Catch-up with the latest news and insights on education in the UK.


Feeding the world without costing the Earth
Mar 2022

Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food are hosting national discussions about the sustainability of global food systems today (Monday 14 March 2022) at the Royal Society in London.

  • University of Sheffield celebrates 'Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People' at Institute for Sustainable Food Royal Society event.

  • Institute hopes to bring together partners for a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a fairer and healthy food system for Uk

  • The UK food system is a major contributor to climate change, biodiversity loss and depletion of our soil and water resources.

Institute hopes to bring together partners for a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a fairer and healthy food system for UkKey figures from the Institute, along with keynote speaker Professor Guy Poppy, Director of UKRI's ‘Transforming UK food systems' programme and former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Food Standards Agency, will present how we can make changes to ensure our agri-food systems are more sustainable, and develop the innovations that will allow us to live within the limits of the natural world.

As discussed at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), food systems around the world are under unprecedented pressure. In a context of the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, the imminent challenges of feeding a growing population, tackling obesity and ending hunger have become even more pressing

Professor Duncan Cameron, Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Food, said: “Four months after COP26, where world leaders gathered to discuss saving the planet, you would be forgiven for assuming it was all a waste of time, but at the University of Sheffield we are putting research into practice and working on the solutions we’ll need to keep our food systems healthy for the future.”

“In a time of climate crisis, we desperately need to reduce global carbon emissions, to restore nature and find ways to ensure the sustainability of global water supplies. The need for sustainable food systems that can ensure fair access for all to nutritious food is a critical need we can no longer ignore.”

The event will bring together leading researchers and key industry figures in the area of food sustainability to share ideas and opportunities to collaborate. A screening of the new film, 'Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People', will also take place, which explores how the research being carried out by the Institute relates to work in the field, with farmers, landowners, schools and cities.

The film explores the work of the Institute, which aims to create resilient and sustainable food systems through regenerative agriculture, reclaiming unused land that can be used to produce food within local communities, supporting local food initiatives, developing more sustainable production systems, and improving the effectiveness of supply chains.

Keynote speaker and Director of UKRI's ‘Transforming UK food systems' programme, Professor Guy Poppy, who will be attending virtually, said: “The UK food system is making people and the planet sick. The way we produce and consume food is intertwined with the major challenges of today and tomorrow. The impacts of Covid-19 and climate change affect and have been affected by the food system.

“We need to be ambitious and transform the current system to be healthier and more sustainable, which will require everyone in complex supply chains and those shaping policy, trading relationships and involved in procurement to rise to the challenge - if we don't, then we and the planet will get sicker. We have the ability and hopefully the enthusiasm and belief to act now and not tomorrow.”

Co-Director of the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food, Peter Jackson, said: “The UK’s food system is a major contributor to climate change, biodiversity loss and depletion of our soil and water resources. Creating a more sustainable, more resilient, and healthier food system should be a priority for all.

“The Institute for Sustainable Food places the health of the environment and the health of people at the core of its mission. By bringing together businesses, civil society organisations and government partners, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a new food system for our country, one that is kinder to the environment and fairer for everyone.”


Four courses available at London Metropolitan University for April start
Mar 2022

London Metropolitan University have announced there are four available courses for applicants who wish to begin studying at the University from April 2022.

The application deadline is April 8th, with enrolment for successful applicants commencing on April 18th. Courses available include:

  • BA (Hons) Business Management (including foundation year)
  • BA (Hons) Business Management
  • BSc (Hons) Health and Social Science (including foundation year)
  • BSc (Hons) Health and Social Science

Students studying at London Met will receive excellent specialized tuition, offering a wide number of high-quality courses covering various subject areas.

This is underpinned by the expertise of experienced academic staff and access to world-class resources. There are also superb links to businesses and the six distinct schools at London Met link into various sectors and harness research opportunities for staff and students alike helping to create an engaging and diverse learning experience.

Birmingham 2022 unveils match schedules for hockey
Mar 2022

The University of Birmingham will host 54 hockey matches, with 40 group games, six classification matches, four semi-finals and four medal matches onto campus for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Birmingham 2022 unveiled the full match schedule for the men’s and women’s tournaments today. As the official hockey competition venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 20 hockey teams taking part in the Games will also use the University of Birmingham’s world-class hockey facilities for training until competition gets underway.

Both the women’s and the men’s competitions will begin on Friday 29 July, with the opening session of the women’s tournament featuring reigning champions New Zealand against Kenya and South Africa playing Scotland. Hosts, England, will face Ghana in the first match of the men’s competition with New Zealand facing Scotland in the same session.

There will be a home nations clash on 31 July, when England’s men’s team takes on Wales and both England teams, who each won bronze medals on the Gold Coast in 2018, will be taking on India in the group stages, with the men’s team facing them on 1 August and the England women’s match against India taking place the following day.

The men’s reigning champions, Australia, will take on Scotland in their opening match and will then face New Zealand on 1 August - a repeat of the Gold Coast 2018 men’s hockey final.

The final of the women’s event will be held on Sunday 7 August and will be part of a super Sunday for women’s sport at the Games, with the final of the netball tournament and the final of the first ever Commonwealth Games women’s cricket T20 tournament being held on the same day. 

The men’s final will be played on Monday 8 August, just a few hours before the Closing Ceremony.

Simon Bray, Director of Campus Services, said: “This will be an incredibly exciting time on campus as we are the official competition venue for both hockey and squash. The University is also a Tier 1 partner, the principal Athletes’ Village and a training venue for athletics and swimming. We really look forward to welcoming the Games community and spectators onto campus.”

Matt Kidson, Director of Sport for Birmingham 2022, said: “We are excited to be unveiling the official hockey match schedule today as it brings us another step closer to the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It’s going to be an exciting tournament with an impressive line-up of teams, featuring all of the medallists from the last edition of the Commonwealth Games.

“Tickets have already been selling well for hockey and now the group matches have been revealed, we expect to see an upsurge in sales to hockey fans who’ve been eagerly waiting the release of this schedule.”

FIH CEO, Thierry Weil, said: “After the reveal of the participating teams last week, the publication of the match schedule is another really important milestone on the road to the upcoming Commonwealth Games! On behalf of FIH, I encourage all fans to buy tickets early to make sure they will attend the matches from the splendid Birmingham 2022 venue!”

In total there are 28 sessions of hockey and tickets have been selling fast. Sessions for the group stages include two matches and tickets start at just £8 for under 16s and £15 for adults.

About the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.

About the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be held from 28 July until 8 August 2022, will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the city, the region and its people on the global stage.      

The Games is already proving to be a catalyst for transformation across the West Midlands, attracting new investment and funding, creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people and new opportunities for local businesses, as well as accelerating projects that will ensure the region is ready to host a fantastic sporting celebration.    

The Birmingham 2022 Festival, a six month long cultural programme starting in March 2022, will also shine a light on the region’s cultural sector.

Birmingham 2022 will be the Games for everyone, bringing people together from across Birmingham and the region, to provide a warm welcome to millions of visitors during the summer of 2022.    

UK-India innovation centre kick-starts sustainable cooling journey
Mar 2022

University of Birmingham experts are joining the Government of Telangana State to create a ‘hot spot’ for sustainable cooling innovation – to accelerate the deployment of energy-efficient refrigeration for food and vaccine supply chains across India.

The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Cooling and Cold-Chain will conduct state-of-the-art applied research in food and vaccine distribution, supporting the roll-out of affordable, energy resilient, low emission cold-chain systems in India.

Connecting British and Indian experts with investors, agri-food businesses, farmer co-operatives, and energy or logistics providers, the Centre will provide capacity building and training. An innovation hub and technology testing/demonstration facility is planned.

The partnership builds on the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain (ACES) and will be led by University of Birmingham and UN Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency (UNEP U4E) with technical assistance funding from the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

ACES’ ‘hub-and-spoke’ design will be adapted for operations in India - enhancing research and development capacity through a network of Specialized Outreach and Knowledge Establishments (SPOKEs) deploying technologies and innovative business models in rural communities.

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham and Jayesh Ranjan IAS, Principal Secretary to Government & Commissioner Industrial Promotion, Industries & Commerce Department Government of Telangana signed a Memorandum of Understanding today in an online ceremony.

The ceremony was also attended by Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor at the University of Birmingham and Rajender Reddy G, Director Logistics, Nodal Officer PM Gatishakti, Industries & Commerce Department Government of Telangana and Dipankar Chakraborty, University of Birmingham India Institute Director.

Jayesh Ranjan said: “Telangana and Hyderabad are well-connected at the heart of India and our businesses rely on efficient cold-chain logistics. The Centre of Excellence will connect Indian and British experts, investors and businesses to support the achievement of affordable, energy resilient, low emission cold-chain systems in India. This facility will provide better logistics and sustainable solutions for the produce get to market quickly and efficiently. I assure full support from the Government of Telangana in making this happen.”

The University of Birmingham will provide research expertise and involve UK technology experts and industry in establishing the Centre of Excellence. The State Government of Telangana plans to provide land and infrastructure, staff and resources, as well as a financial contribution towards establishing, operating and maintaining the Centre.

Toby Peters, Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, said: “Working with Telangana will allow us to really expand the work across sustainable cold-chains for food and vaccines, localising solutions to the environment in Telangana with the skills and business models needed to l help accelerate the transition to sustainable cooling – regionally and nationally.”

The partnership aims to set up a Solutions Development Laboratory, Solutions Demonstration Centre, model pack-house and Community Cooling Hub. The SPOKEs will deliver upskilling and training programmes for farmers and local agri-businesses, agri-start-ups and entrepreneurs, equipment technicians and researchers.

Steve Cowperthwaite, Head of International Stratospheric Ozone and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases, Defra, commented: “Building on the ground-breaking work in Africa we are delivering, this partnership will support real opportunities for change that can boost climate friendly, sustainable cold chains in India - offering real hope for progress in reducing food waste while simultaneously cutting emissions.”

UK Technical Collaboration will be led by the Centre of Sustainable Cooling (University of Birmingham) supported by its partners - Cranfield, London South Bank and Heriot-Watt Universities and UN U4E.

Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to Andhra Pradesh & Telangana said: “I am delighted by the pace the establishment of this Centre of Excellence is coming to fruition and excited for the positive benefits it stands to bring both the agriculture and health sectors. This will benefit both Telugu speaking states and the wider nation as some of the sharpest innovators from UK and India are connected in an area that will improve people’s lives in the same way as a sister facility in Kigali, Rwanda has begun to do across the African continent.”

New opportunity for upskilling and reskilling through new ‘bite-size’ course
Dec 2021

The University of Chester has received UK Government funding to develop a new short course to enable flexible learning and to help students develop skills needed by employers and the economy.

The Office for Students (OfS) worked collaboratively with the Department for Education on the programme, with the OfS launching a challenge competition in August 2021 seeking bids from universities, colleges and other higher education providers who wished to trial the courses.

The University’s response was led by Kirstie Simpson, Associate Professor in the Chester Business School, drawing on the expertise of colleagues in the Faculty’s new Centre for Professional and Economic Development. The University’s proposal is to develop a new Level 4 Gateway Certificate in Professional Education for Change and Resilience, using the Faculty’s existing Work-Based and Integrative Studies Framework (WBIS). This will involve the creation of new 10-credit modules – smaller ‘chunks’ of credit than are currently available to employed learners. The new short course will be aimed at employed people who have never had the opportunity to engage with higher education, but who have the desire and ability to progress in their careers, and/or returners to higher education who undertook their original qualification many years ago. 

The course is designed to offer a manageable and accessible (re)introduction to higher-level learning, which will build confidence and awareness of the options to progress beyond the short course.

As part of its long-term strategy, the University of Chester has undertaken significant engagement with key employment sectors, particularly healthcare and those related to industrial decarbonisation and Net Zero. This work has highlighted that these sectors are evolving rapidly, and so are the skills required to undertake existing and emerging roles. With 80% of the workforce of 2030 already in the workplace, upskilling and reskilling are major challenges for the UK. The proposed short course responds directly to this, developing workplace skills that can be tailored to the employment sectors that need them, and addressing immediate demand, while also developing a workforce with the ability to continue to learn and adapt. 

A range of employers and stakeholders was consulted on the idea for the project and, as part of the development of the new short course, the team will consult further with these partners, which include: Shropshire Chamber of Commerce; Warrington Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Progressive Energy Ltd; The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB); Motrac Research Engineering Ltd; Altimex Ltd and Warrington and Vale Royal College.

Kirstie said: “I am extremely pleased that we have been awarded funding to develop this new short course, and thank the academic team that developed the concept.  This further move towards smaller, more flexible ‘chunks’ of learning, which can be built up into a larger qualification, will provide employed people with the opportunity to gain new skills to enhance their career options, as well as providing employers with the skill set they need.

“I am grateful to all our partners for helping to make our submission a success, and we look forward to continuing to consult them on our ideas.”

Twenty-two universities and colleges have been awarded a total of £2 million in funding to develop short courses in higher education. The courses will run at universities and colleges across England and will be offered at levels four to six. They will cover a wide range of topics, from creative coding to courses which help prepare the UK for a carbon Net Zero future.

The courses form part of a pathway towards the delivery of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE,) with pilot short courses to run from the 2022-23 academic year. Learning from the programme will help inform future LLE policy development.  

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the OfS, said: “I am pleased to announce the successful bidders for these important courses. The courses cover a range of subjects at universities and colleges from all parts of the country. They will help people – including those who might already have significant work experience – learn new skills and retrain for a career change. This type of flexibility is important and will help employers fill skills gaps which are essential for their businesses and support future economic growth. At the same time students will be able to benefit from higher education for short periods of time, which will enable them to further their careers, as well as giving them the opportunity to go on and gain a full degree.”

University of Hertfordshire ranked 16th in England for social mobility
Nov 2021

The University of Hertfordshire has been ranked 16th in England for social mobility impact, in a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in partnership with the Sutton Trust and Department for Education.

The report, released today, ranks all English universities by mobility rate, which considers the proportion of students from low-income backgrounds and whether those students make it to the top 20% of earners by the age of 30.

The study is the first of its kind to list universities by social mobility outcomes, and focuses on students who attended in the mid-2000s and are now established in their careers. It comes as the Department for Education announce new plans for universities to broaden their access and participation work in their local community, and improve student outcomes.

The University of Hertfordshire is proud to be home to a diverse community of students, and has a strong record in increasing access and participation.

50% of the University's students are the first generation in their families to attend university, while 70% of UK and EU undergraduates are from groups under-represented in higher education: including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students, those from parts of UK with low rates of progression to HE, students from low-income households, and disabled students.

To ensure all students can reach their full potential, the University runs a programme of targeted support and has ambitious strategies to reduce inequality, with recent successes including the significant reduction of the BAME awarding gap, and an award-winning support programme for estranged students.

Partnerships are also a key part of the success story. Working with primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across Hertfordshire enables the University to support a broad group of students throughout their education and their journey to higher education, while strong links with industry enhance graduates’ skills and employability.

Dr Mairi Watson, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, said today: “The findings of the new report are testament to our commitment to making sure the University of Hertfordshire is a place where everyone can succeed.

“We put the student experience at the heart of everything we do, from our curriculum, learning and teaching, to wellbeing services and life on campus. It’s not enough to just welcome a broad range of people through the door – it’s vital that all students, especially those from groups who face greater social barriers, are given the support, encouragement and skills to thrive at university and beyond.”

Double award win for University of Derby nature research
Nov 2021

Game changing research that has transformed the way people interact with nature to improve wellbeing and promote pro-nature behaviour has received national recognition at the prestigious Green Gown Awards 2021, which recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.

The University of Derby’s Nature Connectedness Research Group was awarded the top gong in the ‘Research with Impact – Institution’ category, beating off stiff competition from Lancaster, Loughborough, Portsmouth and Aston universities, as well as the London College of Fashion.

The ‘Pathways to Nature Connectedness’ provide a behaviour change framework for improving the human-nature relationship, which has been adopted by The National Trust, Wildlife Trust, and many others. The pathways inform the Connecting People with Nature stream of the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and the Green Influencers scheme.

Judges thought the submission, linking the natural world and wellbeing, was a “fascinating, holistic, and timely project, combining social and environmental benefits. The impact has benefitted hundreds of thousands of people and is underpinned by strong research.”

Professor Miles Richardson, who leads the Nature Connectedness Group at the University, said:

I’m thrilled that our research into people’s relationship with nature won this award. A new relationship with nature is essential for a sustainable future, and I’m pleased we’ve been able to produce the new knowledge and tools that others can apply at scale. It is their openness to new ideas and creative application that has made this recognition of our research possible.

The celebrations didn’t stop there, as Lea Barbett, a current Environmental Psychology PhD student at Derby, who is also part of the Nature Connectedness Research Group, won the ‘Research with Impact – Student’ category. This was in recognition of a tool she developed – a Pro-nature Conversation Behaviour Scale - for measuring behaviours that specifically aim to support nature conversation and biodiversity, which has been rapidly adopted by researchers, conservation organisations and government.

The judging panel was clearly impressed, commenting that the submission showed “terrific research impact through influencing public policy and NGOs in their strategic approaches to the complex issue of public engagement in conservation projects, weaving through natural, societal and policy-making fields. An absolutely outstanding project by Lea.”

Commenting on the awards success, Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, said:

The research into Nature Connectedness being undertaken is having a wide-reaching impact on pro-nature behaviours both nationally and internationally. We are therefore delighted that this important work has been recognised with these Green Gown awards.

Hertfordshire Law Clinic launches two new projects to support vulnerable people in the east of England
Nov 2021

In the 20th anniversary of pro bono week, the Hertfordshire Law Clinic based at the University of Hertfordshire is launching two new programmes to support vulnerable people and provide wider access to justice for people in the east of England.

Mobile advice service to visit local communities

In partnership with CDA Herts and Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline, the Hertfordshire Community Mobile Advice Clinic (HCMAC), known as the ‘Justice Bus’, will visit village halls and other rural locations across the county to host drop-in legal advice clinics, give presentations on community-based topics, and signpost helpful resources for those in need. This project is particularly aimed at vulnerable people who cannot easily travel outside of their locality to access support and advice.

The ‘Justice Bus’ will make its first stop at Cottered Village Hall on Thursday 18 November 2021, open from 10am – 5pm, with the drop-in clinic and presentations starting at 1pm.

Amanda Thurston, Director of the Hertfordshire Law Clinic, said today: “Improving access to justice is a founding principle of the Law Clinic, and I am delighted that we’re launching a mobile service that will enable us to reach many more people across the county.

“I am especially proud that we’re working with CDA Herts and the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline. Those in rural communities can more easily become isolated, and domestic abuse is known to be more prevalent in villages than in cities1. We hope that by travelling to these communities, vulnerable people can more easily access the support they need”.

Immigration clinic for young people

Also launching this week, the immigration clinic follows the Law Clinic’s previous specialist clinics for family law and the LGBTQ+ community. The clinic seeks to support young people needing assistance with asylum law, and will be run in partnership with youth homeless charity Centrepoint and Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

The monthly clinic is aimed primarily at young people in the east of England, and will offer free advice on all aspects of immigration and asylum law.

Nina Calder, Senior Co-ordinator for Centrepoint’s Legal Clinics, said: “Each month, some of the young people we support need help navigating what is a highly regulated and specialised area of law. Now, thanks to the generosity and expertise of Duncan Lewis and Herts Law students, we can ensure they are able to access it.

“We are exceptionally grateful for this and know the young people we support, many of whom are incredibly vulnerable and suffered unspeakable trauma will benefit hugely”.

Duncan Lewis are experts in this area of law and with the assistance of University of Hertfordshire law students, will be ensuring these vulnerable young people get the advice they need. Visit the Law Clinic website pages to  find out more and get in touch.

About Hertfordshire Law Clinic

Based on campus at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, Hertfordshire Law Clinic is a pro bono clinic providing free legal advice to anyone in the community. University law students are supported by qualified solicitors, giving students additional experience in the skills they will use when practising professionally.

The clinic has expertise in a number of areas, including family law, housing law,  intellectual property and commercial law, powers of attorney and employment law.

The Law Clinic’s Streetlaw project also sends students out to local schools and community groups to provide useful information about relevant areas of law and empower the public to seek access to justice when needed.

Oct 2021

In addition, NNL’s senior technical lead, Dave Goddard, is to be a visiting professor of nuclear fuels at the University.
The NNL is also increasing funding for nuclear research and development at Bangor University under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Advanced Fuel Cycle Project. 

Nuclear Futures Institute

These developments extend the University’s capacity in nuclear research and development at the University’s Nuclear Futures Institute.

The latest developments were announced alongside the announcement of a skills partnership with Coleg Menai-Llandrillo, Wales's largest further-education (FE) institution.

Bill Lee, Sêr Cymru Professor at the Nuclear Futures Institute at Bangor University, said: 

“This is just the beginning of a close relationship between NNL and Bangor University to support development of all low carbon forms of energy for North Wales. We are excited by the research and training opportunities it will enable us to work on with NNL and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai colleagues.”

In recognition of the impact and value of Wales as a centre of nuclear science and innovation, NNL opened its first formal base in Wales at the University’s M-SParc Science Park on Ynys Môn this summer.

Together, these moves will help nurture the next generation of highly skilled individuals and bridge the nuclear industry’s skills gap. With an average engineer age of 54, the nuclear sector faces the challenge of an ageing workforce, leaving the industry with a skills gap. This makes recruitment and training of highly skilled individuals a key industry priority.

Oct 2021

Bangor’s Enterprise by Design programme has been named the winner of the enterprise catalyst award at the 2021 National Enterprise Educator Awards. 

The prize was awarded on the strength of the programme’s impact on both students and regional development since its inception in 2010, with 72 per cent of all students who have taken part in the programme identifying an increase in their entrepreneurial skills.

The awards, which have run since 2009, focus on excellence within entrepreneurial and enterprise education within higher and further education in the UK.

Enterprise by Design - what's it all about? The 2021 project saw Bangor University working alongside social enterprise Growing for Change, entrepreneur Emlyn Williams, and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Students were challenged to develop proposals for food enterprises which addressed food poverty in a manner that is financially viable, can provide positive health benefits and help with the economic regeneration of the region.

Undergraduates from the business, computer science and electronic engineering, psychology, music and media, and natural science courses took part in the programme this year. 

The winning team not only secured a £2,500 prize to further develop their enterprise idea alongside other Gwynedd businesses, but also took part in a virtual idea ‘boot-camp’ with members of Vietnam’s Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

The meeting was the first stage in a wider expansion of the initiative, with international pathways established to allow students to gain experience of collaboration with partners on a global stage.

Enterprise by Design will also be extended to younger entrepreneurs, with the programme to be delivered to pupils in secondary schools across north-west Wales for the first time later this year.

“Enterprise by Design fixes that; the programme works to create students who not only have a deep well of knowledge in their specific field but also gather a broader understanding of other disciplines and the skills needed to collaborate across industries.

“For example, an engineering student will be able to pick up the vital creative media and entrepreneurial skills required to begin operating a business or approach a problem from a media-focused angle.”

Bringing together students from the business, arts, science, and engineering faculties and placing them into interdisciplinary teams, Enterprise by Design is a 10-week programme focused on developing student’s employability and enterprise skills.

Students can currently register their interest internally with the programme to take part, however there are plans to further integrate the scheme with university courses going forward, with Enterprise by Design already installed within the curriculum of two of the university’s schools.

Teams are provided with a design brief created in collaboration with local industry and challenged to research and create a new product, service, or experience which will enhance the local economy and address the request.

Students are supported not only by academic staff, but also expert business consultants in areas surrounding the industry sector being focused on by each year’s brief, furthering the creation of a vibrant innovation ecosystem between the university and the local economy.

Postgraduates and alumni entrepreneurs also facilitate the students’ work during the programme, helping to further emulate the collaborative experience found in today’s workforce.

Dr Goodman added: “Being awarded as a nationally-leading scheme shows the work we are doing to prepare students for the workforce is making an impact, not just in terms of their professional development but also their personal confidence and talents as well.

“By working alongside local businesses and organisations, students not only benefit from the practical experience of a simulated workplace, but these companies also get an insight into new and innovative ways to better the region and the local economy.”

People with negative feelings towards the hijab see women's happiness as sadness
Oct 2021

People who have negative feelings toward the hijab are more likely to misread the emotions of women wearing them and see happiness as sadness, research by the University of Essex has shown.

A cross-cultural study has shown that our opinions shape how quickly and accurately we read facial expressions.

It revealed that in split-second decisions, pre-existing attitudes affected perceptions of women in a headscarf – with a negative view resulting in happiness being misread in up to 38 per cent of cases.

A hijab is a religious veil worn by many Muslim women in the presence of men outside of their immediate family which covers the head, hair, and chest.

Research-led by Dr Sebastian Korb, from the Department of Psychology at Essex, revealed pictures of women wearing it activated implicit biases linked to negative emotions for some people.

Dr Korb said: “These results highlight how our own opinions can have effects that trickle down to such basic skills as our ability to recognise other people’s emotions. 

“I hope that making the public aware of these biases will allow people to fight against them, and to be less influenced by their misperceptions.”

The study found that perceptions towards the hijab led to misidentifying happy faces as sad – particularly on less intense expressions.

The research studied 141 people in Austria and Turkey monitoring by computer programme their speed, accuracy, and hesitation of responses.

In total 18 per cent of both groups had a slightly negative to very negative view of the hijab.

They were shown images of eight different women wearing it whose facial expressions of happiness and sadness had been morphed into five levels of emotional intensity.

A prompt forced them to decide in under a second, moving a cursor to the labels happy or sad – the trajectory of the mouse cursor also tracked any hesitation.

After finishing they were then asked about their feelings on the head covering, measuring factors such as levels of acceptance, admiration, and hostility.

People tested in Austria and Turkey overall shared overwhelmingly positive views of the hijab and were similar in age, education level and gender.

However, Austrians with more negative opinions about the hijab made more misidentification errors and attributed sadness to happy faces.

Turkish participants with negative views were also biased and saw more sadness in mildly happy faces of women wearing the hijab.

Dr Korb added: “This is one of the really interesting and somewhat surprising aspects of the study.

“Not only did some Westerners have an emotion recognition bias when seeing women wearing the hijab, but a similar effect was also found in the Turkish sample.”

Dr Korb worked with academics Dr Giorgia Silani at the University of Vienna, Tugba Ceren Deniz, and Dr Bengi Ünal at TED University in Turkey, as well as Dr Alasdair Clarke at the University of Essex.

A discussion about the effects of PPE on menopausal women is long overdue
Oct 2021
Writing for The Press & Journal, Angela Kydd, clinical professor in Nursing shares that having a discussion about menopause, PPE and the Covid-19 pandemic is long overdue.

Menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce. Menopause is a normal stage of life that has until recently remained a taboo subject. It is the stopping of menstrual periods and, on average, naturally occurs at the age of 51, though it can happen much earlier. It can also be induced by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy for cancer.

Every woman has different experiences of their menopausal time, with some having few problems and others experiencing life-changing symptoms. Many women have suffered throughout their menopause, and the years leading up to it, in silence for fear of being treated with derision. The British Menopause Society has listed over 30 associated symptoms, including hot flushes, stress and anxiety, night sweats, joint aches, low mood, fatigue, mood swings, and headaches.

This makes hospitals and care homes care sectors challenging workplaces for women undergoing menopause. The environments need to be warm, the staff usually wear uniforms, and access to cold drinking water and toilet facilities can be difficult. There are nearly 150,000 people employed in the NHS in Scotland, with a median age of 46, of whom 77.4% are women. Similar figures can be seen in the demographics of the care sector, ultimately showing that addressing this scenario and guaranteeing staff well-being should be a top priority for health and social care organisations.

The NHS employer’s website has guidance for HR departments to produce policies on menopause in the workplace. However, despite the added pressure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, little attention appears to have been paid to the impact of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on menopausal women. Wearing protective clothing can exacerbate heat stress which can worsen several of the symptoms, including hot flushes. The use of PPE has increased dramatically since March 2020. Yet, nearly two years into the pandemic, there appears to be little done to address this issue.  The Royal College of Nursing has recommended that managers limit the time that menopausal women must wear PPE, but this is a guide and not yet an employer requirement.

Several other roles—including, firefighters, police, and coastguards, to name a few—wear PPE to minimise the exposure to hazards, and their adverse effects for menopausal women can no longer be ignored. Of further concern, many women perceive menopausal symptoms to have a negative impact on their ability to work effectively. A UK study found that women with severe symptoms had a higher chance of reducing their working hours or leaving employment. This not only has an impact on immediate income but pensions and security in later life. Employers are also losing a skilled workforce.

Menopause is also now considered a crucial gender and age-equality issue, with symptoms often included within equalities legislation. Dealing with its consequences should be part of maintaining an inclusive work environment so that a skilled workforce is not lost.  The NHS and care providers need to create an open, inclusive and supportive culture regarding menopause. This includes improving the workplace environment and with special consideration for staff who must wear PPE.

There have been, however, great moves forward in menopause awareness.  Most recently, the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS), a key international society that promotes and disseminates evidence-based care guidelines on menopause, launched a menopause and work charter. Menopause is now being discussed more openly, with many workplaces acknowledging the need for staff to have organisational support. The creation of World Menopause Day by the International Menopause Society, a global leader on women’s health and well-being in midlife, has also been a definitive step in the right direction. But the date, which takes place annually on October 18th, needs to be advertised widely and celebrated. Increasing population awareness of pertinent issues concerning perimenopausal and menopausal women is long overdue.