News in brief

4 July 2018

Special celebratory event to mark NHS’ 70th birthday

RobotSheffield’s NHS and the University of Sheffield is coming together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service and showcase future advances in healthcare.

A vintage ambulance, a look back in history at the most life-changing NHS moments and free blood pressure checks are all part of the special celebratory event taking place outside Sheffield Cathedral tomorrow (5 July 2018).

Pioneering research from the University of Sheffield showing how ice pops could help children undergoing chemotherapy and humanoid campion care robots from the University’s Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH), which are helping to aid communication for people with disabilities, will be showcased.

Focusing on the past, present and future of the NHS, the event will bring together staff from Sheffield’s NHS, including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation, Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Primary Care Sheffield, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and medical researchers from the University of Sheffield.

The free, interactive event is open to adults and children alike, and will take place from 11am to 7pm.
It is being held on 5 July 2018 to coincide with the official anniversary of when the NHS was born back in 1948.

20 June 2018

Golden Globe Yacht Race supports Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience

Golden Boat Race SkippersA prestigious non-stop, around the world yacht race is supporting pioneering research conducted at the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN).

The Golden Globe 2018 Race will be raising money to help enhance the work conducted at SITraN which is leading revolutionary research into diseases including dementia, Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Parkinson's disease and stroke.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the world’s first non-stop circumnavigation by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, a special charity race called the SITraN challenge was held from Falmouth to the start line of the Golden Globe 2018 yacht race in Les Sables d’Olonne.

Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Vice-President of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health at the University of Sheffield, said: "To be nominated as the charity for this year's prestigious Golden Globe Race is such an honour.

"The vision behind the creation of SITraN was to establish a world class research institute where teams of clinicians and scientists could be brought together to focus their combined skills on enhancing therapies and technologies to benefit the lives of those affected by devastating neurodegenerative diseases across the globe.

"We are immensely grateful for the support from this year's Golden Globe Race and wish all competitors the best of luck.”

She added: “The money raised will make a huge difference in helping to accelerate our pioneering research and innovative programmes which help people not only in Yorkshire and the UK, but across the globe."

SITraN was chosen as this year's dedicated charity thanks to the tireless work of SITRaN Patron Stuart Keane.

Stuart said: "My son Shaun died of MND after suffering with it for two and a half years.

"SITraN is the world's first purpose built, dedicated research institute for MND, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It relies on charitable donations to buy specialised medical equipment - for example the £10 million pound MRI-PET Sheffield scanner which will be one of only eight in the UK."

The epic 30,000 mile, unassisted race will begin from Les Sables d’Olonne next month (1 July 2018). The 19 skippers will travel via the five Great Capes before returning to the French town.

Australian adventurer and explorer Don McIntyre is the founder and chairman of the race which will be sailed under the support of the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club in the Kingdom of Tonga. This year’s race will also include five-time circumnavigator Jean-Luc van den Heede.

Find out more about SITraN

Donate to the MRI-PET Sheffield Scanner Appeal

13 June 2018

Researchers to exhibit University’s world-class medical research

Leading researchers from the University of Sheffield will take part in a festival demonstrating the world-class medical research taking place in the city this weekend (Saturday 16 June).

‘Getting to know… Medical Research’ will explore how the latest medical research from the University of Sheffield is improving people’s lives through exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Highlights of the event include:

  • Production of toxic cell parts in motor neuron disease
  • What is one of main causes of Parkinson's disease?
  • Battling the bugs: how our bodies prevent infections
  • The skeleton: not just there to hold you upright!
  • Developing a true ‘bionic’ ear

The event is part of the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Festival of Medical Research, where MRC-funded units, centres and institutes showcase and discuss their work through events and activities around the UK and in Africa.

‘Getting to know… Medical Research’ will take place at the Moor Market in Sheffield City Centre from 11.00am - 3.00pm. The event is free, family-friendly and open to everyone.

For more information, visit; https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/pre/public-engagement/mrcfestival

29 May 2018

New book marks five years of widening participation research and evaluation at the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield’s Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit (WPREU) has published a book to mark five years of researching and evaluating widening participation issues.

The book, subtitled Critical reflections on evaluation, policy and practice in widening participation and student success, is structured around a series of reflections by current and previous WPREU researchers on contemporary efforts to increase the progression of under-represented and disadvantaged students into and through Higher Education.

The book includes reflections on the relationship between equality and diversity and widening participation (WP), inclusive learning and teaching, student finance as well as a series of think pieces on appropriate evaluation and research methodologies.

The book will be launched on 30 May 2018, during an event that is also set to feature a guest lecture by Rae Tooth, Head of Strategy and Change at the Office for Student. Rae provided a foreword to the book and noted:

“What I have found most inspiring about WPREU’s work to date has been their ability to work within and between both academic and practitioner communities, creating and occupying unique spaces where all kinds of wisdoms are valued and no viewpoint should be considered beyond question.

“This generous and courageous way of working has meant that over its first five years WPREU has been able to transform The University of Sheffield’s WP practice, and be transformed itself, by developing a better understanding of how academic enquiry can best serve the community with which it is concerned.”

There will be a limited print run and some hard copies of the book will be available. The book will also be distributed online via the WPREU website.

The book is likely to be of interest to colleagues with a professional or academic interest in widening participation, student success and progression. If you would like more information about the book, please contact: WPREU@sheffield.ac.uk

16 May 2018

University of Sheffield receives £1 million investment in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

The University of Sheffield has been awarded £1 million as part of a major investment in research structure to accelerate understanding in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

NMRNMR is a key technique that has impact across a wide span of science disciplines from materials science to medicine.

The new funding is part of a £20 million investment announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Sheffield scientists investigating materials and molecular structures will benefit from a state-of-the-art facility enabling them to improve chemical manufacture, develop bioenergy materials, photosynthesis and green energy, cancer treatment and biopharmaceutical development.

The University is one of eight universities in the UK to receive a share of the funding which has been supported by the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council, Medical Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor Mike Williamson, Head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, said: "This award is great news for us because it will allow us to carry out a much greater range of experiments. Importantly, it also means we will be able to acquire data five times faster, so we will be able to provide a faster and more complete service to local users."

The new 800 MHz NMR facility will be housed in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and will upgrade the exisiting equipment with additional high-pressure analytical capability.

Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), said: “Investing in research infrastructure is a vital component of any forward-looking plan to support science. This EPSRC investment means researchers will have new systems that provide greater sensitivity, enable a wider range of materials to be studied effectively, and a greater understanding of molecular structures, with potential impacts in pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, materials science and biotechnology.”

Other universities benefitting from investment in their NMR facilities include the University of Oxford, the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh.

9 May 2018

NIHR awards an additional five-year contract for a Research Design Service in Yorkshire and the Humber

The NIHR Research Design Service Yorkshire and the Humber (RDS YH) has been awarded a further five-year contract funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), to continue delivering the service until September 2023.

RDS YH is one of ten NIHR regional research design services across England and has been in operation since 2008. RDS YH is an extremely successful and effective White Rose partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York supporting researchers to attract more than £250 million of funding to the region.

The service offers advice and support to health and social care researchers applying to NIHR research funding programmes, and to other national, peer reviewed sources of health and social care research funding.

The NIHR RDS provides expert advice in a range of health research design areas including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, health economics, statistics, systematic reviewing, patient and public involvement and impact. They offer advice on framing and refining appropriate research questions and developing high quality applications for funding.

Professor Wendy Baird, Director of NIHR RDS YH: "We are delighted to continue to offer the NIHR Research Design Service in the Yorkshire and Humber region for a further five years.

"The RDS staff in Sheffield, Leeds and York have worked together successfully for ten years now, and we look forward to continuing to support established and new health researchers in the region develop innovative research projects to meet the challenges ahead."

27 April 2018

Student tutored at University of Sheffield wins gold in international maths contest

A student who attends maths classes at the University of Sheffield came top amongst more than 200 teenagers who took part in an international mathematics competition.

Emily Beatty celebrates her victory at the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad.Emily Beatty, a pupil at King Edward VII school in Sheffield, was one of just five competitors who got 42 out of 42 in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.

She is the first Briton to achieve a perfect score in an international maths contest in more than 20 years, and is now preparing to compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad – one of the world's most prestigious mathematics competitions.

At last week's European competition in Florence, Italy, Emily was awarded a gold medal while the British team she is a member of came third overall, out of 52.

In preparation for her A Levels, Emily has been attending the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) classes run by the University of Sheffield's School of Mathematics and Statistics. STEP is used by some top universities to assess applicants for undergraduate maths courses.

Dr James Cranch, who helps run the University of Sheffield's STEP classes, is also a member of the British Mathematical Olympiad committee and a former leader of the UK's International Mathematical Olympiad team. For the last 18 months, he has helped Emily prepare for her Olympiad appearances, as well as her A Levels, with one-on-one tuition.

He said: "When we started, I was spending a lot of it doing Olympiad-type problems with her, but in latter months I've come to feel that she was doing well enough at that for herself, and concentrated on broader mathematical topics. That feeling has, in recent weeks, been borne out as correct."

Emily's success at the European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad came shortly after she found out that she made it on the UK squad for this year's International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Romania. The IMO has a history dating back to 1959 and now features contestants from more than 100 countries.

Dr Cranch said: "Worthy of note is the observation that before Emily, the last British student to get a perfect score at an international mathematics competition was also a Yorkshire woman – Katy Maclean, from Harrogate, at the International Maths Olympiad in 1994."

Further Mathematics Support Programme Courses

9 April 2018

Win for University of Sheffield researcher in half marathon helps raise funds towards medical technology

Sheffield Scanner Team Photo

50 members of staff from the University of Sheffield took part in one of the country’s most challenging half marathons on Sunday (8 April), in a bid to raise vital funds for the Sheffield Scanner appeal.

Will Mycroft, a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield’s School of Maths, placed first, ahead of more than 7000 other runners with a time of one hour, 11 minutes and 12 seconds.

Will and other members of staff from the University of Sheffield were running to raise money towards the £2 million Sheffield Scanner appeal for a ground-breaking MRI-PET facility to transform our understanding of serious conditions including cancer, dementia, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson's.

Will said: “The Sheffield Scanner is a great cause and will hopefully lead to some cures and preventative measures.”

The Sheffield Half Marathon started and ended in the city centre, with runners taking a 13.1-mile route along Ecclesall Road and up Ringinglow Road to the edge of the Peak District National Park. Runners then looped back into the city towards the finish line.

Will added: “The race was really tough, I worked hard on the uphill and managed to get a bit of a lead on the field. I had hoped to take the downhill a bit easier and enjoy the run in, but the chasing pack made me work really hard for it in the end.

“It was fantastic, though brutally hilly, of course. The views from the Peak District were great, and the support out on the course was the best I've experienced.

“Crossing the finish line in first was a great delight as the crowd at the finish was fantastic.”

The University of Sheffield launched the Sheffield Scanner appeal in March 2017. The revolutionary MRI-PET scanner combines the simultaneous power of whole body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) in a single image, providing the most detailed information about the organs, tissues and structures in the body and how well they are functioning.

The superior images will enhance researchers’ knowledge about diseases and allow them to identify faster and better ways to detect, treat and prevent them. This will accelerate discoveries from the laboratory into clinical trials to develop new therapies and better outcomes for patients.

Find out more and donate

Find out more about the University of Sheffield’s half marathon runners