Enjoy listening to a short talk from our guest speaker before engaging in debate and discussion around that topic.
We’ll be joined by Dr Sharon Docherty on Tuesday 4 February 7:30-9pm (doors open at 6:30pm) No need to book, make sure you get there early though as seats fill up fast!
Crooked picture frames and ageing of perception
How we experience the environment around us involves the brain combining information from our different sensory systems. Something as ‘simple’ as staying upright involves signals from our inner ears, joints and eyes. Join us to discover how our perception of upright changes throughout our lifetime, and how different medical conditions can affect this. It may also make you reconsider whether your picture frames are straight.
As we go about our daily lives our hair is recording evidence of what we consume and of the environments we are exposed to. It can record how much you drink, whether you smoke or take drugs, or live in an environment where drug abuse is prevalent. Hair testing for drugs and alcohol provides evidence to the police, assists with family law issues, and is utilised in workplace testing and a variety of other settings. The interpretation of analytical data from hair testing is challenging however, and research is continuing to improve the validity of the process.
At this month’s Café Scientifique, Dr Richard Paul discussed the science behind hair testing for drugs and alcohol, and reviewed some of the applications of the technique. Richard highlighted how hair testing may be used in cases of drug facilitated crime, the use of hair alcohol testing to determine abstinence or chronic excessive consumption, and finally reviewed how hair testing will be utilised in new research to examine second-hand exposure to new psychoactive substances in prisons.
Drug facilitated crime
The term drug facilitated crime refers to when a person is subjected to a criminal act whilst they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately in many such cases a victim may experience memory loss caused by certain drugs, or be reluctant or unable to report the crime soon after it has taken place. Certain drugs associated with such crimes are often quickly eliminated from our body through natural processes, rendering blood and urine testing obsolete if too much time has passed following the crime. This is where hair testing has a crucial advantage: once drugs enter our hair they can remain bound and stable for very long periods of time. Richard discussed his research developing new techniques for the investigation of drug facilitated crime and examined cases utilising the technique.
How are drugs incorporated in our hair?
Drugs can enter our hair via three mechanisms;
The bloodstream – every hair on our body has a blood supply, and drugs or alcohol (metabolites) circulating in our bloodstream can access our hair via this system. Once in the hair, compounds can bind strongly to melanin and keratin in our hair.
Sweat and sebum – it has been shown that some drug and alcohol metabolites will be excreted via sweat/sebum, and then re-incorporated in hair that is in contact with sweat/sebum.
Alcohol itself (ethanol) is not tested for in the hair, the compound is too volatile. Instead researchers look for metabolites of ethanol in our system, focusing on ethyl glucuronide, and ethyl palmitate. These are biomarkers of alcohol consumption, and when found in hair samples above a certain concentration, provide good evidence of alcohol consumption. Hair alcohol testing is widely utilised in family law cases, often in child custody disputes. If one parent accuses the other of being an alcoholic, a court may request a hair alcohol test to provide evidence. Our research examines the factors that may influence the incorporation of alcohol biomarkers into the hair, as well investigating fingernails as an alternative testing matrix to hair.
New psychoactive substances in prisons
Richard discussed his latest research project investigating second-hand exposure to new psychoactive substances in prisons. NPS are new narcotic or psychotropic drugs many of which pose serious health risks. The abuse of such drugs in prisons (including Spice and similar compounds) is a significant problem and one which is experienced to different levels across many European countries.
Richard’s team are using a range of analytical techniques to assess the prevalence of NPS abuse in UK prisons and will also be assessing the extent to which prison staff are exposed to secondary drug fumes during their employment.
Dr Richard Paul reflects on his experience of speaking at Café Scientifique: ‘Presenting my research at Café Scientifique was an excellent opportunity to engage the public in debate around the applications and validity of hair testing. The audience was lively and focused, and we had a lot of excellent, thought provoking questions.’
We are taking a break in January but we’ll be back on Tuesday 4 February 2020!
Enjoy listening to a short talk from our guest speaker before engaging in debate and discussion around that topic.
We’ll be joined by Dr Richard Paul on Tuesday 3 December 7:30-9pm (doors open at 6:30pm) No need to book, make sure you get there early though as seats fill up fast!
The secret information hidden in your hair
As we go about our daily lives, our hair is recording evidence of what we consume and of the environments we are exposed to. It can record how much you drink, whether you smoke or take drugs, or live or work in an environment where drug abuse is prevalent. Join us to learn about the technology used to analyse hair and how it can be used in criminal cases to investigate drug facilitated crime, monitor alcohol consumption, and assess the exposure of prison guards to new psychoactive substances in UK prisons.
Enjoy listening to a short talk from our guest speaker before engaging in debate and discussion around that topic.
We’ll be joined by Dr Elvira Bolat & Dr Emily Arden-Closeon Tuesday 5 November from 7:30pm until 9pm (doors open at 6:30pm) No need to register, make sure you get there early though as seats fill up fast!
Hidden stories of online gamblers
The stereotype of the problem gambler no longer holds true – digital connectivity means we are all now exposed to online gambling and the risk of addiction. Join researchers from BU to discover how platforms use artificial intelligence, targeted advertising and behavioural science to keep gamblers hooked – and how you can avoid falling prey to these tools.
Facial composites are computerised visual likenesses, created by witnesses and victims of crimes, to resemble perpetrators. These images are released to the public in the course of an appeal, in the hope that someone familiar with the offender will report their identification to the police. While facial composites are only constructed in situations where the offender is unfamiliar to the victim and the offence serious, recent statistics show that upwards of 2,500 criminal investigations have made use of these images since 2013.
In this month’s Café Scientifique, Dr Emma Portch discussed how researchers can work collaboratively with forensic practitioners to improve the recognisability of these images. Emma highlighted that researchers can influence three separate stages of the composite construction process: (1) pre-construction cognitive interview techniques, (2) construction mechanics, and (3) post-production display of images.
Do construction systems mimic the way in which humans recognise unfamiliar faces? Emma detailed the difference between feature-based and holistic computerised composite systems. While feature-based systems require the witness to piece together a likeness, by selecting and editing from a database of individual photographed features (e.g. noses and mouths), holistic systems allow the witness to select whole-face representations, with selections bred together to preserve important configural similarities (i.e. the relative distances between features). Emma described how holistic systems better mirror the way in which we recognise faces in everyday life and demonstrated how further enhancement techniques can be used to boost the accuracy of images created this way (e.g. removing or blurring external facial features).
Are facial descriptions detrimental to subsequent facial recognition? Descriptions of the offender’s face are often critical to the process of composite construction and ACPO stipulate that composites should not be created if the witness cannot provide one. However, Emma revealed that providing a detailed facial description can sometimes make it more difficult to recognise when a composite has reached a good level of visual likeness. This so-called verbal overshadowing effect may arise as providing a verbal description of the face instates a suboptimal feature-based processing style, at odds with the holistic style needed to recognise that a composite well-resembles the offender. Emma discussed ways to alleviate verbal overshadowing, specifically focusing on promising results with a newer type of holistic interviewing.
How can we ensure that facial composites are recognised by those familiar with the offender? Composites are a useful investigative tool insofar as they can be identified by officers and members of the public familiar with the offender. Emma outlined the importance of post-production of images prior to media release, describing how different techniques could be used to occlude commonly error-prone regions of the image, and upregulate distinctive and accurate regions, respectively.
Dr Emma Portch reflects on her experience of speaking at Cafe Scientifique: ‘Public engagement is a vital exercise for communicating research findings to those who benefit from it most. The Café Scientifique team organised an excellent event and the attendees keep me on my toes with interesting and insightful questions and discussion’.
The movements of your eyes can reveal a lot about what you’re thinking. Join us to discover how researchers at Bournemouth University are studying eye moment, in order to understand the mental processes behind everyday tasks, like reading and navigation. Alongside a talk, we’ll have interactive demonstrations to show what state of the art eye tracking technology is capable of. We’ll discuss how eye tracking is already being used and what the future may hold when eye tracking becomes more widespread, even embedded in our personal devices.
We are ready and rearing to go for the first Café Scientifique of 2018!
We will be joined by Dr. Phillipa Gillingham, who will be discussing whether managing protected areas is a wise way of spending conservation resources.
Recent climate change has caused many species to change their distributions to try and track suitable conditions. However, borders of the areas that we are managing and protecting do not move, potentially being a waste of time and money.
What’s your opinion? Come on down to Café Boscanova on Tuesday 6th February to join the discussion. Find out more on our website.
Dr. Gillingham is currently working on the likely impacts of climate change on protected areas in the UK.
Therefore, in just a couple of days, thanks to the staff of the Orthopedic Research Institute who provided the location, we started shooting, and here is part of the interview:
I would like to thank Davon, Sacha and all the BU staff for this interview, it was great, and I really hope that helps to have more people involved in public engagement activities.
Following the full script of the interview.
Could you tell us a little bit of your self
My name is Francesco Ferraro, and I am a PhD Student here at Bournemouth University. Currently, I am working on a project which aims to understand the effects of inspiratory muscles training on balance and functional mobility for healthy older adults. The goal is to develop an innovative and effective training for falls prevention.
Before arriving here at BU, I obtained a Bachelor Degree in sports science from University of Rome Foro Italico while in the meantime I was working as a football coach and after I moved to Naples for complete my Master Degree in sports science prevention and wellness. There I worked on motion analysis in young adults, while in the meantime I was a trainer of the Italian Federation of Weightlifting.
Could you tell us your favourite public engagement opportunity at BU?
It is hard to tell, I have enjoyed all the events in which I took part including Pint of Science, Café Scientific, The Festival of Learning, lecturing at University of Third Age and others.I gained something from each of them, and I gave something at each of them. But if I have to pick one, and only one I would say the Festival of Learning. Among all the events FOL is the one who gives you the opportunity to meet all kind of people.
You have the opportunity to explain your research to a very young audience, as well as people with excellent knowledge in your field, while surrounded by members of the BU Staff, BU students and colleagues that are there to help you and motived you.
Why do you find public engagement a good asset to both your research and the community?
My study aims to understand the effect of inspiratory muscle training on balance and functional mobility. My final purpose is to develop a strategy to prevent falls accidents in people over 65.
Therefore it is a research for the community as any other research, especially in health and social science, is done for the people. Hence what would be the point to work for the community and do not explain to them what you are doing? As researchers we have the opportunity to share with others much more than a picture on Twitter, or Instagram, we have the opportunity to share knowledge, ideas and instead of likes, we will have more questions, more curiosity and the chance to give to the audience our ideas.
At Café Scientifique, the public was really engaging in the fact your research was trying to better the wellbeing of the older generation. Why do you think people are so engaged in your research?
At Café Scientifique I was able to give to them my idea. Instead of explaining right away what my research does I told them the idea behind it and why is important to research on it. The reason why we had a great respond must be sought in my past years of work in the public engagement.
Any research is fascinating in is way, but is crucial to share it with others, not only peers and experts but also with the people for which the research is done.
You use your public engagement to advertise the need for participants in your current research, is this an effective way of getting the participants you need?
Yes, it is. But it is not the reason why I do public engagement. I have been introduced to public engagement by my supervisors: Alison McConnell, James Gavin and Thomas Wainwright with the aim to share what learned and discuss it with others.
If you were to advice new researchers about public engagement, what would you say to them?
Do it if you want to do it.
Public engagement is not easy especially if you do it because you “have to”. Do it if you want to share your research if you want to challenge yourself, if you want to meet the community then you will make a great event. You must have the right motivation if you do it just to “hunting” participants it won’t be neither correct or fun, and people will understand, with the result that you and your research will lose trust.
What do you gain most from public engagement?
Motivation – to work more for the community, to help people to learn and understand what we are doing here at the BU and how it helps their wellbeing.
Confidence – have the opportunity to talk to 50, 100 or even 200 people at each event, has grown my confidence inside and outside the University.
Knowledge – I do believe that everyone has a story to tell and you can learn a lot from it. I am always surprised at the questions that I receive.
People curiosity drives my curiosity as well and helps me to think and re-think at my research.
What are you going to do next?
I do have a couple of projects going on, but I will take part in the next Festival of Learning (third year in a row), and I will see what other opportunities the public engagement team will give to us.
We are looking for researchers to come and speak at our Cafe Scientifique events in 2018…
Researching something interesting? Want to share it with the public? We have a brilliant platform for you to do just that on the first Tuesday of every month at Cafe Boscanova!
We have vacancies for:
Tuesday 6th February
Tuesday 3rd April
Tuesday 1st May
Tuesday 5th June
If you would like to learn more about Cafe Scientifique or want to get involved on one of these dates, check out the website or get in touch via email. We would love for anyone who is excited about sharing their research with the community to come along and discuss – especially when there is coffee and the occasional cake involved!
Check out our website to find out about even more Public Engagement opportunities we have at RKEO
Café scientific was one of the best public engagement activities that I have done in the past years, and I do recommend going there and deliver your talk to the public.
In all my past experiences (including pint of science, the festival of learning, U3A, the Air Show and others) I have always met great people who were interested to know and learn more about what we are doing here at BU, and at Café Scientific, it was no different.
I arrived there 1h before the talk, the café (vintage/steampunk style), was already set up for the event, thanks to the great work of the Public Engagement Team. So I had all the time to calm down and get ready.
At about 19:30 the place was packed, and few people had to listen to the talk standing up.
A sample of the presentation is available on Youtube:
Even if the room was fully booked, the audience was very quiet and focused on listening to the 40 minutes presentation.
However, the best part was at the end, and I am not referring to the delicious brownie cake that Boscanova Café made for celebrating the 5th birthday of Café Scientific, but for the questions.
I was happily surprised to have so many interesting questions, which made me think again about my projects.
There were questions about: the effect of singing and yoga exercises on balance; why not make a POWERbreathe that instead of a mouthpiece has a nosepiece; how much the improvement in balance was due to the strength of the muscles trained and not just the ability to breathe deeper; why not test the effects of meditation, and others very intelligent questions.
Finally, it was challenging and I hope that all the audience received the right message: research can be fascinating and fun, especially if you can share it with others.
If you are interested in know more about how to breathe your way into balance, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the run up to our next Café Scientifique event, we wanted to remind you of some of the brilliant speakers we have had in the past. Check out the video below to watch the fantastic Dr John McAlaney explaining our addiction to anything digital.
Our next event has Professor Jessica Teeling from the University of Southampton, sharing the impact of age on the immune system and how this damages tissue in our retinas, consequently making us lose our sight. It is an interactive Café Scientifique that definitely shouldn’t be missed!
We look forward to seeing you at Café Boscanova on the 5th September.
We have a brilliant Café Scientifique coming to Café Boscanova on September 5th. Professor Jessica Teeling will be joining us from the University of Southampton to help shed some light on our vision, helping to understand why we lose our sight when we get older.
As a professor of Neuroimmunology, as well as a founding member of Genmab NL – a company that produces therapeutic antibodies for cancer and inflammatory diseases – Professor Teeling is certainly someone to listen to when it comes to the central nervous system and the ageing process.
This interactive Café Scientifique will help you understand all there is about the eye, whilst explaining the role of the immune system in tissue damage to the ageing retina. It’s certainly not something to miss if you are interested in the ageing process of the body, or a fan of Neuroimmunology!
If you are free on the 5th September around 7:30, there’s no better place than Café Boscanova. We will see you there for a relaxed atmosphere of education and discussion with others hungry to enrich their learning experience.
We’re currently looking for speakers forCafe Scientifique and you can choose which month suits you best!
Cafe Scientifique is a popular and relaxed event that runs on the first Tuesday of the month at cosy Cafe Boscanova. Speakers give a short presentation around a chosen topic/area of research (roughly 30 minutes) before opening up to the audience for questions.
To find out more about Cafe Scientifique please visit our website here.
Unfortunately our planned event for April’s Cafe Scientifique has not been able to go ahead. This means we have an open slot for April and we’re looking for a speaker who could step in for us – if you think you’d be interested please drop me an email for further information. This is a great opportunity to speak at Cafe Scientifique as our next available slot to give a talk is quite a few months down the line.
In case you’re not familiar with Cafe Scientifique, it’s a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Speakers give a short presentation around a topic (roughly 30 minutes), before engaging in debate and discussion with the audience to really explore the issues. It takes place at Cafe Boscanova in Boscombe on the first Tuesday of every month from 7:30-9pm and we usually have around 20-30 people in attendance. Previous talks and more information about Cafe Sci can be found on our website.
To keep you up to date with what we are up to and how we are working ‘to bag a bargain’ read on to find out more. (Your diary or calendar is an essential item when reading this blog post to make sure you don’t miss out on key dates and deadlines.)
These include the next inaugural lecture on 25th January in the EBC. This gives newly appointed professors the opportunity to share an insight into their field of work, research interests and achievements to date. Professor Lee Miles of BU’s Disaster Management Centre will be speaking on entrepreneurial resilience and disaster management.
“What will Marty McFly need in 25 years?” will take place on 26th and 27th January. We we are looking to prompt great debate in order to generate potential ideas for future projects as part of this sandpit event involving local businesses and BU staff and students. This will be facilitated by RKEO staff.
This year’s Bournemouth Research Chronicle is progressing well and will be published in the spring. It features a host of fascinating examples of interdisciplinary research from across the university. A publication not to be missed !
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships celebrated 40 years in 2015 and this national scheme continues to thrive as a great way to develop and engage business and university partnerships. The third cohort of training (at BU) started at the end of 2015 and will continue in 2016 with a number of academics across the university involved. To find out more about KTPs at BU contact Rachel Clarke.
Love is in the air with the 14th and 29th February being key dates for those cupids out there ! If romance is in the air make sure you have the next Cafe Sci in your calendar – Tuesday 2nd February. Martin Graff will be speaking on the function of nonverbal behaviour in Human Courtship.
We’ve been working hard, reviewing the case studies submitted to the light touch impact review and have been meeting with UoA leaders and impact champions to go over feedback. There are some very promising cases under development and we are looking forward to sharing these in the future.
The area of student engagement moves into its third year having been established as part of the KEIT’s remit in 2014. Events to support this area of research include the research photo competition. Voting is now open ! Don’t miss out on your say. Click here to view all the entries on the research website and cast your vote or check out the Facebook page. All of the entries will be displayed in the Atrium Art Gallery during February and an awards ceremony will be held on the 4th February to announce the winners of the competition.
We received an overwhelming response to the Undergraduate Research Assistantship Programme (URA). Busy with recruitment there are a total of 46 vacancies across 36 projects to be filled. The first student induction has already taken place with many students starting on the programme this week. The next round of URA funding applications is due to open in February 2016 for summer research assistants.
The media are often blamed for influencing society’s attitudes and views. In this month’s Café Scientific we will debate the impact of the mass media on women’s views of childbirth. The motion is: “Fear in childbirth: is the media responsible?”
Café Scientific is being hosted at Café Boscanova in Bournemouth on November 3rd at 19.30. The debate is open to the general public. It will be chaired by Prof. Vanora Hundley, Professor of Midwifery and the two proponents on either side of the debate are Dr. Ann Luce and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. Ann Luce is a well recognised media researcher and a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication. Edwin van Teijlingen is a medical sociologist and Professor of Reproductive Health Research.
The debate will touch upon social perceptions and beliefs about childbirth can increase women’s requests for interventions, such as caesarean section, with long-term health implications for mothers and babies. This month’s Café Scientific will explore the role of the mass media in shaping these beliefs and identify whether media portrayals are responsible for rising rates of intervention.
Join us for an interactive debate on the impact of the mass media on women’s views of childbirth. The audience will be given the opportunity to vote on the motion before and after the debate.
These academics have written a paper on the topic of debate, a copy of which can be found here!
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