Over £20 million government award marks Midlands’ bio-economy strengths
A consortium of Midlands research-active universities has just been awarded research studentships worth over £20 million to build on the Midlands’ already significant bio-economy and success in life sciences and agricultural research.
The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership 2020 (MIBTP2020) is led by the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick and brings together a number of other Warwick research departments, in partnership with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Aston University and Harper Adams University. The funding comes from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council arm of the Government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding organisation. This award will be matched by the universities in the partnership to fund a total of 245 doctoral students (59 per year) over the next 5 years.
The University of Warwick has risen two places to 77th overall in the THE (Times Higher Education) 2019 World University Rankings published on the evening of Wednesday 11th September 2019. This rise is in addition to Warwick’s leap of a dozen places in the 2018 table.
Phenom UK 2019
On Monday 22 July, researchers from the University of Sheffield, Rothamsted Research and the University of Nottingham attended a networking event at the University of Warwick Wellesbourne campus. The event was organised by Dr Beatriz Lagunas and sponsored by Phenom UK (‘Technology Touching Life programme funded jointly by BBSRC/EPSRC/MRC). In the morning, visitors enjoyed a guided tour around the field research facility including the pathogen quarantine fields, insect pest trial area, the low nutrient field, and the main rotation fields for irrigated trials. In the afternoon, a round table discussion focused on the challenges of field-based phenotyping.
The breadth of expertise amongst participants allowed discussion of ideas for relating aerial spectral imaging of the crop canopy with below-ground differences in soil nutrient/root/microbe interactions. The consensus was that pilot data is needed in a specific crop from small-scale controlled experiments to identify disease signature wavelengths and then move to field phenotyping based, for example using drone-based imaging in collaboration with both the University of Sheffield and Rothamsted Research. The PhenomUK website will provide a useful forum for further discussions. All Warwick people interested in following up the discussions are encouraged to do it through the Plant & Crop Science Theme and to register at the Phenom UK website.
Phenom UK networking visit attendants standing in a field of haricot beans (from left to right):
Craig Sturrock (U. of Nottingham), Patrick Schäfer (U. of Warwick), Rob Lillywhite (U. of Warwick), Stephen A. Rolfe (U. of Sheffield), Graham Teakle (U. of Warwick), Gabriel Castrillo (U. of Nottingham), John Clarkson (U. of Warwick), Beatriz Lagunas (U. of Warwick), Guilhem Reyt (U. of Nottingham), Sally Mann (U. of Warwick), Malcolm Hawkesford (Rothamsted Research), Alexander McCormack (U. of Warwick), Tim Mauchline (Rothamsted Research), Rosemary Collier (U. of Warwick), Joost H.M. Stassen (U. of Sheffield), Rory Hayden (U. of Nottingham) and Eric Holub (U. of Warwick).
SLS Graduation 2019
On Tuesday 16 July, graduands from the School of Life Sciences attended the Summer Graduation Ceremony held in Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre. The Head of School, Professor Lorenzo Frigerio, academic tutors and other staff also attended the ceremony. Staff gathered afterwards to meet the graduates, their friends and family, at a buffet lunch in the Rootes Building. Students were congratulated on their achievements and class prizes were awarded.
We wish our graduates all the best as they embark on the next stage of their careers.
Life Sciences welcomes the next generation of scientists
Taking place at the Gibbet Hill campus 7– 11 July, the Headstart course provides a university taster course for 16-17 year olds with the opportunity to explore the different biological disciplines taught within the School of Life Sciences. The Life Sciences course enables students to gain experience at a prestigious university prior to making UCAS applications, showing them the different courses and career paths available.
Across the week, students will take part in a wide range of hands-on laboratory experiments and lectures including physiology, microbiology, epidemiology and molecular biology.
Administered by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust), a charitable trust, Headstart provides hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers.
Discussing the summer school’s programme Dr Daniel Franklin, Senior Teaching Fellow and summer school organiser, said ‘The students are experiencing all of the successful teaching elements of our degrees, lectures, labs and importantly one of our excellent tutorials. It is very satisfying to see that they are embracing the different subjects being covered, and clear that the students are scientifically curious. I am really pleased that some of our excellent teaching is giving the students a rewarding time.’
We hope to inspire students to study life sciences at university in the future.
At Warwick we offer:
Thesis Prize Winners
Every year, the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the School of Life Sciences, jointly run a PhD Thesis Prize competition with prizes provided by each. Supervisors are invited to put forward students for consideration.
This year, the winner of the Faculty Thesis Prize is Dr Fábio Henrique dos Santos Rodrigues, who did his PhD with Prof John McCarthy. The thesis title is 'Targeting trypanosomatid translation factor interactions'. The work has been published in a joint first author paper in Nucleic Acids Research.
The winner of the School of Life Sciences Thesis Prize is Dr Jenny Goodman, who did her PhD with Dr Alex Jones. Jenny's thesis is entitled 'The role of Feronia in regulating growth and development in Arabidopsis Thaliana roots'. A methods paper and a middle author paper have already come from the PhD, and two first author papers – including one for PNAS – are in process.
Warwick Ranked in UK Top 10 and World Top 100 by QS
The University of Warwick has been named as one of the UK’s top ten, and one of the world’s top 100, universities by the QS World University Rankings.
Pint of Science returns next week bringing scientists out of the lab and into your local pub
- Scientists from Coventry and Warwick universities to appear in city pubs and venues as the world's largest festival of public science talks arrives in Coventry and Leamington from the 20-22 May
- Talks will cover a wide range of topics including sleep, batteries, space, dyslexia, pollution, plastic and paramedics
- Coventry to join nearly 300 cities around the world taking part in this global festival
- Some evenings are already sold out. Tickets are on sale from: pintofscience.co.uk/events/coventry
See Press Release
Examples of talks from Life Sciences
It's in your genes - 20 May 7:30-9:30pm - a series of three talks, including:
Dr Robert Spooner and Professor Kevin Moffat - The DNA Double Act
Who discovered DNA? Well, the double act Watson and Crick - right? Well, not according to Kevin and Robert, who will introduce you to a host of “lesser known” pairs that helped to pioneer the discovery, sequencing and understanding of DNA. Exploring historical events, the 100,000 Human Genome project and beyond; this talk literally has “something for everyone” as genetic research paves the way to personalised medical treatments. Even DNA likes a companion – just look at its structure! So, why not bring a friend and come along to find out more about DNA, and who really did discover it!
Nurturing nature – 20 May 7:30-9:30pm - a series of three talks including:
Amy Newman (PhD Student, University of Warwick) - More than dirt: the hidden world under our feet
Many of us give little thought to the soil beneath our feet but it's vital for all life on earth. Amy's talk will unearth some fascinating examples of the microscopic life that's living all around us. Come along to find out about the microbes which helped to create the first plants to colonise the Earth's surface millions of years ago, and to hear about recent advances in scientific methods which show exciting potential for the discovery of new chemicals such as pharmaceuticals.
A Wilder Future: The Need for a Strong Environment Act - 9 May 2019
Our natural world is in a critical condition. The laws and systems to keep it healthy are failing. More than 60% of plants and animals in the UK are now under threat. One in eight faces extinction.
The Government is currently shaping a new Environment Bill, the first in more than twenty years. It will set out a legal framework for the government’s promise to leave the environment in a better state over the next 25 years. NUS are working with The Wildlife Trusts and WWF to ensure that students and younger generations have their say in this once in a generation opportunity, to set us on a path to restoring nature and securing a just and sustainable future for all.
The Wilder Future evening, at 18:45-21:00 on Thursday 9 May at the University of Warwick, will be an opportunity to hear from leading conservationists and academics and find out what you can do to help achieve nature's recovery.
Keynote speakers include Sir John Lawton, author of the 2010 Making Space for Nature report, and Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Dr Rosemary Collier, Academic Lead for the Warwick Global Research Priority on Food, is one of the panel members at this Question Time style event.
Beer and fodder crop has been deteriorating for 6000 years
The diversity of the crop Sorghum, a cereal used to make alcoholic drinks, has been decreasing over time due to agricultural practice. To maintain the diversity of the crop and keep it growing farmers will need to revise how they manage it. According to Professor Allaby and colleagues, different groups of sorghums have ‘rescued’ each other from damage, giving insight into how such crops could be rescued in the future.
Five things you need to know about soil
As children we learn that plants grow in it and worms live in it and that's generally as far as we go. But the mix of minerals, water, air, decaying plant and animal matter and countless microorganisms that make up the top layer of the earth's surface is hugely important, not only for plant life, but for all life on earth. In an article for Warwick Knowledge Centre, Professor Gary Bending and doctoral research student Amy Newman tell us five things we should know about soil.
Crops can be grown in Arsenic contaminated soil without being poisonous
Researchers in Life Sciences are working on ways to contribute to developing safe crops which can be grown in As contaminated soil but reduce the amount of As going to the edible part.
Applications are invited for an Assistant, Associate or Professor of Ecology and/or Environmental Bioscience to join the School of Life Sciences.
We are also recruiting for an Assistant Professor in Environmental Microbiology.
This is part of our strategic growth on the Gibbet Hill Biology campus, supported by investment in a new £54M Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building that will bring together researchers from Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School.
School of Life Sciences achieves Athena SWAN silver charter award to 2022
The School of Life Sciences achieved a Silver Athena SWAN Charter Mark in the 2018 submission round. The charter mark is an important indicator of work undertaken to address gender equality in academia and professional and support roles.
In the same round the University retained its Silver award and Politics and International Studies (PAIS) received a Bronze award.
Over the next 5 years NERC (The Natural Environment Research Council) will invest £100m to support PHD students, including those at the University of Warwick, meaning the next generation of world-class scientists trained and engaged in both industrial and academic environmental solutions will be produced by the University.
UK scientists to join Arctic research ship 'drifting' past North Pole
UK scientists will join what could be the largest-scale Arctic research expedition ever planned when the German research ship RV Polarstern is deliberately lodged into sea ice to drift past the North Pole. Research includes Dr Hendrik Schaefer of the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences.
Image courtesy of Alfred Wegener Institute.
Student satisfaction at Warwick
Survey results out recently reflect very positively on the School of Life Sciences. These surveys reveal student perception of study here in Life Sciences and also what graduates go on to achieve. We are pleased to see the satisfaction our students show with their education at Warwick. We greatly value their feedback and respect their judgement.
Our 2018 NSS (National Student Survey) results are excellent with a score of 93% for overall student satisfaction. This is a survey of all undergraduate finalists at UK universities and colleges to understand and improve students’ experience of higher education. Staff and students are working very closely on developing new ways to extend and enhance their learning and the NSS is a key element of our collaborative approach to overall enhancement at Warwick. PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey) results are also excellent with a score of 89% for overall student satisfaction, which is above the Russell Group and Sector average.
DLHE (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education) surveys graduates 6 months after graduation to find out whether they are in work or further study. The recent 2017 results are excellent for Life Sciences with 96% of UG graduates in work or further study (up from 94% in 2015) and 88% in graduate level work or study (up from 79% in 2015). The Government’s 2018 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) show that Warwick's Life Sciences graduates are ranked in the top 10 in the UK for high earnings five years after their graduation.
It is great to see the work that goes into planning and delivering these degrees by so many people in the School, has such a positive impact on students.
On Tuesday 17 July graduands from the School of Life Sciences attended the Summer Graduation Ceremony held in Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre. The Head of School, Professor Lorenzo Frigerio, academic tutors and other staff also attended the ceremony.