Innovation and Research round-up

November Edition

Welcome to the first of our Innovation and Research Round-Ups! We will be bringing you regular updates from our researchers who are making discoveries that have a real-world impact. From attending international conferences to major research breakthroughs, we will ensure you are up to date with all our activities. 

Let’s kick it off… 

An invitation to the Royal College of Art

Dr Rhiannon Jones, Associate Professor (Civic) was invited to the Royal College of Art (RCA) as the inaugural speaker to talk about the ongoing projects; InDialogue and S.H.E.D. InDialogue is a collaborative artistic research project that interrogates how artists and researchers use dialogue in practice. S.H.E.D. is the Social Higher Education Depot and is a pop-up mobile arts venue and public space, designed for facilitating conversations. 
The two-hour talk was positioned as a 'Critical Dialogue' linking with the RCA's research project. Their research looks to ask questions about the history of spatial dialogue (exemplifying how narrative can be a program for architectural and spatial sequencing) and drawing from architecture, the performing arts and organisational history. 

‘Dungeons and Dragons’ game and businesses are linked…but how? 

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ is a role-playing game where players ‘explore fantasy worlds together and embark on epic quests and level up in experience’ (Dungeons and Dragons). But how is it linked to businesses? Dr Ian Baker, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University, has shared his thoughts on how the game can help people reflect and inform their work.  

Read more about the link between ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and businesses

From Derby to Qatar – Professor Chris Sansom explains how a solar dome and football pitches are connected 

With Qatar due to host the World Cup in just a few days, questions are being asked as to how they will keep the football pitches looking green and well-watered. The current solution is desalination; removing salt from saltwater so it is drinkable. But with this process having huge environmental costs as it damages marine environments and uses fossil fuels, could a solar dome be the solution? Professor Chris Sansom, Professor of Concentrating Solar Power, describes the dome as a ‘sparkling jewel in the desert’, but also discusses its limitations.  

Learn more about the solar dome

Researchers make video about their work on climate change in Ghana 

Dr Sian Davies-Vollum, Dr Deb Raha and former PhD student Dr Daniel Koomson worked with the Time for Geography team to make a documentary about their research on the impacts of climate change in coastal West Africa. The documentary illustrates the work on climate change that is being conducted in the Environmental Sustainability Research centre. It highlighted both the physical and human impacts of climate change and drew on Daniel's PhD work in Winneba, Ghana. 

Find out more about their work and watch the video

New conferments and extensions to our Visiting and Emeritus Professor Faculty 

Our Emeritus and Visiting Professors and Fellows are a vital part of University life as they bring knowledge, expertise, research and teaching. 

Visiting Professors and Fellows are given this title in recognition of their significance as an academic or practitioner and to enhance an ongoing association with the University. The Emeritus Professor title is given to a Professor who has made an outstanding contribution to the academic life and reputation of the University. This title is given when they retire from the University. 
We are proud to have over 90 members within the Faculty and are excited to share the recent conferments. We welcome to the University Professor Milind Sovani and Professor Martin James as Visiting Professors and congratulate the following on the extensions to their role:  

Attending the biggest conference in Concentrated Solar Power Technology

SolarPACES is the biggest scientific conference that brings together international researchers, industrials and financials to discuss and share recent Research and Development (R&D) activities and new developments in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Technology. This year, the conference was held from 27 – 30 September 2022 in New Mexico, USA.  

Professor Christopher Sansom, Professor in Concentrating Solar Power and Zero Carbon Theme Lead, and Mounia Karim, Senior Researcher in Zero Carbon attended the conference to share the University of Derby’s CSP activities. This was the first time the University has been represented at this event, so they were eager to share with this community that they are putting in place building the new R&D centre at the University.   

During the conference, Christopher and Mounia also presented three papers about their scientific findings and contribution to CSP science. Mounia says “The presentations helped us make some great contacts with people who are working on related Research and Development research topics. These could identify to be potential partners with whom we collaborate in future projects”. 

Chris Sansom presenting at the SolarPACES conference
Mounia Karim and Chris Sansom stand next to the SolarPACES sign

Celebrating the success of this year’s internal promotions with all female candidates  

We are delighted to formally announce that six successful candidates have been conferred to the following levels:  

Associate Professors:  

Professorial progression: 

Congratulations to our successful candidates for 2022, we wish them every success in their new positions. 

University’s Nature Connectedness Research Group role in Government funded Generation Green project 

Funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, Generation Green is a major £2.5 million national project that aims to connect young people to nature, create and save jobs, and build an aspirant workforce for a green recovery. Derby’s pathways to nature connectedness are at the heart of the project's activities.  

During the project’s delivery, the Nature Connection Research Group were commissioned to evaluate the effect of the day and residential trips on young people’s level of connection with nature, environmental responsibility, pro-nature conservation behaviours and wellbeing. Amongst its findings, the report found that 91% of the young people reached through Generation Green felt more connected to nature and 86% felt more confident being outdoors. 

Find out more about the Generation Green project and read about the results

Low-carbon business podcast and start your low-carbon journey 

Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for businesses to move towards climate action, which means that sustainability is the next frontier of business transformation. There are many ways your company can reduce its carbon footprint and move towards a greener future by incorporating green practices into your business. The Low Carbon Business Network Podcast talks to industry experts in carbon footprint reduction and pro-environmental business leaders that can help you towards climate action.   

Tune in and learn more about sustainability and how starting your own low-carbon journey can benefit your company and the planet