School BBQ

Take a well earned break from end of semester revision and join us for some fun outdoor games, a BBQ and a some drinks on Friday 19 May. Open to all students and staff in our school. Let Daisy Kyle in the school office know if you are coming along.
See you there!
Dr Cyprian Njue , Student Support and Guidance Tutor

Our INTREPID Dr Mary Geary

Barcelona’s water of life: el agua de la vida!

Dr Geary travelled to Barcelona last month as part of an EU ‘Co-operation in Science and Technology’ initiative called the INTREPID training school. Here is her diary of the trip.

In the famous Catalan fairy story ‚‘The Water of Life‘, also known by its original name ‘El agua de la vida’, only the deliverance of the water of life, sourced from a magic spring in the hills, can save a family from being turned to stone by an evil giant. It is the daughter of the family who outsmarts the ogre and restores life with the water. The life of her own family, of her petrified neighbours and of her surroundings are all rejuvanated as the water she spills on the return from the mountain turns everything green and fecund and frees the people from the giant’s curse. That water is still seen as the very essence of Catalan life is clear throughout the urban fabric of its capital city.

Wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the estuaries of the Llobregat and Besos rivers and with the Serra de Collserola mountain range as its backdrop, Barcelona is a water-centric city fiercely proud of its heritage. As the economic powerhouse of Catalonia, its historic wealth was built around its port, driving its shipping, mercantile, leather and textile industries. The evidence of that financial prowess – Barcelona’s architectural splendour – attracts millions of tourists every year. Power, water, wealth have historically connected together to forge a city of almost 2 million residents; whose population rises threefold every year with almost 6 million visitors per annum.

As one of those 6 million visitors I travelled to Barcelona in early February this year as part of an EU ‘Co-operation in Science and Technology’ initiative called the INTREPID training school. My fellow Sustainable Futures researchers and I were collaborating to work together in a four day workshop, sharing experiences and learning together how interdisciplinary collaboration is at the heart of undertaking sustainability research. Working across disciplines – we were a disparate group of ecologists, urban planners, civil engineers, environmental lawyers, social scientists amongst others –we discussed how it is possible to try to make connections amidst and outside of our own scientific perspectives to find holistic pragmatic solutions to urgent, real world problems. As a Research Fellow based in SET, understanding how communities understand, articulate and action changes in their local water environments is crucial. It helps me contextualise how macro influences are interpreted and responded to, and what steps and strategies policy makers and governance bodies need to undertake to make sustainability science comprehensible and relevant. Read More

An insight into studying Civil Engineering

Final year MEng student Scarlett, talks about her experience of life as a Civil Engineering student at Brighton.

I visited Brighton on my 18th birthday and I just knew I had to live here! It’s such a fun, vibrant city, there’s something for everyone. I chose Civil Engineering as I have always had an interest in building, structure and architecture. Although architecture really appeals to me, I wanted to understand how structures stood up, how they worked, and why.

I would recommend this course to anyone who wants a rewarding degree. I also wanted to choose a degree that would have a good chance of a job at the end of the course and Civil Engineers are in high demand. In the Masters year, your modules are completely optional. This year I am recreating Roman Concrete for my final year project and it is very interesting and I am enjoying managing my own time and getting messy in the labs. In the second year, we had a Civil Engineering and Built Environment trip to Berlin which was a lot of fun!

For my placement year, I used the careers service who were particularly helpful, they suggested improvements for my CV and interview techniques. My placement was with a structural engineering company called Hockley and Dawson, working as a Student Structural Engineer/ CAD technician.

For the first few months I was mainly creating drawings on AutoCAD for the engineers, which were then sent on to architects or the contractors. As my confidence grew, I began to attend site visits and monitor old, often listed buildings, taking photographs and measurements to use back in the office. I also carried out a few small extension and pile load calculations. The site visits were really beneficial as they made all the theory I had learnt at university make a lot more sense, being able to see it in “real-life”.

I would say that Brighton is a fabulous place to be and you will not regret it! As for Civil Engineering, it is a very interesting and stimulating course that keeps you on your toes. The world is always developing and changing and that’s what Civil Engineers are for.

Soapbox Science’s first visit to Brighton

Head down to the seafront between 1-4pm on Saturday 29 July and celebrate women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) with Soapbox Science.

Soapbox Science hosts events across the UK and the world raising the profile of women in science – breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes about who a researcher is. And they are coming to Brighton for the first time this summer.
Chantal Nobs, a PhD student at the University of Brighton, was one of 12 women selected to participate in the Soapbox Science London event on London’s Southbank in 2016.

Find out more about the Brighton event here.

Finding ways to fill Britain’s Potholes

A team of our Technical Engineering instructors joined students at Midhurst Rother College and engineers from the infrastructure group Balfour Beatty took on the challenge to help solve potholes on our roads.

Part of an Engineering Education Scheme (EES) co-ordinated by our STEM Sussex team, the scheme is a six-month partnership and involved a two-day residential workshop here.

The scheme encourages Year 12 students to recognise the importance of science and engineering by providing an opportunity to gain useful skills and experience by working on a challenging project in partnership with industry.

Midhurst Rother is one of ten schools and colleges which came to the university with engineers from different companies to work on projects including improving security systems, improving ways to monitor phosphates in waste water and creating models to display at science fairs including the Big Bang Fair South East.

Midhurst Rother students are working with engineers to look for more efficient materials and ways of filling road holes. The project follows a report from Local Government Association which estimates the pothole repair bill could reach £14 billion by 2020.

After their two-day workshop, Dominic Ryan, one of our Technical Instructors, said: “The students managed the project from start to finish – they were able to plan and be hands-on, utilising their scientific, innovative and creative skills.”

James Baldwin, science teacher at Midhurst Rother College, said: “The students enjoyed the opportunity to use the university’s concrete lab and equipment. They are all looking to study a subject linked with science or engineering at university and the scheme allowed them to see what this would entail.”

Civil Engineering and Construction careers fair

Students studying subjects including Architecture, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Building Surveying, Urban Planning, are invited to the Built Environment and Civil Engineering careers fair on Friday 2 December. Come along to Cockcroft Hall between 1-3 and find out about placements, part-time work graduate opportunities and more.

It’s a great opportunity to talk to recruiters, academics, Brighton graduates and careers advisors all in one place. Dozens of employers will be there – you’ll find the full list here.

Studying and socialising in our nationally recognised building

estates_cockcroft_aw_048The recent, multi-million pound project transforming the Cockcroft building into a state-of-the-art research, teaching and information building has been recognised in the prestigious Green Gown Awards for 2016.

Our university and the architects we worked with Fraser Brown MacKenna were named Finalist in the Built Environment category for what was one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK.

The transformation was described by judges as “an innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structure design” which unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500m2 building using the latest technology.

Innovations include an aquifer thermal energy store, potentially reducing energy demand, CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The system stores and recovers thermal energy beneath the ground and provides heating and cooling.

A spokesperson for the awards told the university: “On behalf of the Green Gown Awards Team we wanted to congratulate you on your achievement. Being a Green Gown Awards Finalist is something to be extremely proud of.”

Earlier this year the Cockcroft project won in the Higher Education category of the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016. Judges called it a bold project and a model for future similar projects. Read More

£8m boost to green business growth in East Sussex

The University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform and East Sussex County Council are launching an £8m-plus initiative to support the growth of green businesses.

The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and is a partnership between Kent County Council, East Sussex County Council, Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Thurrock Council and the University of Brighton. It will receive a total of £8.8 million to support business growth across Kent, Essex and East Sussex.

The programme will provide grants and business support to low carbon small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them grow and develop new products and services. It will also provide grants and free environmental audits to any type of SME to help improve their environmental performance, such as reducing energy costs or installing renewable energy systems.

The programme will also be providing support to the community energy sector, and will be developing renewable energy and low carbon projects across the county.
In East Sussex, the programme is open to SMEs which pay their business rates to Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Rother District Council and Wealden District Council.

Zoe Osmond, Director of the Green Growth Platform

Zoe Osmond, Director of the Green Growth Platform

Zoe Osmond, Director of the Green Growth Platform, said: “We are delighted to announce this funding for East Sussex businesses. It will make a significant contribution to business growth and innovation in the region, as well as help in reducing our environmental impact and moving us towards a low carbon economy.”

Businesses can find out more and register for the support by visiting the Green Growth Platform, emailing greengrowthplatform@brighton.ac.uk or calling the Green Growth Platform on 01273 641949.

Award winning paper

Congratulations to Yahya Ibraheem for winning the SEEDS 2016 Award for Contribution to the Built Environment” at the International SEEDS conference 2016 in Leeds this month.

Yahya won the award for his paper title “Integrated Façade System for office buildings in hot and arid climates: A comparative analysis”.

Yahya is studying for his PhD here at Brighton on the subject of integrated façade systems for highly to full glazed office buildings in hot and arid climates.

Well done Yahya!

book-cover

British Science Festival heads for Brighton

british-science-festival-logoOne of Europe’s leading and longest established science festivals is coming to Brighton next year. And we will be co-hosting it!

The University of Brighton will co-host the 2017 British Science Festival with the University of Sussex from 5-8 September.

The festival, organised by the British Science Association, will have a programme of over 100 events featuring cutting-edge science from world-leading academics covering everything from technology and engineering to social sciences.

Welcoming the announcement, Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “I am delighted that the University of Brighton will be co-hosting the British Science Festival next year. We were keen to grasp this wonderful opportunity to showcase our world-leading research alongside cutting-edge science from around the globe in an accessible and engaging way.

“The city of Brighton & Hove is world-renowned for its Arts Festival. By hosting the British Science Festival, we can throw open the doors of our facilities to the wider community, including our new state-of-the-art Advanced Engineering Building that is currently under construction.”

We’ll keep you posted as more details are confirmed, and hope to see you all there!