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News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Archive for the ‘Full-text electronic documents’ Category

BBSRC Food, Nutrition & Health Dialogue report published

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

“The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has published a report on a public dialogue around food, nutrition and health which took place in March 2014.”
“The report Food, Nutrition & Health Challenges – BBSRC public dialogue final report details the findings of the project, which aimed to explore public views regarding food and health research, so that those views could be considered by BBSRC.”
“The report describes the outcomes from a two session dialogue commissioned by BBSRC involving members of the public. In facilitated discussions, participants were asked to consider why they felt particular ideas around food, nutrition and health were important, and the challenges they felt BBSRC should focus on.”
“The challenges identified by BBSRC’s Working Group on Food, Nutrition and Health were compared with those identified by dialogue participants. Overall, the public agreed with BBSRC’s priorities for research, but identified some areas that needed more attention. These will be addressed in BBSRC’s response to the dialogue, which will be published shortly.”

You can read the report at:

[Source BBSRC news: ]


Programmes from the Royal Albert Hall go online

Monday, May 19th, 2014

“A selection of programme covers from the Royal Albert Hall Archive in London have been made available online via the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) for free use in learning, teaching and research at:

“The Royal Albert Hall Programme Collection consists of over 40,000 Programmes, from the very first Programme of the Opening ceremony in front of Queen Victoria in March 1871 to last night’s event! The RAH Programme collection covers a huge range of events, including not only the most obvious classical music concerts but sporting events, political rallies, trade shows, dance events and balls.”

“The Royal Albert Hall is currently cataloguing its archive collections to make them publicly available for the first time later this year, and further images will be added to the VADS image collection in due course.”

[Source VADS news: ]

Discovering Literature – British Library posts its greatest literary treasures online

Monday, May 19th, 2014

“The British Library has posted over 1000 of its greatest literary treasures online in a new website, Discovering Literature.”

“Beginning with the Romantic and Victorian periods, the British Library has posted handwritten manuscripts, diaries, letters and other materials belonging to iconic authors including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Oscar Wilde, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth alongside original documents from the time they lived in, such as newspaper clippings, adverts and photographs, intended to bring their world – and their literary works – to life in a new way. The research suggests that this is a resource English teachers will find useful; 92% of English teachers say that students would benefit from being taught using material that brings to life the historical, social and political contexts in which classic literary texts were written.”

Discovering Literature website:

[Source British Library press release: ]

Independent review of the importance of engineering and the physical sciences to the health and life sciences.

Monday, May 12th, 2014

“The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) invited an independent review group chaired by Professor Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, to explore the relationship between engineering and the physical sciences and the health and life sciences.”

“The report concludes that engineering and physical sciences research, including mathematics, statistics and computer science, has played a major role in advancing health and life sciences, for example in biomaterials, microscopy, DNA sequencing and magnetic resonance imaging.”

“Academic and industry figures including Lord Darzi (Imperial College London), Professor Sir John Bell (University of Oxford) and Professor Patrick Vallance (GlaxoSmithKline) discuss the increasing importance for the future – from big data and genomics, to new drug discovery techniques, to medical devices for surgery.”

“The review group make several recommendations to ensure that institutions effectively support the increasing integration between disciplines. These include:

  • proposals to encourage interdisciplinary working
  • the role for challenge-driven research
  • the need for doctoral training in interdisciplinary research
  • incorporating engineering and physical sciences into the UK strategy for life sciences
  • regular reviews of activity at the interface between disciplines”

“EPSRC will be discussing the report and its recommendations with key partners such as the  Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and other stakeholders over the coming months.”

The importance of engineering and physical sciences research to health and life sciences report can be accessed at:

[Source EPSRC news: ]

UK’s lead in physics healthy but insecure

Monday, May 12th, 2014

“The quantity and quality of scientific papers produced by UK physicists indicates that the UK remains in an elite group of nations contributing at the leading edge of physics research.”

“New research shows that, when the quality of the UK’s scientific output is compared with that of its leading international competitor nations, the UK’s lead in physics comes despite a lack of investment relative to other scientific disciplines, such as the life sciences.”

“While the UK’s physics base is still punching above its weight, The UK’s performance in physics research: National and international perspectives also records the forceful growth of physics in emerging scientific nations such as China and India.”

“The new report, published by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the UK’s two leading funders of physics research, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), uses publication and citation statistics, as well as case studies of research clusters like astrophysics and space science, to evaluate the UK’s position in physics between 2002 and 2011.”

The report can be read in full at:

[Source EPSRC news: ]

Running geese give insight into low oxygen tolerance

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

“Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded scientists have uncovered how the world’s highest flying bird is able to survive in low oxygen environments, offering insights into low oxygen medical conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.”

“Researchers tested how well bar-headed geese were at coping with exercise in reduced oxygen environments by locally simulating the conditions of Mount Everest and getting the birds to run as fast as possible on a treadmill.”

“Exercising at high altitude is a massive challenge since at the top of the highest mountains the air is only made up of 7% oxygen, compared with 21% at sea level. This is why human climbers often use supplemental oxygen when scaling the world’s tallest peaks.”

“They discovered that the geese had a remarkable tolerance of low oxygen conditions at rest and while they were exercising for 15 minutes at top speed – at oxygen levels that would render most humans completely immobile. The researchers also conducted the experiments with the barnacle goose, which migrates at sea-level, finding that they did not have the same ability in low oxygen conditions.”

“The study was led by Dr Lucy Hawkes at the University of Exeter, with colleagues Dr Charles Bishop at Bangor University and Professor Pat Butler at the University of Birmingham.”

The article, ‘Maximum running speed of captive bar-headed geese is unaffected by severe hypoxia’ by Lucy A Hawkes, Patrick J Butler, Peter B Frappell, Jessica U Meir, William K Milsom, Graham R Scott & Charles M Bishop was published on April 7 in the journal PLOS ONE and can be accessed at:

[Source BBSRC news: ]

Scientists find mechanism to reset body clock

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“Researchers from The University of Manchester have discovered a new mechanism that governs how body clocks react to changes in the environment.”

“And the discovery, which is being published in Current Biology, could provide a solution for alleviating the detrimental effects of chronic shift work and jet-lag.”

“The team’s findings reveal that the enzyme casein kinase 1epsilon (CK1epsilon) controls how easily the body’s clockwork can be adjusted or reset by environmental cues such as light and temperature.”

“Internal biological timers (circadian clocks) are found in almost every species on the planet. In mammals including humans, circadian clocks are found in most cells and tissues of the body, and orchestrate daily rhythms in our physiology, including our sleep/wake patterns and metabolism.”

The article ‘A novel mechanism controlling re-setting speed of the circadian clock to environmental stimuli’ by Violetta Pilorz, Peter Cunningham, Anthony Jackson, Alexander West, Travis T Walton, Andrew A.S.I. Loudon and David A Bechtold in Current Biology can be viewed at:

[Source Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) news: ]

Telling research participants about health related findings

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“The Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust have launched a framework to help researchers design and implement a policy on feeding back findings that arise during the course of a study which have a potential health implication for the individual participant.”

“In the course of a study involving human participants, it is possible that researchers may make a finding that has potential health or reproductive implications for an individual participant. For example, during a brain imaging study, researchers might identify a brain tumour, or a genome-wide association study looking for genetic risk factors for diabetes might show that a participant is at an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Whether and how these ‘health-related findings’ (sometimes called ‘incidental findings’) should be fed back to the participant is currently subject to intense debate. Given the lack of evidence and consensus on how such findings should be handled, the MRC and the Wellcome Trust worked with the Health Research Authority to develop a framework to help researchers and research ethics committees identify and consider the relevant issues around feedback in a study. The framework is also supported by the Association of Medical Research Charities, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Health & Social Care R&D Division, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland.”

Here is a link to the framework:

[Source MRC News: ]

More than one in 30 in the UK participate in cohort studies

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“The Medical Research Council (MRC) [has published] the first review of the UK’s largest cohort studies. The Strategic Review of the Largest UK Population Cohort Studies, which looks at cohorts funded by the MRC and other funders, has found that more than 2.2 million people (3.5 per cent of the population or one in 30) are a participant in a cohort study.”

“A commentary in The Lancet highlights the MRC’s 50-year history of supporting population cohort studies including the world’s longest continuously running birth cohort (the 1946 Birth Cohort), UK Biobank’s tracking of half a million participants, and the largest longitudinal study of women’s health (the Million Women Study). Close to £30m per annum is spent on the 34 largest UK population cohort studies. More than half of these participants have been followed for more than 20 years. The vast majority are aged 45 years or over (92 per cent) and female (62 per cent after exclusion of the Million Women Study), with men aged 20-40 years less well represented.”

“Population cohort studies are a major long term commitment for participants, study teams and funders, but their strength is in their ability to identify multiple risk factors over time.”

To view the report Maximising the value of UK population cohorts go to:

[Source MRC News: ]

Second batch of First World War unit diaries goes online

Monday, March 31st, 2014

“The National Archives [has made] the second batch of 3,987 digitised First World War unit war diaries from France and Flanders available online via its First World War 100 portal.”

“It contains records relating to the last of the Cavalry and numbers 8-33 Infantry Divisions deployed to the Western Front in the First World War. They cover the entire period of the units’ involvement in France and Belgium, from their arrival on the front to their departure at the end of the war.”

“William Spencer, author and military records specialist at The National Archives said: ‘This second batch of unit war diaries provides detailed accounts of the actions of the next troops to arrive on the Western Front. They show the advances in technology that made it the world’s first industrialised war with many mounted troops going into battle at first with swords on horseback and ending the war with machine guns and tanks.’”

First World War 100 portal:

[Source National Archives news: ]

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