Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Finding out about health survey data – webinar

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

“On the 4 July [the UK Data Service is] holding a webinar: An introduction to survey data on health. This webinar is an ideal starting point for researchers who are new to using health survey data. Led by Vanessa Higgins and Deborah Wiltshire from the UK Data Service, who both have experience of using some of these data in their own research, the webinar will cover the range of health survey data available at the UK Data Service, including cross-sectional and longitudinal/cohort data. The webinar will also give a general introduction to some of the key survey datasets with health-related content. The webinar starts at 15.00 and will be a 40 minute presentation, followed by 20 minutes for questions.”

For information on the range of health data available from the UK Data Service see their health theme pages:

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

Improvements to using Digimap data in CAD systems

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

“As many of you may be aware, the number of users of the Digimap service using CAD systems has increased considerably over the years. As this user base has grown we have endeavoured to make the data we provide as easy to use as possible in these systems. As part of this effort to continually improve the service we offer, we have made some considerable enhancements to the products we offer for use in CAD systems.”

“Part of the problem is that there is a proliferation of systems in use under the general banner of ‘CAD’ systems, including AutoCAD, Revit, Rhinoceros, Vectorworks to name a few. A common factor between these systems is that they can accept vector data in DWG format, however, the way that DWG data is handled can vary between systems.”

“A number of our products in DWG format were loading into CAD systems but some were not correctly spatially referenced. This meant that although the data looked fine and worked perfectly well on its own, but it was difficult to overlay or integrate it with other datasets. We have now fixed this issue, so that it is possible to overlay common products together much more easily.”

“To accompany the DWG map data we also provide Digital Terrain Model (DTM) data to allow you to create a landsurface to loacte buildings and infrastructure on. In the past we only provided the OS Terrain 5 DTM in a format that was not so easily used in some CAD systems. To remedy this, we are now delivering OS Terrain 5 DTM in the XYZ format that can be used in most CAD systems.”

[Source Digimap blog: ]

A war of words: the literary response to the Spanish Civil War

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Few 20th-century conflicts were as ideologically and emotionally charged as the Spanish Civil War which lasted three years from 1936–39. Fewer still can claim to have united a generation of young writers, poets, photographers and artists, such as Auden, McNeice, Dos Passos, Ehrenburg, Hemingway, Koestler, Bell, Lee, Malraux, Neruda, Orwell and Vallejo, in political fervour.

Internationally, writers responded with moral outrage to the murder of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca and the attack on democracy by military and fascist forces. Others took an alternative view, and supported the coup to stop the spread of communism. Writers – men and women – harnessed their pens to create the world’s memory of a conflict that had a profound impact far beyond Spain’s borders. In Spain, where memories of the military uprising are still contentious, a rich and diverse corpus of literary works continues to this day.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the war, the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), a member of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS), is holding a two-day symposium (11–12 July) entitled ‘The Spanish Civil War and World Literatures’. It will critically examine the part literature played in the war, especially in the Spanish Republic’s fight against fascism.

[Source School of Advanced Study, University of London news: ]

People and Places: a 21st-Century Atlas of the UK

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

“A new atlas has been produced showing how life in the UK has changed since 2001. Covering over 100 different topics, from housing and employment, to religion, ethnicity and family life, the atlas uses innovative social mapping techniques to visually portray life in the UK over a decade.”

“Authors Professor Danny Dorling, Harold MacKinder Professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, and Dr Bethan Thomas, recently retired from the University of Sheffield, used Census data from the UK Data Service and the ONS, combined with supplementary information, to produce continuous population cartograms, where each place is sized according to its population, but still neighbouring the correct area. These maps show that the social divide in the UK is continuing to grow and that new geographical divisions are developing.”

“The atlas was compiled using data from the UK Data Service, with the Casweb portal being used to download the 2001 census aggregate data. 2011 census data was obtained from the ONS, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Records Agency and Scotland’s Census. To supplement this Census data, the authors also drew from other data sources including the Annual Population Survey, Labour Force Survey and Understanding Society.”

‘People and Places: a 21st-century atlas of the UK’ is published by Policy Press:

To explore and download Census data see UK Data Service Census Support:

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

Create or connect your ORCID identifier in Je-S

Monday, June 13th, 2016

“Researchers can now create or connect their ORCID identifier in the Research Councils’ grants system (Je-S).”

“An ORCID identifier (ORCID iD) is a unique string of numbers (a digital identifier) that distinguishes you from every other researcher – when a name isn’t enough! Letting researchers create or connect their ORCID iD to our grants system is an important first step towards improving the flow of research information across the higher education sector.”

“There is no need to wait until you are applying for a new grant to create or connect your iD – we would encourage both current and past award holders to log-in to their Je-S account, which you can do at any time, and add your ORCID iD to your ‘personal information’ page now. New applicants will also see the option to ‘create or connect your ORCID iD’ when creating a new Je-S account.”

For further information on the ORCID ID in Je-S, please visit the RCUK blog:

[Source Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council news: ]

New multiphoton microscopes could speed up disease diagnosis

Monday, June 13th, 2016

“Two new optical devices could reduce the need to take tissue samples during medical examinations and operations and to then send them for testing – potentially speeding up diagnosis and treatment and cutting healthcare costs.”

“One is a lightweight handheld microscope designed to examine external tissue or tissue exposed during surgery. One example of its use could be to help surgeons compare normal and cancerous cells (during an operation). A key advantage is that the device can acquire high quality 3D images of parts of the body while patients are moving (eg due to normal breathing), enabling it to be applied to almost any exposed area of a patient’s body.”

“The second instrument, a tiny endoscope incorporating specially designed optical fibres and ultraprecise control of the light coupled into it, has the potential to be inserted into the body to carry out internal cell-scale examination, for example during neurosurgery. Ultimately, this new approach may be able to provide high resolution images enabling surgeons to see inside individual cells at an adjustable depth beneath the surface of the tissue.”

[Source Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council news: ]

Major funders collaborate to produce first in-depth guide on evaluating healthcare system innovations

Monday, June 13th, 2016

“An e-book [just] published is the first to comprehensively address the challenges faced by healthcare providers in evaluating system-level innovations in healthcare services in an evolving landscape.”

“If innovations can be better evaluated then better, evidence-based decisions can be made by healthcare providers to improve the quality of health services in the UK.”

“Entitled ‘Challenges, solutions and future directions in the evaluation of service innovations in health care and public health’, the book is the result of a partnership between the MRC [Medical Research Council], the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Health Foundation, together with Universities UK and Academy Health.”

“The e-book, edited by Professor Rosalind Raine at University College London and Professor Raymond Fitzpatrick at the University of Oxford, brings together a global range of expert opinion following a two-day symposium in London last year. The event saw over ninety world-leading applied health researchers and methodologists debate how to address increasing complexity, diversity and pace of change within health systems. The e-book captures and advances those discussions in a series of essays which set out a repertoire of methodologies for evaluation.”

[Source Medical Research Council news: ]

Researchers build the world’s tiniest engine from particles of gold

Monday, June 13th, 2016

“Researchers have developed the world’s tiniest engine – just a few billionths of a metre in size – which uses light to power itself. The nanoscale engine, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, could form the basis of future nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease.”

“The prototype device is made of tiny charged particles of gold, bound together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel. When the ‘nano-engine’ is heated to a certain temperature with a laser, it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second, as the polymer coatings expel all the water from the gel and collapse. This has the effect of forcing the gold nanoparticles to bind together into tight clusters. But when the device is cooled, the polymers take on water and expand, and the gold nanoparticles are strongly and quickly pushed apart, like a spring.”

[Source Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council news: ]

British Academy report examines cultural factors shaping community energy projects

Monday, June 13th, 2016

“The British Academy has [] published a report on the cultural factors that shape the success of community energy projects. Cultures of Community Energy suggests actions that can make community energy viable and sustainable. The report is accompanied by eleven international case studies exploring the cultural aspects of community energy projects.”

“A working group of experts from across the energy sector drew on these case studies to suggest actions that can support the growth of community energy in the UK. From cascading responsibility for carbon reduction to local authorities, to exploring ways of upskilling communities starting such projects, Cultures of Community Energy sets out practical findings and suggestions for the local, community energy sector, and ideas for policy levers that could support its development.”

“The report suggests that a tradition of social enterprise or co-operation affected how easily a community energy group was established, whilst some projects also arose out of a ‘resistance spirit’ to large commercial energy projects, and the desire to do things differently. The authors also suggest that government financial incentives are important to encourage the development of community energy groups, but a long-term, predictable government policy on community energy is equally necessary to allow projects to thrive.”

[Source British Academy news: ]


Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

“FutureFest is a weekend festival of ideas, talks, and interactive performances to inspire people to change the future. We use FutureFest to gather some of the planet’s most radical thinkers, makers and performers together to create an immersive experience of what the world might be like in decades to come.”

“Our weekend festival is held every 18 months and the next FutureFest will take place 17-18 September 2016 at Tobacco Dock, London.”

[Source Nesta website: ]