Category / Impact

Parliamentary Committees online event, October 3rd

October 3rd, Cross-cutting policy and scrutiny challenges: Parliamentary committees

Find out about the work of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee and the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, and how these Committees draw on evidence and expertise from academic researchers in science, technology, social science and beyond.

Come along with your questions and contribute to the discussion about cross-cutting and interdisciplinary policy and scrutiny challenges.

The speakers will be Yohanna Sallberg, Second Clerk and Katherine Woolf, Parliamentary Academic Fellow, House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee and Thomas Hornigold, Policy Analyst, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. The webinar will be chaired by Nicky Buckley, Associate Director, Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge.

This is a free event, please register on Eventbrite.

Researchers discover huge Neolithic monument on the Isle of Arran

Bournemouth University researcher involved in groundbreaking discovery on Scottish island.


by Stephen Bates

A team of researchers have discovered what is believed to be a complete Neolithic cursus set within a rich prehistoric landscape on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.

This monument type is amongst the first that was built by farmers in Neolithic Britain and is huge – measuring 1.1km long and 50 metres wide.

A cursus is a vast Neolithic monument comprised of one or more rectangular enclosures. The cursus on Arran is defined by a large stone, earth and turf bank running around the entire perimeter of the enclosure. Constructing this monument would have involved staggering amounts of labour, transforming the entire local landscape.

This monument type could date to perhaps as early as 3500 BC, researchers say. It is the most complete example of this site type found in Britain and the opportunity to investigate a cursus bank is very rare and hugely exciting.

Prehistoric field boundaries, clearance cairns and round houses, at least some of which may be contemporary with the monument, have also found in the same landscape, all preserved within peatland, sealing the archaeological layers. Ancient soils representing the original Neolithic land surface, together with cultivated soils from the Bronze Age period, provide an unparalleled opportunity to understand how contemporary farming practice and settlement interacted with the cursus monument and how early farmers transformed this place.

Dr Emma Jenkins, Associate Professor in Archaeology at Bournemouth University, co-led the landscape geoarchaeology and environmental science work at the site, supported by Dr Sarah Elliott, Deputy Head of Department, Life and Environmental Sciences (LES) and Harry Manley, Demonstrator in LES.

This involved excavating areas near the cursus into the Neolithic land surfaces and Bronze Age field systems which will allow samples to be taken for dating and other environmental evidence. This will help the team to understand how people used and managed this important landscape and feed critical information into the rewilding strategy about the landscape history of the area.

Dr Jenkins said, “The Isle of Arran is well known for Machrie Moor with its Prehistoric stone and timber circles; standing stones and burial cairns but the discovery that these may be part of a much larger complex which included this enormous cursus elevates this into a region of global significance on a par with other ceremonial landscapes like Stonehenge. As an environmental archaeologist I am particularly excited by the discovery of well-preserved soils, contemporary with the creation of the cursus which means we can investigate how people used and modified this landscape from the time of the first farming communities in Britain.”

This research will provide invaluable information about landscape history and past ecosystems that will feed into the Rewilding strategy currently being put together by landowner David Bennett and the Northwoods Rewilding Network and wider work by Arran Geopark.  The team also supported participation by members of the local community in the research process and are exploring future learning and creative opportunities responding to the investigations.  Artists from the region were supported by North Ayrshire Council and Arran Theatre and Arts Trust to explore the excavation.

Professor Nicki Whitehouse, Professor of Archaeological Science, University of Glasgow,  said: “The initial discoveries reveal a highly unusual combination of a ceremonial monument within a prehistoric farming landscape. It is part of a continuum that likely linked to the ritual site at Machrie Moor, probably forming part of something much more extensive. The science work will allow us to understand about the animals and plants people farmed, how people impacted the landscape and its ecosystems and transformed their soils for cultivation – and what we may learn from this today.”

The combination of investigating all these elements together is highly unusual and has also involved experts from Universities of Birkbeck, Reading, Coventry, Birmingham, and Southampton as well as archaeologists from Archaeology Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.


The discovery has seen widespread media coverage, including in The National, The Guardian, The Times (paywall) and The Scotsman (paywall).

Revolutionising Industries: The Significance, Impacts, and Reliability of Nanocoatings

Application

Introduction:

Nanocomposite coatings, a ground-breaking development in materials science, have emerged as a transformative force across various industries. These coatings, with their unique properties and applications, hold immense promise for enhancing performance, reducing maintenance costs, and addressing critical global challenges. In this comprehensive review, we delve into the key significance of nanocoatings in a range of industries, their substantial impacts, and their reliability [1–4]. Furthermore, we explore how Professor Zulfiqar Khan is collaborating with generative AI and predict the potential benefits of this partnership for industry and contributions to new knowledge. This narrative aims to influence UK science and technology policy, attract funding, and foster new partnerships to drive innovation and competitiveness.

Application
  1. The Multifaceted Significance of Nanocoatings:

Nanocoatings in Cavitation and Beyond:

Nanocomposite coatings have brought transformative advantages to industries grappling with issues such as cavitation, corrosion, tribology, and fluid dynamics. They provide enhanced protection and resilience in the face of harsh operational conditions, including extreme temperatures, high pressures, corrosive environments, and minimal lubrication. The significance of nanocoatings lies in their ability to extend the lifespan and reliability of vital components and systems across multiple sectors.

Nanocoatings Addressing Global Challenges:

Industries today are confronted with pressing global challenges, such as energy efficiency, sustainability, and system durability. Nanocoatings offer innovative solutions to these challenges by optimising surfaces and interfaces through surface modifications and coatings. They play a pivotal role in enhancing energy efficiency, ensuring the reliability of systems, and promoting sustainability. These benefits are invaluable in the context of UK science and technology policy, which emphasises the transition to greener technologies and sustainable practices.

  1. The Impact of Nanocoatings:

Academic and Industrial Benefits:

The development and application of nanocoatings have not only enriched academic research but have also provided tangible industrial advantages. Researchers worldwide are actively engaged in studying several types of nanocomposites to create durable and energy-efficient coatings. This collaboration between academia and industry fosters innovation, encourages knowledge exchange, and accelerates the adoption of innovative technologies. It aligns with the UK’s vision of becoming a leader in innovation and technology development.

Experimental Advancements:

Professor Khan’s work exemplifies the impact of nanocoatings on the industry. His experiments with alumina, silicon carbide, zirconia, and graphene nanocomposite coatings have displayed their robustness under different conditions, including exposure to seawater. Such empirical evidence guides industry practitioners in selecting the right coatings for their specific applications, reducing maintenance costs, and ensuring system reliability.

III. Reliability of Nanocoatings:

Advanced Modelling and Predictive Tools:

One key aspect of nanocoatings’ reliability lies in the advanced modelling and predictive tools developed by researchers like Professor Khan. His cathodic blistering model (Khan-Nazir I) [5] and coating failure model (Khan-Nazir II) [6] offer a deeper understanding of coating behaviour under stress, wear, and corrosion. These models enable precise predictions of coating performance, which is crucial for industries seeking dependable solutions.

Lubrication Modelling:

Furthermore, lubrication modelling, which incorporates wear-corrosion and mechano-wear equations, investigates the influence of microstructural properties like porosity and surface stresses on the coefficient of friction (CoF). This is vital in ensuring the reliability of systems operating under various conditions, as reduced friction leads to increased durability.

  1. Collaboration with Generative AI:

Harnessing AI for Materials Discovery:

Professor Zulfiqar Khan’s collaboration with generative AI represents an exciting frontier in materials science. Generative AI can accelerate materials discovery by simulating and predicting the behaviour of nanocomposite coatings with unmatched speed and accuracy. By leveraging AI, researchers can design coatings tailored to specific industry needs, further enhancing their reliability and performance.

  1. Predicted Benefits and Contributions:

Industry Advancements:

The partnership between Professor Khan and generative AI holds the promise of revolutionising industries. Predictive modelling and AI-driven materials discovery will enable the creation of coatings that are not only more reliable but also more cost-effective to produce. This will stimulate innovation, reduce downtime, and boost competitiveness across sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy, and manufacturing.

Contribution to New Knowledge:

The collaboration will undoubtedly contribute to new knowledge in materials science, computational modelling, and AI-driven materials discovery. This research can inform policy decisions and attract funding for initiatives aimed at harnessing AI for materials development. As the UK government seeks to position the nation as a global innovation hub, investments in cutting-edge research of this nature will be pivotal.

  1. Influencing UK Science & Technology Policy:

Nurturing Technological Leadership:

To influence UK science and technology policy, it is imperative to underscore the role of nanocoatings and AI-driven materials discovery in nurturing technological leadership. Emphasising the potential economic and environmental benefits of these innovations can encourage policymakers to prioritise investments in research and development.

Supporting Sustainable Practices:

Aligning nanocoatings with the UK’s sustainability goals is crucial. Highlighting how these coatings enhance the sustainability and reliability of systems can resonate with policymakers keen on promoting sustainable practices and technologies.

VII. Forging Partnerships:

It is essential to articulate the transformative impact of nanocoatings and AI collaborations on industry and the potential for significant contributions to knowledge. Presenting a clear roadmap for how investments will yield tangible results can attract the attention of funding bodies interested in fostering innovation.

Industry-Academia Synergy:

Lastly, forging partnerships between academia and industry is fundamental. Collaborations that integrate academic research with industry needs can ensure that innovations like nanocoatings find practical applications and drive economic growth.

In conclusion, nanocomposite coatings represent a pivotal advancement with far-reaching significance and impacts across industries. Professor Zulfiqar Khan’s collaboration with generative AI holds immense promise for further enhancing their reliability and performance. This partnership aligns with UK science and technology policy objectives, attracting funding and fostering collaborations that will drive innovation and competitiveness, positioning the UK as a global leader in materials science and technology.

Acknowledgement: This article is written in collaboration with GAI.

References

[1]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed; Bakolas, V.; Braun,W.; Bajwa, R. Experimental analysis and modelling for reciprocating wear behaviour of nanocomposite coatings. Wear 2018, 416, 89–102. [CrossRef]

[2]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed, A.; Siddaiah, A.; Menezes, P.L. Synergistic wear-corrosion analysis and modelling of nano composite coatings. Tribol. Int. 2018, 121, 30–44. [CrossRef]

[3]       Abdeen, D.H.; El Hachach, M.; Koc, M.; Atieh, M.A. A Review on the Corrosion Behaviour of Nanocoatings on Metallic Substrates. Materials 2019, 12, 210. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

[4]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed, A.; Bakolas, V.; Braun,W.; Bajwa, R.; Rafique, S. Analyzing and Modelling the Corrosion Behavior of Ni/Al2O3, Ni/SiC, Ni/ZrO2 and Ni/Graphene Nanocomposite Coatings. Materials 2017, 10, 1225. [CrossRef]

[5]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A.; Saeed, A.; Stokes, K. A model for cathodic blister growth in coating degradation using mesomechanics approach. Mater. Corros. 2016, 67, 495–503. [CrossRef]

[6]       Nazir, M.H.; Khan, Z.A. A review of theoretical analysis techniques for cracking and corrosive degradation of film-substrate systems. Eng. Fail. Anal. 2017, 72, 80–113. [CrossRef]

Impact Essentials: Creating your impact development plan

Creating your impact development plan is a workshop for researchers at all career stages and at all stages of the project lifecycle – from formulating research questions and preparing grant applications to developing a potential impact case study.

This practical workshop provides the tools, advice and time to start putting together your own plan to achieve impact.

By the end of this session, you will have created a detailed impact development plan, tailored to your particular needs and stage of impact development.

Thursday 7th September     13.00-15.00      Talbot Campus

To book on to the session, please complete the Booking Form. 

For queries regarding the content of this session, please contact Amanda Lazar, Impact Adviser impact@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress

UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress

UK's Carbon Emissions Progress

UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress [stock image]

Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future: Evaluating the UK’s Carbon Emissions Progress and Energy Portfolio

Introduction:

Professor Zulfiqar Khan has been working in Energy Capture, Conversion and Storage for more than a decade which has led to significant outcomes for UK industry in terms of technological innovations to meet UK net zero targets and UNSDGs by agreed deadline.

In addition, energy efficiency in interacting systems and complex machines have been at the heart of Professor Khan’s research at BU. Machines and interacting systems use lubrication and therefore sustainability context is key to be taken forward into design considerations. Both the above themes have provided a platform for interdisciplinary research in collaboration with major UK and International Industry and HEIs partners.

Professor Khan has been collaborating with Generative AI in terms of clean energy and future goals to reduce our dependency on non-renewable energy technologies. Although, unlike his longstanding industry collaboration, his GAI partnership is in its initial stages, Professor Khan believes that there are opportunities to drive clean energy research forward to realise UK targets and UNSDGs in collaboration with GAI.

The United Kingdom has embarked on a transformative journey towards sustainable energy solutions, marked by its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article presents a comprehensive overview of the UK’s current state of progress in carbon emissions reduction, its contributions to the UNSDGs, and the intricate details of its energy portfolio. The following brief article is written in collaboration with Generative AI.

Progress in Carbon Emissions Reduction:

Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets:

The UK’s resolute commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050.

Noteworthy reduction of carbon emissions by 51% since 1990 levels by the year 2019.

Renewable Energy Sources:

A remarkable 48% of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2020. Continuous expansion of wind and solar energy capacity.

Energy Efficiency:

Implementing energy-efficient measures in both industrial sectors and households.

Contributions to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7):

The UK’s renewable energy sector has generated over 100 TWh of electricity, making a significant contribution to SDG 7.

Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9):

Substantial investments exceeding £2.5 billion have been directed towards innovative energy capture and storage technologies, fostering economic growth while minimizing environmental impact.

Climate Action (SDG 13):

The UK’s remarkable carbon emissions reduction of 51% surpasses the SDG 13 target to combat climate change.

Challenges and Areas for Improvement:

Transportation Sector:

Electrification and the promotion of alternative fuels remain pivotal for addressing emissions in the transportation sector.

Energy Storage:

Enhancing energy storage solutions is imperative to address the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources effectively.

Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) Technologies:

The development and integration of CCUS technologies for heavy industries are crucial for reducing carbon emissions further and aligning with climate goals.

The UK’s Energy Portfolio (2020):

Energy

Type/Technology

Energy Output

(TWh)

Energy Consumption

(TWh)

Natural Gas 338.6 465.3
Oil 143.8 231.5
Coal 2.3 9.1
Nuclear 55.9 61.8
Renewables

(Total)

132.3 283.1
Imports 7.4 N/A (included in total)

Market Share (2020):

Natural Gas: 38.5%

Oil: 16.4%

Coal: 0.3%

Nuclear: 7.9%Renewables (Total): 18.7%Imports: 3.6%

Interpretation:

Non-renewable sources still dominate the UK’s energy portfolio, comprising approximately 63% of energy output in 2020.

Natural gas is the largest contributor to both energy output and consumption.

The transition to renewable energy sources, particularly wind and biomass, is vital for reducing the UK’s carbon footprint.

Conclusion:

The United Kingdom’s commendable progress in carbon emissions reduction, aligned with UN SDGs, signifies a dedicated commitment to a sustainable future. While substantial headway has been made, addressing challenges in transportation, energy storage, and the integration of CCUS technologies is paramount. The UK continues to lead the path towards a low-carbon future by aligning policies with UN SDGs and promoting sustainable energy solutions.

RKEDF: Research training events coming up in September

Here are some great RKEDF training events coming up in September

 

Click on the titles to see details and book a place on to upcoming events.

 

New Generation Thinkers 2024 AHRC/BBC Radio 3 Tuesday 5th September 11:00-12:30 Talbot Campus

This is an introduction to the New Generation thinkers, how it works, how to apply and with a mock panel set up.

RKEDF: British Academy Small Grants Workshop Wednesday 6th September 10:00-12:00 Talbot Campus 

BA Small Grants Workshop aimed at all staff with Research Council bids in development. The attendees will have the chance to discuss their proposal with a Research Facilitator and a Funding Development Officer will also be on hand to answer any questions relating to budget and processes.

 Impact Essentials:creating your impact development plan Thursday 7th September 13:00-15:00 Talbot Campus 

For researchers at all stages of the project lifecycle – from formulating research questions and preparing grant applications to developing a potential impact case study.

Introduction to RED – The Research & Enterprise Database Tuesday 12th September 15.30-16.00 Online session

This session is aimed at all academics to provide an overview of the Research & Enterprise Database, including how to access the system, the information available to view, budget management via RED, and how to use RED to identify your supporting pre and post award officers.

Principal Investigation – Post Award for RKE Wednesday, 13th September 14:00-15:00 Talbot Campus

This session is aimed at any researcher who is, who plans to be, a Principal Investigator for an externally funded research or knowledge exchange project.

This session is fully booked but please feel free to book your place on one of the next months’ sessions

Thursday, 19th October 14.00-15.00 Lansdowne Campus
Thursday, 15th November 14.00-15.00 Talbot Campus
Wednesday, 13th December 14.00-15.00 Lansdowne Campus
Wednesday, 10th January 14.00-15.00 Talbot Campus

 

For any queries regarding these workshops, please contact the RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk

Creating your Impact Development Plan Workshop – 7th September

As part of the RKEDF Impact Essentials programme, booking is now open for the Impact Essentials: creating your impact development plan 2-hour in-person workshops. There are 4 dates to choose from and they will be delivered on both Talbot and Lansdowne campuses, so hopefully there will be a date and time that is convenient for everyone who would like to attend.

This workshop is for researchers at all career stages and at all stages of the project lifecycle – from formulating research questions and preparing grant applications to developing a potential impact case study. This practical workshop provides the tools, advice and time to start putting together your own plan to achieve impact. By the end of the session, you will have created a detailed impact development plan, tailored to your particular needs and stage of impact development.

The first session is on Talbot campus  on 7th September, 13:00-15:00.

You can find a suitable date and book your space here: Impact Essentials – Bournemouth University Intranet.

RKEDF Impact Planning Training 7th September

 

As part of the RKEDF Impact Essentials programme, booking is now open for the Impact Essentials: creating your impact development plan 2-hour in-person workshops. There are 4 dates to choose from and they will be delivered on both Talbot and Lansdowne campuses, so hopefully there will be a date and time that is convenient for everyone who would like to attend.

This workshop are for researchers at all career stages and at all stages of the project lifecycle – from formulating research questions and preparing grant applications to developing a potential impact case study. This practical workshop provides the tools, advice and time to start putting together your own plan to achieve impact. By the end of the session, you will have created a detailed impact development plan, tailored to your particular needs and stage of impact development.

The first session is on Talbot campus (room tbc) on 7th September, 13:00-15:00.

You can find a suitable date and book your space here: Impact Essentials – Bournemouth University Intranet.

Masterclass: Writing for Policy and Building your Online Profile – 7th September

This is a free online event for academics interested in policy engagement, run by Showrunner Communications on 7th September, 13:00-15:00. You can sign up via Eventbrite.

During this session, participants will learn to write for policy stakeholders, including advice on drafting comment articles and blogs, and Select Committee and Government consultation responses.

This session will also focus on building participants’ professional social media profiles and emphasising their expertise online.

Showrunner’s training workshops build the understanding and skills that academics need to effectively achieve policy impact throughout their careers.

This session will be delivered by Nicky Hobbs and Jennifer Harrison, who are communications, policy, and education specialists, in partnership with Showrunner Communications and the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network.

Jennifer Harrison

Jennifer has a distinctive track record within the fields of policy, public affairs, and communications, on behalf of national and local government, the voluntary and community sector, and higher education. Her work has been used by think tanks and policy institutes, directly influenced legislative and policy change, and has represented policy interests at the highest level, including meetings with ministers, in regional and national media, and at parliamentary inquiries.

Jennifer was Durham University’s first policy engagement lead, working with academics to successfully achieve REF and societal impact. This included helping to secure the first ever parliamentary inquiry into urban soil health, securing changes to criminal justice legislation, and campaigning to end irresponsible lending practices that exacerbate poverty. She has been Chair of the Russell Group Political Affairs Network and has contributed widely to thought leadership across the sector, including policy blogs and conference speaking engagements focusing on the nature of policy engagement and research impact.

Nicky Hobbs

Nicky is a communications and engagement leader with over two decades of experience, Nicky has run programmes and led teams for multiple private and public sector organisations.

Nicky has led award-winning communications departments in two Russell Group universities; UCL and Queen Mary and stakeholder engagement at a Government department. At Queen Mary, Nicky led communications for the ground-breaking City of London Institute of Technology which opened in 2022. As a consultant, she has led engagement campaigns for multiple social enterprises and charities and has significant expertise in developing high-impact digital content with a focus on higher and further education.

 

BU Professor’s research contributes to House of Commons report

Written evidence provided to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee by Prof. Ann Luce, FMC, has been cited in the “Progress in improving NHS mental health services” report released today. Luce’s research around suicide risk to NHS mental health staff and the impact that has on care, served as the underpinning evidence for one of six recommendations the committee has made.

The Public Accounts Committee heard concerning evidence of increasing pressures on NHS mental health staff at a time of spiking demand. In the report published today, it warns that increased workload is leading to burnout for remaining staff, which contributes to a higher rate of staff turnover and a resulting vicious cycle of more staff shortages.

17,000 staff (12%) left the NHS mental health workforce in 2021-22, up from pre-pandemic levels of around 14,000 a year. Those citing work-life balance reasons for leaving increased from 4% in 2012-13 to 14% in 2021-22, and the percentage of days lost from the workforce due to psychiatric reasons doubled in a decade. NHS England told the PAC that, in common with all NHS staff, mental health problems are one of the biggest drivers of sickness among staff.

Staff shortages are holding back NHS mental health services as a whole from improving and expanding. The PAC calls on the NHS to address the fact that staff increases are being outpaced by the rise in demand for services. The NHS mental health workforce increased by 22% overall between 2016-17 and 2021-22, while referrals to these services increased by 44% over the same period. The PAC’s inquiry found that staff vacancy rates in acute inpatient mental health services are at approximately 20% or more.

Good data and information is necessary to manage and improve NHS services, as well as to deliver them impactfully and cost-effectively. The Government and NHS England (NHSE) acknowledged to the PAC that mental health services are lagging behind physical services in this area to a particularly concerning degree. Of 29 integrated care boards surveyed by the National Audit Office, only four said they had all or most of the data they needed to assess patient and user experiences, and none of them felt this in relation to patient outcomes.

Another area of particular concern for the PAC is a continuing lack of progress in the area of treating mental health services with equal priority as physical services – or ‘parity of esteem’. Despite the Government setting this ambition in 2011, and the PAC itself calling four years ago for a clear definition of how to measure progress to get there – a recommendation accepted at the time by the Government – there is still no such clear definition.

Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The findings of our inquiry must serve as a warning to the Government that mental health is still in danger of not being treated with the same urgent priority as physical health. NHS mental health staff deal with some of the most challenging care needs there are. Staff in this space deserve not just our heartfelt gratitude for the job they do, but concrete support and training to work as part of well-staffed workplaces. Our report warns of a vicious cycle, in which staff shortages and morale both worsen in self-reinforcing parallel.

“The short-term actions being taken by the Government and NHS England to tackle ongoing pressure are welcome. But these numbers are still going in the wrong direction, as demand for care well outpaces the supply of staff to provide it. The Government must act to pull services out of this doom loop. Invaluable care for some of our most vulnerable cannot and must not be provided at the expense of the welfare of the workforce carrying it out.”

NHS England and the Government now have six months to respond.

________________________________________

If you are interested in submitting written evidence based on your research to a Parliamentary Inquiry, please reach out to impact@bournemouth.ac.uk who can help you with putting together your submission. Contributions to inquires are a good pathway to impact for impact case studies for the REF, and can lead to policy change and influence.