Spring 2021 | Issue 17 Research and Enterprise Newsletter
With the submission button pressed, we celebrate the Herculean effort and put the spotlight on some of our world-leading, REF-ready interdisciplinary research FEATURE: A look at research environments and the role they play in research success
FEATURE: Research outputs and the technology behind their submission
FEATURE: Rethinking homelessness: A totally new approach to helping the long-term homeless
FEATURE: Life lessons from LifeLab: Empowering young people to make positive lifestyle choices
WELCOME TO RE:ACTION By the time you read this issue of Re:action, we will have submitted our return for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). For those of us responsible for overseeing and coordinating our response, this is a massive relief and also a source of considerable pride. While REF is intended to evaluate the strength of UK universities’ research and the impact it has in the wider world, it also plays an important role in allowing us to understand ourselves better. Having read many of the 5,000 pages in our submission, some of them several times, I continue to be extremely impressed by the quality of the research conducted across the University, the impact that it is having, as well as the efforts to ensure that a positive research environment is provided. I am very grateful to all the colleagues who stepped up, not least over the last COVID-affected year, to ensure that our submission was of the highest quality possible. This is truly a spectacular team effort.
Given that this is the first issue of Re:action since the REF submission, we are following a REF theme, including showcasing some of the research environment-related activities. It also provides diverse examples of the impact of our research taken from over the past seven years; ranging from improving language literacy to the story of a spin-out company founded to commercialise bone regrowth technology, and from policy work on towns and provision of housing for the chronically homeless, to helping reduce aircraft noise. There are many more great examples that we will include in future issues. I very much hope that you enjoy this issue, and share the pride I feel in the strength and diversity of our research and enterprise. As always, comments and feedback on this edition are very welcome. Best wishes
Professor Mark Spearing Vice-President (Research and Enterprise)
REF 2021: LESSONS LEARNED If you were involved in the University’s REF 2021 preparations and have ideas for improvements or other feedback, we’d like to hear from you. Please complete the brief survey at the link below by Monday 10 May 2021. https://forms.office.com/r/2kDtnbH4Gu
PLEASE SEND US YOUR FEEDBACK We are keen to receive your feedback about Re:action. If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Re:action is created by Louise Payne and Lucy Collie, Research and Innovation Services
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/ris
IN THIS ISSUE 6
The right environment
The REF explained
REF outputs: Poem: behind the scenes The Submission
More than skin deep IMPACT CASE STUDY
Early language lessons
Life lessons from LifeLab
IMPACT CASE STUDY
IMPACT CASE STUDY
Putting towns in the centre
IMPACT CASE STUDY
IMPACT CASE STUDY
Together in electrochemistry dreams
IMPACT CASE STUDY
IMPACT CASE STUDY
Clinical clay creations
A quiet revolution
IMPACT CASE STUDY
IMPACT CASE STUDY
Research award highlights
THE REF EXPLAINED What is the REF? The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the research taking place across UK universities. Every six or seven years, institutions are asked to submit examples of their best research to be assessed by panels of academics and industry experts. Each of 34 subject areas is awarded up to four stars. The process is designed to ensure that public money is spent effectively. The framework is used by the four UK higher education funding bodies (Research England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland) to assess the quality of research and to inform the distribution of around £2 billion of research funding per year to UK universities.
REF is an important source of funding for universities – Southampton received over £300 million from the last exercise – and the outcomes, for individual disciplines and the University as a whole, can affect our research reputation for many years.
REF is an important source of funding for universities – Southampton received over £300 million from the last exercise – and the outcomes, for individual disciplines and the University as a whole, can affect our research reputation for many years, influencing our ability to recruit staff and students, and develop partnerships with organisations in the UK and overseas.
About 25 per cent of the University’s research income is from funding resulting from the REF
The submission runs to over 5,000 A4 pages
We returned more than 3,200 outputs and over 100 Impact Case Studies
Our environment statements total more than 250,000 words
For further information, visit: www.ref.ac.uk
1,400 STAFF We made a submission to 25 UOAs comprising over 1,400 academic staff
Preparations began five years before the submission
How is the REF carried out? The REF looks at three areas of assessment, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence: • Quality of research outputs (60 per cent of the assessment) • Impact of research – its effect on, change, or benefit to the economy, society, policy, culture and quality of life (25 per cent of the assessment) • Research environment – an institution’s research strategy and objectives, equipment and facilities, national and international collaboration, awards, honours and prizes, and research metrics such as income and doctoral degrees awarded (15 per cent of the assessment) Each university is invited to make an institutional submission, or return, to REF, which is broken down into 34 disciplinary units known as Units of Assessment (UOAs). These submissions are assessed by an expert panel in each UOA. There are also four overarching ‘main panels’ to reflect the following subject areas: • Panel A: Medicine, health and life sciences • Panel B: Physical sciences, engineering and mathematics • Panel C: Social sciences • Panel D: Arts and humanities
These panels are supported by the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel and the Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel. How are REF submissions assessed? The research excellence of each university’s REF submission is assessed through a process of peer review undertaken by the panels comprising academics and research users from industry, business, government and other organisations. The quality of each output (journal articles, books, performances, compositions, etc) is graded using a star system, with similar definitions for impact and the environment: • 4* – world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour • 3* – internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence • 2* – recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour • 1* – recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour • Unclassified – falls below the standard of nationally recognised work, or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment
Has anything changed since the previous REF in 2014? A major review of REF, led by Lord Nicholas Stern, was published in 2016 and resulted in several changes for REF 2021: • All staff who have a significant responsibility for research must be included, removing the selectivity of previous exercises • Introduction of an ‘outputs pool’ where everyone contributes at least one output and a maximum of five, rather than the four papers per person as in REF 2014. Outputs from staff who have left the University could also be included • A broader definition of impact to emphasise public engagement and to include impact on teaching. 5
For further information, visit: www.ref.ac.uk
The research environment, or culture, is thought by some to be the most influential forecaster of research productivity. In the seven years since the last REF, the expectation on institutions to not just provide, but indeed nurture the environment, has grown ever stronger. REF 2021 will be a true showcase of the importance of the research environment, and Southampton is poised to deliver.
THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT According to the official REF website, “In REF the research environment is assessed in terms of its ‘vitality’ and ‘sustainability’.” A closer look at the REF guidelines indicates a strong focus on research income, research degrees awarded, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), facilities and equipment, structures to support impact, collaborations and interdisciplinarity, open access and research data management, and contribution to the research base, economy and society. The importance of the environment statements for each individual Unit of Assessment (UOA), and for the University as a whole, is that the research being
undertaken, the impact of the research and the environment within which it is conducted are not mutually exclusive – very much the opposite. Peter Staniczenko, Head of Research Performance at the University, explained: “There has never been such a focus on research environments as there is now, which is a really positive step forward for academic institutions across the UK. Exploring the research environment and understanding the strategies and resources in place to support research and enable impact is a vital exercise, not just for the REF, but for the benefit of the institution and its research and enterprise activities.”
“ Diversity and inclusion are vital to the quality of the research we conduct, and equality is a key requirement to ensure that we achieve inclusion and maintain collegiality within the University.” Professor Mark Spearing Executive Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Parts versus the whole The University of Southampton REF 2021 submission included an institutional-level environment statement in addition to the statement submitted for each of the 25 UOAs. The institutional statement is not separately scored but holds considerable weight as it contributes to the assessment of each UOA’s statement. “Each research discipline has very different requirements, be that equipment and facilities, resources or ways of working,” explained Peter. “The individual UOA statements provide an opportunity to showcase the unique environments we provide for all types of research and researcher at Southampton. Whether it’s the importance of sabbaticals for those working in arts and humanities, or the promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, we are able to articulate and 8
demonstrate the nuances of each discipline’s research and how we as an institution provide an environment in which it can thrive.” The UOA statements begin by setting the scene, describing the number of staff and organisational structure before presenting achievements since the last REF. Research and impact strategies, interdisciplinarity, research integrity and open research complete the first section. Section two is about people, including staffing strategy and staff development, research students and EDI. Income, infrastructure and facilities are covered in the third section, and finally collaboration and contribution to the research base, economy and society in section four. The bigger picture The institutional environment statement sets the scene for all UOAs. It is an opportunity for us as a University to shine a light on the multitude of projects, programmes and initiatives across the organisation that cultivate our positive research environment here at Southampton. Peter said: “The UOA environment statements provide an insight for all colleagues and stakeholders into how University policies are implemented at ground level. The environment statement for Southampton as a whole outlines those policies and ongoing supporting activities from professional services.” By no means a small undertaking, the 5,500word institutional environment statement for Southampton is duty-bound to explain and illustrate four key areas, which are:
• Context and mission including an overview of the size, structure and mission of the institution. • Strategy for research and enabling impact in the assessment period and for the next five years. • People including staffing strategy, support and training of research students, and evidence about how equality and diversity in research careers is supported and promoted across the institution. • Income, infrastructure and facilities which includes the institution-level resources and facilities available to support research, and the mechanisms for supporting the reproducibility of research and to facilitate its impact. Equality, diversity and inclusion “A key element in both the institutional and individual UOA statements is that of equality, diversity and inclusion,” explained Peter. “Equality is about fairness and apportioning equal value and equal worth to all. Diversity is recognising, respecting and celebrating each other’s differences. Inclusion means creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued. “EDI has always been an important aspect of research assessment exercises, but the funding bodies’ commitment to supporting and promoting EDI in research careers, and strongly encouraging transparency and fairness in decisions made by institutions, is particularly evident in REF 2021.” Professor Mark Spearing, the University’s Executive Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, explained: “Diversity and inclusion
For further information, visit: www.ref.ac.uk
“ Exploring the research environment and understanding the strategies and resources in place to support research and enable impact is a vital exercise, not just for the REF, but for the benefit of the institution and its research and enterprise activities.” Peter Staniczenko Head of Research Performance
are vital to the quality of the research we conduct, and equality is a key requirement to ensure that we achieve inclusion and maintain collegiality within the University. “There is an abundance of evidence to show that more diverse organisations and teams are significantly more creative than those that lack diversity. Research is at its heart a very creative endeavour, so it is vital that we actively promote and value diversity within research teams and across the University and ensure that everyone is included so that their expertise can contribute fully to our research excellence. “The need to actively seek diversity and consciously promote inclusion is most acute in interdisciplinary research, where cultural differences between disciplines and different technical languages can prove barriers to effective collaborations.”
The University of Southampton’s institutional-level research environment statement showcased the following achievements and initiatives: achieve Disability Confident Leader status, the highest level accreditation for employers committed to ensuring recruitment processes are inclusive and accessible; this was reaccredited in 2020.
• Our sector-leading ‘Reward’ framework, particularly flexibility in job, families and career pathways. • Governance structure and strategy for EDI, which aims to embed EDI holistically in all our activities. • Signed two pledges: Time to Change, a national campaign to end mental health discrimination, and the Mindful Employer Charter to create a supportive and open culture for employees with mental health issues. • The University is a founding signatory of the Athena Swan charter and received a Silver award in October 2016 following 10 years’ work at Bronze level. • In addition, nine Schools and Faculties have obtained Silver and Bronze departmental awards, recognising their work to implement University policies and broaden awareness of gender equality in their local area. • We are a member of Inclusive Employers, which supports building inclusive workplaces, and a partner of AccessAble (formerly DisabledGo) to promote disability-accessible buildings. In December 2017 we became the first UK university to
• In January 2018 the University signed the Race Equality Charter to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic groups of staff and students. • Staff and students maintain networks and societies to represent, support and engage members who share a similar background, characteristic or common cause, for example:
— Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff Network — Christian, Islamic and Jewish student societies — Disability Staff Network — International societies — Parents’ and Carers’ Network — Pulse LGBT+ Staff Network — Student Union Feminist Society — Theano — Women in Science, Engineering, Technology and Humanities (WiSET+) • We have been a Stonewall Diversity Champion since 2010.
Post-REF 2021 “My conclusion from reading the REF environment statements is that we are strong at interdisciplinary research and have made real progress in EDI,” said Mark. “With such a tremendous amount of work going into the statements across the University, we really are in a very solid position in terms of celebrating and asserting our strengths and identifying areas for development. “Each environment statement provides a rich narrative of how a particular discipline supports its researchers and postgraduate research students. They are essential reading for anyone wishing to discover what makes Southampton unique and such a great place to develop careers.” 9
REF OUTPUTS: BEHIND THE SCENES REF is all about research. But, behind the scenes there is a phenomenal amount of work that goes on to ensure the research outputs can be submitted for assessment – and are submitted at their best. Central to this are three teams: the Research Performance team from Research and Innovation Services (RIS), the Library’s ePrints and Research Engagement teams, and iSolutions. The teams are responsible for leading the maintenance and complex upgrades of the Pure research information system, ensuring research outputs comply with open access policies, maintaining the vast institutional research repository, bibliographic checks, investigating bibliometrics, and gathering all physical outputs without digital object identifiers (DOIs), such as books and monographs. The story begins with a 12-strong team in the Library. Steven Vidovic, Open Research Development Manager at Hartley Library, explained: “Our preparation starts as soon as a paper is intended to be published. We are reviewing articles all the time as authors are submitting them. We have to assume that every output is potentially REF-able.” It is the Library’s responsibility to ensure research outputs meet open access requirements, which involves liaising with authors to ensure the accepted manuscript is in ePrints, the institutional research repository.
This has been a major difference between REF 2021 and the previous REF, in 2014. Isobel Stark, Research Data Development Manager, said: “The workload for this REF was so much greater, which is good because it’s all improving our open research and making sure we have a good institutional record of our research outputs. It’s important for us as an institution because we have always been a leader on open access to research, both in the UK and internationally.”
“ We are reviewing articles all the time as authors are submitting them. We have to assume that every output is potentially REF-able.” Steven Vidovic Open Research Development Manager
The Library team has also conducted thousands of bibliographic checks, checking page numbers and version numbers. Research Engagement Librarian, Michael Whitton, implemented an automated system to identify outputs that are available for
the REF return and if they require further bibliographic checks. Michael has also led on the bibliometrics analysis to help academic colleagues decide which outputs to select. Collecting and – due to COVID-19 – quarantining hard copies of books and other outputs without DOIs, ready to deliver them to Research England, was also undertaken by the Library, working with Gemma Fitzsimmons, Research Information Analyst from RIS. The Library is also involved every time there is an upgrade to Pure, the University’s research information system, because Pure integrates with ePrints. “It’s been a great team effort,” added Steven. Pure takes charge This year was the first time the University has used Pure to handle its REF submission. Omar Salim, Research Information Manager from RIS, who manages Pure for the University, said: “We invested in Pure back in 2015 because there was a need for a central research information system, not only to handle the depositing of outputs and datasets but also to surface and connect to other data that previously was not easily accessible to our academic colleagues, such as Awards and Projects from our Finance system, and
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/research/researcher-support/pure.page
“ We invested in Pure back in 2015 because there was a need for a central research information system, not only to handle the depositing of outputs and datasets but also to surface and connect to other data that previously was not easily accessible to our academic colleagues.” Omar Salim Research Information Manager
outputs to be returned was 2.5 times the full time equivalent of that number of staff. Additionally, each person had to have at least one output and a maximum of five outputs attributed to them. It quickly became a very complex process to find the optimal REF submission taking all outputs and co-author combinations into consideration. Postgraduate Supervision data from our Student system. “The other big advantage is that it comes with a dedicated REF module, within which we could assess, hone and submit our REF data to Research England. It’s far less labour-intensive than in previous years when the University managed its REF submission without this type of system.” In the lead-up to REF, there were several upgrades to Pure that required coordination between the Pure team, the Library and iSolutions. Stephen Perry, IT Manager from iSolutions, explained: “The Pure software is central in a web of interfaces to other systems, and the service relies on all components communicating together. All software must be updated regularly to provide improvements in security, performance, functionality, and continued supplier support. As REF drew
closer, the rate of Pure upgrades increased, and we responded by applying these quickly without compromising on testing and quality. To do this, we have three environments – development, pre-production and production. We move upgrades through all three in turn, working closely with Omar and Gemma, testing and documenting the process so the production update goes as smoothly as possible.” Drilling the data Preparing data and establishing the best submission profile for each Unit of Assessment (UOA) in readiness for the University’s REF submission was another silent but huge task. Gemma worked with Professor Joerg Fliege, Head of Operational Research within Mathematical Sciences, on this. Gemma said: “REF 2021 had different rules to previous assessments. There was a set number of eligible staff that had to be returned for each UOA, and the number of
“I worked with the UOAs to collate internal review scores and Professor Fliege developed a mathematical model to deliver an optimised submission profile for each UOA. The output of the model was used by the UOAs to decide on the best submission possible while following the REF rules. It proved an invaluable resource, especially for the larger UOAs.” The REF submission deadline has now passed, but the behind-the-scenes work doesn’t end there. In the nine months post-REF, the team will be handling audit queries from Research England, including evidencing staff contracts, when outputs were published, or queries from REF panel members. Omar added: “Pure is constantly changing and evolving, so in order to handle these audit queries, we took a snapshot of Pure’s data on 31 March 2021 which will provide a permanent record of Pure as it was on the day we made our REF submission.”
The Submission began with a folder of images: EMBRYO; INFLAMED ELBOW; GALLBLADDER DISEASE. I was on the sofa, blanketed, digesting the heavy carb of a report. An official body sent us a meme of a mother cat, carrying her kitten by the scruff of its neck, before dropping it into the wastepaper bin. Cat or the kitten? With the NOSTALGIA playlist on repeat, I’d rubbed my forehead shiny, like the statue of a saint. ANTIMICROBIAL COPPER; AIRCRAFT DESIGN; WOMEN IN FILM. It is the morning of the 25th of October and to my cornflakes I whisper, once more unto the breach, dear friends. In the fridge, a bag of carrots, far gone in their unnecessary plastic. I bite the edge, carry them swinging from my teeth to the bin. I let them fall and thud. I AM THE MOTHER CAT. I must not waste another carrot. WINE CRITICS; THE MUSCLE HEALTH OF ASTRONAUTS; LONG-DISTANCE LIGHT COMMUNICATION. My long-distance grandfather, poorly lit, offers the top of his head only to the camera. Hello? He says. Hello. I say back. What? he asks. At 4am I send Peter Staniczenko an empty message, the subject line reads: HOW LONG DO WE LIVE? A more functional question, I decide, than WHY? GENOCIDE, INDETERMINATE PRISON SENTENCE, EXTREME SEA LEVEL. I stare into my dirty bathwater and think IMPACT. Dear Gem, I write, please find attached – my worn-out face, degraded self-esteem, a monograph on IMPERIAL ROME. RARE EYE DISEASE, PENILE COMPRESSION CLAMP; THE BENEFITS OF DANCE. Dear Gem, I write, today I ate a banana and felt good about my choices. The suitcases at the airport really are moving more efficiently than before. GUILT AND SHAME; SKIN HEALTH. Spring came through today like a can of diet-summer, I squinted as I sipped it. Yes. Peter! Gem! How much we know! I AM THE MOTHER CAT.
For further information, visit: www.ellafrears.co.uk
The Submission (a poem for REF) “Ella Frears, the author of The Submission, is the current Writer in Residence for the John Hansard Gallery. We were delighted when she agreed to write this poem for the REF submission ceremony. Ella’s background – which includes a poetry commission for Cartier, a residency in a physics lab and an award-winning first poetry collection – seemed serendipitously perfect. “Although commissioning a poem for the REF ceremony initially seemed odd (what could it express but huge relief?) conversations with Ella opened up richer possibilities. She created a poem that captured the diversity and importance of our research and impact, the heavy ambivalence of subjecting both to such an unwieldy bureaucratic process, the support and warmth of our community. To do so Ella immersed herself, albeit briefly, in the world of REF – reading from our outputs and case studies, talking to our researchers and even (as those who know will know) delving into the cat-friendly memes of our Pure Twitter feed…” Nicky Marsh Professor of English Studies, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Ella Frears Photo credit: Etienne Gilfillan
MORE THAN SKIN DEEP Billions of pounds are ploughed into treating problems created by life-supporting and essential devices every year. There’s a real juxtaposition between hospital devices supporting life but also causing chronic skin damage and scarring. It’s an issue that a multidisciplinary team from Health Sciences and Engineering is tackling, bringing benefits to both patients and purses. Through addressing device design, materials and patient monitoring, the Skin Health Group is pioneering new methods that could change the lives of people living with the long-lasting effects of pressure ulcers and scarring. The team from Health Sciences, comprising Professor Dan Bader, Professor Lisette Schoonhoven and Dr Peter Worsley, led the EPSRC-NIHR funded Medical Device and Vulnerable Skin Network from 2014 to 2019. This brought together academics, industry and clinicians to address two key challenges: optimising medical device designs and creating intelligent monitoring to promote self-management. Peter, Associate Professor within Health Sciences, explained: “Pressure ulcers have traditionally been associated with people who are relatively immobile, but there is also a problem with skin damage resulting from using medical devices. Over one third of hospitalacquired pressure ulcers are caused by devices such as ventilation masks, support collars and prosthetics – anything that touches the skin. These devices are mostly generic in design and use stiff, non-breathable material that can be detrimental to skin health.” Technology for healthy skin The team, based in a Clinical Academic Facility on the hospital site, has partnered with Engineering colleagues Professor Liudi Jiang and Dr Alex Dickinson to address a range of
healthcare issues. They have a number of projects addressing skin health, for example for individuals using prosthetic and orthotics. Alex, Associate Professor in the Bioengineering Science Research Group, said: “We are lucky to have a close relationship with Health Sciences. Our biomechanical modelling and simulation tools are clever but useless if they aren’t designed with clinical issues in mind, and trained with clinical data. Peter’s unique clinical and bioengineering experience is key to this multidisciplinary collaboration, and means our students and researchers have exposure to the full range of stakeholders in the care pathway, enhancing their experience, and ensuring our work is valuable to patients.” Peter outlined the cost to the NHS and to patients themselves: “Chronic wounds, many of which are pressure ulcers, cost the NHS £5 billion a year. There is significant impact from having these types of wounds. Often wounds from medical devices can occur on the face or neck, such as skin damage forming on the bridge of the nose from a respiratory mask. These painful wounds diminish the individual’s quality of life and can cause social consequences when long term scarring is present. And now, with COVID-19 patients, there are a lot of issues with patients lying in a prone position for a long time and even with healthcare professionals getting skin damage from personal protective equipment.”
Breathing tubes can leave neonatal babies with longterm facial scarring
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/fcs
Impact Acceleration Award
“ We developed bespoke sensors that can tell us when a problem could occur. We use pressure mapping and intelligent algorithms to determine how often people move and how likely it is they will get a problem.” Dr Peter Worsley Associate Professor within Health Sciences
Temperature and humidity sensing at the device interface to monitor local microclimate
Working with industry Collaborating with industry has been key to the Skin Health Group’s success. “We have done a lot of work with industry, in particular with prosthetics and support services companies, where we have established a sustainable funding model from industry,” said Peter. “We have worked with them to co-develop new devices and products that have gone out into patient care, resulting in wound prevention.” One example of this is the group’s work with Hillrom, one of the world’s largest providers of medical devices. The research included embedding sensors to establish the most
effective mattress composition according to an individual’s body mass index. The group has also supported the integration of 3D spacer fabric materials to keep the skin cool and hydrated. Hillrom adopted the research to manufacture mattresses with sensors providing patient-specific care. By the end of 2020, Hillrom had sold 20,000 of these mattresses around the world. “Enterprise and embracing industry collaboration is a fantastic thing for us,” added Peter. “At the School of Health Sciences, there is great opportunity to increase the amount of work we do with industry, creating the means to translate our research into medical products.”
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/fcs
Dr Peter Worsley using technology for imaging vulnerable skin
Sampling sebum from the skin surface to monitor biomarkers indicative of tissue health
Intelligent sensing Another strand of the Skin Health Group’s work is intelligent sensing technologies.
of our multidisciplinary working with two of our PhD students, Joshua Steer and Jennifer Bramley.”
The group collaborated with the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on a project called PROMISE (Pressure Reduction through Continuous Monitoring in the Community Setting). The project used a commercial pressure monitoring system in mattresses and chairs to help patients and carers better understand the risks of pressure ulcers.
Joshua Steer was awarded a Royal Academic Enterprise Fellowship to continue the research and commercialise it through the spin-out which currently employs six staff.
“We developed bespoke sensors that can tell us when a problem could occur,” said Peter. “We use pressure mapping and intelligent algorithms to determine how often people move and how likely it is they will get a problem. Monitoring patients over 72 hours provides a unique opportunity to learn how people move and what posture they are in. We can give that additional information to carers and clinicians to help them to manage patients.” The PROMISE system is now being used by the community teams from four hospitals in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.
Radii Devices tackles the issue of discomfort and scarring caused by external medical devices such as prosthetics. The World Health Organisation estimates there are about 40 million people who require a prosthetic limb – a figure that is expected to grow due to diabetes, which is on the rise, being a leading cause of amputation. Joshua, Founder and Director of Radii Devices, said: “Our technology supports designers of external medical devices with artificial intelligence to analyse optimal device fit across the population, and biomechanical modelling to predict potential areas of pain. By bringing data and simulation into the design of these devices, our aim is to reduce
the number of fittings required and increase comfort for patients. Whilst the technology was originally developed for prosthetics, collaboration with the Skin Health Group has already led to implementation of new applications of our technology in other devices, such as respiratory masks.” Changing NHS policy The strength of all this research has led to changes to NHS policy and informing new international standards for support surface manufacture. Working with NHS Improvement, the group successfully changed reporting policy in England in 2019 to include device-related skin damage. This is now part of routine reporting practice in more than 200 care facilities in acute, community and mental health services. The group also worked with NHS Improvement to create educational videos for clinicians to support best practice for medical device selection and application as part of the NHS Stop the Pressure campaign last year.
“It means district nurses have a means to monitor individuals remotely and, perhaps more importantly, when the patients see the pressure mapping information it helps them better understand why certain postures and positions might be causing problems – it empowers patients to do a bit of their own skin health care,” explained Peter. Spinout success The success of the interdisciplinary research between the Skin Health Group and Engineering colleagues led to spin-out company Radii Devices being set up. Alex said: “I’m proud of Radii Devices as an example of a valuable research outcome
Radii Devices uses AI to improve prosthetic fit
EARLY LANGUAGE LESSONS
Learning a foreign language at primary school has been compulsory since 2014, largely thanks to research conducted here at Southampton. But professional development to support teachers in this field has been lacking. This is where an ongoing research project led by Dr Alison Porter is stepping in. 18
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/ml
Impact Acceleration Award
Teachers teaching teachers has been central to a Southampton-led research project designed to empower primary school teachers across the country in their teaching of foreign languages in the classroom. Ever since the change in the National Curriculum, making it compulsory for children to learn a foreign language from the age of seven, there has been limited professional development support for teachers to develop primary languages lesson plans and resources. Dr Alison Porter, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, is leading a project to address this. She explained: “There is a real need for professional development in foreign language teaching. We know from survey research that foreign language professional development is either non-existent or very difficult to access. Teachers actively support one another on social media and through their own networks, but there is very limited access to researchinformed professional development. “My research aims to support teachers in making pedagogic decisions. What is a helpful and useful way to teach things? But also to explain the complexity of what it is to teach and learn foreign languages in primary school classrooms.
“SUPL started off with a handful of teachers from across the South,” said Alison. “With a second instalment of ESRC IAA funding, the group grew to 22 members the following year. We held a one-day event at the University, which 45 teachers from across the country attended, sharing things they are doing in the classroom. “Following this, we felt we had a good model for introducing teachers to research-informed practice, and for teachers to learn from other teachers, so we decided to design a MOOC.” MOOC success A MOOC – a Massive Open Online Course – was designed with the help of Kate Borthwick, Director of Programme Development, and Charlotte Everitt, Learning Designer, from the Digital Learning team. The project was co-funded by the University of Essex, with a contribution from the University of Reading. The first MOOC ran for three weeks in July 2020.
“At the heart of this is finding engaging ways to teach foreign languages in schools so that we’re supporting progression, motivation and engagement, because we know that all these things go hand in hand. Even young children need to feel like they are learning something and making progress to want to carry on doing it.”
“We had planned to go into schools and film, but COVID prevented that,” said Alison. “We decided to go ahead with the MOOC, though, as we thought teachers were probably feeling quite isolated so it was a good time for them to do some professional development. So we filmed in our own houses, and three teachers we’ve worked with for several years produced videos showing techniques they use in the classroom.”
With the support of funding through the University’s ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Impact Acceleration Account, Alison and her former colleague Professor Rosamond Mitchell set up SUPL (Southampton University Primary Languages) to provide teachers with research-informed professional development.
The MOOC had three key messages. The first was around motivation and engagement – children undergo huge emotional and cognitive change at primary school. The second was around children needing a sense of progression because that leads to motivation. And the third was around opportunities and ideas to be creative with foreign language literacy.
The first MOOC was a huge success, with more than 4,500 attendees from 140 countries. The MOOC continues to run three times a year. “Our next endeavour is to really promote the MOOC internationally,” added Alison. ‘Liberation from insularity’ The change in the National Curriculum back in 2014 was influenced by research conducted by Professor Mitchell, who has now retired. “The collaborative research that Professor Mitchell did found that children can and do make progress in the four years of primary language learning,” said Alison. “When the curriculum was reviewed, partly on the basis of the findings of Professor Mitchell and others, it was decided for the first time in UK history that learning foreign languages would be compulsory in primary schools, for children aged seven and above. “We know that primary school children in particular are a very receptive audience to language learning. The idea is to try to capitalise on that so we support a positivity around language learning.” One of the over-arching aims of this change in curriculum was a ‘liberation from insularity’. Alison outlined: “In the UK that’s especially important because we don’t necessarily have the well-established educational or social drivers that other countries have to learn English. We have this argument that everybody speaks English, but in the global picture it’s important. If other countries are multi-lingual and we’re not, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. It’s also about tolerance, understanding others, and global citizenship – these are values that educators around the world are looking to promote.”
Feature Zero Flat is an innovative research project that has completely rethought and redesigned solutions to helping the homeless. The project has used social design to get people off the streets and into safe spaces. Now it is looking to expand to help more people find a way to escape the streets, and to share its learnings through an exhibition.
RETHINKING HOMELESSNESS Millions of people across Europe are exposed to homelessness every year. According to FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, the figure is more than four million. Dr Daniel Cid, Associate Professor of Design Studies at Winchester School of Art, has spent the last five years working with Leve Projects (a Barcelona-based studio) and a homelessness charity on a completely new take on accommodation for people suffering from chronic – or long term – homelessness. The outcome of this work is Zero Flat, a totally different approach to helping 20
homeless people leave the streets. The first Zero Flat has been up and running in Barcelona since 2017 – continuing to operate as a bubble throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – and Daniel and his colleagues have big plans to develop new versions of Zero Flat. A version adapted to the reality of women suffering from homelessness, and bringing Zero Flat to the UK, are among the plans. “My work is in the space between design and social science,” said Daniel. The design of the accommodation is entirely influenced by the topography of the city and a deep understanding of what it means to be chronically homeless. “It’s very well demonstrated through practice and theory that most of the time people
suffering from chronic homelessness reject shelters because they have too many regulations,” he explained. “Someone who has been sleeping on the streets for 15 years is in a loop and cannot leave the streets. Shelters, for example, don’t allow pets, or alcohol, or smoking. At Zero Flat you can drink, although from a glass not a bottle, and you can smoke, and you can bring your pet.” Peek inside Zero Flat Zero Flat is designed to mimic the street in many ways. Daniel explained what you find inside: “A bench, a tree and a fountain are the three elements that compose a typical city square in Mediterranean countries. Inside
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/cpwsa/engagement/zero-flat.page 2
The first Zero Flat has been up and running in Barcelona since 2017 – continuing to operate as a bubble throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. A version adapted to the reality of women suffering from homelessness, and bringing Zero Flat to the UK, are among the plans.
1 Beds/benches and blinds for privacy inside Zero Flat 2 A cross-section and the floor plan of Zero Flat
Zero Flat, there are benches that can be converted into beds or tables. During the day, the space can be rearranged into a multipurpose room for the community. “The philosophy of Zero Flat is for it to be part of the community, so the space can be used by other sectors of the community as a civic centre or a meeting room, for example. The community is very much involved in the management of the apartment.” People who come to stay at Zero Flat are given a foldable mattress and a portable lamp on arrival. “People sleeping on the street say it’s difficult to get used to sleeping under a roof because they are used to street lights, so total darkness can be really scary – so we give them a portable lamp,” said Daniel. “There is also a room without a door that is open to the outside, to the terrace. Many people actually choose to sleep in there.” Staying at the accommodation, which can sleep eight to 10 people, is by invitation. A group of voluntary social workers, who know Barcelona’s chronically homeless population well and have established bonds with the community, will invite individuals. The results have been fantastic. In its first two years, Zero Flat welcomed 77 people,
“ The philosophy of Zero Flat is for it to be part of the community, so the space can be used by other sectors of the community as a civic centre or a meeting room, for example.” Dr Daniel Cid Associate Professor of Design Studies
57 of whom left the streets as a result. A total of 39 of them moved into more stable accommodation, such as a shared flat or a rented room, 13 continued sleeping at Zero Flat, two moved into a shelter and three moved back to live with family. Seven people returned to the streets, and the remaining 13 were not chronically homeless but Zero Flat helped them through temporary difficulties with accommodation. Daniel has worked closely with Barcelonabased homeless organisation the Arrels Foundation to make Zero Flat a reality. The organisation runs the accommodation dayto-day and has taken Daniel’s unique social design methods and ethos into developing other spaces such as drop-in centres.
Zero Flat’s future Replicating Zero Flat in other neighbourhoods of Barcelona is top of Daniel’s agenda once the COVID-19 pandemic allows. Bringing Zero Flat to the UK is also a priority. Daniel has been discussing the possibility with a London-based charity. “It’s a very interesting charity and they are interested in potentially incorporating the thinking behind Zero Flat into their work to help homeless people,” he explained. Another plan up Daniel’s sleeve is an ambitious exhibition based around the idea of ‘making the invisible visible’ and putting the spotlight on the topographies of homeless cities. He said: “Homelessness is not just someone sleeping rough – it’s also someone experiencing gender violence, someone who is going to be evicted. The exhibition will put the spotlight on the complexities of homelessness and address discrimination. “It will also look at some of the causes of homelessness – it’s not, in the main, because of drugs or alcohol. Being a young personin Europe, being a woman with a child alone, being an immigrant, being unemployed, or having mental health issues – these are all factors that can lead to homelessness.” 21
LIFE LESSONS FROM LIFELAB Empowering young people to make positive lifestyle choices has never been as important as it is now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But do young people have a voice, and do they understand the choices they can make to mitigate the impact of the situation on their lives? The work of researchers in Southampton’s LifeLab has been to ensure that they do. While the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt by everyone, the full impact may take years to be revealed. A whole generation of young people has been thrust into a situation many of them don’t understand. In such an uncertain environment they may feel ill-equipped to make the right lifestyle choices. Dr Kathryn Woods-Townsend, who leads the LifeLab programme as a partnership between the Southampton Education School and the Faculty of Medicine, explained: “The LifeLab team has spent the past 12 years developing a programme aimed at increasing scientific and health literacy among young people through raising awareness of the underlying science. We hope to inspire positive health-related lifestyle and behaviour changes by the LifeLab experience outside the school environment. The emergence of COVID-19 immediately got us thinking about what support young people need to face this new challenge, and how best we could get it to them in a locked-down society.” LifeLab is ordinarily a hospital and schoolbased education programme, in which scientists and educators create experiences that empower children and young people to understand the science behind the health messages they are exposed to in everyday life. LifeLab provides hands-on activities and experiments which engage young people and spark their interest in their own health and wellbeing. 22
LifeLab is very much a multidisciplinary collaboration. Thanks and acknowledgments go to Lisa Bagust, Mary Barker, Kate Bartlett, James Batchelor, Michael Boniface, Sian Bryant, Andri Christodoulou, Claire Colbain, Nic Fair, Rachel Gagen, Keith Godfrey, Marcus Grace, Natasha Green, Mark Hanson, Luke Hughes, Hazel Inskip, Donna Lovelock, Stefano Modafferi, Cat Perrin, Stacey Sellick, Sofia Strommer and Lawrence Surey.
“We had to pause our hands-on practical activities in March 2020, but we weren’t going to let that stop us helping young people,” said Kathryn. “We are committed to giving them a voice and a chance to explain what they are feeling about the pandemic, its impact on their lives and how they felt they could be better supported during lockdown.” The LifeLab team worked with Professor Mary Barker and colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine to develop the Teenagers’ Experience of COVID-19 (TeC-19) study, funded by the Institute for Life Sciences. The study involved online focus group discussions with teenagers to ask about their experiences of the pandemic. Then they were asked to keep social media diaries and complete assessments of their diet, physical activity, mental health and well-being.
Co-creation Combining the insights gained from TeC-19 and the principles underpinning LifeLab, Kathryn’s education team partnered with Professor Keith Godfrey and the University’s ground-breaking, population-level saliva testing programme to secure over £200,000 from the Department of Health and Social Care to develop a ‘science for health literacy’ programme. The aim was to help reduce COVID-19 transmission by engaging young people in testing and other public health measures, such as the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ message. Kathryn said: “We felt very strongly that if young people were going to be asked to be involved in COVID-19 testing, social distancing and other public health actions to reduce transmission, particularly in their school environment, it was vitally important that they understood why, and what the importance of the measures was for themselves and for others. So, we worked with young people online to co-create a variety of resources to enable them to respond constructively to the impact of the pandemic on their lives.” The ‘science for health literacy’ programme formed part of the University’s saliva testing programme to extend testing into education settings. As a new component of the LifeLab programme, this sought to build resilience among young people and develop their decision-making skills. The co-created resources included the #ForOurFutures pack and a series of
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/lifelab
Impact Acceleration Award
LIFELAB FACTS • LifeLab started in 2008 and moved to a state-of-theart education facility at the University Hospital Southampton in November 2013. • The key principles underpinning LifeLab are that these health issues are socio-scientific issues and that education should equip adolescents with decision-making skills to make informed choices. • The World Health Organisation estimates seven out of 10 people die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and 80 per cent of these deaths could be prevented by healthier lifestyles. • LifeLab aims to help address the underrepresentation of teaching about NCDs and their prevention in school curricula. • Endorsed by professional bodies, LifeLab has supported public health strategies and policy responses to childhood obesity and informed early-stage interventions in England, Ireland, Spain and Oman. • Since its inception, LifeLab has attracted £3.5 million in private and public sector funding for capital spending, programme design and delivery, and research.
engagement sessions for secondary schools and colleges to encourage participation with the saliva testing programme, alongside a novel Escape from Coronavirus escape room-themed series of lessons for primary schools. “The LifeLab motto is ‘Change the beginning and you change the whole story’, so the early engagement with young people in the first lockdown was crucial to understanding their needs and providing the right support early on,” said Kathryn. “Feedback on the resources made it clear that young people wanted to be productive. Just like so many of us, they wanted opportunities to volunteer and be involved. It was hard for them to find these opportunities.” One response from a parent of a secondary school student indicates the power of the LifeLab engagement. They said: “She had nothing she wanted to do, and no hope for the future. All the work that school was setting she had already done, or had no interest in, and nothing they were sending through was stretching her, so for a bright girl, she was bored. The next day, she got your email with all the thoughts in. She has signed up for the EPQ MOOCs, is doing non-shoulder-injuring garden gym, has joined the online orchestra and has a spring in her step again. The resources are awesome.”
Resuming normal service At the heart of LifeLab is the aim to encourage teenagers to make positive lifestyle changes by enabling them to discover first-hand how their behaviours lay the foundations for a healthier life, and how this is linked to the health of the children they may have in future. It could be said that never has this been more important as the population’s physical and mental health face an unprecedented struggle in the face of COVID-19. LifeLab has already updated its programmes to include COVID-19-related content, as well as developing a ‘flight case’ with the resources needed to enable teachers to deliver all the learning in a school setting if visits to LifeLab are not feasible for some time. The LifeLab team is now working with the University’s IT Innovation group to make the materials even more widely available to expand their impact. “We don’t expect to be able to open our LifeLab doors again until at least September 2021, so going fully online was key for us,” explained Kathryn. “A positive outcome of that is that we have been able to engage with young people from much further afield in the UK and abroad; our Summer School 2020 programme had participants from Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Turkey, which was a very welcome first for us. We aim to be able to continue our increased reach and maintain the online delivery long term, spreading the LifeLab message even further.” 23
University of Southampton chemistry researchers are on a public engagement mission to raise awareness of their pioneering electrochemistry research and its fundamental real-world impacts. From computer chips to batteries and lasers, electrochemistry underpins most modern-day devices and the advances being made are something special.
TOGETHER IN ELECTROCHEMISTRY DREAMS “ Since 2011 we have received two EPSRC programme grants worth a combined £11.5 million, along with responsive mode grants totalling £1.7 million, which we have used to undertake pioneering interdisciplinary research at Southampton, leading to significant advances in the field of electrochemistry, in particular in electrodeposition.” Gill Reid Professor of Inorganic Chemistry
The research Electrochemistry is the study of the flow of electrons and their impact on chemistry. The flow of electrons from a power source can drive chemical reactions that would otherwise not happen or would be very slow, such as coating car parts with nickel. The flow of electrons from a chemical reaction can also be measured, such as measuring sugar in a blood glucose sensor. Gill Reid, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and President-Elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry, explained: “Since 2011 we have received two EPSRC programme grants worth a combined £11.5 million, along with responsive mode grants totalling £1.7 million, which we have used to undertake pioneering interdisciplinary research at Southampton, leading to significant advances in the field of electrochemistry, in particular in electrodeposition. “Electrodeposition is where electrochemistry is used to deposit a layer of one material onto something else, for example the silver plating on nickel cutlery. The advances we have made are in the methods used, such as supercritical fluid electrodeposition, which offers new opportunities to deposit materials at a smaller scale and with greater precision and complexity – factors required to make more powerful sensing and computing devices. This opens up the possibility of making smarter
and faster devices across a broad range of applications, from ultra-high-density solid state memory for computers and microthrusters for satellites, to devices for energyharvesting and nanomedicine.” Talking to teachers The catalyst for an innovative public engagement campaign came, in part, from feedback gained during PhD research that surveyed chemistry teachers and the topics they found most challenging to teach. Electrochemistry, specifically, came out at the top of the list. “We were very interested to learn that teachers were struggling to convey the importance of electrochemistry and its relevance to everyday life to their students,” said David Read, Professorial Fellow in Chemical Education, Director of Outreach and School Teacher Fellow. “I myself had first-hand experience of this having been a secondary school chemistry teacher before joining Southampton, so I understood the challenges teachers faced with this subject and therefore the lack of real context to stimulate interest and participation from students. “We were confident that our research into new electrochemical processes for the development of smaller-faster-smarter electronic devices would be of interest to
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/chemistry/research/groups/electrochemistry.page
Making a difference The Electrochemical Circus and the Water Transistor have reached more than 100,000 people at science venues and festivals, including the full-scale – six metre long and two metre high – exhibit installed at the Winchester Science Centre. They have delivered vital face-to-face interactions and engaged people through digital animations. Rigorous evaluations revealed significant percentage rises (as much as 50 per cent for some learning outcomes) in the number of people displaying enhanced knowledge of electrodeposition and transistors and provided evidence of inspiring STEM study. Gill is keen that the education around chemistry research and its applications continues. She said: “Chemistry is an amazingly creative subject at the heart of many different technologies that are vital to create a more sustainable global future.
young people because those devices are so integral to their lives. We wanted to inspire teachers and students to discover the role of research in chemistry and how it plays into our every day.” Public engagement “The great thing about electrochemistry research is that it can be brought to life in some really innovative and hands-on ways,” explained Gill. “Our key aim with any engagement was to widen access to chemistry knowledge and activities for young people. Our researchers worked with teachers and other educational professionals to develop a programme, built around interactive demonstrations and supported by online and offline educational resources.” The result was The Electrochemical Circus – a collection of portable, hands-on activities which demonstrate key concepts in the research, including electrochemistry, nanotechnology, materials physics, electronics and making nano-sized structures. As part of the Circus, participants could have a go at ‘gold fingerprinting’ to learn how gold is electroplated from solution. By allowing the solution to fill, atom-by-atom, the template created by their own fingerprint. Users are introduced to electrochemical concepts and can take home a souvenir of their fingerprint in gold.
Another feature at the Circus was the ‘suitcase of curiosities’, a collection of items that are visually appealing, interesting to touch and relevant to using electrodeposition to push the boundaries of nanotechnology research, which provides hooks for conversations.
“Alongside continuing research on innovative electrodeposition processes for semiconductor devices, other exciting research in Southampton that I expect to bring real-life impacts includes new battery materials for efficient energy storage, porous ‘green’ catalysts for the conversion of carbon dioxide into sustainable plastics, and the development of new electrochemical gas sensors. We want to ensure that the research we do continues to make a real difference.”
Gill said: “Items in the suitcase make science more approachable and hands-on for non-scientists and give insight into the life of a scientist. For example, using lemons to illustrate how batteries work connects the fun, creativity and discovery of research in this area of science to technologies that bring really positive impacts to our lives.” The other key hands-on demonstrator was the Water Transistor. As Gill explained: “Transistors are at the core of all computers and are vital for modern life. The Water Transistor, a working model evolved over several iterations based on user feedback, demonstrates how real transistors – tiny and extremely fast electrical switches – work. The Water Transistor mimics the operation by using water to represent electrical charge, with pressurised squeezing affecting flow through a long, thin balloon. It reflects both the underlying research principles and the motivation for research on the electrodeposition of nanostructured semiconductors.”
The Electrochemical Circus A collection of portable, hands-on activities which demonstrate key concepts in the research.
3D Chirp assessing underwater cables at an offshore windfarm
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/coars
Around the world, there are powerful connections between countries that you wouldn’t know were there. Shallowly buried under the seabed are thousands of kilometres of high voltage cables, transferring power between countries and bringing power from offshore windfarms onto land.
CABLE TIES As the requirement for renewable energy grows, so does the role – and cost – of these copper and aluminium cables.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Ocean and Earth Science (OES), Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), and Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) is running a series of interlinked projects and consultancy activity to optimise the design of these Marine High Voltage Cables (MHVCs) in order to maximise power transfer and save money. Not only this, the project could lead to a much better understanding of how climate change may be affecting ocean bottom temperatures and, in turn, biological and geochemical processes at the seabed – which are critical to the health of the oceans. Justin Dix, Professor in Marine Geology and Geophysics in OES, explained: “MHVCs primarily operate two ways. Either transferring power between one country and another, for example, hydroelectric power from Norway to Denmark or nuclear power from France to England, or used to bring power from our proliferation of windfarms to land.
“The north western European shelf has the most windfarms in the world, and there is currently a global expansion in offshore wind in places including North East America, the Mediterranean, South East Asia, the South Chinas seas and Australasia. As we explore other sources of renewable energy like tidal power and wave power, again the power will need to be brought to land in the most efficient manner.” MHVCs for a typical 1-gigawatt (GW) windfarm cost about £400 million to design and install, with operation and maintenance costs of several millions of pounds every year. “If you can better understand the environment the cables are in, and therefore effectively model how heat dissipates away from the cables, you can optimise cables and reduce costs significantly,” said Justin. Launching a multidisciplinary project The projects came about thanks to an event organised by the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI).
Physical tank testing of heat dissipation from marine cables
Testing the heat dissipation from cables buried in marine sand in a test tank
Professor Damon Teagle, Director of the SMMI, said: “Bringing together academics and researchers from across the University and putting them in a room with a wide range of cable stakeholders, including windfarm developers, cable manufacturers and representatives from the National Grid, was an essential and hugely successful early step. As has now been clearly established, the combination of expertise from both earth scientists and electrical engineers is crucial: knowledge of cable design needs to be aligned with knowledge of the ocean floor.” Expertise in both areas is key. Tom Gernon, Associate Professor in OES and another member of the team, said: “The seabed is variable and dynamic – it’s not cold, wet, stable and made of sand. That’s important because the environment in which a cable is buried dictates how heat is dissipated away from it. The one thing you cannot afford to do is allow a cable to heat up too much, as this can significantly affect power transfer and, in worst case scenarios, actually lead to cable failure.” Optimising cable design “The current approach to cable rating is effectively based on decades of research into land-based cables,” said George Callender, Lecturer in ECS. “How the seabed environment would alter conventional rating approaches was poorly understood.” The research team has established that, in many cases, cable designs can be changed whilst maintaining a healthy margin of safety. This was determined by a combination of numerical models of heat transfer, lab-
based experiments and latterly analysing temperature data recorded from active cables. Tim Henstock, Professor of Geophysics within OES, highlighted that the team was the first to establish that cables under the sea floor disperse heat through a combination of convection and conduction, and that the ratio of one to the other is determined by a combination of the permeability and thermal conductivity of the sea bed. “Properly understanding these processes allows us to modify conventional ratings approaches to be more applicable to the marine environment,” he said. David White, Professor of Infrastructure Geotechnics, added: “We are developing a better understanding of not only how to measure how these parameters, which vary in space and through time, but also how they are altered by the different cable burial processes – via jetting, trenching, ploughing or even cutting with a huge rock-saw.” In a historical connection, laser technologies (known as Distributed Temperature Sensing) that were developed by the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre in the ‘80s and ‘90s are now regularly being used to measure temperatures in the cables in real time. George explained: “These temperature measurements are hugely under-utilised by the cable operators due to the large data volumes and the lack of understanding of the environment. Cost-effective numerical codes, developed by the group to assist real-time cable rating and burial-depth prediction,
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/coars
“ Marine high voltage cables primarily operate two ways. Either transferring power between one country and another, for example, hydroelectric power from Norway to Denmark or nuclear power from France to England, or used to bring power from our proliferation of windfarms to land.” Justin Dix Professor in Marine Geology and Geophysics
are now being translated into commercial products. Also, existing datasets are being reanalysed to better inform cable design.” A new role for the ‘3D Chirp’ Similar historical research has also been repurposed, with the application of 3D Chirp for post-installation cable burial surveys. 3D Chirp is a high-resolution acoustic system that was developed by some members of the group and colleagues from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research in a project led by Professor Jon Bull, from OES, in the early 2000s. The system is capable of tracking cable routes in three-dimensions and providing critical data input for cable operation. The system is now operated commercially through a company called Sand Geophysics, set up by a group of OES alumni, and is not only being used for cable detection but also for seeking out unexploded ordnance and other man-made objects ahead of the construction of offshore infrastructure. All of this work fits with the University’s Coastal and Offshore Archaeological Research Services (a joint OES and Archaeology initiative), which has been providing heritage assessment services for the offshore renewable sector – including extensive cable route surveys – for the last eight years. Current and future work The team’s research is now being used by windfarm developers.
It is currently helping to inform the design of SOFIA Windfarm, being built in the central North Sea by RWE. On completion this will be RWE’s largest windfarm, providing 1.4GW to 1.2 million homes. The team’s expertise is also being employed in the construction of Inch Cape Windfarm, which will be one of Scotland’s largest sources of renewable energy producing 1GW for up to a million households. “We’re working with a large number of windfarm companies who want to use our approach rather than just the standard landbased method,” said Professor Paul Lewin, from ECS. “We’re also working with AP Sensing, a fibre optics company, integrating our ideas into burial-depth prediction software, and most recently we have entered discussion with cable manufacturers such as Nexans.” Looking to the future, the research is also taking a different turn – to understand temperatures at the bottom of the ocean. Justin said: “The cables strongly record the seasonal variation in ocean bottom temperatures. We think we can back-calculate ocean bottom temperatures from the catalogue of data we have from the last few decades. Ocean bottom temperature is one of the least studied ocean parameters on the planet. “Our primary aim is to optimise power transfer for the renewable sector and for interconnectivity between countries. But I also like the idea that it could become part of a global monitoring system on how ocean temperatures are changing, and to have a better understanding of how the ocean works.”
3D Chirp assessing underwater cables at sea
PUTTING TOWNS IN THE CENTRE You might not realise it, but whether you live in a city, a town or a village can have a huge bearing on your political outlook. It’s a growing divide that became stark following the 2016 EU Referendum and the 2017 General Election. It’s a divide that a think tank co-founded by a Southampton professor is thrusting under the spotlight.
British politics began to undergo major change in the mid-2010s. Labour started to struggle in its former strongholds but performed better in big cities, while the Conservatives made gains in smaller towns and rural areas. Understanding these changes and the strong influence of place on politics has been a focus for Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, and Gerry Stoker, Professor of Governance, for the past seven years. Will said: “Gerry and I were interested in what was happening in both declining areas and major cities. We worked to understand these 30
political divides and the feeling that different parts of the country were heading in different directions. Then the EU Referendum showed a very clear, big divide between major towns and cities. British political geography had changed and our research linked this to socioeconomic change – cities are getting younger and towns are getting older, with a greater share of older white working class people.” Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, picked up the narrative of ‘Two Englands’, highlighting the gap between towns and cities. She, along with Will and data analyst and political consultant Ian Warren, formed the Centre for Towns think tank in 2017.
Launching the Centre for Towns The think tank was established to focus on the impact of political divides on British towns, to identify social issues and to ask questions about why politics tends to focus on major cities as markers of growth. “There is the implicit assumption that the Government’s economic model has been focused on cities,” said Will. Since 2017, the Centre for Towns team has produced reports identifying issues for towns including COVID-19, broadband connectivity, the public’s attitudes towards the environment, and access to healthcare services.
For further information, visit: www.centrefortowns.org
A CULTURAL RECOVERY The creative, cultural and heritage industries play a crucial role in towns’ economies. More often than not, a community is built around the local pubs and theatres. So, what happens if these disappear? A new AHRC-funded scoping project, led by the Southampton Institute for Arts and Humanities and working closely with Centre for Towns, is investigating this question – a question that has become more critical due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural and creative industries.
Impact Acceleration Award
The project, bringing together researchers from humanities with social scientists, is focusing on how the £3.6 billion ‘Towns Fund’ uses culture and heritage as levers for economic regeneration. It explores the processes and decision-making behind the Towns Fund and examines how they have been received by local communities in four case studies – Bournemouth, Darlington, Hereford and Southend. The research aims to understand how the connections between culture and regeneration are understood in our towns and to inform future research priorities for UK Research and Innovation.
towns were identified as especially vulnerable, due to their high proportion of businesses that were forced to shut down, such as accommodation, hospitality venues and the entertainment industry.
between London and the rest,” said Will. “The EY survey asks investors what they want from an area, which is infrastructure, connectivity, a skilled workforce, and housing for that workforce.
“When COVID hit it became apparent that places with certain sorts of economic mix would be especially badly hit, if you assumed that particular sorts of industries would be less able to continue due to COVID,” said Will. “COVID brought home the geographical limitations, because we are all stuck in our homes and in our neighbourhoods. Economically, the pandemic will not impact the country evenly.”
“The survey is also useful for posing the question about levelling up – what is it we need to do to allow places to grow economically?”
The think tank conducted a survey last summer that revealed broad public consensus across the UK on the subject of the environment. The result of the survey is the Public Opinion on the Environment in Towns and Cities report.
Reporting on the divide So far, the Centre for Towns’ reports have addressed major issues that are contributing to the growing chasm between towns and cities.
Will outlined: “The survey and the report highlight that, although we have all this talk of cultural wars and political divides, actually the UK is incredibly unified on the issue of the environment – it’s important to people personally, and there is a huge amount of support for pro-environmental measures. The only area of disagreement is around transport – people in towns and smaller rural areas rely on their cars, while people in cities are much more able to use public transport.”
The COVID and our Towns report, published in April 2020, identified the UK towns most at risk of short and long-term economic impact due to the pandemic. Coastal and ex-industrial
Centre for Towns also produces an annual report with Ernst & Young (EY) on foreign direct investment in towns and cities. “There has been a huge gap over the last 25 years
“The work we have done so far highlights the different experiences and contexts faced by people in towns and cities,” outlined Will. “Where we live massively influences our social mobility and economic opportunity.”
Professor Nicky Marsh, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, is leading the project. She said: “We’re really pleased to be able to work with Will and the Centre for Towns on this project. The ‘levelling up’ project is high on the political agenda right now and we’re hoping that our work with a range of local communities and cultural stakeholders will contribute new insights into what towns need and how researchers from the arts and humanities can work with them to achieve it.”
Looking ahead ‘Levelling up’ is a topic of priority this year for Centre for Towns. Will said: “Levelling up is, in some way, a revisiting of a traditional set of political debates around regional inequality, which is good – but isn’t fully addressing the reasons for the huge gap between towns and cities, or the huge gap between London and the rest. Levelling up needs to attend to the fact that many peripheral areas have experienced decline over many decades, so how are we going to help these places turn a new page?” The dynamics of this have shifted substantially over the past 12 months, due to the huge growth in working from home, which, if it remains, allows more people to live outside major cities. At the heart of the think tank’s work is its mission to keep the social and economic challenges facing the UK’s towns in the spotlight. Will concluded: “We want Centre for Towns to remind people of what the fundamental issues raised by our country’s social and economic geography are, rather than letting electoral politics dictate the agenda on the places that matter.” 31
As the population’s life expectancy improves, the number of people suffering from conditions associated with living longer, in particular musculoskeletal conditions, increases. An already stretched NHS requires solutions and treatments that enable age-related ailments to be treated swiftly and cost effectively, leading to some pioneering technological advances from a University of Southampton spin-out company and a charitable collaboration which is the first of its kind.
CLINICAL CLAY CREATIONS Clay is at the heart of spin-out company Renovos’ pioneering advances in the field of orthopaedics. “Using clays in medical treatments is not new, but the advances being made certainly are innovative,” explained Richard Oreffo, Professor of Musculoskeletal Science, Director of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration (CHDSCR) and Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for regenerative medicine spin-out company, Renovos. “Clays have been used in tablets to control drug release through their molecule binding properties for many years. These binding properties ensure that molecules stay localised, which is essential in directing the activity of stem cells.” Renovos is pioneering a new nanoclay gel technology, which has the potential to transform orthopaedic surgery. “For what is essentially quite a low-tech material, clay is proving to have tremendous potential in this area,” said Richard. “The gel allows significantly lower doses of powerful regenerative therapeutic agents to be precisely delivered by injection and localised to bone sites where needed as well as acting as a scaffold.”
Co-founder and world-leading nanoclay expert Dr Jonathan Dawson outlined: “Early trial data demonstrates that nanoclay gel technology contributes to improved bone healing. This consequently offers a stepchange improvement in safety, efficacy and ease of use, as well as reduced adverse events and complications compared with current orthopaedic interventions, such as clinically used Bone Morphogenic Protein, or BMP, therapies.” The company’s first product, Renovite® BMP2 gel, is aimed at orthopaedic applications such as spinal fusion, bone defects and ankle surgery for effective, localised bone formation. The nanoclay gel is injectable, which makes it easy to use and cost-effective due to needing a reduced dose through improved localisation and efficacy. Rich history Richard, who has led the CHDSCR since its formation in 2004, explained: “Regenerative medicine develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues harnessing the use of therapeutic stem cells, tissue engineering and the production of artificial organs – ultimately we seek to improve the healing process and therefore relieve pain and return patients to healthy life.”
For further information, visit: www.renovos.co.uk
Stem Cell Mountain
Confidence in Concept Award
“ Stem Cell Mountain helps users learn about how stem cells could be used to repair our bodies. The exhibit has wheels to turn that send ‘stem cells’ spinning down a giant marble run, towards various cell-type destinations.” Dr Jonathan Dawson Renovos Co-founder
The CHDSCR is at the forefront of such work. Work in the Bone and Joint Research Group explores using skeletal stem cells and novel biomaterial scaffolds for the treatment of bone damage and disease. It also led to the creation of Renovos. “The CHDSCR’s ultimate goal is to undertake fundamental research into early development and stem cells together with applied translational research to achieve patient benefit,” said Richard. “We have vibrant and thriving interdisciplinary research programmes together with an innovative Stem Cell MRes programme, outstanding clinical infrastructure and enterprise to help us achieve our aim.” [Translational research, often referred to as bench-to-clinic, applies knowledge from basic biology and clinical trials to create new therapies, medical procedure or diagnostics to address critical medical needs.]
replacement, a common type of surgery where a damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial one. However, with time a hip replacement can fail, requiring revision. “We have been developing approaches, with Professor Douglas Dunlop, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, to tackle the most challenging hip revision clinical cases,” said Richard. “It was in 2014 that we undertook the first skeletal stem cell augmented 3D-printed titanium hip replacement, which, to date, has shown extremely positive clinical outcomes.”
Professor Richard Oreffo
Dr Jonathan Dawson
Charity collaboration In 2020, Renovos secured the first ever investment from Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK), a charity funding high quality research and education into musculoskeletal science.
to start-up companies such as ours. As well as it being fantastic to be their first investment, ORUK are extremely well placed to help us establish the networks we need with clinicians and patient groups as we approach clinical trials.”
Within the musculoskeletal arena, it is predicted that the numbers of hip fractures worldwide will increase from 1.7 million in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2050.
“We went through an extremely rigorous and labour-intensive selection process with ORUK to secure the first ever investment of its type from them – £140,000 to support and develop our nanoclay gel technology,” explained Jonathan.
The newly-launched Ronald Furlong Fund from ORUK was established in memory of the charity’s founder.
One of the major orthopaedic success stories of the last 50 years has been the hip
“The charity has very much transformed its funding model in order to provide investment
Grassroots Jonathan and Richard are both passionate about engaging with children and young people regarding their research and the power of stem cell technologies.
For further information, visit: www.renovos.co.uk
In 2014, Jonathan led the creation of a public engagement exhibit, Stem Cell Mountain, in partnership with the Winchester Science Centre as part of an ongoing collaboration. “We wanted to create a fun and engaging way to communicate important research into stem cells to children and families,” explained Jonathan. “Combining the fun of a pinball machine with key biological concepts, Stem Cell Mountain brings to life the complex idea of stem cell potential.”
FROM PHD TO CEO In just four years, Dr Agnieszka Janeczek has gone from undertaking a PhD to becoming a founding partner and the CEO of a successful biotech start-up company, Renovos. Her chosen route from academia to a business commercialising innovative technologies is one she hopes will inspire other women in the field of research. Business Programmes, enabling her to receive business training and gather relevant market research internationally, which proved market demand for biomaterials and techniques for musculoskeletal regeneration.
The BBSRC award-winning hands-on exhibit has engaged festivalgoers at Glastonbury, Bestival and BBC Countryfile Live, as well as at the UK’s top science festivals. It has also proved immensely popular with the 250,000 people who visit the Winchester Science Centre every year, where it resides when not on the road. Jonathan added: “Stem Cell Mountain helps users learn about how stem cells could be used to repair our bodies. The exhibit has wheels to turn that send ‘stem cells’ spinning down a giant marble run, and levers to pull to direct them towards various cell-type destinations. It really captures the imagination about what stem cells could make possible.” Future potential These are exciting times for regenerative medicine, with the potential to harness innovative molecular tools, in-vitro models including organoids, organ-on-a-chip and 3D bioprinting, and to explore new approaches such as artificial intelligence to address a variety of unmet critical medical needs. Many of these areas are a focus of research across various tissue types within the CHDSCR. Richard concluded: “Within the translational enterprise space, a key step within Renovos will be to deliver on the promise of regenerative medicine. This will involve developing additional nanoclay platforms to localise stem cells and appropriate cues, or growth factors, delivered and presented at physiological doses within the right local microenvironment. This will create regenerative medicine products with improved safety and performance that will enhance tissue regeneration. “The future is bright within regenerative medicine and the key now will be to deliver on the promise to translate our understanding of tissue regeneration and move through concept to reality.”
“The market research involved interactions with more than 100 potential customers, partners, key opinion leaders and investors and was the catalyst for creating Renovos,” Agnieszka said. “I collated the results and worked with my team to create a viable business plan, apply for Innovate UK funding and deliver pitches to investors.” “I knew right from the beginning of my research career that I wanted to work in biomedicine in some capacity and translate science to patients,” explained Agnieszka. “I am fascinated by the science of regenerative medicine and I also have an entrepreneurial spirit, so bringing together my two passions has been an ideal collaboration.” Before coming to Southampton in 2011 for her PhD, Agnieszka undertook a Master’s in Medical Biotechnology at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland. “My Master’s research focused on deriving and testing genetically modified muscle stem cells as a regenerative medicine therapy for application in myocardial infarction,” she explained. “This led very naturally to my PhD in another area of stem cell therapy research, which was looking at targeting skeletal stem cells for bone regeneration. It was during my PhD that I started working with the Bone and Joint Research Group and discovered not only a research area that I loved but also a group of fantastic colleagues that really inspired me.” Post-PhD, Agnieszka secured support from the SETsquared ICURe and Southampton Science Park Catalyst
And so Renovos was born. Having worked on the business from the idea stage to a fully operational biotech start-up, Agnieszka has gained a breadth of experience in drug and device development, regulatory compliance, fundraising, management, and strategic leadership. “Proactive networking is definitely key for transitioning from an academic to a commercial setting,” she said. “And although the path is rarely linear, accomplishing something at every career juncture shows resilience which is needed in a biomedical start-up environment.” Renovos is revolutionising orthopaedics and regenerative medicine by developing Renovite®, a novel nanoclay gel biomaterial, that can ultimately offer safer and more economic clinical solutions for tissue regeneration. “My day-to-day role is to lead on business development activities and operations and oversee the commercial development of our Renovite® nanoclay product portfolio. My passion for regenerative medicine and innovation is ignited daily,” concluded Agnieszka. “I am very proud of what we have been able to create with Renovos and what the future holds.” 35
Our skies are becoming busier. Despite the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel, the predictions are that the numbers of flights will continue to grow in years to come.
A QUIET REVOLUTION With the University and Rolls-Royce as partners, FANTASIA involves four additional universities: Cranfield University, Loughborough University, the University of Sheffield and Queen’s University Belfast. The project, led by the Aerospace Technology Institute, has a total cost of £11.2 million (with £2 million coming to the University of Southampton) and is running from December 2020 to November 2024.
The International Air Transport Association predicts air travel will increase from the end of this year, returning to pre-pandemic 2019 levels by 2024, and then continue growing. That means more noise for all of us, especially those living under flight paths or near airports. Or does it? For two decades, the University of Southampton has been Rolls-Royce’s main research partner for aircraft engine and airframe noise. Teams based in the University’s Institute for Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) have developed noise modelling, measurement and mitigation technology that has been applied to every Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace engine project since the early 2000s. We can always fly higher (and quieter) A group of researchers is continuing the revolutionary journey to ensure that an increase in air travel won’t bring with it an increase in noise on the ground. A new grant from Innovate UK, worth £2 million to the University over the next four years, will enable the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Propulsion Systems Noise to take its pioneering research collaboration with RollsRoyce to the next level. The project is called FANTASIA (Future Noise Technologies and Systems Integration Analytics). Alec Wilson, Professor in Computational Aeroacoustics and Director of the UTC, said: “Aircraft noise, if we do nothing, will increase
substantially simply because of the predicted increase in air traffic. FANTASIA is looking at aircraft noise, specifically engine noise, and is aimed at the next generation of aeroplane engines. It’s an exciting project that is only able to happen thanks to our strong and wellestablished relationship with Rolls-Royce.” FANTASIA follows on from the ACAPELLA project which set in train research that will be used in the development of UltraFan, RollsRoyce’s next generation of engines. UltraFan engines, for medium to large aircraft, have a large diameter fan that improves aircraft propulsion efficiency. Rolls-Royce is the lead partner on FANTASIA. Juan Vera, former PhD student at the UTC and now Aeroacoustics Specialist at RollsRoyce, is managing the FANTASIA project. He said: “FANTASIA seeks to develop, model and validate noise technologies to ensure integrated propulsion systems that will achieve the required noise levels for the novel UltraFan engine architecture, as well as for future hybrid-electric offerings. “Multidisciplinary optimisation techniques will be developed to design for the optimal noise and emissions levels. Computational fluid dynamics and source separation techniques will be enhanced to replace expensive testing and give early indications of design suitability.” The team from the UTC is working towards achieving noise and carbon emission targets set by ACARE (the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe).
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/research/centres/noiseutc.page
Engineers at Rolls-Royce working on the UltraFan engine
Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan fan blade flies for the first time
UltraFan up close
An UltraFan fan blade
“We are working to reduce noise,” said Alec. “The ACARE targets are coming down and have to keep coming down in order to reduce, or even maintain, the noise annoyance because, COVID aside, the number of flights in the world is going up all the time. At the same time as reducing noise, though, we have to respect Rolls-Royce’s other design objectives, which include high aerodynamic efficiency and low carbon emissions. It’s only by working closely with industry that we can ensure that our research provides maximum benefit when integrated into the wider multi-objective design process.”
Alec explained: “When a plane takes off, most of the noise comes from the propulsion system which is working at full power. But when a plane lands about half of the noise comes from the aircraft itself, such as the wing flaps and the landing gear.”
The noise basics It’s not just the mechanical noise from the engine that creates the noise when a plane takes off, flies and lands. The entire propulsion system, plus the components of the plane moving through the air, contribute to the volume of noise.
Another element of the FANTASIA project will be to produce the preliminary design for a new model scale aero-engine fan rig. “It will allow us to simulate the engine conditions on a plane coming in to land,” explained Alec. “When it’s built, this rig will be a great facility and will really push us forward in what we can do.”
Unlike cars, making planes electric is not the answer to reducing the noise they create. “Making things electric, which makes things quieter for cars, is not a panacea for aircraft because the main sources of noise from aircraft are aerodynamic as opposed to mechanical,” said Alec.
There are about 20 major noise sources to be considered when calculating what a plane will sound like to someone on the ground, depending on where they are stood in relation to the aircraft. Outlining an aspect of component noise, Alec said: “For example, at the back of the engine you have the jet that interacts with the pylon that holds the engine to the wing, and its interactions with the wing. One of the key things about the new generation of engines is they tend to be bigger diameter, so that means the engine gets closer to the wing in order to maintain ground clearance – so interactions between the engine and the wing become more significant.” Assessing the psychoacoustics New areas of focus for the UTC under the FANTASIA project are whole aircraft noise and psychoacoustics.
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/research/centres/noiseutc.page
A cross-section of the UltraFan engine
Whole aircraft noise is where the noise from individual components, together with interaction between components, is integrated into the noise spectrum that is heard on the ground during a flyover event. The observed noise varies strongly depending on where the observer is standing, and the work in FANTASIA is contributing to a suite of programs that convert estimates of noise source strength into ‘noise footprints’, which show graphically where the highest noise levels will be observed on the ground. There is a well-established method for assessing human annoyance from whole aircraft noise spectra, but that relationship, between the physical noise spectrum and the annoyance it generates, has to be kept under review as the industry develops in terms of aeroplane and engine design. The psychoacoustics element of FANTASIA will look in closer detail at how that relationship
“ At the same time as reducing noise, though, we have to respect RollsRoyce’s other design objectives, which include high aerodynamic efficiency and low carbon emissions.”
might change in the future as we move to next generation turbofan and potentially to hybridelectric or electrically powered aircraft.
Alec Wilson Professor in Computational Aeroacoustics and Director of the UTC
“Understanding these relationships is the objective of psychoacoustics and will play an important part in FANTASIA. As aircraft design changes, so too does the noise signature and we need to understand how people are likely to respond so that we can best advise designers to minimise the annoyance.”
Rod Self, Professor of Aeroacoustics, is leading the psychoacoustics element of FANTASIA. He said: “One would think that reducing the amount of noise an aircraft makes would necessarily make it less annoying. However, this is only partly true. People find different types of noises annoying to differing degrees, so the type of noise made by an aircraft, or its noise signature, is just as important as the quantity of noise it makes.
Research award highlights
RESEARCH AWARD HIGHLIGHTS FACULTY OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES Prof Nicky Marsh; School of Humanities Towns and the Cultural Economies of Recovery: An Interdisciplinary Mapping AHRC; £100,917 over 9 months Prof Joanna Sofaer; School of Humanities HERA Fellowship Humanities in the European Research Area; £94,328 over 14 months Fraser Sturt (School of Humanities), Jonathan Hare (ECS) and Iris Kramer (ECS) ArchaeoAI UK Space Agency; £49,776 over 4 months Fraser Sturt, Nicky Marsh, Kris Strutt, Josh Pollard, Lorna Leverett (Arts & Humanities) Wendy White, Eleanor Gandolfi (Library), Mark Gage (procurement) Capability Equipment bid to AHRC by FAH AHRC; £710,642 over 4 months Dr Will Baker; School of Humanities Decolonising English in higher education: Investigating issues of empowerment, access, socio-cultural diversity and global citizenship in English language teaching in multilingual universities British Council; £190,009 over 18 months Dr Ranka Primorac; School of Humanities The Textual Worlds of South-Eastern Africa AHRC; £39,255 over 24 months Dr Yuanyuan Yin; Winchester School of Art Transforming Service Design and Big data Technologies into Sustainable Urbanisation British Council; £29,644 over 12 months Dr Eve Colpus (Associate Professor); School of Humanities Children and young people’s telephone use and telephone cultures in Britain c. 1984-1999 AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship Dr Sarah Hayden; School of Humanities Voices in the gallery – Phase 2 AHRC; £202,399 over 24 months FACULTY OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND LIFE SCIENCES Mr Christopher Hill; GeoData, School of Geography & Environmental Science ACT2: Accountability in Tanzania Programme (DFID) Sustainable Environment Management Action, Tanzania (SEMA); £23,500 over 8 months Prof Paul Skipp; School of Biological Sciences Moonshot Phase 1: Mass Spectrometry for COVID-19 Testing Department Of Health & Social Care; £387,746 over 2 months Prof Stephen Darby; School of Geography & Environmental Science The Evolution of Global Flood Hazard and Risk (Evoflood) Natural Environment Research Council; £684,858 over 60 months
Prof Martin Palmer; School of Ocean and Earth Science Lithium for Future Technology (LiFT) Natural Environment Research Council; £398,586 over 36 months Prof Maria Stokes; School of Health Sciences & Prof Sabu Padmadas, School of Economic, Social & Political Sciences Consortium on Practices of WEllbeing and Resilience (Co-POWER) in BAME Families and Communities UK Research and Innovation – Economic & Social Research Council; £2,046,026.00 to the Consortium (9 universities), led by Prof Iyiola Solanke, University of Leeds (£291,166 to Southampton) over 18 months Prof Jadunandan Dash; School of Geography & Environmental Science Fiducial Reference Measurements for Vegetation (FRM4VEG)-Interim European Space Agency; £36,721 over 7 months Prof Jadunandan Dash; School of Geography & Environmental Science Managing Climate Change Adaptation at the Coast through More than Maps British Council; £6,874 over 12 months Prof Claire Foster; School of Health Sciences Right by You Integrated (Wessex): a service evaluation NHS England; £70,000 over 12 months Dr Ivan Haigh; School of Ocean and Earth Science Assessing past and future closures of the storm surge barriers in the Netherlands Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment; £40,695 over 12 months Dr Ivan Haigh; School of Ocean and Earth Science Assessing the past and potential future levels of incidents in the South and South West Flood Major Incident Plan Environment Agency; £14,203 over 3 months Dr Peter Worsley; School of Health Sciences A BioEngineering approach for the SAFE design and fitting of Respiratory Protective Equipment (BE-SAFE RPE) UK Research and Innovation; £357,481 over 18 months Prof Martin Solan; School of Ocean and Earth Science with Assoc Prof Jasmin Godbold, Gareth Giles and the Public Policy team Building capacity to address climate change effects on Arctic marine ecosystems Foreign & Commonwealth Office; £116,981 over 4 months Prof Alison Richardson; School of Health Sciences Nurse Assisted eHealth Service From Hospital to Home: Ameliorating Burden of Treatment among Patients With Non-Communicable Diseases (HELSEVEL) The Research Council of Norway; £13,942 over 48 months Prof Anne-Sophie Darlington; School of Health Sciences How to Support children with a kidney condition and their parents during the COVID-19 outbreak?: understanding experiences, information and support needs, and decision-making – the SHARE study Kidney Research UK; £2,607 over 6 months Prof Anne-Sophie Darlington; School of Health Sciences How to Support children with a kidney condition and their parents during the COVID-19 outbreak?: understanding experiences, information and support needs, and decision-making – the SHARE study Kidney Care UK; £2,607 over 6 months
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/research
Dr Attila Lazar; School of Geography & Environmental Science Mapping for Health Flowminder Foundation; £147,232 over 12 months
Prof Jonathan Preston; School of Engineering Solent Future Transport Zone Department for Transport (DfT); £2,122,970 over 45 months
Dr Peter Lawrence; Centre for Innovation in Mental Health, School of Psychology A. Rudkin, The impact of divorce and separation on fathers: mental health, hopelessness and contact with children The Woodward Charitable Trust; £47,764 over 12 months
Prof Robert Raja; School of Chemistry Predictive fabrication of visible-light sensitive plasmonic nanocatalysts for efficient conversion of CO2 to light synthetic fuels Royal Society; £16,490 over 6 months
Dr Catherine Murphy; School of Health Sciences Acceptability and usability of washable absorbent incontinence products in India, Papua New Guinea and Romania: end-user and service personnel perspectives World Health Organization; £26,000 over 3 months Dr Shengjie Lai; School of Geography & Environmental Science Exploring seasonality of Covid-19 (INV-024911) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; £252,597 over 12 months FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES Prof Lajos Hanzo; School of Electronics and Computer Science Terabit mm-Wave Backbones for Integrated Space and Terrestrial Networks Australian Research Council; £5,525 over 13 months Prof Jonathan Essex; School of Chemistry Solving the sampling problem in molecular simulations by Sequential Monte Carlo EPSRC; £201,568 over 18 months Prof Simon Coles; School of Chemistry Core Equipment for the National Crystallography Service EPSRC; £421,230 over 18 months Prof Michael Boniface; School of Electronics and Computer Science RECOxCARE – Remote Community Oximetry Care Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; £58,884 over 16 months Dr Tim Freegarde; School of Physics and Astronomy Interferometric fidelity for gravity gradiometry EPSRC; £115,681 over 10 months Prof Hywel Morgan; School of Electronics and Computer Science KTP Nuclera Innovate UK; £125,283 over 24 months Institutional Award EPSRC Core Equipment 2020 EPSRC; £704,500 over 18 months Dr Zhengtong Xie, Dr Davide Lasagna; School of Engineering Fluid dynamics of Urban Tall-building clUsters for Resilient built Environments (FUTURE) EPSRC; £1.8M (full cost) with Universities of Surrey, Reading. Southampton; £460,000 over 36 months £364,640 over 36 months Prof Paul Kemp; School of Engineering SHAASAN – The Network for advancing Sustainable Hydropower in Africa, Asia and South America The Academy of Medical Sciences; £24,960 over 12 months Prof Alexey Kavokin; School of Physics and Astronomy Macroscopic polariton condensates with intrinsic currents as building blocks of a quantum register Royal Society; £12,000 over 24 months Prof Liudi Jiang; School of Engineering Pocket CPR-intelligent-feedback-technology to improve delivery of chest compressions British Heart Foundation; £12,071 over 3 months (costed extension)
Dr Christopher Holmes; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics Roll-2-Roll (R2R) manufacture of multilayer planar optics EPSRC; £252,634 over 20 months Dr Anatoliy Vorobev; School of Engineering Mathematical modelling of catalytic cracking with account of catalyst fouling by coke deposits Royal Society; £12,000 over 24 months Dr Sebastian Stein; School of Electronics and Computer Science Turing AI Fellowship: Citizen-Centric AI Systems EPSRC; £1,162,803 over 60 months Prof Neville Stanton; School of Engineering REASON: REsilient Autonomous SOcio-cyber-physical ageNts UK Research and Innovation; £416,283 over 42 months Dr Richard Cook; School of Engineering KTP – GSK Innovate Innovate UK; £95,750 over 24 months Dr Mario Ferraro; School of Engineering FIREDRONE (Fire/Fast Incident Response Equipment for the DescRiptionOf Noxious particle Emissions) European Regional Development Fund; £266,661 over 29 months Dr Mario Ferraro; School of Engineering ATOMICUS (Advanced Traffic Organisation and Management of Intelligent Cargo Unmanned Systems) Innovate UK; £32,054 over 18 months Dr Samuel Perry; School of Chemistry Electrochemical Hydrogen Peroxide Production through Water Oxidation at the Liquid-Liquid Interface Royal Society International Exchange Grant; £2,860 over 3 months Dr Natalie Wheeler; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics hot Gas Raman Identification and measurement For Foundation Industries (GRIFFIN) Innovate UK; £93,552 over 12 months Dr Orestis Katsamenis; School of Engineering Pathogenesis of lethal respiratory COVID-19; 3D X-ray histology imaging of pathology wax blocks Radiological Research Trust; £4,751 over 18 months Prof Graham Reed; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics Towards a revolution in optical communications EPSRC; £1,055,475 over 36 months Dr Ilya Kuprov; School of Chemistry NMR Fingerprinting: Leveraging optimal control pulse design, tailored isotope labeling, and machine learning to study intractable proteins National Institutes of Health – USA; £149,136 over 60 months Dr Callum Littlejohns; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics H2020 PhotonHub Europe: One-Stop-Shop Open Access to Photonics Innovation Support for a Digital Europe European Commission; £155,374 over 52 months
Research award highlights Dr Yongqiang Liu; School of Engineering Ebnet BIV202004 – retrospective costing BBSRC; £15,164 over 6 months
Dr Andrew O’Bannon; School of Physics and Astronomy Universal Transport from Holography and Boundaries Royal Society; £9,846 over 6 months
Prof Themistoklis Prodromakis; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics Bio-inspired nanoelectronic links for next generation neural interfaces Royal Society; £16,961 over 6 months
Dr Katherine Kwa; School of Engineering Development of an integrated anchor model via industry engagement EPSRC, Supergen ORE Hub Early Career Researcher Award; £4,956 over 9 months
Prof Francesco Shankar; School of Physics and Astronomy and Christopher Marsden ASTERA Science And Technology Facilities Council; £88,711 over 10 months
Dr Erisa Karafili; School of Electronics and Computer Science CyberHelper Innovate UK; £59,999 over 5 months
Dr Min Kwan Kim; School of Engineering Rapid Decontamination System of PPE and Medical Equipment for Reuse using Flexible Non-thermal Plasma Generator UK Research and Innovation; £259,739 over 18 months
FACULTY OF MEDICINE
Dr Luca Sapienza; School of Physics and Astronomy On-chip bio-opto-mechanics: Controlling phonon-assisted processes in single biomolecules EPSRC; £199,927 over 24 months Dr Alexantrou Serb; Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics Autonomous NAnotech GRAph Memory (ANAGRAM) EPSRC New Investigator Award; £347,274 over 36 months Dr Diego Altamirano; School of Physics and Astronomy Multiwavelength Observations of Be/X-ray Binaries Displaying Giant (Type II) Outbursts Royal Society; £2,000 over 6 months Dr Diego Altamirano; School of Physics and Astronomy Spectral and Timing Analysis of Black Hole X-ray binaries with China’s first X-ray satellite HXMT Royal Society; £2,000 over 6 months Dr Robert Fear; School of Physics and Astronomy Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics at Southampton (2021-4) Science And Technology Facilities Council; £425,790 over 36 months Dr Jie Zhang; School of Electronics and Computer Science Towards Practical Algorithmic Mechanism Design: Beyond the Worst-Case Analysis Leverhulme Trust; £195,303 over 36 months Prof Stephen Goldup; School of Chemistry Stereodynamic Rotaxane Hosts for Enantioselective Sensing – Mandeep Chahl Kaur Royal Society; £101,250 over 24 months Prof Stephen Goldup; School of Chemistry Synthesis of Mechanically Chiral Rotaxanes as ligands for enantioselective gold catalysis Royal Society; £12,000 over 6 months Prof Stephen Goldup; School of Chemistry Mechanically Interlocked Oligonucleotides: Properties and Applications Leverhulme Trust; £215,438 over 42 months Dr Charles Ryan; School of Engineering Eureka funding: PET-100 CubeSat Propulsion – emitters Innovate UK; £214,114 over 24 months Dr Andrew O’Bannon; School of Physics and Astronomy Strange Transport at Strong Coupling from Boundaries and Defects Royal Society; £16,113 over 6 months Dr Andrew O’Bannon; School of Physics and Astronomy Universality, Holography, and Boundary Conformal Field Theory Royal Society; £27,164 over 6 months
Prof Graham Roberts; Human Development and Health NIHR EME: SMILE Study Manchester National Institute of Health Research; £11,155 over 60 months Prof Sir Stephen Holgate; Clinical and Experimental Sciences Enhancement to Clean Air SPF Champion grant – Supplement Natural Environment Research Council; £100,000 over 23 months Prof Donna Davies; Clinical and Experimental Sciences Optimisation and validation of 3D models of progressive human lung fibrosis (Training fellowship award to Joseph Bell) National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction; £114,352 over 24 months Prof Keith Godfrey; Human Development and Health Supporting student engagement in reducing COVID-19 transmission through saliva-based LAMP testing in asymptomatic populations Department of Health & Social Care; £224,847 over 6 months Prof Cyrus Cooper; Human Development and Health World Class Labs Capital Funding Offer – 2020/21 – Supp MRC; £216,857 over 12 months Prof Cyrus Cooper; Human Development and Health MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton (MRC LEU) MRC; £1,830,000 over 9 months Dr Alex Willsher & Prof Mark Cragg; Cancer Sciences Regulation of inhibitory receptor expression in clear cell Renal Cell Carcinoma (ccRCC) Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland; £33,195 over 6 months Prof Aymen Al-Shamkhani; Cancer Sciences Developing immunostimulatory antibodies to deliver agonism without toxicity Cancer Research UK; £2,668,340 over 60 months Dr Natalia Savelyeva; Cancer Sciences TGL100 :investigation of antigen expression and T-cell responses Cancer Research UK; £6,300 over 2 months Prof Sarah Ennis; Human Development and Health Can precise re-creations of disease gene variants be made in Xenopus that are useful to inform clinical interventions? MRC; £312,925 over 36 months Prof Christopher Byrne; Human Development and Health and Mr Zaed Hamady, University Hospital Southampton Early identification of patients with pancreatic cancer: a pilot study to evaluate the utility of Faecal elastase-1 and 13C-mixed triglyceride breath test as screening tools in high-risk individuals Cancer Research UK; £93,000 over 12 months
For further information, visit: www.southampton.ac.uk/research
Prof Hazel Everitt; Primary Care and Population Sciences Expectation Management for Patients in Primary Care: Developing and Feasibility Testing a New Digital Intervention for Practitioners National Institute of Health Research; £5,000 over 3 months Prof Salim Khakoo; Clinical and Experimental Sciences NCS study protocol for COVID-19 UK Research and Innovation; £68,941 over 4 months Prof James Nicoll; Clinical and Experimental Sciences Brain UK MRC; £57,500 over 12 months Prof Geraldine Leydon; Primary Care and Population Sciences Optimising the telephone management of people affected or at risk of COVID-19 infection via NHS111 services National Institute of Health Research; £9,216 over 6 months Dr Andrew Cook; Wessex Institute Miglustat in Tangier Disease National Institute of Health Research; £28,150 over 30 months Dr Simon Fraser; Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education (PPM) Developing a Multidisciplinary Ecosystem to study Lifecourse Determinants of Complex Mid-life Multimorbidity using Artificial Intelligence (MELD) National Institute of Health Research; £116,948 over 8 months Dr Adam Geraghty; Primary Care and Population Sciences Developing a patient-centred evidence-based intervention to address distress in the context of chronic MSK pain Versus Arthritis; £81,604 over 40 months
Prof Nicholas Francis; Primary Care and Population Sciences Retrospective costing – A clinical effectiveness investigation of a multi-faceted intervention (incorporating a prognostic algorithm) to improve management of antibiotics for CHIldren presenting to primary care with acute COugh and respiratory tract infection (CHICO): an efficient cluster RCT informed by a feasibility RCT National Institute of Health Research; £3,683 over 15 months Dr Jonathan Swann; Human Development and Health ELICIT – retrospective costing The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; £303,651 over 6 months FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES Prof Gabriele Durrant; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences National Centre for Research Methods 2020-2024 ESRC; £3,600,000 over 60 months Dr Sarah Neal; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences and Dr Sasha Frade from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa Migration and Sexual and Reproductive Health in Brazil British Academy; £100,460 over 24 months Prof Sarah Parsons; Southampton Education School Our Stories…: co-constructing Digital Storytelling methodologies for supporting the transitions of autistic children ESRC; £70,042 over 12 months Dr Michael Tomlinson; Southampton Education School The Impact of Covid-19 on Recent Graduates’ Career Decisions and Outcomes ESRC; £40,903 over 12 months
Dr James Ashton; Human Development and Health Analysis of NOD2 in paediatric Crohn’s disease to predict outcome and stratify patients by stricturing disease phenotype European Society for Paediatric Research; £19,256 over 12 months
Prof Paul Smith; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Call-Off Contract for the Provision of Specialist Statistical Methodological Research and Analysis Office for National Statistics; £283,476 over 18 months
Prof Gareth Griffiths; Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Sciences AGILE phase 1 COVID national platform: CST 3 Nitazoxanide Unitaid; £170,508 over 10 months
Dr Alain Zemkoho; School of Mathematical Sciences Approximation theory for two-level value functions with applications EPSRC; £199,992 over 24 months
Dr Nisreen Alwan; Primary Care and Population Sciences Investigating the impact of food vouchers on diet composition and the prevention of childhood obesity MRC; £186,440 over 24 months (Doctoral Training Fellowship to Dr Grace Grove)
Dr Yazhen Yang; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Intergenerational Support Exchange within Chinese, British and European Families ESRC; £90,961 over 12 months
Dr Zoë Walters; Cancer Sciences Evaluating the efficacy of Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2) inhibitors in combination with anti-GD2/isotretinoin for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma: a pre-clinical study Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, Little Princess Trust; £204,884 over 36 months Dr Gabrielle Wheway; Human Development and Health and Dr Cornelia Blume; Clinical and Experimental Sciences Identifying binding partners, biological substrates and antisense oligonucleotides regulating expression of short and long ACE2 UK Research and Innovation; £152,737 over 18 months Prof Nicholas Francis; Primary Care and Population Sciences Exploring diagnostic strategies for streptococcal throat infection remotely: a feasibility study National Institute of Health Research; £37,685 over 3 months Prof Nicholas Francis; Primary Care and Population Sciences LOngitudinal study of behaviours, risk factors, and effects of COVID-19 in the Community (LOCC): a large, rapid online observational study National Institute of Health Research; £1,911 over 3 months
Dr Eliza Garwood; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Narrating Kinship and Connection: The Life Stories of Adult-Children Raised by LGBTQ Parents ESRC; £93,623 over 12 months PI: Dr Larisa Yarovaya; Southampton Business School Co-I: Tapas Mishra, Roman Matkovskyy, Akanksha Jalan Environmental Sustainability and Cryptocurrency Growth: Maintaining a Relation Between the Devil and the Deep Sea Paris Dauphine Partnership; £5,000 over 12 months Dr Regina Frei; Southampton Business School Forecasting and influencing product returns and fraud rates in a Covid-19 world UK Research and Innovation; £227,171 over 18 months Dr Utsa Mukherjee; School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences Children’s Leisurescapes and Parenting Strategies in Middle-Class British Indian Families: Building Knowledge, Impact and Skills ESRC; £90,912 over 12 months
This list encompasses a selection of awards logged with University of Southampton Finance from October 2020 to February 2021 that are not considered commercially sensitive.
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