Page 1

WLVdialogue WV June 2008 | Issue 1 | University of Wolverhampton |

HELPING NEPAL’S POOREST University Supports Forestry Livelihood Programme

+ MEET THE SIMS FAMILY A new generation for health students

+ BYE BYE BLACKBOARD University leads hi-tech education project

Wec elcome June 2008 | Issue 1 |


elcome to the first edition of WLVdialogue, the brand new University of Wolverhampton stakeholder magazine.

The University attracts a diverse range of staff and students, and it’s great to have the chance to share their fantastic stories and achievements. With leading education initiatives, groundbreaking research and successful graduates, there’s plenty of good news to report. This edition includes the University’s extensive work to help Nepal’s poorest communities after securing a contract worth more than £8 million, beating stiff international competition.

You’ll also find out about the latest hi-tech addition to our School of Health, profiles of some of our research experts, new projects and our latest business and international updates. There are lots of exciting changes ahead for Wolverhampton and the University is at the centre of new developments, which will achieve ambitious targets for the future. We talked to Wolverhampton Development Company Chief Executive Stephen Catchpole about what’s in store for the city and how the University fits in with plans. We hope you enjoy reading our new quarterly magazine – look out for Issue Two in September. We’d welcome any comments or feedback so please get in touch and let us know what you think. Best wishes Emma Kilvert Editor

If you would like to give feedback or have a story idea for a future edition, or if you have colleagues who would like to subscribe to WLVdialogue please contact:

contents NEWS A new generation joins Uni – Meet the SimMen


Throwing down an Olympic challenge – Top sports stars could soon be training at the Walsall Campus


A sound future – Step inside the recording studios at the University


PROFILE Man of Science – The new Dean of the School of Applied Sciences, Professor John Darling talks about his appointment and important research


RESEARCH The new face of teaching – University reveals research project to help in the classroom


A new spin on a well known web – Q&A with computer scientist and internet researcher Professor Mike Thelwall


FEATURE New hope at the feet of Everest – Major contract to help some of the world’s poorest communities

Meet the SimMen


BUSINESS Landscape of change – Exclusive interview with Stephen Catchpole, Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Development Company


Highly-prized leadership potential – The success of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships for graduate Gareth Richards


A timely remedy – New invention to help medical staff developed by the University


Business round-up


INTERNATIONAL Putting Wolverhampton on the global map – University strengthens its international links


PEOPLE Graduate success story – Founder of Sapphires Modelling Agency Neely Reyes shares her story


WHAT’S ON GUIDE AND NEWS IN BRIEF Events at the University this summer and a round up of other news

New face of teaching is revealed



A new

generation joins Uni

There will be some new residents at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Health from September. Like the budding nurses, midwives and complementary therapists signing up for the new semester, they can breathe, have pulses and a heart rate. They can even speak and moan. But the new faces on the School’s mock ward are not actually living beings. The University is set to welcome a family of ‘SimMen’, who are state-of-the-art

mannequins, specially designed for medical tuition. Students will be given a taster of what it is like to deal with real-life patients, whose condition can change within seconds. The Laerdal SimMen simulate breathing, with a realistic chest visibly moving up and down. Students can measure blood pressure, take pulses from multiple positions on the body and even practice catheterisation. The models can also be set up by a lecturer to imitate a range of scenarios, including cardiac arrest, all of which the students can – and will – face when they head out into their careers. As well as the adult SimMen – which can be either gender – the University has invested in two SimBabies, to assist students specialising in nursing for children. One baby is intended to represent a child of approximately nine months to one year in age, while the other – a SimNewb – is a newborn, and their cry is extremely realistic. Professor Linda Lang is Dean of the School of Health and is pleased with the new additions.


“The School of Health is delighted to be the first in the UK with the new 3G (Generation 3) SimMan. This advanced model will be with us in time for students starting in September this year,” she says. “Simulation plays a vital part in preparing the health professionals of the future and enhancing the skills of current practitioners. Our 'Sim family' includes three adults and two SimBabies and will be used to develop the professional and interprofessional clinical skills of our students including nurses, midwives and postgraduate students on our new Physician's Assistant programme. “The Sim family can replicate real case scenarios and will help us to build patientcentred team work in the safe environment of our state-of-the-art Skills Laboratories.” For Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Principal Lecturer for Practice and Innovation, the new arrivals mark a new stage in the training of University of Wolverhampton students. She says they will be able to experience a range of scenarios with the new equipment, from the basics of taking blood pressure right through to cardiac arrest.


“The emphasis is on different learners working together at one time and focusing on the health care needs of the patient,” she adds. “This is as near to a real life scenario as a student is going to get through training and the SimMen can be used on all our courses. “We are delighted that the Clinical Skills Centre will be further used to enhance the confidence and competence of all of our students. We look forward to working with our practice partners, other academic Schools within the University and the Clinical Skills Cluster Group, established in January, to develop this initiative.” Current students also wholeheartedly welcome the new members of the School of Health team. Katherine Doyle, a second year adult nursing student, says the SimMen are the most human and realistic mannequins she has encountered. She feels that the equipment allows students to practice serious real-life scenarios within the classroom environment, providing an insight into what their future careers will hold. “To experience cardiac arrest can be frightening, but with a dummy you can prepare yourself before it really happens,” Katherine says.


Her colleague Denise Williams agrees: “You have the surprise element as well, because it can talk and moan. They also have veins so we can practice vein puncture.” Sandra Boateng is impressed by the new additions and feels that they will enhance the experiences of student nurses. “It makes learning really interesting too,” she adds. The University has bought two System Two SimMen and a state-of-the-art 3G SimMan who will live at the City, Walsall and Burton Campuses, where School of Health students train. The SimBaby and SimNewb will live at Walsall. The SimMen and SimBabies will be used by students in the School of Health from September. For more information about School of Health courses and facilities, visit

Thr Th hrowi win wn ing

down an Olympic challenge



Mike Chamberlain, says that this is extremely positive news for the University and the prestige of the Sports Centre, which is already one of the few national judo centres of excellence in the UK and plays host to international sporting competitions. s top athletes put the finishing touches to years of training for this summer’s Beijing Olympics, thoughts are already turning to London 2012. This major event will see international sports stars and world record holders head to the UK – and the University of Wolverhampton intends to play an important role in the run up to this prestigious event. The University’s Walsall Sports Centre has secured a coveted position as an official training base in the Guide for National Olympic Committees (NOCs). This national portfolio of accredited sports facilities will be officially launched in Beijing this August. The Guide will be used by countries organising their training programmes in the years leading up to the 2012 London Olympics, and the University’s Gorway Road venue is featured for the sports of Basketball, Judo and Taekwondo.

“There are all sorts of nations and teams we could attract to the region and it is a great honour for us to welcome sporting stars,” he explains. “This is an opportunity to host elite athletes at the University, and we have the expertise to help them further. It is an opportunity for our sports scientists to work with top athletes in our state-of-the art sports labs. “Teams from South America or Asia will be taking part in European tours in the years running up to the Games, and we would have an opportunity to host them for a training camp for a week. We can build on the existing international links of the University and develop our relationships.

Leading athletes from around the world will have the opportunity to visit the University and the region to use the excellent facilities on offer. University of Wolverhampton Director of Sport,


Teams can use the facilities as holding camps, to allow athletes from different continents to acclimatise just prior to the Games, or training camps in the years running up to the event. Walsall Sports Centre was part-funded by a £2 million Lottery Grant which helped create a permanent matted judo area. It also has outstanding basketball facilities and is used as a sports and fitness venue for the wider community. In addition, the sports centre is within the University campus, so has additional benefits: “The University has a lot to offer – the student residences at Walsall are new and on site and it is a nice, self-contained campus which lends itself to squads and teams living there,” Mike adds. The London 2012 Olympics promises to be an exciting time in the UK, and the University of Wolverhampton is poised to take an active role.

soun und A so


tepping into the recording studio, it is hard to believe you are on a University campus. The state-of-the-art production desk and performance suite whisks you away to another world and you could be in the heart of any leading music company or independent studio. And that really is at the centre of the aims of Major Key Studios at the University of Wolverhampton – to introduce and prepare students for the realities of working within the music industry. The University launched two foundation degrees in Music Industry Practice and Sound Production in February last year. Run at the Walsall Campus by the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure in partnership with Major Key Studios, the courses offer students practical hands-on experience, as well as the theory to develop their understanding of the business. The budding music moguls will learn about the staging and management of live performances, recording music and record sales, and, crucially, skills they can take straight to work. The courses and the independent recording studio itself have been a huge success – beyond the dreams of studio owners and lecturers Ken Banks and Phil Savage. Phil has worked with major artists including Dexy’s

Midnight Runners, Judas Priest, Fine Young Cannibals and Duran Duran; and Ken is a top business consultant and product developer. Working with students offered a new challenge for them – but one they have relished. “We have grown ourselves and we have both found this exciting,” Ken says. “This has exceeded our expectations but we always had a belief that young people are not frightened of doing new things – they are pioneers.” The first group of students is now in the second year of their course and many have set up their own companies, or been able to use their skills to increase the success of existing businesses. Paul Whitehouse, of Paul James Promotions, is one such success story. Paul, 47, has worked in the music industry for 30 years but realised the industry was changing, and decided to enroll on the course to enhance his skills. He says: “The course itself covers virtually every aspect of the music industry, from the basics to marketing and advertising, and has opened up our client base a lot more. Every part of the course is excellent, whether you are a new or existing business.”


A bright spark in the second intake of students is Music Industry Practice student Shaun Tulloch, whose vocals and production featured on a recent Ministry of Sound album. Other students are setting up artist management and promotion companies, illustrating the breadth of the courses. Now Ken and Phil face a new challenge after expanding the business into the landmark West Bromwich arts centre The Public, due to open this summer. They have their own suite of rooms which includes two studios, control room, mixing and production suite, as well as a green room and kitchen. Ken says: “We are tremendously excited about our presence within The Public. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to look at innovative collaborative projects within arts in general.”


In addition, the University is hoping to introduce a top-up degree in the subjects, to allow students to continue on to Bachelor of Arts level.

John Pymm, Dean of the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure said:

The future certainly looks bright for these innovative courses and the enthusiastic students who are hoping to carve a successful career in the music industry.

To find out more about the courses on offer, visit:


Man Ma an

of Science

An interview with Professor John Darling rofessor John Darling becomes the University of Wolverhampton’s Dean of the School of Applied Sciences (SAS) on July 1. John is a leading figure in his field of brain tumour research, pioneering new discoveries in the fight against cancer. Here he discusses his career so far and what the future holds. Brain tumours have been referred to as a ‘Cinderella Cancer’, as the area receives very little research funding. But brain cancer deaths among children exceed those of leukaemia, making it the highest cause of death among this age group after accidents. This fact is something that Professor John Darling is well aware of – and keen to change. John is one of the leading figures in the field of brain tumour research in the UK and his current work focuses on how brain tumours start and why they are so resistant to therapy. He believes that understanding these factors is the key to the future treatment of the disease.

“For the first time in my experience, there are a number of new drugs coming forward which show real promise for people with brain tumours. It is a really exciting time because we will see the scientific findings having significant benefit to patients with malignant tumours,” he says.

2001. He was appointed the founder Director of the University’s Research Institute in Healthcare Sciences (RIHS) in October 2003, a post he held until his recent appointment as the Dean of the School of Applied Sciences following the retirement of Professor Patrick Robotham.

The disease has not been subject to the same level of interest or funding as leukaemia, breast or colon cancer but things are changing in the arena of cancer research. John is one of only a few people in the UK currently working on brain tumours, but he is optimistic for the future of research. “It is an area for enormous growth and people are taking brain tumours more seriously now. There is an acceptance at Government level that we have not had the same level of research effort as some other cancers.” John originally became involved in brain tumour research at the Institute for Neurology in London, where he worked for 23 years. He joined the University of Wolverhampton as a Professor of Biomedical Science in October


John is very enthusiastic about his career at Wolverhampton so far, especially the collaborations that exist across the University. “I have really enjoyed being able to work with a whole range of colleagues from different academic Schools. There is a receptive and co-operative culture and people are always happy to sit down and talk to you about what they have done. I think the hallmark of Wolverhampton is that it is very welcoming and has a collegiate feel.”


He is also proud of the achievements of RIHS, which he has watched grow and flourish. John attributes this success to the talents of the people that have taken an interest in the Research Institute across the board. He believes this more rounded approach to working would have been difficult to achieve in some other institutions. Another area of great pride for John is the creation of Brain Tumour North West, a collaboration between universities and health trusts to work together on ground breaking brain tumour research. Wolverhampton was a founder member and a number of universities have now signed up to the innovative project including Keele, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire, with others, such as the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield also looking to join. The novel collaboration aims to advance research in the area by opening access to rare tumour material, sharing laboratory facilities and techniques, as well as pooling scientific,

medical and statistical expertise. The pioneering scheme breaks down traditional boundaries between institutions, recognising that shared knowledge, experience and resources can be the most effective way of achieving results. John says: “I think we have developed something of lasting value in the general North West region which I think will have tangible benefits for patients with brain tumours. I have also enjoyed working with the brain tumour community on this, as it involves not only doctors, researchers and specialists, but also charities such as Brain Tumour UK and the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust.” Although his new post as Dean will be filled with new challenges, John is also determined to continue his research commitments. “This is not just an intellectual pursuit for a scientist. It is something of significant social importance,” he says. And John is clearly keen to get to grips with his new role. The School teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate subjects


including forensic science, microbiology, biochemistry and clinical psychology. One thing John is keen to do is illustrate to people from outside the University the importance of science for everyone. He believes hosting exhibitions to explain the work going on within the University and visits from schools, colleges and citizens of Wolverhampton and the wider region would be a good way of developing public understanding. “I want to think of ways of engaging citizens and showing people how science can affect their lives for the better,” he says. “I hope I can take the School from a sound position to a new level. I think the future is in applied research, which is aimed very clearly at nearer market opportunities, by which I mean things that will benefit people in less than five years. I really believe the School of Applied Sciences will be one of the very best of its kind in the UK. With the planned moved to a new purpose-built building and new staff coming in because of the new awards we are teaching, this is a very exciting time to be part of SAS.”

Reveal al




The new face of teaching he days of a blackboard, chalk and a textbook to share between two are now long gone. Step into any classroom today and you are more likely to be faced with laptops, interactive whiteboards and even webcams. But giving someone the tools does not necessarily make them an expert craftsman. Advanced technology is an inescapable feature of the modern education system, but there is not always time, or the resources to assess how much or how effectively such equipment is being used. Now a major new study by the Learning Technologies team at the Midlands Leadership Centre, part of Education Partnerships at the University, has set out to investigate for the first time the use of voting systems, or Learner Response Systems, in schools across the UK.

Diana Bannister MBE is the Development Director for Learning Technologies at the Midlands Leadership Centre, and led the research. She says: “The Reveal Project is the most extensive study of learner response systems across the UK. The technology can be used for initial participation and engagement but the focus can be much deeper than that and can be used to track pupils’ progress. “Learner Response Systems (LRS) can be used for a range of subjects, including numeracy and literacy. They can be a stimulus for all aspects of teaching and learning, but at the heart of the technology is the ability for a teacher to exploit the principles of assessment for learning. “Our aim was to lay down what best practice is and identify the key themes in terms of leadership decisions for the education sector. It is about real practice in real schools – the lessons filmed were actual lessons in schools across the country.” Key messages from the research include:

The technology allows pupils to actively participate in lessons by sending electronic responses to questions, or discussion topics set by the teacher, which appear on an interactive whiteboard or projector screen. For example, pupils can be quizzed on their understanding of a particular topic or give their reactions to particular scenarios. The £250,000 Reveal Project is a two-year development and research project which focuses on the effective use of one form of e-voting system, Promethean’s Activote. The project aims to identify best practice and highlight creative ways of working. In addition, the researchers have produced a DVD as a guide to education practitioners, and to suggest how to expand use of it. The DVD, titled ‘Effective Teaching and Learning using Electronic Learner Response Systems’, was launched at the Interactive Technology in Education (ITiE) Symposium in London and is available via the project website

• Practitioners should be encouraged to have more talk time, thinking time and jotting time to develop ideas with the pupils • Many pupils like the lack of writing and there are times when this can help to prepare learners for a challenging task ahead • Pupils like the anonymity when using the technology • Many practitioners need support in order to judge their own progress and need guidance on how to move forward with its use. The team, which also includes Lead Researcher Helen Sargeant, has developed a detailed model, ‘The Response Technology Pyramid’. This tool supports schools in successfully introducing and developing classroom practice using their learner response devices. Filming for the 50-minute documentary-style DVD took place in schools in Newham, Hartlepool, Lancashire, Staffordshire, and


Telford and Wrekin, as well as at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Education. The researchers observed lessons and interviewed teachers, and the DVD features footage from real classroom situations. Andrew Hutchinson, Reveal Project Manager, says: “One of the strengths of the research is that at its heart is a range of teachers from a range of schools. The pupils are from a wide variety of ages and socio-economic groups. The children – particularly the boys – love the immediate feedback they get from the technology. “We also filmed University of Wolverhampton staff using the technology with students to find out what they had got from lectures, and we interviewed lecturers about how they were using it.” The technology is now used in around 12 per cent of schools in the UK, but this is expected to rise to 50 per cent in the next five years. The Reveal Project is the first research of its kind into Learner Response technology and many of the key messages from the study are applicable to other brands of ‘voting’ system. The project is also gaining international attention. Professor Sir Geoff Hampton, Pro Vice-Chancellor Education Partnerships and Director of the Midlands Leadership Centre at the University of Wolverhampton, gave a presentation to education leaders in New Zealand about the findings. As schools, colleges and universities continue to assimilate technology, the research will provide a valuable tool to educational professionals at all levels. Diana Bannister concludes: “We are certain that the DVD shows effective practice and illustrates what can be achieved when the use of technology is embedded within teaching and learning. The teachers who have worked with our Learning Technologies team have demonstrated real commitment in helping us to understand the true potential of this innovative technology." For more information visit


Mike Thelwall

A new spin on a well known web rofessor Mike Thelwall is a computer scientist and mathematician at the University’s School of Computing and Information Technology. The 43-year-old from Penn, Wolverhampton, was recently ranked number one in a list of leading researchers in his field of informetrics, and he specialises in measuring the value of web pages.


What is your work about?


How is it applicable to everyday life?

An example is a European Union project to identify when there is a public concern about scientific research. In the past there have been cases of public fear about issues, such as stem cell research or Genetically Modified crops. The EU wanted us develop a method to identify new topics of concern – before they hit the newspapers. The technique was to download 100,000 blogs everyday and automatically scan them, and identify words which were indicative of public concern on a particular topic.

We develop methods to gather information from the web on a large scale and then process the information for various different purposes. Our work has included projects for the European Union and the BBC World Service Trust.


What research are you working on currently?

We are looking at social networks as a logical extension from our blog research. We are trying to find out how people share information on social network sites, such as MySpace, which were created for socialising among friends, but were not really designed for information sharing. We are also researching how online jokes spread around the world and vary depending on different nationalities.


What is the next stage of your research?

Subject to funding, we are looking at sentiment analysis, which involves analysing blogs to detect positive, negative and neutral attitudes. It is quite tricky – as humans we can detect sarcasm and irony, but computers cannot. This could help market research companies analyse online material and act quickly if there is negative feeling to protect their brand.


6 What do you enjoy about your work?

I like having a problem and having an idea about what the solution may be, and then implementing the solution. I particularly like the early stages of a project.


How do you see your work developing in the future?

It is so difficult to predict what the next big online thing will be – but whatever it is, we will research it!



What is your greatest professional achievement?

Getting the University of Wolverhampton Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group started in December 2000. When we began, no-one in Wolverhampton had done any research in this area before, and getting the first research published felt like a great achievement. We now have 12 members who are lecturers, PhD students, postgraduates and visiting professors from Amsterdam.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like relaxing with my family and going to the pub on a Friday night.


What is the most unusual thing about your job?

The strangest thing is that the people I work with are scattered around the world. There are people I exchange an email with every week and are like friends, but I will meet them very rarely. I have even completed research projects with people in New Zealand and South Korea before I have even met them.


What is the biggest misconception about what your work involves?

People think I am a robot scientist – they misread cybermetrics as cybernetics!


New ho Ne e hop pe

at the feet of Everest

ith spectacular scenery, including the world’s highest Mountain, Everest, travellers in search of adventure are drawn to Nepal. But this rich landscape is also home to some of the poorest people in the world. More than half the country’s population live below the poverty line and life is a constant struggle for survival. While tourism is vital, there are major initiatives under way which could lead to a better quality of life for rural Nepalese. The University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) has been working in Nepal for around 20 years and is helping to improve the long-term prospects for its inhabitants. These links are now being strengthened further after the recent announcement that the University has won a three-year contract worth £8.5 million which will help the poorest communities. Its role will be as Advisory Specialists and Funding Services for the ‘Livelihoods and Forestry Programme’ (LFP) Nepal. The objective is to provide advisory support to the ongoing programme, as well as funding services to operate and implement it from the centre in Kathmandu and across 15 other districts. LFP, a Department for International Development-funded programme, enhances the assets of rural communities by promoting more equitable, efficient and sustainable use of forest resources. The initiative works with 4,000 Community Forestry User Groups,

representing 18 per cent of the population of Nepal, assisting poor people with enterprise opportunities. Groups are given areas of forest to manage. Without this, they would have less income and their prospects would be bleak. CIDT is committed to supporting the programme. Staff member Peter Branney will be there for three years, assisting the Nepali managers. He will provide general programme management support and technical assistance related to forest policy and planning. Peter will help ensure the focus is on maximising the benefits for the poor and vulnerable and will also provide the team over there with cutting-edge technical skills. Head of CIDT Phil Dearden says: “LFP is empowering the poorest people and reducing their vulnerability.” He says the University was very excited to win the contact, particularly as so much hard work went into the bid. It was put to open tender, with competition from groups across the world. The team of CIDT staff – including Phil Dearden, Des Mahony, Gavin Jordan and Jahan Chowdury – found out their bid was successful earlier this year. Phil says: “This is the biggest contract the University of Wolverhampton has ever signed, but most of the money will be managed by the University to go back into Nepal to help the poorest communities.” Nepal remains a fragile state following the Maoist insurgency that ceased in November 2006 with the signing of a peace agreement with the Seven Party Alliance/government. The country is now going through a transition


stage, with ongoing sporadic violence, closures and crime. LFP has operated throughout the conflict using a Safe and Effective Development in Conflict (SEDC) approach, a set of analytical tools which helps staff to understand the context better and enable them to work safely. Phil says: “This work is a serious challenge and does require a certain element of bravery, as well as high-level management, strategic thinking, education and training.” Setting up and empowering ‘Forest User Groups’ gives poor people access for basic needs – fodder for animals, fuel wood, building materials and food in times of extreme stress. LFP promotes a systematic process of ensuring benefits from forest resources are captured by the poor by applying a tool called ‘Well-being ranking’ as a criteria to ensure the poor are represented. Income is also enhanced through valuable non-timber forest products such as medicinal and aromatic plants. The University itself has much to gain from its work on the programme. The team will be strengthening partnerships with organisations in Nepal. The University of Wolverhampton already welcomes Nepalese students and has worked closely with the Tribhuvan University of Nepal. A major benefit from LFP will be Knowledge Transfer, where experiences are being fed back to CIDT, providing important research information and documentation. They are also looking at issues of climate change and partnerships between the state and communities. Phil believes the project will make a huge difference to Nepal, giving its poorest people the chance of a future.


During the Colonial period, forest rights were turned into forest privileges; all forests were state-owned. This is now changing and there is hope ahead. “Community forestry is about giving the forest resource back to the people to manage and get benefits from,” says Phil. “Without programmes such as LFP, there would be much less focus on helping the poor.” CIDT is a self-financing, non-profit making centre. It has a 30-year track record in helping people-centred sustainable development by working in partnership to develop the skills of individuals and institutions through education and training, research, consultancy and programme management. For more information please contact tel: 01902 323219, email:, or visit our website at:

NEPAL FACTFILE • Nepal is the poorest country in Asia • Most Nepalese live on $1 a day or less and half the population are jobless • One third of the population lives without clear water • Nepal’s population will be 48 million by 2030


• About 85% of Nepalese don’t have health access • About 80% of Nepalese are farmers and rain is very important to the economy. If there is no rain, farmers will often worship the Lord Indra – mythical Hindu god of rain

e Lan La and ndscap pe

of change

An interview with Stephen Catchpole With significant new developments ahead, Wolverhampton is an exciting place to be. We talked to Wolverhampton Development Company Chief Executive Stephen Catchpole about why the city’s future looks so bright…. Wolverhampton is undergoing a process of transformation. The physical signs of this are becoming evident, with developments, such as the Low Level Station now taking shape and the Summer Row retail scheme about to get under way. But there are other long-term changes, which will attract further investment and create a city of regional, national and international significance. Wolverhampton Development Company (WDC) is an urban regeneration organisation, established primarily to help increase the pace of that change and drive forward major initiatives. To do this successfully, it needs to take advantage of the knowledge service-based economies that are emerging. The University of Wolverhampton is playing a vital role in this, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline Gipps as a Director of the Board.

WDC Chief Executive Stephen Catchpole welcomes the support of the University and other key partners, and is committed to ensuring ambitious targets are successfully achieved. He took up the new post towards the end of last year, following success as Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire Horizons. “What attracted me to Wolverhampton was it that it offers a much greater challenge and there is more scope for transformation,” he says. “I liked the historic fabric of the city centre and the fact that the people are extremely welcoming. It’s a superb location, very close to the second largest city and surrounded by fabulous countryside. It has a very human feel about it.” He plans to capitalise on these strengths and build up the reputation of the city, with a clear vision for its future. “Wolverhampton’s wealth was built upon traditional manufacturing industries but with their decline, the city has to transform itself to be relevant to the 21st Century. The city has a lot of interest from investors and one of our main activities is to turn that interest into sustainable schemes on the ground.”

Skyline image courtesy of Wolverhampton City Council


Short-term, the transformation will continue with some developments that have been in the pipeline but are now close to starting. These include: i54. This is a 226 acre site near Junction 2 of the M54 which should provide 6,000 new jobs. The importance of i54 is that it includes higher education research, as well as development potential. Summer Row. This will provide a major boost to the retail offering. It is likely to be anchored by a new Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, other shops, restaurants and some residential. Interchange. This is based around the railway station and bus station. It will include 280,000 sq ft of offices, new hotels, residential accommodation and a remodelled railway and bus station, providing a new, modern transport hub to serve Wolverhampton.


Mr Catchpole believes that these projects will have a significant impact on the city, but strongly believes longer-term planning is still crucial. “When these schemes have been absorbed we don’t want to wait another 20 years for the next phase of development,” he says. “In line with the Black Country study, we want to encourage people to stay in the region, attract people with higher skills levels and raise income levels by ensuring better skills and types of jobs.” He says WDC will be looking at helping to create 30,000 new jobs by 2030. Some of these will be from the schemes outlined but the single major development for the future is the creation of more than two million sq ft of new offices in the city centre. This will provide a significant element of the jobs total and the company is now engaging master-planners to help identify where would be the most appropriate sites.

“Investors will want to invest in successful places rather than individual sites, so we and other partners need to ensure that the ingredients for success are all present,” says Mr Catchpole. “That means getting a skilled workforce, making sure the infrastructure is appropriate, particularly transportation, and ensuring that there is a quality cultural offering, together with leisure facilities. Wolverhampton will offer the complete package for a successful 21st Century city.” He stresses that key to this is the University and the continued enhancement of its reputation to ensure that graduates are being produced to meet the requirements of employers, and that these graduates have opportunities to remain in the area and start their own enterprises.

“The growth of the University is crucial to the wellbeing of Wolverhampton,” he says. “We are very fortunate that the University has a good reputation for us to build on.” He is very enthusiastic about the Wolverhampton India Project. This aims to strengthen existing links and open up new opportunities for mutual benefit, making a positive contribution to businesses, individuals and communities in India and Wolverhampton. Education and Culture/Sport are the project’s three main areas of focus. The University has strong links with India and is one of the main partners for the Project, which Mr Catchpole believes will be of great benefit to the region. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the city to link with the third largest economy, and the University is at the forefront of this” he says. “The future looks good – there’s an exciting time ahead for Wolverhampton.”



Highly-prized leadership potential

aking the transition from university to the business world did not faze Gareth Richards. Not only did the talented entrepreneur secure a post in a local company, he also scooped a top national award. University of Wolverhampton graduate Gareth became one of only five graduates this year to be recognised with a Business Leader of Tomorrow Award, fighting off fierce competition from over 1,200 candidates from across the country. Gareth’s leadership potential became clear during a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Programme with Wolverhampton-based Chamois Furnishing Ltd, which was organised by the University. Gareth worked on a project to create and implement a new strategic business infrastructure to enhance growth for Chamois, which supplies high-quality kitchens to housing associations, private developers and local authorities. His outstanding performance throughout the KTP resulted in Gareth’s appointment as the new Marketing Manager for Chamois, where he is poised to achieve great things. Ian Mckeown, lead academic for Gareth’s KTP placement, says: "The programme has been an invaluable learning experience for all involved. The strategic development of the company has re-positioned Chamois from regional to national markets and opened up future market and product development opportunities.”

Part-funded by the Government, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships enable firms. such as Chamois to recruit high-calibre graduate to boost their business performance by setting them to work on a specific project lasting between one and three years. Managing Director of Chamois Furnishing Ltd, Andrew Jones-Dutt, is in no doubt about the tangible benefits of taking on a gifted graduate from the University of Wolverhampton. He explains: “His role within the company has proved significant and key to the future standing of the business. We have been fortunate in selecting someone as capable and committed as Gareth in our first KTP experience.” The University of Wolverhampton is an energetic pioneer of the KTP scheme, and has been enormously successful in helping companies across the West Midlands realise their strategic goals with the aid of a graduate. The University’s outstanding track record in this area has been reflected in national league tables, which ranks Wolverhampton fourth in the country out of 144 institutions for the number of KTPs it manages with companies. The University also has the top Business School in the country for delivering Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Many more companies are set to benefit from a ‘safe pair of hands’ to help them achieve their strategic objectives. For more information, visit: or call: 0800 068 5023.



KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER PARTNERSHIP (KTP) FACTBOX • The University of Wolverhampton is ranked fourth out of 144 institutions in the country for the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships it manages with companies. • The University is top in the region for managing Partnerships and is currently managing 27 programmes. • 61 graduates have been placed in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships through the University of Wolverhampton. • On average nationally, businesses can expect: – to increase annual profits by around £227,000 before tax – an increase in overall value of the company (52% reported this). – increased overall sales (62% reported this)


A tim ime l melly


new invention to alert medical staff that treatments are nearing their expiry date is being developed by the University of Wolverhampton. University spin-out company Unibyte Ltd. has won a grant of £25,000 from the Technology Transfer Fund to investigate medical applications for its unique ‘tag and time’ technology.

The company has also completed a collaboration agreement with a consumer products company, leading to a licence for its technology. Andrew Pollard, from the Caparo Innovation Centre at the University, explains: “The system includes a digital display identifying medications that are close to expiry based on simple tags that are attached to each package. There are international patent applications pending.” “This is a potentially significant product for the medical market and the University is delighted to be working alongside the inventors on developing such an important device.” The device could be used by a variety of medical practitioners who store and administer treatments and health products. Unibyte Ltd. was created out of the efforts of the Caparo Innovation Centre, who developed the technology in conjunction with inventors Iain Todd and Geoff Archer, who remain Directors of Unibyte Ltd. The University of Wolverhampton has a shareholding in Unibyte Ltd. The Caparo Innovation Centre (CIC), a joint venture between the University and steel multinational Caparo Plc, was established in 2003 with the aim of helping inventors to transform new product ideas into commercial products.

The grant will be used to finance research into the suitability of the innovative device for monitoring medical products, such as eye-drop solution, which becomes unsafe to use a relatively short period of time after opening.

Based at Wolverhampton Science Park, the CIC team comprises engineering, product development and marketing professionals, who work with the inventor to strengthen the business for exciting new product ideas. For more information, email: or visit:



up sin sn ndu round d-u ine Bus usi ness ro Contour Casings Ltd A young company has created 12 new jobs and generated £1 million of sales with help from the University of Wolverhampton. Telford-based Contour Casings Ltd. manufactures innovative radiator covers used in hospitals, schools and care homes. Contour Casings wanted to modify the radiator casings to improve heat efficiency and reduce costs, and the University’s Department of Engineering and Technology was able to provide product design support to the company. With funding from the West Midlands Technology Network (WMTN) project, Dr Ilias Oraifige modelled a radiator cover that would improve thermal properties. A second project was undertaken through the University’s Centre of Engineering Excellence (CEE), which produced 3D CAD models of the products for styling and manufacturing. This enabled Contour Casings to obtain customer feedback without the need for costly prototypes. For more information, visit:

SPEED The University of Wolverhampton’s £5 million Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education (SPEED) programme has proved to be a huge success, and is now being rolled out to universities across the country. Students from any course are given the opportunity to develop their business ideas whilst at University. One success story within the creative industries is redworkshop, a collaboration between students Julia Rowley, a glass artist, and Glen Leech, who is a product


designer specialising in furniture. Their venture includes furniture design and making, public art, site specific installations and lighting. They received financial support, personal mentoring sessions and seminars covering topics, such as sales, marketing and business organisation from SPEED while at the University. Julia says: ”SPEED has helped me open new avenues of thought process and provided an opportunity to make my business goals a reality.” For more information, visit:

LEAD speakers The University’s LEAD (Leadership and Development) programme has welcomed a number of high profile speakers to Wolverhampton Science Park this season. Chief Executive of Ann Summers and star of the celebrity version of the Apprentice Jacqueline Gold was a recent visitor, following former Dragon’s Den panellist Simon Woodroffe in the Inspirational Leadership series. The founder of The Big Issue, Dr John Bird MBE, and TV documentary presenter Ken Hames were also recent speakers at the seminars, organised with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. LEAD supports all University staff and staff in partner organisations and ensures they have access to development opportunities. The Inspirational Leadership seminars provide opportunities to strengthen leadership and management skills by practical knowledge gained from successful business leaders. For further details, visit:

tional tern rnato Inte In


Putting Wolverhampton on the global map mid a sea of international competition, government thinkers and UK universities are making it a priority to give UK graduates the best chance of success in the global job market. Forging closer links with educational institutions overseas and encouraging more students to see the world are part of the plan to raise the global profile of UK graduates. The University of Wolverhampton has made some considerable headway in this area, with some farsighted initiatives of its own.

Many UK universities wishing to put policy into practice could learn a thing or two from activities already under way at the University of Wolverhampton. The University’s internationalisation strategy dovetails seamlessly with Government plans to address the UK’s global education challenges as part of the Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education. When the Government identified strong strategic alliances with overseas partner institutions as crucial, the University of Wolverhampton responded by reinforcing its already established links with Shenzhen


Polytechnic in China, new partners the National Institute for Design and the National Institute for Fashion and Textiles in India, and the Ajman University of Science and Technology in Dubai by promoting student visits. In the interests of advancing outward student mobility, 15 University of Wolverhampton students took part in a two-week cultural visit to China, which included stays at Shenzhen Polytechnic, a weekend with a local family and a weekend trip to Hong Kong. They received 30 hours of Chinese language lessons, martial arts classes and seminars on history, food and the economy in China.

international Learning across continents An historic Memorandum of Understanding in education has been signed between the University of Wolverhampton and Punjab Government. It was the unique nature of this trip that appears to have scored a huge hit with students. Jade Griffiths, who was one of the participating students, says: “It was an amazing experience; we did things we would never have done as tourists. We were all mesmerised and in awe at the things we saw and experienced.” On their return, these students have been encouraged to share their experiences among their fellow students and also have the chance to go back to Shenzhen and teach English for nine months as assistant language teachers after they graduate. What better ambassadors for Wolverhampton could the University ask for?

So with many more University of Wolverhampton students poised to experience the wider world, both the institution and its students stand to gain a competitive edge. Director International at the University of Wolverhampton, Jo Gittens, says: “We are actively encouraging domestic students to venture overseas, which is helping to make them more employable in this increasing global environment.” This thinking is in accord with Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, who recently wrote to Vice Chancellors, encouraging them to create more opportunities for students to go abroad in order to help them compete for jobs in the global market place. Add these initiatives to the thriving international community which exists at Wolverhampton, which already attracts students from over 128 different countries, there is clear evidence that the reputation of the University is spreading around the globe. The established presence of Regional Offices in India, Malaysia and China continue to consolidate historically rich recruitment hotspots, whilst new offices in Africa and Poland actively target emerging markets in Central and West Africa, Poland and Eastern Europe. The University also has a large number of Contracted Educational Advisors representing the University around the world.

The trip has proved to be so successful that other new international experience initiatives are planned. A trip to Dubai is proposed and a three week visit to India has already gained funding through the Prime Minister’s Initiative. Students from Wolverhampton’s partner institutions in India will make the return trip, establishing greater bonds and an increasing flow of students between the institutions.

So, when asked how the University of Wolverhampton is giving its graduates a competitive edge in the global job market and raising its own international profile, one of the most land-locked Universities in the UK can claim to be doing rather more than simply staying above water, it’s positively riding the crest of a wave.

Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal presided over the function where the MoU was signed. The MoU was signed by Professor Caroline Gipps, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, and Secretary Education Punjab KBS Sidhu. The main aim of the MoU is to increase the interflow of educational skills between the Punjab and the UK through a teacher-training programme. Under this arrangement, the teachers in Punjab would receive special academic training by UK teachers, focused on improving their skills, particularly in English language. This will enable students from the Punjab to be more competitive on a global basis. It will also be an opportunity for the University of Wolverhampton to reach out to its prospective students from Punjab, who might be exploring the possibilities of overseas higher education. The agreement is part of the ongoing Wolverhampton India Project, launched last year in the House of Commons, which aims to promote multi-level co-operation between the two countries in the fields of sports, education and trade. Professor Gipps and University Director, International, Jo Gittens were among a delegation from the city, including Pat McFadden MP and Wolverhampton Development Company Chief Executive Stephen Catchpole, who recently visited India to strengthen links for the project. Two more agreements were signed during the trip last month, one between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and the JCT Football Academy, Hoshiarpur, and another between Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Look out for next month’s WLVdialogue, which will feature more news on the University’s links with India and support for the Wolverhampton India Project.


Ga Gr rad ra adua uate

success story

A string of accolades has helped develop their reputation. Neely was awarded Black Country Young Entrepreneur in the 2006 Inspirational Women Awards organised by Business Link. A bronze medal in the 2007 Chamber of Commerce Business Champion Awards followed and they also won the contract for the Annual London Charity Fashion show 2007 at the Albert Hall. Sapphires has since expanded to include an office in London but they made a decision to keep their head office in Wolverhampton. “People don’t associate fashion with Wolverhampton but that’s something we’re hoping to change,” she says, adding she is currently in the process of organising a highprofile event for the region with celebrity hosts.

Name: Neely Reyes Course: Graphic Communication Year of Graduation: 2003

“We are now privileged enough to be in the position to provide talented people with the resources needed to get started, which we think will only help the region.”

Neely Reyes has a mission to put Wolverhampton firmly on the fashion map. And with her determination and early successes, there’s no reason why this ambitious 26-yearold shouldn’t achieve her goal. She founded Sapphires Modelling Agency with Ian Warren, a fellow graduate of the University’s School of Art & Design who studied Multimedia. Both had taken on photography and design work but found there wasn’t a huge demand. They considered moving to London but really wanted to stay in their home city. After recognising there was a gap in the market in Wolverhampton and an opportunity to develop its style potential, Neely and Ian made a decision to start their own business. They created a business plan and secured a grant from the Prince’s Trust which gave them the foundations for their agency.

She decided to approach celebrities for her fundraising idea and was delighted with the response, which raised £1,000. Sapphires also ran a major model search with Vero Moda and Jack and Jones. They visited 12 cities throughout the UK and had 2,200 applicants enter. Neely says: “You see these type of competitions run in London by top agencies all the time but you don’t see them happen outside the capital much at all especially run by new companies such as Sapphires. This was a huge achievement for us because Vero Moda and Jack and Jones are a massive company and we are currently sponsored by them until autumn this year which means we wear clothes from their brands to major events and endorse them.” Neely says the skills she learnt at the University have been invaluable: “We both found our courses have helped us. We created our website and branding, and we’d both taken photography modules which proved really useful,” she says. “But the main thing for me was the confidence I gained.” She is still in touch with her tutor Julia Chidley, who is always happy to offer advice and support and is very proud of Neely’s success. “Julia is amazing,” says Neely. “Any idea I have had she has encouraged me and told me to go for it.”

Business partner Ian Warren Her day-to-day role is a whirlwind of booking models, taking part in shoots and styling. A career highlight for Neely was a celebrity photo shoot for Comic Relief including interior designer Linda Barker, comedy duo Cannon and Ball and Ab Fab comedienne Helen Lederer.


Sapphires recently teamed up with the University to give students a taste of real fashion photography. Professional models from across the UK visited the School of Art & Design as part of the scheme, helping students studying a BA (Hons) Photography develop their skills at a commercial level. For Neely and Ian, this is a vital step towards developing regional talent to achieve their long-term ambitions. For more information visit: For more information about our School of Art & Design visit:


at’ o t’s on Wha Wh ha’ July Free public lecture about HMS Swift. Speakers are Dr Dolores Elkin and Professor Chris Underwood, from the National Institute of Anthropology, Argentina. Organised by Mike Williams, School of Legal Studies Date: Monday, 7 July 2008 Location: MC001, Millennium City Building, Wolverhampton City Campus Time: 7.30pm Contact: Julie Hayward Email: or call: 01902 322145

bri re ief ie ef i br News in Opening of new Walsall building

Training for border police

A new £12 million Education and Teaching building at the University of Wolverhampton has been officially opened by the Schools Minister, Jim Knight.

The University is providing human resource training to members of the Romanian Border Police after securing a prestigious EU project.

Transformational Leadership – Lessons from ‘The Tempest’. A one day introduction to transformational leadership organised by Leadership and Development (LEAD). Trainer is Phyllida Hancock. Date: Friday, 11 July 2008 Location: Wolverhampton Science Park Time: 9am-5pm Contact: LEAD. Email: or call: 01902 518964

August University of Wolverhampton Open Day. Find out about a range of courses, meet lecturers and current students and tour the excellent facilities. Particularly useful for people going through the Clearing process.

The building houses the School of Education and the Institute for Learning Enhancement and can accommodate more than 1,100 students. It includes specialist teaching facilities, a 250-seat lecture theatre and an innovative social learning space, which provides free access to IT facilities in a relaxed environment. This also features a Fairtrade food outlet, Go Eat World.

Date: Saturday, 16 August 2008 Locations: Wolverhampton City and Walsall Campuses Time: 10am-4pm Contact: The enquiries team on tel: 01902 32 22 22 or contact Katy Guest – email:

Mr Knight said: “This is an excellent building which fits the excellent work going on in the School of Education. It is great to come to an institution that is doing such a good job in training teachers.”


A £28 million scheme to support schools in the Black Country has been officially launched with the support of the University of Wolverhampton.

2008 University of Wolverhampton Graduations. Students from all academic Schools receive their awards. Date: Monday, 1 September to Wednesday, 10 September 2008 Location: The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton University of Wolverhampton Open Day. Find out about a range of courses, meet lecturers and current students and tour the excellent facilities. Date: Saturday, 27 September 2008 Location: Wolverhampton City Campus Time: 10am-4pm Contact: The enquiries team on tel: 01902 32 22 22 or contact Katy Guest – email:

Lecturers from the University of Wolverhampton Business School are travelling to Romania to train the police officers and agents who man the country’s borders. The ‘Training in Curriculum Design and Development’ programme is delivered by four lecturers from the Human Resources department of the School. Continuing the policing theme the University has launched a pioneering course in partnership with West Midlands Police. The new BSc (Hons) Policing will prepare students for a professional career in the force and allied occupations. Chief Constable Sir Paul Scott-Lee attended the launch. He said: “I look at Wolverhampton and see one of the most energised cities in the country, and the University is at the heart of that. I am very pleased that we have been able to come together in this way.”

A smile goes a long way …

Launch of the Black Country Challenge

The Black Country Challenge is a Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) project. The target is to see a sharp drop in underperforming schools, particularly focusing on English and mathematics, and significant improvements in the achievements of children in challenging circumstances. Chief Advisor to the Black Country Challenge is Professor Sir Geoff Hampton. He said: “As Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, I know how important it is for all young people to have high and achievable aspirations to succeed as adults. In my role as Chief Adviser I will work to deliver the targets of the Challenge.”


Using smiley face symbols while chatting online can improve people’s impressions of each other, a University of Wolverhampton psychologist has found. Internet psychologist Dr Chris Fullwood found people who used ‘emoticons’ or smiley face graphics were perceived as more outgoing and friendly than those that did not. Dr Fullwood, from the University’s School of Applied Sciences, said: “We have established that emoticons can have an impact on the impressions that people form of each other, and the impressions of the emoticon users tended to be more positive.”

WLVdialogue WV University of Wolverhampton Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 1LY tel: 01902 32 22 22 fax: 01902 32 25 17 web:


WLVDialogue June 2008  
WLVDialogue June 2008  

University of Wolverhampton quarterly stakeholder magazine.