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January 14, 2011

Warwick Week – Russia in 2011, philosophy and fairness, and a new training centre

A special Jewish conference was held here over Christmas

Limmud is an innovative educational organisation in the British-Jewish community. Its flagship event is a six day residential Conference, which for the 4th year running was held at the University. The event attracts a number of high profile presenters each year, who present a wide variety of sessions on a range of topics of Jewish interest. In order to allow participants to observe Shabbat (the Sabbath), when work is forbidden, a temporary linked fence (an Eruv), a ceremonial boundary which allows those inside the Eruv to enjoy Shabbat within the laws of their religion, encircled Rootes and the accommodation blocks. Videos of seminars on topics such as 'A History of the Jewish World in 30 Objects' and 'Israel and the Media: An Insiders Account' are now viewable online.

Read more about the Limmud Conference >>

The Arts Centre has been given £1 million

More than £1 million of lottery money has been given to Warwick Arts Centre. The grant, from Arts Council England, is part of a programme designed to make arts organisations more resilient and help them develop long term business plans. In total Warwick Arts Centre, based at the Warwick University campus in Coventry, has been given £1,365,000.

The Arts Centre’s Director, Alan Rivett, said:

We were pleased to be invited to bid for this award. Lottery funding will help steer the organisation towards a healthy future.

Read more in the Coventry Telegraph >>

Russia in 2010: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Where will Russia go in 2011? Professor Mark Harrison, Department of Economics, looks back at four stories from 2010 suggesting that for every step Russia takes towards democracy and away from Soviet totalitarianism, the absence of the rule of law takes it two steps back again.

In his blog, Prof Harrison said:

These four stories suggest where Russia is moving: towards a state with increased discretionary power to intervene as it chooses to control prices and direct resources, subsidize favoured interests, control deviance, and lock up or kill inconvenient people. By the standards of Russia’s Soviet past it is definitely one step forward. This one step is hugely important. Russia is no longer a totalitarian state of mass mobilization and thought police. But, compared with the “normal” society that Russians deserve, and that Russia's friends wish for, it is two steps back again.

Read more in Prof Mark Harrison's blog >>

Philosophy is vital in understanding fairness

Dr Angie Hobbs, the UK’s first Senior Fellow in the Understanding of Philosophy, argues that knowledge of her subject is vital to understanding the debate around the fairness of government policies.

Dr Hobbs said:

In the history of philosophy there’s a wide range of possible answers to a lot of the big questions about how we should live as individuals and as societies, and the fewer students who study philosophy, the fewer people who are going to be out there who know about this range of possible answers and rework and adapt them for current problems and future problems. So without philosophy students we are going to be reducing the number of tools in our toolbox to tackle questions like ‘What’s money for?’, ‘What is fairness?’, ‘How does fairness relate to equality?’

Watch Dr Angie Hobb's on The Guardian's website >>

New £10 million Warwick Centre in High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing

WMG at the University of Warwick has been awarded one of five new Industrial Doctorate Centres announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). EPSRC are funding five new Industrial Doctorate Centres to address fundamental engineering challenges in advanced manufacturing engineering. The WMG centre will focus on High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing. The new Centres will train Engineering Doctorate (EngD) students. These four-year postgraduate awards are intended for the UK’s leading researchers pursuing a career in industry. It provides postgraduate engineers with an intensive, broad-based research programme incorporating a taught component relevant to the needs of, and undertaken in partnership with, industry. WMG Director Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya  said :

Our vision is to produce a new generation of manufacturing leaders with the high-level know-how and research experience essential to compete in a global manufacturing environment defined by high impact and low carbon. They will be adept at working in multidisciplinary teams and exceptionally well networked internationally, and with demonstrable entrepreneurial flair. The WMG based Centre will address industrially challenging issues that enable companies to develop and implement effective low-environmental impact technology and policies that also benefit the ‘bottom line’.

Read more in the press release >>

November 26, 2010

Warwick Week – Queen Camilla, Saving our Sprouts and NATO's History Lessons

Queen Camilla

During an interview with the American broadcaster NBC that was shown on Friday night, Prince Charles suggested that the Duchess of Cornwall “could be” Queen Camilla when he becomes king, becoming Britain’s first queen consort since the late Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1937. But will she? Dr Sarah Richardson, Department of History, looks at some incidents of historical precedence:

There is no constitutional reason why the Duchess of Cornwall shouldn’t be crowned queen. There is no law that says a divorcée is excluded and, of course, Charles was himself divorced from Diana. Ever since Henry VIII got divorced, constitutionalists have tended to shy away from worrying about the issue of divorce. It all boils down to whether something is acceptable in the prevailing public opinion of the day. For example, Edward VIII did not have to abdicate for a constitutional reason, he abdicated because Wallis Simpson was considered unsuitable by the government.

Read the article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Saving sprouts from deadly cigar burns

Brassicas like brussels sprouts, cabbages and broccoli are all susceptible to the turnip mosaic virus, commonly referred to by gardeners as ‘cigar burns’ because of the black spots it leaves on prize vegetables. The Government-funded Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have invested more than £13 million into helping scientists discover new breeds of plants that are resistant to disease.

One of the most successful projects so far is led by Dr John Walsh, Department of Life Sciences:

TuMV causes really nasty-looking black necrotic spots on the plants it infects - ‘a pox on your’ vegetables! This can cause significant yield losses and often leaves an entire crop unfit for marketing. At best, a field of badly affected brussels sprouts provide some animal fodder, but these vegetables would not be appealing to most shoppers. The virus is particularly difficult to control because it is transmitted so rapidly to plants by insect vectors like greenfly.

Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>
Listen to John Walsh speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Material World (1:35) >>

Warwick Arts Centre's tribute to wealthy benefactor

Warwick Arts Centre’s new studio has been named the Helen Martin Studio after the wealthy Kenilworth woman who donated the equivalent of £28 million to the university. Helen Martin, of Spring Lane, Kenilworth, loved classical music and regularly attended classical concerts in at the arts centre’s Butterworth Hall.

She was a major benefactor of the university and from its earliest days established a trust fund that in today’s money would be worth £28 million. She insisted on being anonymous during her lifetime and was referred to by the university simply as ‘The anonymous benefactor.’

University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:

Helen Martin’s name and her support for Warwick is now well known but despite her generosity being behind many of university buildings none of them bear her name. Now we will put that right by naming this fine new studio created as the final part of the recent £8 million redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre.

Read more in the Coventry Telegraph >>

History lessons to inform NATO exit strategies

As politicians and military strategists try to negotiate the NATO withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, academics are looking at what history can tell us about how exits have been managed in the past. A research team from Oxford and Warwick Universities will examine two centuries of British imperialism, from the late eighteen century to the 1990s, in a wide-ranging study that focuses on the alliances and deals that the British brokered in conquering and controlling their empire.

The three-year research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will culminate in a conference in 2013 at which policymakers and academics will assess whether we can learn lessons from past experience. 

Dr Daniel Branch, from the Department of History at the University of Warwick, said:

National myths don’t help us understand how empires worked and the fate of those who backed the losing side in anti-colonial rebellions. It is discomforting for some now to consider that as many Americans opposed the revolution there as supported it in the eighteenth century. The same is true for Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s.

Read the press release by Oxford University >>

Warwick academics awarded research grants from the Leverhulme Trust

A clutch of young academics from the University of Warwick have been awarded research grants from the Leverhulme Trust. Philip Leverhulme Prizes are awarded to outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level, and where the expectation is that their greatest achievement is yet to come.

Dr Giorgio Riello, of the University’s History department, has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize – one of only 25 young academics in the country to be handed the honour. A further eight academics have been granted Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships – more than ten percent of the national awardees.

University of Warwick’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Mark Smith said:

The University of Warwick’s research has long been established in the top ten of UK universities and these nine prestigious awards are testament to the quality of our young staff at the start of their academic careers. Such colleagues are essential to maintain and enhance Warwick’s research reputation in the future. Warwick is one of the top ten research universities in the UK and these nine awards to some of our young academics show the next generation are ready to keep us in the top ten.

Read the press release to learn more >>

August 27, 2010

Warwick Week – Vince Cable, Radio 1, Universities that Count and Diabetes

Warwick in the News

Vince Cable MP visits Campus
The Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills was at the University on Tuesday visiting WMG. Dr Cable was visiting the campus as part of a tour of the Midlands to see three engines of economic growth. He took a close inspection of the “WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car” before meeting regional business leaders.
Read about Vince Cable’s visit in the Birmingham Post >>

RaW take over Radio 1
Warwick graduates, Adam Wilbourn and Ben Anderson will be taking over Radio 1 on the 30th August with their award-winning RaW show The Big Chewsie. The pair picked up Best Entertainment Award at the annual Student Radio Awards 2010 and also the prestigious Kevin Greening Award for creativity. The show airs at 4:00am on the 30th August (Bank Holiday Monday) but if you can't listen live you can listen again on BBC iPlayer.
Find out more >>


Professor Nigel Thrift Appointed as Commissioner by the FCO
Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift has been appointed as a Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission Commissioner by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Professor Thrift started his three year appointment on 1 August 2010.
Read the story >>

Women in SET
The University has been recognised by the Athena Swan Charter for its good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET). The University has been awarded bronze status with the Chemistry and Physics departments both awarded silver status.
Read the press release >>

Warwick Counts!
We have been ranked joint third in this year’s Universities That Count (UTC) for its environment and social responsibility. Run by Business in the Community, the benchmarking scheme looked at 29 universities’ approach to, and management of environment and social responsibility issues.
Read the story >>

Warwick Arts Centre: Autumn/Winter Programme
Warwick Arts Centre promise to lift spirits this Autumn with their new season programme. The theatre programme includes The Author by Tim Crouch, Kneehigh Theatre return with two shows, The Red Shows and Hansel and Gretel and Simon Stephens brings his new play Punk Rock. There will be music from Polar Bear, The National, and the Divine Comedy, and South Africa comes to Coventry with Hugh Masekela and The Mahotella Queens. There is also a packed dance programme including Hofesh Shechter Company's highly anticipated new dance work Political Mother.
Book now on the Warwick Arts Centre website >>

Research News

Diabetes can cause a sugar coating that smothers body’s immune defences
Research led by the Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick has found that unhealthy glucose levels in patients with diabetes can cause significantly more problems for the body than just the well-known symptoms of the disease such as kidney damage and circulation problems.
Read more on Science Daily >>

Research Grants
Dr Matthew Turner, Department of Physics has received a research grant of £946,094 form the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to carry out research into mixed and active membranes.
Full list of grant winners >>

Vince Cable MP visits WMG

Pictured: Vince Cable MP with Kerry Kirwan of WMG

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