Higher and degree apprenticeships at UWE Bristol: Lauren

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Lauren is currently studying a higher and degree apprenticeship in Clinical Engineering at UWE Bristol.  Here’s what she had to say about higher and degree apprenticeships.

Find out more about our higher and degree apprenticeships.

Question 1: What motivated you to become a higher or degree apprentice?

I really wanted to study at a higher level and achieve a degree, but my circumstances made it difficult for me to afford full-time university study.             

Question 2: What skills have you gained during your apprenticeship which will benefit your career development?

From a workplace perspective, I’ve gained technical and professional skills that will support me as my engineering career progresses.

The University has supported me with scientific writing, presenting, networking, academic knowledge, reflective practice, and lab skills.        

Question 3: What are the top three things you would recommend to someone thinking about becoming a higher or degree apprentice?

A degree apprenticeship offers you a high standard of education and practical skills but it can be challenging to balance work/life/study so I would recommend you:

  • Consider whether your employer and the university are both a good fit for your needs.
  • Brush up on your time management skills and get to know how you learn best before you start your course so that you’re better prepared to manage the workload.

A degree apprenticeship will offer you a competitive edge against other candidates when competing for future vacancies.  You’ll be able to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by the University and professional bodies, and these will help you to decide what you want from your career, to network with others and make yourself more employable.

Question 4: What are your future goals after completing your apprenticeship?

Following my apprenticeship, I would like to further my career and study a master’s degree.

The University has exposed me to lots of potential career paths and I’m now considering pursuing a master’s in scientific communication, although, I’ve always had a deep-rooted interest in completing an MRES in cancer technologies. Which way I go is yet to be decided, but I know I would like to contribute to healthcare research in the future.

Question 5: Tell us a bit about your experience while doing your apprenticeship at UWE Bristol? (E.g. have you overcome any challenges?)

The University has always been very supportive, and I’ve really enjoyed the teaching and content.  I’ve faced some difficulties in my work environment, and I’ve really struggled to find a good balance between my work, study, and personal life, but my course leader and head of department at the university have been really helpful and offered me guidance whenever I’ve needed it.

Want to find out more?

Find out more about our higher and degree apprenticeships and explore the many higher and degree apprenticeship courses on offer with

Higher and degree apprenticeships at UWE Bristol

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Ryan from CMS Project Managers and Surveyors talks about the Chartered Surveyor (Quantity Surveyor) higher and degree apprenticeship from an employer’s perspective.  Here’s what he had to say.

Find out more about our higher and degree apprenticeships.

Question 1: What are the main benefits of the apprenticeship programme for your business and the learners?

The candidates get both a degree and chartered status at the end of the apprenticeship, which is important for them. Plus, the company gains a skilled workforce with the chartered status that’s recognised throughout the industry. It also enables the company to keep up to date with what’s taught about the subject academically. This then ensures that we implement this in the work we carry out for clients.”

Question 2: Do you have any advice to other employers considering this?

The five-year duration allows for a cycle to be created. We have one apprentice, who will be sitting his APC in spring next year, and another in the middle of their course. We’ll also be looking for another school leaver soon to enrol on the course to ensure the cycle is maintained. Given the difficulties in attracting and retaining quantity surveying talent, this apprenticeship scheme offers us a fantastic opportunity to generate high-quality, homegrown talent.

Question 3: What led you to sign up for the apprenticeship programme with UWE Bristol and were there any barriers for you as an employer in doing this?

Several of our staff studied at UWE Bristol and the apprenticeship programme offers a fantastic way for students to not only get a degree but also chartered status.   

Question 4: How will apprenticeships shape the future of your business?

They are already shaping the future of our business by progressing into senior roles within the company. This is allowing us to grow as they’re familiar with our systems and processes and have the qualifications to reassure our clients of the high standards we work to.

Want to find out more?

Find out more about our higher and degree apprenticeships and explore the many higher and degree apprenticeship courses on offer with us.

UWE Bristol research project receives award from Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

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The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has recently awarded a Technical Innovation Award for technology developed by a consortium led by Soil Essentials Ltd, which included the UWE Centre for Machine Vision (CMV).

The awards recognise, showcase and reward the innovations and developments made by the manufacturers, distributers, providers and inventors of the agricultural sector.

Soil Essentials won a Silver award for their SKAi smart camera, which uses artificial intelligence to detect and target the spot spraying of individual weed species. The SKAi camera uses the cloud-based platform (KORE) to transform data, as well as working in conjunction with existing GPS and sprayer systems. It is claimed that the solution can vastly reduce agri-chemical usage up to 90%, increase efficiencies, and reduce costly inputs, alongside its environmental benefits.

“The detection and management of weeds in crops has long been a challenge” said Gregor Welsh of SoilEssentials. “The artificial intelligence we have developed with SKAi means that the detection and targeted spot spraying of individual weed species has now become a viable option”

Director of the Centre for Machine Vision, Professor Melvyn Smith commented: “CMV has been working with Soil Essentials since 2016 on computer vision and machine learning techniques for identifying weeds”. “It is highly rewarding to see this technology starting to have a real impact.”

Online Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing for complex trauma: A feasibility trial of EMDR and AI-EMDR for attachment-informed complexity

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Image: Christine Ramsey-Wade and Beverly Coghlan, Research Officer from EMDR UK, on the left, after a recent site visit.

Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology Christine Ramsey-Wade will be collaborating with EMDR UK to run a pilot feasibility trial, comparing the delivery of two different versions of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) online for people who have complex trauma histories.

EMDR is a well-established psychotherapy which aims to support clients to process adverse or traumatic life experiences, so that they can re-build their lives.

The aim of the study is to test the feasibility of a research study design for a future randomised controlled trial (RCT) examining the efficacy of online Attachment-Informed EMDR and online standard EMDR for clients with attachment-informed complexity.

The primary research question is whether the proposed RCT design would be feasible for a full trial, seeking to test whether an explicitly attachment-informed approach to EMDR is at least as effective as the Standard Protocol in reducing and reprocessing stories of complex trauma. 

The original or Standard Protocol for EMDR set out eight treatment phases: history-taking, preparation, assessment (including exploring cognitions, beliefs and schemas around the event), desensitisation to the trauma, installation of processing, body scan, closure and re-assessment.  Shapiro (2018) set out the 8-phase treatment model clearly in her original EMDR protocol, which will be used for the active control arm of the RCT design under study in this feasibility trial.

As shame can be a barrier to accessing trauma-focused psychotherapy (Cummings and Baumann, 2021), it is important to continue to research trauma-focused therapies that rely less on verbal accounts of traumatic experiences and the cognitions around this to make services as accessible and effective as possible, which is what this feasibility trial sets out to do.

Christine commented:

“I am delighted to be collaborating with EMDR UK, and in particular the East Anglia branch, on this exciting new research project – the first collaboration between UWE Bristol and EMDR UK.  While the evidence base around EMDR is relatively strong, there is a need for further research on online EMDR and on EMDR for complex trauma.  We also need to show that any variations on the standard protocol are at least as effective as the original.  This project will explore how best to research these areas. ”

More information about Christine Ramsey-Wade.

Inaugural “This is Essential Work” exhibition launched

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Picture by Aline Brune, one of the profiled artists from the exhibition.

The “This is Essential Work” project is an online open-access intersectional feminist exhibition initiated by academic mothers and creators, Michal Nahman (UWE Bristol) and Susan Newman (Open University) in response to their experiences and interdisciplinary research on the commodification of breastmilk and forms of exploitation of women’s bodies and labour. The project received over 700 submissions and the online exhibition was recently launched

The exhibition saw work submitted from several countries including the UK, Brazil, Germany, the USA, China, Nigeria, India and more.

The exhibition emerged from research funded by a UWE Vice Chancellor’s Award for Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research conducted just before the Covid-19 pandemic, in Bengaluru, India, into mother’s provision of “excess” breastmilk to a private company that was processing it and selling it at a profit.

The volume of work was both moving and invigorating.

The judging team commented:

“For this exhibition, the art conveys how work and bodies get devalued. This feminist exhibition is about showcasing this gendered work: to acknowledge, to grieve, and importantly, to connect with one another.

We are showcasing mother/artists who question the value that society puts on their work, including all kinds of labour. The list of our Essential Work is endless and it holds up the world.”

View the online exhibition.

UWE Bristol researchers develop new method to detect date rape drug in drinks

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UWE Bristol Researchers have developed a smartphone-based sensor for the determination of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB); a popular recreational drug. Its strong sedative and amnesic effects have led to drug-facilitated sexual assaults, poisonings, overdose, and even death, something widely reported in the news amidst a recent rise in cases of drink spiking incidents.

As a result, legislation has restricted its availability, leading to GHB consumers switching to its pro-drug, gamma-butyrolactone (GBL). A pro-drug is a medication or compound that, after administration, is metabolised into a pharmacologically active drug. There is a growing need for methods capable of determining GBL in complex samples such as beverages. It was shown possible to quantify both, GBL and GHB, using the camera of a smartphone to record images of the purple colour developed following simple chemistry.

A downloadable free App available from the Apple App Store (Color picker and helper, version 1.1.6) was used to extract the numerical values of the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) colour components of the purple colour.  Using these values, it was possible to determine the concentration of the drugs present in fortified lager samples; indicating the method holds promise for the determination of both GBL and GHB in such drinks.

The findings were recently published in a paper:  Procida, A., & Honeychurch, K. C. (2022). Smartphone-based colorimetric determination of gamma-butyrolactone and gamma-hydroxybutyrate in alcoholic beverage samples. Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Copies are available via the UWE Repository at: https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/9282890

UWE Bristol celebrating world Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Day 2022 

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UWE Bristol are proud to work with many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the region. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for up to 90% of businesses, 60% to 70% of employment, and they account for half of global GDP, according to the United Nations.  

To celebrate World MSME Day 2022 we are sharing some recent work and projects with MSMEs.  

In this short video, we highlight three SMEs we worked with as part of our Scale Up 4 Growth Scheme. In partnership with NatWest and Foot Anstey, we gave SMEs access to grant funding and business support to help them scale up. In the below video we hear from The Bristol Loaf, Wiper and True and 299 Lighting about how the funding has helped transform their business.  

Spotlight on Bristol 24/7  

Bristol 24/7 are one of many MSMEs we are supporting through our Skills for Clean Growth programme and our Digital Skills programme.  Below is some feedback from Meg Houghton-Gilmour, Community and Memberships Manager.

Tell us a bit about what you are doing as an organisation to support sustainability goals in the region? 

At Bristol24/7 we’re really proud to be in the process of recruiting a dedicated climate and sustainability editor. We are the first local media organisation to do so as far as we know, and we’ve created this role to engage conversation, inspire people to take action, hold authorities and companies to account and report on the positive work already ongoing in Bristol.  

This is alongside our work to become more sustainable as an organisation. We are currently working with Action Net Zero to assess our carbon footprint, from which we will set goals to minimise our impact on the planet.  

We believe that working together is the best way to tackle the climate crisis. One of the defining values of our Better Business network is sustainability and we share ideas, opportunities and resources with our business members at our quarterly meetings.  

What steps have you taken to ensure you have a diverse workforce to drive forward these aims? 

Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all of Bristol24/7s plans. We recognise there are considerable barriers to working in journalism and we are aiming to level the playing field at every opportunity. We are continuously improving our recruitment process to make it welcoming and accessible to all those who are interested in working with us. We have redesigned our work experience programme and we are working to introduce a career ladder so that those who have their first taste of journalism with us are invited back for longer placements and interviews for entry level positions.  

We work with the most underrepresented areas of Bristol to train new journalists in our community reporters programme. Our entire team take part in setting our goals and strategy for the year ahead and every voice is heard; we believe this allows for more robust decision making and creativity which are essential when tackling problems such as the climate crisis.  

What support have you received from UWE Bristol, and how has it contributed to these aims? 

We’re extremely grateful to UWE Bristol for their support. Over the last 12 months, our team have benefitted from Digital Skills support and training which has informed our membership strategy. We now also have a stronger marketing strategy which helps us capitalise on the support from our community and grow our membership – the result of which is that we can offer more work experience placements, train more community reporters and work with charity partners. 

More recently, members of our team have also taken part in the Skills for Clean Growth workshops. We already feel more confident in addressing our own carbon output, and we look forward to attending more workshops as we set our new goals, induct our climate editor and take the next steps on our sustainability journey.  

What successes have you seen as a result of the above work? 

In the last year we have seen a 30% growth in our membership, which has provided us with the resource to grow our team, including interns from UWE Bristol, and increase our social impact work. 

Workshops for MSMEs 

Are you a Gloucestershire business looking to scale?​ 

Digital Scale-Up for your Business

Hosted in the Advanced Digital Academy at Gloucestershire College in Cheltenham on Monday 11 & Tuesday 12 July 2022.  

Find out more and register

Growth through Innovation workshop 

5 & 6 July 2022, 09:00 – 16:30 

Business Cyber Centre, Chippenham 

A practical workshop to support your business in creating, communicating and funding innovation, free to SMEs in the Swindon & Wiltshire area. 

Find out more and register

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships  

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. We embed a recent graduate within your business and give you access to our academic expertise to help you transform your business.  

View some of our KTP case studies

Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship  

We recently supported more than 70 young people to complete the first stage of a transformational ‘first of its kind’ green skills training programme. 

The programme aimed to provide access to green jobs, training and business opportunities to Black, Asian and minoritised young people (aged 18-28), and recent graduates living in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset. 

Get in touch  

We are always keen to work with MSMEs so please do get in touch to discuss how we can support you and your business uwebusiness@ac.uk  

Inhale the Future, Exhale the Past: The Evolution of UK Air Pollution

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Written by Linda Pengelly (MSc Student for Environmental Management)

In the early to mid-1900s, the hangover from Britain’s Industrial Revolution of the previous two centuries (when emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) were at their peak) was still raging (Ritchie, 2017a). Between 1900-1920, Bronchitis attributed to atmospheric coal smoke was the second-leading cause of death in England and Wales (Widdicombe, 2020). Cold winters and gung-ho coal combustion combined to form the deadly spectre that is ‘Smog’ (a portmanteau of smoke and fog) and earned London the dubious nickname of the ‘Big Smoke’, even inspiring Monet to paint the city between 1899-1903 (Fuller, 2019).
With everything happening in the world right now (the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, the looming threat of war…) it’s easy to overlook the (invisible) elephant in the room: air pollution. No-one wants to think about the ultrafine particles (PM2.5 to use the technical term) having a party in their lungs when they’re walking down the street or curling up in front of the fire. But should we be concerned? Well, yes, actually. The biggest contributors to air pollution may have changed over the years, but the bottom line is this: respiratory diseases have consistently remained one of the top 5 causes of death in the UK in our lifetime (ONS, 2017; Ritchie and Roser, 2019).

The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog) by C Monet (Monet, 1903-4)

A series of London Smog incidents followed, most notably the ‘Great Smog’ between 5-9th December 1952, which Bell and Davis (2001) estimate led to the deaths of 12,000 people. The younger generations of the Great British public were given a lesson in history when Queen Elizabeth II was portrayed stubbornly navigating the Great Smog on foot to visit her grandmother in an episode of The Crown (2016), but it begs the question: are we destined to repeat it?

Not necessarily. Granted, today’s developing cities appear to be following in the UK’s footsteps by way of initial ‘dirty’ industrialisation, as shown in Delhi:

Source: Ritchie (2017b)

There is hope, however. To avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, Ritchie (2017a) maintains that as India and other developing countries increase their GDP per capita, they must aim to keep air pollution below London’s 19th century levels by developing in a ‘cleaner way’ than we did; i.e., by adopting renewable energy early. The Clean Air Act of 1956 partly tackled the issue of air pollution in the UK through the introduction of smoke control areas, but as Fuller (2019) argues, the most effective change came from the adoption of alternative fuels and heating systems.

An ‘An awareness that the burden from energy consumption on the wider society has been very high in the past and can get much worse may help concentrate minds a little more towards finding solutions, and not simply accepting that climate change is the price to pay for economic growth and development’

(Fouquet, 2011)

The 1950s-1970s saw high growth in car ownership, accompanied by an increase in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and PM2.5 (Newman and Kenworthy, 2011). Although car ownership has continued to rise, NOx and PM2.5 levels have decreased since the 1970s due to a combination of technological advances and further political progress.

Dieselgate protest in Berlin (BUND Bundesverband, 2017)

There have been a few bumps in the road, however. In 2015, the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal broke, in which Volkswagen and other car manufacturers were revealed to have programmed on-board computers to cheat emissions tests (Fuller, 2019). Following this, sales of diesel cars in the UK nosedived, yet, frustratingly, sales of new electric/hybrid cars remain low (Ritchie and Roser, 2021), mainly due to their high initial costs and lack of charging infrastructure (ONS, 2021):

Source: Ritchie and Roser (2021)

Looking at the overall picture of air quality in the UK, data shows that there has been a steady decline in emissions of most air pollutants since the 1970s, but ammonia (NH3) levels persist (Ritchie and Roser, 2022):

Source: Ritchie and Roser (2022)

The culprit? Agriculture. According to Defra (2020; 2018), approximately 88% of ammonia emissions in the UK can be attributed to agriculture, and with 71% of UK land classed as agricultural, the scale of the issue is clear. Defra’s 2018 Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for reducing ammonia emissions attempted to address this but given that observance of the Code is voluntary rather than mandated, its potential effectiveness is questionable.

But what about closer to home? According to Carrington (2021), the oh-so-hygge solid fuel burners in 8% of UK lounges account for, shockingly, 38% of PM2.5 emissions (26% more than road traffic, to put it into perspective). Although there are already smoke control areas in the UK, and the implementation of the 2019 Clean Air Strategy will ‘outlaw the sale of the most polluting fuels’ and ‘ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022’ (Defra, 2019, p.59-60), the post-pandemic surge in energy prices and overall cost of living will likely mean that many homes continue to light up.
Compounding this problem is the long lifespan of solid fuel burners, meaning few people will ever buy a new, ‘cleaner’ one (Fuller 2019).

Source: Phelps (2019)

The top sources of air pollution may have changed over time, but the common denominator is human activity. Will we look back on the past with fog-tinted glasses, and allow history to repeat itself, or will we learn from our mistakes? It is down to every one of us to play a role in fighting the threat of air pollution, but crucially, the UK government must empower us to do so. We may hold the matches, but technological innovation and strong policies are the (seasoned) kindling we need to light the fire in our bellies.

(Adapted from Love Clean Air, 2014)


Bell, M.L. & Davis, D.L. (2001) Reassessment of the Lethal London Fog of 1952: Novel Indicators of Acute and Chronic Consequences of Acute Exposure to Air Pollution. Environmental Health Perspectives [online]. 109 (3), pp. 389-394. [Accessed 30 March 2022].

BUND Bundesverband (2017) Protest vor dem Dieselgate-Untersuchungsausschuss in Berlin [photograph]. In: Flickr [online]. Available from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/110742978@N08/33323423825 [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Carrington, D. (2021) Wood burning at home now biggest cause of UK particle pollution. The Guardian [online]. 16 February. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/16/home-wood-burning-biggest-cause-particle-pollution-fires [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2020) Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2020 [online]. London: Defra. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1056618/AUK2020_22feb22.pdf [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2019) Clean Air Strategy 2019 [online]. London: Defra. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/770715/clean-air-strategy-2019.pdf [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2018) Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for Reducing Ammonia Emissions [online]. London: Defra. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/729646/code-good-agricultural-practice-ammonia.pdf [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Farrow, A. (2018) London Smog, 1952 [photograph]. In: Flickr [online]. Available from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/116071498@N08/32506838248 [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Fouquet, R. (2011) Long run trends in energy-related external costs. Ecological Economics [online] 70 (12), pp. 2380-2389. [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Fuller, G. (2018) The invisible killer: the rising global threat of air pollution – and how we can fight back. London: Melville House.

Love Clean Air (2014) History of Air Quality. Available from: https://lovecleanair.org/about-air-quality/history-of-air-quality/#.YkS6pSjMK5d [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Monet, C. (c. 1903-4) The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog) [oil on canvas]. At: New York: The Met [online]. Available from: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/110001576 [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Office for National Statistics (2021) Over half of younger drivers likely to switch to electric in next decade. Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/articles/overhalfofyoungerdriverslikelytoswitchtoelectricinnextdecade/2021-10-25 [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Office for National Statistics (2017) Causes of death over 100 years. Available from:  https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/causesofdeathover100years/2017-09-18 [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Newman, P., and Kenworthy, J. (2011). Peak Car Use: Understanding the Demise of Automobile Dependence. World Transport, Policy & Practice [online]. 17 (2), pp. 1-42. [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Phelps, S. (2019) Opinion: Wood burning stoves are deadly, not trendy. The Bristol Cable [online]. 1 February. Available from: https://thebristolcable.org/2019/02/opinion-wood-burning-stoves-are-deadly-not-trendy/ [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Ritchie, H. (2017a) What the history of London’s air pollution can tell us about the future of today’s growing megacities. Available from: https://ourworldindata.org/london-air-pollution [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Ritchie, H. (2017b) Air Pollution, London vs. Delhi, 1700 to 2016. Available from: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/air-pollution-london-vs-delhi [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Ritchie, H., and Roser, M. (2022) Emissions of air pollutants, United Kingdom, 1970 to 2016. Available from: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/emissions-of-air-pollutants?time=1970..2016&country=~GBR [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Ritchie, H., and Roser, M. (2021) New passenger vehicles by type, United Kingdom. Available from: https://ourworldindata.org/transport [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Ritchie, H., and Roser, M. (2019) Number of deaths by cause, United Kingdom, 2019. Available from: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/annual-number-of-deaths-by-cause?country=~GBR [Accessed 30 March 2022].

The Crown (2016) Series 1, Episode 4, Act of God [online]. Netflix, 4 November. Available from: http://www.netflix.com/gb [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Widdicombe, J.H. (2020) A Brief History of Bronchitis in England and Wales. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases [online]. 7 (4), pp. 303-314. [Accessed 30 March 2022].

UWE Bristol-led study explores natural alternative to antibiotics in fight against Salmonella in pig farming

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Salmonella causes more than 93 million cases of salmonellosis, resulting in 155,000 deaths annually worldwide. Many severe cases are associated with the production and consumption of pork: salmonella is found in the pig gut and is often multidrug-resistant. The bacteria can be transmitted through the pigs’ oral−fecal route at the farm, the slaughterhouse, and the food processing plant, where it can survive and cross-contaminate equipment or the final food products, leading to human infections.

Salmonella is conventionally dealt with by using antibiotics. However, antimicrobial resistance is on the rise, and it is widely associated with the intensive use of antibiotics in pig farming. This has led to an increased interest in alternatives to antibiotics in the fight against bacterial pathogens.

Dr Alexandros Stratakos, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Agri-Food Production at UWE Bristol, has led a study on alternatives to antibiotics in pig farming. Alexandros in collaboration with UWE Bristol colleagues Professor Olena Doran and Dr Sotirios Oikonomou, and Dr Dimitrios Lamprou from Queen’s University, Belfast, developed novel nanostructures for the targeted delivery of geraniol, a natural antivirulence compound, in the pig gut.

Geraniol is the primary component of citronella oil but can also be found in many other plant essential oils.

The study has shown that geraniol at specific concentrations inhibits Salmonella colonisation in the pig gut, which can potentially reduce the requirement for antibiotics in pig farming.

For this study, geraniol was also encapsulated in liposomal (spherical fat-like) formulations, which acted as carriers to protect the agent from degradation and increase its effectiveness against the pathogen.

This approach could lead to reduced Salmonella transmission to food, ultimately leading to an increase in the safety of the food supply chain.

The full publication can be accessed on the website of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Community STEM Club connects local community, engineering students, and industry professionals

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The Old Library Community STEM Club has become a well-established weekly event in Eastville since it was first launched in September 2021: every Thursday after school, children and their parents or carers make their way to the Old Library Community Hub to take part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based activities, and to play and socialise.

The Old Library is a community led and run project, based in the former Eastville Library, which was closed down in March 2016 after council budget cuts. It now serves as a hire space for workshops and activities, including a community café, workshops, crafts, quiz nights, music, book clubs, a repair café, and the weekly STEM Club.

The Club was co-developed with the team behind UWE Bristol’s DETI Inspire, a programme designed to connect children from all backgrounds with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

It gets further support from Industry professionals via the STEM Ambassador Hub, and UWE Bristol Engineering students, who regularly support and run activities.

A club for the whole community

The sessions vary every week: children have built balloon- and sail powered cars, electric circuits, bike pump powered paper rockets, water filtration systems, and they even designed their own city, using recycled materials. They also had the opportunity to build and programme their own robots using Lego Mindstorms, and they digitally re-designed Bristol in Minecraft sessions led by the  DETI Inspire Team at UWE Bristol.

The Club is aimed to be as accessible as possible, which is why it is run on a free, drop-in basis. There are also healthy snacks on offer alongside the activities, and the grown-ups can relax with a cup of tea or coffee, or choose to get involved in the activities themselves.

What’s next?

For the upcoming sessions the children will be building model boats which will be raced at the Bristol Harbour Festival on Saturday 16 July. Boat building is taking place on 16 of June and 7 July and supported by the My Future My Choice programme and Industry volunteers.

Lego Mindstorms will be making a comeback on 23 and 30 of June: instructed by UWE Engineering students, the children will learn how to build and programme Lego robots.

There are also plans for wind turbine building, though the exact dates are still to be confirmed.

The last STEM Club session of this term is planned for Thursday 14 July, and then the Club will pause for the summer holidays, with a return planned in September, for the start of the new school year.

For updates check the Old Library Facebook page or email hello@theoldlibrary.org.uk should you have any questions.

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