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The magazine for the staff of the University of Cambridge michaelmas term 2012

North West Cambridge: investing in our future Four-page insert included

Hidden heritage: in a cupboard near you page 8

Middle age: why science is on our side page 10 michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter | 1


snapshot contents

Through the Colleges: The annual Bridge the Gap charity walk took place on Sunday, 9 September with more than 2,700 participants visiting the grounds of nine Colleges and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, as well as enjoying music in Emmanuel College and on Jesus Green. Now in its 11th year, the community event raises funds for local charities Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Press Relief.

Cover and insert The North West Cambridge development is a major part of the University’s long-term future. Find out more in the enclosed supplement.

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Hidden herit age: in a cupb near you oard page 8 michaelma

6-7 Making a difference Professor Sharon Peacock explains her research into combating a menacing, soil-borne disease. 8-9 Behind the scenes Did you know that large amounts of the University’s scientific heritage lies hidden away in departmental drawers and cupboards? Now guidance is being developed to help staff look after it.

Splashes of colour: The paintings of Winifred Nicholson are the subject of the latest Artist in Focus exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, which runs until 21 December. The exhibition brings together pieces owned by the gallery, rare archive material and a number of other works, and takes a close look at one of the most important artists in the Kettle’s Yard collection.

10-11 Feature Dr David Bainbridge says the stereotypes that frame our perception of middle age need re-examining. 12 People 13 Small adverts 14-15 Prizes, awards and honours Cover image: Getmapping plc

newsletter

The Newsletter is published for the staff of the University of Cambridge and is produced by the Office of External Affairs and Communications. Please send in ideas for content and other ways we can improve the publication. Tel: (3)32300 or email newsletter@admin.cam.ac.uk. Suggestions for articles for the next edition should reach the Editor by 23 November. Editor: Andrew Aldridge Design: Creative Warehouse, Cambridge Printers: Labute Printers Contributors: Andrew Aldridge, Becky Allen, Louise Walsh SIR CAM

Soviet ephemera: Another leading exhibition to open in Cambridge over the summer was ‘A Soviet Design for Life: the Catherine Cooke Collection of 20th Century Russian Architecture and Design’. Dr Cooke, an expert on Soviet architecture and design who died in 2004, amassed an extraordinary collection of books, propaganda posters and ephemera from her time travelling through Russia.

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ge MiCHael

2-5 News round-up

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Return visit: The University welcomed back almost 800 former students in September for Alumni Weekend 2012. An eclectic programme of events included the Chancellor and ViceChancellor in conversation with BBC journalist Stephen Sackur on ‘Leading a world-class university’, Dr Hugh Hunt on how Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bomb was recreated 60 years after the Dambusters raid, and appearances from gold medallist Anna Watkins and sports presenter Clare Balding.

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Newsletter online

www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/newsletter

Middle age: science is why on our side

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WHAT’S NEW

Your comments and contributions are always welcome. Please send them to the Editor at newsletter@admin.cam.ac.uk The deadline for the next issue is 23 November.

State school share at 30-year high Outreach events and summer schools are two of the actions that the collegiate University has taken to encourage applications from all students with the ability to succeed at Cambridge

sir cam

Sixty-three per cent of the UK undergraduates who started at Cambridge this autumn were from state-sector schools and colleges – the highest proportion since the early 1980s. The University attributes the increase to its sustained, intensive work to encourage and support strong applications from the UK state sector, and to investment in making its selection process more effective. Applications from state schools and colleges rose by 3 per cent in October 2011, and this was mirrored in the proportion of offers made. “It is excellent that we have seen continuing increases in the number and quantity of applications from UK state schools and colleges,” said Dr Mike Sewell, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges. “This, alongside our focus on researchbased admissions decisions, has helped us move closer towards our goal of admitting the best students from all backgrounds with the greatest potential to thrive at Cambridge.” Actions taken to encourage applications from all students with the academic ability to succeed at Cambridge have included: • The abolition of the paper

Cambridge Application Form and its separate fee • The creation of the Area Links scheme so that all schools have access to a named contact at the collegiate University • Investment in summer schools, which bring young people to Cambridge for an experience of university-level study • A wide variety of other outreach events. Research into the best predictors of success at the collegiate University has helped Cambridge to improve its capacity to assess applicants efficiently and fairly by: • Concentrating on achievement in public examination as the

key driver of admissions • R  elying less on grade predictions in favour of considering the actual marks achieved by applicants at AS and A Level, with particular focus on those achieved at the end of year 12 • I nvesting in electronic application management, enabling Admissions Tutors to compare all 15,000-plus

applications across subject and College boundaries from the very beginning of the admissions process. As part of the introduction of the higher tuition fee, the University has a target of admitting between 61 and 63 per cent of UK undergraduates from the state sector. “We adopted a target range, not a figure, because year on year fluctuations may result from external factors outside our control,” added Dr Sewell. “The long-term impact of higher fees remains unknown. However, we are confident that the University offers one of the best undergraduate educations in the world.”

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Cambridge a national asset: VC Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz delivered his annual address to the University on 1 October to mark the start of the new academic year. His address, entitled ‘The Scale of our Ambition’, highlighted Cambridge as one of a handful of truly worldchanging universities, and one of the UK’s greatest national assets. “We are curators of an 800-yearold institution that has the potential to last many centuries more,” he said. “We have a responsibility to the past, and especially to the future. How are

we to discharge that responsibility? What actions must we take to ensure our place tomorrow among the leaders, forcing the pace, keeping the world’s greatest universities contributing to their potential.” The Vice-Chancellor offered three answers. “First, Cambridge needs to grow. Second, we need to change. And third, we need to ensure that growth and change are informed at every step by our values, our principles, and by the spirit and ambition that have seen us flourish for our first eight centuries.”

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what’s new

Cambridge in Africa moves to next level Dr Robert Tweyongyere, MUII Fellow

The University’s long-term strategy of engagement with African higher education institutions moved into its next phase following the recent announcement of a $1.2m grant by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and a $1m grant by the Alborada Trust. The 36-month award approved by the Carnegie Corporation’s Board of Trustees, alongside the four-year

grant made by The Alborada Trust, will significantly enhance the funding already provided by the Isaac Newton Trust, the A.G. Leventis Foundation, and the University of Cambridge for the establishment of the CambridgeAfrica Partnerships for Research Excellence (CAPREx). CAPREx aims to strengthen Africa’s capacity for sustainable excellence in research through close collaborative

work with the region’s most talented individuals. Building on successful partnerships with the University of Ghana and Uganda’s Makerere University, CAPREx’s goal is to widen the scope of engagement to include the whole of the University of Cambridge and involve a greater number of higher education institutions in Africa. The University has a long and rich tradition of research in Africa, although most of it had previously depended on discrete collaborations between individuals or specific academic departments. A more joined-up strategy has recently emerged for holistic engagement with African universities, based on existing initiatives such as THRiVE (Training Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence in East Africa) and MUII (Infection and Immunity Research Training Programme), both sponsored by The Wellcome Trust. These capacity-building programmes focus on PhD and postdoctoral researchers in healthrelated disciplines. Young African researchers are matched with leading Cambridge academics who provide

New fund for University entrepreneurs A new fund to support companies connected to the University is now ready to make its first investments. Launched in May of this year, the University of Cambridge Enterprise fund allows alumni and friends of the University to invest in new companies while benefiting from generous tax incentives. The fund is a combined Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) fund. The SEIS was announced in the 2012 budget as part of the government’s plan to stimulate economic growth, and must be fully invested before the end of the

2012/13 tax year. Over the coming months, Cambridge Enterprise will make investments in up to six companies, whether they are built on new ideas or are companies with which the University has an existing relationship. Investments will typically range between £50,000 and £200,000, and can be used for proof of market, seed funding or follow-on funding. The new fund will work alongside the University’s existing seed funds, which recycle financial returns in order to assist new companies. Cambridge manages one of the most successful seed funds in the university

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sector, with £75 of investment following each £1 the University invests, on average. In addition to funding, Cambridge Enterprise also provides advice on business planning, mentoring and support from a network of entrepreneurs, connections with management and links with laterstage investors. “It’s great to see more angel funding be made available to support this critical stage in developing tomorrow’s exciting new companies based on University research,” said Dr Hermann Hauser, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

mentorship and support. Other successful Cambridge initiatives include the Cambridge/ Africa Collaborative Research Programme at the Centre of African Studies, supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the Isaac Newton Trust and the A.G. Leventis Foundation. Focusing on research in the humanities and social sciences, this programme brings up to five African scholars to Cambridge each year for a six-month visiting fellowship, with the aim of enhancing the participants’ research profiles. Such programmes, which illustrate the depth and breadth of Cambridge’s current engagement and expertise, make the proposed Cambridge-Africa Partnership unique. The newly awarded funds will help provide further support and training to African researchers in an even wider range of subject areas, and across more countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The ‘Cambridge in Africa’ programme works in partnership with African universities and research institutes in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, among others.

People matter This year’s People Matter Week runs from 26 to 30 November. Open to all staff across the University, it starts with a market stall event that showcases University support services and relevant local community groups. Other highlights include talks and discussions on the benefits of workplace counselling, career development for disabled people, stress management, authenticity and the workplace, and managing repetitive strain injury. Full details can be found at www.training.cam. ac.uk/cppd/theme/.


What’s new

New web templates to be launched next term

A new online experience of Cambridge will help attract key people to the University and support its core activities Staff at Cambridge will notice major improvements to the look, feel and functionality of key University websites (starting with the University’s homepage) from the beginning of next term. The new-look websites are the result of a year-long project between the University Computing Service, Management Information Services Division and the Office of External Affairs and Communications to provide people with an enhanced online experience of the University, and one that befits its status as a world-leading research institution. At the heart of this work is a new set of web templates and components for use on University websites that will be adaptable by any department or institution. The templates will bring a range of key benefits: they will update the look, feel and navigability of University sites; provide a more coherent and unified experience for users moving from one Cambridge website to another; they will allow websites to be properly accessible

from mobile devices; and they will update the existing templates with forward-looking technologies that aim to future-proof sites for five to ten years. Barney Brown, Digital Communications Manager in the Office of External Affairs and Communications, said that a major ambition of the new web templates was to leave a strong impression of the world-class institution that Cambridge is. “The University’s homepage and related websites need to be attractive and useful to a range of different users – from potential students and new recruits, to donors, research funders and alumni. We want to attract the best people, and to do this we need to compete online with places such as Harvard, MIT and Oxford.” The new architecture of the web templates followed extensive research with key users – led by the University’s partner agency Head London – into how they navigate through the University of Cambridge website. The

project team also worked closely with the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages to understand how different people use its website, with this insight informing how the final templates were structured and built. Useful input also came from

Departmental and Faculty web developers, as well as writers and photographers across the University. Their views and feedback on early designs and proposals were crucial in refining the appearance and use of the templates and components. The improved design and navigability will make the experience of using different University websites more coherent and unified. Previously, any one user might have gone to any one University website and got a different experience. The new templates will make these journeys less jarring, and the ambition is that all Schools, Faculties and Departments use the templates so that the University appears more interdisciplinary, and people feel that they are in the same institution. A final and crucial element of the redesign was to make the University’s websites viewable through mobiles and tablets. The new templates are responsive to different devices so, if users look at Cambridge sites through a smartphone, the web browser will change shape to give the best view of the webpage. This is a significant step in futureproofing the University’s websites – as new devices are introduced, the University can feel confident the templates will work with them.

Find out more ➔ There will be a number of

presentations during the remainder of the Michaelmas Term to show how the templates and components can be used, and to show examples of sites being built with them. These presentations will also be an opportunity to share best practice and discuss problems or issues relating to the templates. ➔ In addition to the presentations there will be two workshops focusing on content creation and the technical aspects of using the templates. At the time the Newsletter went to press,

confirmed workshops were due to take place on 16 November (at the University Computing Service Titan Teaching Room 1) and 11 December (at Titan Teaching Room 2). ➔ For further information on any aspect of the web templates and website redesign, please email digitalcommunications@admin. cam.ac.uk or visit the digital communications support site at www.cam.ac.uk/digital.

michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter | 5


making a difference Each year melioidosis – a soil-borne disease dubbed the ‘Great Mimicker’ because of its frequent misdiagnosis – kills as many people in some regions of Southeast Asia as does tuberculosis. Now researchers are compiling the first public health guidelines to reduce the incidence of this disease

Killer in the ground It is, to quote poet TS Eliot, “fear in a handful of dust”. Not an allusion to mortality as the poet himself meant, but a killer that lives in the soil itself. Melioidosis is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium that resides in the soil of Southeast Asia and northern Australia. In some regions, the number of people who die after developing melioidosis is as high as 40 per cent, and in northeast Thailand it causes as many deaths as tuberculosis. What makes the disease so menacing is that not only is the bacterium resistant to all but a narrow range of antibiotics but it is also frequently under- or misdiagnosed, with fatal and often rapid consequences. Yet, according to Cambridge scientist Professor Sharon Peacock, a world expert on melioidosis, this infection and its related deaths are potentially preventable. Not through vaccination (indeed, none exists) but through simple public health measures. “Because individuals acquire infection after contact with soil containing the pathogen, and not from person-to-person contact, it’s potentially avoidable through

behavioural changes,” says Peacock. “Simple guidelines that make people aware of the risks associated with certain activities could ease a major disease burden.” Although much progress has been made in the past decade towards understanding how the bacterium causes disease, little is known about the global distribution of the bacterium in the environment, and therefore where people (including travellers) are at risk. In addition, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified the bacterium as a Category B ‘select agent’ (potential biological weapon). Preparedness against melioidosis in the event of a deliberate release has therefore become a security concern. Professor Peacock has been working in collaboration with a team led by Dr Direk Limmathurotsakul, Deputy Head of Microbiology at the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme in Thailand, to trace the routes of infection for melioidosis. Their aim has been to drive down the incidence of disease by providing the first evidence-based

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guidelines worldwide for its prevention. Although melioidosis was first described in 1911 in Burma, the disease has been little studied over the past century. Not until US soldiers returned home infected with the bacterium after their service in Vietnam did the disease begin to attract attention in the West. Even then, it was largely regarded as chronic rather than acute – patients tended to develop symptoms so long after acquiring the infection that it became known as the ‘Vietnamese time bomb’. Only since the 1970s has melioidosis begun to be taken seriously as a public health threat in Southeast Asia, says Peacock. “It’s been a hidden disease – we’re only really now seeing what many believe is the tip of the iceberg in terms of numbers of people infected.” Underreporting, she believes, is the consequence both of it taking up to a week to diagnose the disease by culturing the bacterium in a microbiology lab, and of the scarcity of such diagnostic facilities across the region. Misdiagnosis is common because melioidosis can cause infected individuals to present with a wide range of clinical manifestations. Unhappily, in the absence

“It’s been a hidden disease – we’re only now seeing what many believe is the tip of the iceberg in terms of numbers of people infected” Professor Sharon Peacock


of an accurate diagnosis, the specific and long-term antibiotic treatment the patient requires is rarely given, and death occurs swiftly from severe sepsis and associated organ failure. “The single most important objective therefore has to be to prevent people from acquiring the disease in the first place,” says Peacock. Peacock, Limmathurotsakul and colleagues have now completed the first prospective hospital-based case-control study in Asia to identify what aspects of daily living put individuals at risk of B. pseudomallei infection. “Current advice in northern Australia, where melioidiosis is also common, includes avoiding contact with soil and washing hands and feet. But this is largely based on common sense rather than evidence, and compliance and efficacy are unknown,” explains Peacock. “In Asia, no advice is given to people living in melioidosis-endemic areas. A programme of prevention could be relatively inexpensive, readily implementable and applicable to all.” Over an 18-month period, patients presenting to hospital with melioidosis

were recruited to the study. Using a questionnaire and home visits, the team has been tracing the route of infection – investigating whether disease has resulted from inoculation through abrasions in the skin, ingestion of water and food, or inhalation of aerosols – and using genotyping to define the bacterial strains present in the patients and environment. The results of the research have been collated and a set of guidelines will be developed and disseminated to a network of public health officials. The main recommendations are likely to be to not drink untreated water, to avoid exposure to severe weather and, for agricultural workers, to use protective clothing and footwear. Now, Limmathurotsakul and colleagues are developing a public engagement campaign to raise awareness of melioidosis in Thailand. A previous study by Peacock and colleagues has shown that another strong risk factor for melioidosis is diabetes, which puts individuals at a vastly increased risk of B. pseudomallei

Main picture: Melioidosis can take up to a week to diagnose following culture of the bacterium in a microbiology laboratory Above: Professor Sharon Peacock, Chair of the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Initiative

infection. Given that the prevalence of diabetes is rising in Thailand, an additional aim is to provide public health guidance targeted towards education programmes in diabetic clinics. The team are now widening their scope to consider other regions of Asia and the world. Melioidosis is known to occur in areas of Southeast Asia such as Laos and Cambodia, but incidence rates are poorly defined and may be grossly underestimated, as Peacock highlights: “It was very telling that the first time it was realised that melioidosis was in Laos was when the bacterium was cultured from the soil in 1998. Once detected, a study was carried out in the capital and within a few years several hundred cases had been diagnosed. “We predict that melioidosis will become recognised as a major pathogen throughout this region in the wake of laboratory strengthening and use of standard guidelines,” she added. Worldwide, the paucity of information about the geographical distribution of the organism has meant that there is an incomplete global risk map, with vast regions of the world completely unmapped, including Indonesia, India, Africa and most of South America. Peacock and colleagues have initiated an international working party that will facilitate the mapping process. First, however, they had to devise consensus guidelines on how to carry out soil sampling using the simplest and cheapest of techniques, to maximise use in resource-poor settings. Melioidosis has recently been described in southern India, and soilsampling studies are underway there. With the support of the CambridgeHamied Visiting Lecture Scheme, Peacock has been working with researchers at Kasturba Medical College, Karnataka, India, to provide practical advice and knowledge on environmental sampling. Local initiatives will enable researchers in the region to monitor, manage and reduce the effects of an emerging infectious disease. “These initiatives in Thailand and India have the potential to reduce the impact of an emerging infectious disease,” Peacock explains. “While the true incidence of melioidosis is unknown, it is likely that many millions of people are repeatedly exposed to B. pseudomallei.” Professor Peacock is Chair of the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Initiative (www.infectiousdisease.cam.ac.uk/).

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behind the scenes

There are all manner of objects in departmental drawers and cupboards – and many of them are likely to have scientific heritage value. Now a project has been set up to help staff identify and look after them

So much stuff, so little space Hoarding seems a basic human trait. Most of us set aside a kitchen drawer for string and curtain hooks and other objects that might one day come in handy. A few lucky souls unearth dusty relics in the attic that turn out to be unexpectedly valuable. And the same appears to be true of university departments. According to a recent survey by Dr Lydia Wilson and Professor Nick Jardine as part of the Scientific Heritage Project, a surprising amount of Cambridge’s recent scientific heritage lies not in museum cases but squirrelled away in departmental drawers and cupboards. “There are a small number of accredited museums, a number of collections – some of them teaching ones – and then you have countless cupboards full of things some technician or retiring member of staff was sentimentally attached to, as well as stuff that’s just been abandoned but not yet thrown away,” says Professor Jardine of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. “It’s really quite startling what’s around.” Surveying some two dozen science and medicine departments at Cambridge, Wilson and Jardine discovered thousands

of objects, although the exact number is impossible to pin down. “It’s quite hard to decide how you count objects,” Professor Jardine says. “It depends on what you count. If you include all the slides in specimen collections then it’s tens or hundreds of thousands of objects.” While he refuses to be drawn on the survey’s most valuable finds, Professor Jardine is willing to reveal some of the odder objects uncovered. In the Department of Biochemistry, they discovered an old champagne bottle signed – and its contents perhaps consumed – by Fred Sanger after winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1958. At the Institute of Astronomy, they stumbled on crates of instruments once used by astronomers as they travelled the world in pursuit of eclipses. And in the Department of Genetics, they found an ingenious teaching model of DNA meiosis fashioned by Professor Rollin Emmerson in the 1970s from wire and old beer cans.” And although they failed to find the iconic double helix model used by James Watson and Francis Crick (see box), Wilson and Jardine discovered something less tangible but perhaps more important. “There are all sorts of horror stories of

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In Biochemistry the project discovered an old champagne bottle signed – and its contents perhaps consumed – by Fred Sanger

things being lost, like Watson and Crick’s model. They gave away bits of the original to people as mementoes,” he explains. “So I’m tremendously encouraged by how many departments here have people caring for these things. But of course there’s no formal recognition of the people who look after these objects, so part of the project is to raise awareness of what they do.” As well as acknowledging the University’s small army of unofficial curators, the heritage project is developing guidelines for staff on what to keep and how to preserve it – guidance that currently exists for knowledge in the form of paper but not for the equipment used to create it. “If you’re disposing of manuscripts, prints or digital material there are quite strict rules about who you should consult and the procedure to go through,” Professor Jardine points out. “But when it comes to disposing of scientific materials, there are plenty of procedures, but


“Lots of recent scientific heritage is under threat for the reason that departments dispose of things when they move – and there’s lots of moving going on”

illustration by FELIX BENNETT

Professor Nick Jardine

they’re about the financial asset register or health and safety rather than the heritage value. “One of our jobs is to prepare toolkits – minimal guidelines on conservation, documentation and display of objects,” he says. “We’re interested in a dispersed collections policy that doesn’t collect everything together, which is totally unfeasible, but rather tries to create a forum that coordinates the people caring for things in departments and gives them some official recognition.” As part of the project, Professor Jardine is working with a Universeum working group to learn how other universities are tackling similar issues. “This is an area where the best is the enemy of the good. If you tried to impose on science departments the strict rules of accredited museums they wouldn’t have the staff to do it and, if anything, you’d be encouraging them to quietly throw things away. What we need are more basic guidelines on things like labelling

and storage conditions.” Compared with older objects in museums or collections, preserving recent scientific heritage (usually defined as post-Second World War) is a challenge for universities, not least because there is so much stuff and so little space. Which instruments, materials and specimens merit preserving? Choosing what to keep depends on the varied aims of preservation: equipment and specimens may be kept for scientific departments’ teaching, for publicly displaying departmental achievements, as a way of engaging with the public, and as a resource for historians. And old scientific specimens sometimes assume new scientific uses. “What was Quaternary Science has a wonderful collection of slides showing pollen found in peat beds,” says Professor Jardine. “There was a period when such things were collected, and then disciplines turned against the collector mentality and natural history. Now, with

people fascinated with climate change and biodiversity, all that material people were busy throwing away is once again riveting – it’s come back into use, but for a different purpose.” As well as the sheer volume of material, the size and appearance of much recent scientific heritage makes it difficult to preserve and display. A gene sequencing device, for example, would fill a room and, compared with a 14th century brass astrolabe, it’s hardly attractive. “Most of the objects in the Whipple or the Science Museum are beautiful, iconic objects and it’s reasonably clear from looking at them what they are for. They are artworks in their own right,” says Professor Jardine, “whereas a lot of things in use now are either enormous or tiny, and they are either a black box of no visible function or a whole room full of stuff that’s wired up. So it’s quite problematic.” Despite the challenges, as departments decamp from the city centre to West Cambridge, the project is timely. “Lots of recent scientific heritage is under threat for the specific reason that departments dispose of stuff when they move, and there’s lots of moving going on,” Jardine says. And it might, in 60 years time, ensure Cambridge keeps – rather than loses – a piece of its scientific heritage as important as Watson and Crick’s model.

Lost forever Watson and Crick’s double helix model is perhaps the most famous piece of Cambridge’s recent scientific heritage to be lost. Constructed in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology from metal plates and rods arranged around a retort stand, the model showed one complete turn of the double helix. The specially cut plates represented the four bases, and Watson and Crick used the model – a replica of which can be seen in the Science Museum – to test their ideas about the possible structure of DNA. One of the few surviving records of the original model is a photograph taken for a Time magazine story that was never published. According to Professor Soraya de Chadarevian of UCLA: “The model itself – once the object of intense discussion, but soon superseded by more refined models built at King’s College, London – slowly fell to pieces and was eventually disassembled.” Its loss reflects the fact that like other models it was built for science understanding rather than museum display. “Their place was in the laboratory where they were handled, discussed, measured, tested against data, corrected, refined and – if superseded – dismantled and the pieces used for other projects,” she says. Taken from Models: The Third Dimension of Science edited by Soraya de Chadarevian and Nick Hopwood, Stanford University Press, 2004. michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter | 9


photograph: Chris Loades

feature

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Crisis, what crisis? Middle age is often viewed negatively – a time of gradual, uncontrolled decline. But according to Dr David Bainbridge, Clinical Veterinary Anatomist in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, science suggests that it’s a crucially important period of our lives “There is one thing I want to make clear at the outset,” Dr David Bainbridge stresses in his new book Middle Age: a Natural History. “There is one reason and one reason only why I bought a Lotus.” It was not, he says, to make him feel better about hitting middle age, or to impress younger women. Instead, by buying a sleek, blue sports car he was fulfilling a boyhood dream. “The fact that I actually did it at the age of 41 is mere coincidence.” Compared with fast cars, many other changes that coincide with middle age are less appealing. Fat settles around the midriff, hair greys as follicles lose melanin, and skin sags as collagen and elastin deteriorate. But it was Bainbridge’s eyesight that first alerted him to impending middle age, he says. “I first became aware that I could not focus on nearby objects when I was 40 – the realisation came suddenly one day when I was peering around the back of computer to plug in a connector.” And its suddenness was one of the reasons why he embarked on a book about the fifth and sixth decades of life. Together with our teenage years, which he tackled in his previous book, Bainbridge is fascinated by middle age. Both are often viewed negatively and as transitional phases – things to be passed through en route to adulthood or old age. But, he argues, middle age is not part of a gradual, uncontrolled decline. The fact we all go grey, develop wrinkles and stop being able to focus on near objects at such a similar time suggests that middle age is a discrete phenomenon.

And seeing it in this way helps us to understand what it’s for and why it is uniquely human. “The reason they both fascinate me is that they aren’t really phases of life that other animals have,” he explains. “They’re quite distinctive, but other animals don’t have them, which implies that humans evolved them for specific reasons. That’s really what hooked me as a zoologist.”

Unanswered questions During his career as a veterinary anatomist and clinician working not only with animals but also their owners, Dr Bainbridge has come to realise just how bizarre and freakish humans are as a species. “As a scientist you work on whichever animal you think is an interesting model. So lots of medics end up working on animals, and quite a lot of zoologists end up working on humans,” he says. “The animal that interests me now is the human, because I hadn’t realised how extremely weird we are. I’d always thought that we’re a mammal just like any other, but when you add together the catalogue of weird, exceptional things – standing on two legs, tool use, language, brain size, menopause, extreme investment in offspring, extreme social complexity – many of them are unique, some of them are extremely unusual, but having them together in one species is just begging loads of questions. I suppose that’s what I spend my time doing really.” The central question his new book addresses is, given its uniqueness to humans, what benefits does middle

“Forget your crow’s feet and revel in the fact that the middleaged brain is the most powerful, flexible thinking machine in the known universe”

Left: Dr Bainbridge – and Lotus

age bring and why did we evolve it? According to Bainbridge: “Middle age is a special, novel part of the human life-plan that has evolved because it has benefits for each of us as individuals.” And many of those benefits centre on our brains. So while some of us fret about the small things we forget, or our inability to do certain mental tasks as quickly as we were once able, Bainbridge is upbeat about the power and influence of the middle-aged brain. “The crude thing that happens in middle age is that you can’t think as quickly,” he says. In any test involving time pressure, young people will do better. But if you’re measuring complexity, it’s a different story. “And if you brain-scan people doing intelligence tests, middleaged people start to use different parts of their brain to do the same tasks compared with younger people. They are fundamentally different creatures and approach things in different ways,” he says. Surviving into middle age is not new – it has happened for most of human history (until the advent of farming) and is, therefore, the result of evolutionary forces. And the reason natural selection still acts on humans at this age is because their brains are useful to a species that invests so much in the grey matter of its young. “Cultural transmission gives people an evolutionary importance far beyond that conferred by their crude ability to breed,” he explains. “This information-conveying role is a major reason why people survive beyond their reproductive years.” Far from being over the hill, Bainbridge says those in middle age “are, in fact, luxuriating in the sunshine of the hill’s broad summit” – something to celebrate rather than regret. “Forget your crow’s feet and revel in the fact that the middle-aged brain is the most powerful, flexible thinking machine in the known universe,” is his advice. Now embarking on his sixth book (on female body shape), he traces his penchant for popular science writing to working as a vet and his endless curiosity. “Having been a vet in practice, I realised that I had to explain complex biological concepts to intelligent people with no background in biology. I’d have a solicitor whose cat had become diabetic and I’d have to explain it to them, and I always found that very rewarding. When you’re a scientist you can discover all this stuff in the literature and you think – why does nobody know about this?”

michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter | 11


people

Appointments ➔ Tina D’Angelico has been appointed Head Porter of Downing – the first woman to hold the role in the College’s more than 200-year history. Donning the traditional bowler hat, she heads up a team of ten porters that provide a round-the-clock service to Fellows, staff, students and visitors. Tina, who was previously the College’s Accommodation Officer before being promoted to her new role, said of her appointment: “I have always been a team player, and working with such a dedicated group is the most satisfying part of my job. “Many of the porters have worked in the Lodge for many years, and their enthusiasm to share their knowledge of the College with me has been invaluable. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being Head Porter at Downing – it is a pleasure and an honour.”

➔ Dr Robert Doubleday has been

appointed Executive Director of the Centre for Science and Policy (CsaP). Formed in 2009 to build on the work of the Cambridge University Government Policy Programme, CsaP promotes engagement between researchers and policy professionals. Dr Doubleday was previously Head of Research at CsaP, building up an active research programme as a core strand of CsaP’s activities. An expert on scientific advice, Dr Doubleday has worked in government on policies to strengthen engagement between academia and public policy for the UK Chief Scientific Adviser. CsaP Founding Director David Cleevely welcomed the appointment. “Rob brings insight from his work in academia, government and industry, and combines this with a deep commitment to CsaP’s mission.”

Tina D’Angelico

Dr Robert Doubleday

Snehal Sidhu-Patrick, who was the Office Manager at the Disability Resource Centre from 2007 until 2010, died suddenly and unexpectedly in July this year. From the age of 16 Snehal was determined to study at Cambridge. Despite the significant challenges she faced, including being a wheelchair user, she was not deterred. In 2001, Snehal moved from her home in Calcutta, India, to study Natural Sciences at Churchill, specialising in Microbiology. She graduated in 2004 and went on to do a Master’s at Warwick University on Genetics, returning to Cambridge after this and working for the Temporary Employment Service, the Disability Resource Centre briefly, then for a longer period at Photography and Illustration Services, before working at the DRC for three years. During her years as a student and member of staff at Cambridge, Snehal encouraged and assisted

many students and colleagues, both by helping to drive forward her personal principles, and by promoting policies to further accessibility and support at the University. As she said of her Cambridge experience: “I’ve come away with a sense that what I got was an extraordinary opportunity: I had the luck to have an extremely positive Admissions Tutor and an extremely helpful College. I had the support of my family, and I had financial support from various scholarships. I realise this opportunity isn’t open to a lot of people. It has changed me so significantly that a lot of my work now is to try to encourage people to come to Cambridge.” After her time at the DRC Snehal went to work for the University of the West of England as an Academic Registrar. She had legendary levels of energy and drive and, at the time of her death, had just completed a law conversion course (while working full time) and was already

12 | michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter

SIR CAM

Obituary Snehal Sidhu-Patrick (1982-2012)

planning a further career as a lawyer. Sadly, Snehal passed away just weeks before she received her law qualifications from the BPP law school in London. She is survived by her husband Kit, parents, sister Nasim, and brother in law and nephew. Snehal truly touched the lives of all she met and was an inspiration to her friends, family and colleagues. Staff at the DRC, past and present, at Churchill College and many other parts of the University will feel a profound sense of loss for such a remarkable friend and colleague.

Staff forums praised

The University of Cambridge has been recognised for its commitment to workplace equality, winning the employee engagement prize at the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) awards for its “robust network” of staff consultative forums. Professor Dame Athene Donald was also shortlisted for the Equality and Inclusion Champion of the Year at the awards, which celebrate the commitment of organisations to achieve diverse and inclusive workplaces. The judges’ citation read: “The University of Cambridge has built a very impressive and robust network of consultative forums that influence many people. It has increased membership and shared good practice with excellent results, and it is clear that there are opportunities for everyone to be involved in achieving the University’s core values.” Dr Martin Vinnell, Chair of the University’s Disabled Staff Network and pictured above at the awards with Kevin Coutinho, said: “Cambridge is a world-class institution with strong values and a commitment to progress equality as part of its core business. Having an inclusive workplace helps the University meet its mission of contributing to society at the highest levels of international excellence.”


advertisements Advertising on this page is open to University staff. The cost is £15 for a single insertion or £75 for six insertions. The deadline for the next issue is 23 November. Please send your copy – no longer than 70 words – to the Editor at newsletter@admin.cam.ac.uk or call 32300. We reserve the right to edit contributions. HOUSES TO RENT (UK) ➔ Butley, Suffolk Comfortable, spacious, well equipped cottage with piano in Butley, Suffolk. Available for Aldeburgh Festival, weekends and short breaks throughout the year. Close to Orford, Sutton Hoo, Snape and Minsmere. Sleeps up to eight. Phone Miranda on (01223) 357035 or email info@butleycottage. co.uk. More information at www. butleycottage.co.uk. ➔ Cornwall Traditional granite cottage in peaceful countryside between St Ives and Penzance. Sleeps five in three bedrooms, with comfortable sitting room, kitchen-breakfast room and bathroom. Sunny garden and off-road parking. Close to beaches and coves, coastal path, sub-tropical gardens, historic properties. Email Penny on pb29@ cam.ac.uk or phone (01638) 507192. Details and photos at www. tinminerscottage.co.uk. ➔ Loch Lomond, Scotland Luxury self-catering apartment in Lomond Castle situated in the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The castle is set within a five-acre garden with a private shoreline offering breathtaking panoramic views across Loch Lomond. Double bedroom with en-suite bathroom, lounge and fully equipped kitchen. Sleeps 2-4. For more information, visit www. wix.com/lomond/castle or email lomondcastle@yahoo.co.uk ➔ North Yorkshire coast Comfortable, Georgian house available for holiday lets in Robin Hood’s Bay. Large garden, sea views, central heating and private parking. Sleeps 9+ but special rates for couples and small parties. On the ground floor there is a fully equipped kitchen, dining room and sitting room. On the first floor there are three bedrooms (one en-suite), family bathroom and a further sitting room. There are two further bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. For further information contact Val Everton on (07592 590727) or val.everton@ yahoo.co.uk. HOUSES TO RENT (OVERSEAS) ➔ Algarve, Portugal Spacious apartment, sleeps up to five in idyllic village. Private patio and roof terrace with shared pools. Picturesque beach five minutes walk. Restaurants within village. Tennis, golf, water parks and shopping close by. Faro airport

45 minutes. Stunning and quiet location. Short and long breaks available. Email Helen.floto@gmail. com, phone 01954 267291 or visit www.holiday-home-rentals.co.uk (property 4995). ➔ Languedoc countryside Historic village house in beautiful Languedoc countryside, with spring-fed lake, river swimming, walks, Cathar castles, markets and vineyards close by. Stylishly renovated, with panoramic views of Corbières hills from roof terrace; use of garden. Sleeps 4/5 with two bedrooms, bathroom and ensuite; state-of-the-art kitchen; separate dining and living rooms. Forty minutes from Carcassonne airport. Car essential. Available now for short (€550-€750) and long lets. See http://www.corbiereshouse. com/index.php/contact, or contact Nicholas Thomas via maisondelacamp@gmail.com ➔ Nice, France Quiet apartment near the Promenade des Anglais and city centre. It is in the ‘Musicians’ area’ on the fourth floor, accessed by lift. Sleeps two, with living room, bedroom with double bed, separate, fully equipped kitchen, modern bathroom, separate w/c, small balconies front and back. Price per week, including linen, £350 October to March, £400 April, May, September, £450 June to August. Contact Robin Spence on rjs2@cam. ac.uk or 07808932943. ➔ Paris Paris flat to let: Rue Chanzy, 75011. Nicely furnished in the heart of lively 11eme close to Bastille (metro Charonne et Faidherbe Chaligny). Excellent local shops, restaurants, cinemas and transport throughout Paris. Bedroom, bathroom, semiopen plan kitchen, sitting room with sofa bed, TV and internet. Third floor of well-maintained 1930s building with concierge and lift. Suit couple or individual. Minimum onemonth let. Contact Jenny.zinovieff@ gmail.com or phone 07801268820 for rates. http://www.flickr.com/ photos/parischanzy. ➔ Sitges, Spain Located between the Garraf Massif and the sea, Sitges village is known for its good micro climate, gastronomy and a peaceful environment just 30 minutes away from Barcelona. Quiet apartment, comprising one double and one single bedroom, lounge/living room area, kitchen and bathroom. Close to the beach and a short walk to the centre and rail station. Nearest airport is Barcelona El Prat. Contact Azucena on aj365@cam.ac.uk.

➔ Western Crete Traditional stone-built new villa for rent in beautiful mountain and sea location on outskirts of pretty Cretan village. Villa Adrasteia provides very comfortable accommodation with two double bedrooms and a further mezzanine. Sleeps 4-6. Large private swimming pool. Located 20 minutes drive from airport in nearby city of Chania, close to unspoilt, blue-flag beaches and superb mountain and gorge walking. 2012/13 rates range from £550 to £1,000 a week according to season. Long rentals negotiable. Email c.butler@jbs.cam. ac.uk and visit www.villaadrasteia. com for information. SERVICES ➔ Lovely food, sensible prices The University Social Club (USC) in Mill Lane is the ideal place for lunch and to unwind after work. It boasts real ales, delicious, affordable food at lunchtime, and snooker, pool, darts and table tennis. The club has function and meeting rooms available for hire, and is open to all University staff, students and affiliates. The USC is open from 12 to 2pm and 5pm until 10.30pm Monday to Friday. Various dancing classes (salsa, tango and ceroc) are held most week nights. For further information phone 38090 or email enquiries@socialclub.cam.ac.uk. ➔ Knee clinic The Cambridge Knee Clinic provides specialist care for knee disorders for all ages of people, including arthroscopic surgery, ligament reconstruction, and joint replacement and realignment. The clinic is run by Mr Jai Chitnavis, consultant orthopaedic surgeon. Operations are performed by him at both private hospitals in Cambridge. For more information, call 01223 253763 or visit www. jai-chitnavis.co.uk. VOLUNTEERS ➔ Coton Countryside Reserve Cambridge Past, Present & Future, the local charity that champions enjoyment of green spaces and sustainable development of the city, is looking for people to help out at the Coton Countryside Reserve. Volunteers help shape and maintain the reserve, with assistance conducting wildlife surveys, practical conservation tasks and research on the history and archaeology of the site of particularly high importance. To find out more about volunteering,

call (01223) 243830 or visit http:// cambridgeppf.org/volunteering. shtml. ➔ Help with professional skills Cambridgeshire ProHelp has relaunched for professionals committed to making a difference in their local community by providing free advice and expertise. Expertise from marketing and businessplanning, to architecture and law is sought. Volunteering can be a great way to develop skills while benefiting the community. If you are interested in finding out more, please visit http://www.bitc.org. uk/east_of_england/programmes/ prohelp/. ➔ Local charity seeks trustees The trustees of Cambridge United Charities manage 29 almshouses in the city, administer grants to local people in need of financial help and support organisations working with young people. Would you consider joining us? If you have an interest in housing for the elderly, experience of property or investment management, or practical concern for the welfare of others we would like to hear from you. For further information phone Chairman of Trustees Philippa Slatter on (01223) 701733 or visit www.cambridgeunitedcharities.org ➔ How much energy do I expend? We are seeking volunteers to participate in research involving body composition and energy expenditure measurements in healthy individuals. Studies take place in the Clinical Research Facility, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and involve an overnight stay. You will be compensated for participation and reasonable travel expenses are reimbursed. Contact Laura on 01223 596077 or email crf-volunteer@ medschl.cam.ac.uk OTHER NOTICES ➔ Private vocal tuition I am a classically trained soprano with several years experience in teaching music. I teach vocal students of all levels, music theory and dictation/solfege. All lessons held at my studio in the King’s Hedges area of Cambridge. Beginners welcome. Please contact Bonnie Cooper at bmcambs@gmail. com or bonniecoopersoprano.com to enquire about lesson availability and rates. ➔ Connect with your voice Singing lessons from a knowledgeable and experienced professional teacher and performer. Learn how to build your instrument and develop a reliable technique

that will allow you to connect with your voice and express yourself musically. For more information and for lesson rates please contact Charbel Mattar on 07980 621704 or email mattar.charbel@gmail.com. ➔ Rowers needed Interested in rowing? Want to get back on the river after a break? Fancy coxing men’s or women’s crews? X-Press Boat Club can help you. We are a friendly town club that welcomes adult rowers and coxes of any ability, from beginners to experienced competitors. We row in most categories (single, pair, double, four and eight) and regularly compete successfully on the Cam and elsewhere. Email enquiries@ xpressbc.org.uk or visit www. xpressbc.org.uk. ➔ Chi Kung classes Begin the autumn with a healthy mind, body and spirit. Based on meditation techniques, relaxed repetitive exercises and still postures, Chi Kung is an ancient form of exercise that promotes the flow of Chi (vital energy) through the meridians in the body. Classes at the Friends Meeting House, Hartington Grove, Cambridge on Saturday 20 October and 17 November from 10am-12, £12 per class. For more information call Diego Robirosa on 01787 319170 or email d.robirosa@virgin.net. ➔ House for sale Spacious holiday villa for sale (€350,000) with garage and paved garden in a quiet countryside village near the Corbara Lake in Umbria. The village is less than one hour from the historical and artistic towns of Orvieto, Todi and Spoleto, and one and a half hours from the Marmore Waterfalls. For further information please visit: http://www.consulenza tecnicaimmobili.it/vis_dettaglio. php?primo_livello=menu&id_ livello=693&id_livello_ n=id2_n&pagv=1

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michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter | 13


prizes, awards and honours Pilkington Teaching Prizes Twelve of the University’s best teaching talents have been honoured at the annual Pilkington Prizes awards ceremony. The prizes were made to individuals who have pioneered new methods of learning, whose work on outreach programmes has been outstanding, and who have shown a capacity to connect with and inspire students to achieve. All share a commitment to teaching of the highest quality. This year’s recipients, who received their awards from the Vice-Chancellor at a ceremony at Downing College, are:

Dr Richard Barnes, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience; Dr Sue Brindley, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education; Mr Paul Gibbs, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Surgery; Dr Torsten Krude, University Lecturer in Cell Biology at the Department of Zoology; Dr Simon Learmount, Director of the Executive MBA Programme and Lecturer in Corporate Governance at the Cambridge Judge Business School; Dr Deborah Longbottom, Teaching Fellow at the Department of Chemistry; Dr Mark Manford, Associate Lecturer

All of the recipients share a commitment to teaching of the highest quality

and Clinical Service Director for Neurology; Dr Tim Minshall, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Engineering; Dr Fred Parker, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of English; Dr Glen Rangwala, Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies; Dr Elizabeth Watson, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography; Dr Anna Williams, Lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity. The Pilkington Teaching Prizes were established in 1994 by businessman and alumnus of Trinity College, Sir Alastair Pilkington.

Other awards ➔ Dr Mark Ainslie, a member of the Department of Engineering’s Bulk Superconductivity Group, has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship for the period 2012-2017 to pursue research into ‘Engineering Interactions of Magnetic and Superconducting Materials for Electrical Applications’. ➔ Professor Alfonso Martinez Arias (Department of Genetics) has received the 2012 Waddington medal at the British Society for Developmental Biology’s Spring Meeting. The medal is the only national award in developmental biology, given for outstanding research performance, as well as services to the subject community. Professor Martinez’s research focuses on the study of information processing by cells during development. ➔ Dr Robin Boast, Curator for World Archaeology and Affiliated Research Scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, has been appointed Chair of Information Science and Culture (Hoogleraar Culturele Informatiewetenschap) at the University of Amsterdam. He will be leaving Cambridge after 21 years to take up the post in December. ➔ Sir Roy Calne, Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University, and Professor Thomas Starzl, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, have been announced as the recipients of the 2012 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. The award is made for their work in the development of liver

transplantation, which has restored normal life to thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease. The citation for their joint award said: “Through their systematic and relentless efforts, Roy Y Calne and Thomas E Starzl created a medical procedure that most physicians deemed an impossible dream. Some of Starzl’s and Calne’s early patients – originally diagnosed with untreatable and lethal diseases – are still thriving today, decades after their surgeries.” ➔ Dr Tony Dickson (Department of Earth Sciences) has been announced as the recipient of the Society for Sedimentary Geology’s Pettijohn Medal for outstanding contributions in sedimentology and stratigraphy. He is due to be honoured at a reception in the spring of 2013 at the society’s annual general meeting. ➔ Professor Barry Everitt, Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University and Master of Downing, has won the 2012 FENS-EJN award, made in recognition of outstanding work in all areas of neuroscience. Professor Everitt was also honoured with the British Association of Psychopharmacology Lifetime Achievement Award. ➔ Fernan Federici, Jim Haseloff, Tim Rudge, Paul J Steiner, (all of the Haseloff Laboratory), and Vincent Pasque (formerly a PhD student in Developmental Biology at the University), were all winners in the Wellcome Image Awards. The awards celebrate the best images acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library over the past 18 months. Showing bacteria,

14 | michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter

Dr Suchitra Sebastian

Professor Florin Udrea

Sir Roy Calne

biofilms, seedlings and chicken embryos, their images displayed the beauty that can be harnessed using modern technology to magnify the insignificant and undetectable to a microscopic scale. ➔ Professor Simon Franklin (Department of Slavonic Studies), Professor Huw Price (Betrand Russell Professor of Philosophy) and Professor Simon Schaffer (Department of History and Philosophy of Science) have been elected to the British Academy Fellowship. They were among 38 new Fellows announced at the British Academy’s annual general meeting over the summer. The Academy also elected Professor Sir Martin Rees, former Master of Trinity and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University, and Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master-elect of Emmanuel, to the prestigious category of Honorary Fellowship. ➔ Professor Neil Greenham and Professor Andrew Holmes have been announced as recipients of Royal Society awards. Professor Holmes has won a Royal Medal for his outstanding contributions to chemical synthesis at the interface between materials and biology, and pioneering the field of organic electronic materials. Professor Greenham, of the Cavendish Laboratory, is the winner of the Kavli Medal and Lecture. ➔ Dr Ricky Metaxas, Life Fellow of St John’s, has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the second Global Congress on Microwave Applications. The award recognises the outstanding


contributions made by Dr Metaxas to the field of electrical engineering, specialising in the use of radio frequency and microwave energy. Over the years he has lectured worldwide and co-authored more than 200 publications. ➔ Professor Ashley Moffett (Department of Pathology) has been awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship. The fellowships are given to scientists who will benefit from a period of fulltime research without teaching and administrative duties. ➔ Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine, Director of the Institute of Metabolic Research Laboratories, and Honorary Consultant Physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, has been conferred with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Dundee. This is in recognition of his contributions to research in human metabolic disease. ➔ Dr James Rudd, University Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, has won the 2012 British Heart Foundation’s Reflections of

Research (Video Category) award. The BHF competition invites the foundation’s funded scientists and researchers to submit the most exciting images and videos produced during the course of their work. Dr Rudd and colleagues produced a video to help inform patient volunteers about their clinical research projects. It shows what doctors are able to visualise using a number of different imaging techniques, and has been used to communicate to patients the importance of aortic aneurysm, heart disease and stroke research. ➔ Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy) received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews to mark its 600th anniversary. Other people who received the honour included Noam Chomsky, AS Byatt and Paul Muldoon. ➔ Professor Florin Udrea won the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal award for his commercial success. Professor Udrea leads the High Voltage Microelectronics and sensors group at the Department of Engineering and has co-founded three University

Two images produced by the Haseloff Laboratory that found success in the Wellcome Image Awards

start-ups: Cambridge Semiconductor Ltd, Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd and Cambridge Microelectronics Ltd. ➔ The Institute of Physics (IOP) has announced Professor Martin Rees as the winner of the Isaac Newton Medal for his outstanding contributions to relativistic astrophysics and cosmology. Other Cambridge academics announced as IOP award winners were: Professor Michael Köhl, Head of the Atomic, Mesoscopic and Optical Physics Group in the Cavendish Laboratory, who wins the Thomson Medal and Prize for pioneering experimental work in Bose-Einstein condensates and cold Fermi gases; Dr Suchitra Sebastian, also of the Cavendish, for discoveries in frustrated quantum magnets, heavy fermion systems and high temperature semiconductors; and Dr Graham Farmelo, of Churchill, for his work in communicating science to a broad audience. ➔ The work of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit at Must Farm won best archaeological project and best archaeological discovery at the 2012 British Archaeological Awards.

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michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter | 15


16 | michaelmas term 2012 | UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE Newsletter


NORTH WEST CAMBRIDGE special news SUPPLEMENT for staff OF THE UNIVERSITY

MICHAELMAS 2012

Planning permission granted University wins permission for major expansion at North West Cambridge The University has taken an important step forward in its plans for a major new development on its land at North West Cambridge. Local planning authorities have resolved to grant outline planning permission for the development, subject to planning conditions and completion of the Section 106 legal agreement. The decision to grant permission clears the way for the University Council to seek support from the University for the first phase of the development. Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have jointly resolved to grant outline planning permission for the 150 hectare site. This includes 1,500 homes for qualifying University and College employees, 1,500 homes for sale, accommodation for 2,000 graduate students, 100,000 square metres of research facilities, including up to 40,000 square metres for research institutes and private research facilities linked to the University, and a wide range of community facilities. Around one third of the site will provide public open space for sports, informal recreation and ecological use.

“This is a major part of the University’s longterm future” Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

“This development is a major part of the University’s long-term future,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. “It will provide much of the residential and research accommodation that the University needs as it grows over the next 20 years. Attracting world-class academics, researchers and research partners is vital if the University is to retain its world-class position, particularly against growing global competition. Being able to provide high-quality, affordable housing in a thriving community will be an important element of our offer to them.” The University’s development team, run by Project Director Roger Taylor, has been working on the proposals for several years under remits from the University Council at each stage and approved by Regent House. “This is a hugely important milestone for the University,” he said. “It now gives the University the freedom to bring forward urgently needed residential accommodation, particularly for post doctoral researchers.” At the time the Newsletter went to press, the Executive Team was preparing a detailed proposal for the first phase of the development to present to Regent House to allow for a formal decision by vote early in 2013. Should approval be given, work on phase one would start in spring of 2013.

Buildings will be designed and constructed to the highest environmental standards

Green credentials: creating a model of sustainability The University has set ambitious environmental and sustainability targets for the site. Its plans exceed the current sustainability levels for new buildings, with all dwellings on the development built to Level 5 (out of 6) of the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes from the start of development in 2012. Level 5 of the code is effectively zero-carbon in sustainability standards and will mean that the dwellings will have some of the lowest energy and water use in the country. Research and community facilities will be built to BREEAM Outstanding, the highest level for non-residential buildings. An energy centre will provide heating for all the residential units on the site with the heat created being channelled underground through a hot water grid. The electricity generated will be fed into the National Grid. Additional electricity will be produced from solar panels

designed into all new buildings. The energy centre’s generating capacity will be developed incrementally and be sufficiently flexible to take advantage of new energy production methods in the future. Proposals to collect rainwater for use in most purposes other than drinking or bathing are expected to cut the consumption of treated water by up to 50 per cent. Waste will be managed to maximise recycling and reuse through an innovative system of underground bins, conveniently located near groups of residences. This will remove the need for unsightly groups of wheelie bins for individual residences. In addition to the development being built to exacting environmental standards, the project’s Green Transport Plan will further minimise the environmental impact of North West Cambridge.


north west cambridge supplement

A development of which Cambridge can be proud The University – its staff and students – as well as the city and its residents are set to benefit from North West Cambridge. Here we explain how Creating a thriving, balanced and sustainable community that will attract the world’s top academics and researchers is the key objective for the University’s development team. “North West Cambridge presents a unique opportunity to enhance the life of both the University and the city region,” said Professor Jeremy Sanders, Vice-Chairman of the Syndicate. “The challenge

is to create a new place in a city that is already extraordinary and wonderful. Architecture and public space of the highest quality will create a sustainable community in a new local centre and in residential neighbourhoods that together will complement the historic city centre. It will be a development to make Cambridge proud.” The new development will mix

Much of the accommodation will be in a modern collegiate form – open, porous and welcoming

1,500 private housing units with an equal number of University owned homes, which will be rented to qualifying University and College staff. These will be mostly postdoctoral workers but a significant number are expected to be technicians, secretaries and junior administrators. With accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students, a community of some 5,000 to 6,000 people will


Far left: as well as being a major part of the University’s long-term future, the development will significantly reduce the pressure for housing in and around Cambridge Below right: the University is developing design codes for the site to ensure the highest standards of design and sustainability are implemented

be created, with over 8,000 people working there. Much of this will be designed in a modern collegiate form – open, porous and welcoming. The development will also significantly reduce the pressure for housing in and around Cambridge. To ensure that the University creates a strong and welcoming community from the start, the public facilities in the local centre will be provided in the very first phase of the development. These will include shops, a supermarket, a hotel, a primary school, nursery, GP surgeries, a police office, a senior care home and a community centre. The University will also provide housing for four faith workers so that they can serve the new community. Exacting standards More than one third of the 150 hectare site will become public open space, some for organised sports but much for informal recreation, and to provide an enhanced ecological environment for plants and animals. All of these facilities will be available both to residents on site and the surrounding local communities. The University has set exacting standards for design quality and sustainability. A competition to select architects for various elements of the first phase attracted 340 submissions from 158 practices. The development will be the most sustainable of its scale in the United Kingdom. Buildings will be designed and constructed to the highest environmental standards. Water, waste and energy will be managed to minimize adverse impact on the environment, and the Green Transport Plan will keep car use to a minimum. The University is keen to enhance the development by incorporating at an early stage significant public works of art throughout, both within the landscape and the architecture. A substantial arts programme

involving local communities has been agreed with the local authorities as part of the planning application. A large element of the site will eventually consist of research accommodation both for the University and its commercial research partners. The development is expected to augment and enhance the University’s neighbouring West Cambridge site, providing new recreational facilities and local amenities for those working in this part of Cambridge. It has been very important, as the proposals for the site developed over the past three years, for the University

to engage with students, staff and local communities to help inform the design and content of the scheme. The development team has held three sets of public exhibitions, regularly mailed more than 3,000 local residents, managed focus groups of staff and students, and established a forum of local community leaders to discuss elements of the scheme in detail. The dedicated North West Cambridge website has attracted more than 12,000 unique visitors. The University has been keen not just to hear people’s views but to act on them. It has produced a document, Working in Partnership,

which explains how the University has responded to the key issues raised by these activities. All these activities and related documents can be seen on the project website at www. nwcambridge.co.uk. The first phase of the development, subject to approval by Regent House in early 2013, would comprise around 530 homes for University staff, some 430 homes for sale, accommodation for 300 students and the local centre, together with a large element of landscaping and infrastructure. Future phases will be brought forward as required over the next 15 to 20 years.

Affordable homes will enhance Cambridge’s appeal to would-be staff and students

The shortage of quality, affordable housing for staff and students is a major constraint on the growth of the University. This is becoming more of a problem as the University faces increasing competition from institutions worldwide that offer high-quality living and research facilities as part of a package to attract the world’s top academics and researchers. The North West Cambridge site gives the University the opportunity to create a community that will significantly enhance the appeal of Cambridge to would-be staff and students. There will be three elements of housing. 1,500 homes providing a variety of accommodation, but mainly one and two bedroom apartments, will be built and retained by the University to rent on one-year agreements for up to three years. Rents for qualifying occupiers will be set at a fixed level of 30 per cent of net household income, to ensure that they are truly affordable. The key qualifying criteria are that potential tenants must show that they would have to pay more than 30 per cent of their net household income in rent to access accommodation in Cambridge,

and they must be newcomers to the city. These homes will therefore be particularly attractive to new staff coming from outside Cambridge or the UK who currently find it difficult to look for accommodation in advance of their arrival. The second element will be a further 1,500 homes for sale. This will increase the stock of quality private housing in Cambridge both for University staff wishing to purchase and the wider public. The income generated by the sale of the land to private developers will help to finance the development. The other residential element will be accommodation for up to 2,000 postgraduate researchers. This will provide high-quality, modern, sustainable accommodation at reasonable rents. The University will develop this accommodation on its own or in partnership with the Colleges. The proposals are being designed with sufficient flexibility to allow for new colleges to be created should that prove both desirable and financially possible. Altogether these homes will provide a range of houses and flats in a mix

that reflects the University’s incoming student and staff profile. The University is developing design codes for the whole site to ensure that the high standards of design and sustainability are implemented throughout the development. Density of residential developments will vary across the site with lower densities on the edges to complement surrounding properties and higher concentrations around the local centre. The residential streets will favour pedestrians and cyclists over car users, with large numbers of trees and other planting to create a strong green setting. Residents of the development and Cambridge as a whole will have access to substantial amounts of open space, some formal for sports and other areas less formal for recreation, dog walking and picnicking. There will also be allotments available for residents in the first instance. The University has worked closely with the local planning authorities to determine the right mix and balance of housing on the site. It needs to create a collegiate and academic environment that encourages interaction between colleagues, and inspires and enhances creative thought. At the same time the community has to be stable and able to accommodate transient staff and postgraduates living side by side with long-term residents, many of whom will not be related to the University. This has been achieved through a carefully planned mix of types across the site and the creation, in the first phase, of the community facilities that will help produce a thriving community from the start. “Creating a vibrant community where people want to live is essential for the future success of the University,” said Professor Jeremy Sanders, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Institutional Affairs. “We have a huge incentive to build a successful, high-quality, sustainable development.”


north west cambridge supplement

Cycle paths and walkways central to travel plans Green transport is integral to the North West Cambridge development and will help the University meet its environmental ambitions Minimising car use is central to the University’s Green Transport Plan. This is vital both to manage traffic movement on and around the site and to meet the University’s environmental ambitions. The development has been designed both to reduce the need to use cars and to encourage alternative ways of travelling, particularly in the busy commuter hours. With many people living and working on site they will not need to take their cars to work as it will be easier to walk or cycle. The provision of dedicated cycle paths throughout the site, safe and secure walkways, and cycle and pedestrian priorities at road junctions, will also encourage people to leave their cars at home. The Ridgeway will be a dedicated cycle route running through the centre of the site, enabling people

to cycle safely by avoiding the busy Huntingdon Road. This will help not just new residents but also those living in and around Girton. Road traffic will be limited through design to 20mph on site. The opening of a supermarket and other facilities at the start of the development will further reduce the need for residents to use their cars. It will also mean that people currently living near the site will no longer have to drive far to do their shopping. The University will work with its chosen supermarket operator to ensure that home delivery services allow people to shop without their cars. The University will also make substantial investment in enhancing existing and providing new services for the local bus network. It will subsidise new routes in the early years as the development grows and establishes.

Strong governance and professional management The North West Cambridge Development is governed by The Syndicate for the West and North West Cambridge Estates which reports both to the University’s Council and the Finance Committee. The Syndicate reports to Regent House through the Council. The development’s Executive Team has retained professional consultants to provide high-quality advice on critical elements such as planning, sustainability, transport and public engagement. Together they have created a scheme that meets the University’s needs while addressing the issues of importance to the local planning authorities. The Executive Team has also called upon the expertise of four advisory panels on appointments, quality, sustainability and arts.

The project will be developed in phases over 20 years, responding to the University’s requirements. A core principle has been the need for the project to be self-financing so that it does not draw finances away from other University activities. This will be achieved through a mixture of funding sources, including the sale of land to private partners for housing, a supermarket, a hotel, an elderly care home, future rental income from key worker housing and postgraduate accommodation, and a repayable loan from the central University. “The project will pay for itself in the early years and, once initial development financing is repaid, we will have created a hugely valuable asset that actually contributes to the University’s long-term finances,” said Roger Taylor.

A range of new cycle paths and walkways will encourage people living and working at North West Cambridge to leave their cars at home

The Syndicate and Executive Team The members of the Syndicate are: • Alexander Johnston – Chairman of the Syndicate; member of the University Finance Committee • P  rofessor Jeremy Sanders – Deputy Chairman of the Syndicate; Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs • P  rofessor Rob Kennicutt – Head of the School of Physical Sciences • D  r Jonathan Nicholls – Registrary • D  r Richard Foster – formerly Senior Partner at Booz & Company; member of the Finance Committee • D  ame Mavis McDonald, DCB – Deputy Chairman of the University Council; Trustee, Joseph Rowntree Foundation; formerly Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister • J eremy Newsum – Executive Trustee, the Grosvenor Estate

• P  rofessor Ian White – Master of Jesus College The Executive Team is headed by Project Director Roger Taylor. He is supported by Gavin Heaphy, Construction Director, Brian Nearny, Commercial Manager, Kerry Sykes, Finance Director, the University’s Deputy Director of Finance, and Miria Robinson, Project Administrator. The Executive Team manages a range of professional consultants who cover all aspects of the development. The consultants offer advice on a wide range of professional disciplines, including masterplanning and planning; project management; cost management; communications and engagement; legal affairs; commercial research; engineering; and public art.

Staff Newsletter - Michaelmas Term 2012  

University of Cambridge's staff magazine