Thursday, 29 January 2009

Bomb-proof concrete hailed a success

Taken from the EPSRC website.

Engineers at the University of Liverpool have tested a new form of bomb-proof concrete that could lead to the return of litter bins in public areas.

The EPSRC funded project found that that the fibre-reinforced concrete reduces the impact of bomb blasts a thousand times more than ordinary concrete.

The testing involved explosions based on IRA car bombs, carried out at an RAF base in Cumbria.

The new type of concrete has needle-thin steel fibres added into the mix to increase its tensile strength instead of the usual steel reinforcing bars.

It could also prove important in the use of protection barriers designed to shield people from bomb blasts outside public buildings.

To read more, see the original news story on the EPSRC website.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Healthy cows lead to better tasting burgers?

Taken from the NERC website.

Raising animals on natural pastures like moorland and salt marsh doesn't just help maintain biodiversity - it also produces healthier and tastier meat, according to new research.

This means farming on traditional unimproved grassland could be good for consumers and producers as well as for the environment - but it needs political support if it is to fulfil its potential.

To find out more read the original news story.

Beating the recession with RAENG

Taken from the RAENG website.

Britain's leading engineers will launch a campaign this week to break the mould of British engineering - to leave behind the conventional image of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his illustrious Victorian counterparts and blaze a path to a diverse modern engineering profession that can benefit from the skills of all sectors of society. Women and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds make up a large pool of potential talent that is still significantly untapped by the engineering profession.

For more view the original news story on the RAENG news pages.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

BBSRC plant scientists who 'could change the world' highlighted

Taken from the BBSRC website.

Two researchers who have received support from BBSRC and the Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) – BBSRC’s forerunner – have been highlighted in a News Feature in the journal Nature profiling five scientists working to improve global agricultural productivity.

With rising worldwide food prices and a growing global population, the world requires another ‘green revolution’, such as the one seen in the decades after the Second World War, to improve agricultural productivity. Zhang Jianhua, a plant physiologist who was supported by AFRC in the 1980s, and Julian Hibberd, a BBSRC-funded molecular biologist at the University of Cambridge, have been highlighted by Nature for the part they are playing in this.

To read more please see the original news story on the BBSRC website.

Hormone linked to infidelity in women

14 Jan 2009, Taken from the Royal Society Website

Women with high levels of the hormone estradiol tend to be less satisfied with their partners and more likely to cheat, according to new research published today in the Royal Society's Journal Biology Letters . They are also considered to be significantly more attractive by themselves and by others.

Scientists from the University of Texas measured levels of the hormone in 53 women aged 17 to 30. The women were then asked to rate how attractive men find them, compared to other women, before their photograph was rated by a panel of men and women. The researchers asked other relevant questions, such as how many partners the women had had and how often they sought long- and short- term relationships.

To read more visit the original news story on the Royal Society website...

Safe recycling of livestock manures

Taken from the RCUK website.

Researchers at North Wyke Research, and Lancaster and Exeter universities, have come up with an advice system to help farmers recycle manure safely and avoid polluting watercourses.

Organisms such as E coli may be present in animal manure and can pose a serious threat to human health. Irrigated crops are sometimes contaminated, shellfisheries can be vulnerable and bathing waters may be under threat, with subsequent effects for tourism.

To read more please view the original news story on the RCUK website.

Getting involved with young people: RESEARCHERS IN RESIDENCE

Taken from the ESRC website.

This scheme aims to help early career researchers share their experiences and develop their communication skills by linking them with a school in their region. Researchers in Residence creates a partnership between a local secondary school, a teacher and a researcher. Researchers are given training on communicating with non-specialists and supported throughout the placement, while young people are given the opportunity to engage with contemporary research.

To view the Research Councils UK link, click here.

For more ESRC news, visit the ESRC website.

Action plans to tackle major environmental challenges published

Taken from the NERC website.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) yesterday published its Theme Action Plans, designed to transform the way the organisation funds environmental science.

Each plan sets out a detailed programme of science investment that will ensure Britain retains its place at the cutting edge of natural and environmental research by directing funding and other resources to key areas. Many of these will help build and maintain the capacity to carry out high-quality science over the following decades.

To read more please see the original news story on the NERC website.