Page 1

Impact Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds Issue 6

SMOKING OUT THE EVIDENCE The need for evidence-based policy making Unconventional gases: new approaches to fuel security The fast and the curious: the Leeds driving simulator When psychology met engineering Beetlemania: new technology inspired by nature

Impact Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds Issue 6

SMOKING OUT THE EVIDENCE The need for evidence-based policy making Unconventional gases: new approaches to fuel security The fast and the curious: the Leeds driving simulator When psychology met engineering Beetlemania: new technology inspired by nature

A spotlight on research and innovation at the University of Leeds Š University of Leeds 2011 Steering Group: Professor Edward Spiers Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Innovation Professor Anne Kerr Pro-Dean for Research, Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law Martin Holmes Marketing Director Kathy Brownridge Director, Research & Innovation Services Paul Barrett Strategic Marketing Manager Written by: campuspr Ltd, Paul Barrett, Media Relations team Designed by: Leigh Marklew, University of Leeds Photography: Simon and Simon Photography Edited by: Paul Barrett, Kate Glencross Visit the Impact website at This publication is available in other formats. Please contact Paul Barrett email: Printed on recycled paper.


Impact 6

University of Leeds


Impact 04

Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds Issue 6








NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE WITHOUT FIRE?THE M&S COMPANY ARCHIVE A realist approach to evaluating the research The need forThe new M&S archive building on the evidence-basedUniversity’s campus is at the heart of a new behind public policy making. policy makingmodel of engagement between industry and Unconventional gases:academia. new approaches to fuel security


The fast and the curious: the Leeds driving simulator

When psychology met engineering Beetlemania: new technology inspired by nature

AN UNCONVENTIONAL APPROACH TO FUEL SECURITY The US makes extensive use of unconventional gas, though controversial, is it time Europe caught up?


YOU ARE WHAT YOU ATE - LESSONS FROM THE PAST Encouraging the public to think about diet and nutrition using medieval history is at the heart of an innovative Leeds research project.

OLD BONES PROVIDE NEW TREATMENTS FOR BACK PAIN A £1.1M research project combining old bones and new technology is helping to develop treatments for chronic back pain.

THE FAST AND THE CURIOUS The University of Leeds Driving Simulator is helping to drive research into safety, automated systems and managing driver workloads.

INSPIRED BY NATURE How did a beetle inspire the technology behind Design inspired by nature – We look nature injection for concepts that may be adapted the next generation of infuel systems, and adopted for technology breakthroughs, social and commercial benefits. aerosols and inhalers?

OUR CARING FUTURE Taking a holistic view of assisted living technologies and examining the real impact of these technologies on older people’s lives.

MAXIMISING BUSINESS LEEDS Leeds University Business School has teamed up with Goldman Sachs to nurture some of Yorkshire’s young entrepreneurs.


WHEN PSYCHOLOGY MET ENGINEERING Rolls Royce is using University of Leeds expertise to deliver organisational change as they develop low carbon aircraft technology.



Impact 6

University of Leeds

SMOKING OUT THE EVIDENCE The need for evidence-based policy making Over breakfast and on their journeys to work, some 6 million people across the UK tune into the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme. It has many qualities to admire. There is lusty investigative journalism and it never talks down to its audience. The presenters are decidedly well informed (not to mention grumpy and giggly!). Amid the daily churn of press releases, information bulletins, economic catastrophies, political U-turns and weather reports, Today programme researchers regularly focus upon a public policy idea in germination, which they feel is ‘newsworthy’. For their particular audience, this boils down to whether the policy proposal is, or is likely to prove, highly contentious. The merits of the proposed policy are then keenly debated across the airwaves. The result is undoubtedly entertaining and very often thought provoking. It has yet, however, to be recognised for its methodological qualities. The purpose of Professor Ray Pawson’s evidence-based policy work at the University of Leeds is to get behind the research which allegedly informs public policies, and to ask, as the Today programme does so succinctly: can newly-minted programmes and policies withstand the test of evidence? Highly charged debating of such issues is a fundamental part of the Today format, with eminent guests invited to defend the policy under strenuous cross-examination by the presenter. Experts and their big idea are introduced and given a brief say. The body of the interview is then given over to a well-briefed probing for potential weak links and blind spots in the proposed new policy. Naturally, the well-prepared guest will have anticipated this onslaught and come armed with counter evidence to support their proposals (wily politicians often use a different ruse, namely to ignore the questions and press ahead with pre-rehearsed catch-phrases). Here we come to the point. This process of extracting the key assumptions underlying a prospective new policy and close crossexamination of the supporting evidence is

an example in microcosm of evaluation and systematic review. It is evidence-based policy in miniature. Professor Pawson’s work however, goes much further. He is widely credited with introducing a ‘realist perspective’ to policy evaluation – so transforming the basic question from ‘what works?’ to ‘what has worked for whom and in what circumstances?’ The strategy is also known as ‘programme-theory evaluation’ because of its focus on the underlying ideas on which interventions are forged. Says Professor Pawson: “Many years ago veteran US senator Edward Muskie, tired of hearing punctilious scientists muttering: ‘on the one hand this… but on the other hand that’, was prompted to make a wistful plea for ‘one-armed scientists’. His desire for certainty from scientific advisors is understandable but misdirected. If science is to maintain its influence in shaping such fundamental issues as policy making it must retain its objectivity. Evidence-based policy will only have meaning if the research community manage to persuade the policy community that evidence is partial, conditional, and contingent BUT still useful”.

In practice

Methodological advances cannot be developed in a vacuum, and research principles become refined only in practice. Since 1995 Professor Pawson has undertaken a series of substantive inquiries into the efficacy of a number of diverse and ongoing UK and North American programmes including; prisoner education programmes, Megan’s Law, youth mentoring and employment initiatives, urban regeneration schemes, public disclosure (naming and shaming), public health law and NHS service modernisation. With clients including HMP Prison Service, the Home Office, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), Department for Education and the Canadian Health Service Foundation, it is clear Professor Pawson’s work gets to the heart of evaluating the impact of some of the institutions and policies with the biggest day to day impact on daily life. 5



So what has all this got to do with the Today programme? The surprising point is that a straightforward interview can still manage to elicit several of these key points of programme theory, which would need to be interrogated in a review proper. The three-minute exchange in the case study (see right) contained only the most cursory of data, yet the crucial point is that a ‘mini-protocol’ for a review is created by a simple, well-informed debate. The example demonstrates how and where we can look for detailed evidence to evaluate policy programmes with the potential to have an enormous impact on the way we live, and all before breakfast. *For further information see Pawson’s ESRC-supported review (a ‘realist synthesis’) on the effectiveness of legislation banning smoking in cars carrying children. The work was carried out in conjunction with colleagues at NICE and UCL. Further reading: Ray Pawson, Geoff Wong and Lesley Owen (2011) ‘Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, Unknown Unknowns: The Predicament of Evidence-Based Policy’ American Journal of Evaluation.  Cover art detail from Ray Pawson: Evidence-based Policy, A Realist Perspective SAGE Publications, 2006

Professor Pawson’s work has been recognised by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as an excellent example of how academic research can positively impact on wider society, being one of the highest scoring case studies submitted to the council’s REF Impact Pilots, part of the new Research Excellence Framework for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). impact/

A good illustration is provided in the following extracts from a Today interview with Professor Terence Stephenson, Head of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (17.07.09). He makes the case for smoking to be banned in cars carrying children.

Building a legislative ‘logic model’ 1. How significant is the risk? (Evidence base: Toxicology)

If science is to maintain its influence in shaping such fundamental issues as policy making it must retain its objectivity. Evidence-based policy will only have meaning if the research community manage to persuade the policy community that evidence is partial, conditional, and contingent BUT still useful.

2. Is there public support?

(Evidence base: Survey Research)

3. Will it survive lobbying?

(Evidence base: Political Science)

4. Is it enforceable?

(Evidence base: Policing Evaluation)


Impact 6

The first question, on why is there a problem, calls for some foundational evidence and Professor Stephenson is ready: ‘If you light up a single cigarette in a car the levels of toxins or poisons are a hundred times the safe limit or twenty five times the levels you’d find in a smoky bar’. The Today interviewer, Sarah Montague, is not easily brushed off and counters by calling on some commonsense wisdom about how smokers and their passengers often come to an agreement, by opening a window for example. Professor Stephenson is ready, rejoining; ‘Even if you open up the windows and turn on the air conditioning toxin levels will be twenty three times the safe limit’. Questioning then moves to an ethical problem, namely that such a ban would face significant resistance as the law and law makers are often reluctant to intrude on ‘private spaces’. Professor Stephenson reminds us that, ‘A car is not a private place. The United Kingdom has already introduced legislation to stop the use of mobile phones whilst driving in cars’. Montague responds ‘but mobile phone usage endangers other road-users’ lives, whereas here we are talking about the drivers’ own children’. Professor Stephenson is prepared for this line of questioning too, ‘we have had for many years UK legislation to make children wear car seat belts, so the state already intervenes in what parents can do in cars’. The interview then moves on to more brittle ground for the expert. Under questioning about who is going to enforce such a ban, given the police’s limited resources, Professor Stephenson replies implying that the threat of enforcement may be significant in itself. He continues with ‘we have had legislation to stop mobile phone usage in cars and that’s enforced and it has a huge deterrent effect.

University of Leeds

My experience is the number of people using mobile phones in their cars has gone down hugely even though the number of prosecutions is quite small’.


What are the impediments to framing the legislation?

Drafting effective law is difficult. The more opportunities there are for confusion the less likely it is to be upheld. Are there mixed In all of his answers, Professor messages – is the ban a matter of Stephenson emphasises the child health, or car safety (driver welfare of children, ‘who don’t have A review of in-car smoking bans: distraction) or bush fires (think the option of stopping the car and Propositions to test as part of Australia!)? What counts as child getting out’. Indeed, the interview programme theory: (16/18)? What if the child is a ends with what might almost be What is the extent of the problem smoker or the smoker? Should considered a political slogan, that the ban apply to drivers or fellow and has it been correctly identified? in the UK, ‘… we have been slow adult passengers? Must enforcing Is there agreement from toxicity to put children first’. officers be able to see the offence testing on the levels of airand the child (often very difficult)? born pollutants? How much do What has this three-minute burst differences does air-change rate of light sparring got to do with It’s important to remember that and driver adaptation (holding evidence-based public health? seeking answers to such questions cigarette outside widow) make? Well the orthodox strategy for as part of a review or ‘realist Is there a dose/response effect? marshalling evidence would be to synthesis’, would not necessarily Does length of journey and time of gather data on intervention efficacy result in a clear yes or no verdict exposure make a difference? Are from high quality Randomized on the proposed intervention. risk levels reported accurately and Control Trials (RCTs). Alas, ways of Professor Pawson’s vision of consistently in policy proposals randomising subjects to different evidence-based policy is a journey and counter proposal? legislative conditions have yet to where the final destination is not be devised (in experimental cars known at the outset, and with Is there public support for a ban? drivers must cease smoking, multiple potential destinations. The most effective laws capture whereas in control cars they may The very process of asking - and rather than squeeze public puff away?). Moreover, such bans by definition answering - question opinion. Survey evidence can are in their earliest phases in only after question about the proposed readily reveal levels of support for a small number of jurisdictions policy provides a sturdy feasibility such a ban. Is there readiness in North America and Australia check by: for the next step? Where, in the and very few formal evaluations • identifying and articulating the public’s mind, does private space have been published. Worse still right questions; begin and end? is the lack of any information • c larifying what we need to know on prevalence rates. Given the in answering them; and abovementioned difficulties on Is the tobacco industry likely to • e stimating progress and the detection and enforcement, oppose such legislation? degree to which key components no good data exist comparing This lobby group has managed are in place.* smoking levels before and after the to delay and dislodge many other implementation of such a ban. The restrictions on smoking. Have they orthodox approach is in a Catch or are they likely to act against 22: it cannot pronounce for lack smoking in cars? When do they of evidence but such evidence fight and when do they run? Is cannot be obtained. the emotive invocation of ‘putting children first’ likely to prompt an The alternative is to base the early submission? review on what is known as the ‘programme theory’ or what is sometimes called the ‘logic model’. Is enforcement feasible and Before they are implemented, new effective? On this issue there is virtually no policies are given a plausibility available data pertaining directly check – sometimes under formal consultation and sometimes under to the policing of smoking in cars. But, useful inferences may be informal debate. The programme theory, or what is sometimes called drawn from the enforcement of in-car rulings such as for mobile the ‘logic model’, that emerges phones and seat belts. What are thus includes ideas about what is going wrong, ideas about how to the levels of compliance? are remedy the deficiency, ideas about the bans self-policing via fellow how the remedy itself may be drivers? Is the threat of a fine more undermined and, most importantly, important than its application? ideas about how to counter these Are supplementary measures like threats. crackdowns and publicity also required?


Whilst the US has been exploiting unconventional gas for many years, it’s only in recent times Europe has started to play catch-up – and the University of Leeds is leading the way in the UK.


Impact 6

Reserves of unconventional sources of gas are estimated to be some two and a half times greater than reserves of conventional gas, providing a potential alternative, and addition to, our current gas sources. Quentin Fisher, Professor of Petroleum Geoengineering at the University’s Centre for Integrated Petroleum Engineering and Geoscience (CiPEG) explains: “For many years the UK produced most of its own gas, but has recently become more reliant on imports. Currently, most natural gas is imported from Norway and Netherlands but it is likely that in the future we will become increasingly dependent upon gas imports from the Middle East and Russia. These areas can be politically unstable, so we need to find ways to be more self-sufficient in our gas supply. In fact, in 2009, approximately 32 per cent of the UK’s gas supply had to be imported and concerns have been growing around the security of our gas supply since 2000, when domestic production peaked.”

University of Leeds

What is unconventional gas?

The term ‘unconventional’ refers to the reservoirs from which the gas is produced. Whilst conventional gas is drawn from accumulations of gas in medium to high permeability rock types, the challenge with the extraction of unconventional gas is extracting it from relatively impermeable rocks. The primary reservoirs for unconventional gas being shale, coal beds and tight sands. “In the extraction of gas from these types of rock, different technologies need to be used” says Professor Fisher. “In coal bed methane extraction, drilling into coal beds releases pressure in the seam, which in turn enables the coal-bed to release the methane contained within it. In the production of shale gas, drilling takes place in shale beds and high pressure fluid is introduced to the shale, which fractures the rock - releasing gas as it does so. Similarly, tight sand gas can be released in this way.”

It is estimated that Europe holds reserves of unconventional gas in a similar order of magnitude to the US. However, exploitation of these reserves cannot be achieved without crucial geological knowledge and information to support decisions about the siting of potential wells. It is in this area that Leeds is a recognised leader in its field.

‘‘ is incredibly important in ensuring that any drilling that does take place is safe and optimized. We are now able to accurately monitor the formation of hydraulic fractures using microseismic techniques to ensure that they do not reach fresh water aquifers. (Professor Quentin Fisher)

Gas reserves in Europe

But whilst the exploitation technology required is already well developed in the US, a different approach may be required in the UK and Europe. “Across Europe - and in the UK in particular - potential sites to produce unconventional gas may be harder to find. We don’t have wide open spaces on the same scale as the US,” says Professor Fisher, who has, along with his team, worked with most of the major fuel companies in the world. “Also, we can’t just apply the same techniques as in the US because our geology is not so well understood. Our rock may have different characteristics and may behave differently in response to drilling and fracturing.”

The lab

The University is home to the Wolfson Multiphase Flow Laboratory, which has state-ofthe-art facilities for testing and measuring the properties of rock and examining the behaviour of rock in different conditions. Most recently the laboratory has undertaken major research projects on the petrophysical properties of tight gas sandstones and is just beginning to focus on measuring the properties of shales in both top seals and shale gas reservoirs. 9

Impact 6

University of Leeds

“In particular, we have a great strength in measuring the flow properties of low permeability rocks and we have two temperature controlled laboratories that are specifically designed for doing this,” says Professor Fisher.

Working with industry

The University’s list of industrial partners in this area is extensive and it has attracted sponsorship from giants such as BG, BP and Shell with which it has formed strong relationships, many of which go back a number of years. It is also engaged in a range of activities working directly with, and for, industrial partners. For example, as well as providing information on different rock types, Professor Fisher and his team conduct

It costs millions of pounds to drill and complete gas production wells, so it’s crucial that these companies have the right information from the start. (Professor Quentin Fisher)

research in order to create geomechanical models to assist their industrial partners in predicting underground fracturing of rock. “This is incredibly important in ensuring that any drilling that does take place is safe and optimized,” says Professor Fisher. “We are now able to accurately monitor the formation of hydraulic fractures using microseismic techniques to ensure that they do not reach fresh water aquifers.”

“It costs millions of pounds to drill and complete gas production wells, so it’s crucial that these companies have the right information from the start,” says Professor Fisher.  Professor Quentin Fisher and his team create geomechanical models to predict underground fracturing of rock.

Potential savings

Through the development of this data, the team aims to provide additional information about where the highest flow rates will be in any proposed drilling area and to fully characterise reservoirs. Long term this has enormous cost implications for the companies involved.


In 2009, approximately 32 per cent of the UK’s gas supply had to be imported and concerns have been growing about the security of our gas supply since 2000, when domestic production peaked.


MODELLING THE FUTURE An industry-funded consortium at the University of Leeds has been instrumental in improving geological models used by the oil industry in decision making, resulting in a direct economic and environmental benefit for the companies involved. Professor McCaffrey’s work has been recognised by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as an excellent example of how academic research can positively impact on wider society, being one of the highest scoring case studies submitted to the council’s REF Impact Pilots, part of the new Research Excellence Framework for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). impact/

The Turbidites Research Group (TRG), part of the Centre for Integrated Petroleum Engineering and Geoscience (CiPEG), specialises in the study of deep marine sediments, and is supported by UK research councils, by other UK governmental funds and by the oil industry worldwide. The industryfunded component of the TRG’s work is organised in 3-year phases and has been designed to link research with industry needs, focusing on improving understanding of sediment distribution and character, which in turn enables better prediction of reservoir properties. Active since 1992, TRG has worked with up to 14 companies in each of its phases and some of its partners have been members of the consortium since the outset. Along with specific research programmes, it provides expert overviews of academic literature, access to bespoke databases and consultancy. Led by Professor Bill McCaffrey (pictured right), TRG’s research has


been incorporated into appraisals of potential sites for wells, informed rebuilding of reservoir models and provided the evidence required for investment of millions of dollars in new oil fields. The success of the TRG industrial collaboration model has prompted the University to apply it in other areas. Three other groups are now using this approach to deliver Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded research in the geological sciences. The Fluvial Research Group focuses in fluvial sedimentology and stratigraphy. It already has five industrial collaborators - a number which is set to increase. The Basin Structure Group aims to better apply research, knowledge and know-how in the application of structural geology expertise in oil company workflows - and is in a build-up phase prior to its formal launch in 2012.

The Shale Research Group aims to facilitate appraisal of the UK’s shale gas potential and help industrial partners understand effective practice and systems for shale gas recovery.


Impact 6

University of Leeds


...lessons from the past Encouraging the public to think about diet and nutrition – using medieval history - is at the heart of an innovative programme of activities being led by the University of Leeds, in partnership with Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and the University of Bradford.

The You Are What You Ate team also hope that by discussing food with their audiences, they will stimulate discussion about where our food comes from, increasingly topical in global warming debates. “These discussions are vital – most people don’t know that a lot of the foods we’re used to seeing today are actually the new world foods from places discovered The unique programme, funded by a Wellcome in around 1500,” says Dr McCleery. “Such Trust Society Award, called You Are What foods have been transported around the world You Ate, draws upon research into how food for hundreds of years, but people don’t realise affected our ancestors and what can be learned this. By showcasing seasonal vegetables, we’re from our knowledge of the past to improve able to show what medieval communities might health now and in the future. Through activities have eaten at particular times of year, but by designed for schools, the project aims to reach omission, it makes people realise how much of around 6,000 schoolchildren, with exhibitions, our food is imported.” festival attendance, cooking demonstrations and Osteology workshops further extending its audience. Dr Iona McCleery, from the University of Leeds’ School of History, is leading the collaborative project. “Our objectives are to get people to think about their own diet, providing fun, interesting and engaging activities through learning about how and what our ancestors ate,” she says. “We want to improve general knowledge about how food can affect health.” The project is being run in Yorkshire, where there are clear pockets of nutritional – and therefore health – inequality. The team are working with Wakefield Council and its infrastructure of schools and youth groups, and a wider audience of adults and children are being accessed through free exhibitions and workshops, festivals and the project’s website. By getting people to think about what they eat, and how they eat it, Dr McCleery and her team hope to go some way to challenging attitudes to food, whilst engaging them in historical research. “For example, a lot of people think that pre-packaged smoothies from the supermarket are healthy, when in fact the pasteurisation process required to prolong shelf-life is harmful to the nutrition content of the drink. Also, they are chock-full of sugar from the fruit.”



Our objectives are to get people to think about their own diet, providing fun, interesting and engaging activities through learning about how and what our ancestors ate. (Dr Iona McCleery)

In relation to health in the sector, Dr McCleery says there’s a lot to be learned in terms of how nutrition affects health. “In the medieval period, life expectancy was much shorter, despite the ordinary person eating a relatively healthy diet, made up of not too much meat, but plenty of wholegrains and fresh vegetables. However, healthcare was virtually non-existent by our standards. Our life expectancy has increased, but in some places in the UK is still only an average of 58. We are also increasingly seeing health issues which are related to what we eat, so it’s clear that it’s not only good healthcare services that are vital to us remaining healthy.”

What makes this project unique is the array of collaborators and their areas of expertise in exploring both past and present nutrition, bringing together research on historical food based on extant recipes, regimen texts, accounts, visual evidence and archaeology; research on human remains; and research on modern nutrition. “Through the project we’re able to bring biomedical science, bioarchaeology and medical history to a whole new audience,” says Dr McCleery. “And we’re aiming to reach as many people as possible.” The project was borne out of a desire to increase public engagement with research whilst making a tangible impact on nutrition and health, which has has seen the team work closely with Professors Janet Cade and Gary Williamson at the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds. “Diet and the impact of diet on health is such a huge topic in the UK today,” says Dr McCleery. “Whilst the NHS continues to campaign in this area, we’re also bombarded with television programmes about food and our bodies, so it’s an incredibly topical issue.” The project began in 2010 and will run to 2013. During 2010, the collaboration ran cooking demonstrations of recipes from the 15th Century, displays of seasonal fruit and vegetables featuring historic and modern strains of common foods such as apples, and ran half-term activities in the autumn. It has also run workshops and special sessions with schools in the Wakefield area. 2011 is no less busy. “We’ve had a great response so far,” says Dr McCleery. “When we meet children and adults at events, they’re really interested in discussing what we’re doing.”Dr McCleery thinks that part of this enthusiasm comes from a broad, and growing, interest in the medieval period, which she believes partly stems from the increase in the number of films, computer games and television programmes of a historical nature. “There seems to be an undercurrent of interest in all things medieval which has been growing for a number of years,” says Dr McCleery.

ď ľ Authentic medieval fare - prepared by historian Caroline Yeldham, a specialist in Medieval cookery - at a public engagement event in Wakefield city centre.


Impact 6

University of Leeds

Our life expectancy has increased, but in some places in the UK is still only an average of 58. We are also increasingly seeing health issues which are related to what we eat, so it’s clear that it’s not only good healthcare services that are vital to us remaining healthy. (Dr Iona McCleery)

“If you think about the number of films such as Lord of the Rings, which is essentially a medieval film, Beowulf and Robin Hood, they’re all relating to the time in history in which we as medieval historians are interested.”

 Iona McCleery (centre) talks to shoppers in Wakefield about the project which recreates 15th century dishes to bring a historical perspective to modern diets and eating habits.

Over the next three years, Dr McCleery and her collaborators will be assessing how well the project is working and hope that it will provide a blueprint for similar projects in other areas. “One of the keys to our success has been a local focus,” says Dr McCleery. “But there’s no reason why our project couldn’t provide a framework for other public engagement projects in the future.”


ANNUAL EXHIBITIONS SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE • THE DARK SIDE OF EATING • FOOD FOR ALL SEASONS The programme is funded by the Wellcome Trust. Project partners include the universities of Leeds and Bradford, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, NHS Wakefield and medieval cookery experts such as Caroline Yeldham (pictured below).


Along with ongoing smaller scale community engagement activities, the project is holding a series of annual exhibitions. Between March and October 2011, the Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice exhibition which traces the story behind sugar and spices will be open at Wakefield Museum.

In 2012, The Dark Side of Eating will focus on nutritional disease, alcoholism and obesity as well as lifestyle choices such as vegetarianism and fasting. Food for All Seasons is planned for 2013. It will examine food quality and availability and how food was processed, preserved

and transported in a time before refrigeration, and what happened when the harvest failed. For more information about the project and its events, please go to youarewhatyouate

Impact 6

University of Leeds



University of Leeds researchers, funded by Cancer Research UK, have used a library of DNA to create a vaccine that could be used to treat cancer, according to a study published in Nature Medicine. Before now, ‘gene therapy’ vaccines have often delivered just one gene to stimulate the immune system. It produces a protein, called an antigen, which activates the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

C-Capture, a University of Leeds spin-out company aiming to reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions has received seed capital investment totalling £160,500. It has also been accepted onto the prestigious Carbon Trust Entrepreneurs Fast Track programme service. Less than 10% of the companies that apply are accepted onto this scheme, so this achievement places C-Capture in the top tier of entrepreneurial, low carbon technology companies in the UK.

It has been difficult to develop successful cancer vaccines because each tumour has specific proteins and identifying the right antigens has been a huge challenge. Scientists have also tried to boost the effectiveness of vaccines by using several genes to increase the chances of producing successful antigens. But a worry has always been that the immune system’s response would be too strong for the body to handle.

University of Leeds’ Professor Alan Melcher, coauthor of the study, said: “This is the first time we’ve been able to use a whole library of DNA in a viral vaccine successfully... The biggest challenge in immunology is developing antigens that can target the tumour without causing harm elsewhere... By using DNA from the same part of the body as the tumour, inserted into a virus, we may be able to solve that problem.” The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, Cancer Research UK, The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Mayo Clinic, and a private grant.

C-Capture is a spin out from the University of Leeds School of Chemistry. It has developed a low cost, energy efficient and safe technology which aims to capture CO2 from the flue gas streams of coal-fired power stations and other power generation sites, making coal a more environmentally acceptable energy source. 

But now researchers, working with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, have solved this problem in experiments involving mice. The team used doses of a vaccine made from a virus which contained a ‘library’ of DNA, containing multiple fragments of genes and therefore many possible antigens. This approach did not send the immune system into overdrive, which had been a concern. Instead the range of DNA meant the vaccine was able to target the tumour through many routes.

The new investment in C-Capture, from The Finance for Business North East Technology Fund and IP Group plc, will make the North East a leader in carbon capture technology.

Christopher Rayner, a Director of C-Capture and Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Leeds, said: “This investment has come at a crucial time - both in terms of our development and the political landscape. Without exception, power generators that use coal-fired power generation are getting ready to implement carbon emission reduction technology as soon as feasible, because there is a real recognition that the government will act promptly and firmly to protect our environment - and the UK should be looking to position itself as a technology leader in this field.” Finance for Business has been made possible by a collaboration between the European Investment Bank, European Regional Development Fund and regional development agency One North East. The EIB has provided funding of £62.5m with ERDF and ONE supplying the remaining £62m.


Impact 6

University of Leeds


The new building for the M&S Company Archive at the University of Leeds is the flagship project at the heart of a distinctive collaboration, and one which represents a new model of engagement between industry and education. Launching in November 2011, the new home for the archive on the university’s western campus, combines a dynamic business asset with a research tool of considerable academic value, and forms an integral part of the wider remit of this burgeoning partnership. Autumn 2011 sees the culmination of several years of hard work to relocate the M&S Company Archive from its current home above a store in North London, to a permanent new facility, The Michael Marks Building, on the Western Campus at the University of Leeds. The decision to relocate the M&S Company Archive was made in November 2009 and was prompted by the inadequacies of the current storage facilities at Wood Green, and by the desire at M&S to both protect their heritage and fully utilise the value of this unique business asset. For many in Leeds, Marks & Spencer is a massive part of the city’s proud history, and this, coupled with the unique research and innovation synergies between M&S and the University of Leeds, made the University the standout location to be the archive’s new home. The archive comprises an impressive collection of over 60,000 items across a vast range of business interests, and has been academically assessed as having the potential to become one of the finest business archives in the UK. Sections of particular interest both academically and to the M&S business include; food technology, colour science, employee welfare, textile and print design, chairmen’s papers and correspondence, and a significant collection of family papers from those who played hugely important roles in the development of the company. Prior to the relocation project this wonderful collection was being stored in highly inadequate conditions.


Without sufficient environmental controls or fire protection, the items within the collection were deteriorating and at significant risk of suffering irreparable damage. The collection will find excellent facilities in the purposebuilt Michael Marks building, which offers state-of-the-art conditions for the collection, including environmental controls and a BS5454 compliant strong room, making it an ideal setting from which to open the collection up to the public. As a living archive, the collection is an everchanging resource from which M&S draws inspiration and guidance in its day to day business. It is very much regarded as a tool to be used to add value to future projects and business plans, ensuring the company’s activities remains consistent with its heritage and ethos. The Michael Marks building also features permanent exhibition space, a reading room and a seminar room, providing academics, students and members of the general public with the opportunity to access M&S archive material for the very first time. The building will become a fantastic resource for independent academic research and with plans to make the archive’s catalogue available online, M&S colleagues and academics will be able to search and request parts of the collection which would previously have been impossible. Professor Michael Arthur, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds, says: “The University Library at Leeds is recognised as being one of the finest in the country, and the arrival of what is undoubtedly the UK’s most important business archive offers rich opportunities for both research, education and business collaboration.” He adds: “We have already seen the potential for some extremely interesting collaborative programmes and are looking forward to many years of shared expertise between university staff and the highly skilled curators of the M&S collections.”

The decision to relocate the archive to Leeds embodies the distinctive shared platform for joint working now developing between business and higher education. The concept of an operational division of M&S working alongside academics on a leading University campus has opened up possibilities for partnership activity across multiple channels, including mutual priority areas such as; research, student engagement and community outreach work. The M&S and University of Leeds partnership has already seen the joint funding of two PhDs focusing on priority areas of strength in both organisations (the history of food; sustainability and Plan A) and M&S sponsorship of the M&S Graduate Prize in Food, which offers outstanding students in Food Science the opportunity to prove their skills in a ‘Dragons Den’ environment. The prize combines the academic rigour of a research-intensive university like Leeds with the commercial acumen of a FTSE 100 company such as M&S to deliver huge benefit to the student. As well as shared academic and research interests both the University and M&S have deep rooted commitments to community engagement and shared values. The M&S Plan A scheme, for example, which aims to make M&S the world’s most sustainable retailer by 2015, is underpinned by an understanding of the importance of communities and of the implications of prolific consumption which is reflected in its engagement with its consumers. Educational activities undertaken through its Corporate Social Responsibility team are an important manifestation of that understanding. Similarly, within the University, a dedicated Access and Community Engagement team works to widen access to the university and to foster positive community relations. The ACE team has worked closely with M&S to build community relations and develop projects which really make a difference in the local community.

THE M&S COMPANY ARCHIVE at the heart of a major new partnership


Impact 6

Sustainable community work such as the ‘Marks in Time Outreach Project’ (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) has brought alive the Marks in Time exhibition which was developed in celebration of Marks & Spencer’s 125 anniversary and has realised the history of M&S for schools and community groups. Using objects from the exhibition to develop interactive activities, a sustainable public engagement programme has been introduced which stimulates learning and brings local heritage alive. Similarly, the Marks in Time public lecture series has brought the value of the partnership to a broader audience, offering a forum for discussion of topics as varied as cutting edge food science to lingerie design, developing and protecting an iconic brand to inherent value of a fully integrated commitment to sustainability.

University of Leeds

To date over 700 delegates including academics, students, businesses and the general public have attended the lecture series, benefiting from high level insights into the workings of one of the UK’s most iconic retailers, as well as the opportunity to find out more about working with the university itself. Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & S, explains how the archive project will benefit both the M&S business and academic research, as well as the wider public: “The M&S story is a fascinating tale of how a business can grow from a humble market stall to an internationally renowned business” he says. “The history of M&S now covers over 125 years and its artefacts are a reflection of the

 The Michael Marks Building at the University of Leeds, new home of the M&S Company Archive.


 Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, and Sir Stuart Rose, then CEO of M&S, get the archive project underway.

very significant social and economic changes which have characterised the period. “The partnership between M&S and the University of Leeds provides the opportunity to bring those artefacts to life, not only to the academic community but also to the general public and to M&S customers through the years. We are delighted with the way in which collaboration with the university has enabled us to explore that history more fully and highlight its relevance to many issues within current debate.”

Impact 6

University of Leeds



Leeds University graduates, Kevin Flood and Mike Harty have launched Shopow, the world’s first ever social shopping search engine. The unique shopping portal was co-founded by the two entrepreneurs, who graduated from the University of Leeds with degrees in BA Management.

Dr Ningtao Mao from Textiles in the School of Design and Dr Yun Yun Gong from the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutices (LIGHT) are leading an international collaboration to improve the design of maize storage sacks so that they do not harbour the harmful Aspergillus fungus.

The website aggregates thousands of shops and millions of products. It provides price comparison, product information, reviews, Q&A and more; giving customers ‘shopper power’ and allowing them to find the best overall product & price. The site also offers shoppers the opportunity to interact with friends and members of the Shopow community to get advice and opinions, share great deals, read product reviews and stay on top of the latest trends. Shopow lets shoppers follow each other, and invite friends from Twitter & Facebook, so the more friends and followers a Shopow user has, the more personalised their shopping experience will be.

Dietary exposure to aflatoxin produced by this Aspergillus fungus can cause growth impairment in children and is a known risk factor for development of liver cancer. In sub-Saharan African countries much of the population survives primarily on single grains such as maize, which can be contaminated with the fungus Aspergillus.

The project will examine both fibre components and fabric structures to reduce the dampness caused by moisture condensation in order to reduce fungal growth and aflatoxin production. The new fabrics will be developed and functionally tested in collaboration with scientists from China and Tanzania. This project is being jointly funded by the World Universities Network Fund for International Research Collaboration and the Biomedical Health Research Centre (BHRC), a University of Leeds transformational project.

About 25,000-150,000 new cases of liver cancer may be attributable to exposure to aflatoxin through contaminated food. Even modest improvements could potentially prevent thousands of new cases of liver cancer annually. Furthermore, post-harvest losses of food can be up to 25%. As the World Food Programme spent $2.7 billion USD in 2007 to feed 86 million people, any post-harvest improvements are likely to have significant economic impacts as well.

Kevin Flood commented, “Prior to the launch we had thousands of people following us on Twitter and Facebook already interested in social shopping. Social networks create transparency and enable discovery; Shopow will make shopping online more exciting.”


20 20

Impact 6

University of Leeds

OLD BONES PROVIDE NEW TREATMENTS FOR BACK PAIN Research combining old bones and new technology is helping to develop more effective treatments for chronic back pain, in a major £1.1 million project led by the University of Leeds and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

This data will then be used by Dr Wilcox and her team to create sophisticated computer models of the spine, using a system developed at Leeds based on techniques used in mechanical engineering to model aeroplanes, vehicles and other structures. The models will simulate the variation in bone structure across the spines from both the older specimens Four out of every five adults in the UK suffer housed in museums and collections and other from back pain at some point in their lives. spines which have been donated more recently. For many the problems are short-lived, but for The modelling tool will be the first of its kind a significant number the condition persists, to combine such a wide pool of spinal data for severely affecting their quality of life. use in simulating back problems. It will be used both in research and by companies to test a Research and product development in spinal new product or treatment, to ensure its safety treatments are less well advanced than for and effectiveness before it moves onto clinical other areas of the body, such as the knee or hip trials. for example, partly due to the limited options for pre-clinical testing on the spine and the high risk of getting treatments wrong. Now researchers from Leeds’ world-leading Institute The advantage of using these of Medical and Biological Engineering (iMBE) plan to use data from human skeletons housed skeletons is that they come from in anatomy collections and museums across people of all ages, as compared to the UK to create a range of different models donated skeletons which tend to which together will form a new computer come from elderly people. simulation tool to fill this gap.


“The advantage of using these skeletons is that they come from people of all ages, as compared to donated skeletons which tend to come from elderly people,” explains Dr Ruth Wilcox who is leading the research at Leeds. “To create a model which can effectively test the impact of a treatment across different patient groups, we need data from as wide a range of spines as possible.”

(Dr Ruth Wilcox)

“The idea is that a company will be able to come in with a design for a new product and we will simulate how it would work on different spines. By using a computer model rather than an actual spine, we can use the same model over and over again, rather than needing a new donated spine each time we want to test a treatment out,” says Dr Wilcox. “Also, Over 40 human skeletons dating back to up the models will allow us to test the product to one hundred years old will be used for against a wide range of spines of all ages from the project. Researchers from the University healthy to damaged or diseased – rather than a of Bristol’s Archaeology and Anthropology physical test against just one spine from which Department will scan the spines using micro CT we have to extrapolate further data.” to produce highly detailed 3D images of each vertebrae. Micro-CT scanning is similar to CAT The computer modelling tool also opens up scans used in hospitals – where X-rays from the possibility of personalising a treatment or different angles produce a three-dimensional product to each individual patient. Data from image – but at a much higher resolution, a CT-scan of a patient’s back could be fed enabling the detail of the bone structure within into the model to help identify the optimum the vertebrae to be visible. treatment option in that particular case. 21 22

...the models will allow us to test the product against a wide range of spines of all ages from healthy to damaged or diseased – rather than a physical test against just one spine from which we have to extrapolate further data. (Dr Ruth Wilcox)

Dr Wilcox and her colleagues in iMBE are already working on a range of treatments for back pain. Fracture of the bone, which is one of the underlying causes of back pain and deformity, can be the result of osteoporosis, aging or traumatic injuries. One treatment option used by clinicians is vertebroplasty, which involves injecting bone cement into the damaged vertebra, but there are long term concerns that this treatment can cause fractures in adjacent vertebrae. Research in iMBE is helping investigate new types of bio-active cement which might provide a better, long-term solution – and this is one area that could be tested on the new model. Through a collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, this research will directly inform the development of new cements.



During any one year, up to half of the adult population in industrialised countries (15%49%) will suffer back pain.

The number of people with back pain increases with advancing age, starting in school children and peaking in adults of 35 to 55 years of age. Back pain is just as common in adolescents as in adults. The healthcare costs of back pain in the UK total £1.6 billion each year, just over £1 billion in the NHS (over half of which is spent on hospital consultants and treatments) and the remainder in the private healthcare sector.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that musculoskeletal disorders, which include back pain, cost UK employers between £590 million and £624 million per year. Nearly five million working days were lost as a result of back pain in 2003-04. This means that on any one day one per cent of the working population are on sickness leave due to a back problem.

 Dr Wilcox specialises in spinal biomechanics and computational modelling.


In the soft tissues, a number of new treatments including total disc replacement, nucleus replacement and annulus repair are being introduced clinically but again their longer term performance has not yet been fully investigated. The model can be used to test the longer term impacts of total disc replacement and of new materials being developed to supplement, rather than replace, damaged spinal tissue.

Back pain is the number two reason for long term sickness in much of the UK. In manual labour jobs, back pain is the number one reason.

Impact 6

University of Leeds


What I have found particularly rewarding about this project has been the level of support Dr Brad Evans, Lecturer in Political Violence at it has received. From the initial backing of the University of Leeds, will next month launch the University who invested in the project at its embryonic stage, to the involvement of his Ten Years of Terror symposia through The Guardian’s Comment Is Free news source. This internationally renowned intellectuals, artists and writers, onto gaining wider organisational project which brings together the world’s preinterest, it does seem to have struck a precise eminent thinkers on politics, arts and culture, and timely chord. Launching the site to will also be exhibited at a number of high profile venues during September, including the coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks was undoubtedly an Guggenheim in New York (to be confirmed); the exhibition hall at Pace University (downtown important factor in the project’s initial success. Maybe the project’s wider appeal stems from Manhattan); along with a three week digital installation at the Leeds Art Gallery. The project the stated ambition to provide an innovative will also be exhibited in The Hague next spring. digital forum which is of the highest intellectual and creative calibre. Notable contributors include Noam Chomsky (MIT), Simon Critchley (The New School), Saskia Sassen (Columbia), Avital Ronell (NYU), Traditional methods of teaching alone no longer appeal to the digital generation. Not to say that Michael Shapiro (University of Hawaii), Mary Kaldor (LSE) and Tom McCarthy (Internationally we should simply do away with books and other standard formats, but that through technology it renowned author). is possible to enhance the learning experience in complimentary and rigorous ways. It is also This coincides with the launch of Dr Evans’ clear that as an academic, gone are the days wider research project, ‘Histories of Violence’, which provides an open access resource centre when you could find refuge in some esoteric ivory tower. Your research and ideas have to which critically explores the wider problematic engage with the world. That does not mean of violence in the context of theory, film, art, to say that having “Impact” is simply about literature, theatre and personal testimonies. influencing policy makers. Truer to the idea of the University in the original sense of the term, Dr Evans says: “The idea for this project stemmed from a personal ambition to generate it is about encouraging people to think critically, while having the confidence to raise difficult forms of research which appealed to a questions that sometimes unsettle the orthodox wider audience by moving beyond standard narratives. Violence is certainly a problem disciplinary focus. It also developed from which demands new critical thinking.” my teaching experiences, which demanded

The Ten Years of Terror symposia is part of the wider ongoing Histories of Violence project which examines the theoretical, empirical and aesthetic dimensions to violence, including the impact of the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks on our understanding of security, war, and violence. It also provides an online resource hub including a range of short films, interviews, lectures, online exhibitions and articles. For further information please see:


Violence is certainly a problem which demands new critical thinking. (Dr Brad Evans)  “The Haunting” © Robert Longo 2005

innovative ways of engaging with students. As an academic versed in the Continental political and philosophical tradition, it seemed selfevident that to truly capture the imagination of people – especially about those fundamental problems which affect our lives - it must be done in an intellectually stimulating way that is both accessible and inspiring.

23 23

Impact 6

University of Leeds

With the development of new vehicle technology advancing rapidly, we can already make cars with the ability to drive themselves. But whilst we’ve still got our hands on the wheel, the potential for human error remains. At the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), the UK’s most sophisticated driving simulator is being put through it’s paces, ensuring the dash to incorporate new technology does not mean safety takes a back seat.



Impact 6

University of Leeds

The University of Leeds Driving Simulator creates an incredibly realistic driving experience, right down to engine noise and bumps on the road.



drivers liked both systems equally – they trusted the dynamic system more, which will be a key factor in the introduction of automation.” The simulator cameras can be calibrated to each individual driver, with no issues such as sunglasses or long fringes to hide the eyes.

The University of Leeds Driving Simulator creates an incredibly realistic driving experience, right down to engine noise and bumps on the road. It enables multiple drivers to be put through the same driving scenarios, measuring both driving performance and physiological factors such pupil dilation, skin conductivity, eye movement and heart rate, all of which act as indicators of driver stress or attentiveness.


This capacity was a key part of a recent Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded study, titled Effects of Automated Systems on Safety (EASY). “EASY looked at two issues – what people might choose to do with the extra time available under a fully or partially automated system and how automation affected their attention span,” explains lead researcher, Professor Oliver Carsten. “We also wanted to see how effectively they would pick up manual control again when required.” In aviation – where the idea of an autopilot is very much accepted – a plane can switch back to manual control at set intervals, to ensure the pilot remains attentive. Using the simulator, the researchers could compare this system – where automation was switched off for one minute in every eight – to one which responded dynamically to the level of driver attentiveness. The dynamic system used cameras which tracked driver eye movement and switched the automation off when attention started to wander.

Another project currently underway in the ITS is trying to make use of the extra data on driver responses provided by the simulator bycrossreferencing with data on driver performance, which many cars already measure as standard. The project – in collaboration with a major luxury car manufacturer – hopes to develop an algorithm which can assess the driver’s workload at any given moment to determine when best to activate alerts or alarms. “Cars are now fitted with a host of sensors which alert the driver to actions that need to be taken,” says Hamish Jamson, Principal Research Fellow and manager of the Driving Simulator. “Some, such as front-end collision alarms, are clearly quite urgent, but others, such as reminders to check oil pressure, are less so. When the driver’s attention is fully occupied by a busy road or difficult conditions, it would be better to hold off the less urgent alerts to another time. We’re hoping to develop a system which can judge driver workload and choose when to delay non-urgent messages.”


The project – in collaboration with a major luxury car manufacturer – “The dynamic system used data on how often hopes to develop an algorithm which a driver had scanned the road in the last mile can assess the driver’s workload as well their eye movement in the last few moments, so it was very hard for drivers to at any given moment to determine second guess what was prompting the switch to when best to activate alerts or manual,” says co-researcher, Dr Frank Lai. “We alarms. found the dynamic system was more effective at maintaining driver attention and - although



While most projects at Leeds test safety issues for the fully capable driver, one project has been aiming to help clinicians make objective decisions on driver safety for people with specific medical conditions. Using what is known as the mini-Sim – which uses the same software as the main Leeds simulator but with screens, wheel and pedals that can be fitted at a normal desk – the researchers compared driver competence to clinical assessments of wakefulness in patients suffering from sleep apnea, a condition that causes irregular breathing during sleep and can lead to serious levels of fatigue. The study took place at the sleep clinic at St. James’ hospital, headed by Dr Mark Elliot. “At the moment, clinicians have to make a subjective decision as to whether a patient is safe to drive, but we wanted to see if it was possible to objectively assess how much the condition was affecting people’s driving ability,” says Dr Elliot. “The advantage of the mini-Sim is that it can be easily set up in the clinic when people come for a consultation.” The pilot study – involving 40 patients – showed there was a link between clinical measurements of sleepiness and driver performance. The researchers are now seeking funding to take this further, with the aim of developing an objective system for measuring driver competence.

• A Jaguar S-type cab with typical controls and dashboard instrumentation

•A  ccurate control loading at the steering wheel and pedals

•R  ealistic engine, transmission and environmental noise

• Set in a 4m diameter dome, onto which a life-size virtual scene is projected, with a 250° forward view

• Views are also provided via central, rearview mirror and on two LCD panels built into the wing mirrors

• Cab and dome mounted on a large amplitude eight degree-of-freedom motion system, providing realistic inertial forces during acceleration, steering and braking and simulation of various road surfaces •O  nly seven driving simulators worldwide exist with equivalent or superior motion characteristics

27 27


Impact 6

University of Leeds


The organisational challenge at Rolls-Royce A project to accelerate the development and introduction of low carbon aircraft engine technology at Rolls-Royce is using unique expertise at the University of Leeds to inform organisational change.

“We’ve got a fantastic pedigree in this area,” he says. “Rolls-Royce are world-class engineers who routinely apply systems thinking to their products, and our role is to help them apply the same kind of thinking to their internal design processes.”

Rolls-Royce is the world’s second largest civil aero engine company, the world’s second largest defence aero engine company, a global leader in marine propulsion and a leading supplier of energy solutions. It has a truly global footprint.

Employees at the Centre are a multi-disciplinary mix of organisational psychologists, engineers, geographers and health academics who work on projects which marry knowledge about behaviour and psychology with technical expertise to optimise organisational performance and growth. In practice, The £91 million SILOET (Strategic Investment this means examining every aspect of an in Low Carbon Engine Technology) project aims organisation’s performance, understanding the to provide the organisation with a foundation relationships between people, processes and on which it can build its next 100 years, firmly performance and really getting under the skin cementing the UK as a global leader in this field of the organisational culture. Put simply, using for the future. a ‘user pull’ approach to change – as opposed to ‘management push’. The SILOET project is like a huge jigsaw, bringing together one of the UK’s leading engineering companies, with a wide range of academics from ten of the UK’s leading Socio-technical systems recognise universities. The project is funded partly by that all aspects of an organisation Rolls-Royce and partly by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). are interrelated and impact on one


SILOET runs until 2013 and addresses both technical engineering and organisational challenges as Rolls-Royce develops new low carbon engine technology. The Socio-Technical Centre (STC), based at Leeds University, is working with Rolls-Royce on the latter, using expert knowledge about socio-technical systems design to inform the structural, cultural and communications challenges in the organisation.

another...So to effect any change, effort needs to be concentrated across all areas.” (Lucy Bolton, Researcher)

“Socio-technical systems recognise that all aspects of an organisation are interrelated and impact on one another,” says researcher Lucy Bolton, who is working on the project. “So to effect any change, effort needs to be The Centre is headed up by Professor Chris concentrated across all areas. In working Clegg, who has been working with Rolls Royce towards the introduction and implementation since 1998. He believes the Centre’s offer, of new low-carbon technologies, it’s not just which provides organisations with a holistic the technology that needs to change, it’s also view of their internal processes and procedures, the way in which the organisation works as a is what sets it apart from other similar research whole.” groups.


Impact 6

University of Leeds

Rolls-Royce are world-class engineers who routinely apply systems thinking to their products, and our role is to help them apply the same kind of thinking to their internal design processes. (Professor Chris Clegg)

One of our challenges in suggesting new ways of working is ensuring that systems and processes work, whilst not quashing people’s ability to be innovative in the way they work.”

Likewise Michelle Drury and Shauna Coyle are working with a wide range of individuals, from an enormous range of disciplines. In her work to optimise knowledge sharing, Drury is working across a range of departments at Rolls-Royce, crucial to ensuring better information flow across the huge, multi-site organisation. “Expertise is spread around the UK and beyond,” says Drury. “We’re working towards optimising this process – and ensuring everyone has access to the necessary expertise – using computerised tools.” Still in its infancy, this project could revolutionise the way RollsRoyce employees communicate with one another across geographic boundaries.

In their work with Rolls-Royce, the Leeds researchers are first of all working on providing a comprehensive analysis of the current situation in each of the three areas - complex systems; process improvement and job design; and knowledge management. This includes quantitative and qualitative research such as questionnaires for employees, in-depth one to one interviews and periods of observation to assist in understanding working practices and processes: “Most change is pushed onto people by management, but the most successful change is user, or employees-led, because people need to feel ownership of change to truly embrace it. By conducting these activities we’re not only holding up a mirror to the organisation, we’re also involving employees from the very beginning in work that may lead to significant operational change,” says Shauna.


Research at Leeds is concentrated in three areas: complex systems; process improvement and job design; and knowledge management. These are all aimed at fostering a culture of greater pre-work in the New Product Introduction (NPI) development cycle. Another of the researchers on the project is Michelle Drury, who explains: “Rolls-Royce has recognised that if the organisation can spend more time in the planning stages of the technology cycle, it will save significant time and expense further on. By ensuring a greater amount of pre-work in the early stages of NPI, there will be less of a requirement for reworking something that has already had time, effort and money spent on its development.” One of the challenges in an organisation the size of Rolls-Royce is to ensure that standardising systems and processes doesn’t prohibit innovation - clearly a vital element of Rolls-Royce’s market position as a global leader. “It’s an interesting dichotomy,” says researcher Shauna Coyle. “On the one hand, we need people to be innovative and bring new ideas to the organisation, but on the other hand, it’s important that everyone’s working in a coordinated way to ensure the proper functioning of the organisation.

“Over the last 20 years Rolls-Royce plc has created a global system for undertaking research to meet its long term strategic needs, now having around 30 research centres in 7 countries around the world. As part of this programme, the company has been working with Chris Clegg and colleagues since 1998. The vast majority of our global research partnerships focus on engineering capability, and Chris Clegg’s team is the only group of social scientists that we have funded in this network.


The work of the three researchers is fed back to Rolls-Royce at every stage for decisions to be made about next steps. The Socio-Technical Team is working on this project with a range of partners in different disciplines. As an example, Lucy Bolton works with the costing team, who are responsible for financially costing bids and with operational teams of people conducting technical roles. “By working with all the groups involved in putting together bids and ensuring they’re communicating earlier on in the bid process, we’re aiming to increase RollsRoyce’s success rates in situations where the organisation is bidding for competitive tenders,” she says. This work is something that may pay clear dividends in the future.

Their work brings a new capability to the company and has made a substantial contribution to our improvements in design by influencing our thinking about the design process and how it should be organised and managed”. David Knott CEng FIMechE Chief of Research and Technology Design Systems Engineering

Coyle finds herself working at the more technical end of Rolls-Royce, conducting research which will inform the new product introduction (NPI) system. “There are so many stages to bringing new products to market, from concept formation to market launch. We’re focused on making sure the early stages of the process function as well as possible to prevent work having to be redone at a later stage in the product development lifecycle,” she explains. “It’s crucial that we ensure the system operates at its optimum – with buy-in at every stage,” she says.


We’re not only holding up a mirror to the organisation, we’re also involving employees from the very beginning in work that may lead to significant operational change. (Shauna Coyle, Researcher)

The Centre for Socio-Technical Design is one of the University of Leeds Transformational projects, research projects that seek to address major global issues of our time. By pulling together academics working across disciplines to tackle important, social, economic and environmental challenges, these projects are making an impact on people’s lives and helping to expand our base of world-leading research.

Find out more about the progress that each of the projects has made so far, their successes and their ambitious plans for the future:


Impact 6


University of Leeds

INSPIRED by nature Who would have thought that a small beetle would inspire the next generation of fuel injectors, medical inhalers and personal care aerosols? A technology initially researched at the University of Leeds is being developed through a unique, innovative, strategic development model with Swedish Biomimetics 3000®. The technology in question has grown from initial curiosity about nature’s designs through to the brink of full commercialisation as the µMist® platform technology, under a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with Swedish Biomimetics 3000®.

 A prototype rig in action. It creates a highly controllable fine mist of spray.  The bombardier beetle sprays its boiling hot, toxic fluid. The beetle needs this defence because of its vulnerability on the ground. It uses its spray to fend off predators.

Leeds Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory, Andy McIntosh, from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, began studying the bombardier beetle in 20012002, with a number of MSc students. He was inspired by a paper published by Cornell Professor of Chemical Ecology Thomas Eisner. Images of the beetle spraying a noxious mixture led Professor McIntosh to explore its design and research began in earnest in 2004, through funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, (EPSRC) in close conjunction with Swedish Biomimetics 3000®. “I’ve always been fascinated by mechanisms in nature and this beetle seemed to have it’s own combustion mechanism,” he says. “So the project combined my interest in nature along with my core disciplines of combustion and thermodynamics.”


Impact 6

University of Leeds

Whilst there seems to be unlimited potential for applications of the µMist® platform spray system, the initial development programs has initially focused upon fuel injection, medical inhaler drug delivery systems, fire extinguishers and fire suppression, all of which face major challenges as users and policy makers demand ever greater performance and reduced environmental impact.


Research took place to determine how the beetle generated and controlled the noxious spray which it uses to blast at its predators over long distances and at high speed. During this research, a turning point came when Professor McIntosh visited Professor Eisner to study the beetles themselves. He explains: “Using computational fluid dynamics we had already worked out that the shape of the cylinder holding the liquid wasn’t crucial, but weren’t sure how the pressure was maintained in the beetle in order to force the fluid out. Through examining it closely we were able to identify both an inlet - and crucially, an exhaust valve, which made it clear that for a split second the fluid was under pressure due to inlet and exhaust valves being closed until the exhaust was suddenly released.” This was just the start of a long journey that has led to building on these observations and creating a superior spray system – the µMist® platform. This was just the beginning of the story. In 2004, following a presentation at a biomimetics conference, Professor McIntosh met Lars Uno Larsson, the founder of Swedish Biomimetics 3000®. What has followed is a true partnership consortium between the company – which is focused on bringing new biomimetic technologies to market readiness – and the University. This partnership operates under the Swedish Biomimetics 3000® proprietary V2IO® model for accelerating innovation. Initially, the partnership enabled and strategically directed Professor McIntosh and researcher Novid Beheshti to work on developing an experimental rig to model the operational principles as understood from observation of the beetle. The beetle’s spray chamber principles were then used to inspire enhancements to the rig, forming an evolving series of improvements, each one providing


superior performance to the previous version. This fundamental research process continues today through Swedish Biomimetics 3000® support, with a research post in Leeds and a specific applications development laboratory to utilise the output of the research.

The result is a new range of technologies for creating and optimising sprays, controlling droplet size, temperature, droplet size distribution, throw distance and velocity. This has allowed advancements in a variety of application areas where the properties of a spray or mist are critical. Whilst there seems to be unlimited potential for applications of the µMist® platform spray system, the initial development programs has initially focused upon fuel injection,

medical inhaler drug delivery systems, fire extinguishers and fire suppression, all of which face major challenges as users and policy makers demand ever greater performance and reduced environmental impact. The µMist® technology is, thanks to the partnership approach - including co-investment by Carbon Connection for the fuel injector system - now being harnessed by the auto industry. CEO of Swedish Biomimetics 3000®, Dr Andrew Copestake, explains: “There’s a huge drive to increase engine efficiency and manufacturers are looking for ways to make existing technologies more efficient. They’re also investigating new technologies that will enable them to satisfy both consumer and regulatory demand for lower fuel consumption, greener engine technologies and better performance all round.” Swedish Biomimetics 3000® is currently working with a cutting edge partner in the automotive industry and has already proven the technology in single cylinder engines at internationally recognised test houses such as Loughborough University and University College London. The next stage is to build it into a multi-cylinder vehicle to complete the development and to maximize its commercial potential for an industrial partner. Dr Copestake says that he envisages a market ready system in collaboration with an industrial sublicensing partner by 2014. And whilst development of the technology for the automotive industry is a critical part of its commercialisation, Swedish Biomimetics 3000® are similarly working on parallel development streams in areas as diverse as the medical, fire safety and personal care aerosols sectors. Of these, the medical sector and the personal care sector are keen to adopt innovative, new and environmentally friendlier

technologies for the delivery of inhaled drugs/ aerosols, and the company intends to secure a partnership within these areas by the end of the year. A unique aspect of the journey from lab to commercial development rests firmly with the nature of the consortium partnership between the University of Leeds and Swedish Biomimetics 3000®. The company is focused on building up a portfolio of biomimetic platform technologies and works with universities to accelerate the progress of new technologies along the innovation pipeline, in line with its innovation acceleration model, V2IO®. Richard Walker, who manages Swedish Biomimetics 3000® operations says, “The V2IO® model is specifically designed to allow us to be involved at a very early stage to work alongside the researcher and the university’s own commercialisation offices to move projects forward. Essentially we provide an intersectional vehicle – and a toolbox of expertise – to help technologies develop commercially, to the point that they are considered commercial candidates.” The University of Leeds provided Swedish Biomimetics 3000® and the V2IO® model with one of its first major projects in this new platform technology. “We have strong relationships with the University of Leeds and that’s why this is progressing so well,” adds Walker.


November 2010 saw the University of Leeds – in the face of extremely tough competition - win the Times Higher Education Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology”

And, with its reach of millions, the BBC’s One Show covered the µMist® technology in an in depth feature in May of this year. With interest building and progress being made across a range of markets, it’s likely that the environmentally friendly µMist® platform technology will be appearing in a spray product you use within the next few years.  Andy McIntosh is a Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory within the School of Engineering Science and Technology (Faculty of Engineering).

Over the years, the µMist® platform technology has certainly attracted a lot of attention, and this interest continues to grow. November 2010 saw the µMist® platform consortium – in the face of extremely tough competition - win the Times Higher Education Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology Award - an accolade which recognises outstanding potential in discoveries and developments across the UK’s higher education sector.


The cost to the UK Government of caring for vulnerable older people, either through the health service as a result of an accident or inability to cope or through residential or ongoing home care is growing, so alternatives such as those offered by telecare are of increasing importance.



Impact 6

University of Leeds


A University of Leeds project which takes a holistic view of assisted living technologies for older people with dementia or diagnosed as prone to falls will inform new product development and policy.

Our society is ageing rapidly and with this comes a raft of associated health and care issues that are placing an increasing burden on the health and social care system and on carers. In 2008 it was officially estimated that in the coming 20 years the population aged 75+ would increase rapidly - by 47% in urban areas and by 90% in rural areas. With the cost of treating older people with dementia or following falls already over £38bn a year, measures to reduce risks or get help to older people quickly can cut costs and improve quality of life. Partners

“It’s these sorts of situations which make some older people vulnerable and there is some great technology already out there, but little evidence of the real impact it has on the different people and organisations involved.” Along with CIRCLE, the main partners working on the project with Professor Yeandle’s team are the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, telehealthcare provider Tunstall (UK) Ltd and market intelligence experts Inventya Solutions Ltd. The project brings together fourteen partners in total, spanning a wide range of disciplines, from design through to technology implementation and installation.

June 2011 saw the official start of a project that will provide vital knowledge to suppliers of assisted living technologies, as well as crucial insights for policy makers and care providers. CIRCLE (the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities) at the University of Leeds is leading a £1.5 million project funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project will create a new knowledge base for companies involved in the development of assistive technologies.

Over the next three years, the project team will access approximately 80 households in Leeds and Oxfordshire which have telecare devices installed in them. Using a method of research called ‘everyday life analysis’, researchers will conduct and record interviews and observations, the data from which will be married with data from the telecare equipment itself. This will provide robust, evidence based research to inform public and private sector telecare commissioners and will also generate valuable information for designers and manufacturers of new technologies.

The project is being led by Professor Sue Yeandle. She explains: “Assistive technologies can enable older people who may otherwise need to go into full-time residential or nursing care to remain at home. This is often the preferred option even for older people with significant care needs, and telecare can provide them and their carers with peace of mind.”

Commercial Impact

The project will examine the impact of technologies on older people themselves, their carers and others involved in their care. It will focus primarily on devices that provide alerts, either to individual carers (the friends or family of the older person concerned) or to professional care providers, if something potentially dangerous occurs. “The sorts of technology we’re talking about are devices that might send out an alert if someone leaves the gas on, has a fall or, as sometimes happens with dementia sufferers, if people leave the house and become confused or get lost,” says Professor Yeandle.

a result of an accident or inability to cope or through residential or ongoing home care is growing, so alternatives such as those offered by telecare are of increasing importance. “We want to get a real picture of the impact of this technology on quality of life,” says Professor Yeandle. “Obviously for older people it enables them to retain some independence and the potential to stay at home for longer. However, the impact on carers can also be enormous. We know from previous research that for family carers in particular, having assistive devices in their elderly relative’s home can mean the difference between having to give up working and remaining employed.”

Quality Of Life

Over the past three years, CIRCLE has been working in partnership with a range of voluntary sector organisations examining how new services installed in the home impact upon carers. One such project, funded by Carers Scotland and the Scottish Government, explored when, why and how telecare equipment was being used in Scotland, its impact on carers and their views about the impact on the person they cared for.

The results of this study were overwhelmingly positive, with carers reporting that the The commercial partners involved in the introduction of telecare had provided significant project are understandably keen to understand benefits. These ranged from increased peace the opportunities in the telecare sector. Says of mind and improved relationships with the Professor Yeandle: “This is a true partnership person they cared for, through to the ability and our commercial partners are putting a lot of to continue in paid employment. “The study investment into the project themselves because was published in 2009 and has attracted a lot it will enable them to understand the end-user’s of interest,” says Professor Yeandle. “Carers Scotland has since produced a DVD about the relationship with the technology – whether work which is having an enormous impact in that’s a carer or the older person themselves.” terms of getting the message out there about With such a rapidly growing market, the benefits of telecare.” commercial interest is easy to understand and having access to research data whilst the project is taking place will provide ideas for new The last few years have also seen an increased focus on telecare and its possibilities in the product applications and design. EU, where there is interest in developing the evidence base for telecare and encouraging Not to be forgotten are the potential economic new technological developments. “It’s not just benefits of ensuring telecare is fit for purpose the UK that has an ageing population,” says and easily adopted and accepted by those people who can benefit from it. The cost to the Professor Yeandle. “But we are building up a reputation as a centre for excellence UK Government of caring for vulnerable older in research in this area.” people, either through the health service as 37

 Tom Greveson of Revolution Viewing, a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme graduate, with Rob Whieldon, Corporate Development Director at Leeds University Business School.



Programmes such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice have become a mainstay of British television. But not everyone gets to work alongside Alan Sugar, so who is training and equipping today’s businessmen and women to take those crucial leaps needed to lead high growth enterprises? To help some of Yorkshire and the Humber’s young business-owners rise to the challenge, Leeds University Business School has teamed up with investment bank Goldman Sachs and Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, to launch a new programme, called 10,000 Small Businesses.

Impact 6

University of Leeds


We have forged a fantastic partnership with Leeds: the academics and administrators have been incredible flexible, easy to work with and innovative in their approach. (Deeepak Jayaraman, Head of Corporate Engagement Europe, Goldman Sachs)

Based on a successful model that Goldman Sachs currently runs in the US, 10,000 Small Businesses offers the opportunity for owners of small businesses and social enterprises with high growth potential to engage with today’s leading entrepreneurs and academic business specialists. Run initially as a pilot project, the programme was devised by Goldman Sachs in partnership with Leeds University Business School and Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Its overall goal is to give promising businesses the tools and the networks they need for growth, to help unlock their economic growth and job-creation potential. Rob Whieldon (Director of Corporate Development for Leeds University Business School) said that “working with the imported curriculum we have used our research on how small businesses learn to inform the way we deliver the programme.” Following the Leeds pilot, which concluded in March 2011, the course has already been rolled out in Manchester, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and there are plans to continue to expand to other parts of the UK, with Saïd Business School, University of Oxford as Goldman Sachs’ national partner. A further cohort in Leeds is due to complete in July. With another cohort scheduled for the autumn, recruiting is taking place now. Deepak Jayaraman, head of corporate engagement for Goldman Sachs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) explains: “We started with a model that had been imported from the US, and our Leeds partners were instrumental in tailoring that model into something that is unique and suitable for the local business environment. The model we have created is proving successful and we are now looking to expand this approach to other cities across the UK.” “We have forged a fantastic partnership with Leeds: the academics and administrators have been incredible flexible, easy to work with and innovative in their approach. The fantastic

content facilitation by Professor Nigel Lockett Rob Whieldon says “it has been a pleasure and Programme Director Jacinta Elliot has been working with Goldman Sachs to bring this tremendous for our cohorts,” he added. programme to Leeds University Business School and to see how the businesses on the Applicants went through a rigorous selection programme have grown and developed” process to gain a place on the pilot course, which took place over 12 curriculum sessions, One of the course’s first participants, Tom starting in October 2010. Topics covered Greveson, who runs digital media company, ranged from the mechanics of interpreting a Revolution Viewing, considers himself very balance sheet and how to tackle operational fortunate to have been included in the first and HR issues, to wider questions of what it Goldman Sachs cohort: means to be a leader of a small business or a social enterprise and the factors that generate “I really wanted to be involved in the real, sustainable growth. programme because I wanted the chance to speak to successful people from industry In addition to the curriculum sessions, who had started businesses from nothing and Goldman Sachs offered a number of business created something quite impressive, as well as support services, including specialist eminent academics who could explain current workshops where particular topics could be thinking on business models and practices,” discussed in more detail, one-to-one business he says. advising, and advice in accessing capital. “The selection process was quite daunting, After course participants had graduated, particularly the panel interview, which was very Goldman Sachs offered alumni the opportunity thorough – but the process did make it clear to take part in further networking and that Goldman Sachs were taking the project mentoring activities. A further valuable aspect very seriously,” he added. of the course was advice and assistance offered to participants looking to access finance for Once admitted onto the course, Tom found their business. the opportunity to refresh and enhance his knowledge of key aspects of business was very Leeds was selected initially as the location valuable. Particularly useful was the opportunity for the programme because of its strong to discuss ‘real life’ business issues, challenges history of entrepreneurial success, but the and opportunities in smaller groups. partnership forged with social enterprise Leeds Ahead proved instrumental to establishing the “We ran a very diverse set of businesses, programme. CEO Stephanie Burras said: including a small brewery, and Indian restaurant chain, as well as a software “In terms of corporate engagement, the developer and my own digital media company 10,000 Small Businesses programme has in and were able to discuss lots of aspects of our my view broken completely new ground. The businesses in a very relaxed and informal way. opportunity to partner with Goldman Sachs, This part of the course was one of the most not only to bring this programme to the UK, valuable, in fact, as it really helped me to clarify but to pilot it in our region with the University key aspects of my business and its parent has been incredibly exciting and rewarding.” company and to develop new systems and Leeds Ahead helped Goldman Sachs with approaches.” introductions, marketing and processing applications, enabling the programme to be put Now a 10,000 Small Businesses alumnus, Tom in place swiftly and smoothly. continues to derive benefits both from what he learned during the course and from the networks he was able to access. 39

University of Leeds Leeds, United Kingdom LS2 9JT Tel. 0113 243 1751

University of Leeds - Impact Magazine - Issue 6  

Impact is the University of Leeds' flagship research and innovation publication. Featured stories include: A realist approach to evaluating...