UWE Bristol Professor in Emergency Care Jonathan Benger awarded CBE

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UWE Bristol Professor in Emergency Care Jonathan Benger has been awarded a CBE for services to the NHS.

Professor Benger, who is also a consultant at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), and Chief Medical Officer for NHS Digital, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Graduating from University of Bristol Medical School in 1990, Jonathan initially trained as a surgeon, then in anaesthesia, intensive care and paediatrics, before specialising in emergency medicine.

He has previously led several reforms of emergency care as the National Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care at NHS England.  He also leads the Emergency and Critical Care Research Theme in the Centre for Health and Clinical Research at UWE Bristol.

Jonathan has a lifelong interest in research and was appointed to a Professorial Chair at UWE Bristol in 2008 and leads a team of 15 people carrying out a wide range of emergency care research, particularly around the management of critically ill and injured patients, service delivery and workforce.  

Most recently, he has been leading on digital and data provision for the health and care system, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes NHS111 online, the NHS.UK website and the NHS app, all of which have been central to the pandemic response – 16 million people now use the NHS app.

Jonathan, who has worked at UHBW as a consultant in emergency medicine since 2003, said: “It’s a proud moment for me, however it’s also an opportunity to acknowledge the many excellent teams that I have had the opportunity of working with. My academic training, and the Emergency Care Research Programme based at UWE Bristol, have been central to informing and developing my work for the NHS both locally and nationally.

“Emergency care is a ‘team discipline’; it’s only possible to push things forward and improve care by working as part of a coordinated and effective multi-disciplinary team.

“I think it’s vital to remain clinically grounded, and I work in the Trust every week. It is so important that clinicians with a national leadership role also work on the front line to ensure we are clinically credible, and close to the practical delivery of patient care and the challenges that staff face every day. I am proud to work for UHBW.”

Professor Marc Griffiths, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, said: “Professor Benger’s appointment as CBE is testament to his hard work and collaboration shown over the last several years. Jonathan’s work within the field of Emergency Medicine and NHS Digital has ensured safer patient outcomes and his experience is invaluable across a range of our health and social care programmes and research themes. 

“I am incredibly proud of Jonathan’s achievements and is a real world example of collaboration across different disciplines and organisations.”

Applications open for Partnership PhD scheme

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UWE Bristol has recently announced another application round of its successful Partnership PhD programme.

A Partnership PhD bridges the gap between external organisations and university. It enables an organisation to gain access to cutting-edge real-world research that can help transform it.

The Partnership establishes a relationship between an organisation and UWE Bristol, based on a specific project that is mutually beneficial.

Organisations have the opportunity to choose a relevant research area and gain access to cutting-edge research. The researcher will work extensively with the organisation to provide a tailored piece of research.

In turn, the researcher will gain an opportunity to pursue their research in a real-world setting, developing transferable and interdisciplinary skills whilst gaining cross-sector experience.

Over the past two years, the Graduate School, part of the Research, Business and Innovation team at UWE Bristol, has been developing the Partnership PhD scheme. Through it, UWE’s investment in Post Graduate Research has been matched by over £1.5m from 40+ partner organisations.

Application deadline 1 April 2022 for Partnership PhD’s starting in 1 October 2022.

Apply for a Partnership PhD.

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Please find below full Partnership PhD guidance, costings, useful information and the flyer for businesses:


See below for our slides for businesses:

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Continence care app developed by UWE Bristol academics wins national Nursing award

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An app developed by a national team including UWE Bristol academics has recently won the Nursing Times Award for Continence Promotion and Care.

The free CONfidence app was developed by the Bladder and Bowel CONfidence Health Integration Team (BABCON HIT) as part of Bristol Health Partner’s Academic Health Science Centre.  Development included a national team of clinical experts and patient and public partners, supported by a local self-care app developer, Expert Self Care, to develop a unique app to enable people with bladder and bowel leakage (incontinence) to access self-help advice and information.

The BABCON HIT and app project is led by Dr. Nikki Cotterill, Professor in Continence Care at UWE. The CONfidence app was launched in June during World Continence Week and has just achieved over 1000 downloads. It has been termed a ‘gamechanger’ as it bridges the gap between the millions of people with symptoms who feel they are alone and nothing can be done, and the evidence-based guidance that can really make a difference.

The CONfidence App

The award winning app has already proven to be hugely successful and has been covered regionally, nationally and widespread on social media.

Nikki commented “We are thrilled with the reception of the app so far. Nationally, we’ve seen services adopting it into their service pathways as it aligns with the NHS Long Term plan to promote self-care. It’s also been included in the Orcha app library and is currently undergoing an NHS DTAC review. At its core though, the app can help people to take control of their life where bladder and bowel symptoms are taking the lead, avoiding the physical and mental health declines that can ensue.”

To learn more visit Bristol Health Partners.

UWE Bristol deliver successful suite of courses on Air Quality

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For the last 10 years, the Air Quality Management Resource Centre (AQMRC) at UWE Bristol have delivered a suite of successful courses on the topic Air Quality.

This year, the team were given extra resource to develop online materials to provide a distance learning offer which has proved really successful.

The courses offered included:

Delivered with a mixture of self-learning and either online or face-to-face delivery, the courses provided attendees with an opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in the area of Air Quality. The courses were attended primarily by local authorities, consultancies, government agencies and regulatory bodies, and students and are IAQM-accredited.

Accreditations and Partners:

On these courses, delegates cover the basics of air quality management, including what causes air pollution and its effects, before looking at monitoring and modelling techniques using ADMS-Roads. They also learn about role of planning in air quality and explore how air pollution can be tackled through technical and non-technical measures.

The courses align with the University’s commitment to sustainability.

Course lead and Associate Professor for Clean Air, Jo Barnes commented on the success of the courses:

“Our IAQM-accredited Air Quality CPD short courses, underpinned by our research and teaching, aim to provide a comprehensive overview to enable those with little or no knowledge on the subject, to those with years of experience, the tools and ability to apply their learning in their workplaces. The combination of extensive access to online materials provided in advance, the live presentation and interactivity of the practical sessions, really bring this subject to life and gives delegates the chance to also learn from each other.”

Course attendee Amelia Rivers, Environmental Health Officer commented:

“The learning I will apply back at work will be the importance of monitoring air quality when looking at planning applications and really think about the potential effects on air quality the proposed application can have.”

The next set of courses will run on campus from 16 – 20 May 2022.

Email Professional.FET@uwe.ac.uk to find out more

UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Dr Patrick Crogan

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Patrick Crogan is Associate Professor of Digital Cultures at UWE Bristol where he teaches and researches in media, technology and culture. Originally from Australia, he completed a doctorate at the University of Sydney and taught at a number of institutions in Australia before coming to the UK.

He has worked at UWE Bristol since 2008, where he supports the Media Communications degree programme. He is also a founding member of UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre, a collaborative network focussing on practical approaches to responsible technological futures.

Patrick’s work specifically highlights the link between digital media making and theory. He works in both conventional ‘academic’ and practice-based modes, working with creative makers, an approach that he says keeps him “’fresh’ and ‘honest’”.

Area of expertise

Automation and AI:

Patrick was one of the UWE Bristol-led, AHRC-funded South West Creative Technology Network’s Automation Fellows in 2019-2020. He worked with other Fellows on the future of creative uses of AI and automation. Before that, Patrick was co-investigator on the AHRC Automation Anxiety Research Network (2017-18) which explored innovative methods by which the humanities might address contemporary cultural anxiety about new forms of automation.  He also works on military drone developments and the future of AI and automation in military and civilian circles. In addition to this, he is a collaborator and research lead on the I am Echoborg​ project. Led by colleague and interactive experience designer, Rik Lander, this interactive show challenges the audience to discover the best possible outcome for the relationship between humans and intelligent machines.

Video games and digital culture: 

Patrick’s 2011 book Gameplay Mode critically examines what videogames can tell us about the relations between war and computer-based technoculture. 

He also ran the Creative Territories AHRC Video games research network (2014-15). Its major report The Good Hubbing Guide outlines its major findings and recommendations about independent game maker colocation. 

Bernard Stiegler: 

Patrick’s work is strongly influenced by Bernard Stiegler, a French technology and media philosopher who argued that individuals and society as a whole are increasingly shaped by algorithms and automated systems, driven by economic rather than human interests.  

Patrick has written several pieces on Stiegler’s work’s relevance to film, media and digital cultural theory and translated some of his writings into English. He also guest edited a special issue of the journal Cultural Politics on Stiegler. He is currently working on a book about the philosopher’s relevance to digital media and cultural studies.

Introducing our research strength focus: Digital Futures

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At UWE Bristol we are proud of our active and collaborative research community of bold and innovative thinkers that are breaking research boundaries. 

Our four key research strengths are:   

  • Creative industries and technologies 
  • Digital Futures 
  • Health & Wellbeing 
  • Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience

Over the past three months we have been sharing content around our research strength, Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience. We are now moving onto our next focus: Digital Futures.

 Our research strengths in this area include: 

  • robotics, artificial intelligence and advanced engineering 
  • industrial digitalisation, high-value design and next generation services 
  • future mobile communications, ubiquitous computing, data science and cybersecurity. 

To introduce this research strength, we are going to share with you two of our Digital Futures research case studies: 

Cyber crime: Helping authorities worldwide to tackle financial crime 

Being as vast and intangible as it is, the internet has proved one big loophole for cyber criminals – until now. Turning the tables on fraudsters is the raison d’etre of experts in cyber security and financial crime, who are helping police forces across the world to close in. 

“We know that the rapid exchange of information between cyber criminals, and the lack of information sharing across police forces and countries is a major barrier to success in tackling the issue,” says Professor Phil Legg, Associate Professor of Cyber Security. “Our goal is to work with police forces to understand what tools they currently lack and how we can help by using our research intel to come up with a solution.” 

Phil is working alongside Professor Nic Ryder, Professor of Financial Crime, on a multidisciplinary project to address the evolving nature of crime online, and to develop technological solutions for facilitating law enforcement in this globally connected space. 

Much of Nic’s work has already helped shape improvements in how law enforcement agencies across the world tackle terrorism financing and money laundering. As well as training police authorities in Rome, the Netherlands and the UK, he has worked with NATO, the UK Home Office and the Centre of Research Evidence and Security Threats (CREST). 

A seminal piece of work is the development of a fraud typology that enables agencies to identify where financial crime is being used to fund terrorist activity. The typology is a robust toolkit based on evidence from convicted terrorism cases, which revealed how terrorism is often connected to fraudulent activity in areas including immigration, identity theft, credit cards, tax, student loans and insurance. 

View the full case study  

Digital ethics: Balancing creativity with ethics on and off screen 

What happens when you give people the power to raise the dead? Aside from the creative potential for screen directors to shock audiences into paying attention, the deep fake phenomenon which does precisely that, raises a host of ethical and legal challenges. Who better to test the balance of such powers than Maggie Thatcher…? 

Digital face replacements are commonplace in the high budget film industry, with the widespread use of CGI and digital effects by Disney and the Star Wars franchise, among others. Since 2017 the open source, lower resolution alternative of deep fakes has become widespread, providing an affordable means of translating existing images into a simulated context. 

For television and film directors like UWE Bristol’s Dr Dominic Lees, Associate Head of Department, Filmmaking, this is interesting territory that poses both creative and ethical questions when it comes to examining a director’s intentions and the potential for shifting perceptions. 

“We have a moment in technological development that is really exciting,” says Dominic. “It’s the democratisation of what has been an extremely elite part of the studio and film process for some years. Philosophically, it raises questions around why we would want to do this, how we do it, and whether we even ought to.” 

These are the questions that Dominic is exploring in collaboration with colleagues from Law, and Engineering and Technology, via the Virtual Maggie project, digitally resurrecting the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for a contemporary short film set in the 1980s. 

Having filmed several scenes with a real actor, they are now testing out open source (artificial intelligence) AI technology to recreate the actor’s scenes with a simulated version of Thatcher’s face. 

Dominic says: “It’s both interesting and rattling to consider whether I want people to completely believe that this is Margaret Thatcher, which I could never do because the audience knows she wasn’t alive when I was shooting this film? Or whether I want it to be slightly unbelievable so that viewers are aware of the artifice of what I’m doing, and appreciate the fakeness?” 

View the full case study

Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience Round Up

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For the past three months, we have been focusing on sharing content with you around Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience, one of our four research strengths.

The challenges of global warming, finite resources and shrinking biodiversity could not be clearer – the future of the planet and our world is at stake and we won’t get a second chance. Net-zero carbon buildings, sustainable mobility, green agriculture, emissions and air quality are just some of the critical issues we are tackling.

Our research strengths include:

  • transforming construction, infrastructure and design
  • food security, water management and air quality
  • future mobility, connectivity and place.

We have shared with you a guide to COP26, discussed the importance of sustainable fashion, shared sustainable businesses in our University Enterprise Zone and highlighted our Research Centres and Groups within this area, to name a few.

The below blog shares some of our favourite blogs from the past few months.

Our next focus is our research strength Digital Futures. We look forward to sharing more of our amazing research with you.

For UWE Staff: Women Researchers’ Mentoring Scheme

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The Women Researchers’ Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) aims to promote and facilitate professional development for women researchers working at UWE Bristol, helping them reach senior research roles.  This scheme provides support to female staff to develop and strengthen their research portfolio, making them more able to compete for senior research roles alongside their male counterparts.

This scheme offers a specified number of mentoring opportunities, which aim to provide mentees with encouragement, support and advice from experienced colleagues in order to help the mentee realise their potential and fulfil their research career aspirations. 

The new application cycle for the Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) is now open. The scheme is open to all women in academic and research roles, employed by UWE, who wish to develop their careers.

The benefits of being involved in the scheme by becoming a mentor or mentee could assist your development and progression. The scheme will entail a nominated woman researcher being matched to a mentor, who can be a woman or man. Training will be provided to all new participants. The application deadline is Wednesday 12 January 2022.

Further details of the scheme including how to apply is available on the Women Researchers’ Mentoring Scheme staff intranet pages.

UWE Bristol academic wins ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2021

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Dr Rebecca Windemer, Lecturer in Environmental Planning and Design, last week won the Outstanding Early Career Impact award as part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize 2021 for her research on “Influencing policy and debate on end-of-life considerations for onshore renewables”.

The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize, now in its ninth year, is an annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate the success of ESRC-funded researchers in achieving and enabling outstanding economic or societal impact from excellent research.

Rebecca’s research into the 25-year planning consents that regulate the UK’s onshore wind and solar farms has led to policy change in Wales, greater guidance for local authorities and the wind industry on end-of-life considerations for onshore renewable energy infrastructure, and increased community awareness of the potential to influence the future of local wind and solar sites.

In the context of a global transition to decarbonise the energy system and meet NetZero targets, expanding energy output from renewables is increasingly important. However, space for renewable energy infrastructure is limited and existing wind farms are beginning to reach the end of their operational or consent life. Given tightening planning and land restrictions, keeping consented infrastructure in place is likely to form a key part of ensuring that renewable energy targets are met. There is also potential to significantly increase the energy generated from existing sites through repowering (replacing existing infrastructure with new). However, the context of existing sites and the opinions of local communities may have changed over time. There is thus a need to consider how we make decisions about the future of our existing onshore renewable energy sites, including how local communities are involved in such decisions.

Rebecca commented: “I am delighted to have won this award for my work on planning for the future of onshore renewable energy sites. As our existing wind farms are reaching the end of their planning consent there is an urgent need to consider how we make decisions about their future. These decisions are not straightforward as both the sites and the opinions of communities living close to wind farms may have changed over time.

Directly responding to this challenge, I have used my research findings to help develop planning policy in this area. I have also shared my research findings with the renewable energy industry, emphasising the importance of considering communities over the life of energy developments, rather than only during planning applications. The funding that I have received from this award will be used to further generate such policy and behavioural change, both locally and internationally.”

Find out more about Rebecca’s research. Find out more about the other winners from the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize.

UWE Bristol researchers seeking dairy farmer input in developing a new way to fight bovine mastitis

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UWE Bristol academic Alexandros Stratakos is currently seeking dairy farms to work with to develop a new way to fight bovine mastitis.

This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the UWE Bristol (Dr Alexandros Stratakos) and University of Bristol (Dr Daniel Enriquez-Hidalgo, Professor John Tarlton):

Bovine mastitis is the leading infectious disease of dairy cattle and remains a major challenge to the UK dairy industry. It is the most costly disease for the industry, and affects the welfare of your animals.

Normally treated with expensive antibiotics that can leave residues in milk and lead to antimicrobial resistance, researchers are developing a new preventative method based on cold plasma.

Cold plasma is produced at a very low cost by applying electricity to a gas. This technology is non-invasive, quick, antibiotic, residue and pain free, environmentally friendly and can be applied directly to the cow’s teat.

We believe that this technology can offer significant benefits and we are interested in finding dairy farmers who can help us identify what they need to make this technology work for them. The project will explore: i) the efficacy against microorganisms causing mastitis and ii) the safety of the method on bovine mammary skin and iii) wound healing acceleration.

If you are a dairy farmer interested in helping develop this technology further, please contact one of the team members to arrange a short visit to your farm.

Contact details: