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THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

Country: United Kingdom

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

10 Projects, page 1 of 2
  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 101082211
    Funder Contribution: 5,484,000 EUR

    MESPOM is a 2-year Masters programme jointly offered by Central European University (Austria), Lund University (Sweden), the University of the Aegean (Greece), and the University of Manchester (UK). MESPOM aims- to prepare students to integrate theory and practice for addressing complex environmental issues in various social settings, - to engage students with real-life projects in business, government, non-profit and academia, orient them in European and worldwide networks of environmental professionals, and support in developing effective career strategies,- to expose students to diversity of geographic perspectives (Central European, Scandinavian, Mediterranean, and British) and complementary competences (science, policy and management).The programme starts with two semesters in Vienna comprised of both broad and specialised courses on energy and climate change, resource management, environmental politics and justice and related topics. The next module at Lesvos covers ecosystems management and rural sustainability. The summer internships are hosted by Associated Partners connecting MESPOM to academic and professional networks on 4 continents. For the third semester, students choose to focus on preventive environmental strategies in organisations at Lund or on pollution and environment control at Manchester. The thesis project in the last semester can be hosted by any of the four partners. The programme is concluded with a capstone meeting in Vienna with joint thesis presentation followed by further opportunities for internships or preparations for professional life.Within this project, MESPOM programme will be completed by at least 130 outstanding students. MESPOM expects 2000-2500 aspiring candidates to apply and the students to represent at least 50 countries from all continents. MESPOM graduates will follow successful careers in environmental and sustainability, join a community of like-minded professionals, and retain lasting connections to Europe.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 2014-1-UK01-KA203-001642
    Funder Contribution: 207,235 EUR

    Academic disciplines develop their own distinctive ways of researching and teaching about the world. These research methodologies and ways of teaching depend upon technologies which change, and upon a similarly changeable set of cultural norms, which are rarely challenged. We can learn from different ways of doing teaching and research and in particular, we can learn from playful ways of finding out about a place, where the mobile phone and mapping offer new ways of 'situating knowledge'.This project investigated field encounters between groups of students and academics, from different nations and academic fields. Its aim was to improve learning in the field, by contrasting methods. A Strategic Partnership was developed between academics from Manchester, Warwick, Utrecht, Olomouc and Malta and formalized during annual Transnational Partnership meetings. For three years students investigated the Mediterranean island of Gozo in a ten-day field course. Coming from fields as diverse as Geography, Development Studies, Game Studies, Sociology, New Media Studies and Geographical Information Science they became players in 'location-based games', deployed to structure group-based and student-led investigations of Island Geography. Facilitated by academics and researchers from Manchester, Warwick, Utrecht, Olomouc and Malta the students compared and contrasted different research methods. Mapping games and more conventional research methods were used as part of these learning contexts. Students presented results of their investigations and began to appreciate the significant differences that discipline and nationality brought to learning about Island Studies. Learning in the courses was under the control of students, and staff designed subsequent courses in the light of the successes and failures of early encounters. Field practice changed in these three years and best practice was established.Students learnt about mobile technologies in the field. They shared in game design through a 'game jam'. They explored the potential of mobile mapping as a research tool and investigated the different assumptions that they brought to the activity. Academic best practice between disciplines was shared in the field between participants and subsequently with a wider group of stakeholders, in a joint International Seminar held as a Multiplier Event at the conclusion of the project. Conference papers and presentations, peer-reviewed journal articles and books disseminated our conclusions to different academic audiences as well as to other stakeholders. The Strategic Partnership led to improved field practice, a greater awareness of the differences that stem from how we approach the field, an exploration of the potential of serious gaming as an educational tool, and a greater appreciation of the role of direct field experience, across academic disciplines. It contributed towards modernising academic practice in Europe, enabling learning through technologies that are taken for granted by current (and, more so, future) cohorts of students. It brought fun back into learning in higher education!

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 2016-1-DE01-KA203-002918
    Funder Contribution: 391,994 EUR

    The Strategic Partnership “Diversity in the Cultures of Physics” has built a transnational network aimed at improving the gender balance in physics and making physics outreach more gender inclusive. The project initiated and strengthened networks between both transnational partners and scientists of different career stages, aiming to empower young women to pursue a career in physics as an entry to a broad range of professional opportunities.The participation and achievements of women in physics faces two main obstacles: first, the level of first semester female students in physics is only about 25%. This percentage is maintained throughout university physics training, but does not result in an equal number of women in leading positions in physics since second, a significant drop-out occurs at later and, in particular, senior career stages.Research findings of gender studies in science, with a particular focus on physics, identify the impact of essentially male-centred professional cultures in physics as obstacles for female progression. However, they also point to the national variations of cultures of physics, and also across physics subfields, with distinct consequences for their gender effects.Thus, awareness of differences in workplace cultures of physics, reflections on the heterogeneous political and everyday contexts of scientific research, knowledge about equality measures at European universities, and contacts to supportive professional networks were the cornerstones of the project’s goal to provide women and other underrepresented groups in physics with new pathways to realize their career and life plans.The strategic partnership consisted of six universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, the University of Manchester, the University of Sheffield, and Uppsala Universitet. Freie Universität Berlin was the coordinator of the project. All partner universities had previously worked to promote women in science, allowing the partnership to build upon extensive expertise in the area of gender equality in physics, sharing the partner’s experiences, learning from each other and spreading best practice.The collective activities of the Strategic Partnership focused on creating space for young women to consider physics as a field of academic training, to successfully find their place in this field and to encourage them to draw upon the full range of opportunities that exist in the transnational and disciplinary diversity of physics.To meet these aims, two main lines of action were carried out:(1) Design, organization and evaluation of a series of European summer schools for female physics students, two of which were held each year between changing pairs of partners. Involved in the implementation of the summer schools were physicists in the physics departments of the hosting universities, regional research institutes, actors from science policy and gender equality policy as well as representatives from women’s networks in physics. Both the specially tailored curriculum, “Diversity in the Cultures of Physics: A European Summer School Curriculum” and the developed teaching material “Lesson Plan Series: Reflections on Gender & Physics” have been published as open access on several web platforms.(2) Reviewing outreach activities of the partner universities in order to develop gender and diversity sensitive physics outreach. Via mutual visits, representatives from the partner universities observed and participated in local outreach events. The resulting insights were used for a joint comparative reassessment of outreach activities and then communicated beyond the partnership through a flyer “Making physics outreach more gender inclusive” that is available online.The project resulted in a further expansion of the initial network. Through the partners’ activities different target groups were included, comprising university students, researchers and lecturers, stakeholders at research institutes, and representatives from science administration and gender equality bodies. The project created a number of sustainable collaborations that are expected to extend in the future. In particular, the implementation of the summer school series enhanced the gender awareness of all involved parties, contributing to a higher degree of gender equality in physics. Moreover, the summer schools can function as a model for other scientific disciplines that face similar problems concerning the underrepresentation of women and other minorities in their fields.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 2014-1-DK01-KA200-000773
    Funder Contribution: 353,906 EUR

    Context and background for the projectThis project addresses the needs to develop and take on new approaches to teaching and learning and to use new technologies to support and facilitate this. In particular, the project deals with wellknown issues related to science teaching and learning and furthermore with teaching towards the 21st-century skills in schools. The science subjects pose problems or obstacles for a large number of students in European schools. School science subjects are considered “hard” and require high levels of abstraction. As a result, there has been a decline in young Europeans’ interest in the science subjects both during their education and as career opportunities. Inquiry-oriented approaches are recommended to make the learning of science more like the practice of science. This project addresses the above concerns by contributing to developing and implementing innovative science education in order to enhance the quality of science teaching/learning and student attitudes and motivation. The basic rationale of this project is that science education can be strengthened through the use of Argumented Reality (AR) (Shirazi & Behzadan 2013), because AR makes possible active, collaborative learning as well as interaction with and visualization of central science knowledge. Furthermore, it is believed that the technology has matured sufficiently to introduce it into school contexts and involve teachers in designing and producing AR-materials.The objectives of AR-Sci is to:A) Contribute to developing and implementing innovative science education in order to enhance the quality of science teaching and learningB) Strengthen students' motivation for and attitude towards science educationC) Develop a student-centered approach to science education, facilitating inquiry-based teaching, collaboration and active learning.D) Strengthen technology-enhanced teaching and learning in ways that make sense to students and teachersThe project aims to produce materials to facilitate student learning and engagement and also build models for how teachers can use the technology and involve their studentsAR-sci has the overall objective of furthering innovative teaching and learning with augmented reality-technologies. AR-sci aims at describing a supplementary, new and innovative approach through a design guideline for science teachers and others interested in the field. Number and profile of participating organisationsThe consortium consists of 6 partners from higher education, IT and education, and the school sector respectively.VIA University College is Denmark’s largest provider of teacher education with close ties to university research environments nationally and internationally. Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Hioa, is the largest state university college in Norway. Hioa has renowned competences in digital literacy and ICT-suported learning.Jisc, Manchester University, UK, is a not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions for the UK higher, further education and skills sector.Galicia Supercomputing Centre (CESGA), Spain, is a public non-profit technological centre, offering advanced IT-services to the scientific community in Galicia.Skolen I Midten (SIM), lower secondary school, Denmark.CPI O Cruce, K-12 school, Spain.The main activities in the project are:1.Developing and testing an innovative approach to science teaching2.Designing and producing a series of AR-based teaching materials3.Testing and evaluating the materials and teaching approach together with teachers and students in schools (in a series of pilots)4.Sharing ideas, models, experiences, materials etc. with teachers, lecturers and researchers in webinars, workshops, conference presentations, and scientific articles5.Describing and sharing the pedagogical model, the teaching and learning materials, a guide for science teachers in a free online resourceResults and impact attainedAR-sci has developed a student-centered approach facilitating an inquiry-oriented teaching, collaboration and active learning, and a visualization of the often hidden processes that are central to understanding science. Based on evaluation of the pilots in schools we found that students considered the use of AR activities to be motivating, to give clarification on complex concepts, and to bring further attention to STEM topics. In terms of developing a studenter centred teaching approach, 76 % of the students stated that they had learnt from their fellows, and 60 % stated that they had noticed a different role from their teacher. At the end of the 3rd round of pilots, 75 % of the students involved stated that their interest in STEM subjects had increased.Through collaboration with schools, teachers, students, teacher educators, researchers and developers of educational technology, the project has communicated its results and raised awareness of the potential of AR in education.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 2014-1-AT01-KA204-001014
    Funder Contribution: 246,789 EUR

    Museums constitute an essential part of the European cultural landscape serving as a key player in preserving cultural heritage on the one hand, and as platforms for contemporary forms of expression on the other. They showcase cultural evolution spanning over thousands of years, covering several epochs, beginning with archaeological exhibits up to modern art. However, museums primarily address the visual senses and blind and visually impaired people, therefore, are excluded from a wide range of services offered by traditional museums, including the museums’ role as platform where informal learning takes place. But times are changing and innovative 3D technologies and multi-sensory methods offer solutions for blind and visually impaired people, by enabling them to get in touch with exhibits and to participate in educational programs offered by museums. A small number of museums in Europe offer access to blind and visually impaired people through the use of 3D technology. Some museums started setting-up such projects in the recent years, but faced budgetary, technical and conceptual obstacles that needed to be overcome. However, museums which managed to complete such projects, received extremely positive feedback from blind and visually impaired people.The project AMBAVis aimed to be a driving force for the development and the spreading of such 3D practices in museums by providing comprehensive information and research on that issue. The project, therefore, has acted on existing approaches and refined technical solutions, in order to allow an understanding of how to improve them and to generate more affordable tactile models for museums in the future. Within the project tactile models, 3D objects and multi-sensory methods have been developed and tested. Feedback from blind and visually impaired people was a crucial part in this process in order to get a better insight in the usability of the different technologies and to increase accessibility to museums and their educational programs for blind and visually impaired people. Furthermore, examples of good practice have been compiled as well as key elements identified that are essential for a successful implementation of projects in this context. As improving access to museums for blind and visually impaired people is a multi-faceted issue, a comprehensive approach was chosen to also address the economic and legal aspects. Therefore, the project was accompanied by an analysis facing the economic impact and the respective legal framework of the emerging use of 3D technology and applications in museums. The economic impact of the use of 3D technologies and tactile models in museums has been measured in order to show, that there is a broader value added in terms of gross value added and employment arising in the EU-28. Finally, questions concerning copyright issues occurring in the context of tactile models created for blind and visually impaired visitors in museums have been analyzed and clarified, as they have a high practical relevance when implementing such projects.The project’s results have been shared with other stakeholders and the public through extensive dissemination activities in various fields, e.g. exhibiting the models developed in public events, presenting the results at conferences, publishing articles in mass media as well as specific professional journals, informing on proceedings and results on the project website www.ambavis.eu, releasing press releases and conducting a press conference and a final workshop for the interested public at the end of the project. Moreover, another European project in this context (ARCHES – Accessible Resources for Cultural Heritage Ecosystems, http://arches-project.eu/) has emerged out of the project’s activities that is based on ideas created within and continuing the work of AMBAVis.The findings provide museums, stakeholders and decision makers with a better understanding of the issue and allow for better and more cost-efficient implementation of 3D technology in museums. Furthermore, haptic results in the form of tactile models have been produced which will stay publicly accessible in the partner museums also after the official end of AMBAVis. Although the project aimed at blind and visually impaired people, the use of 3D objects and multi-sensory-opportunities has turned out to be very useful for pupils in educational facilities or in old people’s homes in the future too.The strategic partnership consisted of 7 partner organizations from Austria, Slovakia, Germany and Great Britain. The project partners were museums, an institute for economic and legal research, a center for application oriented research in the area of Visual Computing, a NGO in the field of audio description for blind and visually impaired people, and national blind unions.

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