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Applied Research at Coventry University

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 www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet

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automotive excellence

Why Coventry University received a Royal approval in Transport and Product Design Creative ice-breaker Supporting the region’s talent with the launch of a new creative enterprise perfect match How a partnership with Coventry City Football Club is reaping benefits for all

ISSUE 3 SPRING 2008


Contents 4 News The latest research news from across the campus

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ART AND DESIGN

7 Look and learn Helping children with Visual Dyslexia

8 A perfect match How a partnership with Coventry City Football Club is reaping benefits for both parties

Applied Research at Coventry University : Issue 3

10 Fractured performance 10

Welcome to the spring 2008 issue of Innovate, the applied research magazine from Coventry University. From the University’s origins in the mid-19th century, we have continued to recognise the critical role ‘innovation’ plays in helping to achieve long-term commercial success. As one of twelve universities in England recognised for being business-facing we are committed to providing an excellent education enriched by our focus on applied research. Our portfolio of courses demonstrates the University’s commitment to developing industry-aligned, cutting edge themes relevant to the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s employment markets. There’s no better evidence of this than the Department of Industrial Design’s recent award of the Queen’s Anniversary prize for Higher and Further Education for its work in automotive design. Already a Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Product and Automotive Design in the UK, the Department is a real example of how our courses are so highly regarded. In this issue of the magazine we have paid tribute to that department and shared with you some of its innovative research projects. We have an excellent record in helping businesses to increase their productivity and growth through practical application of research. As you will read, the University has considerable expertise in working with businesses to transfer knowledge for the benefit of the UK economy. We were one of the first universities to deliver innovative Employer Engagement Programmes – a unique scheme placing University-level learning within employer premises. These programmes are tailored to meet the needs of the individual organisations and we’re currently working with three major organisations as well as in discussions with several more. Coventry University contributes hundreds of millions of pounds each year to the regional economy through our real-world curriculum, employer-led, higher level skills programmes, the spirit of enterprise, and user-driven research – creating an unrivalled formula. I hope you enjoy reading about the work we are currently undertaking and the achievements of our students and colleagues. If you have any comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you. Professor Ian M Marshall Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) innovate@coventry.ac.uk

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Helping regional artists get the most out of installations and exhibitions

AUTOMOTIVE 12 Window of opportunity How a grant helped one woman create a safer network of windscreen fitters

14 Checkmate to skills crisis How the AA is working with Coventry University to reduce the UK’s skills shortage

16 Royal approval Celebrating excellence in Transport and Product design with the Queen’s approval 24

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20 In focus: Contechs Getting the most out of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership in the automotive sector

30 Intelligent transport A series of projects are discovering ways to improve the UK’s transport infrastructure HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES

22 Avoiding the supermarkets 28

Why more people are turning to Farmers’ Markets and organic food boxes in the UK

24 Bridging the breastfeeding knowledge gap New training and assessments will help reduce the numbers of mothers who give up breastfeeding too soon COVENTRY UNIVERSITY ENTERPRISES

26 Designed for business Closer partnerships with businesses are getting more students’ products out into the marketplace

28 Breaking the ice for creatives The launch of a new creative enterprise in Coventry will support the region’s talent Contact us 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 future issues of Innovate, contact us at the following: Telephone 024 7623 6364 Email innovate@coventry.ac.uk Website www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet

Credits Managing Editor Karen Smith Written and edited by Cheryl Liddle Designed by Kraken Creative Printed by Emmersons This publication is available in other formats on request. Please contact Marketing and Communications on 024 7688 8352


Innovate news 05

NEWS IN BRIEF

Innovate news 04

NEWS IN BRIEF

China drives towards global automotive market A research project into China’s aim to become a major player in the global car industry by 2020 suggests that China will prove a powerful competitor in the future. Professor Tom Donnelly conducted the research, which showed how the Chinese car industry has grown rapidly since the early 1990s following the death of Mao Zedong and the onset of the subsequent Open Door Economic Policy. Following the Japanese and Korean models, Chinese car-makers will pursue strategies designed to increase their market share and look to take sales from the main automotive producers. Alternatively working with Chinese firms could provide an opportunity for Western firms to take further advantage of China’s burgeoning domestic market and perhaps create a new order in the global industry. Donnelly’s report indicates that the Chinese will not wait for an organic growth into the market but will instead obtain Western expertise either through acquisition, as Nanjing Auto and the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC) have done, or will buy in the necessary products, systems and technologies from specialist engineering and consultancy firms in the West to achieve their goal. There are around 100 firms producing vehicles in China – of these only a dozen have the potential to become major players and make an impact internationally. Key difficulties are currently hindering Chinese advance onto the global stage such as safety standards, Western emission rules, the rising costs of assembly and components and above all weaknesses in quality and managerial expertise. Donnelly concludes that it’s not a question of if, but when China will penetrate the advanced automotive markets of the West and Japan. Left Tom Donnelly is a Professor of Automotive Business and Director of the Motor Industry Observatory in the Applied Research Centre in Sustainable Regeneration (SURGE), within the Faculty of Business, Environment and Society

Who’s a fan of the FA Cup?

Weather research helps communities

New research into perceptions of the FA Cup shows that football fans are tired of the Premier League’s big teams dominating the competition and are less inclined to attend FA cup matches than they once were. Football fans remain committed to the memory, history and prestige of the competition according to the study. Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sports Business Strategy and Marketing at Coventry University Business School, undertook an online survey of 400 UK football fans between July and October 2007. Fans were asked what they associate most with the FA Cup; Wembley Stadium and the new Wembley Arch came out top of the poll with 64% and 67% respectively, demonstrating how important the venue is to the competition. Most respondents were unconcerned by sponsorship, feeling more passionately about the fact the FA Cup has become too predictable and prefer it when ‘underdog clubs’ do well. No doubt those fans are savouring the return of the magic of the Cup this year. The final between Cardiff City and Portsmouth was the first without a representative from the Big Four since 1991 and this is the first year that they haven't even made the semifinals since Coventry City’s win in 1987.

The impact of extreme weather, such as the 2007 summer floods, is being researched in an effort to improve the resilience of local communities to such events. The research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is made up of a multidisciplinary team involving leading scientists, which includes social scientists, engineers, geographers and climatologists from 15 British Universities. Dr Robby Soetanto of the Department of Built Environment is part of the Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW) team who will work on the £1.6m programme that started in February 2008 and is scheduled to run for three years. “With climate change becoming an accepted reality, it is critical that we, at local community level, are well prepared for the hostility of the future climate,” said Dr Soetanto. “This programme aims to bring improvements to community resilience.” The programme adopts a stakeholder-led and participatory research approach where the scientists will work with the end users to test and refine academic solutions against real life situations. Dr Soetanto’s empirical work will explore the processes and interdependencies between various constituencies of decision making during severe weather. It will show how complex inter-relationships develop in community groups in response to extreme weather and suggest ways to optimise actions to improve a community’s resilience. This knowledge will then be incorporated into future policies that will benefit a widerange of stakeholders.

Curtain falls on infections In an effort to reduce the risk of infection in a healthcare environment, one manufacturer approached the Health Design and Technology Institute (HDTI) for help in developing its novel curtain-fixing clip. Birmingham-based Opal Contracts is a manufacturer of window blinds, curtain tracks and security systems. The company recently conceived and developed a novel curtain fixing clip that enables the easy packing, storage, handling and suspension of disposable curtains within a healthcare environment, specifically targeted at supporting the drive to minimise the risk of infection. The company approached the HDTI via the West Midlands Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) seeking design improvements and assistance with the production of initial prototypes. The HDTI’s healthcare and design expertise were key factors in the progression of the project. HDTI design staff developed the product idea using SolidWorks 3D CAD software. This data was then used to produce pre-production rapid prototypes to inform the design through to full tooling for manufacture. HDTI staff were also able to use the data to produce a series of animations, demonstrating the product concept, for use as a marketing tool. The Institute also identified a manufacturing partner in Barkley Plastics, conveniently located within a half a mile of Opal’s Birmingham factory, with the requisite skills and equipment to make the clips. The prototypes are currently being evaluated by several NHS trusts and Opal has just received its first NHS supply contract with a major NHS trust in the South of England, worth approximately £300,000. With the assistance of the HDTI, Opal has developed a unique contribution in the fight against clinical environment acquired infection and successfully entered a new market sector.


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Professor Andree Woodcock is the Leader of V the Design Ergonomics AppliedUResearch Group. An ergonomist with D a strong portfolio in applied research, she is pioneering research in the field of ergonomics in the UK.

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This list is not exhaustive, particularly where neurological disturbance is suspected (information courtesy of Ian Jordan www.visualdyslexia.com).

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Double vision M F Vibration of text Bleaching or colour changes to the text Sequencing of letters/words/lines changing e.g. was/saw Letter reversals e.g. d/b Letters or words crowding or superimposing Blurring Tracking problems Sore eyes Parts of words disappear Letters change shape Dark and light patches appear Words may spin

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What a child with Visual Dyslexia may experience when reading:

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For more information visit: www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/ T d/449/a/4812

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the classroom environment and teaching D techniques,” said Jordan. “I estimate that at least half (probably nearer three quarters) T of those who underachieve at school haveW a significant visual perceptual problem. Underachievement will result in a poorer lifestyle for the child, lower salaries, lower status and a potentially less fulfilling job.” Y The DVD contains animations and B illustrations to help parents, teachers and healthcare professionals to visualise the E different effects of the condition – ranging E from letters jumping off the page and words appearing differently to not even being able to recognise people’s faces. V U Professor Andree Woodcock is steering the project. “The School has a wide skill base in the creative arts and design and this has helped us to pool together a number R of skills and research areas to produce a dynamic product,” she said. F has expertise in Health The School also X Y Design and there are now Communication plans to develop the product for a number of conditions that can cause learning difficulties such as Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADH). The project is part of a funding initiative from the Health, Design and Technology Institute (HDTI). The DVD is available from N the University for £17.99 and includes a filmT ‘Demystifying Visual Dyslexia’, a PDF booklet by Ian Jordan and a Q&A session.

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New appointments Stephen Jacobs OBE (far left) and Professor Brian Toft

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into the death of a patient in the National Health Service since its inception in 1948.  Stephen Jacobs, OBE, has been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Health Inclusion for the Self-Management Programme. A former Lanchester Polytechnic graduate, Stephen is currently Chair of the Expert Patient Programme Community Interest Company (EPP-CIC). He was given the task of expanding the programme by Health Ministers in 2006 in order to improve the lives of millions of people who had long term illnesses. Stephen Jacobs is also the Chair of Whipps Cross University Hospital Trust in East London.

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It is estimated that 375,000 school children currently suffer from Visual Dyslexia in varying degrees. O The name refers to a group of perceptual and physical anomalous symptoms produced by the eye / brain relationship. Common symptoms include double vision, difficulty in focusing, disturbed eye E movement, poor spatial awareness and U difficulty in concentrating. A person with Visual Dyslexia may experience minor problems through to life altering difficulties. They will inevitably underachieve in academic, work or social A environments. Self-esteem is lowered, antisocial behaviour is common and the G sufferer will often exhibit neurological symptoms. However, the most common problems are found in the school system. It is unlikely that a child will tell someone that he/she is suffering from Visual Dyslexia and it is therefore important for parents, V Q teachers and healthcare professionals to be aware of the signs and take measures to enhance the learning environment. With this in mind, academics from the School P of Art and Design have been working with experts to devise an interactive DVD to help visualise the condition. The project is a collaboration between The Design and Ergonomics Research Group (DEarg), The Centre for Media, Arts and Performance (CeMAP) and Ian Jordan, a world expert on visual processing problems. K “Evidence is mounting that the educational problems suffered by those with Visual Dyslexia may be provoked by

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Two new appointments in the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions will help students and patients. Brian Toft, Ph.D has been appointed as Professor of Patient Safety – a world first in this field. Brian currently serves as an independent member of the Joint Commission International’s, European Regional Advisory Council to the World Health Organisation on healthcare and patient safety, the UK Intrathecal Chemotherapy Advisory Group and the National Patient Safety Agency’s joint working parties with the Royal College of Radiology and Royal College of Anaesthesia. Professor Toft has carried out a number of investigations into serious adverse patient safety incidents and was the first non-physician to Chair an inquiry

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New appointments narrow health gap

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providing systems with reduced emissions and better fuel economy. The facilities – including laboratories with specialist emissions and laser diagnostic equipment – and modelling expertise provide a unique place for this research.

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Exhausted NOx emissions are measured across the LNT using fast response emission analysers

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With one in ten of the UK population having some form J a project is underway to help people of Visual Dyslexia understand the effects of the condition

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the use of particulate traps, reducing NOx is more problematic. Diesels burn with excess air and so reduction of NOx to N2 in the exhaust gas stream is more difficult. Under the direction of Professor Steve Benjamin, AEARG is developing and validating mathematical models that simulate performance of diesel aftertreatment systems. The two main technologies under consideration are Lean NOx Traps (LNT) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). Both have been demonstrated on engine test stands and in vehicles but due to uncertainty as to the physical and chemical processes involved, developing optimum design strategies is extremely challenging. Validated mathematical models would allow design engineers to vary operating parameters and system design features prior to prototype testing. This should save development time and costs while also

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The automotive industry faces tough challenges in order to get diesel vehicles to comply with European and US emission regulations and The Automotive Engineering Applied Research Group (AEARG) is helping solve the problems. A grant of more than £300k from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is helping to fund the project – as well as substantial contributions from industrial collaborators EMCON Technologies, Jaguar Cars and Johnson Matthey who recognise its importance. Rising fuel costs and concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions have resulted in increased numbers of diesel passenger vehicles both in Europe and the US. Diesels have a better thermal efficiency over conventional petrol engines but produce higher emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates. While technologies to deal with the latter are well advanced through

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Work with a consortium of automotive companies is aiming to reduce exhaust emissions in diesel vehicles

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Exhaustive research better for environment

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Innovate Art and Design 09

Innovate Art and Design 08

A Perfect match Better design and more interactive screen content are improving the match day experience for thousands of football fans at the Ricoh Arena The experience of watching a live football match is unbeatable but being among the crowd means fans can often miss crucial details that happen on the pitch. The popularity of large screens that show replays, announcements and running content throughout the game is becoming an integral part of the match day experience. As many as 30,000 fans look up to the screen at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena each matchday to see replays when a ball has gone out of play. The Centre for Media Arts and Performance (CeMAP) is helping the Ricoh to ensure the screen is professional and exciting enough for fans of the game. Project Development Officer Pete Woodbridge said: “Before we got involved, the stadium only had the ability to get one

camera on the screen and the design and interactive elements were bland.” CeMAP set to work installing multiple cameras into the screen’s content to make it more like broadcast coverage. The University also design the advertising, text competitions, replays and any announcements the club have on a weekly basis. Graphics used on the screen encourage fans to sing and support their clubs and help to build the atmosphere and excitement at the match. “We designed a rotating slot machine one week, which indicated a seat number in the stadium. Then we filmed the winner in his seat and coming down onto the pitch to collect his prize,” said Ross Varney who shares the project management with

Woodbridge. “This would all be coordinated with Mercia FM too, who do all the live announcements.” The content is created in close partnership with Coventry City Football Club (CCFC), the Ricoh Arena and its blue chip sponsors and partners, such as Carling. “There were a lot of good comments from fans when we initially moved to the new content,” said CCFC’s Commercial Director Ken Sharp. “Now it’s the benchmark and if we were to move back to only using one camera we would soon hear about it! The replays used to take up to 38 seconds, now the students have the replay up there in 10 seconds. It has to be quick. You can see everyone’s heads turn towards the screen as soon as something happens. The expectation of the public gets greater and we do remarkably well with our screen now compared with a lot of other clubs.” To make everything run smoothly on the day the project team work with specialist equipment (the same kit that is used at the new Wembley Stadium) and computer systems. Coventry City Football Club intend to make more investment to increase the quality of the feed and the number of cameras at the pitch. Every home game CeMAP takes a team of three Media Production students and a member of staff to the match to produce the content. Two students operate the cameras and the content is uploaded and controlled by a coordinator and another student in the central box. They also have to work within the confines of the FA’s strict rules – which will dictate when content cannot be replayed, such as during controversial decisions.

“The students gain a lot out of it,” said Woodbridge. “It’s great experience to be working in a live environment with similar pressures to working in live TV. It’s very pressurised on the day.” While the work the students perform does not contribute towards their qualification, it is excellent work experience that they can boast about on their CVs. “We always have students wanting to work on the project,” said Varney. “We try to rotate the team, while retaining some consistency. We would rather they build on their skills and get a chance to get a season’s worth of experience rather than just one day.” Content and delivery on the screen have improved due to set procedures and processes that the team have put in place. Fans respond to the content on the screen now that it has a more dynamic mix of animation and video.

The project has enabled the University to work with other large sporting organisations such as the FA (for England under-21s matches), the Heineken Rugby Cup and the British American Football League.

‘The students gain a lot out of it. It’s great experience to be working in a live environment with similar pressures to working in live TV. It’s very pressurised’ The success of the project has meant the University will continue with its contract to provide screen content for Coventry City Football Club until the end of the season in 2009/10. It has also led to further work being produced for the Club including a commemorative DVD celebrating 20 years since Coventry’s 1987 FA Cup win against Tottenham Hotspur.

It’s not just the students who benefit from the work experience either, the University gets a valuable advertising deal, which has been agreed with the Club, so that on match day thousands of fans get to see Coventry University. “In return for the content provision, CCFC gives the University advertising space in the stadium on poster boards around the pitch, which is great when the matches are televised. They also have use of our conference facilities and hospitality at matches for guests. It’s a terrific, fulfilling partnership for both sides,” said Sharp. The unique partnership has given the Club and its fans a better match day experience, while students get to further their skills and work experience in a live and exciting environment. Everyone’s a winner in this game.


performance

Fractured

Having the space and support to explore an arts discipline is a valuable opportunity for artists at every stage in their career and thanks to an innovative project 18 regional artists got the chance to do just that in 2007. The programme, called Fracture, ran for 18 months and brought together dance artists and filmmakers in the region to create new screenbased installations for gallery spaces. Fracture was funded by the Arts Council West Midlands and run by the University in collaboration with Arts and Media Training – a leading independent training and advisory resource for artists and art organisations in the West Midlands. Building on the tradition in Coventry’s School of Art and Design to nurture contemporary performance practice and artists’ engagement with new and emerging digital and media technologies, Fracture has provided a space for practical investigation and conceptual intention. One of the key aims for the programme was to explore the debates that are opening up about innovative methods of production and distribution that are challenging more traditional assumptions about performance practice and consumption. Artists’ awareness of the potential uses and application of media arts within performance and of performance within media arts is growing all the time as the technology and expertise evolves. Fracture has provided both artists and viewers the chance to further these aesthetic debates and practices, as well as further enhance technical innovations. Artists were selected for the programme based on their track record of work within the field as well as their determination for personal development. Over the 18 months, the artists were supported through a programme of structured activities including workshops, creative laboratories and mentoring schemes. This enabled them to experiment while encouraging critical reflection, the development of creative strategies and personal management of their skill development. We aimed to be responsive to the individual needs of the artists while at the same time working towards an innovative exhibition, which resulted in seven commissions – with the support of the

Fracture Left: Ray Jacobs and Jonathan Tritton’s work ‘Coming to our Senses’

gallery curators, venue managers, the collaborative teams, and a large number of funding bodies. Each collaboration explored the boundaries and synergies between dance, film and performance, which worked towards fracturing preconceived notions of how dance and film can be presented. The installation pieces were exhibited in a Fracture season at venues around the region, including the Herbert Art Gallery, between July and November 2007. Each performance in its own way offered new ways to engage with the immediacy and potency of the human body and is a celebration of individual and distinctive creative ‘voices’, confidently moving into new territories and inviting new ways of interpreting dance and the moving image. The project has played a significant role in furthering the region’s capability in Dance and Moving Image, and has developed an important relationship with the national Capture programme that is at the forefront of work in this area. We are moving into phase two during 2008 and looking to establish new partnerships for exhibition and distribution, including commercial and public sector organisations. For more information www.fracture-screen-dance.org.uk

Professor in Dance Sarah Whatley has been Director of the Centre for Media Arts and Performance (CeMAP) since 2007 and was previously Head of Performing Arts in the School of Art and Design from 1998. She is leading a number of applied research projects in conjunction with external partners and organisations, which are focusing on digital archiving, dance practice and pedagogy. She has performed and choreographed internationally with touring dance companies and continues to practice as a dancer and choreographer.

Innovate Art and Design 11

Innovate Art and Design 10

Regional artists benefited from a new programme aimed at developing their practice in dance and moving image towards a number of exhibitions and installations in 2007. Project leader and Director of CeMAP Sarah Whatley explains why the programme was a success


p o p o f r o t u w nity o d n i w

Angela Webster is a force to be reckoned with. After spending over a decade in the automotive glass replacement industry, she was determined to encourage more training and standards for windscreen technicians. “I had been working in the industry a long time and I was always concerned that technicians never had to acquire any formal qualifications,” said Angela. “There was an NVQ, but nothing that assessed them on both the practical skills and knowledge required to replace a windscreen safely. I wanted a similar qualification to CORGI but for windscreen technicians. Today anyone can replace a windscreen, a loophole that needs to be closed. Although I had the passion to do it, I had no idea how to get it off the ground.” But help was at hand when a contact at the Chamber of Commerce told Angela about Innovation Networks – a scheme backed by Advantage West Midlands, the European Regional Development Fund and Coventry University that offers grants to support West Midlands based SMEs. “The team at Innovation Networks were fantastic in helping me get a much-needed grant of £10,000 to start things off,” said Angela. Projects backed by Innovation Networks must benefit the West Midlands regional economy and be developing an innovative new product, process or service in order to get a revenue grant of £10,000 or a capital grant of £15,000. “I had to write a proposal explaining how the project was innovative,” said Angela. “Initial drafts were drawn up using research gathered about the market and safety standards in the rest of Europe and the States. We also looked at other sectors to show how the business could break into new markets. We received a lot of advice and support from people within our industry.” Angela and her business partner Paul Sullivan devised a company model that would involve highly skilled, independent technicians from across the UK joining up to be members of their association Screen Management. As windscreens have become more technical in their design and now act as an integral safety feature of a vehicle, they have also become a premium product to insure. This in turn is driving the local independent technician out of the market as they lack the commercial competitiveness of their major rivals.

On Screen Angela Webster with Screen Management business partner Paul Sullivan

However, Screen Management is able to compete on the independent technician's behalf by offering clients a national service but with all the benefits of using a local technician. The company claim that because they use local technicians their response rate is quicker than many of their competitors. “We concentrate on looking after the auto glazing needs of many commercial clients, such as Buildbase, and ensure their windscreens are always dealt with as soon as possible by calling on our network of technicians,” explained Angela. Once the company was launched, Angela believed she would be able to develop the accreditation side of the business. It was during the planning stages, when Angela found out she wasn’t the only one thinking about accreditation. The Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) announced it was launching Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) that was being backed by the motor manufacturers and the insurance sector.

‘I was always concerned that fitters never had to acquire any formal qualifications. There was an NVQ but nothing that assessed them on both the practical skills and knowledge required’ The ATA meant that Angela could concentrate on launching training centres to award the accreditation to her team of independent technicians. “It would have taken us several years to develop what the IMI did and it means I can provide somewhere for independents to train for the intensive examination.” The first centre is due to open in the Midlands soon, and if successful they plan to open others in the north and south of the country. They will source their assessors from their network of technicians and in the near future are planning to introduce a junior apprenticeship programme, ISO 9001 and 14001 training. “We want to offer them the chance to stand up and be counted against their national competitors,” said Angela, who has based the company near Bedworth. “I would love Screen Management to be a manufacturer’s nominated repairer and to be number three in the market place over the next five years. The ultimate goal is to be number one and have a fleet of independents, with years of experience – all ATA master technicians who know how to fit a screen safely and correctly.”

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One woman’s commitment to safety led to a £10,000 grant from Innovation Networks so she could create an army of qualified windscreen technicians


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Checkmate to skills crisis Bringing the classroom to the office may be part of the answer to the UK’s skills shortage. Learning and Development Consultant Andy Birch explains how Coventry’s programme is helping the Automobile Association to address the up skilling of its manager talent pool The 2006 Leitch Review highlighted the need for Government, employers and individuals to share in the responsibility to take action and invest in the future of the UK’s long-term skill needs. With that in mind and a desire to invest in its employees, the AA were eager to implement Coventry’s year-long training package to its call centres, designed to teach transferable skills in decision making, taking responsibility and disseminating knowledge. The idea was to offer training that would not only benefit their employees but also the business. The courses are very practical and the students look at their own company to assess the processes. Their place of work actually becomes the curriculum. Known as the Leadership Programme, successful AA students will gain 60 CAT credits at level 1, and an NVQ level 3 in Management. Many of the people we teach are in roles that they have got to from their own abilities rather than from a formal qualification. The programme has been tailored to meet the needs of the AA and their 27 students. I am based in their offices, near Birmingham, four days a week. “The fact that I am on hand to help is integral to the course. The students do find the programme intense but me being there demystifies a lot of the process”. HEFCE saw the potential in the programme and have helped to fund the scheme for the first two years. After that the initiative will have proven its worth and should attract funding from businesses eager to emulate what the AA is doing. Janet Craig Management Development Manager AA Road and Insurance is delighted with the impact the course is already having. Janet said: “The students are really gaining in confidence and all of the work they’re doing links back into the business. There’s been a real engagement from the management team here too, which has been invaluable. Our Business Improvement Manager, for example, has recently invited the students to be involved in the company’s strategic business plan. The whole programme is giving them an opportunity to shine, and the business a chance to reap the benefits of their engagement.” One of the reasons why the course has been so successful is the presence of a Coventry representative in their offices. Students are able to ask for help and are actively encouraged to talk about their projects in the workplace because their studies are work related. “The students are learning in the workplace and bringing the benefits back into the job. Having Andy here is a major success factor,” said Janet.

Being based inside the company is very rewarding. There’s a lot of capable people there and they can see their career paths potentially opening up. There is a lot of enthusiasm for learning being kindled. Although the students do not get the experience of campus life, for many of them it is motivating to know they will have a qualification accredited by the University when they have finished. Adam Woolls a Customer Manager and a student on the course said: “It has opened up a lot of doors for me with the skills I have learnt. It feels good that it’s accredited by Coventry University – it has given me an extra edge for the future.” Colleague and fellow student Marc Russell, a customer manager, has gone back to studying because it is being delivered to his desk. “Once you’ve worked your way up in a company it’s quite a decision to quit and go back to University. Doing the studying while you’re at work is a much better opportunity.” When you hear about the impact the initiative is having, it’s no wonder that other organisations are turning their offices into classrooms too. Caterpillar has 23 students and the NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust has a further 50. The programme is now moving from being a project to mainstream and is actively looking to engage with other organisations. As the demand for a more skilled workforce grows, tackling the issue at grassroots is helping to meet the demands of the Leitch report. “Coventry University has broken through that barrier,” said Janet. “It’s brought the mountain to Mohammed.” If you would like to know more about education in the workplace please contact Ambrina Wahid on 024 7679 5089 or email a.wahid@coventry.ac.uk

A police officer for 30 years, Andy Birch spent the first half of his career as a police motorcyclist then later became involved with learning and development through teaching police officers and staff. He has a Master’s degree in education and a PGD in HR Development.

“I left college at an early age so I thought that would be it for my education. The programme is challenging but very rewarding when you get your marks back. There’s a lot of work to do – more than we expected! But you get a lot of support. This course has opened up a lot of doors for me with the skills I have learnt. I’d like to be out on the road more in the future and I see myself rising to that position in ten years time.”

“The AA has given us a lot of support and it helps having Andy on site too. For one assignment you had to implement a change to an area of the AA that you worked with. I improved the call flows into the department by reducing the average handling time on calls. I’d like to work more in the performance and resourcing side of the business and this course has given me the opportunities to get there.”

Adam Woolls Customer Manager for garage agents

Marc Russell Customer Manager – duty performance

Right Move Consultant Andy Birch (top) enjoys seeing the students develop


It is the UK’s only Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Transport and Product Design and now Her Majesty The Queen has also recognised its creative impact and contribution to the automotive design profession. David Browne explains why Coventry’s Department of Industrial Design is a leader in its field For over 30 years the Department of Industrial Design has been educating worldclass automotive designers and pioneering new developments in design education. The Department, staff and students have received many accolades, including an award for Best Design School in an international competition and more recently the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education. But to receive the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for our achievements in automotive design is obviously a unique honour. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize sits alongside the Queen’s Awards for Industry in the nation’s honours system.

The Royal Anniversary Trust launched the Prizes for the first time in 1993 and every two years they reward higher and further education institutions for work of exceptional quality and of broad benefit either nationally or internationally. Through industry-focussed education and research, the Department is proud of its contribution to the automotive sector, from the UK’s smallest niche manufacturers to the largest multinationals. In recent years collaborative projects have been carried out with Ferrari, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Marcos, Prodrive, PSA, Renault, JCB, LTI (London Taxis International) TVR and Yamaha. As a Department we have produced graduates who have gone on to hold key positions in the world’s foremost automotive companies and created numerous groundbreaking designs and concepts.

Stylish Design Two of Coventry University’s graduates designed the new Jaguar XF. Adam Hatton who graduated in 1995 designed the exterior and Alister Whelan who graduated in 1998 designed the interior. Both were under the guidance of Jaguar’s Director of Design Ian Callum, who is also a Visiting Professor at the University

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Royal approval

Coventry’s winning formula has three key elements linked to the way in which the learning experience is organised and presented. The first is the expertise of our professional staff, who between them have worked for over 40 different automotive manufacturers including all the famous marques, and whose high quality research and consultancy additionally informs the curriculum and its delivery. This is, in turn, further strengthened by our Visiting Professors – all of them acknowledged design leaders and thinkers. The second is a fully integrated teaching programme, which includes practical design, ergonomics and engineering activities. This blend of subjects and the manner of their integration into the courses is a unique feature of the learning experience and distinguishes our graduates as ‘ready to go’ straight out of the box. Continued overleaf

‘The Department is proud of its contribution to the automotive sector, from the UK’s smallest niche manufacturers to the largest multinationals’


The use of digital technology means students not only create detailed models of their designs, but radical new approaches will enable them to discuss the models through ‘virtual’ design ‘critiques’ when other participants are located remotely. Virtual face-to-face dialogues between students in different countries or between students and design experts around the world can be conducted while all participants see, discuss and develop a CAD or real model.

‘Industry experts travel from all over the globe to our Degree Show to see quarter-scale, showroom quality models’

‘Design has been at the heart of Coventry since the founding of a School of Art and Design in 1843’ The Advanced Digitising and Modelling Laboratory (AdamLab) housed within the purpose-built Bugatti Building has provided an important resource for staff research and commercial consultancy activity, including the development of environmentally friendly vehicles such as the hydrogen fuel cellpowered Microcab, now undergoing ‘realworld’ testing in Birmingham and London. Recent academic developments include the new Health Design Technology Institute (HDTI), the Serious Games Institute and several new courses, including Sustainable Transport Design. Our status as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning awarded in 2005, resulted in a £2.5m investment in the department from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). This funding enables us to keep abreast of industry developments and techniques as well as maintain our position as leaders in design education.

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Finally, our third element is the industry input and design project collaborations that enable students to benefit from real-world, commercially inspired project activity. At the heart of this student-centred approach is the maintenance of strong links with the automotive design studios. These links enable us to network with professionals – many of them past graduates – to set up placement opportunities and to undertake collaborative projects which often address future trends and new design themes. It is working with these ‘premier division’ design studios and consultancies where students refine their creative flair and work as members of a team, in the context of production reality. Design has been at the heart of Coventry University since the founding of a School of Art and Design in 1843. We have come a long way since then: 2003 saw the creation of a full-size automotive styling studio with virtual reality and digital modelling capability.

Above Course Manager Nick Hull (left), David Browne (centre) and Lord March at the Goodwood Festival of Speed discussing the Fiorano

Every European automotive design studio and consultancy including Audi, Bentley, BMW, Citroen, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Porsche, Renault and Volvo – and many further afield in America and Japan – employ our design graduates. Every year industry experts travel from all over the globe to our Degree Show to see quarter-scale, showroom-quality models and life-like computer animations of our students’ visions of the future. While automotive manufacturing may be in decline in the UK the University continues to contribute significantly to the continuing demand for British designers. Not surprisingly, a number of our graduates and teaching staff have been independently listed among Autocar’s Top Most Influential Brits in the Global Automotive Industry.

David Browne, Course Director, Automotive Design, was formerly a senior Rover designer. He is also external projects and Professional Training Co-ordinator.

While the department has received its share of industry recognition, so too have its students. Some industry-set competitions are by invitation only and our reputation meant we were the only UK university to participate in the recent Fiat/Lancia/ Alfa Romeo Designing the Italian Way and Ferrari New Concepts for the Myth competitions pitting our design skills against the equivalent top schools from Japan, Italy and the USA. Our Ferrari Fiorano won a prestigious Jury prize and Jean-Michel Raad’s Ferrari F-Zero won The Sunday Times readers’ poll award.

The Award The Queen’s Anniversary Prize sits alongside the Queen’s Award for Industry in the nation’s honours’ system

Top Coventry's proposals displayed at Galleria Ferrari, Maranello Above Simon Long

and Marcus Rayner's Concept Climax, a running prototype developed in their final year

2004 World Automotive Design Competition: outright winner; 2nd place; Best Application of Technology prize. Coventry voted Best International Design School

1973 Industrial Design (Transportation) course commences. Unique in the UK

1991 Post Graduate Automotive Design course commences

1995 Approval gained for the first enhanced undergraduate degree awards (MDes) for design in the UK

1973

1991

1995

1986 1986 Course awarded Design into Business by British Government’s Minister of Trade and Industry

Industrial Design wins the Sir Misha Black award for Innovation in Design Education

The UK’s first MA Automotive Journalism course launched

2004

1990 1990 Industrial Design receives Highest Quality rating from Her Majesty’s Inspectors

2007 Industrial Design awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for ‘educating tomorrow’s leaders in automotive design’

2003 2003 AdamLab (Coventry University/Science Research Investment/Bugatti Trust funded) real and virtual full-size research and design facility up and running. First full size clay model unveiled

2007 2005

2005 Recognized as the UK’s only Transport and Product Design Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning by the Higher Education Funding Council


Contechs

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In focus:

As a Coventry graduate, Contech’s Managing Director Peter Jarvis knew that getting involved in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University could only make his business grow The company: Contechs started 11 years ago and now has nearly 600 employees. It is an automotive and marine consultancy, providing a complete niche product design, engineering and manufacturing solution on a worldwide basis. Contechs has UK offices in Basildon and Warwick and European offices in Germany and Sweden. How did Contechs hear about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships? I did my MSc at Coventry University and have remained in touch with the Industrial Design Department. When I started at Contechs I contacted them about taking on placement students, they have a very good reputation so it made sense for us to work with them. When I was told about the KTP, I found it of interest. They were offering not just a person with an open mind and new tools, but also the opportunity to tap into the University’s specialist supervisors. How is the University helping Contechs? Coventry is providing us with research and supervisory knowledge and specialist expertise, the students are empowered to programme manage specific work activities and implement the latest tools and techniques. The students we have taken on are focused on lean manufacturing and supplier procurement and Materials Requirement Planning (MRP). Two University specialists come in two to three times a month and help improve operating efficiencies and enhance customer service quality by advising us on the processes we use over a twoyear period. Overall, they’re helping us to differentiate ourselves in the service we offer. For example, Wendy Garner, who works with us from the University, put a lot of time and effort into supervising two company based MSc project students who helped us to lay out flexible manufacturing production lines; able to cope with high variety, low volume schedules. The advice provides Contechs with real competitive advantages, reducing man assignments, improving quality and delivery. Contechs have expanded the business to design and manufacture soft trim products for the marine industry and recently picked up the New Supplier of the Year award from yacht manufacturer Sunseeker. We’ve also just signed an exclusivity agreement to supply every single product on their yachts. This low volume, high variety market sector is a new phase for us, and the KTP is helping to generate new systems and processes for it. Partners Contech’s Managing Director Peter Jarvis with his specialist part time MSc/BSc Programme Manager Wendy Garner

Winners Contechs won a New Supplier of the Year award thanks to help from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership How is Contechs helping the University? The objective is for us to provide the students with the right environment to learn and apply their knowledge within a world-class industrial environment. At the end of the two-year assignment and achievement of the project objectives, Contechs could offer the KTP student a permanent job. Contechs has the ability to shape those individuals over a two-year period so they’re gelling and developing with us whilst being supported by the University. This is far preferable to just recruiting someone off the street. It can be time consuming but you only get out of it what you put in. From the start we agreed objectives, the project scope and very detailed timing plans that are reviewed regularly. We’re looking at taking on a third KTP student to help us develop an IT code for specialist design experiments. Would you recommend other businesses use KTPs? You’re making a serious commitment when you get involved. You give the project 110% as the Government assess you on it to ensure the funding is being used properly. As well as Government funding, we also pay the University a salary for the students. For those organisations that want to be different and become a world-class supplier they need to reinvest some of their management time and skills into students. They are our future.

www.contechs.co.uk


Anxieties over the way our food is produced are rising due to ethical and environmental concerns associated with the industrialised global food system. Studies suggest there has been a steady growth in the number of people sourcing food from ‘alternative’ schemes such as farmers’ markets and vegetable box schemes, which are seen to have social, economic and environmental benefits. The number of farmers’ markets, for example, has expanded from just one in 1997 to 550 in 2006, and it has a combined turnover of £220 million (National Farm Retailers’ Association 2006; Soil Association 2006). There are also several hundred organic vegetable box schemes now operating in the UK, which are thought to have combined sales in excess of £100 million per year (Soil Association 2007).

Image courtesy of Abel & Cole

This trend formed the basis of a research project Reconnecting Consumers, Food and Producers: exploring ‘alternative’ networks, which will be published in a book later this year. The study ran from June 2003 to December 2006 and involved in-depth research with food consumers and producers from six different ‘alternative’ food schemes: an organic vegetable box in Cambridgeshire, an urban market garden in Sandwell, a community supported agriculture (CSA) project in Nairn, two farm direct retail businesses in Somerset, and a venture allowing consumers to ‘adopt’ a milking sheep on an Italian farm in Abruzzo. We interviewed 44 men and women in rural and urban locations, and also ran consumer workshops with 89 consumers, plus six in-depth household studies. These methods generated rich data regarding the values, practices and ethical frameworks of those involved in ‘alternative’ food initiatives. Most consumers in developed market economies do not know where (or how) their food is produced. This ‘disconnection’ evokes the perceived and actual separation of food production from food consumption and this is a key driver for some consumers seeking to ‘reconnect’ with the places and people associated with the production of their food. Through ‘reconnection’ consumers can learn more about their food, and enjoy food which they feel to be ‘good’ in every sense of the word: good to taste, good for health, good for the environment and also good for local economies and producers. One distinctive element of an ‘alternative’ food network is that there is some form of direct relationship between food producer and consumer. This can be in a variety of forms that can develop over time, but the research revealed that producers and consumers enjoy many benefits. For producers, direct selling results in better economic returns than selling through a ‘middleman’ and also facilitates a better understanding of who the consumers are and what they want. Consumers, meanwhile, feel that they can develop ‘trust’ in the producers by being able to talk to them directly. For the majority of our respondents, discussing things with the farmer or another contact, for example the delivery van driver, was the most important and enjoyable way of learning more about their food and its origins. It helped people to feel as if they were part of the food chain, closer to the land and the countryside.

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Alternative food schemes such as farmers’ markets and organic vegetable boxes are growing in popularity. Dr Moya Kneafsey reveals the motivations and practices of the consumers and producers who are driving these trends

This trust helped to allay the tendency to mistrust the validity of labels and certification on food. As one consumer said: “…there’s a lot of questions about certification, of organic things, so it’s very important to know that the people who produce the food are genuinely committed and wouldn’t let you down. That’s much more important than the stamp of approval from the Soil Association…” The perceived lack of transparency and the suspicion over a modern, highly industrialised food system was another key motivator for people joining a scheme. There was also a desire to care for the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families, other sentient beings and the planet itself. As one consumer commented, “I just don’t like processed food because you don’t, you honestly do not know what goes on.” Consumers were also prepared to forego the huge choice of commodities offered by supermarkets. They enjoyed the variety available at farmers’ markets and for some people, the surprise of seeing what was in the vegetable box each week was all part of the fun: “I like being given something; I like the surprise of seeing what we’ve got this week … I know things change with the seasons.” Almost all respondents involved in a scheme tried new foods and actually ate a wider variety of fruit and vegetables. This was despite the fact in most schemes there was a reduced choice on offer and a lack of consumer control over what could be selected. Sometimes it led to creative cookery too: ‘beet in the hole’ instead of the traditional ‘toad’! The practices we have examined suggest producers and consumers are prepared to think carefully about their relationships with others, human and non-human, close and distant. They are also prepared to act in ways, which not only meet their own needs but also address the needs of others. Participating in ‘alternative’ food schemes might not save the world, at least not in the short term, but it might go some way to helping to build the knowledge, and positive relationships that create the capacity for change. We believe our research should lend support to all those who want to build more equitable, more sustainable, and more closely connected relationships between consumers and the producers of their food. The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the Cultures of Consumption programme (Ref: RES-143-25-0005).

Dr Moya Kneafsey is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Geography, Environment and Disaster Management at Coventry University. m.kneafsey@coventry.ac.uk Dr Lewis Holloway, Dr Rosie Cox and Dr Elizabeth Dowler, working at the universities of Hull, Birkbeck (University of London) and Warwick respectively, were co-researchers on the project.

Good food Above: Farmers’ markets are growing in popularity; top left: a book about the research will be published by Berg in 2008

Pictures: Huw Jones, Lloyds Europa


Ninety per cent of mothers give up breastfeeding before they planned to, often citing conflicting and poor advice. Professor Louise Wallace explains how a new training and assessment programme for healthcare workers will help solve the problem Over the last few years the Government has taken steps to boost the number of mothers who breastfeed their children by introducing targets, in 2004, to increase the incidence of breastfeeding by two per cent annually. Current guidance advises that mothers should continue to exclusively breastfeed their babies until the age of six months, however according to a survey conducted on behalf of the Department of Health in 2005 fewer than two thirds of those who initiated breastfeeding in the United Kingdom were still giving any breast milk at six weeks and only a third were still breastfeeding at all at six months. Fewer than one per cent were breastfeeding exclusively by this time. Many mothers experience preventable problems, such as pain and apparent low milk supply, and 90% of mothers give up before they planned to, often citing conflicting and poor advice as contributing to their problems with breastfeeding.

In an effort to understand why breastfeeding mothers experience problems with obtaining consistent and evidence based care, researchers at Coventry University undertook a survey of more than 750 non medical healthcare staff (midwives, health visitors, lay and support staff) and a further survey of 177 paediatricians and general practitioners to ascertain their levels of knowledge and training in relation to delivering breastfeeding advice to new mothers. The surveys found that more than half of those questioned thought that current guidance was for mothers to breastfeed exclusively up until four months (which was the UK Government’s previous advice) rather than six months, as is currently advised by the WHO and the UK Government. In relation to guidance on the minimum age for the introduction of solids, 15.5% of nonmedical respondents incorrectly endorsed

Louise Wallace is Professor of Psychology and Health, Director of Research in the Applied Research Centre, Health and Lifestyles Interventions. Previously Chief Executive for Horton General Hospital NHS Trust, she is a fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Health Psychologist. She is a non-Executive Director of Warwickshire Primary Care Trust and Director and Chair of Board of Health Behaviour Research Ltd. Dr Orla Dunn is Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Mrs Susan Law is Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, and both are Directors of Health Behaviour Research Limited.

‘90% of mothers give up breastfeeding before they planned to, often citing conflicting and poor advice as contributing to their problems’ CUBA is a unique breastfeeding knowledge assessment tool because it provides the ability to impartially rate an individual’s level of competence, whilst providing the healthcare professional with real life still and movie clips of breastfeeding problems, to develop and test observational and problem solving skills. CUBA measures healthcare workers’ knowledge of important subject areas including the value of breastfeeding; anatomy and physiology; positioning and attachment; practices; management of problems; challenges and initiatives and policy. The assessment takes 45 minutes to complete by logging onto a website, and completing set questions on line. The full version gives instant feedback on the proportion of correct knowledge achieved in each category, and indicates areas for personal improvement. For Trusts that sign

up to use the CUBA for their staff, the research team generates a report analyzing the institutional training needs, generating data on the qualifications, years of experience and profiles of staff who complete the package and formulating a graphical summary of staff performance. Professionals in Canada and the USA are currently using CUBA before and after training evaluations of their in-house breastfeeding training programmes. Several Trusts in the UK are planning to use it to evaluate their training needs in relation to BFI accreditation. The CUBA assessment package is complemented by a Breastfeeding Workbook which can be completed at the individual’s convenience, avoiding the need to be released from practice to attend formal training sessions. The workbook requires approximately 10 hours of study time and is a resource for post registration health practitioners to assist in meeting the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) best practice standards. Access to NHS training is sometimes limited and there are budget restrictions, so self-study means more people can be kept informed at a low cost to the health service. The workbook is practical using case examples and exercises to take the learner through essential factual content as well as signposting other resources. The workbook should be “marked” by a local breastfeeding tutor, following a marking guide to assess if the learner has understood and offer further support. The knowledge imparted via the workbook can be tested using the CUBA. A sample of the workbook and a demonstration of CUBA can be found on the Health and Behaviour Research website. Since launching the assessment and training workbook in July 2007, both are in use in Warwickshire, and are due to be used in Trusts in Scotland and London. The CUBA has been used to assess a range of healthcare staff including midwives, health visitors, neonatal nurses, Children’s Centre support staff, paediatricians, GPs and nursery nurses. Future editions of the Workbook will include multi media learning resources. Visit www.healthbehaviourresearch.co.uk for more information and www.coventry.ac.uk/hli for more about the breastfeeding research This article was first published in Practising Midwife, volume 11, number 2.

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Bridging the breastfeeding knowledge gap

three months and 14.8% incorrectly endorsed four months, and nearly half the medical practitioners endorsed ages younger than current guidelines. Evidence has shown that the introduction of solids too early can be harmful. The research also found that healthcare staff who believed they were least competent on 24 breastfeeding support skills were also least likely to seek updates – suggesting that the practice of many Trusts of offering breastfeeding update to staff who volunteer for training is going to “preach to the converted”, and increase rather than close the wide range in competence of healthcare staff in supporting breastfeeding. The survey findings clearly indicate a need for increased training amongst healthcare professionals. To cater for this need, Coventry researchers in the Applied Research Centre Health and Lifestyle Interventions developed the Coventry University Breastfeeding Assessment (CUBA), an on-line tool that assesses breastfeeding knowledge and skills required to meet the best practice standards for UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) accreditation.


Closer partnerships with businesses are resulting in more product designs getting out into the marketplace. Business Development Manager for Intellectual Property Brian More explains how Coventry University is making the process easier Coventry’s final year Industrial Product Design (IPD) students have always delivered excellent designs and this year is no exception with five designs going through either UK patent or design registration. But it can be a long journey to actually make any money from a new product idea. To help students along the way the Technology Transfer Office, which is part of Coventry University Enterprises (CUE), has introduced some new approaches to the way it licences out products. A licence is a mechanism by which the owner of intellectual property rights can effectively ‘rent out’ access to those rights on specific terms and conditions. In its simplest form, the licence may be granted on an exclusive basis to one organisation or on a nonexclusive basis to a number of organisations. Often, a design brief is provided by a company who will ultimately manufacture and distribute the products. In some cases, either individually or in groups, students design products to solve known customer problems. When there is no company input, the University identifies, protects and manages the Intellectual Property for students and can offer their work out for licensing. To increase success of a product making it to market, the Technology Transfer Office now target specific companies after completing an analysis of their business. The office focuses on the why, how and where the business would benefit from a licence, and then produces a good offer based on the company's strategic business needs. This helps companies achieve market success and encourages repeat business. Students start the process by completing detailed research on each of their designs in a bound thesis. This includes information on customer specified design features; usability

of the product; market research (both quantitative and qualitative); identification of barriers to market entry and methods to overcome these; SWOT analysis of the product; manufacturing data – including material considerations and processes i.e. injection moulding; financial data on the cost of manufacture, including economy of scale reductions and full CAD/CAM files. In addition many students produce working prototypes, and as a minimum, scaled models of the complete design. The business support team use this information, along with detailed interviews, to appraise the product’s commercial opportunities and determine the best exploitation route. An advantage of a Coventry University licence is the business and technology transfer support available at the University’s Technology Park, including free Intellectual Property advice, licensing/partner and customer support though the Enterprise Europe Network and export help through UKTI and their international trade advisors.

‘We will focus on the why, how and where the business would benefit from a licence’

For regional companies the above support is supplied at subsidised rates, or at no cost. Like all licensing opportunities terms and conditions vary, dependent upon the market sector. However, CUE offers very competitive royalty rates to encourage rapid market entry and to realise tangible commercial advantage for the licensee. The long-term aim is to establish strategic relationships with licensees, where the flow of ideas and technology in certain fields are preferentially licensed to a single company. An exclusive licence is, understandably, a preferred option for licensees, to enable them to trade with monopoly rights in licensed territories. Coventry University is designing a brighter future for licensing out designs. Playing around Problem: Industrial design can apply to any age group. Omar Khalil and Matthew McCleish wanted to design safe toys for young children that their parents could trust. Solution: The KYU-TU (UK patent application 0710541.4) and Floro (subject to design registration) are fun to use, and help parents ensure their toddlers are safe in the home. Here both students combine a knowledge of electronics and materials to create toys toddlers just can’t leave alone. Boat building Problem: Jonathan Gordon, Stephen Parker, Chris Ager and Mark Tinker, four students with an interest in boat building encountered severe problems in sanding down boat hulls to the required precision, currently achieved by using arm aching and time consuming sanders. Solution: Their product (UK patent application 0710445.8) has been demonstrated to delighted boat builders in the UK, and their business case targets the growing US and Asian markets to give the licensee competitive global market advantage. The technical inspiration for the product was the humble windscreen wiper, proving that great designs and technology can be sourced from anywhere.

Left Making boat building easier with a new sander Above Keeping children safe and entertained Above right A solution for laying traffic cones

Traffic stopping idea Problem: Michael Woloszyn, like many frustrated drivers, saw the inefficiency in motorway cone laying, both in the time it took to place and collect them – notwithstanding the additional problems of vehicle impact, the safety to road users and also the people who maintain them. Solution: He designed an improved cone, capable of spring loaded erection where required (UK patent application 0710446.6). His cone is lightweight, made out of polyethylene composite rubber for the base material and covered with high-resolution polyester mesh. It expands to full size when pressure is exerted on the top. Very bright solar powered LEDs, mounted into the top disc, also aid safety. Michael also designed the perfect delivery vehicle for storage, placement and activation of the cones. Customers can chose the polyester mesh cone signage as desired, for any health and safety application. When compressed before use they take up 95% less space than a standard cone, so more than 500 can be carried in a motorway vehicle. Recovery is just as straight forward and is five times quicker than conventional cone recovery.

With the exception of the boat sander product (which is under third party negotiations) other products described in this article are available for license, and licensees will be provided with copies of the thesis to aid commercialisation. If you would like to discuss any of the designs, in commercial confidence if required, please contact Brian More at b.r.more@ coventry.ac.uk. If you would like to discuss a design brief with any of our design team then contact Chris Johnson on 024 7688 7892.

Brian More was a researcher at the Institute Laue Langevin in Grenoble where he obtained a nuclear physics PhD. He worked in London at the National Physical Laboratory before spending nine years in industry, ending his career as Deputy Head of a blue chip company research laboratory. He is author of three patents and jointly owns three trademarks. After a short spell at the University of Birmingham he joined Coventry University to commercialise the IP generated from staff and students.

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Designed for business

NEW STUDENT DESIGNS The IPD course provides training for students by using practical real world engineering and manufacturing problems as well as nurturing creative design ability. This means products are not only aesthetically stunning but capable of manufacture and of practical use. Coventry students win national and international awards every year, and in 2007 our featured students jointly received a national award from the Institute of Engineering Designers, two individual awards from the same Institute and the Bugatti Prize.


The creative industries contribute £60 billion to the UK economy but more has to be done to ensure other countries don’t steal our creative edge. Christine Hamilton Director of the Institute for Creative Enterprise explains how Coventry is playing its part Government has started to shine a political spotlight on the creative industries. Its recent report Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy has a foreword from the Prime Minister and is endorsed by six Ministers. For a sector, which for so long was a policy-free zone, the creative industries are moving from the margins to the mainstream of economic thinking. The premise is clear: two million people are employed in the sector, which contributes £60 billion a year – 7.3% – to the UK economy, growing twice as fast as the economy as a whole. So, it’s important. But if it is doing so well, why does it need a 70-page strategy document? Although the UK has an in-built advantage when it comes to a demand for content – English being the global language – this alone cannot sustain our creative edge and there is a perceived threat from emerging economies in the Far East and Latin America. The Government’s view is that we need to build on the foundations for the development of creative talent, via support for the arts or public service broadcasting, and sharpen up our act. In terms of legislation, the report looks at the need for strengthening intellectual property protection. However, its main thrust is to develop a strategy, which moves from unlocking the creative talent of young people, through to the development of skills to supporting research and development and business growth. The intention to support the life cycle of a creative business, involves a range of partners and agencies – not least Higher Education. In June, Coventry University launches a new £2 million development to support the growth of business in the creative industries and meet the agenda in Creative Britain.

The Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) will provide incubation space and business start-up advice for creative graduates wishing to set up their own business as well as a performance studio, screening room and digital studio. The building will also house four professional creative industry companies – Arts+Media Training, Theatre Absolute, Talking Birds and Imagineer – and from September ICE, with the University’s School of Art and Design, will offer postgraduate programmes in media, performance and digital art.

‘Two million people are employed in the sector, which contributes £60 billion a year to the UK economy – growing twice as fast as the economy as a whole’ The ICE vision is to foster collaborations between the students, academic staff, and the professional cultural organisations based in the Institute. We offer specialist training for cultural organisations alongside a business start-up programme called Business Enterprise Works, which is run by the University’s commercial arm Coventry University Enterprises (CUE). As well as being a focus for the creative industries, ICE is also delivering a programme to small businesses outside the creative sector, to assist them in bringing some creative thinking into their own research and development. ICE is from the same ethos as other initiatives recently launched by the University – the Design Hub, the Serious Games Institute (SGI) and the Health Design and Technology Institute (HDTI) – which all provide a bridge between the teaching and research. This is central to the work of the

This article was first published in New Design magazine

Christine Hamilton is the Director of ICE and joined in February 2007 to steer its development. Prior to Coventry, Christine was the founding Director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at Glasgow University and before that Deputy Director Culture and Leisure at Glasgow City Council. She is a Governor of Glasgow School of Art and a Fellow of the RSA.

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Breaking the ICE for creatives

University and the needs of the industry, and in ICE’s case the creative industries, which are becoming a growing force in the West Midlands’ economy. The region has an important creative industries sector but its spread is patchy and it is not growing at the same rate as other English regions. A study of cultural and creative industries suggests that 10.1% of all regional employment is in the cultural sector, representing 14.5% of businesses in the region. On the other hand, the West Midlands has just a 7.1% share of the UK’s cultural firms, sitting in sixth position among English regions. The region is also failing to retain its creative talent – 92% of arts students leave the region after graduation – and this has a serious impact on the economic strength of the area. The School of Art and Design has been producing talented graduates since the mid-19th century, longer than most art schools, and ICE has been set up to retain these people in the city and provide the kind of support required to nurture their talent. Creative Britain stresses the need to spread creative entrepreneurial support out of London and that’s what we are doing. Yet there is no doubt that being in touch with the possibilities offered by the world’s biggest home to creative talent is important for many regionally-based businesses. We offer our graduates a space, which is affordable but accessible: we’re only an hour’s train journey away from the capital. ICE will heat up creativity in the Midlands.


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Streets ahead

Bringing innovation to your conference

A multi-million pound programme is underway aimed at tackling the urban issues affecting UK cities. Director for Design, Professor Mike Tovey explains how clever thinking will make Coventry the first Intelligent City Congestion, parking frustrations, security issues and the rise in CO2 emissions are just some of the average daily commuter’s concerns on the way to work. So, how do you create transport harmony in our cities? There’s no easy answer, but working with a number of blue-chip companies, SMEs, government agencies and other higher education institutions, we are forming a road map. Coventry University is developing an Intelligent City programme that will address key urban issues and come up with IT solutions to fix the black spots. By using Coventry city as its pilot, the programme will have a research and development test bed to showcase innovative applications and investigate new ones.

‘An Intelligent City programme will address key urban issues’ Individual projects are already underway as part of the Intelligent City programme, with the most recent attracting 400,000 euros from the European Commission for a European Automotive Digital Innovation Studio (EADIS). The project, which is led by the Centre of Excellence in Product and Automotive Design (CEPAD), is in partnership with four other universities and has an advisory panel made up of industry representatives including RDM automotive, Ricardo and MIRA that evaluate the project. EADIS supports the research and development into new hardware/software, digital and wireless applications and enables us to create a virtual replica of the city centre so we can plan scenarios using simulation. The emergence of new technology, especially telematics applications for transport such as GPS, satellite navigation and 3G, offers huge potential to solve a number of urban issues such as congestion, climate change and work/life balance.

However, evidence shows that there has not been a huge take up of these products. EADIS will train and develop professional designers in the automotive industry in the impact and application of ‘vehicle telematics.’ This will enable them to integrate new technology into future products within the automotive industry that attract and excite users. One project that is already showcasing the benefits of in-car technology is the Intelligent Zero Emission Vehicle that launched on 6 June this year. Together with Birmingham University, BT, Advantage West Midlands, RDM, Shoothill and Microcab, a number of applications have been built and installed within a car and a narrow boat that support both remote tracking and monitoring. The car will also provide interactive content to drivers and passengers through a dedicated touch screen that displays links to city centre parking, information about congestion and faster routes, as well as what’s on guides. This technology will also benefit public transport, for example, by allowing parents to track the school bus ‘live’ online or view the location of the nearest taxi through any internet connection. It will also enable wireless CCTV for taxi drivers, deliver free vehicle-based internet phone calls when in a city centre and ultimately support local authorities in monitoring traffic flows. Tourism projects are also underway with the further development of virtual tour guides and multi-lingual city-based information services that are delivered on Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). And there are plans to bring more wifi applications to the street – to provide better security, mobile cameras and meter reading. The project team are planning a study tour to Seattle – an award-winning intelligent city – to ensure best practice is adopted. Our vision is for every UK city to benefit from these devices.

Expect state-of-the-art audio visual equipment in revamped conference, training and meeting rooms at Coventry University’s Technology Park. A £260k investment is transforming the unique Midlands conference centre by upgrading technical equipment and creating a stylish new reception area to impress delegates and event organisers To view our extensive range of products and services visit www.coventrytechnocentre.co.uk For more information telephone 024 7623 6015 or email conference.cad@coventry.ac.uk

MEETINGS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Clever Car The Smart Car and the technology used inside the vehicle that will help with urban issues

A graduate of the RCA, Professor Mike Tovey was an industrial designer prior to joining the institution in 1973 as a lecturer in industrial design. Formerly Dean of the Coventry School of Art and Design, he changed positions in 2007 to take on the Universitywide post of Director for Design.

The conference centre facilities will be closed between 1 July and 31 August 2008 for refurbishment. During the closure, meeting space is available in the nearby Serious Games Institute.


Innovate 3 Coventry University Applied Research