Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Major boost to UK robotics capability with launch of EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“The UK’s ability to develop and exploit the vast potential of Robotics and Autonomous Systems was given a major boost today with the formal launch of The EPSRC [Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council] UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network).”

“The Network will bring together the UK’s core academic capabilities in robotics innovation under national coordination for the first time and encourage academic and industry collaborations that will accelerate the development and adoption of robotics and autonomous systems.”

“The new network has already received strong support by major industrial partners, the Science Museum and the UK’s major professional engineering bodies including Royal Academy of Engineering, IET, and The Institute of Mechanical Engineers. The Network will expand to include broader stakeholders including key national laboratories in the UK and leading international collaborators in both academia and industry. The global market for service and industrial robots is estimated to reach $59.5 billion by 2020.”

“The Network will organise a wide range of activities including network and strategic roadmap events such as the UK Robotics conference, symposia and focused workshops, public engagement and exhibitions. It will also have extensive online engagement activities using social media and web and user forums. The Network aims to strengthen the relationship with industry by supporting interdisciplinary mobility and industrial secondment and developing proof-of-concept (PoC) projects and running design challenges. There is also a strong emphasis on government policy and high-level engagement with international stakeholders.”

[Source EPSRC news: ]

The National Archives receives first born-digital records from government departments

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“As part of The National Archives’ pioneering digital transfer project, the first born-digital records have been transferred from a government department to The National Archives and are available on our online catalogue, Discovery.”

“This represents a key milestone for how we collect, preserve and present records in a digital format. These are records that have been created originally as digital records such as emails, documents, and spreadsheets.”

“The records [ ] were transferred from the Welsh Government and consist of both digital and paper components, known as hybrid records, from the Welsh Language Board relating to the development of the Welsh language policy since 2006 (see WA 11, WA 12 and WA 13). The National Archives also followed the born-digital transfer process and transferred some of our own records (RW 33) which relate to document conservation images and operational processes relating to digital preservation.”

“In the years ahead, the majority of transfers will be hybrid records. We are working to ensure that we can store and present all types of digital material efficiently, effectively and, importantly, at scale.”

“Next year will see the first large scale transfers of born-digital records from government departments to The National Archives.”

[Source National Archives news: ]

Bloodless malaria test passes first test in humans

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“A new laser test that can detect malaria in seconds with a simple skin scan is the first in-human device to diagnose the disease without drawing blood.”

“The device works by sending a safe laser pulse through the skin to a blood vessel. Here, if present, tiny parts of malaria parasites (called hemozoin) absorb the laser light. This causes them to instantly heat up and produce a microscopic vapour ‘nanobubble’. When this transient vapour bubble bursts, it produces an acoustic ‘pop’ which is detected through the skin by a sensor, indicating the presence of malaria.”

“The fast, non-invasive test can detect malaria in both humans and mosquitoes. It has advantages over current techniques because it does not depend on blood sampling, reagents, facilities or trained personnel. The simplicity – it can be operated by non-medical personnel – and sensitivity of the test mean it could be a low-cost, safe and universal tool for clinical and field diagnoses.”

“The study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, involved using the device on a patient with confirmed malaria and in non-infected people as controls to assess the technical and medical feasibility of using the technique for malaria diagnosis and screening.”

Here is the link to the article (Open Access):

[Source Medical Research council news: ]

Who are you? Recognising researchers with ORCID identifiers

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“Strategic insights can only be as strong as the evidence they’re built upon, and evidence about researchers and their activities can be surprisingly hard to come by. Jonathon Kram of the Evaluation Team at Wellcome explains the importance of infrastructure and the reasoning behind Wellcome’s new mandate for Open Researcher and Contributor iDs. This article was originally published on the ORCID blog.”

“We at Wellcome are happy to announce that we’re about to start mandating ORCID as part of our grant application process. Starting in August 2015, we will ask all applicants to provide an ORCID iD when they sign up with our grant application system – creating one takes just 30 seconds at and, if you haven’t seen an ORCID iD before, the best introduction is to check out an example.”

“The simplicity of a single profile, however, belies its true power: as plumbing. By allocating and centralising the identities of researchers, systems which previously could not exchange flows of data now can. By moving from full names to unique identifiers (referring to Dr Craig Roberts as 0000-0002-9641-6101, rather than “C. Roberts”) different interested parties can start reliably talking about the same people, which is a vital first step toward any deeper understanding of researchers, artists, and their activities.”

“Nearly 1.5 million researchers across the globe have in some way recognised this value and created ORCID iD and an increasing number of publishers, funders, HEIs and researcher information platforms are now requesting the inclusion of an ORCID iD in their workflows.”

To read more of the blog go to:

[Source Wellcome blog as above]

Metaphor Map to give bird’s eye view on metaphorical usage over the centuries

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“English language metaphors are “as old as the hills” – or 13 centuries old at the very least – researchers at the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow have found.”

“They have just completed a three-year-long project which traces metaphor over the entire history of the English language, creating the first ever Metaphor Map resource which contains the thousands of metaphorical connections that the researchers have identified.”

“The Metaphor Map is based on the data contained in the Historical Thesaurus of English, which took from 1966-2009 to compile, and its own parent resource, the Oxford English Dictionary. The researchers, who have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), have been able to identify well over 10,000 metaphorical connections between different categories and track how language use has changed over the centuries.”

“The Metaphor Map is still a work in progress, but once complete it will also include tens of thousands of examples of words with metaphorical senses; to date, around a quarter of these have been put online.”

To explore the Metaphor Map go to:

[Source AHRC news: ]

HSCIC launches consultation on smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has launched a consultation on the future format and content of the survey of Smoking Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England (SDD).”

“HSCIC would like to determine what information on smoking, drinking and drug use amongst young people is collected through this survey in the future and how it is reported. Please respond to the HSCIC questionnaire online: feedback is requested by 3 August 2015.”

“Prompted by the increasing difficulty in securing external funding for the survey in recent years, the HSCIC is presenting users with three options (see section 6 of the full SDD consultation) for content of the surveys that will definitely go ahead in 2016 and 2018. The HSCIC is requesting that users rank these options to indicate which would best suit their needs.”

“Under one of the options presented in the full SDD consultation, some of the more in-depth content of the questionnaire would have to be reduced – HSCIC is therefore also consulting users on what topic areas could be cut from the survey, if necessary, under this option.”

“HSCIC is also seeking users’ views on how useful the outputs from the survey are (e.g. the report, the tables and the dataset) and any ideas users may have to improve these.”

[Source UK Data Service: ]

British Academy urges UK government to address numeracy crisis

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“A dramatic improvement in the UK population’s mastery of basic numeracy and statistics needs to happen if the country is to take advantage of the data revolution now sweeping the globe. That’s the verdict of a major British Academy report Count Us In: Quantitative skills for a new generation.”

“The UK risks falling behind in the race to tap the potential of “big data”, while the countries’ middling record in numeracy is creating skills deficits for employers and means many citizens and consumers lack the skills to make informed choices.”

“These are among the warnings of the report, which calls for a transformation in our approach to building numeracy, statistics and data analysis skills to ensure that, within a generation, the UK rises to the challenge of becoming a fully data-literate nation.”

[Source (including a link to the report) British Academy news: ]

Chinese whispers commission marks AHRC’s 10th anniversary

Monday, July 6th, 2015

“The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) [ ] revealed the result of a special collaboration between a critically-acclaimed poet and 12 artists to mark the organisation’s 10th anniversary.”

“Instigated by Dr Ricarda Vidal and Dr Maria-José Blanco from King’s College London, ‘Still in Translation’ is a poetic and artistic translation game, unveiled for the first time in the AHRC’s online Image Gallery.”

“The gallery takes ‘Still’, an unpublished poem by award-winning English poet Denise Riley, as a starting point. Twelve contemporary artists responded to the poem, including Sharon Kivland, Domingo Martinez, and Sam Treadaway. The artistic translation process sees the poem become in turns a t-shirt, a catheter bag, a plant pot, and a funeral urn.”

“The AHRC Image Gallery is designed to showcase the range of digital images generated either as by-products or as outputs of research projects in the arts and humanities as a means of highlighting the richness and diversity of images created and used within the arts and humanities and to showcase the talents of those who create them, including those of doctoral students and early career researchers.”

To see the ‘Still in Translation’ Image Gallery go to:

[Source AHRC news: ]

National consortium for ORCID set to improve UK research visibility and collaboration

Monday, June 29th, 2015

“ORCID – a researcher identifier solution which enables a wide range of improvements to the scholarly communications ecosystem – will now be offered to UK higher education institutions through a national consortium arrangement operated by Jisc.”

“The agreement, negotiated by Jisc Collections, will enable universities to benefit from reduced ORCID membership costs and enhanced technical support. This should accelerate adoption and provide a smoother path to ORCID integration for UK universities.”

“It will ultimately help to transform the management, re-use, and efficiency of the UK research output by improving the integration of research systems and processes, and enhancing data quality.”

“More than 50 UK universities [including MMU] have expressed an interest in joining an ORCID consortium in 2015, with a further 22 saying they intend to join at a later stage.”

[Source Jisc news: ]

Research Matters by PLOS

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Research Matters is a new article series in which active scientists speak directly about why basic research in their field matters. It bridges the gap between academic research and the public by explaining how diverse fundamental research assures real and compelling impact on public health, human knowledge and life.”

“The editorial and first articles in this series are from PLOS [The Public Library of Science]  Pathogens Editors-in-Chief Kasturi Haldar and Grant McFadden, scientists whose basic research led them in unexpected directions. They provide vignettes of their respective careers, which they hope will encourage their colleagues to speak out in similar ways.”

[Source PLOS blog: ]