Innovation and Research Round-Up

January Edition

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Innovation and Research Round-up of 2023! With funding bids being submitted, new research projects starting off and others in full swing, we can’t wait to see the success of our innovation and research team in 2023! 

Institute of Biomedical Sciences recognises Derby research as future-focused   

Dr Vadivel Parthsarathy, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Health and Dr Thomas Illingworth, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences and Public Health, have secured an Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) grant to fund a research project. The research focuses on the use of synthetic antibodies (called aptamers) in continuous monitoring of pre-diabetes, a high-risk state for progression towards Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Aptamers, composed of DNA or RNA, have the potential to replace antibodies for the purposes of biomarker detection.  

This innovative approach will increase both the accessibility and affordability of pre-diabetes monitoring in the UK and beyond. This is due to them being inexpensive alternatives while maintaining their sensitivity and specificity. The team are excited about the recognition of this research by IBMS as a futuristic direction in diagnostics. They have already started this innovative research at the university and look forward to disseminating the results from the study to the scientific community and beyond.  

Derby academics win an externally funded project by the Circular Economy Network+ In Transport Systems

A team of five academics from the College of Business, Law and Social Science and the College of Science and Engineering combined their efforts to successfully win an externally funded project by the Circular Economy Network+ In Transport Systems (CENTS). This is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded research network for the sustainable transport community on the Rail sector.  

The project “Circular Economy Transitions: Transitioning Rail to the Circular Economy” aims to collaborate creatively with industry and academia to produce a white paper to address challenges and facilitate change towards a more Circular Economy within the transportation sector, specifically in the Rail sector under this project. In this regard, two workshops have been organised in London and Derby, where carefully selected industry personnel from the Rail sector and academic experts were invited. The workshops provided an overview of this research project and presented the draft white paper. The second half of the workshop was dedicated to discussion and brainstorming to gather ideas around critical factors to develop policy and practice for the Rail sector’s transition to adopt Circular Economy. 

The project team consists of: 

The biodiversity stripes going global 

In August 2022, Professor Miles Richardson created the biodiversity stripes, which provide a visual representation of the change in biodiversity over time, often since 1970. Since then, the stripes have been very popular; adopted and noticed by many – one of whom is Greta Thunberg, who recently retweeted the stripes to her 4.9 million followers.  

In previous months, the biodiversity stripes made an appearance at the opening of an official seminar by Scientist Philippe Grandcolas from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) on climate change and biodiversity loss with French MPs in the French National Assembly.

They were also adopted by Nature4Climate in their most recent Nature Positive campaign. This is a global effort to raise the profile of action to protect, manage and restore natural ecosystems for the benefit of the world's peoples, the climate and biodiversity. In addition, they appeared at the COP27 Nature Zone as part of the backdrop to many events. 

More recently, the biodiversity stripes were also noticed by Channel 4 News. A conversation between Professor Miles Richardson and Professor Ed Hawkins, creator of the climate warming stripes, was recorded and broadcast to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

Watch Professor Miles Richardson on Channel 4 NewsFind out more about the biodiversity stripes

the biodiversity stripes, starting from green on then left, going into yellow and then grey

Research presented at the European International Business Academy Conference 

Dr Sa'ad Ali, a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Management at Derby Business School, presented his research at the European International Business Academy (EIBA) Conference, the premier annual international business conference at BI Norwegian Business School, in Oslo between 8-10 December 2022. 

Dr Ali's research explores the impact of informal networks on the business environment in Lebanon. The findings will help managers and policymakers navigate the networked business environment in Lebanon and other developing countries.

'My Research My Reach': PGR Student Conference

The student-led 'My Research My Reach' Conference brings together the University of Derby's postgraduate research students from across disciplines to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of each of their research projects. 

On 16 November 2022, the conference committee hosted this year's event virtually and a wide array of research was discussed. The day included two keynote speeches which inspired the audience with reflections on 'Seeking a Positive Mindset for your Doctoral Journey' (by Dr Neil Radford, Head of PGR Delivery Support) and 'Wellbeing in Higher Education: Understanding Emotions and our Tricky Brains' (by Professor Frances Maratos, Professor of Psychology and Affective Science). 

The PGR students presented their research either through poster format or presentation slides. Each student showcased their work in an engaging and informative way, and we are delighted to share the winners and runners-up of the day: 

Oral Presentation: 

Poster Presentation: 

Joining the University of Leeds for a research study on public news literacy

John Steel, Professor in Journalism at the University of Derby and Dr Julie Firmstone, Associate Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds have come together to work alongside Impress, an independent press regulator, to develop the News Literacy Report.

Carrying out a survey on over 3,000 members of the public, the research shows that more than half of the population admit to having low levels of news literacy (a skill for analysing the reliability and credibility of news reports) and confidence in how decisions are made in newsrooms.  

The study also shows that 2,337 of the people surveyed have declared that they have a higher interest in local news than international news. The report also found that people were less likely to think their local news has a hidden agenda, compared to national news.  

Professor John Steel said: “This report, and the research underpinning it, emphasises the need for greater levels of transparency and knowledge of the news media amongst the UK public.” 

Read the Impress News Literacy Report

Academics at the University of Derby make 'World Ranking Top 2% Scientists' list

Six academics from across the University have been listed in the ‘World Ranking Top 2% Scientists’, a global list created as part of a study by Stanford University. Congratulations to the following academics:  

The University is a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). Therefore the University is committed to the responsible use of publication-based metrics and the use of a combination of appropriate qualitative and quantitative indicators to consider the quality of individual research publications. Find out more about the University's commitment to DORA.

Find out more about the 'World Ranking Top 2% Scientists'