Thursday, 24 October 2013

Learn more about business

The 100% online BA(Hons) Business Administration degree form the University of Hertfordshire is ideal to give you a broad understanding of business and management. It's also particularly useful if you're not quite sure where you would like to take your career and wish to explore different disciplines in business. Modules include marketing, accounting, strategy and leadership to name a few (find out the other modules you would be studying). There is also a module designed especially for your career plan: 'enhancing employability'. Quite helpful we think.

Being 100% online you can fit study around your work and other commitments plus an option to start at level 6 if you already have a foundation degree. There may also be opportunities to speed up the rate of study and complete the degree quicker. There's more information about this course, from Karen Trimarchi the programme tutor for BA(Hons) Business Administration (online), take a look in this short video.

Find out more about the online business degree

Not looking for a degree? How about some business training from entrepreneurs?

If you're keen to strengthen your core business skills online in a handy short course, take a look at Dragons' Den Online Educational Programme. An interactive way to build your skills and visibly see your progress throughout the course, find out more about Dragons' Den Education.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Chapter on “legal highs” reaches milestone – with 5,000 downloads

A paper on mephedrone-related fatalities in the UK has achieved impressive readership results.
John Corkery

Published as a chapter of the open access book “Pharmacology” in March 2012, the paper has been accessed over 5,000 times – showing the significant impact of the work by University of Hertfordshire researchers John Corkery and Professor Fabrizio Schifano.

At the point of the paper’s publication, the misuse of mephedrone had been greatly increasing in Western countries, especially in the dance and club scenes, and had been implicated in a rising number of deaths, particularly in the UK.

Professor Fabrizio Schifano
Mephedrone, sometimes called ‘meow meow’, ‘bubbles’ or ‘MMC Hammer’ is a powerful stimulant and is part of a group of drugs that are closely related to the  amphetamines, like speed and ecstasy.  It is readily available over the internet and in head shops – often advertised as a ‘legal high’.  As typical use of this drug is to experience psychoactive effects, many deaths occurred following recreational use of the drug.

The chapter highlighted the dangers associated with mephedrone consumption, especially with regard to recreational use.  The study represented the most detailed analysis at the time (and currently) of the largest number of mephedrone-related fatalities worldwide.

The paper, Mephedrone-Related Fatalities in the United Kingdom: Contextual, Clinical and Practical Issues (DOI: 10.5772/32935), was published in Pharmacology book ISBN 978-953-51-0222-9, Published: March 14, 2012, chapter 17.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Hertfordshire astronomers discover largest star known tearing itselfapart

Guest blog: Dr Nick Wright, Centre for Astrophysics Research

Images of the final death throes of the largest known star in the Universe have been taken by a team of international astronomers as part of the VPHAS+ survey of our Galaxy led by my colleague Professor Janet Drew at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics Research.

Image credit: ESO/VPHAS+ Survey/N. Wright
The discovery, as just published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is a vital step in understanding how massive stars return enriched material to the interstellar medium (the space between stars) which is necessary for forming new planetary systems.

Stars with masses tens of times larger than that of the Sun live very short and dramatic lives compared to smaller stars. Some of the most massive stars have lifetimes of less than a few million years before they exhaust their nuclear fuel and explode as supernovae. At the very ends of their lives these stars become highly unstable and eject considerable material from their outer envelopes. This material has been enriched by nuclear reactions deep within the star and includes many of the elements necessary for forming rocky planets like our Earth, such as silicon and magnesium, and which are also the basis for life.

Using the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) based in Chile, the VPHAS+ survey has been searching our Galaxy for ejected material from evolved stars and we were very excited by what we saw when observing the super star cluster Westerlund 1.

Westerlund 1 is the most massive cluster of stars in our Galaxy, home to several hundreds of thousands of stars, and about 16,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation of Ara (The Altar).

When we studied the images of Westerlund 1, we spotted something truly unique. Around one of the stars, known as W26, we saw a huge cloud of glowing hydrogen gas, shown as green in this new image. Such glowing clouds around massive stars are very rare, and are even rarer around red supergiants such as W26 — this is the first ionised nebula ever discovered around such a star.

On investigating the star W26 in more detail, we realised that the star was probably the largest star ever discovered with a radius 1500 times larger than that of our Sun, and one of the most luminous red supergiants known. Such large and luminous massive stars are believed to be highly evolved, all of which suggests that W26 is coming towards the end of its life and will eventually explode as a supernova.

The paper, ‘The ionized nebula surrounding the red supergiant W26 in Westerlund 1’, is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Getting the most from Environmental Impact Assessments

‘Furthering environmental impact assessment: towards a seamless connection between EIA and EMS’ is the first book to examine the link between environmental impact assessments (EIA) and environmental management systems (EMS).

Co-edited by researcher Lisa Palframan from the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Life and Medical Sciences and being launched today at the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) in Lisbon, the new book gets to the heart of effective practice, by examining the theory of how they should interact and delving into real-life examples.

Aimed at helping environmental professionals, academics and students all over the world, the book shows how companies are making the best use of the environmental tools that they have available – those which save them time and money.
Lisa Palframan

Environmental professionals in consultancies, contractors and large developers will gain a better understanding of how to manage environmental risk during the design, consenting, construction and operation of major new development projects.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Engineering success

Multiracial engineers at industrial site reading plansJust launched! Two new online engineering Master’s degrees:
  •  MSc Manufacturing Management (online)
  • MSc Operations and Supply Chain Management (online)
After running these two courses successfully on campus for six years the School of Engineering and Technology were keen to launch the two Master’s degrees online as well for those who are unable to get to university be it due to work, visa or family commitments.

The programmes have been specifically designed to equip you for a career in manufacturing. Depending on which course you choose, the development of your skills and advancement of your knowledge focuses on areas such as:
  • the broad areas of business and operations management

  • design orientated tasks, including analysis and synthesis, to develop relevant and applicable procedures and processes to resolve technical and ultimately business problems

  • case studies, including analysis and synthesis, contribution to profitability, understanding of purchasing, procurement, and logistics

  • critical review of strategic value, procurement, and supply chain management

Starting in January 2014, the programme has two intakes and is delivered 100% online.

Application deadline is 1 December 2013 for January 2014 start.

Find out more and how to apply visit the UH Online website.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The importance of a loving touch

Most people like to feel that special, loving touch which is instinctive between a mother and her child or between romantic partners.  Typically a slow speed, light-stroking of the skin, the loving or affective touch has been linked with pleasant emotions as well as improving symptoms of anxiety and other emotional symptoms.

But how important are these emotional signals from the body? What role do they play in forming how we view our own self?  External signals, such as vision, influence our own mental image of ourselves.  Looking in the mirror, for example, effects how we think of our body – influencing how we form mental images and representations of our own body.

Dr Paul Jenkinson
Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire’s Department of Psychology, Dr Paul Jenkinson and PhD researcher Laura Crucianelli, together with Dr Aikaterini Fotopoulou at University College London, set out to test whether affective touch would affect the brain’s understanding of the body and sense of self.  The study incorporated four different types of touch: slow, affective touch in both regular and irregular stroking patterns; and a faster, neutral touch again in both regular and irregular stroking patterns.

Laura Crucianelli
The results confirmed that slow, light touch is more pleasant than fast touch – providing new evidence that the feelings and emotions created by a loving affective touch play a bigger role in our perception of how we feel about our body than originally thought.  The slow caresses or strokes in close relationships build a person’s sense of their body ownership which helps create a healthy sense of self - a previously crucial and neglected part of the process.

So the way we feel about our body from within may be more important than the way the body looks from the outside - having implications in the wider media and particularly around issues of body image and self-esteem.

You can read more about this research on Science Daily.

The paper “Bodily pleasure matters: Velocity of touch modulates body ownership during the rubber hand illusionis published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Hertfordshire professor goes to 10 Downing Street

Professor Fiona Brooks, head of adolescent and child health research at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), was invited to participate in a workshop on child health held at 10 Downing Street.

Entitled ‘Building Character and Raising Wellbeing in Young People’, the workshop brought together national and international experts on child health and wellbeing, and key policy makers from the Department of Health, Education, Public Health England and the Cabinet Office.  The workshop set out to explore how to define the resilience in young people, examine the evidence available and identify examples of practical responses both nationally and internationally.

Fiona spoke about her research into resilience and young people that she has been doing on behalf of the Department of Health – drawing on her report into the Health Behaviour in School Children (HBSC).

She drew attention to the need for young people to have access to constructive and supportive relationships with the key adults in their lives – including parents and teachers – as a way of enhancing young people’s health.