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T H E M A G A Z INE F O R R ESE A R C H A ND B U SINESS C OLL A B O R A T O R S

research+collaboration+innovation

feeding the nine billion

Tackling one of mankind’s greatest challenges - food security for all Also inside:

CREATIVE THINKING

How arts and humanities are shaping our world

AGEING WELL

Tackling musculoskeletal problems in our ageing society

Calculated risk

The art of managing risk effectively


contents // 2

Inside this issue Features 4 ask the experts

Dr Joanne Meehan on the business benefits of engaging with the University

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6 Calculated risk

The art of managing risk effectively

8 FEEDING THE NINE BILLION

A growing population spells challenges for the future of our food

12 BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Liverpool is leading the way in sustainable architecture

14 AGEING WELL

Tackling musculoskeletal problems in our ageing society

30 LASER GUIDED

Liverpool’s expertise in laser processing is cutting edge

34 ARTS AND HUMANITIES

Professor Mark Peel looks at how these extensive subjects are shaping our world

36 dr ELIZABETH LAIRD

Making a real difference to people’s lives

Case studies and Partner Profiles 19 A FOOT IN THE PAST

Bringing the Iron Age back to life

22 SUCCESS IN NUMBERS

Liverpool Health Partners puts collaboration at the heart of its success

24 GIVING UP FOR GOOD

How Liverpool is helping the British Army to stop smoking

26 engineering stem cells

As life expectancy increases, there’s a focus on regeneration rather than repair

28 SNIFFLES

Helping the fight against smuggling

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IN BRIEF 38-39 News and developments from across the University

8 Production: University of Liverpool, Corporate Communications e: business@liverpool.ac.uk W: www.liverpool.ac.uk/business

The University is a member of the elite Russell Group of research-led UK universities.


Realise // 3

Welcome Curiosity drives our research to find real-world solutions

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elcome to the second edition of Realise, in which we showcase our research, knowledge, facilities and interdisciplinary expertise. The magazine also highlights the vital collaborations that help translate what we offer into positive impacts for companies, individuals, communities and society at large.

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As a member of the Russell Group, we are one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities, and our staff pursue research that is motivated by a desire to find solutions to the most pressing issues of today and the future. The practical applications of ‘blue-skies research’ may not be immediately apparent, but much of what we do is directly relevant to the real world. Problems faced by companies and communities drive innovative research to find ingenious, bespoke and uniquely interdisciplinary solutions. Working in partnership with business, industry, research collaborators, public sector, and local and foreign communities in this context is vital. These partnerships not only help us to develop the teaching of our students, making them ready for the world of work, but also enable us to develop the innovations of the future. If you are interested in talking to the University about specific expertise, the potential for collaboration, or you simply want to be kept informed about future developments, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: business@liverpool.ac.uk.

Printed on paper from responsible resources FSC C101533. Please recycle this document.

Professor Dinah Birch Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Exchange


Viewpoint: Dr Joanne Meehan

Ask the experts When faced with a problem, the default solution for many businesses is to call in the consultants. Dr Joanne Meehan, a lecturer at the University of Liverpool Management School, explains how they could benefit more from turning to us for help


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onsultants are great at solving immediate shortterm problems. A company might have a problem or situation it doesn’t know how to deal with. A consultant can come in, tell them what they need to do, write a report and leave. Problem solved. Or is it? There is the risk that consultants commoditise the solution; they may have faced the same issue before, probably with one of your competitors, and put a solution in that doesn’t offer you any real competitive advantage. Working with the University is very different. Rather than providing a standardised solution, we have the time and expertise to get under the skin of the problem first and find out why it is there in the first place. We may not initially come back with an immediate answer, but with even more questions to make sure the right problem is being addressed. The ‘three Cs’ framework – Challenge, Choice and Consequence What we do really well is challenge the fundamentals and assumptions that businesses make, in a way that an organisation wouldn’t necessarily challenge itself. We still want to solve the immediate problem, but our engagement tends to be more substantial to build up a thorough understanding of the problem and to make sure the right questions are being asked. This ensures the solutions are more sustainable in the medium to longer term. Secondly, we provide choice. Where consultant models generally present generic solutions, academics tend to come in with bespoke solutions; we are interested not just in replicating ideas, but constantly improving and extending them. We can offer a much broader range of options because our breadth and depth of knowledge is much wider. Somebody from the Management School can work with an expert from Engineering or Health Policy

and bring together unique interdisciplinary knowledge and viewpoints that are very difficult to replicate in another environment. The third point, which is increasingly important, is to provide insight into the positive and negative consequences of each of those choices. This goes beyond business benefits, as it brings in issues of ethics, risk and accountability. You might, for example, get your profits up and your cost down, but what are the wider social impacts further back in your supply chain? How do these create fragility and exposure to new, previously unforeseen risks? We can lay down these implications in a much broader, strategic perspective, which is extremely valuable when choosing a solution that has all the benefits but no longer term, negative consequences. Opening up unique routes towards solutions Projects we have worked on with businesses are very diverse and have been delivered through different mechanisms. It might be through executive education, a funded PhD, contract research, or a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which is where a high-calibre graduate is placed within a company to work on a project that addresses a specific strategic need. Providing access to our knowledge, expertise and facilities through a variety of different delivery mechanisms opens up a unique range of routes to tackle a company’s problem thoroughly. In return we get a lot back from working with companies; we listen and advise in equal measure. It allows us to test our knowledge, to see what the contemporary problems are, lay ourselves and our research open to professional challenges, and ensure that we equip our students

with the right technical knowledge and skills to operate effectively in today’s business environments. Accessing leading-edge thinking A critical advantage of working with a research-active academic is to get access to leading-edge thinking. Traditionally, we publish our research predominantly for other academics in academic journals. But the publishing cycle of academic work is very long - at least 18 months. By working together with companies we can shortcut that process, offering them the benefits of very current research, which can give them a competitive advantage in their industry. Rather than disseminating our research outcomes at the end of the cycle, we are increasingly keen to develop strategic relationships with businesses at the start of our research. The University distinguishes itself from other providers through offering a very different engagement model. The UK Government is keen to try and close the gap between business practice and universities. We can play to our strengths by offering new knowledge, critical thinking and cross-disciplinary challenges. This is made even more attractive by the many funding schemes available to business to underwrite the costs of collaborating with the University. Dr Joanne Meehan is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool Management School and a renowned thought leader in strategic purchasing. An active researcher in the field, her research centres on power and value in buyer-seller relationships and the impacts of sustainable procurement on diverse stakeholders.

For more information about how working together with the University can benefit your organisation, visit: www.liverpool.ac.uk/business or email: business@liverpool.ac.uk info


Title here Financial Research: and Actuarial Mathematics // 6 // 6

Calculated Risk

The University’s Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics is helping today’s finance, insurance and investment industries gain the skills needed to quantify and manage risk effectively. Dr Thanasi Pantelous, Director of the Institute, explains how

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he global financial crisis remains at the top of international policy agendas. Here at Liverpool, our research into the stability of financial systems and the effectiveness of crisis intervention policies can help external organisations to address two major issues. The first is how society can be protected against insolvencies caused by large unexpected losses in the financial sector. The second is deciding which policies are best suited

to work out financial crises triggered by insolvencies. Theoretical research supports the notion that higher reserve requirements not only make individual banks safer, but also make the whole system more stable, reducing the probability that a failure of one market player brings down the whole system. This gives regulators and central banks the theoretical foundation for their policies. Whereas the theory or risk-taking behaviour of single entities is quite advanced, systemic aspects of financial and economic risks are not. At Liverpool we have established the Institute for

Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (IFAM) to enhance, support and stimulate research in corresponding mathematical techniques, which have become increasingly important to banks and insurance companies. The Institute brings together a group of experts with a strong track record in the areas of risk and probability theory and stochastic control theory with applications in the insurance and finance industries. We have expertise in the analysis of complex financial and economic systems to model risk and identify the potential impacts of any failures in multi-agent, macroscale systems.


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companies, we build mathematical models for claims, premiums, returns on investments and dividend payments. Financial mathematics Financial mathematics applies mathematical and statistical techniques to the financial industry. Modern financial products are highly complex and managing the risks inherent in those products requires good models. Our expertise helps those using probability theory, partial differential equations, statistical analysis and numerical and computational methods. Our expertise includes: Portfolio optimisation Choosing which assets to invest in is not easy: there are many to choose from, each with their associated risks. Our expertise can help to put together the optimal mix or assets that minimises risk for a given growth return level.

Actuarial science Actuarial science provides the statistical and mathematical methods needed to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries. Our expertise includes: Stability of pension systems Helping pension funds to design the optimal strategy, by calculating the optimal model Competitive markets in insurance Looking at how to model competition through a particular network of companies and how to set premiums that cover losses as well as profits Developing structural bonds We study how an illiquid asset or group of assets can be transformed into a security Ruin theory and solvency To obtain the quantitative estimates for the solvency positions of insurance

Derivative contracts The recent financial crisis has highlighted the need for more robust methods of hedging and pricing derivative contracts, whereby the value is derived from one or more underlying assets, market securities or indices. Our experts work to develop these methods, using relevant mathematical techniques. Numerical analysis and computational methods Mathematical finance models are highly complex and it is rarely possible to find a simple ‘formula’ that lets one work with the model. Instead, efficient numerical methods must be used and

our expertise in this area, as well as computational methods, can provide significant advantage in a competitive investment environment. Building unique critical mass The Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics is currently working on a European grant from FP7/Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme worth â‚Ź783,000 to coordinate a research network of 12 internationally renowned universities within the field of risk modelling and analysis in extremely rare events. The objective is to address rare events and extremes by analysing environmental and financial risk with probabilistic tools. By working with academics from around the globe and sharing interdisciplinary expertise, we are building unique critical mass in this area. We also work with significant research centres and companies in the insurance and financial industries, which allows us to focus our research on the most important and relevant topics, while helping our partners understand how to solve their problems and gain new insights. Moreover, our Institute is working on joint research projects with Aspen, Barnett Waddingham, BNP Paribas and Santander. Dr Thanasi Pantelous is the Director of the Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics within the Department of Mathematical Sciences. The Institute has received accreditation from the Institute of Actuaries, a professional body representing actuaries in the UK.

To find out more about the Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics, email Dr Thanasi Pantelous: a.pantelous@liverpool.ac.uk or visit: www.liverpool.ac.uk/ info

institute-for-financial-and-actuarial-mathematics/


research: food security // 8

Feeding the nine billion


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Food security is an urgent concern for us all. Here, Professor Martin Mortimer, Head of the Department of Plant ScienceS and Director of Liverpool’s Food Security Network, outlines where THE UNIVERSITY’S research will have a positive impact as we reach a crossroads in human history

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ood security is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. Access to available and affordable, safe food supplies is widely recognised as a major concern, both for poverty alleviation, and to ensure that food supplies will match the future demands of the nine billion people anticipated to inhabit our planet by 2050. It is a global challenge, which has been identified as a key priority in the research strategies of the UK Government, national and international funding agencies, and development organisations. Market connectivity through global product supply chains means that changes in land use and production policies, as well as natural calamities (such as droughts, floods and fires) can cause fluctuations in food prices and uncertainty in supply. Food safety in processed foods continues to be of concern in intensively reared livestock, together with the risk of infectious diseases. Moreover, the potential threat of climate change increases uncertainty in relation to production processes, particularly in the tropics and sub-tropics. We have now arrived at a unique crossroads in human history. Decisions that affect agricultural and fisheries production, food consumption patterns and the distribution of food need to be reconciled with strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation, preservation of biodiversity, and increasingly address humanitarian crises of hunger and social unrest. This is at the heart of the sustainability agenda underpinning food security. Food security research then is inherently multidisciplinary and policy decisions require interdisciplinary approaches and understanding. The topic simultaneously

encompasses dietary and health needs, food consumption and preferences, food safety, the local and global economics of food supply chains, land use policy, and increased production through sustainable agricultural and fisheries practices. Agriculture can also play an integral role in biodiversity conservation in the rural landscape, but at the same time it is a major source of greenhouse gases. At the University, we have incorporated food security into the heart of our multidisciplinary research through centres of excellence within our research institutes. To synergise interdisciplinary research collaborations, we have established a virtual Food Security Network, bringing together the research community in developing innovations and cutting-edge solutions required to tackle the diverse challenges of food security.

The supply side Agricultural intensification (raising production on existing agricultural land) involves plant and animal breeding and the development of new and improved crop management and animal husbandry practices. Utilising post-genomic technologies to accelerate plant breeding for improved biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, together with studies of animal behaviour to understand and control rodent behaviour, are just two examples of how translational research at Liverpool contributes to elevating yield potential and reducing yield losses on farms. Sourcing new feed stocks for use in terrestrial fish farms – which now globally produce more fish protein than marine fisheries – is also essential in raising productivity. Animal production We have a wide range of research expertise related to livestock rearing, including poultry and dairy farming and aquaculture (see ‘Fishing for solutions’ on p.11).


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Crop production Our research focuses on functional gene analysis underlying key plant traits linked to yield enhancement and stress tolerance for major cereal crops and in biomass production for biofuels. This work extends to consideration of adaptive cropping strategies in response to climate change and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from crops in Europe and Asia. Food safety Food safety in processed foods continues to be of concern in intensively reared livestock, together with the risk of infectious diseases. We have particular expertise in immunology, food microbiology, molecular microbiology and epidemiology. We also look at the wider social context of food safety and foodborne diseases, for example examining how animal husbandry and management systems affect the development of antimicrobial resistance within food production environments. We also host the National Centre for Zoonosis Research, which is dedicated to the study of animal-borne human diseases. Pest, pathogen and weed management Pre- and post-harvest yield losses continue to significantly limit productivity in many systems (with up to 30% losses), and pesticide regulations, in response to environmental concerns, are changing the options available to farmers and producers. We investigate how to employ understanding of animal behaviour in the innovative development of pest control strategies as well as modelling the biology and management of pests, and the evolution of pesticide resistance.

Drivers of change Sustainable agricultural intensification (providing the world’s growing population with a sustainable, secure supply of good-quality food from less land and with lower inputs) is a paradigm that requires wide-scale policy analysis, and consideration of the benefits to society in its implementation and impact. Adapting to climate change, mitigating the effects of agriculture, and changing land and resource use (especially water) requires evidence-based decision-making founded on sound science. Policy and decision-making Our extensive experience with landuse policy contributes to analysis of the impact of proposed changes in agricultural practices on the rural landscape and also to shaping agricultural and fisheries regulatory mechanisms in the EU. We also work closely with subsistence farmers in developing countries on disease control programmes for improving the health and productivity of farm livestock.

Livestock diseases and impacts of climate change We model the impact of climate and environmental change on the future incidence and distribution of infectious diseases of animals in Europe and Africa.

Consumer responses Consumer purchasing patterns, globalised product supply chains, retail marketing management, and economic governance of food systems strongly determine food availability and choice in determining healthy lifestyles. Studying these areas is integral to improving both human health and livestock welfare. Globalisation and product supply chains We study supply chain optimisation, eco-logistic and food supply chain innovation, dynamic planning and pricing approaches for food quality and safety assurance and waste reduction. We also analyse resilient supply networks for mass customised manufacturing. Functional foods We lead in the development of foods to help people maintain a healthy weight, curb their appetites, improve their gut health, control their blood sugar and improve their cognition, perception, mental performance, mood and feeling of wellbeing.

Working with the food industry Members of the Food Security Network work across the spectrum from ‘farm to fork’ and collaborate with partners across all sectors of the food and drink industry. We welcome the opportunities of research and training partnerships with both public and private organisations, which will enhance sustainable and ethical food supply systems that underpin healthy future lifestyles. Professor Martin Mortimer is a plant scientist working on sustainable agricultural intensification in both tropical and temperate agro-ecosystems.

To find out more about the Food Security Network visit: www.liverpool. info

ac.uk/food-security-network


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Fishing for solutions Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of agricultural food production. Fish, with a higher protein conversion efficiency than other farmed species, may provide a solution to global food security problems.

✱✱ The University has world-leading expertise encompassing nutrition and feed development, production R&D, breeding and biodiversity, health monitoring, water quality management, sustainability and biosecurity, providing wide-ranging opportunities for exchange, collaboration and training.

Our virtual Food Security Network brings together the research community in developing innovations and cutting-edge solutions required to tackle the diverse challenges of food security.

✱✱ The University has engineering ✱✱ We are keen to work with excellence in intelligent monitoring industrial partners to further systems, sensor design, coating develop our expertise and technologies and advanced technology in aquaculture. manufacturing techniques, as well as experts in food choice (psychology) To find out more about the Institute marketing, management systems, of Integrative Biology email Dr Iain operations and supply chain Young: isyoung@liverpool.ac.uk excellence, and entrepreneurship.


research: Sustainable Architecture // 12

Building

for the

future

Professor Steve Sharples, Chair in sustainable environmental design, explains how Developing sustainable architecture is a vital part of protecting our natural environment

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he growth and development of our communities and the buildings we live and work in have an enormous impact on our natural environment. The materials, design, construction and daily operation of buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s energy use and 35% of our CO2 emissions. To prepare for the future and lead a more sustainable lifestyle, we must create new, low-energy, sustainable buildings while reducing the environmental energy impact of our existing homes and workplaces. With gas and energy prices rising, recent surveys indicate that approximately 80% of people are prepared to pay for a more energy-efficient house. And with new government regulations coming into place for all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2016, and all new non-domestic buildings by 2019, sustainable measures can no longer be viewed as luxury add-ons – they will become essential. But as a nation we

are lagging behind with our sustainable building performance and must learn how to improve this. We need the people, the skills and know-how to develop these zerocarbon buildings. So what role are we at the University of Liverpool playing to help the building industry to cost-effectively design and construct buildings to higher environmental standards? Sustainable architecture seeks to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings by increasing efficiency and moderating the use of materials, energy and development space. Even relatively small measures like improving a building’s insulation, making it more airtight, or putting in more efficient energy heating systems can make a big difference. We are working to limit the impact that buildings have on the climate and environment with architects, social scientists and engineers all working to develop energy efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable building methods and designs. Our Stephenson Institute of Renewable Energy plays an important role in this, bringing together unique, interdisciplinary expertise


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from across campus, and building links with a diverse range of external organisations. We have architects and building scientists with expertise in monitoring and modelling energy and buildings, as well as material acoustics and sound insulation. We have experts looking at the psychology of sustainability - what makes people turn switches on and off and how they respond to controls in a room. We have experts in electrical engineering who deal with control systems and those who work on sustainable materials. Recent studies have included using state-of-the-art modelling and extensive monitoring in real buildings to measure predicted versus real energy performance. We have carried out the ‘eco-refurbishment’ of existing homes and post-occupancy evaluation of green offices, and assessed the energy-saving potential of daylight in atrium buildings and the impact that climate changes in temperature and wind could have on the potential for natural ventilation and heating/air conditioning in buildings. We also study the potential risks and problems associated with sustainable features and innovative designs. As an example, a straw bale house is very ecofriendly because it is made from durable, cheap material and provides very good insulation, low energy and low carbon. But are people willing to pay a high mortgage for a straw bale house, or do they perceive this to have certain risk and uncertainties? There are also issues with people overriding sustainable features, so that a building does not perform as it has been designed to because it doesn’t suit how people live or work in it. For example, to make a building airtight and efficient, you might put a membrane in that keeps the fabric dry. But when someone wants to put up a picture on the wall, it damages the membrane allowing moisture to get in. We must therefore consider how people interact with their built environment, without reducing the performance of the building. Another area that we specialise in is the acoustics of materials and sound insulation,

looking at the interaction between ventilation and noise. Natural ventilation and bringing daylight into a building are sustainable features but both create openings in a building facade or allow noise to come in from outside. We have ways to chart this and can use sound insulation techniques to enable natural ventilation while controlling unwanted noise. Our experts also carry out research into the measurement and prediction of sound and vibration levels in buildings. Lightweight buildings such as timber frame houses are relatively cheap to erect and very sustainable in terms of the energy they use. However, the problems concerning sound transmission are different to those with heavyweight buildings, with lightweight structures often transmitting significantly more low-frequency sound energy. Companies looking to develop their skills and know-how in sustainable architecture and construction methods can benefit from working with us. We can not only provide research, training and consultancy, but we also have high-quality laboratory facilities for product and system testing, and can help with modelling, extensive monitoring and surveying the energy-saving potential of new and existing buildings. Professor Steve Sharples holds the Chair in Sustainable Environmental Design. His research investigates the environmental impact and performance of buildings in the context of climate change and low-carbon, sustainable design. He has worked across a broad range of subject areas, including energy, thermal comfort, ventilation, daylight, noise, climate change and sustainable design.

To find out more about accessing the University’s expertise on sustainable architecture, email: business@ liverpool.ac.uk or visit: www. info

liverpool.ac.uk/business


CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE // 14


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Ageing well Rising life expectancy is placing huge burdens on individuals and healthcare Providers. Professor Malcolm Jackson, Head of the institute of ageing and Chronic disease, explains how Liverpool and two other leading UK universities are working together to tackle one of the biggest consequences – musculoskeletal problems


CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE // 16

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t is a remarkable testament to modern healthcare that there are currently more than 1,000 people living in the UK who were born before the declaration of the First World War. But improved life expectancy brings with it its own complications. These centenarians are among a population of over 65s which has now grown beyond the number of under 16s in this country, and this statistic is predicted to increase by another 50% by 2050. Our rapidly ageing population presents serious problems for society and especially healthcare providers in the UK and across the world. Research at Liverpool looks for solutions to one of the key problems an ageing population will present - disease and decline in the function of bones, joints, tendons and muscles among older people. The musculoskeletal system is responsible for providing support, form, stability and movement to the body, and musculoskeletal problems are a major factor in the loss of independence and poor quality of life in older people. Approximately 30% of people over the age of 65 in the UK currently suffer from this kind of condition. This has a significant impact upon quality of life, work productivity and health costs. Traditionally, musculoskeletal disorders were studied and treated in isolation; however, they are all affected by age-related changes. This thinking has led the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle to team up and establish the Medical Research Council (MRC) and

“There is an urgent need to develop simple solutions that can minimise the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as the muscle weakness and increasing physical frailty that occurs with age.�


Professor Malcolm Jackson (right) and Professor Robin Huw Crompton amid some of the Centre’s gait analysis equipment

Arthritis Research-funded Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing. Within the UK there are probably 10 million people with musculoskeletal problems of some kind, ranging from weakness and painful joints to arthritis and osteoporosis. It is a serious problem as these people are living with increasing pain and disability which impacts their quality of life. As our population ages, individuals want to remain fully active and physically independent for longer. There is an urgent need to develop simple solutions that can minimise the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as the muscle weakness and increasing physical frailty that occurs with age. Within Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease we have a critical mass of expertise in the fields of skeletal muscle and tendons, eye and vision sciences, and obesity and endocrinology.


drug which was meant to change the bone. What we didn’t know was what that drug would do to the muscle or joint. Indeed, there is a track record of developing potential anti-arthritic drugs which, when tested, showed a deleterious effect on the tendons - they stiffened the tendons and made the situation worse. The new Centre provides a unique opportunity to seek answers that can apply across the whole system, rather than just focusing on any one tissue alone. The Centre officially launched in 2012 with an initial grant of £2.5 million from the Medical Research Council and Arthritis Research UK. Its aim is to deliver real benefit for people in delaying or preventing the development of conditions that limit mobility and vitality. Ultimately our work is designed to develop interventions which can reduce the impact of ageing across all areas, whether that be through new drugs, nutrition or exercise. The Centre is well connected with the NHS, public sector bodies, and charities, as well as companies in the food and healthcare industry such as Unilever, Tesco and AstraZeneca. We are keen to strengthen and extend these vital links as the Centre’s findings start to develop. The intention is for the Centre to replicate a successful outreach programme established by Newcastle University, called Voice North, which engages social groups of older people to involve them in the research. It is important to share our knowledge and expertise with the outside world, and bring in expertise in areas that we don’t have. We are interested in working with a wide range of businesses and industries and to discuss their challenges and needs, and how our expertise and facilities could provide solutions as we move forward.

By combining our expertise with the University of Sheffield’s expertise in bone and osteoporosis, and Newcastle University’s expertise in ageing, joints and arthritis, we can really drive research to improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide, by discovering new treatments and prevention methods. Ageing affects a whole series of different systems. Our research focuses on how experts in the biology of tendons, muscles, bones and joints can help better inform investigations into the ageing process. We also work to identify new interventions to improve and maintain musculoskeletal function, looking at how Professor Malcolm Jackson is Head of the Institute of Ageing nutrition, exercise and pharmacological and Chronic Disease and Director of the Medical Research approaches can influence the ageing Council (MRC)-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated process as well as the mechanisms that Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing. His research interests may halt musculoskeletal degeneration, are molecular and cellular physiology of oxidative stress and which contributes significantly to frailty in adaptation: Influences of nutrition, disease and ageing. older people. In the past, if an elderly person info For more information about the went to see someone about osteoporoCentre, visit: www.cimauk.org sis, for instance, they would be given a


partner PROFILE: PEMBROkeshire national Realise park // 19

A foot in the past With the help of the University, the Iron Age is brought to life in the present day at Castell Henllys

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earning from the past is essential for us to fully achieve our future potential. It has led us to where we are today, and will shape where we go tomorrow. Within Pembrokeshire National Park lies Castell Henllys, a heritage visitor centre that turns the clock back to the Iron Age. “The centre was completed in 1994, and attracts 200 schools each year, some from as far as Cardiff – a three-hour bus ride


Title here // 20

away,” explains Site Manager, Rhonwen Owen. Pembrokeshire National Park has been on the archaeological radar since Dr Harold Mytum, the University’s Director of the Centre for Manx Studies, started excavating the grounds in 1982. The project lasted 26 years and included the design and completion of three archaeologically supported, reconstructed roundhouses (one of which is the longest-standing reconstruction in the UK) and one four-post structure. “The roundhouses give children a real sense of what life was like in the Iron Age,” explains Rhonwen. “The session is taught through role-play, so the children find out about dayto-day activities that took place back then. We look at distinctive aspects of life in the Iron Age, social roles, the challenges for those living in that period and their sophisticated architectural achievements.” University staff still contribute heavily to the education programme through both their expertise and the detailed materials supplied for both the schools programme and the public. Having a historically accurate programme in

place is particularly important as The Celts is a feature of the national history curriculum at Key Stage 2. As a result, Pembrokeshire National Park and the Castell Henllys facility have been included as a key part of the history component of the new Curriculum for Wales. As further testament to the quality of the centre and its teaching provision, Castell Henllys has won the Heritage Education Trust’s Sandford Award for Education three times. The archaeological dig was at one point considered to be the largest teaching excavation in Britain. Every summer, students came from all over the world, up to 70 each week, to be part of the excavation. Their discoveries resulted in the complete interior of the fort being excavated. There was an annexe outside the fort, the Romano Homestead, which was also excavated, and paved the way for the construction of the roundhouses. Castell Henllys is the only reconstructed hill fort in Britain to be erected on its original foundations. As a centre for excellence in archaeological matters, the University’s involvement with both


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IMAGES: patrick frilet / rex features

The 26-year-long excavation project included the design and completion of three archaeologically supported, reconstructed roundhouses and one four-post structure

the Castell Henllys excavation and the reconstruction of the roundhouses doesn’t stop there. “The University’s expertise is invaluable when it comes to the experience we give our 30,000 visitors every year,” Rhonwen says. “I’ve asked Harold to visit the site again soon to deliver a session to our discovery guides to ensure the information they are delivering is correct. His contribution is incredibly important – not just for our education programme and visitors, but also for the local economy. What used to be here was a site of little local importance – nobody knew it was steeped in so much history. Harold changed that when the excavation started, and locally, we have really benefited from the flurry of activity that has surrounded Castell Henllys.”

At Liverpool there is a rich history of supporting public sector ventures like Castell Henllys from numerous perspectives. In addition to educational assistance, Harold also provided significant input into the Pembrokeshire National Park management plan, based on the outcomes of the excavation. The location and size of the structures, the position and form of the complex entrance, earthwork defences, visitor routes and information on interpretive panels have all been informed by Harold. “It’s really important that we keep the link going with the University of Liverpool for the benefit of the site,” says Rhonwen. “They make sure that we get the interpretation right by guiding us on what artefacts we should be showing our visitors, and giving them the most historically factual information. We could make changes, but the prehistoric heritage and landscape are all the University’s field – the centre really wouldn’t be the success it is without their support.”

“What used to be here was a site of little local importance nobody knew it was steeped in so much history.”


Partner PROFILE: LIVERPOOL HEALTH PARTNERS // 22

Success in numbers Liverpool Health Partners brings NHS trusts together with academic institutions to improve healthcare delivery, research and clinical education across the country

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n an industry that relies on innovation, collaboration and the discovery of new techniques, bringing people together is pivotal. Through the pursuit of excellence in healthcare delivery, research and clinical education, a new strategic partnership aims to create improvements in health. Liverpool Health Partners (LHP) was established as an academic health science system that brings together expertise from the University of Liverpool, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and seven of the region’s NHS Trusts. By combining scientific and clinical expertise, it provides a unique opportunity to develop worldclass research that leads medical research breakthroughs to direct clinical benefits for patients. The North West is one of the UK’s top three biomedical clusters based on major pharmaceutical presence, a rapidly expanding biotechnology community, many

“By combining key strengths we are able to identify the real priorities in healthcare, develop solutions, and put them into practice.” healthcare technology companies, and a strong analytical and clinical supply presence. This makes Liverpool Health Partners ideally placed to further develop effective collaborations with the commercial sector to encourage enterprise and innovation. “Liverpool is unique in having so many specialist trusts,” explains Rosalind Way, Director of Operations at Liverpool Health Partners. “By working together and coming together as a single corporate identity, we become stronger and even more effective.” Liverpool Health Partners is organised

around four main areas of research that demonstrate international excellence: cancer, drugs, infection, and musculoskeletal conditions and diseases. This is supported by clinical services that can be developed in a co-ordinated way across the Partnership. “By bringing people together, we can make important inroads into improving delivery of care in those key clinical areas,” Rosalind explains. “Next to these four core areas, we also link in with a number of cross-cutting themes that affect the population, for example health inequalities, ageing and chronic conditions, and women and children.” Beyond the nine founding partners, LHP intends to develop a wide network of members to include the NHS, academia and industry that will broaden the basis for strategic development and enhance opportunities for collaboration. “Collaboration is at the heart of what we do,” explains Rosalind. “By combining key strengths we are able to identify the real priorities in healthcare, develop solutions, and put them into practice. Another positive to having all the local trusts involved is


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the speed at which we can translate our findings, offering a smooth pathway from the laboratory to the NHS and its patients. “Obtaining funding for research projects can be a complex process. This is where Liverpool Health Partners can make a real difference. As part of LHP’s operational heart, the Liverpool Joint Research Office looks closely at how to develop and deliver joint research projects, making sure programmes link together and that the research governance is done on time and target. The complexities behind how projects are being put together and who owns the intellectual property is dealt with centrally, allowing clinicians and researchers to get together and come up with new advances.” As a central, joined-up partnership delivering clinically focused research, Liverpool Health Partners offers an ideal interface for external organisations that

wish to collaborate with the University on clinical or health and wellbeing research. “We have access to a wide pool of expertise and can put our partners in touch with the right people, rather than them having to navigate individual trusts to find out who they should be talking to,” Rosalind says. Liverpool Health Partners comprises the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the following Merseyside hospital trusts: Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University NHS Foundation Trust, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS.

Foundation Trust.

If you would like to discuss further opportunities to work with Liverpool Health Partners visit: www. info

liverpoolhealthpartners. org.uk or email: rway@ liverpool.ac.uk


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Giving up for good The British Army has higher smoking rates than either the Royal

Navy or the Royal Air Force. To help them ‘kick the habit’ for good, the University has teamed up with the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to offer support.


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oncerned by the high rates of smoking of soldiers within the British Army, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation approached the Ministry of Defence and the University to lead research into exploring the cultural and behavioural reasons that might sustain smoking within the British Army. Of particular interest to the British Army are the smoking behaviours of soldiers when they first join the Service during Phase 1 training, and for soldiers who are deployed overseas. Preliminary data the Defence Medical Services and also public health provided by the Ministry of Defence indicated that leads from the three Services to use the findings smoking rates in the British Army were higher than from the research to adapt existing services, making either the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force, particularly relatively simple changes to provide a consistent among lower ranks and in the infantry, suggesting approach throughout all units of the Army. Our that particular occupations and environments might insights can help the services to develop new ways sustain smoking and make it harder for smokers of engaging with smokers who may want to quit to give up. and so improve the health of people serving in the By providing new understandings of smoking, armed forces and their families.” the research aims to support existing Army services Eileen Streets, Director of Tobacco Control to provide the most effective and appropriate at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, services to soldiers, helping them to find new ways said: “In working with the University, we have of encouraging soldiers to quit. Looking beyond established a rewarding relationship whereby the prevalence data, the research uses focus groups we act in the best interests of the people we support and in-depth interviews to explore how the Army in conquering lung cancer.” might create an environment where smokers who have quit do not relapse, while providing support PartnerS Ministry of Defence, for smokers who want to stop. The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation One issue for the Army is the perception of Activity type Contract research fitness and ‘invincibility’, as many soldiers join the Academic lead Professor Jude Robinson, British Army in their late teens and early twenties Department of Sociology, Social Policy and generally leave around 25 years of age, so their and Criminology smoking habit does not appear to impact negatively SUPPORTED BY The research was funded by on their daily performance and fitness levels. This a charitable donation to the Roy Castle makes it harder for those providing smoking Lung Cancer Foundation cessation services to engage with the soldiers and conventional messages around ‘health’ are deemed less likely to work with this population. Professor Jude Robinson, from the University’s Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, is leading the project: “We have some interesting findings around Army culture and practices. The focus of our research is to look into the culture of smoking. Why do people smoke, what are the tension points, and is it harder to give up in the Army? Are people being given more or fewer opportunities to smoke? How does their work/ home life affect their behaviour? “Our research findings help to identify the stress points for smokers and recommend ways to change the attitudes, behaviour and perceptions of smoking. Lieutenant Colonel David We are working with staff at the headquarters of

“The reduction of smoking in the Army is a key tenet of our health strategy and the results produced by this work have been very useful in the identification of trends and causation.”

Whimpenny, Head of the Army’s Health and Health Promotion Team


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Engineering Stem Cells As life expectancy in our society

rises, there is a growing need for therapies that not only repair the body, but also regenerate new, functional tissue and organs. For example, a metal hip replacement can last for up to 25 years, but it may need to be replaced perhaps two or three times if a person lives to be over 100 years old. Other solutions must be found so

that people can grow old without being a burden on society and the healthcare system. The University is at the forefront of developing such solutions as we explore how stem cells can be ‘implanted’ into patients just like a medical device, to become a physiological and functional part of the body and contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of a person.


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“Ideally every hospital in the future will have access to a number of flasks to take patients’ stem cells and grow them into bone or cartilage forming cells that can then be implanted back into the patient.” Professor John Hunt, Clinical Engineering Research Group

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tem cells are considered the way forward in tackling the problems of our ageing society. As the primary cells in the body from which other cells mature, stem cells have the ability to differentiate into different types of cells and kinds of tissue that can keep people healthy. Blood is the least invasive source of stem cells: they can be taken from everybody and implanted back into patients to form new tissue such as bone or cartilage. what the stem cells will become. The technique, A team of clinical engineers from the University, however, is expensive to set up and therefore costly led by Professor John Hunt, examined how to to buy. To ensure a more cost-effective process, the control and direct stem cells, which has led to University is looking to further develop the existing new intellectual property (IP) being created based technology or find alternative technology. on their research. This IP has been licensed by One of the key challenges is the scientific aspect companies to produce stem cell substrates that of translational engineering. Experts from Clinican generate large numbers of stem cells in vitro cal Engineering are working with the Department for use in high-throughput modelling, or direct in of Engineering, international leaders in the field of Additive Manufacturing (AM). By combining vivo implantation. Both the novel substrate and the these areas of expertise they will develop both AM stem cell populations that the companies ‘nurture’ equipment and the production processes for the have become products for research markets and manufacture of implants. Their aim is not only to healthcare providers. produce materials that are in the right physical form, Nanoink Inc specialises in nanoscale but ones that actually recruit the right kind of cells manufacturing and applications development for and switch those cells on to do the right thing – this the life science and semiconductor industries. really would be a future regenerative medical device. The company has licensed the University’s The University is set to file a patent that will take nanotechnology-based surface substrate used this work forward, and is discussing the research for stem cell definition. Nanoink’s Dip Pen with a range of companies which are interested in Nanolithography (DPN) technology provides developing a device or approach to define how to industry with the tools to fabricate their own stem control a stem cell from blood at the nanoscale. cell substrates. It can also provide off-the-shelf substrates to research teams and healthcare providers. Partner Nanoink Inc The DPN technique works by laying down the Activity type Contract research, specific chemistry of a particular pattern which Intellectual Property (IP) enables control of the differentiation of stem cells Academic lead Professor John Hunt, Clinical at the nanoscale. In simpler terms, it can direct Engineering/ UK Centre for Tissue Engineering


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SNIFFLES

Helping the fight against smuggling The EU allows European citizens to travel freely between

countries; however it is not just people that cross borders each year. Goods also cross borders, and because they are subject to customs duty and tax, it is unsurprising that a high volume of products are smuggled into, out of and around the EU every year.

These smuggled items include; foodstuffs, technology, drugs, endangered species, firearms and explosives, but also people (human trafficking). SNIFFLES, a PanEuropean academic and industrial collaboration led by a team at the University, is developing a portable artificial sniffer to help the fight against smuggling.


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“Professor Steve Taylor is one of the world’s gurus in the area of miniature mass filters and it is great to be working together.” Programme Manager, Royal DSM

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here is a growing need for new and/or improved technologies to scan people and cargo quickly with minimal disruption to travellers, but with a high degree of accuracy. Led by Professor Steve Taylor from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the University is the leading partner in SNIFFLES, a collaborative FP7funded project among nine European academic and industrial partners. The aim of the project is to develop a state-of-the-art miniature and portable artificial sniffer capable of detecting trace ‘fingerprint’ substances from smuggled goods and hidden people at EU border crossings using linear ion trap mass spectrometry (LIT-MS). LIT technology offers high-sensitivity mass spectrometry analysis, fast The focus of current research worldwide is upon detection and low maintenance costs. ion trap MS, which allows a larger mass detection The LIT-MS sniffer device is intended to range in a smaller footprint device. The University complement the work of sniffer dogs. If successful, has a patent application for a novel method of the artificial sniffer will provide a fast, accurate, LIT-MS using rapid manufacturing techniques. sensitive, reliable, user-friendly and cost-effective It is this invention which is at the heart of the method for the detection of targeted illegal SNIFFLES consortium. substances, including weapons, drugs, explosives, CBRNe (chemical, biological, radiological and PartnerS TWI Ltd, Université de Provence, DSM nuclear weapons/agents) and hidden people. Research - Technology and Analysis Geleen, In this way, the EU’s borders will remain open Q-Technologies Ltd, SAES Getters Group, and efficient for legitimate travellers and goods, envisionTEC GmbH, XaarJet AB, Wagtail UK Ltd while presenting an effective barrier to crossActivity type Collaborative research border crime. Apart from its potential impact on Academic lead Professor Steve Taylor, Electrical EU security, Sniffles also has the potential for Engineering and Electronics exploitation in international markets. SUPPORTED BY The European Community’s Seventh Recent years have seen the development of Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) miniature mass spectrometer (MS) instruments, allowing MS applications out of the laboratory for use info Visit: www.sniffles.eu in field conditions. The world’s smallest quadrupole for more information MS was co-invented at Liverpool in the mid 1990s.


SPECIALIST CENTRE: LASER ENGINEERING // 30

The University’s Lairdside Laser Engineering Centre bridges the gap between cutting-edge research concepts and shop-floor production, giving unrivalled access to expertise, equipment and training in laser processing

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n a little over half a century since they were first discovered, lasers have become an indispensable part of modern life, with a huge range of uses and a growing multi-billion

pound global market. Early applications in cutting and welding have revolutionised aspects of industry and become common practice. Every day brings new developments and applications for lasers, and the latest micro-processing techniques have the potential to revolutionise a whole range of new industries. The Lairdside Laser Engineering Centre, based in Birkenhead, provides regional, national and international companies with unrivalled expertise in applying laser technology to benefit their business. Lasers remain a major growth area, with sales of laser systems growing at a rate of 16% a year over the last 25 years and with uses in nearly every industry sector.

The Lairdside Centre was established more than 12 years ago as an industrial interface for the University’s laser group in the School of Engineering, which is now the largest University-based research group for laser materials processing in the country. It was established off-campus to be physically close to local industry and it has evolved into a major research facility performing an important knowledge exchange role, especially with industrial partners. Group leader, Dr Geoff Dearden, says: “We are a bridge between academic research and industry application. We have the facilities to do high-level research, as well as demonstrate these capabilities to industry. Lots of good ideas come out of here. “We allow companies to explore potential industrial, scientific or medical applications without them having to invest in the technology directly.” The Centre, although formally part of the School of Engineering, has been run as a not-forprofit enterprise and funded almost entirely by its own research endeavours through a mix of UK governmental and European bodies and a number of contracts with companies. Five full-time staff


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Dr Geoff Dearden, Director of the Lairdside Laser Engineering Centre


combine manufacturing and research expertise and work alongside PhD students. It has gained the continued support of the European Regional Development Fund for its Knowledge Exchange in Lasers (KELAS) project to assist local SMEs in assessing the potential benefits of adopting laser techniques and applications for the benefit of their business. As part of this project, the Centre has been able to offer representative experimental trials and evaluation using its laser process and analysis equipment. Industry partners use the Centre’s expertise to translate high-level research to their own particular needs. Companies may know what a particular laser process can do in principle, but in order to calculate if it is a practical process, the Centre can find out if it works for a specific material, in a specific environment, at a specific speed, or at a viable cost. When a company is sure that a laser system would be beneficial, the Centre’s experts can also advise on how to proceed, even helping with training. “We can assist by offering a consultative service, advising on how lasers might be implemented, whilst offering impartial advice about what laser types and system parameters would be suited to meet an application,” says Dr Dearden.

We allow companies to explore potential industrial, scientific or medical applications without them having to invest in the technology directly.


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We are talking to a range of companies who are interested in taking that up. There is no commercial laser forming system at the moment, which is an opportunity we are exploring. “We are always thinking of new ideas, while looking ahead to see where the market is going.”

The Centre can provide support for all sizes of business, from ‘fledgling’ companies to multinationals, and offers incubation space for new businesses on its premises. In recent years, the Centre has worked with more than 60 SMEs, and larger organisations including Nissan, BAE Systems and QinetiQ. It has also been at the forefront of developing applications for laser welding and cutting technologies, now commonplace in many industries. Its researchers are now concentrating on areas like laser deposition, which involves building new material, laser forming (non-contact bending and shaping of thin sheet materials) and micro-processing. Currently, some businesses are investing in applying the group’s laser cladding deposition processes, while others are investigating the possibilities of adopting its laser forming techniques. Dr Dearden says: “We developed a control algorithm and system to adapt the laser forming process in an iterative cycle to bring a flat shape towards a real 3D shape or to correct a distortion.

The Centre has leading researchers in the field of short pulse lasers, investigating their use in areas like photovoltaics, sensors and plastic electronics. They are also developing optical techniques which will turn a single beam into dozens of beams to maximise the amount of energy utilised. If these beams can be made to work uniformly and at high speed, it could provide real benefits for industry. “Globally we are only touching the surface of an iceberg; there is much more to explore.”

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with the Lairdside Laser Engineering Centre, visit: www.lasers.org.uk/llec or email: info

fearon@liverpool.ac.uk


Viewpoint: Professor Mark Peel

How arts and humanities are shaping our world Arts and humanities research helps us preserve our history, understand the world we live in today and imagine our future. Through its study we learn to think critically, independently and creatively, and to ask questions. Professor Mark Peel, Head of the University’s School of the Arts, explains how arts and humanities are changing lives and shaping the world


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y exploring the past and its context, we develop an understanding of human experience, values, identity, culture and our collective history as constructed through literature, language, artefacts and performance. This knowledge nourishes our cultural existence, nurtures the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole, and inspires creativity and innovation. An important aspect of the arts and humanities is how they help us understand complexity in a way that empowers sustainable, clever solutions. Decisions taken in haste, without thinking through the possible complications caused by the contexts of culture, history or landscape, are often ineffective and can be expensive to overcome. Think of urban planning without regard for the complex nature of community and identity, which is ignorant of the past, and has horrendously expensive implications for the future. Through analysis and critical reflection, we ask established questions, invent new questions, and explore possibilities and ideas from new perspectives. This enables us to advise how to best tackle and address particular problems and show why what might appear like an efficient solution won’t work because of larger questions, issues and considerations. Changing lives and shaping the world Artistic and cultural expression is of intrinsic value to an open, healthy society that aspires to find better ways to live equally and sustainably. It energises debate and imagination, sparks new ideas and moves hearts and minds; whether in music, literature, film, design or other ways of looking at the present and the future. As such, it is vital in changing lives and shaping the world. It is important to other areas of knowledge as well; the flourishing of technological, technical, scientific and medical innovation often occurs

alongside the flourishing of free, artistic expression. Building the future is never simply a matter of techniques or processes. It is also a matter of ideas, and of global, as well as local, debates. The University provides a space for these conversations to take place and for exchanges between scholars in arts and humanities and those in other areas, such as health and life sciences or engineering, who are equally interested in ideas, questions of culture, ethics, wellbeing and expression, and debates about designing the future. Through multidisciplinary connections across the University, and international connections with scholars in other societies, we help raise vital questions. For instance, in a few years’ time, medical developments are likely to contribute to people living longer, and we will be able to predict with some accuracy the age at which a person is likely to die from natural causes. Exploring what this means, or how people can live well over a longer period of time, are areas in which conversations between medical and humanities researchers are crucial. Through intensive collaborations with cultural and creative organisations, public authority and policy makers, our knowledge and expertise translates back into society, culture and the economy. We address key questions and share with others the expertise and techniques to tackle them. In our role as thought-leaders, we focus everyone on shaping the future, emphasising most of all the vital roles of imagination, creativity, critical reflection and communication. Professor Mark Peel is Head of the University’s School of the Arts, which includes Architecture, Communication & Media, English, Music and Philosophy.


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“I feel like I want to be doing something that makes a difference and that is a real driver.� Dr Elizabeth Laird, Lecturer in Orthopaedic Sciences


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wo things drive Dr Elizabeth Laird’s work: a fascination with fundamental science, and a desire to ensure her work makes a real difference in people’s lives. An interest in science from an early age has guided her all the way to a lectureship in Orthopaedic Sciences at Liverpool, which began in 2010. Elizabeth graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry from the University of Nottingham in 1997 and completed her PhD at the University of Manchester investigating the biochemical basis of an inherited form of short-limbed dwarfism with early-onset osteoarthritis. She went on to study the cellular mechanisms of collagen fibril alignment in tendon research, which formed the basis of an international award-winning paper. Her work here in Liverpool is expanding on her expertise in fibril biology, in particular the effects of ageing and musculoskeletal conditions. Fibrosis is a huge clinical issue, particularly with our rapidly ageing population, so for someone who wants their research to have a clinical impact, this is the ideal field. Elizabeth says: “I have always wanted to go into medical research. I was particularly interested in science when I was younger, and wanted to do something that would make a difference to people’s health. That is why I did physics, chemistry and maths at A Level and then went on to do my degree. I wanted to understand how chemistry - specifically drugs and how they are synthesised - can affect biology.” Her research into an abnormal type of collagen is being carried out with the help of an MRC New Investigator Research Grant, awarded in September 2012. Her long-term goal is to produce a pharmaceutical treatment which could target fibrosis and age-related and degenerative disease, and to potentially develop bio-markers that could be used by clinicians to predict disease progression. “I feel like I want to be doing something which

makes a difference and that is a real driver. But I am also absolutely fascinated by the subject; the more you read, the more you find out, and it just becomes even more intriguing. There are so many people working in biological research worldwide and we still have so much more to discover,” she says. If successful, the research could be used by companies developing diagnostic kits for clinicians and Elizabeth is keen to engage with potential collaborators. She has worked with Pfizer in the past, testing anti-fibrotic compounds that the company provided in an experimental system. “Using Pfizer’s inhibitors, I was able to test a hypothesis using its compounds as research tools, which is just one of the many ways that research can benefit from industry.” Liverpool is the perfect environment to give her research every chance of success by offering a combination of world-class facilities and academic support. The University is a major centre for musculoskeletal biology, with researchers approaching the subject from many different angles, from basic scientists to clinicians - human and animal - to biomechanics. “There is a real joining together of different approaches and a lot of opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Elizabeth. “The facilities are excellent, the labs we work in have just been refurbished and we have access to all the equipment we need. There is very good academic mentoring; senior staff are always happy to review grant applications and give advice. I am also enrolled on the research team leadership programme, which has a more formal mentoring scheme. It’s a course which runs for a year and covers project management, leadership, human resources and collaborative research, plus it enlists a team of eminent mentors at the University.” Looking to the future, Elizabeth wants to develop a world-class research team and to translate research findings that make a real difference to patients.


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Materials Innovation Factory is a European first

Research centre boost for 50 local businesses

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he University has been awarded a share of the Government’s £1 billion investment to establish Europe’s first Materials Innovation Factory, in collaboration with Unilever. Creating unique state-of-the-art, open-access facilities, the project is one of seven to receive funding from the Government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund. It will develop a new generation of functional materials for science and industry, and accelerate the research and development process by a factor of 200. The development of new materials is of vital importance to sectors such as energy, home and personal care, pharmaceuticals, genomics, food and drink, paints and coatings, and biomanufacturing. These fields are of fundamental importance to sustainability and healthcare and critical to the future competitiveness of the UK. The new facility, unparalleled in Europe, will accommodate researchers from a number of higher education and industry partners with the potential to work collaboratively to develop new science. It will also strengthen the impact of the UK’s research base and help to promote the country’s economic growth.

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he first cohort of 50 businesses in the North West has been selected to work intensively with university researchers and graduates in a radical new research centre designed to undertake collaborative research and development partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises. The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation is run by the University of Liverpool, Lancaster University and Inventya Ltd and is the only one of its kind in Europe. At the heart of the Centre is a team of 50 qualified and experienced graduates working on intensive three-yearlong collaborative research and development projects with local businesses and drawing on the expertise, resources and global contacts provided by the partner universities involved. In the future, the Centre will provide opportunities for up to 235 additional companies in the North West to be supported in their development of new products and services through shorter (three to six month) collaborations to develop new, greener products and services, resulting in significant savings in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste and energy, making measurable contributions to the region’s economic recovery, and delivering a significant number of new jobs to the region.

For more information about how the Centre can support your business, visit: info

www.cgeinnovation.org


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£6 million funding for XMaS

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Management School joins elite

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he University of Liverpool Management School has been recognised by one of the world’s leading business school accreditation organisations – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The School joins just 5% of institutions in the world that have achieved business accreditation from the AACSB, which represents the highest achievement for an educational

institution and its college of business. Professor Murray Dalziel, Director of the University’s Management School, said: “AACSB accreditation places the Management School among the world’s best. A global leader in management and leadership training, education and research, the School is a place where students, academics and organisations come together to develop and share advanced management practice.”

£6 million X-ray Magnetic Scattering (XMaS) facility owned by the Universities of Liverpool and Warwick is helping to address major societal challenges including energy storage and recovery, the digital economy, and advances in healthcare. The facility has received funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to further study into the atomic and magnetic structures of materials and their properties under different conditions at scales of ten thousand times thinner than a human hair. Projects that XMaS is involved with include helping scientists re-grow teeth from stem cells or artificial implants, improving understanding of magneto-electric materials that will underpin more efficient data storage, and reducing corrosion on metal heritage artefacts, such as those recovered from the Mary Rose. Professor Christopher Lucas, Professor of Physics and co-Director of XMaS, said: “This funding is a major boost for the UK scientific community. Exploitation of technology and instrumentation that XMaS has developed has raised nearly £1 million. This combination of world-leading research and knowledge transfer ensures that XMaS continues to offer an excellent return on Government investment.”

Developing technology that can replace humans The University has joined with other leading North West universities, the North West Aerospace Alliance and BAE Systems to launch the £9.1 million Growing Autonomous Mission Management Applications (GAMMA) programme, which seeks to develop the software and sensor

technologies for application in autonomous systems. Autonomous systems are technology-based solutions that replace humans in tasks that are mundane, dangerous and dirty, or detailed and precise, across sectors including aerospace, nuclear, automotive and petrochemicals.


Knowledge, expertise & skills that help your business to grow Tapping into our cutting-edge research expertise can help you to respond to technological changes and achieve your objectives; transforming ideas into creative solutions, technologies, strategies, applications, products or skills. By gaining a deep understanding of your needs, we develop solutions that enable your business to become more innovative, profitable and competitive.

Offering:

programmes · Research · Consultancy facilities and equipment · State-of-the-art Transfer Partnerships (KTP) · Knowledge Professional Development (CPD) · Continuing · Student projects and placements

Plus a whole lot more...

www.liverpool.ac.uk/business


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