Design for Wellbeing: Collaboration Space

Following the recently released EPSRC/AHRC/ESRC Design for Wellbeing call, Research and Business Services have organised a collaboration meeting for all interested parties to discuss the call and how they might contribute to any proposals which go forward.

It will take place on Friday 15th June, 10 am – 12 midday in City Campus East building 1, room 007. It is open to researchers and research support staff from all Schools. If you have not already done so, please contact me ( if you would like to attend as space is limited.

There will be a short outline summary of the call but most of the meeting will be devoted to participant discussion. This will be a chance to share ideas and potential project partners relevant to the Design for Wellbeing call to ensure as many people as possible are aware of activity going on around the University and to avoid any duplication of effort. It may lead to joint proposals and collaborations where these build on shared strengths and complementary expertise/partners.

If you’re interested in taking part, but can’t make it please consider sending me a short summary of your relevant experience and what you feel you could bring to this call (research expertise or partners) before the 15th June. I’ll make sure this feeds into the discussion. We’ll also take notes and make sure that these are circulated following the event so everyone is aware of areas of activity and future actions.


Blog reaches 100 post milestone!

Last week the Northumbria Research Support Blog hit a milestone of 100 posts!

Now that we’ve been running for 6 months, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and look ahead to some new things that you’ll see over the next few months on the blog.

Where we are now:

Looking at the statistics of visitors on Google Analytics, we can see that we’re had a healthy 892 visits in the month of May, up from 476 in April. That’s an 87% increase in visits in just one month! Unique visitors increased by an even higher percentage, from 280 in April to 627 in May (a 124% increase).


There were 4.12 pages viewed on average per visit, giving a total of 3,675 pageviews for May.

In terms of how our visitors got here, there has been a huge jump in numbers being directed from our email alerts (from 22 to 83, up 277%) and the research pages on the Northumbria university website (from 49 to 103, up 110%). These are not huge numbers relatively speaking, but for a blog still in its infancy they are fairly respectable.

The majority of our visitors still come from Northumbria University (around 32% of total visits), as you’d expect, though visitors from elsewhere are increasing, with the Universities of Glasgow, Kings College London, Oxford, Newcastle and Bristol all represented in the top 20 visitor locations.

Still to come:

So what’s in store over the next six months of the research support blog?

  • PVC (Research and Innovation) Prof. Peter Golding will be writing a post every two months highlighting key research successes, including bids won and outputs published.
  • Guest posts from academic staff on a range of research topics.
  • Case studies and success stories from Northumbria.
  • Targeted funding opportunities for each School.
  • A “Focus on…” series featuring comment and analysis on specific funders, calls and themes.
  • Graduate School and Business Development team involvement on postgraduate opportunities and KTPs.

Tell us what you think:

We’d love to hear your thoughts about the blog: What works and what doesn’t? What could we do better? How do you use the blog? What would you like to see more of? Please get in touch with us in the usual way.


Cutting Edge: Northumbria research in materials science and the Olympics

Last week (24th May) saw the latest in the series of Research Council and Royal Institution-sponsored Cutting Edge events on the research behind sport. Northumbria University took part in the discussion on the science behind sailing. Here’s the press release previewing the event:

Prof Glen McHale, Dean of the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, is taking part in the Cutting Edge 2012 lectures which sees world-class researchers and top GB and Paralympics GB stars come together to discuss elite performance and share views on the research behind the UK’s sporting achievements.

Prof McHale’s expertise lies in the development of extremely water-repellent high-tech surfaces that have potential to reduce drag in boats. His research focuses on how liquids interact with solid surfaces, how surface structure can amplify the effects of chemistry and how natural systems use this to gain competitive advantage within their environments. His research has been supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, The Royal Society, the EU and a range of companies. A Professor of Applied & Materials Physics, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Sharing the platform at the event on Thursday, 24 May, will be double Olympic medallist Simon Hiscocks, Prof Steve Haake from Sheffield Hallam University and Dr Judith Wolf – an expert in coastal modelling of tides and currents.


Gone to conference… Back soon!

The blog’s a bit quiet at the moment since most of us have been helping out with Northumbria University’s annual research conference over the last couple of days.

We’ll be back up and running again soon, but in the meantime why not have a look at a few of the recent stories we’ve found interesting enough to save on delicious? Different views on impact, a new global research council and a reminder from EPSRC about the importance of open access are some of the things we’ve been reading recently.


‘Self-healing’ concrete under development at Northumbria

Dr Alan Richardson‘s research aims to develop a concrete which can “self-seal” cracks:

A ground-borne bacteria – bacilli megaterium – is used to create calcite, a crystalline form of natural calcium carbonate. This can then be used to block the concrete’s pores, keeping out water and other damaging substances to prolong the life of the concrete.

The bacteria is grown on a nutrient broth of yeast, minerals and urea and is then added to the concrete. With its food source in the concrete, the bacteria breeds and spreads, acting as a filler to seal the cracks and prevent further deterioration.

With further development, it is hoped the research could lead to a cost-effective cure for ‘concrete cancer’ and has enormous commercial potential.

You can read the rest of the story on the University’s news pages.


Northumbria’s Research Conference Returns

Northumbria’s annual Research Conference will take place next Wednesday and Thursday (16th/17th May).

Organised and run by Northumbria’s Research and Business Services, this high profile internal event takes place in the lecture theatres and the ground floor foyer of City Campus East; two parallel tracks mean that a wealth of Northumbria’s current and recent research projects can be described and illustrated – in total, 65 academics from the University will be speaking, with each of the University’s Schools represented.

Papers last no longer than 20 minutes and are pitched at a general audience rather than a specialised one – while sessions are deliberately mixed, in an attempt to give a flavour of the width and breadth of work going on at Northumbria.  Although welcome – and encouraged – to attend the full two days, staff may also prefer to dip in and out of the event and, again, the programme has been designed with this in mind.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Prof Peter Golding, will open the conference at 9.15 on Wednesday morning, with sessions taking place from 9.30 throughout the day.  To see the full programme of presentations, and to register to attend, click here.

The conference foyer will play host to an exhibition of posters during the event, illustrating the work of Northumbria’s post-graduate research student community – with prizes awarded by the Conference Programme Group to the best examples during a post-conference reception on Thursday evening.


Research collaboration to tackle public health

Northumbria University is involved in a regional consortium which has received funding from NIHR to contribute to public health policy and practice:

Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, is a ‘virtual’ research centre, which brings together staff and students from Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside universities.

With responsibility for public health set to switch from the NHS to local authorities, Fuse has been accepted by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as one of only eight member organisations to form a new body in England – the School for Public Health Research (SfPHR).

The Government backed School aims to build closer bonds between researchers and public health policy makers and practitioners at a local level, increase the evidence of what does and doesn’t work in practice, and share this knowledge so that it can influence policy.

Each member organisation will receive funding in the region of £450,000 per year (£2.25m over five years) to undertake priority research for public health in England.

Professor Susan Carr, Associate Director of Fuse, who leads the team of researchers at Northumbria’s School of Health, Community and Education Studies, said: “This will bring exciting opportunities to contribute to public health research and the evidence base for improvement of population health. The aim to build closer bonds between researchers and public health policy makers and practitioners is at the heart of our research approach.

“We look forward with great enthusiasm to contributing to the agenda of the School for Public Health Research.”

Read the full story on the University website.