In the News: 4 – 11 January

News Page 11th January 2018

This week’s round up of University news coverage.


New Year is traditionally a time to set self-improvement goals, and recent Paramedic Science graduate Matt Cornell set the bar high for all of us when he appeared on Channel Four’s ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ on Sunday. As he told the BBC’s John Griff, he was, along with 24 other ‘civvies’, subjected to the sort of punishing training regimes only our elite special forces normally go through.

“The programme was tough-going as we drove our bodies to the edge through a number of mental/physical challenges but in some aspects, the Paramedic course at University of Northampton helped me prepare, especially in relation to communication and handling stressful situations,” he said (starts 2h11m).

China also chose January 1st to cut back on something bad for it, when it banned the import of other countries’ waste plastics. As Professor Margret Bates explained to BBC Radio Five last week, the restrictions will spell big problems for the UK, who had sent the Chinese almost 3 million tons of the stuff to recycle over the last five years.

“We should have focused much more on developing our own indigenous infrastructure, and then we could have looked at making much more sensible use of our resources, rather than just export them.” (Starts 43m).

Winter brings an inevitable spike in the number of people presenting at hospital A&E Departments, so it was perhaps timely that Associate Professor Sarah Neill’s BeArH (Before Arrival at Hospital) project should launch in late December. As she told ITV Anglia last Thursday, the 18-month study aims to discover why twice as many under-fives die each year of treatable infections in the UK than in Sweden. The research will concentrate on the crucial period between a child falling ill and arriving at hospital to try to understand why fatal delays in admissions continue to occur.

Children’s wellbeing – in this case their ‘digital health’ – was also the subject of a major report last week from the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield OBE. Amongst the recommendations were social media lessons in schools, with a specific focus on building emotional resilience. As marketing lecturer Samantha Read explained to Carson Wishart, whilst children crave the instant gratification social media can provide, they also struggle with the pressure that comes with it – especially when dealing with online comments.

“There’s a clear cliff edge between children just playing games on social media when they are at primary school, to actually using it to construct their identity and get social validation when they are in secondary school,” she said (starts 2h14).

Social media did prove very rewarding for one senior marketing lecturer and thirty of her students this week, however, when Kardi Somerfield – who was named a ‘top 10 social media superstar’ by JISC back in November – received her prize. As she told BBC Radio, JISC sent their Digi Lab ed-tech team to demonstrate how a robot, a brain scanner and a 3D VR paint brush could one day become part of the industry (starts 2h22m)…

Also this week: Senior Journalism Lecturer Hilary Scott reviewed the Sunday papers (starts 1h53);  Computer Weekly reported on our new digital prospectus; and two nurses from Bermuda have won scholarships to study Mental Health Nursing at UoN.

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