News in brief

28 July 2014

Virtual physiological human project awarded additional funding

The development of a virtual human body to provide personalised treatments for patients is taking another step towards transforming global healthcare after receiving additional funding.

Researchers from the Centre for Computational Imaging & Simulation Technologies in Biomedicine (CISTIB), part of the INSIGNEO Institute for in-silico Medicine at the University of Sheffield, have been awarded funding to support further collaborations with leading medical researchers from across the UK. Professor Frangi from the University of Sheffield

The funding will enable medical imagining experts from the University to take part in two Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) networks that collaborate with health researchers in the NHS, strengthening its relationship with leading engineering and physical science researchers from across the UK.

Professor Alex Frangi, Director of CISTIB at the University of Sheffield, said: “The participation in these networks is recognition of the leading role that the CISTIB plays in the national landscape of medical imaging analysis and our commitment to clinical translation of the results of our research.”

As part of the networks, Professor Frangi will run a series of workshops aiming to identify the engineering and physical science challenges relevant to the mental health field and attempt to develop a prioritised road map to address these.

11 July 2014

World leading humour experts set to shed light on all things funny

A unique international summer school looking at humour and laughter will be hosted at the University of Sheffield next week (Monday July 14 to Saturday July 19).

Students laughingPsychologists, sociologists, computer scientists, and academics studying culture and politics will all give lectures on why we have humour, and how humour works at the 14th International Summer School and Symposium on Humour and Laughter.

Dr Elena Hoicka, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, said: "Humour is so important in everyday life. It allows us to bond with friends, think in more open and creative ways about the world, and deal with stress, amongst many of its uses."

Dr Hoicka and Professor Gina Mireault, of Johnson State College in Vermont, USA, will give lectures on how children develop their sense of humour, including how parents are involved in shaping humour, and when children make up their own jokes.

Professor Christie Davies, of the University of Reading, and Dr Jessica Milner Davis, of the University of Sydney, Australia, will discuss historical and cultural perspectives on humour, including jokes in relation to social class, and medieval humour.

Dr Sharon Lockyer, of Brunel University, will consider sociological perspectives on comedy, including discussing comedy and disability.

Other speakers include Dr Graeme Ritchie, of the University of Aberdeen, and Dr Alessandro Valitutti, of University College Dublin, will give lectures on how computers can be made to generate jokes; Professor Willibald Ruch, of the University of Zurich, will consider psychological elements of humour, including Gelotophobia, a fear of being laughed at; Dr Natalia Skradol, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, and Professor Daniel Weiss, of the University of Zurich, will discuss political aspects of humour, such as humour in the time of Stalin, and more recently, Putin’s humour.

The summer school has attracted students and academics from all over the world, including the USA, Brazil, Russia, Poland, Spain, Italy, and many more countries.

10 July 2014

National Student Employee of the Year winner

A talented student from the University of Sheffield is celebrating after scooping a national award for going ‘above and beyond’.Lewis

Lewis Yates triumphed with double success at the Student Employee of Year awards, winning both the National Employee of the Year and the Above and Beyond categories.

Lewis has been working with the Alumni Fund team at the University of Sheffield since autumn 2013, contacting Sheffield alumni about their time in Sheffield and raising awareness about the vital Alumni Fund.

Lewis found the job through the University’s Job Shop whilst studying for his Civil Engineering degree and saw it as an opportunity to make the most of his university experience.

“The job was fantastic, as I got to meet students outside of my degree course and find out loads more about the University,” said Lewis.

For more information about the University Job Shop visit

For more information about the Alumni Fund visit

23 June 2014

University celebrates 250th anniversary of pioneering Gothic novelist with international event

ThumbnailThe 250th anniversary of pioneering Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe will be celebrated at the University of Sheffield this week (27-29 June 2014) with a special international event.

Expert speakers from 10 different countries across the world will take part in the three-day event entitled Ann Radcliffe at 250: Gothic and Romantic Imaginations which is hosted by the University’s School of English to commemorate one of the best-paid novelists of the 18th century.

Members of the public and literature lovers are invited to a special lecture on Friday 27 June 2014 at 5.30pm at St George’s Lecture Theatre. Ann Radcliffe meets Jane Austen: A fine romance will be presented by Professor Emma Clery from the University of Southampton, the lecture is free but visitors are asked to register in advance at

One of the event’s organisers and Senior Lecturer in Romantic Literaturer, Dr Angela Wright, said: “For many, her name was synonymous with romantic fiction and in a retrospective appraisal of her work in 1826 Sir Walter Scott said ‘Mrs Radcliffe has a title to be considered as the first poetess of romantic fiction, of all authors Ann Radcliffe has the most decided claim to take her place among the favoured few, who have been distinguished as the founders of a class, or school’.

“Radcliffe’s family came from Chesterfield, so the location of this conference in Sheffield is particularly apposite.”

For more information and a full conference list please visit Ann Radcliffe Conference

11 June 2014

Law seminars tackle crime and disorder policy

The University of Sheffield’s School of Law has been hosting a series of seminars on some of the country’s biggest crime and disorder related issues to help shape future policy.

The University’s Centre for Criminological Research has so far held four sessions for policy makers and senior practitioners and aims to influence and contribute to the national debate on crime and justice.Law seminar

The seminars deliberately do not deal with specific current debates but instead focus on important general issues relating to crime and justice policy – including how these issues impact on ordinary citizens.

Topics discussed so far during seminars at the British Academy in London include what is happening now in relation to crime and disorder, how citizens relate to each other and those responsible for law and order, where people should turn to for help and how to best stop offenders returning to crime.

The next seminar, which will be held at the University’s School of Law on Thursday 19 June 2014, will focus on how governments regulate the informal economy in times of economic difficulty and the impact on citizens.

Professor Gill Valentine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield, said: “It’s really important that research is discussed with key policy makers and practitioners so that it informs policy. I am delighted that the Centre for Criminological Research is holding these seminars, as they bring to attention of policy makers the excellent research undertaken at Sheffield and kick start serious thinking about how we tackle crime and disorder.”

06 June 2014

Paddling into the past

Archaeology students at the University of Sheffield, who have reconstructed a type of boat used from the earliest times, will be test launching their vessel with the support of The Sheffield Kayak Club at Kelham Island next week (Thursday 12 June 2014).

Measuring over 5m in length and constructed from woven willow, rawhide and tarred linen, the vessel is capable of carrying a significant load.

Archaeology studentsAlthough it is a type of vessel that may have populated the waterways of prehistoric Britain, its lightweight construction and perishable nature mean that archaeologists have likely underestimated its importance in stimulating trade and exchange and the movement of people.

Dr Roger Doonan, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield and Director of the Experimental Archaeology Masters course, said: "In Sheffield, we are just beginning to understand the importance of these vessels. We are starting off by looking at their role in a regional context but there are already discussions to scale this up into an ocean challenge to evaluate the options open to Prehistoric communities across Europe and beyond.

"In reconstructing the vessel the students have, in a way, built a time machine as it will allow them to appraise what it was like to captain a prehistoric craft. The trouble is that we often think of prehistoric watercraft as being nothing more than dugout logs - the sort of thing Fred Flintstone might have used. They are thought of as being heavy, unstable and difficult to manoeuvre.

"But it seems more likely that our prehistoric forebears commanded an immense repertoire of techniques and abilities. For instance, there is in fact a huge diversity of watercraft in British prehistory, from refined dugouts, to plank built substantial vessels for crossing the channel. The woven frame boat is poorly documented and often forgotten as only fragmentary hints survive, yet it is lightweight, fast and was likely found on many waterways."

Although Sheffield is not often thought of in terms of its waterways, the Don connects to the Humber Estuary and from there to York and surrounding communities, skirting close to some of Sheffield’s most important archaeological monuments including Wincobank Hill and the ‘Roman’ Ridge, suggesting that settlements and water have a long established connection.

The number of significant tributaries to the Humber make transport and trade across the region easy with such vessels. The archaeology experts have noted that it is very likely that two millennia ago the region’s trade was dependent on bustling waterways with communities keeping in touch and moving resources across Yorkshire and onto Europe in woven vessels like the one reconstructed here.

The project was initiated as part of the Experimental Archaeology course, which seeks to link theory and practice.

Members of the public are welcome to watch the launch on Thursday 12th June 2014 at 5pm at Kelham Island next to the Museum.

5 June 2014

Exploring the science of bones

Science of bonesBudding scientists from across South Yorkshire delved into an intriguing investigation of bones and skeletons as part of an innovative workshop hosted by the University of Sheffield.

The engaging event, which aims to ignite a passion for science, was attended by almost 50 school children from Toll Bar Primary in Doncaster and Fox Hill Primary in Sheffield.

The youngsters donned their lab coats and were given an exciting introduction into the anatomy, the structure and composition of bones, and the cells of bones through a number of fun and interactive sessions.

The day also included a campus tour allowing pupils the chance to interview current University students giving them a taste of student life and encouraging them to think about their future and what they want to achieve.
For more information about Outreach activities at the University of Sheffield please visit

02 June 2014

Appointment of new Director of Energy Innovation and Knowledge Exchange

The University of Sheffield is delighted to announce the appointment of Jon Price to the cross-cutting role of Director of Energy Innovation and Knowledge Exchange.

This new role reflects the University’s growing profile as the recognised national leader for translational research and delivery for energy innovation, and will provide a strong link to government and commercial partners in the University's work on conventional and non-conventional forms of energy.

Jon PriceVice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett, said: "At a time when governments around the world are facing the challenge of identifying sustainable, affordable and secure sources of energy, our work on energy innovation and knowledge transfer has never been more crucial. Jon Price further strengthens an already exceptional team working on these issues at the University of Sheffield.

"Jon’s appointment marks an important next step in our ambitions to be the leading UK university in the field of Energy research and knowledge exchange, working closely with government and commercial partners all the way from world-leading research in our faculties of Engineering, Science and Social-Science to the exceptional work being undertaken at the Nuclear AMRC to bring together industry expertise and university innovation to transform the manufacturing supply chain for civil nuclear energy."

Jon was previously Chief Executive of the Centre for Low Carbon Futures, a research organisation focusing on sustainability for competitive advantage. Prior to that he was CEO of Climate Strategies, an international network of academics, providing evidence based research insights to assist governments in solving the collective action problem of climate change hosted at the University of Cambridge, where he drew on his early career background in venture capital backed business turnarounds and financial services.

Jon is also the co-founder of a not-for-profit organisation supporting knowledge and technology transfer to informal settlements in megacities in India and Latin America, by working with architects, engineers and companies providing better access to cooking, shelter and water facilities.

23 May 2014

Learn more about Yorkshire's rare Peregrine Falcons

ThumbnailBird watchers and others with an interest in local conservation are invited to learn more about the history of Yorkshire’s first urban breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons at a special talk next month.

The free public event will give wildlife enthusiasts the unique opportunity to talk to members of staff from the University of Sheffield who pioneered the specialist breeding platform at St George's Church which has encouraged the rare birds to nest successfully in the city for the third year in a row.

The Peregrines are currently caring for four chicks that are growing up fast and will soon be preparing to fly the nest.

The chicks' movements are captured live on Peregrine webcam, which has received more than 200,000 visits from bird enthusiasts across the world, while the Peregrine blog has more than 1,500 reads per day.

The talk will be hosted by Professor David Wood, from the University's Department of Hispanic Studies and Chair of the Sheffield Bird Study Group, Energy Manager Phil Riley and Jim Lonsdale from Estates and Facilities Management, who were all instrumental in launching the nesting platform in 2010.

Professor Wood said: "Peregrines are one of the most spectacular species in Britain, traditionally associated with remote sea cliffs and inaccessible sites, and to be able to see them in urban Sheffield is an absolute privilege."

The talk will take place at St George’s Church on Mappin Street on Thursday 5 June, 2014 between 7pm-8pm, preceded by a Peregrine watch in the church grounds from 6pm-7pm.

To watch the peregrine chicks live visit

To follow the birds progress visit