Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

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: ]

Universities and councils join forces to help communities

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

“Leaders from universities and councils will be working together on a pilot project designed to help areas drive growth, re-design public services and strengthen the relationship between communities and academic institutions.”

“Pilots for the Leading Places Project will be rolled out in Gloucestershire, Manchester, Newcastle and Gateshead, Brighton and Sussex, Bristol, and Coventry/Warwickshire this month.”

“The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents over 370 councils in England and Wales, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which funds and regulates the higher education sector, and Universities UK (UUK), will work with the pilots and evaluate performance.”

“Pilots will involve university Vice-Chancellors and council Chief Executives and Leaders meeting to agree a local priority under the guidance of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. This could boost jobs as a result of university researchers identifying skill gaps and training being organised for new workers to fill them.”

[Source Local Government website: ]

Innovations are needed if Big Data is to boost jobs, says new research

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

“Phenomenal quantities of valuable data are now being collected and created by UK businesses but much of its commercial potential remains untapped.”

“Fears of data leaks and of losing control are the key reasons why companies are hoarding data rather than sharing or trading it openly and transparently or turning it into profitable information-based products and services.”

“These are the key findings from an investigation carried out by Imperial College Business School with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The team has worked closely with organisations such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Ofcom, IBM and the BBC.”

“On average, data-based capital contributed just 0.015 per cent to UK GDP each year over the period studied by the team, even though investment in data-based assets in the UK reached US$7 billion in 2013 – which equates to around 40 per cent of the amount invested in R&D.”

“Turning data into a widely traded, growth-boosting commodity similar to oil, for example, would require (i) a clearer regulatory framework and (ii) low-cost trading mechanisms enabling data to be exchanged in vibrant digital market-places without sensitive information about its originators being revealed.”

[Source EPSRC news: ]

Lithium may be better than newer drugs at reducing self-harm in bipolar disorder

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

“A large Medical Research Council (MRC)-funded study of 6,671 patients with bipolar disorder has found that using lithium reduces levels self-harm and unintended injury when compared to three other common and newer medications prescribed for the condition. It is thought this is because lithium reduces aggressiveness and impulsive behaviour.”

“Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that mostly affects mood. People with the condition experience severe mood swings from extreme highs to lows with episodes lasting up to weeks. People can experience several highs before a low and vice versa. It can affect up to one in 100 people during their lifetime.”

“Self-harm is one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and those who self-harm have a substantial increased risk of suicide. People with bipolar disorder are 15 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population and six times more likely to die because of accidental injury, for example falls, or to be involved in a car accident. The effects of medication on these outcomes has been hard to measure as people with a history of self-harm are often excluded from clinical trials.”

[Source MRC news: ]


STEM and computer sciences reviews show that improving employment outcomes is a shared responsibility

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

“Two reviews published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, looking at employment outcomes among science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates, find that responsibility for improving these outcomes needs to be shared between higher education providers, employers and students.”

“The Government’s 2014 Science and Innovation Strategy commissioned two independent reviews to look into the employment outcomes of graduates from STEM and, specifically, computer sciences. This followed concerns about the number of STEM graduates who appeared to be unemployed six months after graduation, the employment figures for computer sciences being the lowest of all STEM subjects. The reviews also considered systems of degree accreditation and looked at what employers say they want from graduates.”

[Source HEFCE news:,107977,en.html ]