Night at the museum for City book
LARG NMENTs & SOCIETY AT
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World-class research in the heart of the City
elcome to the City University London Research and Enterprise Review 2011. For this snapshot of City’s research and enterprise activities we have selected some of our most innovative and challenging research projects which also have potential for major impact on society at large. This is what City University London is about – our community of academic staff, research staff and doctoral students undertake applied, relevant and cutting-edge research that brings real benefits to industry, business and the community. Our innovative research covers areas as diverse as climate change, healthcare, economic theory and musicology; and in 15 subject areas it is of a quality comparable with the very best in the world, according to the most recent UK Research Assessment Exercise. Many of our enterprise activities have been supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England through the Higher Education Innovation Fund. Building upon this investment, we continue to develop our enterprise offering, especially our consultancy, high-level Continuing Professional Development and the commercialisation of our intellectual property. Our strong ties with the City Livery Companies, the City of London and many private and public sector organisations in the UK and internationally allow us to take the results of our research directly to its users. City University London is ranked among the top 5 per cent of universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010/11. Our vision is to be a leading global University committed to academic excellence, focused on business and the professions, and to be ranked within the top 2 per cent of universities in the world by 2016, when we celebrate our 50th birthday.
Professor Paul Curran Vice-Chancellor, City University London
Health & wellbeing
Memory matters City’s Autism Research Group aims to increase our understanding of the memory processes of people with Autism. Professor Dermot Bowler and Dr Sebastian Gaigg explain how.
hrough a glass wall in Dr Sebastian Gaigg’s office two young researchers, Katie Maras and Esha Massand, can be seen engrossed in their work – eyes down, fingers vigorously tapping away on their keyboards. They are part of the team in the Autism Research Group at City. Professor Dermot Bowler (pictured), the Group’s Head, says: “These researchers have great scientific careers ahead of them. Esha has finished her PhD and was headhunted by the University of Washington, whom she will join for a post-doctoral fellowship on infant memory development. “Katie has not yet finished her PhD but has already published four major articles on her research into eyewitness testimony. This work is being used to train practitioners. Both Esha and Katie are good examples of how well we prepare our students for successful academic careers.” In fact, the Group has also recently had the pleasure of congratulating former colleague Dr Sophie Lind, who now works at the University of Durham, on her receipt of the Young Clinical Investigator Award 2011 from the International Society for Autism Research. Her award was based on the research she undertook at City. The research carried out by the Group is set to enhance our understanding of learning and memory in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since its formation in the late 1990s by Professor Bowler, the Group has been supported by an impressive range of funding bodies keen to assist in its groundbreaking research into the cognitive and neurobiological basis of Autism. Those backers include the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, Autism Speaks, the Nuffield Foundation and the British Psychological Society. In addition, the Group won City’s Annual Research Award for a pioneering study of the brain correlates of relational memory difficulties in individuals with ASD. This work has contributed to the broader conceptualisation of what Autism is and what characterises experiences for those with this disorder. By working closely with educators and practitioners the Group is beginning to translate its discoveries into tangible outcomes.
Health & wellbeing
06 The disorder is four times more common in males than females.
Around of individuals with Autism have no intellectual disability.
Behavioural and neuroimaging studies suggest dysfunction of the hippocampus in individuals with ASD.
of the population.
In recent years, members of the Group have published three books: Memory in Autism: Theory and Evidence (Boucher, J. M. and Bowler, D., 2008. Cambridge); The Autism Spectrum: Characteristics, Causes and Practical Issues (Boucher, J. M., 2008. Sage Publications); and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Psychological Theory and Research (Bowler, D., 2006. Wiley). The latter won the National Association for Special Education Needs/Times Education Supplement Special Educational Needs Academic Book Award 2007. More importantly, the Group has a steady output of research papers that are published in the top international journals of their field.
Unravelling the Autistic spectrum ASD comprises a set of conditions that are all characterised by difficulties in the domain of social behaviour as well as an inflexible adherence to behavioural routines. The severity of the disorder ranges from those who are socially severely withdrawn, lack language and have general intellectual impairments, to those whose language abilities and general intellect falls within the typical range but who nevertheless find it difficult to cope with social situations. Although once thought to be rare, ASD is now known to affect about 1 per cent of the population (with the incidence in males more than four times that in females) and represents a major call on educational, social and healthcare services. Scientists are unanimous in the view that ASD has a biological cause but, as yet, the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of these conditions are poorly understood. Somewhat more progress has been made in understanding the disorder at the cognitive and psychological levels and it is now clear that ASD is characterised by a complex constellation of strengths and weaknesses in virtually all domains of cognition including memory, decision-making, attention, perception, imagination, and emotion-related processes. Trying to unravel this complexity is the principal goal of the Autism Research Group.
One of the Group’s key research interests is trying to understand how learning and memory operate in ASD. “Memory is everything,” Professor Bowler explains. “From the day we are born there is an awful lot we need to learn: what things are called, what we can do with them, whether they are important or not, and so on. One can imagine therefore that, if something is different about how a person learns, he or she would grow up to interact with the world rather differently. Therefore, by understanding how individuals with Autism learn and remember things we can gain greater insight into the inner experiences of those with the disorder and we will be in a better position to provide an environment for them that plays to their strengths.” A second important line of research, led by Dr Gaigg, is concerned with characterising emotion-related processes in Autism. More specifically, how cognitive processes such as attention, memory, categorisation and decision-making are influenced by the emotional significance of events in the environment. “If I start shouting at you right now,” Dr Gaigg says, “all of your senses will quickly hone in on me and you will not pay attention to much else that goes on around us. You may also decline to speak to me again in the future and you would almost certainly remember my shouting for far longer than you would remember what we had been talking about. In much the same way, our emotional responses guide what we attend to, what choices we make and what we remember in our day-to-day life. Our research suggests that this is not quite the case for those with a diagnosis of Autism.”
if something is different about how a person learns, they will interact with the world rather differently.
A close-up on memory research Earlier studies have shown that when typical individuals are asked to recall lists of words, their recall is enhanced when there are obvious meaningful links among these words; for example, if the list contains a series of animals or items of furniture. People with ASD are less able to draw on such links to aid their recall. In their highly cited paper ‘Free
Recall in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Relational and ItemSpecific Encoding’ (2008. Neuropsychologia, 46), Dr Gaigg, Professor Bowler and their colleague Professor Gardiner have demonstrated that such difficulties are consistent with abnormal functioning of medial temporal and frontal lobe areas of the brain. To pursue their hypothesis, the academics asked a group of adults with ASD and a matched group of typically developed adults to study lists of words made up of varying numbers of examples of different categories: two items of furniture, four modes of transport, nine items of clothing and so on. For one list, participants had to rate the pleasantness of each word, thus forcing participants to attend to the features of that individual object – item-specific processing. For another list, they had to sort the words into categories, thus focusing attention on relations among items – relational processing. They then had to recall as many studied words as they could. Typically, relational processing facilitates memory for items from smaller categories because the sorting task highlights the relations between words that may not be so obvious. Conversely, memory for members of bigger categories benefits from item-specific processing because seeing lots of examples of a category (for example, ‘shoe’, ‘shirt’, ‘sock’, ‘tie’, ‘jacket’, ‘trousers’) makes them blend into one another and so it helps to think about what distinguishes them. The results of the study confirmed that individuals with ASD found it difficult to remember words from small categories, showing that they are less likely to draw on relational processes to remember items. Professor Bowler explains: “This demonstrates that ASD participants have greater difficulties processing relations among elements of experience than processing the elements themselves. Processing relations among items is important for a number of reasons but, primarily, it is important in building up memories of the personally-experienced past, something that people with ASD are not that good at. It is also something that relies on the functioning of the brain’s hippocampus, which is located in the medial temporal lobe.” The scientists’ most recent work uses functional brain imaging methods in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Psychiatry (King’s College London) to test the hypothesis that medial temporal lobe abnormalities are responsible for the relational memory difficulties in ASD. This research will close the gap in our understanding of Autism at the cognitive and neural levels and will further enhance understanding
of the inner experiences of those with ASD when they recollect past events. This research also has the potential to identify biological markers that can be used in genetic studies of the condition. To date, geneticists have relied almost exclusively on behavioural markers to establish candidate genes. In addition to pursuing the topic of memory with a view to understanding Autism better at a scientific level, the Autism Research Group is keen to find ways of translating its findings into practice. One way in which this has already happened is through the Group’s ‘Task Support Hypothesis’ (TSH). This provides a framework within which to understand the characteristics of situations that make learning more or less difficult for individuals with Autism and can thus guide practitioners in designing more effective education and intervention programmes. In simple terms, the TSH says that what is obvious to most people is not necessarily obvious to individuals with Autism, so creating environments that make what is obvious explicit (for example, the fact that a ‘cow’ and a ‘horse’ are similar because they are both ‘animals’) will generally promote understanding in those with Autism. The TSH is now included in training courses for clinical psychologists and the Group is establishing links with specialist schools in order to advise on how the TSH may be implemented. Another recent development stems from the PhD research of Katie Maras who has examined which eyewitness testimony interviewing techniques are most effective with those with ASD. Katie has discovered that the interviewing technique for witnesses used most widely by the Metropolitan Police in the UK can actually make witness reports from individuals with ASD less accurate, which has very significant implications for how the justice system deals with those with such a diagnosis.
Where next? Professor Bowler believes that the Group’s research has enhanced our understanding of the processes that take place in the brains of individuals with ASD, especially through the use of scanning techniques. His priorities for future research include ageing in Autism, as well as investigating a very overlooked group: people with ASD who also have significant intellectual disability. Dr Gaigg adds that emotional aspects of Autism will be high on his list of interests for future work.
Health & wellbeing
The Centre for Food Policy City’s Centre for Food Policy is the only university-based team in the world dedicated to examining the policy frameworks that span the entire food supply chain in the developed world.
he Centre for Food Policy (CFP) was established at the University in 2002. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise results positioned it as the number one UK academic research unit working in the area of food policy. The Centre is led by Professor Tim Lang, CFP Director, and Professor Martin Caraher. Professor Lang served as Land Use and Natural Resources (Food) Commissioner to the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission from 2006 to 2011. He is also the inventor of the term ‘food miles’, now used internationally. Food policy is the term referring to decision-making that shapes the food system. The academic study of food policy focuses on the many decisions which inform how food is grown, processed, distributed and consumed. The modern analysis of food policy includes the impact and implications of food for health, the environment, society and the economy. To this end, the CFP researches, develops and comments on food policy both nationally and internationally, highlighting the key issues faced by countries, communities and families in the light of changes in the wider global economy, as well as the specifics of the food system’s internal dynamics. On the basis of both its academic activities and its involvement in policy-making, the Centre is widely recognised as the champion of integrated public health thinking for food. It is credited as being the first group to put some difficult issues on the public agenda; for example, how we define sustainable diets and how to resolve contradictions in current advice given to the public such as eat fish for health but reduce consumption in order to maintain fish stocks. The CFP has also led an entire strand of research and debate on the role of cooking in society, namely whether, why and how to teach children
to cook (Seeley, A., Wu, M. and Caraher, M., 2010. Should We Teach Cooking in Schools? A Systematic Review of the Literature Of SchoolBased Cooking Interventions. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia, 17), including advising the Jamie Oliver team on the Channel 4 programme ‘Jamie’s School Dinners’.
Research that puts food policy in a global context These are interesting but complex times for the clarification of food policy. Food is often a sensitive indicator of wider economic troubles. The rocketing global food commodity prices between 2006 and 2008 and again in 2011 have initiated global debates about rising hunger, land use (food versus biofuels), futures trading and food insecurity as well as rising levels of household food poverty. A question still troubling the food policy community is whether this state of affairs is permanent, signifying altered power relations, or whether the long 20th century progress in producing more food more cheaply might be resumed. The CFP takes this picture as the backdrop for its work. Research undertaken by the CFP resulted in shaping the remit of the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit project on Food and Food Policy. Following on from this, the team was involved in helping the three devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales shape their food policies. They also played an important role in developing several of the regional food strategies in England (Barling, D., Sharpe, L. and Lang, T., 2010. The Re-emergence of National Food Security on the United Kingdom’s Strategic Policy Agenda: Sustainability Challenges and the Politics of Food Supply. In: Lawrence, G. et al. eds. Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainability. Earthscan).
Cooking up a storm The work of the CFP has helped place restrictions on the advertising of food to children in the UK, Sweden and Ireland. It has also influenced the response of UK local authorities to the location of fast-food outlets in the vicinity of schools and the development of nutrient-based standards for school meals. The study titled ‘A Tale of Two Cities: A Study of Access to Food, Lessons for Public Health Practice’ (Caraher, M., Lloyd, S., Lawton, J. et al., 2010. Health Education Journal, 69) reported that the number of fast-food outlets in some London boroughs was greater than the number of other retail outlets. This and other CFP studies led to a project funded by Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust and conducted with Tower Hamlets Council. Fish and Chips with a Side Order of Trans Fat. The Nutrition Implications of Eating from Fast-food Outlets: A Report on Eating Out in East London (Lloyd, S., Lawton, J., Caraher, M. et al., 2010. Centre for Food Policy, City University London) lays out the project’s findings and makes several recommendations on the regulation of fast-food outlets in the Borough, particularly near schools. Professor Caraher says: “Even three meals a week from fast-food outlets can account for up to 25 per cent of your estimated average requirement for energy for the whole week as well as being high in saturated fat and salt. While a number of national chains now have healthy options and have reduced the amount of fat, salt and sugar, the fact remains that if you are eating at a fast-food outlet you are ceding some control over your diet. There is clearly a need for action to support take-away outlets to provide healthier alternatives and to help young people and parents understand how the diet choices they make are impacting on their health.”
Following on from this, in June 2010 the High Court ruled that councillors should take into account the public health implications of such businesses when granting planning permissions. Since then an appeal against refusal of planning permission in Tower Hamlets has been upheld, but in response to this the local authority is now developing a borough-wide policy taking account of the results of a survey of residents, who support greater restrictions. The current government is changing planning regulation to give more weight to the opinions of local residents and this additional development will provide evidence to support any further cases where it is considered that fast-food outlets should be limited.
The power of food to lead regeneration A speech on the enormity of the food challenge given by Professor Lang in 2007 at a conference on climate change, inspired Pam Warhurst CBE, Chair of the Forestry Commission, to launch what has become Incredible Edible Todmorden (www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk). This is a now celebrated community-led project which corrals public space for growing food and is encouraging a depressed region to rebuild its identity around food growing. The Incredible Edible project now embraces 20 such towns, united by the same integrated thinking. This was and is a model of community-led cultural renaissance around food skills and sharing, developed in advance of the ‘Big Society’ theme. It has received wide support, praise and interest, not least from the Prince of Wales, and has also helped boost local tourism. Professor Lang has continued his connection with the project, speaking on the food challenges of today and tomorrow at the Incredible Edible Todmorden London conference in October 2010.
Bright prospects for City’s colour vision research
Helping young Londoners communicate effectively
A pioneering study carried out by the Applied Vision Research Centre has the potential to revolutionise medical certification process for individuals in a large number of visually demanding occupational environments.
Health & wellbeing
ohn Barbur, Professor of Optics and Visual Science (pictured), founded the Applied Vision Research Centre (AVRC) at City University London in 1987 and has since led research into fundamental mechanisms of vision and development of novel instrumentation for vision research. In 2003, a £1.55 million grant from the Wellcome Trust and additional support from the University helped create the Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Vision Science. The combination of unique expertise in the field of colour vision science and cutting-edge research facilities has brought AVRC international recognition. AVRC research areas cover fundamental visual processes, ophthalmic and physiological optics, vision care and clinical practice, visual neuroscience and the development of specialised instrumentation with emphasis on clinical applications.
Colour vision in safety-critical occupational environments One of the Centre’s recent research projects has the potential to revolutionise medical certification processes for professions where good eyesight and colour vision are critical. Conventional tests screen for congenital red-green deficiency; however, these tests exhibit large variability and cannot be used to diagnose the class of deficiency or to quantify accurately the severity of colour loss. In some professions, such as air traffic control, extensive use of colour signals and displays also requires normal yellow-blue colour vision. In the past, pilot, train driver and firefighter applicants often failed certification because of congenital colour deficiency, even when they were able to carry out visually-demanding, colour-related tasks with the same accuracy as subjects with normal colour vision. As part of studies on camouflage, the AVRC team discovered the existence of independent visual mechanisms for the processing of luminance contrast noise and colour signals. This investigation led to
the development of the Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) test with funding from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The CAD test identifies the class of colour vision deficiency and provides a far more accurate assessment of a person’s colour vision. The test establishes with perfect specificity whether a person’s red-green and yellow-blue colour vision falls within the normal range and quantifies the severity of any form of colour loss. Results showed that many people with minimal colour deficiency are able to perform visually-demanding, safetycritical tasks just as well as those with normal colour vision. The adoption of the CAD test led to the introduction of new pass/fail limits for aviation that do not disadvantage applicants with congenital colour vision deficiency who can perform colour-critical tasks. Dr Sally Evans, Chief Medical Officer at the CAA, says: “Under the methods and limits used in this study, 35 per cent of colour deficient applicants would be eligible for medical certification as a pilot. The CAA and the FAA promote this research. The CAD test is likely to be incorporated into worldwide standards in the future.” Today the test is used routinely by worldwide aviation authorities, Transport for London and government departments as well as by research establishments, hospitals and optometrists.
AVRC’S COLOUR ASSESSMENT TEST IS LIKELY TO BE INCORPORATED INTO WORLDWIDE MEDICAL STANDARDS IN THE FUTURE.
Looking into the future Professor Barbur has always recognised that the application of the CAD test may be extended beyond occupational health. In 2008 he was awarded the first City University London Annual Research Award for a project to study early vision changes in subjects with high risk of age-related macular degeneration. This work has evolved through a joint project with the Department of Ophthalmology, King’s College London, and the first clinical trial of the CAD test has started in collaboration with Moorfields Abu Dhabi Hospital and the Imperial College Diabetes Unit. This will establish the usefulness of the test in early diagnosis of retinal disease with emphasis on related macular degeneration and diabetes.
Young people with language and communication difficulties who live in two London boroughs have improved both their communication skills and their academic attainments as a result of City’s Enhancing Language and Communication in Secondary Schools (ELCISS) programme. The research, led by Dr Victoria Joffe, Reader in Developmental Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties in the School of Health Sciences, aimed to provide information on effective ways of supporting secondary school students with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This area has been identified as a significant gap in service provision by the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP in his 2008 review of services to people with SLCN. The research investigated the effectiveness of intervention programmes in enhancing the language and communication skills of secondary school students with SLCN. Two different intervention programmes – vocabulary and narrative – were delivered to a group of 357 12 year-olds across 21 secondary schools in the London boroughs of Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. The interventions were implemented by teaching assistants trained by the research team. Students who received the narrative intervention had better understanding of the nature of stories and storytelling and also told better and more exciting stories than their peers in the control group. This same improvement was not seen in the vocabulary group but that group demonstrated significant advancement in word knowledge and idiomatic understanding compared to the control group. There was also marked improvement in the academic performance, general school behaviour and wellbeing of the young people. The project’s findings appeared in the Afasic Newsletter (Joffe, V.L., 2011. Secondary School is not too Late to Support and Enhance Language and Communication. Afasic Newsletter, Winter Edition. Afasic). The two ELCISS intervention programmes have also been published (Joffe, V.L., 2011. Narrative Programme: Using Narratives to Enhance Language and Learning Across the Secondary School Curriculum. Speechmark Publishers and Joffe, V.L., 2011. Vocabulary Enrichment Programme. Speechmark Publishers). The City team delivered in-service training to each of the schools to disseminate the research findings and increase awareness of SLCN. Teaching staff were given advice on ways of modifying their own language, the classroom and their lessons in order to enhance the learning of all students, whatever their needs. Funded by the Nuffield Foundation with top-ups from the Communication Trust and the relevant local education authorities, ELCISS intervention programmes have now been picked up by various London boroughs and local authorities in other parts of the country. Further information about ELCISS is available from www.elciss.com
Shedding light on performance and wellbeing at work Professor Jo Silvester and Dr Efrosyni Konstantinou from the Centre for Performance at Work were commissioned by Philips to undertake research into the work environments that can best meet the needs of 21st century workers. The project team confirmed a strong association between lighting and work performance, including innovation and productivity, mediated by employee wellbeing. The report titled Lighting, Wellbeing and Performance at Work (Silvester, J. and Konstantinou, E., 2010. City University London) also stated that worker controlled lighting and lighting tailored to staff individual needs have considerable potential for enhancing employees’ work satisfaction. This may be particularly important in the case of professional staff that employers would most like to attract and retain. Based on their research findings the team has recommended that companies should consider the need to invest in workplace lighting as a means to develop work environments that support wellbeing and performance, and reduce the likelihood of employee stress, absenteeism and industrial accidents. Companies also need to adopt a holistic approach to health and wellbeing that identifies the needs of different employee groups and addresses them through a combination of company-wide and worker-centred initiatives.
Night at the museum for City book
12 cultural heritage
Byzantine chant hits the right notes A City academic is awarded a highly regarded fellowship to bring major research work on medieval chant to musicologists, art historians, theologians and the public.
octor Alexander Lingas (pictured) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana and a Fellow of the University of Oxford’s European Humanities Research Centre. His work embraces historical study, ethnography and performance. His awards include Fulbright and Onassis grants for musical studies with cantor Lycourgos Angelopoulos, fellowships at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and the St. Romanos the Melodist medallion of the National Forum for Greek Orthodox Church Musicians (USA). In 2009 the British Academy awarded Dr Lingas the Thank-Offering to Britain Fellowship to support his work on a new historical introduction to Byzantine chant for Yale University Press. The fellowship was one of eight awarded by the British Academy that year to provide established scholars with a year of leave to concentrate on bringing a major piece of research towards completion. Byzantine chant is the medieval Greek sibling of Gregorian chant. With historical and cultural roots in the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire
that was governed for a thousand years from Constantinople (modern Istanbul), it is the forebear of the music sung in worship today by hundreds of millions of Eastern Christians from Beirut to the Baltic Sea. Due for completion in 2013, Dr Lingas's study will be the first book-length introduction to the subject since Egon Wellesz’s landmark History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (1961. 2nd ed. Clarendon Press). This new introduction will serve not only a range of scholars including musicologists, art historians and theologians, but also those seeking to learn more about ancient forms of song that continue to inspire listeners in contemporary churches and concert halls. Dr Lingas is deeply committed to sharing the musical traditions of the Christian East with a wide range of audiences. In 2012 his American-based ensemble Cappella Romana (www.capellaromana.org) will release a CD of medieval chant from Mount Sinai (the group’s 14th disc) and offer a concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)’.
Dr Jenny Kidd is a lecturer in the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management. Her research interests include audiences, performance, community and digital media and museums. Her recent book, co-edited with Anthony Jackson, Emeritus Professor of Educational Theatre at the University of Manchester, Performing Heritage (2010. Manchester University Press), contemplates the sometimes controversial question of the place of heritage in today’s culturally complex societies. Launched in the imposing settings of the Theatre and Performance galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the book addresses the increasing use of performance in museums and at heritage sites that has been the subject of much comment and controversy within popular, professional and academic circles. ‘Living history’ and ‘museum theatre’ are often dismissed as ‘edutainment’ or seen as symptomatic of the ‘Disneyfication’ of culture, yet Performing Heritage aims to make a more critical and considered analysis of performance as a medium for learning, bringing together for the first time the range of voices (both professionals and audiences), debates and practices that constitute the field. Citing case studies from across the world, the book grapples with the many definitions of heritage and provides insights into the ways in which performance can engage with it in contrasting cultural and social settings.
processes & systems improvement
The art of information City’s giCentre is at the forefront of research and practice in data visualisation – an increasingly important series of techniques that provide access to data through interactive graphics. This work is having an impact in areas as diverse as local government planning and climate change research.
he increasing ubiquity of information technology in the past few decades has created a vast amount of data, capturing everything from society’s shifting demographics to the planet’s changing climate. In recent years the value of such data has been recognised – the shift towards ‘open government’, for example, has seen public bodies worldwide release their information for scrutiny by researchers, journalists and the public at large. But these data often come in great volumes and impenetrable formats. How can analysts uncover the trends that exist within large datasets that contain textual and numerical values, which may change dramatically over time? And once these trends are found, how can they be communicated to a wide and often lay audience? Data visualisation provides a solution. The advent of digital, interactive and online technology has made it possible to present and explore data graphically in new and compelling ways. Well-designed interactive graphics can act as data microscopes that help scientists and society see into the data deluge. The giCentre is at the forefront of research and practice in data visualisation. It has published more than 55 papers in the field, which have been recognised through multiple awards at leading national and international conferences such as IEEE VisWeek and GIS Research UK and published in pioneering works, including O’Reilly’s Beautiful Data (Dykes, J. and Wood, J., 2009. The Geographic Beauty of a Photographic Archive. In: Segaran, T. and Hammerbacher J., eds. Beautiful Data. O’Reilly) and Wiley’s The Map Reader (Dykes, J. and Wood, J., 2011. The Geographic Beauty of a Photographic Archive. In: Dodge, M., Kitchin, R. and Perkins, C., eds. The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation. Wiley Blackwell). The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian have featured giCentre visualisation, as have specialist publications such as Infosthetics and Panlibus.
processes & systems improvement
As part of City’s Department of Information Science, the giCentre has its roots in geographic information (GI), which has filtered through to its visualisation work. Jason Dykes, Professor of Visualisation (pictured on previous page), explains: “The team’s focus is on developing, applying, and communicating with interactive graphics. The data we explore often have a geographic component and we employ many mapping and cartographic techniques. We do so in a wide range of industries and academic disciplines.”
Helping local government to understand and inform The giCentre has been involved in a long-running collaboration with British local authority, Leicestershire County Council (LCC), supported by the UK Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Economic and Social Research Council. With the public sector facing unprecedented cutbacks in the wake of the recession, it has become increasingly important for local authorities to understand how residents use their services and engage them in the assessment of whether limited budgets are being spent in the right places. The giCentre has helped LCC to do just that, by creating an online resource that enables its staff and residents to understand and share the results of a survey of 8,000 local people on service provision. The resource is publicly available at www.lsr-online.org/placesurvey.
Work at the giCentre includes visualisation of data from projects ranging from the London Cycle Hire Scheme to global storm analysis.
It visualises public satisfaction with the services and amenities that are offered by the authority and partners such as the police or National Health Service. It allows the responses of residents with different characteristics and those from different places to be compared and contrasted visually, providing deep analysis through an intuitive graphical interface. LCC’s Research Manager, Robert Radburn, says: “Data visualisation is one method through which we can create more openness, giving our residents a greater understanding of what the Council is doing in their immediate locale and enabling them to hold us to account. The expertise that we’re developing with the giCentre is groundbreaking in terms of local authority practice and is having a wide impact in our organisation.”
Enabling insurers to assess the cost of storms Another giCentre partnership is with the Willis Research Network (WRN) – a collaboration between academia and the insurance industry that focuses on evaluating the frequency, severity and impact of major catastrophes. Working with the University of Reading’s National Centre of Climate Science, Dr Aidan Slingsby, a Willis Research Fellow in the giCentre, has developed a tool that visually analyses centuries of global storm activity and helps insurers assess the financial impact of atmospheric risk and the effect of climate change on it. The tool provides easy access to thousands of simulated storm tracks, generated over hundreds of years, enabling
climate scientists to validate and interpret their data more easily, and disseminate information to the insurance industry. Matthew Foote, WRN’s Research Director, comments: “Communication of complex hazard and risk information is an increasingly critical part of insurers’ decision-making processes. Tools such as those being developed at City University London’s giCentre are advancing the application of state-of-the-art technologies and the integration of world-leading science and risk management.” The global storm activity work was acknowledged at IEEE VisWeek 2010 with the Discovery Award.
Allowing transport providers to plan ahead Closer to home, the giCentre’s Dr Jo Wood, a Reader in GI Science, has been developing a number of visualisation applications based on data from the Transport for London Barclays Cycle Hire scheme. The scheme was launched in summer 2010 and enables residents and visitors to hire bicycles from docking stations around London. Dr Wood says: “Our visualisations provide several functions: showing the availability of bikes in the last 24 hours at each pick-up and dropoff point; tracking and simulating bike journeys; and highlighting how factors such as weather and day of the week affect usage. Such analysis will be critical to any future changes or improvements to the scheme.”
Sharing expertise The giCentre is firmly committed to sharing its expertise. It has developed and released a series of utilities that are available free of charge and can assist researchers in creating data visualisation applications using Processing – an open-source programming language. It has also created the Hierarchical Data Explorer (HiDE) – software for exploring categorical data using hierarchical graphics with different orders, sizes, colours and layouts. This provides the microscope that can help to reveal different aspects of the data. It has already been put to effective use at workshops and ‘hack days’, enabling researchers to undertake quick analysis of trends in information such as London crime statistics or voting in the US presidential and London local elections. Professor Dykes concludes: “Data visualisation has the ability to help so many people: a business looking to understand its customers; a public body trying to improve its provision for citizens; or researchers seeking to spot new trends in complex scientific data. “Our aims are to develop the knowledge and tools that can assist all of these activities, broaden the array of collaborators we work with and help people make use of data through accessible interfaces that support effective analysis and communication.” Further information and example visualisations are available at http://gicentre.org
Time is money Research shows that electronic rostering could make inroads into the £150 million a year lost by the National Health Service (NHS) through workforce inefficiencies. Two Cass academics may have the solution.
Separation anxiety: how to double Europe’s air traffic capacity processes & systems improvement
cademics at City’s Cass Business School have developed software that could be the Holy Grail in drawing up staff rotas for hospitals. The state-of-the-art electronic rostering (e-rostering) programme devised by Celia Glass, Professor of Operational Research, and Dr Roger Knight, Research Fellow, has the potential to save the health sector millions of pounds by improving use of resources, reducing reliance on costly agency staff and minimising the risk of fines for breaching legal requirements such as the European Working Time Directive (WTD). NHS trusts with efficient e-rostering systems could each save around £500,000 a year, according to a study (E-Rostering and Workforce Management: How Healthcare Trusts Can Take £150M Out of Their PostElection Cost Savings Targets, 2010. Available from: www.pac-online. com/pac/pac/live/pac_world/home/whitepapers_list/index.html) by the market research and strategic consultants Pierre Audoin for SMART, a company that specialises in complex staff rostering. Yet 54 per cent of NHS trusts do not have such systems in place, the study found. NHS Direct and the Centre for Better Managed Health and Social Care at City University London have highlighted several ways in which Professor Glass and Dr Knight’s software would make a positive contribution. These include more appropriate use of resources (saving time and money and improving patient care); more sensitivity to business and patient needs; enhanced staff morale; improved decision-making and better industrial relations.
Challenging scenarios Professor Glass and Dr Knight have created a tool that allows rosters for nurses and junior doctors to be drawn up in just a few minutes. To test it they took four widely publicised benchmark problems involving different numbers of nurses and shifts over different time spans and produced optimal rosters with the minimum number of undesirable shifts per employee. The software ensures shifts are fairly distributed and accommodates individual off-duty requests without the time-consuming “tinkering” associated with many existing e-rostering systems. “The first thing about all this is that we can do it at all, scheduling efficiently without the need for agency staff, which is a very difficult problem. Additionally, the programme takes account of flexible contracts and holiday requirements,” says Professor Glass, who draws on 30 years of experience in mathematical optimisation techniques and applications. Dr Knight has 25 years of experience in workforce management. Professor Glass adds: “The second thing is being able to accommodate personal preferences and human factors such as work design to ensure maximum fairness. It even goes down to the number of weekends worked so it’s fair. Junior doctors are not usually even asked what work they want and there’s a lot of interest at that level.”
Financial penalties Dean Fathers, Director of the Centre for Better Managed Health and Social Care, says the system would help the NHS to save resources and to avoid
hefty fines for non-compliance with regulations such as the WTD. Health sector employers are particularly vulnerable to litigation, given the long hours worked and the stressful conditions faced by many medical staff. Helen Young, Executive Clinical Director and Chief Nurse at NHS Direct, agrees that inefficient rostering systems – manual or electronic – can result in financial penalties and clinical safety issues, leaving the organisation and its executive team vulnerable to criticism and, ultimately, prosecution.
Significant breakthrough In a four-month trial of the software in the Accident and Emergency department at the Horton General Hospital in Oxfordshire, the e-rosters were able to accommodate almost all holiday requests and complied with the New Deal (a 1991 package of measures to improve the conditions for doctors in training, including – since August 2003 – a 56-hour limit on the working week), WTD and Health and Safety Executive guidelines. In the trial, the software – which so far remains unnamed – distributed fairly the number of hours worked, days on leave, weekends off and bank holidays. The number of consecutive night duties and consecutive days was noticeably reduced. Additionally, nobody worked a late shift followed by an early shift.
For more information on the software, contact Professor Celia Glass at email@example.com
With air traffic over Europe expected to double by the 2020s, academics from City’s Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design (HCID) have undertaken research for a European Commission Framework 6 project that aims to help air traffic control services meet this growing demand. As part of the project, Professor Neil Maiden, Head of HCID, and James Lockerbie, Research Assistant, worked with National Air Traffic Services, the provider of air traffic control services for aircraft flying in UK airspace and the eastern part of the North Atlantic. The team modelled a revised concept of operations for lower level airspace which specified a proposed change to ‘separation minima standards’ – the rules that govern how close to each other aeroplanes can fly. The work examined how this distance could be reduced to five nautical miles in the procedures that govern the flight paths into and out of airports, known as Standard Instrument Departures and Standard Terminal Arrival Routes. Professor Maiden explains: “The idea is that this reduced separation can be safely accommodated without increasing air traffic controllers’ workload if the design of the procedures is more systematic, aircraft are equipped to follow their assigned trajectory more accurately without controller interventions and there is automatic detection and timely resolution of any deviation that brings aircraft closer together.” Over the years the Centre has brought to completion numerous air traffic control projects and it continues to undertake innovative research in this important area.
Sensor sensibility City’s Professor Tong Sun is pioneering the use of sensors to make the world a safer place. This innovative technology has a wide range of applications from spotting criminals to stopping bridges falling down.
processes & systems improvement
easurement and the instrumentation by which it is implemented are key to industry today. City University London has been a world-leading force in the field since the early 1970s, with expertise spanning areas as diverse as medical diagnosis and the control of manufacturing processes. Tong Sun, Professor of Sensor Engineering (pictured), joined the University’s renowned Instrumentation and Sensors Research Centre in 2001, having gained undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral qualifications from the Department of Precision Instrumentation at Harbin Institute of Technology, China, and then taught at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research focuses on optical sensors and their application in hostile environments in which traditional electrical or physical sensors would fail. The application of such devices promises to revolutionise many industries and make the world a safer, more reliable place.
Sniffing out the ‘smell of fear’ In 2008 and 2009 City was awarded £550,000 in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for two projects that are investigating the potential to use optical sensors to identify illicit substances and criminal or terrorist behaviour in public areas and at border crossings. Professor Sun explains: “Today there is an array of sensors being used at airports, ferry terminals and big events such as sports matches. We’re all familiar with X-ray machines and metal detectors and you could even class sniffer dogs as a form of sensor. Our work, however, is designed to offer a better, more cost-effective and portable solution.” The projects, which are also supported by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, have two key objectives. Firstly, to see whether robotic noses could replace sniffer dogs to track down illegal cargos such as explosives or drugs. Using animals in this context has several drawbacks – they must work in short shifts and require expensive training and upkeep – so an automated system would be welcome. A second aim is to assess the feasibility of using novel smell sensors to detect the ‘fear’ pheromone – a key physiological indicator that could be correlated with abnormal human behaviour.
Human ‘fear’ pheromone detectors could help spot terrorists and smugglers.
processes & systems improvement
Staying afloat on uncertain seas
“Pheromones are the chemical signals that all animals emit in order to broadcast information about their status to others,” says Professor Sun. “We are assessing how the human pheromones associated with fear can be measured, and the viability and efficacy of using this information to help spot suspicious behaviour in security-critical settings.”
Managing concrete corrosion The corrosion of steel in reinforced concrete is a massive problem. £550 million is spent on the maintenance and repair of concrete structures each year in the UK alone, while the cost of concrete corrosion in India is equivalent to 3 to 4 per cent of its gross domestic product annually. Although maintenance may be costly, failing to preserve structures is far worse – five people were killed in Canada in 2006 when a concrete bridge collapsed due to corrosion induced by road de-icing salt. Addressing this problem is a series of research projects funded by the EPSRC, in which Professor Sun and her partners aim to develop optical fibre corrosion sensors. This includes the prestigious EPSRC Challenging Engineering Grant of £500,000, awarded to Professor Sun and colleagues at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in 2005, recognising her as one of the research leaders in the field in the UK.
This was followed by a £237,000 award from EPSRC under the ‘Collaborating for Success Through People’ scheme, which sees Professor Sun working with an international consortium that spans academia and industry to develop and test durable, in-situ sensors that can measure the key variables related to concrete corrosion: pH, chloride and humidity. The commercial potential of the sensors has now been recognised by £210,000 in follow-on funding from the EPSRC, enabling City to work with QUB, Network Rail, Road Services in Northern Ireland, Sengenia Ltd. and Amey Consulting to develop a viable product. Professor Sun comments: “This work promises to provide industry with access to improved data on concrete corrosion, enabling timelier and more cost-effective maintenance of buildings in harsh environments, such as marine structures and railway bridges.”
Keeping railways on track The latest application for these innovative sensors is pantographs – overhead power lines – for railways. A City team will develop an early warning system that identifies emerging overhead wire defects before they escalate and cause expensive system failure – known as a dewirement. A prototype will embed City’s
novel optical sensors in pantographs to measure critical strain and temperature parameters at strategic locations. This has not been feasible before, since electrical sensors would be affected by the high voltage that the wires carry. Professor Sun says: “Significant dewirements occur approximately five times a year in the United Kingdom, rendering tracks unusable until the overhead transmission system is repaired. This costs the rail industry millions of pounds due to track closures, but also affects the wider UK economy.” The project is another which is supported by the EPSRC, with £102,000 provided by the Research Council’s Collaboration Fund. City engineers will work with transport professionals within the City Collaborative Transport Hub – one of the University’s interdisciplinary centres – as well as private sector partners and industry associations such as Brecknell Willis, Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd., Network Rail and the Rail Safety and Standard Board. Professor Sun comments: “City has such a long heritage in measurement and instrumentation and we think of new uses for our technology every day. I believe strongly that the work we’re doing will have a huge impact on society in future.”
Professor Nikos Nomikos from City’s Cass Business School has been advising leading shipping and financial institutions on managing risks affecting the shipping freight markets. Over the years shipping freight markets – which reflect the cost of transporting by sea raw materials from the source of extraction to the demand centres – have undergone a fundamental transformation. A number of factors have contributed to this, the most prominent being an increase in demand for raw materials from resource-poor emerging economies, coupled with underinvestment in new capacity in the world shipping fleet during the 1980s and 1990s. This has resulted not only in an increase in the average cost of transporting goods by sea but also in very high fluctuations in freight rates. Within this volatile and risky environment, market players have to find ways to secure their earnings and to be protected from the escalation of operating costs. Professor Nomikos’ research offers practical solutions to these issues. In his article in the highly influential Handbook of Maritime Economics and Business (Nomikos, N. and Alizadeh, A. H., 2010. Risk Management in the Shipping Industry: Theory and Practice. In: Grammenos, C., ed. The Handbook of Maritime Economics and Business. 2nd ed. Informa Maritime & Transport) edited by City’s Professor Costas Grammenos, Professor Nomikos addresses the ways in which market participants can protect their earnings from market volatility and suggests the approaches that they can adopt to ensure stability in the level of costs. He also proposes a framework that companies in the shipping sector can follow for the effective management of risk. Professor Nomikos’ advice on these issues is sought by key players in the shipping industry such as the Baltic Exchange, a membership organisation that provides independent daily shipping market information, maintains professional shipbroking standards and resolves disputes.
Governments & society at large
Europe under the microscope Led by a team at City University London, the European Social Survey collects data from 34 countries to produce findings which inform social policy debate and analysis throughout Europe and beyond.
he European Social Survey’s (ESS) seven centres collaboratively provide the design and technical backup for the 34-nation project. Data from 1,800 respondents in each participating country are collected and analysed on a bi-annual basis to produce the survey. ESS’ unique standards of transparency and documentation make it a valuable resource for teaching and analysis. Students, academics, think tanks, policy focus groups and governments are among the 39,000 registered users of the ESS, 3,000 of whom are in the UK. The ESS charts and monitors changes in the policy environment as seen through citizens’ eyes. Pivotal social issues such as migration, crime, wellbeing, institutional trust and political engagement are all placed under the microscope. Professor Roger Jowell, Research Professor at City University London and Director of the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys, says: “When considering new policies, governments in the past were often ignorant of their citizens’ preferences and needs. Now European governments have a source for counteracting that ignorance.” In an era of falling political participation and low electoral turnout, the ESS is becoming an ever more important aid to good government at both national and European level. Supplementing other reliable sources of official data which chart changes in people’s social and economic circumstances or behaviour, the ESS also provides rigorous crossnational data about shifts in people’s long-term perceptions, preferences, preoccupations and concerns. In 2005, the ESS became the first social science project to win the Descartes Prize for ‘excellence in scientific collaborative research’. Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research, said: “The European Social Survey has developed a unique scientific methodology for mapping changes in social attitudes… providing an authoritative source of EU data for academics and policymakers.” Five biennial ESS surveys have been undertaken since the project’s inception in 2001, embracing well over 150,000 individual interviews. Professor Jowell continues: “The data it produces has a worldwide demand. Academically driven, the ESS aims to inform social policy at national and European levels via a series of rigorous surveys of change in European attitudes, values and behavioural patterns both across nations and over time.”
Professor Sir Roger Jowell CBE is Research Professor at City University London and Founding Director of the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys. In 1969 Sir Roger co-founded Social and Community Planning Research, now the National Centre for Social Research. Sir Roger was awarded the CBE in 2001. In 2008 he was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List.
Trust in politicians
Ageing and financial security
Analysis provides qualified good news for politicians. Despite the widelyheld view that trust in politicians is in long-term (possibly irreversible) decline, ESS data show that such a decline has either greatly reduced or ceased altogether. In only 2 out of the 17 European countries represented in the graph below was there a marked decline in public trust of politicians between 2002 and 2006. The remainder of countries have experienced either no appreciable shift or even a modest revival.
With an ageing population in Europe, how well-prepared are people for their retirement, especially at a time when occupational and state pensions are under acute pressure? What is clear from ESS data collected in 2006/7 is that many Europeans are worried about whether they will have an adequate income to cover their retirement years. As always, variations between countries are large, with over half of those in some countries and only onetenth of people in others expressing concern.
2002/3 2004/5 2006/7
Governments & society at large
% very worried about income in old age All
Percentage ‘very worried’ is derived from those answering between 8 and 10 on a scale where 0 is not worried at all and 10 is extremely worried.
60 50 40 30 20
National average scores from a scale ranging from 0-10, with 10 indicating a high level of trust in politicians.
Personal trust in politicians
This major research project receives €2 million per annum from 36 separate funders, including the European Commission and the European Science Foundation. Each participating nation funds its own support staff. The importance of the ESS to Britain is such that the UK Economic and Social Research Council contributes the equivalent of €700,000 per annum towards the project. In fact, the survey will have been funded continually from 2001 to 2013. Subsequently, it is set to become a European Research Infrastructure and will receive funding permanently. The ESS headquarters will remain at City, where the team will continue to oversee and contribute to a world-class programme of ESS methodological research. In addition to overall coordination of the programme, the City team leads research projects in specific areas of expertise including investigations into effects of mixed mode data collection (web, telephone, face to face), questionnaire design and pre-testing, event reporting and the development of attitudinal indicators on societal wellbeing. Researchers at City work with panEuropean research teams to develop questions for inclusion in the ESS, for example, on democracy, ageism and immigration. Members of the team have published in the substantive areas of attitudes towards ageing and the timing of lifecourse events, including ‘A Chorus of Disapproval? European Attitudes to Non-traditional Family Patterns’ (Harrison, E. and Fitzgerald, R., 2010. British Social Attitudes, the 26th report. National Centre for Social Research); ‘Age Identity and Conflict: Myths and Realities’ (Fitzgerald, R., Harrison, E. and Steinmaier, F., 2011. British Social Attitudes, the 27th report. National Centre for Social Research); ‘Measurement Equivalence in Comparative Surveys: The European Social Survey (ESS)—From Design
to Implementation and Beyond’ (Fitzgerald, R. and Jowell, R., 2010. In: Harkness, J. et al., eds. Cross-cultural Methods. John Wiley & Sons); and Survey Nonresponse in Europe: Lessons from the European Social Survey (Stoop, I., Billiet, J., Koch, A. and Fitzgerald, R., 2010. Wiley). In 2010, Professor Jowell’s book The International Social Survey Programme, 1984-2009: Charting the Globe, co-edited with Max Haller and Tom W. Smith (2009. Routledge), won the Best Publication Award by an International Scholar from the American Sociological Association. A world leader in comparative research and methodology, the ESS is the subject of more than 25 books to date, over 500 journal articles and countless conference papers. The ESS data has enabled a variety of major pan-European studies.
The European social model ESS helps to answer the question: Does Europe’s model of welfare provision reduce individual acts of social support? One of Europe’s most lasting contributions has been its model of welfare provision in which everyone’s taxes contribute to the health and financial security of all. But from time to time the system has come under fire from those who argue that societies actually function better when citizens spontaneously interact with and care for one another. Such activity supposedly withers in welfare states where formal government provision ‘crowds out’ individual acts of social support because people step aside and leave things to the state. The more this happens, they suggest, the less frequent will be even the most basic acts of solidarity such as doing a sick neighbour’s shopping. In their study titled ‘Does the State Affect the Informal Connections Between its Citizens? New Institutionalist Explanations of Social Participation in Everyday Life’ (Van der Meer, T. et al., 2008. In:
THe european social survey aims to inform social policy at national and european levels
Meulemann, H., ed. Social Capital in Europe: Similarity of Countries and Diversity of People? Multi-level Analyses of the European Social Survey 2002. Brill) Tom van der Meer and colleagues from Radboud University in the Netherlands have investigated these claims by drawing on data from the first round of the ESS. They analysed data on individual help given to fellow citizens and linked this to aggregate national data on social security expenditure and average income. Their key finding is that higher social security spending does not in fact diminish individual acts of social support. They also concluded that there is no evidence for the notion that the welfare state ‘crowds out’ social solidarity. Furthermore, the higher the average income in a given country, the more inclined are its citizens to provide for one another. Finally, the research concluded that economic security strengthens rather than weakens social ties, perhaps because individuals more readily turn their attention to others only once their own basic needs are met. These conclusions were made possible by the scale of the ESS’s large cross-national dataset which enabled common patterns to be identified. The unusually detailed background data in the ESS enabled the effects of certain national differences – such as the likelihood of living in a large family – to be taken into account in the analysis, making it possible to identify the ‘independent’ impact of increases in social security spending and differences in average income between countries.
Public responses to migration Rises in concern over immigration are greater in times of economic gloom, and among citizens who do not have the skills or qualifications to adapt. Several European governments periodically increase inward migration as a means of filling gaps in their national labour force, often in the face of strong public opposition. In other countries, immigration has increased spontaneously, also accompanied on occasions by public disquiet. So it is no surprise that the salience of immigration as a political issue rises
and falls. Just prior to the French Presidency of the EU (2008), the French Prime Minister warned that “…Europe is being subjected to increasingly large waves of immigration… and the general public in some countries is extremely worried about it.” What determines the extent and the timing of these episodic upturns in public concern? Since 2001, ESS data provide in-depth updates on the issue across Europe. Two analyses in particular, from Harvard and Catholic University of Leuven, use data from the ESS to tackle this question. The Leuven analysis titled ‘Changing Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe, 2002–2007: A Dynamic Conflict Theory Approach’ (Meuleman, B. et al., 2008. Social Sciences Research, 38) concludes that surges in opposition to immigration between 2002 and 2006 were closely associated with economic fluctuations. Good economic conditions make people more accepting of immigration, and vice versa. More worryingly, a widespread economic downturn is likely to be accompanied by a sharp rise in opposition to immigrants. But the Harvard study – Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Towards Immigration in Europe (Hainmueller, J. and Hiscox, M., 2007. International Organization, 61) – discovers another factor at work at the individual level. Public attitudes to immigration are closely linked to educational background; people with less formal education are more likely to oppose all immigration, even of higher level workers who do not seem to pose any direct threat to their own jobs. Conversely, more highly educated people show greater acceptance of all forms of immigration, even of workers who might well provide competition for their own jobs. The link between education and greater tolerance of immigration arises from the impact of education on people’s overall values. Thus more educated people tend to express less xenophobia, feel more sympathy for cultural diversity and are more likely to discern the economic benefits of immigration. They are also less likely to believe that immigrants ‘make crime worse’ and more likely to believe that they ‘enrich cultural life’.
Impunity and the rule of law City’s joint initiative aims to end impunity for those responsible for acts of violence against journalists.
Governments & society at large
he Initiative on Impunity and the Rule of Law is a joint project of the City University London Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism (CLJJ) and the University of Sheffield Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM). CLJJ brings together academic and research staff from the City Law School and the Department of Journalism in the School of Arts. The Initiative is sponsored by the Open Society Foundation, the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and the Norwegian PEN Centre (part of the PEN International association of writers). It provides an independent platform to assess the effectiveness of existing legal, political and institutional safeguards against violence directed at journalists because of their professional work. It also presents a case for more effective international mechanisms to counter such crimes of violence and to end impunity for those who commit them. The Initiative has received the backing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a long-time advocate for the worldwide protection of journalists’ rights. He says: “The right of journalists to report freely is of vital importance to people in all parts of the world and those who use violence, assassination or detention to try and intimidate journalists must be held accountable for their actions.” As documented by UNESCO, the annual toll of targeted killings of journalists and the effective impunity related to crimes of violence against them have risen to historically high levels. The Committee to Protect Journalists has identified 13 countries around the world with the worst record of violence against journalists. In those countries alone, 251 journalists were killed with impunity in the last decade. The persistent disregard for the fundamental rights of journalists as they exercise their profession has led to a climate of impunity affecting not only victims but also freedom of expression and the rule of law in the societies concerned. The Impunity and the Rule of Law Initiative set out to identify the normative and enforcement gaps under international law,
and explore effective solutions for the prevention and sanction of similar violations. The Initiative involves collaborative research and consultation among academic and legal experts, national government officials, intergovernmental organisations, and civil society and media representatives to help end the impunity of those who commit crimes against journalists. Professor Howard Tumber, Co-Director of the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism says: “Our project meets an urgent need for investigation into the nature and spread of all acts of violence directed at journalists because of what they publish or seek to expose... and for the development of effective measures of a legal and political kind to counter impunity. We intend that our Initiative will inform and assist efforts to implement effective international actions to end impunity for those responsible for killing, threatening or suppressing the work of journalists, editors, publishers and others who report on matters of public concern.”
Research findings that draw a bleak picture The Initiative’s research consists of two strands, focused principally but not exclusively on the European area. The first includes an analysis of the current gaps in enforcement of States’ commitments, and the extent of relevant rights and obligations in law. The rights guaranteed in all general human rights instruments – right to life, personal liberty and integrity, freedom from torture, freedom of expression, right to an effective remedy – commit States to refrain from killings, ill-treatment, unlawful arrest and other interferences likely to have a chilling effect on all media operators and the population at large both at peace and in times of war. From the range of treaties and other instruments at both United Nations (UN) and regional level, it is clear that the problem of impunity is well recognised and that the description of the rights to protect journalists is complete. Thus the major hindrance for the protection of journalists derives not from the scope of the rights but from implementation deficits:
States are reluctant to accept supra-national monitoring of institutions due to concerns over the erosion of State sovereignty. In addition, a lack of resources affects the establishment of effective police and judicial systems as well as the functioning of relevant international bodies. The second strand of the Initiative’s research is a political aspects study, analysing alleged climates of impunity in terms of political and judicial processes, and the impact of formal and informal channels used to seek compliance with international norms and commitments. In terms of universal mechanisms, the UN Security Council’s binding powers are restricted to situations amounting to a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace or an act of aggression, but there is no general competence to take action against countries where killings and intimidating acts occur in peacetime. Regional systems however have established more far-reaching enforcement mechanisms, through regional courts issuing binding judgments on individual complaints.
Proposals to enhance enforcement of journalists’ rights The Initiative has proposed a set of new instruments and procedures aimed to enforce journalists’ rights worldwide. The research team, which includes Professor Lorna Woods, Director of Law for the CLJJ, Dr Carmen Draghici, Lecturer in Law, and Dr Dimitris Xenos, Researcher in the City Law School, believe that a specific instrument for the protection of journalists appears justified on account of their vulnerability as a category and the impact of attacks against them upon the public’s right to information and democratic control over ruling elites. The success of conventions for special categories (children, women, minorities, disabled) or rights (protection against torture, nondiscrimination) confirms that they attach particular stigma to violations. The stronger option is a convention negotiated within the UN General Assembly or the UNESCO General Conference, systematising and detailing
existing obligations in respect of media workers. Such a global instrument would cover regions with modest inter-governmental cooperation and set uniform standards, reflecting the trans-border dimension of the phenomenon of violence against journalists. An ad hoc body of independent experts monitoring compliance of a convention of this nature would allow for a more expeditious procedure and avoid the loss of political pressure ensuing from the fragmentation of initiatives. A further option would be to expand the prerogatives of existing bodies, for example, amending the statute of the UN Human Rights Council to remove the prior consent requirement for country visits, and to introduce a mechanism of complaints for less exceptional cases. The powers of regional courts could be amended to include a priority procedure (modelled after the EU post-Lisbon speed procedure for persons deprived of liberty) in media violations cases, given their wide public implications for freedom of expression. While none of these solutions is immune from objections in terms of desirability or feasibility, the legal inertia of the international community is likely to perpetuate the status quo, despite the notional existence of rules prohibiting violence against journalists and unwarranted interference with freedom of expression. These highly pertinent issues are addressed in a report on the research findings titled The Initiative on Impunity and the Rule of Law: Safety and Protection for Journalists: A Responsibility for the World (2011. CLJJ, City University London and CFOM, University of Sheffield), published following a major international working conference held at City in June 2011. The project team are confident that the Initiative’s research and the conference’s recommendations will continue to inform and influence decision-making by State governments and international organisations and will ultimately lead to concrete action by the international community that will end impunity for those responsible for killing or threatening of journalists.
Decoding the crisis
t is currently estimated that in the region of 40 million people are displaced and resettled annually as a result of international or localised conflict, land acquisition to make way for large infrastructure projects such as dams or roads, or following natural disasters. In addition, it is envisaged that anthropogenic global warming through sea level rise and more erratic weather will create new flows of so-called ‘climate refugees’. In response to the challenge of climate change, developing countries’ governments are evolving adaptation and mitigation programmes, but these are likely to have a significant impact on society, including population displacement and resettlement. Dr Christopher McDowell, Head of City’s Department of International Politics (pictured), is a political anthropologist and an international expert on the displacement and resettlement of populations in the developing world. He regularly advises governments, non-governmental organisations and international bodies such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank. His recent study into global environmental migration for the Foresight Programme formed part of the research into Global Environmental Management, a programme that considers policy challenges that may confront the UK in 30 and 60 years’ time. Dr McDowell’s research examined the likely social impact of actions
31 Governments & society at large undertaken by developing countries’ governments to mitigate against the impacts of climate change. The study cautions that some adaptation and mitigation measures – afforestation and re-afforestation, increased use of hydropower and the construction of sea defences – will require land use change and thus increase the numbers of people displaced. Furthermore, these significant changes often take place in a legal context in which the rights of resettlers are poorly protected and resettlement operations are equally badly planned and managed. Drawing on his experience of evaluating resettlement operations, Dr McDowell believes that people are likely to be further impoverished and politically marginalised as a result of their displacement. At the same time, the robustness of current governance arrangements to manage the resettlement will be put to the test. Despite the seemingly bleak outlook, Dr McDowell remains hopeful that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process and up to $100 billion of new money being made available for climate change related development present opportunities for improving national and international management of land acquisition and resettlement, and may lead governments to agree a new regulatory framework that enhances protection for everyone who is involuntarily resettled.
Unsettling times ahead Governments of many developing countries are devising extended programmes to combat the impact of climate change; however, some of the proposed measures are a cause of great concern as they have the potential to create climate refugees.
Dr Anastasia Nesvetailova is Reader in International Political Economy in the Department of International Politics. Her primary research interests are in financial crisis and governance. In her research Dr Nesvetailova draws heavily on the heterodox tradition in political economy, bringing together various approaches to the politics of finance and critical studies of the economic system. Her policy-related and media work translates theoretical narratives of international political economy into the current language of policymaking and governance. Dr Nesvetailova’s first monograph Fragile Finance: Debt, Speculation and Crisis in the Age of Global Credit (2007. Palgrave Macmillan) advanced the Hyman Minsky’s framework for analysing the wave of financial crises in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which included the East Asian crisis, Russian default, the fiasco of the US-based Long-Term Capital Management and the bursting of the Dotcom bubble. In Fragile Finance Dr Nesvetailova developed the concept of progressive illiquidity, arguing at the time that the apparent ‘liquidity glut’ in the world economy was in fact illusionary. She placed the retreat of the state from control over the credit creation process and the privatisation of credit at the core of the problem and warned against the tendency of the global financial system towards progressive illiquidity, determined by the process of private financial innovation. The monograph came out in October 2007, just a month into the global credit crunch, and was subsequently featured in the Financial Times (‘Insight’, 7 November 2008). Dr Nesvetailova’s second book on the global credit crunch Financial Alchemy in Crisis: The Great Liquidity Illusion (2010. Pluto) builds upon her concept of progressive illiquidity. Gary Dymski, Professor of Economics in the University of California Riverside, says: “Anastasia Nesvetailova shows how fraud, gaps in regulation, unchecked risktaking, the sheer complexity of contemporary markets, and hubris by financial ‘masters of the universe’ have all played their part in the ongoing financial and economic crisis. She demonstrates that ready liquidity became a defining feature of the financialised global economy – but in the end, liquidity proved fragile, a point of entry for crisis which no amount of financial engineering could paper over.” Dr Nesvetailova has been advising research departments of government bodies, international financial institutions, and journalists worldwide on the issues of financial crisis management.
Governments & society at large
Making big business behave City academic argues for a contextualised approach to corporate governance to ensure effective compliance with good standards of business behaviour.
gor Filatotchev is Professor of Corporate Governance and Strategy in City’s Cass Business School. His research interests focus on the effects of corporate governance on entrepreneurship development, strategic decisions and organisational change – a fast growing area in the management and economics literature. He is currently undertaking research into the analysis of resource and strategy roles of corporate governance, corporate governance life-cycle and a knowledge-based view on governance development in entrepreneurial firms and IPOs (companies that are in the process of being listed on the stock exchange). These projects are supported by research grants from various national and international donors, including the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the UK Department of Trade and Industry, the Leverhulme Trust, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, and the European Commission. Corporate governance can be broadly defined as a set of principles, policies and institutions that regulate the way a company is directed and controlled. It is also concerned with the nature and extent of accountability of the individuals leading an organisation to its various
stakeholders. The 1992 Cadbury Report includes a Code of Best Practice for companies, which is built around the principles of accountability, probity and transparency. These principles, along with the concept of equity, became the benchmark for good corporate governance. Professor Filatotchev’s research suggests a multi-disciplinary, holistic view of corporate governance. His main argument for a more contextualised approach to corporate governance has strong implications for public policy. In the light of corporate governance scandals and perceived advantages in reforming governance systems, debates have emerged over the appropriateness of different policy approaches based on hard law or regulation that draws upon soft law, such as codes based around ‘comply or explain’ principles, which mean that grounds must be given for possible deviation from their provisions. The hard law approach to regulation, such as the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, also known as the 'Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act', seeks to strengthen corporate governance through legal rules that cover all companies operating in a particular jurisdiction. Such an approach mandates high minimum standards and
failure to meet these results in severe legal penalties. Soft law, such as the UK Corporate Governance Code (formerly the Combined Code), requires listed companies to report on how they have applied the main principles of a Code, and either to confirm that they have complied with the Code's provisions or – where they have not – to provide an explanation. This approach has been criticised for its weaker degree of enforcement and inability to mandate uniform minimum standards. The jury is still out on the two approaches; however, Professor Filatotchev suggests that the trade-offs involved can be better understood by analysing the implementation of policy in terms of costs, contingencies and complementarities of corporate governance. For example, SarbanesOxley has been criticised as being too rigid and imposing excessively high costs, whereas the UK codes have needed to be strengthened by greater legislative underpinnings to assure enforcement. Professor Filatotchev's views are in line with an approach to corporate governance followed by the Financial Reporting Council, responsible for general oversight of firms’ compliance with the Code in the UK. He says: “The more ingrained the system of corporate governance in a business
community, the less is the need for detailed regulation to ensure effective compliance with good standards of business behaviour.” The fact that the UK approach is arguably the less universalistic and more contextualised may also help explain why, as other countries look to the US and UK as early pioneers in the field, they have adopted some aspects of the US approach but on the whole have tended more to follow the UK Codes approach. This may also be evidenced in the present tendency for a growing number of firms to prefer to trade their stocks in London rather than on the New York Stock Exchange. Professor Filatotchev has published extensively in the fields of corporate governance and strategy in leading academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Organization Science, California Management Review, Journal of Business Venturing and Journal of Management Studies. He has edited a book, Corporate Governance and the Business Life-cycle (2010. Edward Elgar). He currently serves as an Associate Editor of Corporate Governance: International Review and Journal of Management and Governance.
Chinese law reform
rofessor Adrian Keane, a Barrister and Director of Professional Programmes for the City Law School, is providing expert advice on improving a controversial new set of evidence rules for death penalty cases as part of a project team set up by the Chinese Centre for Criminal Procedure Reform, based at Renmin University, Beijing. The team is also developing a further set of guidelines, to be used in all criminal courts in China, for the exclusion of confessions obtained by illegal means. Professor Keane explains: “The focus of my research for this project has been to identify solutions to the difficulties in the drafting and implementation of rules designed to exclude evidence obtained by torture or otherwise illegally, improperly or unfairly.” As part of his new role, Professor Keane will meet and address judges from across China, as well as other law academics, at two seminars in Beijing in 2011 and 2012. His participation has been coordinated by the Great Britain China
A senior City Law School academic is involved in major legal reform in China, having been appointed as the only non-Chinese member of a team advising the country’s government.
Governments & society at large
Centre and has been funded by the UK Foreign Office. Professor Keane is an internationally-recognised expert in the law of evidence whose text, The Modern Law of Evidence (Keane, A., Griffiths, J. and Mckeown, P., 2010. Oxford University Press), has been cited not only by the House of Lords and the Privy Council, but also in courts around the world, including the Supreme Court of Canada and the UN War Crimes Tribunal in Rwanda. Professor Keane’s other areas of research include the use at trial of scientific findings relating to human memory and whether they point to some types of evidence, for example, evidence about events occurring during one’s very early childhood, being so unreliable that they should not be accepted without independent corroboration, and a groundbreaking critical analysis of the rationale, scope and complexity of the rules relating to leading questions in examination-in-chief and cross-examination.
Money talks A Cass academic has shown that economic theory can be a valuable tool in predicting exchange rate movements. Ranked by online business education magazine Poets & Quants as one of the Best 40 Business School Professors under 40, Lucio Sarno is Professor of Finance and Head of the Faculty of Finance at Cass Business School. An expert in exchange rates, a subject on which he writes prolifically, Professor Sarno is routinely called for advice by governments, international organisations (including the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) and financial companies around the world. His writings and advice have influenced several matters of policy, including the operating procedures of central banks in the foreign exchange market, the design of exchange rate policies, the prediction of currency fluctuations and currency crises, the use of capital controls, the management of public debt and the assessment of currency risk. Professor Sarno’s groundbreaking research has overturned the view that economic theory is of little use in predicting exchange rate movements. He has documented how the evolution of currencies can be understood in terms of very simple economic intuitions, thereby helping governments and individuals to an improved understanding of changes in the purchasing power of their currencies and the measures needed to hedge against currency risk. His recent research supports the proposition that if a country runs a persistent deficit then its currency will depreciate, thus improving its competitiveness in selling its goods and services abroad and so ultimately bringing it back into surplus.
Control valve Reduces the pressure of the hot water to the point where it begins to flash into steam. The pressure is varied to control the power output of the unit to that required for the given electrical load.
Effective use of energy
The power of positive thinking Established in 1995, City’s Centre for Positive Displacement Compressors has become a global go-to resource for pioneering research and consultancy and is now turning its attention to green technology.
he Centre for Positive Displacement Compressors (or the Compressor Centre) evolved from parallel yet independent work that began in the 1980s on screw expanders at City University London and screw compressors at the University of Sarajevo. It was the civil war in former Yugoslavia that brought the two together, when many academics were forced to leave the country and seek new tenures abroad. Professor Nikola Stosic was one of them – he secured a research position with Professor Ian Smith at City, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). This twist of fate proved to be the start of a long and fruitful partnership.
Compressors and expanders Screw compressors are machines that pressurise liquid or gas in industries such as energy, water management, oil and gas, and desalination. They consist of two powered, meshing, helical screws, known as rotors. Screw expanders have a similar design, but enable gases to expand. This turns the rotors, which can then be connected to a generator to create energy. The performance and efficiency of each machine are influenced by the profile of the rotors and it is this area that became a focus for the Compressor Centre. The initial EPSRC collaboration highlighted that there was a serious lack of engineering science-based knowledge of how to design and predict the performance of these machines – something that was confirmed by discussions with industry. So it was realised that by combining their abilities and using the existing test facilities at City, Professors Smith and Stosic could offer industry advisory services that were not available elsewhere.
The expander main casing This contains the twin meshing rotors, which expand the water further so that it leaves the casing as wet steam at a lower pressure. The expansion process causes the rotors to revolve, thereby producing mechanical power which is used to drive the generator.
Generator This converts the mechanical power of the screw expander into electrical output. The wet steam leaves the expander here where it can be used either for heating purposes or, after separating out the water, for further power generation in a conventional steam turbine.
With the support of Holroyd – a UK-based rotor manufacturer – Professor Stosic was awarded a Royal Academy Chair to remain at City and the Compressor Centre was initiated in 1995. From the outset its aims were to advance the design and manufacture of compressors and expanders through research, while supplying consultancy services to industry in the form of analysis, design, testing and development, and training of engineers. As part of this approach, the Compressor Centre formed a partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) to host an international conference on compressors and their systems at City. This has been held biennially since 1999 and is now a recognised forum for advancements in the compressor industry. Since 1995 the Compressor Centre has gone from strength to strength. It has a truly global reach, cooperating with 69 companies in 31 countries across all continents and generating approximately £8 million in research income. To support this work, five test rigs have been built and 133 research papers have been published in conference proceedings and journals. In recognition of their work, members of the Centre have received 11 awards, including the James Clayton Prize – the IMechE's most prestigious accolade – which was given jointly to Smith and Stosic in 2006.
The factors behind the success A key to the Compressor Centre’s global reputation has been the breadth of its offerings. It licenses its Scorpath/Disco software to screw compressor manufacturers to help them design and maximise the performance of their machines.
“City’s advantage over others comes from our ability to optimise screw machines to give the best performance, rational investment and operation response even if made of ordinary and cost-effective elements,” explains Professor Stosic. In addition, customers’ engineers take a course at the Compressor Centre, providing them with insight into the procedures used to programme the software as well as training to use it. The Compressor Centre also offers its own design service, most recently creating a family of oil-flooded compressors for a Chinese manufacturer.
Looking ahead to a green future It was one such design assignment that created a new direction for the Compressor Centre, when Geodynamics – an Australian geothermal energy company – commissioned a new type of steam expander. “Geothermal energy is most apparent in areas of volcanic activity, where the tectonic plates forming the Earth’s surface come into contact with each other. It is normally manifested in the form of geysers or fumaroles, where steam and hot water naturally emerge from the ground,” says Professor Smith. Geodynamics is harnessing this energy by pumping water underground, where it is heated by the hotter temperatures found at depth and from where it returns to the surface as steam. To reap the benefits of this process, the Compressor Centre has designed and manufactured a prototype expander which can then convert this steam to electricity. The Centre was the only organisation in the world that would commit to building such a machine.
A new venture With the steam expander device completed in Spring 2011 and currently undergoing tests in Italy before it ships to Australia, a spin-out company, Heliex Power Ltd., has been formed to exploit the commercial potential of the idea. Heliex will design, manufacture and sell twin screw steam expanders. The key innovation in City’s design is that it can operate with so-called ‘wet steam’ – steam which is at a low pressure and temperature and contains water droplets that would destroy traditional machines. This means that the expanders can be implemented in a wider array of applications. Beyond geothermal energy, this could include recovering energy from the otherwise waste steam that arises in power production and industrial processes. Entrepreneur Dan Wright, who is leading the Heliex venture, elaborates: “Our system promises a rare combination of radical advances in industrial energy efficiency with low risk because it is based on tried and tested technology. It uses established manufacturing methods and materials. “Heliex’s technology lightens the growing burden for industry created by escalating costs by capturing energy traditionally lost in a variety of industrial processes ranging from power generation to dairy operation and marine propulsion.” Market research has indicated that the energy recoverable by the system in Europe and North America rivals the world-installed capacity of wind turbines. If this potential can be realised, then the seeds sown by Professors Smith and Stosic in the 1980s will reap an impressive harvest for generations to come.
Effective use of energy
Multi-channel high speed optical system for the characterisation of diesel sprays.
Fuel for thought Established in 2001 by Professor Dinos Arcoumanis, the City Energy and Transport Centre’s core activity is research into internal combustion engines and, in particular, the fluid dynamics in fuel injection systems, the fuel spray mixing and in-cylinder flow and combustion processes for both gasoline and diesel engines. Developments in this area have been summarised in Flow and Combustion in Reciprocating Engines (2009. Springer-Verlag), co-edited by Professors Arcoumanis and Kamimoto of the Institute of Technologists, Japan. Professor Arcoumanis is also the founder of the International Journal of Engine Research. The Centre undertakes both experimental and computational work. The former is focused on application of laser diagnostics in optical engines and fuel systems, while the latter is concerned with the development of advanced computational fluid dynamics codes that are used to predict the extent and intensity of the cavitation in fuel injectors. The Centre has attracted more than £2.5 million of industrial funding over the last 15 years from businesses including Nissan, Toyota, MAN B&W, BMW and Siemens Automotive, Caterpillar UK, Caterpillar Fuel Systems and Delphi Diesel Systems. This support has allowed the development of some of the most advanced computation models used by Research and Development departments worldwide. Professor Manolis Gavaises, the Director of the Energy and Transport Centre, says: “Our work on cavitation has resulted in findings that have influenced the design of mechanical components where cavitation takes place. The team has been the first to perform pioneering experiments and validate the developed models.” In 2011 the Centre, in partnership with TU Delft and Loughborough University, was awarded £1.3 million by the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust to support the establishment of the International Institute for Cavitation Research with headquarters at City.
Growing in the wind City’s postgraduate students can try their hand at commercialising the University’s research with the London City Incubator. To commercialise the results of pioneering research being undertaken by City academics, the University’s Enterprise Office has launched the London City Incubator (LCI). Through its internship programme it helps business-minded academic staff to assess the commercial potential of their research ideas and if as a result of this assessment a spin-out company is formed, prepares it for investment. The LCI model is simple but effective – every year the incubator recruits a cohort of interns with the right mix of technical and commercial skills to manage the projects’ commercialisation process from initial assessment to execution. All interns are City’s postgraduate students. They receive ‘on the job’ training and get first-hand experience of managing real-life technology transfer. One of the recent ventures that came to life as a result of the LCI’s involvement is Totempower. An invention that optimises a traditional wind turbine design has emerged as City’s new spin-out company – Totempower Energy Systems Ltd. The business was set up to commercialise a novel turbine design that utilises wind energy more efficiently, particularly in relatively calm conditions.
From academia to industry Among the many projects Professor Ahmed Kovacevic (pictured) is currently promoting with wider industrial partners are the research and development (R&D) activities of Howden Compressors Ltd., a major UK compressor manufacturer. As the Chair of Engineering Design and Compressor Technology in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Kovacevic has set up a comprehensive R&D programme at Howden that aims to establish the company’s technology advantage and to increase current business opportunities by developing new products. As a result of this prolific collaboration the company has doubled in size in two years by combining its inherent know-how and manufacturing excellence with City’s licensed intellectual property.
For more information about the projects you have just read about, or to discuss future collaborations, please contact: City University London London EC1V 0HB t. +44 (0) 20 7040 8096 f. +44 (0) 20 7040 5300 w. www.city.ac.uk Editors: Jo Bradford, Research Office Nadia Zernina-Forde, Enterprise Office Articles provided by: Sarah Birdsall, City University London Press Office Liz Hall, Contributing writer Luke Nava, City University London Press Office Nadia Zernina-Forde, Enterprise Office Designed and produced by FP Creative Ltd www.fpcreative.com