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News from BEST Research Institute

  • New book in press: Real Estate, Construction and Economic Development In Emerging Market Economies
    Edited by Raymond Talinbe Abdulai, Franklin Obeng-Odoom, Edward Ochieng, Vida Maliene
    This book, edited by several Academics from the Best Research Institute examines the relationships between real estate and construction sectors and unlike any book before it, explores how each sector and the relationships between them affect economic development in emerging market economies (EMEs).

  • Revolutionary smart sensor technology is latest patent milestone
    Imagine being able to continually monitor patients’ vital signs, such as their heart rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature without having to hook them up to a machine? Thanks to the development of exciting new smart sensor technology, researchers at LJMU's Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute are close to making this a reality.  Researchers Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Dr Andrew Shaw, Dr Alex Mason and Dr. Stephen Wylie have invented new electromagnetic wave sensors that can now be woven into any fabric and incorporated into any garment. Invisible and undetectable to the wearer, these non-invasive sensors are sensitive enough to pick up a wide range of vital signs and can transmit these readings in real time to devices located many metres away. Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a and Dr Alex Mason
     The sensor design - plus garments and wristbands incorporating this exciting new technology - has just been published as the 2.5mth patent application (GB2500000) by the UK Intellectual Property Office.
    Professor Al-Shamma’a said: “While we are still in the early stages of development, the range of potential applications for this wearable sensor technology is immense, not just in the health care sector but also in sporting and military applications. The traditional hospital identity bracelet, for example, could eventually be adapted to include this sensor technology. Garments could also be developed for people with dementia living in the community, giving care workers a non-invasive way of monitoring their health and wellbeing.  A key area for this technology is to support patients in the community with long term conditions such as congestive heart failure, COPD and Diabetes etc and reduce the number of unplanned hospital admissions and emergency interventions. Ultimately, whether worn in the hospital or at home, this technology could represent significant potential cost saving advantages for the NHS and could also improve patient care.”
    Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Younger said: “This new technology demonstrates the importance of collaboration, and the wealth of knowledge transfer taking place, between our world class Universities and UK companies. The history of patents is a great way to understand the UK’s inventive spirit and how our industry has developed. From the introduction of the steam locomotive in the 1800s, to TV in the early 1900s, new ideas have changed the way we go about our daily lives and patents provide a great history of our entrepreneurial spirit and industrial development. “As Minister for Intellectual Property, I am pleased to mark this momentous occasion today and look forward to seeing some of the other inventions from the 22,000 patent applications the IPO review and process every year.”
    LJMU is already working with a number of commercial businesses to investigate routes to market and the best way to turn this novel research into commercially viable products - in particular with commercial partner Med ePad. Med ePad is an innovative mobile health company who staff have over 20 years’ experience of working with the National Health Service, and is working The sensor design closely with the NHS introduce the use of tablets and other devices to display patient data.
    John Hopkins, CEO from Med ePad said: “Being able to analyse and display the data being transmitted by LJMU’s sensors is vital if they are going to have any impact on patient care. That’s where Med epad can help and we are delighted to be working with the University as they investigate how best to harness their research. The opportunities to integrate wireless sensor technology into the management and alerting functions of patients monitoring systems such as Med eTrax will radically alter the way patient are managed in hospital and at home.”
    All of the inventors work as part of LJMU's BEST Research Institute, which has developed sensors for various applications in the recent years, in areas as diverse as water toxicity sensing through to drug sensing and other non-invasive biomedical sensors. They have also developed sensors to test the purity and constituents of different substances, including olive oil (for a major supermarket) and are collaborating with a public transport company to look at emission monitoring. The patent application was supported by the LJMU Research & Innovation Services (RIS).
    Emma Nolan, IP & Commercialisation Manager said: “We are delighted that this important patent application has published with a notable number, and very excited about the commercial potential for this technology.”
    Professor Andy Young, Director of RIS said: “An important part of the remit of RIS is to support University research from early stage ideas through to collaboration with industry, and ultimately to market. By supporting researchers’ right across the University, we aim to bring about demonstrable impact through commercialisation of the University’s intellectual property.”
    Med ePad was introduced to Professor Al-Shamma’a by the University’s Open Labs team, whose remit is to match talented small technology businesses with LJMU researchers. Jason Taylor from Open Labs said: “SMEs typically understand that their businesses would benefit from a productive association with universities but generally lack the resources to find the right academic and to develop and maintain a successful relationship. Supported with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Open Labs support business-university collaborations that deliver innovative new products and services with the potential for global impact.”
    The story was covered by The Telegraph, The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Intellectual Property Office; The Intellectual Property Office, Techworld, UKSPA, Foreign Affairs and LJMU news

  • Mapping Carbon Monoxide in the home
    The Gas Safety Trust (GST) has awarded a grant to LJMU’s Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute to complete Phase 3 of the Carbon Monoxide National Monitoring Study. The 12 month research project is part of an ongoing study into the levels of carbon monoxide (CO) found in the home. The project builds on the work previously carried out by the University alongside Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and will create a standardised method of data collection relating to carbon monoxide including a screen for smokers. The project will reach as many as 75,000 homes in the North West.
  • New BEST Research Impact towards Animal Healthcare
    Dr Alex Mason and PhD student Richard Blakey, have been working in collaboration with AgResearch, New Zealand’s largest Crown research institute. The work has been considering the development of a proof of concept health sensor for dairy cows, which form an important part of the New Zealand economy, being worth in excess of NZ$11 billion per year. 
    Pictured:  Richard Blakey (left) and Alex Mason (right) working with the developed sensor system in the BEST Research facilities
  • Rafid Alkhaddar, LJMU Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering at the School of the Built Environment recently delivered an Inaugural Professorial lecture on Water: The Essence of Life.
    Professor Alkhaddar has undertaken numerous projects with United Utilities and Hydro International Plc all looking into wastewater treatment and removal of solids from wastewater to increase its quality for discharge into water courses in order to protect them from unnecessary pollution. During his presentation, he discussed the importance of safe and continuous water provision, taking the audience through his academic journey and examples of how the world can be changed by the way we manage water through sanitation, conservation and management. LJMU's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill described the Lecture as a perfect example of how to create awareness and a public debate about the major issues of our time.

    Pictured (left to right): Dean, Faculty of Technology and Environment Professor Diane Meehan, Professor Rafid Alkhaddar, LJMU's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill and Director of the School of Built Environment, Professor Mike Riley.
  • 8th Built Environment & Natural Environment (BEAN) Conference was held on 6th Jun 2013 and the winners are:
    • BEST Poster - Paul Kenny and Georgeta Tatar (MSc student), "Innovative Strategies for the Sustainable Re-Use of Vacant Victorian Terraced Houses";
    • BEST Presentation - Claus Nesensohn, "The occurrence of the term ‘maturity’ within a management and construction management context";
    • BEST Abstract - Agne Prochorskaite, "Sustainable housing: A focus on ‘soft’ impacts on health and well-being".

Pictured: Georgeta Tatar, Dr Vida Maliene (Director of Studies for Agne Prochorskaite), Professor Nigel Weatherill, Claus Nesensohn
  • BEST Researchers embark on Sensors Mission to Japan:

  • Dr. Edward Ochieng has applied for a Research Project entitled “Enhancing the indigenous energy sector's potential as an important catalyst for growth: Predictive Analytics for Capital Effectiveness (PACE)”. This is a joint project with Loughborough University and is valued at £1.1M.
  • New project secured by Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a with Mersey Travel to monitor in real time the pollutions from buses and map the data with the GIS system and the new Government Eco Green Software, 1st June 2013.

  • Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a and Dr. Alex Mason attended INFORMED international project meeting in Malaga, Spain, on 22-23 April 2013. They had a very successful presentation of the research results so far this year. The project aims to develop an industrial scale sensing platform for real-time quality control in the meat industry. The system would be able to determine the water holding capacity of meat, its tenderness, and to detect the presence of foreign objects such as metals, plastics and even bacteria.

  • Dr. Alex Mason has been awarded £7,000 as part of the AgResearch Project, sponsored by New Zealand food industry, to show the concept of a non-invasive cow health sensing system.

  • On Monday, April 8th, Matthew Clavey from FLIR (Thermal Vision Research Systems) gave a demonstration on the new FLIR thermal imaging Camera A35 Sc. This new scientific camera with remote sensing capabilities provides the possibility of real time 3D temperature monitoring and analysis for Microwave domestic and industrial applications. This event was organised by Dr. Olumuyiwa Tobi Olabanji, RFM group.

  • New EU proposal “AQUAMAX2020” in collaboration with 15 national and international partners from academia and industry with a total budget of €6M has been submitted by Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a as part of the EU-Water Demo program, April 2013.

  • New project funded by Inventure Ltd, related to the breakdown of CO2 into fuel gas, April 2013.

  • Prof. Mike Riley appointed to serve on the Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Structural Survey, April 2013.

  • Prof Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Drs Andy Shaw and Alex Mason, have submitted new KTP project over 27 months jointly with Cokebusters, April 2013.

  • First stage of New ERDF proposal, £1M, submitted by Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a and Lindsay Sharples (Open Labs), April 2013.

  • New book published
    Smart Sensors book image A. Mason and S. Mukhopadhyay (eds), “Smart Sensors for Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring”, Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-37005-2, 2013.

    About this book
    - Recent research on Smart Sensors for Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring.
    - For the first time International expertise for sensors to tackle the diverse subject of water quality is combined in a single text.
    - Written by leading experts in the field.
    Sensors are being utilised to increasing degrees in all forms of industry. Researchers and industrial practitioners in all fields seek to obtain a better understanding of appropriate processes so as to improve quality of service and efficiency. The quality of water is no exception, and the water industry is faced with a wide array of water quality issues being present world-wide. Thus, the need for sensors to tackle this diverse subject is paramount. The aim of this book is to combine, for the first time, international expertise in the area of water quality monitoring using smart sensors and systems in order that a better understanding of the challenges faced and solutions posed may be available to all in a single text.

  • Profs. Mike Riley and Ahmed Al-Shamma’a have successfully awarded £200k research project in collaboration with University of Malaysia.

  • Dr. Alison Cotgrave and Prof. Mike Riley have organized a meeting with Amey group to further collaborate on various projects related to the Built Environment, April 2013.

  • New TSB project in collaboration with Belfour Beatty, Untied Utilities and JD7 has kicked off, April 2013.

  • Prof Ahmed Al-Shamma’a delivered a keynote talk to the elite universities in Indonesia and Malaysia organized by the British Council. During his visit, he has further strengthened the research collaboration between BEST and various Malaysian universities, March 2013.

  • Mrs Wasan Wali and Mrs Nisreen Al-Dasoqui have both defended their PhD findings successfully on the 27th Feb and 1st March 2013 respectively.

  • Mrs Alison Pemberton has successfully defended her PhD findings, March 2013.

  • Prof David Bryde and Damian Fearon visited the Water Reservoir Project Division of United Utilities at Warrington and discussed a potential collaborative project on the use of conceptual art in project environments.  Since then Prof Bryde has been in discussions with staff in the School of Art and Design with a view to submitting a proposal to the Leverhulme Trust for a Research Project Grant, with UU as a collaborating organisation.
  • Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a jointly with Salford University, School of Built Environment submitted a proposal to the Higher Education Academy, “The Development of a Unique Toolkit for Improving the Intake, Retention and Progression Success Rate of Postgraduate Doctoral Studies”, 28th Feb 2013.
  • Prof David Bryde, Damian Fearon and PhD students Tugra Demir and Claus Nesensohn launched the BEST PM Practice Club, which is an online forum, utilising WIMBA technology, for sharing and disseminating research, knowledge and practice about the group’s work with industry partners.  11 companies from the UK, Germany and Switzerland have been signed up as inaugural members. The first online seminar is scheduled for the 27th February 2013. Part of the start-up activity was the publication of the first newsletter called “UPDATE for the BEST PM Practice Club.
  • Dr. Alison Cotgrave submitted a proposal to the Higher Education Academy on the 27th Feb jointly with Plymouth Univeristy on The Heart of ESD (HESD): developing educators to develop students across the globe.
  • Submission of interest to the Policy Dialogue organized by the British Council with Research universities and institutions in Indonesia, 25th Feb 2013.
  • Kiear group have visited BEST to discuss various potential applied research into the construction industry, 25th Feb 2013.
  • Dr. Olga Korostynska and Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a submitted an ERC proposal, €2M, related to the Development of niche and unique sensors for the water industry, 21st Feb 2013.
  • Dr. Andy Shaw has been invited to the House of Commons to discuss the issues related to the Carbon Monoxide, Feb 2013 and June 2013.
  • iBass EU proposal with 27 EU and international partners led by Prof. Ahmed Al-Shamma’a jointly with Dr. Simone Durr form the School of Natural Sciences & Psychology has been submitted 7th Feb 2013.
  • Drs Anupa Manewa and Andrew Ross in collaboration with University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka submitted proposal to the British Academy international mobility fund, £30k, 'Empowering social resilience- to bend not to break', Feb 2013.
  • In print: Book by Dr. Alison Cotgrave Prof. Mike Riley (eds.) “Total Sustainability in the Built Environment”, Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, UK. 9780230390584, Feb 2013.
  • In print: Book by Dr. Andy Ross and P. Williams, Financial Management in the Construction Industry. Wiley-Blackwell. 978-1405125062, Feb 2013.
  • Drs Anupa Manewa, Andrew Ross and Edward Ochieng submitted a proposal, £60k in collaboration with University of Salford to the Higher Education Academy - Teaching development grant- 'Assessment and Feedback Strategy for Multi-disciplinary Work in the Built Environment Higher Education', Feb 2013.
  • BEST mock REF reviews of staff outputs have been received from the external examiners, Feb 2013.
  • Professor Alkhaddar has been appointed as the Society for the Environment representative on the Canals and Rivers Trust for a period of 4 years from Feb 2013.
  • Prof. Allan Wilkinson from Auckland University have delivered a presentation about the current research activities in the universities and explored the potential of future collaboration with BEST in various research activities, Jan 2013.
  • New project funded by Maze Energy, Singapore, related to the testing and analysis of fuel additives and real time pollution monitoring, Jan 2013.
  • BEST Researchers receive International Collaboration Funding with Japanese Universities.
    Researchers from LJMU's Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute, School of Built Environment have been awarded  highly contested and prestigious Daiwa Foundation Grants in order to support establishing new collaborations with academics and industry in Japan.
    Recent events in Japan, namely the Fukishima nuclear incident, have led to concern regarding nuclear contamination of water sources which has long-term implications for the people of Japan.  Such issues are also a concern in the UK, which continues to rely upon nuclear power as a significant source of energy.  Notably, there is currently no system which can determine nuclear water contamination in real-time. The purpose of collaboration is to consider ways to develop an expert team which would address the concern of monitoring, in real-time, nuclear contamination of water by the use of a combination of sensors. The initiative is led by Dr Alex Mason in collaboration with Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a and Dr Olga Korostynska of the BEST Research Institute, in addition to Associate Professor Satoshi Ikezawa of Waseda University, Japan and Associate Professor Kunihisa Tashiro of Shinshu University, Japan.
    At the recent International Conference on Sensing Technology (ICST 2012), held in Kolkata, India, an initial meeting took place to discuss the arrangements for the trip to Japan, which will take place in May 2013.  This project aims to generate a critical mass of expertise, creating the opportunity for collaboration in developing a solution to the current problem of determining the level of nuclear contamination of water in real-time which can be of benefit to both nations.
    Best staff with Japanese colleagues
    Pictured (left to right): Associate Professor Satoshi Ikezawa (Waseda University, Japan), Dr Olga Korostynska (LJMU), Dr Alex Mason (LJMU) and Associate Professor Kunihisa Tashiro (Shinshu University, Japan).


Page last modified 12 June 2014.

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