All 6 entries tagged Wmg
March 05, 2011
Warwick Week – Water efficient seeds, training doctors in Malawi, and why family meals are essential
New path to water efficient seeds discovered
Research by University of Warwick's School of Life Sciences has opened up a new path to produce water efficient seeds that will be a significant tool to help create drought resistance, and ensure global food security. The research team, led by Dr Lorenzo Frigerio, looked at two proteins that are members of the large family of "Major Intrinsic Proteins", or MIPs, which are widespread among living organisms and are known to act as water channels governing water uptake.
The researchers focussed much of their attention on an understudied group of intrinsic proteins known as "Tonoplast Intrinsic Proteins" or TIPs. The University of Warwick's research team work not only resulted in the most complete plant TIP expression map produced to date - it also threw up a major surprise in that they found that TIP not only had a role to play in water management in seed maturation and germination - in fact they found that it probably plays the crucial water management role.
Dr Frigerio said:
We are now on the right path to build a real understanding of how water uptake is regulated in seed development and germination. That understanding will help researchers produce seeds to meet the challenges of Global climate change, and food security through improved drought resistance and increased water use efficiency.
£12 million to help local SMEs design products that even targets customers' emotional experience
A new £12 million programme has just be announced to help Midlands SMEs access some the world's leading product and service design Technology. The new International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI) at WMG at the University of Warwick, is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Warwick in a funding partnership brought together by the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM).
The institute will bring into one place some of the world's leading product and service technologies including: multi functional polymers that enable advanced electronics and functionality to be embedded in three dimensional plastic moulded components, and digital design tools that will allow the creation of virtual products that can shared with production partners. However the very latest digital design tools that will be available to SMEs the new institute will go one step further than most in that they will also be designed deliver the best emotional experience for consumers.
WMG Director Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya said:
Today even the most low tech of products benefit enormously from the latest design technology in creating them and fitting them for the marketplace. The best product design technology will ensure that even the sound, feel and look of a product is perfected and even tailored to the customer's desires. This new International Institute for Product and Service Innovation will allow Midlands SME to find the technology they need to deliver that customer expectation.
€2.6 million research project to prevent mothers and babies dying in Malawi
Warwick Medical School has just begun a €2.6 million three year research and training programme to train Malawian clinical officers in a bid to reduce the country's high death rate for pregnant mothers and babies. Their aim is to train 50 clinical officers as advanced leaders who will then be expected to teach and cascade to others what they have learnt.
In a country with a population of just over 14 million, only 40 doctors complete their training each year and there is a chronic shortage of skilled obstetricians. By training up the existing network of non-physician clinicians - who would be described as somewhere between midwives and obstetricians in this country - Warwick doctors are sharing their expertise to ensure they are taught the extra skills to deal with the 15 per cent of pregnancies which end up in difficult births and improve the care for mothers and newborns to increase their chances of survival.
Dr Paul O'Hare, Reader in Medicine from the University of Warwick Medical School, said:
There are probably more Malawian doctors in Manchester, than there are in the whole of Malawi. Whilst it's difficult to stem the numbers of qualified doctors leaving Africa for better pay and work conditions elsewhere, what we can practically do is ensure that the existing clinical officers and midwives are provided with the a higher level of clinical training and education. This means, for example, not only teaching them to improve their surgical skills such as C-Sections, but to be more aware that the aftercare treatment can have a profound effect on survival rates.
Family meals are the key to happiness
A study conducted by academics from the universities of Warwick, Essex, Oxford and Surrey suggests that eating a family meal at least three times a week will strengthen bonds between parents and children, and prevent family breakdowns.
Other findings included that married couples are most likely to happy with their relationships, yet the longer a couple stays together, the more dissatisfied they are likely to become with each other.
The findings are among the first results to emerge from Understanding Society, a £50 million, government-funded study following the lives of 100,000 people in 40,000 households across the country.
February 11, 2011
Why men lose weight quicker than women
When you're about to start dieting, it may seem like good sense to work together with the person you live with. However, this may only cause more trouble, as men appear to lose weight much faster than women. Huge differences in hormones, body shape and fat percentage all make it harder for women to lose weight.
Dr Philip McTernan is associate professor in diabetes and metabolism at the University of Warwick:
The male hormone testosterone and the female hormone oestrogen shape our fat distribution at puberty and continue to during our lifetime. Women tend towards a pear shape, with fat around the hips, while men store fat more centrally around their belly from where excess weight is more easily lost. On top of that, oestrogen encourages fat storage, while men have more muscle mass so higher metabolisms which burn calories quicker. Women also have a higher proportion of fat compared to men — around 20-30 per cent against just 9-18 per cent - which their body will strive to preserve. This difference can be understood in evolutionary terms. Men were hunter-gatherers while women reproduced. For reproduction, there needed to be sufficient fat reserves for any unborn child in the womb to survive the harsh life prehistoric women endured, with periods of little food. Times have changed but our genes have not.
Collaboration in English Language Training
As postgraduate students, it is often easy to miss that some of the best knowledge and experience in your area of study can come from the people you pass in your department everyday. PhD students can offer specialist knowledge and skills to MA colleagues, but Dr Richard Smith, Centre for Applied Linguistics, argues that tutors need to actively encourage this 'cross-fertilisation. Dr Smith co-authored a directory of ELT research undertaken at UK institutions published in 2009 by the British Council and is now finalising an updated version, which is due to be released in April:
The involvement of PhD students is going to help them with that transition into becoming researchers. MA students might be participants as interviewees in a PhD student's research. That often happens at a pilot or preliminary research stage, to improve the researcher's interviewing skills before they go into the field. Sometimes MA students are from the country that the researcher is targeting and they can help with translation or with recording interviews. This kind of involvement gives MA students a better understanding of what research is all about. Because the postgraduate community at UK universities is very international, MA students can encounter PhD students who are from their countries and this can create an additional bond. PhD students are often bringing back to departments knowledge that we - the staff who are British - don't have. That current contact with ELT around the world, that we as course teachers may not have, brings in an added dimension of knowledge and experience.
WMG has opened a new facility to develop engines for hybrid vehicles
A unique £2.28m facility has opened at WMG that will be of vital importance to companies developing engines for hybrid vehicles. The unique Vehicle Engine Facility (VEF) is the UK’s only purpose built hybrid powertrain testing facility for the automotive sector that is not owned and operated by an individual automotive company. The VEF facility will give businesses access to the state-of-the-art equipment and research support. The new facility will use two dynamometers with the advanced “Texcel ” control system plus a Robot Driver to allow the testing of various hybrid powertrain designs. The two dynamometers are installed in parallel and can test electric motor,s gasoline, diesel, ethanol and Bio-fuels based internal combustion engines. The VEF will test transmission and powertrain systems, whilst simulating the powertrain components that are not available for test. These tests provide strategies for evaluating the optimisation of the vehicle’s powertrain and how it will operate in the real world.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Director of WMG at the University of Warwick said:
We are delighted to be able to bring the Midlands a facility that will enable the British based manufacturing companies to engage in low carbon engineering, which will be vital in helping manufacturing companies improve products and compete on the world stage in low carbon technologies.
Dr Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar Land Rover added:
This new facility further strengthens WMG's applied research credentials and we look forward to benefitting from the work undertaken there, especially in the incredibly complex area of significantly reducing vehicle emissions. There is also real potential for further advances in knowledge coming from supplier involvement which in turn generates additional research and results.
Schools should see wide-spread closures during flu outbreaks
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that closing just a few schools to contain flu outbreaks does little to relieve the pressure on hospitals. Using information from the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic and the recent seasonal flu outbreak, the researchers found that intensive care units would not see any major benefit unless at least half of all English schools closed their doors. But they say although this would be very effective at stopping the spread it would also be costly, disruptive and could even prevent some parents, who work for the NHS, from fighting an epidemic effectively.
Dr Thomas House, Research Fellow at the Warwick Mathematics Institute, said:
In the worst cases short duration, localised closures cannot fully prevent some hospitals exceeding capacity.This means when facing the threat of a severe pandemic a co-ordinated and possibly extended period of school closures may be necessary. Our work supports the decision not to close schools as a control measure during the swine flu pandemic. If a pandemic is serious enough to require school closures, then they need to be well timed and large scale to have much effect.
February 07, 2011
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Director of WMG Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya was presented with the award for Lifetime Contribution to Midlands' Business in a ceremony on Friday 28 January 2011. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya established WMG in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer. The group started small, but by working collaboratively with industrial partners, WMG has grown into a global force in a wide range of fields, from automotive research to innovations in healthcare.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has published extensively in the field of manufacturing and is advisor to many companies, governments and organisations around the world. He has been honoured many times. He was honoured with a CBE in 1997, awarded a knighthood in 2003 for services to higher education and industry and was elevated to the Lords in 2004.
Professor Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick added:
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been a pioneer of partnership between manufacturing and University research and teaching. Many jobs have been created, and the boundaries of scientific knowledge have been pushed back, by the strength of his advocacy of such partnerships and his effectiveness in actually delivering such partnerships. His leadership in this field has benefited our region and continues to have a global impact.
Greed is not good: so has the economy come full circle?
In 1995, Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky published a book called The World After Communism. Now he wonders whether there will be a world after capitalism. This question comes from his feeling that western civilisation is increasingly unsatisfying, saddled with a system of incentives that are essential for accumulating wealth, but that undermine our capacity to enjoy it. Capitalism may be close to exhausting its potential to create a better life - at least in the world's rich countries.
Yet what happens to such a system when scarcity has been turned to plenty? Does it just go on producing more of the same, stimulating jaded appetites with new gadgets, thrills and excitements? How much longer can this continue? Do we spend the next century wallowing in triviality?
Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky argues that:
The dishonouring of greed is likely only in those countries whose citizens already have more than they need. And even there, many people still have less than they need. The evidence suggests that economies would be more stable and citizens happier if wealth and income were more evenly distributed. The economic justification for large income inequalities - the need to stimulate people to be more productive - collapses when growth ceases to be so important. Perhaps socialism was not an alternative to capitalism, but its heir. It will inherit the earth not by dispossessing the rich of their property, but by providing motives and incentives for behaviour that are unconnected with the further accumulation of wealth.
New technology offers higher dynamic range to capture dimly lit shots
Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed the world’s first complete High Dynamic Range (HDR) video system, from video capture to image display, that will help a range of users including: surveillance camera operators, surgeons using video to conduct or record surgery, and camera crews following a football being kicked from sunshine into shadow. The research team, led by Professor Alan Chalmers, have developed what they are calling “the world’s first complete high dynamic range (HDR) video system".
The system also requires a special HDR display, which is made up of a combination of an LED and LCD panel. A surgery team at Heartlands Hospital, in Birmingham, UK, has tested the HDR system to assist and document surgery procedures.
Professor Chalmers said:
The natural world presents us with a wide range of colors and intensities. In addition, a scene may be constantly changing with, for example, significant differences in lighting levels going from outside to inside, or simply as the sun goes behind some clouds. A human eye can cope with those rapid changes and variety, but a traditional camera is only capable of capturing a limited range of lighting in any scene. The actual range it can cope with depends on the exposure and f-stop setting of the camera. Anything outside that limited range is either under- or overexposed.
Speeding up your metabolism is key to slimness
When trying to lose weight, a slow metabolism is often blamed when the pounds refuse to shift, despite continuous dieting. Similarly, we look with envy at the person with a 'fast metabolism', who seems to gorge on snacks but remains slim. To be exact, metabolism actually encompasses a vast array of processes vital to keep us alive. Converting food and drink into energy is just one of these. Others involve things such as absorbing nutrients into cells. The key to losing weight is raising your Basic Metabolic Rate, thereby burning more calories each day.
Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic chemistry at the University of Warwick, explains how this may be achieved by simply turning off the central heating:
Brown adipose tissue was previously not thought to be present in adults. Now, we think that about 30 per cent of adult humans have it.The fat looks brown because, unlike white fat, it has a lot of mitochondria — little boilers in cells that burn energy and generate heat. In a new-born baby these cells keep them warm — the brain switches on the brown adipose in cold ambient temperatures. The lucky one in three of us with brown fat can activate it simply with exposure to the cold. In future, techniques might be developed to switch our white fat tissue to brown fat tissue.
Five NRIs named for Padma Shri
Five NRIs and people of Indian origin and three foreigners are among 84 people named for the Padma Shri honours Tuesday. Renowned legal scholar Upendra Baxi who teaches at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, been chosen for the honour in public and legal affairs category. Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan. It is awarded by the Government of India.
January 24, 2011
University of Warwick engineering students use Xbox to aid award winning rescue robot
Engineering students at the University of Warwick are building an innovative rescue robot which uses the Xbox Kinect to help navigate the machine - in a bid to retain the European RoboCup Rescue Championship title which was won by a team of Warwick students last year. They are currently trialling the XBox Kinect to see if they can use it to provide a method of real time visual communication and 3D mapping, which will ultimately aid in the navigation of the autonomous robot to give the team an edge over the competition.
The team is being backed by WMG academic, Dr Emma Rushforth, who believes the project will give the students an excellent opportunity showcase their skills. She said:
As well as giving each team member experience in solving real engineering problems, the project offers them the chance to acquire unparalleled expertise in mobile robot design which, in future, companies will need to have.
Lord Bhattacharyya looks towards Turkey
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, advised that the Midlands automotive sector needs to see Turkey as the next big sales opportunity, saying that the country could become the next 'powerhouse' economy. There are only around a hundred vehicles per thousand people in Turkey and in neighbouring countries, the number is lower still, though people are getting wealthier.
Developing durable, low fuel consumption vehicles will be crucial to meeting consumer needs, he argues:
That's why Turkey is now focused on improving R&D. Facilities that employ at least 50 technicians get around half of their investment costs Those program costs required beyond the development phase to introduce into operational use a new capability; to procure initial, additional, or replacement equipment for operational forces; or to provide for major modifications of an existing capability. This is a major opportunity for British business. We have world-leading innovation in automotive to offer. If we offer partnership with Turkish institutions now, we will reap rewards when expanding businesses look to the UK for support. If we spurn this chance, others will seek to take that place.
Prestigious US honour for Head of Dentistry
Edward Lynch, Head of Warwick Dentistry, part of Warwick Medical School, has been honoured with accredited membership of the prestigious American Society for Dental Aesthetics (ASDA). Fewer than 200 educators, innovators and practitioners worldwide have received this distinguished accredited membership since ASDA was established in 1976, when it became the first aesthetic dental association in the world. To mark his membership, Edward was asked to give the prestigious keynote address at the annual ASDA congress in San Antonio, Texas. He was also voted by his peers in April 2010 as this year’s most influential person in UK dentistry.
Dr Lynch explained:
I’m delighted to receive the honour of this prestigious accreditation and hope that it allows us to continue to raise awareness about the excellent and innovative dental education and research we provide in Warwick Dentistry at Warwick Medical School. We are building a team of world class academics in Warwick Dentistry and we aim to be a world-leading postgraduate unit, internationally renowned for our high quality and relevance of our education programmes and for the excellence and significance of our research.
Wave power could contain fusion plasma
Scientists may have found a way to channel the flux and fury of a nuclear fusion plasma into a means to help sustain the electric current needed to contain that very same fusion plasma. Researchers at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Fusion Space and Astrophysics and the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy used large scale computer simulations to confirm a longstanding prediction by U.S. researchers that high energy alpha particles born in fusion reactions will be key to generating fusion power in the next planned generation of tokamaks. This work was only possible using the recently commissioned large scale computing facilities at the University of Warwick supported by EPSRC, in particular for theoretical work supporting fusion energy generation.
University of Warwick researcher Professor Sandra Chapman said:
These large scale computer simulations capture the plasma dynamics in unprecedented detail and have opened up an exciting new area.
Do men fail to look after their own health?
In Coventry the biggest influence on your life expectancy is not the colour of your skin or even where you live and work. The Telegraph recently revealed how men living in inner city Coventry are unlikely to reach retirement age. In Foleshill, men living in this inner city district have the lowest average life expectancy in the whole of Coventry – just 64 years-old.
Alan Dolan, associate professor in men’s health at the University of Warwick, argues that society is partly to blame for men failing to take of their own health.
The way we see men has a very important impact on they way they behave and on their health. We want men to be independent, resilient, reliant and physically and emotionally strong. It starts in childhood, we tell them ‘big boys don’t cry’, ‘be a man my son’ or ‘don’t be a wimp’ – it’s all quite macho. The way men demonstrate that masculinity is associated with health risks... Also, men don’t tend to talk about their health. Can you imagine a group of men sat around discussing testicular self-awareness or cancer? But that’s not to say men don’t understand their health. Men are often unwillingly exposed to health hazards and danger at work. They are less likely to refuse to do jobs that may well damage their health, they don’t feel able to. Men can’t live outside their gender and they can’t choose to become more like women.
January 14, 2011
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.
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.
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.
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?’
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’.
October 08, 2010
Warwick in the News
Jaguar Land Rover advanced research group to relocate to the University of Warwick
Jaguar Land Rover is to relocate its 170-person advanced research group to the University of Warwick as part of a strategy to raise vehicle production from fewer than 100,000 to 300,000 a year.
Read more on FT.com >>
The Inbetweeners take “A Trip to Warwick”
The latest episode of hit comedy The Inbetweeners saw the guys take a trip to “Warwick”. The show aired on Monday 4th October but as our alumni will have noticed, the show wasn’t actually filmed at Warwick at all!
Find out more on E4.com >>
New Institute of Digital Healthcare
The University of Warwick has joined forces with NHS West Midlands to create the new Institute of Digital Healthcare, a collaboration aimed at improving people’s health and wellbeing through the use of innovative technologies. The Institute was officially launched on Wednesday 6th October.
Read the Press Release >>
Launch of Warwick Ventures Ltd!
After 10 years helping Warwick academics launch spin-out companies and commercialise their research, the University of Warwick's technology transfer office is set to become a spin-out company in its own right. Warwick Ventures Ltd will be launched to a selection of invited guests at London's Buckingham Gate hotel on Monday October 11at an event that will also celebrate the organisation's achievements over the past decade.
Visit the Warwick Ventures website >>
Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at University of Warwick backs Alzheimer's drug U-turn by NICE
Professor Donald Singer, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Warwick has spoken in support of new plans to allow access to drugs for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Current rules prevent doctors prescribing three drugs, donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, in early cases of the disease. However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) now says evidence backs the use of drugs for mild symptoms.
Professor Donald Singer said:
The proposal by NICE to extend its guidance to include access for 3 drugs (donepezil, galantamine and rivastigimine) to patients with much milder disease than previously eligible is excellent news for patients with Alzheimer's disease and their families. It is also very encouraging to have in the guidance a new treatment option (memantine) for patients with more severe disease.
People with serious conditions such as Alzheimer's may naturally express concern about how long this has taken. However it is essential that health policy makers have convincing evidence both for effectiveness and risk before making a medicine available to people who could benefit. Consider the recent public concern about regulation of the diabetes drug rosiglitazone, for which an unexpected increase in cardiovascular risk appears to have occurred after it became widely available. It will still be very important to remain vigilant for possible unexpected risks of the Alzheimer's treatments, as these drugs will now be exposed to large numbers of people, who may also be medically more complex, and therefore more at risk of adverse effects, than in the clinical trials on which the NICE guidance has been based.