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


Kent to hold panel discussion on healthcare career opportunities
May 2021

Kent’s newly established Healthcare and Life Sciences Alumni (HLSA) Group will host its second event ‘From Lab to Leadership‘ via Zoom on 27 May 2021 at 15:00 (BST).

This event is free and open to all.

The virtual event is a panel discussion featuring distinguished experts from across the healthcare sector as they explore strategies for successful career pivots into Healthcare and Life Sciences.

This event is ideal for healthcare professionals and recent graduates considering a career change into the sector, with the renowned experts providing their insights on the future of healthcare. They will also discuss the status of career opportunities, in research, practice and business, for technicians, specialists and leaders post pandemic.

The panel experts include: Paul Bianchi, Board and CEO Advisor, Human Capital and Leadership Consultant; Neil Huang, Executive Search Senior Associate in Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Global Life Sciences at Korn Ferry; and Amanda Monteiro, Senior Career Advisor in the University of Kent’s Careers and Employability Service.

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, moderated by James Corbin, Head of Kent’s Careers and Employability Service. To submit a question in advance, contact

HLSA is a global network of Kent alumni, students and faculty at the forefront of advancing the development and application of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, scientific research, medicine, consulting, and Academia. It engages alumni and students through career and social events to build connections, advance their careers, and support the University’s strategic initiatives.

Fizz tech to capture carbon from the sea
May 2021

A new way to capture carbon dioxide from seawater could help tackle climate change.

Like capturing the CO2 bubbles in a fizzy drink, the technology uses natural processes and renewable energy to remove carbon, which in turn lets the seawater take more CO2 out of the atmosphere.

SeaCURE – led by the University of Exeter, with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Brunel University London and industrial partner tpgroup – has won a £250,000 grant for an initial study.

The funding comes from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, run by the UK government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

"We will exploit our existing understanding of conventional amine-based absorption carbon capture processes to concentrate the low-concentration gas stream from the 'CO2 removal' unit,” said Brunel chemical engineering's Dr Salman Masoudi Soltani.

"The lower inlet gas temperature (and its variation throughout the year) is expected to impact the capture efficiency and the energy demand of the process – an aspect investigated in this project."

The challenge with capturing carbon from the atmosphere is that CO2 makes up only around half of one per cent of the air, explained Exeter’s Dr Paul Halloran: “So you need to push vast quantities of air through capture facilities to extract a meaningful amount of carbon," he said.

"Our approach sidesteps this challenge by allowing the ocean’s vast surface area to do the job for us, tipping the natural process of CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and ocean in our favour."

SeaCURE technology will temporarily make seawater more acidic, which helps get the CO2 to ‘bubble out’, then delivers a concentrated CO2 stream for utilisation and storage. The CO2-depleted water is released back to the sea, where it takes up more CO2 from the air. The team will first design a pilot  plant to remove at least 100 tonnes of CO2 a year.

"This is about combining and scaling up proven technology and solving problems," Dr Halloran said. 

"By optimising each stage of this process, we hope to develop a model that will make this commercially viable on a large scale."

The only input SeaCURE, needs apart from seawater, is electricity – and the team will use wind to power their process.

Dr Tom Bell, of Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), said: "Combining our understanding of the ocean with a scalable engineering approach fueled by renewable energy, SeaCURE has incredible potential to support the UK’s net zero carbon ambitions.

"PML’s research excellence and capability enables us to inform the design of the pilot plant, and we are excited to be able to apply our expertise to address the urgent issue of excess CO2 in the atmosphere."

James Thomas, of tpgroup, said: "SeaCURE critically brings together a partnership of academic expertise with tpgroup’s pedigree in delivering carbon capture systems for maritime environments.

"We hope to make a difference by ensuring that we develop both a technical solution to this global challenge, and one that delivers long-term reliability and commercial viability."

Update on cyber security incident at GCU
May 2021

As you may know, GCU recently became aware that it had been subject to a cyber security incident. As a precaution, the University restricted some IT systems until a full evaluation has been undertaken. The forensic investigation, with the support of professional cyber security experts, is ongoing. A priority of this investigation is to identify if there was any impact on data. This investigation has identified that a limited number of computers may have been affected by the incident and as such the users of those computers may have had some information compromised.

As a precautionary measure, we have already alerted those people who used those computers so that they can take preventative steps to protect themselves, such as change passwords to any sites they visited on those PCs.

The forensic investigation is in its early stages and we will be providing staff and students with further advice in relation to their GCU accounts as appropriate.

We take our cyber security extremely seriously and regret that this incident has happened.

Universities take action to increase academic diversity in the media
May 2021

The ‘driving academic diversity in our media voices’ campaign, coordinated by University Alliance (UA), will see UA and its member universities take practical action to support greater numbers of academics, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to engage with the media. 

To meet the ambitious target, academics will be offered practical support such as knowledge and skills development, including free media training and access to a peer-to-peer mentoring network. UA and its universities will proactively profile UA experts to the media, with an emphasis on profiling diverse voices. 

A new ‘Expert bank’ has been launched on UA’s website and hosted on ExpertFile, from which journalists and other media representatives can search for their chosen topic and select UA specialists from the field for comment. 

Coventry University has put forward experts from a range of industries and subjects including dance, faith and geography in a bid to showcase the knowledge and expertise of its diverse workforce.

"We’re excited to continue striving to effect positive change with our friends at University Alliance. Ensuring that our institutions, their communications and appearances in the media reflect our broad diversity is vitally important, and to embark on a campaign that sets out to champion their involvement in our interactions with the media is something we can all be really proud of."

-Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor

"Central to UA’s mission is unlocking potential and effecting change, and through this campaign we hope to do our bit to help address the historic underrepresentation of diverse voices in the media. Our new Expert bank will make it easier for journalists to reach a diverse range of experts, and the peer network will ensure visibility of role models and accessible mentoring and guidance which along with the training sessions should make a big difference in supporting Alliance academics taking up media opportunities." 

This is an ambitious programme of work which will not only support more of our academics to engage with the media, but also raise the collective value and status of applied research undertaken by our universities. 

Significant artworks rediscovered in rural schools
May 2021

An overlooked collection of modern African art in Argyll and Bute schools has been rediscovered by academics at the University of St Andrews.

New research reveals that they are by some of the continent’s most notable modernist artists; together they provide a range of insights into the interests and concerns that pervaded the era of independence.

The collection, which belongs to Argyll and Bute Council, will now go on public display.

The paintings, prints and drawings, purchased from Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa, were acquired for the Argyll Collection, a public art initiative founded by writer Naomi Mitchison and art advisor Jim Tyre in the early 1960s for the people of Argyll and Bute.

In the years since they were purchased the historical significance of these works had been overlooked, with many misattributed and their stories untold.

Dr Kate Cowcher, of the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, who worked with the Cultural Coordinator for Argyll and Bute Council, Madeleine Conn, said: “The Argyll Collection is a rich public collection of mostly Scottish art, but it has these important African additions about which little was known.

“It has been remarkable to uncover their histories, to have the opportunity to bring these artworks together and share their stories with those living in the area, as well as further afield, is a privilege.”

‘Dar to Dunoon: Modern African Art from the Argyll Collection’ will exhibit 12 works of modern art from East and Southern Africa at Dunoon Burgh Hall from 21 May 2021.

The collection has been the subject of a partnership with the School of Art History at the St Andrews, led by Dr Cowcher. As a result of the research project, ten out of 12 works can now be confidently attributed to major modernist artists, including Tanzania’s Samuel Ntiro, Uganda’s Jak Katarikawe, Zambia’s Henry Tayali and South Africa’s Lucky Sibya.

‘Dar to Dunoon’ will exhibit the works of these artists, along with their biographies and related contextual material.

Mitchison acquired these works primarily for use in schools, where she hoped that children in Scotland’s rural communities could study them and enjoy them.

Yvonne McNeilly, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, said: “We are very lucky to have such a wide and varied art collection in our schools, and our partnership with St Andrews has enabled us to rediscover the rich histories of the Modern African Art collection.

“This has been central to new creative education projects that pupils have been working on with artists to explore the collection.”

The art that Mitchison purchased, from both professionally trained and self-taught artists, was diverse and complex. Several pieces came from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts at what is now Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

The title of the exhibition derives from an archival find: a letter sent from Dar es Salaam to Dunoon in 1967 by the artist and diplomat, Samuel Ntiro, who soon became Tanzania’s Commissioner of Culture. Mitchison had purchased Ntiro’s Chopping Wood in Dar in 1967, and the artist personally packaged and sent it to Scotland, along with a letter and a photograph of himself.

The paper highlights the experiences of health and social care professionals during the pandemic
May 2021

The first paper to give voice to health and social care professionals providing end of life care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been published in Palliative Medicine, led by researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Liverpool and Sheffield.

The paper describes how providing end of life care during the pandemic has had a profound impact on health and social care professionals. They described struggling with the deaths of colleagues or their own family members and the risk of passing COVID-19 on to their loved-ones. Professionals had to take on the responsibility of being with patients in their final moments of life, as some families did not make it in time to ‘say goodbye’. The paper’s authors state that the long-term impact of these experiences for healthcare workers must not be overlooked.

The study makes important recommendations for health and social care services when providing end-of-life care during a pandemic:

Clarity in government guidance is required about when relatives can visit a dying family member during a pandemic. Visiting should not be delayed until death is anticipated within hours – instead, end of life visits should be supported and encouraged when death is expected in weeks or days.

Proactive access to structured psychological support should be promoted within clinical teams before and after a pandemic.

Strategic leadership is essential to prioritise self-care for all members of staff, including time for clinical reflection.

Where the redeployment of professionals is necessary, a ‘buddy system’ should be created between junior and senior clinicians.

Charting daily communication with relatives will ensure families are kept up to date with their loved one’s condition and reduce their sense of dislocation at times of restricted visiting.

Adopting these recommendations is important as research shows that when psychological skills are taught and promoted within clinical teams, professionals report better job satisfaction, stress levels, general health, and productivity, with an overall reduction in burnout. Furthermore, relatives who are involved in the end of life experience report better psychological outcomes after bereavement.

Co-Lead of the research study Dr Stephen Mason, University of Liverpool, said: “Our data show the incredible lengths that health and social care professionals have gone to in supporting patients and their families.  However, improved clarity in the operational and clinical governance of care is required to ensure practice is optimised and burdens for health and social care staff minimised as best possible.”

Lead author Dr Jeff Hanna, University of Oxford, said: “The long term impact of the pandemic on frontline workers must not be underestimated. Visible leadership from senior staff is needed to facilitate opportunities for essential self-care. Although numbers of COVID patients have decreased, all NHS staff now face the enduring legacy of the pandemic on the wider healthcare system.”

Co-Lead of the research study Dr Catriona Mayland, University of Sheffield, said: “The multiple emotional and practical challenges faced by health and social care professionals should not be taken lightly. Time for reflection and restoration of individual and team relationships is now vitally important.”

This work is funded by the Westminster Foundation and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Single fingerprint at a crime scene detects class A drug usage
May 2021

The latest findings show that with clever science, a single fingerprint left at a crime scene could be used to determine whether someone has touched or ingested class A drugs.

In a paper published in Royal Society of Chemistry's Analyst journal, a team of researchers at the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Ionoptika Ltd reveal how they have been able to identify the differences between the fingerprints of people who touched cocaine compared with those who have ingested the drug – even if the hands are not washed. The smart science behind the advance is the mass spectrometry imaging tools applied to the detection of cocaine and its metabolites in fingerprints.

This is a step up from research previously conducted by the University. In 2020 Surrey researchers were able to determine the difference between touch and ingestion if someone had washed their hands prior to giving a sample. Given that a suspect at a crime scene is unlikely to wash their hands before leaving fingerprints, these new findings are a significant advantage to crime forensics.

The Surrey team have continued to use their world-leading experimental fingerprint drug testing approach based on high-resolution mass spectrometry. Cocaine and its primary metabolite – benzoylecgonine*, can be imaged in fingerprints produced after either ingestion or contact with cocaine using these techniques. By analysing the images of cocaine and its metabolite in a fingerprint, and exploring the relationship between these molecules and the fingerprint ridges, it is possible to tell the difference between a person who has ingested a drug, and someone who has only touched it.

Dr Melanie Bailey, Reader in Forensic and Analytical Science and EPSRC Fellow at the University of Surrey, said: “Over the decades, fingerprinting technology has provided forensics with a great deal of information about gender and medication. Now, these new findings will inform forensics further when it comes to determining the use of class A drugs.

“In forensic science being able to understand more about the circumstances under which a fingerprint was deposited at a crime scene is important. This gives us the opportunity to reconstruct more detailed information from crime scenes in the future. The new research demonstrates that this is possible for the first time using high-resolution mass spectrometry techniques.”

Dr Allen Bellew, Applications & Marketing Manager at Ionoptika, commented: “To image these metabolites excreted through the skin requires very powerful analytical tools such as the unique Water Cluster Source that Ionoptika has been developing for over a decade. It’s clear that this new technique will be important for forensic science in the future, and as a small business in the UK it’s very exciting to see the role that our J105 SIMS instrument has played in its development.”

Dr Chelsea Nikula, Higher Research Scientist, NPL said: "This novel application of three different techniques illustrates the capabilities of mass spectrometry imaging to enable next-generation forensics analyses. It is great to see that the work we do here at NPL and the facilities we have available to us at the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging helped support this research."

*Benzoylecgonine is a molecule produced in the body when cocaine is ingested, and it is essential in distinguishing those who have consumed the class A drug from those who have handled it.

The dramatic rise in child poverty in the last five years – new report
May 2021
  • Even before the pandemic, 4.3 million children were living in poverty, up 200,000 from the previous year – and up 500,000 over the past five years.
  • North East England shows the greatest growth in child poverty over the past five years and has risen by more than a third, taking it from below the UK average to the second-highest of any region
  • Highest rates of child poverty continue to be in major cities – particularly London and Birmingham
  • Three quarters (75%) of children living in poverty in 2019/20 were in households with at least one working adult; up from two thirds (67%) in 2014/15

New figures released today reveal that even before the pandemic, in some parts of the UK, the majority of children are growing up in poverty once housing costs are taken into account.

The research carried out by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty Coalition shows that the North East of England has seen the most dramatic rise in child poverty in the past five years, fuelled by stagnating family incomes.

In London, high housing costs are pushing many families to the brink.

Overall, in the North East, the child poverty rate has risen by over a third - from 26% to 37% - over five years, moving from just below the UK average to the second-highest of any region, after London. A third of the overall increase happened in the latest year (2019/20) with many low-paid workers pushed below the poverty line by the freeze in their in-work benefits.  

Over the years, the proportion of children living in poverty who are in a household with at least one working adult has also increased sharply across the UK, up from two thirds (67%) five years ago to three quarters (75%).

Vikki Waterman is a single mum of two from Durham who works full-time. She says poverty in the north-east cripples hard-up families and it beggars belief that the UK Government doesn’t understand the struggles facing working parents, even more so following the financial impact of COVID-19.

“Too many of us in the north-east work twice as hard for half as much. We’re not living, we're just about surviving.

“Working families, particularly single parent families, already live day to day with the constant fear of having no flexibility or financial safety net, often forcing them to turn to high-interest loans in times of desperate need.  The government must not allow those of us barely managing to keep our heads above water from going under.”

The new data also confirms London and Birmingham, two of the UK’s largest cities, as having the greatest concentrations of child poverty with a dozen constituencies showing the majority of children living below the poverty line, even before large numbers of people started losing their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Of the UK nations, Wales has the highest percentage of children living in poverty nationwide (31%), followed by England (30%) then Scotland and Northern Ireland (24% each).

Loughborough’s Dr Juliet Stone, who produced the report, said: “These latest statistics show that tackling child poverty remains a major challenge. The proportion of children living in a household with income below the poverty line after housing costs has not only risen overall in the UK, but has shown an especially stark increase in certain regions.

“The trend in the North East is particularly bleak. The region has experienced a steep rise in child poverty since 2014/15, and rates are now almost on a par with London, where child poverty is generally most prevalent after housing costs are taken into account. It is unusual to see such a clear trend over a relatively short period of time, and this highlights the need to address growing inequalities between regions of the UK.

“These statistics predate the outbreak of COVID 19, showing that the child poverty rates were worrying high even before the pandemic. This is likely to have worsened even further over the past year. It is therefore imperative that we continue to monitor child poverty in the UK and at a local level, identifying the areas that are in greatest need.”

The coalition is calling on the UK Government to recognise the scale of the problem and its impact on children’s lives and to create a credible plan to end child poverty which must include a commitment to increase child benefits.

Given the extent to which families are already struggling, the planned £20 p/w cut to Universal Credit in October should be revoked.

The support should also be extended to those still receiving financial assistance from the old benefits system, referred to as ‘legacy benefits’, before they are switched to Universal Credit.

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition said: “The figures speak for themselves – the situation for children couldn’t be starker. We all want to live in a society where children are supported to be the best they can be, but the reality is very different for too many.

“The UK Government can be in no doubt about the challenge it faces if it is serious about ‘levelling up’ parts of the country hardest hit by poverty. After the year we’ve all had, they owe it to our children to come up with a plan to tackle child poverty that includes a boost to children’s benefits. And they need to scrap plans to cut Universal Credit given parents and children are having a tough enough time as it is.”

The full report ‘Local indicators of child poverty after housing costs, 2019/20’ as well as tables with Constituency and Local Authority data are available here

  • The research was carried out by Dr Juliet Stone and Professor Donald Hirsch at the Centre for Research in Social Policy, at Loughborough University based on the latest Before Housing Cost child poverty data from DWP published in March 2021.
  • Report and data all available here Local child poverty data 2014/15 - 2019/20 | Improving the lives of children and families (
  • For a family of one adult and one child, 60% of median income, after housing costs, in 2019/20 was £223 a week
  • For a family of one adult and two children, £280 a week
  • For a family of two adults and one child, £343 a week
  • For a family of two adults and two children, £400 a week
Oxford scientists discover how to alter colour and ripening rates of tomatoes
May 2021

Scientists at the University of Oxford’s Department of Plant Sciences have discovered how the overall process of fruit ripening in tomato (including colour changes and softening) can be changed –speeded up or slowed down – by modifying the expression of a single protein located in subcellular organelles called the plastids. This offers a novel opportunity for crop improvement.

The production of fruit is a vital process for plants because it enables them to reproduce and thrive. One strategy that plants use to ensure that their fruit are successful is to give them a colourful appearance, so that they are attractive to animals for seed dispersal.

In tomato, the fruit ripening process involves dramatic changes in tiny “organelles” inside the fruit cells called plastids. It is these plastids that are responsible for giving colour to the fruit.

In spite of their central importance in delivering fruit colour, surprisingly little was known about how plastids participate in the ripening process.

The Oxford team has now discovered a function in fruit for a protein located in the plastids called SP1 (this SP1 protein controls a regulatory pathway called CHLORAD, which was discovered by the group in 2019). The new finding reveals an important regulatory or controlling role for plastids in the fruit ripening process in tomato.

Significantly, the results published today in Nature Plants provide a theoretical basis for the modification or manipulation of the ripening of fleshy fruits such as tomato, providing a novel opportunity for crop improvement.

Corresponding author, Professor Paul Jarvis from Oxford’s Department of Plant Sciences, said: ‘The regulatory properties of SP1 revealed in our study show that it has real potential as a technology for crop improvement. For example, it could be used to develop early or late fruiting varieties of fleshy fruits, or to improve the transportability or shelf-life of fruit by delaying ripening without compromising the quality of the ripe fruit.

‘It’s fascinating that the amount of a single protein in these tiny subcellular structures called plastids can have such far-reaching consequences for fruit ripening in tomato.’

The work is based on the modification of the expression of the tomato SP1 gene (as well as the related tomato SPL2 gene) in transgenic tomato plants. Transgenic plants with reduced or elevated levels of expression of SP1 were studied in detail, using a range of techniques including phenotyping, electron microscopy, gene expression analysis, and metabolomics.

Global leaders’ personalities influenced their response to the coronavirus pandemic, study shows
May 2021

The different personalities of global leaders have influenced their reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, a new study shows.

Academics have used text analysis to infer the “big five” personality traits - openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism or emotional stability – of each leader based on their speeches and statements.

Experts found leaders who were more “open” were most reluctant to implement closures or provide income support. Leaders who were more “agreeable” were quickest to introduce income support.

The study indicates having higher levels of neuroticism, that is, a trait associated with the experience of emotions such as sadness or anxiety, could make a leader more risk averse and indecisive, and this could hinder and slow the introduction of policies. Being more conscientious may have led leaders to be quicker to introduce protective – but not more stringent – policies.

Researchers found no clear evidence that individual personality traits predicted the speed of a leader’s response to the pandemic.

The study, published in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, was conducted by Professor Dan Stevens, Dr Laszlo Horvath and Lauren Brown from the University of Exeter. .

Researchers selected 26 leaders in May 2020, from Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UK, and the USA. They captured their rhetoric through comments and language from press conferences, speeches and statements, interviews, forums with the public, or parliamentary questions, and compared this to the scale of severity of policies introduced to combat the pandemic.

They found most leaders had the personality trait of being more open and conscientious than other people in common, but there were differences in extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness. On a range of personality traits, however, Donald Trump was an outlier. There was relatively small variation in leadership traits across the other leaders, making more nuanced analysis across gender or partisanship difficult.

Professor Stevens said: “The terrible events of the past year offer unique potential to examine the psychology and effects of leadership. The crisis has been worldwide, allowing us to make global comparisons. Leaders have generally felt compelled to talk about the crisis regularly, providing a large amount of rhetoric from different people on the same issue at the same time.

“We wanted to examine the extent to which the stringency and the speed of a country’s policy responses to a crisis are associated with the personality traits of its leader. We found – across different countries – who we elect has an effect on policy responses independent of constraints such as party.”

Dr Horvath said: “Even though Covid-19 has presented leaders with essentially identical repertoires of potential policy responses, we found their stringency and speed of response has been influenced by more factors such as the political party they belong to.

“This shows who we elect, even in a situation where different countries face a similar crisis, can have an impact on the response.”

The University of Surrey delivers novel methods to improve the range and safety of e-vehicles
May 2021

As part of the European Union's STEVE* project, Surrey has developed several pioneering approaches to torque vectoring in electric vehicles.  

In e-vehicles with multiple motors, it is possible to deliver different amounts of drive power to each wheel. This benefits the vehicles' power consumption, safety and driveability. The process of calculating and optimising the precise amount of power needed while the vehicle moves is complex; it requires detailed knowledge of the driving conditions ahead and powerful onboard computing resources to deliver the data in real-time – often making the techniques impractical for everyday vehicles.

The team from Surrey has revealed advanced methods to improve torque vectoring that can be implemented in consumer e-vehicles. 

For example, to improve the safety of e-vehicles, the team created a stability-control system that anticipates the curvature of the road ahead, allowing the car to pre-emptively brake when it approaches a bend too fast.

Surrey's torque vectoring system combines a predictive control model with fuzzy logic to adaptively prioritise vehicle dynamics or energy efficiency, depending on the driving conditions. The team has shown that their model developed to simulate the way a vehicle is driven, using the so-called 'pulse and glide' approach to reduce energy consumption, is beneficial in electric vehicles and is cost-effective enough to be implemented in future e-vehicles. 

The project is part of a EUR 9.5 million European Commission project, bringing together 20 partners from across the continent to envision and create a new concept in urban mobility. The project, which started in 2017, was completed in April 2021 and published various findings alongside a series of real-world demonstrations.

Professor Aldo Sorniotti, Head of the Centre for Automotive Engineering at the University of Surrey, said: "This has been an exciting project that has allowed us to make some major advances in powertrain control for electric vehicles. We believe that our work will allow new advanced torque vectoring techniques to become useable in ordinary electric vehicles, delivering research that will directly assist drivers in the very near future."

Riccardo Groppo, CEO of Ideas & Motion, one of the project partners, said: "It has been a pleasure working with the University of Surrey on the STEVE project. In particular, the technical collaboration was fundamental to making progress on the inverter and control algorithm for the Light Electric Vehicle we developed. I think we have accomplished excellent results, setting the basis for further collaboration."

May 2021

Dr Angelika Reichstein (left) and Prof Claudina Richards, outside the UEA Law School, Earlham Hall following award of their Athena SWAN Bronze award.

Leading members of the UEA’s law school today welcomed the University’s latest Athena SWAN award which works to transform gender equality in Higher Education (HE) and research.

The school is the latest recipient of an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. The assessment panel particularly commended the school for its mentoring of female staff, the senior support from the Head of School and Executive Team and its detailed action plan for the next five years to bring real cultural change.

UEA’s Law School, and the HE sector generally, sees more women studying law than men, but when it comes to female representation in the workplace men dominate in the senior roles.

Dr Angelika Reichstein, Lecturer in Law, Director of Equality and Diversity, says their task is to encourage more male students to study, and to try and understand the culture and barriers that prevent women from going on to take higher legal positions both in HE and general law practice.

“Gender equality is a pertinent topic for law, due to persistent inequalities. We are working hard to promote further equality, diversity and inclusion among staff and students by, for example, widely publicising our Law with Criminology course which is predicted to be more popular with male students, and further promoting family-friendly policies such as ‘Keep in Touch’ days for those on maternity leave and increased paternity leave allowance. This is an ongoing commitment, requiring the full support of the whole school.”

The Athena SWAN Charter provide a framework which covers the career pipeline from undergraduate students up to Professor. Schools are asked to provide a range of data which for students includes applications, headcounts and awards, and for staff recruitment, induction, promotion and career development.  

The University as a whole is an Athena SWAN Silver Award holder and all its schools are actively engaged with the framework, with four achieving silver and 11 bronze awards. It’s committed to achieving bronze for all schools by 2023.

It comes after the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact rankings placed UEA 7th globally for sustained economic growth and inclusive and decent employment for all. UEA’s commitment to paying the Living Wage and its work towards the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index were part of the submission.

However, annually the University Council receives a report on broader progress which has been made in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Despite, the many challenges of the global pandemic progress has continued to be achieved. A copy of the report is now available for all staff and students and the wider public on our external webpages.