News: November 2018

Adventure and Beyond: Annual North Wales Tourism Conference, 2018

As thrill seekers head to north Wales, the ‘capital’ of adventure tourism, Bangor University’s Pontio Innovation Centre and Go North Wales, co-host the annual North Wales Tourism conference in Pontio on 6 December. The title of the conference is “Adventure and Beyond”.

Keynote speakers are include Lord Ellis- Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, television presenter, Kate Humble,  writer and public speaker, John Thackara as well as Yangtze River Walk adventurer and extreme athlete, Ash Dykes, from North Wales, who will join by video conference.

Publication date: 30 November 2018

Chemsex and PrEP reliance are fuelling a rise in syphilis among men who have sex with men

No one is entirely sure about the origins of syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. The first recorded outbreak in Europe appeared during the 1495 invasion of Naples, where it led to widespread disease and death, particularly among troops on the French side. Later, disbanded armies helped to spread syphilis, the “great pox”, across Europe, where the disease rapidly became endemic.

Transmitted from person-to-person primarily through sexual contact, the first symptom of syphilis to appear is usually a small, round and painless skin ulcer, referred to as a canker, at the site of infection. This canker will eventually heal and disappear but the bacteria remain, circulating in the blood and potentially leading to severe health consequences, including heart disease, dementia and blindness.

This article by Simon Bishop, Lecturer in Public Health and Primary Care, at the School of Health Sciences is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 30 November 2018

Rare woodland wildlife at risk because of 50-year-old tree felling rules

This article by Craig Shuttleworth, Honorary Visiting Research Fellow, at the School of Natural Sciences is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article

In the UK it is illegal to deliberately kill or injure red squirrels, disturb them while they are using a nest, or destroy their nests. Yet, although the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act provides these protections, there is a legal anomaly in England and Wales – one that can potentially undermine the conservation of the red squirrel, along with every other rare and endangered forest plant or animal species. Although rare woodland species are protected, the habitat they dwell in is generally not.

Publication date: 30 November 2018

Vice-Chancellor to retire in August 2019

Bangor University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor John G. Hughes has announced that he is to retire next August after nine years in charge.

Professor Hughes is only the seventh Vice-Chancellor in the University’s 135 year history, and the University will shortly be advertising for a successor.

Publication date: 30 November 2018

What seabirds can tell us about the tide

When the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) set out to tag razorbills, their aim was to track their behaviour and movements along the coast of North Wales. The tag data revealed that, at night, these seabirds spent a lot of their time idle on the sea surface. "We saw this as an opportunity to re-use the data and test if the birds might be drifting with the tidal current," says Matt Cooper, a Master of Oceanography graduate from Bangor University in Wales. It turns out they were, according to a new study led by Cooper that shows the potential of using seabirds to measure ocean currents. The results are published today in the European Geosciences Union journal Ocean Science.

Publication date: 29 November 2018

Why are we getting these warm wild winds?

Is there a cold winter on the way?

Whilst our weather has warmed in the last couple of days with the arrival of mild westerly winds from the Atlantic, there are indications further afield which may point to a cold winter for Wales.

Scientists monitoring ocean conditions over the tropical Pacific Ocean have detected a warming of the surface water which is a strong indicator of the onset of a major global climate event, known as an “El Nino”.

Publication date: 29 November 2018

Virtual Reality enables you to swim with sharks - in Welsh!

"Ocean Rift", one of the world’s most popular Virtual Reality programmes is the first to be available in Welsh for use with VR headsets. (English version here).

Created by Dr Llŷr ap Cenydd, a lecturer at Bangor University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, Ocean Rift was one of the first programmes to be released alongside the Samsung Gear VR headset, and has become one of the most popular with an estimated 2.5 million downloads since 2013.

Publication date: 28 November 2018

M-SParc on winning streak

M-SParc, Wales’ first dedicated Science Park, which opened on the 1st of March 2018 is on a winning streak! Recentlly, the project won Digital Construction Project of the Year 2018 at the Constructing Excellence National Awards, secured a new contract to establish an Enterprise Hub in partnership with Menter Mon, and organised and hosted the first Energy Summit for North West Wales celebrating the success of energy companies in the region.

Publication date: 27 November 2018

What planet Earth might look like when the next supercontinent forms – four scenarios

The outer layer of the Earth, the solid crust we walk on, is made up of broken pieces, much like the shell of a broken egg. These pieces, the tectontic plates, move around the planet at speeds of a few centimetres per year. Every so often they come together and combine into a supercontinent, which remains for a few hundred million years before breaking up. The plates then disperse or scatter and move away from each other, until they eventually – after another 400-600 million years – come back together again.

This article by Mattias Green, Reader in Physical Oceanography, Bangor UniversityHannah Sophia Davies, PhD Researcher, Universidade de Lisboa , and Joao C. Duarte, Researcher and Coordinator of the Marine Geology and Geophysics Group, Universidade de Lisboa is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 27 November 2018

Poetry pamphlet shortlisting

A poetry pamphlet by Carol Rumens, Professor of Creatiive Writing, launched at Pontio this Spring, has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award for the best poetry pamphlet published between September 2017 and September 2018.

Publication date: 26 November 2018

Welsh Food Advisory Appointment

Dr Philip Hollington, of the School of Natural Sciences, has been appointed to the Welsh Food Advisory Committee for a period of three years.

Publication date: 26 November 2018

Mangrove forests can rebound thanks to climate change – it’s an opportunity we must take

Humans have become adept at destroying natural habitats. Indeed, we’re so good at it we’ve changed the very makeup and climate of our planet. But there may be signs the natural world is fighting back by protecting itself against rising temperatures and changing weather patterns, and we face the tantalising prospect of helping this process.

This article by Christian Dunn, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the School of Natural Sciences is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 20 November 2018

Networking event in Manchester, 6th of November

SASHI co-investigators and associates met with others interested in developing suicide and self harm research in Manchester to identify important research questions and discuss future opportunities.

Publication date: 16 November 2018

How to help people with dementia retain the power of choice

Deterioration in the ability to produce complex speech or understand what people are asking, can make it difficult for people with dementia to make choices in conventional ways. It can be simple things like deciding which clothes to wear, or what to have for dinner. But when a person is in the more advanced stages of dementia, and may not be able to speak at all, it can be difficult for those caring for them to work out what their preferences would be.

To help the estimated 280,000 people with dementia who are living in UK care homes, family members are often asked what their loved ones would prefer and notes are made by staff. But we know that people’s preferences can change, sometimes on a daily basis, and are hard to predict even by people who know them really well.

This article by Rebecca Sharp, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Zoe Lucock, PhD researcher at the School of Psychology is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 15 November 2018

Transforming education in Wales in partnership with the Welsh Government

Welsh Government has identified the need to recruit and retain inspirational leaders in order to deliver its educational mission. As a result, a clear pathway for developing leadership from middle leaders to executive headteachers has been devised. 

Bangor University and University Wales Trinity Saint David’s (Yr Athrofa) won the tender to accredit the National Consortia’s Leadership programmes, with teachers having the opportunity to gain accreditation ranging from a PGCert through to a doctoral qualification. 

Publication date: 15 November 2018

Poorer children priced out of learning instruments but school music programmes benefit the wider community

Years of austerity in the UK have bitten away at school budgets, and the arts have suffered heavily. Schools can no longer afford to employ teaching assistants, so it is little wonder that local authorities have cut school music funding.

Schools are responsible for their own budgets, and musical instrument lessons that were traditionally subsidised by councils have been cut down in some districts. Now, the Musicians’ Union has found that children living in the poorest areas are no longer getting the exposure to music and the arts that they so often only get in school. With parents being asked to subside instrument lessons, 41% of low-income families have said that they cannot do so due to their limited household budget.

This article by Eira Winrow, PhD Research Candidate and Research Project Support Officer and Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Professor of Health Economics, at the Centre for Health Economics and Medicinces Evaluation is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 13 November 2018

Prince Charles: the conventions that will stop him from meddling as King

Categorised by some as a “meddler”, for decades constitutional lawyers have debated whether Prince Charles will be a reformist when he succeeds the Queen. Specifically, his “spider memos” to government ministers – which evidence his views on political issues such as climate change – have been used as an indication that he would not be “politically neutral”, and would reformulate the relationship between the Crown and parliament.

This article by Stephen Clear Lecturer in Constitutional and Administrative Law, and Public Procurement at the School of Law is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 13 November 2018

Innovative project by Bangor University increases the use of Welsh in the workplace

An innovative project established by Canolfan Bedwyr and Behaviour Change researchers at the University in order to increase the use of Welsh in the workplace received praise from the Welsh Language Commissioner recently.

Publication date: 12 November 2018

University to stem decline of RE teachers

Bangor University is to contribute towards increasing the number of teachers available to teach Religious Education and improve the teaching materials available to both teachers and students.

Religious Education has been facing a crisis in recent years, with teachers feeling increasingly underqualified to teach an ever-changing syllabus at GCSE and A level, while recruitment of new graduates as subject teachers is failing to keep up with demand.

A new three-year project at the University’s School of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences will collate and develop new teaching materials for use by both teachers and students and encourage more current university students to become subject teachers.

Publication date: 7 November 2018

More experiments may help explore what works in conservation

All over the world, countless conservation projects are taking place, attempting to achieve aims from reducing habitat loss, to restoring populations of threatened species. However there is growing awareness that conservationists have not always done a good enough job at evaluating whether the things they do really work. But our new study shows that simply experimenting could change this.

This article by Julia P G Jones, Professor of Conservation Science, School of Natural Sciences is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Publication date: 5 November 2018