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Session 5B, 5E & 5F 08:00-09:30 // day one

5B - Education University of Warwick and Monash University Australia

This presentation focuses on theoretically bridging two institutional movements that have gained increasing momentum in the UK academic landscape: Widening Participation and Undergraduate Research. Whilst Widening Participation (WP) is a nation-wide policy-movement seeking to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in Higher Education (HE), Undergraduate Research (UR) has instilled a paradigmatic shift towards considering undergraduate students as intra-institutional partners in producing academic knowledge. In light of this context, our research focuses on arguing that UR constitutes an effective institutional tool for the integration of WP students into a community of academic practice. Thus, we have adopted a holistic approach to consider how UR can enrich the qualitative experiences of WP students within the whole student lifecycle, positively impacting their retention and post-university progression and going beyond the traditional, quantitative measurement of WP activity at the outreach and recruitment stages. In our research, we have identified a disparity in the literature between US and UK theoretical approaches to promoting UR as a high-impact practice for improving undergraduate academic experiences and outcomes. As such, our comparative methodological approach, centred around an extensive, empirically-oriented literature review, corroborates the thesis that, through UR, WP students can develop a sense of self-authorship and scholarly independence, which can substantially improve their academic engagement, retention and educational outcomes. Thus, a preliminary implication is that for UK undergraduate research schemes to fulfil their inclusive potential, a stronger emphasis should be placed on UR as a holistic, immersive and community-based academic endeavour.

Young women are experiencing an imbalance when it comes to sexuality in terms of intimate relationships practices, media representation, as well as in negotiating the complicated messages stemming from radical feminist movements that dictate liberation equates to overt sexual display. Sex education aims to teach healthy intimate practices for relationships that ultimately lead to happier and safer experiences. Yet the abstinence education in the current Victorian Government sex education program does not fill the gap experienced by young women in their transition between sex education and the language of adult sexual spaces.The literature on this suggests that young people experience a removal of agency when it comes to sex education that is not experienced in other school subjects. Some argue that this is due to the severe lack of safe spaces for young people to discuss the complexities of sexuality, in ways that they do for other school subjects. Hence, there is a reliance on sources that are pornographic, factually incorrect and reinforce gender roles.This study will interview young women, between the ages of 18 and 22, who attended Victorian State Government high schools, to discover how this gap is experienced, and what specifically is missing in sex education that may alleviate this tension. It predicts that sex education is a key space that needs to be looked at to help support young women in their understanding of sexuality, and questions whether the current model is adequate in preparing young people for the modern messages around sexual expression.

In 2010 the Scottish Government implemented the Curriculum for Excellence in Scottish schools, designed not only to teach the usual numeracy and literacy, but also to develop character by creating “confident individuals, responsible citizens, effective contributors, and successful learners”. This recognised the need to encourage personality traits in children who will grow up to find that even achieving top grades will neither prepare them for real-life situations like relationships, nor guarantee employment. In theory, an education which prepares children for real-life situations would be ideal, but whether or not a classroom-based education is truly effective in developing the character of individuals is an issue which must be evaluated.

An analysis of the academic research by McCulloch, Moore, Guiney, White, and Roofe and Bezzina has been undertaken to investigate the flaws in modern classroom-based education and the obstacles which undermine the aim to develop character. Academic literature on the topic of educational reform list constant assessment as a primary fault without recognising the importance inactivity and boredom in the classroom plays in alienating young adults from an enjoyable learning experience. Secondary school curriculum content often appears to be far removed from useful knowledge applicable to everyday situations. Hence, gaps in the social, political, and administrative knowledge of many pupils after completing secondary school education are often ignored. Ensuring that future educational reform addresses these issues, and that the reforms are implemented successfully, is critical to the advancement of our educational institutes, and thus the wellbeing and preparation of young people for life after school.

"If I had to pick one factor on whether or not a student was going to strive, perform well, get their homework done: it's the value that parents put on education"
Judy, The Sydney Herald Sun, 2016

Recently released PISA from 2015 have shown that Australia have declined in Maths (10th globally), Science (20th) and Literacy (10th) since 2000. Australia is below average for all these subject areas in comparison to the OECD average. One reason for this decline is the reduction in value of education in students and parents.

A longitudinal study conducted by the University of Queensland's Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences found that students who grew up with more books at home showed that their parents cared about education (The Sydney Herald Sun, 2016). Furthermore, various research have also shown that children’s perception of their parents in terms of motivation, involvement and support for schooling play a crucial role in children’s academic success (Seginer, 1983), (Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci,1991). However, there are only limited amount of literature on this topic, therefore, this literature review aims to build on previous research and propose a research question in order to fill the gap in the literature. This review will focus on parents’ value on education and the effect it has on their child’s value of education and academic success. This will be conducted through a literature review and future research suggestion will also be made.

It is hypothesised that children of parents who have a higher value for education will display greater value for education and thus greater academic performance; whereas, children of parents who have lower value for education will display lower value for education and thus lower level of academic performance. By understanding how parents’ value for education affect students, suggestion of improvement and development of strategies can be constructed to improve perception in parents."

5E - Environment & Sustainability University of Warwick and Monash University Malaysia

With the rapid depletion of fossil fuels as well as increasing demand in their supply and the impacts of climate change becoming increasing concern around the world, investigating alternative ways to power our society is crucial. Biodiesel is an alternative to fossil fuels as the combustion of biodiesel does not produce waste pollutants, thus it is environmentally friendly. Biodiesel can be synthesised by reacting triglycerides (the main constituent of natural fats and oils) with either ethanol or methanol, in the presence of a catalyst, in a transesterification reaction. Currently, clean cooking oil is used as a feedstock for biodiesel production, however, the cost is higher than the selling price of biodiesel which is not economically sustainable. This research proposes waste cooking oil as an alternative feedstock for the biodiesel production. The use of waste cooking oil has the added benefit of utilising what would be a waste product and adding value to it, hence reducing the strain on the earth’s resources. However, the structure of oil will change when it is used during cooking which affects the biodiesel production. I aim to analyse and compare the quality of biodiesel produced from waste cooking oil with that of clean cooking oil based on several properties: density, viscosity and cloud point (the temperature at which wax begins to separate when the oil is chilled to a low temperature). The interpretation of the results would draw a conclusion whether biodiesel from waste cooking oil as an energy source is feasible.

Fossil fuel, a non-renewable resource, is the dominant form of energy that is consumed in electricity generation, transportation, and industrial activities. The largest source of energy is petroleum and its consumption rate is increasing every year. Eventually, it will run out and humanity will lose their energy source to power the society. Technology has evolved in the past few decades to improve energy efficiencies and alternative sources of energy are being explored to cut down the usage of fossil fuel. This research proposes a green and innovative idea to produce different grades of petroleum-derived from natural rubber. Research is performed through literature review to explore the various chemical processes involved in the production of petroleum from natural rubber. Natural rubber is a tropical plantation crop that is chemically comprised of isoprene – a chemical compound that consists of 5 carbon atoms and 8 hydrogen atoms. Natural rubber can be converted into a liquid through hydrous pyrolysis which is a process that uses water at high temperature and pressure. Different grades of liquid petroleum are produced through a process of cross metathesis. The liquid formed is composed of molecules with less than five carbon atoms which are combined to produce a long chain hydrocarbon petroleum. Following this, a hydrogenation process is carried out whereby hydrogen atoms are added to the long chain hydrocarbon petroleum to produce different grades of liquid petroleum. Thus, petroleum-derived from natural rubber can be the next great fuel that can power the future.

The aims of this paper are to research into the climate-related vulnerabilities of EU Member States and to analyse whether these States are collecting, monitoring and providing enough data on the risks to the impacts of climate change. Using the European Environment Agency (EEA) data, this research builds a view of the vulnerability of European countries from a regional perspective. This data, together with the scientific research coming from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 report, forms a quantitative base for the assessment of the threats posed by climate-related extreme weather events to European countries from a regional perspective. Then, the paper analyses the countries’ level of preparedness to climate change from both a quantitative and qualitative position, if the increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (as stated in the Paris Agreement) became reality. This research, therefore, shows the vulnerability of Europe to a 1.5°C increase in order to promote the deployment of more ambitious interventions.

Since the beginning of globalization, the number of migrants has more than tripled worldwide (World Bank Data, 2012), especially in multicultural megacities such as London. The city hosts the majority of immigrants in the UK (36%) and almost half of Inner London’s population (41%) is foreign-born (The Migration Observatory, 2015). In the context of significant waves of immigration in Europe recently, governments worry about immigrants’ ability to integrate into society and the impact on social inequalities. Successful integration is key to an inclusive sustainable development according to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2017).

Individuals with parents of different ethnicities “are more likely to live in integrated neighborhoods than in homogenous concentrations of either of their parental races or ethnicities”. Building on Clark and Fosset’s work (2008, p.4114), this paper asks whether a higher ethnical diversity driven by immigration improves the ability of minorities to integrate into society.

My research compares data from the Office of National Statistics and the results of a computer simulation on NetLogo inspired by the Schelling’s model of spatial segregation (1971). I plan to design a model of individuals’ behaviors in a city like London under the influx of a high number of migrants, which then provides an estimate of the evolution of inequalities at the society level in the long-run. An agent-based model is based on assumptions about people’s behaviors drawn from national statistics and then simulates the complex interactions between agents and the dynamic nature of inequalities (Miller and Scott, 2007).

5F - Applications for Modern Technologies University of Warwick and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Modern technologies tend to be engineered for the UK, US and Canada. The technological development in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) is slow and will not be able to sustain or equip them for the future years, restricting their access to life saving technologies and financial advancement. It is important to be able to leverage artificial intelligence, internet of things and blockchain, as well as many different technologies within LEDC's, as this will help countries to advance and improve the lives of millions of their citizens. This research paper aims to identify ways to change this, allowing there to be a bridge between new technologies, healthcare and LEDC's.

This project helps to bridge the gap between new technologies and the developing world, exploring two of the most developing fields within the scope of technology - healthcare and finance. It will look at new technologies present in the western world, as well as technological trends across the globe, and present findings on ways to leverage these skills in Ghana as a case study in an aid to make them more financially deserved and to improve patient care and wellbeing across the healthcare sector.

With the help of investment bankers, SME's and doctors across the African and South East Asian continents through interviews and video responses, I will be conducting interviews and collecting data on how technology has advanced within the western world in comparison to Africa as a whole, with specific focus on Ghana. I aim to highlight the current issues with technology within these fields, and propose ways to improve it.

The introduction of Bitcoin trading at Goldman Sachs is reflective of cryptocurrencies becoming an intriguing investment choice not for just the average investor but also high-profile clients at financial institutions. However, presently the discussion and research on the value of Bitcoin as an asset lacks consideration of it as an effective diversification tool. Also, large parts of the media narrative has been about its clash against fiat currency, despite major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin lacking the properties of real currency (i.e. medium of exchange and unit of account). The unique movement of cryptocurrency prices gives it potential to be used as an effective vehicle for diversification. Hence, this research primarily focuses on the potential cryptocurrencies have to reduce idiosyncratic risks in investors' portfolios and how it can be used as a key tenet of a diversified investment strategy.

The value of cryptocurrencies to diversification is premised by using investment portfolio theory literature to theorise the function of cryptocurrencies as a store of value. Next, this research uses modern portfolio-optimisation models to aid in quantifying the diversification benefits of cryptocurrencies. Namely, the Treynor-Black model is used to compare and contrast portfolios with different Bitcoin compositions. In addition, the Markowitz model (with bootstrapping approach to minimise estimation risk) is used to compare diversification benefits in instances where an individual invests into a few assets but still aims for efficient diversification. By using these models to estimate optimal portfolios under various investment scenarios, it is demonstrated quantitatively that Bitcoin can be combined with specific asset types (e.g. government bonds) to achieve efficient diversification.

My project focuses on how technology can be a tool for politics. Blockchain, which underpins Bitcoin, is a technology which allows for information to be exchanged in a self-regulated, decentralised manner with all information being stored transparently. Imagine if politics could be decentralised and transparent by the same nature. Based in Switzerland, my project looks at new models which are being created using voting models and prediction markets to bring forward a fresh outlook on politics. There is a gap in current literature on how decentralised governance could work, since Hanson’s paper of Futarchy. Prediction markets have been tried and Ethereum has come up with probably models, yet the academic world is yet to find a model which would diminish the need for centralised power. Yet now, Academics on Switzerland are building a groundbreaking voting system on blockchain which would change politics. The research methods I will use will be interviews with Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne (EPFL) professors who are at the heart of the new developments in Swiss, analysation of prediction markets and Secondary research into current papers on other models of decentralised governance. I hope to find an exciting model of governance by analysing the development in Switzerland and find evidence to suggest blockchain could underpin politics. This could implicate current governance models yet I hope this project can be useful for people to understand the power of technology and how ‘the wisdom of the crowd’ could overtake centralisation.

The rising interest in wearable technology due to its diverse potential applications in healthcare is responsible for advancement in sensing and wireless communication technology. Continuous monitoring of human vitals requires sensors to be flexible and sensitive to physical stimuli. As temperature is one of the main vitals of body, a flexible temperature sensor was realized. Furthermore, a study was performed to optimise temperature sensor in terms of sensitivity and measurement range. The measured temperature data was transmitted using Arduino to mobile device over Bluetooth communication. The transferred data was then displayed and stored using a mobile application which was developed in-house specifically for temperature monitoring. The flexible temperature sensor was realized with PEDOT:PSS thin film and PEDOT:PSS + MoS2 composite thin film. The change in resistance was inversely proportional to temperature. The curing temperature of PEDOT:PSS 200 oC gave a significant resistance decrease within temperature range of 25 oC to 35 oC (4.57%)compared to 25 oC to 100 oC(0.73%) for PEDOT:PSS thin film.