Programmes and Projects

 

 


Applied Biosciences for Health

A comparison of transcriptome signature of resistance exercise adaptations in young, older adults and athlete

Greater muscular strength is strongly associated with improved physical performance in athletes. A recent investigation identified 16 loci associated with handgrip strength; however, handgrip strength is a poor indicator of athletic performance. Therefore, investigation into more ecologically valid strength measures is warranted. Furthermore, there is a large variability in both muscle size and strength gains in response to resistance training. It has been suggested that an up-regulation of myonuclear transcriptional activity during the early stages of myofiber hypertrophy leads to altered expression of genes known to modulate myofiber size. In addition, follow-up functional annotation revealed networks favouring growth, ribosomal activity, and stem cell activity in extreme ‘responders’ versus pro-inflammatory processes in ‘non-responders’, which suggests that the pre-training muscle transcriptome profile is highly influential in the resistance training myofiber hypertrophy adaptation. Therefore, the overall aim of this investigation is to establish the genetic basis and molecular regulation for measures of strength associated with athletic performance in comparison to older adult performance, and the responses to resistance training in trained individuals.

Partner: Coventry University

Project code: CUAB01

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Effect of aging on Leishmania infection: Ex vivo analysis of Leishmania infection of human blood

This research proposes to study how aging affects Leishmania spreading between human blood cells to tackle one of the least studied question of Leishmania research: changes in the immunology of infection during aging.

Over 20 species of Leishmania are known to infect humans with consequent disease manifestation ranging from asymptomatic to self-healing cutaneous manifestation to deathly visceral infection. Disease outcome is a consequence of the immune response to infection. The effect of aging on immunological response and disease development has been investigated in mice models with contradictory results. Interestingly, asymptomatic infections are often detected in autopsy of elderly suggesting a link between an aging immune system and parasite survival within the host. A better understanding of the immunology of leishmaniasis is necessary to develop treatment and vaccination strategy. The immunology of Leishmania infection is a complex topic, which despite a significant amount of research remains largely misunderstood. This is largely due to the fact that almost all immunological studies are carried out on mice models which are not a good representation of infection and disease. Moreover almost all studies of infection investigate parasites entrance in human rather than their spreading between cells, even though disease manifestation is a direct consequence of the parasites ability to spread between host cells.

Partner: University of Greenwich

Project code: UGAB03

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Evaluating the impact of a digital lifestyle behaviour change intervention for the management of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes currently affects more than 371 million people worldwide, and this number is expected to rise to 552 million by 2030. Type 2 diabetes is a serious long-term condition that can lead to morbidity and premature mortality due to diabetes- related complications such as cardiovascular disease. Current approaches to targeting lifestyle behaviour change to manage type 2 diabetes in routine clinical settings are largely ineffective. As such there is a pressing need for interventions that lead to improved glycaemic control and that can be delivered at scale given the magnitude of the problem.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSAB06

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Fully automated quantification of myocardial infarct size using artificial intelligence methods

The world-class research community at NTU tackles society’s biggest challenges with research that is transforming the world and saving lives. Research at NTU won the 2015 Queens Anniversary Prize –the highest honour for a UK university– and 90% of NTU’s research was classed as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

The newly-established British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Centre at Leicester houses state-of-the-art facilities that enable pioneering research on cardiovascular diseases to continue apace.

The UK is uniquely placed to address many of the unanswered questions regarding myocardial infarction (MI).

Partner: Nottingham Trent University

Project code: NTAB05

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Gut microbiota as a novel nutritional target to influence systemic inflammation in overweight participants with asthma

Drs Sharpe and Williams have a proven track record of respiratory research and will have access to unique expertise and asthma patients with in vitro respiratory expertise offered by Dr Carl Nelson. With over 100+ original publications, Professor McTernan provides in depth expertise into chronic inflammatory conditions supported by international leading work of Prof Helen Maddock, coupled with industrial support. This interdisciplinary approach will innovate research outputs and strengthen alliance-training opportunities between institutes.

Partner: Nottingham Trent University

Project code: NTAB04

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High-intensity interval training (HIIT) as an option in a multidimensional menu of physical activity choices to benefit population health

This PhD programme will be conducted against the backdrop of continued interest from scientific researchers and policy makers in the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In March 2018 the Scientific Report of the 2018 USA Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee was released, which summarises the scientific evidence on physical activity and health. In this critical review of the scientific evidence base, HIIT features strongly for the first time. The report concludes that HIIT is effective in adults for improving cardiometabolic health, perhaps especially in overweight/ obese people. However, various unanswered questions were reported…

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSAB03

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Identification of the molecular mechanisms of longevity in long-lived mutants of insulin and Klotho signalling

Klotho/beta-Klotho (KLB) are transmembrane proteins that act as co-receptors for endocrine fibroblast growth factors (FGF19, – 21 and -23) to activate their cognate FGF receptors (FGFRs). Klotho was originally identified as ageing- related gene when disruption of Klotho gene in mice led to phenotypes resembling ageing and shortened life-span1.

We have previously shown that the function of Klotho/KLB in ageing is evolutionarily conserved in the nematode C. elegans2, which has two Klotho/KLB orthologs. C. elegans also has evolutionarily conserved insulin signalling and the role of insulin signalling in longevity and the effects of glucose on shortening lifespan were first discovered in C. elegans3. These effects are mediated via the forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factor DAF-163.

Partner: University of Huddersfield

Project code: HUAB01

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Inter-individual differences in the responses of patients with low back pain to exercise interventions.

Low back pain is a common condition and one of the leading cause of life years lost to disability globally. The consequences of low back pain on the individual, healthcare systems, industry, and the wider society are considerable.

Our team have pioneered a new statistical approach for identifying if true inter-individual differences to interventions exist. This statistical technique has never been used to investigate if true variation in response to exercise occurs in people with low back pain. Such work would identify if matching patients to exercise therapy (and specific forms of exercise) is logical.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSAB04

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Investigating novel methods for home- based stroke rehabilitation: combining action observation and motor imagery therapy with integrated technology

Stroke is a leading cause of motor deficiency in millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, the number of people affected by stroke will inevitably rise as global life expectancy increases. The prevalence of motor deficits following a stroke can be up to 80% in a defined elderly population. Only a small proportion of this group (approximately 20%) will partially recover, leaving approximately 50-60% who are left with some form of chronic motor deficiency.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSAB05

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Predictor of fluorosis: total fluoride intake or subsequent fluoride absorption?

Oral diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, almost half of the world’s population are affected by oral diseases, with dental caries being assessed as the most prevalent condition. Due to the well-known role of fluoride in preventing dental caries, it has been added to water, salt, milk and dental products to reduce the prevalence of dental caries. Currently almost 380 million people worldwide in 25 countries receive fluoridated water at an optimal level of 0.7-1.0 ppm.
However, excessive chronic fluoride exposure can result in undesirable dental fluorosis. It has been suggested that the fluoride intake should not exceed a tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 0.1 mg/kg body weight/day, especially during enamel formation, to minimise the risk of dental fluorosis.
Excessive fluoride has also been linked with other adverse health effects such as musculoskeletal effects (bone fracture, irregular bone mass density and skeletal fluorosis), lower-IQ and neurological manifestations, thyroid disease (hypothyroidism), birth defects, bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and cardiovascular disease. Studies of fluoride and its adverse health outcomes have yielded somewhat conflicting results. These inconsistencies probably reflect differences in fluoride exposure or more importantly differences in fluoride metabolism. Several factors such as diet composition could alter the rate of fluoride bioavailability and therefore its absorption and consequent retention. Therefore, it is important to quantify the amount (percentage) of absorbed fluoride and body-retained fluoride rather than only the absolute total fluoride intake.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSAB07

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The effectiveness of Virtual Reality (VR) for management of persistent pain

Virtual Reality (VR) has been in use for relief of acute pain in burns, dentistry, wound debridement and post-operative pain for around 20 years. A key mechanism is distraction facilitated by immersion in the virtual environment.

More recent studies have begun to explore the use of VR in the management of persistent pain. This is more challenging because of the complex interplay of biological, physical, emotional and social mechanisms. Within self-management of persistent pain, distraction is recommended to help manage pain and flare-ups of pain. There is emerging evidence that VR methods may help reduce pain in the short term for people with persistent pain. The project plan will give clear direction to the student while allowing appropriate space for the student to develop their own ideas to facilitate ownership of the project.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSAB02

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Energy

Augmented/Virtual reality and serious games as integrators of construction technology

Attempts at creating augmented reality (AR) tools date back to the late 1960s but only in recent years the advancement of technology has allowed broader market acceptance with tools such as HoloLens, Meta2, Smart Helmet. Current applications include gaming, automotive and defence sectors, whereas the construction industry adoption is at its infancy. Existing developments in the construction sector relate to construction design and planning (SketchUp Viewer by Trimble, 2016).

Applications in visualisation of real time building energy sensory information and energy consumption of white goods are yet to be realised. In particular, combination of such real-time energy data with simulated energy profiles using building information modelling and serious games opens excellent opportunities for scientific research. Such research builds upon previous successful endeavours at Teesside University to utilise serious games in construction health and safety training (Dawood et al. 2014).

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSEN01

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Construction waste comminution with low energy microwaves for high value recycling

The proposed project on developing microwave energy technology for accelerated comminution of demolished concrete and tarmac road waste will focus on fundamental aspects and effects of microwave heating at high temperatures. It will involve an interdisciplinary approach including the interactions of microwaves with heterogeneous construction materials, energy, thermal effects, material response to differential thermal stresses and chemical changes. It will lay a strong foundation for innovations in the application of microwaves for recycling construction waste and in the application of microwaves for road repairs. The current state-of- the-art lacks the fundamental knowledge which can be provided by interdisciplinary research. This includes investigation of electromagnetic energy, material microstructure and fracture mechanics, chemical characteristics, effects of constituents of heterogeneous materials like concretes and relationships of operating parameters of microwave energy systems with the properties of the comminuted materials.

Partner: Sheffield Hallam University

Project code: SHEN03

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Design and Experimental Investigation of Solar powered energy storage and generation systems

The proposed project aims to investigate and understand, theoretically and experimentally, the usage of advanced CSG system with nanofluid and PCM as working fluid for renewable thermal energy recycling and power generation from heat source of a temperature range 20°C to 95°C. Specific objectives are:

  • Optimised design of all CSG system, with PCM energy storage system and advanced power generation system, for a range to low heat sources temperatures and heat recovery from solar thermal energy.
  • Establish a multi-functional and high precision test rig for the solar powered energy storage system with nanofluids and PCM materials and heat source temperatures ranging from 20°C to 95°C.
  • Understand the complex heat recycling processes involved in renewable energy storage and power generation system and obtain valuable performance data through the use of advanced flow measurement technologies.
  • Design detailed transient simulation models for each components and CSG system and validate the models with experimental results.
  • Investigate the heat transfer and thermal behaviour of major components, particularly the energy storage heat exchanger with PCM and nanofluids in the CSG system, and system thermal and exergy efficiencies through experiment and simulation modelling.
  • Prepare the operation specification for the CSG system. Demonstrate the advantages of the proposed system over conventional domestic boiler system ones through the use of a prototype.

Partner: University of Hertfordshire

Project code: UHEN07

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Developing high performance thermoelectric materials for low to medium temperature range applications

Solid-state thermoelectric generators (TEG), which convert heat to electricity directly and vice versa, are considered pioneer candidates for industrial waste heat recovery and electronic cooling. However, existing thermoelectric (TE) materials have relatively low conversion efficiency. This project goal is to understand the contribution of secondary phases and interfacial chemistry on electronic transport properties of bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3)-based TE materials in order to improve their thermoelectric conversion efficiency.

This will advance fundamental knowledge of functional materials, address technological challenges and enable UK researchers to compete internationally in the highly challenging field of energy harvesting and energy savings.

Partner: Sheffield Hallam University

Project code: SHEN01

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Environmentally friendly Pb-free ceramics for energy storage

Materials exhibiting high energy and power density are currently needed to meet the growing power supply demand of portable electronics, electrical vehicles and other energy storage devices. In comparison to other energy storage devices (such as fuel cells and batteries), dielectric capacitors are receiving great deal of attention for advanced pulsed power due to their high-power density and quick charge-discharge rate. In general, there are three kinds of materials used in capacitors: linear dielectrics, anti- ferroelectrics (AFE) and ferroelectrics (FE).

To achieve both high recoverable energy (Wrec) and efficiency (η), materials should exhibit large maximum polarisation (Pmax), small remnant polarisation (Pr) and high electric breakdown strength (BDS). Often the latter is a limiting parameter, due to both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. Pb-based AFE/FE already proved to exhibit good energy-storage properties, because of their inherently high polarisation. For example, Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3-BaTiO3-KNbO3 (BNT-BT-KN) ceramics can reach a Wrec of 1.72 J/cm3. A very high BDS (300~400 kV/cm) was achieved in K0.5N0.5NbO3- based ceramics by controlling grain growth and Wrec reached ~ 4 J/cm3. Recently a multinational research team, including Dr. Feteira from Sheffield Hallam University, reported an ultrahigh discharge energy density (10.5 J/cm3) and efficiency (η = 87%) in doped BiFeO3–BaTiO3 ceramic multilayers by achieving an electrically rather than chemically homogeneous microstructure. These multilayers exhibited a BDS greater than 700 kV/cm, combined with a maximum polarisation of 35 μC/cm2.

A systematic and comprehensive study that unveils the underlying mechanisms that control energy storage in ferroelectrics is still lacking. Indeed, the ability to understand how to tailor the energy storage performance characteristics of ferroelectrics while maintaining their naturally high polarisation is of paramount importance, if these materials are to be deployed into commercial applications. This is the main objective of this research proposal.

Partner: Sheffield Hallam University

Project code: SHEN02

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Increasing the Energy Yield from Anaerobic Digestion by the Integration of a Novel On-line Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) Analyser.

The anaerobic digestion process is extensively used to treat solid putrescible organic wastes to produce energy and recycle nutrients to the soil. This project seeks to increase the amount of energy produced from anaerobic digesters and reduce the overall water sector GHG emissions not only by producing renewable energy but by reducing the methane emissions from partially digested wastes. This will be achieved by the deployment of a novel volatile fatty acid (VFA) sensor developed at the University of South Wales and implementing a control strategy based on that instrument to improve gas yield and stability of the resulting digestates. The supervisors have world leading expertise in instrumentation development and the implementation of bioprocesss control and optimisation for anaerobic processes. The instrument has generated 3 papers to date but now needs to be employed in a process control scheme to demonstrate the industrial applicability of the instrument. The process optimisation scheme will be based on the two stage biohydrogen and biomethane process configuration also developed by the applicants. This process which was monitored intensively with manual analysis including VFA analysis has shown a 20-30% increase in methane yield.

Partner: University of South Wales

Project code: USEN02

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Intelligent BIM tool for Construction Waste and Associated Embodied Energy Minimisation at Design Stage using Supply Chain Collaboration

This project is about a BIM system that would enable designers at an early design phase (RIBA Stage C to E) to predict & identify the main sources of construction waste, and identify potential recyclable wastes. None of the existing BIM software (e.g. ArchiCAD, Revit etc.) has waste reduction functionality or recyclable waste identification function to help reduce energy wastage. The tool would therefore be interoperable with existing BIM design software. Current waste tools include design guides & checklists that do not realistically help designers to design out construction waste and consequently reduce embodied energy. Other tools (i.e. SMARTWaste, WRAP Net waste, etc.) can only be used after the production of bill of quantities, making it too late for designers to make any major changes to their design in order to reduce waste (Akinade, 2015)

Partner: Coventry University

Project code: CUEN04

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Local Infrastructure Health and Safety System

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is developed by the UK government as part of the Housing Act 2004 in order to evaluate potential health and safety risks in dwellings (ODPM, 2006). In HHSRS hazards with a score above 1000 are marked as Category 1 hazards that present immediate and serious risk to health and safety, whereas those with a score between 500 and 999 are Category 2 (Nicol et al., 2015). While HHSRS is used for housing, no evidence was found of its application to infrastructure, e.g. roads. Standard classification systems (e.g. Uniclass2015) in accordance with ISO12006 are used for various sectors of the UK construction industry in order to organise information about construction works (NBS, 2015; ISO, 2015). Additionally, ISO22301 and ISO22313 define requirements and guidance for business continuity management to ensure operation of critical infrastructure with minimum disruption in case of emergencies (ISO, 2012a; 2012b). Local authorities use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to manage a variety of assets, e.g. roads, drainage, buildings, parks, other outdoor facilities (Lennox, 2012). Development and integration of a maintenance / refurbishment prioritisation system based on HHSRS and mentioned ISO standard principles within the existing GIS may present valuable contribution to state of the art and lead towards the optimal use of limited resources in local communities, including energy.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSEN05

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Neural-network simulation of complex mini- grids

Electrical grids are characterised as systems having many sources, massive numbers of loads, and a complex, non-uniform network connecting the two. Thus, simulation of such a system is computationally intensive. Fast simulation of such systems is a key enabler for optimising them, reducing their cost, and for avoiding catastrophic system failure.

While neural networks have primarily been developed for machine learning, it is also possible to use them to emulate dynamic non-linear systems. Such an approach has been shown to be computationally efficient and can be made even more so by making use of specialised hardware, such as GPUs or TPUs. Furthermore, autoencoder NNs can reduce dimensionality, which is particularly important when dealing with systems with large numbers of degrees of freedom. The use of NNs also makes it straightforward to learn a model from past data. This is particularly important when the detailed characteristics of the components of the system are unknown. For many mini-grids, infrastructure and available expertise is minimal. Thus, expert simulation and optimisation may not be feasible.

This PhD program is intended to bring together ideas from machine learning, dimensionality reduction, physical system simulation, and mini-grid design to develop a method to allow a mini-grid to self-learn, to adjust to a changing physical environment, and possibly to self-repair and thus enable and reduce the cost of this technology for a wide audience of isolated and semi-isolated communities.

Partner: Coventry University

Project code: CUEN08

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Novel Energy Trading Models to encourage the use of Smart and Renewable Energy (SRE) Technologies

Despite the introduction of new SRE technologies (Smart Homes, Solar PV, etc.), their widespread use in households has been hindered by numerous factors such as high capital cost, and lack of incentives. In this project, new methods of energy trading that can be used by households will be developed. This approach is novel and, if successful, not only a significant growth in households using SRE technologies can be achieved, but energy trading models could be the way forward to revolutionize the energy sector.

Partner: University of Central Lancashire

Project code: UCEN01

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Probing electron transport and nanoscale behaviour in perovskite solar cells

Perovskite-structured compounds were first used in solar cells in 2012 and since then have seen rapid increases in efficiencies. In just a few years efficiencies have reached over 22% [1], already higher than most competing photovoltaic technologies. Research into this new class of photovoltaics is still in its infancy and there is lots of fundamental physics still to learn about these materials.

Partner: University of Central Lancashire

Project code: UCEN02

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Unified City Information Modelling for Sustainability and Resilience

City Information Modelling (CIM) is being understood as the base for most Smart-City frameworks and designs. This is already being carried out piecemeal with the help of smart sensors or IoT for traffic regulation, parking etc. Like the city of Rijeka, cities are adopting a Balanced Score Card (BSC) to develop and align their strategies. This gives a clear system for strategy definition & dissemination, feedback and alignment.

Existing commercial trials include: ET City Brain by Alibaba, Car2X technology demonstration by Volkswagen and Siemens, SAP HANA, Leonardo, Vehicles Network and Cloud platforms, IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Emergency Management, Atos MyCity. Open source and freeware platforms include Sofia 2, FIWARE, OpeNRJ, DG Logik, AQUICN, ThingPlus.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSEN04

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Social Policy

An examination of the relationship between unhealthy weight and alcohol consumption in young women.

This multidisciplinary PhD will add to the growing work around the links between alcohol and health lifestyles/weight and will be led by two internationally renowned academics in the field (Newbury-Birch and Ells).

Professor Newbury-Birch has led and been involved in a number of national randomised controlled trials looking at the effectiveness of alcohol interventions on young people in the high school setting. She has over £14 million of research funding and has published nearly 100 journal articles. She sits on the NICE advisory board for the guidelines on alcohol interventions in the school setting as an expert in the field and has been involved in developing alcohol screening tools for the youth justice board. She is an expert in co-production work in the development and carrying out of research, especially with young people.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSSP04

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An exploration of the prevalence of lifestyle factors including alcohol, drugs and mental health amongst young people who commit hate crimes.

This multidisciplinary PhD will add to the growing work around public health and criminal justice and will be led by two internationally renowned academics in the field (Newbury-Birch and Copsey).

Professor Newbury-Birch has led and been involved in a number of national studies with young people in the high school setting and within the criminal justice setting. She has over £14 million of research funding and has published nearly 100 journal articles. She sits on the NICE advisory board for the guidelines on alcohol interventions in the school setting as an expert in the field and has been involved in developing alcohol screening tools for the youth justice board. She is an expert in co-production work in the development and carrying out of research, especially with young people. She is the Strategic Director of the Centre for Crime, Harm Prevention and Security (CCHPS) at Teesside University.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSSP03

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Engaging the hardest to reach in energy advice

Initiatives and services intended to support individuals and households with energy related problems (i.e. high bills, cold homes, poor energy efficiency etc.) consistently fail to reach the most marginalised, vulnerable and low income households who stand to gain the most from such initiatives (Ambrose et al, 2016). Resources are instead taken up by consumers better positioned to take advantage of the help on offer. There is very little existing knowledge or good practice in relation to engaging the hardest to reach in energy advice initiatives (Ambrose et al, 2016; Ambrose et al, forthcoming). Acquiring new knowledge on how to engage society’s most vulnerable households in energy initiatives is vital as energy prices continue to rise and such households face higher energy costs as a proportion of their income than other groups in society in addition to increasing pressures allied to welfare reform and limited access to social housing (Bouzarovski and Herrera, 2016). Such households will also need support to navigate conflicting messages around the need to reduce energy consumption for environmental and financial purposes whilst also heating homes sufficiently to maintain health and wellbeing.

Partner: Sheffield Hallam University

Project code: SHSP02

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Experiences of Crime and Criminal Justice Among People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Crime and criminal justice have been identified as domains (Cohen, 2017) in which individuals with autism spectrum disorder’s (ASD) human rights are not being met. This PhD explores the lives of people with ASD who experience crime, victimisation and contact with the criminal justice system.

It is estimated that one in 100 adults have ASD, equating to 70 million individuals worldwide (Baird et al, 2006). A significant minority population, people with ASD are more likely to be victims and witnesses of crime than offenders. Yet we know relatively little about the extent, nature and impact of crime and victimisation on this societal group nor do we have adequate understanding of the ability of criminal justice services to meet their needs. Indeed, it is recognised that the study of ASD, crime, victimisation and criminal justice is still in its infancy (King and Murphy 2014).

This programme of research is responsive to this dearth in academic study and will contribute to the equitable development of society and a more cohesive social future. In turn, the research will advance knowledge and practice in three principal ways:

  1. It will develop our understanding of the impact of crime and victimisation on people with ASD;
  2. It will explore experiences of and attitudes toward the criminal justice system among people with ASD;
  3. The study will inform best practice relating to criminal justice. A desired outcome of the proposed research is to inform policy and practice, specifically by advising criminal justice professionals as to the needs of people with ASD.

Partner: Sheffield Hallam University

Project code: SHSP03

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The impact of parental imprisonment on children: A European comparative study.

It is estimated that around 94000 children in the UK have a parent in prison. Furthermore around 60% of women in prison have children. It has been identified that children who experience parental imprisonment are likely to experience adverse outcomes in later life. This project will take a comparative approach by exploring children’s experience of parental imprisonment.

The study will take a comparative approach to explore children’s experiences and the support they are offered. By exploring this in at least two different European countries it will be possible to consider how different philosophical approaches to punishment influence children’s experiences and the support available. In addition, the comparative approach will consider how public perceptions and the associated stigma, impact on family’s willingness to access support.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSSP05

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The Role of the European Union in the Global Trade in Counterfeit Products

Product counterfeiting is recognised as a highly profitable global illicit market that is increasingly attractive to ‘organised’ criminals and on a transnational level. Fake goods are associated with a range of complex harms impacting on economies and societies around the world. In recognition of the sheer volume of fake goods permeating various markets, EU regulatory and law enforcement agencies are paying increasing attention to product counterfeiting. Yet, despite their increasing concern, comprehensive knowledge of the trade in counterfeits and its interconnections with transnational organised crime remains limited. The aim of this project is to examine the role of the European Union in the global trade in counterfeit products. The study will cover the EU context, whilst also considering the nature of the trade with the major global source of counterfeits, China. The project will begin to develop an important knowledge base for law enforcement, regulatory agencies and policy makers. This will support informed decision making about resource allocation and measures to tackle counterfeiting and transnational organised crime.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSSP06

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The Social construction of police corruption: a cross cultural analysis between the Afghan and European police forces

The project will address a considerable knowledge gap involving the social construction of what police corruption entails, with reference to Western criminological literature, which will be compared with other parts of the world. There are virtually no studies, except conducted by the lead researcher, on the lower levels of the Afghan police on corruption despite them making up the majority of the estimated 169,000 force size. The reason to do this is to initially discover what corruption means to everyday street- level police officers in order to pave the way to mitigate them. In contemporary literature, police corruption predominantly entails bribery, extortion, the fabrication of evidence to attain arrests (and other forms of noble cause corruption) and debatably receiving minor gratuities. However, previous research conducted by the lead researcher of this project has discovered that police corruption in Afghanistan does cover some of these aspects, namely bribery and roadside extortion (due to low pay and payment of kickbacks up the chain of command to superiors), but minor forms of what the West would deem as corruption are part of the social contract to get things done. The main forms of corruption are deemed as patronage within the recruitment process, bribery and unprofessionalism. Interdisciplinary by nature, the project will investigate and assess the local implications of the police corruption in Afghanistan, which will be compared with Western criminological literature and the context of a chosen European police force.

Partner: Teesside University

Project code: TSSP07

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Understanding investigative errors in major crime investigations

This interdisciplinary social scientific project straddles the disciplines of forensic science and technology to explore the opportunities for learning from major crime investigations to inform an evidence base of ‘what works’ in these investigations. Calling on the core principles of evidence-based policing, this project will focus on an under researched area of policing. The project will fill this gap in research to provide evidence to practitioners and policy makers within the criminal justice system at a time when there is a clear need for increased efficiency and being able to deliver more for less with diminishing budgets and increased workloads.

Partner: University of South Wales

Project code: USSP01

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Understanding the Use of Digital Forensics in the Investigation and Prosecution of Major Crime Offences in England and Wales.

Demand for digital forensics (DF) has grown in parallel with the increased use of digital devices, such as ‘smart’ mobile phones, over the past 20 years. At the same time, there has been a decline in the demand for traditional forensic science such as DNA and fingerprints (Home Office, 2016). The Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes of Practice define DF as “the process by which information is extracted from data storage media, rendered into a useable form, processed and interpreted for the purpose of obtaining intelligence for use in investigations, or evidence for use in criminal proceedings” (Forensic Science Regulator, 2015: 3). Specifically, DF involves the extraction, analysis and interpretation of information (such as photographs, videos or GPS data) from any digital equipment such as smartphones, tablets, computers, satellite navigations systems, gaming consoles and smart TVs. The average British household now owns 7.4 digital enabled devices and it is not unusual for police to recover several devices as part of a single investigation (Home Office, 2016:8). This proliferation of devices means that digital forensics is an increasingly common feature of criminal investigations. This is particularly so in the case of major crime1 investigations, where significant resources are deployed to gather and analyse digital devices.

Partner: University of South Wales

Project code: USSP02

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