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Applied research at Coventry University

Creating a buzz about bees

fighting the decline of bumblebees in British gardens

Masterminding manufacturing Innovative venture with Unipart

Is gardening good for your health? Using science to find the solution

Cutting the cost of cybercrime

Helping businesses beat the hackers

Issue 14 Winter 2013

Tackling tension Developing a healthier approach to homelessness Putting an end to FGM All that glitters Achieving energy efficiency in older buildings


Research is always top of our agenda at Coventry University, but just recently activity in this area has been reaching fever pitch. Over the past few months we’ve been busying ourselves in preparation for the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF). REF 2014 is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. Our academic and support staff have been working hard to ensure Coventry University submits a strong application and demonstrates the impact of our research to help with our assessment for REF 2014. Our work in this area has also helped to shape the University’s strategic direction for research over the next few years. We’re shifting our focus and making certain that we concentrate our efforts in specific areas that really make a difference. You can read about some of those areas of focus in this issue of Innovate. Once again we’ve packed the pages full of our groundbreaking research, our expert consultancy and our partnerships with businesses from SMEs to multinational organisations. This issue reveals how we’re playing our part in tackling tension monitoring in local communities and making our cities safer places. We’re also fighting the plight of the humble bumblebee and helping to stop the decline of these insects in British gardens. On the subject of gardening, you can also learn more about the science behind gardening and its impact on your health. As a University we’re determined to play our part in shaping the future. If you feel you’d like to work with us on this then please get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.

Professor Ian Marshall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Contact:

Follow us on:


Is gardening good for your health?


10 28

Putting an end to Female genital mutilation (FGM)

7 16 4

news and events The latest research news from across the campus


PARTNERSHIPS FOR PEACE Peacebuilding practices in Kenya


Is gardening good for your health? Using science to find the solution


Tackling tension Working to create safer communities


Cutting the cost of cybercrime Helping businesses beat the hackers

Edited and designed by Marketing and Communications Coventry University Printed by Emmersons


Creating a buzz about bees Fighting the decline of bumblebees in British gardens


A KEEN solution to support growth Supporting SMEs with knowledge exchange

Masterminding manufacturing Innovative venture with Unipart


down and out? Developing a healthier approach to homelessness


Achieving energy efficiency Retrofitting older buildings to save energy and money


All that glitters Ethical behaviour in the jewellery industry

For more information If you would like to find out more about any of the articles within this issue, if you have a general enquiry about applied research or to subscribe to a future issue of Innovate, contact us on

Telephone +44 (0) 24 7688 8352 Email Website


Cutting edge of carbon-free Boosting hydrogen-fuel cell technology


Putting an end to FGM Leading a global effort to stop female genital mutiliation


Investing in innovation How Coventry University is supporting small businesses

This publication is available in other formats on request. Please contact Marketing and Communications on +44 (0) 24 7688 8352 If you would prefer to receive Innovate electronically email


NEWS&EVENTS Touch Digital project manager Serena Malone with one of the tech lab’s new gadgets, a cutting edge 3D printer

Technology at your fingertips

A new digital lab based at Coventry University’s Technology Park is offering help to West Midlands SMEs to integrate the latest technologies into their business and boost productivity. The Touch Digital tech lab – which is backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and run as a collaboration between Coventry and Aston universities – features interactive touch screen tables, an array of smart devices and a state-of-the-art 3D printer. Small and medium firms in the region can access five days of free expert advice and practical support in the new lab, where they can try out new technologies first-hand and explore ways to use them for their business needs. West Midlands-based visual communications specialist Alex Hughes is one example of an entrepreneur whose business has already benefited from the Touch Digital tech lab.

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Alex, a freelance cartoonist whose work involves using ‘visual reportage’ to create bespoke images for companies and individuals, was offered a tailored workshop as part of the project to help him understand his technology requirements. The result – the integration of new software into his digital tablet work flow – has helped him to connect with clients remotely in realtime and make huge savings on transport. Serena Malone, project manager for the Touch Digital tech lab initiative, said: ‘Different businesses will have very different requirements when it comes to the uptake of new technology, but the ultimate aim of our project is to be the first port of call for any small and medium firm in the West Midlands when it considers upgrading or developing its technology. We’re very much ‘open to business’ for SMEs looking to explore what options they have.’ For further information visit

Users take advantage of one of the Touch Digital tech lab’s interactive touch screen tables

Harnessing the power of the sun

modern universit y of the year Coventry University has been rated the ‘Modern University of the Year’ by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014.

The solar power industry is diversifying and moving into household and commercial energy markets as the levels of Government subsidy fall for household solar electricity generation. Coventry University’s Sustainable Building Futures project is supporting this agenda by installing equipment that can use solar power in numerous ways and allow access for SMEs to learn from this. The Sustainable Building Futures project is a unique venture that engages with eligible SMEs in the collaborative development, assessment, and implementation of innovative environmental technology products and services for use in sustainable construction. In August 2013, a new solar power test system was installed on the roof of the University’s Engineering and Computing Building comprising of two independent units with Off Grid (power stored in batteries) and Grid Connected capability (power is fed into the building electrical system).

This equipment has been installed for the exclusive use and benefit of eligible West Midlands businesses seeking real information about the performance of solar systems. The equipment has already attracted the attention of local firm, Exergy, who are keen to evaluate the performance of some small off grid temporary solar power kits they are proposing to supply to the UK. A computer monitoring system has been linked to the equipment which allows data to be captured, trended and reported. A major factor that influences solar power is of course the weather; Sustainable Building Futures have installed a compressive weather monitoring station on the roof to monitor the local environmental conditions including the solar irradiance level which is a measure of the power of the sun’s radiation being received. For more information about this and other services available from Sustainable Building Futures team contact

The University has leapfrogged into 45th place in the overall rankings – up ten places from its position in the current guide and the highest listing ever for a modern university in the history of these guides - to seal its place as the country’s top modern university. Coventry also made the final shortlist for the title of ‘University of the Year’ in the 2014 guide. The University’s enhanced standing in The Times and Sunday Times guide follows on from its improvement in the Guardian newspaper’s university guide for 2014, which saw Coventry climb 13 places to 33rd spot overall – its highest ever position in that publication. The Times and Sunday Times guide identifies high student satisfaction levels in recent years as a significant factor in the University’s rise, alongside its innovative approach to delivering affordable, alternative routes into higher education through Coventry University College and the success of our London Campus.

Innovate I Winter 2013 5

Reaching out through research


your assets

Here’s just some of the organisations Coventry University is currently working with

Help for high-tech companies Dr Sarah Brown (Reader in Forensic Psychology Development) and Prof Leam Craig (Forensic Psychology Practice Limited) were commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to carry out Research on Experts in Family Law Cases. The project will be looking at recent changes to the Family Procedure Rules that came into force in January 2013 and will assist in understanding how the upcoming reforms are being implemented.

Coventry University has been commissioned by the NSPCC for a project looking at Social Workers’ knowledge and confidence when working with cases of child sexual abuse: What are the issues and challenges? The project will be delivered by a cross faculty academic consortium supported by an Advisory Board of key stakeholders, practitioners and end users. In collaboration with a number of local authorities, the project aims to collect and analyse data to better understand the impact of any identified gaps and in particular their implications for knowledge transfer for the sexual abuse theme commissions and for CPC training and consultancy.

Dr Valerie Cox, Project Manager Sport and Exercise, will be working with Probe Scientific, an early stage medical device company formed to exploit its patented platform technology. Probe’s first product, MicroEye, has been proven to be an effective continuous sampling system for use in continuous glucose monitoring in critical care. The project will establish proof of concept and allow the company to raise funds for a longer study to compare work in tissue and blood.

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For further details email:

Small to medium sized enterprises in the West Midlands can access support for innovation in serious games and mobile apps from a new initiative called the Serious Games Studio (SGS).

The project is supported by £499,800 from the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and matched by Coventry University Enterprises Ltd. The SGS project is aimed at West Midlands SMEs who have an idea for a mobile app or serious game and who require support in order to develop the concept. It is the only programme of its kind in the region to provide tailored business assistance in app development. George Constantinou, Project Manager at Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute, said: ‘The skills of our delivery team in providing solutions across all digital media platforms are very much sought after by regional businesses and the opening round of the Serious Games Project saw small tech firms, startup companies and entrepreneurs coming to us for advice and practical support on how to develop their initial ideas into workable concepts.’ To find out more about the Serious Games Studio project please contact: George Constantinou Project Manager Paul Howe Designer 024 7615 8222

All businesses need to innovate to stay competitive. However sometimes those with the best ideas miss out on the competitive advantage by failing to protect their valuable intellectual property. Understanding intellectual property is an essential skill that all businesses – no matter what size they are – should hold. IP is the ‘unique’ element of any business. It includes copyright, patents, designs and trademarks, the invention of a new product, a brand or logo, and written or artistic work. It’s impossible to protect an idea - but you can protect what you do with it. Coventry University has been helping business understand IP for a number of years. Working in close collaboration with the Intellectual Property Office, the official government body responsible for IP rights, Coventry University has developed a bespoke programme aimed at business advisors and those with an interest or need to understand how IP works at an advanced level. The course has been a huge success and hundreds of business advisors have benefitted from the programme. The IP Master Class has now been revamped and on 30 October, Lord Younger, the Minister for Intellectual Property launched the UK’s first digital course aimed at tackling the issue. The course, developed by Coventry University in collaboration with the IPO offers tools and guidance to help British businesses understand, protect and exploit their IP assets. The IP Master Class is approved by professional bodies and offers participants a formal qualification in IP. The course covers what IP is, how it can be protected, how it can be valued as an asset and its practical application in business. On qualification, participants become a practitioner on the IPO’s Register of Qualified Business Advisors, after which they can undertake a fully accredited IP audit.

he £32million project will see the creation of an international centre of engineering and manufacturing excellence, which will be the base for a sustained programme of innovative teaching and learning, product development and research activity.

Coventry University and the Unipart Group have joined forces to develop a new Engineering and Manufacturing Institute on Unipart’s manufacturing site in Coventry

The project, which has been awarded £7.9million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Catalyst Fund, is part of a national government initiative which is supporting innovative programmes designed to boost the economy. Unipart themselves are contributing £17.9 million towards the creation of the new facility with a further £5.6 million towards student scholarships and product research and development, and including support for the new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in manufacturing and the advanced engineering and management programmes that will emerge as a result of the initiative. This exciting, collaborative project establishes a new and innovative teaching environment that will create a step change in the higher education model for manufacturing engineering degree courses through enhanced activity-led learning. David Willetts, the Universities Minister, said: ‘This is an innovative and exciting project. Coventry University students learning on Unipart’s factory floor will gain technical skills that are highly valued by employers and help the UK in the global race.’

The facility will accommodate new undergraduate, postgraduate and low carbon R&D programmes; creating a ‘faculty on the factory floor‘ and allowing students the opportunity to be connected directly to the latest technology on the manufacturing front line. Its aim is to develop the next generation of highly skilled, specialist engineers and operational leaders needed for the UK’s high-value manufacturing sector. This will be achieved by providing students with direct access to Unipart’s operations, allowing them to work on ‘live’ issues in a real world manufacturing production environment. The project directly supports the Heseltine Review, the UK Industrial Strategy, and the demand for higherlevel STEM skills across the UK economy. It also strongly supports the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP priority for 5,000 new or up-skilled engineers by 2015 and the priority to increase the number of SMEs in the advanced manufacturing engineering sector that are active in R&D to 25%. Carol Burke, Managing Director of Unipart Manufacturing Group, said: ‘Unipart Manufacturing enjoys a close working relationship with Coventry University as we share many of the same passions, including increasing the number and calibre of engineers and associated skills in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, as well as researching and supporting high value manufacturing and engineering. This partnership is therefore a key element of our own growth profile in high value manufacturing.’

Innovate I Winter 2013 7

A small team of researchers from Coventry University recently travelled to Kenya to conduct research on community tensions, dialogue and peacebuilding practices in Kenya and the Eastern Africa region.

Partnerships for peace in Kenya uring a workshop for around 30 policymakers, practitioners and community activists, Hazel Barrett, Associate Dean Applied Research, Carol Rank, Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and Aurelie Broeckerhoff, Centre for Social Relations had the opportunity to explore issues of conflict transformation and peacebuilding practices, particularly pertinent in light of the recently held Kenyan general elections and the on-going ethnic tensions in certain parts of the country. The visit was co-organised by Coventry University, the University of Nairobi and the Kenyan National Commission on Integration and Cohesion and represented the continuation of an on-going partnership between these three bodies with the University of Makerere, the British Council Kenya and local peacebuilding organisations. The organisations have been working together since 2009 to address conflict and community tensions in Kenya and the East African region in an initiative now united as the ‘Partnership for Peace and Cohesion’, some of the achievements so far have included: setting up peace education and human security undergraduate 8 Innovate I Winter 2013

and postgraduate programmes, a highprofile conference bringing together politicians (the then Deputy Prime Minister, the then Minister of Justice), academics from all three institutions and peacebuilding practitioners from a range of conflict ‘hotspots’ in the region. The purpose of the visit was to support work towards a publication on community tensions, dialogue and peacebuilding in Kenya and the Eastern African region. It will be published by Coventry University and the University of Nairobi. The team also met with Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Henry Mutoro at the University of Nairobi, who has expressed continued support for the Partnership for Peace and Cohesion. The visit also involved two research field trips, meeting with conflictaffected communities in the Rift Valley and in two of Nairobi’s slums. The publication will be made available as an e-book in Spring 2014. For more information, please contact: Aurelie Broeckerhoff

Tourism and hospitality in Russia has received a welcome boost thanks to a €1.5million project funded by TEMPUS.

A boost to Russian tourism enior Lecturer, Terrence Brathwaite is part of an expert panel put together by The Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS), to help advise the Russian Government, state universities and the private sector. The TEMPUS project has funded the development of a lifelong learning network of ‘universitieslocal authorities-private businesses’ targeting four Russian regions: Tomsk, Altay, Kemerovo and the Ivanovo region. Terry attended the launch of the project at Tomsk Polytechnic University - the oldest University in Siberia. He worked with Russian and EU university partners in developing a strategic framework. He also took part in a rigorous benchmarking analysis of similar European and Russian experiences. In May 2013 Terry re-joined the ATLAS Expert panel for a special workshop of the TEMPUS consortium. Terry worked specifically with EU and Russian University Deans and Heads of Divisions, to establish

tourism market expectations and training needs analyses, as a basis for retraining and ‘in-job programmes’ structure and content. Terry explained: ‘The four Russian Universities will function as training, consulting, research and certification ‘capitals’ for tourism market and local authorities. Each Centre will modernise a current unit of the University (either a café, a museum, or tourism agency) for training purposes, and such ‘laboratories’ for trainees’ real-world project work will have practitioners in the tourism industry as trainers.’ The next phase of Terry’s involvement as an ATLAS Expert is to support the Universities in bringing EU experiences of Russian staff development. This will involve short-term group visits to EU partner Universities, to get familiarised with the EU system of in-job trainings and retraining programmes and upto-date tourism developments as well as networking experiences.

A humanitarian

approach to engineering Coventry University has been awarded a prestigious Green Gown Award for its work in Humanitarian Sustainability.

What is humanitarian engineering? Traditional notions of humanitarian engineering are linked to helping those in marginalised communities. At Coventry University we’re developing this further to ensure that our curriculum and teaching helps contribute to students who are more culturally aware and more gender sensitive, not just in developing countries but in all areas. Senior Lecturer Liz Miles explained: ‘Humanitarian engineering at Coventry University is much broader. We’re keen to ensure that our engineering graduates are able to support, rebuild and redress a situation

where the community do not have the ability to do this for themselves. The technical engineering of the problem is important but so is the quality of life for those involved in the process.’ Liz continued: ‘We’ve linked up with commercial partners and have two teaching fellows working on this area from the Royal Academy of Engineers. We also have a visiting professor who is a humanitarian engineering expert who has worked in industry for many years designing and building refugee camps.’

he Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by higher and further education. Coventry University was successful in scooping the main prize in the ‘courses’ category; an award that is given on the basis of recognising innovative actions with regard to sustainability in academic courses.

The project has resulted in a Humanitarian Sustainability Journey available for students to travel starting in their first year with a broad global challenge, moving to more specialist topics in the second year including looking at the concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility, and then onto a final year module that focuses on a sustainable supply chain that starts in pre-disaster preparedness, through to the remediation of a post-disaster community.

Humanitarian sustainability uses Coventry University’s Add+Vantage employability modules as a means of teaching students the importance of applying sustainability concepts when operating in humanitarian response situations.

A highly innovative project that addressed a challenging but internationally important issue humanitarian response situations – and adding the further challenge of applying sustainability concepts to the situation with students.

Humanitarian sustainability is about developing sustainable, culturally sensitive and appropriate solutions to address social issues in communities that are unable to cope themselves. It can be applied on a local, national or international level.

What the judges said:

Grand Challenge Initiatives ageing society

Ageing Society

d o o g g n i n e d r a g s I

for your

The benefits of gardening for older people are widely know n; it increases physical activity, promotes relaxation, and provides stimulation.


recent report published by the Royal Horticultural Society called ‘Gardening Matters: Urban Gardening’ concluded that gardening makes gardeners happier, but what’s missing is the evidence related to the physical health benefits of the activity. Principal Lecturer James Shippen recently started a new research project applying the latest technology to this issue. James is an expert in biomechanics; the science concerned with the internal and external forces acting on the human body and the effects produced by these forces. James explained: ‘My expertise lies in applying engineering principles to the human body. In its most simplistic form we observe how people move as if they were robots. We consider the body to be a structure and we investigate how it moves and how it reacts to different loads and pressures.’

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The University has a state of the art motion lab within its School of Art and Design. The motion lab was primarily installed to examine the structure of vehicles but more recently James and his team have been applying the same thinking to examining the human body. ‘The motion lab helps us to see what’s happening to people underneath their skin. We can look at the forces in their muscles, joints and bones. People are basically a series of levers; it’s all just physics. We’ve used the lab to research people’s bodies when they dance, England’s cricket team fast bowlers and we’ve also worked with paraplegic subjects.’ Using the motion lab technology, James and his team of researchers examined people with spinal cord injuries. They scanned the subjects while they were operating a rowing machine to examine the different loads. James then attached electrodes to muscles and examined the results. By sending electrical pulses to the muscles this helps stop the deterioration of the muscles and the effects of osteoporosis.

While considering different applications of the technology James realised the huge potential for research with older people and exercise, in particular, the activity of gardening. James approached the Royal Horticultural Society and together devised a joint research study. The study will examine the muscle strength, bone health, cardio-vascular performance and mobility of gardeners, and non-gardeners, to see if there is any correlation between health benefits and gardening activities. A seminar was held at RHS Wisley in October to launch the research initiative. The event gathered together horticultural professionals, biomechanists, physiotherapists and specialists in healthy ageing, together with gardening equipment manufacturers.

The research will bring together 200 subjects; people from a range of ages, activities and abilities. The subjects will be monitored in the motion lab carrying out a range of activities from digging to pruning. The lab will record the loads and effects on the body while completing the range of tasks, over a fixed period of time. James will then be able to identify which tasks have the most beneficial impact on the body and which could be potentially damaging through prolonged exposure. James continued: ‘By carrying out this study we’ll be able to identify what are the best gardening activities to maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. We can see what effect each task has and where the threshold lies, or even if it exists. We’re the first in the UK to look at the physical benefits of gardening on older people so the research is attracting interest from many agencies including AgeUK.

r health? Biography Dr James Shippen is a chartered mechanical engineer with a background in the medical, automotive and defence industries specialising in writing analysis code for mathematical modelling and numeric simulation. James has a BSc (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Leeds and was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham for his research into the mathematical modelling of the structural/acoustic interface of passenger vehicles. For the previous 10 years James has worked extensively in the field of biomechanical analysis where engineering principles have been applied to the human mechanism to derive information about the loads within the muscles, joints and bones. These techniques have been applied to research as diverse as vehicle design to spinal cord injuries.

Innovate I Winter 2013 11

Reports of riots and violent protests are never far from the media, but buried behind the headlines is the hard work that takes place to reduce the impact of these incidents and ensure that many hundreds of protests take place in a controlled and peaceful manner.


esearchers at Coventry University’s Centre for Social Relations have been working in this area for a number of years. In 2007, they teamed up with the Metropolitan Police to produce a guide to monitoring community tension and a framework for authorities to work towards. This guide was rolled out across various police forces throughout the UK and a rigorous training package supported the document. The guide, which has since been revised and updated, helps provide an insight into the best ways to work with the local community, identify hotpots and help minimise the impact of the activity before it becomes a bigger issue. Dan Range, Senior Research Assistant, explains: ‘An easy example to demonstrate tension monitoring is Marching Season in Belfast. Every year, at the same time, an element of rioting or violent protesting takes place as part of the Marching Season. After we’d trained the police and the local authorities about identifying periods of potential trouble and implementing tactics to disperse the activity there was much less impact. The key to the whole process is developing links with the community, building trust and acting on information to create intervention.’

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In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, the organising committee, LOCOG, contacted staff at Coventry University with a request to provide an updated training package for all London Boroughs and host cities across the UK. This required training more than 400 people in less than two months. The training was rolled out to local authorities, the police, health authorities, schools, community groups and the voluntary sector in the areas surrounding the Games sites. Dan continued: ‘There were hundreds of protest groups who wanted to be involved in London 2012. The key to minimising the impact of their involvement was dialogue. We trained those involved to sit down with the groups, talk through their issues and establish boundaries which worked for both sides. This was a much more cost effective option of minimising disruption than drafting in additional police and support following an incident which escalates.’

The work on tension monitoring is essential for police and local authorities but it’s also a huge benefit to the business sector.

Dan’s background in social housing has given him the ideal experience for this role in tension monitoring. He worked in London and provided liaison between the housing office and residents. ‘I quickly learned that I needed to gain residents’ trust in order to build links with the community. I also found that by giving people a ‘voice’ it helped get their issues resolved and people could see the value of being open and talking through their problems.’ It was these skills that helped Dan move into academia and employ his expertise in engaging with ‘hard to reach’ individuals and groups. In future Dan hopes to incorporate changes in the way groups use social media into later editions of the Community Tension Monitoring guidelines. Following the London riots in 2011, police forces and local authorities are acutely aware of the power of social media. ‘We need to ensure the guidelines move with the times. If individuals and groups are talking on social media we need to be listening to what they are saying.’

Biography Dan Range Dan Range is a Senior Research Assistant at The Centre for Social Relations and has worked at Coventry University since 2008. During this time he has worked with local authorities, police forces and practitioners across the UK to promote social cohesion and further community engagement. Dan graduated from The London School of Economics in 2003 and has recently completed an MA in Community Cohesion Management at Coventry University. His current research interest include intergroup contact and prejudice reduction.

The London riots and events like the G8 protests have also thrown up additional areas of influence that Dan and the team at the Centre for Social Relations need to examine. ‘The work on tension monitoring is essential for police and local authorities but it’s also a huge benefit to the business sector. During the G8 protests a number of small businesses were forced to cease trading for a number of days. For some people this could mean facing potential loss of earnings, and the difference between bankruptcy and staying afloat. We’re working with the Chamber of Commerce to see how the tension monitoring training can help support businesses to identify hotspots and prepare for them.’ Dan and the Centre are also working with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the National Community Tension Team (NCTT). The NCTT collates information from local police forces, local authorities and government departments to build a picture of issues affecting communities. By employing the training on tension monitoring, police forces can give a score to the likelihood of tension and the level of impact. The higher the score, the more police involvement will be required. ‘The training on tension monitoring produces visible results for the police and local authorities, but it continually needs updating. As well as the addition of social media to the guide, we’re also recommending to ACPO that the guidelines incorporate international events because of the impact these can have on a community.’ Dan continued: ‘The guidelines are based on a simple principle; evidence, experience and potential. This, coupled with our training and expertise in tension monitoring, creates a successful package that is helping to equip police forces and local authorities with the tools they need to work hand in hand with their communities.’ Innovate I Winter 2013 13 11

Grand Challenge Initiatives DIGITAL MEDIA

Digital Media

With more awareness through all levels of a business organisation Cybersense will reduce the level of exposure from organised crime, insider threats and help avoid the estimated ÂŁ3 Million* costs of recovering from a serious kinetic and electronic breach

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*Detica/Cabinet Office

Cybercrime costs UK businesses an estimated £1000* per second mainly through IP theft and industrial espionage. It is now ranked above a nuclear attack as one of the highest threats to UK National Security according to a recent Government Select Committee Chaired by Keith Vaz MP.

of cybercrime he number and complexity of electronic attacks, not only on government sites but also commercial businesses large and small is rising every day. CyberSense™ is an innovative partnership between Coventry University’s Serious Games International, a subsidiary of Coventry University, Ascot Barclay Group - a London Based Cyber Security Specialist and Aston Business Assessments, a team of Organisational Psychologists from Aston University. The partnership was created to tackle the issues of delivering a consistent and compelling cyber security message to the masses. The CyberSense team is developing a unique and innovative cutting edge cyber security awareness platform unlike anything that is available in the Cyber Security educational space today. The platform integrates game theory, human behavioural assessment and a deep understanding of the Cyber Threat Landscape designed to deliver an engaging and interactive experience. This games based cyber security solution will be aimed at helping to ensure the safe use of the internet as a mandatory work tool for employees and managers.

Raising threat awareness is a key strategy in the defences of any organisation that holds private or public data, intellectual property, sensitive commercial or proprietor data or company secrets. With more awareness through all levels of a business organisation CyberSense will reduce the level of exposure from organised crime, insider threats and help avoid the estimated £3 Million* costs of recovering from a serious kinetic and electronic breach. It allows the user to ‘play’ through a variety of modules, including seeing the business from their own eyes and through the mindset of a hacker, understanding what they are hoping to achieve and what motivates them. This approach allows a much deeper understanding with higher levels of protection for each user and each business. CyberSense aims to bring cyber security into the same realm as health and safety training within a business, so it becomes an automatic cultural mind-set, making companies more aware and ready to deal with potential cyber threats and provide clear instructions and actions around what to do in the event of a suspected attack or breach. For every corporate business licensing CyberSense for its staff the CyberSense team will donate free licences to schools to raise cyber security awareness at

grass roots level and ensure that young people leaving schools and education facilities are entering the workforce with an established level of awareness. Mike Loginov, C|CISO, CEO and Founder of the Ascot Barclay Cyber Security Group and the Programme Leader said: ‘Cyber-attacks are persistent, pervasive and on the increase they are a reality of doing business in today’s highly interconnected world. Organisations that adopt a proactive stance to defending their staff, innovations, commercially attractive data and intellectual property (IP) will remain competitive and thrive. Those that don’t will crash and burn. Recovering from the burden of the serious electronic breach is expensive, this coupled to an anticipated increase in litigation and tribunals as staff take employers to task as a result of the stress brought on by targeted spear phishing and Doxing attacks in the work place. CyberSense not only protects staff but also the employer as the platform is able to record that a best practice, safety and risk mitigating approach has been deployed and is core to the ethos of the organisation.’ Tim Luft, Managing Director, Serious Games International Limited, responsible for building the platform said: ‘We are creating a concept that will improve businesses awareness of cyber attacks, increase their knowledge and retain it. We allow the user to learn through a

variety of modules, scrutinising the business through their own eyes and also through the view point of a cyber-hacker or other threat actor. This allows for a deeper understanding and teaches them the skills to deal with future attacks be it from a business or home perspective. With increasing cyber attacks this model is paramount for any business today to effectively protect themselves. In essence it adds value and guarantees return on investment.’ Dr Steve Woods, Lead authority on the psychological and behavioural aspects for CyberSense and Reader in Work & Organisational Psychology at Aston Business School added: ‘Research has shown that the majority of cybercrime is instigated through the human factor and the ways that people manage their data or provide, albeit unwittingly, access to data through security breaches. As behavioural psychologists, the research we bring to CyberSense, assesses the risk associated with different user behaviours in a fun and engaging game rather than the dark and scary tones that are often used for cybercrime. We feel that the driver for user behaviour will be through a positive message rather than scaring everyone into action. Our experience in behavioural psychology allows us to bring in situational judgement tests and individual risk profiles to make a compelling cyber security awareness solution.’ Innovate I Winter 2013 15

Grand Challenge Initiatives SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD CAFS is a partnership between Coventry University and Garden Organic

Sustainable Agriculture and Food

The rapid decline in the population of bumblebees in the UK has been widely reported, and is an issue that Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology and Food Security is especially concerned about. he link between these furry insects and the availability of the food we eat hasn’t been something at the forefront of people’s minds, until recently. Bees are regarded as the most important insect pollinators worldwide, and of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. Through the pollination of many commercial crops such as tomatoes, peas, apples and strawberries, insects are estimated to contribute over £400 million per annum to the UK economy and €14.2 billion per annum to the EU economy. Insect pollinators, and in particular bees, are therefore essential for ensuring food security. If bumblebee and other insect pollinator declines continue, the extremely high cost of pollinating these plants by other means could significantly increase the cost of fruit and vegetables. One of the biggest threats to bumblebees is the intensification of agricultural practices which means there are now far fewer wildflowers and nest sites in the UK countryside, and many bumblebee species are struggling to survive. Of the 24 species of bumblebee in the UK, only eight are regarded as

16 Innovate I Winter 2013

widespread and common, and an additional two species have become extinct within the last 80 years. Research Assistant at the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security, Gemma Foster, is undertaking a new piece of research looking at bumblebees in our own gardens and allotments, to see what we can learn from gardeners and determine how we might be able to support bumblebee populations in these spaces. Gemma explained: ‘Very little has been published about bees in urban areas. Almost nothing is known about bee diversity and abundance, or the level of resource provision, in gardens and allotments. Maintaining bee populations in these spaces is especially important as a wide range of crops and flowers grown in these spaces are dependent on pollination, and because gardens have also been shown to act as a valuable source of pollinating bees for nearby agricultural crops. Despite the importance of bees, there is a lack of understanding with regard to how to support and encourage their populations in urban habitats, and many recommendations are based on assumption or informal observation.’

Gemma identified this ‘gap’ in the research and is now working with Garden Organic, the national charity for organic growing and CAFS partner, to help show people how they can make a difference in their own gardens and allotments. The project was launched by CAFS in spring 2013. The team initially contacted Garden Organic members and invited them to take part in two surveys. The first survey, a ‘plot management survey’ included a short questionnaire about how people manage their garden or allotment, and the techniques they use to attract bumblebees. The second survey was a ‘bumblebee count’, which involved observing and recording the bumblebee activity in an allotment or garden, for ten minutes each week, during June, July and August 2013. Participants were given full instructions, recording sheets and a bumblebee identification guide which was developed by CAFS and illustrator Matt Miles. Gemma explained: ‘We looked to members of the public, as they hold vast amounts of knowledge about the effect their gardening practices have on their environment. The response to the initial call to members was overwhelming, and once the press heard about the research and featured it in several national newspapers and magazines, we had hundreds of people from all over the UK taking part.

We’ve collected the surveys back in now and can start analysing the data. We’re hoping to identify some themes that can help build the basis for recommendations. For example, we want to know which flowers are regarded as the most attractive, how people integrate flowers within their crops, whether nest boxes work, and hopefully discover some novel techniques to attract bumblebees. We plan to put all of the findings together and then develop some practical suggestions which we can trial in coming years. For example, if we identify a particular flower as potentially highly attractive, we will send people seeds for that plant and ask them monitor the activity of bumblebees around those flowers so that we can determine how attractive it is to different species. ’ Gemma continued: ‘When we started the project we knew that the public would have a certain level of awareness about the decline of bumblebees because it is so topical. What we didn’t quite anticipate was the amount of support and motivation that people feel towards this insect. People really feel connected to the issue and want to help make a difference. Maybe it’s a reflection of changing attitudes, or maybe it’s down to the appeal of the humble bees themselves.’

If bumblebee and other insect pollinator declines continue, the extremely high cost of pollinating these plants by other means could significantly increase the cost of fruit and vegetables.

Biography Gemma Foster

Queen Red-tailed bumblebee

Queen White-tailed bumblebee

Gemma is a Research Assistant in the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security. She has over ten years’ experience working on agricultural and horticultural research projects, and her main interests include biodiversity, organic horticulture and urban food production. Gemma also has practical horticultural experience and has worked on organic farms in the UK and South America.

Innovate I Winter 2013 17

A ‘Keen’ solution

to support growth

Tortrix is a successful small software development company that provides innovative software solutions for use by businesses. It specialises in bespoke app development, design and development of visual data dashboards and intranet solutions as well as cloud computing services.

social KEEN offers a level of flexibility to companies who are yet to realise their full potential


data KEEN can offer support to SMEs in the West Midlands region. If your business could benefit contact Andrew Wilcock on

TIF WM can provide 50% funding for up to 10 days ICT consultancy to SMEs in the West Midlands area. For more information contact Tortrix Ltd. on 02476 15 8060 or at


he company moved onto Coventry University’s Technology Park three years ago. Working closely with the Business Development team on campus, Tortrix’s Managing Director, John Nunn wrote a business plan which resulted in the University purchasing a 10% stake in the business. John said: ‘Going into business with the support of the University was a significant milestone for Tortrix. It gave us the weight and confidence to apply for bigger and better contracts and opened up doors to external funding that we wouldn’t have known about before. I like to think we also give something back to the University. Through their relationship with us they can learn more about SMEs and the challenges we face; helping the University to target their support in the right areas.’ Tortrix has a number of major clients including Dominos, Liverpool Royal Hospital and Coventry City Council, as well as a number of smaller businesses that they support. ‘The economic downturn has significantly and negatively affected our opportunities for development but now we’re looking to grow. At first we thought we could grow by adding on more developers to our team, but we weren’t able to find the right balance between bringing a person with the right skills set on the team and offering them a salary that we could afford to pay. We tried apprentices with little success and after several interviews were still no better off.’ Business Development Officer Andrew Wilcock was aware of the issues Tortrix were facing and after finding out more about their specific requirements suggested rather than growing the business through the developer route why not consider investing in sales and marketing instead. John admitted that previous sales and marketing staff had not been successful and was reluctant at first.

Andrew introduced John to the KEEN project. The Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN), part-funded by ERDF, is designed to help West Midlands based SMEs increase their profitability and achieve growth. KEEN offers a level of flexibility to companies who are yet to realise their full potential. This is made possible through the transfer of knowledge into the business via a recent graduate who is recruited to work full-time on a growth project, developed in association with the university, for six to 21 months. The University supports the company from the application stage, during recruitment and for the lifetime of the project. Meetings are held at the start, mid-way point and end of the project with all parties, to ensure the project is on track and delivering results for the business. John was convinced. He worked with Andrew to create a job description, advertise and recruit to the post of Sales and Marketing Manager. Tortrix appointed Cristina-Andreea Atudorei, a psychology and criminology graduate, who will work with Tortrix over the next 18 months to develop their marketing and sales strategy, attracting leads and converting leads to clients. Cristina has also brought her expertise in digital marketing to the role and is helping to grow the business’ social media consultancy offering. Cristina said: ‘Thanks to the KEEN and the support from Tortrix I’m really getting challenged. I’ve had previous graduate jobs before but when working with a larger organisation, you are in a very clearly pre-determined role and there is little room to grow or to truly show your potential. Working with a small business means that I have the opportunity to be involved in very different projects and to work on various sides of the business. I’m also mentored by one

of the academics from the University who is really pushing me and encouraging me to explore new ideas. It’s amazing.’ John continued: ‘Cristina has quickly become a vital member of the team. We’re happy to let her shape this aspect of the business and are confident in her abilities. We’re already seeing more business and the growth that we were so keen to achieve. Thanks to having the support we received through the KEEN we were also able to successfully bid and win the tender for the Technology & Innovation Futures West Midlands project. This means that we can provide eligible SMEs with up to 10 days of ICT consultancy 50% funded. Cristina manages the marketing of our services and engages with potential leads. She then supports them through their application for the funding, through to their conversion and beyond that to ensure they are completely satisfied with our services and remain repeat clients. Thanks to the level of business secured and the leads she is now in the process of converting, we’re now at a stage where we are even considering taking on another KEEN affiliate to look at the technical side of the business.’ Business Development Officer, Andrew Wilcock said: ‘Recruitment and selection can be an expensive process for SMEs. Through the KEEN, the business gets support at every stage. We also provide each business with a dedicated academic advisor. In this case,

Dr Husni Kharouf, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Advertising, is supporting Cristina, helping shape the direction of the business and joining up the dots between business and education.’ John continued: ‘Taking part in the KEEN project has been invaluable for our business. Cristina is the ideal candidate; she’s driven, ambitious and focused. Husni provides a level of knowledge that we would never have had access to before, and Andrew keeps us up to speed on funding streams and new business. It’s a winning combination.’

Innovate I Winter 2013 19

Down and out?

Developing a healthier approach Since 2002, the Government has made homelessness prevention a priority, providing funding to improve homelessness services and requiring local councils to develop proactive strategies to prevent homelessness in their area. omelessness isn’t just about people sleeping on the streets. There are many more people in England who do not have a home despite not actually sleeping rough. Some have to put up with living in temporary accommodation; others have to endure overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. Not having a decent home adversely affects all areas of a person’s life; it can affect a child’s education, an adult’s ability to get and keep a job, but the most profound impact is on a person’s health. Statistics show that rough sleepers and those in hostel accommodation attend hospital A&E departments four times as often as those with a home, and stay twice as long. Research suggests that this is not because they have nowhere to move on to (as often portrayed in the press) but because they are twice as sick. The life expectancy of a homeless person in the UK is

20 Innovate I Winter 2013

approximately 47 years and even lower for homeless women at just 43 years, compared to 77 years for the general population. The Department of Health policy states every patient should be discharged to a suitable home with appropriate support in place. Admission to hospital should be seen as a window of opportunity to link homeless people into accommodation and services. No-one should be discharged from a hospital to the streets. In an effort to support this, the Department of Health released £10 million funding for charities and organisations to support their efforts. A group of charities from Coventry have teamed up with Coventry University and secured funding of almost £60k to help change the situation in their city.

In Coventry, there is currently no protocol or provision for a homeless person being released following a hospital admission. Coventry Cyrenians and Valley House have designed a project to develop and pilot a new hospital discharge protocol for homeless people in Coventry and Warwickshire. Coventry University will support the project through consultancy and evaluation of the data. Dr Christine Broughan, Director of Coventry University Research Solutions explained: ‘We’ve brought together a small group to support the research, which is quite innovative in its approach. Our team comprises an undergraduate Psychology student, Stephan Calteau, a Project Officer, Laura Cole and I. We’re also recruiting a homeless person to conduct the interviews with their peers. Stephan volunteers for MIND and Laura volunteers for the Choir With No Name, a charity which supports homelessness, so they are both bringing a wealth of skills to the group.’ The primary aim of the project is to establish effective protocols that meet the needs of the homeless population or people being at risk of becoming homeless after being discharged from hospital and mental health clinics. The project includes the training of UHCW ward staff and specialist mental health ward staff to identify individuals with homelessness issues, looking at these issues on admission and

implementing awareness around homelessness for staff. It includes the effective coordination between the hospital and housing through a Hospital Liaison Worker, enhancing communication between all services and agencies and allowing for the development of planned discharge process for homeless individuals admitted to hospital. Opportunities to self refer to the Valley House Counselling and Support Service can also enable individuals to address underlying mental health issues through tailored, flexible, short or long term counselling interventions. The new protocol will be tested through a pilot scheme with 50 homeless clients. A Steering Group has also been established which includes representatives from the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Group, Housing Department and Public Health teams to reinforce the good process of hospital discharge. Christine continued: ‘The project will also establish a monitoring system for a regular evaluation on the number of homeless admissions and homeless discharges. This will provide the opportunity to record information on the number of admitted homeless; to evaluate the number of homeless currently treated; to measure the number of patients identified as homeless at discharge, and to analyse the number of discharge locations and re-admissions basis.’

to homelessness A group of charities from Coventry have teamed up with Coventry University and secured funding of almost £60k to help change the situation in their city

Laura Cole, Project Officer explained: ‘Working on this project is a great opportunity for me. What we’re discovering is that there is no clear picture about levels of homelessness in the city…what we know about is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s so difficult to measure. Some people don’t present themselves as homeless because they are concerned about the stigma attached to it. Some people are living in temporary accommodation with no certainty about where they will spend their next night. We hope that some of the measures we’re putting in place will help overcome some of these issues and we can start to offer more targeted support to the people who need it.’ The project is due to complete in April 2014. The findings from the report will be presented to the Department of Health with a view to obtaining more funding to continue the work.

For more information contact Laura Cole at:

Innovate I Winter 2013 21

Grand Challenge Initiatives LOW IMPACT BUILDINGS

Achieving energy


Buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, are responsible for around 37% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of them will still be standing in 2050, so if the UK wants to meet its climate change goals, a massive programme of retrofitting needs to take place.

etrofitting is the addition of new technology or features to older systems, in this case improving existing buildings with energy efficient equipment. This issue is not specific to the UK and similar problems are experienced across Europe and existing public buildings have a key role to play.

The project’s full title is ‘REtrofitting Solutions and Services for the enhancement of Energy Efficiency in Public Edification’ but has been shortened to RESSEEPE. The project team is made up of 25 members drawn from 10 Member States. RESEEPE will bring together design and decision making tools, innovative building fabric manufacturers and a strong demonstration programme to determine the improved building performance through retrofitting.

For example, in France, hospitals alone represent about 11% of the energy consumption in the service industry. Although energy consumption in Europe is expected to rise only moderately in the next 20 years there is still an urgent need to reduce the impacts associated with overall consumption.

The core idea of the RESSEEPE project is to technically advance, adapt, demonstrate and assess a number of innovative retrofit technologies. Reductions in energy consumption of around 50% are expected to be delivered.

Coventry University is part of a £7.6 million project funded by the European Union’s Framework 7 programme that is designed to deliver effective refurbishment strategies for public buildings.

Buildings on the Coventry University campus as well as others in Barcelona, Spain, and Skelleftea, Sweden have been chosen to provide demonstration sites across a range of climate conditions and that are being used to trial the approach and technologies developed through the project.

Low Impact Buildings 22 Innovate I Winter 2013

in older buildings Between them, these renovations will improve 102,000 square metres (gross internal floor area) in public buildings and a total renovation of 205,000 square metres in the years following the end of the project.

The demonstration sites will provide the necessary evidence base to develop a process that will allow the selection of the most appropriate retrofitting mix based on the combination of innovative technologies. The project will also provide a market and replication deployment plan in order to ensure the information gathered has the broadest possible impact.

Mark Gaterell, Professor of Sustainable Construction at the University’s Low Impact Buildings Centre said: ‘This is a really interesting project which will provide valuable evidence about some of the latest retrofit technologies. By using Coventry University as a test site we have the advantage of receiving these technologies at a subsidised level. From a teaching and learning aspect it provides a live test ground for our research in the heart of campus. The target of a 50% reduction in energy consumption is ambitious but we’re excited by the challenge.’

The inclusion of financial schemes as a central feature of the project is intended to provide evidence that retrofitting programmes can deliver acceptable returns on investment.

The project comprises an innovative retrofitting process which includes a choice of high performance construction systems and materials from ready-to-market solutions, the integration of multiple solutions in the same building envelope - based on a whole life cycle analysis, and the development of adapted and integrated financial solutions.

• Nanotechnologies and smart materials;

The technologies and materials available to the project include: • Envelope solutions such as ventilated facades and aerogelbased super insulating mortar; • Renewable energy sources such as thin-film photovoltaic panels; • Energy storage systems such as phase change materials;

Mark continued: ‘The potential for energy savings and associated emissions reductions is hugely important at national and european level, where many facilities are very energy-intensive, but where the priorities are the functional quality of the buildings and the delivery of appropriate user conditions. This project brings together design and decision making tools, innovative building fabric manufacturers and a strong demonstration programme to deliver improved building performance through retrofitting. The potential cost savings are high and the reduced impact on the environment will be huge.’

• Information and communication technology strategies at building and district level; and • Intelligent building controls.

Innovate I Winter 2013 23

he issues surrounding ethical buying and corporate social responsibility are becoming much more commonplace and people are starting to question where they buy from and the impact their purchases have. Coventry University’s newly launched Centre for Trust and Ethical Behaviour (CETEB) are specialists in this area of research. Co-Director of the Centre, Marylyn Carrigan explains: ‘Businesses are often named and shamed for unethical behaviour, but there are often many competing demands which make the issue much more complex.’ CETEB have recently started working on a project funded by the Faculty of Business, Environment and Society examining responsible behaviour in the jewellery industry. The team are working closely with the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter a designated conservation area that dates back more than 250 years and is home to over 500 jewellery businesses. The Quarter has an expanding, thriving business community, a growing residential population and an established retail sector that boasts over 100 jewellery retailers, specialist retailers, bars and restaurants. Marylyn explained: ‘This project with Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is really exciting. There are many companies involved in the complex supply chain of gold and other jewellery so it’s one of those industries where regulation tends to be more relevant to the bigger players than the hundreds of small jewellery firms. We’re working with businesses and consumers in the area to find out the levels of responsible business behaviour and consumer awareness about responsible jewellery.’

24 Innovate I Winter 2013

As consumers we’re always on the lookout for a good deal; whether it’s buying cheap clothes or getting a bargain in our supermarkets. While we might be saving money, there’s always a higher cost somewhere down the line. ‘Within the jewellery business there are codes of conduct, certification and regulation but it’s usually only the larger companies, the international players, who can afford to subscribe to these services. Lots of the smaller independent retailers fall under the radar. This makes it difficult for consumers to act responsibly when purchasing but it’s also difficult for the smaller retailers to have assurances about the responsibility down their supply chain.’ CETEB is carrying out face-to-face interviews with retailers and consumers in the Jewellery Quarter to find out levels of awareness about responsible behaviour and consumer attitudes. They will also be meeting with key industry leaders to find out how improvements can be made across the supply chain. CETEB is working alongside the British Jewellery Association to host an awareness event in 2014. At this event in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, researchers from CETEB will present the findings of the research to industry and make recommendations on how the jewellery industry can adapt to act more responsibly. This will include advice on staff training and awareness for consumers about standards. The Responsible Jewellery Council, an international organisation with responsibility for certification, is also working with CETEB to support the research. The Council has identified a similar issue with the jewellery business

in Italy, where the industry is made up of a number of small family businesses. The Italian Ministry of Economic Development also seeks engagement from the jewellery industry on sustainability issues and responsible practices. Marylyn said: ‘There is genuinely a wealth of interest in this subject both here and in Europe. For CETEB to be at the heart of the matter, working hard to help make the industry more ethical for suppliers and consumers is something that motivates us. We’ve all heard about ‘blood diamonds’ and thankfully the amount of diamonds in the legitimate supply chain from conflict countries is now vastly reduced. But the social and environmental conditions can still be poor; often the workers are children, the pay is low, and toxic chemicals are used in the processes. The situation is improving and there are now Fair Trade standards for gold. If smaller research projects like this one with the Jewellery Quarter can help pass these messages onto smaller retailers and consumers then we’re all more likely to make informed choices when it comes to our jewellery.’


We’ve all heard about ‘blood diamonds’ and thankfully the amount of diamonds in the legitimate supply chain from conflict countries is now vastly reduced. But the social and environmental conditions can still be poor; often the workers are children, the pay is low, and toxic chemicals are used in the processes.

Inside CETEB The Centre for Trust and Ethical Behaviour (CETEB) launched in April 2013. It aims to foster a deep and valuable research agenda in the fields of trust and ethical behaviour. This is achieved with methodologically-sound research that leads to impactful theory and practice across industries. Through research and dialogue with leading scholars, government, industry and the wider community, the Centre’s researchers look to create cross-disciplinary research links with stakeholders interested in the intersection between trust and ethical behaviour. In practice, this means: • Understanding the secrets of trustful and ethical cultures in and between organisations • Analysing the relationship between the bright and dark sides of trust and ethical behaviour for organisations • Identifying the key challenges of establishing trust and ethical behaviour in and between organisations and relevant stakeholder groups

Contact the CETEB team at or call +44 (0) 24 7765 9801

Innovate I Winter 2013 25

Grand Challenge Initiatives Low carbon vehicles

At the

edge of c

Low Carbon Vehicles

The UK government is calling on key players in the automotive industry to help the country stay ahead of the global competition in the field of ultra low emission vehicles, and has initiated a multi-million pound investment drive to make it happen. Coventry University is leading the charge as part of a new academic-industry collaboration aimed at boosting hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

26 Innovate I Winter 2013

A Cella Energy led Technology Strategy Board project Co-funded by


carbon-free he University and its spin-off company Microcab – which designs and builds small hydrogen-powered cars through the Future Vehicle Lab – are already firmly established in the low emission vehicles sector. When Microcab launched its latest model, the H2EV, in late 2011 there was global media interest which served to confirm the UK’s position at the forefront of the push to promote new and green technologies for transport. Now Coventry University’s expertise is set to play a key role in an exciting new project led by Oxford-based ‘clean tech’ firm Cella Energy and funded by the Technology Strategy Board. The consortium for the two-year project – which includes partners MIRA and Productiv Limited in addition to Cella Energy and the University – has been awarded £600,000 towards the cost of developing a revolutionary hydrogen supply system to power long range low carbon vehicles. The project, labelled “Hydrogen for Long Range Electric Vehicles” (LREV), will take Cella Energy’s lightweight hydrogen storage material – developed as part of a previous Technology Strategy Board-funded initiative – and adapt it using a unique 5kW hydrogen generator to power the Microcab cars and add significant range capability both to the H2EV and to the low carbon vehicles of the future.

productiv Driving green technologies

Microcab’s hydrogen-electric drive H2EV provides the perfect platform for the development of this technology, having been designed as a thoroughbred zero-emission vehicle capable of running on hydrogen or electricity. With a small fleet of the cars running regularly around the city of Coventry and the University’s Technology Park, the vehicle platform will be vital in ensuring the LREV project meets its ultimate goal of increasing the capacity of the generator unit beyond 5kW to make the technology commercially attractive and open up new market opportunities. So what is the revolutionary system at the heart of the initiative, and how does it work? Cella Energy’s lightweight hydrogen storage material is a plastic-like substance packaged in cylindrical cartridges that release hydrogen quickly and safely when heated. The cartridges – which for this project will replace the gaseous, pressurised hydrogen normally delivered to the Microcab through a pump – are about the size of a large marker pen, and can be handled safely and distributed cheaply. The delivery system seamlessly moves these cartridges from a magazine to a hot-cell where the hydrogen is released in a continuous process to power the Microcab. This technology, and its application in the Microcab cars, aims not only to address the cost issue of storing and distributing hydrogen safely, but also to alleviate concerns over the perceived risks associated with the gas in its pressurised form. Most significantly of all, however, the Hydrogen for Long Range Electric Vehicles initiative – as its name implies – is set to put to rest the problem of ‘range anxiety’ which has hindered public acceptance of and enthusiasm for electric and ultra low carbon cars in the mass market.

With Cella Energy’s rangeextending technology at the core and Coventry University’s Future Vehicle Lab trialling it through the Microcab demonstrator platform, the project is injecting confidence and innovation into the carbon-free transport sector to ensure the continued successful development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

Biography Bernard Porter Bernard Porter has a background in engineering research and development in transport propulsion technologies, including experience in automotive, marine and aerospace sectors, and expertise in the integration of mechanical and electronic systems. With this technical background and broad experience of managing projects, he has been at the forefront of the University’s recent applied research activities in low carbon vehicles. Professor John Jostins Professor Jostins’s industrial experience includes working in motorsport and special effects in the film industry, but from 1995 he became interested in sustainable design and was prompted (by the poor air quality in London) to start investigations into urban transport. His experience in motorsport gave him a good background in engineering lightweight structures and this, coupled with an interest in electric drive and hydrogen fuel cells allowed him to pursue the goal of designing useful urban mobility devices with zero emissions – a goal he achieved when he founded Microcab, a spin-off company from Coventry University.

Innovate I Winter 2013 27

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is happening in the UK and on the continent, and the issue is rising rapidly up the agendas of European governments.

Putting an end to espite it being illegal for nearly 30 years in Britain, there have been no convictions connected to FGM. But now Coventry University has secured €650,000 funding to lead a Europe-wide project which aims to put an end to the practice.

The practice of female genital mutilation, or cutting, is rooted deeply in many cultures and traditions, but it has a huge impact on the health and well being of millions of girls and young women around the world. It is concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. In some countries, such as Djibouti and Somalia, more than 90% of women1 are believed to have undergone FGM. In Egypt it is illegal but the country still has one of the highest rates in the world. But FGM is not restricted to these developing countries. Globalisation and migration – for economic reasons or asylum – means that the practice has spread to developed countries. FGM is now taking place in EU countries and is on the increase2. It is estimated that 500,000 women in Europe are affected by FGM3, with a 21,000 girls in the UK at risk of being cut4.

While some progress has been made in raising awareness of the issue, there is still a lot to be done – and Coventry University is now leading a global effort to fight the problem. Researchers in the Faculty of Business, Environment and Society and the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions have secured funding to head up a European Commission-backed initiative called REPLACE 2, which will see the academics build on the work of a successful pilot initiative (REPLACE 1) in which they worked with partners to develop a toolkit aimed at supporting communities affected by FGM.

The toolkit is based on research with Somali and Sudanese communities residing in the UK and the Netherlands, and used communitybased researchers – trained by the University’s experts in health behaviour change – to identify and understand some of the barriers to ending FGM. As part of the initiative’s second phase, the partners – led by Coventry University – are now evaluating the effectiveness of the toolkit by employing the same community-based participatory approach, and in the coming months they will begin turning their attention to even more African communities who are practising FGM in several different EU countries.

Representatives from the partner organisations in six European nations – UK (FORWARD and Coventry University), Italy (European Centre of Studies and Initiatives), Portugal (APF), Spain (Gabinet d’Estudis Socials), Belgium (Ghent University) and the Netherlands (Federatie Somalische Associaties Nederland) – recently gathered at Coventry University to kick off REPLACE 2 and to share knowledge and training expertise.

The team at Coventry University is led by Professor Hazel Barrett and Dr Katherine Brown, both of whom are set to collaborate closely with women’s rights charities across Europe over the next phase of the project, to engage FGM-affected communities and share with them new skill sets and knowledge to help bring about social change. But the researchers face a challenging task. “To tackle the problem we need not just to change the behaviour of individual people, for example those doing the cutting, but to tackle wider issues concerning the beliefs held by the community that perpetuate the practice and make it ‘normal’,” says Professor Barrett.

REFERENCES 1 UNICEF, 2013, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change 2 3 European Parliament Resolution, 2009 European Parliament Resolution on Combating Female Genital Mutilation in the EU, 24th March 2009 4 5

“Added to that, anecdotal evidence collected as part of our research suggests that some EU citizens are moving between member states to take advantage of different, often less strict, applications of the law, which makes the UK a destination for many families who want FGM for their daughters and believe the law isn’t applied here. “At Coventry we’ve headed up two projects funded through the European Commission’s Daphne III programme: one looking at Somali and Sudanese communities in the UK and the Netherlands and another, which has just started, at different African FGM-affected communities across six EU countries.” Ending FGM in the EU and UK is going to take time, but with Coventry University and its partners understanding more about it and taking new approaches to changing individual and community behaviour, this Europe-wide initiative is bringing society closer to the tipping point that is needed – when communities accept that FGM is no longer acceptable and individuals (parents and children) have the power to say no.


FGM What is FGM? FGM involves removing part or all of the external parts of a girl or woman’s genitalia but also includes procedures that cause injury to that part of the body for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The UN regards the practice of FGM as a violation of human and female reproductive health rights. Many now recognise it as a form of violence against girls and women and further, a form of torture. The ritual is usually performed by traditional practitioners who have no formal medical training and perform the operation in non-sterile conditions. It can cause serious physical harm such as complications in childbirth, excessive bleeding, blood poisoning, death and HIV transmission, and psychological damage.

Professor Hazel Barrett Professor Hazel Barrett is associate dean for applied research in the Faculty of Business, Society and Environment. Having gained a PhD in Geography and West African Studies at the University of Birmingham in 1984, she joined Coventry University in 1992 as senior lecturer and in 2007 was conferred a chair in development geography. Between 2010-11 she was principal investigator on REPLACE 1, which was followed by a bid to Daphne in 2012 to implement and monitor the cyclic model to end FGM which was developed in the project. REPLACE 2 runs from 2013-15 and involves six partners. Dr Katherine Brown Since completing her PhD studentship at Sheffield Hallam University (20012004), Dr Katherine Brown has held posts as lecturer and, later, senior lecturer in psychology at Coventry University. For three years she was also course director of the MSc Health Psychology. In 2011, Dr Brown took up the position of reader in eHealth and wellbeing interventions, a joint post in the Applied Research Centre for Health and Lifestyle Interventions (ARC-HLI) at Coventry University with Public Health Warwickshire. She has published widely and obtained over £750,000 of research income.

The World Health Organisation classifies FGM into four types. Type III is the most serious kind and often involves women having to be cut open again to have sexual intercourse and for childbirth. It’s estimated that globally 90% of women5 affected by the practice have been subjected to full or partial removal of their clitoris and/or the removal of their inner labia and other “unclassified” procedures, including the use of cauterisation. Innovate I Winter 2013 29

Find the knowledge your business needs Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN)

case study WB Timber Innovations who specialise in the design and construction of timber frame dwellings spotted a gap in the garden building market and created a separate company, Rapod Ltd, to produce bespoke Garden Pods. Through the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) programme, they were able to secure a graduate, financial assistance and academic expertise from Coventry University. Rapod Ltd benefited from University expertise in architecture, civil and structural engineering, building services, 3D computer modelling and marketing.

Coventry University offers Knowledge Transfer Solutions to support activities where your business may not have the resource or skill-sets internally. Working together we can offer access to funding, knowledge, skills and technologies and reduced administration costs. Programmes we support include: • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) • Short Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (sKTP) • Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN)

To find out how we can help your business, contact Derek Hall: T +44 (0)24 7623 6843 M +44 (0)7974 984925 E 30 Innovate I Winter 2013

Through collaboration with Coventry University, the Rapod project has secured European Design Registration and the project is due for launch at the Grand Designs Live Exhibition in London in May 2014. “The KEEN scheme has given me the opportunity to work on a really exciting project and gain experience in wide array of disciplines. The support of the knowledgeable Coventry University staff and the use of their cutting edge facilities is ensuring that the Rapod Garden Building will be an incredible product, designed and built to the highest of standards.” Michael Box Project Manager Rapod Ltd

Whether you’re an individual with a great idea for a new invention, or a small firm with an innovative product that needs developing, Innovation Networks could offer the support you need.

nnovation Networks has already assisted over 300 businesses resulting in new sales in excess of £14m. The project is open for business with funding to support another 150 SMEs in the West Midlands. Many of the companies who seek Innovation Networks funding are working on projects which aim to have a positive effect on the environment. Paint 360 is a new company which has been set up to provide an emulsion paint recycling service in the West Midlands. Approximately 50 million litres of waste paint is disposed of each year by incineration or land-fill. Paint 360, based in Cradley Heath, offers a cost effective waste disposal service to contractors and then uses this waste stream to produce an innovative line of environmentally friendly paints and coatings. Dumped paint is collected from council tips by waste management companies and delivered to the factory. Acceptable paint is sorted by colour and type. Once the desired batch size has been reached, a special biocide is added

to kill off all bacterial species that have developed resistance to the bactericides in the original paint. The batch is homogenised, adjusted for viscosity, pH and opacity as necessary by the addition of appropriate raw materials such as treated clays, minerals and acrylic resins. Once the batch has passed all laboratory tests it is filtered and bottled off into new containers for resale as new, high quality, paint. Much of the paint is sold back to the trade for use on large public sector contracts. The company is currently developing offerings for the domestic market, including a premium brand of “Heritage” colours. David Francis from Paint 360 said: ‘We used the funding from Innovation Networks to purchase some equipment in the factory, much of it recycled itself, as well as some high specification apparatus for the laboratory. This scheme is a real boost for small businesses. We not only access the funding but we also tap into expert networks within the University that can help us advance our offering.’


in innovation

interborne Europe Ltd approached Innovation Networks looking for support to develop their sustainable alternative to the current clamshell packaging. The new packaging concept, the first to be used in Europe, uses innovative processes which results in a reduction in use of plastics by up to 80% and a product that is 100% recyclable.

Innovation Networks provided a grant to purchase a specialist Heated Platen Press machine which has enabled Winterborne to get their first product on the shelves in Costco. Through this support they are able to develop further samples for potential customers and grow their business. Ramon, MD of Winterbourne Europe Ltd said: ‘Innovation Networks dedicated support and ease of application process enabled us to get the project off the ground in a timely manner and for this we are extremely grateful. If it wasn’t for their assistance then it would have been very difficult for us to kick start our project due to the financial constraints we were under.’

To find out more about the Innovation Networks project, please visit our website at or email

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Do you need to find an innovative solution to a difficult problem? At Coventry University, our applied research teams work closely with your organisation, applying their knowledge and expertise to devise inventive and original solutions for real-world problems. At a local, national and international level, we work with clients across the public, private and voluntary sectors. From art to design, health to sports, regeneration to human security, mathematics to engineering, computing to communications – we can find a solution that’s right for you. Applied Research at Coventry University

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The University does not warrant or make any representation regarding the reliability or accuracy of the information and materials contained herein. Whilst Coventry University has taken reasonable care to ensure the accuracy of the information in this document at the time of going to print, the precise content is subject to change. In no event will the University be liable for any loss or damage that may arise from the reliance or use of such information and/or materials. 12042-13 © Coventry University. All rights reserved.

Innovate issue 14 (winter 2013)  
Innovate issue 14 (winter 2013)  

In this issue of Innovate you’ll find out how we are looking at fighting the decline of bumblebees in the british gardens. Also in this is...