UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Professor in Unconventional Computing, Andrew Adamatzky

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Andrew Adamatzky is a Professor in Unconventional Computing in the Department of Computer Science and Director of the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at UWE Bristol. 

Professor Adamatzky founded the Unconventional Computing Laboratory in 2001 as a response to an urgent need to develop computers for the next century. They employ complex dynamics in physical, chemical and biological media to design novel computational techniques, architectures and working prototypes of non-linear media based computers.

Read more about the Unconvetional Computing Laboratory in our Blog.

Andrew’s research is focused on reaction-diffusion computing, cellular automata, physarum computing, massive parallel computation, applied mathematics, collective intelligence and robotics, bionics, computational psychology, non-linear science, novel hardware, and future and emergent computation. His research interests are in unconventional computing – developing of novel computing paradigms, architectures, implementations and prototypes of alternative computing devices made of living, physical and chemical systems.

Examples of unconventional computers he has developed include excitable chemical medium computers, slime mould computer, computers from plants and fungi.

In 2019 Andrew led the team of researchers from the  Centre of Unconventional Computing in the development of the construction of a smart home for the future using fungi, a carbon free material, as part of a £2.5 million project funded by the European Commission.

This revolutionary new type of intelligent building is made with green construction materials and capable of adaptively reacting to changes in light, temperature and air pollutants. The work was in collaboration with partners from Denmark (Centre for Information Technology and Architecture), Italy (MOGU) and the Netherlands (Utrecht University).

Read more about this work here

Business Interests:

  • Living architectures
  • Nanocomputers
  • Biosensors

Academic expertise:

1. Development of biosensors based on living fungi and slime moulds
2. Development of adaptive materials (to be used in construction industry and fashion industry) capable for sensing and computing
3. Development of nanocomputers based on cytoskeleton

For further information about Professor Adamatzky’s work click here

Digital Skills short courses and bootcamps

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In our fast-evolving digital world, digital skills are vital. For businesses and individuals alike, a strong set of digital skills can help to navigate through the constantly changing digital environment.

At UWE Bristol, we want to support individuals and businesses on their digital journey. We have a range of skills short courses to suit a wide variety of needs including cyber security, data science and artificial intelligence; and games development.

Some of our skills courses are fully funded or have discounts available to those eligible. Find out about how we can support your business or individual needs below.

The future is digital. The future is now.

Commercial Games Development

This bootcamp introduces games development and how to create immersive, entertainment experiences in context of what makes game products engaging and commercially successful. The first half of the course is designed to build professional skills and software competency. The second half specialises in the development of a “vertical slice” game demo for prospective employers from commercial studios as a portfolio piece, or to form the basis of a portfolio ahead of self-employment. There is also the opportunity to learn about the application of games technology for commercial purposes other than those solely for entertainment.

This 16-week programme will provide you with an overview of how games are developed, towards a goal of polished, engaging entertainment products across a range of sectors. Central to your experience will be training in Unity; a game engine and real-time development platform with many applications both inside and outside the entertainment industry.

Find out more here.

Games Technology

The industrial application of games technology bootcamp has been developed through collaboration between senior academics with professional games industry experience and a rich array of serious games, immersive learning and visualisation/simulation projects behind them, in conjunction with small and medium Bristol-based game companies and start-ups and the Foundry Technology Affinity Space at UWE Bristol.

This bootcamp introduces games development and how games technology can be used to create engaging, immersive, games and non-game experiences for industry and the workplace.

Find out more here.

Cyber Security Bootcamp

More information to follow. Please complete this short form to be the first to hear about this course.

Zero Carbon Bootcamp

More information to follow. Please complete this short form to be the first to hear about this course.

Data Science & AI

  • Full details to follow
  • Closed cohort of women
  • Cohort aimed at 19-25 year olds but open to all
  • Will learn mathematics and computer programming, data science, software development, machine learning & AI approaches

Apply via the website, or directly via the ROI form.

UX Design

  • Full details to follow
  • Closed cohort for those living with health conditions or impairments
  • Learn advanced aspects of UX design for digital platforms, responsive design for smart phones and robots, access ‘Disability confident’ employment and understand UX design trends

Apply via the website, or directly via the ROI form.

Cloud-based Skills

  • Full details to follow
  • Delivered by Weston College in Partnership with Microsoft Learn
  • Cohort aimed at 19-25 year olds but open to all
  • Master Microsoft cloud-based apps
  • Understand and use Microsoft Power Platforms

Apply via the website, or directly via the ROI form.

New Community STEM Club in Eastville launched

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A new Community STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) Club run by UWE Bristol academics has launched at the Old Library Community Hub in Eastville.

The first session was incredibly well attended, with around 60 children and their parents and carers getting involved in the various activities on offer.

The Bristol version of Minecraft was especially popular at the club. Developed by the DETI Inspire team, local design and engineering consultancy Atkins, and Science Hunters, it gives children the opportunity to digitally explore, build, re-design and re-engineer their city and the surrounding area.

The Thymio robots were also very well received during the session. The small androids are designed to introduce children to programming and coding through interactive play. There were also a range of “analogue” STEM themed activities available, including construction sets, games, craft and books.

Children taking part in the STEM club

The sessions take place every Thursday at 3.30 and are free of charge. They are run on a drop-in basis with no prior booking required. The activities vary from week to week, depending on volunteer and equipment availability.

The club is co-developed by Old Library volunteers and the DETI Inspire Team at UWE. It receives further support from the STEM Ambassador Hub for the West of England. For more information on how to get involved or how to support the club, please get in touch with hello@theoldlibrary.org.uk or deti@uwe.ac.uk.

UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Associate Professor Dr Emma Weitkamp

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As part of our focus on our Research Strength, Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience, we will be sharing spotlights on some of our academics working in that area.

Dr Emma Weitkamp, Associate Professor in Science Communication and Co-Director of the Science Communication Unit.

Emma teaches predominantly on UWE Bristol’s postgraduate science communication courses, and undertakes research and practice in science journalism, public relations and Sci-Art.

Her research interests explore narrative in science communication, considering both arts and media practice and the actors involved in science communication. Her current research explores the ways in which the digital media ecosystem is affecting science communication, quality indicators for science communication and motivations and deterrents for science communication practice through the Horizon 2020 funded RETHINK project.

She has been involved with the Science for Environment Policy since 2007, leading the team that delivers this policy-oriented environmental communications programme. Emma undertakes evaluation of science communication initiatives, including evaluating the impacts of training.

Emma also delivers continuing professional development training in science communication, recently running a programme for the British Council focusing on skills for early career researchers as well as providing training for the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative.

Emma is interested in barriers to engaging with climate risks and can undertake research to help you understand how these barriers affect you. She is also interested in research that explores the opportunities and barriers that researchers face in communicating research; to date much of this research has focused on research institutes, and she would be very interested in exploring these barriers in other contexts. Finally, she can provide training in practical skills in public engagement.

Click here for more information about Emma and her work.

UWE’s Faculty of Engineering and Technology’s short courses addressing Sustainability and Climate Change

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An Introduction to Zero Carbon Buildings

Our Autumn run has begun with over 900 participants signed up for this very popular MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). This free online course is for professionals of the built environment who wish to raise their awareness of zero carbon design and construction. It sets out the process of building development in a zero carbon context, raising awareness of the technical, social and economic challenges that need to be overcome in transitioning to zero carbon.

For further details and to make an enquiry about the next course please click here

Air Quality CPD

Based on updated Local Air Quality Management Guidance, UWE’s Air Quality Management Resource Centre (AQMRC) offers a suite of five online courses which can be taken all together or as individual days:

Delivered as self-learning (materials access only) or blended learning (materials + live session), each topic provides you with a set of interactive web-based materials to work through. The courses will be of interest to students, practitioners and policy makers involved in air quality management in Environmental health/protection; Public health; Transport; Land-use planning.

  • Dates: Access to online materials: 20 Sept to 17 Dec 2021 / Live sessions: 1 to 5 November 2021, 09:30-12:30
  • Fees (per topic): £180 Early Bird / £215 / £182 UWE Alumni/Student / £95 materials only

Sustainable Development in Practice courses

Dates are soon to be published for our portfolio of short courses that focus on the urgent challenges faced by organisations, communities and government in effecting sustainable change in individual behaviour, business practice and wider society. Students who complete all four modules can achieve a postgraduate qualification in Sustainable Development Practice.

UWE Senior Lecturer Verity Jones promotes importance of sustainable fashion

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The first Sustainable Fashion Week is here! Across the UK activities are going on that bring a focus on the fashion supply chain and the social, economic and environmental impact it has. It’s hoped that the week will be filled with activities that are inspiring, empowering and begin to upskill the community; to equip people of all ages to have a more sustainable relationship with fashion and generate action for change.

Sustainable Fashion Week

Why do we need the change?

The fashion industry contributes around 10% of global carbon emissions, and makes up 20% of global waste water – polluting waterways with dyes and chemicals. It supports mono-agriculture and the wide scale use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers that see the ruination of soil structures and natural ecosystems. Add to this the often dangerous working conditions, excessively long hours of work for under the living wage and little by way of unionisation to protect the garment workers. Then there’s the cultural appropriation of ancient, often sacred textile designs incorporated into high street garments with no acknowledgment or compensation for communities. Once in the hands of the consumer, we have people washing nothing but a single item in a washing machine, wasting energy and water. The washing of synthetic fibres produces the most microplastics escaping into water ways and oceans. When an item becomes unwanted (many of which are never even worn!), then there is the impact of textile waste.  Up to 70% of clothing donated in Western countries ends up in a global clothing trade with tonnes of garments ending up in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some are sold while other are packed off to dumps out of the sight of western sensibilities. Destroying other people’s land, ruining their own local, traditional textile industries. 

The fashion industry can be a disaster from beginning to end, but fortunately there are things happening to improve it.

Advocates of Sustainable Fashion

With all of this doom and gloom, it’s often a relief to find that there are lots of people and organisations already working really hard to improve the situation. The Global Goals Centre has ‘Threads’ as one of its central themes and is bringing together organisations and resources to support people of all ages wanting to find out more and make a difference to the fashion supply chain. Working with them, I surveyed over 700, 7-18 year olds earlier this year and found that, fast fashion is a concept little known about. (see the report about the Hear Our Voice survey). We are working at developing a range of educational resources for children that will be available later this year and into 2022.

But, it’s not just children that don’t know much about fast fashion (Jones, 2021). A majority of adults too are unfamiliar with the issues too. So, where can you go for more information?  My work with Cymbrogi Learn and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has seen the development of some great resources focusing on a shift to a more circular, sustainable model of fashion for educators (information about these courses here). In addition to that there’s the work of the international charity Fashion Revolution that brings together designers, producers, makers, workers and consumers to demand a fairer fashion industry

Fashion Revolution

  • Fashion Revolution supports dignified work for all; that doesn’t enslave, endanger or exploit, abuse or discriminate anyone.
  • Ensures fair and equal pay for all its workers, from farm to shop floor.
  • Conserves and restores the environment from which our clothing comes from and travels through – safeguards our diverse ecosystem.
  • Works towards reducing the unnecessarily destruction and discarding of clothing; promoting.
  • Encouraging the fashion industry to be transparent and accountable 

Myself and Prof. Ian Cook worked with Fashion Revolution to develop the online course Who Made My Clothes? This free, three week course starts by asking participants to be curious about their clothing. Clothes are our second skin, they represent who we are, how we’re feeling. We have special clothes for celebrations and ceremonies – from birth to the grave. Then we ask people to find out more about an item of their own clothing and become a clothes detective, before bringing it back to thinking how we can do something to improve the situation, whether this be at the individual, local, national or international scale. Already we have had over 17,000 participants complete the course and we’d love to have you join us!

Top Tips to reduce your fashion impact

  1. Love the clothes you already own – wear them, repair them, make them last.
  2. Only buy clothes you love and will wear again and again.
  3. Instead of buying a piece for a one off celebration or special event consider hiring or borrowing clothes.
  4. If you want to know about the story of how your clothes were made ask! By raising your voice through social media and asking Who Made My Clothes? and What’s In My Clothes? brings brands to account. They will take notice.
  5. Always fill your washing machine and wash at 30 degrees.
  6. Try buying preloved and vintage items and give clothes a new home: E-bay, Depop, Oxfam and many more charities and independent stores are available on the high street and online.
  7. Learn to do simple mending – sewing on a button, darning and patching is a lot easier than you think!
  8. Organise a clothes swap at work or amongst friends.
  9. Set up a group viewing of the 2015 documentary The True Cost to raise awareness of the issues
  10. Join our community of learners on the Who Made My Clothes? course  

Blog written by Dr Verity Jones, Senior Lecturer, Department of Arts and Creative Education.

University Enterprise Zone Spotlight: Robotics Innovation Facility

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The Robotics Innovation Facility (RIFBristol) is one of five areas that make up UWE Bristol’s University Enterprise Zone. The below spotlight explains its purpose:

Located beside the UEZ café, which forms a central meeting place for the building’s companies, entrepreneurs and academics, is one of the most exciting parts of the University. Identifiable by the array of industrial robot arms and other cutting-edge hardware, visible through its window onto the café – the Robotics Innovation Facility (RIFBristol) is a high tech, inspiring and truly creative space. 

As UWE Bristol’s specialist industry-facing unit within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) – a collaborative partnership between the city-region’s two universities and the UK’s most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research – RIFBristol provides training, research and consultancy services to a range of private and public sector clients.

Recognised as a Digital Innovation Hub by the European Union, it has been successfully delivering robotics workshops, prototyping and validating new products, demonstrating how automation can improve manufacturing processes, and supervising student-industry collaborations, since 2013.

“Our engineers help clients to trial various technical solutions, identifying the best options for their requirements,” says Farid Dailami, Director of RIFBristol and Associate Professor for Knowledge Exchange in Manufacturing.

“They can advise on capital purchases, support the deployment and integration of hardware, undertake research and proof-of-concept work, and deliver training.”

One of the unique strengths of RIFBristol is what it describes as its ‘brand agnostic’ approach. As part of BRL and UWE Bristol, it is not tied to a particular hardware manufacturer or supplier. It is, therefore, under no pressure to favour a particular brand or model and its advice is always honest, unbiased and wholly tailored to its customers’ needs.

This also means that its dedicated workspace in the UEZ is equipped with an impressive range of manufacturing equipment. ABB, KUKA and Universal robot arms sit alongside conveyers, sensors, cameras and laser measuring systems, all of which can be used to address clients’ research, CPD and product development challenges.  

“Our expertise is as diverse as our hardware”, says Dailami. “Our staff have knowledge of industrial robotics, cobotics, mechanical and electronics engineering, mechatronics, smart manufacturing, 3D printing and simulation. This diversity is our strength. We can help with robotics, but we can also bring knowledge and experience of related disciplines into play”

Alongside its private consultancy projects, RIFBristol leads several publicly funded research and business support programmes. The EU-funded TERRINet initiative, for example, enables researchers at all levels, from undergraduates, to PhD candidates and industry-based professionals, to access robotics infrastructure located across Europe. 

Since 2018, RIFBristol has also delivered the ERDF-funded SABRE Programme. This £1m project has enabled small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the West of England to explore the benefits of robotics and automation.

From start-ups, micro-enterprises and sole traders, to larger and more established companies, its free and subsidised services have helped businesses to get the most from these important technologies.

“RIFBristol and the SABRE Programme played a vital role in the completion of our initial prototype. It enabled the company to undertake pilot studies with leading OEMs – and to safeguard the development of this exciting technology in the UK, securing 3 existing, and creating 4 new, jobs in the West of England.”

Dr Evangelos Zympeloudis, CEO, iCOMAT Ltd | www.icomat.co.uk


For more information about RIFBristol visit its website. The University Enterprise Zone is also made up of the Health Tech HubFuture SpaceLaunch Space and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory Hardware Incubator.

UWE Bristol Professor contributes to United Nations report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

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Professor Jona Razzaque (Professor of Environmental Law; Environmental Law and Sustainability Research Group at UWE Bristol) has recently completed a ground-breaking report for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Professor Razzaque acted as a Coordinating Lead Author of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.  Funded by the United Nations, this landmark report presents a wide range of policy responses to promote transformative change, and contributes to post-2030 Agenda of the United Nations for biodiversity governance. The report involved:

  • 30 Coordinating Lead Authors
  • 150 experts from 50 countries
  • 350 contributing authors
  • 6 chapters. 

The report warns about the danger of the global decline of nature and the acceleration of species extinction at unprecedented rates. The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, more than ever before in human history. Amongst the species that are at risk that are highlighted by the Report include frogs and other amphibians (a 40% decline), reef-forming corals (a 33% decline), marine mammals, insects and at least 680 vertebrates.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson, states “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

The report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

Professor Razzaque adds that “While international biodiversity law has evolved over the years, progress to meet Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals is not satisfactory. Our chapter on ‘Options for Decision makers’ demonstrates that the implementation of 2050 Vision for Biodiversity will require concerted efforts in relation to target setting and policy responses that foster transformative change. Along with existing policy instruments and regulations, additional measures and transformative governance approaches are necessary to address the root causes of the deterioration of nature.

Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, the Report also draws on indigenous and local knowledge.

The impact of the Global Assessment has been far-reaching, as it tracks all global, regional, national and local impacts. Find out more about impacts from the IPBES Impact Tracking Database (TRACK).

Some of the Coordinating Lead Authors at the annual meeting

Globally, for example, between 2019-2021, the Global Assessment Report has influenced:

  • 11 new/changed laws or regulations
  • 6 new/changed policies
  • 5 new/changed investment decisions.

In the UK, the following examples highlight the influence of the Global Assessment Report on various decisions and measures:

  • UK government draws on the findings of the Global Assessment in the Green Finance Strategy
  • Welsh Government cancels plans to build £1.6bn highway
  • Members of the Welsh Parliament propose Bill on non-carbon emission public vehicles
  • British Natural History Museum declares Planetary Emergency
  • UK government launches a Call for Evidence on safeguarding biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories
  • Cambridge City Council declares Biodiversity Emergency.

Professor Razzaque acted as the Coordinating Lead Author and contributed to the following four key outputs; these are available in UWE Bristol Research Repository:

Further reading:

Come and work with us..

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We are looking for some exceptional people to come and join the team at UWE Bristol’s Research, Business and Innovation

Help to Grow

Led by the Faculty of Business and Law, and supported by RBI, Help to Grow is a government funded programme delivering leadership training to small and medium sized enterprises.

Project Support Officer

The Help to Grow Project Support Officer will need to provide excellent support for the programme, supporting the onboarding of businesses on to the University and programme systems and providing support for the delivery of face to face activity, co-ordinating room bookings, catering and on-site arrangements.

We are looking for a clear communicator with an excellent eye for detail, who is able to offer exceptional customer service to all of the programme stakeholders. You will be highly organised with competent administration and IT skills and be able to adapt to using a number of different systems, using your own initiative to manage a busy and varied workload.

  • Salary: £22,847 – £26,341
  • Hours: Full time. Fixed term 31 March 2024
  • Closing date: 29/09/2021

Apply here

Research and Knowledge Exchange.

Senior Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager FET & FBL

The Senior Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager for the Faculties of Environment and Technology, and Business and Law. They will be responsible for identifying, developing and delivering across these faculties as well as university-wide Research and Knowledge Exchange externally funded projects for RBI, ensuring alignment to the University’s strategic ambitions. They will work closely with the Deans and Associate Deans responsible for research and external engagement to drive the development and implementation of Research and Knowledge Exchange strategy for these faculties. Leading and managing the Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) Team, and coordinating the input of Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Managers, Bid Developers, relevant service staff, academics and external partners in the development of bids and overseeing submission.

  • Salary: £46,042 – £51,779
  • Hours: Full time
  • Closing date: 07/10/2021

Apply here

Senior Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager ACE & HAS

The Senior Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager for the Faculties of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, and Health and Applied Sciences. They will be responsible for identifying, developing and delivering across these faculties as well as university-wide Research and Knowledge Exchange externally funded projects for RBI ensuring alignment to the University’s strategic ambitions.  They will work closely with the Deans and Associate Deans responsible for research and external engagement to drive the development and implementation of Research and Knowledge Exchange strategy for these faculties. Leading and managing the Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) Team, and coordinating the input of Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Managers, Bid Developers, relevant service staff, academics and external partners in the development of bids and overseeing submission.

  • Salary: £46,042 – £51,779
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Closing date: 07/10/2021

Apply here

Graduate School

The Graduate School is part of the Research, Business and Innovation Professional Services team and supports postgraduate researchers (PhD, DPhil, MPhil, Prof Doc) and their supervisors.

Graduate School Administrator: Part time

As a Graduate School Administrator you will provide administration support for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and their supervisors and ensure continuous improvement of processes for a professional service and its customers. The main tasks will involve supporting PGR recruitment, processing postgraduate research applications, working closely with academic supervisors to organise PGR interviews, updating relevant databases, attending Faculty Research Degrees Committees, tracking individual postgraduate researcher milestone deadlines and sending timely reminders.

  • Salary: £22,847 – £26,341
  • Hours: Part-time
  • Closing date: 18/10/2021

Apply here

Graduate school administrator: Full Time

As a Graduate School Administrator you will provide administration support for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and their supervisors and ensure continuous improvement of processes for a professional service and its customers. The main tasks will involve supporting PGR recruitment, processing postgraduate research applications, working closely with academic supervisors to organise PGR interviews, updating relevant databases, attending Faculty Research Degrees Committees, tracking individual postgraduate researcher milestone deadlines and sending timely reminders; replying to queries received via telephone, email and in-person. 

  • Salary: £22,847 – £26,341
  • Hours: Part-time
  • Closing date: 18/10/2021

Apply here

UWE Bristol Lecturer in Psychology Dr Trang Mai Tran part of a research team seeking to develop and evaluate staff training around the mental health of autistic students at universities

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UWE Bristol Lecturer in Psychology Dr Trang Mai Tran part of research team seeking to develop and evaluate staff training around the mental health of autistic students at universities.

Dr Trang Mai Tran is part of a research team along with colleagues from the University of Bristol, University of York, National Autistic Society, and Spectrum York. They are working on a research project funded by the Office for Students, which seeks to develop and evaluate staff training around the mental health of autistic students at universities.

Of 2.38 million UK university students, 2.4 per cent are autistic. Of those nearly 60,000, around 80 per cent will have clinical anxiety, up to 70 per cent clinical depression and a third will attempt suicide. This project seeks to address this problem by developing, delivering and evaluating the first Autistic Mental Health training programme for university staff in the UK.

  • Phase one will involve the team working with autistic students to design online training, then delivering that training to staff at several universities, with evaluation and refinement processes.
  • Phase two will evaluate the medium-term impact across an academic year, looking at changes in staff practices and investigating student experiences with staff who have completed the training.

The funding for the project comes from the Office for Students Mental Health Funding Competition that aims to support innovation and intersectional approaches to target mental health support for students.

The research team are currently looking to invite a UWE student who is on the autism spectrum or identifies as autistic to join the research panel. They particularly welcome interest from male students to ensure balance and diversity of experience in the advisory panel.

For further information please contact Trang Mai Tran at trang.tran@uwe.ac.uk