Wednesday, 30 January 2013

New partnership with Respiratory Education UK

Image courtesy of
The University announces a new partnership with Respiratory Education UK (REUK). This is an exciting development which will enable and support REUK to enhance and develop its work within the respiratory field.

Through this innovative partnership, REUK training programmes will be externally validated by the University. And new academic BSc (Hons) and MSc programmes in respiratory practice will be offered from May 2013, subject to satisfactory validation.

Over the next six years, the partnership will work together to maintain the quality and integrity of higher education students as well as looking to enhance and improve patient care.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Hertfordshire NHS Trust Granted University Trust Status

Thursday 24 January 2013 marked the start of a new era to mental health and learning disability provision across Hertfordshire with the University granting University Trust status to Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) – making it only the third mental health organisation in the country to be awarded this prestigious status.

Professor Quintin McKellar (left), Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, and Tom Cahill (right), Chief Excutive at HPFT, signing the University Trust agreement
The University is a leading provider of mental health and learning disability education programmes and also delivers specialist short courses for trust health and social care staff.

The University and HPFT already enjoy an excellent collaborative relationship – focusing on a number of academic disciplines and also research. Working together as a University NHS Trust will allow them to better able to support staff, students, users and carers and the community as a whole.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Care Homes and NHS Need to Work Together

© Monkey Business Images
As people are living longer than ever before, the associated health and care needs particularly of the oldest old have risen. Whilst most older people will always live at home there will be a percentage who need long term care. Most long term care for them is provided by independent care homes but their access to NHS services is inconsistent and determined by local custom and practice, rather than the particular needs of the care home residents.

According to a new study led by Professor Claire Goodman from the University’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), care homes and NHS healthcare services must work more closely together. Closer working and better integration of NHS services can promote more effective healthcare of older people living in care homes, yet tensions exist between the ways that the NHS services and the care homes provide care to older people.

NHS services need to see care homes as partners and not just the solution to the problem of where to place older people who can no longer live at home.  For care home residents, the recognition and inclusion of care home staff or a relative in the discussions on their health care needs provides support for a more resident-focused care service.

The three year study in collaboration with the University of Surrey, Lancaster University, Brunel University and University College London, is published by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research (NIHR HS&DR) Programme.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Revealing Quantum Flow

Wigner flow’s stagnation points’ 
positions across phase space 
as a function of time.
Scientists have spent many hundreds of years making sense of how the world works – developing an understanding of everything from the laws of motion to thermodynamics.  And then, a branch of physics which explores the smallest types of matter led to some really astounding conclusions that defied logic – and quantum mechanics was “discovered”.

Quantum systems are used in our everyday life – but most of us are unaware of its importance in our lives and take its many applications for granted.  All around us are everyday items like microprocessors, quantum computers, instantaneous communication, ultra-precise thermometers, lasers, ultra-precise clocks and pressure sensitive touch-screens like those used on the latest smart phones and tablets which all rely on the weird properties of quantum physics.

But quantum systems are difficult to understand and describe as they do not behave in the classical way.  And physicists have been grappling with finding ways to better understand these systems and harness their bizarre properties to advance technology. 

Ole Steuernagel, together with Dimitris Kakofengitis and Georg Ritter, from the University’s Science and Technology Research Institute have discovered a new powerful tool called “Wigner flow” that can be used to visualise quantum dynamics.  This ground-breaking discovery provides information for quantum systems which is similar to that gleaned from phase space trajectories in classical physics.

The paper “Wigner flow reveals topological order in quantum phase space dynamics” is published in `Physical Review Letters'.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Bayfordbury Stargazing Evening – 9 January 2013

At this special Stargazing LIVE Night, come along to see the telescopes, get involved in our lab activities and enjoy our planetarium shows.  Bayfordbury’s open evenings are a great opportunity to visit a working astronomical observatory and see some expert demonstrations from our researchers and students.

This event is one of a series of special events being held all around the country as part of the BBC Stargazing LIVE event to encourage everyone, from the complete beginner to the enthusiastic amateur, to make the most of the night sky.

These open evenings are ideal for everyone, from children to adults and budding amateur astronomers – so come along and find out so much more about our star-studded skies, planets, galaxies and, of course, our Universe.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New RAS Fellow is Star-struck in Hertfordshire

The Dynamics of Young Star Clusters” is the research focus of Dr Nick Wright who has recently joined the University’s Centre for Astrophysics Research as a Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) Fellow.

Nick brings his expertise in the formation and evolution of stars, stellar clusters and associations, and our Galaxy, and joins us from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA  - a joint research laboratory between Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory .

Nick’s arrival coincides with the release of images of Cygnus OB2 , a star cluster in the Milky Way that contains many hot, massive young stars. To help create the image, Nick compiled the optical data from a survey run by Professor Janet Drew based at the University’s Centre for Astrophysics Research, and X-ray data from a survey he worked on whilst at Harvard.  The image released by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is also made up of  X-rays from the Chandra Observatory (blue) and infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (red).

Some of the bright massive stars in Cygnus OB2 are visible in the image (the bright blue dots in the centre). The star cluster is about 5000 light years away and is one of the most massive such star clusters in our Galaxy (in the top 10 known at the moment!), and we're very lucky that it is close enough to study in detail.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Professor celebrates 75 years of The Perry Foundation

Bruce Fitt (centre) at The Perry Foundation 
celebration at the House of Commons with 
colleagues from Rothamsted Research 
and Nottingham University
Bruce Fitt, professor of plant pathology at the University, helped The Perry Foundation celebrate seventy-five years of supporting agricultural research and training.

Bruce, himself a Perry Foundation Trustee, was joined at the event by colleague Professor Robert Slater and two of the University’s  PhD students who are currently being funded by the Foundation – Steven Maloney and Georgia Mitrousia .  Bruce is one of many students the Foundation has supported throughout their PhD studies and careers.

The event, held at the House of Commons, involved talks from Lord Boswell, a former junior minister  of agriculture and a past President of The Perry Foundation, and Scott Norris the current President.

The Foundation has supported the completion of more than 160 projects at universities, colleges and research institutions around the UK and is currently funding or co-funding ten postgraduate students, including the two PhD students from the University.