News and Events

Follow our blog for the latest research events from around the University

University conference a success in Jordan

The University co-hosted an international conference in April in Jordan, and was a success in attracting academics from around the world.

The ‘First International Conference on the Transformation of the Urban Character of Arab Cities since the Late Last Century’, organised and co-hosted by Birmingham City University and the German Jordanian University (GJU), took place in Jordan from 22 April to 24 April 2015 at the German Jordanian University main campus, and was supported by the Mayor of Amman, Akel Beltagi.

The conference discussed various topics and subjects such as:

  • Modernity and tradition: Approaches and practices in urban design; comparative analysis of contemporary and traditional approaches.
  • Capitalism and modernism: the changing character of urban spaces.
  • The social dimension of urban design: responsive and inclusive public spaces.
  • Urban identity and social sustainability of the city
  • The political and sociocultural dimensions of regeneration projects.

The GJU President, Prof. Natheer Abu Obeid, emphasised that this International Conference was held in the context of the social and cultural transformation, globalisation and the revolution of information technology, pointing out that education, training and human development are major activities that need healthy competitive environments.

Prof. Mohsen Aboutorabi, Professor of Architecture at the University, said: “This conference is aiming to develop a new narrative to form a new utopian thinking that can change the global sameness paradigm to colorful landscape of variety of cities, through underscoring the urgent political priority of constructing cities that correspond to human social needs, rather than to the capitalist imperative.”

Despite the political unrest in the region, the conference succeeded in gathering professionals and academics from all other the world. Dr. Bushra Zalloom, (conference coordinator and University representative in Jordan) mentioned that there were around forty scientific papers at the conference from the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, UAE, UK, and Jordan. The conference included eight valuable sessions and welcomed keynote speakers Dr. Farouk Yaghmour from Jordan, Prof. Christoph Zoepel from Germany, Prof. Ali Madanipour from UK, Prof. Ruth Carter from the USA. The third day was a scientific tour to discover the legacy of Amman, Jordan.

The conference highlighted that stakeholders should find practical solutions to prevent the city identity, rather than only focusing on the urban problems in the region. It also highlights the importance of the co-operation between Universities, public and private sectors to establish strategies that could be implemented gradually on ground. Moreover, the Arab region should benefit from the developed countries experiences in the field and try to create their own way in preventing their identity.

During the concluding session, Dr. Mohammed Yaghan, the Dean of School of Architecture and Built environment at GJU, said: “This conference has come to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and will help in developing the field.” 


New chapter published on landscape architecture

Senior academic and MArch course director Mike Dring has co-authored a book chapter entitled 'Landscapes of Variance: Working the Gap between Design and Nature' as part of the recently published 'Revising Green Infrastructure: Concepts Between Nature and Design', available from leading academic publisher Taylor and Francis.

Originally conceived as part of the 'Land Art Generator Initiative' competition submission in 2012, and later presented at 'Designing Nature as Infrastructure' conference at the Technical University of Munich the same year, the chapter explores the gaps between design and interventions in the landscape, in doing so opening up the latent potential of a site, in this case the Fresh Kills landfill site in New York. The chapter examines the work of artists and designers through their engagement with site, most recently through its reinvention as a public park.

Mike also exhibited work at the Royal Academy Summer Show in 2013, illustrations for which also appear in the book.

The essay sees the culmination of an extended period of academic and practice based research across disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, art and public policy, and has reached multiple audiences.

More information on the Taylor and Francis website


Groundbreaking cancer diagnosis research featured on Radio 4

Doctor discusses issue with patient Pioneering research into cancer diagnosis, led by the University’s School of Digital Media Technology (DMT), was featured on Radio 4's PM programme in early March.

Dr Ryan Stables of DMT has collaborated with the University of Central Lancashire and GEANT, (a pan-European research and education network) on a preliminary study which converted stem cell data into sounds rather than visual data such as graphs, similar to the function of a metal detector.

Ryan says,“It allows you to identify the characteristics of cancer in real-time, which we hope could have life-changing implications for patients through the development of better diagnostic tools.”

At the moment, waiting times for cancer tests are at a six year high. The testing itself is often invasive and can involve taking a biopsy, sending it to a lab and awaiting results, which can take up to six weeks. Current methods of stem cell analysis involve computational pattern analysis, which is very time consuming. By classifying data into audio signals instead, it is easier to differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells and the process is much quicker.

This non-invasive system is still in the early stages of development; the preliminary study was launched at the 20th International Conference on Audio Display. 

Listen to Ryan's Radio 4 appearance on BBC iPlayer.


Could your research be award winning?

As part of this year's Extra Mile Awards, the University has launched a new award to recognise the work of our research community.

The Extra Mile Awards, which are run in partnership with the Students’ Union, are your opportunity to nominate a student or member of staff to receive an award from the University. This year’s awards have a number of new categories recognising exceptional work by staff and students.

The Researcher of the Year award will be presented to the member of staff who is judged to have made the biggest contribution to research over the academic year.

The winner and runner-up of the award will be personally recognised by the Vice-Chancellor and Students' Union President at an awards ceremony in May.

If you know a member of staff who is making an impact in the research community then why not put them forward for the award?

Every nomination made will also be entered into a prize draw to win a new iPad and a pair of tickets to the awards ceremony.

Make your nominations on the website


REF 2014 results show the real world impact of our research

English research For our submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, we doubled the number of staff producing internationally recognised research and significantly increased the impact our work is having on society and the economy.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF) results revealed that 90 per cent of the University's submission was judged to have delivered 'outstanding' or 'very considerable' impact externally.

The six-yearly assessment of research performance also saw the University achieve an increase in the four-star or three-star research on which public funding is partly based, from 40 per cent in 2008 to 60 per cent in 2014.

Birmingham City University's research has impacted on a range of business developments and public policy. Examples include work that enables the migration of music on obsolete platforms to modern devices, and research that has influenced death penalty policy and practice around the world.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Allan said: "Moving forward, our new research and enterprise strategies will enable us to do more and better research, ensuring new knowledge aligns increasingly with the needs of society and the economy.

"Our 2014 REF submission is far more ambitious than ever before, forming part of our aim of repositioning the University as a broader based institution with research increasingly integral to our work."

See detailed results on the REF 2014 site

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