News in brief

16 June 2015

Appeal for pregnant volunteers to help with revolutionary scan study

ThumbnailThe University of Sheffield is looking for volunteers across South Yorkshire to help with a pioneering study looking at the role of MRI scanning during pregnancy.

Expectant mums, who are over 16 years-old and at least 18 weeks pregnant, are invited to take part in the research which has been running across the country since 2011 and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme.

Volunteers will have an MRI scan, performed by an expert consultant, to look at the baby’s brain. Some volunteers may also be invited for a detailed ultrasound scan.

Neither of the scans carry any risk to your baby and participants will be given an MRI picture of their baby to keep and a £10 voucher.

For more information or to register your interest in the study please contact 0114 271 3584 or email

15 June 2015

Castlegate Festival celebrates past and future of oldest part of Sheffield

A new festival will celebrate the rich history of one of the oldest parts of Sheffield and provide inspiration for its future.

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council, Yorkshire Artspace, Bank Street Arts and the University’s School of Architecture are working in partnership to host the first Castlegate Festival from 21-22 June 2015.

Castlegate is one of the most historic areas of Sheffield, where early populations settled around the River Don to live, work and build the city as it is today.

The inaugural festival aims to reveal its vibrancy through showcasing the work of artists from an emerging Castlegate community, alongside work by students from the University’s School of Architecture.

There will be three sites to visit over the weekend: Castle House, Yorkshire Artspace’s Exchange Place Studios and Bank Street Arts, where people can visit pop up art shops and exhibitions, create their own art, watch films and chat with experts from the area, including the Friends of Sheffield Castle.

On Castlegate’s streets, people are invited to take a walk with the Friends of the Old Town Hall, stroll through the hidden delights of Sheffield’s Canal Basin, and join in ‘flora and fauna’ tours.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said: “Over the two days, we will highlight the area’s historical importance by hosting a range of activities, brought together by a group of individuals and organisations who either reside in or have a love of Castlegate.

“All of us have found inspiration in Castlegate, so we invite everyone to explore the sights, take part in the festivities, tell us their stories and celebrate with us”.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development at Sheffield City Council added: “I hope this festival will encourage many more people to visit the Castlegate area and get a taste of what Castlegate has to offer now, and increasingly so in the future.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the area’s place in the city’s history and also make Castlegate a vibrant destination once again.”

Rachael Dodd Programme Manager at Yorkshire Artspace said: “We are delighted to be a part of the Castlegate Festival. It’s a great way for us and our artists to get to know the area and our new neighbours. In the last year since taking on the Exchange Place Studios building in Castlegate we have been overwhelmed by the interest from artists, makers and designers who want to locate themselves and their creative business in this area of the city. We are now almost full but there is still room for a few more.”

Most of the events are free and full details can be viewed and downloaded at:

The festival is funded by Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the University of Sheffield.

9 June 2015

Burglaries in Sheffield student houses halved

The number of students in the city that have been the victims of burglaries has halved in three years.

Latest figures from South Yorkshire Police show burglaries against students in Sheffield have fallen by 52 per cent, from an annual figure of 381 in 2011-2012 to 182 in 2014-2015

Richard Yates, Head of Security Services at the University of Sheffield, who co-chairs the city wide strategic burglary group, said he was delighted with the latest statistics.

“We know that Sheffield is safer than other big cities* but it is always pleasing to see figures showing such a significant drop in crime,” he added.

The figures are reflective of overall rates in the city which show burglary is at the lowest level in nine years.

In April 2015, the number of burglaries recorded in Sheffield was 211, the lowest number since 2006.

Increased home security, the vigilance of residents and a change in police operations to tackle burglary, have been credited as being responsible for this reduction.

Superintendent Scott Green, South Yorkshire Police lead for burglary, said: “We are committed to stopping burglars and have used ‘cocooning’ techniques, which involves the delivery of a police letter and burglary alert kit to surrounding properties, after a burglary has taken place in the area. This helps residents to secure their homes against the burglars who are targeting the area.”

On the University of Sheffield campus overall crime levels are now 49 per cent lower than they were in 2009-2010.

Every year in November the University of Sheffield’s Security Services joins forces with the Students’ Union and South Yorkshire Police for a Crime Prevention Week to spread important safety messages and useful advice. Burglary is one of the event’s key priorities.

PC Tom Goodhill, University Liaison Officer from South Yorkshire Police, said: “It’s very pleasing to see the number of student burglary victims continuing to fall and we hope annual events like Crime Prevention Week will help this trend to continue.

“If you are living in a student house, make sure the last person in locks the door overnight – whether you make a rota on your smartphones or just write a post-it note on the fridge door, things like this make a huge difference.”

He added: “Property marking and Smartwater kits are also an excellent way of protecting your property and ensuring it can not only be returned, but that those who have taken it from you are held to account for their actions.

“Don’t make your student home an easy target for thieves and burglars.”

26 May 2015

University lecturer named as rising broadcast star

A University of Sheffield lecturer has been named as one of the country’s top ten brightest minds with the potential to share their cutting-edge academic ideas through television and radio.

The newly announced New Generation Thinkers 2015Dr Catherine Fletcher, of the University’s Department of History, was selected from hundreds of applicants in a nationwide search to find broadcasters of the future in the annual New Generation Thinkers initiative by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The ten New Generation Thinkers 2015 were selected after a six-month selection process involving a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London and were announced at Hay Festival on Sunday.

The winners will spend one year working with BBC Radio 3 presenters and producers to develop their ideas into broadcasts.

They will make their debut appearance on Radio 3's arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking, on successive editions beginning with a special edition of the programme recorded and broadcast on Thursday 28 May 2015 featuring four of the winners.

All of the New Generation Thinkers will be invited to make regular contributions throughout the year.

Dr Harris, who worked as a historical on BBC drama Wolf Hall earlier this year, said: “I'm very excited about working with BBC producers over the coming year to develop programmes based on my research for a wider public. Lots of people have heard of the Medici, or the Borgias, or Machiavelli, but behind the popular images are many hidden stories. I'm looking forward to bringing them to new audiences.”

Each New Generation Thinker will have an opportunity to develop their ideas for television, making short films for BBC Arts Online.

A selection of short films made by the 2014 intake are available at

20 May 2015

New Academy will improve the detection of rare life threatening disease

Scientists from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have joined forces with renowned researchers from across the globe to launch a pioneering facility that aims to improve the diagnosis of a rare life threatening blood disease.

The National Academy of Clinical Flow Cytometry, which will be based at the University, will help to train scientists in the detection and monitoring of Paroxysmal Nocturnal Haemoglobinuria (PNH) to ensure the disease is diagnosed as early as possible.

PHN is a rare, life threatening, genetic condition that affects around two people in every million. The condition can occur at any age and is characterised by the destruction of red blood cells by part of the body’s immune system that leads to a high risk of thrombosis.

The National Academy, funded by Alexion UK, will be led by Professor David Barnett from the University of Sheffield and his internationally respected team from UK NEQAS for Leucocyte Immunophenotyping at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Barnett and his team will teach clinical healthcare scientists across the country how to implement best practices for PNH testing.

It is envisaged by improving both the knowledge and skills of healthcare scientists there will be a dramatic advancement in the diagnosis and monitoring of PNH leading to standardisation of testing procedures at a national and ultimately international level.

The Academy will also seek to address training where clinical flow cytometry is used in other diseases such as leukaemia diagnosis and HIV monitoring. As a result the Academy will have a positive benefit for the treatment and management of thousands of patients suffering from all these conditions across the UK and beyond.

20 May 2015

South Korean business delegation visits AMRC

Members of a South Korean business delegation have toured the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing as part of an initiative to boost trade and investment.

South Korean delegation visits the University of Sheffield’s AMRCThe delegation was the first led by a representative of the South Korean government to visit a UK region outside London.

Delegates held meetings with representatives from local government, business and academia in the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre, before visiting the Nuclear AMRC, where they signed Memorandums of Understanding with the University of Sheffield and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

They then toured the Factory of the Future and the Composite Centre.

Speaking during the visit, University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, emphasised the links that already existed between the University and Korea and the importance of having a vibrant Korean community in the academic world.

Sir Keith said the University was eager to expand its relationship with Korean industry.

“We greatly admire the manufacturing prowess of Korea. It has done the most extraordinary and wonderful things across a whole range of activities,” he added.

“We believe we have here something to offer to your Korean colleagues. We would love to be your partners in the next generation of products.”

Jounghwan Lee from the AMRC Composite Centre played a key role in helping to organise the visit.

Image: Memorandums of Understanding signed at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing. Pictured left to right are: James Newman (Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Chairman); University of Sheffield Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Jones; Y S John; leader of the Korean delegation Jeonghwa Han; and chairman of the Korea Venture Business Association Joon Chung.

15 May 2015

US Ambassador gives Sheffield students insight into international partnerships

US Ambassador meets AMRC apprenticesThe United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom gave students at the University of Sheffield an intriguing insight into the way the US engages with the world.

Ambassador Matthew Barzun’s visit to the University is part of an ongoing programme to strengthen ties between the United States and the UK.

He was welcomed by Professor Jackie Labbe and Professor Gill Valentine and gave an engaging presentation to students from the Politics Society and the United Nations Association.

Students shared their views on a variety of topics relating to the US which will be collated and passed on to President Obama.

Ambassador Barzun also visited the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and met with apprentices to learn more about the AMRC’s pioneering work and relationships with corporate partners such as Boeing.

For more information about the AMRC visit

13 May 2015

Students tackle organ donor shortage

Students from The University of Sheffield’s Biomedical Science department have taken part in a project to raise awareness of organ donation.

donor campaignSecond-year undergraduates worked in small teams to create campaigns targeted at young adults. They worked with marketing agency Diva Creative, The Children's Hospital Charity, and the city’s NHS Blood and Transplant centre.

Three groups, whose work included app storyboards, postcard scratch cards and collectible t-shirts, were chosen to present their campaign in an Apprentice-style final lecture attended by representatives of Diva Creative and the NHS.

Creator of the project, Dr Lauren Buck from the The University of Sheffield’s Department of Biomedical Science, said: "The amount of effort put in has been astounding and shown sensitivity and maturity to issues such as faith, ethnicity and communicating with young adults.

“We hope that by embedding enterprise education into the anatomy curriculum, students will gain new skills and an insight into how their subject-specific knowledge can be used to communicate with the public on important issues."