<![CDATA[Newsroom University of Manchester]]> /discover/news/ en Wed, 10 Jul 2024 10:47:30 +0200 Mon, 08 Jul 2024 14:54:18 +0200 <![CDATA[Newsroom University of Manchester]]> https://content.presspage.com/clients/150_1369.jpg /discover/news/ 144 Manchester scientists pave way for greener cancer treatments with new enzyme discovery /discover/news/manchester-scientists-pave-way-for-greener-cancer-treatments-with-new-enzyme-discovery/ /discover/news/manchester-scientists-pave-way-for-greener-cancer-treatments-with-new-enzyme-discovery/651454Scientists from Vlogٷ have uncovered a more efficient and sustainable way to make peptide-based medicines, showing promising effectiveness in combating cancers.

Scientists from Vlogٷ have uncovered a more efficient and sustainable way to make peptide-based medicines, showing promising effectiveness in combating cancers.

Peptides are comprised of small chains of amino acids, which are also the building blocks of proteins. Peptides play a crucial role in our bodies and are used in many medicines to fight diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and infections. They are also used as vaccines, nanomaterials and in many other applications. However, making peptides in the lab is currently a complicated process involving chemical synthesis, which produces a lot of harmful waste that is damaging to the environment.

In a new breakthrough, published in the journal , Manchester scientists have discovered a new family of ligase enzymes – a type of molecular glue that can help assemble short peptide sequences more simply and robustly, yielding significantly higher quantities of peptides compared to conventional methods.

The breakthrough could revolutionise the production of treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses, offering a more effective and environmentally friendly method of production.

For many years, scientists have been working on new ways to produce peptides. Most existing techniques rely on complex and heavily protected amino acid precursors, toxic chemical reagents, and harmful volatile organic solvents, generating large amounts of hazardous waste. The current methods also incur high costs, and are difficult to scale up, resulting in limited and expensive supplies of important peptide medicines.

The team in Manchester searched for new ligase enzymes involved in the biological processes that assemble natural peptides in simple bacteria. They successfully isolated and characterised these ligases and tested them in reactions with a wide range of amino acid precursors. By analysing the sequences of the bacterial ligase enzymes, the team identified many other clusters of ligases likely involved in other peptide pathways.

The study provides a blueprint for how peptides, including important medicines, can be made in the future.

, who also worked on the project said, “The ligases we discovered provide a very clean and efficient way to produce peptides. By searching through available genome sequence data, we have found many types of related ligase enzymes. We are confident that using these ligases we will be able to assemble longer peptides for a range of other therapeutic applications.”

Following the discovery, the team will now optimise the new ligase enzymes, to improve their output for larger scale peptide synthesis. They have also established collaborations with a number of the top pharmaceutical companies to help with rolling out the new ligase enzyme technologies for manufacturing future peptide therapeutics.

Mon, 08 Jul 2024 13:54:18 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/df893998-1367-4a30-8446-5713e399b5c7/500_mib-0920.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/df893998-1367-4a30-8446-5713e399b5c7/mib-0920.jpg?10000
Gulf fish more resilient to climate change than thought, study finds /discover/news/gulf-fish-more-resilient-to-climate-change-than-thought-study-finds/ /discover/news/gulf-fish-more-resilient-to-climate-change-than-thought-study-finds/650806Some fish species in the Arabian Gulf’s coral reefs are more resilient to climate change than previously thought, an international team of scientists has found.

Some fish species in the Arabian Gulf’s coral reefs are more resilient to climate change than previously thought, an international team of scientists has found.

The study, published in, challenges current scientific models which argue that by 2050, coral reef fish could shrink by 14-39 percent in size due to increasing temperatures under climate change.

The researchers from NYU Abu Dhabi, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Vlogٷ, identified how coral reef fish living in the Arabian Gulf - the warmest waters on earth - have adapted to survive extreme temperatures.

It was led by John Burt, co-principal Investigator at at NYU Abu Dhabi and Jacob Johansen, Associate Research  Professor at the  Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

Though they studied two kinds of fish the findings are likely to be relevant to other species.

Professor Holly Shiels was also on the team, along with her PhD students Dan Ripley and Grace Vaughan.

She said: “The Arabian/Persian Gulf is a window to future ocean conditions and working together with colleagues in the region we have used this natural laboratory to provide new insight into impact of rising water temperatures on fish.

“Our study offers hope for some marine species in a continuously warming world.”

According to the researchers, adaptations in both metabolism and swimming abilities helped the fish to survive extreme conditions in the Arabian Gulf.

The warming of our oceans is anticipated to drastically affect marine life and the fishing industry, potentially upsetting entire ecosystems and economic structures reliant on these habitats.

However, the study’s findings challenge the prevailing view that oxygen supply limitations in larger fishes are the main reason for smaller fish in warmer waters – known as the “shrinking fish phenomenon.”

The researchers instead argue the decrease in fish size and their survival in increasingly warm oceans might be more closely related to an imbalance between how much energy fish species can obtain and how much they need to sustain themselves.

The researchers compared two species of fish, the Blackspot snapper and the Arabian monocle bream, surviving under the elevated temperatures within the Arabian Gulf to those of similar age living in the cooler, more benign conditions in the nearby Gulf of Oman.

They determined the qualities reef fish in the Arabian Gulf have that enable them to survive there, where typical summer water temperatures are comparable to worst-case ocean warming projections for many tropical coral reefs globally by 2100.

John Burt said: “The hottest coral reefs in the world are an ideal natural laboratory to explore the future impact of rising water temperatures on fishes.

“Our findings indicate that some fish species are more resilient to climate change than previously understood and help explain why smaller individuals are evolutionarily favored at high temperatures.

This has significant implications for our understanding of the future of marine biodiversity in a continuously warming world.”

  • “Causes and consequences of ocean warming on fish size reductions on the world’s hottest coral reefs” is published in the journal
Tue, 02 Jul 2024 12:41:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/50f6c9d0-41b1-4b2e-80e6-024eff8227c4/500_lutjanus-fulviflamma.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/50f6c9d0-41b1-4b2e-80e6-024eff8227c4/lutjanus-fulviflamma.jpg?10000
New design partnership celebrates 200 years of our University /discover/news/new-design-partnership-celebrates-200-years-of-our-university/ /discover/news/new-design-partnership-celebrates-200-years-of-our-university/650944200 years of Vlogٷ’s world-class education, research and incredible people have been brought to life in an exclusive design partnership with Manchester-based designers The Sculpts, celebrating the University’s bicentenary.

200 years of Vlogٷ’s world-class education, research and incredible people have been brought to life in an exclusive design partnership with Manchester-based designers , celebrating the University’s bicentenary.

The Sculpts xUoM - InSituSince 1824, our University has been spearheading change, addressing the planet’s greatest challenges and making a difference in the city of Manchester, the nation and beyond. The Sculpt’s stunning pen and ink design brings this rich history to life illustrating some of the University’s most distinguished alumni and staff, iconic architecture, and several of its most important innovations and discoveries. The design is the latest in a series of individual artistic collaborations between the Manchester-based brand, and the city’s cultural institutions. 

The bicentennial design includes illustrations of Christabel Pankhurst, suffragette and alumna; Alan Turing, mathematician and computer scientist; Arthur Lewis, economist and Nobel Laureate; components of the Manchester Baby, the first electronic stored-program computer; botanical illustrations from the Manchester Museum Herbarium Archives; the Sackville Street Building, home of Manchester College of Technology and UMIST; the atomic structure of Graphene; the Lovell telescope; early medical instruments; and the iconic ‘Manchester bee’. 

The University’s bicentennial design sits alongside The Sculpts’ iconic range of handmade ceramic ‘Manchester’ tiles. Each 6x6-inch tile is one letter of the alphabet illustrated to depict a different stage in Manchester’s transformation – from post-industrial depression to a technological and cultural force to be reckoned with. 

Jade King, Director of The Sculpts says: “We’re delighted to be working with Vlogٷ to celebrate its birthday. For 200 years, the University has been a world- 
leader in its field: pioneering, innovating, and discovering. We jumped at the chance to be a part of recognising the contribution the University has made to this city and the world, in a beautiful design that brings the University’s history alive.”

Previous collaborations for The Sculpts have included Manchester Museum - for whom the designers created a bespoke range of their iconic ‘alphabet’ illustrations, the Whitworth gallery and Stock Exchange Hotel. Visit for more information.

Tue, 02 Jul 2024 12:34:42 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/52b9705a-7f18-488c-bc17-1fb013a32a47/500_edo039brienradioheadwiththethesculptsbicentenarydesign.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/52b9705a-7f18-488c-bc17-1fb013a32a47/edo039brienradioheadwiththethesculptsbicentenarydesign.jpg?10000
Votes for kids: why we should be giving children a say in elections /discover/news/votes-for-kids-why-we-should-be-giving-children-a-say-in-elections/ /discover/news/votes-for-kids-why-we-should-be-giving-children-a-say-in-elections/650686It’s not controversial to say that contemporary affluent societies do a rather poor job of taking the interests of younger generations into account. This is not only because children can’t vote and the elderly tend to numbers. It’s also because many societies have ageing populations, making them demographically stacked against the youngest.


It’s not controversial to say that contemporary affluent societies do a rather poor job of taking the interests of younger generations into account. This is not only because children can’t vote and the elderly tend to numbers. It’s also because many societies have ageing populations, making them demographically stacked against the youngest.

In Italy, for example, . While the numbers aren’t quite that high in the UK, the phenomenon is still – with pensioners .

The neglect of children and young people in UK politics is evident. . and understaffed, and young people are saddled with high university fees. They also face a difficult and cannot look forward to a decent, safe pension. It’s also much harder for them to , compared with previous generations.

And that’s all without even considering issues related to the climate crisis or how dramatically shrank children’s lives and social circles. What is clear is that children are directly affected by political decisions and policies. But they don’t have a say in elections.

In some places, the voting age for some elections has already been lowered to 16. Research shows that young people are more likely to if they start at 16. Labour now proposes this for .

Many want the voting age to be lowered further, or . But any age higher than 0 leaves millions of child citizens without representation of their interests. That problem can be solved by giving children proxy votes from birth, to be cast by their primary carers. We can combine this with any voting age we deem right.

Proxy voting is when a person delegates their voting rights to another person to vote on their behalf. It is . It could work roughly in the same way with children and their parents or caregivers. Instead of delegation, we would use our registers of who is a child’s primary carer, authorising parents or legal guardians to vote on their behalf, if they are not yet old enough to vote themselves.

Giving children’s interests a voice

The idea of proxy voting for children has been and discussed by politicians for decades, but hasn’t been tried yet.

For some, the idea may be concerning, with fears that primary carers will use the votes in their own interests rather than the children’s. Of course their interests are not exactly identical. But they largely overlap on the policies that matter most – from high quality childcare and schooling to generally improving the life prospects for the young.

For example, if prospects are bad, the young remain economically .

And even if a few carers use proxy votes badly, this is still better than not having children’s interests represented at all. Furthermore, we could restrict the number of possible extra votes per primary carer, so that people with more children did not have more votes.

Perhaps some would still feel that carers getting to exercise more votes somehow shows that society values families more than the childless. But this is a misunderstanding of proxy voting. It is needed simply to give children’s interests appropriate weight in our politics, given our demographics.

According to philosophers, there are two main reasons for giving people . The first is simply that the vote is a mark of respect for people as free and equal moral agents capable of forming and expressing their own and the common good of their society.

The second relates to the good consequences of voting: giving people the vote avoids many and raises the chances that nobody’s important interests will be overlooked.

Having proxy voting in place would likely make it easier to teach children about politics more effectively from an earlier age, and help them to become active citizens. But the main argument for it is simply that it gives weight to their interests in the electoral process. With millions more potential votes to be gained, we can expect that political parties would compete for these votes by committing to policies that are fairer towards the young.

When faced with the disproportionate political influence of the elderly, some philosophers have toyed with the idea of at least (as the Romans ). But many people think this would be a terrible idea: it would be a form of exclusion from politics. Adding proxy votes for children does not exclude anybody.

In lieu of a proxy voting system, if you’re a parent, this election is a good opportunity to start about the democratic process, the issues you are concerned about and why you vote. You may even want to take them to the ballot box with you. that talking to young people about politics can help them trust in their own ability to effect change.The Conversation

, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory
This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

Fri, 28 Jun 2024 15:56:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/16944344-bbb0-4f69-b5f2-8dd81db3cd59/500_istock-1342424636.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/16944344-bbb0-4f69-b5f2-8dd81db3cd59/istock-1342424636.jpg?10000
New balloon-borne spectrometer project to revolutionise our understanding of the earliest days of the Cosmos /discover/news/new-balloon-borne-spectrometer-project-to-revolutionise-our-understanding-of-the-earliest-days-of-the-cosmos/ /discover/news/new-balloon-borne-spectrometer-project-to-revolutionise-our-understanding-of-the-earliest-days-of-the-cosmos/640221A massive balloon, designed to measure the background radiation left over from the ‘Big Bang’ and help scientists better understand the infancy and evolution of our Universe, has.

A massive balloon, designed to measure the background radiation left over from the ‘Big Bang’ and help scientists better understand the infancy and evolution of our Universe, has just

Thirty years after the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) spectrum was first precisely characterised by NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission, a new experiment – known as BISOU (for Balloon Interferometer for Spectral Observations of the Universe) – is expected to significantly advance these measurements, gaining a factor of ~25 in sensitivity.

If successful, the results could provide unprecedented insights into the Universe's thermal history, validate predictions of the standard Big Bang Theory and potentially reveal new physics beyond our current understanding, marking a transformational step towards an ambitious future space-based CMB spectrometer to form part of the .

The CMB is leftover radiation from the time when the Universe began. Although the CMB is everywhere in the Universe, humans can't see it with the naked eye. But, using specialist equipment, it can be made visible even through the atmosphere’s curtain, offering novel insights into the Universe’s earliest moments.  

While the CMB’s near-perfect blackbody spectrum was first accurately measured three decades ago, and space missions such as WMAP and Planck have since revolutionised our understanding of the Universe by mapping the spatial variations in CMB temperature and linear polarisation across the sky, tiny deviations in the CMB known as spectral distortions remain largely unexplored. These distortions, predicted by theory, carry vital information about various cosmic processes in regimes that have not previously been explored.

With BISOU, scientists are intensively working on a new balloon-borne differential spectrometer to measure the distortions. The Phase 0 study, which concluded earlier this year, has already demonstrated the feasibility. Now, moving into Phase A, over the next two years, the consortium of researchers from France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, the UK, the USA and Japan, will finalise the detailed concept of the BISOU stratospheric balloon project before hopefully taking it to the skies in 2028/29.

The specialist equipment – a so-called Fourier Transform Spectrometer - builds on the long heritage of the COBE/FIRAS instrument and leverages insights from earlier studies like NASA's PIXIE and the European Space Agency's FOSSIL mission proposals.

The project is coordinated by Professor Bruno Maffei and the Institute of Space Astrophysics (IAS  - Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale) Cosmology team and is funded by the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), which recently announced the transition of BISOU to Phase A.

Thu, 27 Jun 2024 08:46:05 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/230d20ad-294d-4ffe-b1bf-fa62a2016184/500_screenshot-25-6-2024-85544-.jpeg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/230d20ad-294d-4ffe-b1bf-fa62a2016184/screenshot-25-6-2024-85544-.jpeg?10000
Sportswashing is still highly effective despite more awareness among fans /discover/news/sportswashing-is-still-highly-effective/ /discover/news/sportswashing-is-still-highly-effective/650435As the European football championships continue in Germany, new research has revealed that ‘sportswashing’ - the practice of using sporting events or teams to improve a country's reputation - is still highly effective, despite increased awareness of the issue among fans. 

As the European football championships continue in Germany, new research has revealed that ‘sportswashing’ - the practice of using sporting events or teams to improve a country's reputation - is still highly effective, despite increased awareness of the issue among fans. 

Dr Vitaly Kazakov of the School of Environment, Education and Development is currently undertaking a research project in Iceland, the nation with the same population as Stoke-on-Trent which surprised everyone by beating England and reaching the quarter-finals at Euro 2016. He has conducted in-depth interviews with a range of football stakeholders there including fans, sport and international affairs journalists, sports club administrators and academics.

He has found that people are very keenly aware of the many problematic issues surrounding sporting events or which are revealed by the spotlight being shone upon host nations – for example, he found that the majority of people interviewed wouldn’t really be aware of or care deeply about worker’s rights in Qatar if the country had not hosted the 2022 World Cup.

Yet, because of the ‘feel good factor’ which surrounds sporting events like football tournaments, sporting events can still achieve the envisioned political goals of illiberal host states despite any negative publicity. Many Icelandic fans travelled to Russia for the first time because of their team’s participation in the 2018 World Cup, and reported having good impressions of the country despite years of critical coverage relating to its aggressive foreign policy, LGBTQ+ rights and political persecution. 

Fans reported feeling conflicted on how to feel about the events, and how to react to accusations of sportswashing. Fans and journalists are also keenly aware that it is not just the host states that are part of the problem – they also blame the organisers, for example pointing to FIFA for enabling Russia’s geopolitical actions because they awarded the 2018 World Cup to Moscow despite the annexation of Crimea just a few years previously.

In general, fans and journalists realise that sports events could be problematic at the same time as helping to  expose some wider social, political, economic, environmental problems and inequalities. Even in Iceland itself, after the feel-good stories of the 2016 and 2018 tournaments, the sexual violence scandals associated with some of the squad’s players dampened the enthusiasm around their sporting achievements. No notable Icelandic player was ultimately convicted, but the legacies of their successes in both tournaments in France and Russia are also placed into the new context of former heroes’ reputations being significantly affected.

“More research is needed to examine both how sporting events impact people’s understanding of and engagement with political issues. Ultimately, we need to be figuring out how to channel the power of sport in productive ways.”

Wed, 26 Jun 2024 16:07:55 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/79db71c5-feff-45f5-a9a3-ef7376b21ec7/500_istock-469569148.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/79db71c5-feff-45f5-a9a3-ef7376b21ec7/istock-469569148.jpg?10000
Sir Howard Bernstein /discover/news/sir-howard-bernstein/ /discover/news/sir-howard-bernstein/637564The University is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Sir Howard Bernstein. 

The University is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Sir Howard Bernstein. 

Following his retirement as the inspirational Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, the University was fortunate to have Sir Howard join it in 2017, as an Honorary Professor of Politics. He became a part-time advisor to the University and was also Chair of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre.  

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said:   "Having known Howard for many years, I recognised what a remarkable individual he was. I often sought his advice and wise counsel, and I am proud to have had him as a friend."  

Sir Howard worked for Manchester City Council for over 45 years, serving as Chief Executive since 1998 where he performed a central role in the regeneration and economic growth of the city. Prior to this role, he led Manchester Millennium Ltd where he oversaw the transformation of the city centre following the IRA bombing in 1996. 

Sir Howard's legacy shaped Manchester as the city we know, and he will forever be a part of Manchester's history. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the city he passionately served. 

Mon, 24 Jun 2024 09:25:50 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/5c112543-938b-4d30-a3f0-e7cfd3791517/500_sirhowardbernstein814copy.jpeg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/5c112543-938b-4d30-a3f0-e7cfd3791517/sirhowardbernstein814copy.jpeg?10000
Surprising link between ancient biology and restricted human hair growth found /discover/news/surprising-link-between-ancient-biology-and-restricted-human-hair-growth-found/ /discover/news/surprising-link-between-ancient-biology-and-restricted-human-hair-growth-found/636712University of Manchester scientists have linked one of the ways  that cells respond to stressful conditions with restricted healthy hair growth.

University of Manchester scientists have linked one of the ways  that cells respond to stressful conditions with restricted healthy hair growth.

The Manchester Hair Research Group team unexpectedly discovered the link in a lab experiment where they were testing a drug to see if it cultivates human scalp hair follicles in a dish.

The study inadvertently led to a link to the cellular stress response - an ancient biological mechanism which occurs across life from yeast and roundworms through to humans.

The team hope that by targeting the pathway, treatments for hair loss might one day be found.

Known in full as the Integrated Stress Response-  or ISR-  it is triggered in stressful cellular conditions such as poor nutrient availability, viral infection, or when there is a build-up of misshaped proteins in cells.

The ISR allows cells to put a brake on regular activities by making less new proteins, entering a partial stasis to adapt and deal with the stress. However, if it doesn’t work, it can cause cells to die.

ISR is already the subject of great interest to scientists studying cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and ageing.

The study is published in the peer-review open access journal PLOS ONE today (insert date).


Dr Talveen Purba, Research Fellow at Vlogٷ and senior author of the study said “We were testing a drug that targets metabolism in human hair follicles to influence how cells generate energy, which based on the work of others, we expected to stimulate stem cells.”

“However we found the opposite was true: hair growth was instead blocked, as cells, including stem cells, quickly stopped dividing.”

They also found signs that mitochondria, the power plants inside cells,  were dysfunctional, and there were disruptions in how cells communicate with each other.

Using a combination of experimental approaches to look more closely, they found signs that ISR activation was to blame.

Derek Pye, chief technician of the research group and co-author of the study said “When we look at hair follicles under the microscope, it’s striking how consistent the response is between hair follicles from different people.”

Following on from this early-stage research, the team are now looking to better understand the broader implications of the ISR in hair follicles, and look at its activity in people with hair loss conditions.

Dr Purba added: "We're incredibly hopeful as we believe the activation of this pathway could play an important biological role in restricting hair growth in people with hair loss conditions, meaning that targeting it could lead to new treatments”.

The research paper entitled “Activation of the integrated stress response in human hair follicles” is  available online in the journal PLOS ONE :

Image:    Side by side comparison of untreated (left) and stressed (right) hair follicles highlighting changes to mitochondrial distribution (red)

Thu, 20 Jun 2024 19:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/2ed5bcd6-738a-488e-80b4-725e858129ee/500_main-full.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/2ed5bcd6-738a-488e-80b4-725e858129ee/main-full.jpg?10000
Portrait of Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell unveiled at the Whitworth, Manchester /discover/news/portrait-of-professor-dame-nancy-rothwell-unveiled-at-the-whitworth-manchester/ /discover/news/portrait-of-professor-dame-nancy-rothwell-unveiled-at-the-whitworth-manchester/637108A portrait of Vlogٷ’s first female President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, has been unveiled at a special event at the Whitworth art gallery in Manchester on 19 June to celebrate her leadership of the University, including her role in supporting its prominent cultural and artistic institutions.

A portrait of Vlogٷ’s first female President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, has been unveiled at a special event at the Whitworth art gallery in Manchester on 19 June to celebrate her leadership of the University, including her role in supporting its prominent cultural and artistic institutions.

Nancy was joined by other iconic women leaders from the world of arts and museums: Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of The Tate, Professor Sook-Kyung Lee, Director of the , and Dr Carla van de Puttelaar, acclaimed Dutch portrait photographer. 

Prior to the portrait unveiling, they participated in an ‘in conversation’ to debate the importance of universities supporting art.  Chancellor of Vlogٷ, Nazir Afzal, presided over the portrait unveiling, in the presence of invited University guests. 

An eminent physiologist, Nancy is acclaimed for furthering the understanding of brain injury and stroke. Along with other distinguished academic leadership roles, she served on the Council of the Royal Society, co-chaired the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Health and was a non-executive Director of AstraZeneca. 

As President and Vice-Chancellor of Vlogٷ since 2010, she has grown the university, built its reputation and developed much of the campus. 

 So how is Vlogٷ’s first female leader, acclaimed for transformative global and local impact, to be depicted for posterity? Whilst traditional for university leaders to have a portrait painted when they finish their role, Nancy has chosen to have her image captured by Carla van de Puttelaar, the eminent Dutch photographer who specialises in female portraits, shooting against black backgrounds and using only natural light.

In particular, Carla is known for her series of portraits of prominent leading women from across the globe – from artists and directors to cultural policy makers. By capturing the image of Vlogٷ’s first female President and Vice-Chancellor, this commission continues the important celebration of global women leaders in portraiture.  

“I really wanted to have a different kind of portrait, not another oil painting! So I was interested in having my photograph taken. Carla’s work really appealed to me – not only because she is a renowned female artist – but she is so good at capturing people naturally, with honesty and intensity. I’ve really enjoyed working with her. Her professionalism and energy made this very interesting and fun for us both I hope people will like the final result as much as I do,” said Nancy. 

The process of creating the portrait has also been captured in a, which was shown at the Whitworth. The portrait will be hung, along with portraits of previous University leaders, in The Christie Building, in the main University quad on Oxford Road.

Nancy’s term of office comes to an end on 31 July 2024, when she hands over the reins to Professor Duncan Ivison, former Vice-President for Research from the University of Sydney. She will continue to inspire the University in her position as Emerita Professor. Her successful tenure as President and Vice-Chancellor will also be marked by the naming of the engineering building, one of the largest educational spaces in Europe, as the Nancy Rothwell Building, on 24 July.  

Thu, 20 Jun 2024 09:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9eb585f6-bd89-46df-8dc6-fe40e86f0921/500_nrportrait1.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9eb585f6-bd89-46df-8dc6-fe40e86f0921/nrportrait1.jpg?10000
Electric fields catalyse graphene’s energy and computing prospects /discover/news/electric-fields-catalyse-graphenes-energy-and-computing-prospects/ /discover/news/electric-fields-catalyse-graphenes-energy-and-computing-prospects/637052Researchers at the have made a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionise energy harnessing and information computing. Their study, published in , reveals how electric field effects can selectively accelerate coupled electrochemical processes in graphene.

Researchers at the have made a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionise energy harnessing and information computing. Their study, published in , reveals how electric field effects can selectively accelerate coupled electrochemical processes in graphene.

Electrochemical processes are essential in renewable energy technologies like batteries, fuel cells, and electrolysers. However, their efficiency is often hindered by slow reactions and unwanted side effects. Traditional approaches have focused on new materials, yet significant challenges remain.

The Manchester team, led by , has taken a novel approach. They have successfully decoupled the inseparable link between charge and electric field within graphene electrodes, enabling unprecedented control over electrochemical processes in this material. The breakthrough challenges previous assumptions and opens new avenues for energy technologies.

Dr Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo sees this discovery as transformative, “We’ve managed to open up a previously inaccessible parameter space. A way to visualise this is to imagine a field in the countryside with hills and valleys. Classically, for a given system and a given catalyst, an electrochemical process would run through a set path through this field. If the path goes through a high hill or a deep valley – bad luck. Our work shows that, at least for the processes we investigated here, we have access to the whole field. If there is a hill or valley we do not want to go to, we can avoid it.”

The study focuses on proton-related processes fundamental for hydrogen catalysts and electronic devices. Specifically, the team examined two proton processes in graphene:

Proton Transmission: This process is important for developing new hydrogen catalysts and fuel cell membranes.

Proton Adsorption (Hydrogenation): Important for electronic devices like transistors, this process switches graphene’s conductivity on and off.

Traditionally, these processes were coupled in graphene devices, making it challenging to control one without impacting the other. The researchers managed to decouple these processes, finding that electric field effects could significantly accelerate proton transmission while independently driving hydrogenation. This selective acceleration was unexpected and presents a new method to drive electrochemical processes.

Highlighting the broader implication in energy applications, Dr Jincheng Tong, first author of the paper, said “We demonstrate that electric field effects can disentangle and accelerate electrochemical processes in 2D crystals. This could be combined with state-of-the-art catalysts to efficiently drive complex processes like CO2 reduction, which remain enormous societal challenges.”

Dr Yangming Fu, co-first author, pointed to potential applications in computing: “Control of these process gives our graphene devices dual functionality as both memory and logic gate. This paves the way for new computing networks that operate with protons.  This could enable compact, low-energy analogue computing devices.”

Since publication, a review of the paper was included in Nature’s News & Views section, which summarises high-impact research and provides a forum where scientific news is shared with a wide audience spanning a range of disciplines: .


The National Graphene Institute (NGI) is a world-leading graphene and 2D material centre, focussed on fundamental research. Based at Vlogٷ, where graphene was first isolated in 2004 by Professors Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov, it is home to leaders in their field – a community of research specialists delivering transformative discovery. This expertise is matched by £13m leading-edge facilities, such as the largest class 5 and 6 cleanrooms in global academia, which gives the NGI the capabilities to advance underpinning industrial applications in key areas including: composites, functional membranes, energy, membranes for green hydrogen, ultra-high vacuum 2D materials, nanomedicine, 2D based printed electronics, and characterisation.

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Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre opens /discover/news/cancer-research-uk-national-biomarker-centre-opens/ /discover/news/cancer-research-uk-national-biomarker-centre-opens/637078The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre has opened in Manchester in the new Paterson Building, which was rebuilt , and is also home to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre has opened in Manchester in the new Paterson Building, which was rebuilt , and is also home to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

The state-of-the-art facility has been made possible through fundraising, philanthropic donations, and partnership between Cancer Research UK, the University of Manchester and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

This new National Biomarker Centre will help experts detect cancer at an earlier stage – when there are usually more treatment options available. It will also help to provide clues on how aggressive a patient’s tumour is, predict which treatments are likely to work best and monitor responses to personalised treatment.

Cancer Research UK will invest £2.5m into the National Biomarker Centre each year as part of a £26m investment in Manchester – putting the city at the heart of its mission to beat cancer.

The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre is a significant milestone in the mission to develop earlier and highly personalised treatments for cancer. It is fitting that this revolutionary approach will be based in Manchester, one of the world’s leading cities for cancer research.

Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at Vlogٷ said: “The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre is a significant milestone in our mission to develop earlier and highly personalised treatments for cancer. It is fitting that this revolutionary approach will be based in Manchester, one of the world’s leading cities for cancer research.

The news of the centre opening has been welcomed by three individuals from Greater Manchester, each of whom owes their life to the power of cancer research. They were invited to the centre for a special preview before the official opening today.

Asia, who lives in Manchester city centre, has recently been given the all-clear after being diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma last year.  

Last year was gruelling and I’m now delighted to be recovering and getting my life back on track. Being able to see direct the work which will help future patients is fascinating and inspiring,” said Asia.

Carolyn, from Whitefield, had just celebrated her 40th birthday and her youngest child was aged four when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery and also underwent chemotherapy at The Christie. 

“As a patient treated at The Christie who has gone on to support Cancer Research UK for many years, I am delighted to have a sneak preview of the work at the National Biomarker Centre and find out what the future of research holds,” said Carolyn.

Sharon, from Chadderton in Oldham, also welcomed the news. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 after noticing a lump on her left breast. She underwent surgery followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy treatment.  

“I am always humbled to hear about the amazing research work happening in Manchester,” said Sharon. “Having a look at the National Biomarker Centre before the official opening is so exciting.”

Now 60, she will celebrate a quarter of a century free of cancer next year.

Showcasing biomarker research in Manchester 

Another person who knows all too well the impact of cancer is Professor Caroline Dive, Director of the National Biomarker Centre. Her grandfather died from brain cancer before she was born. Her mother has undergone surgery on an endometrial tumour, and her father was treated for colon cancer. He passed away aged 95, following a further diagnosis of cancer.

“The impact biomarkers will have on patients’ care can’t be underestimated,” said Professor Dive.

“Doctors will be able to get more information, faster, to determine the best treatment plan for each individual. And it will stop some patients from undergoing unnecessary interventions or treatments that could cause pain or discomfort without providing benefit.

“We are learning how to manage cancer. And that will mean we can give patients longer with their loved ones and a good quality of life.”

The launch event today brings together key stakeholders, philanthropists, political leaders, key researchers and Cancer Research UK staff, including Michelle Mitchell, CRUK chief executive. The event will showcase the new research facilities and bring attention to growing biomarker research in Manchester and the UK.

“As a former student of Vlogٷ, I’m delighted that such an exciting and revolutionary facility will be housed in the city,” said Michelle Mitchell.  

“Research at the Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre will help to transform cancer treatment in the future.”

Detecting cancer earlier 

Cancer survival is three times higher on average if diagnosed early. That’s why the National Biomarker Centre’s work in early detection is a key priority for Cancer Research UK’s More Research, Less Cancer campaign.


  • Asia at the National Biomarker Centre
  • Carolyn at the National Biomarker Centre
  • Sharon at the National Biomarker Centre
  • Professor Caroline Dive speaking to visitors at the new National Biomarker Centre
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Manchester lecturer and screenwriter wins major film award /discover/news/manchester-lecturer-and-screenwriter-wins-major-film-award/ /discover/news/manchester-lecturer-and-screenwriter-wins-major-film-award/637056Congratulations to Jonathan Hourigan, Programme Director for MA Screenwriting and co-writer of ‘At the Door of the House Who Will Come Knocking’ which has been presented with The Grand Jury Award for the International Competition at Sheffield DocFest.

Congratulations to Jonathan Hourigan, Programme Director for MA Screenwriting and co-writer of ‘At the Door of the House Who Will Come Knocking’ which has been presented with The Grand Jury Award for the International Competition at Sheffield DocFest.

The film, directed by Maja Novaković, follows an elderly man living in isolation, weaving together a tapestry of dreamlike visuals as it records the routines of his daily life. Set in the harsh yet beautiful landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is a poetic meditation on solitude, loneliness and aging, and a rumination on both the impermanence and transience of life at large.

This award is Academy Award accredited and honours films that best display strong artistic vision and courageous storytelling.

The jury said: “With cinematic excellence the director slowly reveals a story of isolation and trauma in a landscape of beauty yet deep historical scars.”&Բ;

Read more on the .

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Mauritius’ next growth phase: new plan needed as tax haven era fades /discover/news/mauritius-next-growth-phase/ /discover/news/mauritius-next-growth-phase/637045Mauritians will head to the polls and politicians are considering the economic direction of the island country.


Mauritians will head to the polls and politicians are considering the economic direction of the island country.

For the last two decades, the country’s economic growth has depended heavily on its offshore sector – the provision of financial services by banks to foreign firms.

As an isolated country located in the south-western Indian Ocean, Mauritius has linked itself to global financial sectors by easing the flow of capital into and out of its economy. It has signed double taxation avoidance agreements with other countries, and its capital gains taxes are attractively low.

Through double taxation avoidance agreements, foreign entities can establish funds in locations outside their home countries, to take advantage of lower taxes.

But recent initiatives have dimmed prospects for the offshore sector. For instance, the OECD’s (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) significantly limits the incentives available under double taxation avoidance agreements.

As a political economist, I take an interdisciplinary approach to studying development challenges in today’s connected world. My work examines how countries with relatively little economic power manage domestic and external forces to achieve economic transformation.

Tax haven strategies have allowed countries such as Mauritius to gain huge amounts of foreign exchange. But in a recent I argue that these strategies may not have the same appeal in years to come. This leaves Mauritius at a crossroads once again.

The Mauritian government has previously found ways to diversify its economy during times of crisis. First, from sugar to industry. Then to tourism. Later to the offshore sector. Now there is talk of investing in the , but there are few signs that a clear strategy has been defined. With offshore revenues threatened, the Mauritian economy may soon struggle to identify new sources of foreign exchange.

Diversified economy

Mauritius is Africa’s most democratic developmental state – held up as a . It transformed itself from a country with a per capita income of US$260 in the 1960s to one with a per capita income of more than $10,000 in 2021.

At independence in 1968, observers had little hope for the Mauritian economy. Nobel Prize winner James Meade a tragic future for the island nation. He cited sugar dependence, population density and diverse ethnic composition as its weak points.

Yet Mauritius has defied pessimistic predictions and conventional economic theory. It has become among the most African economies.

In the 1970s, economic development was largely focused on industrialisation to reduce dependence on imports. While there was minimal growth in exports, manufacturing employment grew from 5% to 20% of the labour force over the decade. But as sugar prices fell in the late 1970s, the Mauritian economy plunged into crisis.

In the early 1980s, Mauritius adopted reforms, adhering to conditions set by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The government decided to go further than simply liberalising its financial sectors and reducing capital controls. Against the advice of multilateral donors and foreign governments, Mauritian politicians decided to build an offshore financial centre.

In the late 1990s and 2000s, Mauritius was widely celebrated for rapid economic growth and diversity. This came from special economic zones (promoting textiles and apparel growth), tourism and the offshore sector.

For decades, African countries have sent government officials on to learn from Mauritian success.

But like most late developing countries (or former colonies), Mauritius is still heavily reliant on imports. Its offshore sector has provided vast amounts of foreign exchange to buy imports. If offshore sector revenues dry up, Mauritius might have to apply to the International Monetary Fund for loans.

Mauritius as a tax haven

In my paper, I describe the evolution of Mauritius as a tax haven. It started with strategic state involvement. The Mauritian government amended its banking legislation to offer lower taxation and exemption from exchange control.

Its tax treaty with India soon became the most significant avenue for the development of Mauritius’ offshore businesses. An increasing number of Indian funds moved their businesses to Mauritius to take advantage of tax benefits.

Similarly, Mauritian entities have been the leading investors in India since 2000. Mauritius-based funds have this century. But things are changing. There are signs that funds are now selecting Singapore (as well as other competitors to Mauritius) as the preferred destination for investments.

India’s response to the OECD’s convention to implement tax related measures has gone further than many other countries. The Indian government agreed to remove the capital gains exemption that entities held in Mauritius had enjoyed over the years. By 2018, Singapore had overtaken Mauritius as the leading investor into India.

In March 2024, India and Mauritius amended their double taxation avoidance agreement to comply with the OECD’s measures. Among the changes, firms do not qualify for tax incentives if the principal purpose of their transaction is simply to avoid tax.

What next for Mauritius?

The new amendments to the double taxation agreement are likely to constrain the growth of Mauritius’ offshore sector. The financial sector has not transformed beyond providing basic services like fund administration. This is unlike other more diversified financial sectors like Singapore, which specialises in capital markets, foreign exchange, commodity trading and corporate banking, aside from fund administration.

With foreign firms recently buying some of Mauritius’ biggest offshore management companies, there are signs that Mauritian banking will be relegated to simply doing basic work for larger financial centres. It is likely that overall revenues and foreign exchange from the sector will reduce.

Focusing resources on a new pillar for Mauritian growth is more urgent than ever.

In the last few years, Mauritian have been characterised by questions over Prime Minister ’s authoritarian turn, as well as accusations of corruption, nepotism and cronyism. The nation will have to reach a new political and economic consensus to avoid future economic difficulties.The Conversation

, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Governance and Development, Global Development Institute

This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

Wed, 19 Jun 2024 10:46:09 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/0e8e69dd-e782-433d-a6e6-a84d31dc9236/500_istock-1974861219.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/0e8e69dd-e782-433d-a6e6-a84d31dc9236/istock-1974861219.jpg?10000
Groundbreaking technology is first to allow patients to add daily symptoms to their health record /discover/news/groundbreaking-technology-is-first-to-allow-patients-to-add-daily-symptoms-to-their-health-record/ /discover/news/groundbreaking-technology-is-first-to-allow-patients-to-add-daily-symptoms-to-their-health-record/637009Researchers at Vlogٷ are to trial a system that allows people living with rheumatoid arthritis to send their daily symptoms securely to their health record, in a first for the NHS.

Researchers at Vlogٷ are to trial a system that allows people living with rheumatoid arthritis to send their daily symptoms securely to their health record, in a first for the NHS.


The technology will help patients answer a painfully difficult question asked by doctors, plaguing them since time immemorial: “How have you been in the last six months?”


The trial is funded by the () and Versus Arthritis.


The Remote Monitoring of Rheumatoid Arthritis () system allows patients to download a symptom tracking app to their smartphone or tablet and sign in at home via NHS login.


The system could revolutionize the care of people living with a long-term conditions, who are often asked by doctors to describe their symptoms since they were last seen.


Professor Will Dixon from Vlogٷ is co-lead for the REMORA study and is a consultant rheumatologist at Salford Royal Hospital.


He said: “It can be difficult for patients to recall and describe the ups and downs of their health in a few minutes during a consultation.


“By tracking symptoms day-to-day and making them automatically available at consultations within the electronic medical record, we will generate a clearer picture of how someone has been in the last six months which could have a transformative impact on treatment and care.”


The research team are about to start the clinical trial which will test whether tracked symptoms, integrated into the NHS, leads to better outcomes compared to usual care.


The trial will allocate patients at random to symptom tracking or not, and will run in 16 hospitals across Greater Manchester and North West London during 2024-25 with the results expected in 2026.


If successful, the team hope it will become a funded NHS service available for free to all patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and that it can be expanded to other long-term conditions.


Doctors and researchers agree that technology has big potential for improving healthcare, although strong evidence for its efficacy is often lacking.


This trial will test not only whether patients benefit from symptom tracking, but will also examine whether it is value for money, how to ensure certain patient groups are not ‘left behind’ because of the technology, how to get around the barriers for setting up this new technology in the NHS, and how the data generated can be re-used to support research as well as patients’ direct care.


The researchers will conduct interviews with patients, clinicians and other staff within the NHS to understand how to optimise symptom tracking in the future NHS


Areas they will consider include the views of older patients, those with dexterity problems, and those with lower digital access.


The study is also learning how best to allow patients to control who will have access to their data using an electronic consent system from home.


Prof Dixon added: “Smartphones and tablets provide a convenient way for patients to record their symptoms and health changes while living day-to-day with their long-term conditions.


“Real-time tracking from home allows patients and doctors to spot patterns that would otherwise have been missed or forgotten, like flares or gradual changes following treatment.”

Dr Sabine van der Veer, a senior lecturer in health informatics at the University of Manchester is the other co-lead for the study.

She said: “A major advantage of REMORA is that we have successfully sent patient’s data into the NHS.

“The data is available during a consultation, seen from within the electronic patient record that the clinician is already using to manage the patient’s care.

“Patient records have historically only included information entered by clinicians. We are changing this, by learning how patients can contribute information themselves and ultimately improve their long-term health.”

Karen Staniland, a patient with rheumatoid arthritis at Salford Royal, said: “It is very exciting to be involved in this research as one of the patient partners.

“I believe that REMORA could make a real difference to the patient consultation, as evidence provided directly from the patient will already be available to view in their medical record.

“It could also allow time for patients to plan future care with their health care professional and definitely help improve their quality of life.”  

More information about the REMORA study, including a short video, can be found here: and    here:  

Wed, 19 Jun 2024 09:30:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e01b2bbc-0e98-4a34-bb4f-b028081ef0ef/500_remorapic.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e01b2bbc-0e98-4a34-bb4f-b028081ef0ef/remorapic.jpg?10000
Psoriasis Probe shows high level of arthritis symptoms in patients /discover/news/psoriasis-probe-shows-high-level-of-arthritis-symptoms-in-patients/ /discover/news/psoriasis-probe-shows-high-level-of-arthritis-symptoms-in-patients/636722Early results of an international study examining the risk of arthritis for people with psoriasis have shown a high burden of joint symptoms in 712 patients – 25% of the total studied so far.

Early results of an international study examining the risk of arthritis for people with psoriasis have shown a high burden of joint symptoms in 712 patients – 25% of the total studied so far.

The study led by researchers at the Universities of Oxford, University College Dublin and supported by Vlogٷ has recruited almost 3,000 patients so far.

But the team are still on the hunt for 2,000 more patients with psoriasis, a condition that causes flaky patches of skin covered with white scales which affects about 3% of people in the UK and Europe.

The 25% figure results confirms existing knowledge that up to a third will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which causes joints and tendons to become inflamed and painful.

Professor Laura Cotes, Associate Professor at the  University of Oxford, is leading the project.

She said: “At the moment there is no way to predict which patients with psoriasis are likely to go on to develop joint problems.

“This research  will help us to design ways to prevent people with psoriasis developing arthritis, by offering potential drug treatments or lifestyle interventions such as exercise or stress management.”

Called the Prospective Observational Study (HPOS), the online study monitors people with psoriasis over a three-year period to see who develops PsA.

Participants fill in questionnaires online and send small fingerprick blood samples by prepaid post.

After launching in the UK in July 2023 the study opened for recruitment in Ireland in August 2023 followed by Greece in February 2024 and Portugal in April 2024.

The study team in Oxford are working to open HPOS in a further 12 European countries with the ultimate goal to recruit 25,000 people with psoriasis.

Professor Cotes added: “This week on 19 and 20 June, researchers from across Europe will be meeting in Manchester to discuss the progress in the study so far.

“To date, we have baseline data on a total of 2,841 patients, of which 1761 are from Ireland and 1067 are from the UK.”

Professor Ann Barton from Vlogٷ will be leading on analysis of genetic samples collected in the study.

She said: “We know that some patients with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis. If we could identify which patients are at higher risk for arthritis development, it could mean that in the future, those people could receive preventative treatment.

“Manchester is leading the work to identify genetic changes that could be used to predict which patients with psoriasis might be at increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. The HPOS study will allow us to collect samples from patients with psoriasis to help drive forward this work.”

Russ Cowper, who lives in Manchester and has lived with PsA for many years said: "Psoriatic Arthritis is so hard to diagnose it can lead to real confusion for patients, they know something is not right but cannot explain it.

“GPs are not always skilled enough to spot the symptoms and they may manifest themselves in a myriad of different ways. Receiving a diagnosis is in many ways a relief, patients can then plan for the future knowing that they do indeed have an ongoing condition 

"PsA can be debilitating, with me it is also quite random. I can be quite well for days and then all of a sudden I cannot get out of bed and I'm wracked with painful joints.

“The only joints that have not been affected are my elbows, everywhere else I have suffered flares, even in my jaw.

“It is a miserable condition and it is very tiring, pain can cause lack of sleep and if hands are affected then it's a struggle to do day to day tasks. If really bad applying creams to treat the skin becomes difficult and you risk a psoriasis flare."

Patients wishing to take part in the research can find out more and apply at the HPOS study .

The study is part of a wider research called investigating psoriatic arthritis across Europe.

It is a large consortium of over 25 research groups across Europe, led by Professor Oliver FitzGerald in Dublin which aims to answer 4 key research questions around psoriasis diagnosis, prediction, response to therapies, and prognosis on who will get joint damage.

Professor FitzGerald, Consultant Rheumatologist at University College Dublin said: ‘People who have psoriasis have been involved in every aspect of HPOS including study design, promotion, self-recruitment and consent. Given that the results of this study will likely identify risk factors associated with progression of skin psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis we anticipate strong public engagement, paving the way for consideration of treatments to prevent psoriatic arthritis from developing.’

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Manchester engineers unlock design for record-breaking robot that could jump over the height of Big Ben /discover/news/manchester-engineers-unlock-design-for-record-breaking-robot-that-could-jump-twice-the-height-of-big-ben/ /discover/news/manchester-engineers-unlock-design-for-record-breaking-robot-that-could-jump-twice-the-height-of-big-ben/636756Engineers at Vlogٷ have unlocked the secrets to designing a robot capable of jumping 200 metres in the air – higher than any other jumping robot designed to date.

Engineers at Vlogٷ have unlocked the secrets to designing a robot capable of jumping 120 metres – higher than any other jumping robot designed to date.

Using a combination of mathematics, computer simulations, and laboratory experiments, the researchers have discovered how to design a robot with the optimum size, shape and the arrangement of its parts, allowing it to jump high enough to clear obstacles many times its own size.

The current highest-jumping robot can reach up to 33 metres, which is equivalent to 110 times its own size. Now, researchers have found out how to design a robot that could jump over 120 metres in the air – that’s more than the height of Big Ben’s tower.

The advancement, published in the journal , will revolutionise applications ranging from planetary exploration to disaster rescue to surveillance of hazardous or inaccessible spaces.

Co-author , Research Associate in Space Robotics at Vlogٷ, said: “Robots are traditionally designed to move by rolling on wheels or using legs to walk, but jumping provides an effective way of travelling around locations where the terrain is very uneven, or where there are a lot of obstacles, such as inside caves, through forests, over boulders, or even the surface of other planets in space.

“While jumping robots already exist, there are several big challenges in the design of these jumping machines, the main one being to jump high enough to overcome large and complicated obstacles. Our design would dramatically improve the energy efficiency and performance of spring-driven jumping robots.”

The researchers found that traditional jumping robots often take off before fully releasing their stored spring energy, resulting in inefficient jumps and limiting their maximum height. They also found that they wasted energy by moving side to side or rotating instead of moving straight up.

The new designs must focus on removing these undesirable movements while maintaining the necessary structural strength and stiffness.

Co-author, Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering, said: “There were so many questions to answer and decisions to make about the shape of the robot, such as should it have legs to push off the ground like a kangaroo, or should it be more like an engineered piston with a giant spring? Should it be a simple symmetrical shape like a diamond, or should it be something more curved and organic? Then, after deciding this we need to think about the size of the robot – small robots are light and agile, but then large robots can carry bigger motors for more powerful jumps, so is the best option somewhere in the middle?

“Our structural redesigns redistribute the robot’s component mass towards the top and taper the structure towards the bottom. Lighter legs, in the shape of a prism and using springs that only stretch are all properties that we have shown to improve the performance and most importantly, the energy efficiency of the jumping robot.”

Although the researchers have found a practicable design option to significantly improve performance, their next goal is to control the direction of the jumps and find out how to harness the kinetic energy from its landing to improve the number of jumps the robot can do in a single charge. They will also explore more compact designs for space missions, making the robot easier to transport and deploy on the moon.

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Archaeology tours return to Arthur’s Stone for a final year of excavations /discover/news/archaeology-tours-return-to-arthurs-stone-for-a-final-year-of-excavations/ /discover/news/archaeology-tours-return-to-arthurs-stone-for-a-final-year-of-excavations/636439For a final summer, members of the public will get the chance to get up close to archaeological excavations being carried out at Arthur’s Stone. 

For a final summer, members of the public will get the chance to get up close to archaeological excavations being carried out at Arthur’s Stone. 

Tours of the mysterious and evocative English Heritage site also took place in 2022 and 2023 as part of a project to investigate early prehistoric Herefordshire, undertaken by Vlogٷ, Cardiff University and the American Institute for Field Research, in partnership with English Heritage. The project has significantly changed academic understanding of how the monument was used, and its team hope to uncover more of its secrets in 2024.

Arthur’s Stone is a Neolithic burial chamber comprising nine upright stones and a gigantic 25 tonne capstone. Situated on a hillside of Herefordshire’s Golden Valley, the 5,700-year-old site is most famous for its links to legends of King Arthur and for being a source of inspiration for the stone table in CS Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

So far, the project has started to unravel a complex sequence of changes to the monument spanning about seven centuries in the early Neolithic (3,700 – 3,000 BCE). We now know that it started as a stone chamber or ‘dolmen’ in the 37th century BCE encircled by a thick stone ring, with an entrance on the north. It was later re-oriented to face south and remodelled within a long cairn faced by drystone walls, with a false entrance between two projecting ‘horns’ of the cairn. 

The archaeologists found evidence for an avenue of wooden posts leading to the new entrance which were replaced some centuries later with standing stones. It now looked more like the Long Barrows at Belas Knap and Stoney Littleton (also cared for by English Heritage). A narrow passage was built into one side of the cairn so that the old entrance could still be reached. Inside the passage they found pottery, bone, pitchstone from the Isle of Arran and rock crystal, probably brought from North Wales.

This year the excavation team will be continuing to trace the course of the timber and stone avenue down into the Golden Valley, as well as investigating a mysterious circular structure that showed up on drone survey in the field to the south of the monument. They will also aim to clarify the sequence of the construction of the stone chamber and long cairn.

Visitors to Arthur’s Stone will be able to join exclusive guided tours between 3 – 25 July that explain the history of the site and share updates on the progress of excavations. Led by a team of English Heritage volunteers, the tours will bring the findings from this remarkable project to life. Tours will take place three times a day and is essential to secure a place.

Ginny Slade, Volunteer Manager at English Heritage, comments: “Over 2,000 people came to our tours and local lectures on the project in 2023 which was incredible – particularly for those lucky enough to see a new discovery being unearthed in front of them. Given that we may not see archaeological excavations on this scale carried at Arthur’s Stone again for some years, we’d recommend coming to have a look if you’ve visited the site before or want to experience its magic for the first time.”

For more information, visit .

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Four Manchester Professors recognised in King’s Birthday Honours list /discover/news/three-manchester-professors-recognised-in-kings-birthday-honours-list/ /discover/news/three-manchester-professors-recognised-in-kings-birthday-honours-list/636619Four professors from Vlogٷ have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours in recognition of their extraordinary contributions and service.

Four professors from Vlogٷ have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours in recognition of their extraordinary contributions and service.

has been awarded an OBE for his services to public health, to epidemiology and to adult social care, particularly during Covid-19, has been awarded an OBE for his for services to the advancement of the science of radiation protection, Professor Paul Klapper has been awarded an OBE for services to viral diagnostic testing, and Professor Paul Howarth has been awarded a CBE for his significant contribution and service to the nuclear industry and to UK research and development (R&D).

The list celebrates individuals who have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of people across the country - such as by creating innovative solutions or driving real change in public life.

Ian HallIan Hall is a Professor of Mathematical Epidemiology and Statistics at Vlogٷ. He is a long-standing member of SPI-M (the pandemic disease modelling advisory group) and played a critical role in the operations of this group during the swine flu and Covid-19 pandemics.

During the Covid-19 pandemic he was academic chair of the SAGE working group of Social Care and participated in the SAGE Environmental Modelling Group as well as attending SAGE itself. He was also involved in a number of research projects, including the national core study on transmission () and Project TRACK to understand and control the risks on public transport. He also helped analyse data from a new heat map, providing a national picture of the spread over time.

Since the pandemic, Professor Hall has continued working with UKHSA through an honorary contract, notably with Health Equity Division on vaccination strategies in prison and homeless settings.

His other research interests include the impact of diseases on vulnerable populations and the study of vector-borne infectious diseases and environmental infections, such as Legionnaires Disease.

Richard WakefordRichard Wakeford is an Honorary Professor in Epidemiology in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), having been Professor in Epidemiology at the Centre before retiring at the end of 2019. He specialises in the epidemiology of exposure to ionising radiation, particularly as related to radiological protection.

Professor Wakeford is a member of various committees, including the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and the International Commission on Radiological Protection. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, and for 25 years was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Radiological Protection.

Richard completed his PhD in high energy physics at the University of Liverpool in 1978 and worked for British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) for nearly 30 years. It was the many challenges faced at BNFL where he developed his skills in radiation epidemiology and radiological protection. He was privileged to work with Sir Richard Doll during this time. After taking early retirement from BNFL, Richard joined the University, initially through an association with Dalton Nuclear Institute and then joining COEH.

Paul KlapperPaul Klapper is Professor of Clinical Virology at Vlogٷ. He began his career in virology in 1976 working as a laboratory technician at Booth Hall Children’s Hospital. He completed his PhD while working at Manchester Royal Infirmary on the diagnosis of herpes simplex encephalitis - a topic he continued to work on for over 20 years and led to the development of a reliable molecular diagnostic test for the condition. He also helped establish independent quality assurance testing in the infancy of viral molecular diagnostic testing. 

Throughout his career, Professor Klapper has been at the forefront of several key developments of viral diagnostic testing. Notably, he worked with the Greater Manchester Hepatitis C testing strategy, developing community-based testing methods to aid control of the HCV pandemic. In 1981, he became an NHS Clinical Scientist, working in both Manchester and Leeds as a Consultant Clinical Scientist. Ten years later, in 1991 became a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathology. 

On retiring from the NHS in 2012, Professor Klapper joined Vlogٷ as a Professor of Clinical Virology.  Early in 2020, he volunteered to help with establishment of large scale Covid-19 testing and became the clinical lead for the Alderley Park testing facility. He also served as a Clinical Advisor for testing with the Department of Health.

 Professor Klapper continues to conduct vital research in blood-borne virus infection and in congenital human cytomegalovirus infection.

Paul HowarthPaul Howarth is Professor of Nuclear Technology at Vlogٷ and Chief Executive of National Nuclear Laboratory. 

Professor Howarth has had a distinguished career working in and for the nuclear sector, building a reputation as one of the leading figures in the UK nuclear sector and around the global industry. After completing his degree in Physics and Astrophysics and PhD in Nuclear Physics, he started his career working on the European Fusion Programme. Early in his career he was awarded a prestigious Royal Society Fellowship to work in Japan on their nuclear programme. On returning to the UK he continued to work on nuclear fission leading the UK’s advanced reactor programme while working at British Nuclear Fuels, co-founding the at the University  and working closely with UK Government on building the case for new nuclear build.

Professor Howarth was appointed CEO for the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in 2011 following its creation as a public corporation, having been instrumental in its establishment from British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). During his tenure as CEO, NNL has been transformed into a successful business and a true national laboratory, delivering profits to reinvest into nuclear science and technology and critical support to nuclear organisations in the public and private sectors. 

The birthday honours are awarded by the King following recommendations by the prime minister, senior government ministers, or members of the public.

The awards recognise active community champions, innovative social entrepreneurs, pioneering scientists, passionate health workers and dedicated volunteers who have made significant achievements in public life or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.

To see the full Birthday Honours List 2024, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-kings-birthday-honours-list-2024  

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Social media bans don’t address youth mental health problems, say experts /discover/news/social-media-bans/ /discover/news/social-media-bans/636428As politicians in the US, France and other countries begin introducing legislation banning the free use of social media by young people, new research has found that these bans do not address youth mental health problems – and could actually cause more harm than good.

As politicians in the US, France and other countries begin introducing legislation banning the free use of social media by young people, new research has found that these bans do not address youth mental health problems – and could actually cause more harm than good.

Recent months have seen increased discussions of the impact of social media on youth mental health after the publication of a book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, and the new ban on social media use for people under 14 enacted by Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Over 20 new online child safety laws have been passed by 13 states since last year, with many more in the pipeline.

Experts from the – which is being led by Vlogٷ’s Institute of Education – say our understanding of the impact of social media is still in its early stages, and any action from politicians must be based on solid evidence. They say a swathe of recent research has found no concrete confirmation that social media has negative effects on the mental health of most young people, which contrasts with some popular science accounts which are not grounded in fact. 

While social media apps and their push alerts can cause people to use them heavily, bans like the recent Florida example are reminiscent of what experts in this research area call ‘technology panics’ which have occurred throughout recent history. Similar bans were proposed for the radio, the TV, computers, and smartphones, with a 1941 paper bemoaning that over half of the young people studied were ‘severely addicted’ to radio.

The researchers highlight that it is easy to fall into the trap on blaming young people’s mental health difficulties on one single factor, but adolescent development and mental health are highly complex and influenced by many biological, social and broader societal factors.

They say it is unrealistic to conclude that social media is the culprit of young people’s mental health problems, or that a ban would have a substantial impact. A study with thousands of young people actually found that other factors - including lack of family support - may in fact be much more important than social media. 

This means that a social media ban would be ineffective and create a false sense of security, as well as diverting attention from root causes of mental health problems in young people such as childhood adversity, deprivation, discrimination, gender and sexual inequality, and concerns about the ecological future. There are also some groups - LGBTQ+ young people in particular – for whom social media is a vital means to find solace and connection, which a ban would take away.

“Young people feel that adults might have a different opinion about social media because they did not grow up with it, and they ask for trust and agency,” said Dr Margarita Panayiotou, Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Methods at Vlogٷ. “Legislation must take into account the voices and experiences of the people it will affect the most - Florida’s ban fails to do so.”&Բ;

“A ban would cause young people to find alternatives to existing social media platforms that may be harder for parents, educators, researchers and legislators to study and monitor,” said Dr Eiko Fried, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at Leiden University. “Rather than imposing restrictions, efforts should be directed towards educating young people, their guardians and educators on navigating the digital landscape safely, and on regulations which ensure that social media companies design age-appropriate features and algorithms.”

Thu, 13 Jun 2024 12:10:38 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/677eb25e-877b-4001-be97-c4bdd13e6575/500_istock-1399752872.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/677eb25e-877b-4001-be97-c4bdd13e6575/istock-1399752872.jpg?10000
University of Manchester scientists win prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Prizes /discover/news/university-of-manchester-scientists-win-prestigious-royal-society-of-chemistry-prizes/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-scientists-win-prestigious-royal-society-of-chemistry-prizes/636251Three scientists and one team from Vlogٷ have won prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of their brilliance in research and innovation.

Three scientists and one team from Vlogٷ have won prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of their brilliance in research and innovation.

Dr Selena Lockyer, Professor Matthew Gibson, Professor Sarah Lovelock and the Functional Framework Materials: Design and Characterisation Team, led by and Professor Sihai Yang have all been recognised with a prize this year.

V&I_P&A_Prizes celebration 2024_Winners Social_1200x628px_INDIVIDUAL_LockyerDr Selena Lockyer has been named winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Dalton Emerging Researcher Prize for her synthetic and spectroscopic studies of molecular magnets, particularly supramolecular assemblies that could be used in quantum information processing. Dr Lockyer will also receive £3000 and a medal.

Dr Lockyer investigates the properties of individual electrons at the molecular level and how they can interact with one another and relay or store information. This is done at the National Service for Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at Vlogٷ.

Apart from making devices smaller, quantum devices possess other advantages. One such phenomenon is known as a superposition state that can be used in quantum bits (qubits), which a standard classical bit – the ones in our laptops – is unable to achieve.

A quantum computer will help us address society's challenges by modelling and developing solutions for climate change, sustainability and energy sources, medical conditions, and how to make a more efficient and better quantum computer.

After receiving the prize, Dr Lockyer said: “It’s such an honour and privilege to receive this award. Unexpected, as there are so many up-and-coming scientists working on numerous research areas, which makes this all the more special. When you look back at the list of previous winners, it is overwhelming to now be part of this.”

V&I_P&A_Prizes celebration 2024_Winners Social_1200x628px_INDIVIDUAL_Gibson has been named winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Corday-Morgan Prize.

Professor Gibson won the prize for transformative contributions in polymer and biomaterials science, particularly for the development of materials to stabilise biologics. Professor Gibson will also receive £5000 and a medal.

Storing and transporting biological materials is crucial to modern life, from frozen food to the safe delivery of blood transfusions, stem cells, or even organs. Professor Gibson and his team have learned from some of nature’s toughest organisms, which can survive sub-zero temperatures, to develop new materials which can protect biopharmaceuticals against cold stress.

After receiving the prize, Professor Gibson said: “I’m honoured to be recognised for the work we have done in my team to develop new tools to help us stabilize biologics against cold stress and to join a such a distinguished list of former awardees.”

V&I_P&A_Prizes celebration 2024_Winners Social_1200x628px_INDIVIDUAL_Lovelock has been named winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Harrison-Meldola Prize.

Dr Lovelock won the prize for the development of innovative biocatalytic approaches to produce therapeutic oligonucleotides. She also receives £5000 and a medal.

Therapeutic oligonucleotides are a new class of RNA-based molecules that have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases. However, the rapidly growing number of therapies approved and in advanced clinical trials is placing unprecedented demands on our capacity to manufacture oligonucleotides at scale.

Biocatalysis is an exciting technology that is widely used across the chemical industry: this is where enzymes are used to convert starting materials into high-value products. Dr Lovelock’s group is developing biocatalytic approaches to produce therapeutic oligonucleotides in a more sustainable and scalable way.

One strategy they have developed produces complex oligonucleotide sequences in a single operation using polymerases and endonucleases (nature’s enzymes). These enzymes work together to amplify complementary sequences embedded within a catalytic template. The group is working in partnership with industry to translate their approaches into manufacturing processes.

After receiving the prize, Dr Lovelock said: “I am delighted to have been awarded the 2024 Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize. I am very grateful to my talented research group. It is their hard work, great ideas, and dedication that has made this award possible.”

V&I_P&A_Prizes celebration 2024_Winners Social_1200x628px_HORIZON_MOFs for a sustainable futureThe Functional Framework Materials: Design and Characterisation Team have been named winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Horizon Prize, which celebrates discoveries and innovations that push the boundaries of science.

The team is a collaboration between Vlogٷ, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source STFC, Berkeley Advanced Light Source, Peking University, Xiamen University and the University of Chicago.

They were awarded the prize for seminal contributions to in situ and operando characterisation of porous materials and catalysts for the binding, capture and separation of fuels, hydrocarbons, and pollutants. The team receive a trophy and a video showcasing their work, and each team member receives a certificate.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous materials that can capture and store important fuels like hydrogen, methane, and ammonia, hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, and xylenes), and harmful pollutants (carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide).

Using state-of-the-art X-ray and neutron techniques, the team have been able to see the MOFs at the atomic level and how the captured molecules interact with the MOF’s internal structure during reactions. They also used computational modelling to give a deep understanding of how these advanced functional materials operate at a molecular level. This extensive collaboration has been crucial for producing improved materials that can be integrated into our daily lives and makes a vital contribution towards solving the pressing climate and energy challenges that the world faces.

Professor Martin Schröder, Vice President and Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, who leads the group at Vlogٷ, said: “I am delighted and honoured that the Royal Society of Chemistry has recognised our interdisciplinary team with the Dalton Horizon Prize. This has been a truly international collaborative effort spanning multiple individuals and groups each bringing their own unique expertise to address challenge research areas.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s prizes have recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years. This year’s winners join a prestigious list of past winners in the RSC’s prize portfolio, 60 of whom have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work, including 2022 Nobel laureate Carolyn Bertozzi and 2019 Nobel laureate John B Goodenough.

The Research and Innovation Prizes celebrate brilliant individuals across industry and academia. They include prizes for those at different career stages in general chemistry and for those working in specific fields, as well as interdisciplinary prizes and prizes for those in specific roles. The Horizon Prizes highlight exciting, contemporary chemical science at the cutting edge of research and innovation. These prizes are for groups, teams and collaborations of any form or size who are opening up new directions and possibilities in their field, through groundbreaking scientific developments. Other prize categories include those for Education (announced in November), the Inclusion & Diversity Prize, and Volunteer Recognition Prizes.

Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “The chemical sciences cover a rich and diverse collection of disciplines, from fundamental understanding of materials and the living world to applications in medicine, sustainability, technology and more. By working together across borders and disciplines, chemists are finding solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“Our prize winners come from a vast array of backgrounds, all contributing in different ways to our knowledge-base and bringing fresh ideas and innovations. We recognise chemical scientists from every career stage and every role type, including those who contribute to the RSC’s work as volunteers. We celebrate winners from both industry and academia, as well as individuals, teams, and the science itself.

“Their passion, dedication and brilliance are an inspiration. I extend my warmest congratulations to them all.”

For more information about the RSC’s prizes portfolio, visit .

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University of Manchester retains number 1 ranking in the UK, number 1 in Europe and second in the world for social and environmental impact /discover/news/university-of-manchester-retains-number-1-ranking-in-the-uk-number-1-in-europe-and-second-in-the-world-for-social-and-environmental-impact/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-retains-number-1-ranking-in-the-uk-number-1-in-europe-and-second-in-the-world-for-social-and-environmental-impact/636171Vlogٷ has today been named top in both the UK and Europe, and second in the world for meaningful contributions towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in the

Vlogٷ has today (12 June) been named top in both the UK and Europe, and second in the world for meaningful contributions towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in the

With a unique commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Vlogٷ is the only institution in the world to rank in the top ten for social and environmental impact in every year of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. 

Manchester’s top ranking comes from a record assessment of 2,152 universities from 125 countries and regions, which is 26 per cent increase on last year where 1,705 universities were ranked. This year 72 UK universities participated in the ranking, 11 more than last year (61). 

The ranking, now in its sixth year, is the world’s only one that measures universities’ contributions to the and assesses their commitment to sustainability across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching 

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement at Vlogٷ, who leads the institution’s entry to the ranking, said: “Each year we submit over 300 pieces of evidence for this ranking covering our cultural institutions, sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion, widening access, research impact, public and civic engagement, external partnerships, innovation, the student experience and reporting on the SDGs. Everyone in our University community should be proud of this independent measure of our commitment to social responsibility.”&Բ;

Vlogٷ came top in the world for SDG11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. Initiatives supporting this include the Platinum Watermark for Public Engagement, the investment made in four public-facing cultural institutions and initiative, a commitment to sustainable travel and world-leading research across all three Faculties into the effects of on health. 

The University was also ranked first in the world for SDG15 – Life on Land. Initiatives supporting this included research by the into soil microbial diversity, work to enhance and map our nature on campus and the commitment the University places on sustainable food procurement. 

Other areas where the University was shown to be a world leader include research impact towards SDG9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; the number of citing university research; the number of university the quality of the University’s SDG reporting; and on the commitment to educational for sustainable development through the School of Health Science’s free and interdisciplinary UCIL

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of Vlogٷ said: “Retaining the number one rank in the UK and Europe, as well as coming second in the world once again in this year’s THE Impact Rankings is a great achievement for the whole of Vlogٷ. Being recognised for our commitment to Social Responsibility is especially important during our bicentenary year in which we celebrate 200 years of our incredible people and community and look toward the future.”&Բ;

Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility at Vlogٷ said: “Social responsibility is, of course, a core goal for us so we’re delighted to be ranked top in the UK, top in Europe and second in the world in the 2024 THE Impact Rankings, which are based on our performance against the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

“These rankings cover our full range of functions – across research, students, public engagement and university operations – and we’re proud to be part of this growing community of universities who want to improve our society, economy and environment in all that we do.”&Բ;

Phil Baty, Times Higher Education’s chief global affairs officer, said: “With universities in the UK facing a funding crisis, and dozens making cuts and some predicted to close, this new data provides a very timely evidence base to demonstrate that the UK has a great diversity of global-leading universities, right across the country, way beyond the more traditional research elite.   

“Universities on the whole are offering clear, real-world impact for society – they are a powerful public good worthy of public support. Excellence in international higher education comes in many forms and this ranking very clearly demonstrates the UK has an abundance of excellence – world leaders – on many fronts.  

“There is a lot of talk in Westminster about how many international students the UK should welcome and which universities they should be allowed to study at. This new data shows that a very diverse range of universities from across the country are attractive to the ‘brightest and the best’ from around the globe and can deliver real impact.”&Բ; 

THE’s Impact Rankings 2024 - World Top 10:   



Rank 2024  

Rank 2023  

Western Sydney University  




University of Manchester  

United Kingdom  



University of Tasmania  




Aalborg University  




RMIT University  




University of Alberta  




UNSW Sydney  




Queen’s University  




Arizona State University (Tempe)  

United States  



University of Exeter  

United Kingdom  



View the full  

For more information about how Vlogٷ is contributing towards the UN SDGs please see: /discover/social-responsibility/sdgs/

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Thousands of young people share scientific questions once again this year in the Great Science Share for Schools /discover/news/thousands-of-young-people-share-scientific-questions-once-again-this-year-in-the-great-science-share-for-schools/ /discover/news/thousands-of-young-people-share-scientific-questions-once-again-this-year-in-the-great-science-share-for-schools/635978School pupils across the globe will be sharing their scientific curiosity this week as this year’s celebrates its annual Share Day.

School pupils across the globe will be sharing their scientific curiosity this week as this year’s celebrates its annual Share Day.

Throughout the year, teachers of 5-14 years olds have the chance to upskill in their own knowledge and skills of teaching science enquiry, using innovative resources and ideas related to the theme of Sustainable Science to involve their pupils in asking and investigating scientific questions that matter to them.

Now, on Tuesday 11 June, teachers and their pupils will come together in celebratory events both in-person and online, across the UK and beyond, to share what they have learnt with their peers, family, industry professionals and the general public.  

This year’s theme is Sustainable Science, with a focus on the Some of the questions shared this year, include:

·       How could we prevent the polar ice caps melting? 

·       Which fruit or vegetable is most likely to be able to power an electric car? 

·       What effects does plastic pollution have on wildlife? 

·       Which fabrics shed less fibres and are therefore better for the environment? 

·       Can we increase the biodiversity in our school? 

The Great Science Share for Schools (GSSfS) campaign was launched by Professor Lynne Bianchi, Vice Dean for Social Responsibility at Vlogٷ, to provide a unique way to elevate the prominence of science in the classroom, focussing on learner-focussed science communication, inclusive and non-competitive engagement, and promoting collaboration.

Supported by a team of specialists, they have an approach that is supported across the STEM sector, and actively involves research from a range of fields including quantum science, fashion materials, computing and the creative industries.

Earlier this year, the campaign was granted the prestigious patronage of the , in recognition of its status as a beacon of excellence in science education and its pivotal role in shaping the next generation of scientists, innovators, and global citizens.

The team’s growth strategy, which monitors the reach and quality of the campaign, sees it develop year on year. Now, in its ninth year, there will be more than 650,000 pupils registered across 40 countries, with schools in Montenegro being some of the latest to join.

Professor Lynne Bianchi added: “GSSfS is a powerful and purposeful way to engage young people with science related to real-world contexts. It offers teachers and school leaders the chance to raise the profile of science at a time where our economy relies so heavily on STEM skills and innovation.”

Professor Bianchi, recently advised on the new Education Endowment Foundation’s Improving Primary Science Guidance and is researching the purpose and effectiveness of practical work in science as part of a Nuffield Foundation research study. In this way, the knowledge and awareness developed within the Great Science Share for Schools informs leading practice by sharing best practice and insights to make a wider impact.

An exciting addition to the Great Science Share this year is the release of the brand-new which publishes 200 questions shared by pupils.

Professor Bianchi said: “This has been an ideal opportunity to celebrate Vlogٷ’s Bicentenary, and to inspire more teachers and young people across the world to ask, investigate and share their questions with each other.”

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New analysis reveals 18 million people have hearing loss /discover/news/new-analysis-reveals-18-million-people-have-hearing-loss/ /discover/news/new-analysis-reveals-18-million-people-have-hearing-loss/635683A more holistic definition of hearing loss by Vlogٷ and University of Nottingham researchers has revealed that 18 million people are affected, 6 million higher than previously reported using a definition from the 1980s.

A more holistic definition of hearing loss by Vlogٷ and University of Nottingham researchers has revealed that 18 million people are affected, 6 million higher than previously reported using a definition from the 1980s.

The new analysis, published in the , re-evaluated existing prevalence data to include people with hearing loss who were previously not taken into account by official statistics.

The study was based on new population estimates from the most recent censuses: the 2021 Scottish census and the 2022 England and Wales Census. Because of an increase in the UK population, this resulted in an increase to 4.6 million.

However, the new data shows if people with a milder degree of hearing loss in both ears are included, the estimate is 12.3 million, or 1 in 4 of the population aged 18-80.

The number is greater still—18 million or 1 in 3— if those with a hearing loss in only one ear are also included.

Co-author Professor Kevin Munro, National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator at Vlogٷ said: “These data more accurately reflect the number of adults in the UK who have impaired hearing that will cause listening difficulty, especially in background noise.

“Maintaining the hearing health of adults is a strong social responsibility. So it is important to acknowledge that millions of people’s experiences have effectively been dismissed by existing data which means they are effectively left out of the national conversation.”

Co-author NIHR Senior Investigator Professor Michael Akeroyd from the University of Nottingham said: “The way we define hearing loss puts us at odds with most other countries.

“By modernizing these numbers, we align with the latest international practice.  We hope it will encourage more people to realise how common hearing loss is.”

Hearing loss ranks third for Years Lived with Disability, first for sensory disorders, and first for those over age 70. That is why addressing hearing loss is an important component of healthy ageing, argue the researchers. 

Despite the revised estimate, the researchers stress a new study is required because there have been significant changes in factors that could affect the estimates.

These include potentially lower occupational hearing loss from reductions in heavy industry and greater population diversity since the 1980s on which these data are estimated. Some ethnic minorities at higher risk of hearing loss.

New studies could also determine if there is now greater hearing loss from recreational noise exposure.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England Professor Chis Whitty, in a 2023 report on healthy ageing reflected the call by the researchers for better data.

His report argued that available estimates of hearing impairment rely on outdated statistics from several decades ago and that sensory impairment is a major contributor to disability in older age.

It also argued that many components of the ageing process are significantly under-researched including hearing impairment.

Victoria Boelman, Director of Insight and Policy at RNID, said: “RNID welcomes this new insight as a step forward in our understanding of the UK’s community of people with hearing loss. The updated statistics now reflect and include the real-life experience of the 18 million people in the UK who have different and diverse experiences of deafness and hearing loss. By previously excluding people with milder hearing loss or hearing loss in a single ear, society had effectively dismissed millions of people’s experiences and not factored them into national conversations.

“We’re here for the 18 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. With our communities, we’ll change society to make it more inclusive for everyone, help people hear better now and fund world-class research. If you need support or information, visit rnid.org.uk.”

The paper “Population estimates of the number of adults in the UK with a hearing loss updated using 2021 and 2022 census data” is available at

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Researchers engineer new approach for controlling thermal emission /discover/news/researchers-engineer-new-approach-for-controlling-thermal-emission/ /discover/news/researchers-engineer-new-approach-for-controlling-thermal-emission/635694Vlogٷ’s National Graphene Institute has spearheaded an international team to engineer a novel approach for controlling thermal emission, detailed in a paper published in

Vlogٷ’s has spearheaded an international team to engineer a novel approach for controlling thermal emission, detailed in a paper published in . This breakthrough offers new design strategies beyond conventional materials, with promising implications for thermal management and camouflage technologies.

The international team, which also included Penn State College of Engineering, Koc University in Turkey and Vienna University of Technology in Austria, has developed a unique interface that localises thermal emissions from two surfaces with different geometric properties, creating a “perfect” thermal emitter. This platform can emit thermal light from specific, contained emission areas with unit emissivity.

, professor of 2D device materials at Vlogٷ, explains, “We have demonstrated a new class of thermal devices using concepts from topology — a branch of mathematics studying properties of geometric objects — and from non-Hermitian photonics, which is a flourishing area of research studying light and its interaction with matter in the presence of losses, optical gain and certain symmetries.”

The team said the work could advance thermal photonic applications to better generate, control and detect thermal emission. One application of this work could be in satellites, said co-author Prof Sahin Ozdemir, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State. Faced with significant exposure to heat and light, satellites equipped with the interface could emit the absorbed radiation with unit emissivity along a specifically designated area designed by researchers to be incredibly narrow and in whatever shape is deemed necessary.   

Getting to this point, though, was not straight forward, according to Ozdemir. He explained part of the issue is to create a perfect thermal absorber-emitter only at the interface while the rest of the structures forming the interface remains ‘cold’, meaning no absorption and no emission.

“Building a perfect absorber-emitter—a black body that flawlessly absorbs all incoming radiation—proved to be a formidable task,” Ozdemir said. However, the team discovered that one can be built at a desired frequency by trapping the light inside an optical cavity, formed by a partially reflecting first mirror and a completely reflecting second mirror: the incoming light partially reflected from the first mirror and the light which gets reflected only after being trapped between the two mirrors exactly cancel each other. With the reflection thus being completely suppressed, the light beam is trapped in the system, gets perfectly absorbed, and emitted in the form of thermal radiation.

To achieve such an interface, the researchers developed a cavity stacked with a thick gold layer that perfectly reflects incoming light and a thin platinum layer that can partially reflect incoming light. The platinum layer also acts as a broadband thermal absorber-emitter. Between the two mirrors is a transparent dielectric called parylene-C.

The researchers can adjust the thickness of the platinum layer as needed to induce the critical coupling condition where the incoming light is trapped in the system and perfectly absorbed, or to move the system away from the critical coupling to sub- or super-critical coupling where perfect absorption and emission cannot take place.

“Only by stitching two platinum layers with thicknesses smaller and larger than the critical thickness over the same dielectric layer, we create a topological interface of two cavities where perfect absorption and emission are confined. Crucial here is that the cavities forming the interface are not at critical coupling condition,” said first author M. Said Ergoktas, a research associate at Vlogٷ 

The development challenges conventional understanding of thermal emission in the field, according to co-author Stefan Rotter, professor of theoretical physics at the Vienna University of Technology, “Traditionally, it has been believed that thermal radiation cannot have topological properties because of its incoherent nature.”

According to Kocabas, their approach to building topological systems for controlling radiation is easily accessible to scientists and engineers.  

“This can be as simple as creating a film divided into two regions with different thicknesses such that one side satisfies sub-critical coupling, and the other is in the super-critical coupling regime, dividing the system into two different topological classes,” Kocabas said.

The realised interface exhibits perfect thermal emissivity, which is protected by the reflection topology and “exhibits robustness against local perturbations and defects,” according to co-author Ali Kecebas, a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State. The team confirmed the system’s topological features and its connection to the well-known non-Hermitian physics and its spectral degeneracies known as exceptional points through experimental and numerical simulations.

“This is just a glimpse of what one can do in thermal domain using topology of non-Hermiticity. One thing that needs further exploration is the observation of the two counterpropagating modes at the interface that our theory and numerical simulations predict,” Kocabas said.


The National Graphene Institute (NGI) is a world-leading graphene and 2D material centre, focussed on fundamental research. Based at Vlogٷ, where graphene was first isolated in 2004 by Professors Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov, it is home to leaders in their field – a community of research specialists delivering transformative discovery. This expertise is matched by £13m leading-edge facilities, such as the largest class 5 and 6 cleanrooms in global academia, which gives the NGI the capabilities to advance underpinning industrial applications in key areas including: composites, functional membranes, energy, membranes for green hydrogen, ultra-high vacuum 2D materials, nanomedicine, 2D based printed electronics, and characterisation.

Fri, 07 Jun 2024 09:32:38 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/4238e6dc-4f78-4bb6-8795-0703b3c919d2/500_picture3-3.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/4238e6dc-4f78-4bb6-8795-0703b3c919d2/picture3-3.jpg?10000
Scientists detect slowest-spinning radio emitting neutron star ever recorded /discover/news/scientists-detect-slowest-spinning-radio-emitting-neutron-star-ever-recorded/ /discover/news/scientists-detect-slowest-spinning-radio-emitting-neutron-star-ever-recorded/635289Scientists have detected what they believe to be a neutron star spinning at an unprecedentedly slow rate —slower than any of the more than 3,000 radio emitting neutron stars measured to date.

Scientists have detected what they believe to be a neutron star spinning at an unprecedentedly slow rate —slower than any of the more than 3,000 radio emitting neutron stars measured to date.

Neutron stars - the ultra-dense remains of a dead star - typically rotate at mind-bendingly fast speeds, taking just seconds or even a fraction of a second to fully spin on their axis.

However, the neutron star, newly discovered by an international team of astronomers, defies this rule, emitting radio signals on a comparatively leisurely interval of 54 minutes.

The team was led by Dr Manisha Caleb at the University of Sydney and Dr Emil Lenc at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and includes scientists at Vlogٷ and the University of Oxford.

The results, published today in the journal , offer new insights into the complex life cycles of stellar objects.

At the end of their life, large stars use up all their fuel and explode in a spectacular blast called a supernova. What remains is a stellar remnant called a neutron star, made up of trillions of neutrons packed into a ball so dense that its mass is 1.4 times that of the Sun is packed into a radius of just 10km.

The unexpected radio signal from the stellar object detected by the scientists travelled approximately 16,000 light years to Earth.  The nature of the radio emission and the rate at which the spin period is changing suggest it is a neutron star. However, the researchers have not ruled out the possibility of it being an isolated white dwarf with an extraordinarily strong magnetic field. Yet, the absence of other nearby highly magnetic white dwarfs makes the neutron star explanation more plausible.

Further research is required to confirm what the object is, but either scenario promises to provide valuable insights into the physics of these extreme objects. 

The findings could make scientists reconsider their decades-old understanding of neutron stars or white dwarfs; how they emit radio waves and what their populations are like in our Milky Way galaxy.

The discovery was made using CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope on Wajarri Yamaji Country in Western Australia, which can see a large part of the sky at once and means it can capture things researchers aren’t even looking for.

The research team were simultaneously monitoring a source of gamma rays and seeking a fast radio burst when they spotted the object slowly flashing in the data.

Lead author Dr Manisha Caleb from the University of Sydney Institute for Astronomy, said: “What is intriguing is how this object displays three distinct emission states, each with properties entirely dissimilar from the others. The MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa played a crucial role in distinguishing between these states. If the signals didn’t arise from the same point in the sky, we would not have believed it to be the same object producing these different signals.”

The origin of such a long period signal remains a profound mystery, with white dwarfs and neutron stars the prime suspects. But as further investigations continue, this discovery is set to deepen our understanding of the universe’s most enigmatic objects.

Wed, 05 Jun 2024 10:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/cddbe0f0-0664-4bac-9936-7a49d24b6cda/500_longperiodpulsar16.9web.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/cddbe0f0-0664-4bac-9936-7a49d24b6cda/longperiodpulsar16.9web.png?10000
No evidence sperm counts are dropping, researchers find /discover/news/no-evidence-sperm-counts-are-dropping-researchers-find/ /discover/news/no-evidence-sperm-counts-are-dropping-researchers-find/635133The widely held view that sperm counts in men are dropping around the world may be wrong, according to a new study by University of Manchester, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada and Cryos International, Denmark.

The widely held view that sperm counts in men are dropping around the world may be wrong, according to a new study by University of Manchester, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada and Cryos International, Denmark.


Using data from 6,758 men from four cities in Denmark applying to be sperm donors at the world’s largest sperm bank, Cryos International, the study is published in the journal Human Reproduction today (05/06/24).

Declining sperm counts, identified by two recent and influential meta-analyses - combining and synthesizing the results of previous studies – have become widely publicized in the mainstream media.


In the new study, however, statistical analysis of sperm samples provided by the men applying to be sperm donors showed that while the average sperm concentration varied from year to year, it did not change significantly over a six-year period.


Although Cryos was established over 40 years ago, the researchers limited their analysis to data collected between 2017 and 2022 to ensure methodological consistency in the measurements of sperm concentration and motility – its ability to swim spontaneously.

Co-author Professor Allan Pacey from Vlogٷ said: “It is commonly believed by that sperm counts in men are falling.


“This is to some degree the result of meta-analysis published by Levine et al. (2023) which proposed that sperm concentrations worldwide had declined as much as 2.64% per year in unselected men since the year 2000.


“We did not see such a change and that suggests that in this population of sperm donor applicants, in these four Danish cities, sperm concentrations have not changed between 2017 and 2022”.


However, both the concentration and total numbers of motile (swimming) sperm provided for testing had declined by 16% and 22% respectively from 2019 to 2022.

Co-author Professor Robert Montgomerie said: “The decline in measures of sperm motility between 2019 and 2022 was an unexpected finding.

“This decline roughly corresponds to the onset of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

“While there is no evidence to suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is directly affecting sperm, we speculate whether the widespread lockdowns may have led to changes in working pattens, diet, and levels of physical activity which we already know can impact sperm motility.”

The study authors were not able to collect information on the health or lifestyles of the men applying to be sperm donors that could help to identify factors that may account for the decline in sperm motility.

However, they argue monitoring the semen quality in this population of sperm donor candidates could be a useful way to monitor changes in human semen quality over time and help answer the question whether sperm counts are declining or not.

Co-author Anne-Bine Skytte the Medical Director of Cryos International said: “Men who apply to be sperm donors are doing so in order to help women and couples achieve their family wishes.

“We have no way of knowing how random this sample is with respect to the general (Danish) population, but this study shows that another altruistic outcome of applying to be a sperm donor is how the data can now be used to help answer big science questions, like whether sperm counts are declining or not.

“This is an unexpected benefit of their generosity.”

The paper Recent decline in sperm motility among donor candidates at a sperm bank in Denmark is available here

Wed, 05 Jun 2024 04:06:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_sperm-egg.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/sperm-egg.jpg?10000
Professor Jamie Woodward named one of UK’s top environmental professionals /discover/news/jamie-woodward-one-of-uks-top-environmental-professionals/ /discover/news/jamie-woodward-one-of-uks-top-environmental-professionals/635306Jamie Woodward, Professor of Physical Geography at Vlogٷ has been named one of the most impactful environmental professionals in the UK in The ENDS Report Power List 2024. 

The names 100 UK environmental professionals who have made the greatest impact in the past two years, with Professor Woodward one of the 10 academics identified as shaping the science on environmental issues.  

Through his work on microplastic pollution in Manchester's rivers, Jamie Woodward was one of the earliest academics to raise awareness about the issue of widespread discharges of untreated sewage into UK rivers and waterways. His research group demonstrated that the build-up of microplastics was directly linked to untreated sewage discharges outside periods of exceptional rainfall.  

Professor Woodward has since worked tirelessly to expose this sewage scandal, and engage policymakers across Parliament and local government, to ensure water companies are held to account for their illegal practices.  

He has appeared in documentaries, including Paul Whitehouse’s ‘ on the BBC, has been interviewed for both local and national TV and radio news and addressed attendees at the during a panel on sewage pollution. 

On Saturday, 8 June, Professor Woodward will talk at the Universally Manchester Festival, joined by Matt Staniek, founder of Save Windermere. The free event, ‘Exposing the sewage scandal’ will wade into a discussion on the why sewage is being dumped into our precious rivers, lakes and coastal waters, and the impacts on nature, wildlife and public health – and the link to microplastic pollution – and how we can all get involved to do something about it. 

Register for free tickets at  


Tue, 04 Jun 2024 15:47:17 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/4e7063d0-d3b6-411b-985f-cb8b7bb2cc51/500_jamiewoodwardendsreport.jpeg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/4e7063d0-d3b6-411b-985f-cb8b7bb2cc51/jamiewoodwardendsreport.jpeg?10000
Election 2024: current positions and post-election aims for each party /discover/news/election-2024-current-positions-and-post-election-aims-for-each-party/ /discover/news/election-2024-current-positions-and-post-election-aims-for-each-party/635278With polls predicting huge losses for the Conservatives and huge gains for Labour, the election campaign so far has focused on the battle between the two biggest parties in Westminster. But the parliamentary dynamics are exceptionally fluid this year. Here’s a summary of where every party in Westminster currently stands – and where they are hoping to be after July 4.


With polls predicting huge losses for the Conservatives and huge gains for Labour, the election campaign so far has focused on the battle between the two biggest parties in Westminster. But the parliamentary dynamics are exceptionally fluid this year. Here’s a summary of where every party in Westminster currently stands – and where they are hoping to be after July 4.

Conservatives: 346 seats and everything to lose

Sunak’s Conservatives held 346 seats when he called the election. They started with 365 after the 2019 election but have lost since then. Several other former Conservative MPs have defected to other parties and others have been suspended.

A hefty chunk of the party’s current MPs , leaving newly selected candidates to fight what is likely to be an incredibly difficult campaign for the party.

The Conservatives are almost guaranteed to be sitting on the opposition benches in the next parliament, with one recent poll suggesting they could fall to just 66 seats – their . This could put them in dangerous territory. It would be a humiliation for Sunak if the party performed so poorly that it fell into third place behind the Liberal Democrats.

Against this backdrop, winning 150 seats or more would be a pretty decent showing.

Labour: 205 seats and hoping for 400

The Labour Party won in the 2019 general election under its former leader Jeremy Corbyn. This has increased slightly since then, through a combination of defecting Conservative MPs and byelections. Labour with 205 seats.

The party’s in Blackpool last month, where Chris Webb won 58% of the vote, was the sixth time Labour won a byelection with a swing of more than 20% since 2019. This bodes well for election day, where Starmer will be keen to try to win a comfortable majority and, if recent polling is correct, in the House of Commons.

Scottish National Party: 43 MPs and worried

The SNP have had some spectacular performances in recent general elections, bringing 56 MPs to the House of Commons in 2015, 35 in 2017 and 48 in 2019. But the party has struggled somewhat in the current parliament. It has lost three MPs to defections and the suspensions of Patrick Grady following sexual assault allegations and Margaret Ferrier for COVID rule-breaking shattered the SNP’s previously clean image in Westminster.

The SNP therefore heads into this election with 43 MPs. The party is battling two fronts, with the Alba party threatening to split the nationalist vote and Labour looking to win as many of Scotland’s 57 seats as possible.

Labour won Ferrier’s old seat in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West byelection with a and polling suggests they will from the SNP on July 4.

Liberal Democrats: 15 seats and wanting third place

The Liberal Democrats won 11 seats in the 2019 general election and this has since risen to 15 through four successful byelections. The party performed very strongly in recent local elections, gaining more councillors than Sunak’s Conservatives. Party Leader Ed Davey had a lot of fun over the first week of the campaign and won the party a lot of in the process.

Seats like , where the Liberal Democrats lost out to the Conservatives by just a few hundred votes in 2019, will surely turn yellow. With the SNP predicted to lose many of its Scottish seats, the Lib Dems will be hoping that they can reclaim their position as the official third party at Westminster.

Democratic Unionist Party: seven seats and struggling after scandal

The DUP won eight seats in 2019 but technically lost one when Jeffrey Donaldson resigned . His seat in Lagan Valley has not yet been filled and will be hotly contested, particularly as Donaldson himself is not standing. DUP leader Gavin Robinson will have a tough battle in East Belfast against Alliance party leader Naomi Long.

Sinn Féin: standing aside in key seats

Sinn Féin won seven seats in 2019. However, in line with its abstentionist policy, the party’s elected representatives never took their seats in the House of Commons. The party has already confirmed that it in four of Northern Ireland’s 18 constituencies and will encourage its supporters to vote against Sunak’s Conservatives in those seats. This should work in the Alliance Party’s favour. One of Sinn Féin’s existing MPs – Michelle Gildernew – will also not be standing.

Plaid Cymru: hoping for gains on a new electoral map

Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru won four seats in 2019. They fell to just three MPs in 2020 when Jonathan Edwards . Edwards, who has sat as an independent MP for most of the last parliament, has stood down, as has Hywel Williams, a hard working Plaid MP who has been in the Commons for over 20 years.

Plaid will be hoping to retain Williams’ Arfon seat, alongside those of the party’s Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts and Ben Lake, both of whom won with comfortable majorities in 2019 with Conservative candidates in second place.

Boundary changes mean that most constituencies in Wales have changed, but the party will be hoping to win back Edwards’s seat in the new Caerfyrddin constituency and perhaps to add Ynys Môn, held by Conservative MP Virginia Crosbie in 2019 with a relatively slender majority of just under 2000.

Alba: fighting its first election

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s pro-independence Alba party only formed in 2021, so this is its first ever general election campaign. It did however have two MPs in the last parliament, thanks to defections.

The addition of Alba to Scottish ballot papers threatens to split the nationalist vote and will make the election even more challenging for the SNP.

Social Democratic and Labour Party: aiming to hold two seats

Northern Ireland’s SDLP returned two MPs in 2019 and will hope to retain them. The party has been inconsistent in recent elections, and even lost all its seats in 2017.

The nature of Northern Irish politics and electoral pacts between unionist and nationalist parties makes it difficult to predict what will happen here. The SDLP has, however, committed itself to fielding candidates in . Its leader Colum Eastwood won his Foyle seat at the last election, as did .

Alliance: hoping to take a key DUP seat

The centrist Alliance party, also specific to Northern Ireland, has never had more than one MP in the House of Commons. The party’s deputy leader Stephen Farry won the North Down seat for the party in 2019, though the DUP came a close second. Party leader Naomi Long will be trying to unseat the DUP Leader Gavin Robinson for the third time, having lost by 1,819 votes in 2019. She previously held the seat between 2010 and 2015.

The party has had growing success in the Northern Ireland Assembly, where it became the third largest party in 2022. Translating this into more Westminster seats will be tricky, but returning two MPs would be a good result.

Greens: targeting Bristol and Brighton

The Green Party’s one and only MP, Caroline Lucas, from parliament last year. She was the party’s first ever elected MP, holding her Brighton Pavilion constituency since 2010. The Greens are desperately hoping that former party co-leader Siân Berry can hold Lucas’s old seat.

The Greens are also eying up Bristol Central, where the party’s current co-leader Carla Denyer is standing against Labour’s sitting MP Thangam Debbonaire in what could be a real neck-and-neck fight. The party is already the largest party on Bristol Council. On a national level, it will be hoping to perform even better than the 2019 election, when it received a pretty respectable 860,000 votes. With last month, the Green party could hit 1 million votes this time.

Reform UK: causing trouble for the Tories

Reform UK had one sitting MP in the last Parliament, following from the Conservatives. Defections like this are how most small or new parties end up with House of Commons seats. Anderson won his seat with a 5,000 majority in 2019 and has a high profile thanks to his regular controversial contributions. But retaining his seat under a new party label will be very tricky.

Reform UK is fielding candidates across England, Scotland and Wales. It could take a substantial number of votes from the Conservatives, but the electoral system will probably mean that these votes are not concentrated enough to win more than the odd seat.

Workers Party of Great Britain: taking aim at Labour

This relatively new political party held just one seat in the last parliament, thanks to George Galloway’s Rochdale byelection success in February. Galloway will campaign to hold this seat and the party is hoping to woo Labour voters with its claims that Starmer is from Sunak. With a of candidates for such a new party, it could prove something of an annoyance.The Conversation

, Senior Lecturer in Politics,
This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

Tue, 04 Jun 2024 13:22:40 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/1e2c8a70-0af6-436e-bfeb-fa82b5f62abb/500_istock-2152185671.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/1e2c8a70-0af6-436e-bfeb-fa82b5f62abb/istock-2152185671.jpg?10000
University of Manchester heart research receives £8 million funding boost /discover/news/university-of-manchester-heart-research-receives-8-million-funding-boost/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-heart-research-receives-8-million-funding-boost/632185The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded £4 million to support world-class cardiovascular research at Vlogٷ over the next five years, the charity has announced today.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded £4 million to support world-class cardiovascular research at Vlogٷ over the next five years, the charity has announced today.

Vlogٷ has pledged to match the funding awarded by the BHF, taking the total investment in cardiovascular disease research at the University to £8 million.

Researchers at the University welcomed the announcement. Professor Bernard Keavney, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Manchester, said: “This is a landmark moment for cardiovascular research in Greater Manchester. We’re thrilled that the progress we have made in our research at Vlogٷ in recent years has been recognised with this award, alongside other top-ranking institutions nationally.

“We will focus particularly on science that will meet the needs of those who suffer disproportionately from cardiovascular disease because they are disadvantaged – be that by socio-economic status, race or ethnicity, geography or genetics. We are determined that this award will lead to positive health changes for our local population in the North West – who suffer the worst rates of cardiovascular illness and death in England – as well as nationally and internationally.”

Prof Keavney , will lead the Centre of Excellence at the University, along with Professor Maciej Tomaszewski from the University of Manchester.

The funding will support the university to cultivate a world-class research environment that encourages collaboration, inclusion and innovation, and where visionary scientists can drive lifesaving breakthroughs.

The award from the BHF is part of a much needed £35 million boost to UK cardiovascular disease research from the British Heart Foundation. The funding comes from the charity’s highly competitive Research Excellence Awards funding scheme. The award to the University of Manchester will support researchers to:

  • Discover the reasons why some babies are born with heart problems (congenital heart disease) and find ways in which these problems could be better predicted, potentially avoided, and treated when they occur in families.
  • Better understand the genetic drivers of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
  • Provide new insights into the causes and consequences of heart failure and identify new potential treatment strategies.
  • Uncover the links between inflammation and inflammatory diseases (such as certain types of arthritis) and the higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke these patients carry and find ways to break these links.
  • Use Artificial Intelligence on largescale datasets to identify how we can better identify and prevent disease in patients with cardiovascular diseases, including those suffering from other conditions such as cancer.

Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to continue to support research at the University of Manchester addressing the biggest challenges in cardiovascular disease. This funding recognises the incredible research already happening at the university and will help to cement its status as a global leader in the field.

“With generous donations from our supporters, this funding will attract the brightest talent, power cutting-edge science, and unlock lifesaving discoveries that can turn the tide on the devastation caused by heart and circulatory diseases.”

Research Excellence Awards offer researchers greater flexibility than traditional research funding, allowing scientists to quickly launch ambitious projects that can act as a springboard for larger, transformative funding applications.

The funding also aims to break down the silos that have traditionally existed in research, encouraging collaboration between experts from diverse fields. From clinicians to data scientists, biologists to engineers, the funding will support universities to attract the brightest minds, nurture new talent and foster collaboration to answer the biggest questions in heart and circulatory disease research.

Vlogٷ received a £1 million Accelerator Award from the BHF in 2019 to enable the university to develop its cardiovascular research programme. This funding has supported research that will lay the foundations for future breakthroughs, including:

  • Development of a biodegradable gel that could help to . Researchers showed that the gel can be safely injected into the beating heart to act as a scaffold for cells to grow into new heart tissue. They hope that it could form a new generation of treatments to repair damage caused by a heart attack.
  • Identifying how high blood pressure causes the small arteries in the brain to become constricted, reducing the blood flow through them and increasing the risk of developing vascular dementia. The mechanism could be the target of new drugs to prevent vascular dementia.
  • Providing new biological insights into high blood pressure by studying the genes that influence differences in blood pressure in the kidney, the key organ controlling blood pressure. This work identified opportunities to repurpose drugs currently used for other conditions to better treat high blood pressure.

Its recent successful funding bid will now support the university to take the next steps towards internationally recognised excellence in cardiovascular disease research.

Fri, 24 May 2024 04:29:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/500_stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000
Scientists reveal first data from Euclid telescope offering snapshot of cosmic history /discover/news/scientists-reveal-first-data-from-euclid-telescope-offering-snapshot-of-cosmic-history/ /discover/news/scientists-reveal-first-data-from-euclid-telescope-offering-snapshot-of-cosmic-history/632512Scientists have released the first set of scientific data captured with the Euclid telescope, showing an exciting glimpse of the Universe’s distant past.

Scientists have released the first set of scientific data captured with the Euclid telescope, showing an exciting glimpse of the Universe’s distant past.

The telescope, launched in July 2023, is part of the Dark Energy Satellite Mission, which aims to map the dark Universe.

Led by the European Space Agency in collaboration with The Euclid Consortium - which includes astronomers at Vlogٷ in leadership positions – the mission seeks to unlock mysteries of dark matter and dark energy and reveal how and why the Universe looks as it does today.

Early observations, described in a series of published today, include five never-before-seen images of the Universe.

The papers also describe several new discoveries including, free-floating new-born planets, newly identified extragalactic star clusters, new low-mass dwarf galaxies in a nearby galaxy cluster, the distribution of dark matter and intracluster light in galaxy clusters, and very distant bright galaxies from the first billion years of the Universe.

The findings give an insight into the unprecedented power of the Euclid telescope, which is designed to provide the most precise map of our Universe over time and demonstrates Euclid’s ability to unravel the secrets of the cosmos.

Chrisopher Conselice, Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy at Vlogٷ, said: “Euclid will completely revolutionise our view of the Universe. Already these results are revealing important new findings about local galaxies, new unknown dwarf galaxies, extrasolar planets and some of the first galaxies. These results are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what will come. Soon Euclid will discover yet unknown details of the dark energy and give a full picture of how galaxy formation occurred across all cosmic time.”

Michael Brown, Professor of Astrophysics at Vlogٷ, added: “The exceptional data that Euclid is delivering over a large fraction of the sky promises to revolutionise our understanding of dark energy. It is extremely exciting to be part of the team working to extract these headline science results.”

The Early Release Observations programme was conducted during Euclid’s first months in space as a first look at the depth and diversity of science Euclid will provide. A total of 24 hours were allocated to target 17 specific astronomical objects, from nearby clouds of gas and dust to distant clusters of galaxies, producing stunning images that are invaluable for scientific research. In just a single day, Euclid produced a catalogue of more than 11 million objects in visible light and five million more in infrared light.

The images published today follow the return of produced in November 2023.

In addition to contributions to the mission’s primary objectives, scientists at Vlogٷ, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, conducted a preliminary search of the data for distant galaxies. The red galaxies in the image show the cluster, which acts as a magnifying glass to reveal more distant sources behind. In total, 29 galaxies were discovered providing insight into the first billion years of the Universe.

Dr Rebecca Bowler, Ernest Rutherford Fellow at Vlogٷ, said: “In these spectacular images we can see galaxies that were previously invisible, because the most distant galaxies can only be discovered using the longer near-infrared wavelengths seen by Euclid. 

“This first look data has been invaluable to test our search algorithms and identifying challenges, such as confusion of distant galaxies with brown dwarfs in our own Milky Way, before we start working on the main data later this year.   

“What is amazing is that these images cover an area of less than 1% of the full deep observations, showing that we expect to detect thousands of early galaxies in the next few years with Euclid, which will be revolutionary in understanding how and when galaxies formed after the Big Bang.”

The images obtained by Euclid are at least four times sharper than those that can be taken from ground-based telescopes. They cover large patches of sky at unrivalled depth, looking far into the distant Universe using both visible and infrared light.

The next data release from the Euclid Consortium will focus on Euclid’s primary science objectives. A first worldwide quick release is currently planned for March 2025, while a wider data release is scheduled for June 2026. At least three other quick releases and two other data releases are expected before 2031, which corresponds to a few months after the end of Euclid’s initial survey.

The Euclid Consortium comprises more than 2600 members, including over 1000 researchers from more than 300 laboratories in 15 European countries, plus Canada, Japan and United States, covering various fields in astrophysics, cosmology, theoretical physics, and particle physics.

Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General, said: “Euclid demonstrates European excellence in frontier science and state-of-the-art technology, and showcases the importance of international collaboration.

“The mission is the result of many years of hard work from scientists, engineers and industry throughout Europe and from members of the Euclid scientific consortium around the world, all brought together by ESA. They can be proud of this achievement – the results are no small feat for such an ambitious mission and such complex fundamental science. Euclid is at the very beginning of its exciting journey to map the structure of the Universe.”

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Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies /discover/news/independent-review-of-university-spin-out-companies/ /discover/news/independent-review-of-university-spin-out-companies/632654Vlogٷ welcomed the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies published in November 2023[CH1] . The Review set out the important contribution that UK universities are making to the economy and society, through commercialisation of intellectual property generated by their research.

Vlogٷ welcomed the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies published in November 2023. The Review set out the important contribution that UK universities are making to the economy and society, through commercialisation of intellectual property generated by their research. The recommendations provide important guidance on the pathway to building a world-leading innovation ecosystem and the University is now taking steps to implement the recommendations from the Review.

As an active member of the  group of international leaders in university research commercialisation,  and co-author of the and , launched on 20th May, we recognise the distinction between intellectual property intensive areas such as the life sciences and the simpler pathway for some software commercialisation and sets out practical ways to improve the speed and efficiency of spin out formation. We have therefore initiated a review of intellectual property policies and practice, in collaboration with our partners in the Northern Gritstone investment company, which was established as a positive response to the high concentration of VC funding in London to provide VC funding in the North.

Innovation is a core theme for the University and our ambition is to create a thriving innovation ecosystem, which supports our entrepreneurs, spin outs and partners to start up, secure investment and scale, contributing positively to the prosperity of our region. Working through our technology transfer subsidiary, the , we have produced 29 spinouts in the past three years and remain committed to providing the optimal environment for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas. Our policy review and founder friendly approach and commitment to supporting spin outs, will catalyse growth of a vibrant regional ecosystem which supports companies to grow and scale.

Our joint venture partnership with Bruntwood Scitech to develop our North Campus into an Innovation District, will additionally provide an anchor location for our spin outs to establish and succeed within our own community, with an opportunity to access space, investors, facilities, partners, business support and networks within one location.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Vice-Chancellor and lead for Innovation said: “The Spin-out Review showed the vital role of universities in generating IP-Rich companies in the advanced areas most likely to revitalise our economy. We will use its recommendations as a platform to double down on bringing leading edge discoveries to the market.”

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Unlocking the future of biotechnology: ICED revolutionises enzyme design /discover/news/revolutionising-enzyme-design/ /discover/news/revolutionising-enzyme-design/632010Researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) and the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) have launched a groundbreaking initiative poised to transform the landscape of engineering biology for industrial applications. The International Centre for Enzyme Design (ICED) brings together internationally leading research teams to establish a fully integrated computational and experimental platform to develop a new generation of industrial biocatalysts.

Researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) and the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) have launched a groundbreaking initiative poised to transform the landscape of engineering biology for industrial applications. The International Centre for Enzyme Design (ICED) brings together internationally leading research teams to establish a fully integrated computational and experimental platform to develop a new generation of industrial biocatalysts.

The centre has been awarded £1.2m through an International Centre to Centre grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation. Led by Professor , Interim Director of the MIB, along with Professor and Dr , and in partnership with Professor David Baker from the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) at the University of Washington, ICED will employ the latest deep-learning protein design tools to accelerate the development of new biocatalysts for use across the chemical industry. The centre will deliver customised biocatalysts for sustainable production of a wide range of chemicals and biologics, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, materials, commodity chemicals and advanced synthetic fuels.

Biocatalysis uses natural or engineered enzymes to speed up valuable chemical processes. This technology is now widely recognised as a key enabling technology for developing a greener and more efficient chemical industry. Although powerful, existing experimental methods for developing industrial biocatalysts are costly and time-consuming, and this restricts the potential impact of biocatalysis on many industrial processes. Furthermore, for many desirable chemical transformations there are no known enzymes that can serve as starting templates for experimental engineering. In ICED we will bring together leading computational and experimental teams from across academia and industry to bring about a step-change in the speed of biocatalyst development. The approaches developed will also allow the development of new families of enzymes with catalytic functions that are unknown in nature.

Professor David Baker, lead researcher from the Institute of Protein Design says; “Accurately designing efficient enzymes with new catalytic functions is one of the grand challenges for the protein design field. We are thrilled to be working with Professor Green and his team in the MIB to address this crucial biotechnological challenge.’’

The design tools developed throughout the project will be readily available to specialists and non-specialists to support their own enzyme engineering and biocatalysis needs. As the centre develops, we expect to grow our partnerships with the wider academic and industrial sector to ensure that we can best serve the needs and ambitions of the global biocatalysis community.

With the chemical and pharmaceutical industries contributing £30.7bn to the UK economy alone, technologies like biocatalysis are poised to revolutionise how every day, essential products are made while also benefitting our health and our environment.

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Scientists make quantum breakthrough in 2D materials /discover/news/scientists-make-quantum-breakthrough-in-2d-materials/ /discover/news/scientists-make-quantum-breakthrough-in-2d-materials/632112Scientists have discovered that a ‘single atomic defect' in a layered 2D material can hold onto quantum information for microseconds at room temperature, underscoring the potential of 2D materials in advancing quantum technologies.

Scientists have discovered that a ‘single atomic defect' in a layered 2D material can hold onto quantum information for microseconds at room temperature, underscoring the potential of 2D materials in advancing quantum technologies.

The defect, found by researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge using a thin material called Hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN), demonstrates spin coherence—a property where an electronic spin can retain quantum information— under ambient conditions. They also found that these spins can be controlled with light.

Up until now, only a few solid-state materials have been able to do this, marking a significant step forward in quantum technologies.

The findings published in , further confirm that the accessible spin coherence at room temperature is longer than the researchers initially imagined it could be.

Carmem M. Gilardoni, co-author of the paper and postdoctoral fellow at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where the research was carried out, said: “The results show that once we write a certain quantum state onto the spin of these electrons, this information is stored for ~1 millionth of a second, making this system a very promising platform for quantum applications.

“This may seem short, but the interesting thing is that this system does not require special conditions – it can store the spin quantum state even at room temperature and with no requirement for large magnets.”

Hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN) is an ultra-thin material made up of stacked one-atom-thick layers, kind of like sheets of paper. These layers are held together by forces between molecules, but sometimes, there are tiny flaws between these layers called ‘atomic defects’, similar to a crystal with molecules trapped inside it. These defects can absorb and emit light that we can see, and they can also act as local traps for electrons. Because of the defects in hBN, scientists can now study how these trapped electrons behave, particularly the spin property, which allows electrons to interact with magnetic fields. They can also control and manipulate the electron spins using light within these defects at room temperature – something that has never been done before.

Dr Hannah Stern, first author of the paper and Royal Society University Research Fellow and Lecturer at Vlogٷ, said: “Working with this system has highlighted to us the power of the fundamental investigation of new materials. As for the hBN system, as a field we can harness excited state dynamics in other new material platforms for use in future quantum technologies.

“Each new promising system will broaden the toolkit of available materials, and every new step in this direction will advance the scalable implementation of quantum technologies.”

Prof Richard Curry added: “Research into materials for quantum technologies is critical to support the UK’s ambitions in this area. This work represents another leading breakthrough from a University of Manchester researcher in the area of materials for quantum technologies, further strengthening the international impact of our work in this field.”

Although there is a lot to investigate before it is mature enough for technological applications, the finding paves the way for future technological applications, particularly in sensing technology.

The scientists are still figuring out how to make these defects even better and more reliable and are currently probing how far they can extend the spin storage time. They are also investigating whether they can optimise the system and material parameters that are important for quantum-technological applications, such as defect stability over time and the quality of the light emitted by this defect.

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Outstanding Manchester scientist elected as Fellow of the Royal Society /discover/news/outstanding-manchester-scientist-elected-as-fellow-of-the-royal-society/ /discover/news/outstanding-manchester-scientist-elected-as-fellow-of-the-royal-society/632102, Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his “invaluable contributions to science”.


, Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his “invaluable contributions to science”.

Professor Garrett is one of more than 90 exceptional researchers across the world to be selected by the Royal Society - the UK’s national academy of sciences.

Michael is the inaugural Sir Bernard Lovell chair of Astrophysics at Vlogٷ and has broad scientific interest, including the study of the distant universe via high resolution radio observations. He is also active in the and is currently chair of the International Academy of Astronautics SETI Permanent Committee.

Prof Garret is a leader in the field of astrophysics and was responsible for the final design, construction, and operational phases of the International , and while Director of the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (2003-2007), he developed the technique of wide-field and spearheaded the roll-out of real-time VLBI (e-VLBI) across the European VLBI Network and beyond.

Garrett was also instrumental in finalising the original design concept for the .

Drawn from across academia, industry and wider society, the new intake spans disciplines as varied as studying the origins and evolution of our universe, pioneering treatments for Huntington’s Disease, developing the first algorithm for video streaming and generating new insights into memory formation.

Prof Garrett joins other leaders in their fields, including the Nobel laureate, Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier; an Emmy winner, Dr Andrew Fitzgibbons (for his contributions to the 3D camera tracker software “boujou”); and the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the US President, Professor Anthony Fauci.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said: “I am pleased to welcome such an outstanding group into the Fellowship of the Royal Society.

“This new cohort have already made significant contributions to our understanding of the world around us and continue to push the boundaries of possibility in academic research and industry.

“From visualising the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution to leading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, their diverse range of expertise is furthering human understanding and helping to address some of our greatest challenges.

“It is an honour to have them join the Fellowship.”

Statistics about this year’s intake of Fellows:

  • 30% of this year’s intake of Fellows, Foreign Members and Honorary Fellows are women.
  • New Fellows have been elected from 23 UK institutions, including The University of Nottingham, British Antarctic Survey, University of Strathclyde and the Natural History Museum
  • They have been elected from countries including Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico and Singapore

The full list of the newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society can be found here:

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Burmese and skin-themed garden to be unveiled in first for Chelsea /discover/news/burmese-and-skin-themed-garden-to-be-unveiled-in-first-for-chelsea/ /discover/news/burmese-and-skin-themed-garden-to-be-unveiled-in-first-for-chelsea/632084This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show is to feature a garden themed around the story of a UK based charity helping healthcare workers in the country Burma, also known as Myanmar, to treat people with painful and debilitating skin conditions.

This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show is to feature a garden themed around the story of a UK based charity helping healthcare workers in the country Burma, also known as Myanmar, to treat people with painful and debilitating skin conditions.

In a first for the world-famous event held from Tues 21 to Sat 25 May 2024, Dermatologists and specialist nurses will be welcoming visitors to the Burma Skincare Initiative ‘Spirit of Partnership Garden’ during the week.

The charity, co-founded by Chris Griffiths OBE, emeritus professor at Vlogٷ, is an innovative global partnership providing research, education, and clinical services to dermatologists working in one of the world’s poorest health care systems.

Currently fewer than 50 dermatologists and three dermatology centres serve 55 million people in the impoverished country.

It is also the first time a Burmese garden has featured at Chelsea and in another first, it is a debut design by someone not in the profession.

The designer, the charity and the sponsors behind the first Burmese and skin-themed garden at the world’s most famous flower show say it’s a unique opportunity to put Burma and skin health in the spotlight.

Professor Griffiths said: “Skin disease has a major impact on a person’s quality of life and mental health and can impose severe limitations on their ability to work. In Myanmar, we met many people, including hundreds of children in orphanages, with skin diseases.

Their suffering and resilience motivated us to improve access to skincare in the country through partnerships between international and local dermatology communities and industry.”

Co-founder, Dr Su Lwin, a Burmese-born dermatology registrar and honorary lecturer at St John’s Institute of Dermatology and King’s College London, added: “My beautiful country faces many challenges. We are focussed on creating opportunities in education and research for our colleagues in Myanmar so that together, we may achieve our vision of equal access to quality skin care for its people. I am absolutely thrilled that through the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we are able to put Myanmar and skin health on the world stage. This is also the first time a garden at Chelsea tells the story of skin disease, and the importance of partnership in its management, and we hope people love it.”

Garden designer Helen Olney, working with landscaper Conquest Creative Spaces, has juggled her day job, to create her Chelsea debut.

She said: “The garden is full of texture, including timber from a Thames jetty, crumbling red bricks and weathered stone with moss and lichen. Along with plants such as Acer davidii and Betula utilis (Himalayan birch), they represent skin disease.

All the plants are found in Burma and grow happily in the UK and many have value for wildlife. The planting is naturalistic in a palette of greens, lilacs, yellows and whites. The diversity of Myanmar is shown through different planting zones and features. That includes the part-ruined ‘stupa’, a spiritual structure found across Myanmar, which symbolise the challenging environments in which the BSI work.

A stilt house, above a water lily pool, indicates the sanctuary the charity provides. Seating is inspired by a letter in the Burmese alphabet meaning ‘coming together’. This is how this garden came about, and how the charity works,” added Helen.

For more information about the BSI visit the website


  • L-R Prof Chris Griffiths OBE, RHS's Esta Morris and Doctor Su Lwin on the plot where the show garden will appear in May.
  • The BSI garden uses education research and clinical care to support Burmese health Credit The3DGardener
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University launches new scholarship in memory of Laura Nuttall /discover/news/university-launches-new-scholarship-in-memory-of-laura-nuttall/ /discover/news/university-launches-new-scholarship-in-memory-of-laura-nuttall/631854Vlogٷ’s School of Social Sciences has launched a new scholarship in memory of Politics, Philosophy and Economics graduate Laura Nuttall, who passed away exactly a year ago after a long battle against cancer. 

Vlogٷ’s School of Social Sciences has launched a new scholarship in memory of Politics, Philosophy and Economics graduate Laura Nuttall, who passed away exactly a year ago after a long battle against cancer. 

After being diagnosed at the age of 18 with glioblastoma multiforme - the most aggressive form of brain cancer – Laura was given 12 months to live, but after undergoing gruelling treatments including innovative immunotherapy in Germany she was able to restart her studies at Manchester.

Despite travelling back and forth to Germany, undergoing more surgery, working as an ambassador for The Brain Tumour Charity and helping out in her community, she showed incredible strength and managed to excel in her studies. As a result, she graduated last summer with enormously proud Mum Nicola, sister Grace and Dad Mark by her side. 

As well as working through her list of ambitions including meeting Michelle Obama, commanding a Royal Navy ship and presenting a BBC weather forecast, Laura continued raising money for brain charities as well as promoting Vlogٷ’s Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre. Sadly, her cancer progressed quickly in late 2022, and she passed away last May at the age of 23.

When accepting an award in 2021, Laura had said “What sort of legacy will I leave if I just focus on myself and not others? The day I was diagnosed with brain cancer, I just thought I've got two options... I could say all right, that's fine, I'm going to sit here and die - or am I going to do something about it and stay positive? And that is what I chose to do."

In keeping with Laura’s dedication to helping others, and with the collaboration and support of Laura’s family, the School of Social Sciences will award an eligible student from a less privileged background with a physical condition, long term illness or learning difference with a scholarship of £3000 per year for every year of their degree. 
All students who meet the criteria will be considered, but a preference will be given to students who are care leavers. The student who is selected to receive the bursary will be informed of this during their first semester of study. 

“Laura’s life - and her selfless dedication to improving the lives of others - were an inspiration to the many staff and students who knew her,” said Professor Claire Alexander, Head of Vlogٷ’s School of Social Sciences. “We are proud to be part of continuing Laura’s legacy through this new scholarship, and we thank Laura’s family for partnering with us in this new venture in Laura’s name.”&Բ;

The scholarship was introduced at an event on campus where Laura’s Mum Nicola also launched the publication of ‘, her heartbreaking and inspiring account of helping her daughter to make the most of her remaining time while dealing with her own pain along with that of husband Mark and younger daughter Gracie. 

To find out more about Laura’s legacy and her family’s ongoing work, visit

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Dr Cathryn Rodway bags Research Excellence Award /discover/news/dr-cathryn-rodway-bags-research-excellence-award/ /discover/news/dr-cathryn-rodway-bags-research-excellence-award/631959 Dr Cathryn Rodway from Vlogٷ has been given the Research Excellence Award at the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre Conference 2024 for her work on a research project exploring suicidality in the UK Veteran community. 

 Dr Cathryn Rodway from Vlogٷ has been given the Research Excellence Award at the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre Conference 2024 for her work on a research project exploring suicidality in the UK Veteran community. 

 Jim Macleod CB CVO, Chair of the Forces in Mind Trust Board, presented the award at this year's conference last week. The award was accepted on Dr Rodway’s behalf by co-author, Dr Jodie Westhead.

The Research Excellence award recognises an individual who has produced a piece of high quality and innovative research involving UK ex-Service personnel over the last year.

Dr Cathryn Rodway said “I am absolutely delighted that our work examining suicide risk in former personnel of the UK Armed Forces has been recognised in this way. This is an important study adding to our understanding of the causes and rates of suicide in veterans”.

Ruth Harris, Co-Director of the FiMT Research Centre said “Dr Rodway’s high-quality work has made a valuable contribution to understanding suicidality in the UK Veteran population, and how practice and policy can be adapted to support UK Veterans mental health. We are pleased to have presented her with this award in recognition of her work”.

Dr Cathryn Rodway is a Programme Manager at the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) and a Research Associate at the University of Manchester. She is receiving the 2024 Research Excellence award for her work on the study ‘Suicide after leaving the Armed Forces 1996 -2018: a cohort study’. This project examined the rates and causes of suicide in UK ex-Service personnel in comparison to the general population, looking at data for 458,000 Veterans over a 23-year period.

The project demonstrated robust methodology, high-quality research and was of particular importance as it provides much-needed insight into suicide within the UK Veteran community. To date, there have been few studies examining suicide in Veterans. This study found that while UK Veterans as a whole show no higher risk of suicide compared to the general population, UK Veterans under the age of 25 face 2 to 4 times increased risk. Additionally, despite there being a range of UK support services available for Veterans experiencing poor mental health, the study highlights that Veterans, particularly those who are younger, may be less likely to seek help.

In response to these findings, Dr Rodway and her colleagues also proposed policy and practice suggestions aiming to improve and maintain access to mental health care for Veterans and more general suicide prevention measures. These include encouraging Veterans to seek help and campaigns to reduce the stigma of engaging with support services. The study provides important evidence that can help towards understanding how Veterans may struggle with poor mental health and should help the UK to tailor support to meet their needs.

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Meet the international student dreaming big in Manchester /discover/news/meet-the-international-student-dreaming-big-in-manchester/ /discover/news/meet-the-international-student-dreaming-big-in-manchester/631800Madi is an international student studying Theatre & Film at Vlogٷ. She has always dreamt of coming to the UK to study, and now she has been able to find her place in Manchester’s thriving arts and cultural scene. 

Madi is an international student studying Theatre & Film at Vlogٷ. She has always dreamt of coming to the UK to study, and now she has been able to find her place in Manchester’s thriving arts and cultural scene. 

Madi is a part of Universities UK International’s #WeAreInternational: Transforming Lives campaign, dedicated to highlighting the contributions international students are making to the UK and their communities during their studies here. 

“I’ve always had a deep love for drama and film. It was just a case of where to study it” she said. The opportunities to engage with arts and culture on and off-campus in Manchester appealed to Madi, who has gone on to launch her own theatre company with a focus on bringing communities together, donating ticket proceeds to help local communities. Madi has been recognised for her achievements, being nominated for Best Director at the National Operatic and Dramatic Association. 

“Madi is an inspiration - she is a great example of someone knowing they wanted to do things differently, then taking the brave decision to study in a different country,” said Paul Govey, Head of Student Marketing at Vlogٷ. “Manchester has been the perfect choice for her as she has also found a community that has embraced her and given her the freedom to explore her passions. She is a tour de force!” 

As well as making a big difference in their local communities and beyond, international students bring a £41 billion annual contribution to the UK, meaning on average, each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies in the UK is £58 million better off – equivalent to approximately £560 per citizen. In the North West alone, international students contribute £3.04bn to the regional economy.

Jamie Arrowsmith, Director of UUKi said: “It’s never felt more important to acknowledge the important contributions that international students make to their university and local communities, and to the UK more broadly. It’s not just about the economic side of it – international students give back through cultural exchange, volunteering, and so much more. We’re proud to be sharing their stories through the latest phase of the #WeAreInternational campaign.”&Բ;

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£1.5 million gift from Sir Terry Leahy to boost Alliance Manchester Business School’s research into regional inequality /discover/news/15-million-gift-from-sir-terry-leahy-to-boost-alliance-manchester-business-schools-research-into-regional-inequality/ /discover/news/15-million-gift-from-sir-terry-leahy-to-boost-alliance-manchester-business-schools-research-into-regional-inequality/631861Vlogٷ has received a £1.5 million donation from business leader and alumnus Sir Terry Leahy to fund research into regional economic disparities and the impact of policies aimed at rejuvenating and rebalancing the productivity and prosperity of the UK’s cities and regions. 

Vlogٷ has received a £1.5 million donation from business leader and alumnus Sir Terry Leahy to fund research into regional economic disparities and the impact of policies aimed at rejuvenating and rebalancing the productivity and prosperity of the UK’s cities and regions. 

A graduate (BSc (Hons) Management Sciences 1977) and former Chancellor of Vlogٷ, Sir Terry is one of the UK’s most respected and influential business leaders, best known for his leadership of Tesco PLC.  

He received a knighthood for services to food retailing in 2002, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from UMIST in 2002 and an Honorary LLD from Vlogٷ in 2008. 

The gift will support the establishment of the Sir Terry Leahy Chair in Urban and Regional Economics. Part of (AMBS), the new position will oversee detailed research into regional productivity inequalities. 

The first appointment to the Chair will be award-winning economist Professor Philip McCann – a specialist in the analysis of regional economic inequalities and the identification of new pathways to change the trajectory of the UK economy. 

The Professor’s new role will see him lead projects which will build the University’s profile as a leading voice on the economics of place prosperity and social mobility. 

Professor Philip McCann, Sir Terry Leahy Chair in Urban and Regional Economics at Alliance Manchester Business School and member of , headquartered at AMBS, said: “The UK has some of the largest regional productivity inequalities of any developed country in the world, and these have an acute impact on prosperity, social mobility, quality of life and life expectancy across the country. 

“Tackling these disparities will be key to unlocking the country’s growth potential. Doing so will require thorough, extensive research into the key drivers of regional productivity inequalities and what can be done to solve them, and through Sir Terry’s generosity, we look forward to building on the progress we have already made on these issues in The Productivity Institute at The University Manchester.”&Բ;

Sir Terry Leahy said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to support Philip McCann in his important research at Vlogٷ. Philip has a worldwide reputation as an academic in urban and regional economics. His work has much to contribute to the growth prospects of the UK economy by unlocking the growth potential of the regions." 

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President of Vlogٷ, said: “The UK’s regional productivity gap is well publicised, and we believe that both academia and business have a key role to play in working with policymakers to find and implement the solutions required to solve these disparities. 

“Donations such as Sir Terry’s are integral in granting leading experts the time, resources and stability required to tackle our society’s biggest issues. We thank him for his generosity and look forward to continuing to develop our long-standing relationship in our bicentenary year and in the years to come.”&Բ; 

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Around 6% of the UK adult population have a food allergy, new report finds /discover/news/around-6-of-the-uk-adult-population-have-a-food-allergy-new-report-finds/ /discover/news/around-6-of-the-uk-adult-population-have-a-food-allergy-new-report-finds/631711The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes its Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy (PAFA) report, a large study carried out by partners including Vlogٷ, into the prevalence of food allergies in the adult population in the UK.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes its Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy (PAFA) report, a large study carried out by partners including Vlogٷ, into the prevalence of food allergies in the adult population in the UK.

The PAFA project found that more than 30% of adults reported some types of adverse reactions when eating food - meaning they had an illness or trouble when eating a particular food. When this was investigated further through a clinical assessment, it was found that around 6% of the UK adult population are estimated to have a clinically confirmed food allergy. This equates to around 2.4 million adults in the UK.   

The research also found that for UK adults:  

  • Foods such as peanuts and tree nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, are most likely to cause an allergic reaction. 
  • Many individuals also had allergies to fresh fruits such as apple, peach and kiwi fruit. These were associated with allergies to birch pollen, also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome or oral allergy syndrome. 
  • Allergies to foods like milk, fish, shrimp and mussels were uncommon. 
  • Childhood food allergies persist into early adulthood, and then further increase with around half of food allergies developing in later adulthood. 

Professor Robin May, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Food Standards Agency said: 

“The PAFA report is significant in helping us identify how food allergies evolve between childhood and adulthood, as well as providing vital insights into links between certain types of foods and the persistence of allergies into adulthood.  

“Through this research, we can see patterns such as the emergence of plant-based allergies affecting more people into adulthood which is important for us to consider as we’ve seen the food system move towards plant-based diets and alternative proteins.  

“The FSA remains committed to ensuring that consumers have clear and accurate allergen labelling to support people in the UK living with a food allergy.  This report will help guide our future work on allergens to ensure everyone can enjoy food that is safe.”&Բ; 


Thu, 16 May 2024 01:51:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_stock-photo-nuts-mix-in-a-wooden-plate-355672364.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/stock-photo-nuts-mix-in-a-wooden-plate-355672364.jpg?10000
Most Gypsy and Traveller sites in Great Britain are located within 100 metres of major pollutants, shows research /discover/news/most-gypsy-and-traveller-sites-in-great-britain/ /discover/news/most-gypsy-and-traveller-sites-in-great-britain/631828Gypsy and Traveller are among the . There is a of government failures in meeting these groups’ housing needs.


, and ,

Gypsy and Traveller are among the . There is a of government failures in meeting these groups’ housing needs.

The of sites has resulted in a homelessness problem. Those who do secure pitches on council-managed sites often have to contend with living near potential hazards.

For our recent , we mapped local authority-managed Gypsy and Traveller sites in Great Britain. Of those sites, 39% were within 50 metres of one or more major pollutants and 54% were within 100 metres.

The effect on residents is significant. As one of our interviewees, Sarah (all names have been changed), put it: “You can’t breathe here. A lot of people have asthma. Lots of babies in the community have poor health. A lot of them have skin rashes. Nobody ever lived past about 50 here. Whatever is coming out is killing people. Lots of people are dying of chest, COPD and cancer.”

Worsening conditions

Between 2021 and 2022, we mapped 291 Gypsy and Traveller sites across Great Britain, noting their proximity to environmental hazards. These included motorways, A-roads, railway lines, industrial estates and sewage works.

To do so, we used the Caravan Count 2020, which lists all authorised local authority managed sites in England and Wales and a freedom of information request to the Scottish government, which gave us the names and addresses of all the authorised public sites in Scotland.

The study included in-depth case studies, site visits and interviews with 13 site residents (including repeat interviews with five site residents on two sites).

Local newspapers that reported on the highly contested historical and current planning processes were also analysed. Freedom of information requests were sent to local authorities to obtain planning meeting documents and 11 interviews were conducted with representatives of local and national organisations that work with Gypsy and Traveller communities.

When new Gypsy and Traveller sites are proposed by local authorities near existing residential areas, objections come from three main groups: residents, local politicians and local media outlets.

These objections often result in new sites being pushed further to the margins of towns and cities, in places that other communities would not be expected to live.

As a result, sites are often in isolated areas, quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks. They are nestled in among the infrastructure that services the needs of the local settled communities, from major roads to recycling centres.

One of the sites we visited has been in use since the 1970s, despite the fact that, already then, it was located near a waste transfer station. The intervening five decades have only seen conditions on the site worsen.

A chicken slaughterhouse nearby now burns carcasses regularly. The household waste recycling centre has expanded to allow for recycling and incineration of solid waste from commerce and industry.

Lorries and other vehicles now come in and out in large numbers, just metres away from some of the pitches. Residents experience constant noise and vibrations. Mary, who lives on the site, says the sound of the skips being deposited from 5am every morning is like a bomb going off: “It drops so hard it shakes the chalet.”

The air is always heavy with dust. Residents have to keep their windows closed – even in the summer – to keep out the flies. As Jane, who is the fourth generation of her family to live on the site, puts it: “We are living in an industrial area. It’s the air quality, the sand, the dust, the recycling tip is just behind us. The noise is a big problem. There is an incinerator near the slaughterhouse and that’s really bad. And the smell…” 

Environmental racism

travellers2 to the World Health Organization, housing is one of the major factors determining health. The physical conditions of a home – including mould, asbestos, cold, damp and noise – are obvious risk factors. So too, are wider environmental factors, from overcrowding and isolation from services to the relative lack of access to green spaces.

The people we spoke with, including site residents and organisational representatives, highlight the harmful health effects of living on many Gypsy and Traveller sites. This chimes with the government’s own , which have found these sites to be unsafe.

Research on health inequalities in the UK bears this out. People from Gypsy and Irish Traveller backgrounds the poorest health and a life expectancy of between ten and 25 years less than the general population. They also have of long-term illness and conditions that limit everyday life and activities.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 has further constrained Gypsy and Traveller communities by criminalising roadside stopping and forcing people on to transit sites. These are designed for short stays and are often in than permanent sites.

This poses a plain threat to , from travelling in the summer months to fairs and attending religious gatherings.

Thousands of people rely on these local authority-managed sites, located dangerously near the kind of environmental pollutants that are with poor health and premature deaths. The term “environmental racism” is used to refer to how people from minority and low-income communities are to environmental harm.

Yvonne MacNamara is the chief executive of the non-profit advocacy organisation, Traveller Movement. She highlights that the inequalities these communities face are systemic. Local authorities, she says, treat Traveller communities “like second-class citizens”.

To one resident’s mind, attitudes within local government to Gypsy and Traveller social housing are clearly . As she put it: “They wouldn’t expect anyone but a Traveller to live here.”The Conversation

, Professor of Sociology, and , Royal Literary Fund Fellow, . This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

Wed, 15 May 2024 13:35:42 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/c96029a4-850a-429f-84f7-4e5ac89c583a/500_travellers1.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/c96029a4-850a-429f-84f7-4e5ac89c583a/travellers1.jpg?10000
What being a teenage girl in 1960s Britain was really like /discover/news/what-being-a-teenage-girl-in-1960s-britain-was-really-like/ /discover/news/what-being-a-teenage-girl-in-1960s-britain-was-really-like/631824Dressed in a mini skirt and passionate about boys, music, dance and fashion, teenage girl is a pop culture icon, the seeming beneficiary of the ascendancy of in the west and of unprecedented social and cultural changes.



Dressed in a mini skirt and passionate about boys, music, dance and fashion, teenage girl is a pop culture icon, the seeming beneficiary of the ascendancy of in the west and of unprecedented social and cultural changes.

Quite how real women actually experienced – and benefited from – this era of social change is more complex. For the past six years, I have led of girls growing up in Britain between the 1950s and 1970s. In order to understand how this era has shaped women’s experiences and identities in later life, my colleagues and I conducted interviews with 70 women born between 1939 and 1952.

We also data on girlhood from Britain’s first birth cohort study, as well as the .

The current Teenage Kicks exhibition, at the Glasgow Women’s Library and until May 18, delves into eight of our interviewees’ stories. Edinburgh-based artist Candice Purwin has illustrated the striking diversity they relay: growing up in very different circumstances navigated the possibilities and pitfalls of the 1960s and early 1970s in very different ways.

Swinging London

Our interviewees were from different social class backgrounds and across both rural and urban locations. To spark memories, we played music that these women would have listened to when they were young. We talked with them about their personal photos.

One interviewee, Liz, was the epitome of a modern, mobile, young woman. At 17, she was earning an income, travelling to Europe with friends and enjoying the consumerism of . She told us about visiting clubs and shopping in new department stores. At 19, she left to work in the US.

This sense of London as a place of opportunity was a recurrent theme. Andrea embarked on a science degree in London, aged 18. Coming to the capital meant being able to escape village life and the scrutiny of her religious parents.

Andrea found freedom to engage in student politics and to come out as a lesbian. Being gay was a stigmatised identity at the time. She recalled furtive visits to London’s only lesbian club, the Gateway Club. “A crummy place really,” she said, “down in the basement, small, hot and dark.”

An illustration of a a girl and a woman in the countryside.Another interviewee, Joyce, grew up in in an overcrowded home in central London. She said she felt like “the bee’s knees” when she started earning money. She described the pair of white boots she was able to buy, to wear when she went out dancing.

Like her peers, though, Joyce mainly spent her leisure time walking the streets with friends and going to cafés. “We sat there all night with one coffee,” she said, “sometimes two, if you were feeling rash.”

In rural areas, girls were often dependent on limited public transport to access leisure venues, shops and cafes in nearby towns. Going to the cinema was a major expedition.

Valerie, who grew up on a farm near Portsmouth on England’s south coast, said: “We couldn’t get there until 6 o’clock and we had to be on the 9 o’clock bus back.” As films were often shown on a continuous loop throughout the day, she said “you’d pick up a film half way through, watch it until the bit that you came in at, and then leave.”

For girls abroad, the capital the opportunities Britain itself promised. One interviewee, Cynthia, migrated from St Kitts, in search of better prospects. “Jobs were easy to find when I came to Britain,” she said.

Cynthia worked as a machinist in a clothing factory by day. By night, she studied typing and administration. These new qualifications helped her secure a better-paid job as a secretary in a solicitor’s office.

Unequal access

An illustrated scene of girls in a city.We found that access to the widening educational and professional opportunities for girls was uneven. More were going to university and into . Most, however, left school at 15 without qualifications and with limited work prospects.

Joyce thrived at school but left at 15 when her mother became ill. Later, she took evening classes and became a telephonist.

Pamela too was a star pupil but her mother thought it pointless educating a daughter. “She’s only going to get married!”, her mother would say. Once in the workforce, however, Pamela excelled and quickly progressed into management.

Like others whose education was foreshortened due to hardship and sexism, Pamela and Joyce later regretted not having been able to pursue their studies further.

In popular culture, the 1960s are associated with . Most of the women we spoke with, however, said that, as girls, they feared getting pregnant out of wedlock.

became available to married women in 1961. But access for single women until 1974. Even access to basic sex education was limited.

Pamela fell in love at 17 and got pregnant. Her mother insisted that she give up both that relationship and her baby. She eventually started a new relationship and married at 20. This was an abusive marriage. Taking control of her fertility, she went on the pill and by age 24, she had secured a divorce.

The unprecedented trend towards early marriage meant was typically short-lived. In 1965, 40% of brides were under 21. from 1969 proved an important development for many.

Women about aspects of their younger selves having stayed with them in later life. Many live with what we call “”, the feeling that they could have been a different person and had a different life if things had gone differently when they were young.

Some of our interviewees explained that it was not possible to rectify what they missed in their youth. Others spoke about using retirement to make up for missed opportunities. Most advise their own children and grandchildren to make the most of being young.The Conversation

, Professor of Sociology and History,
This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

Wed, 15 May 2024 13:26:40 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/b3190f04-2efc-4d9a-9b39-8e76e7d38584/500_60s1.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/b3190f04-2efc-4d9a-9b39-8e76e7d38584/60s1.jpg?10000
Summer Solstice Celebrations at Jodrell Bank with Creative Manchester /discover/news/summer-solstice-celebrations-at-jodrell-bank-with-creative-manchester/ /discover/news/summer-solstice-celebrations-at-jodrell-bank-with-creative-manchester/631380Jodrell Bank and Creative Manchester are holding two events to mark the Summer Solstice exploring the intersection of art, myth, and science. The events feature panel discussions in celebration of renowned author Alan Garner and novelist Sarah Perry.Jodrell Bank and Creative Manchester are delighted to hold two exciting events to mark the Summer Solstice on June 21, 2024. The daytime event explores the intersection of art, myth, and science, in celebration of renowned author Alan Garner and offers engaging panel discussions and lectures for enthusiasts across literature, archaeology and physics. 

In the evening novelist Sarah Perry will discuss her new novel ‘Enlightenment’ in an intimate setting, featuring a reading and a Q&A.

Date:  Friday, 21 June 2024, 10.30am – 5.30pm
Location: Jodrell Bank

The day begins with a variety of panel discussions, a walk of the Jodrell Bank site and a filmed conversation with Alan Garner exploring the themes of his literary work. Alan Garner’s writing is deeply rooted in the history and landscape of Alderley Edge, draws inspiration from the area's archaeology and the cosmic wonders observed at Jodrell Bank Observatory. 

In celebration of his 90th birthday, experts from archaeology, physics, and literature will convene at Jodrell Bank to discuss the impact of Garner's writing on their respective fields, as well as how the sciences have influenced the writer himself. Together, they will explore themes of time and place in his novels, celebrating his contribution to contemporary storytelling.

Purchase your ticket and optional lunch and transport from Oxford Road .

Date:  Friday, 21 June 2024, 6.30pm – 8pm
Location: Jodrell Bank

Later in the day, attendees can enjoy an evening with author Sarah Perry, featuring her latest novel, Enlightenment. Perry's book delves into questions of faith, physics, and human emotion against the backdrop of a small town in Essex. The newest story from award-winning novelist Sarah Perry weaves a web of entangled relationships and emotion, its characters trapped within the conflict between faith and fact. 

Traversing some of the biggest questions on an intimate and captivating level, Enlightenment will stay with you long after closing the final page.

The event offers a chance to hear Perry discuss her creative process, read excerpts from "Enlightenment," and participate in a Q&A session.

Purchase your ticket and optional dinner .

These events promise a thought-provoking exploration of literature and science, set against the backdrop of the Summer Solstice at Jodrell Bank. Tickets are available for both events, with a discounted rate available for the ‘An Evening With Sarah Perry’ event if attending both events.

These events are part of Creative Manchester’s ‘Solstice and Equinox series’, a series of events which brings innovative creative artists to Vlogٷ’s four Cultural Institutions. 

Each of our unique cultural institutions – the Whitworth, the John Rylands Research Institute and Library, Manchester Museum and Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre – focus on building civic, national and international partnerships to advance the social, environmental and individual wellbeing of our communities.

Fri, 10 May 2024 17:35:04 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/25b15e86-21f2-4c14-9625-d414b0a54cd6/500_creativemanchestersolsticeandequinoxjune2024.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/25b15e86-21f2-4c14-9625-d414b0a54cd6/creativemanchestersolsticeandequinoxjune2024.jpg?10000
Vlogٷ set to put the north-west on the biotech map with coalition launch /discover/news/the-university-of-manchester-set-to-put-the-north-west-on-the-biotech-map-with-coalition-launch/ /discover/news/the-university-of-manchester-set-to-put-the-north-west-on-the-biotech-map-with-coalition-launch/631338The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst brings together academics, industry and government to supercharge cutting-edge research and deliver economic benefits to the region.

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst (IBIC), launched by Vlogٷ today [9 May] establishes the north-west of England as a global leader in biotechnology innovation, boosting job creation, collaboration, investment and upskilling in the region.

The project leverages a £5 million investment from the ’s Place-Based Impact Acceleration Account to stimulate innovation and commercial growth. The IBIC will give businesses and start-ups a platform to engage with higher education institutions, governmental organisations and researchers in the north-west, and support translating fundamental biotechnology research from the lab to the real world.   

The IBIC launches at a significant time for the UK’s biotechnology market. The UK Government’s on biotechnology and signal increasing interest in the sector, which was valued at £21.8billion in 2023, according to IBISWorld.

Professor Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation at Vlogٷ, said: "Combine academic research with industrial application, and together we can yield transformative outcomes for both our economy and environment.

“With the launch of the IBIC, we are inviting businesses and startups to join us as we take on global challenges like climate change and sustainability. To do that, we need to create a vibrant ecosystem of interconnected disciplines to help scale businesses, bring research to life and ultimately deliver huge economic benefits to the north-west and beyond.”

This invitation extends particularly to SMEs, high-growth biotech companies, and other businesses interested in contributing to and benefiting from a thriving biotechnology industry in the north-west.

Companies interested in participating or learning more about the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst can contact the IBIC team at ibic@manchester.ac.uk for more information and to discuss potential collaboration and partnership opportunities.

Thu, 09 May 2024 10:35:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_aline-miller-cropped.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/aline-miller-cropped.jpg?10000
UK’s first centre of excellence for music and dementia hosted by Manchester Camerata /discover/news/uks-first-centre-of-excellence-for-music-and-dementia-hosted-by-manchester-camerata/ /discover/news/uks-first-centre-of-excellence-for-music-and-dementia-hosted-by-manchester-camerata/631132Over £1million of funding has been committed by Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester), Sir Richard Leese (Chair of the NHS Greater Manchester) and the National Academy for Social Prescribing’s Power of Music Fund to enable Greater Manchester to become the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia – hosted by Manchester Camerata. The project will also receive in-kind support from the University of Manchester and Alzheimer’s Society.

Over £1million of funding has been committed by Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester), Sir Richard Leese (Chair of the NHS Greater Manchester) and the National Academy for Social Prescribing’s Power of Music Fund to enable Greater Manchester to become the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia – hosted by Manchester Camerata. The project will also receive in-kind support from the University of Manchester and Alzheimer’s Society.

Vlogٷ’s leading social prescribing researchers – Dr Luke Mumford and Paul Wilson – will lead on the research across three years. The researchers will work with the Greater Manchester Secure Data Environment (GM Care Record) which was created by the University of Manchester and NHS GM to access pseudonymised NHS data in a secure environment in order to assess NHS utilisation for people living with dementia benefitting from music support.

This vital funding will enable Manchester Camerata and Alzheimer’s Society to continue their ground[1]breaking research-based music therapy programmes – Music in Mind (Camerata) and Singing for the Brain (Alzheimer’s Society) to offer more musical support to people living with dementia across all of Greater Manchester.

According to the NHS, there are over 940,000 people in the UK who have dementia with 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 being most affected. Alzheimer’s Society suggests that by 2025 there will be over 1 million people with dementia in the UK, projected to rise to nearly 1.6 million by 2040. Currently, the care of these people in the UK costs over £34billion per year. The long-term goal of this - the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia - is to use the knowledge and research built up over the next three years to analyse how the implementation of music in dementia care can reduce the need for health and care services whilst simultaneously improving quality of life.

This significant and successful bid will see both organisations run four weekly music cafes (two ‘Music in Mind’ and two ‘Singing for the Brain’) in each of the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs. Together they will collaborate with the University of Manchester and the NHS to undertake anonymised data-driven research into the impact and power that these music sessions have for people living with dementia and the way in which they can reduce pressure on hard-pressed frontline NHS and social care staff.

Manchester Camerata and Alzheimer’s Society will recruit, nurture and train a volunteer and community workforce of 300 ‘Music Champions’ who will be trained to deliver the Music Cafes, helping to support over 1000 people living with dementia in Greater Manchester across three years starting from October 2024. The research and data analysed by the University of Manchester will demonstrate the impact of embedding music support as part of dementia care and how this model can be scaled up and rolled out across the UK and result in cost-saving measures for the NHS.

Bob Riley, Chief Executive of Manchester Camerata, said: “This is a colossal moment built on over ten years of work and research in partnership with Vlogٷ. We know it will bring much-needed support for people living with dementia and their carers. It will create new opportunities for our amazing musicians in the UK, and bring about changes in the way we invest in music to bring the widest possible benefits to society.

“Sincere thanks to the leadership and vision of Andy Burnham, Sir Richard Leese and NHS GM, the National Academy of Social Prescribing, The Utley Foundation, Arts Council England and many others. We appreciate their boldness and commitment to the power of music, and in recognising our outstanding musicians whose passion and commitment makes such an incredible impact on and off the stage.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "This is fantastic news for Greater Manchester, and a reminder of the power of music to shape our lives and our communities. Manchester Camerata have played a key role in our Music Commission, and I’ve seen firsthand the transformational impact of what they do in our city-region. They are the ideal partner to pioneer the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia, working with the Alzheimer’s Society to unlock the potential of music as therapy.

“This project will provide life-changing support to people with dementia and their carers in our 10 boroughs – support that is grounded in our communities and delivered with a real expert focus. It will also generate groundbreaking research that will influence health and care policy across the country while directly improving lives across Greater Manchester."

Charlotte Osborn-Forde, Chief Executive of the National Academy for Social Prescribing, said: “We worked with the Utley Foundation and Arts Council England to create The Power of Music Fund, to ensure that many more people living with dementia can benefit from musical projects. Through the Centre of Excellence, we aim to demonstrate how prescribing music to people living with dementia can improve quality of life, reduce isolation, and lessen the need for medication, hospital admissions and GP appointments.

“We were delighted to choose Greater Manchester after an outstanding bid. This project will provide a lifeline to people living with dementia in Manchester, but also provide new evidence and a model that can be replicated across the country.”

Manchester Camerata’s Music in Mind is an internationally renowned programme that uses the principles of music therapy to improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia. The programme was created in collaboration with research partner the University of Manchester and the programme was devised from the foundations of some of the world’s leading dementia experts and their research. The Camerata has established training, delivery and support offers to help partners create Music Cafes and recruit Music Champions, and has worked with partners in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sweden and Japan to help them set up their own music and dementia programmes.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain is a programme based on music therapy principles, bringing people living with dementia together to sing a variety of songs they know and love, in a fun and friendly environment. The sessions also include vocal exercises that help improve brain activity and wellbeing whilst also creating an opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to socialise with others and experience peer support.

The Power of Music Fund was established by the National Academy for Social Prescribing, with generous support from the Utley Foundation, Arts Council England and other partners. It builds on the recommendations of the 2022 Power of Music report. In addition to the Centre of Excellence in Greater Manchester, the Fund is also awarding small grants to 70 grassroots music and dementia projects across the UK and will support more than 5500 people in total

Wed, 08 May 2024 14:57:29 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/98f74c5a-d716-4843-949b-7a92a0a9512f/500_manchestercamerata039smusiccafeatthemonasteryingortoncopyrightduncanelliott.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/98f74c5a-d716-4843-949b-7a92a0a9512f/manchestercamerata039smusiccafeatthemonasteryingortoncopyrightduncanelliott.jpg?10000
104,000 panel solar farm set to power Vlogٷ /discover/news/104000-panel-solar-farm-set-to-power-the-university-of-manchester/ /discover/news/104000-panel-solar-farm-set-to-power-the-university-of-manchester/630924Vlogٷ has signed a landmark new deal that will see up to 65% of its electricity demand supplied through a brand-new renewables project.

Vlogٷ has signed a landmark new deal that will see up to 65% of its electricity demand supplied through a brand-new renewables project.

In a major move towards achieving its 2038 zero carbon ambitions, the University has partnered with leading UK clean energy company Enviromena to buy electricity generated from its brand-new solar farm based in Medebridge, Essex.

Once complete, Medebridge Solar Farm will comprise 104,000 solar panels across 175 acres of low-grade agricultural land, the equivalent of around 70 football pitches.

The site will also create a significant biodiversity net gain. With enhancements to the existing hedgerows and planting of native grassland and wildflower meadow beneath and around the solar arrays, the site will encourage nesting opportunities for wildlife and improved habitat connectivity.

The contract that secures this investment, known as a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (cPPA), commits the University to purchase 80% of Medebridge’s total annual generation capacity (58 GWh) for the next decade, reducing University carbon emissions by 12,000 t/co2 every year - enough to power 21,000 homes.

Lee Barlow, Finance & Administration Manager, and Project Lead at Vlogٷ, said: “After nearly three years of rigorous procurement and negotiations, we are proud to announce this landmark agreement, which reinforces our commitment to sustainability whilst delivering best value to our students and stakeholders, in the form of price certainty and supply stability.

“The journey has been marked by unprecedented challenges in the energy and renewables sector, first with the 2022 energy crisis, and later complicated by geopolitical events in Eastern Europe. Securing this 10-year cPPA despite such adversity is a huge accomplishment and holds special significance as we celebrate the University’s bicentennial year.”

and Academic Lead for Carbon at Vlogٷ, added: “The really important thing for us in developing this relationship was that our commitment would add new renewable energy capacity to the UK electricity system. Through our long-term purchasing commitment, we have played a key role in bringing this development forward – maximising the positive impact of our purchasing power.”

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility at Vlogٷ, added: “As consumers many of us may have ‘green’ or renewable energy tariff. These are important, but they don’t put ‘additional’ renewable power into the grid in the same way as a power purchase agreement. By signing a PPA we’re supporting not only a greener University of Manchester, but also a greener energy grid across the UK. This PPA is part of a much wider transition away from burning fossil fuels and towards generating significantly more cleaner, electrified forms of power.”

This milestone achievement was made possible through the collaborative efforts of a multidisciplinary implementation team from the University, complemented by the expertise of its energy consultant, Inspired PLC, and Eversheds Sutherland acting as external legal counsel.

Enviromena develops, builds, owns and operates renewable energy assets and currently manages over 300MW of renewables projects. In addition, Enviromena is currently working on a 3GW+ pipeline of renewable energy projects in the UK and Italy that will significantly decarbonise electricity networks, reduce emissions and support the global drive towards net zero.

Lee Adams, Enviromena’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Enviromena is leading the charge towards a world powered by clean energy and our teams are delivering high volume projects that make a massive contribution to lowering carbon emissions. This significant partnership with Vlogٷ demonstrates the shared commitment between ourselves and an influential, large-scale organisation, which, at the time it celebrates its 200-year anniversary, is taking steps towards reducing its carbon footprint through the technologies of tomorrow for a cleaner future energy supply."

Chris Marsh, Enviromena’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “We’re delighted to partner with the University to support their zero carbon ambitions. In addition to reducing the University’s carbon emissions over the next 10 years, the site itself will benefit the local habitat over its useful life until mid-2060.”&Բ;

Construction of Medebridge commenced in April 2024, with energisation expected in autumn 2025.

The University has set ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact, in line with its core goal of social responsibility. In 2022 it ended investments in coal, oil and gas and reduced the carbon intensity of its investments by 37%.

All degree programmes are kite-marked against the (SDGs) and the University is rated top in the UK and Europe and second in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings global performance table (2023). Manchester also top in the UK and Europe and third in the world in the independent QS World University Sustainability Rankings (2024)

The research platform brings together the unique depth and breadth of internationally leading research at Vlogٷ and builds on the University’s track record of successful interdisciplinary working, to produce integrated and truly sustainable solutions to urgent environmental challenges. This includes the , which helped create the University’s Zero Carbon Goal.

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Quantum breakthrough: World’s purest silicon brings scientists one step closer to scaling up quantum computers /discover/news/quantum-breakthrough-worlds-purest-silicon-brings-scientists-one-step-closer-to-scaling-up-quantum-computers/ /discover/news/quantum-breakthrough-worlds-purest-silicon-brings-scientists-one-step-closer-to-scaling-up-quantum-computers/630616Scientists at Vlogٷ have produced an enhanced, ultra-pure form of silicon that allows construction of high-performance qubit devices – a fundamental component required to pave the way towards scalable quantum computers.

More than 100 years ago, scientists at Vlogٷ changed the world when they discovered the nucleus in atoms, marking the birth of nuclear physics.

Fast forward to today, and history repeats itself, this time in quantum computing.

Building on the same pioneering method forged by Ernest Rutherford – "the founder of nuclear physics" – scientists at the University, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne in Australia, have produced an enhanced, ultra-pure form of silicon that allows construction of high-performance qubit devices – a fundamental component required to pave the way towards scalable quantum computers.

The finding, published in the journal Communications Materials - Nature, could define and push forward the future of quantum computing.

Richard Curry, Professor of Advanced Electronic Materials at Vlogٷ, said: “What we’ve been able to do is effectively create a critical ‘brick’ needed to construct a silicon-based quantum computer. It’s a crucial step to making a technology that has the potential to be transformative for humankind - feasible; a technology that could give us the capability to process data at such as scale, that we will be able to find solutions to complex issues such as addressing the impact of climate change and tackling healthcare challenges.  

“It is fitting that this achievement aligns with the 200th anniversary of our University, where Manchester has been at the forefront of science innovation throughout this time, including Rutherford’s ‘splitting the atom’ discovery in 1917, then in 1948 with ‘The Baby’ - the first ever real-life demonstration of electronic stored-program computing, now with this step towards quantum computing.”

One of the biggest challenges in the development of quantum computers is that qubits – the building blocks of quantum computing - are highly sensitive and require a stable environment to maintain the information they hold. Even tiny changes in their environment, including temperature fluctuations can cause computer errors.

Another issue is their scale, both their physical size and processing power. Ten qubits have the same processing power as 1,024 bits in a normal computer and can potentially occupy much smaller volume. Scientists believe a fully performing quantum computer needs around one million qubits, which provides the capability unfeasible by any classical computer.

Silicon is the underpinning material in classical computing due to its semiconductor properties and the researchers believe it could be the answer to scalable quantum computers. Scientists have spent the last 60 years learning how to engineer silicon to make it perform to the best of its ability, but in quantum computing, it has its challenges.

Natural silicon is made up of three atoms of different mass (called isotopes) – silicon 28, 29 and 30. However the Si-29, making up around 5% of silicon, causes a ‘nuclear flip flopping’ effect causing the qubit to lose information.

In a breakthrough at Vlogٷ, scientists have come up with a way to engineer silicon to remove the silicon 29 and 30 atoms, making it the perfect material to make quantum computers at scale, and with high accuracy.

The result – the world’s purest silicon – provides a pathway to the creation of one million qubits, which may be fabricated to the size of pin head.

Ravi Acharya, a PhD researcher who performed experimental work in the project, explained: "The great advantage of silicon quantum computing is that the same techniques that are used to manufacture the electronic chips currently within an everyday computer that consist of billions of transistors can be used to create qubits for silicon-based quantum devices. The ability to create high quality Silicon qubits has in part been limited to date by the purity of the silicon starting material used. The breakthrough purity we show here solves this problem."

The new capability offers a roadmap towards scalable quantum devices with unparalleled performance and capabilities and holds promise of transforming technologies in ways hard to imagine.

Project co-supervisor, Professor David Jamieson, from the University of Melbourne, said: “Our technique opens the path to reliable quantum computers that promise step changes across society, including in artificial intelligence, secure data and communications, vaccine and drug design, and energy use, logistics and manufacturing.

“Now that we can produce extremely pure silicon-28, our next step will be to demonstrate that we can sustain quantum coherence for many qubits simultaneously. A reliable quantum computer with just 30 qubits would exceed the power of today's supercomputers for some applications,”

What is quantum computing and how does it work?

All computers operate using electrons. As well as having a negative charge, electrons have another property known as ‘spin’, which is often compared to a spinning top.

The combined spin of the electrons inside a computer’s memory can create a magnetic field. The direction of this magnetic field can be used to create a code where one direction is called ‘0’ and the other direction is called ‘1’. This then allows us to use a number system that only uses 0 and 1 to give instructions to the computer. Each 0 or 1 is called a bit.

In a quantum computer, rather than the combined effect of the spin of many millions of electrons, we can use the spin of single electrons, moving from working in the ‘classical’ world to the ‘quantum’ world; from using ‘bits’ to ‘qubits’.

While classical computers do one calculation after another, quantum computers can do all the calculations at the same time allowing them to process vast amounts of information and perform very complex calculations at an unrivalled speed.

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New city-wide open air exhibition launched as part of University Bicentenary celebrations /discover/news/new-city-wide-open-air-exhibition-launched-as-part-of-university-bicentenary-celebrations/ /discover/news/new-city-wide-open-air-exhibition-launched-as-part-of-university-bicentenary-celebrations/630650Manchester city-wide open-air exhibition features words from Cheddar Gorgeous, Jeanette Winterson, Josh Widdicombe, Lemn Sissay, Mathew Horne and Rob Rinder.

Manchester city-wide open-air exhibition features words from Cheddar Gorgeous, Jeanette Winterson, Josh Widdicombe, Lemn Sissay, Mathew Horne and Rob Rinder.

Universally Manchester: Where Great Things Come Together, is an open air gallery of celebratory art, spanning 130 sites across the city centre this week, taking inspiration from people’s time at Vlogٷ.

The exhibition marks the run up to the much anticipated Universally Manchester Festival - a once in a lifetime, four-day festival to mark the University’s 200th birthday taking place from 6-9 June, with hundreds of free tickets for events with speakers and performers including Professor Brian Cox, GRRRL, Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) and Professor Daniela Delneri (with Cloudwater Brew Co) available to all from the 9th May. Visitors can sign up for early access to the popular events

Reflecting on their love for the city, and the lasting impact their experiences have had, contributors to this citywide visual art project include award winning author and Professor of Creative Writing Jeanette Winterson, and poet and former Chancellor Lemn Sissay, alongside alumni including drag performer Cheddar Gorgeous, comedian Josh Widdicombe, actor Mathew Horne and barrister and broadcaster Rob Rinder. 

The artworks are a fusion of creativity, each designed by different Manchester illustrators, breathing life into the inspiring quotes and the colourful personalities behind them. From 7th May the artworks can be found exhibited at Mayfield Park, St Peter’s Square Metrolink, and on over 130 digital billboards and poster sites across the city. 

The Josh Widdicombe artwork was created by Ellie Thomas, Lemn Sissay by John Owens, Rob Rinder and Matthew Horne by Beth Wilkinson and Cheddar Gorgeous by Louise Hardman.

Louise Hardman, on illustrating part of Cheddar Gorgeous’ quote, which has been painted as a mural by , in Mayfield Park: "Drag performer, producer, academic, and visual artist – Cheddar Gorgeous is a Manchester powerhouse. For this piece, I was deeply inspired by Cheddar’s playful and unapologetic approach to their art and activism; exhibited by the vivid colours, bold type, and whimsical patterns within the design. 

“Through the incorporation of illustrated theatrical iconography, the artwork spotlights Cheddar’s impressive lifelong career in the performing arts, in addition to their conceptual approach to storytelling and self-expression. It’s been an utter honour to have had the opportunity to help visualise Cheddar’s beautiful words."

A mural of Rob Rinder’s words, illustrated by Beth Wilkinson, will be painted live, by , at Mayfield Park on Thursday 9th May, to coincide with the release of hundreds of free tickets for  Universally Manchester Festival, which are available via .

Universally Manchester: Where Great Things Come Together

“A show of grit and glass, a beautiful contradiction. Beyond everything else I admire Manchester's self belief. it punches above its weight and more often than not comes out top of the bill. The city revels in being its own main character. A perfect production; protagonist, antagonist, stage and audience, all rolled into one.” Cheddar Gorgeous: - Drag performer and alumnus.

MAN-cunians or MAM-cunians? The Romans called this place Mamucium. MAM is Celtic for mother, breast, river goddess. The women of this city are its ancient and forever energy. Jeanette Winterson - Writer

“The ultimate place on Earth to become a grown up, go out until 3am and occasionally go to lectures.Josh Widdicombe - Comedian and alumnus.

“If it were not imagined, 
It could not be made, 
Therefore imagination, 
Must not be afraid.”&Բ;
Lemn Sissay - Poet and former Chancellor.

“Manchester was the place to be and remains so. I look back fondly at my time living and studying there. It really was the beginning of everything for me. It’s the city of opportunity.” Mathew Horne - Actor and alumnus.

Manchester never compared itself to anywhere else. I loved the pride the city took in its unique identity. It was, in so many ways, my most important gift. It’s where I discovered that cultural and intellectual curiosity is limitless and where - like the city itself - I found the courage to be different. Rob Rinder - Barrister, broadcaster and alumnus.

The Festival

Welcoming over 60,000 people, Universally Manchester Festival offers everything from poetry to physics, music to medicine, computing to creative writing and more. With events popping up in labs, concert theatres, outdoor spaces and the University’s award-winning culture hotspots Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum.

Universally Manchester will acknowledge the University’s global impact; the world firsts, the life-changing discoveries, the music, art, science and creativity, all sparked in Manchester, featuring contributions from Professor Brian Cox, Professor David Olusoga, CBeebies presenter and Down’s Syndrome ambassador George Webster, Ed O’Brien, (Radiohead), international supergroup directed by Laima Leyton (Mixhell / Soulwax), poet Lemn Sissay, Dr Sarah Crowther (member of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Sample Analysis Team), immunologist Professor Sheena Cruikshank, director of Jodrell Bank Professor Tim O’Brien, exonerated postmaster Tom Hedges and many, many more.

This has been made possible with the kind support of Manchester City Council and Transport For Greater Manchester (TFGM).

Free ticketed events will be available to book from Thursday 9 May, with early access available for those that sign up for information.

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Beer brewed with novel yeast hybrid celebrates 200 years of University research and could lead to a more sustainable future /discover/news/beer-brewed-with-novel-yeast-hybrid-celebrates-200-years-of-university/ /discover/news/beer-brewed-with-novel-yeast-hybrid-celebrates-200-years-of-university/631521A novel hybrid yeast strain created by researchers at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, has been used by a local brewer to produce a new beer in time for the University’s festival.

A novel hybrid yeast strain created by researchers at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, has been used by a local brewer to produce a new beer in time for the University’s festival.

‘Tales From The Past’, created in partnership with Manchester’s leading independent brewery Cloudwater Brew Co, celebrates the University’s 200th anniversary and will be launched at its bicentenary festival, where it will be available to buy from the festival bar.

Supported by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant, Vlogٷ team crossed Saccharomyces jurei, a new species of yeast discovered by Delneri in 2017, with a common ale yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisae, to produce a new starter hybrid strain that enhances the aroma and flavour of the beer.

This new hybrid has several advantages over similar brewing yeasts; it has the ability to thrive at lower temperatures, adds a different flavour profile, and is able to ferment maltose and maltotriose, two abundant sugars present in the wort. These capabilities provide a range of new opportunities for brewers, with the potential for a multitude of hybrids with different fermentation characteristics.

Paul Jones, CEO of Cloudwater Brew Co, said; “It is exciting to be able to brew a beer with a brand new species of yeast and to explore the range of flavours we can create. This beer represents the possibilities of joining academia with industry and we are lucky to have access to this fount of knowledge right on our doorstep.”

The University team has also been developing new hybridisation techniques. Typically, yeast hybrids grow by budding, where a new cell grows from an original ‘parent’, but they are sterile. Now, using a genetic method which doubles the content of the hybrid genome, researchers have overcome infertility allowing the creation of future hybrid generations with diverse traits. These offspring can then be screened for desirable biotechnological characteristics, allowing the team to select and combine beneficial traits from different yeast species using multigenerational breeding.

As yeasts play a major role in many industrial biotechnology applications, different hybrids bred in this way pave the way for creating bespoke microbial factories that can be used to create sustainable products.

As well as their familiar roles in brewing and baking, scientists use yeasts as model organisms to study how cells work. This role has placed them at the forefront of engineering biology, an emerging area of science that seeks to use nature’s own biological mechanisms to replace current, unsustainable industrial processes. As a result, the team’s novel yeast could lead to future breakthroughs in new, green pharmaceuticals and more sustainable fuels.

To launch the beer and share more about her pioneering work, Professor Delneri will give a talk at the Universally Manchester festival on Friday 7 June at 5.45pm. Tickets can be

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£4.7 million investment in AI and trust capability to enhance research and teaching in humanities at Manchester /discover/news/47-million-investment-in-ai-and-trust-capability-to-enhance-research-and-teaching-in-humanities-at-manchester/ /discover/news/47-million-investment-in-ai-and-trust-capability-to-enhance-research-and-teaching-in-humanities-at-manchester/630652The Faculty of Humanities at Vlogٷ has secured £2.73 million to enhance its research and teaching capabilities over the next five years in the critical areas of AI, trust and society.

The Faculty of Humanities at Vlogٷ has secured £2.73 million to enhance its research and teaching capabilities over the next five years in the critical areas of AI, trust and society.

The funding package from the University’s Strategic Investment Reserve Fund (SIRF) is being matched by £2 million from the Faculty itself. The investment will go towards appointing an interdisciplinary team of six senior lecturer or lecturer-level academics, six post-doctoral research associates and six PhD students. They will form a cross-cutting research cluster with the (CDTS) at the University.

The investment will also leverage further research and industry funding, and help develop new teaching and executive education programmes, strengthening the University’s capability in ethical and responsible AI.

Professor Fiona Devine, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Faculty has been successful in securing this funding to significantly expand and enhance our research and teaching capabilities in this emerging field. The investment is designed to retain our status as a UK leader in cyber security and responsible AI research and teaching.”

Richard Allmendinger, Professor of Applied Artificial Intelligence at Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), and Faculty Associate Dean for Business Engagement, Civic and Cultural Partnerships, said: “This investment comes at a critical juncture and gives the Faculty of Humanities a critical mass in social science-led approaches to AI which will enable us to maximise external research funding opportunities.

“The demand from industry is clear. International partners wish to collaborate on issues of AI governance and responsible AI, as do various strategic partners. As a city-region, Manchester also has the by number of jobs outside London.”

Professor Nick Lord, Director of the CDTS, and Professor of Criminology in the School of Social Sciences, added: “AI is already having a profound effect on society and will continue to do so, and that means impacting everything we do as a University, too. To mitigate risks and ensure the benefits of AI technologies we must consider the social, environmental and economic contexts they will operate in, and the consequences of their deployment.

“There is an urgent need to drive approaches to AI that are secure, safe, reliable and trustworthy. It is also vital that they operate in a way that enables us to understand and investigate when they fail.”

Enhancing Faculty of Humanities research power in AI trust and security will also catalyse new collaborations with the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at the University, most notably with the for health technology research and innovation.

Added Professor Devine: “The complexity and rise of data in healthcare means that AI will increasingly be applied within the field and has the potential to speed up diagnostics and make healthcare operations more efficient.

Humanities research has much to contribute to this truly inter-disciplinary agenda and this investment will establish the University of Manchester as a leader in ethical, assessable, inclusive and responsible AI. It aligns not only with our commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation but also with our commitment to social responsibility.”

The AI Trust and Security team will form a cross-cutting research cluster within the CDTS. The new initiative follows the recent announcement that the University of Manchester was awarded the status of by the National Cyber Security Centre and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Centre is distinctive as it is the only cyber and digital security and trust research centre in the UK led from social science, rather than computer science or engineering.

Meanwhile, demand for new teaching programmes in the area of AI is also soaring, as demonstrated by the recent review of the .

Data from April 2020 to March 2023 shows 7,600 students have enrolled on AI and data science postgraduate conversion courses across the UK, helping to address a critical digital skills gap in the AI and data science industries.

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