Students Staff

Research impact

5 May 2016

Save the date for Tavistock conference

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Communications Office @ 12:07 pm

Image of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust websiteHarvard psychiatrist Professor George Vaillant’s work will be the focus of the second Joint University of Essex and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Annual Research Conference in June.

The conference, which is part of the Tavistock Research Week, takes place in London on 24 June.

‘Researching psychodynamic defences: a lifetime’s work’ will offer participants an insight into the issues and challenges of researching the unconscious. Professor Vaillant, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Consultant at the Department of Psychiatry, will highlight the importance of longitudinal cohort studies such as the Harvard Study of Adult Development. He will also talk about his long experience as a teacher and a writer bringing to life the manifestations of psychological defences.

The conference is open to all Essex academics.  Details of how to book your place will be available soon.


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22 March 2016

Naseem showcases research at House of Commons

Filed under: People pages, Research impact, Student experience — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 2:58 pm
PhD student Naseem Ramli discusses her research with Bernard Jenkin MP.

PhD student Naseem Ramli discusses her research with Bernard Jenkin MP at the House of Commons.

PhD student Naseem Ramli was shortlisted to showcase her research at a special event at the House of Commons.

At the SET for BRITAIN event, Naseem presented a poster demonstrating her research into renewable energy to several MPs, including Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin.

Naseem, from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, said: “It was a prestigious event, with my session being quite competitive. I’m working on renewable energy, but it was a great opportunity to meet those from other engineering disciplines.”

SET for BRITAIN aims to connect researchers with MPs and highlight Parliament’s role in promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. Naseem, who was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants, added: “Not only did the event highlight new technologies, but also it was a great way to showcase renewable energy and how it benefits the planet.”

Naseem’s research focuses on using lithium-ion batteries for low power applications and she would like to be able to gain funding to develop her research further.

With renewable energy being a key interest for Naseem, she praised the University’s Green Impact programme, which helps departments be more sustainable. “It’s a good scheme,” added Naseem, “I can see that the university has made large investments in solar technology.”


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2 February 2016

Partner voted a Bloomberg Business Innovator

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Communications Office @ 4:59 pm

Signal teamThe University is delighted that one of our industry partners, media tracking company Signal, has been named among the list of Bloomberg Business Innovators 2016.

The list is made up of companies which have been identified as changing how the UK lives, works and thinks and Bloomberg Business Innovators 2016 aims to create a network of over 50 breakthrough business leaders who epitomize the vibrancy and diversity of the UK business scene, highlighting the firms that are growing or innovating at pace.

Essex has strong links with London-based Signal, which helps organisations around the globe monitor, discover, collaborate and draw insight from 15,000 news sources, 3.5 million blogs and social media.

Our Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Signal recently won Innovate UK’s KTP Best of the Best Awards 2015. Signal’s Chief Technology Officer Wesley Hall is also a Visiting Fellow at the University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and Essex academics Professor Massimo Poesio and Professor Udo Kruschwitz are scientific advisors for Signal.

The main aim of the KTP with Signal was to develop cutting-edge, highly scalable natural language processing applications that monitor and analyse the world’s news. The innovative intelligence platform developed by Signal can be used in any market, sector or domain to follow industry news, monitor risk and opportunity and track competitors.



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18 December 2015

Sports scientists help Essex stars of the future

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact, Sport — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 3:32 pm

Human Performance UnitBudding sports stars of the future are being supported by our Human Performance Unit (HPU) as part of the Active Essex 2016 Inspired Athletes initiative.

A total of 25 inspiring athletes from across Essex have been successful in their applications for funding from Active Essex, Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. This funding will be pivotal in helping them to develop and enhance their sporting potential.

Active Essex will be working in partnership with the HPU at our Colchester Campus to ensure the athletes have access to discounted services which can help maximise their sporting potential.

The range of sports covered by the athletes include gymnastics, canoeing, wheelchair racing, athletics, sailing and squash.

The HPU prides itself as a one-stop shop offering a wide and specialist selection of services for athletes of all abilities looking to maximise their performance, including physiological support, performance nutrition, biomechanical and performance psychology support.

HPU manager Chris McManus said: “We want to work with and support the best athletes in the region. We already work with a wide range of sports men and woman and this is a real opportunity for us to work with aspiring athletes of tomorrow and it will help bridge the gap between performance and sports science.

“The wide range of the sports that we can support just goes to show we are able to adapt and provide bespoke services for a wide range of sports.”


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15 December 2015

Essex big data projects feature in ESRC magazine

Filed under: Research impact — Tags: — Communications Office @ 12:28 pm

Britain in 2016Two big data projects based at Essex have been featured in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s annual flagship magazine.

Britain in 2016 showcases the economic and social research funded by the ESRC, and this year’s includes a feature on how data can help society to work better and businesses to compete.

The article looks at the Administrative Data Research Network, established in 2014 to allow researchers to carry out social and economic research using administrative data, and the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, set up to help companies, local authorities and academics to use data more effectively.

Dr Melanie Wright is Director of the Administrative Data Service, which co-ordinates the Administrative Data Research Network here at Essex. She told the magazine: “We set out to build a new research infrastructure, which would enable researchers to have access to incredibly rich, important and detailed data – but to do it in a way that is safe, secure, regulated and controlled, and always in the public interest.”

The three-page feature examines how the Network consulted privacy groups to address public concerns about how data are used. “Right from the beginning,” Melanie adds, “we were aware that there’s huge public concern about privacy and how government uses data collected about people – data that’s really not recorded for the purposes of research.”

The article also examines the role of the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, also established in 2014. Professor Vania Sena, Director of the Centre, based at Essex Business School, says, “There is a layer of companies, especially in our region, which would benefit from being able to analyse big data, but they don’t have the skills or technical knowledge to do this. We focus on SMEs and local government. We collect their data sources and try to merge them with additional sources of data to create a more detailed picture.”

One of the research projects it has undertaken examined what faster broadband means for local businesses – whether transactions are now made electronically, for example, and if businesses are Skyping their suppliers. The Centre also trains businesses in using data to increase productivity and efficiency.

The Administrative Data Research Network, meanwhile, has around 50 projects at various stages of development, including one which will look at the socio-economic impact of Northern Ireland’s ‘peace walls’.

Britain in 2016 is out now, and available at WH Smith, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Boots.

You can also order a copy by emailing:



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14 July 2015

Making the most of big data

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: — Communications Office @ 2:43 pm
Professor Anthony opens the IADS conference

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster opens the IADS conference

The potential of big data was discussed at a special conference organised by our Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS).

Analysts and researchers from across the academic, business and local government sector came together at Wivenhoe House to explore the potential of big data analytics and identify areas of potential collaboration.

IADS is a multi and interdisciplinary institute, bringing together expertise in analytics and data science from across our University.

During the conference IADS director Professor Maria Fasli explained how academics from across disciplines were working together to look at the wide range of challenges around big data and how it can be used to answer key questions in society.

The speakers also included Professor Vania Sena, from Essex Business School, who said there was a need to remove the hype from the reality around big data and the how the Essex-based ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre was focused on empowering organisations to use their data to improve their businesses and operations.





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15 June 2015

Inaugural mental health research conference with Tavistock partners

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact, What's on — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 2:23 pm

The University is hosting its inaugural annual mental health research conference with our partner, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust on Wednesday 8 July.

The University’s partnership with the Trust is expanding and the theme of the event is Working Together, Making a Difference. It will bring together colleagues from the University and the Trust in a way that will mutually benefit clinical practice and research.

The aim is to make a real difference to the lives of people suffering with mental health problems, to promote resilience and positive mental health. The event will also create opportunities to form collaborative groups around mental health issues.

The themes of the conference are: Understanding People’s Experience of Mental Health, Building Resilience and Positive Mental Health and Making a Difference: Research Methods and Impact.

The event is being held at our Colchester Campus on 8 July from 9.30-4.30. Book a place using Eventbrite.

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18 May 2015

Workshops to help make sure your research connects with the right people

Filed under: Research impact, What's on — Communications Office @ 1:25 pm
Victoria and Albert Museum How to Guide

How to guides were developed as part of the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, co-curated by Dr Gavin Grindon, which were used by protesters around the world.

Workshops are being held to help our academic staff and research students identify the best way of engaging with key audiences.

Those attending will hear from Essex academics sharing their experiences and also get insights from leading organisations and companies.

Engaging the Public with Research will be held from 2pm to 5pm on Wednesday 27 May at Wivenhoe House hotel on our Colchester Campus.

Engaging with the Private Sector will be held from 1.30pm to 4.15pm at Wivenhoe House on Tuesday 9 June.

The workshops are being organised through Essex’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), part of a nationwide strategy to support research organisations to accelerate the impact of research.

The Engaging the Public with Research workshop programme includes Claire Jones, Research Associate at KCL, and former Director of the Museum of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Leeds. Professor David Smith from the Coral Reef Research Unit at Essex will talk about involving the public in research, while Dr Lina Hakim will discuss her work  as Andrew Mellon Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Dr Gavin Grindon, Lecturer in Art History at Essex, will discuss his work as curator of the exhibition Disobedient Objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Engaging with the Private Sector workshop will feature Dr Steve Glowinkowski, Founder and CEO of Glowinkowski International Ltd, and Dr Kali Demes, Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate, Glowinkowski International Ltd, talking about the company’s successful partnership with Essex. Other speakers will include Dr Abhijit Sengupta from Essex Business School and Professor Klaus McDonald-Maier, Director of Research at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and co-founder of spin-out companies UltraSoC Technologies Ltd Metrarc Ltd. A panel discussion will be chaired by Professor Geoff Wood, Dean of Essex Business School.

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11 May 2015

It’s all in a wink…or a blink

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 10:04 am
Ana Matran-Fernandez  working on the Cybathlon challenge

Ana Matran-Fernandez working on the Cybathlon challenge

Could we control our smartphones in the future with a simple wink or blink? Well this is the challenge being taken on by students at the University of Essex.

PhD students Davide Valeriani and Ana Matran-Fernandez recently took part in Hack the Brain, the first UK Hackathon dedicated to projects related to the brain and won with their EyeWink project.

The Essex duo, who are part of the University’s Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) group, together with two other participants, led the winning team which in just eight hours built a working prototype which linked up eyebrow movements to controlling a phone, via an EEG-measuring device and a computer.

“We were really proud that in such a short space of time our team had a good idea and a fully working prototype,” explained Ana.

Following the success at Hack the Brain, Davide and Ana are now hoping to develop the project into a wearable wireless device (EyeWink) which can be used for a wide range of ways to control a smartphone using combinations of winks and blinks – from changing a song while running to locating a missing phone.

EyeWink will allow users to control their phones without their hands. In the future, Davide and Ana would like to develop it for people with mobility issues, such as those who have locked-in syndrome.

The Essex BCI group, which is in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, is also taking part in the international 2016 Cybathlon championship in Zurich. Cybathlon is a tournament for parathletes who will compete in six races with the aid of human performance-enhancing technology.

One of these races involves brain-computer interfaces and the Essex Brainstormers team will be among 48 teams taking part where they will battle it out control an avatar in a race by capturing brain signals and turning them into commands.




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6 February 2015

Essex presence at Magna Carta conference

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 5:27 pm
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury

Essex graduate Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was one of those participating in the Magna Carta event

Essex alumni have played a key role in an international conference marking the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Opened by Essex graduate and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP, the four-day Human Rights in the Modern Day Commonwealth: Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter conference brought together parliamentarians, experts and academics.

One event focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights featured an all-Essex panel: Chair of our Human Rights Centre Professor Sir Nigel Rodley was joined by Essex Honorary Graduate and former member of staff Baroness Onora O’Neill, and Dr Corinne Lennox who graduated in 2000 with an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights.

Participants also included Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the first female Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament, who graduated from Essex in 2000 with a PhD and picked up an Honorary Degree last year.

The conference was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK at the Houses of Parliament. The programme included the practical and social understanding of rights and freedoms, protection of women and girls, FGM, the death penalty, equality, LGBT rights, freedom of speech and a free press, terrorism and the right to a fair trial.


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