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Griffith University

Country: Australia

Griffith University

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16 Projects, page 1 of 4
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/X006921/1
    Funder Contribution: 196,157 GBP

    This is an historical criminological project which will explore the first government-run youth institutions in England; the reformatory schools. The criminal justice system (CJS) remains the only institution where the deliberate infliction of pain on children is sanctioned in the UK. Child protection advocates argue that the restraint techniques used causes unnecessary harm. Yet, they are justified under the pretence of controlling children within the secure estate. This research will explore the narratives of 'justification' from an historical perspective. This will be done by consulting regional reformatory records (institutional level), parliamentary reports (political level), and newspapers (public level). Since children have been imprisoned, they have been mistreated and abused. How was the use of physical force justified, criticised and/or ignored within these historical institutions and within the wider context of the political/public domain? This long historical lens will enable an understanding of the continued acceptance of the mistreatment of children within the secure estate today. This project has a three legged output strategy, which are inter-related; academic, policy and public engagement. (1) I will contribute to the academic debate through this interdisciplinary project through academic peer review journal articles and conference papers in the field of both child abuse studies and criminology to ensure I both learn from and add to these different, but related, fields of study. Similarly, I will hold a symposium at the close of the project to bring together interdisciplinary speakers working in or studying different institutionalised settings across the globe (not limited to the Criminal Justice System). This will enable the project to have wider impact. (2) The findings from the project will enable me to feed into the policy debate for future policy reform. I will write a Policy Briefing Document for History and Policy for dissemination amongst relevant All-Party Parliamentary Groups and a shorter Fact Sheet version for wider distribution. (3) Often change is enabled due to public interest and awareness of the issues. As such, this project will also engage with the public to raise awareness and support for the issues at hand through an inclusive Blog/Podcast Series, public-facing talks hosted by already established networks with a ready audience built in, and lastly through a written piece in the public-facing media outlet The Conversation. In this way, this project will work towards an increased knowledge and understanding of the issue of mistreatment of juveniles in institutions over time. I will add to the interdisciplinary field of institutional studies, feed into policy reform debates for change in youth justice, and inform and engage with the public on issues of harm in historical settings involving oft overlooked offending children.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/K001906/1
    Funder Contribution: 562,500 GBP

    The coasts and shelf seas that surround us have been the focal point of human prosperity and well-being throughout our history and, consequently, have had a disproportionate effect on our culture. The societal importance of the shelf seas extends beyond food production to include biodiversity, carbon cycling and storage, waste disposal, nutrient cycling, recreation and renewable energy. Yet, as increasing proportions of the global population move closer to the coast, our seas have become progressively eroded by human activities, including overfishing, pollution, habitat disturbance and climate change. This is worrying because the condition of the seabed, biodiversity and human society are inextricably linked. Hence, there is an urgent need to understand the relative sensitivities of a range of shelf habitats so that human pressures can be managed more effectively to ensure the long-term sustainability of our seas and provision of societal benefits. Achieving these aims is not straightforward, as the capacity of the seabed to provide the goods and services we rely upon depends on the type of substrate (rock, gravel, sand, mud) and local conditions; some habitats are naturally dynamic and relatively insensitive to disturbance, while others are comparatively stable and vulnerable to change. This makes it very difficult to assess habitat sensitivities or make general statements about what benefits we can expect from our seas in the future. Recently, NERC and DEFRA have initiated a major new research programme on Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry that will improve knowledge about these issues. In response to this call, we have assembled a consortium of leading scientists that includes microbiologists, ecologists, physical oceanographers, biogeochemists, mathematical modellers and policy advisors. With assistance from organisations like CEFAS, Marine Scotland and AFBI, they will carry out a series of research cruises around the UK that will map the sensitivity and status of seabed habitats based on their physical condition, the microbial and faunal communities that inhabit them, and the size and dynamics of the nitrogen and carbon pools found there. The latest marine technologies will measure the amount of mixing and flow rates just above the seabed, as well as detailed seabed topography. These measurements will allow better understanding of the physical processes responsible for movement and mixing of sediment, nutrient, and carbon. At the same time, cores will be retrieved containing the microbial and faunal communities and their activity and behaviour will be linked to specific biogeochemical responses. Highly specialised autonomous vehicles, called landers, will also measure nutrient concentrations and fluxes at the seabed. Components of the system can then be experimentally manipulated to mimic scenarios of change, such as changing hydrodynamics, disturbance or components of climate change. This will be achieved in the field by generating different flow regimes using a submerged flume or, in the laboratory, using intact sediment communities exposed to different levels of CO2, temperature and oxygen. By measuring the biogeochemical response and behaviour of the microbial and faunal communities to these changes, we will generate an understanding of what may happen if such changes did occur across our shelf seas. We will use all of this information to assess the relative vulnerability of areas of the UK seabed by overlaying the observation and experimental results over maps of various human pressures, which will be of value to planners and policymakers. Mathematical models will test future scenarios of change, such as opening or closing vulnerable areas to fishing or anticipated changes in the factors that control nutrient and carbon stocks. This will be valuable in exploring different responses to external pressures and for deciding which management measures should be put in place to preserve our shelf seas for future generations

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/J012238/1
    Funder Contribution: 567,582 GBP

    Estuaries are more than simply areas of mud and marsh that represent the transition zone between rivers and the ocean. They play a vital role in our economy as sites of leisure and commercial activities, such as fishing and boating. In addition, they are important nursery grounds for many species of economically important fish that later migrate to the open sea. As approximately 40% of the world's population live within 100 km of the coast, estuaries are also some of the most vulnerable sites for impact from man's activities. Not only can they suffer from activities occurring within the estuary itself, but they also mark the point where pollutants gathered by rivers from large areas of the interior can accumulate. One of the major pollution concerns in estuaries arises from the excess river borne concentrations of phosphate and nitrate. These can be derived from a variety of sources, such as run off from fertilised fields and discharge (accidental or purposeful) from sewage treatment plants. Regardless of their source, they can cause severe problems, such as stimulating the growth of excess algal growth that can deplete the water in oxygen and causing widespread fish kills, or causing the growth of poisonous algal species (red tides) that cause shell fish fisheries to be closed. Although this problem has been recognised for some time, and monitoring activities by bodies such as the Environment Agency and water companies play an important role in keeping pollution in check, there are still major gaps in our knowledge. In particular, it is apparent that a large proportion of the flux of nitrate and phosphate are delivered to estuaries by sudden storm events, but most monitoring takes place at fixed times that are spaced too far apart to capture these events. This is a major gap in our knowledge that will become more important as the intensity and frequency of storms are likely to increase due to climate change. Additionally, the phosphate and nitrate load of rivers can take many forms - dissolved and particulate, organic and inorganic - and relatively little is known about the concentrations of these different forms varies throughout the seasons and during storm events. Only if we are able to fully understand these processes will we be able to take the necessary steps to identify and control polluting sources of nitrate and phosphate to estuaries. Our research seeks to address this gap in our knowledge by carrying out detailed monitoring of the many forms of phosphate and nitrate that enter Christchurch Harbour estuary (Dorset) from both the rivers and the sea over the course of a year. We will be using state-of-the-art technology (much of it developed by ourselves) that will allow us to monitor they key parameters at intervals of every 30 minutes. Hence, we will be able to capture the effects of sudden and short-lived storms that have eluded previous studies and routine monitoring practices. We will then use the results of our study to examine how these sudden storm events affect the distribution of phosphate and nitrate within the estuary. In particular, we will examine what happens when sediments are stirred up in the estuary by storms - do they remove or add phosphate and nitrate to the system? We will also examine the effects of these sudden storms on the biological activity in the estuary. Again, do they increase or decrease the growth of algae, and what difference is there if the storm happens in the summer or the winter? The various threads of our study will be drawn together into a powerful statistical model that will allow us to better understand the transfer of phosphate and nitrate from rivers, through estuaries and into the coastal seas, and the role that storms play in this process. Our results will then allow policy makers to make more informed decisions about how we can seek to reduce pollution of estuaries by nitrate and phosphate.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/H037217/1
    Funder Contribution: 100,778 GBP

    Reading is a fundamental part of modern life; the ability to read and the act of reading are highly valued in all developed societies. The practice of reading, however, is not a uniform or unchanging one: it has a history, like any other human activity. To study that history we need evidence not only of what people in the past read, but how and in what circumstances they read, and what impact their reading had on them. The Reading Experience Database (RED) was established at The Open University as an open access digital resource offering users a searchable body of evidence of reading by British subjects, at home and abroad, from 1450 up to 1945 (see http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/). RED was funded by the AHRC for three years, 2006-2009, and currently holds about 30,000 separate records of reading experience. It attracts over 3,000 visits each month, and the rate of usage is rising at 50% per year. RED has been designed as a resource not only for historians of the book and of reading, but for social historians, local and family historians, literary scholars, biographers, book collectors, librarians, and anyone interested in the readership and reception of particular authors or books, and in the activities of specific readers or groups of readers.\n\nFor the purposes of RED, a 'reading experience' is defined as a recorded engagement with a written or printed text beyond the mere fact of possession. Under 'written or printed text' we include books, newspapers, journals, advertisements, playbills, scripts, pamphlets, almanacs, commonplace books, and ephemera. The evidence presented in RED is drawn from autobiographies, diaries, marginalia and letters, etc., and from databases such as the Old Bailey Sessions Papers and Mass Observation Online. As well as details of work(s) being read, RED records data about readers: their name, age, gender, occupation, social class, religion, and place where the reading took place. This richly textured data offers both a micro and a macro perspective, enabling us to get closer to the cognitive and affective elements of individual reading experiences, as well as illuminating the broader changes in historical circumstances and material conditions within which reading took place.\n\nReading, however, is not confined within national boundaries. It is a transnational phenomenon and researchers need to be able to collect and analyse evidence from different countries. This new research project is designed to facilitate the establishment of RED projects in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and to ensure that these national REDs are compatible with the UK RED and with each other. The current UK RED software will be made freely available to partners in these countries, and a systematic, easy-to-use 'umbrella search' function will be developed which will enable a user of one RED to search across all the others. We will create a new web portal interface designed to facilitate ease of use, making use of web 2.0, and including teaching and research tools (offered as web tutorials). We will create additional capacity in the RED datasets to enable future inclusion of oral testimony of readers born before 1950, and visual evidence, such as photographs of reading. These developments will enhance the attractiveness of REDs to a wide variety of users, and will facilitate further international collaboration in the history of reading.\n\nIn summary, the current project is designed to: (a) broaden the use of and contribution to RED beyond the British Isles, making it a centre for international collaboration in the history of reading; (b) create an 'umbrella search' function to allow a user of one RED to search all the others as well; (c) increase understanding of the history of reading by ensuring that REDs include oral and visual data to supplement textual sources; and (d) engage with the wider public interest in the history of reading outside academia.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/W00402X/1
    Funder Contribution: 83,874 GBP

    Malaria is a vector-borne disease that currently threatens half of the world population. Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria, and many tools have been developed to prevent mosquito bites, such as mosquito repellents and insecticide-treated bed nets. Despite the huge reductions in malaria since the millennium, present control methods have stalled, partly due to emerging insecticide resistance in malaria mosquito vectors. In addition, mosquitoes invade new regions of the world, thus increasing the risk of malaria to people. Better understanding of mosquito biology and ecology could lead to the development of novel methods of mosquito vector control. Here we will focus on two species/species complexes of Anopheles mosquitoes, and will study how a class of chemical compounds that is found on their bodies helps mosquitoes to recognize mating partners and to colonize new areas. These compounds are cuticular hydrocarbons, and they form a waxy layer on the mosquito cuticle - their analogue of skin. In other insects, cuticular hydrocarbons are known to have two roles. They prevent water loss - desiccation, which is likely to occur in hot tropical environments where mosquitoes live. They are also used as an attractive perfume for recognizing appropriate mating partners. However, the role of cuticular hydrocarbons in malaria mosquitoes is not well known, and this project sets out to test it. We will focus on the two Anopheles species that we selected because of the special interest that they present. The first species, Anopheles stephensi, are native to India, but have in the past 10 years invaded the Horn of Africa. Upon migration from India, these mosquitoes had to adapt to and survive in dry and hot climate of the Arabian peninsula and East Africa. Thus, any adaptations to different environmental conditions must also be extremely recent and are happening very rapidly. We have a chance now to study this unique biological process as it occurs, and we predict that changes in cuticular hydrocarbons help these mosquitoes in their invasion of Africa. In addition, An.stephensi also have to distinguish their potential mating partners from the native African Anopheles species. This means that their attractive perfumes, if they use them at all, might have been modified - this again brings us to study cuticular hydrocarbons. The second species of interest, Anopheles farauti, inhabits northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon islands and Vanuatu. In fact, this is not one species but a complex of 8 closely related species, some of which occur at the same locations, and some live on islands in isolation from their relatives. We so far have studied 1 of the 8 species that inhabits Northern Australia. We found that cuticular hydrocarbons of the males and females of this species are very different. This exciting finding implies that they may indeed use cuticular hydrocarbons as the perfume to select their mates as it has been shown in many other insect species. We now want to extend our study to the other sibling species, and see whether their cuticular hydrocarbons are different between males and females. We predict that they are, but are modified slightly when the relatives of the mosquitoes live at the same location. The finding that An.farauti and/or An.stephensi use chemical compounds to find their mates will have profound implications for other mosquito species and mosquito control strategies. Mosquito genes and proteins, responsible for production and perception of cuticular hydrocarbons, may then be targeted in a variety of ways, leading to novel methods of malaria vector control that we urgently need. In addition, if we find evidence that rapidly changing cuticular hydrocarbons helps mosquitoes adapt to changing climate, this will help the scientists predict how mosquito populations may migrate and invade around the world in the future. This may guide prevention strategies that will save millions of human lives.

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