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A MEMBER OF THE RUSSELL GROUP

THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL MAGAZINE FOR STAFF

P

MARCH 2009

DECEMBER 2006

Face to face with infection £20m centre to attract top scientists


11 Coverstory

17 19 21

HEFCE grant announcement due

Juggling James doubles up as Torres

Gascon Rolls go online

A book of the sound

As we went to press, the HEFCE grant settlement was due to be announced on 5 March. For full details, see April’s Precinct.

Vice-Chancellor’s communications Webcast The Vice-Chancellor discussed the impact of the RAE results on University structures and strategy in his 'Talking Point' webcast. Visit: www.liv.ac.uk/intranet/talking-point/

Open Meeting The Vice-Chancellor will be holding an Open Meeting for staff on Monday 6 April at 10am. All are welcome at the event in the Sherrington Building.

Pictured: Salmonella Bacteria

Vice-Chancellor’s Message

I recently made my first presentation to the University’s Court as Vice-Chancellor. In it, I had the chance to outline the institution’s current position, particularly with regard to the current financial environment. As you will see from the new Annual Report, which is now available to all staff, we have a strong balance sheet which means we are relatively well-placed to weather any financial storm. However, as a result of our investment in recent times, and the very tough fiscal environment, budgets will remain tight over the next couple of years. It is clear that higher education will be affected; to what extent is impossible to say at this stage. We were awaiting the 2009/10 financial settlement details from HEFCE as Precinct went to press – there will be a full breakdown in the April issue of the magazine – but, though the past decade of public funding has been favourable for higher education, it already seems clear that funding settlements from 2010 onwards could be very challenging. 2009 will be an interesting year all round for the sector. The Government has committed to a review of tuition fees this year and we know that tuition fees for undergraduates cannot increase beyond the current rate without a positive vote in both Houses of Parliament. I suspect it is unlikely that any government would find

the public or Parliament receptive to such an increase, but there is also the question of whether the public finances could sustain any increase in fees which would require up-front funding from Government. Expansion of the sector through additional student numbers has already been halted and, though the Government is still committed to a 50% participation target, there will be a slower rate of progress. So is it possible to predict what the future may hold for higher education and the University of Liverpool? The Government does recognise that to build a skills-based knowledge economy we need a diverse and well-funded higher education sector. It is obvious that the global economic crisis will impact on higher education so we will all need to work harder and smarter to sustain and improve our financial situation as the purse strings of our funders are pulled increasingly tighter. However, I have no doubt that higher education will be a major catalyst to helping the UK economy out of the economic recession. We will be forced to fight for our share of the public purse – both as a sector and as individual institutions. Our aim now is to focus on delivering an ambitious Strategic Plan that will position the University for even greater success. Professor Sir Howard Newby www.liv.ac.uk/annual-report

GET INVOLVED! Please send your news, views, compliments and complaints to:

Janis Morgan Corporate Communications University of Liverpool Foundation Building Liverpool L69 7ZX

t: 0151 794 2251 e: precinct@liv.ac.uk w: www.liv.ac.uk/precinct

NB. Please don’t send letters anonymously, just let us know if you don’t want your details to be published. If you require this publication in an alternative format, please telephone 0151 794 2251.


03

Strategy players sign up

F

ollowing the launch of the University’s Strategic Plan in December, staff from across the University have signed up to become members of the crossdisciplinary teams formed to support the implementation process. Under the five key priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan, including research performance, global university, knowledge exchange and innovation, student experience and widening participation, 12 project streams have been formed with overall responsibility of planning how to meet the objectives and key ambitions of the plan. The Strategic Management Team (SMT) will oversee and guide ongoing project stream work and academic leads will determine the academic direction of the work within each stream, under the remit set by SMT. Representatives from Professional Services, who have expertise that relates to the key priorities and the enabler areas of people and organisational development, planning and budgeting, information systems, estate management and sustainability, and communications and marketing, are also involved, while full time project managers will coordinate all of the work within that stream. Vikki Goddard, Director of Planning and Development, said: “As the implementation of the Strategic Plan is something that will have an impact on every member of staff, it was important that the project streams included appropriate coverage from across the Faculties and Professional Services. We wanted to ensure that the full breadth of expertise and perspective was embraced in the process.” The project streams are strategic research positioning, research excellence, developing an internationalisation strategy, global citizenship, expanding our presence online, developing a market responsive business offer, intellectual environment, social

and physical environment, excellence in service delivery, international research and knowledge exchange in widening participation and increasing the proportion of under represented groups. David Winstanley (above), Education Liason Officer in the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office, who is project manager for the two project streams that relate to widening participation, said: “As project manager, it’s my responsibility to ensure that the project delivers on time. The pressure is on, therefore, to ensure that what we come up with provides a workable and timely framework for the implementation of the plan across the institution. “We are currently investigating the range of impacts widening participation has across the organisation, before identifying ways of embedding it into everything that we do. It’s fantastic to be working with such a variety of people from across the campus who demonstrate such a commitment to widening participation.” The academic leads were selected based on their expertise and enthusiasm for a certain project stream. Malcolm Bennett (above left), Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science and academic lead for knowledge exchange and innovation, said: “I don't see how being involved in developing the way that the University interacts with the outside world could be anything other than exciting. It's clear that there is some fantastic stuff going on across the University, but it's also clear that there are some barriers - real and perceived - to people getting more involved, and getting more out of their knowledge exchange activities.

“What I hope our projects can come up with is ways of helping people and getting rid of those barriers. On a more personal level, I'm getting to meet lots of interesting people with great ideas, and I can see significant interdisciplinary research collaborations for my area coming out of these new links.” Each of the project streams is currently carrying out research which will contribute towards a business plan that will be presented to SMT in April and will be developed into an operating plan for the University. During the research process, it is likely that departments will be contacted to provide information about current activities and views about potential improvements, and many staff will be involved in events designed to address particular issues.

Chris (right) with Chief Operating Officer Patrick Hackett and Professor Stephen Holloway, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculties of Science and Engineering

HEFCE chief’s visit Chris Millward, HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) Associate Director for the North of England, visited the University to meet with the Vice-Chancellor and the Strategic Management Team. It was an opportunity for Chris to find out more about the ambitions of the University as set out in the new Strategic Plan and provided a relaxed forum for an exchange of views about higher education policy and funding development, and gave him the opportunity to witness some of the developments that have been made on campus.


04

Reward for forging link with China Science lesson for Sir Howard

The University was joint runner up at the North West Greater China Business Award 2009. The awards are organised by UK Trade & Investment North West and the Northwest

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, and Lady Newby, with Dr Amy Scofield and Professor Peter Weightman (left) from the Department of Physics

Development Agency (NWDA), and reward organisations or companies that have made the most significant contribution to developing business or network links with Greater China, including bi-lateral trade or investment. The University’s award is in recognition of the fact that it is one of only two universities in the UK to have invested in a campus in China, successfully implementing robust academic and commercial links and developing an active programme of student and staff exchange.

The awards were presented at the North West of England Chinese New Year Dinner, held at Haydock Park Racecourse. Pictured: Professor David Sadler receiving the runner up North West Greater China Business Award 2009

Imperial College signs up to Cockcroft Institute The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, and Lady Newby have been given a guided tour of one of the University’s key science research projects. They visited the terahertz beamline and tissue culture facility on the ALICE accelerator at the Daresbury Laboratory. This £1 million project, which is supported by funding from the Northwest Science Fund and a number of grants from the EPSRC and the BBSRC to the Physics department, combines the most intense source of broad-band terahertz radiation in Europe with a facility for performing experiments on tissue. It is unique and, when complete, it will support both fundamental research into mechanisms of biological organisation and practical applications in biology and medicine. Dr Amy Scofield is commissioning the facility for work on human cell lines in association with Dr Rachel Williams from Clinical Engineering. The beamline has been constructed over the last four years by Paul Harrison and John Kervin from the Department of Physics in association with collaborators from Daresbury Laboratory.

I

mperial College London has signed a Collaborative Research Agreement with the Cockcroft Institute, of which this University is a partner. The Institute, based at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, is a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster, Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Northwest Development Agency. Development of the traditional strengths of Imperial College in Particle Physics, Plasma and Laser Physics will be enhanced by expertise in traditional and futuristic accelerator, particle collider, free electron laser and photon science techniques which can be provided by the Cockcroft Institute and vice versa. The partnership will build upon the foundation of existing collaboration between the Cockcroft Institute and Imperial College on work in particle physics.


05

Simon is new Head of Business Gateway

D

r Simon Longden has been appointed as the new Head of Business Gateway. He takes over from Dr Rob Head who has moved to a new post at the University of Bath. Simon, who has been with the University for more than six years, was previously responsible for leading the commercial and knowledge exchange activities of the Centre for Materials

Discovery in the Department of Chemistry. He joined the Centre as Business Manager in January 2006 where he helped to set up and deliver this flagship regional project. Prior to this he worked as part of the industrial liaison team within the University’s MerseyBio business incubator. Simon has a strong background in sciences with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from De Montfort

and UMIST respectively, including an extended period at Unilever R&D, Colworth House. His Engineering Doctorate in Microencapsulation, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMIST, was a commercial collaboration with local speciality chemical company SPL International Ltd. He also gained a postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Manchester Business School and obtained Chartered status within the Institute of Biology during this time. Simon said: "With knowledge exchange and innovation one of the key priorities within the University’s new Strategic Plan I am delighted by this opportunity to lead the team. We have a successful track record of generating significant income for the University, supporting projects with a wider social impact, and for supporting staff in all aspects of their interactions with the outside world - I relish the chance to build on this success.”

VC calls for prudence and focus The Vice-Chancellor’s latest webcast has outlined the impact of the Research

“It’s also important that we look at the Professional Services in terms of

Assessment Exercise on the University.

whether we can re-engineer them to be more efficient and more effective,

He was quizzed by Professor Rob Kronenburg, Head of the School of

in order to release resources to invest back in to research and, indeed, the

Architecture, whose department performed well in the RAE, and Senior Press

teaching excellence of the University.”

Officer Samantha Martin. Professor Newby said: “The University basically trod water [in the RAE], certainly in comparison with the rest of the Russell Group, but that overall assessment disguises a lot of variability. There were departments which did spectacularly well, just as there was underperformance elsewhere. We’ve done some analysis and if you take the 13 units of assessment which were in the lowest quartile nationally and look at what might happen if they weren’t present in the

Rob asked more about the voluntary

“This is one way in which we can begin to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the University right across the board”

University, that would still not get us up to anything like the average of the Russell Group. “What that’s really saying is that the variation within departments is actually greater than the variation between them. There’s no simple solution; it is going to involve a hard slog all the way through the University to increase research performance.”

disengagement scheme. “The scheme originated because we were finding an unexpected deterioration in the University’s finances during the last year, mainly due to rising energy costs and the decline in yields from the University’s endowment” the Vice-Chancellor said. “We’re seeing a decline in some income and a rise in costs. “This is one way in which we can begin to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the University right across the board, whether it’s in the Professional

Services, where most of the interest has occurred, or on the academic side. Those colleagues who feel they want to move on can do so on extremely good terms.” Finally, Sam asked: “Staff are engaged in developing the five strategic plan priorities. Given the economic environment at the moment, do you see any impact this might have on new initiatives?”

Sir Howard also talked about plans to restructure the University. Sir Howard replied: “I believe not. One of the reasons for focusing on just five He said: “At the same time that we have been analysing the outcomes of the RAE, we’ve also had the process of restructuring. It is very important that the two do converge. A paper will go to Senate on 11 March and to Council on 18 March. It’s important that we consult as widely as possible. We mustn’t rush into a knee-jerk reaction; we need to do some proper measured analysis.

priorities is precisely so that we can focus in a climate when resources are going to be even scarcer than they have been in the recent past. We have to be very prudent as we go forward in terms of our budgeting and have to be really focused on what our priorities are.” View the full webcast at: www.liv.ac.uk/intranet/talking-point/


06

Library’s boost from benefactors fund

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he Library has received almost £60,000 of funding thanks to generous supporters of the University’s Benefactors’ Fund. The money will be spent on academic journals – vital for students and researchers. It was given by those who opted to support the ‘areas of greatest need’ and ‘improvements to learning facilities and services’ when they made their donation to the Benefactors’ Fund. University Librarian Phil Sykes said: "We have a budgetary shortfall of several hundred thousand pounds this year, arising from the fact that we buy many journals from overseas, and sterling has declined dramatically against the Euro and the Dollar. This is an enormously helpful contribution to mitigating that problem and enabling us to continue to maintain one of the best ejournal collections in the country.” The latest round of the Benefactors’ Fund telephone campaign is now in full swing, with a team of student callers busily contacting alumni to encourage them to give to the University. Despite a turbulent economy, support to the University has remained consistently strong in recent years, and since its relaunch in June 2007, the Benefactors’ Fund has raised a total of £299,047. This figure has also been further boosted by the Government’s £200 million match-funding initiative introduced last Summer, meaning that for every £3 donated to the Benefactors Fund, the University now receives an additional £1 from the Government.

£34,000 injection of sports funds Grants totalling £34,000 will support sports and educational projects across campus, thanks to the Friends of the University. The projects which will benefit from the generosity of the organisation include the erection of a Sporting Hall of Fame at the University’s Sports Centre, a permanent tribute to graduates who have contributed to sport on a national and international level. Sport Liverpool received £4,000 to help fund the display as well as £5,000 of funding to purchase kayaks and canoes for the University of Liverpool Canoe Club and £5,000 for equipment for the Sport and Fitness Centre. The Centre for Lifelong Learning has also been awarded £20,000 to be shared between three areas – the development of the ‘Professor Fluffy’ website, to help fund a residential course for

(l to r) Patricia Al-Fakhri, the Vice-Chancellor, Lady Newby, Maurice Flanagan and Labid Al-Fakhri

Alumni join international events

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raduates far and wide have been meeting to hear about their alma mater at a host of alumni events. Alumni, friends and guests joined Maurice Flanagan CBE (BA 1950) Executive Vice Chairman of Emirates Airline and Group at his home in Dubai. Guests were addressed by both Maurice and the ViceChancellor who updated local graduates about developments on and off campus in Liverpool, and the Vice-Chancellor was then presented with a painting of Dubai by local artist Patricia Al-Fakhri, wife of alumnus Labid Al-Fakhri (BArch 1967). Professor Murray Dalziel, Director of the University of Liverpool Management School (ULMS) also hosted an alumni reception at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Facilitating networking between alumni and colleagues, and updating them with University and School developments, Professor Dalziel was accompanied by Teri Currie, Executive Vice President (Human Resources) for Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group. They met with alumni, who had all gained an MBA from ULMS. The Vice-Chancellor also hosted a dinner for 80 graduates in Shanghai where they were excited to hear about plans for Shanghai Expo 2010.

secondary school children and to pay for camera equipment for the Black and Minority Ethnic photography project.

www.liv.ac.uk/alumni www.expo2010china.com


07

New Japanese partner

The University has signed an agreement with one

X-ray scattering, thanks to this new agreement,

of Japan’s foremost natural science research

staff and students from the University will be

institutes to enable staff and students to access

able to spend significant periods at the Spring-8

its world-class facilities.

Centre and make use of its world-class facilities;

The RIKEN Spring-8 Centre in Harima conducts

there may also be opportunities to place final

experimental and theoretical research in a

year graduates.

wide range of fields, including physics,

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Holloway,

chemistry, medical science, biology, brain

who signed the agreement on behalf of the

science and engineering.

University, said: "The globalisation of activity in

RIKEN is currently working with Japanese

the University is not only with partner universities

Synchrotron Radiation Institute to build a new

but also with the very best research centres in

Free Electron Laser facility for the creation of

the world.

X-ray laser beams, which will make it a global centre of excellence for photon science. Professor Stephen Holloway, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculties of Science and Engineering, with Dr Ishikawa, Director of the RIKEN Spring-8 Centre

“I am delighted to establish this important agreement with one of the premier research

As well as collaborating on joint research projects

institutes in Japan, which will provide unique

in areas such as protein crystallography and

access opportunities for Liverpool's researchers."

Legal services (back row) David and James (front row) Lesley, Victoria, Kevan and Sarah

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he University’s Legal Services and Contract Services teams have combined to become one single Legal Services Department. The aim of the merger is that a single department will operate more effectively to meet the challenges of the increasingly complex UK and international legal environment. The new team is headed up by Kevan Ryan, who joined the University a year ago having previously worked in national commercial law firms Eversheds and Addleshaw Goddard. The department now comprises the Legal Services team of Kevan, assistant solicitor Victoria Wilkinson, and Freedom of Information Co-ordinator Lesley Jackson, and the Contract Services team of Contract Services Manager James Fox, David McVey, Contract Services Officer, and Sarah Fletcher, Research Governance Officer. Before the merger, the Contract Services team was part of Research & Business Services (RBS). Kevan said “I am absolutely delighted with the way the two teams have merged smoothly into one and I am confident the move will enhance the provision and delivery of legal services to the University.”

As well as advising on the numerous contracts which the University enters into, together with a wide range of property and other commercial transactions, the Department also provides support on charitable and corporate governance matters, litigation, employment law matters and legal issues relating to students. The Department has also assumed responsibility for ensuring compliance by the University with the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts. In addition, Contract Services has particular responsibility for managing University policies and procedures relating to research ethics, research governance and clinical sponsorship. Contract Services Manager, James Fox, added: “I am sure that the formation of one Legal Services Department and the pooling of the University’s commercial legal expertise will enable us to provide a more focused and rigorous level of contractual and legal support to colleagues across the University, including University subsidiary companies. In particular, we will continue to work very closely with our colleagues in RBS in negotiating and authorising appropriate contractual terms and conditions for research-related contracts.” Although the two teams have merged, Contract Services will remain physically located in the Foresight Centre in order to work closely with colleagues in RBS, while Legal Services will remain in the Foundation Building. www.liv.ac.uk/legal


08

Tesco partnership launched

T

he University’s collaboration with supermarket giant Tesco has been officially launched. The National Dairy Centre of Excellence knowledge transfer activities will help boost the competitiveness of the British dairy industry. The initiative brings together experts from across the food chain to look at issues from herd health to consumer trends. Tesco director Lucy Neville-Rolfe (seen right at the unveiling) says the centre, based at Wood Park Farm, demonstrates the supermarket’s commitment to the industry. She said: “Our ambition for the centre is to work closely with our producers, processors and members of the industry in focusing on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges, testing new technologies and developing a range of best practices.” The centre, entirely funded by Tesco, will also have a visitor centre and will provide a forum for the industry and consumers to meet.

Dr Rob Smith, Head of the University’s Livestock Health and Welfare Division, said the alliance with Tesco would be mutually advantageous. He added: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting new venture. Our relationship with Tesco and its suppliers will allow us to produce the knowledge and the vets the industry needs to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare, food safety and quality in the future.”

Ian’s caring approach rewarded

University tour for Minister

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team member from the Foresight Centre has been Highly Commended at the Liverpool Academy Ambassador Awards. Ian Roberts received his award at the Crowne Plaza hotel. The Academy Ambassador Awards, run by Liverpool's Academy of Excellence in Customer Care in association with 08 Welcome, recognise staff from sectors across the city that provide excellence in customer care and create a positive impression of Liverpool. Lynn Westbury, Head of the Foresight Centre, said: “We have always differentiated ourselves through our core focus on customer service and ensuring a professional and innovative service. The Foresight Centre has continued to develop introducing new concepts in business

The Minister for Farming and the Environment, Jane Kennedy MP, has visited the University’s Leahurst campus to discuss joined-up approaches to biodiversity, sustainable farming and animal health. Jane Kennedy, MP for Wavertree who studied at the University of Liverpool, visited the recently-opened

support, however it is our commitment to providing good customer service that underpins our whole approach. I am delighted that Ian’s contribution and hard work has been recognised”. Other Foresight Centre team members, including Lesley Dann, Paul McAleavey and Mike Weston, have all gained recognition at these awards in previous years. Ian’s achievement follows a national award commendation for Lynn Westbury in the Shine Awards Public Sector Woman of the Year category.

Tesco Dairy Centre of Excellence, to discuss the research being undertaken into farm animal welfare and sustainability. She also heard how Wood Park Farm is helping young people to understand where food comes from and encouraging them to go in to higher education. She also visited the National Centre for Zoonosis Research to hear about research the University is conducting into the control of animal and human infectious diseases, and how this might be translated into policy. Above: Jane Kennedy with Andrew Miller MP for Neston and Ellesmere Port


09

At the cutting edge

Course explores leadership

The University’s Centre for Materials Discovery is involved in a £2 million research centre which will help develop cutting edge technology from personal care products to the next generation of medical supplies. The Molecular Engineering Translational Research Centre (METRC), funded by the N8 Partnership, will combine the expertise of the ‘N8’ universities, Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York.

The Human Resources department has launched

reflects both the needs of the individuals in their

a Leadership and Management Programme

management roles and the requirements of

(LAMP), developed to further improve managerial

management staff by the institution. These

and leadership knowledge.

requirements have been cross referenced with the

Endorsed by the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM), the programme, aimed at Professional Services managers on grades seven

ILM programmes and the national occupational standard for managers.” To ensure that staff get as much out of the

to nine, will take approximately 10 months to

programme as possible, the programme is

complete. It is designed to enable participants to

focused on achieving measurable benefits that are

The scientific focus of METRC is soft

explore the nature and requirements of the middle

reviewed throughout the 10 months. Participants

nanotechnology, concentrating on functional

management role within the University.

are given the opportunity to take part in group

molecules designed with physical/chemical effects with a targeted end use. Research is goal orientated, focused on

Steve Plant, Human Resources Manager, Organisational Development and Diversity, said: “The programme has been introduced to support

workshops and ongoing support is available from programme facilitators via telephone, email or face-to-face discussions.

translation to industry, targeting identified

the University’s commitment to offer organisational

To register your interest and for more information

markets where there is economic impact and

development training that reflects the needs of our

about the Leadership and Management

social benefit. The centre is focused on four

staff in line with organisational objectives.

central application themes, including home and personal care products, medicine and healthcare, energy and information

“It has been developed with the support of two

Programme contact Steve Plant on Tel: 46948 or email splant@liv.ac.uk

working groups, Technical and Administrative, and

technology. Developments could include sensors and implants providing healthcare through human-device interfaces, easier interactions between humans and IT, and smart

Liverpinion

homes, smart fabrics, adaptive

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

surroundings

I am an elderly University pensioner, having

Precinct is a most attractive publication

and informatics.

retired in 1986, and have always enjoyed

but please will you reconsider some of the

Professor Andy Cooper Director at the Centre

reading the University magazine. However, I

colour layout? Black print on blue

for Materials Chemistry, said: “We live in an

am very disappointed and amazed that the

background is not easy to read and nor is

increasingly technologically-enabled and

back page ‘Noticeboard’ section is being

black print on a background which

technologically-dependent society whose

discontinued. I do not have a computer like

darkens in places. I liken this problem to

populace has ever-increasing needs and

most people; it seems that the minority in life

listening to someone being interviewed

expectations of science, engineering,

lose out to up-to-date technology.

technology and medicine. “In many of these areas, the critical enabling features, together with much of the cost of

Yours sincerely, Joan Hitchmough

manufacture, stem from functional materials assemblies and devices currently fabricated at the micro-scale. However, the next generation of products required to enhance

in the street against a background of roaring traffic.

Editor’s note: We thought long and hard about moving the Classifieds section out of the magazine. It was eventually decided

I shall continue to enjoy reading Precinct. Yours constructively, Clive Hunt (Alumnus and member of Court)

the health, wealth and quality of life of our

it would give us space to fit even more

society will be even more demanding. Much

news into the magazine – Precinct is very

of this future will depend critically on devices

much a victim of its own success and we

timed. We have been reviewing the

and materials assemblages of ever-

never have as much space as we would

design of Precinct and had decided

decreasing scale reducing to the point where

like! We will still be carrying the events

a few tweaks were necessary,

the unusual properties of near-atomic

and appeals in the magazine – it is only

particularly in relation to colour and

assemblages can be exploited.”

the ‘For Sale’ and ‘Wanted’ ads which

imagery. Thanks for the feedback –

have moved online - and we hope the new

it’s always appreciated!

METRC will collaborate with businesses in the

Editor’s note: This email was perfectly

website will prove even more popular.

North of the country and internationally to share knowledge to develop new products,

www.liv.ac.uk/classifieds/

processes and services to help them innovate faster and take a larger share of rapidlychanging global markets.

Your views. Your opinions.

Have your say at: The Liverpinion, Precinct, Foundation Building, Liverpool L69 7ZX t: 0151 794 2251 e: precinct@liv.ac.uk


10

Smooth delivery of major IT project

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taff and students are benefitting from increased storage space and a streamlined login process following Computing Services’ major investment in the development of the Managed Windows Service. Final stages of the move to the new Managed Windows Service have now been completed, bringing this year-long project to completion. Dr Chris Wooff, Acting Director of Computing Services, said: “There have been major changes to the underlying infrastructure of the service. It is a major credit to the Computing Services team that staff and students bore very little disruption during such a substantial project.” Benefits to staff and students include significant increase in the amount of network file storage space on individual M:drives as well as on departmental drives. University staff now have 4GB of space by default, students 1GB and departmental drives have 100GB. “The increase in M:drive and departmental drive space alongside the new VOCAL collaborative working service should enable departments to hold their shared resources centrally and avoid problems associated with files being unavailable when a member of staff is absent or leaves,” Chris added.

Nominations for Honorary Degrees

“There are also benefits when it comes to your username and password. Once logged on to a PC, staff no longer have to enter their login details again when opening Outlook. In addition, when you have changed your password you no longer get a second login box on a computer that you have used before. “The hardware that the Managed Windows Service runs on has been updated as part of the project, building in scope for future support and enhancement of the service.”

Along with a new mechanism for installing software onto PCs, the new Managed Windows Service makes it easier to install network printers. Duplex printing has also been introduced for student printing, reducing costs for students, as well as boosting the University’s Green IT initiative. For more information about the new Managed Windows Service, visit http://www.liv.ac.uk/csd/mws/

Pat on the back for ‘green’ software

All members of staff are invited to submit

The University has been cited as an example of a good practice in a recent Green

nominations for Honorary Degrees to be

Technology report which looks at the sustainability of technology in educational institutions.

awarded by the University in 2010.

The report, which was published by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), is

The honours are conferred in recognition of

critical of some institutions who are not currently doing enough to improve their ICT-related

achievements in the academic world, in public life in

energy and carbon consumption, in line with government targets.

general, or in the local community. The decision to award the honorary degree is made by a Joint Committee of Council and Senate and is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor.

However, it praises the University’s self-developed ‘PC PowerDown’ software, which can check whether anyone is logged into a computer, and if not, can automatically shut it down. This prevents machines being left on when not in use creating huge savings not only on power used by idle PCs but also from the reduced air conditioning required.

For a nomination form please contact Dr Gerard J Taggart, Vice-Chancellor’s Office, by emailing

The software, which was developed by Lisa Nelson from the Computing Services

g.taggart@liv.ac.uk. The deadline for nominations is

Department, is currently saving more than 500 tonnes in CO2 emissions and £156,000

Friday 20 March 2009.

per year.


11

£20m centre to research infections

Sir William Stewart meets the team at the Biomedical Research Centre

S

cientists at the University have launched a new national research centre to further understanding into infections such as HIV and tuberculosis. The Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), which was opened by Sir William Stewart, Chairman of the Health Protection Agency, is one of 12 in the country to be funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of the Government’s health research strategy. The joint venture has received £13.5 million funding from NIHR and a further £6.4million from the North West Development Agency. It will be run jointly by the University, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The Centre will focus on four areas – hospital and community acquired infections, chest infections, sexual health, and safety of antimicrobial drugs. Researchers will also have access to stateof-the-art facilities such as a new clinical research unit to trial new drug treatments and a medical microbiology facility for the identification and safe handling of bacteria. Sir William said: “This is important work that will take place in first-rate facilities. I believe this Centre will be a magnet for our very best scientists, retaining and attracting the best brains to Liverpool and the North West, not just from elsewhere in the UK, but internationally. It is a privilege and pleasure to open such an important and worthwhile development.” Professor Peter Winstanley, Executive Director of the BRC, said: “This prestigious new Centre puts Liverpool at the cutting edge of research and means we can pioneer new drugs and diagnostic tools for a range of conditions. We will be investigating ways of alleviating suffering and treating infections which affect millions of people around the world.”

DNA decoding to boost harvest Scientists at the University have been awarded £1.7 million to decode the genome of wheat, in order to help farmers increase the yield of British wheat varieties. Bread wheat, with an estimated world harvest of more than 550 million tonnes, is one of the most important food crops in the world and is worth more than £2 billion to the UK’s agricultural industry. Wheat production world-wide, however, is now under threat from climate change and

The Centre will deliver 13 projects over the next five years, which include areas such as genetic testing to identify who is most likely to be allergic to penicillin, and vaccine development for pneumonia – a major cause of death in children and adults worldwide. Research will also include identification of the factors that cause HIV patients to develop resistance to drug therapies.

Wheat breeders have few genetic tools to help them in

day – hundreds of times faster than the systems

selecting key agricultural traits for breeding and do not

that were used to sequence the human genome.

always know the genes responsible for the trait they

The wheat genome is more than five times larger

need. Scientists, in collaboration with the University of

than the human genome and so this is one of the

Bristol and the John Innes Centre in Norwich, will

most ambitious DNA sequencing projects

analyse the genome of five varieties of wheat using

undertaken to date.”

new DNA sequencing technology to generate tools to help breeders select traits, such as high productivity, for their crop. The research will highlight natural genetic variation between wheat types to significantly speed up current breeding programmes.

Dr Hall added: “Sequencing wheat varieties, along with new developments in our understanding of how genes work together, will allow us to identify variation in gene networks involved in important agricultural traits such as disease

Professor Neil Hall and Dr Anthony Hall, from the

resistance, drought tolerance and yield. The tools

School of Biological Sciences, will lead the genome

generated will allow us to apply our knowledge of

sequencing, which will take approximately a year

natural variations in the genome to traditional

to complete.

crop breeding.”

an increase in demand from a growing

Professor Hall said: “New DNA sequencing technology

The research is funded by the Biotechnology and

human population.

can read 500 million separate letters of DNA in a single

Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


12

The beautiful art of maths

M

aths and art are two words that are not usually used in the same sentence, but one of the latest exhibitions in the Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M) aims to prove that the two can be inter-related. Running from 24 February – 25 April, Chaos and Fractals: the Beauty of Mathematics is one of two new exhibitions lining the walls of the VG&M. It showcases fascinating images created by mathematicians from around the world, including some created by members of staff from the Department of Mathematics. The images are created during the course of their research to illustrate theories, problems, processes and systems. Matthew Clough, Director, Art and Heritage Collections, said: “These graphics can be enjoyed purely for their visual appeal and, throughout the course of the exhibition, we are inviting visitors to consider whether they think it is art or not.

They will be asked to join in the debate by casting their votes.” Also opening in March is the Recent Acquisitions exhibition, which profiles rich and varied works added to the collection over the past five years. It includes a key work by Liverpool artist Maurice Cockrill and a mural panel by Mary Adshed, once believed to have been destroyed. Matthew added: “Many of the works featured in this permanent exhibition have been made possible by gifts or supported by grants and the University wishes to acknowledge this continuing generous support.” Recent Acquisitions runs from 3 March until 25 April in Gallery Six and 3 April until 13 June in Gallery Five. A number of events that relate these exhibitions will be running throughout March, April and June. To find out more about them visit www.liv.ac.uk/vgm/events .

The Decorative Arts Gallery is also now open. This is the first time the collection of ceramics, presented to the University by Sir Charles Sydney Jones in 1948, has gone on display


13

Newsinbrief... VG&M’s vvvvroom with a view The Department of Engineering lent its support to the VG&M by helping with the transport of a number of engines that have been added to the Heritage Collection. The large engines, which include a Rolls Royce jet engine, developed for vertical-take-off aircraft, a pre First World War radial engine and a rocket engine made for a guided missile, were moved from the Heritage store to the VG&M’s Tate Hall, where they will displayed for the next year.

Malcolm Harris, Building Manager in the Whelan Building, is retiring in April. Not wanting to relax, Mal has agreed to take part in a boating trip for charity. At the end of April he will paddle across Southern France in a kayak and has set up a blog for friends and family to follow

Want a convenient but delicious lunch made with locally-sourced ingredients?

him every splash of the way. If you would like to sponsor Mal or follow him on his journey visit: http://meanderingmal.blogspot.com

Take advantage of the new Waterhouse Café take-out menu. Engaging with Mathematics

Breakfast bloomer with crispy bacon or sizzling organic sausages and sauce with coffee or tea of your choice £3.95

On Wednesday 1 April, the

Danish or muffin with coffee or tea: £3.25

Department of Mathematical Sciences is holding an Engaging

Soup of day with freshly made roll £2.95

Mathematics workshop. The event will begin with a showcase

and much more!

of outreach activity including a session of the FunMaths Roadshow and workshops by the University of Liverpool Maths Club. In the afternoon there will be an opportunity to meet representatives of several organisations, the Further

OPEN pm 10am – 5 – Tuesday y Saturda

Mathematics Network (FMN), the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCTEM) and Maestro (formerly Greater

Phone 0151 795 0333 to place your order.

Merseyside SETPOINT), followed by a presentation by Sue Pope from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The event is free of charge and participants are asked to bring their own lunch. For more information contact Dr Ian Porteous on 44050 or email porteous@liv.ac.uk


14

Audiences flock to Inaugural Lectures Forthcoming lectures include: Wednesday 4 March 5.30pm Professor Greg Hurst, Chair in Behavioural Ecology/ Evolutionary Biology, ‘Tales of the Red Queen – Why Parasites can be Particularly Important Drivers of Evolution’. Professor Simon Harding with one of his patients

Wednesday 18 March 5.30pm Professor Neil Corcoran, King Alfred Chair of English Literature,

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jon Saunders, Professor Sir Howard Newby, Lady Newby and Lord Owen

‘Yeats’s Shakespeare’. Monday 23 March 5.30pm Professor David Graham, Chair of Medical Education ‘What Makes a Good Doctor?’ The lectures take place in the Jack Leggate Theatre in the Victoria Gallery & Museumto showcase the building’s new role as the Victoria Gallery & Museum. To register visit: www.liv.ac.uk/think

T

he Inaugural Lecture Series for new professorial appointments is underway. Five lectures in the series have already taken place and have attracted large audiences from staff, students, members of the public and also the lecturers’ industry peers. Professor Simon Harding, Chair of Clinical Ophthalmology was joined by a number of his patients from the supporters of the Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness, St Pauls Eye Hospital.

The third lecture in the series was delivered by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, entitled ‘Higher Education in a Globalised World’. Guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead, and the University Chancellor, Lord David Owen. A transcript of the lecture is available on the staff intranet.

Biotechnology team makes it to the finals of national competition A team of young research scientists has scooped the runner-up prize in a national competition. The group was one of 14 to qualify for the finals of the BiotechnologyYes contest, run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI). The team from Liverpool was beaten in the final by a team from the University of Reading with their proposal for a hypothetical company called Ovega and a revolutionary new product which aimed to produce vegetarian Omega-3 oil from food industry waste.

just research and being in the lab. In this increasingly competitive global job market, a wide variety of transferable skills is what future employers are looking for. There’s no denying it was a lot of hard work, but in terms of what we have got out of it the rewards were well worth the time and effort. Having the BiotechYES course on your CV speaks volumes and the contacts we have made will hopefully help us in whatever future career direction we choose to take.” EnterpriseYes competitions are open to all research students and research staff. Details of the 2009 competition, together with an application form can be found at: www.biotechnologyyes.co.uk

Lucy Hopcraft, the Liverpool team’s Managing Director, said: "This

Interested parties should contact the Graduate School or

experience has given us an awareness that a PhD is about more than

Business Gateway for support in making their application.


15

Big smiles from third dental diploma group

The third group of students has qualified from the UK’s first dental hygiene and dental therapy diploma delivered on an outreach basis. The diploma has been specially developed to provide training opportunities for those living in areas with limited dental provision. The 19 students began studying towards the Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Diploma in 2006 based at three Dental Education Centres – Blackburn, Crewe and Lancaster. David Young, Programme Director, said: “Dental hygienists and dental therapists are vitally important in local dental care provision. The Successful graduands with the Programme Director, David Young

combined diploma in dental hygiene and dental therapy was specifically designed to address the low numbers of people going into the dental

achieving 100% employment. The programme is

profession in parts of the North West. We want to

recognised nationally as a great success and is

placements at local dental practices. The course

provide opportunities in dentistry for people locally

achieving its goals.”

runs for 27 months and trains students in a range

and increase the likelihood of retaining those skills in the local area.

Students on the programme spend one day a week at the Dental School and the rest of the

week at dental education centres and on

of skills including oral assessment, disease monitoring, dental health education and treatments such as emergency replacement

“Three cohorts of students - 74 in total - have

of crowns and fillings.

now qualified and gone into the workplace,

www.liv.ac.uk/dental/prospective_students/ dental_hygienist

Red glow signals plaque

U

niversity scientists have developed the technology to identify dental plaque before it is visible to the human eye. The toothbrush-sized product has a blue light at its tip, which, when shone around the mouth and viewed through yellow glasses with a red filter, allows plaque to be seen easily as a red glow. The device, produced in collaboration with Norwegian dental and healthcare developers, Inspektor Research Systems BV, has been designed for everyday use in the home. Dentists currently use disclosing agents in tablet form to uncover tooth decay and plaque but these often stain the mouth and taste unpleasant. The new

product, known as Inspektor TC, will be particularly useful for those who are vulnerable to dental diseases such as children and the elderly. Children in the UK have had an average of 2.5 teeth filled or removed by the age of 15 because of tooth decay. In young people alone £45 million is currently being spent every year on the problem. Professor Sue Higham, from the School of Dental Sciences, said: “It is extremely difficult to get rid of all plaque in the mouth. Left undisturbed it becomes what we call ‘mature’ plaque and gets thicker. This is what leads to gingivitis, or bleeding gums, and decay. “Early-stage plaque is invisible, but this device will show people the parts of the

mouth that they are neglecting when they brush their teeth, enabling them to remove plaque before it becomes a problem. “We now hope to work with industry partners to develop this prototype so that people can use it in the home to identify plaque before any serious dental work is needed.” The team has now received a Medical Futures Innovation Award for the product – a commendation which acknowledges groundbreaking ideas and products within the healthcare and business world that have the potential to transform people’s lives. Past winners of the award have secured more than £80 million of funding from industry specialists for the manufacture of their product.


16

Conferences and events A symposium entitled ‘Transformations in Materials’ was held in the Department of Engineering to celebrate the work of three long-serving academics.

Professors David Bacon, Peter Goodhew and Bob Pond have made major contributions to the discipline of Materials Science over the past 40 years. The three academics have accumulated more than 90 years service to the University. They are now stepping down from full-time research and teaching following the outstanding performance in the recent Research Assessment Exercise, when the Materials Unit of Assessment was ranked second in the UK and the highest scoring in the University. Plans are being made for a historic exhibition to travel worldwide.

The World in One School exhibition was created by the School of Architecture as part of the University’s contribution to Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year. Jack Dunne (above), who is the Director of Studies for the MArch Programme and curator of the showcase, arranged for the exhibition to travel to Dublin and Glasgow in 2008 after its initial successful opening at the RIBA North West in Liverpool. Now plans are underway for the exhibition to travel to New York and Warsaw, where the School has historic links. The showcase features work by prominent alumni, focusing mainly on their international architectural significance. The school has produced architects of outstanding quality including six Royal Gold Medal winners. Their influential work, and that of many more graduate architects from 1895 to date have helped shape the built environment across the world.

Professors Pond, Goodhew and Bacon with Professor Derek Hull FRS FREng, a former Head of Department, Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Liverpool, at the dinner in their honour in the Victoria Gallery & Museum

measure the biological clock, inspired by work reported from the University of Lancaster at an earlier North West Plant Science meeting. All animals, plants and fungi have a biological clock to time the circadian rhythms that are essential to health and fitness. Remarkably, plants emit light for the first few seconds after they are plunged into darkness that turns out to be directly related to the time according to the internal biological clock. This new technique means that it is now straightforward to measure the clock in any plant, giving a new way to check that crops are performing as well as possible. Some of the work on this important technical breakthrough was carried out by two students from a Liverpool school during their Summer holiday, supported by Nuffield Science Bursaries. They are now in the unusual situation of being authors of a paper in a leading scientific journal before they start their university degrees. The paper’s authors are Peter D Gould, Patrick Diaz, Claire Hogben, Jelena Kusakina, Radia Salem, James Hartwell and Anthony Hall. Monitoring delayed fluorescence as a universal tool for the measurement of circadian rhythms in higher plants will be published in Plant Journal.

The annual North West Plant Science meeting has been hosted by the University.

More than 65 researchers from the University’s of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster heard about the latest findings on many aspects of plant biology. This included a talk from Dr Peter Gould in the School of Biological Sciences, about the discovery of a universal tool to

Claire Hogben, Patrick Diaz and Dr Anthony Hall (l to r in white coats) and a member of the public with the display including this work at the BA Festival of Science in September 2008

Newsinbrief... Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby has become the first

partner organisations will work within the Trust to enhance the School’s

Trust School in Wirral. Its new status will allow the school to establish

specialist areas of Technology and Languages, bringing greater

long-term, sustainable relationships with its partner organisations,

opportunities to the students and those other communities already

which include the University, Unilever and Maestro Services Ltd.

benefiting from this work.

As two of the largest local employers, the University and Unilever will

Researchers at the University have found that people given

support the School’s role within its local, national and global

chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer have higher chances of survival.

communities through a range of means, a key objective being to better

The cancer, which is the same disease suffered by actor Patrick Swayze, has a poor prognosis with only 2% to 3% of patients

prepare young people for work within these communities. The new


17

The 19th Century Pamphlets Online project is holding a one-day conference at the University on Friday 20 March entitled 'New access to past debates: 19th century pamphlets'.

Leaves showing the light emitted in darkness used to measure the biological clock in this new technique

The Centre for the Study of the Child, the Family and the Law at the Liverpool Law School will host a major three-day international conference on Children and the European Union: Legal Political and Research Perspectives from Monday 20 – Wednesday 22 April, in collaboration with the European Children’s Network.

The principal themes to be covered will be debating the value of, and legal basis for, an EU’s children’s rights strategy, a critical look, through research, at the achievements of the EU in advancing children’s rights, and the future development of a children’s rights strategy. This will be the first event of its kind to bring together international, EU and domestic policy-makers, practitioners, academics and young people in a joint endeavour to critically discuss the EU’s emerging children’s rights agenda, with a number of prominent speakers from the EU institutions, the Council of Europe and UN organisations to stimulate what will be lively, and productive, discussion. www.liv.ac.uk/law/cscfl/children

This event marks the launch of a major new digital resource, providing desktop access to more than 23,000 19th century pamphlets covering the political, social and economic issues of their day – the result of sponsorship and investment from Research Libraries UK (RLUK), Joint Information Systems Committee and JSTOR. The conference will seek to place 19th century pamphlets within their historical, literary and cultural contexts, and to consider the potential of their digitisation for research and teaching. Participation in this event, which includes lunch and refreshments, is free, thanks to sponsorship by RLUK. However, places are limited and will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis. For more information email grant.young@bristol.ac.uk The Rotary Club of Neston is hosting an event in aid of Leukeamia Research and Rotary International Charities on Tuesday 24 March in the Torrentine Suite, Thornton Hall Hotel.

Tickets for ‘Another Evening with the Calendar Girls’ cost £20 and includes a twocourse meal. Available from Colin Sullivan tel 0151 336 5115 or David Brigden tel 01352 715999.

A book of the Sound The original Mersey Sound is being brought to life in a book set to become a classic. The Original Mersey Sound – the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Story, written by Darren Henley, MD of Classic FM, and Vincent McKernan, and beautifully illustrated throughout, is the amazing story of one of Liverpool’s cultural ‘crown jewels’ which is brought to light for the first time in its entirety. In 1840, a group of music-loving Liverpool businessmen came together to form a society which gave four concerts in its first year. They surely could not have known that, 168 years later, their endeavour would grow to become the second-oldest concert promoting society with the oldest continuing professional orchestra in the UK. Simon Bell, Marketing Manager at Liverpool University Press which is publishing the book, said: “Whilst the scope and reach of the Liverpool Philharmonic today is very different, the original vision of that first committee ‘to promote the science and practice of music’ has remained a constant and driving ambition. It lives and breathes today through from their talismanic conductor Vasily Petrenko to its artists, choristers and staff.”

The Institute of Irish Studies St Patrick’s Day Ball will be held on Saturday 14 March at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, with entertainment by John McNicholl and His Band.

Normally priced at £25, staff, students and alumni can order a copy at a special price of £19.95 by telephoning 0151 794 2233 or emailing lup@liv.ac.uk and quoting ‘Precinct Offer’.

There is also a disco and traditional Irish step dancing. Master of Ceremonies is University Honorary Graduate and BBC radio presenter Roger Phillips. Tickets £50 per person or £500 for a table of 10 guests. For tickets email Dorothy@liv.ac.uk

The Original Mersey Sound: The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Story is out on 31 March. To see what is on offer from Liverpool University Press visit: www.liverpool-unipress.co.uk/

surviving for five years or more. New research found that patients

Katharina Müller, from the School of Cultures, Languages and

given chemotherapy after surgery for operable pancreatic cancer

Area Studies, and her Lancaster colleague Judith Menzel, have

had a 30% higher chance of living than those who just had surgery.

successfully applied to the German Academic Exchange Service

Lead researcher, Professor John Neoptolemos, said: “Pancreatic

(DAAD) for funding for a Writer in Residence programme.

cancer continues to be one of the hardest cancers to treat and has

As part of the programme, German author Maike Wetzel will

very low survival rates, these results show that chemotherapy after

be in Liverpool from 22 – 28 March. Maike will be doing a

surgery is the best way to treat patients, giving people precious

reading, introducing a film evening and participating in a

extra months or even years of life.”

translation workshop. www.liv.ac.uk/soclas


18

Werefore art thou Shakespeare?

P

upils from Childwall Comprehensive School have visited Liverpool Guild of Students (LGoS) to take part in a ‘Bringing Shakespeare Alive’ workshop and watch a performance of Romeo and Juliet by the Liverpool University Drama Society. The evening was organised by the Educational Opportunities Team in partnership with the LGoS as part of the

University’s Widening Participation agenda, which enables young people who might not otherwise consider higher education to get a taste of university life. Professor Stephen Holloway, Pro-ViceChancellor for the Faculties of Science and Engineering, who recently took part in the Teach First Week, said: “It is vitally important that young people can share in activities that will enrich the quality of their

Lord Capulet goes through some lines with the young actors

lives and understand that neither cultural nor academic pursuits are outside of their realm. “I think that the efforts made in bringing in students from local schools to attend a hands-on evening of Shakespeare is exactly the sort of thing in which we must engage if we are to be a university with serious ambitions to lead the UK in widening participation.”

Anti-terrorism blast-proof concrete

Gascon Rolls go online

A team of University Engineers has tested a new form of concrete that

Previously unpublished medieval records relating to the English government

can reduce the impact of bomb blasts in public areas.

of Aquitaine are to be made available online thanks to University historians.

The new fibre-reinforced material is much stronger than ordinary

The Gascon Rolls are the single most important source of information about

concrete, and could potentially be used in the production of protection

the ancient administration located in south-west France. The documents

barriers to shield people from impact, and in the production of bomb-

relate to the period between the mid-13th and the mid-15th centuries,

proof litter bins.

when Aquitaine existed as an English duchy and tensions over its control

The research, which was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, involved a range of tests to explore the capabilities of the new Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC). The aim was to establish the bending strength of the new concrete and its capacity to absorb energy, culminating in a series of high explosion blast tests at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria. Professor Steve Millard, from the Department of Engineering, said: “Our results showed that the new UHPFRC material had an enhanced

culminated in the outbreak of the Hundred Years War with the kingdom of France. The unedited records comprise more than 113 parchment rolls dating from 1317 to 1468 and contain letters, writs, grants and other documents which reveal the relationship between the English king and his administration. Paul Booth, from the School of History, said: “Without the Gascon Rolls we would not know the comprehensive history of the duchy, and of the Hundred Years War itself – they are the most important unpublished records of France.

tension and compression strength of 500% greater than conventional

“The increased accessibility to a first-class edition of these invaluable primary

concrete. This makes UHPFRC a suitable material for use in

sources is extremely important to all scholars of later medieval history and in

anti-terrorism applications.”

particular of Anglo-French relations.”


19

“600 people currently claim to speak the language”

Jennifer’s guide to Manx

A

researcher from the Centre for Manx Studies has produced the first modern, comprehensive guidebook on Manx Gaelic, a language thought to have died out in the mid-19th century. Expert Jennifer Kewley Draskau produced her guide, Practical Manx, after studying a range of texts dating back as far as the 15th century, as well as unstructured, informal conversations between fluent native speakers on the Isle on Man. Manx Gaelic virtually died out in the 19th century when English became the language of trade in the 19th century. However, it has recently experienced a revival and more than 600 people currently claim to speak the language. Jennifer said: “This new handbook will provide a measure of stability and consolidation for the language, harmonising elements from different time periods and modes of usage, as well as increasing confidence in the Manx speaking community.” Practical Manx is published by Liverpool University Press.

Above left: Laxey Wheel Above: Practical Manx Left: Gascon Rolls


20

Famous alumni illustrate Liverpool’s degree of success

A

degree from the University of Liverpool is just as likely to lead to career success as a degree from Oxbridge, according to a recent article in The Times Online. While Cambridge and Oxford universities have undoubtedly produced some of the finest graduates in British history, the article argues that ‘nurtured in the right conditions, success is in us all, no matter if we went to Cambridge University or Thames Valley’. And the University of Liverpool has definitely produced its fair share of impressive alumni, with a list that includes Dame Stella Rimington, the former Director General of MI5, Sir Neil Cossons, the former Chairman of English Heritage, ITN’s award-winning science editor Lawrence McGinty, Maurice Flanagan, founding CEO of Emirates airline (see page 6), and poet Carol Ann Duffy. Patricia Routledge, an actress probably best known for comedy creation Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances, studied English Language and Literature at the University between 1947 and 1951. She was heavily involved in the University’s

drama scene, which inspired her to pursue her prolific acting career later in life. TV journalist Jon Snow studied Law between 1968 and 1970, but was sent down for staging a six-week student protest. Despite never graduating, he credits the University as the reason he got his first job at ITN. He told The Times Online, “During the interview I was terrified that they would discover I hadn’t graduated. But the editor was an Oxbridge man, used to interviewing Oxbridge people. When I told him I had gone to Liverpool instead he was too shocked to ask about my degree. “I don’t regret being sent down because I took so much away from my experience at Liverpool. I grew up in greenest Surrey, but in Liverpool I saw great poverty, terrible unemployment and real social tensions. It was a very intense experience.”

MOVERS & SHAKERS

A ‘Festschrifft’ has been published in honour of Professor Ole Petersen from the School of Biomedical Sciences in an international journal. The January 2009 issue of Acta

First blooms poke through the snow

Physiologica – the official journal of the Federation of European Physiological Societies, as well as the Scandinavian Physiological Society – is a special issue containing the full versions of the 17 papers delivered by leading international authorities at

The first of the year’s blooms have braved the

the International Symposium held at the Royal

wintry weather at Ness Botanic Gardens.

Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen, Denmark on the occasion of

Visitors have been able to join the gardens’

Professor Petersen’s 65th birthday.

experts on guided snowdrop walks, where they learned more about the 60 different species

Patrick Hackett, Chief Operating Officer,

which grow there.

has been appointed non-Executive Director at Aintree Hospital.

www.liv.ac.uk/nessgardens


21

Revealing the secrets of the Freemasons Dr David Harrison, a former PhD student

numerous philosophies, from the sacred

and history tutor from the Centre for Lifelong

symbolism and magical imagery to the study of

Learning, has written a book that reveals

ancient architecture and natural philosophy. But

some of the secrets behind one of the

it also became notorious as an elitist institution

most mysterious organisations in the

where gentlemen of a certain social level could

world, the Freemasons.

interact and network with each other.

The Genesis of Freemasonry charts the

Today, the Freemasons are a worldwide

history of the brotherhood from its origins in

organisation with more than five million

the 17th century through to its development in

members, but the origins and development

the 18th century as a networking society,

of Freemasonry have always been subject

following the foundation of the Grand Lodge

to debate.

in 1717.

The Genesis of Freemasonry is due to

The ethos of freemasonry has varied

be published in March and available from

throughout the centuries, but even now it is

Amazon. David is currently working on a

treated with some suspicion. It has embraced

follow-up.

Juggling James doubles up as Torres

A

n e-business student from the Management School is to star as a body double for Liverpool Football Club striker Fernando Torres in a multimillion pound commercial for soft drinks giant Pepsi. James Hacking is one of the UK’s leading football freestylers, which involves juggling a football using various parts of his

body. The aim is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible using a range of tricks and trying to be as creative and flamboyant as possible. James has been freestyling for five years and is hired by modelling and casting agencies to work all over the world showcasing his skills. He had been working in Italy for an entertainment agency called

Nexus Europe when he heard about the Pepsi advert and was sent straight to Barcelona for four days of filming. “It was a cool experience,” said James. “I didn’t get to do many tricks during the actual filming, but I was introduced to the players and even did a bit of freestyling for them off set. It was pretty amazing to meet them all.”


22

Training courses The following Staff Development courses are available in March and April. Date

Course title

Thursday 5 March

Organising staff development

Friday 6 March

Mid-life financial planning (am and pm session)

Tuesday 10 March

Thinking clearly and analytically A professional approach for clerical, secretarial and administrative staff

Wednesday 11 March

Managing and supporting staff contribution Refresher training for safety co-ordinators

Promotional publications available

A

range of University publications is available to all staff for use at conferences, meetings, overseas trips, recruitment and any other events at which you might want to promote the University and its activities. Campus maps are also available for a small charge. Contact the Publications team email precinct@liv.ac.uk or tel 42251.

Thursday 12 March

Carrying out accident investigations

Friday 13 March

Recruitment and selection

Monday 16 March

Induction for Support staff

Tuesday 17 March

Introduction to Computing Services

Wednesday 18 March

Introduction to risk assessment

Thursday 19 March

Becoming an induction mentor

Aquatic Ecology in the

Business letter writing

School of Biological

Dr Rick Leah, Lecturer of

Sciences since 1979, died Friday 20 March

Institutional health and safety induction

Monday 23 March

Introduction to library

Tuesday 24 March

Building and motivating your team

Wednesday 25 March

Diversity in higher education – religion and belief

suddenly in February. Rick originated from Warrington and acquired a BSc, PhD and Postdoctoral Research Associate position

Friday 27 March

Setting goals and standards

Wednesday 1 April

Report writing

Thursday 2 April

Managing biosafety in the laboratory - cultural awareness

Wednesday 8 April

Safe working with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Wednesday 15 April

Introduction to manual handling

Tuesday 21 April

Customer service

Wednesday 22 April

Induction for Support staff

Friday 24 April

Introduction to Finance

Tuesday 28 April

Developing your team – minutes, meetings and agendas

with Brian Moss at the University of East Anglia. He was influential in developing thinking about the balance of nutrient loading and zooplankton grazing in determining the phytoplankton communities in the Norfolk Broads, and in establishing perhaps the best documented example of guanotrophy with his postdoctoral work on Hickling Broad and its burgeoning flock of black-headed gulls. Rick was interested in many freshwater problems, such as those associated with mining and mine waters, and latterly was the Head of Ecological Systems within the University’s Institute of Sustainable Water, Integrated

Wednesday 29 April

Institutional health and safety induction

Management and Ecosystem Research (SWIMMER).

Diversity in employment – disability Colleagues of Rick’s at the School of Biological Thursday 30 April

Induction for Academic, Teaching and Research staff Introduction to Corporate Communications

Sciences said: “Rick gave a great deal of care to his teaching, his project students and tutees, and to his teaching administration. Everything was done with great attention to detail. He was intensely loyal to his close

For further information on all courses visit: www.liv.ac.uk/staffdev

colleagues and a committed member of staff, trying to bring about reforms when he thought they would benefit students. Rick was interested in the future of the planet, sharing the joys of small forward steps like the

In memoriam

return of a few salmon to the Mersey estuary, whilst being all too realistically aware of the much bigger reverses that our increasing ecological footprints bring.

The University regrets to report the death of Mary Baxter, part time cleaner in

All those who knew him professionally have had their

the Facilities Management Department since 1994.

work enriched in some way. We extend our

Sir Kenneth Maxwell Stoddart (Hon LLD 1986).

condolences to his wife, Rachel, and their children.”


‘’ Don’t

quote me

Welcome to ‘Don’t quote me’, a new Precinct column which aims to introduce you to the University’s wide and varied mix of staff. ‘Don’t Quote Me’ this month brings you

Jayne Barnes, Pat Howe and Kate Hall

What work issues keep you up at night?

JB and PH: None, we all love our job.

(below), Receptionists in the Victoria Gallery & Museum.

KH: And I work, run a house and run around

OOL UNIVERSITY OF LIVERP AUTUMN 2008

insight

after my one-year-old daughter, Abigail - I always sleep peacefully!

What are you reading at the moment? JB: Still Summer by Jaquelyn Mitchard. PH: Passage Meditation by Eknath

Easwaran.

Tycoon’s vision y father’s dream a realit Tung brothers make

KH: Gavin & Stacey. My favourite quote is...

JB: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

PH: “The result of all ambition is to be happy at home.”

KH: “I’ve never known anyone speak so much, yet say so little.”

Where did you grow up?

Always trust... JB: Not far from here in Toxteth. JB: My mum, but never trust a banker! PH: Birkenhead. PH: That everything will work out for you. KH: Old Swan, Liverpool. I love Liverpool. My other half is from Manchester and I

KH: Your hairdresser.

made him move here!

If I had a million pounds I would...

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

JB: Pay off my mortgage and take the family

JB and PH: Enjoying our home and family

on a cruise.

and friends and having happy balance with

PH: I might be tempted into a bit of nip and

work and family life.

tuck!

KH: And a fab job that we love!

KH: Pay off my mortgage, send my mum

What two attributes are most important

and stepdad on a world trip, buy my brother

in your job?

and his family an adapted house to help with their day-to-day living with my nephew,

JB: I think we would all be in agreement that we need to be friendly, helpful and polite. What do you get passionate about? JB: My family and my line dancing. PH: Anything to do with children. KH: I am passionate about my family and friends who are forever inspiring.

Jack, who has cerebral palsy and buy my other brother the car of his dreams. Then go shoe shopping and pay for driving lessons for my other half. Who is your ideal dinner guest? JB: Pierce Brosnan. PH: Stevie Wonder.

What do you find most rewarding about

KH: Imelda Marcos (but only if she brought

your job?

her shoe collection!)

All: Meeting new and interesting

If you would like to be featured, or know

people every day, and working in such

an interesting character who we should

a lovely environment.

contact, email us at precinct@liv.ac.uk

23


ONLINE MERCHANDISE SHOP THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL MERCHANDISE SITE

Multi Buy

The official University merchandise site especially for departments is now available

http://shop.liv.ac.uk

Looking for a memento of your time at the University or searching for gifts for visitors, friends, colleagues and family? Placing your order online is simple and above all secure.

For ordering or product advice contact: Susan.auton@liv.ac.uk tel 0151 794 2072 or james.crossan@btcgroup.co.uk tel 020 8587 3366

P march 09  

P march 09

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