Students Staff

Research impact

19 December 2014

SOAS and Birkbeck join Essex in CHASE

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Communications Office @ 5:15 pm

The Consortium for Humanities and the Arts, South-East England (CHASE) has welcomed two new members: SOAS, University of London, and Birkbeck, University of London.

The new members bring internationally significant research strengths in the arts and humanities to the Consortium, and will contribute to the development of a distinctive research environment within CHASE, which was founded by the University of Essex alongside the Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, the Open University, and the Universities of East Anglia, Kent and Sussex.

CHASE hosts one of 11 new Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) in the UK, and enrolled its first students in October. As part of their membership, SOAS and Birkbeck will engage with aspects of the DTP, including access for their students to its programme of skills training for doctoral researchers.

Funded by a £17m award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and more than £10m from its seven member institutions, CHASE DTP aims to create a research environment that will support a new generation of doctoral students in creating their own cultures of research and practice.

Whilst Birkbeck and SOAS will not receive studentship funding from the AHRC DTP award, their PhD students will be participating in ‘cohort development’ events supported by the AHRC grant, and the two institutions will make financial contributions to the CHASE cohort development fund.

Professor Vicky Lebeau, CHASE Director and Professor of English at the University of Sussex, says: “We are delighted to welcome Birkbeck and SOAS to CHASE. Both are unique institutions and we look forward to working with them to further develop the CHASE ethos and environment for our researchers.”

Professor Richard Black, SOAS Pro-Director (Research & Enterprise), says: “I am extremely pleased that SOAS has been accepted as a member of CHASE. The greater access to skills training this will bring will be a positive benefit for our PhD students and the wider School. I look forward to collaborating with CHASE partners in the months and years ahead.”

Professor Matthew Innes, Vice Master of Birkbeck, says: “We are delighted to join CHASE and the research environment it is developing. Our students will benefit hugely from CHASE doctoral training activities and events. Birkbeck’s unique mission and vibrant traditions of doctoral research will be strengthened by this collaboration, and we look forward enthusiastically to a creative partnership.”

To learn more about CHASE DTP or the members, partners or students, visit www.chase.ac.uk, follow @CHASE_DTP on Twitter, or email: enquiries@chase.ac.uk.

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17 November 2014

Five top tips on making an impact

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 2:18 pm

New training courses are being launched to support our researchers to show how their research is having an impact.

To coincide with the launch of the courses, our Research Impact officers Matt Bennett, Richard Gunn, and Daniel Williamson offer their top tips.

  1. Start to think about the potential impact of your research as early as possible.
  2. Be creative and innovative in writing about impact in grant applications. Funders are really interested in novel ways of generating impact.
  3. Make a plan to track and collect evidence of your impact.
  4. Take advantage of financial support for impact offered by funding bodies, especially the Research Councils.
  5. Make use of the University’s resources and experience with impact. Consult your faculty’s impact officer and attend the new impact training for researchers courses.

Our Research Impact team can offer you guidance and training on all aspects of research impact, and they can provide assistance in collecting evidence too.

Further information is available on the University’s research impact webpage.

Upcoming training includes:

  • Wednesday 26 November, 3pm to 5pm – Introduction to impact
  • Wednesday 10 December, 3.30pm to 5.30pm – Writing about impact in grant applications

Full details on the Learning and Development website

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7 November 2014

The positives of ignorance

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 5:29 pm
Dr Linsey McGoey

Dr Linsey McGoey speaking at the event

Dr Linsey McGoey, of our Department of Sociology, was the keynote speaker last month at an event in France exploring ignorance and uncertainty in commercial and governmental organisations.

The seminar, which attracted researchers and policymakers, was organised by the Centre for Society and Development – which is part of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research – in collaboration with France Stratégie, a division of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Speaking after the event, Dr McGoey explained how: “Ignorance and uncertainty are often seen in general as solely negative phenomena, but actually often ignorance can be used in quite positive ways in different organisations.

“So the aim of this evening was to understand the ways that ignorance is not simply the mere opposite of knowledge or a inevitably negative asset.”

France Stratégie was first established in 2013 as an expert body offering expertise, strategy and foresight to the Prime Minister. The organization also serves as a tool for social dialogue and civic debate on environmental, economic, and governance issues.

Find out more in a France Stratégie video (in French).

 

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28 October 2014

Robots romp to comp victory

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, Research impact — Communications, CER @ 11:49 am
The winning team from our robotics lab, L-R Jason, Fang and Ben

The winning team from our robotics lab, L-R Jason, Fang and Ben

Our robotics team have scooped first prize in the staff Essex Spirit photo competition.

The team, pictured here, left to right, Jason, Fang and Ben, shared the prize with robot Baxter.

Their photograph was judged most inspiring and most successfully captured the Essex Spirit, which is bold, tenacious, inquisitive and impatient for change.

Take a look at the rest of the shortlisted photographs on flickr.

The first prize winners were presented with a £100 voucher, 2nd place, which went to the studious coot photo “go on challenge yourself” won a £50 voucher  and 3rd, which was won by the “sunrise” was presented with a £25 voucher.

Three new starters were invited in to judge the shortlisted entries with Professor Jules Pretty casting the deciding vote.

 

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8 October 2014

Essex welcomes data experts

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

Data experts from around the country were at Essex last month to find out more about the new Essex-led Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN).

The ADRN, which is part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s £64 million investment in big data, will allow accredited researchers access to data from government departments.

Around 35 staff from across the Network came together to meet – many of them for the first time – as they prepare to launch the service across the UK in November.

Speakers included Professor Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Archive on how the Archive can support the Network, and Professor Heather Laurie of the Institute for Social and Economic Research. Simon Whitworth from the Office of the Board and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, which leads the Network’s governing board, and Nathan Cunningham Functional Director for Big Data Network Support, UK Data Service, also spoke.

The meeting also brought together staff from four Administrative Data Research Centres in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, based at universities across the UK. It allowed them all to work together on preparations for the Network’s launch, when it will accept its first research proposals.

Trazar Astley-Reid, Communications Manager for the Administrative Data Service which co-ordinates the Network, said, “Meeting face-to-face was very useful in helping to get the Network running smoothly as we gear up for our launch. When we’re operational, we’ll make it possible to link collections of data together from different government departments, giving researchers a more accurate picture of society. We accredit and train the researchers, and make sure the data linking is done lawfully and securely. We’ll also make sure the findings are made public, so they can help to shape government policy and make society better.”

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3 October 2014

Landmark refugee project

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , , — Communications Office @ 2:37 pm

Professor Geoff Gilbert from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre has been awarded $50,000 for a project which could improve the welfare of millions of refugees around the world.

Professor Geoff Gilbert

Professor Geoff Gilbert

Professor Gilbert, an expert in international refugee law, will explore new solutions for dealing with refugee crises which, if implemented, could contribute to the protection of refugees from arrival to the eventual long-term solution to their displacement.

The project is funded by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and will culminate in December when Professor Gilbert, and Senior Research Officer Anna Magdalena Ruesch, will present their recommendations in Geneva.

Professor Gilbert explained: “Traditionally there have been three solutions to international refugee crises: placing people in refugee camps; repatriation, and resettlement in other countries. These solutions have not evolved since the UNHCR was founded in 1950, in the wake of World War II, and we are now seeing third generation refugees being born in camps, and people living their whole lives without proper access to basic human rights like health, education and work.”

He added: “We are at a point now where we need new solutions that really empower refugees, and that we can implement the minute they are displaced.”

Professor Gilbert and Ms Ruesch will make two field trips, to north Africa and south America, where he will meet with refugees and displaced people, agencies and non-governmental organisations, as well as government officials, judiciary and civil society.

They will explore how utilising different sets of laws can reshape UNHCR solutions and improve refugee prospects.

Dr Clara Sandoval and Lorna McGregor, both of the Human Rights Centre and School of Law, will advise as experts in the rule of law.

In February 2014 Essex became the first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

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25 September 2014

Essex experts influence ECHR decision

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 4:12 pm
Professor Noam Lubell

Professor Noam Lubell

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have found that the detention of an Iraqi national by British forces in 2003 was not arbitrary, after experts from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre supplied independent advice.

Professors Françoise Hampson and Noam Lubell provided guidance on how human rights obligations and the law of armed conflict should be applied in the case of Hassan v the UK.

Professor Lubell explained: “The detention regime under the law of armed conflict significantly differs from human rights law in a number of aspects, and the Court need to examine the legality of British procedures in a complex case to which both bodies of law apply.”

The Essex lawyers provided the Court with a detailed expert opinion, analysing the applicable law, and suggesting how the two bodies of law could be applied together in practice. The judgement noted in detail the analysis provided by them.

Professor Lubell added: “It’s a very important case, because the Court has gone further than ever before in presenting and clarifying its approach to international humanitarian law and human rights obligations during armed conflict.”

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2 September 2014

Take a bite of something brilliant

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 1:09 pm

identity1-300x200Ever wanted to know more about some of the leading research being carried out at the University?

Well, an extensive programme of bite-sized lectures is planned  for Homecoming – the launch event for our 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 13 September.

Covering everything from British dialects and tattoos to sexual attraction and the challenge of feeding the world, the lectures are a great way of getting an insight into why excellence in research is at the heart of Essex.

Find out more on our 50th anniversary website.

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1 September 2014

Will you find the best way out?

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: — Communications Office @ 2:57 pm
Dr Nikolai Bode

Dr Nikolai Bode

Thousands of people are expected to take part in an Essex research project being showcased at the Science Museum in London this month.

Dr Nikolai Bode and Dr Edward Codling from the Department of Mathematical Sciences will be ‘Scientists in Residence’ at the museum throughout September. They will be running an event called ‘Emergency! Exit?’, where museum visitors can take part in several short computer-based experiments that simulate an evacuation from a building.

The event forms part of the Science Museum’s ongoing Live Science series that gives visitors to the museum a chance to take part in real research.

“We are running this study to investigate what factors influence decisions made by people during an evacuation and how these factors could be managed to improve safety,” explained Dr Bode.

The results will feed into Dr Bode’s ongoing AXA-funded research project on crowd evacuations, the results of which could have implications for the design of safe and efficient evacuation routes in buildings and other public places.

 

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26 August 2014

Elite performance by Essex in world rankings

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Communications Office @ 4:58 pm

Essex has been ranked amongst the best in the world for Social Science, Economics and Business, and Computer Science by the Academic Rankings of World Universities (ARWU) released by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The rankings also reveal Essex is in the top 10 in the UK for Social Science, Economics and Business, and Computer Science according to ARWU.

The University has moved into the top 75 in the world for Social Science according to the ARWU’s analysis of the leading universities across the globe.

In Computer Science is ranked in the top 150 in the world by ARWU for the first time while Economics and Business has maintained its position in the top 150.

Universities are ranked by several indicators of academic or research performance including the number of highly cited researchers, papers indexed in major citation indices, and the per capita academic performance of an institution.

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