the drug is also effective.

A clinical trial for neuropathic pain (pain caused by problems with nerves themselves rather than through tissue damage) has been announced to begin in 2019. Neuropathic pain is common in people with poorly controlled diabetes and can occur following some viral infections. Neuropathic pain and other chronic pain syndromes are notoriously difficult to treat and are often resistant to conventional opioid drugs. If STR-324 is more effective for neuropathic pain that other opioids, it will be a significant new painkiller. That is a big if. The researchers have not yet modelled this type of pain in their experiments.

The main advantage of STR-324 over conventional opioids is that it is predicted not to cause respiratory depression, a reduction in breathing rate. This side effect is linked to fatalities with opioid use. While mostly this is unintentional drug overdose by people with heroin addiction, concerns about respiratory depression limit the medical use of opioids for pain management. The researchers will need to prove the advantages of STR-324 over other medicines. There is already a receptor-binding opioid, buprenorphine, where respiratory depression is less of significant clinical problem than for drugs like morphine and fentanyl.

The data for STR-324 is promising with a benefit that it works in a different way to theoretically provide a more targeted effect on pain systems than conventional opioids. The underlying scientific evidence that it will work in chronic pain, however, is light. The world does need new painkillers and, ultimately, it is only clinical trial data that will show whether STR-324 provides new hope for people living with chronic pain.

The Conversation

Marcus Rattray, Head, School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Internet's cloak of invisibility: how trolls are made

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University of Bradford Lecturer of Psychology Pam Ramsden explores how something called 'online disinhibition effect' might partly explain trolling behaviour.

road warning sign of troll Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing American journalist who is proud of his abusive online posts, was permanently banned from Twitter last year after a particularly offensive tirade. Yiannopoulos has often been described as a professional troll. So what makes a troll – professional or otherwise – tick? The Conversation

Trolling is a relatively new term that is used to describe online behaviour that is disruptive, offensive and hurtful towards other internet users. Trolls intend to provoke a reaction from others which allows for an escalation in their abusive behaviour. The extent to which they participate in negative behaviour can range from annoyance to extreme cruelty, such as posting abusive messages on memorial pages.

Are trolls ordinary people living ordinary lives until they are online? And why do some people behave in a more aggressive, disrespectful and hurtful way online than in a face-to-face interaction?

Research into the motivation for this type of behaviour is limited, even though trolling is a widespread and a well-known phenomenon on social media. Factors believed to be motivating the behaviour include craving attention from others, seeking pleasure from causing others pain, boredom and revenge. What is clear is that trolls want to cause chaos and havoc in public discussions and their intention is to humiliate anyone who attempts to strike back.

trolls Trolls gain pleasure from causing others pain. HBRH/Shutterstock.com

Trolling is usually considered a form of cyberbullying, but there are subtle differences. Cyberbullying targets victims, while trolls use a baiting tactic to find victims who will provide them with the most entertainment. People who take the bait are then considered fair game by the trolls.

An integral part of the antisocial behaviour is that trolls must have an audience to witness their antics – and this aspect appears to play a major part in the pleasure they experience. If trolls do not receive gratification they will simply move on to the next social media platform and continue baiting to find their next victim.

Anonymous and invisible

Trolling has been explained by a psychological concept called the “online disinhibiton effect”. This effect suggests that social barriers to negative behaviour are lowered because of the way the internet allows users to remain anonymous and invisible. People are allowed to express themselves more freely than they would in face-to-face encounters and disregard moral responsibilities. For anonymous users, there are no repercussions for bad behaviour. They are able to reveal aspects of their personality that are held in check by social etiquette and rules.

Research has found that when anonymity was removed from social media sites, it reduced the amount of trolling, but people wanting to continue antisocial behaviour would resort to creating fake profiles.

Invisibility is another element of social media platforms, which is different from anonymity. With the exception of webcams, people on many social platforms are invisible to one another. You may be able to see a photo or avatar of other users, but there is no eye contact. The gaze of a person’s eyes has been shown to inhibit negative behaviour. Eye contact increases self-awareness, empathy and the awareness of other people’s reactions to what is being discussed. People who are out of sight are easier to attack because there is no negative visual feedback that inhibits further bad behaviour.

Although there have been many attempts to prevent or control trolling, none have proven to be very successful. As the verbal abuse that trolls engage in – however brief – can cause psychological harm to both the intended victim and any silent viewers and third-party onlookers who might see it, it’s important that scientists continue to explore this under-researched phenomenon. Only when we truly understand what makes trolls tick will we be able to rein them in.

Pam Ramsden, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Labour's manifesto shows it is the true party of workers' rights

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Gregor Gall looks at why Jeremy Corbyn launched his campaign in Bradford

It cannot be an accident that Jeremy Corbyn launched what may be his one and only general election manifesto in the city of Bradford. One of the forerunners of today’s Corbyn-led Labour Party was the Independent Labour Party (ILP). It was a full-blooded left wing party, founded in 1893 in Bradford. And, Keir Hardie, the ILP’s first leader and founder of the Labour Party, has frequently been cited by Corbyn as one of his inspirations.

Both Hardie and the ILP were very strong advocates of workers’ rights, having emerged from the then nascent union movement. Corbyn, a former full-time officer of one of the forerunner’s of the biggest union in Britain, UNISON, is equally a very strong advocate of workers’ rights. This shows up in the publication today of Labour’s general election manifesto.

Keir Hardie. US Library of Congress

With the Conservatives trying to muscle in on traditional Labour territory by painting themselves as the party of workers, it’s worth taking a closer look to see which party truly represents workers.

Among the most significant of the pledges in the manifesto on rights at work are:

  • All workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time
  • Banning zero hours contracts so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week
  • Ending the use of overseas labour to undercut domestic wages and conditions
  • Repealing the Trade Union Act 2016 and rolling out collective bargaining by sector
  • Guaranteeing unions a right to access workplaces to represent members
  • Raising the minimum wage to the level of the living wage
  • Ending the public sector pay cap
  • Instituting a maximum pay ratio of 20:1 in the public sector and companies bidding for public contracts
  • Banning unpaid internships
  • Abolishing employment tribunal fees
  • Giving self-employed workers the status of workers
  • Setting up a commission to modernise the law around employment status
  • Creating a Ministry of Labour with the resources to enforce workers’ rights

These pledges are essentially a replication of A Manifesto for Labour Law by the Institute of Employment Rights in June 2016, devised in conjunction with labour law academics to promote healthy policy for workers.

Labour’s worker problem

The socialist left has often argued that Labour has failed to inspire the loyalty of workers, and union members especially, by being insufficiently radical. Consequently, the argument goes, there was less than a compelling reason to vote for Labour. Along with pledges to bring the water industry, railways, Royal Mail and some energy companies back into public ownership (which should reduce pressure on workers’ wages and conditions), this cannot be said to be the case this time round.

Some have criticised Corbyn’s Labour for giving into the allegedly vested and backward interest of unions. As Martin Kettle of the Guardian argued, “union power is not the same as workers’ rights”.

At one level, this is a valid point. With only around a quarter of workers now holding union membership, workers cannot rely on unions any time soon to be able to effectively defend their rights and interests.

But when one recognises that the implementation of workers’ rights has always needed the help of unions because they are the only sizeable independent organisations with the resources to do so, this point loses its force. Unions inform workers of their rights and help them apply them. Plus, unions have always helped more than just their members because employers apply the gains of union negotiated deals to all employees.

Wider significance

But focusing on the union aspect blinds critics to the actual significance of Labour’s manifesto. This is that, compared to what the Tories are proposing, Labour prioritises collective rights over individual rights so that workers can act together to advance their interests. Labour’s manifesto recognises that the workers are stronger together, echoing a fundamental belief of Karl Marx that the condition of the freedom of the individual is the condition of the freedom of all.

Indeed, without collective rights in law, especially with regard to the right to strike, any collective bargaining can easily end up being merely collective begging.

The most obvious case in point concerns the right to sectoral collective bargaining, which Labour has emphasised in its manifesto. In Britain, companies in the same sector compete primarily against each other on the basis of their labour costs. Hence, there is a competitive advantage to cut wages and conditions as the principle route to profitability.

But by providing a statutory basis to sectoral collective bargaining, all companies in a sector would be compelled to furnish workers with the same minimum terms and conditions. No longer would they compete on labour costs in a “race to the bottom”. And, their attention would turn to improving productivity through investment in technology and training.

With stronger collective rights, applied and enforced with the help of unions, both unions and workers’ rights would be immeasurably strengthened. Time will shortly tell whether Labour’s manifesto will help it regain the support of working class voters. Or whether Theresa May’s pitch to be the workers’ friend will gain sufficient traction.

The ConversationIf Corbyn is successful, it will be a fitting tribute to the heritage of Bradford. It was here that an almighty 19-week strike at the city’s Manningham Mills textile factory by some 5,000 workers over wage cuts in 1891 gave a big spur to the founding of the ILP. It will also have been fitting that Labour launched the manifesto at the University of Bradford given that it started out life in 1832 as the Bradford Mechanics Institute, an organisation designed to help working class people gain the necessary skills for the ever changing world of work.

Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The benefits that a digital healthcare system could bring aren't out of reach

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Professor Rami Qahwaji looks at digital healthcare of the future

File 20170609 20835 1ujsa63 Bringing technology into the healthcare system is overdue, and should be revolutionary. neccorp, CC BY Rami Qahwaji, University of Bradford

Imagine a day where you don’t have to wait weeks to see your GP, followed by a further wait for medical test results and then still more waiting before being seen by a specialist. We know that changing demographic trends, an ageing population and rising rates of chronic illnesses are creating huge demand for health care and social care services. Given the sophistication of 21st-century technology, how could our health care system be changed to better cope with the population it serves?

An efficient healthcare system of the future should empower medical practitioners and patients. It should be able to detect early warning signs that may indicate illness or behaviour that is likely to lead to poor health. For example, reduced physical activity, missed medication or appointments, social isolation, trips and falls at home. Systems could be designed to contact and alert clinicians or carers without further human intervention.

While a meeting with a GP for most people these days is fleeting and lasts only a few minutes, even that short time could be more meaningful. Armed with data gathered from sensors in your home, your wearable devices and mobile phone, the doctor could, with the push of a button, run advanced data analytics designed to make sense of this information about lifestyle, physical activities, social habits, adherence to medication regimes or sleep patterns and their health implications. The decisions they make would then be based on far more data than would otherwise be available – all within the limited time available for consultation. More informed decisions that involve the patient could lead to a better outcome for all.

To get to this position, a digital health system would have to be designed by medical practitioners and engineers working closely together to understand the complex healthcare challenges and their potential engineering solutions. There have been considerable advances in wearable sensors in recent years – and the arrival of the 5G wireless spectrum will provide the capacity for new sensor platforms and devices to capture and share data autonomously between devices and doctors.

For example, researchers from Swansea University are planning trials of smart, 3D-printed bandages that will use 5G wireless data and nano-sized sensors to transmit information about a patient’s wounds, location and activity. Similar innovations could pave the way for better patient monitoring and engagement, especially in remote or deprived areas.

Better use of data

Digital healthcare must be designed to exploit recent advances in computing technology. Smartphones could become advanced tools in the hands of thousands of patients and practitioners. Equipped with the right software, they could provide easily to use, out-of-the-box solutions to major medical challenges – preventing the over-prescription of medication, promoting patient self-care, introducing positive lifestyle changes and warning of the early signs of health problems.

In 2016, 36 devices and medical apps received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. These include apps to help people with heart conditions, to help diagnose and treat ADHD in children, apps to help patients manage Type 2 diabetes, and smartphone-based ultrasound scanners and mobile blood glucose monitors.

Researchers from New York University’s Langone Medical Center and SRI International recently developed a new smartphone app that uses machine learning to identify vocal patterns that might signal post-traumatic stress disorder, or even heart disease. Such developments could provide hospital clinicians with new tools to make better diagnoses.

Digital healthcare must make better use of big data analytics and the ability of machine learning algorithms to mine that data and make sense of it, drawing out connections and patterns that are difficult if not impossible to see except at enormous scale. Through analysing the data of many thousands, or hundreds of thousands of individuals, digital healthcare systems will identify emerging social changes and lifestyle trends in their communities. Being forewarned of patterns of change will give health authorities time to respond. New technologies could also provide significant savings in healthcare costs through identifying inefficient and wasteful practices.

Understanding the challenge

Many digital healthcare developments are already underway – for example, in West Yorkshire the work of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone and Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire. These organisations held a data innovation challenge focusing on type 2 diabetes, in which entrants were encouraged to explore a number of publicly available datasets, leading to the discovery of new ways to use data that offers better insights into the disease. In another example, the Bradford Bright Ideas event held in collaboration with regional NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, Medipex, DHEZ and Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire, invited companies to submit bids to address the key healthcare challenges facing the region. The winner from 25 submissions was myCOPD, an app to help patients manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, reducing unplanned A&E visits and helping reduce unnecessary referrals.

The ConversationThese are limited examples, but to develop digital technologies for a nationwide healthcare system is no easy task. It will require considerable cooperation between the NHS, software developers, researchers, companies and other public bodies. Substantially different working cultures must be brought together and, most importantly, there are many privacy issues related to the handling of patients’ data that will prove tricky in the absence of internationally agreed privacy rules and governance frameworks. Intellectual property may also be a hurdle through clashes with existing patents or copyrights. Tackling these issues could be a lengthy process, but the rewards will be worth it.

Rami Qahwaji, Professor of Visual Computing, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Burn, break, bulldoze: is it ever okay to destroy a piece of art?

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Kate Johnson looks at the destruction of art

File 20170727 8525 dcsq72 Pexels Kate Johnson, University of Bradford

The fate of US artist Sam Durant’s piece, Scaffold, is currently in the balance. The art piece, a two-story wooden structure, which draws its form from gallows used in 1862 to kill 38 Dakota Indians, has been removed from Minnesota’s Walker Art Centre after protests from the Native American Dakota Sioux community.

The artist, as a form of apology, has given over the rights of Scaffold to the Dakota people, who plan to have it ceremoniously burnt, overseen by Dakota tribal elders.

The work was created by the artist with the idea of “creating a zone of discomfort” for white people – not to trivialise or mock the history of the community. Because of this, some feel the work’s destruction is an undeserved fate and a form of censorship.

If Durant’s piece is burnt, it will be another in a long history of destruction that form part of an artefact’s story.

Sam Durant’s Scaffold, which is based on the gallows used in high-profile executions has caused outcry in the US. Via samdurant.net

Art under attack

There have been many recent and historical examples of pieces of art being destroyed by people – whether deliberately or by accident. A relatively recent exhibition, Art under Attack at the Tate Britain in London, drew attention to the theme of sacred and secular image destruction in the UK over a 500 year period.

It included artefacts like a 16th century statue of a dead Christ which had been brutally attacked by religious reformers. Declared “too topical almost” by then director Penelope Curtis, the exhibition drew attention to how confusion between the “real” and the “represented” can manifest itself as artefact destruction.

The Statue of the Dead Christ was found damaged and hidden. The Mercers' company

The Art under Attack exhibition also showed how artists use destruction as part of the artistic process. The exhibition drew attention to an international group of artists, collectors and curators who attended the Destruction in Art Symposium, initiated by the artist and political activist Gustav Metzger, in London in 1966.

Metzger, himself a refugee from Nazi occupied Poland, thought destruction should be given a proper role – directed by artists themselves – rather than it acting as a suppression of artistic freedoms.

The Tate exhibition also showed more recent works like the Chapman Brothers’ One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved II, where the artists painted over another artist’s work to change the image and its meaning.

Raphael Montañez Ortiz and accomplice destroying a piano during the Destruction In Art Symposium, London, 1966. Wire

Breaking to innovate

But destruction as part of a process is not just the preserve of artists. At the University of Bradford we are working on a collaborative project between archaeologists and artists which has been underway since 2014. The project is simultaneously an art piece – conceived by myself – as well as a vehicle for scientific discovery.

The art piece takes the form of a story which involves the creation, destruction and reconstruction of a monumental sculpture of a human figure almost ten feet high. The figure is currently being completed in clay after three years in the making with the intention of it being cast in a specially engineered cement material.

Once complete, the sculpture will then be transported to a site where it will be deliberately broken, and the resulting fragments will be collected by the university’s archaeologists.

The aim is for the piece to require no inner metal framework – as this would affect the way it breaks. Archaeologists will then be able to use digital technologies to create a manual reconstruction, using the fragments they have been able to retrieve. The process will be filmed at each stage and presented in partnership with Bradford UNESCO City of Film.

Music by Jeremy Bradford and film photography by Jimi Lund.

An act of creation

In this way, the act of destruction will simultaneously become an act of creation. The resulting work will bear witness to the action and illustrate a certain aesthetic of ruin. But given the ease with which the “real” can be confused with the “represented”, in the current climate of Brexit and the breaking down of both trade boundaries and country ties, it is with some trepidation that the project moves to the next stage.

The process also echoes the evolution of humankind’s story of technology – which is both brutal and wonderful. It begins with the artist manually grappling with one of the earliest materials to be used by the human hand, then moves on to the limestone based cement for manufacture, and finally, use of the latest digital innovations to inform reconstruction.

The ConversationIt is hoped the project will help to engage people both old and young with the varied conservation methods that are used to document, reconstruct and interpret fragmented objects. Beyond that, as a piece of art, it is hoped it will promote thought on what it is to be human in relation to the objects we make and destroy.

Kate Johnson, Lecturer in Design, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

What we can learn from death rites of the past will help us treat the dead and grieving better today

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Lindsey Büster and Jennie Dayes explore how death in the past can help us deal with death in the present

Lindsey Büster, University of Bradford and Jennie Dayes, University of Bradford

These days many people know they are dying long before death finally arrives. Yet death, a natural event, is often seen as a failure of medicine. Despite the additional time modern healthcare may provide us, we still begin our conversations about the wishes of the dying and their families too late – or not at all. This reluctance to accept our own mortality does not serve us well.

This taboo around death is a fairly modern, Western phenomenon. Past and present, societies have dealt with death and dying in diverse ways. It is clear from, for example, the outpouring of grief at Princess Diana’s death, and the conversations opening up around the 20th anniversary of the event, that these outlets are needed in our society too. High-profile celebrity deaths serve as sporadic catalysts for conversations that should be happening every day, in everyday lives.

Recent bereavement theory has moved on from thinking of grief as a series of stages, to a continuous process in which the bereaved never fully return to some “pre-bereaved” status quo. It is increasingly recognised that the living form various sorts of continuing bonds with the dead, as put forward by the sociologist Tony Walter and psychologist Dennis Klass and colleagues – and this is certainly something that can be seen in death practices today across the globe, and among those practised in the past.

In Neolithic Turkey, one funerary rite included the creation of plastered skulls – family members were buried under the floors of their house and after some time the skull was removed and a plaster face lovingly recreated over it. Many of these plastered skulls show evidence of wear and tear, breakage and repair, suggesting that they were used in everyday life, perhaps displayed and passed around among the living. Similarly, in modern-day Indonesia, the dead are kept in houses, fed and brought gifts for many years after death. While in this state they are considered to be ill or asleep – in this case their biological death does not entail social death.

It was not so long ago in the UK that public outpouring of grief and practices that kept the dead close were acceptable. For example, in Victorian England, mourning clothes and jewellery were commonplace – Queen Victoria wore black for decades in mourning for Prince Albert – while keeping tokens such as locks of hair of a deceased loved one were popular.

However, today death has been outsourced to professionals and, for the most part, dying happens in hospitals or hospices. But many doctors and nurses themselves feel uncomfortable with broaching the subject with relatives. Perhaps there are lessons to be drawn from the attitudes of others far removed from us in time and space: the past, and societies on the other side of the globe, are easier to discuss, yet act as prompts to help us discuss more personal experiences.

The brings together healthcare practitioners and archaeologists at the University of Bradford and LOROS Hospice in Leicester to explore what we can learn from the past, using archaeology to challenge modern perceptions of and attitudes towards death and dying, and as a vehicle through which people can discuss their own mortality and end-of-life care.

Remember, remember

The Holy Hand of St Stephen The Holy Hand of St Stephen. Farkasven

One case study we show our workshop participants is the Holy Right Hand of St Stephen, a relic of the first king of Hungary which has been on display since 1038. Though saints’ relics – generally body parts – have been a large part of Christian culture in the past and were not uncommon, they are something many are uncomfortable with today. One workshop participant describes the display of St Stephen’s hand as “selfish”, as if he is being exploited beyond the grave. What responsibilities do we have towards the dead? What constitutes “respect” for them? Archaeology shows us that it is a fluid and culturally embedded concept which differs wildly between societies and individuals.

Memorialisation, through photographs or statues (that served the same purpose in the past), appears to be fundamental to “respectful” treatment of the dead. Death masks – plaster castings of a dead person’s face – and later even photos of the recently departed, were not uncommon as a way to memorialise the dead, even into the 20th century. Yet while taking photographs of the departed in life are celebrated, photographs of dead bodies themselves are less palatable today.

Ramses II The vast stone bust of Ramses II in the British Museum. Speedster, CC BY-SA

Another example for workshop participants is the statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, the bust of which resides at the British Museum, while the feet remain in situ at the Ramesseum in Luxor, Egypt. Given that this individual lived in Egypt nearly 3,000 years ago, the statue has kept his memory alive. Yet its fragmented and dispersed nature prompted our participants to wonder how long their loved ones’ memories of them would persist after their death, and what legacies they would want to leave.

101 uses for mortal remains

Memorialisation of the dead takes a very different form at the 16th-century Capela dos Ossos in Évora, Portugal, where monks desiring to save the souls of some 5,000 people from overcrowded local cemeteries used their remains to create a chapel of bones. Individual bones were used to create decorative features such as arches and vaulted ceilings.

Workshop participants were unhappy that bones had been removed from their resting place without the permission of the deceased. But for how long can our wishes be accommodated after death? The other feature that unsettled them was the dismantling of the skeletons – in the West today, our identity sits firmly with us as individuals, bounded by our physical bodies. Fragmenting our skeletal remains strikes firmly at this sense of identity – and so our sense of social presence. Such scattered remains are nameless, faceless – lacking the very thing that memorials seek to preserve.

In other cultures – and in the past – identity is less individualistic and resonates within larger kin or community groups. Here, distributing bones may be less problematic and a part of the process whereby the recently deceased joins the host of communal ancestors.

skulls ‘Nice chapel, I love what you’ve done with the space.’ paspalletas, CC BY

Though some of the topics were difficult to discuss, many workshop participants felt they had improved confidence in talking about death, dying and bereavement as a result. The range of practices from the past reminds us of the diverse ways through which death can be negotiated and the extent to which practices that we take for granted today are in fact culturally embedded, relative and subject to change. Persistent Facebook profiles of dead friends and family to which loved ones post on each anniversary are an example of how traditions are changing.

The ConversationIn a world where death has become increasingly outsourced and medicalised, the diverse ways we treated and remembered our dead in the past should highlight the choices available to us and prompt us to consider those now banned or taboo. At the entrance of the Capela dos Ossos, the monks who built the chapel left an inscription, a momento mori that reminds us: “We bones that are here, for yours await”.

Lindsey Büster, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Bradford and Jennie Dayes, Counselling Psychologist and Researcher, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

How striking McDonald's workers could slay the fast food giant

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Professor Gregor Gall looks at the rights of fast food workers

File 20170830 24226 vny1inshutterstock.comGregor Gall, University of Bradford

Workers in two McDonald’s restaurants will make history on September 4 when they become the company’s first ever workers in Britain to go on strike. They will join a growing band of McDonald’s employees around the world that have unionised to fight one of the biggest and best known global fast food operators.

The issues at the two restaurants – one in Cambridge, the other in Crayford, southeast London – relate to cuts in hours so that workers there cannot make a living wage and regarding allegations of bullying. This led 96% of union members, numbering around 40, to vote for strike action. Behind these lie wider demands: a £10 per hour minimum wage, an end to zero hour contracts and the right to have a union recognised by McDonald’s for negotiating on members’ terms and conditions of employment.

In the words of one of the striking McDonald’s workers, Tom Holliday:

McDonald’s must consider reinvesting its huge amount of net profits back into its workforce. We believe it is our right to ask for a fair treatment for the hard work we perform.

The strike is a major milestone in the work of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) and the Fast Food Rights campaign set up by the union with the help of the Unite the Resistance group and Labour MP, John McDonnell.

The campaign was established in early 2014 to try to replicate the fight of fast food workers in the United States. Fast food workers there have, along with the help of unions and community groups, collectively organised to raise their pay and conditions. Since 2012, this has evolved into a series of increasingly large nationwide strikes. From 2013, their central demand has been encapsulated in the slogan “Fight for $15” – a minimum wage of US$15 per hour and enough hours to earn a living on. Success has come through direct action against the fast food operators as well as political lobbying to gain local wage ordinances.

Out in force. Annette Bernhardt/flickr, CC BY-SA

For some time, McDonald’s in Britain has been under pressure to end its use of zero hour contracts. Earlier in 2017, it promised to phase them out by offering fixed hours. The beef of the workers is that this has been too little, too late, as the offer has been rolled out through limited pilot projects.

David vs Goliath

The September 4 strike is part of a wider national day of action against low pay that day across Britain, which the Fast Food Rights campaign has called for. It is also in coordination with the US Labor Day holiday to signify solidarity with fast food colleagues there.

Yet underneath this act of global worker solidarity is something much more fundamental. Until now, the Fast Food Rights campaign has been mainly about protests outside fast food outlets, often mainly by supportive non-fast food workers. The strike signifies that a small number of fast food workers are now prepared to try to close down operations themselves from the inside. This new found spirit will be critical in determining whether the strike grows into a bigger challenge to McDonald’s and gains support from the tens of thousands of workers it employs in Britain.

The battle between the BFAWU and McDonald’s is akin to David and Goliath. Around the world, McDonald’s has long been known for its staunch and well-resourced defence to remain “union free”.

With around 20,000 members, the BFAWU will need to call on all its reserves and know-how in order to take the struggle forward successfully. This will mean unionising many more McDonald’s restaurants than the six at present, mobilising them into collective action and getting supporters outside their own ranks to engage in disruptive flash mob protests to shut down restaurants from the outside.

But there will also need to be campaigns to damage McDonald’s reputation and brand through social media as well as the more conventional leafleting outside its restaurants. These are the kinds of tactics that have proved successful in the US in moving toward a US$15 minimum wage across the US.

The ConversationThe struggle will need to have both industry and political dimensions in order to develop the necessary leverage over the company. Crucial to all this will be a good strike result in Crayford and Cambridge because it will galvanise and propel things forward. If that can be done, the 180-year old BFAWU union will have helped transform itself into a modern day giant slayer.

Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

How finance workers are paying the price for the industry's profit

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Professor Gregor Gall looks at how the banking and insurance profession has changed

File 20170912 3737 onimz5

The industry has walked a tight rope to survive. Many have fallen along the way. shutterstock.com Gregor Gall, University of Bradford

A job in banking and insurance used to be a most sought-after prize for many working class school leavers. Not only was it a clean and safe white-collar job with long-term employment security, it also offered the prospect of a career and a good pension. But the financial crisis of 2007-08 has put an end to all that for good.

No longer are there widely available secure jobs with career prospects and good pensions for the majority in banking and finance. Indeed, no longer is banking and finance even an inviting prospect for many middle-class university graduates. Today, they prefer to go into the professions of accounting, law and public relations, or work for new, upstart technology companies like those in fintech. Pay, conditions and prospects are much better there, as is the public perception and wider status of those industries.

When bonuses were cut and regulated following political pressure after the financial crash, those disproportionately affected were the lower grade finance workers who relied on bonuses to make their wages up to something close to a reasonable level of income. Those with telephone number bonuses could easily fall back on their basic salaries of hundreds of thousands of pounds. In the meantime, criminal prosecutions against the managers who encouraged reckless activity and their underlings who engaged in reckless activity have been almost non-existent.

The consequence of this, as I found when researching my new book on employment relations in the post-crash period, is that the banking and insurance sector can no longer be an engine of social mobility from the working class to the middle class. Nor can it be any longer a generator of secure, satisfying employment for the many employed within it.

The reaction of employers in banking, finance and insurance to the financial crisis has been the introduction of massive job cuts, oppressive performance management systems and reduced real value of pay, and an end to decent pensions. In my book, I categorise the experience of employees as: flight, fright, fight and falling-in-line.

No guarantees

For a sector of around one million employees, the numbers leaving banking and insurance through redundancy programmes has been astronomically high. As I calculated, from 2007 to 2017, major insurance company Aviva reduced its workforce in Britain from 21,000 to 15,000, with Barclays bank cutting its British headcount from 103,000 to 71,000. HSBC bank went from 67,000 to 43,000, Lloyds banking from 140,000 to 73,000, Northern Rock bank from 6,500 to 2,500, RBS from 120,000 to 65,000 and Zurich from 10,000 to 4,000.

The impact of this flight has been that those left in those organisations in banking and insurance now have to do more with less. But they do so under very different circumstances. The introduction of oppressive performance management systems means that workers must achieve a growing number of targets to be eligible for pay rises. But no pay rises are guaranteed.

It has not been uncommon for a quarter of workers in a particular company in any one year to receive no pay increase at all, meaning a cut in the real value of their pay. On top of that, the level of unpaid overtime has increased significantly as workers come in early, stay late and work through their breaks to chase often unachievable targets.

Overtime has got worse. shutterstock.com

Performance management systems also allow companies to manage workers out of the organisation without compensation for what they deem to be under-performance. And if staff in banking, finance and insurance manage to stay the course, no pot of gold awaits them upon retirement anymore. Almost all final salary pension schemes have been ended, replaced by inferior ones without a guaranteed level of decent benefits.

Fire of discontent

No longer do many workers in banking, finance and insurance feel happy in their jobs as the many surveys of union members I’ve analysed show. Many feel abused and under-valued by their employers. On top of this, they also feel despised by the public as they are tarred with the same brush as the bankers that set off the financial crisis in the first place. That bonuses and compensation packages for top level managers and executives in banking, finance and insurance have never experienced the kind of austerity that their underlings have has merely added fuel to this fire of discontent.

The deterioration in the sector’s post-crisis working conditions led to a stampede out the door when (voluntary) redundancy programmes were on offer. And the power of unions in the sector is also on the decline. Most have a partnership approach, which guarantees employee representation a seat at the table with management and is based on the idea that employees and employers have mutual interests (which they often do not).

At the same time, collective bargaining powers have commonly been downgraded and replaced by mere consultation. With redundancy often seen as the more appealing option, union membership has experienced something of a downward spiral. This does little to help them become stronger, which is exactly what they need if they are to increase their memberships.

The ConversationFor those that remain, the combination of flight (redundancies) and fright (oppressive management) has led to much falling in line whereby workers reluctantly submit to management diktat as best they can. It seems there is very little they can do to fight back. Banking will no longer offer a route to social mobility – and the switch to automation will only compound this.

Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Make Rugby Safer By Leaving It To The Amateur Clubs

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Jamie Becks looks at the safety of rugby in a blog post for the Huffington Post

Here we go again! The touchy subject of young people playing rugby and the associated risks has once again reared its controversial head in the news. In the red corner are the raging rugby aficionados, angry about the demonisation of their long practiced sport. In the blue corner are section of the medical community who are either custodians of our young people’s safety or out of touch liberals with no concept of the real world. Delete as you see appropriate.

Royal Mail workers' vote for a national strike offers a lesson in how to organise effectively

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Professor Gall looks at the Royal Mail workers strike

Gregor Gall, University of Bradford

Royal Mail workers have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay, pensions and conditions. In so doing, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), which represents them, has set the gold standard for all other major unions in the UK.

It is the first nationwide strike ballot since tough new legal requirements for industrial action were introduced by the Conservatives. The Trade Union Act 2016, which came fully into force in March 2017, dictates that lawful strike action now requires a 50% turnout to vote. CWU gained a 89% vote to go ahead on a 74% turnout.

The new thresholds for turnouts and results has made a number of unions fearful of staging industrial action ballots among large groups of workers spread throughout the country. While they were confident of achieving a “yes” vote among those voting, they were not confident of securing the 50% minimum turnout.

Their fears were underpinned by the loss of some big and important ballots early on. London Underground workers, offshore workers and council workers in Scotland all fell foul of either the 50% turnout threshold or the requirement in vital public services that those voting for action equated to 40% of all those entitled to vote. But the successful CWU ballot, which brought together nearly three quarters of its 110,000 Royal Mail members, working in thousands of separate offices, shows that unions need not fear if they approach the ballot in the right way.

How to mobilise

The CWU began the mobilisation to gain a strike mandate well over six months ago. It put together a “Four Pillars of Security” campaign, calling for: decent pensions; a shorter working week; extended legal protections, and a proper pricing policy for the cost of sending mail. The campaign focused on ensuring members’ terms and conditions of employment were not driven down, amid fears they would be in order to help the now-private company retain its market share and boost profitability.

Lesson one is to pick an issue – or set of issues – that really matter to members. Asking members to strike for, say, a little more than a 1% pay rise might not provide much motivation when the cost of striking could wipe away the benefits of such a small rise and their pay has fallen by up to 10% over the last decade (as has been the case in the public sector). Being able to decide what is the right issue to run with can only be gained by doing the necessary groundwork by talking extensively to members to judge their mood.

Lesson two involves gradually upping the ante among members. So in the case of the CWU’s Royal Mail members, there was initially a petition among members to build support and meetings of workplace union representatives around the country. Then there were countless bulletins, which went out to members, and umpteen video messages like this one.

All these were supplemented by campaign material in various formats. And, all this was before the ballot was even launched.

The ballot was then followed by what the CWU said was the largest online union meeting in recent times. There were also hundreds of workplace gate meetings where members gathered en masse outside their delivery and sorting offices. Although the members of the CWU postal union deliver snail mail, they did not shirk from extensively using social media to further drill home the message.

So it was a slow burn strategy, rather than a quick flash in the pan campaign. It was patient, methodical and well planned. Other unions cannot expect to pass the new thresholds unless they act similarly.

The lessons to be learnt from the CWU are vital following this year’s TUC congress where a number of unions including PCS, one of the main public sector unions, signalled they want to hold a joint national strike to beat the government’s public sector pay cap of 1%. Indeed, PCS seems to be taking the same course as the CWU in its slow, patient pre-ballot mobilisation of members across the country, highlighting the issue over the summer. Whether the other big unions (like GMB, Unison and Unite) will do the same remains to be seen.

The ConversationBut, of course, for Royal Mail workers and others, what comes next after winning the right to strike is equally important. Winning the ballot is necessary but not sufficient to see their demands met. The next big question is: can unions mount effective strike action to gain their bargaining objectives when the Trade Union Act also increases the period of notice they must give employers of the action and reduces the length of the lawful mandate for action? The first change means that any action could be less effective than before while the second means that the dispute must be won more quickly if the union is to avoid having to ballot again.

Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial Relations, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Why pop needs its eccentric characters

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Mark Goodall looks at eccentric characters in pop

File 20170915 8065 27zlu2 Paddy McAlloon, in his more recent guise as a pop eccentric in dress as well as attitude. PR handout

Mark Goodall, University of Bradford

“Eccentricity exists particularly in the English,” the famously eccentric poet Edith Sitwell once wrote – and she should know. Sitwell in her later years required visitors to fill in a form that included the question: “Has any relative of yours ever been confined in a mental home?”, followed by the supplementary question “If not, why not?”

Tales of eccentricity in the world of music are equally common: the French avant-garde composer Erik Satie was known as much for his odd behaviour as he was for his remarkable chamber scores, and is credited with inventing “musique d’ameublement”, the forerunner to ambient music. Satie wore a white suit every day and upon his death his friends discovered multiple identical outfits in his wardrobe. Satie’s daily ritual was to saunter from his suburban home to the centre of Paris carrying an attaché case containing nothing but manuscript paper and a hammer.

In recent times, it is not the avant garde but pop musicians who have tested the boundaries of what is considered normal. Producer Phil Spector was known to wield a pistol in the studio, while Joe Meek, who wrote the groundbreaking record Telstar, recorded his hits in a converted bathroom above a shop in north London, using the sound of toilet flushes as special effects. Louis Thomas Hardin, AKA Moondog, dressed in robes and a horned helmet and was known as The Viking of 6th Avenue.

Brian Wilson, genius behind the success of the Beach Boys, suffered drug abuse and nervous breakdowns leading to over-elaborate recording sessions and erratic demands such as having his piano room filled with sand so that he could feel the beach under his feet. The unreleased Beach Boys LP Smile became a legendary symbol of Wilson’s malaise.

Dub Reggae producer Lee Scratch Perry burned his Black Ark studio to the ground in a fit of rage. To top it all, while definitely not pop, avant-Jazz orchestral composer Sun Ra is officially listed as being born on Saturn.

What we are discussing here is not the traditional bad behaviour of spoilt and egotistical celebrities. True pop eccentrics are either born that way and find an outlet in music, or are “turned crazy” by the destructive nature of the music business itself. Record companies tolerate oddballs while they are playing the game, but when artists tire of being puppets and want to deviate from the formula they are cast aside. The most infamous example of this is cult killer Charles Manson, who was wooed as a potential acid folk singer by the Beach Boys and their producer Terry Melcher (son of Doris Day) and then hastily dropped, leaving Manson wounded and resentful. He went on to murder five people.

Kings of rock and roll

One of the most fascinating modern-day pop eccentrics is Paddy McAloon, mastermind behind the music of 1980s pop band Prefab Sprout, whose work is recounted in a new three-volume study by John Birch.

The first volume, The Early Years, explains how the band emerged from the unpromising location of Witton Gilbert, a village in rural County Durham in the northeast of England. Prefab Sprout found success in the mid-1980s with hits such as When Love Breaks Down, Cars and Girls, and most famously The King of Rock’n’Roll during an epoch that saw its own share of mavericks. Music moguls with singular visions such as Tony Wilson of Factory Records or Alan McGhee of Creation Records, or Keith Armstrong of Prefab Sprout’s label Kitchenware were all larger than life characters, with Alan Horne, founder of Postcard Records in Glasgow that launched the careers of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, and founder of 4AD Records Ivo Watts-Russell being the high priests of post-punk lunacy.

McAloon brought his own strange and diverse combination of influences to bear on his songs, mixing up US songwriter Irving Berlin, contemporary classical composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and The Beatles. He was also inspired by eccentrics from an earlier generation, in particular songwriter Jimmy Webb and jazz-rock group Steely Dan. Webb composed expansive songs about the real and imaginary landscape of North America such as By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Wichita Lineman, memorably sung by the late Glen Campbell.

From these examples McAloon learned that a pop composer could evoke occult place and time instantly, transporting a listener to a world that is alien but familiar. McAloon pays tribute to the “sorcerer of Wichita” in one of his own songs with the lines: “In words he paints a vivid scene/ Of places you have never been/ But listen and you are moved to swear/ I know that house, I’ve climbed that stair.” McAloon once told me in an interview: “I was interested in losing yourself in someone else’s world … to be enchanted. Just to be enchanted was enough.” Music like poetry becomes an expression of the unknown.

The eccentric nature of Steely Dan – core members Donald Fagen and Water Becker, who died recently – is evidenced in their obsessive, perfectionist recording techniques, auditioning eight guitarists for a solo on one of their songs (Peg), and on occasion replacing an entire backing band with another to get the right vibe. They also conjured up complex exotic visions with a cool “west coast sound” despite hailing from New Jersey and Queens, New York.

It’s clear that the pop outsider divines the world differently, regardless of their origins. Perhaps because of his humdrum background, McAloon’s songs evoke places and people from different domains – different planets, even. In an essay included with Prefab Sprout’s own lost LP Let’s Change the World with Music, McAloon reflects on this search for the “yawning caves of blue”, the fragility of pop perfection and “transcendence through music”.

“When you hear Mozart or Bach or Brian Wilson, whoever your God would be in that world, there is something beyond the flesh and blood thing, something spooky going on,” he told me (a subject I also explore in my book, Gathering of the Tribe: music and heavy conscious creation).

The ConversationIn the music business today, eccentricity is sorely lacking, or is manufactured through social media where posing naked or filming a moment of psychological distress becomes another tool for selling more units. Prefab Sprout had their success and the music business moved on, as it does. Now Paddy McAloon has a beard as white and long as Moondog’s. And like all eccentric masters, he continues to make music in a language constructed from its own inner rules.

Mark Goodall, Head of Film and Media, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Blade Runner 2049: how Philip K Dick's classic novel has stood the test of time

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Patrick Allen looks at how Blade Runner has stood the test of time

File 20171004 1134 j6b4me Blade Runner Movie.com Patrick T. Allen, University of Bradford

The year 2019 must have seemed like a long time in the future 35 years ago, when the original Blade Runner film was set. Based on the US science fiction writer Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ridley Scott’s dystopian vision tells the story of a hunt for four dangerous “replicant” humans.

At the time of it’s release, the film was a rich source of predictions about the future world – or Los Angeles to be precise – a place ruined by pollution and lit only by giant floating billboards. But now, in 2017, as the world gets ready for the sequel, we are living in the future – videophones, androids, advances in artificial intelligence, it’s all happening. Okay so we don’t have the hover car just yet, but time always was always a complex and paradoxical phenomenon in the writings of the Philip K Dick.

The arrival of an update, set in 2049, as well as two teaser prequels, created at the request of the director of Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve, merely adds to the sense of a “time-slip” that Dick himself would have appreciated – temporal ambiguity being one of the authors favourite themes. These switches in the timeline of Dick’s stories produce feelings of uncertainty and paranoia for his characters. They also unsettle the reader and challenge our relationship to time.

The future present

Of course, from the book to the film, a lot has changed. In the book, the protagonist Rick Deckard is a simple and rather vulnerable character and is certainly no Harrison Ford. Large chunks of the text are also missed out in the film in favour of more cinematic landscapes and new material.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? shares the basic plotline of the film: the world has been ravaged by World War Terminus, most humans have departed the planet and cities are all but deserted due to the prevalence of radioactive dust. Bounty hunter Deckard is hired to retire “replicants” who have returned illegally to Earth. And over the course of a day, he hunts them down through a crumbling Los Angeles.

Rachael, a replicant played by Sean Young in the film. By Source, Fair use,

In the book, inhabitants of Earth are mostly “specials”, whose mental capacities have deteriorated as a consequence of contamination. Deckard owns and cares for android sheep and his ultimate ambition is to own a real animal – the war having caused the mass extinction of many species. Deckard needs to earn money as a bounty hunter to get enough to finance a real animal.

Technology at the helm

Part of the success of Dick’s stories and very much integral to the success of the first Blade Runner film is their proximity to the present. The technological landscape Dick explores – for which the first Blade Runner film is famous – includes many technological advances that have come to light since publication.

He prefigured both augmented and virtual reality. He described machines – such as lifts, cars and consumer durables – that talk back and argue with humans.

Not totally dissimilar to the strange dialogues I have with the voice of an automated self-service till in my local supermarket these days. The writer’s use of quirky technological artefacts that argue, answer back, joke, intimidate and use sarcasm, have become commonplace in the many interpretations of Dick’s output since the release of the original Blade Runner movie.

The rise of the machine

In his writing, Dick often characterised complex human relationships and interactions with technology. This can be seen in the original Blade Runner film, where many of these relationships are seen to be paradoxical and infused with paranoia – portraying many of the existential challenges that our relations to technology give rise to.

Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling both star in the new Blade Runner film. Blade Runner Movie.Com

But the technological landscape in Dick’s novels were not always their main characteristic – and certainly not as much of an obsession as it was for some of his contemporaries such as Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein. That said, a lot of Dick’s technological landscape has provided ample inspiration for other cinematic interpretations such as Total Recall, Minority Report as well as of course Blade Runner.

The ConversationUltimately, in his novel, Dick used the future to illuminate the present. But of course these are not optimistic or evangelical visions of the future. In all of these stories, whether in the novel or the films spawned, it is a future that is bleak, dystopian and full of struggles. If anything, this is a cautionary warning of what may actually happen. And given that no one knows yet what the world will look like in 2049, only time will tell if this is the future to come.

Patrick T. Allen, Senior Lecturer in New Media Design, University of Bradford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Podcast looking at the issue of Pain

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Professor Marcus Rattray took part in the Conversation's podcast on Pain

Listen to the podcast

Pain is something that everyone is familiar with. If you touch a burning stove, a signal travels up your nervous system to your brain which tells you to snatch your hand away.

But understanding pain isn’t so simple. We all experience pain in different ways and the manner in which our brain processes these signals can vary significantly.

This episode of The Anthill is dedicated to exploring this world of pain. We look into how and why humans experience pain and the efforts underway to better minimise it. Katerina Fotopoulou from UCL’s psychology unit explains how the brain processes pain and why it’s so subjective. Emotions, social relations and context all have a role to play.

In a world of increasingly sophisticated machines, we also explore the question of whether or not robots should feel pain. Conor McGinn, who designs robots involved in the care industry, tells us how far away the technology is from this. And we also address the moral question of whether or not it’s right to inflict feelings of pain onto something you create with Beth Singler, a researcher from the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge, who made a film on this topic called Pain in the Machine. It’s the first in a series of four short documentaries considering the implication of AI and robots in relation to human identity.

From whether or not we should create things that can feel – and even benefit from – pain, we switch to human efforts to remove it entirely.

In fact, the ability to banish pain has been one of the great boons of modern medicine. Unfortunately, the most effective painkillers are based on opium. And like opium, they are addictive and sometimes lethal. Pain experts Marcus Rattray from the University of Bradford and Andrew Moore from the University of Oxford tell us what alternatives are being developed. They also discuss the difficulty of bringing these to market.


Music in the opioid segment is Attend by Art Of Escapism and The Anthill theme music is by Alex Grey for Melody Loops.

Listen to more episodes of The Anthill, on themes including Humour, The Future and Memory.

A big thanks to City University London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios to record The Anthill.

University of Bradford ranked UK number one for practice placement satisfaction.

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The University of Bradford has been ranked number one in the UK for undergraduate nursing and midwifery placement satisfaction.

The ranking is based on feedback from final-year students who completed the annual . This accomplishment follows our nursing and midwifery programmes achieving an overall satisfaction rating of between 94 – 100 per cent.

Practice placements enable students to learn and work in the contextual setting of a clinical practice. They are an integral aspect of the University’s Faculty of Health Studies’ programmes, accounting for up to 50 per cent of each student’s credits. Practice-based learning provides students with essential real life work experience, which helps them to prepare for a career in health and social care.

The University of Bradford works with local and regional NHS Trusts to provide placement opportunities for students.

Pam Bagley, Dean of the Faculty of Health Studies, said: “The data is sufficiently large to have allowed this analysis of nursing and midwifery against other programmes. We and our practice partners should feel extremely proud to have achieved this top performance in the UK.”

University of Bradford in expert support for Gulf-based business project

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The University of Bradford is providing expert intelligence to a UK-based company seeking to develop the knowledge-based economy of Bahrain.

Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 identifies improvements in productivity, growth of high value-added organisations and expansion in knowledge-based sectors as its priorities.

London-based Synergation Ltd has received funding from Innovate UK to carry out a feasibility study - ‘data driven business intelligence and professional services for innovative organisations in Bahrain’. The project involves researching the local market and developing business solutions that benchmark against world markets, use data to improve decision-making, improve productivity and reduce costs and support better strategic and financial decision-making.

Professor Zahir Irani (pictured), Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law at the University of Bradford, is advising Synergation on its business development strategy in the region using his considerable experience of delivering innovative projects in the Gulf. He said: “The Gulf is a high-growth region but with significant cultural and competitive challenges. My board level experience in the region and specific knowledge of Bahrain places me well to advise companies on creating a local and regional presence.”

Professor Irani has also helped to secure the support of Ahlia University as an end-user of the solutions being researched by Synergation.

Professor Irani added: “Bahrain’s economic vision fits directly with the solutions that can be provided by UK-based businesses like Synergation and provides tremendous opportunities for expansion in the Gulf region. The University of Bradford is delighted to be able to provide its expert support and we look forward to the successful delivery of this innovative project.”

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information, visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk

About Synergation Limited

Synergation Limited is an award winning SME specialising in business intelligence and pricing tools, and knowledge process outsourcing services. Based in London, we have developed our own proprietary technology on data analytics and provided consultancy services to clients in the UK and Asia. For further information, visit www.synergation.com

You can help major Bradford archaeology projects scoop national awards

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Researchers at Bradford have been nominated for two national awards by Current Archaeology – and your vote can help them secure the top prizes.

The collaborative excavation at Durrington Walls, led by Bradford and UCL, has been nominated for the 2016 Research Project of the Year.

The was also included in a group of fantastic projects representing the most important archaeological innovations of the last 50 years.

Current Archaeology said that 2016 had been another outstanding year for archaeological research, and that the Durrington project was one of the most exciting projects to have featured in Current Archaeology over the last 12 months.

The 9th annual Current Archaeology (CA) Awards will celebrate the projects and publications that made the pages of CA in 2016, and the people judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology.

These awards are voted for entirely by the public – there are no panels of judges – so we encourage you to get involved and choose Durrington Walls and Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes.

Voting closes on 6 February 2017, and the winners will be announced at the special awards ceremony in London on 24 February at Current Archaeology Live! 2017.

Register your vote »

World-leading Bradford professor to deliver lecture on testing for DNA damage

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Pioneering University of Bradford professor and World Science Award nominee Diana Anderson will deliver a lecture describing how, using a simple blood sample, much valuable information about individuals and their children can be obtained.

nominee, lecture will highlight the results of two recent studies that the University has conducted. It takes place at the Norcroft Centre at the University’s city centre campus on Wednesday 8 February 2017, 6pm-7.30pm.

The first study explored tests to determine whether might be prone to developing cancer. This study investigated responses from lymphocytes in blood from healthy individuals, suspected or pre- cancerous patients, and cancer patients in a simple test known as the Comet assay, which detects DNA damage. There was found to be a difference in levels of damage between cancer patients and healthy individuals, and suspected or precancerous individuals had intermediate values.

The second study found that smoking fathers passed on more DNA damage to their children than mothers. Blood was taken from father, mother and baby triads (cord blood was used from the babies). It is recommended that hopeful fathers should allow three months to pass without smoking before conception to allow the damaged DNA to be eliminated from their reproductive systems.

Professor of Biomedical Science and Established Chair at the University, she will discuss these studies and the implications of their findings.

Bradford archaeologists win national award

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Bradford archaeologists investigating one of the UK's most iconic historical sites have been recognised with a national award.

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, led by Bradford, together with the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the National Trust, received Current Archaeology’s Research Project of the Year Award, in recognition of the pioneering work carried out at Durrington Walls, a ‘superhenge’ located close to the Stonehenge site.

The two research programmes worked with the National Trust to carry out on-site investigations into what exactly lay beneath the gigantic earthworks, revealing a massive and previously unknown palisaded enclosure beneath the banks of the famous Neolithic henge.

The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project, which started in 2010, brought together expertise from the Universities of Bradford, Birmingham, Nottingham and St Andrews, as well as from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, in Austria.

Professor Vince Gaffney, Anniversary Chair in Landscape Archaeology at Bradford, said: “At a time when the future of Stonehenge and its landscape is a matter of public debate, this award is a great achievement for Bradford and testament to the extremely rewarding and productive partnership between all the institutions involved.”

Accepting the award, Nick Snashall of the National Trust said:

“Durrington Walls is a fantastic place to work, really special, and the opportunity to work with these people is extraordinary. To see two such projects [the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project] come together with so much knowledge and scientific expertise is a real privilege.”

University of Bradford appoints Dean of Faculty of Life Sciences

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The University of Bradford has appointed Professor Alastair Goldman as Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Professor Goldman will join the University in July to lead a Faculty that has achieved for its research in such areas as cancer diagnostics and therapy, skin science and archaeology.

The Faculty of Life Sciences comprises archaeological sciences, chemistry and forensic sciences, medical sciences, optometry and vision sciences, and pharmacy, as well as the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics and the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit. The University is one of the world’s foremost technology universities, with 96 per cent of its research classed as world-leading or internationally significant, and it continues to make major strides in UK university rankings.

He joins from the University of Sheffield, where he oversaw the growth of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, increasing student numbers and research income.

Professor Goldman has been published in many high-ranking journals, including The Lancet, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Nucleic Acids Research, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Computer Biology and Molecular Cell.

His research interests are centred on the meiotic cell division, which is essential for fertility of sexually reproducing organisms. The main scope of his work includes chromosome organisation, chromosome segregation and DNA double-strand break repair. These fundamental aspects of cell biology are central to understanding the Eukaryotic life cycle, improving crop species through breeding programmes and human health; as their function is critical to the avoidance of cancer and ageing.

Professor Goldman said: "I am delighted to be joining Bradford as Dean for the Faculty of Life Sciences – a faculty that mixes discovery science with disciplines that are genuine in their delivery of positive impact to society. This is an exciting combination. I am certain that building on Bradford’s sense of purpose and working to enhance each other’s potential, we will increasingly turn heads towards Life Sciences at Bradford with both our research and graduates being noticed near and far."

Bradford Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor said: “I am delighted that Professor Goldman is joining us at what is an exciting period for the University. We are making great progress with our long-term strategy that will see us continue to develop as a world-leading technology university, a teaching university of excellence, and an internationally renowned research-intensive university. Professor Goldman brings vast experience, expertise and knowledge and will I know make a vital contribution to our growth.”

University of Bradford named national champions for sustainable development

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The University of Bradford has been named Building Performance Champion, for the second time, for its pioneering Ecoversity programme at the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards 2017.

The university’s department of estates and facilities came out on top at a tightly contested awards, held at the Royal Grosvenor Hotel, London, thanks to transformational work on its aging estates infrastructure over the last decade – reducing its carbon footprint by a stunning 35%, and becoming the only university in the world to maintain three ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ rated buildings in its portfolio.

Also victorious in the Facilities Management Team Award, the University of Bradford entry was commended for its approach to tackling inherent problems within its large stock of legacy buildings dating from the 1960s and 70s, including poor thermal performance, asbestos and large expanses of single glazing. By overcoming practical and organisational challenges, the University cut utility costs by 27 per cent in a market that has risen 90 per cent, and saved £8 million over ten years.

The judges were impressed with the University’s long-term strategy, which involves engaging stakeholders from all areas of the campus and implementing an extremely robust Building Energy Management System, which delivers high quality in-use performance data. Other features of the strategy include LED lighting and controls installation; replacing transformers and pumps; engineering and control improvements to the district heating network; expanding the BEMS, and reviewing and optimising compressed air.

John Field, President of CIBSE, said: “This year’s Champions, the University of Bradford, embody what it means to truly strive for building performance, achieving success in the face of adversity through sheer will and commitment to deliver the best.”

at the University of Bradford, said: “We are all very proud of this accolade not least because it is a team award. We are the only university ever to win this award for a second time and it really does underline our commitment to embedding sustainable development across everything that we do.”

University of Bradford appoints graduate employability expert

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The University of Bradford has appointed Professor Vishanth Weerakkody to help spearhead the development of graduate employability.

Professor Weerakkody will join the as Professor in Management Information Systems and Governance. He was previously at Brunel University, where he held positions including Director of Work Placements and Undergraduate Studies. He led the ‘Business Life’ Graduate Employability Programme and served on executive and advisory boards.

Prior to his academic career, he worked in a number of multinational organisations, including IBM UK. He has a track record of research and enterprise and has secured numerous research grants from funding bodies such as the European Commission, Economic and Social Research Council, and Qatar Foundation. His research and development expertise spans several disciplines including, management decision making, ICT, public administration, social Innovation and process transformation.

He said: “I consider myself a hybrid professional who enjoys multi-tasking and team work and I like dividing my time equally between student experience and research. I constantly draw inspiration from the challenges facing our society to innovate.”

Prof Zahir Irani, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law, said: “I am delighted that Vishanth will be joining the School of Management, where he will be leading the School’s activities to support all our students in developing their graduate level attributes through a new innovative career development programme.”

Postgrad open day: public lectures examine our security

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How safe is the world in 2017?

It is a question that affects us all and is the subject of two public lectures at the University of Bradford that will share expert insight on contemporary politics and world events.

Cybercrime – can we ever really be safe? And Brexit, UN, Trump Administration and the significance for European and International Security both take place on Thursday 16 March 2017 in the John Stanley Bell lecture theatre at the city centre campus . The lectures are part of the University’s postgraduate open day. Registration is free.

Cybercrime is one of the most important and complex issues that we currently face. Whether as an individual or an organisation we have information we need to protect. It is a complex issue and although technology plays a big part in protecting systems, it is becoming widely recognised that the human element can often be the biggest vulnerability. Delivering the lecture from 4pm – 5.30pm will be Dr Andrea Cullen, Director of Cyber Security Interdisciplinary Centre, and Lorna Armitage, Programme Leader for BSc Computer Science for Cyber Security

The victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections was a shock to much of the US political establishment and also internationally. This public lecture will consider the international conflict and security challenges, risks and opportunities in the context of Brexit and Trump. The lecture, from 6pm – 7.30pm, will be delivered by , Professor of International Security and Development.

The takes place from 3pm – 6pm on Thursday 16 March 2017 and is aimed at those interested in Master's or research degrees, or continuing professional development courses. It will show how the University’s flexible range of postgraduate courses can transform prospects, and develop people both personally and professionally.

Academics and admissions staff will be on hand to discuss ideal programmes of study and how to apply. The open day will have a postgraduate funding session, and will also feature tours of the labs, study areas and studios that postgraduates use as part of their studies.

Bradford online MBA tops 2017 Financial Times world rankings for career progress

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The University of Bradford's School of Management Distance Learning MBA has been ranked the world's number one for career progress in the 2017 Financial Times Online MBA global rankings

One of just three business schools in the UK that make the rankings of the world’s top 20, the course has also been ranked number two globally in the value for money category for the second consecutive year, and this year has ranked third globally for salary increase. On average, three years after graduation, MBA graduates at Bradford have increased their salary by 42%.

The Financial Times measure career progress based on progression in the alumni’s level of seniority, and the size of the company they now work for, versus three years ago.

Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law Professor Zahir Irani said: “It is fantastic to see our Distance Learning MBA as the global leader for career progression and it is important to us to ensure our alumni are successful in their careers after graduating. International mobility is high on our agenda, and we are striving to ensure our MBA programme suits individual needs with the opportunity to study contemporary business issues.”

The School of Management has been ranked fifth in the world for international mobility and has not only been a pioneer in launching one of the world’s first distance learning MBAs back in 1998, it has introduced the world’s first online MBA in Innovation, Enterprise and the Circular Economy.

This MBA was conceived and developed with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to take the lead in a business curriculum focused on the principles of the circular economy and sustainable development.

The programme is endorsed by the United Nations for its support of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and supports Bradford’s strategy to be one of the world’s most sustainable universities.

University of Bradford Directorate of External Affairs awarded Customer First accreditation

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The University of Bradford's Directorate of External Affairs has been awarded Customer First accreditation.

Customer First is a national standard recognising excellence in customer service, which is recognised and awarded across a wide range of organisations and sectors, including higher and further education. In order to be awarded the standard, organisations need to evidence full compliance to 30 statements across three categories, customer relationships, market awareness, and people.

In November 2014, Admissions, Course Enquiries, Visa Support, UK Recruitment and the International Office were successful in obtaining the standard. The scope for reassessment was widened to take in additional services now in place, including marketing communications and engagement and partnerships.

During his latest visit the assessor particularly commented on the significant improvements that had been made since the last assessment in building relationships with schools and colleges in the Bradford area, regionally and nationally, increased engagement with agents, particularly in Europe, tailored and personalised applicant communications, and developing engagement with alumni. Over 40 staff were directly involved in the assessment process.

The accreditation included international offices in Dubai and Beijing for the first time .

£3m centre will tackle key questions of health and social care

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A new Yorkshire centre will improve the health and wellbeing of children and the elderly : and the safety of patients in hospitals and clinics.

The Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research, to be established beside Bradford Royal Infirmary, brings together researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford with clinicians from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It has been made possible thanks to a £1m donation from national charity The Wolfson Foundation, with further contributions from the two Universities and the Trust.

By combining the expertise of health researchers with clinicians who have daily contact with patients, the centre will ensure that its findings are put rapidly into practice – resulting in better health and social care for those who need it most, right here in Yorkshire.

The three areas it will address have been identified as key health priorities for the county:

  • A child’s health is the foundation for their lifelong mental and physical well-being, yet a recent UNICEF report showed the UK lags behind our European neighbours on this important measure. The centre will examine how to reduce inequalities in the health and development of young people, and seek out the early-years interventions which are most effective.
  • As our life expectancy has increased, so has the number of elderly people living with long-term medical conditions, limiting their quality of life and placing a growing burden on health and care services. The Wolfson Centre will develop new models of care for frail elderly patients, those with dementia and those facing debilitating musculoskeletal conditions. It will also work to improve systems of care for the terminally ill.
  • Health data shows huge variations in the standard of care received by patients in hospitals and clinics; a recent survey showed there are almost 12,000 preventable adult deaths a year in England alone. Research in the Centre will develop new methods of care that are safe, patient-centred and that harness the potential of new technologies.

The Wolfson Centre will host a centre for child health including the ground-breaking 'Born in Bradford' and 'Born in Bradford’s Better Start' cohorts. It will also host the Centre for Ageing, one of the UK’s most successful research groups in applied health research for older people, and the National Institute for Health Research’s National Patient Safety Centre.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The Wolfson Foundation is a national charity awarding funding based on rigorous and independent review. We were very impressed by the high quality of the research that will take place in Bradford. The new Centre will be an excellent example of how universities and an NHS Trust can work together to encourage research which will have a direct practical benefit to patients – in Bradford, across Yorkshire and beyond. We are particularly pleased to be funding in Bradford, and hope that this project will make the city a beacon for outstanding, applied health research.”

Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, said: “This is a groundbreaking partnership. Our new national Wolfson Centre for Applied Healthcare Research will bring together doctors and researchers to work out how we can speed up the translation of research into benefits for patients. Too much medical research lies collecting dust in dry academic journals. Our new Centre will help catalyse cutting-edge science to improve health and well-being of people in our communities.

Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, described it as a “fantastic achievement for our patients, NHS staff, researchers and the region”. He added: “This exciting initiative builds on our decade-long partnership with the Universities of Leeds and Bradford and we warmly welcome the Wolfson Institute into our dynamic research organisation. With this new injection of funding, we will develop a centre of excellence which will deliver high-quality research which translates into meaningful practice and which we hope will result in improving the health and wellbeing of our patients.”

University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: “This grant will support the University’s open, collaborative and dynamic approach to research delivery. By working with the University of Bradford and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust, the Centre will put specialist academic groups at the heart of patient care. It will deliver a step change in the quality, volume and impact of world-leading applied healthcare research, and deliver effective and improved care for patients in our region, the UK and globally.”

University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “I am delighted that the Wolfson Foundation is supporting this important development. The University of Bradford is a world-leading technology university with a proud tradition of research and innovation, making a positive difference to society. Our partnership with the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals will make the Wolfson Centre a national and international exemplar in turning great academic research into better health and care for people in the city and beyond.”

Work on the centre is due to start in the early summer of 2017 and will take around two years to complete.

Electronic Frailty Index wins national healthcare award

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A system that can identify people with frailty from electronic health records has won a national award, in recognition of its innovative approach to the care of older people

The Electronic Frailty Index (eFI) helps primary care providers identify older people who face an increased risk of care home admission, hospitalisation and mortality by using information within the patient’s electronic health record.

It won the Innovation category of the RCP Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2017, which recognises the work done by physicians to improve patient-centred care. The team behind the development of the index, includes researchers from the University of Bradford. They will also find out later this month if they have won a Medipex Innovation Award, set up to celebrate technologies that have succeeded in improving the efficiency of healthcare services.

The Index was developed in a collaborative partnership between the University of Bradford, TPP, the University of Leeds, the University of Birmingham and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and funded by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, Yorkshire and Humber (NIHR CLAHRC YH).

It has now been adopted by Clinical Commissioning Groups and GPs across the country, who are using it to help implement a variety of measures to help people with different levels of frailty. These could range from self-management support for people with mild frailty, proactive falls prevention measures for people with moderate frailty, or medication reviews for those with severe frailty.

in the , at the University of Bradford, is part of the team that developed the eFI. He says: “The development of the electronic Frailty Index demonstrates how electronic health records can be used to improve the care for patients in this digital era."

University of Bradford in ground-breaking research into self-healing construction materials

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Ground-breaking research, involving The University of Bradford, into the development of self-healing concrete that could lead to huge savings in maintenance costs and greater protection for the UK's infrastructure has received fresh funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The Resilient Materials 4 Life (RM4L) project supported with an investment of £4.7 million by EPSRC, will look to build on the success of the Materials 4 Life (M4L) project that has led to major advances in the development of transformative construction materials, such as adaptable, self-diagnosing and self-healing materials.

RM4L will be led by Cardiff University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Bath and the University of Bradford as well as industry partners. The overall project cost will be around £6 million, including contributions from partners.

M4L was announced in 2013, and led to a number of developments in the field of these innovative new technologies, including the UK’s first self-healing concrete trials using materials such as shape-memory polymers, microcapsules and flow networks containing mineral-based healing agents and calcite forming bacteria.

As part of RM4L, researchers will aim to effect a transformation in construction materials by using the biomimetic approach first adopted in M4L to create smart materials that will adapt to their environment, develop immunity to harmful actions, self-diagnose the onset of deterioration and self-heal when damage.

The project’s findings will benefit bodies and companies responsible for the provision, management and maintenance of built environment infrastructure, and the researchers will work with industry partners in the construction supply chain throughout the duration of RM4L.

RM4L represents a further boost for infrastructure research in the UK, after EPSRC announced an investment of £125 million to support the establishment of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) at 14 universities, earlier this month.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC, said: “Resilient Materials 4 Life has the potential to revolutionise the way our infrastructure copes with long-term wear and tear and reduce costs significantly.”

“Moreover, as part of EPSRC’s continuing support for world-leading research in this vital field it will help, through the upgrading of the nation’s infrastructure, to keep the UK a prosperous and resilient nation.”

Professor John Sweeney of the University of Bradford said: “Here at Bradford we will be developing and producing novel and sophisticated shape memory polymers. These will form the basis of a range of smart devices to be incorporated into structural concrete, to act in conjunction with mechanisms developed at the partner universities to produce strong and self-healing civil engineering structures. This is a great boost to Bradford’s expertise in at a national and international level, and underlines our status as a world-leading technology University.”

Professor Bob Lark, PI for the project welcomed the news of the award by saying: “This is a wonderful opportunity to build on the exciting findings of M4L to ensure that we address the full range of complex damage and response scenarios that are experienced by construction materials.”

“We are confident that our research will have a significant impact on the sustainability of our infrastructure and we are very grateful to EPSRC for their vote of confidence in what we are endeavouring to achieve.”

UKCRIC to deliver world-leading research on cities and infrastructure [EPSRC]

University of Bradford and partners lead the way in demonstrating innovative teaching methods

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The University of Bradford is taking part in a major project to demonstrate how innovative teaching methods can be used by universities on a large scale to benefit students.

The SCALE-UP teaching model uses problem-solving group activities combined with a ‘flipped-learning’ approach. Flipped-learning reverses the usual study format so that video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, allowing discussions and activities to take place in group sessions.

Now, Nottingham Trent University is to lead a project with partners Anglia Ruskin University and Bradford, who have also demonstrated the value of team-based learning, to show how these active learning approaches can be used on a large scale across universities.

All three institutions have reported benefits for students, including improved enhanced ‘wider’ engagement with module material outside the classroom, improved student attendance, early student socialisation, acclimatisation, progression and achievement.

Although the value of these approaches is widely recognised in the university sector, it has proved challenging for institutions to spread their adoption beyond staff who are ‘innovators’, limiting how widely they are practised.

The £1m project, called SCALING UP Active Collaborative Learning for Student Success, will aim to address that limitation. It has been awarded nearly £441,000 of Higher Education Council for England (HEFCE) money to support the work in all three institutions.

Professor Marcus Rattray, Head of the School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford, said: “We are delighted that we will be able to work with two other institutions to help embed Team Based Learning in UK university teaching. Having used Team Based Learning for our Pharmacy course since 2012 we are confident about its ability to transform the learning experience for students. Our pharmacy students are more independent as learners, more enquiring and more empowered than ever before.”

Simon Tweddell, co-applicant and University of Bradford National Teaching Fellow, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to build on the successes of Bradford School of Pharmacy. We look forward to working with colleagues across all three institutions to expand and advance the use of Team-Based Learning. We’re convinced that active pedagogies promote student learning, can develop graduate capabilities, whilst enhancing the learning experience”

More University of Bradford subjects among world's elite

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The University of Bradford has increased the number of its subjects ranked among the top in the world by the latest QS World University Rankings.

and are both in the top 150 in the world, with Pharmacy & Pharmacology rising 50 places and featuring in the rankings for a fifth successive year. They are joined in the elite rankings by .

The annual QS World University Rankings by Subject is a comprehensive guide to a range of popular subject areas, based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. The rankings series reveals the top 200 universities in the world for 46 individual subjects.

To compile these rankings, QS evaluated 4,438 universities, qualified 3,098 and ranked 1,117 institutions in total. Over 127 million citations attributions were analysed and QS verified the provision of over 18,900 programs.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shirley Congdon, said: “The University of Bradford delivers the highest quality research and teaching, enhancing our student success. I am delighted that the QS rankings have recognised that these subject areas are amongst the best in the world, underlining our status as a world-leading technology university."

Bradford explores medical school bid

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The University of Bradford is responding to a Department of Health consultation and exploring the feasibility of starting a medical school at the University.

The Department of Health consultation will inform the competitive bidding process for the allocation of 1,000 new medical school places, which will be designed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Health Education England.

The Department’s objective is to make the NHS self-sufficient in doctors by 2025, increasing medical school places by 1500, with 500 places being allocated to existing medical schools in 2018.

Alongside its response to the consultation, the University is developing a business case with a view to making a formal bid in the competitive bidding process later in 2017. The bid will be distinctive, and focused on the development of a Bradford Doctor, able to operate in future multi-disciplinary teams working at the forefront of digital health care, and with the ability to lead multi-disciplinary, person-centred community-based care. The University plans to recruit up to 150 A level and graduate entry candidates as its first medical students for the 2019/2020 academic year.

With its successful teaching of almost all other types of health professionals, including nursing, pharmacy and physician associates, and its outstanding pre-clinical school, the University is well placed to make a competitive bid for a medical school. Bradford has outstanding facilities, staff and the ability to provide high quality practice placements with its partners. The , to be established beside Bradford Royal Infirmary, will bring together researchers from the Universities of Bradford and Leeds with clinicians from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “The potential expansion into undergraduate medical provision supports Bradford’s three strategic themes of advanced healthcare, innovative engineering and sustainable societies. It also provides an important and exciting opportunity for the University, our NHS partners, the City of Bradford and Department of Health to make a significant impact on local and national health and well-being. As a world-leading technology university we have the necessary vision, skills, ambition and facilities.”

Bradford shortlisted for national student recruitment award

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The University of Bradford has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Student Admissions Strategy category in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.

The awards presentation ceremony will take place on Thursday 22 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

The University's strategy involved fundamental changes to the team’s structure and strategy, including a commercial focus and significantly enhancing management and leadership capacity and capability within the team. The new strategy developed market segmentation and an account management approach which fed into customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Collaborating with the CRM team, the UK and EU Recruitment team carried out a detailed review of all UK schools and colleges so they could more strategically direct resources to support the University’s strategy of raising entry tariff and expanding the geographical intake of students.

The strong leadership and management within the team, along with the implementation of an account management strategy, have transformed the team into a proactive sales-focused operation with the ability to cover the entire UK.

The new approach has led to an increase in the number of leads being converted into enrolled students.

University of Bradford forges new links with Middle East

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The University of Bradford has just completed a hugely successful two week visit to the Middle East, taking in Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, a region rich in potential for collaboration and exchange, and where the stock of UK universities is extremely high.

During the trip the University discussed collaboration and was able to sign memoranda of understanding with a number of higher education institutions, including the University of Jordan, Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II Technical University, Applied Science Private University, College of North Atlantic Qatar, and Qatar University, in order to move forward collaborations in research, student and staff exchanges and student recruitment, building on the nearly 200 current students from the region studying with Bradford.

The University also advanced discussions on the delivery of programmes to the region, from business administration to physiotherapy, including providing support to aspects of the football World Cup in Qatar. This adds to the capacity-building work already taking place, including providing consultancy to grow Middle East businesses.

The University was also asked to consider how it could help train nurses and pharmacists in Kuwait as they are building nine new hospitals. Bradford is seen as having the appropriate expertise by the Ministry of Health to help develop the capacity to build their health provision.

Bradford has over 3,000 alumni in the Middle East, many of whom occupy influential positions, including Dr Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Nabit, Qatar’s Minister of Development Planning and Statistics. During an International Women’s Day event hosted by the Abu Dhabi Police, the University awarded an Honorary Degree to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, who has worked tirelessly for female equality in the United Arab Emirates, particularly in the promotion of education and health.

Receptions were held, hosted by the UK embassies in Jordan and Qatar and the consulate in Dubai, which enabled Bradford to re-engage with nearly 500 alumni at events in the British Embassies in Jordan, Qatar and Dubai, meeting with some graduates who received their degrees from first Chancellor, and former Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Harold Wilson.

Director of External Affairs, Mark Garratt, said: “The University of Bradford is one of very few research-intensive technology universities in the UK and students from the Middle East see us as a perfect destination to study and further their careers. This is supported by the fact that we hosted the first World Technology University Congress here in Bradford last September and will do so again this year. We will be looking forward to our Middle East partners joining us.”

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug

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A potential new drug to tackle the highly aggressive 'triple negative' breast cancer : and a nanoparticle to deliver it directly into the cancer cells : have been developed by UK researchers.

The drug is a peptide (fragment of a protein) discovered by Professor Mohamed El-Tanani at the University of Bradford’s Institute for Cancer Therapeutics. Professor El-Tanani has shown in computer models that the peptide blocks a protein called RAN which helps cancer cells to divide and grow. High levels of RAN have been linked to aggressive tumour growth, cancer spread, resistance to chemotherapy and poor prognosis in a number of cancers, including triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

“We knew we’d need a novel delivery mechanism for this drug because peptides on their own are unstable and they can degrade too quickly to be effective,” explains Professor El Tanani. “Using a nanoparticle as a delivery mechanism was the perfect solution.”

Working with colleagues from Ulster University, Sunderland and Queen’s University Belfast, the team developed a nanoparticle from a biodegradable polymer that could encapsulate the peptide. They tested various different polymers in order to determine which was most effective at helping the protein enter the cancer cells and attack them.

Laboratory tests showed that when this nanoparticle, loaded with the peptide, was added to the triple negative breast cancer cells, the cells would actively take it in. Their growth rate then reduced, they stopped replicating and around two thirds of the cells died within 24 hours. This compared with the peptide on its own, or an empty nanoparticle, which had no impact on the cells’ growth.

The researchers also confirmed that the drug was killing the cancer cells through the mechanism they had seen in their computer models – by blocking the action of RAN which plays an important role in cell division and growth. Previous research by Professor El-Tanani has shown that blocking RAN can also prevent or even .

Between 10-20 per cent of breast cancers are found to be triple negative – which means the cancer does not have receptors for the hormones oestrogen and progesterone or the protein HER2. This limits the range of treatments that can be used, resulting in poorer prognosis and increased risk of recurrence.

“By developing a nanoparticle that can help this peptide enter triple negative breast cancer cells and block RAN we’ve brought this potential new treatment a step closer to the clinic,” said Professor El-Tanani. “We’re already working on in vivo tests of the nanoparticle in a triple negative breast cancer model and are thinking ahead to taking this drug into clinical trials.”

Professor El-Tanani is also working on a number of other potential RAN inhibitors, including a ‘repurposed’ drug that has been already pre-clinically validated in breast and lung cancer and is ready for clinical trials. The University of Bradford is actively seeking further funding and investor support to support the development of these drug candidates.

The findings are published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

“Nano-encapsulation of a novel anti-Ran-GTPase peptide for blockade of regulator of chromosome condensation 1 (RCC1) function in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells” by Haggag YA, Matchett KB, El-Habib D, Buchanan P, Osman MA, Elgizawy SA, El-Tanani M, Faheem AM, McCarron PA.is published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2017 Feb 2;521(1-2):40-53. pii: S0378-5173(17)30087-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2017.02.006. [Epub ahead of print] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037851731730087X

Dementia survey asks how ready we are to care

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Caring for people with dementia is mainly done by family members, yet how many feel obliged, rather than willing, to do so? This is the question being posed by researchers from the University of Bradford, as part of a nationwide survey to understand what kind of support would best ease the burden for dementia carers.

With the UK set to have more than one million people with dementia by 2025, more of us will be asked to take on this responsibility – so the latest phase of the survey is targeting adults with no prior experience of caring. The research team want to know how strong family ties and obligations actually are and how willing people feel to carry out the different aspects of caring, from offering comfort when a relative with dementia is upset to personal care such as cleaning up after incontinence.

The online survey – at bit.ly/caregivinghope - also questions how prepared people feel to take on a caring role, in terms of their skills, knowledge and confidence. Whether a choice is made freely and how prepared they feel can impact on carers’ ability to cope, says lead researcher Dr Sahdia Parveen.

“There’s a complex relationship between the different aspects we cover in the survey, which we need to fully understand to be able to give carers the support they need,” she said. “For example, when people provide care for a parent or grandparent because of an expectation to do so, this can negatively impact on both their own health and wellbeing and that of the person they’re caring for. And even when people are willing, if they don’t feel prepared or supported, that also can have a very negative impact.”

The team is also hoping to gather responses from different communities, to help identify cultural differences – or lack of them - between ethnic groups. For example, there can be an assumption by healthcare professionals that South Asian communities have closer family relationships, whereas recent research shows that these ties are increasingly loosening, as families become more geographically dispersed.

The survey is part of the Caregiving HOPE research project, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, which is assessing family obligation, willingness to care and level of preparedness amongst current and future carers. The aim is to improve training for healthcare professionals and ensure the right support services are in place. The first phase of the research – which surveyed over 600 people caring for a relative with dementia – found that even amongst those already carrying out the role, many didn’t feel prepared for all it entailed. The research will aid the development of support packages for family carers to help them feel ready for the different stages of dementia.

Dr Parveen said: “At the moment, support tends to only step in at times of crisis, but what we need is a more proactive service, that ensures a support net for carers, to reduce those crisis points. We also need to try and better prepare those first taking on caring responsibilities, to reduce the problems they face in the future.”

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Too many people are forced to give up everything they own in order to care for their loved ones living with dementia. Our recent investigation reveals that the typical person’s bill for dementia social care would take 125 years - well over a lifetime - to save for.

“It’s important that we understand how to help people prepare for what would happen if they had to care for a family member with dementia. This research is crucial in allowing us to identify the much-needed support required and improve wellbeing for those people who will find themselves needing to care for a loved one with dementia in the future.”

The survey is online at bit.ly/caregivinghope

What can lost underwater lands tell us about climate change?

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Underwater lands that were submerged following the last Ice Age could yield vital clues about our current approach to climate change. Global experts in archaeology, climate change, history and oceanography will be discussing how we can unlock these secrets at a prestigious Royal Society meeting taking place on 15-16 May 2017.

After the last Ice Age, which ended around 20,000 years ago, global warming caused many populated landscapes to sink beneath the sea. Vast areas of land were lost around the world as ice caps melted and sea levels rose. These included the stretch of land between Britain and mainland Europe, known as Doggerland but also even larger areas in South East Asia and the lands around and between modern Siberia and Alaska – areas known respectively as Sundaland and Beringia. At times, even the areas now occupied by Australia’s barrier reef were habitable and home to human communities.

Although we know that climate change is a natural phenomenon that occurs periodically throughout history, we know relatively little about how our ancestors coped with such changes, and what effects a warming climate might have had on colonisation and migration. Research in these areas could help inform climate change debates in our current geological age – the Anthropocene – which is defined by the permanent and overwhelming impact of humans on the environment.

The Royal Society’s 2017 Theo Murphy International Scientific Meeting, is organised by archaeologists at the Universities of Bradford, York, St Andrew’s and Warwick, and the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. It will bring together world class researchers who will present case studies from the inundated lands off Siberia and Alaska, through the former plains of the North Sea and the Black Sea and across the immense lowlands now beneath the south China Sea and explore how the latest technologies can be used to model and analyse underwater landscapes, many of which have, until recently, been inaccessible to researchers.

These inaccessible landscapes have correctly been called the last great frontiers of archaeological and geographical exploration but, increasingly, technology is providing a route towards exploration. Geophysics is now providing maps of the hills and valleys of these lost worlds, and samples taken from marine sediment cores are now yielding detailed data, including DNA, on the flora and fauna within these areas.

Today a more co-ordinated and global approach is needed to draw together this new wealth of information. The Theo Murphy Meeting will enable experts to start to develop large-scale projects and ways of studying these lost lands and understand their contemporary relevance.

“These submerged landscapes have so far been inaccessible to archaeologists,” says Vince Gaffney, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bradford, who is co-ordinating the meeting. “The data that has been gathered has often been fragmentary, and many areas of interest are sealed beneath marine sediments. But modern technologies are now enabling archaeologists to mine these sites and extract new information about how these landscapes responded to huge environmental, cultural and technological changes.

“The opportunity to bring together specialists working on these landscapes will yield new insights and approaches to current climate change debates.”

Bradford alumni entrepreneurs recognised at 2017 Duke of York Awards

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Two alumni of the University of Bradford received royal approval from HRH The Duke of York for their new-start business.

Mustafa Al-Shalechy and Mohammed Ali Alshamari collected The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award from The Duke at a special awards ceremony at the University of Huddersfield.

‌The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards began in 2013 and this year's ceremony recognised entrepreneurial students and recent graduates from 16 universities in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham and Northumbria.

Both Mustafa and Mohammed came to the UK from Iraq with their families in the 1990s and graduated with Bradford masters level pharmacy degrees in 2013 and 2011 respectively. In October 2015, they started their Yorkshire-based pharmaceuticals company CurePharma, an authorised wholesale distributor recognised by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to enable access to high-quality treatments for people in war-afflicted parts of the Middle East.

Earlier this year, they exported their first consignment worth around £50,000 of British manufactured medicines to Iraq where many people cannot access, or afford, adequate treatment for many chronic illnesses. CurePharma has since expanded its operations to include further countries in the Middle East.

Their aim is to improve the quality of many people’s lives by making these medicines available, and also to play a role in boosting the UK economy by stimulating demand for British medical products in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, becoming a link between UK manufacturers and overseas consumers. In 2017 CurePharma joined the Northern Powerhouse Trade Mission to the Arab Health healthcare exhibition in Dubai.

Mustafa, who is the director of the company, said: “The endorsement and recognition we got through the Duke of York awards has had a great impact on CurePharma both nationally and internationally. It will give us more credibility and help us open new doors with British companies and distributors in the Middle East. We had a great response in the Middle East market for British products, which was beyond our expectations. We are aiming to collaborate with more British companies and introduce their products to the Middle East, helping to boost the UK economy by stimulating demand for British products in that region. We are already working with a number of new British companies to help them to exhibit at Arab Health in Dubai next year”.

Mohammed, business Development manager, said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated by the University for the Duke of York Awards. This recognition has given us even more determination to press ahead and expand our business. We feel the recognition from HRH The Duke of York, who showed great interest in our concept and offered to help us through his contacts, will empower us to further expand to cover the entire Middle East and Northern Africa."

New face-ageing technique could boost search for missing people

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Researchers at the University of Bradford have developed a method of ageing facial images that could enhance the search for long-term missing people worldwide.

The method maps out the key features, such as the shape of the cheek, mouth and forehead, of a face at a certain age. This information is fed to a computer algorithm which then synthesises new features for the face to produce photographic quality images of the face at different ages.

A key feature of the method is that it teaches the machine how humans age by feeding the algorithm facial feature data from a large database of individuals at various ages. Consequently, the method improves on existing techniques, achieving greater level of accuracy.

The findings will be presented at the International Conference on Missing Children and Adults at Abertay University, Dundee in June, and have been published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Professor Hassan Ugail, of Bradford’s Centre for Visual Computing, is leading the research. He said: “Each year around 300,000 missing person cases are recorded in the UK alone. This has been part of our motivation in endeavouring to improve current techniques of searching for missing people, particularly those who have been missing for some considerable time.”

The technique developed by the team uses a method of predictive modelling and applies it to age progression. The model is further strengthened by incorporating facial data from a large database of individuals at different ages thus teaching the machine how humans actually age. In order to test their results the researchers use a method called de-aging whereby they take an individual’s picture and run their algorithm backwards to de-age that person to a younger age. The result is then compared with an actual photograph of the individual taken at the young age.

As a test case, the researchers chose to work on the case of Ben Needham. Ben disappeared on the Greek island of Kos on 24th July 1991, when he was only 21 months old. He has never been found, but several images have been produced by investigators showing how Ben might look at ages 11-14 years, 17-20 years, and 20-22 years. The team used their method to progress the image of Ben Needham to the ages of 6, 14 and 22 years. The resulting images show very different results, which the researchers believe more closely resemble what Ben might look like today.

An effective method needs to do two things: the synthesized images need to fit the intended age; and they need to retain the identity of the subject in age-progressed images. The results were evaluated using both machine and human methods, and in both, the images of Ben produced using this method were found to be more like the original picture of Ben than the images created as part of previous investigations.

Professor Ugail added: “No criticism is implied of existing age progression work. Instead we are presenting our work as a development and improvement that could make a contribution to this important area of police work. We are currently working with the relevant parties to further test our method. We are also developing further research plans in order to develop this method so it can be incorporated as a biometric feature, in face recognition systems, for example.”

‘Facial Age Synthesis Using Sparse Partial Least Squares (The Case of Ben Needham)’, by A.M. Bukar (MSc) and H. Ugail (Ph.D.), Centre for Visual Computing, University of Bradford, is published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

The third International Conference on Missing Children and Adults takes place from Wednesday 14 June to Friday 16 June 2017 at Abertay University, Dundee.

City of Film shines the spotlight on Bradford's talented student filmmakers with new feature on the big screen

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Creative and exciting film shorts and animation by up and coming filmmakers have been launched on Bradford's Big Screen in a new partnership with the University of Bradford.

The new weekly feature, Showreel, will share films recently made by students on a variety of film courses at the university and is being led by the new City of Film Student co-ordinator, Guy Whittaker.

The first eight films feature both animation and documentary, with many focusing on the city of Bradford as a source of inspiration for their creativity.

Guy, who is on a one year MA Digital Filmmaking course, said: “'Bradford Big Screen is a great opportunity for filmmakers from the University of Bradford to share and promote their work. It is an incredible incentive to know that our films will be seen by thousands of people every month and we really enjoy seeing our work in the heart of the city. The university is a hub of filmmaking activity, providing the best equipment, facilities, and staff and is the ideal place to become a filmmaker.”

Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, David Wilson, said: “This is a fantastic new feature for the screen and City Park and showcases some really impressive emerging talent in our city. All our featured filmmakers show real promise and all credit to Guy for working so hard with us to make this new feature happen.”

Showreel will screen every Thursday at 4.30pm and Sunday at 2pm. The first Showreel feature will screen work from film students Jakub Kyral, Chris Bradburn, Haitham Mark, Jordan Dinchev and Guy Whittaker.

Mark Garratt, Director of External Affairs at the University of Bradford, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will showcase the work of our highly talented filmmaking students. We have a great track record in producing filmmakers who have gone on to work on internationally-renowned films and the whole of Bradford will enjoy this collaboration between its world-leading technology university and Bradford UNESCO City of Film.”

Bradford Big Screen is a giant outdoor screen in the heart of one of England’s most vibrant and exciting cities with an international reputation for film and media.

Situated in front of the National Media Museum in the award-winning City Park with its mirror pool and shooting fountains, the screen is a pioneering arts project designed to bring cutting edge film and creativity to the heart of the urban environment.

Up to 500,000 people pass the screen each month – offering unprecedented exposure for filmmakers to showcase their work.

For more details go to http://bradford-city-of-film.com/big-screen/showreel/