Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

2013

In a move designed to develop high quality clinical managers of the future for the NHS in Wales, Cardiff University has launched the Welsh Clinical Leadership Training (WCLT) Fellowship scheme.

As the first of its kind in Wales, those enrolled on the scheme will benefit from working closely with medical directors in the NHS. Graduates will therefore be ideally placed to lead developments and improvements in the delivery of healthcare.

The scheme, delivered by the university's School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (Wales Deanery), is designed to provide training and experience in clinical leadership and management.

Trainees will be equipped with the range of knowledge and skills required to compete as medical and dental leaders in the modern NHS. A structured educational programme provided by the NHS Wales leadership team will be delivered at Academi Wales.

Professor Derek Gallen, Dean of the School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (Wales Deanery), said:

"It has never been more important for the profession to demonstrate real leadership to deliver the highest possible patient care in the most cost effective way. These new posts will develop these skills for the clinical leaders of Wales in the future. They are the first of an on-going commitment by the Wales Deanery to produce real systems of change in an on-going cohort of doctors for the future of patient care in wales."

Four successful trainees* have already been offered Fellowships and were able to select from a pool of nine leadership projects based in the following health boards: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Cardiff and Vale, Cwm Taf, Hywel Dda and Powys, Velindre NHS Trust and the Welsh Government.

Welsh rugby legend and Cardiff alumni Dr Jamie Roberts will be returning to the University for the first time since graduating earlier this year, to give a talk on combining study and elite sport.

Since signing for Racing Metro 92 in August, the British and Irish Lions star has been living in Paris but will make the journey home next week to offer his insights and advice on juggling a degree in Medicine with the commitments of professional rugby.

Jamie graduated from Cardiff's School of Medicine with honours back in July having for eight years juggled endless games for his former club, Cardiff Blues, Six Nations Championships, World Cups and countless international tours with both the Wales and British and Irish Lions teams with perhaps one of the toughest and most intensive degrees you can study.

The talk will be open to all current students and will take place at 10am, Wednesday 13 November, 2013, in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Main University Hospital Wales building.

Since the financial crisis the City of London has become a more important source of competitiveness and future growth for the British economy as a whole.

This is one of the findings of the 2013 UK Competitiveness Index report, compiled by Professor Robert Huggins of the University's School of Planning and Geography and Dr Piers Thompson of Nottingham Trent University, which benchmarks the competitiveness of all local authority areas in Britain.

London boroughs account for the top nine most competitive places in Britain, headed by some distance by the City of London, and followed by Westminster, Camden, and Southwark. A number of England's largest cities – including Bristol, Leeds, Nottingham, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Liverpool – have seen their position improve since the 2010 index, suggesting a continued urban renaissance in these core cities.

In Scotland, Glasgow has also improved its competitiveness, while in Wales, Cardiff has seen its competitiveness fall. Amongst those cities that have improved their position, the most notable is Manchester, with the North West of England region as a whole showing competitiveness improvements.

In the case of the devolved administrations, local authority areas in both Scotland and Wales generally fail to show any overall progress, and are continuing to lose ground. The least competitive locality in Britain is Blaenau Gwent in the South Wales valleys, which has continued to see a continued erosion of its competitiveness.

Blackpool is the lowest ranked locality in England, followed by another coastal locality in the form of Gosport in South East England. In Scotland, the lowest ranked locality is North Ayrshire, which has seen a significant fall in its competitiveness during the period.

In England, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas in the Greater South East of England are by far the most competitive, led by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP area, followed by the London LEP area and the Enterprise M3 LEP area (comprising of those localities situated near and along the M3 motorway). At the bottom of the LEP area rankings are the urban economies of the more northern parts of England, with the least competitive being the Black Country LEP area, followed by the Liverpool City Region and the North Eastern LEP area.

According to Professor Huggins: "The indices suggest continuing economic divergence across Britain. The clearest trend is the increased concentration of Britain's economic competitiveness and growth capacity within London, in particular the City. During the period following the introduction of regional development agencies (RDAs) in England, competitiveness had begun to become more evenly spread across certain regions. Although Local Enterprise Partnerships were introduced by the coalition government to replace RDAs, they have lacked the funding power of the RDAs, and do not appear to have taken forward some of the improvements in regional economic capacity and capability that were beginning to become apparent prior to their demise.

"Outside of England, there is little to suggest that the economic powers and institutions endowed on Scotland and Wales have allowed their localities to compete any more effectively with their English counterparts. This points to the potential limitations of political institutions in promoting economic development within places ill‐equipped to compete in a post‐industrial economic environment."

The report concludes that whilst government agencies and devolved political institutions have given the British economy the chance to diversify its competitiveness away from its dependence on the financial sector, this opportunity has not been embraced.

The full report is available here

People are presented with false choices when it comes to tackling climate change and we are bombarded with advertising messages that tell us happiness and progress equate to owning goods.  

That's according to a panel of experts in a major debate at the University chaired by Griff Rhys Jones, patron of the Sustainable Places Research Institute.

Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Head of Community Energy, Severn Wye Energy Agency Ltd, Dr Adam Corner, Understanding Risk Research Group, School of Psychology, and Professor Justin Lewis, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, took questions from an audience of more than 300 people on the future of energy in the UK.

They argued that the messages around climate change action often pitted saving the planet against quality of life and are at odds with those of the advertising industry which identify 'progress' with 'new' and encourage people to buy goods.

Green needs to become the new 'smart phone' said the panel, who also considered issues around the Seven Barrage, renewable and nuclear energy and the public's perception of saving energy during the debate.

Griff Rhys Jones, Patron of the Institute said: "How we produce and consume energy will inevitably change. But what our energy systems in the future will look like is something in which we all have a stake, and so it is vital that as many people as possible engage with this issue."

The Minister for Natural Resources, Alun Davies, said: "Meeting the energy challenges we face will require strong leadership from Government and collaboration with communities and businesses.

"My vision is for a thriving green economy in Wales. The Welsh Government is focused on ensuring that we make the most of energy developments for Welsh businesses, communities and our environment, creating local employment, tackling poverty and generating income that can be invested back into Wales."

Mind the Gap; meeting the energy challenge in the UK was held as part of the University's Sustainability Week activities. Running from 4-8 November 2013, Sustainability Week showcases the University's world-leading research and teaching in the field of sustainability, and aims to engage staff, students and the wider community in making a concerted and joined-up effort to reduce our impact on the planet by becoming more socially, economically, and culturally aware.

The University's new £30M flagship research facility – the Hadyn Ellis Building, has been officially opened by the Welsh Government's Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart AM.

The Hadyn Ellis Building is the University's latest research facility housing highly advanced facilities for some of the University's world-leading research teams.

The University's European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and National Centre for Mental Health are all housed in the state-of-the-art facility.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan said: "The opening of the new Hadyn Ellis Building marks a new and important chapter for the University.

"As well as a striking landmark development, it is the gateway to the University's ambitious plans for the redevelopment of the whole of the Maindy Road site.

"The building plays host to some of the most advanced facilities and, for the first time, brings some of our best scientists together under one roof. It's a clear indicator of our research ambition to become one of the world's top 100 Universities."

The building is named in honour of the late University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Hadyn Ellis.

Professor Ellis was highly influential in the development of the University until his death in 2006. In his own field of academic research, he was a pioneer in the cognitive psychology of face recognition. He published leading research on prosopagnosia – the inability to recognise faces following brain injury.

Professor Ellis became Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research in 1994. The period saw the University increase its research income and shoot-up the national league tables – crucial to Cardiff entering the elite Russell Group of research–led universities.

Hadyn Ellis Building

Appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2001, he played a key role in the merger with the University of Wales College of Medicine and was awarded a CBE for his services to Higher Education in 2004.

Professor Riordan added: "We believe that it is entirely fitting that our new building should bear the name of one of the University's most well respected academics and highly regarded Deputy Vice-Chancellors – Professor Hadyn Ellis.

"A visionary, his commitment to breaking down academic barriers went way beyond his time. He was an active champion of interdisciplinary research excellence, which the Hadyn Ellis Building now fosters.

"He also played a leading role in the creation of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute for which the Hadyn Ellis Building now provides a modern, well-equipped home."

As well as housing three major research teams, the building is also home to Public Health Wales and the University's Graduate College.

The ground floor includes an attractive public area for lectures, displays and conferences about the University's work and a 150-person lecture theatre.

The building was designed by Nightingale Associates and constructed by BAM Construction. It has already been recognised for its sustainability and was awarded the Higher Education category of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method BREEAM) Awards Wales in 2012.

Muslims in the UK more effectively pass on their faith to the next generation than other religious groups, according to a new book by Cardiff researchers.

Muslim Childhood is the first study of religious nurture in Muslim children at primary school age.

Previous research exists on Muslim youth, but none on this age group (12 and under) which has specifically focused on learning religion.

The book draws on a study of 60 Muslim families in one British city and the lives of Muslim children in those families, from the family home to mosques and other religious organisations, school and wider social networks.

Lead author Professor Jonathan Scourfield, from the School of Social Sciences, said: "This book is about ordinary British Muslims' everyday religious socialisation of children in early and middle childhood. What surprised me most from our research was that although the British Muslim population is diverse, in terms of ethnic background, social class and school of thought, there are some important traditions of teaching children about Islam which different groups have in common. Arguably there is more that unites different groups of Muslims than separates them, when it comes to bringing up children as Muslims."

Muslim Childhood is published by Oxford University Press. It was co-authored by Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray and Asma Khan of the University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion and Sameh Otri, Muslim Chaplain at Cardiff. The research was jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council as part of the 'Religion and Society' programme.

Staff and students are being encouraged to come up with innovative green ideas to improve the University's environmental impact.

The Green Impact Awards were unveiled during the University's annual Sustainability Week (4-8 November).

Led by the National Union of Students' the Green Impact Universities and Colleges scheme is an environmental accreditation programme which helps people improve working environments, positively impact the lives of their students and gain recognition for their efforts.

The scheme will encourage staff and students to think about new ways the University can reduce energy bills and lessen its impact on the environment by competing against each other in teams.

To find out more about registering a team for the Green Impact Awards contact Katrina Henderson by emailing environment@cardiff.ac.uk.

Staff and students are also being encouraged to take part in an energy saving initiatives competition. The best idea will be implemented on campus and the winner will receive £100 prize, awarded by the Vice-Chancellor at the Green Impact Awards in May 2014.

A high level delegation has headed East to renew and enhance the University's international profile.

The Cardiff visit followed a high level UK Government delegation to China where the Vice-Chancellor accompanied David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science on the delegation led by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, which linked with a delegation led by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, at various points during the visit.

The Vice-Chancellor undertook a series of high profile engagements which further strengthened the links that Cardiff University has with China. The schedule included visits to Peking, Capital Medical (CMU) Xiamen and Hong Kong Universities.

There was also an opportunity for the University to celebrate the achievements of Cardiff alumni and meet Hong Kong based Welsh business leaders as well as awarding an Honorary Fellowship to Professor Yang Wei, President of the National Science Foundation of China.

"Cardiff University already enjoys long standing research collaborations with China. This visit was an opportunity to celebrate, build and renew these links," according to Vice-Chancellor Professor Riordan, who led the delegation.

During the week-long visit the Vice-Chancellor was awarded an Honorary Professorship by Peking University and made an International Adviser by Capital Medical University (CMU) at a presentation ceremony held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.  

Both awards are the most prestigious available from each institution and reflect Cardiff's developing relations with these top universities in China.

Professor Riordan added: "What pleased me most was the enthusiasm which greeted us throughout our entire visit. Our alumni are spread across a huge range of businesses in China and there are many opportunities for our students to spend time here as well.

"The new prospects that an economy like China offers the University in helping create new research collaborations are exciting both with other universities and with private companies.

"This visit helps to build further our international profile and to put Cardiff and Wales firmly on the world map."

Following on from her appearance last year, Dr Kelly BéruBé from the School of Biosciences, has once again featured in the popular BBC children's science series, Operation Ouch! The series is designed to communicate incredible facts about the human body to younger viewers.

In episode 6 of the series, the presenter of the show, Dr Chris van Tulleken, visits the University to learn about the impacts of inhaling air pollution, such as diesel exhaust particles, into the respiratory system and the role played by mucous and phlegm to protect against lung injury and related disease exacerbations.

Dr BéruBé, who is the Director of the Lung & Particle Research Group in the School of Biosciences, shows that by examining the different types of particles captured onto filters from the ambient air, the effects on lung health can be estimated. The episode is designed to teach children that the human lung consists of many different cells types and when exposed to the ambient air we breathe, has mechanisms in place to protect itself from foreign detritus.

Dr BéruBé's husband, Dr Tim Jones, who is based in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences acted as a technical advisor for the BBC assisting with content on scanning electron microscopy and capture of air pollution particles.

Watch the episode on the Operation Ouch web-site

On a clear day, North Somerset – where the UK's first new nuclear power station for more than two decades is due to be constructed – is clearly visible from Cardiff Bay. Deep in Powys, debates rage about where wind turbines should be located (and if they should be built at all). And although the idea of the Severn Barrage – a giant hydro-electric dam – has once again been kicked into the long grass, few would bet against this hardy proposal rising again.

In Wales, as in the rest of the UK, we are facing critical choices about how we want to produce our energy in the future. A cleaner and more resilient energy system, to reduce pollution from carbon emissions and protect ourselves against the impacts of climate change, is slowly becoming a reality. But exactly what our energy future will look like is still up for grabs.

At the same time, rising household energy bills are threatening the livelihoods of many ordinary families. Public anger at the profiteering of the 'Big 6' energy companies and the government's claims that they are powerless to prevent further damaging price rises is growing. Fuel poverty – the choice between heating and eating – is a harsh reality for many vulnerable people.

So it is against this tense backdrop that public views about the energy system are formed and negotiated. Studies show that people are very positive towards renewable technologies like wind, wave and solar, dubious about the health and environmental impacts of fossil fuels like coal and gas, and in two minds about the 'devil's bargain' of nuclear power.

This picture changes a little when you move from the national to the local scale. Here, specific developments are likely to be strongly challenged and contested, whether they are wind farms or wells drilled to 'frack' gas from rocks underground. Communities are often accused of adopting 'Not In My Back Yard' attitudes, but research has revealed a more complex picture. People's views about energy are comprised of more than a kneejerk 'yes' or 'no' answer.

Often, it is the lack of public involvement at the early stages of discussion about where (and how) to site new energy infrastructure that is at the heart of opposition. So although there are some firm opponents of wind farms (as well as many enthusiastic supporters), politicians and planners should expect controversy over 'fracking' to be just as heated.

A major recent piece of research conducted over 4 years by researchers at Cardiff University, with thousands of members of the public, is the most comprehensive study yet of how people think about the energy system. The research found that although people's views about different energy technologies vary for a number of reasons, there are some core values that underpin these judgments.

Whether it is wind farms or nuclear power, the public make up their minds on energy technologies according to a set of underlying principles – including fairness, avoiding wastefulness and affordability. If a technology is seen as reflecting these values, it is likely to be approved of. If it seems to violate them, it will be viewed less favourably.

But the study's key insight is that it is people's values, more than the facts and figures constantly thrown back and forth about energy, which play the biggest role in shaping perceptions of energy and climate change. This conclusion is an important reminder that tackling climate change is at heart a human challenge, not only a technological one.

How we produce and consume energy will change one way or another: aging power stations must be replaced, and moving towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy system will guide these changes. But exactly how our energy future will shape up is something we all have a stake in – and an important debate for as many people as possible to be fully involved in.


Dr Adam Corner is a Research Associate in the Understanding Risk research group at Cardiff University who specialises in climate change communication and public engagement with geoengineering. He also leads the Talking Climate programme for the Climate Outreach & Information Network.

Adam will be joining the panel for the Cardiff University Sustainability Week Debate: 'Mind the gap; meeting the energy challenge in the UK'. Hosted by the Sustainable Places Research Institute, the debate will examine the challenge of providing reliable, affordable, clean energy for current and future generations.