UWE Bristol Dr Alice Mary Young shares transnational organised crime research to organisations around the globe

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Dr Mary Alice Young, Senior Lecturer and Researcher of Transnational Organised Crime from UWE Bristol has been invited to a series of engagements and placements around the world to share her expertise and research.   

Dr Young has also been successful in applying for funding to undertake a project which focuses on exploring the resilience of transnational organized crime in the pandemic and post-pandemic world. She has also incorporated Dr Amber Philips from UWE Bristol Criminology to assist with the project.  

  • This month, Dr Young and Dr Simon Sneddon (Law, Northampton) chaired the annual Transnational Organized Crime stream for the Socio-Legal Studies Association conference.  

These appointments will initially begin as virtual residences with a focus on existing research projects, and will also see Dr Young contributing guest lectures.  

Dr Young will also be undertaking a placement with the Financial Investigations Unit in Jamaica and also the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Research and Policy Development Unit – both of these positions will involve assessing current legal frameworks on addressing organized and financial crime.  

Dr Young has been appointed as an editor for the Journal of Financial Crime, the Journal of Money Laundering Control and, the European Review of Organised Crime. Dr Young has recently submitted an editorial for the former, and is being mentored by Professor Barry Rider (Cambridge) to undertake wider research dissemination duties. 

Case Study: Digital Innovation Fund Business Landmrk

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As part of a suite of support offered to SMEs during the pandemic, last year we launched the Digital Innovation Fund. The programme, which was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, was open to SMEs in the West of England region who were looking to digitally innovate.

Over the past 6 years, UWE Bristol has worked with thousands of SMEs across the region, helping them to grow and innovate.  This has led to the investment of £10,000,000 and creation or safeguarding of over 1400 jobs. As well as offering funding, these programmes offer: dedicated one to one support for SMEs through the project design and application process; support in delivering a successful project once it’s been funded; and a series of workshops and hackathons.

The Digital Innovation Fund has successfully funded 36 companies, awarding grants of up to £40,000 and support to everyone who engaged with the project. Below we share the story of one the successful SMEs, Landmrk:

Landmrk allows artists and brands to create virtual ‘treasure hunts’ that encourage fans to explore the real world to find digital content. However, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the music industry and caused all touring to stop, ultimately halting business for Landmrk.

As the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, the reality of months at home set in. During these times there has been an even greater need than ever for escapism, distractions and (self-isolated) fun. Landmrk, often called Pokémon GO for music, diversified their offering and created the Virtual Tours product, with help from a Digital Innovation Fund grant, in response to this.

The Virtual Tours platform gives artists the opportunity to deliver a branded experience to their fans. As the tour rolls into town a hotspot will open up at the venue. Fans within travelling distance of the gig will be able to unlock a series of content pieces that are delivered to them from their favourite music artist.

The Virtual Tours product allows artists to generate a new revenue stream through paywalled content and experiences, delighting fans with immersive content, digital collectibles and contextual merchandising.

Seth Jackson, Landmrk CEO commentated:

“Hard times cause for swift innovation. The Digital Innovation Fund allowed us to move at pace towards building out and launching new features on the Landmrk platform that are particularly relevant to an industry that has suffered greatly during the pandemic.

The support and funding enabled us to create Landmrk Virtual Tours – a revenue generating platform for music artists and entertainers, that gives them the tools to deliver immersive content to their fans, and generate unique pieces of digital merchandise that can be turned into t-shirts and posters that are delivered anywhere in the world in a matter of days.”

Landmrk are currently supporting the Icelandic Eurovision contender Daði Freyr with his virtual world tour. The music artist’s Virtual Tour will delight fans around the globe with 2D holographic performances, dynamic merchandise and unique digital collectibles

Fans around the globe are invited to be part of the Daði Freyr World Tour by visiting road2rotterdam.com on their mobile phone.

The Virtual Tour begins on April 1st in Daði’s hometown of Reykjavik, before setting off on a transcontinental journey that visits fifty destinations in sixty days. The digital nature of the tour has allowed it to be expanded beyond the original UK and European dates into Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America. The Daði tour bus will roll into town and entertain audiences in places such as Cambodia, Jakarta and Lago.

The virtual tour bus will be in Bristol on Monday 19 April.

The Digital Innovation Fund is open to support SMEs in the West of England until December 2022. To be the first to hear about the next round of support available, please register your interest at: www.digitalinnovationfund.co.uk.


The Digital Innovation Fund (DIF) is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). DIF receives up to £1.9m of funding from ERDF, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regeneration.

UWE Bristol launches new funding scheme to support SMEs with research and development projects in Swindon & Wiltshire

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UWE Bristol are launching a new round of Innovation 4 Growth, a funding programme that supports SMEs in Swindon & Wiltshire undertaking innovative research and development (R&D) projects. 

SMEs can apply for grants of £10,000 to £40,000 to help their projects, with the programme covering 35% of project costs. 

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and delivered by UWE Bristol, Innovation 4 Growth is open to projects from all sectors,creating new products, new services and new jobs in the region. Applicants must be small or medium sized enterprises and based in Swindon & Wiltshire. 

Businesses can access dedicated support from a team of experts at UWE Bristol to help businesses develop project ideas and submit grant applications.

The deadline for completed applications is midday on 16 June 2021. Register your interest for an application form and one to one support at www.innovation4growth.co.uk

The programme is also hosting a series of free training workshops, starting on 11 May 2021, for SMEs in Swindon & Wiltshire to support them to develop innovative products, processes, technologies, and services. The workshops will be suitable for SMEs at any stage that want to innovate and grow their businesses. Register your interest for more information and an invite to sign up at www.innovation4growth.co.uk.

Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at UWE Bristol, said: “UWE Bristol is proud to be supporting SMEs in Swindon & Wiltshire. This programme aims to support companies to realise their potential through innovation and R&D. The Innovation 4 Growth programme in the West of England has supported hundreds of companies, giving out £1.5m of grants and created 130 jobs. We are excited to be able to bring Innovation 4 Growth to Swindon & Wiltshire and look forward to working with the region’s SMEs.”

Paddy Bradley, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership CEO, said of the scheme: “SMEs are the beating heart of our local economy and we welcome this effective grant funding programme to the area. Targeting innovation through funding research and development programmes will help elevate our region through job creation, skills development and new to market products. I am looking forward to seeing the work that comes out of this exciting programme.”

UWE Bristol are currently running a separate funding scheme for SMEs in Gloucestershire who want to apply for grant funding to scale up. Find out more about Scale Up 4 Growth here. SMEs in the West of England can access free Digital Support from UWE Bristol, find out more here.


Notes to editors

Swindon & Wiltshire Innovation 4 Growth is a business support programme delivered by UWE Bristol and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Swindon & Wiltshire Innovation 4 Growth will receive up to £760,000 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regeneration.

UWE Bristol Scientist publishes book exploring practical applications of graph theory

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UWE Bristol’s Dr Vadim Zverovich, Senior Lecturer in Operational Research, has recently had his new book published – Modern Applications of Graph Theory. The book discusses many cutting-edge applications of graph theory, such as traffic networks, navigable networks and optimal routing for emergency response, placement of electric vehicle charging stations, and graph-theoretic methods in molecular epidemiology. Due to the rapid growth of research in this field, the focus of the book is on the up-to-date development of these applications and the mathematical methods used to tackle them.

One of the topics discussed in the book is devoted to the well-known Braess’ paradox in traffic networks. Braess’ Paradox illustrates situations when the addition of another road link or route, with the intention of improving traffic flow, actually has the opposite effect of causing more congestion. This is because drivers generally choose their own driving routes when making their travel plans, without thinking about the traffic flow for all drivers, so that the road system as a whole does not operate optimally.

Deeper insight into this paradox from the viewpoint of the structure and characteristics of road networks may help transport planners to avoid the occurrence of Braess-like situations in real-life networks. If the analysis of all performance measures in a road network is done before the construction of a new road, then a huge amount of money and time can be saved. One relevant example is a demolition of a motorway section in Seoul in 2003, which improved travel time in the local network and resulted in a restoration of a river under the motorway (see Figure 2). The demolition and restoration costs were £201 million, not including very high construction expenses and upkeep of the river. Although it is generally believed that this is a real-life example of Braess’ paradox, it was not proved mathematically that the paradox actually occurred in this road network.

“The Cheonggyecheon river in Seoul: before (left picture) and after (right picture)

A generally accepted belief is that Braess’ paradox is wide spread. This was confirmed by some researchers who claimed that the likelihood of the paradox is 50%, or even higher under some assumptions. However, Dr Zverovich proved mathematically that typical probabilities for Braess’ paradox to occur in classical road network configurations do not exceed 10%.  In addition, the probability of Braess’ paradox to occur is 6% in the classical network configuration consisting of motorway sections and class A roads. Notice that for traffic networks consisting of motorway sections, class A roads or a mixture of both, statistical tests showed that the distribution of parameters of travel time functions follow the Erlang-k distribution for small values of k.


Examples of the Erlang-k distribution for the parameters of travel time functions of motorway sections and class A roads.

Congratulations to Dr Vadim Zverovich on his recent book success.

UWE Bristol launch free support for SMEs looking to enhance their digital capabilities

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UWE Bristol have launched Digital Skills: Workforce for the Future, offering free support to SMEs looking to improve business productivity and sustainability through enhancing the digital skills and capabilities of their workforce.

UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

Tracey John, Director of Research, Business and Innovation at UWE Bristol and project sponsor commented “We are excited to be able to offer SMEs in the region more support, this time in the form of Digital Skills. Regardless of industry, digital skills are more and more crucial to the success of any business. Our expert team will work with you to identify skills gaps and then offer bespoke training in order for you to fill those gaps.

What support is available

As part of our diverse offer, we’ll show you how to harness the power of digital with in-depth 1:1 support with expert advisors. Across the programme, your business and your employees will be able to access a bespoke combination of support via the below strands:

Diagnosis

  • Business, operational and digital needs analyses
  • Assessment report & action plan
  • Employee Skills Assessments to identify gaps

Development

  • Structured learning opportunities catered to your needs
  • From short, online courses for staff, to in-depth leadership programmes and accredited learning
  • Access to In-situ Digital Consultants and Training

Digital Futureproofing

  • Targeted skills libraries
  • Access to Digital Talent Recruitment pool
  • Access to Digital Business Network

Eligibility

The scheme is open to SMEs from any industry that have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset). 

Areas we can support 

 We can offer support in the following areas:Digital marketing

  • App design & creation
  • Digital disruption, leadership & change
  • Cyber Security
  • AI & Machine Learning
  • Robotics & Smart Factories
  • Cloud computing
  • Data management & analytic
  • Coding & programming

The first course, an Introduction to Digital Marketing takes place over two half day sessions in May. Information on the first course on Digital Marketing can be found here:

The full information pack for the programme can be found below:

Request a callback

Register your details and one of our expert team will be in touch with you to discuss your requirements.


UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority

If it is determined that your development needs do not fit with the digital enhancement opportunities available at UWE Bristol, you will be referred to the West of England Combined Authority Growth Hub, who will refer you to a more suitable partner.

Find out more about other partners delivering Workforce for the Future.

UWE’s Air Quality Management Resource Centre is offering a new suite of online Air Quality short courses

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Based on updated Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) Guidance, UWE’s Air Quality Management Resource Centre (AQMRC) offers a suite of online Air Quality short courses.

This suite consists of five distinct courses which can be taken all together or as individual days.

  1. Air Quality Management
  2. Air Quality Monitoring
  3. Air Quality Modelling
  4. Air Quality Assessment
  5.  Air Quality Action Planning

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 in advance of a live online contact session with the course leaders and your peers, providing an opportunity to discuss the materials in more depth and undertake related activities to that topic.

The courses are accredited by IES and IAQM; those accessing the materials and competing the online live session will be issued with a Certificate of Attendance from UWE Bristol for 3 CPD hours + self-study, which you can then present to IES.

Dates

  • Access to online materials: 19 April 2021 (until 20 June 2021)
  • Live sessions: Monday 17 to Friday 21 May 2021, 09:30-12:30

Fees

  • Early Bird Materials + Live session: £180 per topic or £900 for all 5 topics (deadline 26 March 2021)
  • Full fee Materials + Live session: £215 per topic or £1075 for all 5 topics
  • Materials Access only: £95 per topic or £475 for all 5 topics
  • UWE Alumni/Student Materials + Live session: £182 per topic or £910 for all 5 topics

Booking forms and further information available from links course webpages or contact the Professional Development Team directly: Professional.FET@uwe.ac.uk

University spin-out enables IBS diagnosis method

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Adapted from news article shared on the University of Liverpool website.

Nidor Diagnostics is working with its industrial partner to carry out final validation of a new diagnostic for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) before commercial launch.

Nidor is spin-out company between the University of Liverpool, UWE Bristol, the University of Bristol and The Wellcome Trust.

The company was established to develop a medical diagnostic device to improve the diagnosis of bowel disorders. The device, named Inform ™, can detect the volatile organic compounds in patient samples, in order to diagnose and monitor a range of medical conditions.

The company has recently agreed to partner with an accredited clinical laboratory, licensed to undertake trials for regulatory work. In addition, Nidor has received £75,500 funding from the Liverpool City Region Future Innovation Fund to build its first instruments to be trialled and validated by the laboratory. For the first time ever, Nidor Diagnostics will be able to positively diagnose IBS and help patients to get the correct treatment.

IBS has a huge impact on the lives of patients, bringing cramps, severe pain and unpredictable bowel habits. Despite being a common condition, there is currently no test to definitively diagnose the condition, with many doctors instead performing numerous tests to rule out other conditions. 

Over-investigation of symptoms related to IBS can also prove costly and potentially dangerous. Patients often perceive that an IBS diagnosis is only made when doctors don’t know what is wrong..

Previous studies from the University of Liverpool’s Professor Chris Probert, co-inventor of the new diagnostic technology, have repeatedly shown that the gas pattern from stool samples can be used to separate patients with IBS from those with healthy bowels as well as those with inflamed bowels.

Ben De Lacy Costello, Associate Professor of Biosensing and Diagnostics at UWE Bristol and UWE co-inventor of the technology said: “Myself and Professor Norman Ratcliffe had an interest in the changes in smell induced by disease processes and making sensor systems to detect these changes. Our long running collaboration the University of Liverpool gave this work a clinical focus and it is great to see commercial diagnostic tests being developed by Nidor on the back of this collaborative research effort”

Nidor is planning to be able to launch its first services in late 2021.

Read the original release here.

Research, Business and Innovation Director Tracey John named Higher Education Hero from University Alliance

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Director of Research, Business and Innovation (RBI) at UWE Bristol, Tracey John, has been named a ‘HE Leaders & Heroes’ from the University Alliance as part of their Inspiring Women of the Alliance, as part of their International Women’s Day celebrations.

University Alliance (UA) is the voice of professional and technical universities. They represent large to mid-sized universities working at the heart of their communities. Alliance Universities partner with industry and the professions to deliver the workforce of today and tomorrow through practical, skills-based learning and applied research.

For International Womens Day on Monday 8 March, they celebrated the Inspirational women of the Alliance – those women working in their member universities who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues for their inspirational leadership, outstanding contribution to their field, and work championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Tracey was nominated HE leaders and heroes category and was put forward for her energy, clarity and vision. The category represents the amazing women who are leading the way in Higher Education, forging a path and inspiring students and colleagues with their drive, passion and commitment to the sector.

Find out more here.  

Scale Up 4 Growth launches funding programme in Gloucestershire with £1m of grants available to help the region’s SMEs scale and grow

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Scale Up 4 Growth (S4G), a funding and support programme that brings together experts from UWE Bristol, NatWest and Gloucestershire College, will deliver grant funding and support to businesses in Gloucestershire. 

The programme, funded through the European Regional Development Fund, is open to businesses in any sector with ambitious growth plans. Applicants must be small or medium sized enterprises and based in the Gloucestershire LEP Region: Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Stroud and Cotswolds.

Grants of £10,000 to £40,000 are available to help address the challenges that Gloucestershire businesses face when growing and scaling up their operations. The grants will cover 35% of business’ costs.

Dedicated support from a team of experts at UWE Bristol will be given to help businesses develop project ideas and submit grant applications.

Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at UWE Bristol, said: “UWE Bristol is proud to be supporting SMES in Gloucestershire. This programme aims to stimulate the regional economy at such an important time by helping companies to realise their potential. The S4G programme in the West of England has supported over 80 companies, giving out £850,000 in grants and creating 150 jobs. Gloucestershire is full of innovation and we are thrilled to be able to bring this scheme to the region.”

Andy Bates, Vice Principal and Chief Financial Officer at Gloucestershire College said: “Our job at Gloucestershire College is to help local businesses to grow. For years, Gloucestershire College has been enabling this growth as the go-to training provider for employers in the county to develop their staff, hire new talent and strengthen their organisation with quality training.

We are thrilled to be partnering with UWE Bristol and NatWest to now bring £1m worth of capital into Gloucestershire, acting as a catalyst for growth, innovation and progression. The S4G scheme has already been a great success in the West of England and now we are bringing it to the SMEs of Gloucestershire.

There is no doubt that the last year has been challenging for businesses but we are committed to helping Gloucestershire come back stronger. This is the time to innovate and I urge employers to use the S4G scheme to level up for their future.”

Mike West, Director, Commercial Banking NatWest, Gloucestershire, said: “Building on the success of S4Gprogramme in the West of England, we are delighted to be working in partnership with UWE Bristol and Gloucestershire College to support ambitious businesses across our Gloucestershire region access this growth funding and leading business support.”

S4G launches on Monday 1 March 2021. Applications for funding will close on Wednesday 5 May 2021. For more information and to register your interest please visit www.scaleup4growth.co.uk.


Notes to editors

European Regional Development Fund:

The project will receive up to £1.4m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

Gloucestershire LEP Region: Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Forest of Dean Stroud and Cotswolds.

Access to Justice: Open Source LegalTech Hackathon 19, 24 and 31 March

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How do we use technology better to help those that need it most? 

The Challenge

Bringing the legal industry together with third sector, technologists and innovators, to rapidly design ideas on how we can purposefully use open source technology to ensure access to justice for all. We are calling for SMEs in the West of England to be part of an event that will rapidly prototype solutions for improved legal opportunities and legal service outreach. Together we will build a collaborative community that is focussed on solving problems for all.

Why Access to Justice?

The pandemic is widening the justice gap, with a sharp increase in the problems that many people face at a time when it is harder to get legal support. It has exacerbated many justice issues for those in vulnerable groups and low-income communities who are hardest hit by job or rental insecurity, homelessness and eviction, cybercrime and reduced access to criminal justice systems – now more than ever there are more people needing access to legal advice and help with understanding their rights.

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is a competition, usually held over the course of a couple of days. It is a collaboration between small teams of business people and software developers to develop a product, service or platform that addresses a specific challenge. It is an opportunity for people with a common goal to come together to harness their ideas and build solutions for the future. We will bring together the growing legaltech community across the West of England area and take this diverse group through a creative design sprint process to rapidly develop and prototype ideas/demonstrators.

The event culminates in a pitching competition before a panel of judges, who score the pitches along the challenge criteria and select a winner. We will run workshops to help participants can learn more about the subject of the challenge and the capabilities of open source – in our case, justice, legal services, lawtech and using open source technologies to enable access to justice.

We are inviting registrations from SMEs across the region who deliver justice, advice, support, technology, business and innovation. Spaces are limited, so register now. Participation in the hackathon is by selection. Registration does not guarantee a place. We will notify the final participants separately by email.

SMEs: Register here

If you are not an SME or you are not based in the West of England but you wish to be part of the LegalTech hackathon delivery or to join the wider network, please contact Thanh Quan-Nicholls Thanh.quan-nicholls@uwe.ac.uk to discuss this further or register here.

How to take part and Key Dates

  • Sign up to the Open Source LegalTech Hackathon here.
  • You will need to commit to all three days plus a minimum of 4 hours working as a remote team on your legaltech solution during that week.
  • You will need a computer or laptop with a camera, internet access, ability to download meeting apps and file sharing software such as Zoom, MS Teams, Github, Slack etc and somewhere to work where you won’t disturb others.
  • Each team will have a mentor who will help organise, support prototyping and problem solve any issues.
  • Hackathon Days: 19 March, 24 March and 31 March, 9:30am – 1.30pm

View the full hackathon guidance here.

This event is delivered by the Digital Innovation Fund and funded by the ERDF for the benefit of SMEs in the West of England. We will be guiding SMEs and Social Enterprises through the enterprise innovation and ideation process, creative design sprints and agile working practices to support new product design, improve resource efficiency and R&D activities. Your attendance at this event will count towards to State Aid and by participating, you are agreeing to ERDF business support and accompanying documentation


European Regional Development Fund:

The project will receive funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit here.

West of England region: All organisations with a presence in Bristol, Bath, BANES and South Gloucestershire.