research

Annual Report 2007

A year in research

Defence from the elements

Research at the University of Wolverhampton has placed a clear focus on safeguarding people and the places they live. Experts from our School of Engineering and the Built Environment helped secure £1.5m for a research programme to help communities prepare and respond to extreme weather.

 

Professor David Proverbs and research fellow Dr Fiona Berryman were part of the consortium responsible for securing funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

 

The aim of the three-year Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW) research programme is to help improve the resilience of local communities to the impacts of extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heatwaves, lightning, drought and wind. London will be used as the case study site and the team includes academic experts from 18 universities across the UK.

Setting international standards

Professor Mike Thelwall, Head of the University’s Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, is setting exacting standards for research in the field of ‘Cybermetrics’. In 2007 Mike was named third most influential British researcher of all time in information science and librarianship by the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

 

Professor Thelwall has carried out extensive research in ‘Cybermetrics’, pioneering state-of-the-art software to generate Web intelligence information for industry and government. The new study used a new ‘h-index’ score, which was applied to the work produced by senior British-based academics in librarianship and information science. The international Journal of Informetrics has subsequently ranked Professor Thelwall number one in the world within the field in a list of top publishing authors.

Clinical analysis

Researchers from the University of Wolverhampton revealed that nurses now play a valuable role in assessing detainees’ health needs whilst in police custody, complementing the traditional role of the police doctor and improving response times. Research published in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing, analysed just under 9,000 calls for medical assistance from five police stations and interviewed 31 custody nurses, custody officers and Forensic Medical Examiners (FMEs).

A forecast for homeowners

Flood-damage expert Professor David Proverbs warned that the UK was poorly prepared for the extreme flooding experienced during last summer and that the recovery operation could take some time. Professor Proverbs, Head of Construction and Infrastructure at the University’s School of Engineering and the Built Environment, published a report looking at industry standards, ‘Flood Damaged Property – A Guide to Repair’, giving useful guidelines to flood victims.

Defining research

The University of Wolverhampton is helping to preserve a picture of Britain’s commercial heritage. The Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, which features 4,000 terms used in trade and retail documents in early modern Britain, was compiled by the University’s History and Governance Research Institute. The brainchild of the University’s Dr Nancy Cox, Academic Editor of the Dictionary Project and Consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary on historic mercantile language, the dictionary is a resource for historians and explains many types of traded goods that have since disappeared.

Pacifying the demand for evidence

Dr Judy Whitmarsh, speaking at the British Educational Research Association annual conference at the Institute of Education, University of London, revealed that research into whether the use of dummies is beneficial or harmful to a child was not conclusive. Her study also found that experts were divided on the age at which dummy use should be stopped.

Tackling brain tumours

Scientists at the University of Wolverhampton are working towards a breakthrough in brain tumour research. Led by Professor John Darling, our Research Institute in Healthcare Science has played a key role in the formation of the country’s largest brain tumour research group, Brain Tumour Northwest.

 

This new partnership, between Wolverhampton, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), and Lancashire Teaching Hospital's NHS Foundation Trust, will advance research in the area by opening access to rare tumour material, sharing laboratory facilities and techniques, as well as pooling scientific, medical and statistical expertise.

 

An important element of the group’s work will be establishing a ‘brain bank’ at the Royal Preston Hospital, allowing research tissue to be collected and stored in a consistent manner. Elements of the collection can in turn be distributed to associates throughout the region and an effective research database will be put in place.