All posts by Megan Beech


New publications from the University of Huddersfield Press

The University of Huddersfield Press was established in 2007 to provide an outlet for publication for University authors and to encourage new and aspiring authors to publish in their areas of subject expertise. Producing print books, open access eBooks and academic journals, the Press covers a wide range of subject areas providing a platform for innovative and interdisciplinary research at Huddersfield.

Recent publications

Identity Papers: A Journal of British and Irish Studies

The University of Huddersfield’s Academy for British and Irish Studies was established in 2009. Identity Papers has developed out of the Academy’s varied and interdisciplinary work. The peer reviewed open access journal is of interest to readers from academic, policy, professional and public sectors, drawing on robust research to communicate ideas connected with identities in Britain and Ireland, today and in the past, in an accessible way.


British Journal of Pharmacy

British Journal of Pharmacy is an online peer-reviewed open access journal publishing original research papers, critical reviews and rapid communications on the latest developments in pharmacy. The journal accepts manuscripts highlighting novel research and development in pharmacy. Subject focuses include the practice of pharmacy, novel therapeutic targets and molecular pharmacy, contemporary formulation strategies to improve drug delivery and targeting, pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics and therapeutics, pharmacoeconomics, pharmacovigilance and innovations in teaching pharmacy.


Huddersfield’s Roll of Honour 1914-1922

Huddersfield’s Roll of Honour 1914-1922 is a detailed account of 3,439  service personnel from Huddersfield who lost their lives during the First World War. In the Preface,  HRH The Duke of York KG writes:

“This publication represents the lifetime work of Margaret Stansfield who sadly passed away in 2012. Margaret spent 30 years compiling the 3,439 biographical entries giving a poignant insight into the background, working lives and families of those who selflessly left Huddersfield to fight for their country never to return.”

Along with the biographical accounts there are many moving letters to the families of soldiers who lost their lives reflecting an attempt to bring comfort amid the darkness that their loss brought to both families and comrades alike.

DNA Strands

£1 million in funding is supporting new researchers in evolutionary genomics

The University of Huddersfield’s Archaeogenetics Research Group has led the way in developing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as a tool for reconstructing the dispersal history of mankind. Results include a new model of the expansion of modern humans out of Africa and re-evaluations of the settlement history of Europe, Asia and the Pacific. This work has been pivotal in the emergence of commercial genetic ancestry testing and has helped the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) formulate guidelines for the industry.

£1 million in funding for new interdisciplinary research centre

In December 2014 the University of Huddersfield was awarded £1 million by the Leverhulme Trust for the development of a new research centre which has developed out of this on-going research into archaeogenetics. The Centre for Evolutionary Genomics, led by Professor Martin Richards, will bring together researchers from across a range of disciplines to delve into evolutionary history, from the origins of animals to the spread of modern humans.

Supporting the next generation of postgraduate researchers

The grant from the Leverhulme Trust will enable the new Centre to foster a new generation of PhD students starting out their academic career in evolutionary genomics. The award is one of just 14 given to UK universities in the first round of the new Doctoral Scholarship Scheme from the Leverhulme Trust, making possible the creation of 15 PhD scholarships over five years to carry out wide-ranging research under the supervision of Professor Richards and his colleagues. Two new research fellows have also been appointed to the Centre.

The new Doctoral Scholarships Scheme is motivated by the concern that the prospect of increased indebtedness might discourage graduates from undertaking doctorates. Professor Gordon Marshall, Director of the Trust, said: “It is to be hoped that this first round of awards, modest though it is in terms of overall graduate student numbers, will kick-start a solution to the still unresolved problem of how adequately to fund graduate studies in the United Kingdom.”

A revolution in genomics

The new Centre is a result of a major transformation in evolutionary studies that has taken place over the past decade, resulting from the development of new DNA sequencing technologies, as Professor Martin Richards explains: “This led to a revolution in genomics, looking at whole human genomes or whole animal genomes rather than small numbers of individual genes.”

The focus of the research topics carried out by the Centre for Evolutionary Genomics will extend from the origins of multicellular organisms to the prehistoric peopling of Europe.  In several projects, the Centre will focus on both contemporary genetic variation and DNA from human and animal remains.

To find out more about the research in this article, please contact:

Professor Martin Richards –

Business School

Using Lean Thinking to improve experiences of mental health service users

A team of researchers based in the Business School at the University of Huddersfield recently teamed up with the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYPFT) to take part in a year-long project to review the referral process for mental health issues. SWYPFT are a specialist Foundation Trust that provides community, mental health and learning disability services to the people of Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. Over 1 million people live within SWYPFT’s catchment area, across urban and rural communities from a range of diverse backgrounds.

Creating a single point of access

Focusing on providing an effective and efficient service, SWYPFT created Single Point of Access (SPA) teams to act as the first point of call for anyone wanting to discuss mental health issues or access services. As SPA teams operate autonomously, there had been perceived variations in service quality, resource availability and some concerns around ineffective and inefficient ways of working.

Using Lean Thinking to improve services

Supported by funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the project team wanted to identify which parts of the existing processes worked well, and also look at areas which could be improved to make sure people were receiving the most appropriate care and advice throughout the referral pathway. Informed by the principles of Lean Thinking, the project team, led by Professor David Bamford and comprising of Siu Cheng, Mary Duggan, Benjamin Dehe and Marina Papalexi, identified a set of key objectives for the research to focus on:

  1. Understand how the Single Point of Access (SPA) teams differed from each other across the Care Pathway
  2. Identify what worked well and what could be improved
  3. Determine what could be changed in order for the SPA teams to be more consistent, efficient and leaner

Collaborative workshops identify issues and solutions

Eight facilitated service improvement workshops were conducted across West Yorkshire, bringing together NHS personnel and Patient User Groups to examine the existing services in place and look at possible redesign ideas to improve future processes and experiences. The workshops highlighted a range of key concerns across the referral pathway, including the duplication of referral information and delays caused by missing information.

From these findings, it became clear that implementing a higher level of electronic communications by phone and email could address these problem points and improve both the decision making and signposting abilities of the SPA teams. In order to improve these processes and reduce the amount of time a referral takes, new policy and procedure guidelines have been developed with the SPA teams, complimented by a set of Key Performance Indicators and regular feedback forums to improve communications between teams.

To find out more about the research in this article, please contact:

Professor David Bamford –

Jess Power with example central line

Improving everyday life experiences for young children with cancer

Children with cancer regularly have long term central line catheters inserted in the chest to deliver medication. Often termed ‘Hickman Lines’, they result in tubing protruding from the chest, which can result in medical issues including infections, but also discomfort for the child, particularly when sleeping. A team of researchers, led by Dr Jess Power, including Professor David Leaper and Joanne Marie Harris, has been investigating the design and development of a product to contain these external lines, providing greater comfort and safety for the child whilst also meeting the needs of the medical community.

The project makes use of innovative experimental and industrial research to develop a strategically designed harness for children aged 2-4 years with cancer. The aim is to reduce the chances of infection around the central line as well as combat common issues such as discomfort when sleeping due to the line becoming tangled, snagged or pulled out.

Key input from those caring for children with cancer

The project team were approached by the Little Heroes Cancer Trust who had recognised the need for a product to contain long term central lines. Right from the beginning, the team were keen to focus on the children themselves and providing the best levels of comfort possible. Working with Little Heroes and consulting with experts from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a series of focus groups were carried out with parents and carers of children with cancer to ensure that those using the product were at the heart of the design.

Little Heroes Logo TM

Preventing infection

With initial funding support from the Collaborative Ventures Fund, followed by top-up funding from the Yorkshire Innovation Fund and Little Heroes Cancer Trust, the project team has been able to carry out initial research and progress the designs to prototype stage. The antibacterial properties of a range of materials, sourced both locally and nationally, are being explored in order to find a suitable material which will reduce levels of infection whilst also maximising comfort.

YIF logo

Collaborative research leads to innovative design

Part of the Institute of Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention, the project team brings together innovative research from across the Schools of Art, Design and Architecture, Computing and Engineering and Human and Health Sciences. This interdisciplinary team includes experts in performance materials, surface design and infection control – all areas integral to the development of a product which must meet the needs of children, families, carers and the medical community.

Ensuring the end product is available to all children

With the underpinning research in place, the team are hoping to see the harness ready for manufacturing by July 2015. A key focus of the project has been to ensure that the harness can be produced using cost-effective processes to ensure it can be made available to all children with cancer through NHS trusts and services.  An article summarising the project and paving the way for future research is planned for September 2015.

To find out more about the research in this article, please contact:

Dr Jess Power –

Ulla Potuvil, village under construction

Inter-disciplinary research in global disaster resilience

Part of the School of Art, Design and Architecture, the Global Disaster Resilience Centre (GDRC) carries out research, education and advocacy activities to help improve the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. GDRC’s work focuses on the role of the built environment: how the design, development and management of buildings, spaces and places can be used to increase resilience.

Much of the Centre’s work is multi or interdisciplinary, and the team work closely with UK and international academic partners from across the social and physical sciences, as well as key stakeholders from policy, government and industry. They provide strategic advice and practical guidance based on rigorous research that is informed by industry and community members.

Protecting and rebuilding communities

With populations and infrastructures increasing the world over, our exposure to hazards is increasing. It is vital that we consider how to protect people and their environment, and reduce a community’s vulnerability.

GDRC’s work recognises that development of the built – or physical – environment must not be carried out in a vacuum. Instead, much of the GDRC’s work highlights the importance of developing resilience through linking the community’s built environment to its broader social, natural, institutional and economic needs.

When a disaster does strike, the built environment also plays a vital role in the recovery process as communities need to be rebuilt physically, economically and socially.

Ten years on from the Sri Lanka Tsunami

On the 26th of December 2004 a tsunami wave, triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, hit Northern, Eastern and Southern coastal regions of Sri Lanka, causing 40,000 deaths, 500,000 internally displaced people and 900 million US dollars-worth of infrastructure and environmental damage. Assistance rushed in from local, national and international communities, government, private sector, and non-governmental organizations. A Centre for National Operations was formed to help coordinate relief efforts and, by November 2005, all government agency efforts had consolidated into the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA). This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

A key research initiative has recently been launched between GDRC, the Social Policy Analysis Research Centre at the University of Colombo and the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka to look at the Tsunami recovery process in Sri Lanka. The main question that we pose is: where do the victims of the Tsunami stand today after ten years following the event? By considering areas such as infrastructure reconstruction community formation, social cohesion and the impact on young and elderly people, we are improving the understanding of how disasters affect communities in the long term.

For further information, get in touch with the Global Disaster Resilience Centre

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Using pomegranates to help dementia sufferers

Researchers based within the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Group (PSRG) have been investigating how a natural compound, found in pomegranates, can slow the onset of ‌ Alzheimer’s disease. Led by Dr Olumayokun Olajide (a specialist in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products), this two year project has also found that the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease could be reduced.

Preventing neuroinflammation helps to ease suffering for millions

Researchers have been using microglia (brain-resident immune cells) grown in PSRG laboratories to demonstrate that punicalagin, a component of pomegranate fruit, prevents neuroinflammation and the resulting breakdown of neurons. This key breakthrough may not be able to cure Alzheimer’s disease, but it can help to ease the resulting suffering which affects some 800,000 people in the UK, with 163,000 new cases a year being diagnosed. Globally, there are at least 44.4 million dementia sufferers, with the numbers expected to soar.

Previous research has shown that inflammation in microglia can trigger the production of neurotoxic chemicals and clumps of protein, known as “plaques” in the brain. These neurotoxic chemicals and plaques destroy the adjacent neurons, which are responsible for cognitive functions such as learning, memory and behaviour. This self-perpetuating process of neuroinflammation results in the progressive decline of these functions, presenting real challenges for people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Developing new drugs for effective treatment

The PSRG team used brain cells isolated from rats in order to test the existing research, and are still working on the amounts of the pomegranate compound that are required in order to be effective. They will attempt to produce compound derivatives of punicalagin that could be the basis of new, orally administered drugs that would treat neuroinflammation.

“We do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits, including the prevention of neuroinflammation related to dementia.”

Dr Olumayokun Olajide

For further details, contact the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Group

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Innovative rail research – in industry and education

The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) carries out innovative, world-leading research into the interaction between railway vehicles and the track. This work is helping the railway industry to reduce costs and improve safety levels by furthering the understanding of how wheels interact with the track and the resulting deterioration due to wear and tear caused by high stresses.

By drawing on cross-disciplinary research and working with high profile industry partners, the Institute is producing cutting edge research with significant impacts for both the rail industry and those using rail services.

HS2 – high-speed rail

The Institute has recently been awarded its first contract under the UK government’s HS2 high-speed rail project, supporting important developments in a new era of high-speed rail travel in the UK. The Research and Enterprise team, led by Dr Paul Allen and Dr Adam Bevan, will embark on an exciting project to model the vehicle-track interaction of a number of high-speed vehicle concepts, which will run at speeds of up to 360km per hour.

‘The study will require detailed mathematical modelling and dynamic simulation of the vehicle and track system, providing the HS2 team with vital information on system performance. It will also help guide the on-going design and procurement process for both the vehicle and track.’

Dr Adam Bevan, IRR Head of Enterprise

The simulation work will investigate aspects of the system performance, such as ride quality, the forces generated between the vehicle and the track and the likely wheel-rail deterioration mechanisms and rates which might be expected during operation on the new high-speed network.

Working with industry partners

In addition to working on the government’s HS2 project, the Institute is also working closely with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) as part of a partnership which launched in 2013. This partnership allows IRR and RSSB to share their resources and skills to inform decision making and risk prediction through system and engineering risk modelling.

Equally funded by both organisations, the £5 million five-year programme develops new research and techniques to fill current gaps in system and engineering risk modelling, as well as issues around human capital, and educating the next generation of railway professionals.

Engaging young people with research

Part of the Institute’s commitment to encouraging and educating the next generation of railway professionals includes providing opportunities for young people to engage with current research and challenges. In 2014 the Institute hosted the Smallpeice Trust rail engineering residential course, bringing together 10 teams of 15-17-year-olds over four days to take part in competitive challenges that saw them designing, building and testing their own electric-powered locomotives, running them on the Institute’s test rail track.

The successful event will be hosted again in July 2015, giving another group of enthusiastic young people the chance to engage with railway research and consider career opportunities they may want to pursue in the future.

For further information you can get in touch with the Institute of Railway Research

Pair of 1796 Light Cavalry sabres which were presented to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry and to his son the Earl of Dalkeith

Exploring the Battle of Waterloo through arms and armour

The Arms and Armour Research Institute (AARI) consists of a multidisciplinary team of academics from a range of subject areas including History, Archaeology, Forensic and Materials Science. Bringing these areas together fosters high quality research with a collaborative outlook, focusing on the discovery and analysis of military weaponry and historical sites, with a particular emphasis on using cutting edge science and technology breakthroughs to carry out this research.

In addition to carrying our innovative research and contributing to key conferences and publications, the Institute engages in consultancy through the University to provide advice to museums, auction houses, television productions and individual collectors.

200 years after the Battle of Waterloo, AARI is working closely with English Heritage to take part in an exhibition at Wellington Arch and the delivery of a lecture exploring some of the weapons used during this well-known military engagement.

Exhibiting weapons from the time of Waterloo

AARI will be arranging the loan, from private clients, of six key pieces for the exhibition, which opens in April 2015, covering a wide range of weaponry used by both British and French military, including:

  • British Heavy Cavalry sabre pattern – Marked to the 2nd North British Dragoons Scots Greys who took part in the ill-fated charge at the Battle of Waterloo.
  • British Light Dragoon cavalry pistol – The style of pistol issued to most cavalry units fighting in the Anglo-German forces. Marked to the King’s German Legion.
  • French cavalry pistol model ANXIII of the Revolutionary calendar – Manufactured at the National Armoury at St.Etienne in 1813, this pistol would have been utilised in significant numbers by the French cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo.
  • French Heavy Cavalry sabre pattern ANXI – Armed the French heavy cuirassier regiments at Waterloo and was particularly lethal as a thrusting weapon against both mounted troops and infantry.
  • British Light Cavalry sabre pattern – Carries the Board of Ordnance view mark on the 33 inch curved blade, signed by ‘Bate’, and was designed for slashing at the enemy. Prussian markings indicate it may have been exported to resupply the allies during Napoleon’s retreat through Europe in 1812 and 1813.
  • French Light Cavalry sabre Chasseur a Cheval – Carried by the French light cavalry at Waterloo. Particularly significant is its issue to the regiments of Lancers who pursued the Scots Greys after their ill-fated charge.
British Light Dragoon cavalry pistol
British Light Dragoon cavalry pistol

The exhibition is being held at Apsley House and the Wellington Arch in London and will run from 18th April until 2nd November.

There will be a further exhibition of weaponry for the National Army Museum North Exhibition, opening at Bankfield Museum on the 8th May.

Understanding how weapons were used

On Sunday 18 June 1815 the nations of Europe gathered on a waterlogged battlefield nine miles south of Brussels to perform the final act of the twenty three year drama that was to become known as the Napoleonic Wars. Almost three hundred thousand heavily armed men would decide the fate of Europe. For some their lives would depend upon the effectiveness of their swords.

This anniversary provides a unique opportunity to examine the manufacture of these enigmatic swords and their supply to the French mounted forces that became the scourge of Europe for over twenty years. Many of the finest swords were manufactured and refined at the two centres of production at the time. For the allied forces this was in Birmingham, for the French, their finest swords were designed and forged at Klingenthal.

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Reverend Paul Wilcock

Reverend Paul Wilcock, Director of AARI, specialises in edged weapons and identifying marks on weaponry and armour. On the 11th May Paul will be delivering his lecture, entitled Waterloo: The Cutting Edge – swords from the Battle of Waterloo at Apsley House. The lecture will consist of an evaluation of some of the swords carried by both the British and French forces and be illustrated by a range of artefacts from the period.

For further details, contact the Arms and Armour Research Institute

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Interactions in early music – viols and voice

The University of Huddersfield’s performance-led research into the consort of viols and its relationship to the voice has resulted in the performance of music largely unknown to modern audiences, as well as new perceptions and understandings of this area of music.

Closely associated with the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) and supported by awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the resulting public performances, lecture recitals, CD releases and radio broadcasts have raised the profile of this previously neglected area of music and performance.

The music of the past is an important part of our cultural heritage which needs to be interpreted in order to appreciate and understand the intentions of its composers and original performers. Research carried out by the University of Huddersfield has resulted in a range of innovative approaches, including iconographical, organological, archival and source-based evidence, being used alongside musical analysis. These ideas are then tested out through performance.

Creating and using replica instruments

A collaboration with the Rose Consort of Viols has allowed the use of accurate copies of historical instruments strung throughout in gut and using bows with clip in frogs. These give the player a more intimate ‘grip’ on the string than later bows allow, enabling a more articulate approach to playing.

The development of these instruments has been based on the very few surviving originals, and has led to new business for instrument makers and specialist publishing companies. The instruments have been used to explore techniques of performance alongside specialist singers using researched historical pronunciation, leading to further understanding of instrumental and vocal performance from historical periods including Jacobean (c.1610), Venetian (c.1560) and early Italian instruments based on a painting
by Costa (1497). Connections have been found between the singers’ communication of the text and the instrumental bowing techniques, highlighting the complex nature of this interaction.

Performing live to international audiences

Funded by the AHRC, the research carried out at Huddersfield has fed into a range of live performances locally, nationally and internationally, with locations including Florence’s Uffizi Palace and the BBC Proms. Collaborations with York Early Music Festival and the Dartington International Summer School have attracted diverse audiences and helped to further understanding of the new approaches to performance revealed by the research.

Reaching a wider audience through album releases and radio

In addition to live performances, the research into viol composition and performance has resulted in the release of more than 20 albums with international listening audiences, as well as broadcasts by BBC Radio 3 and German network WDR. The releases have earned critical acclaim for their novel presentation of familiar repertory, with particular emphasis on the diversity of sounds displayed within the music when appropriate viols are used.

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ROTOЯ – Engaging new audiences through cultural arts programmes

Researchers based at the University of Huddersfield have, supported by Arts Council policies and funding, introduced new audiences to contemporary art and design through the ROTOЯ programme of exhibitions and events.

As well as raising awareness, inspiring curiosity and providing
cultural enrichment, the programme has initiated changes to local authority policies on providing cost-effective, high-quality cultural services. The impact ROTOЯ has had on the community has been a prime example of local authority and university sectors working together to offer innovative public services whilst generating and measuring engagement.

A push for growth in the arts sector

In 2010 a Work Foundation report warned that the UK’s creative industries were at risk of failing to fulfil their potential to drive growth and innovation. The drive for greater engagement and collaboration has been supported by Arts Council policy goals aiming to attract and inspire new audiences to ensure the arts sector is sustainable.

Drawing on research to inform exhibitions

Launched in 2012 in partnership with Huddersfield Art Gallery, the ROTOЯ programme aimed to address these concerns by providing a broad spectrum of exhibitions to engage and involve a wide range of new audiences with the UK’s diverse creative and cultural industries. ROTOЯ is underpinned by and continues to nurture research into public engagement and impact measurement, particularly in relation to how practice based research can be communicated effectively beyond academia.

From model aeroplanes to mining culture

ROTOЯ exhibitions have covered a diverse range of forms and subject material, including Flight, an exhibition of work by Dr Lisa Stansbie exploring the idea of ‘flight’ through sculpture, film and the use of re-appropriated Airfix model aeroplane kits, Insufficient Allure, a curated exhibition by Dr Kevin Almond and Kathryn Brennand investigating historical and contemporary aspects of creative pattern cutting, and Mining Couture, an exhibition by Claire Barber and Professor Steve Swindells exploring conceptual connections between coal mining and fashion through the metaphor
of ‘seam’.

The first programme of exhibitions attracted over 14,300 visitors, increasing access, opportunity and understanding of the arts for a diverse range of new audiences.

Through a programme of exhibitions developed and delivered in partnership with the local authority, ROTOЯ has transformed public views on the significance of contemporary art and design and initiated change to local authority policy decisions to provide cost-effective, high-quality cultural services. It has also generated practical models, good practice and further research on public engagement strategies for partnerships between universities and cultural sectors.

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Language Unlocked – linguistic consultancy and communications

The University of Huddersfield’s research using corpus stylistics has led to the development of Language Unlocked. A consultancy service operating out of the stylistics research centre in the Linguistics and Modern Languages subject area, Language Unlocked uses linguistic methodologies and interpretative procedures to assist public, private, third-sector and non governmental organisations, including Unions21 and the Green Party.

With a focus on raising language awareness, Language Unlocked helps organisations to communicate strategies and achieve long-term goals through policies, manifestos and communications. Assessing media portrayal of Britain’s unions In 2012, Unions21, a think tank whose work is centered on the future of the union movement, asked the research team to examine the
portrayal of unions in British newspapers. The goal was to provide advice to press officers and key officials on how to encourage more objective representation of unions.

Following a draft report of the analysis in 2013, the Language Unlocked team was invited to present its key findings at Unions21’s 20th anniversary conference, raising awareness of the continued negative representation of unions in the British press.

Developing communications and training for the Green Party

In the run-up to the May 2013 local elections the Green Party asked the Language Unlocked team to analyse the use of terms including Green Party, green, environment and sustainable in print news reporting in the British press. A draft report was presented to the Party in December 2012 and the findings informed the marketing strategies of a third-party advertising agency, scripting decisions for the Party’s country election broadcast and the development of a new vision statement for the party. The findings also formed the basis of a training workshop delivered by the Language Unlocked team to key Party members, and training materials that were distributed throughout the wider organisation.

Linguistics research to inform industry media messages

Language Unlocked research has also been successfully applied in the private sector in the form of a commission from leading flow process company, Intensichem. The company asked the team to develop media messages that would emphasise the company’s focus on delivering scalable chemical flow processes. By using techniques from corpus linguistics and a large database of written British English, the Language Unlocked team were able to carry out an analysis of the denotational and connotational meanings of a range of Intensichem promotional copy. This enabled the team to develop a new company strap-line with tried and tested positive connotations.

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Analysing and reforming the Prevent policy, locally and nationally

Research carried out within the University of Huddersfield’s School of Education and Professional Development has been a key influence on the Government Prevent strategy, aimed at preventing terrorism. Through a combination of national media coverage and oral evidence given to a House of Commons Inquiry, this research has encouraged a change of focus, resulting in the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) placing renewed emphasis on the value of cross-community cohesion.

Controversial launch of the Prevent project

The Prevent policy was introduced in 2007 to address the risk of young Muslims being attracted to terrorism and the ideologies supporting it. The rapid implementation of the programme led to direct interference with existing cohesion policies and posed real issues in terms of approach and organisation for local authority and education partners, many of which immediately recognised the ideological and practical problems the policy created.

Working with local government to reform Prevent

One such authority was Kirklees Metropolitan Council, which, using Prevent funding, commissioned Professor Paul Thomas as an analyst of community cohesion to evaluate its initial year of Prevent activity in 2007/2008. The resulting report represented the only genuinely independent evaluation of the initial pilot year of Prevent activity in England. The key findings of this report were shared with Prevent co-ordinators and elected members of local authorities from across the Yorkshire and the Humber Government Office region.

A collaboration was also formed with the Rochdale Pride Partnership (Local Strategic Partnership) to develop and carry out action research with young people. Prevent was viewed as highly controversial by Muslim communities in Rochdale, and this study was seen as an acceptable way of engaging with the policy agenda.

In July 2008 the results, relating to how young people of all ethnic backgrounds understood identifications, prejudices, fears, experiences of segregation and racial/territorial conflict, were presented to the Rochdale Pride Partnership. The findings were used to inform future policy approaches to both Prevent and community cohesion.

Influencing national Government policy

The research carried out in collaboration with local partnerships resulted in policy change recommendations to local government funders and an evidence submission to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee Inquiry. This argued that Prevent should focus much more on cross-community cohesion approaches and be supported by wider attempts to encourage political education amongst young people in addition to training and guidance for education professionals.

These recommendations were accepted and later featured in the Committee’s report in 2010 and the re-launch of Prevent in 2011, supporting the need for further emphasis on community cohesion.
This has since led to further on-going research into feelings and dispositions within marginalised, mainly white communities (including attitudes towards groups such as the English Defence
League), commissioned by West Yorkshire local authorities and soon to be published.

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Recovery, rehabilitation and positive attitudes for back pain sufferers

Researchers based in the Centre for Applied Psychological and Health Research (CAPHR) at the University of Huddersfield have helped to bring about a major cultural shift in how back pain is viewed and treated. This has resulted in a new approach focusing on activity, positive attitudes and helping people stay at, or quickly get back to, work.

The research draws on a biopsychosocial understanding of health and findings indicate that individuals, employers and healthcare practitioners need to work together in order to support the recovery and work participation of people living with back pain.

Using psychosocial approaches to solve back pain issues

Back pain is a leading cause of sickness absence in industrialised nations, often resulting in significant healthcare costs and benefit
payments. It has considerable negative impacts on individuals, employers and society as a whole, leading to reduced quality of life, lost production, and an increased healthcare burden.

Research carried out through the Centre shows that these factors can be overcome by tackling the psychosocial factors preventing sufferers from returning to work and encouraging a positive shift in beliefs.

Support from industry and the healthcare sector

The Department for Work and Pensions, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Association of British Insurers have commissioned research through the Centre to develop principles and practice for tackling work disability due to common health problems, including back pain. For the first time, it was shown that work has a positive effect on health and wellbeing, and that promoting work participation improves health outcomes and recovery.

Following on from this, and adding to the under-researched ‘social’ component of the biopsychosocial model, the Centre has more recently been exploring how spouses, partners and close family members influence recovery and work participation for those with back pain – this has been supported by grant awards from BackCare and the Bupa Foundation and includes a collaboration with the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Findings have demonstrated how the negative beliefs of significant others can reinforce pessimistic attitudes around recovery, whereas positive beliefs can facilitate recovery and a faster return to work.

The on-going research carried out by the Centre for Applied Psychological and Health Research (CAPHR) at The University of Huddersfield has altered perceptions about the nature and course of back pain and its relationship with physical stresses and work. By identifying the key psychosocial obstacles to returning to work it has been possible to help individuals, healthcare providers, and society to recognise these obstacles and move past them towards rehabilitation and recovery.

The CAPHR is continuing research into back pain rehabilitation as there is still work to be done in ensuring that all the relevant services and individuals interact and communicate to form an effective support network.

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Paving the way for a new focus on ethical accounting

Research carried out within The Business School on accounting ethics has made a major contribution to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW ) – one of the world’s premier accounting bodies. Through membership of its Ethics Standards Committee and collaboration with ICAEW staff, this research has brought a unique academic perspective to the ICAEW ’s promotion of professional ethics, helping to shape its ethics agenda for over 140,000 members in over 160 countries and informing a new ethics examination for aspiring Chartered Accountants.

First academic link to the ethics committee

The University of Huddersfield’s involvement with the ICAEW ’s ethics agenda began with the P.D. Leake Lecture to Chartered Accountants, regulators and policy makers, delivered in 2007. The lecture was widely disseminated online throughout the ICAEW network and paved the way for the lecturer, Professor Chris Cowton, to become the first academic to be invited onto the Ethics Standards Committee.

Literature highlights a lack of focus

In addition to providing a practical perspective on whether ethics ‘pays’ and the effectiveness of codes of practice, the research for the P.D. Leake Lecture reinterpreted existing literature on the sociology of professions, resulting in new insight into the responsibility of a professional body not only to develop and adhere to ethical standards, but also to aspire to be a ‘moral community’, and the points of influence, or roles, by which accountants can influence general business ethics.

Building on the review of literature, focus groups involving partners and other senior professionals were held. It was found that, whilst there is a strong focus on ethics in financial reporting and auditing, especially in terms of independence and scepticism, less attention has been paid to the ethical challenges of accountants who work in other roles – who form the majority of the profession.

Keeping these challenges on the agenda of professional bodies is not only vital for the profession itself but also, given the influence of accountants, for the ethics of businesses and other organisations.

Informing new learning programmes for future accountants

The insights developed from the research have also informed the new Ethics Learning Programme (ELP), which is expected to be taken by up to 5000 aspiring Chartered Accountants a year as a requirement for gaining professional membership. Bringing academic research about business and financial ethics into the heart of an internationally recognised professional body is helping to ensure that accountants can fulfil their professional responsibilities in an increasingly complex, dynamic and challenging business environment.