Midlands winner of science medal

Aston University’s Professor Yvonne Perrie has been announced as the 2007 winner of the prestigious British Pharmaceutical Conference science medal, primarily for her work in improving the delivery of drugs using minute particles called liposomes.

The science medal is awarded annually to a scientist working in a pharmaceutical or related discipline who has produced work of outstanding promise and has demonstrated a proven track record of independent research.

Her research has been applied to improve the potency of drugs while reducing their side-effects and in particular to enhancing the effect of vaccines to protect against a range of infectious diseases.

For more details see Aston University

Green tea helps burn fat

Drinking a couple of cups of green tea before exercise could help burn fat, researchers at the University of Birmingham have discovered.

Scientists have found that green tea can increase fat oxidation – the rate at which fat is broken down inside the body – during moderate intensity exercise.

The drink can also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose intolerance, meaning it could have the potential to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information see the University of Birmingham.

£10 Million Scheme Brings Young Science Stars to Birmingham Science City

The Universities of Warwick and Birmingham, have together just been awarded almost £10 million to bring young science stars to the Birmingham Science City region.

The £9.6 million award, by the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Strategic Development Fund, is a massive investment in the Birmingham Science City region. The initiative supported by the regional development agency AWM is a partnership of industry, business, education and the public sector, working together to establish the West Midlands region as a centre for world-class scientific research.

The funding will establish “The Birmingham Warwick Science City Interdisciplinary Research Alliance”, an alliance of the region’s two highest ranking research universities.

This alliance of interdisciplinary, inter-institutional academic research staff gives a further boost to the already planned considerable capital investment of up to £80 million for collaborative research for the Birmingham Science City initiative funded by AWM.

The funding will allow the Alliance to recruit 15-20 young but very high potential researchers in science, engineering and medicine, who will be appointed as staff in one of the two universities, but who will also have an honorary position in the other university. They will focus on interdisciplinary projects between the two institutions and across three key themes:

Energy Futures – looking at hydrogen energy generation, storage and use, and how to reduce energy demand and increasing efficiency in transport and buildings.

Advanced Materials – research and development into the creation, development and characterisation of new, advanced materials and sensors for applications in a diversity of industries from aerospace engineering to medical/healthcare and ICT.

Translational Medicine – Translating high quality clinical and biomedical research into improved disease prevention, new diagnostics and innovative therapies in Obesity/Diabetes (Metabolism), Infections, Heart Disease (Cardiovascular Sciences), Reproduction and the nervous system.

Minister for Higher Education Bill Rammell said:

“This is a very good example of innovative collaboration between two universities, bringing great benefits to the region though world-class research and I am really pleased that the Government is able to fund this project.

“The Government is committed to increasing the number of people studying and working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and this interdisciplinary work will address some important themes and thereby further our goal of making Britain a world leader in research, development and pioneering new technologies”

University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:

“This HEFCE award will help underpin a very substantial programme of research collaboration that will bring real science- and technology-led benefits to our region in partnership with AWM. Even more of the best researchers and students will be drawn to the area from across the world.”

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Sterling said:

“This is a fantastic boost to the joint research that the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick are already carrying out through our unique collaboration on Science City projects.

“We look forward to welcoming the brightest young minds who can assist us in our goal to put the region on the map as a world leader in the fields of energy, materials and medical science.”

Professor David Eastwood , HEFCE Chief Executive said:

“Bringing together two research intensive universities in this alliance around the Science City initiative will provide a dynamic and excit”ng way of enhancing the critical mass and range of research and knowledge transfer activities. The benefits for the West Midlands region will be substantial and we are very pleased to be able to support this collaborative enterprise.”

Phil Extance Director of Innovation at AWM said:

“Advantage West Midlands is delighted that HEFCE have provided funding that complements our own capital investments in the collaboration between Birmingham and Warwick, further strengthening the capability of Birmingham Science City. This is a strong endorsement of the two universities and of the region’s science and technology base.”

Cleaning up motorsport

Hours spend testing and racing cars around a track means that motorsport probably doesn’t have the greatest carbon footprint. 

But two Coventry University students are trying to change all that. They’re developing a club level racing car that runs on bioethanol, which could cut environmentally harmful emissions for the sport by half.

The bioethanol racing car

Seminar on fuel efficient engine

A seminar to demonstrate the development of a new fuel efficient gasoline engine is set to take place at Coventry University on Friday February 15.

Experts from across the world of engineering are expected to attend the seminar to see the results of an experimental project to develop the MUSIC (Merritt Unthrottled Spark Ignition Combustion) engine.  

The recently patented engine was invented and developed by Dr. Dan Merritt whilst working at Coventry University.

It promises to match, or even improve on the fuel efficiency of the diesel engine at part load, thus removing the fuel economy gap between diesel and gasoline engines when driven in urban environments.

Dr. Merritt said: “The fuel economy gap between the two types of engine has not been bridged since the nineteenth century. It results from completely different ignition and combustion systems each requiring its own type of fuel.

“Until now diesel engines have given far superior fuel efficiency at part load when compared with gasoline engines but gasoline engines delivered more power for a given size.  The MUSIC gasoline engine has now demonstrated part load efficiencies as good as the diesel engine but at a lower cost.”

For more see Coventry University