Category Archives: Autumn 2014

Bhangra: mystics, music and migration

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.

Recent publications

Teaching in Lifelong Learning: a journal to inform and improve practice (TILL)

TILL was launched by the Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (HUDCETT) in collaboration with partner colleges and wider networks in the lifelong learning sector. The open access journal publishes papers on teacher, practitioner, trainee teacher and teacher educator practices across the lifelong learning sector (including higher education).

The latest issue contains papers on self-assessment in learning, ethnicity and patterns of achievement, general studies in further education and a report on action research.

Noise in and as Music

Edited by Professor Aaron Cassidy and Dr Aaron Einbond and submitted as part of their Research Excellence Framework case, this open access book exposes a cross-section of the current motivations, activities, thoughts, and reflections of composers, performers, and artists who work with noise in all of its many forms. The book focuses on the practice of noise and its relationship to music, particularly the role of noise as musical material.

Contributors include Peter Ablinger, Sebastian Berweck, Aaron Cassidy, Marko Ciciliani, Nick Collins, Aaron Einbond, Matthias Haenisch, Alec Hall, Martin Iddon, Bryan Jacobs, Phil Julian, Michael Maierhof, Joan Arnau Pàmies, and James Whitehead.

Bhangra: mystics, music and migration

Written by Hardeep Singh Sahota, this book explores the origins of folk song and dance from the Panjab in South Asia and its development into part of modern British culture in the hybrid soundscape of British Bhangra and beyond.

The book is based on academic research funded by the Heritage-lottery funded Bhangra Renaissance project. Through ethnographic research, oral history interviews, performances, photography, story-telling and community activity, it celebrates the past contribution of all those involved in Bhangra.

The University of Huddersfield Press is primarily an open access publisher. All five journals are available on open access, with two more to be launched in the next six months. Five books are also listed in the Directory of Open Access Books from the OAPEN Foundation

A full list of titles is available on the University of Huddersfield Press website.

Creative Arts Building

Convolution software makes way for new directions in digital music-making

Based in the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM), researchers have been developing state-of-the-art open-source software used to create and enhance electronic music. The HISSTools Impulse Response Toolbox allows users to customise the solutions they need rather than having to rely on fixed and limited options. Its deliberately musician-centric approach has been adopted internationally, including integration into a world-leading product with 1.7 million users.

Developments in convolution

Convolution has become a key element of digital music-making. This technology allows the reverberant behaviour unique to a certain space – for example, a room, a recording booth or a concert hall – to be captured and recreated, amongst other uses. The original convolution reverbs were hardware boxes that, because of their expense, were confined almost exclusively to studios. The technology is now commonly available as affordable computer software, but technical limitations have been constraining for users.

HISSTools Impulse Response Toolbox

In 2011, as part of the HISSTools project, a toolbox of externals was released for the digital music software system Max. These addressed a range of creative and technical problems, many based on innovative spectral processing techniques, including convolution. Rather than limiting the use of convolution techniques to emulate reverb, this approach allowed a more open set of applications, meaning researchers could use impulse responses in a variety of ways , like never before.

It was important that the software was not created to only deliver a single tool as its users encounter a range of issues, both creative and pragmatic. To ensure this, a modular and reusable toolbox was designed to address the wide range of technical and creative applications. Each module deals with a specific convolution-related task or problem, including capturing, transforming and applying impulse responses.

The HISSTools Impulse Response Toolbox has helped make high-level technology available to practitioners and has been adopted by major international companies, organisations and independent research centres involved in the creation and reproduction of state-of-the-art sound.

Working with international commercial companies

In 2012 Berlin-based software company Ableton, a world leader in its field, formed a partnership with the HISSTools project to develop a new convolution reverb device to run within the firm’s flagship Live 9 software, which has 1.7 million users. Two reverb devices and an impulse measurement device were developed and can now be used by any owner of Max for Live, part of the Suite version of Live 9. As open-source and fully customisable devices, they offer an unprecedented level of accessibility for the user. They have the ability to use different sampled spaces for the early and late parts of the reverb, offering enhanced flexibility and real-time control. Two of the University’s concert halls are included in the sample spaces for artists to use in their musical explorations. Ableton has released a video demonstrating the wide range of spaces the project focused on.

Open bag

Innovative design prevents infection to patients

Research by the University of Huddersfield’s School of Art, Design and Architecture is helping to ensure that patient safety is a central feature of the rapidly expanding transfer of healthcare from hospitals to the home. Dr David Swann has demonstrated that traditional nursing bags can be carriers of disease and created a 21st-century successor that addresses this key issue. This pioneering work has generated international interest, influenced design practices and drawn much-needed attention to the dangers of exporting healthcare without hygiene in the fast-growing sector of non-hospital treatment.

Cutting cost can increase infection risks

Health services look to cut costs by moving more treatments out of hospitals and into the community, but there are risks to consider. Research has highlighted a rise in community-associated MRSA strains and identified limitations of existing surveillance measures. The World Patient Safety Alliance puts the chance of a patient contracting MRSA at 1 in 10 in a hospital setting and 1 in 4 in a non-hospital setting, due to the contamination of medical devices and healthcare workers facilitating the spread of disease.

Problems with the traditional Gladstone bag

Research carried out at the University of Huddersfield in conjunction with NHS at Home strives to understand the challenges of delivering clinical procedures in patients’ homes. In 2010 the team found that a third of the traditional Gladstone bags sampled carried the MRSA bug, with 55% of bags never being cleaned and only 6% being cleaned once a week. To aid the design of a new bag, researchers at the University of Huddersfield conducted workshops with nurses, healthcare professionals and service improvement managers, employing Lego Serious Playto help participants work through imaginary scenarios.

The new bag – functional clinical design

The new bag was designed from non-permeable polypropylene white plastic to optimise cleansing techniques with easy-to-clean drawers, an absence of germ-trapping fastenings and a hard surface that transforms into a hygienic treatment area. The bag incorporates a flat-assembly drawer which can be removed or replaced to allow for personalised procedure packs for each patient. Comprehensive tests using ultraviolet (UV) sensitive gel showed the new bag helped minimise contamination spread. In 2012 the bag was patented in Europe and the US.

International award recognition

The 21st Century nursing bag won the 2011 Helen Hamlyn Award for Creativity and was the only product to receive an NHS Innovation Challenge Prize award in 2011. It also featured as a finalist in the Design Research category of the 2010 Industrial Designers Society of America International Design Excellence Awards; the Medical Device category of the 2010 Medipex Yorkshire and Humber Innovation Showcase Awards; the Body category of the 2011 INDEX: Design to Improve Life Awards; the 2012 James Dyson Awards; the Infection Prevention and Control category of the 2012 Nursing TimesAwards and the Product Design category of the 2012 Institution for Engineering and Technology Innovation Awards.

‘The design process and in particular the prototyping session with NHS staff was truly an inspirational example of how co-design and anthropological observation techniques can help tackle service as well as product challenges.’

Julia Schaeper – former Service Design Lead at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

knowledge engineering

Developing autonomous systems – execution and design

In May 2012, former Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced £16m in funding from government and industry for high-profile projects in the Autonomous and Intelligent Systems Programme, aimed at developing vital intelligent autonomous systems. As part of this, researchers in the Centre for High-Performance Intelligent Computing (CHIC) at the University of Huddersfield have been developing methods of knowledge engineering for intelligent systems, focusing on two types of autonomy:

  • Execution Autonomy: a system carries out a process automatically in unpredictable environments, making decisions without human intervention when necessary.
  • Design Autonomy: a system is given goals, but then creates the process itself to be carried out within an external environment.

Decision making for robotic machines

CHIC is currently in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh on the ground-breaking project, Huddersfield and Edinburgh: Learning and Adaptation Models for Planning (HEdLAMP). This Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded project aims to develop the capacity for robotic machines to learn and adapt knowledge in order to make their own plans and decisions. Major industrial partners including BAE Systems, Schlumberger, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield Ltd, Network Rail, SCISYS, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the UK Space Agency are providing over £4m in financial support and technical expertise to support the project. HEdLAMP is already encouraging innovative new ways of thinking in relation to encoding information and processes.

Award-winning interface

In order to provide an experimental environment to encourage the much needed innovative use of knowledge engineering tools in planning systems, Huddersfield has developed a Graphical Interface for Planning with Objects (GIPO) tool. This was awarded first prize for best tools platform at the International Competition on Knowledge Engineering for Planning and Scheduling (ICKEPS) in Monterey, California, in 2005. Subsequently, GIPO led the way in the development of a new range of knowledge engineering tools for use in the automated planning area.

Linking research with practice

To ensure that the research carried out at the University has an impact on relevant industries, our researchers have engaged with a programme of talks which relates their work to a range of industry professionals. Talks have been delivered to transport professionals as part of academic conferences, technology transfer events and professional group events. This has led to the formation of the Intelligent Mobility: future vision collaboration (iMFV) which works alongside researchers to influence change and behaviour in society’s attitudes to transport mobility.

mgt plan formulation

Supporting forest management and communities in Ethiopia

Research by the Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Communities (CSRC) is helping to maintain the tropical forests of south-west Ethiopia whilst improving the livelihoods of those who rely on them. Identifying sustainable forest management and small-scale business development opportunities has led to increased resource production, links with national and international markets and increased incomes. Over 105,000 hectares of degrading forest are being transformed into a working and profitable resource and 18 new enterprises now serve around 100,000 people. At a regional level, project-supported changes in legislation with regard to forest access and use of forest products mean that an estimated 15 million people benefit from new forest enterprise development opportunities

Encouraging local enterprise

For the past 20 years, researchers at Huddersfield have collaborated with Ethiopian partners to explore how to achieve sustainable natural resource management. Key to encouraging this is increasing the economic value of natural resources and so encouraging communities to look after them in sustainable ways. This research began with a four-year project on the wetlands of south-west Ethiopia and has continued with 12 years of work on forest management. In the early stages of the project researchers identified the importance of community-based enterprises and established a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) to provide support for inter-disciplinary research.

Global importance of south-west Ethiopia

The forests in this area play a critical role at local, regional and global levels.  Globally, they mitigate climate change, storing 300m tonnes of CO2/annum, whilst also holding the wild gene pool for Arabica coffee.  Regionally the forests and wetlands are important in moderating flows on the Baro-Akobo river, part of the Nile Basin system, that impacts on agricultural production in the Ethiopian lowlands, Sudan and Egypt.

Forest communities – improving prospects

In countries such as Ethiopia, which has lost more than 75% of its forests in recent decades, participatory forest management (PFM) has been identified as a way to jointly maintain the natural environment and enhance the lives of local communities. The economic value of the forests can be developed through increased production, improved product quality and enhanced market links. As well as providing prospects of economic growth for communities, PFM also provides opportunities to learn new skills and provides motivation for the sustainable use of the environment, contributing to a notable reduction in forest clearance in recent years.

Facilitating international trade

More than 100,000 forest users have been directly affected by Huddersfield’s work, whilst another 200,000 in the area and up to 15 million in the region have benefited indirectly. Communities now actively manage over 105,000 hectares of forest, while trade in coffee, honey and spices is transforming the local business landscape. Seven cooperatives and six honey-marketing companies have been established, with trade increasing tenfold since 2008. Supported by research from Huddersfield the co-operatives, PLCs and local traders have forged relationships with buyers in the German fair-trade market (GEPA), The Body Shop in the UK and national level spice traders.

holding hands

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equalities – challenging assumptions

Research undertaken by the Centre for Research in the Social Sciences (CRISS) into the continuing marginalisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has addressed key issues concerning relationships between LGBT people and state institutions. Findings have helped to shape the development of practice in central government departments, local authorities, housing associations, healthcare and community organisations and voluntary sector associations. As a result there have been significant improvements to the social opportunities and attitudes experienced by LGBT people, as well as further understanding of the prejudice and social erasure issues they face.

Organisational change, resistance and democracy

The Centre ran a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in collaboration with Newcastle University (with Professor Diane Richardson from Newcastle University as Principal Investigator) to track the development and implementation of sexualities equality policies in four local authorities covering a wide range of political, social and cultural demographics. Semi-structured interviews were carried out through a range of community and policy-oriented interventions covering both statutory sector and voluntary/community sector agencies. By generating this detailed data the research provides original insights into the resistance LGBT people experienced from local authority services in addition to providing insightful analysis and new intersectional approaches.

Talking to communities face to face and online

Community and media interest in the project led to further cross-cultural work concerning bisexuality. This follow-on work featured interviews with bisexual and other non-heterosexual people, selected to represent a wide range of ages, ethnicities, class backgrounds, abilities and genders. Researchers also carried out in-depth analysis of relevant online platforms including blogs and websites. The findings showed that individuals who do not fit into heterosexual, gay or lesbian categories face particular challenges concerning identity construction, social marginalisation, community-building and political activism.

Challenging assumptions

The research carried out by the Centre has succeeded in challenging two common assumptions about LGBT communities: firstly, that LGBT people have secured all their rights; and secondly, that bisexual people do not have issues with which policymakers and practitioners should be concerned. By challenging these misconceptions the Centre’s research has influenced policymakers and practitioners throughout the UK and Europe, including the delivery of the keynote address at Against Homophobia in 2010.

Influencing policy and practice

In the UK, findings were drawn on in The Bisexuality Report (2015). Reaching over 20,000 downloads, the report has been disseminated to all central government departments. As a result, government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have invested in training workshops to explore and act upon relevant LGBT issues. These initial workshops led to the development of nationwide DWP training which focused on equality issues for bisexual DWP employees and service users via a combination of awareness sessions, management training and online resources.

This research has also fed into a project about the role of public officials in protecting LGBT people’s basic rights across 19 EU Member States, funded by the Fundamental Rights Agency. This timely project addresses how policy makers and practitioners are addressing the fundamental rights of LGBT people in a wide range of countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France and Greece. It focuses on key duty bearers including public officials, education professionals, law enforcement professionals and health professionals.

Lesley Jeffries, Jo Berry, Pat Magee and Jim O'Driscoll

Language in Conflict – building an academic and practitioner community

Members of the Stylistics Research Centre and theCentre for Intercultural Politeness Research working in critical stylistics and interpersonal pragmatics are collaborating with professionals in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution as part of the Language in Conflict project. The group work to enhance the linguistic skills and understanding of mediators and international negotiators through the development and delivery of training materials and the creation of a web-based meeting point for linguists and mediation/conflict resolution practitioners. The methods developed have been incorporated by a number of mediation and conflict resolution organisations, while the website has generated international interest and debate.

The project has been recognised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues, whose advisor has acknowledged the ‘exciting implications for both the theory of conflict and the delivery of new skills for practitioners and policymakers.’

Opposition and Face

The project draws on research into the application of stylistic methods to non-literary texts, with a particular focus on the textual construction of opposition. The tendency of human beings to categorise experience and people into complementary opposites is an important aspect of how conflicts arise, develop and become intractable. Language in Conflict methodologies are informed by this opposition theory so that they can be applied to politically sensitive issues such as radicalisation and democracy.

Language in Conflict also draws upon the concept of face as a way to explain why people don’t say literally what they mean and the interpersonal effects of this universal practice, as well as the development of a framework for considering participation roles in interaction. This research helps the project to explore the significance of people’s identities and roles and look at how, if ignored, these identities and roles can cause conflict.

Creating an online community

Launched in January 2013, the Language in Conflict website and Twitter feed have attracted a diverse range of users and followers both locally and internationally. The website features a set of learning materials (the linguistic toolbox) and articles written by members of the Language in Conflict team, conflict professionals and students of conflict studies. The articles published not only inform the reader on approaches and developments in conflict studies, but also encourage discussion and debate to foster a sense of community between the users.

Practical training workshops

Training workshops have so far been held in Belfast, Brighton, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, London and Manchester and have involved more than two hundred participants from local councils and mediation services. Feedback from the attendees has been extremely positive and illustrates that workshop participants have gone on to apply Language in Conflict’s methods in their own work.

EMMA

Leading the way to a future in thorium

The University of Huddersfield leads the UK in the development and advocacy of the thorium nuclear fuel cycle as an alternative to the uranium/plutonium cycle. Researchers based in the International Institute for Accelerator Applications (IIAA) have set the design parameters for feasible thorium-fuelled reactor assemblies for power generation and waste management. In addition to leading research in this area, the Institute also works to encourage widespread public understanding, leading to growing acceptance of thorium as a realistic, safer, cleaner and sustainable alternative fuel for nuclear fission reactors.

Developing cutting-edge thorium-based technologies

The IIAA has developed an innovative thorium-fuelled Accelerator Driven Subcritical Reactor (ADSR) and explored methods of effecting the fertile to fissile conversion of thorium to provide fuel for conventional reactors. ADSRs have the potential to fill the gap of carbon-free nuclear power stations with a safer, cheaper, more sustainable form of nuclear power. As well as providing power, the higher energy neutron flux provided by accelerator-driven spallation allows ADSRs to burn the radiotoxic actinide waste of conventional reactors as fuel, thereby turning a liability into an asset.

Research has been carried out by the Institute to confirm the physical stability, thermal conductivity, expansion, and diffusion of thorium fuel in a reactor. Measurements of the mass and isotopic yields of the associated 233U fission reaction have also been carried out in collaboration with the Laboratory for Subatomic Physics (LPSC) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Grenoble, providing the most complete and accurate data to date on thorium’s fissile component.

Influencing policy

Following the increasing interest in the IIAA’s research, the report Towards an Alternative Nuclear Future: Capturing thorium-fuelled ADSR energy technology for Britain, was requested by the former Minister of Science, Lord Drayson, to define the financial investment necessary for the UK to deliver the enabling technologies for the construction of a thorium-fuelled ADSR. The report demonstrated that the UK could compete aggressively in existing nuclear markets and open up new nuclear markets to meet carbon reduction targets. It shows that it is possible, through a public/private partnership, to realise ADSR technology by 2025, ahead of the Generation IV International Forum expectations.

The IIAA also engages strongly with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Thorium, and with the world’s first nuclear charity, The Alvin Weinberg Foundation.  Labour-peer Baroness Worthington, shadow minister for Energy and Climate Change in the House of Lords is a former chair of the APPG and patron of the Alvin Weinberg Foundation and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2013 by the University of Huddersfield in recognition of her work as environmental campaigner and advocate of thorium nuclear energy for low carbon emissions and energy security.

Engaging the public in the thorium debate

Engaging the public with this revolutionary technology is an important part of the ongoing research. As part of its commitment to public engagement the IIAA has delivered talks including Café Scientifique, TEDx, the Philosophical Society, Probus, the British Science Festival, the Beacons Rock Festival and Glastonbury, as well as appearing in numerous television, radio and magazine articles. The success achieved with these public events has led to the Science Museum in London launching a three-month exhibition at the Antenna Gallery dedicated to the University’s thorium research programme.

Confidence in thorium to drive future research

Throughout the research process the IIAA has maintained a continual focus on strong engagement with policy makers to inform the on-going UK debate on clean, low carbon, safe and sustainable nuclear power. The thorium fuel cycle was recently included in the Beddington Review document Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap: Future Pathways. This recognises that thorium fuel could play a key role in the future pathways to nuclear power in the UK and is worthy of significant further research.

The IIAA is currently working on studies of the use of thorium fuel in the Multi-purpose Hybrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications (MYRRHA) currently in planning in Belgium. A team of students is working over the summer to calculate how combining ADSR systems with thorium fuel will increase the rate at which actinide wastes can be destroyed in such a reactor.

Paul Humphreys

Microbiology – benefitting functional food production and nuclear waste storage

Research at the University of Huddersfield into microbial production and metabolism has influenced both the food industry and government policy. This work has led to the adoption of new techniques to produce fermented products and has made a major contribution to the safety case for the disposal of nuclear waste, highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of underground storage. This has impacted on commerce and society through the development of new ideas about how ‘probiotic’ bacteria can protect people from pathogenic organisms, providing new insights into which probiotic strains to include in yoghurts. In the nuclear industry an understanding of how bacteria can metabolise polysaccharides and their decomposition products is being used to assess the safety of their storage facilities.

Probiotic health benefits

An understanding of the potential health benefits associated with probiotic bacteria has led to an increase in commercial interest in functional foods containing good-bacteria (probiotics). Researchers in the University’s Department of Biological Sciences have focused on relating the biological activity of the polysaccharides secreted by probiotic organisms to their structure. The work also allows researchers to correlate variations in structures with changes in the sequence of the genes responsible for their synthesis.  Ultimately, this will allow food manufacturers to screen different probiotic bacteria for similar genetic markers.

International collaborations

Collaborations in this research area have included academic partners from Europe and Scandinavia and industrial partners from France (Rhodia Foods). The Huddersfield team coordinated European projects with Rhodia to select biological cultures with the ability to produce polysaccharides and to establish methods for producing functional polysaccharides from lactic acid and bifidobacteria.

The team has also been working closely with colleagues at the Instituto de Productos Lacteos de Austurias (IPLA) in Spain. This team are recognised as one of the leading government-funded research groups studying the biological activity and genetics of bifidobacteria, and have worked with the University to publish work describing both the gene sequence and the structure of an exopolysaccharide (EPS) from a bifidobacterium.

Understanding nuclear waste decomposition

Microbiological research has also helped to inform policy around the development of nuclear waste facilities. The University’s researchers have studied gas and small molecule generation during microbial-catalysed cellulose decomposition, helping to further understand key factors in the safety case for proposed underground nuclear waste repositories. Radioactive and highly flammable gases were identified which can pose a threat to the safe storage of intermediate and low-level radioactive waste if directly released into the environment.

The team also studied the production of small organic molecules that can potentially escape into the geosphere, this research has led to the production of a computational model for estimating gas production during the decomposition process. This work has been crucial to Ontario Power Generation’s proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) Project for Low and Intermediate Level Waste at the Bruce nuclear facility in the Municipality of Kincardine. Computational modelling has helped to demonstrate the likely effects of microbial decomposition in the years following closure of the proposed facility. If approved, such facilities will bring about not just major environmental benefits but considerable economic impacts in the form of career prospects for a major new industry.

Drug permeation equipment

Improving wound care and preventing infection

Research carried out by the Institute of Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention (a collaboration between the Schools of Applied Sciences, Human and Health SciencesComputing and Engineering and Art, Design and Architecture), has helped to shape policy and practice in the field of surgical site infection (SSI) and wound management. The institute, established in 2014, is building upon previous research by the Skin Interface Sciences Research Group which developed best practice guidance and helped raise practitioner, industry and public awareness of the importance of effective clinical interventions in infection prevention, tissue viability and wound care.

Widespread infection a burden for hospitals

Over 5 per cent of patients in the UK undergoing surgery acquire an SSI, and three quarters of the deaths following SSIs are due to this infection. SSIs account for around 15-20 per cent of all healthcare-associated infections, leading to increased morbidity and mortality, additional costs and longer stays in hospital.

The Institute is helping to address these concerns by promoting effective clinical care in tissue viability and wound care. Much of this work has focused on how wound complication rates, post-operative surgical blisters and the healing and infection of chronic wounds are affected by the choice of dressing.

Improving efficiency of antiseptics

Antiseptics can contribute to SSIs as they often exhibit restricted penetration into the skin, limiting their efficacy against microorganisms when the protective skin barrier is breached during surgery. A collaboration between the University of Huddersfield, University Hospital Birmingham and Aston University investigated the factors controlling the release and effectiveness of the antiseptic, chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), released from a drug-impregnated gel dressing. The study revealed that the CHG gel dressing could maintain antimicrobial activity for up to seven days, potentially suppressing bacterial growth and helping to prevent infection.

Informing best practice

The team at Huddersfield has conducted an on-line survey of international experts producing best practice guidance for the prevention of surgical wound blistering. Based on contributions from respondents in Scandinavia, India, Australia and the US, the consensus emerged that an ideal wound dressing should easily conform to the wound, allow for swelling and have simple application and removal, thus minimising pain for the patient.

An e-learning resource, Challenges in Wound Care, has also helped to develop and support best practice in this area by drawing on the Institute’s experience. Using a problem-based structure to address questions surrounding the assessment, diagnosis and management of various wound care scenarios, it promotes the importance of working in a multidisciplinary team to achieve optimum outcomes for patients.

These projects have helped to shape policy and practice in areas including planning interventions, quality of life and well-being – which are vital if patients are to receive evidence-based, cost-effective treatment. This work has contributed to a series of influential Best Practice Statements, including The Use of Topical Antiseptic/Antimicrobial Agents in Wound Management. This publication is widely used as evidence to support NHS Trust development and to guide the use of appropriate dressings for the management of wound infection.