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University of Surrey

Country: United Kingdom
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1,270 Projects, page 1 of 254
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/V010190/1
    Funder Contribution: 544,593 GBP
    Partners: University of Surrey

    As highlighted by the Farmer Review in 2019, there is still a pressing need to understand the experience of women who are in prison. Women prisoners are likely to be drawn from more disadvantaged backgrounds and more likely to enter prison with experience of drug and/or alcohol dependency, domestic violence and self-harm. Food forms an important part of daily life in prisons. However, research has yet to provide a detailed exploration of food and the experience of eating in women's prisons in England. This study will provide an important opportunity to hear women's voices, in relation to food in prison and by doing so, will provide a window into life in women's prisons more generally. The proposed research analyses women's experiences of food in prison using a range of qualitative research methods including observations, interviews, reflective diaries and art workshops. These will provide insight into women's perceptions of food in prison, with the aim of exploring the connections of food in situated spaces; the use of food in relation to consumption and preparation; and the extent to which ethnic and cultural needs are catered for in practice. The main contribution of this project will be to apply an intersectional perspective to understanding the dynamics of food, in relation to conceptualising issues of social control; agency; and power in women's prisons. This study will look deeper at the intersections of gender, race and social class, with regards to how these have influenced the use of food in prison: for example, by looking closer at the essence of day-to-day prison life, food practices and daily diets. Fieldwork will take place in four women's prisons: HMPs Styal, Send, East Sutton Park and Downview. All four prisons have been selected because they are distinct from one another in terms of their location, capacity, architecture, length of sentences as well as the facilities available for the preparation and consumption of food. They also have differing governing practices and diverse ways of managing the provision of food. Twenty women and five members of staff will take part in interviews in each location. The women from our study will also be invited to participate in an art workshop and to complete a reflective diary of their experiences of food in prison. This will provide rich multi-sensory findings from a total of eighty women in four prisons. We will conduct one-to-one interviews with women twice during the fieldwork. This will be at the beginning as well as after delivering the art workshop. During data collection, we will also be conducting observations as well as completing fieldwork diaries. To celebrate the women's participation in the workshop, we will hold an exhibition to display their artwork for the public. We will manage and coordinate the planning of the exhibition in partnership with Koestler Arts, while Koestler Arts have agreed to set 'food' as a theme within their annual competition, leading to ongoing impact from the research. Within this context the study will make a practical contribution to knowledge by campaigning to improve the quality of food in women's prisons. We will develop a practitioner toolkit which will be disseminated to prison governors. Furthermore, we will share our findings with policymakers and practitioners to help with campaigning for change in the context of the quality of food in prison. This research will contribute to academic knowledge on food, women and prisons, in which we will draw out key themes in relation to: social control, agency as well as resistance. The findings from the project will be disseminated at national and international conferences in the fields of criminology and sociology.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 1846031
    Partners: University of Surrey

    This research investigates fully integrated electric ducted fan propulsion system characteristics for future novel air-vehicle configuration designs. The eventual aim of the research is to develop a performance metric and design guidelines considering the interdependent aerodynamic effects between body and propulsion system. The full integration of the propulsion system into an airframe can offer overall system benefits as propulsion mounting components can be omitted, reducing both wetted area (friction drag) and system weight while allowing for a more compact airframe design as well as compact storage and transportation possibilities. The interactions between airframe and propulsion system though result in an increased aerodynamic complexity. Unlike conventional configurations where the resulting drag of an airframe is overcome by a propulsion system producing thrust from ingesting free stream air, the investigated configuration will ingest the fluid responsible for part of the vehicle's drag. Despite the increased aerodynamic complexity, the so-called boundary layer ingestion (BLI) can potentially benefit the overall performance of the air-vehicle. For axisymmetric bodies, theoretical studies suggest efficiency improvements in the order of 20%. The concept investigated in this study has an axisymmetric body together with a fully integrated tail mounted in-line boundary layer ingesting Electric Ducted Fan (EDF). Many theoretical approaches though neglect or insufficiently integrate the interdependence between the air-vehicle and propulsion system. As the boundary layer of the vehicle's airframe is being ingested, the fan will impose a pressure gradient onto the flow upstream, essentially affecting the boundary layer around the body. Thus, the drag will be altered through BLI by the acceleration of its surrounding flow. The interdependence of thrust and drag when employing the ingestion of the body's boundary layer void the division of thrust and drag as two independent parameters as traditionally done in performance quantification of air-vehicles. Detailed investigation of the aerodynamic characterises of the boundary layer are therefore an essential part of this research. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can simulate aerodynamic behaviour, whereas the accuracy is greatly dependant on flow complexity as well as computational resources. The added variables of aerodynamic interdependence of the airframe and propulsion system are insufficiently validated by present computational methods. This research therefore aims to combine experimental with computational techniques. By developing a bespoke low-cost modular experimental wind tunnel model, high quality experimental data can be generated and used for validation of CFD. Experimentally validated CFD tools will increase confidence in their use, enabling further insight into the flow-physics beyond the scope of experimental measurement techniques. The combined use of experimental and computational approaches will underpin development of suitable performance metrics which can then be used for subsequent integration and optimisation. The aim is then to quantify the interdependence of the body and propulsion system, in order to define design guidelines for future applications having closely integrated propulsion systems with boundary layer ingestion. This research will incorporate: - Low-cost modular experimental wind tunnel model for experimentally investigating a variety of different shapes/configurations - Powered Wind Tunnel testing - Electric propulsion and investigation of associated aerothermal effects - Efficient and effective coupling of experimental and computational methods - Derivation of suitable performance metrics and subsequent performance optimization - Development of future design methodology for in-line EDF air-vehicle integration The research benefits through close collaboration with QinetiQ.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/S008314/1
    Funder Contribution: 470,383 GBP
    Partners: University of Surrey

    Like an orchestra that relies on the coordinated efforts of its members, the brain depends on its many regions working together to perform the multitude of cognitive functions that makes us human. These functions allow us to solve problems, retrieve relevant information from memory and select the responses necessary to perform a particular task. In order to do this, the brain must coordinate the interactions between regions located far apart. One of the greatest challenges of modern neuroscience is to understand how these interactions occur, and how their occurrence gives rise to efficient behaviour. A tool capable of influencing the interactions between brain regions could help scientists understand better how a particular pattern of brain activity is associated to efficient behaviour, such as being able to retain information in memory or solve a problem. Such a tool could then be applied to neurological and psychiatric conditions, where the interactions between brain regions might be malfunctioning. The objective of this project is to develop this tool. In order to do this, we will combine functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), non-invasive electrical brain stimulation and machine learning. Each of these techniques brings a critical element to this tool. FMRI is a technique widely used by neuroscientists to provide images with information about brain function. Non-invasive electrical brain stimulation is a technique that applies low-voltage current through the scalp and can change the activity of neurons without requiring surgery to implant electrodes. This technique has been shown to influence brain function and the interactions between brain regions. Electrical brain stimulation, however, can be applied in many different ways, thereby making it difficult to know what would work for to influence a particular interaction between a set of brain regions. In addition, the results of brain stimulation can vary depending on factors such as a person's age, sex, brain anatomy and genetics. This makes creating a tool capable of identifying the stimulation parameters for each individual like 'finding a needle in a haystack'. This is why machine learning is necessary, where a computer program "learns" to identify which brain stimulation parameters optimally engage brain regions involved in cognitive functions in a time frame that would not be possible using conventional methodologies. In essence, our tool will use brain stimulation to influence how brain regions interact, fMRI data analysed while the participant is receiving a certain type of stimulation to inform on how the brain reacts to it, and machine learning to select the next stimulation that should be investigated. By the end of the experiment we will obtain a map with the brain's responses to different stimulation conditions, and a prediction of what the optimal stimulation condition to elicit a brain response is. This tool could then be used in many clinical conditions where inefficient communication between brain regions has been observed, such as psychiatric conditions and during rehabilitation after brain injury.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/K009303/1
    Funder Contribution: 324,782 GBP
    Partners: University of Surrey

    Our body consists of more than 200 different cell-types that have different sizes, forms, and functions. For example, skin cells are flat and protect our body, whereas neurons can be very long and transmit signals from distant parts of the body to our brain. Nevertheless, all cells contain the same genetic information, which is organized into genes. What makes the cells unique and different from one to another is which genes are turned on or off. When this switch does not work properly, it can lead to developmental defects or diseases such as cancer. The genetic information is stored in the form of DNA. The DNA is then copied to a molecule called RNA, which is the template for the synthesis of proteins in a process called translation. The proteins make our cells how they look like and what they do. RNAs are not naked in a cell but rather covered by several proteins, so-called RNA-binding proteins. These RNA-binding proteins can remove or rearrange parts of the RNA, store or deliver them to particular locations, and ultimately destroy the RNA. They also control how efficiently RNAs are translated into proteins. RNA-binding proteins therefore act as a control tower directing the fate of RNA, being stored, translated or destroyed. As a consequence, if a RNA-binding protein does not work properly, it can lead to diseases. Besides the RNA-binding proteins, research in the last years revealed that there are certain classes of RNAs - so called non-coding RNAs - that can bind to and regulate other RNAs. RNAs are therefore combinatorially controlled by both RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNAs. Therefore, it is of immense interest to know, which proteins and non-coding RNAs interact with RNA and how this may be changed in case of a disease. Nevertheless, accessing this information is challenging as researchers lack simple and robust tools to investigate it. Our objective is to develop these tools and comprehensively identify the proteins and non-coding RNAs that are bound to RNAs. We first aim to get a general view of all the proteins that interact with RNA in a cell. We will then engineer a handle on a particular RNA to pull it out and look for the proteins and other RNAs that sit on it. We will then have a close look how the composition of these 'trans-acting factors' changes upon conditions that simulate the environment in cancer cells. One way to establish a new tool for research is to test it in a model which is simpler to handle than human cells. We will therefore first establish the tool in the bakers yeast, which is a single-celled organisms called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We then go one step ahead and establish it human cells in order to identify the RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNAs that regulate RNAs with pivotal functions in cancer. At the end, we expect a better understanding how combinations of RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNAs affect the fate of RNAs. We hope that this insight will give us important clues about how the production of proteins can go wrong to play a critical role in cancer cells. Ultimately, this may lead to new targets for drug development and the treatment of human disease.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2284979
    Partners: University of Surrey

    My thesis explores representations of energy in the American novel between the years 1846 and 1979. I will examine how an 'energy unconscious' (the largely unremarked, affectual force of material energy sources which permeates sociocultural practices) exists in American fiction through analyses of key texts written in the periods when whale oil, coal, oil, and nuclear power were predominant. My thesis will deploy this conceptual framework to give new readings of American literary texts that articulate the relationship between the nation's energy sources, environmental degradation, sociocultural practices and geopolitical power. America is particularly important to such an analysis, for the nation's cultural practices have disproportionately contributed to anthropogenic climate change. I propose that analyses of literary narratives, in the way they simultaneously reveal and distort the affectual force of energy, can illuminate a nation's energy unconscious, thereby suggesting potential avenues for necessary energy transitions.