Friday, 30 November 2012

Professor is Founding Trustee of New Institute of Health Visiting

Professor Sally Kendall (3rd from left) with iHV
colleagues and Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter
Professor Sally Kendall, from the University’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, is one of the distinguished founding trustees of the newly-launched Institute of Health Visiting (iHV).

For a hundred and fifty years health visitors have been helping to support Britain’s new families. And the launch of the new Institute of Health Visiting will promote best practice in the next generation of professionals.

Health visitors play a unique role in society – they are vital in improving the health and wellbeing of children, their families and the wider community. They walk through every door where there is a baby, they work with families from all backgrounds and help children to get the best possible start in life.

Sally’s research interest is in community and primary health care nursing and health visiting, especially family health.  This area of expertise, combined with her previous experience as a health visitor, provides fundamental knowledge to ensure the future skills of health visitors.

The new Institute, launched by Health minister Dr Dan Poulter, is backed by the Prime Minister and leading experts in the field of health visiting.  It will ensure that health visitors have access to the latest research and practice materials – raising professional standards in health visiting practice and helping them to best serve families in every sector of UK society.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Inspiring the Next Generation of Researchers

How do we get young people interested in considering a career in research?   What does research cover?  What do they need to find out about?

Well, year 11 pupils from several schools across Hertfordshire joined together to explore research at the University’s Research Exhibition for Schools. The special event, held as part of the University’s sixty year celebrations, aimed to inspire the next generation of researchers.

With interactive stands and exciting talks from senior researchers giving their personal insight into their specialist areas of research, the pupils had the opportunity to talk to professors and find out about research and what it covers.

From the many research stands available, the pupils met KASPAR, an interactive robot, designed to help children with autism to open up to their families and carers; they pictured themselves as an astronaut using a newly-developed video portrait system; the sky was brought to life by astronomers with a live link to our observatory at Bayfordbury.

Climate change, energy, engineering, healthcare, science and technology are just some of the areas where the University is breaking new ground for the benefit of people in our own country and across the globe.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

From Robotics Research to Enterprise

Little did I realise what was in store for me when I started my Computer Science degree at the University. At the time as a struggling single parent, I could never have believed the fantastic journey that I was just setting out on - that it would lead to a PhD in robotics and then becoming CEO of my own international robotics and technology company, Que Innovations.

After completing my degree in 2001, I then went on to do a PhD with the world-renowned AuRoRA Project based at the University. My PhD investigated the use of robotics devices as tools or therapy aids for children with autism. In 2004, I spent some time with a research group in Canada as part of the project’s collaboration. This was an amazing opportunity, for both me and my young son, something that I am so grateful for.

I continued my post-doctoral research with the same group in Canada where I became increasingly frustrated that the results of my research didn’t seem to filter through to the real world. I would see children with severe autism laugh and be happy with a robotic device…but then we took the devices back to the lab and put them on a shelf! I really wanted to see the devices stay with the children, and so I decided to commercialise the best robotic device I had worked with, a device called KOULE.

That was almost four years ago. Now I am based between Canada and the USA and come to the UK as much as possible. And my company, Que Innovations, is just about to bring KOULE to market.

Doing a degree at the University of Hertfordshire is one of, if not, the best decision I have ever made. It gave me the tools and confidence I needed, which have enabled me to achieve the things I have in my life. I now have an international company that is bringing a product to market that can make a real difference in the world.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

“People at their best” wins photography competition

Professor John Senior, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), 
presenting Colleen Addicott with her award
Colleen Addicott’s photograph “People at their best” won the University’s Reflection on Research photography competition on Monday evening – and a £2000 cheque. The photo represents individuals jumping for joy, in whichever profession or career they find themselves.

As part of our sixty year anniversary celebrations, we invited all our research students to enter the photographic competition with an image that reflects their own research programme.

Colleen, an occupational psychologist, is currently doing a research degree at the University and is looking to develop a model to identify where people are at their best in work.

Colleen’s photograph, taken on a cloudy afternoon, shows the silhouettes of people jumping.  Each person carried a prop to represent their profession – a journalist with a pen and pad, a cook with a hat and spatula, a builder with a hammer and pliers, a wind turbine engineer with a mini turbine and a business consultant with a laptop.

Second prize was awarded to Joanna Denyer and the third prize was awarded jointly to Friedrich Newman and Peter Thain.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

“The Dark Universe” and “Spooky Nebulae” at the Bayfordbury Observatory

The Witch Head Nebula by Noel Carboni
Come along to Bayfordbury’s next open evening on Friday 2 November if you dare!

You’ll be welcomed by zombie astronomers to this spooky event!  With special talks on “The Dark Universe” and “Scary Nebulae in Outer Space” and dedicated planetarium shows and so much more…you’ll love this ghoulish-star studded evening!

Our spooky Bayfordbury Observatory Open Night takes place this Friday, 2 November.

Come along to see spooky witchy nebulae as well as thousands of twinkling stars, galaxies, planets and much more though our optical telescopes and radio telescope – weather permitting of course!

Our series of Public Open Evenings at our Observatory at Bayfordbury gives a great opportunity for everyone, from children to adults and budding amateur astronomers, to visit a working astronomical observatory and see our astronomers’ research.

There are still a few places available – so to book your place (if you dare) click here.