UWE Bristol’s Associate Professor Nikki Cotterill studies included in the Covid-19 Nursing Research Portfolio Summary

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This month UWE Bristol’s Dr. Nikki Cotterill, Associate Professor in Continence Care, Continence Lead for North Bristol NHS Trust, and BABCON HIT Director succeeded at having two of her studies selected for inclusion in the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) England’s new Research portfolio summary.  Dr Cotterill’s studies were the only inclusions from the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) area out of 46 studies demonstrating the breadth and value of nursing research during the pandemic. 

Nursing research matters: learning from COVID-19 aims to increase knowledge of nurse-led research in response to Covid-19, inspire other nurse researchers and promote pride in what nursing has achieved through research leadership and its impact.   Finally the portfolio will underpin future plans for research and priorities addressing consequences of Covid-19. 

The two studies included were conducted under the auspices of the BABCON Health Integration Team, that Dr Cotterill is the Director for, as part of Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre.  

The first study Exploring Perspectives of the Impact on Continence Care of COVID-19 (EPICCC-19) – looks at the changes that have been made to community continence services because of COVID-19. Researchers are surveying healthcare providers working in those services to find out what advantages and disadvantages for continence care they have seen from these changes. The study is funded by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute at the University of Bristol and NIHR ARC West, and collaborators include ERIC: the Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity, and Bladder and Bowel UK.

The second study included in the Portfolio explores users’ perspectives of bladder and bowel services since changes were made due to COVID-19, and also examines wider issues such as the impact of public toilet closures during the pandemic. This is a collaborative study with Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and the Bristol Urological Institute, North Bristol NHS Trust.  Both studies are due to report during the summer and are intended to inform policy and decision making for service recovery and future service innovation.

Dr Nikki Cotterill said:

“I’m delighted for our research to be included in this prestigious collection alongside peers conducting high quality research in healthcare, showcasing the contribution nursing research can make for the benefit of patients and raising the profile of bladder and bowel care.”

UWE Bristol researcher awarded funding for innovative clean air project

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Dr Fiona Crawford, Research Fellow in Transport Studies, has been awarded funding for a new innovative clean air project as part of the University of Birmingham-led TRANSITION Clean Air Network, funded by UK Research & Innovation.

TRANSITION has awarded £48,000 to five innovative clean air research projects, including Fiona’s, aimed at helping to shape the UK’s low-emission mobility revolution to deliver clean air solutions and help meet the government’s ‘net zero’ targets by 2050.

The five projects, led by both commercial and academic organisations, aim to: characterise changing travel patterns; measure exposure to pollution in different transport modes; progress real-time identification of pollution sources; reduce the emissions of pollutants from so-called ‘zero-emission’ vehicles; and minimise public exposure at the roadside.

It comes after the UK government last month (April) announced it has set the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

Dr Suzanne Bartington, TRANSITION Lead Investigator and Public Health Clinician and Environmental Epidemiologist at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to fund these innovative projects spanning UK road, rail and bus transport. The outputs will advance our knowledge, understanding and tools to reduce health harms of transport emissions.”.

Fiona’s project, Characterising Changing Travel Patterns in the COVID-19 era, looks at applying methods previously used in gene sequencing to number plates and vehicle registration data to generate insights into travel behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide insights into the air quality impacts of changes in working patterns and shopping behaviour (e.g., increasing home working and home deliveries). The research will use data supplied by Bristol City Council (under a data sharing agreement) and is very timely with the Clean Air Zone due to be introduced in the city in October 2021.

Fiona commentated: “We are thrilled to receive this funding to help with our research. We know that there have been far fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, but what we don’t know is whether it is the least polluting vehicles that have been taken off the roads.  This research will examine how car and van travel has changed across Bristol during different stages of the pandemic and these behavioural responses will be examined alongside the emissions standard of the vehicles involved.” 

The other four funded projects are:

  1. Measuring Exposure in Different Transport Modes – led by Nick Molden (Emissions Analytics Ltd)

Focussing on ultrafine particles and currently unregulated pollutants, Emissions Analytics Ltd will measure differential exposure when opting to walk, cycle, drive*, catch a bus* or travel by train* (*comparing diesel and electric variants) on a commuter journey between Oxford and London.

2. Progressing Real-Time Source Identification– led by Gordon Allison (DustScan Ltd)

Enabling real-time air quality management at high spatial coverage, Dustscan Ltd will develop statistical techniques for machine learning to differentiate between construction dust and non-exhaust vehicle emissions using its new DustScan Cloud ‘low-cost’ air quality sensor, including on the HS2 Curzon Street site.

3. Understanding the Impact and Effects of Non-Exhaust Emissions (NEE) on human health and the environment – led by Jon Tivey (First Bus)

NEE from friction related elements of vehicles (namely particulate matter from brake, tyre and road wear) will remain in spite of a changing vehicle market from Internal Combustion Engine to electric propulsion (electric battery and/or hydrogen fuel cell).  First Bus will engage vehicle and component manufacturers in a review of opportunities to reduce vehicle wear and associated NEE to inform future policy and regulation.

4. Minimising Public Exposure at the Roadside – led by Dr Fabrizio Bonatesta (Oxford Brookes University)

Focussing on roadside exposure to momentary peaks of air pollution from passing vehicles, Dr Fabrizio Bonatesta’s team will use state-of-the-art airflow simulation software to optimise bus shelter design for minimum air pollutant exposure. The study will be undertaken in collaboration with Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council.

Fiona is part of the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE Bristol.

UWE Bristol researching ways to support black men and sexual health

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In a recent webinar, Doctoral trainee Uzochi Nwaosu discussed his research on ways to support black men and sexual health, supervised by Dr Jane Meyrick.

Uzochi Nwaosu is a sexual health adviser at a busy London sexual health service and a trainee on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology programme.

Dr Jane Meyrick is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at UWE Bristol and Public Health specialist. She focuses on researching sexual health/wellbeing and sexual violence. Her recent work speaks both to UWE’s approach to inclusivity and the importance of community collaboration, focusing on less heard voices in sexual health including sex workers, survivors of sexual violence and racially minoritized groups.

They are working together to find a platform for the voice of black men within the area of sexual health.  There work started with building the evidence base around what works and is soon to be published as peer review journal article.  Uzochi has interviewed black men in London, to place their voice at the centre of sexual health service development in the NHS.

They are connecting the work to key professional bodies such as BASHH (British Association of Sexual health and HIV) as well as providing additional engagement with the local Health Foundation funded research programme ‘Common Ambitions’, led by African Voices + Brigstowe, which looks to talk to Black men in Bristol about HIV.

View the slides from Zoch’s presentation below and to listen to their podcast here.

UWE Researcher wins research grant to grow bespoke crystals

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Imagine being able to grow your own gemstones?  Well Research Associate, Sofie Boons, from the Centre for Fine Print Research at UWE Bristol has been awarded a research grant from DAAD to try and work out how to grow innovative bespoke crystals for jewellery designers and wider applications in industry. 

Man-made crystals already drive innovations in a range of industries, however they have not yet been adopted by the world-wide jewellery industry which is fearful of a significant disruption to the market by these ‘fakes’.

Sofie will work in collaboration with the Trier University of Applied Sciences, Department of Gemstones and Jewellery in Idar-Oberstein and Electro-Optics Technology Inc to explore the unique possibilities that these new materials provide beyond imitation. She will undertake tests on the viability, limitations and use of innovative and experimentally grown crystals in the production of a range of contemporary jewellery.

As world-wide pressure increases due to a reduced supply of mined gemstones, the environmental damages due to mining, increased competition from countries with lower labour costs and an increase in research, investment and skills being applied to the enhancement and innovation of grown crystals in other industries this is a perfect time to undertake this research so the jewellery industry can take advantage of the opportunities bespoke man-made crystals could offer to support the move to specialist and innovative designs, which the area is currently making. 

With sustainability becoming more and more important to consumers and industry, the potential environmental benefits man-made gemstones provide; their traceability and the transparent labour practices involved, should be of huge value around the world.

Dr. Daniel Rytz from Electro-Optics Technology Inc describes the research as being an ‘opportunity for innovation, which in turn could lead to benefits for the wider jewellery industry’.


About the partners:

Electro-Optics Technology (EOTech) has been producing components for manufacturers worldwide since 1987. EOTech designs, grows, and fabricates laser crystals for the world’s leading laser manufacturers. EOTech’s high quality standard in manufacturing laser and nonlinear crystals are the result of intensive research and development activities to improve crystal growth processes and develop new materials. 

Trier University of Applied Sciences – Dept. of Gemstones and Jewellery in Idar-Oberstein is unique in the world for its specialisation in gemstones. Its studios, extensive library and connections with the industry in Idar-Oberstein, in addition to its key role in the global contemporary jewellery field through for example its bi-annual Schmuck Denken (Thinking Jewellery) symposium, places it at the forefront of gemstone research.

About the funder:

Deutscher Akademisher Austauschdienst (DAAD) (German Academic Exchange Service) is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. Change by exchange is the motto of the DAAD. Exchange promotes understanding between countries and individuals and helps secure the peace. New scientific findings enable us to meet global challenges. Cooperation contributes to political and social progress. Change by exchange is our contribution to shaping a global society that finds solutions to the pressing issues of tomorrow.

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. 

Centre for Fine Print Research project selected as Best Practice at EU Industry Days 21, a flagship event of the EU Commission

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A Centre for Fine Print Research project, led by Associate Professor Fabio D’Agnano, has been selected as Best Practice at EU Industry Days 21, a flagship event of the EU Commission. The project featured in the main exhibition of the fourth edition of the European Industry Days 2021 which took place virtually 23-26 February 2021.

The UNESCO4ALL TOUR project was undertaken with the aim of producing replicas to be displayed at four UNESCO World Heritage sites (Basicica Aquileia, Alhambra Palace, Sibenik Cathedral, Rila Monastery) to aid visually impaired audiences.

The scope of the research was to develop accessible, innovative, transnational cultural tourism artefacts and experiences by integrating tactile exploration with audio data.

Researchers tested a high-tech “ring” detection of Near Field Connectivity (NFC) tags integrated into 3D printed artefact replicas. NFC sensors located on tactile surfaces are triggered to communicate wirelessly with a smart device (through an app for tablets or mobile phones).

The team found innovative solutions for the production of three-dimensional models for tactile exploration. This required translating real objects into digital models through photogrammetry, digital 3D modelling and digital sculpting.  Digital models were then built using a variety of materials and techniques including Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) routing, laser cutting and engraving, and resin 3D printing. One of the main challenges was to create a precise replica of an artefact, of considerable size and at reasonable expense. In addition, the material used needed to be easy to maintain and pleasant to touch.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project:

Replicas will be sited at four UNESCO World Heritage sites and findings will be disseminated via conferences and public talks in 2021.

Find out more here.

Award winning book created by UWE academics: DRY:The Story of a Water Superhero launches a children’s competition

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An exciting competition for school children has been launched by UWE Bristol academics in collaboration with Waterwise. Based on the award winning book DRY: The Story of a Water Superhero, the competition provides an ideal opportunity to engage young people to think about water use and enable positive behaviour change.

Having won the Geography Association’s Silver Award, the book written as a young girl’s diary, has been published by the Drought Risk & You (DRY) Project (UWE Bristol), which is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The story runs over the course of a year and tells how an ordinary schoolgirl in the UK transforms into a water superhero when a dry summer and winter with little rainfall lead to drought. Seeing life through ‘water goggles’, the girl shares her new-found love of water with her school and community, as the drought progresses.

The story and accompanying teacher notes were created by Professor Lindsey McEwen, who heads the DRY project and is Professor of Environmental Management and Director of the Centre for Water, Communities and Resilience at the UWE Bristol, Dr Verity Jones, Senior Lecturer in Education at UWE; Sarah Whitehouse, Senior Lecturer in Education & Humanities at UWE and Dr Sara Williams, an environmental psychologist and researcher. The illustrations by artist Luci Gorell Barnes play a key role in projecting the relevance of the story and the science behind it.

The curriculum-led competition is a creative challenge for children to read and enjoy the engaging STEM book and use their imagination to illustrate what their community would look like if we all used water more wisely. It also offers an ideal opportunity to embed geography, science and PSHE into real-world learning, informed by evidence-based scientific research. Which can be carried out in lessons / activities or set as a homework assignment. It is also ideal for out-of-school activity groups.

The aim of the competition is to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of treating water as a precious resource in the face of climate change, based on the research of the Drought Risk and You (DRY) Project
  • Teach the causes of and impacts of drought in the UK
  • Prompt changes in behaviour to use water more wisely – inspiring children to be agents of change, to protect our communities and our planet, carrying the message back to their homes and families
  • To give them the confidence and background knowledge to engage with some of the themes and messages of COP26, the world’s biggest climate change summit being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November
  • Communicate the accessible science behind the DRY Project, part of the NERC-funded About Drought programme

The competition is open to 5-9 and 10-13 year olds entries must be submitted between May 1st-28th 2021

For more information about the competition see the website: www.waterwise.org.uk/drycompetition

You can access the online DRY: The Story of a Water Superhero book and teacher notes here

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.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership Case Study: B-hive Innovations

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In the below case study, we share the highlights from our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with B-hive Innovations. Find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with UWE Bristol here.


This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

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.