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University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series

2016/17 Lecture Series

The University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series offers the opportunity to hear from expert researchers sharing their knowledge and expertise on a variety of subjects. Open the headings below to find out more about each lecture in our 2016/17 series.

For further information about all of the events The Doctoral College runs, and to book onto any of our lectures, visit our Doctoral College Eventbrite page.

Upcoming lectures

Faster, stronger, smarter, more productive – how sport psychology can help you achieve your goals

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Professor Andrew Lane

‌‌‌Speaker: Professor Andy Lane

Date: 6 February 2017

Sport psychology is focused on helping athletes perform better in competition. Human competition is an integral part of many areas of endeavour, ranging from taking an examination, giving a presentation, and having a job interview. In this talk, Professor Andy Lane will examine strategies than might help people perform better. He will draw on a wealth of research and practice including the largest study ever study conducted on the effects of interventions to change emotions to perform faster, a project run with the BBC narrated by Olympian Michael Johnson.

When giving advice to someone striving for an important goal, the advice needs to work. Sport psychology is a science and Andy will discuss how we can conduct research that has real-world value. Using the BBC project as an example, he will talk about working on a project that size, working with Michael Johnson, working with the media, and the stresses and strains that launching your research on The One Show brings about. The talk will be relevant to anyone who wishes to improve her or his mental game and interested in being able to develop and evaluate how effective strategies are.


The Politics of Higher Education Reform in England

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andy-westwood Speaker: Professor Andy Westwood

Date: 15 March, 2017

This lecture will describe the higher education reforms in England introduced in this Parliament, consider how they have evolved and the politics that surrounds them. Particular attention will be given to the White Paper: 'Success in a Knowledge Economy' and to the subsequent HE & Research Bill as it continues through both Houses of Parliament towards legislation. What will it mean for universities, students, graduates and research in England?


At the Mercy of Fate? - Shaping the Soldier’s Experience of War

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Gary Sheffield

Speaker: Professor Gary Sheffield

Date: 25 April 2017

In war, different soldiers can have radically different experiences. A soldier in a trench or in a tank will have a very different view of a battle from someone in a supply depot, and a campaign in the desert will produce very different challenges from one fought in a temperate land. Some factors that shape experience of war are within the control of the individual, but many are not.

In this lecture, Professor Gary Sheffield examines these various factors and asks how much, or how little, control soldiers have over their own fate, and whether things have changed much over the centuries.



Late October 2017 - Professor Marek Kowalczuk and Dr Iza Radecka

Speakers: Professor Marek Kowalczuk and Dr Iza Radecka

Title, abstract and date TBC

Speaker biographies

Dr Iza Radecka is a Reader in Biotechnology and has an MSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Silesia, Poland completed in 1990. Within biosciences, she first specialised in anatomy and histology (interactions between heavy metals and enzymatic activity in brain tissue). In 1991, she took a position as a junior research worker in the Institute of Polymer Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Zabrze, Silesia, with a special interest in the biodegradability of different synthetic polymer blends. After one year there, she decided to take a PhD researcher/lecturer post at the University of Silesia, Katowice, with a special interest in microbial biotechnology concerning the production of biodegradable polymers by bacteria under different environmental conditions. Iza completed her PhD in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Silesia, Katowice.

Iza joined the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Wolverhampton in September 2000. Since then, she has continued her research into the production of biodegradable plastics from bacteria. Her research is focused on the cost-effective production of novel bio-based polymeric from waste. Iza has published numerous research papers in highly ranked scientific journals, and authored several chapters in biotechnological books. Iza has also given a broad number of invited lectures at international conferences.

She was awarded a Mercia Spinner Pathfinder concept grant and Enterprise Fellowship Scheme to develop new biopolymer extraction methods from bacteria grown in large fermenters.

Professor Marek Kowalczuk graduated from the Chemistry Department at the Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland. He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Science (1984) and his ‘Habilitation’ in Technical Science (1994) from the same University. Since 2010, he has been a Professor of Chemistry, nominated by the President of Poland. In 1973, he joined the Centre of Polymer Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Science in Zabrze, Poland (currently: the Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Science) and focused on anionic ring opening polymerization of β-lactones, especially β-butylolactone. Marek joined the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton in 2013.

His main scientific interests are: biodegradable and functional polymers; novel initiators and mechanisms of anionic polymerization related to the synthesis of biodegradable polymers possessing desired architecture; biodegradation of synthetic and natural polymers; and novel mass spectrometry techniques for analysis of biodegradable polymers at the molecular level.

His current research involves structural studies of biocompatible copolymers and blends of controlled biodegradability containing synthetic analogues of natural polyhydroxyalkanoates and copolymerisation reactions to novel polymeric materials with “made-to-order” structure and properties, with variety of catalysts, including metal free anionic initiators.

Putting Science into Policy

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Speaker: Peter Churchill

Date:  25th January 2018

Challenges facing society are becoming ever more complex. Societal challenges such as climate change, food security, energy security, and economic development address multi-disciplinary issues, which, if they are to be addressed properly and successfully require clear, unbiased evidence to drive the development of local, regional, national and multi-national policy. Science can, and should, be a key input into this evidential base. This talk will examine status, issues and potential of scientific support to policy, and will provide some examples from the European Union perspective.

Speaker biography

Peter Churchill is an environmental scientist. He started work in 1979 as an academic at Cranfield University UK, researching forest applications of remote sensing. He then became a consultant for a UK based company undertaking natural resources surveys in Africa, South East Asia and Europe. In 1988, he joined the European Commission's Joint Research Centre as a scientist, becoming a Head of a series of earth observation, environmental science and administrative Units from 1996. In 2010, he joined the JRC's headquarters staff, where he is currently the Adviser on Scientific Development to the Director General.

Lecture Series archive

Inaugural Lecture: Research in UK Higher Education: The Challenges and Opportunities

Professor John Darling, Dean of Research, and Dr Benjamin Halligan, Director of The Doctoral College, welcomed over 80 people to the inaugural lecture of The University of Wolverhampton Lecture Series on Thursday 10 November 2016.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, spoke about Research in UK Higher Education: The Challenges and Opportunities. screenshot of inaugural lecture series presentation‌‌ Watch Geoff's presentation on The Doctoral College’s channel and download the PowerPoint Presentation from the lecture: Lecture Series Prof Geoff Layer (Powerpoint 862k).


Photos of the event

Inaugural lecture series, Professor Geoff Layer, Dr Benjamin Halligan Professor John Darling speaking with guest Inaugural lecture series audience

Have a look at The Doctoral College’s Facebook page for more photos from the lecture.

Guest Lecture: The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914

Professor Sir Richard J Evans held a guest lecture hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences on Tuesday 15 November 2016:

The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914

Richard Evans explored the revolutions, empire-building and wars that marked the nineteenth century. It was a time where what was seen as modern with amazing speed appeared old-fashioned, where huge cities sprang up in a generation, new European countries were created and where, for the first time, humans could communicate almost instantly over thousands of miles.

Richard Evans’s lecture drew on a lifetime of thinking about 19th century Europe and recreated a rich and entertaining exploration of a continent undergoing drastic transformation.

The author also signed copies of his book following his talk.

About the Author

  • President of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Provost of Gresham College
  • Until 2014, the Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University
  • Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Historical Society, and an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and Birkbeck College, London
  • Knighted in 2012