New Materials on ethics in community-based participatory research
The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action was represented by Professor Sarah Banks (SASS) at a Connected Communities showcase event in London on 12 March, attended by the Minister for Universities and Science, Rt Hon David Willetts. In addition to a guide to ethics and case examples, several short films and podcasts and other resources are available on a new slection of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement website.
Wolfson Fellow Dr Robert McMurray's paper on Professionalization, Medicine and Nursing is 'paper of the month'
Wolfson Fellow Robert McMurray's paper on Professionalization, Medicine and Nursing is 'Paper of the Month' in Human Relations. Please click here to view the free publication.
Launch of ethics guide for community-based participatory research
A new guide to ethical principles and practice and case materials for community-based participatory research was launched by Professor Sarah Banks at the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement Conference in Bristol on 6th December 2013.
Director of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing been made an academician of the Academy of Social Sciences
Director of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Professor Clare Bambra has been made an academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.
RGS Keynote delivered by Wolfson Fellow
Professor Sarah Curtis delivered a keynote lecture at the Royal Geographical Society Event on "Worklessness and Health: Geographical Perspectives". click here to see details of the event.
Major Leverhulme Grant Success
Professor Clare Bambra,Director of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing has been awarded a prestigious 5 year £1m Research Leadership Grant by the Leverhulme Trust.
Where next for Health Inequalities Research
The Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing is co-organising a symposium in Edinburgh to examine the future of health inequalities research in the UK.
UNICEF Innovation Leaders forum
Deputy Director Dr Mark Booth attended a one-day workshop at the UNICEF Innovation Laboratory in Copenhagen on Nov 1st 2012. The workshop was desined to allow engagement with UNICEF on challenges that the organisation faces in terms of product and technology development.
The Thinker wins short story award
Beth Reed (nee Howell) from the School of Education has won the 2012 Askance Short Story Competition on the theme of “health” for her story The Thinker.
Durham University International Research Fellowships - open to applications
Rape, domestic violence and stalking not taken seriously enough by police, according to survey
Prof Clare Bambra Formally Appointed Director of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing
Professor Peter Taylor Gooby Lecture available to view
Allocating NHS funds by age only would benefit affluent areas
‘Hearing the Voice’: Wellcome Trust Strategic Award
N8 Parasitology group presentation to the cross-parliamentary group on malaria
WRI Acting Deputy Director Dr Mark Booth led a delegation from the N8 Parasitology Group to Parliament on April 24th to make a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases
Wolfson Fellows Ivana Petrovic and Andrej Petrovic awarded University Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards
Fuse chosen as part of new national School for Public Health Research
Wolfson Fellow Professor David Hunter invited to participate in the Karolinska Institutet Medical Management Centre 10th Anniversary and the Anniversary Seminar on translational research and implementation science.
Wolfson Annual Report 2011 now available
The Wolfson Research Insititute's Annual Report for 2011 is now available to download as a PDF file from the WRI website. Read all about us...
Wolfson Research Institute at the Houses of Parliament
Directorate and Fellows showcase the work of the Institute
North East MP introduced debate on Health Inequalities in Westminister
Memory Experiment Takes Off
Wolfson Fellow Professor Gary Craig with distinguished Chinese and other scholars at the invited symposium in Shanghai
Wolfson Fellow Professor Lena Dominelli attends UNFCCC Climate Change talks
Wolfson Research Institute can be followed on Twitter
The Wolfson Research Institute can now be followed on Twitter.
@wolfsonresearch will post all news and events on twitter and any requests for tweets can be sent directy as a personal message to @wolfsonresearch or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Booth invited to showcase Durham's Africa Research Interests
Durham's committment to research in Africa recognised at the inaugural HEI Africa Forum
Journal of Public Health - 'Lessons from the past: celebrating the 75th anniversary of Poverty and Public Health' by Professor Clare Bambra
This editorial by Wolfson Fellow, Professor Clare Bambra pays tribute to M'Gonigle as a public health pioneer. It outlines his life, summarizes his classic work and highlights lessons that are relevant to public health policy and practice.
Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation wins national award for Research
Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust won a prestigious national award in recognition of its work to put clinical research at the centre of mental health services. To read this article in full - click on this link.
14 December 2011
'Work, Worklessness & the Economy of Health' - Professor Clare Bambra's inaugural lecture is available to download.
Professor Clare Bambra (Professor of Public Health Policy and Acting Director of the Wolfson Research Institute) delivered her inaugural lecture to a diverse and packed audience of staff, students and local practitioners in late November. The lecture can be viewed in full here.
Three quarters of patients with cancer are referred within one month
Three quarters of patients with symptoms of cancer in England are assessed, investigated and referred within a month of presenting to their GP, according to research led by Durham University.
To date, it is the largest and most comprehensive study of the primary care pathway to cancer diagnosis, covering one in seven practices in England.
The audit, published by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), examined intervals in the diagnostic pathway, looking at the primary care interval - defined as the time between first presentation and date of referral, and the referral interval - the period between referral and the date the patient first attended secondary care.
The report - the first of its kind - found that:
•Three quarters (73.2%) of patients visiting their GP were referred to a specialist after only one or two consultations.
•Nearly 60% of all patients referred (57.1%) attended secondary care within two weeks.
The report also looked at use of investigations, and found that some cancer patients, including those with brain, ovary, pancreas, liver and kidney cancer, were more likely to have benefited from better Primary Care access to diagnostics including chest X-rays, non-obstetric ultrasounds, GI endoscopies and brain MRIs. Overall, rapid access to investigations would have altered the GP's management of the patient in 6% of cases.
Professor Greg Rubin, Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at Durham University and RCGP Project Lead for the Audit said: "This report provides the first detailed analysis of how GPs diagnose cancer. The good news is that many patients are identified promptly as needing specialist assessment, but we could do better and improved access to cancer tests would help in this."
RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada said: "This report shows that in General Practice we do a very good job of identifying our patients who have cancer, and in referring them quickly for specialist treatment.
"While there are groups of patients where we do, for various reasons, have difficulty in making a rapid diagnosis, we must be proud that the majority are being identified and put into secondary care quickly. At the same time, we must always be looking at how we can improve.
"The report confirms that the foundations that will enable us to continue to provide a quality service are already in place, and that they are the attributes of quality General Practice - continuity of care; patient centeredness and shared decision making; clinical acumen and sound diagnostic skills."
Chris Carrigan, Head of the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), said: "Collecting and evaluating data on how quickly cancer patients are sent for referral by their GP is crucial to equip us with the knowledge to improve early detection of the disease. This study allowed us to analyse data from the time a patient first visits the GP with symptoms to follow up tests at the hospital. But understanding and improving diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients is complex.
"These data give us one piece of a jigsaw puzzle but we need to continue to hunt for these pieces of data so that we can build a clear picture of where delays could be occurring. Early detection really is the key to improving survival rates in the country in order to bring England's cancer survival in line with the best in Europe."
The report was published by the RCGP's Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC) and describes the findings of the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care, undertaken in 2009/2010 as part of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative.
(29 Nov 2011)
Bridging the Gap Funding
The Wolfson Research Institute has received £10,000 from the Univesity's Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, derived from EPSRC, to disseminate project awards within the EPSRC ‘Bridging the Gap' initiative. The objectives and scope of the call as well as application details can be found on the Wolfson Small Grants Scheme pages entitled Bridging the Gap.
(24 Nov 2011)
WRI Poster Competition judged a success
On November 16th 2011 the WRI hosted its second PGR Poster competition combined with a networking lunch for WRI Fellows. The successful event was attended by over 70 individuals, with 17 posters entered by PGR students based at Queen's Campus. The Vice Chancellor judged the competition from a shortlist of 6 candidates and awarded the following prizes:
First prize (£100 Waterstones Voucher) - Paul Crampton (SMH) - pictured above
Second prize (£50 Waterstones Voucher) - Joe Smith (Engineering and Computing Science) - pictured right
Highly commended - Victoria McGowan (Anthropology) - pictured right
(24 Nov 2011)
New Parasitology Research Theme for N8 Partnership
A new Research Theme, led by Durham University, has been created within the N8 Partnership. The theme covers all aspects of Parasitology and will bring together over 40 academics from all N8 Universities.
‘Strengthening public health capacity and services in Europe' - Joint report by Professor David Hunter & WHO
Wolfson Fellow, Professor David Hunter (School of Medicine and Health) & World Health Organisation publish a joint report ‘Strengthening public health capacity and services in Europe'. The paper explores the contested nature of public health and the complexity of contemporary public health challenges.
(21 Nov 2011)
EPSRC Funding Successes for Wolfson Fellows
A number of Wolfson Fellows have been successful with EPSRC Impact awards. Congratulations to Karen Johnson (Engineering and Computing Sciences) who was awarded £19,000 for 'Promoting the use of next generation sequence technologies for soil quality assessment and environmental monitoring', Nick Holliman (Engineering and Computing Sciences), awarded £19,000 for 'CO2: Cosmic Origins for a new audience' and David Budgen (Engineering and Computing Sciences), awarded £16,000 for 'Dissemination of Evidence-Based Software Engineering Knowledge'.
(21 Nov 2011)
Moves to measure wellbeing must support a social model of health
The Office for National Statistics launched the National Consultation on Wellbeing on the 31st October.
Read a personal view from Wolfson Fellow Sarah Atkinson, associate director of the Centre for Medical Humanities, in this week's BMJ
(18 Nov 2011)
Major Grant Awarded to Wolfson Fellows
Wolfson Fellows Professor Peter Tymms (Education), Professor Carolyn Summerbell (Medicine and Health) and Professor Sarah Curtis (Geography) have been awarded an ESRC grant of £773K for 'Physical activity and wellbeing in schools'.
(7 November 2011)
Wolfson Fellow awarded an Honorary Professorship
Congratulations to Wolfson Fellow Professor Lena Dominelli (School of Applied Social Sciences) who was awarded an Honorary Professorship by the East China University of Science and Technology for her contribution to the development of the social work profession in China.
'The Cheese Sandwich: patient and public involvement for survivors of head and neck cancer'
A Wolfson small grant (Blue Skies award) has enabled researchers and Wolfson Fellows, Dr. Duika Burges-Watson and Dr. Sue Lewis to develop a patient and public involvement strategy for a larger bid working with survivors of head and neck cancer (HNC). The research is in a new and exciting area that applies progressive cuisine (or molecular gastronomy) for the benefit of patients with disease-related eating problems. The pilot work demonstrated that techniques and foods were found to be of great value to survivors (and their carers) in making foods easier to swallow, more enjoyable to create, and more palatable and gratifying to eat. Based on the findings from this small pilot, additional funding has been recieved to continue to work with survivors to find solutions that meet their needs, wants and hopes, that are safe and nutritious, and that are supported by scientific evidence.
(12 Oct 2011)
Wolfson Fellow elected to Academy of Social Sciences
Special Issue of Parasitology
In September 2010 the Wolfson Research Institute hosted the Autumn Symposium of the British Society for Parasitology, in collaboration with the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Entitled ‘Progress in Paediatric Parasitology' the event brought an international audience to hear presentations from several world-class researchers on the subject. The proceedings of the event have now been published in a special issue of the journal ‘Parasitology'.
You can register for 1 month free access to the special issue by following this link.
(29 Sept 2011)
Anthropologist's Successful National Teaching Fellowship
Congratulations to Anthropologist and Wolfson Fellow Dr Andrew Russell on his award of a National Teaching Fellowship for 2011. Dr Russell continues the University's Fellowship success in recent years. A National Teaching Fellowship is made to recognise individual excellence and is intended for Fellows' professional development in teaching and learning or aspects of pedagogy.
(28 Sept 2011)
Durham's Applied Statistics Unit launches in October 2011
The Applied Statistics Unit will begin operations in October 2011, with the aim offering statistical support to staff and PGR students across the University. The 1-year pilot phase will involve developing a mentoring system for PGR students from a limited number of departments. We are currently recruiting mentors - if you are a member of the University and have a particular statistical skill then we would be very pleased to hear from you.
More information; www.dur.ac.uk/wolfson.institute/asu
(28 Sept 2011)
Challenge of North’s changing population provides economic opportunities, new research says
A growing, ageing and more ethnically diverse population could provide the North of England with opportunities for economic growth, according to a new report.
The research, carried out by the N8 Research Partnership of the North's leading universities, focused on demographic change in key Northern cities and city-region economies over the next 25 years.
The report highlights potential economic opportunities which could result from a changing population, including the creation of more "silver entrepreneurs", a bigger market in health technologies and care services and opportunities for the construction industry as homes have to be built or adapted to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population, many more of whom will be living with long-term illnesses.
The report comes as the Coalition Government's new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) begin their work to promote economic growth and rebalancing of the economy. It was officially launched, on Thursday, September 15, at a public meeting in Sheffield Town Hall attended by representatives from businesses, local authorities, Government, universities, think tanks and voluntary organisations.
The report puts forward key areas that LEPs, Local Authorities and their partners should focus on to maximise the economic benefits of population dynamics, and key challenges which will need to be addressed.
According to the report, the North of England's population - currently 15,117,000 - could increase over the next 25 years by at least 1,123,000 or by as much as 1,821,000.
As a consequence of people living for longer, the researchers say that the number of people with Limiting Long Term Illnesses could increase from 3,268,000 now to 4,163,000 in 2036.
The researchers also say that if "age-specific participation rates" remain constant, the North's labour force could fall by four per cent to 6,764,000.
The research team included experts in economics, employment, enterprise, geography, urban and regional development, demography and health from the universities of Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. They have highlighted a range of economic opportunities and challenges in these areas.
These new opportunities include:
- The creation of small and medium enterprises from an increasingly active and entrepreneurial older population;
- The market provided by affluent older people;
- New businesses, research and innovation in areas like health technologies, aids to living and care services;
- Opportunities to adapt existing homes and design and build new homes to accommodate a growing number of smaller households;
- The contribution of younger ethnic minority and migrant workers to maintaining the age balance of the population as the wider population ages rapidly.
The challenges detailed in the report include:
- The importance of maintaining an increasing number of workers in the labour market for longer, implying policies to delay retirement, update skills and maintain flexibility;
- The need to ensure that the capacity of health and care provision adapts to support an increasingly older population, with more people wanting to live at home in their older age;
- A forthcoming demand for a larger number of homes for smaller households;
- The need to think about the planning of local communities, transport and services to respond to the needs of more elderly and minority communities.
The report highlights the relevance of the 'localism' agenda as the population is changing in different ways in different parts of the North. It argues that local leaders need to understand the detail of the changes and respond in a co-ordinated way.
Professor Ray Hudson, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Durham University and Wolfson Fellow who led the research, said:
"The work that the team has produced tells a compelling story about the importance of understanding and addressing the changing structure of the population in the North's key economic centres.
"The research does not support apocalyptic visions of a demographic time bomb, but it does show clearly how our population is changing and that there are important economic implications - both opportunities and challenges.
"Most Northern City-regions' populations are growing, ageing and becoming more diverse, but the patterns of change vary between places. We need to look at these patterns carefully, grasp the opportunities and address the challenges."
The N8 Research Partnership combines the world leading research capabilities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York universities, and creates collaboration with industry to bring this research to market.
N8 Universities are currently working together to promote stronger relationships with business and industry in areas such as regenerative medicine and molecular engineering. The demographics project is the first in which the N8 has brought together experts from social science disciplines to focus on demographic and economic policy issues.
Universities and Science Minister launches research collaboration
The Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has officially launched a new phase in an innovative partnership between the North of England's eight research intensive universities.
The N8 Research Partnership is a collaboration between the Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, which focuses on combining the capabilities of these eight research intensive universities.
As part of the N8, centres have already been established which focus on areas of future growth in the economy, such as regenerative medicine and molecular engineering, each working to create collaborations and new innovations between industry and academia.
The launch marks a new phase in the partnership, with £1 million being invested in a three-year programme of activities to support collaborative working. Over the next three years, the partnership will lead to increased commercialisation and job creation in the North through the N8's regenerative medicine and molecular engineering centres, increase world-class research through collaborations on capital assets and is developing plans to form N8+: a cluster of global R&D businesses and SMEs in the North, encouraging innovation in industrial and research activity.
As part of a new social sciences programme, researchers from N8 will also work together with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Local Authorities in the North to help them to generate economic growth and respond to changes in populations in the key cities, based on the findings of an N8 research report into Northern demographics.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "The N8 partnership is an excellent example of how universities are collaborating together to work more effectively with large R&D companies, local businesses and the public sector to stimulate growth. Through their research partnerships they are helping to bring new ideas and innovations to market, and creating new businesses and new jobs.
"By pooling some of their funding from Government, the N8 research intensive universities in the North of England - part of our world class research base - are maximising the impact and commercialisation potential of their research."
(19 Sept 2011)
Primary schoolchildren can be great tutors
Results from a project run in 129 primary schools in Scotland, the largest ever trial of peer tutoring, show that children as young as seven to eight years old can benefit from a tutoring session as short as twenty minutes per week.
The findings and the ease of implementation of the scheme indicate that peer tutoring could be an effective way to supplement the work of teachers and classroom assistants, and could be rolled out as a nationwide programme. The boost to school pupils' attainment provided by peer tutoring was equivalent to about three months progress in both maths and reading. This is larger than the impact of national strategies and comes at a fraction of the cost.
Peer tutoring is a specific form of peer learning. It involves one student tutoring another where pairs are typically of differing academic standing and sometimes differing ages (cross-age tutoring). Cross-age tutoring was found to be particularly effective in age groups with two years' difference.
The results of the two year trial, led by Durham University, working in partnership with the University of Dundee and Fife Council are published in the journal, School Effectiveness and School Improvement.
Professor Peter Tymms, School of Education and Wolfson Fellow, said: "Expensive policy initiatives have often had little effect on learning. The tutoring scheme requires some organisation and a little bit of training but it's an inexpensive scheme to implement in that it involves no fancy equipment.
"The trial shows that a tutoring scheme could be implemented across educational areas nationwide. Older pupils boosted their knowledge and skills by becoming tutors and the younger tutees benefitted greatly from one-to-one learning with older children."
During the Fife trial, various lengths of sessions were tried from intensive (three twenty-minute sessions per week) to light (twenty minutes a week) over the course of 15 weeks. Children aged seven to 12 years old were assessed before the project started with PIPS (Performance Indicators in Primary Schools) and again at the end of the two year project; these assessments included measures of pupils' reading and mathematics attainment, science attainment, vocabulary, non-verbal ability and attitudes. The results of PIPS show that cross-age peer tutoring had a consistent positive impact on attainment in reading and mathematics.
In the reading tasks, the pupils selected suitable books and then read with each other (this is called Paired Reading). The tutor gives corrections where required. In mathematics, a method known as Duolog Maths was used which involved eight stages of discussion, including Questioning, Summarising and Generalising. Each individual has a defined role with protocols for interaction within the sessions.
Nora Conlin, Education Officer from Fife Education Service, said: "We wanted to engage schools in reform to improve students' attainment and attitudes across a whole education area using a sustainable model. Pupil tutoring is an extremely effective way of boosting learning in schools."
Tutoring is a kind of teaching that carefully takes into account that tutors are not professionals, and structures the interaction so that both tutor and tutee benefit.
Before and during the tutoring trial, teachers received training to help deliver the sessions and commitment to implementation of the programme was given by all of the partners.
Cross-age tutoring is more difficult to organise than same-age tutoring as it involves bringing children together from different classes but it was the most effective method with benefits to all: the tutee gets the one-to-one input of a child with higher skills, while the tutor reinforces previous learning and develops new skills. In practice, this form of tutoring can be implemented with children from classes next door to each other, or just along the corridor, the researchers say.
Gillian Hepburn, a teacher at Burntisland Primary School, said: "We have decided to keep using paired reading because it develops children's motivation to read and encourages a positive attitude towards reading. Both of these factors were found to help children develop their reading ability.
"The children enjoyed participating and commented on how paired reading had helped them to understand the story or book better. They understood more words and read words more accurately. They benefited from having the support of another child in addition to the teacher. The children also said that they enjoyed reading more and read more at home than before."
Professor Keith Topping, School of Education, University of Dundee, said: "We received excellent feedback from teachers about the project. 92 per cent of teachers reported that the project worked well. Children enjoyed taking on the mantle of being a tutor and responded positively to the responsibility.
"Tutoring can be implemented across many schools with little fuss and disruption. It can be easily embedded into teachers' practice, bringing benefits at every level to authorities, schools, teachers and pupils."
Ken Greer, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services in Fife said: "I am delighted that this excellent piece of research on improving pedagogy by peer learning is being published. We often hear of strategies for improving learning based on conjecture. This is definitely not the case here."
The project was funded by the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.
Coverage in the Daily Telegraph
(15 Sep 2011)
Funding Successes for Wolfson Fellows
Congratulations to Dr Martin Cann (Biological and Biomedical Sciences) on his recent award from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of £433,000 for his project ‘Exploiting plant resistance-proteins for crop protection'.
Congratulations also to Professor Bob Simpson from Anthropology who has received £104,000 from The Wellcome Trust for his project entitled ‘Volunteers, Donors and Vendors: A Study of the Ethics of Transacting Human Bodily Materials in Contemporary Sri Lanka'.
(12 Sept 2011)
Durham's Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory features on BBC Horizon Monday 8th August 2011
Hormone analysis conducted by Durham's Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory based at the Wolfson Research Institute at Queen's Campus will feature on the BBC's Horizon programme to be broadcast on Monday 8th August at 21:00 on BBC2.
Recent work in the laboratory has examined how the colour red (i.e. sports kit) can influence performance of footballers and other sportspersons by measuring hormone levels and behaviour. The programme will also feature an interview with Dr. Russell Hill from the Anthropology department.
More About DEEL
The Durham Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory is a new biological facility located at the Wolfson Research Institute. Developed by the Department of Anthropology, the laboratory is designed to conduct interdisciplinary research into endocrine biomarkers in the domains of reproductive ecology, stress, obesity and health.
This unique research facility is founded by members of the Medical Anthropology Research Group (MARG) to support a wide range of novel anthropological and health-related research projects and collaborations.
The laboratory was conceptualised by Principal Investigator and Wolfson Research Institute Fellow, Professor Gillian Bentley.
Laboratory director, Dr. Gill Cooper supervises the day to day running of the laboratory.
Enquiries regarding the laboratory, its facilities, usage costings, hormone research and future collaboration should be directed to Gill Cooper in the first instance.
(08 Aug 2011)
British Academy funding success for the School of Medicine and Health
The School of Medicine & Health's and Wolfson Fellow Dr. Sally Brown has secured funding from the British Academy for a new project entitled 'I think it must run in the family: multi-generation households and the decision making processes around teenage pregnancy and parenthood'.
Sally's research will take place in Hull, where teenage pregnancy rates remain above the national average and young motherhood is not unusual. Communities within the city are often close knit, and young mums will usually have their mother and other relatives nearby to offer support. This research seeks to investigate how having a history of families led by women may influence current patterns of teenage motherhood, and how these female kinship structures are experienced by young mothers, their mothers and grandmothers.
(28 Jul 2011)
Dr Erika Rackley gives evidence on judicial appointments system
Wolfson Fellow Dr Erika Rackley has given oral evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee as part of their inquiry into the judicial appointments process. She was one of four experts giving oral evidence in the first evidence session. The inquiry is considering whether the current appointments system is fair, independent, transparent and open and is expected to last until Christmas 2011. The evidence session was reported in the Guardian and Law Society Gazette.
(20 Jul 2011)
Independent Review of the National Paediatric Hospital of Ireland
Wolfson fellow, Jonathan Erskine, researcher in the Centre for Public Policy and Health and Executive Director of the European Health Property Network (EuHPN), has recently chaired an independent review of the proposed location of the National Paediatric Hospital of Ireland.
The proposed location and cost of a new, tertiary children's hospital in Dublin has been the subject of controversy in Ireland for a number of years. Over the period from 2006 to 2009, Ireland's Health Service Executive and Department of Health & Children commissioned a series of reports from international consulting organisations to establish the scope and appropriate setting for this key element in the country's paediatric services. The recommendations from these reviews resulted in the establishment of a National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, which took the project from the concept stage to detailed plans for the hospital's design. The recent reverses in Ireland's economy, coupled with a change of government, prompted a need to re-assess continuing objections to the project. To avoid any accusations of bias or vested interest the Minister for Health & Children looked to find international input into the latest review process.
Two review panels were chosen. The European Health Property Network was charged with nominating a group of experts in healthcare architecture and engineering, capital investment, health capacity planning, project costing and quantity surveying. EuHPN was also asked to chair the key meetings of this financial review panel, and to quality assure the report from this part of the review.
The second, clinical review panel comprised four Chief Executives from children's hospitals in Colorado, Boston, Brisbane and London, who represented the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and the Children's Hospitals International Executive Forum (CHIEF). They were asked to review the clinical issues associated with the new paediatric hospital, including the model of care, access to the proposed site, and some elements of the design.
The review process took place over six weeks, culminating in a report launch and press conference with Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health & Children, Ireland. The review panel members visited the proposed site for the paediatric hospital, as well as a number of comparator sites in the Dublin area. They took evidence from the boards of the three existing Dublin children's hospitals, the Faculty of Paediatrics, the paediatric health research community, parent groups, and activists opposed to some aspects of the project.
In brief, the financial review panel concluded that there was no significant financial advantage to reconsidering the currently proposed site for the National Paediatric Hospital of Ireland. The clinical review group also supported - unequivocally - this location, and made a number of further recommendations designed to ensure the future success of the overall project.
The reports of the review panels are available here: http://www.dohc.ie/publications/paediatric_hospital_review.html, and recordings of the media briefing event are available here: http://www.dohc.ie/press/releases/2011/20110706.html.
(15 Jul 2011)
Guns, knives, and bombs: spotting weapons in baggage x-rays - Wolfson Fellow demos at the Royal Society Exhibition
Wolfson Fellow and academic Nick Holliman in conjunction with Durham's Dr Lilian Blot and colleagues from Southampton University demonstrated at the Royal Society Exhibition held on 5th July in London how 3DTV could be used to spot weapons at airport security checks.
At security checkpoints in airports, screeners look at X-ray images of baggage to search for multiple types of weapons, including guns, knives and explosives.
In these X-ray images, colour is often used to represent different types of materials. By monitoring eye-movements during visual search scientists are finding ways to potentially make search easier. This exhibit will demonstrate state of the art eye-tracking technology and explain the theory behind searching for multiple targets at once.
How does it work?
By monitoring eye-movements during a visual search, scientists have found that, when looking for two colours, people spend a disproportionate amount of time looking at objects that are unlike both targets, and not enough time looking at objects that could be targets.
The fundamental limitation on a visual search that we have identified has implications for many complex screening situations. Could security screening be enhanced if screeners conducted two separate searches for threat items, e.g. one for metal-threats followed by one for IEDs? The latest research involves evaluating whether the same cost occurs in 3D images, or whether the presence of depth in images can facilitate the interpretation of overlapping objects (e.g. as found in baggage X-rays), and thus potentially improve search accuracy.
This visual search game and sight tracking game demonstrate some of the science of this exhibit.
(12 Jul 2011)
National Jordanian Grant Success for Dr Paul Chazot
Dr Sawsan Abuhamdah (PhD in Durham, 2004-2007; currently Head of Department of Pharmacology, University of Jordan), in collaboration with Wolfson Fellow, Dr Paul L Chazot and his current PhD student Rushdie Abuhamdah have gained a prestigious National Jordanian Grant for $90,000 to continue their long-term interest in developing novel CNS therapeutics based on medicinal plants. This was supported in part by a Wolfson Institute Small Grant award.
(12 Jul 2011)
NIHR Public Health Research Success - Assessing Obesity Health Interventions
A team of Durham academics led by Professor Clare Bambra, including Professor Carolyn Summerbell , Dr Helen Moore and Dr. Frances Hillier have successfully been funded by the NIHR PHR programme under the joint obesity themed call aiming to measure the success of health programmes and public health interventions in both child and adult obesity.
Being overweight and obese are a common major cause of ill-health lifestyle disease which causes chronic diseases such as; diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, osteoarthritis and certain forms of cancer. Around 25 per cent of the adult population are overweight. A study, led by Professor Clare Bambra of the Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University and member of the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health will use systematic review methods to examine the effectiveness of public health interventions at reducing inequalities in child and adult obesity. Additionally, it will look at how the services are organised, implemented and delivered. The researchers will review both children aged 0-18 years old and adults above 18 years old.
Childhood obesity is a particular concern and it is widely accepted that there is a link between childhood obesity, illness and early death in later life. Within the UK and other high income countries, obesity levels are higher in more deprived population groups.
The reviews will consider public health strategies which might reduce existing inequalities in the prevalence of obesity including those interventions which might prevent the development of inequalities in obesity.
"Although we are beginning to better understand what works to reduce levels of obesity overall, there is very little accessible evidence available on what works to reduce inequalities in obesity levels between social groups," says Professor Bambra. "The systematic review process will make complex and diffuse information more accessible to the public, policymakers and to those in the NHS and local government who commission services."
The project will last for 24 months, 12 months to review the children and a further 12 months to review the adults.
To view the project page click here.
(11 Jul 2011)
MeHRY - New Mental Health Research Collaboration
The research team strongly believes that the future of mental health care depends on an appreciation of the early origins of difficulty, and a greater focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as cure. Although most serious mental illness begins before adulthood, there has been surprisingly little research focus or funding for the problems of adolescents and young adults. The centre has established a major new collaboration in young people's mental health research with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, with the ambition of answering some of the big unanswered questions.
Over the next five years the Trust will invest in a substantial expansion of the Mental Health Research Centre, creating five new academic posts. A Senior Lecturer post in clinical pharmacy will focus on researching and improving the safety of psychotropic drug prescribing, and a Senior Lecturer in clinical psychology will lead a programme of psychological intervention research in young people, both with postdoctoral researcher support.
(08 Jul 2011)
Unique MSc in Evolutionary Medicine offered by Durham University's Anthropology Department
Durham's MSc in Evolutionary Medicine is a multi-disciplinary degree and is the only master's degree in this topic anywhere in the world. It is based within the Department of Anthropology, but includes teaching and supervision from staff in biological sciences, archaeology, psychology, and the School of Medicine and Health as well as invited specialists from other universities. Students take three core courses which includes writing a specialised dissertation tailored to their particular interests plus up to four further options, equating to 60 credits, from a range of multi-disciplinary topics.
To find out more please follow this link.
(08 Jul 2011)
New brain scanner for researchers
A new £1.5 million MRI scanner has arrived at The James Cook University Hospital as a joint venture between Durham University and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
A new £1.5 million MRI scanner has arrived at The James Cook University Hospital as a joint venture between Durham University and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The new scanner, which will be used to scan people's brains, will be shared between the hospital for clinical work with patients and by the University for research into the brain.
The partnership approach in sharing the equipment is unique to Tees Valley, and it will be the first time Durham University has ever had its own scanner for research purposes.
The MRI scanner is top of the range and, compared to existing scanners in the Tees Valley area, will be faster and produce better quality images of the brain.
Professor Charles Heywood from the Department of Psychology at Durham University has been closely involved in driving the partnership. He said: "We are absolutely delighted to have this facility at our disposal. I believe this is a great step forward in bringing clinical and research work closer together and in finding ways to share resources efficiently.
"This is not only good news for our research staff, who will now have much better and easier access to quality brain and body imaging, but also to patients in Tees Valley."
The scanner will be used by academics from across the University including those from the School for Medicine and Health and the Wolfson Research Institute, which are both based at the University's Queen's Campus in Stockton.
Research projects include those which investigate autism, the impact of hormones on the brain, and brain function in relation to visual field defects and visuomotor deficits.
Professor Phil Kane, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The James Cook University Hospital, has championed the development within the trust. He said: "The installation of the scanner is the culmination of an extensive collaboration between the Trust and Durham University. As far as I am aware the scanner is unique in the northern region and it will allow leading edge research to be carried out at The James Cook University Hospital and state of the art scanning for NHS patients."
The MRI scanner will be fully installed and ready for use by clinicians and researchers at the end of the summer. The whole facility, including the equipment and refurbishment of the space, costs £3 million which has been equally shared between Durham University and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
(05 Jul 2011)
Honorary Professorship Awarded to Lena Dominelli
Congratulations to Wolfson Fellow, Professor Lena Dominelli from the School of Applied Social Sciences who has been awarded an Honorary Professorship by the East China University of Science and Technology for her contribution to the development of the social work profession in China.
(04 Jul 2011)
School league tables will still be damaging, say Durham University experts
The review looked at a number of issues, including how best to ensure schools are properly accountable to pupils, parents and the taxpayer for the achievement and progress of every child, on the basis of objective and accurate assessments.
Wolfson Fellows Professor Peter Tymms and Dr Christine Merrell from Durham University, who both gave evidence to the review panel, believe the panel has taken on board their main argument for the value of computer adaptive assessments. They take issue, however, with the report's proposed solution on league tables and the publication of more information.
Professor Tymms has written influential reports on assessment and is Head of Department in the School of Education, Durham University. He has previously criticised the publication of Key Stage 2 data in league tables for not portraying an accurate picture of the quality of the teaching or pupils' progress over time. Instead, he recommends carefully calculated progress measures being available only to those with a professional or personal interest in the schools.
Commenting on the report, Professor Peter Tymms, said: "We welcome Lord Bew's Report, in which he carefully assesses the mood within the country and weighs the evidence within the panel's constraints.
"He has taken some wise decisions, opening up the writing element to teacher assessment but keeping tests in some areas, albeit with some changes.
"The decision to mitigate the negative effects of league tables by publishing more information and using rolling averages is interesting, but will not be sufficient to prevent the harm which those tables cause."
Dr Christine Merrell, Director of Research and Development, Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (CEM Centre) in the School of Education, Durham University, said: "We argued for the value of earlier assessments, using diagnostic assessments to help the teachers teach their pupils, and in particular for the use of computer adaptive assessments of the type that we have pioneered.
"We are delighted to see that Lord Bew recommends further exploration of this approach with the possibility of it being introduced in the long term."
Lord Bew led a small review panel consisting of two education experts, a number of primary head teachers and one secondary school Principal to review Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability. The final report, published on June 23 2011, discusses the evidence and feedback received by the panel and outlines its final recommendations.
In England and Wales, Key Stage 2 refers to the four years of schooling in schools normally known as Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6, when pupils are aged between 7 and 11.
The Independent Review of Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability: Final Report: June 2011, can be downloaded here.
(29 Jun 2011)
Wolfson Fellow and Theologian Professor Douglas Davies discusses the growth in woodland burial
Following the screeing of "Earth to Earth: Woodland Burial and the Church of England" a Wolfson Research Institute co-funded short film, Professor Douglas Davies commented on the growing interest in what has been alternatively described as ecoburial, green burial and natural burial writes the Northern Echo. To view this article in full follow this link.
(27 Jun 2011)
Professor David Milner elected Fellow of the Royal Society
Professor David Milner's outstanding achievements in cognitive neuroscience have been recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the UK's prestigious national academy of science. Professor Milner's studies of neurological patients conducted at the Wolfson Research Institute have resulted in a new conception of how the human brain deals with the visual information we take in through our eyes. The work has uncovered a distinct visual system that guides our everyday actions, a system that operates independently of our visual consciousness.
(21 Jun 2011)
Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS) Project Success
The ISIS project, funded by the ESRC's 'Follow-on Fund' will facilitate and support the translation of research conducted by the Anthropology Dept's Parent-Infant Sleep Lab headed by Wolfson Fellow Professor Helen Ball on infant sleep environments and infant sleep safety into policy and practice via the development and promotion of an online informational resource: ISIS-online. The project will work with several parent-support organisations* to ensure the latest research evidence reaches both parents and health professionals in formats that are accessible with explanations that address public concerns regarding parent-infant sleep and night-time infant care.
(20 Jun 2011)
Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK publishes 'Big Ideas for the Future' featuring Durham Academics and Wolfson Fellows
Big Ideas for the Future, a new report from Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK explores the excellent research taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time. A number of Wolfson Fellows feature in this report including:-
- Detection without x-rays. Professor John Girkin.
- Detecting heart failure. Professor James Mason.
- Tailored gels and microemulsions for pharmaceutical solid form control. Professor Jonathan Steed.
- Fighting for sight. Professor John Girkin.
- Visual defects. Professor Charlies Heywood.
- Smoking narrative. Medical Anthropology Research Group.
- Regeneration of Brownfield using sustainable technologies. Dr Karen Johnson.
- Understanding social development in babies. Dr Vincent Reid.
- Woodland burial. Professor Douglas Davies.
To view the publication in full please follow this link.
(20 Jun 2011)
Fellow Promotions - Congratulations
And Reader promotion to:-
(14 Jun 2011)
“Emotion, Identity and Religion: Hope, Reciprocity and Otherness” – new book by anthropologist, theologian and Wolfson Fellow, Professor Douglas Davies
Professor Davies' new book focuses a wide body of material from anthropology-sociology and the newer cognitive science and psychology to explore the dynamics of emotional life that forge human identity and explores a central idea that religions manage human emotions by coupling them with core cultural values, and that particular religious traditions favour a distinctive pattern or syndrome of emotions and values.
It offers new insights by identifying 'the humility response' and 'moral-somatic' processes which show how deep the bond is between individual and group-pressure in many different examples from 'honours' systems to 'cyber-bullying'
Deep emotions pervade our human lives and ongoing moods echo them. Religious traditions often shape these and give devotees a sense of identity in a hopeful and meaningful life despite the conflicts, confusion, pain and grief of existence. Driven by anthropological and sociological perspectives, Professor Davies describes and analyses these dynamic tensions and life opportunities as they are worked out in ritual, music, theology, and the allure of sacred places. Professor Davies brings some newer concepts to these familiar ideas, such as 'the humility response' and 'moral-somatic' processes, revealing how our sense of ourselves responds to how we are treated by others as when injustice makes us 'feel sick' or religious ideas of grace prompt joyfulness. This sense of embodied identity is shown to be influenced not only by 'reciprocity' in the many forms of exchange, gifts, merit, and actions of others, but also by a certain sense of 'otherness, whether in God, ancestors, supernatural forces or even a certain awareness of ourselves. Drawing from psychological studies of how our thinking processes engage with the worlds around us we see how difficult it is to separate out 'religious' activity from many other aspects of human response to our environment. Throughout these pages many examples are taken from the well-known religions of the world as well as from local and secular traditions.
About the author:
Professor Davies is Professor in the Study of Religion at Durham and is Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies at the University. He trained in both anthropology and theology and has taught the study of religion for many years. His specialist interests and many publications include work on death, funerary ritual and afterlife beliefs, as well as the Mormon and Anglican religious traditions and theoretical questions of the links between anthropology and theology, with a special interest in how the human desire for meaning becomes a sense of salvation.
He is President of the British Association for the Study of Religion and an academician of the Academy of Social Sciences. Additional publication details can be located here.
(27 Apr 2011)
EU funding to investigate climate change and transmission of water-borne diseases in Africa
Associate Director Dr Mark Booth is a work-package lead on an €3.4m EU-sponsored project (HEALTHY FUTURES) that aims to investigate the link between environmental change (including climate change) and transmission of 3 infectious diseases that are associated with water-bodies in sub Saharan Africa. Mark will co-ordinate fieldwork and data analysis on schistosomiasis in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. Other infections included in the project are malaria and rift-valley fever. All three infections are important public health problems in many developing countries of the tropics and sub-tropics.
For more information on the project click on the link below:-
Summary of Healthy Futures project
The project is now recruiting a PhD student and offers a 3-year stipend, contribution to tuition fees and research expenses. For more information click on the link below:
BMJ features GP training scheme
In a feature on changes to doctors' training in the British Medical Journal, Anne Gulland describes the Durham and Tees Valley GP Training Scheme now hosted by the Wolfson Research Institute as 'in a world class university ... that will give GP trainees and academics access to a broader range of academic study' as well as contributing to attracting more doctors to train and work in the area.
To read the article in full please click here.
(21 Mar 2011)
Evaluation leads to future funding for Learning Disabilities Observatory
Paul Burstow, Minister of State for Care Services, recently wrote to the North East Public Health Observatory confirming the successful evaluation and continued funding for a further two years of the Learning Disabilities Public Health Observatory which was set up in April 2010, and noting the value of the work already done but also recognising that much still needs to be done to improve the health and wellbeing, and reduce the health inequalities suffered by people with learning disabilities.
The Learning Disabilities Public Health Observatory aims to provide better, easier to understand, information on the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities. Gathering information from across England, it will help hospitals and other providers of health and social care, to understand better the needs of people with learning disabilities, and their families and carers. This should help to identify quality improvements that will ensure the best possible outcomes for the health and lives of people with learning disabilities.
The Learning Disabilities Public Health Observatory operates under a working title of improving Health and Lives and is a partnership (iHAL) with the Centre for Disabilities Research at Lancaster University (CeDR) and National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).
Information about the work of the project and people involved can be found at www.ihal.org.uk.
(21 Mar 2011)
Public health reforms won't mitigate cuts
As debate rages about the speed and depth of public spending cuts in the UK, with some commentators predicting a smaller public sector in the UK than in the United States, Wolfson Research Institute Director Tim Blackman comments in the British Medical Journal on why the new ring-fenced public health budget is not enough.
To read the article in full please click here.
(17 Mar 2011)
Award Success for Wolfson Fellow Dr Nicole Westmarland
Therapy for depression can be delivered effectively by non-specialists
Depression can be treated effectively with psychotherapy by mental health nurses with minimal training, according to new preliminary research findings.
The study, led by Durham University's Mental Health Research Centre, shows that patients with severe depression can be treated successfully with behavioural activation - a psychotherapy for depression - by non-specialist mental health staff which could potentially lead to considerable cost-savings for the NHS.
Currently, psychotherapies, such as behavioural activation, are delivered by specialist clinicians and therapists. In the study, the mental health nurses received five days training in behavioural activation and one hour of clinical supervision every fortnight.
Although the findings are preliminary, the researchers say they could pave the way for increasing access to psychological therapies for people with depression and could help to alleviate the shortage of specialist therapists. Estimates suggest that less than 10 per cent of people with depression, who need some form of psychological therapy, get access to it.
The research, conducted by Durham University, University of Exeter, and the University of York, is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
In the study, researchers compared behavioural activation treatment delivered by mental health nurses with usual care delivered by GPs. Forty seven patients participated in the trial. They found that the patients treated with behavioural activation by the nurses showed significantly more signs of recovery, were functioning better and were more satisfied with the treatment compared to the group who received what is classed as 'usual care' by their GP.
Behavioural activation is a practical treatment where the focus is on pinpointing which elements in someone's life influence their moods. Changes over time in these person-environment relationships are explored and worked on to help the person engage in a more rewarding daily structure. This is done through self monitoring, scheduling and exploring difficult situations and the person's responses to these.
Lead author of the study, David Ekers, is an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Durham University and Nurse Consultant at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: "This is a small-scale study and certainly more research with bigger trials is needed but it shows some very promising early findings. The results indicate that with limited training, generic mental health workers can be trained to deliver clinically effective behavioural activation to people with long-standing depression.
"Behavioural activation therapy has already been shown to be equally effective as cognitive behavioural therapy but previous studies have always tested it with experienced psychotherapists. This is the first time it has been shown that behavioural activation can be an effective treatment when delivered by 'inexperienced' therapists.
"All of this is particularly relevant in the current economic climate whereby there may be increased risk of depression, and demands on the NHS in that area could become heavier."
Depression is the third most common reason for people visiting their GP, according to the Office of National Statistics. Depression occurs in one in 10 adults in Britain at any one time, with one in 20 people at any one time suffering from major or 'clinical' depression.*
Colin Walker, Policy and Campaigns Manager for mental health charity Mind, commented: "Mind has found evidence that one in five people with mental health problems are waiting over a year between asking for help and receiving access to talking therapies. Expanding the types of therapies on offer and how they are delivered might be an effective way of reducing the time that people wait to receive support but much more research is necessary to ensure that this approach is truly effective.
"It's vital that mental health workers inexperienced in providing talking therapies are adequately trained to deliver such services and that this is not just adopted as a cost saving exercise to replace other types of treatments."
*Source: Mind website - www.mind.org.uk/help/research_and_policy/statistics_1_how_common_is_mental_distress#depression
Grant Success for Wolfson Fellow
Wolfson Fellow and Psychology lecturer Dr David Williams has successfully been award an ESRC grant for £76,000 for ‘Time based and event based prospective memory in autism: the roles of executive function and theory of mind'.
(22 Feb 2011)
ERDU Hosted a Meeting with Malaysian Health Officials
In November, The Evaluation Research and Development Unit (ERDU) hosted a meeting with Malaysian health officials, facilitated by the World Health Organisation's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and in part with the WHO Collaborating Centre at Imperial College London. The meeting was part of a two week visit to England to learn the inner workings of the NHS, and to take that knowledge back to Malaysia to further develop their health care system. The event, which was organised by two Wolfson Research Fellows, Prof Greg Rubin, Director of ERDU and Dr Emily Henderson, a Postdoctoral Researcher in ERDU, laid the ground work for potential collaboration.
(20 February 2011)
Commission by WHO (Regional Office for Europe)
Wolfson Fellows, Professor David Hunter and Linda Marks, director and senior research fellow respectively in the Centre for Public Policy and Health in the School of Medicine & Health, have been commissioned by the World Health Organisation (Regional Office for Europe) to develop a public health strengthening action framework for Europe.
The Regional Director of WHO Europe is committed to raising the profile of public health and the new health policy and strengthening public health capacity and services are central to the achievement of this goal.
Public Health Capacity in Europe: A framework for action to accompany WHO's new European health policy, Health 2020.
The work will be conducted during 2011 and presented at two major meetings. An interim draft will be presented at a meeting of all European health ministers' representatives from WHO Europe member states in Andorra in March; a draft document will be presented at the 61st WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2011 in Baku.
Wolfson's Deputy Director, Professor Clare Bambra, revealed as 'one to watch' in the North of England's Top 50 Northern Lights
Professor Clare Bambra, deputy director, of the Wolfson Research Institute has been named in the top 50 of the brightest and most talented people in the North of England from the worlds of business, academia, public service, politics, culture, the arts and social and community action by the Institute of Public Policy Research North (ippr north).
A professor at just thirty-three years old, Clare is quickly making a name for herself as an authoritative voice on health inequalities and the social determinants of health. She has three main areas of interest: labour markets and the relationships between work, worklessness and health; the influence of welfare state policies and political structures on international variations in public health and health inequalities; and tackling health inequalities by addressing the wider social determinants of health. With a growing focus on this field and with such radical changes in health policy afoot, Clare's research will provide a clear evidence-base in a highly contested sphere.
To view the article and dowload the top 50 in full please click here.
Additional information about Professor Bambra and her work.
(10 Feb 2011)
Continued grant success for Wolfson Fellow
Wolfson Fellow and physicist Dr. Gordon Love has continuted his recent ESPRC grant success by winning a £1.1million grant from the the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in conjunction with Professor Colin Bain and Dr Lian Hutchings from Chemistry and Dr Buddo Chakrabarti from Mathematics to lead a consortium with Imperial and Oxford on ‘Optical control of emulsion drops for nanofluids and microfabrication'.
(07 Dec 2010)
Durham Academic elected President of the US Paleopathology Association
Congratulations to Wolfson Fellow and Durham academic Professor Charlotte Roberts (Archaeology) on her election to the position of President of the US Paleopathology Association.
Archaelogoist Professor Roberts has also been awarded a Leverhulme Trust award of £199,000 related to 'Health and diet in ancient Nubia through political and climate change' in partnership with the British Museum.
(07 Dec 2010)
Torello Mountain Film Festival Award for Durham Academic
The School for Medicine and Health's and Wolfson Fellow
Dr Sally Brown has won the Jury Prize at the Torello Mountain Film Festival in Spain for her film 'Lines of Flight'. She was also a finalist in the "Mountain Culture" category at Banff Mountain Film Festival, the largest and most prestigious of the international festivals, and earlier this year won Best Film: Mountain Culture, at Vancouver International Mountain Film. The film is a visual interpretation of her recent research paper on a journey around the northern English Pennines exploring what makes modern life either fulfilling or soul-destroying, based around the physically and mentally demanding world of solo rock climbing.
(07 Dec 2010)
Wolfson Fellow appointed to the Scientific Council of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Congratulations to Wolfson Fellow, Professor Sarah Curtis (Geography and IHRR) on her recent appointment to the Scientific Council of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), France.
(07 Dec 2010)
EPSRC funding awarded to Wolfson Fellow
Newly appointed Wolfson Fellow, Dr Gordon Love (Physics) has received substantial funding of £506, 000 from the EPSRC for his project ‘Beating hearts at high resolution: adaptive high resolution selective plane illumination microscopy'.
(29 November 2010)
Funding success from the NIHR
Congratulations are extended to Wolfson Fellow, Dr Rosemary Rushmer from the School for Medicine and Health who has received a grant worth £304,000 from the National Institute of Health Research for ‘Research utilization and knowledge mobilization by healthcare managers'.
(29 November 2010)
1st Year Anthropology PGR student wins Poster Competition
Congratulations to Kim Webb, a PhD student in Anthropology just five weeks into her studies, who won 1st prize in the recent Postgraduate Poster competition held at the WRI. The Vice Chancellor selected Karen's entry, focusing on army veterans entry into Higher Education, from a shortlist derived from 36 entries submitted by PGR students affiliated with Queen's Campus. Second prize went to Mwape Katebe (School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences) who presented a poster about histamine receptors in inflammatory pain disorders. A poster by Nathan Stephens-Griffin (School of Applied Social Sciences) on the subject of lived experiences of vegans was given the status of 'Highly Commended' by the Vice Chancellor.
The competition was judged to be a great success and will become an annual event, preceded each year by a workshop held by the Graduate School on poster preparation.
(12 Nov 2010)
Deputy Director speaking at Health Inequalities Forum
Wolfson Deputy Director, Professor Clare Bambra has been invited to speak at Inside Government's Health Inequalities forum on 7 December 2010 in London.
The impact of the spending review on health and social care
Doctors and welfare reform
Wolfson Research Institute Deputy Director Professor Clare Bambra writes about the Coalition Government's welfare reforms in the British Medical Journal. To view the full article please click here.
(28 Oct 2010)
Durham academic scoops national textbook prize
Wolfson fellow Dr Andrew Russell, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Director of the Phoenix Programme and Durham's academic lead for the Beacon NE research engagement project, won the 'Student Textbook of the Year' award at the BMA Medical Book Awards 2010 at a ceremony in London in mid September.
Andrew's book, entitled The Social Basis of Medicine, is part of publisher Wiley-Blackwell's popular 'Lecture Notes' series and is aimed at giving medical students an understanding of how education, social class, family, economics and occupational circumstances, cultural and ethnic backgrounds all shape individuals and how understanding aids effective clinical practice.
Former Durham Medicine student Darren Price, in a review on the Amazon website, says 'This is a nice easy read which incorporates the first 2 years of the MiC/PPD strand of medicine. The author was a lecturer of mine and the book covers everything which was in his strand in the medicine course. I took notes in the lectures and this book covers the additional information I felt I needed to take note of at the time.'
(24 Sept 2010)
Professor David Hunter receives invitation to join a Public Health Stakeholder Group
Wolfson Fellow David Hunter, Professor of Health Policy & Management within the School for Medicine and Health has been invited by the interim Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sally Davies, to join an invited Public Health Stakeholder Group to advise on, and contribute to, the forthcoming public health white paper expected in December 2010. The white paper will set out proposals for a new National Public Health Service.
(24 Sept 2010)
Nepho launches quarterly newsletter
The North East Public Health Observatory (NEPHO) has launched a newsletter to bring you a brief digest of the current work being produced by the teams at NEPHO, allowing readers to quickly find the most relevant news, reports, events and current research that you're looking for.
Read Edition 1
(10 Sep 2010)
Learning Disabilities Observatory
The North East Public Health Observatory, along with partners the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University and the National Development Team for inclusion, has been chosen to provide a new Learning Disabilities Observatory. This three year, Department of Health funded project is in response to Sir Jonathan Michael's 2008 inquiry into access to healthcare for people with learning disabilities.
The national observatory aims to provide better, easier to understand information on the health and healthcare of people with learning disabilities.
Gathering information from across England, it will help hospitals and other providers of health and social care to understand better the needs of those with learning disabilities as well as their families and carers, in order to identify quality improvements that will ensure the best possible outcomes.
More information can be found at: http://www.improvinghealthandlives.org.uk/
(03 Aug 2010)
Society for Endocrinology grant success
Congratulations to Wolfson Fellow, Dr Gill Cooper on her £10k early careers grant award ('Identifying relationships between salivary steroid and inflammatory biomarkers: A comprehensive examination of the development and manifestation of reproductive and metabolic disorders') from the Society for Endocrinology (http://www.endocrinology.org/).
Royal Society University Research Fellowship Success
Dr Victoria Mooney has been awarded a five-year Royal Society University Research Fellowship starting in October. The award follows the success of Wolfson Fellow Dr Paul Yeo's work in the School of Medicine and Health, supported by a Wolfson Research Institute small grant, which enabled background data to be established for preparing the application. This work has looked at the structure of proteins from medically important viruses. Dr Mooney will be based in the University's Chemistry Department and the Biophysical Sciences Institute. Other research supported by the Wolfson small grant enabled a successful application to the Regional Development Agency One NorthEast for an MSc studentship in conjunction with a local company, Onyx, working on viral proteins.
(28 Jul 2010)
Deputy Director appointed at the Wolfson
Clare Bambra (Geography) has been appointed as Deputy Director of the Wolfson Research Institute, taking up the post in September 2010. Clare has also been promoted to Professor, recognising her personal research achievements. She is a Wolfson Fellow and member of the Geographies of Health and Wellbeing research group (GoHWell). Clare studied political science at Birmingham and comparative public policy at Manchester before moving into public health research. Her work is interdisciplinary, applying theories and methods from the social sciences to epidemiology and public health, and focusing on health inequalities and the social determinants of health. Her main areas of interest are the relationships between work, worklessness and health; the influence of welfare states on international variations in public health and health inequalities; and regeneration and the health effects of post-industrial change. As Deputy Director, she will be focusing on continuing to build the Institute's record of working across the University to support the development of large grant applications.
(21 July 2010)
University of Durham School of Applied Social Sciences and Wolfson Research Institute with Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
In the past 5 years, there have been concerted policy efforts to improve translational outcomes from biomedical innovation and to enhance clinical research capacity in the National Health Service. These policies attempt to involve those responsible for providing patient treatment and care in the production of high quality research that informs policy and practice. Frameworks for the evaluation of interventions to enhance research capacity tend to focus on research metrics and neglect process and contextual factors, but these might be essential to understand how, where and when research capacity can be built.
This project aims to a) understand the role and impact of a particular approach to research capacity building - research facilitation - on the practices and organisation of clinical teams in a NHS Foundation Trust, and b) to understand the factors that promote or inhibit the effectiveness of research facilitation on research capacity building. The project will use qualitative research methods to collect and analyse data. The project should generate a conceptual model of the interaction between process factors and outcome measures in research capacity building in the NHS.
Qualifications: Desirable: MA in Social Sciences (or equivalent). Essential: BA or equivalent (at least an upper-second class) in social sciences. The candidate should have training in both qualitative and quantitative social research methods, and preferably experience of qualitative research.
Discipline(s): Sociology, Health Services Research, Health Research, organisational studies, Geography, Anthropology.
Research Interests: Role of research/evidence in health care practice, organisational change.
Starting Date: 1 October 2010; this date may be adjusted slightly.
Duration: 3 years full time.
Nature of the Award: The stipend covers the cost of University fees at the Home/EU postgraduate research rate and a stipend of £15,000 p.a. to cover living expenses for a period of three years.
Supervisors: Dr Tiago Moreira, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, and Dr Namita Kumar, Consultant Physician, Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
How To Apply: Applicants wishing to be considered for this studentship should make an on-line application to the University on or before 10th September 2010, as well as submitting a research proposal and c.v. To apply, please read the further details about studying for a research degree in the School at: http://www.durham.ac.uk/sass/phd and then fill in the online application form by going to:
http://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/ and following the link to the application form. Please select "PhD - Sociology and Social Policy" as your programme and state clearly on the application that you are applying for 'The Impact of Research Facilitation' studentship. When prompted to outline your research interests please indicate what experience and abilities you consider you have that are appropriate for undertaking this study.
For further information on the application process, please contact Jill Lea, Research Secretary, email@example.com (0191 3341485) in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, Elvet Riverside 2, New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3JT, UK.
Informal enquiries on the project may be directed to Dr Tiago Moreira: firstname.lastname@example.org
(20 July 2010)
The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, FUSE, launches new website
Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health has launched its new web site.
Visitors can find out details of research led by members of Fuse, as well as accessing contact details for all staff and students, links to partners and much more. The new site is not just an information board however. Its interactive facilities offer ways to network with other organisations and groups across the North East region working on public health and wellbeing issues.
FUSE brings together the five North East universities - Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside - and works in partnership with the public and in collaboration with the NHS, local and regional government and other public, private and voluntary organisations in North East England.
Working within the framework of the Regional Health and Well-being Strategy (Better Health, Fairer Health), Fuse supports the transformation of health across the region, through public health research and the application of knowledge in policy and practice.
Find out more about Fuse by exploring the website.
(08 Jul 2010)
The 'Street' Refurbishment
The Street area of the Institute has been refurbished in recent months. The main change has been the addition of heating, which will make it easier to have informal meetings all through the year. The addition of two meeting pods also allows for informal meetings without the need of booking. We also have a fully operational reception area and a new receptionist, Sue McMaster with whom you can book the main seminar room in the Institute, and who is also available during core business hours to greet guests to the Institute.
Any queries should be directed to Sue on 40699.
Major Award for the School of Medicine and Health
Professor John McLachlan (lead) and the School of Medicine and Health have been awarded a grant of over £286,000 from the North East Strategic Health Authority for a collaborative and ground breaking project for a select group of medical students for tailored training in the inner city environment. The grant will allow collaboration into the Phase 2 part of medical training for the pilot group.
ESRC Funding Success
Wolfson Fellows, Dr. Linda Boothroyd and Dr. Elizabeth Meins (Psychology) have successfully been awarded grant funding of £75,000 from ESRC for ‘Perceptions of facial attractiveness across development'. Congratulations.
(25 May 2010)
Dr. Rosemary Rushmer appointed to NIHR Research Funding Board
Wolfson Fellow and member of the centre for Public Policy & Health Dr. Rosemary Rushmer has been appointed to the Research Funding Board for the National Institute of Health Research's public health research programme.
Rosemary will add invaluable experience to the NIHR's programme board in publich health research, which aims to provide new knowledge on the benefits, costeffectiveness, acceptability and wider impacts of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health.
Rosemary is currently Senior Lecturer in Evidence-Based Commissioning within the Centre for Public Policy and Health at the Wolfson Research Institute. Her first degrees are in Psychology and Sociology specializing in interpretive and qualitative methodologies. Among her interests is the adaptation and application of quality improvement thinking and methods to health and wellbeing. She is published in the areas of organisational leaning and change, patient safety and quality improvement, teamwork and inter-professional relationships in health care. Rosemary is interested in how research and other forms of evidence are used to inform practice in complex health care settings as complex adaptive systems.
(12 May 2010)
ESRC-DFID Funding Success for Professor Bob Simpson
Congratulations to Wolfson Fellow, Professor Bob Simpson and Dr Salla Sariola, who are part of a Durham-Edinburgh consortium, on their £500k ESRC-DFID joint scheme award for research on international development (Poverty Alleviation).
(23 April 2010)
Director of the North East Public Health Observatory and Wolfson Fellow, Professor John Wilkinson wins funding to develop a Public Health Observatory for People with Learning Disabilties
(22 April 2010)
The North East Public Health Observatory (Nepho) in partnership with the Centre for Disabilities Research at Lancaster University has won a grant of £1.8M to develop a Public Health Observatory for People with Learning Disabilities. The creation of a learning disabilities observatory was one of the recommendations of the Michael report which was published and accepted by the Government last year. The work in NEPHO will be led by Professor Gyles Glover. The aim of the observatory is to bring together information about the health of people with learning disabilities. As the amount of information on health of this group of people is limited, one of the tasks of the Observatory will be to develop new systems of data collection and to make changes to routine data collection systems so that in the future they can inform our understanding of the health and access to health services of this important group of people.
(22 April 2010)
Wolfson Fellow appointed to the ESRC peer review panel for grant awards
Professor of Sociology, Head of School and Wolfson Fellow, Simon Hackett has been appointed to the ESRC peer review panel for grant awards, covering sociology, social policy, social work, socio legal studies, anthropology, stats and methods, politics and science and technology studies.
(19 April 2010)
Sir Derman Christopherson /Sir James Knott Foundation Fellowship awarded to Wolfson Associate Director
Wolfson Associate Director and Fellow of the Institute, Professor Holger Maehle, has been awarded a Sir Derman Christopherson /Sir James Knott Foundation Fellowship from the University and Institute for Advanced Study. Professor Maehle will undertake a three month research project entitled 'Historicizing Stem Cell Research: the emergence of the stem cell concept around 1900' from October to December 2010.
(15 April 2010)
Wolfson Fellow, Professor Peter Atkins, talks to Radio 4's 'Thinking Allowed'
Appearing on Radio 4's "Thinking Allowed" Wolfson Fellow and Geography Professor, Peter Atkins discusses his new book 'Liquid Materialities: A History of Milk, Science and the Law’ (Ashgate, 2010) with Laurie Taylor.
To listen to the broadcast please follow the link below (broadcast 17th March 2010).
(15 April 2010)
NHS needs radical shift to avoid reliance on private care, says Wolfson Fellow, Professor David Hunter
The NHS needs an urgent shift towards prevention of illnesses to avoid reliance on private providers, according to a Government advisor.
Professor David Hunter, from Durham University, made the comments as set NHS waiting times for suspected cancer and non-urgent treatments became law.
Under the new rights, if waiting times cannot be met, the NHS will be legally obliged to take all reasonable steps to offer patients a range of alternative providers.
A professor of health policy and management in Durham’s School of Medicine and Health, Prof Hunter fears this move will put more strain on the NHS which is already ‘under severe pressure from growing demand’: “The NHS needs to focus on prevention and keeping people well and out of hospital, but this is not something the NHS is currently geared up for or incentivised to do.
“This move to offer set waiting times could drive up demand, especially from the ‘worried well’.
He added: “A radical shift in policy and practice is needed and must be a top priority for the next Government. With proper investment, and given the necessary urgency, there would be no need to refer patients to private care.
“Health improvement and prevention is the key and that is where investment should be focused, rather than relying on expensive acute hospital services to cope with growing demand. Most of this demand on the NHS comes from preventable lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer.
“Whoever comes into power after the next election needs to face the issue of these lifestyle-related diseases head on with less talk and more action. As a first and vital step, the high levels of alcohol consumption, and of salt, sugar and fat in food need to be urgently addressed to ease the pressure on the NHS.”
Professor Hunter, who has observed and commented on fourteen reviews of the health service, has written a new book with Durham colleague Linda Marks and Dr Katherine Smith from the University of Bath called “The Public Health System in England” about the threats to the health system including pandemic flu and lifestyle diseases.
(09 Apr 2010)
Today’s recommendations on rape care don’t go far enough, says former chair of Rape Crisis
Recommendations in today's Stern report on rape and the criminal justice system are "still not good enough", warns a leading expert.
Although Dr Nicole Westmarland from Durham University, a former chair of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) said the report was a "great step forward" she calls for a wider set of recommendations.
She also calls for the UK Government to support a Rape Crisis campaign in England and Wales to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the crime.
A review on the support and care of rape victims, authored by Baroness Stern, was published today. Dr Westmarland was part of a team of academics who contributed to it.
Dr Westmarland, a lecturer in criminology at Durham University, said: "In today's Stern report there have been a range of improvements made to how the criminal justice system deals with rape. Rape victims today who report to the police will receive a better response than they ever have done before.
"However, this ‘better response' is still not good enough - the Worboys and Reid cases in London demonstrate this all too well.
"I do welcome the improvements that Baroness Stern makes in terms of making sure that cases like this are never allowed to occur again through a greater emphasis on intelligence-led policing. All too often rape is just dismissed as ‘one person's word against another's' because a thorough investigation has not taken place. Evidence collection and management must be improved."
She said the recommendations on victim care were a great step forward, but added: "Good victim care needs to go further than simply having more independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs) and we need a widespread shift in how rape victim survivors are treated by everyone they come into contact with.
"This includes specialist workers such as ISVAs and other Rape Crisis staff but also professionals such as GPs, teachers and police officers.
"This is why attitudes must change in society as a whole and why Government in Westminster should support a Rape Crisis campaign in England and Wales just as the Scottish Government have supported the Rape Crisis Scotland campaign.
"I welcome the recommendation that education and attitude changing campaigns are designed and rolled out across England and Wales. It is essential that these are funded properly by the government rather than having the piecemeal approach that is currently in place.
"We have known for a long time that prevention and changing attitudes are vital in reducing rape - it is time that some proper financial support is put into turning these recommendations into practice."
(17 March 2010)
Co-founder of the Equality Trust delivers Wolfson Research Institute guest lecture
Hosted by the Wolfson Research Institute, over 130 Durham colleagues and external guests attended a guest lecture on Friday 12th March by Professor Richard Wilkinson, co-founder of the Equality Trust, entitled "The Spirit Level; why more equal societies are better for everyone" at Queen's Campus, Stockton. Richard argued the more unequal a society is, the more ill health and social problems it encounters. Countries that do well on measures such as life expectancy, mental health, obesity rates, educational performance etc, tend to do well in all of the measures and the countries that do badly tend to do badly in all of the measures as well.
To view the lecture slides please download here.
Professor Wilkinson's work has been published in over 10 languages. He studied economic history at the London School of Economics before training in epidemiology and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School and Honorary Professor at University College London. He co-wrote The Spirit Level with Kate Pickett and is a co-founder of The Equality Trust.
Please contact Linda Crowe to receive forthcoming events information.
(16 March 2010)
The Public Health System in England
A new book by Professor David Hunter, Dr Linda Marks and Katherine Smith has been published called The Public Health System in England. This is part of a book series - Evidence for Public Health Practice, which focuses on contemporary practice issues including: the governance of public health; models of service delivery; and the changing public health workforce.
The public health system in England offers a wide-ranging, provocative and accessible assessment of challenges confronting a public health system, exploring how its parameters have shifted and what the origins of dilemmas in public health practice are.
Professor David Hunter is Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Dr Linda Marks is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Policy and Health, at Durham University.
(16 March 2010)
Research shows flexible work is good for your health
Flexible work schedules have a positive effect on workers' health say researchers.
There is evidence to suggest that flexible working might be beneficial for employees' health if they are allowed to have input into their own working patterns, a review by Cochrane Researchers involving Durham University researchers suggests. The study may throw some light on potential health benefits associated with current trends towards more flexible working in the UK and Europe.
Wolfson Fellow, Dr Nicole Westmarland, discusses her research into domestic violence perpetrators with ITN news
(04 February 2010)
Dr Nicole Westmarland, lecturer in Criminal Justice and Wolfson Fellow, appeared on ITV news last night talking about her research into domestic violence perpetrators. She told the Wolfson Institute: 'Both nationally and regionally there is a lack of re-educative programmes for violent men who want to change their behaviour. Our research considers what 'success' really means in terms of changing men's behaviour and, crucially, whether perpetrator programmes really do create changes that result in increased safety for women and children.'
(04 February 2010)
Babies to help reveal more about autism
Researchers are looking for babies of up to two years old to take part in research to help understand how babies’ brains work.
It is hoped the research will give clues about how autism develops in babies.
Wolfson Director gives keynote address at regional Conference
Wolfson Research Institute Director Professor Tim Blackman presented a review of regional trends in health inequalities at a public consultation event organised by Sunderland City Council at the Stadium of Light on 21st January.
Strategic Health Authority's Medical Education Research Group welcomed to the University
The School of Medicine and Health and the Wolfson Research Institute welcomes the arrival of the Strategic Health Authoriy's medical education team to the University.
Wolfson Fellow, Professor David Hunter features in December's King's Fund Online Edition - 'Improving partnership working to reduce health inequalities'
Working in partnership is central to reducing health inequalities – one department acting alone cannot tackle an issue that does not respect organisational boundaries.
To read the article in full please follow the link below:-
Wolfson Associate Director invited to talk at ' Addressing Health Inequalities the Third Sector Way' Conference
Dr Mark Booth, Associate Director of the Institute, was recently invited to address delegates at ' Addressing Health Inequalities the Third Sector Way' - a one day conference at the Sage in Gateshead, organised and hosted by Du - a Community Interest Company based in Durham.
Wolfson Fellow brings major cancer research grant to Durham
As one of a consortium of primary care researchers, Durham’s School of Medicine and Health has won a prestigious £1.94m research grant from the National Institute for Health Research. (03 Dec 2009)
Deputy Regional Minister praises Institute for Local Governance
The Institute for Local Governance (ILG), a unique collaboration between local government, other public sector bodies and the region's universities, was launched on 15 October 2009 at the Sage Gateshead.
Wolfson Fellow honoured
Wolfson Fellow Di Barnes has received an OBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to mental health care.
Di has been a Research Fellow at Durham University since 1991. Before that she worked in research and policy development in local government. She works mainly in the field of mental health with a focus on policy and service evaluation, and has a special interest in participatory research methods, applying these in researching collaborative working, especially collaboration with service users.
(21 June 2010)