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University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen

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1,274 Projects, page 1 of 255
  • Funder: Wellcome Trust Project Code: 094001
    Funder Contribution: 4,570 GBP

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  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: AH/W010070/1
    Funder Contribution: 50,319 GBP

    Language is at the core of everything we do in society and in our global and multilingual world, it is vital that language research is facilitated to support social cohesion and to interpret culture, heritage and the world around us. The main objective of this project is to co-produce a report which considers the research and innovation landscape of language research in the UK: the major international languages and the UK indigenous and community languages. Research in the indigenous languages of the UK has an important role to play in safeguarding minority language communities and informing policy, locally and globally. Recent research trends in this area have been innovative in their community and agency-based collaboration practices and development of intervention methodology but there is scope for further development and especially for more research across languages. The report will summarise current research topics within the specified languages and will identify emerging themes and under-researched themes: this will be achieved through a series of interviews with scholars across the UK. The report will consider in what ways university research interfaces with language agencies and government departments with a responsibility for promoting the use of indigenous and community languages and will suggest ways in which universities might support the research needs of language agencies. It will do so through interviews with stakeholders in government, the broadcast media and specialist agencies. The research will engage not only with language broadcasters and media producers in the UK, it will also consider the role of research in the broader cultural and heritage sector. Language is one of the most important vehicles for the practice and transmission of much intangible cultural heritage; research in these areas has the capacity to promote understanding and social inclusion: this would particularly be the case when research is able to translate across cultural and linguistic boundaries for the benefit of increased social unity and cohesion. In addition to assessing in what ways university research might support policy makers, the report will look for good examples of co-produced community projects and consider how community projects might be better supported by the university sector. Contributions from university researchers have the capacity to make a lot of difference to community research projects and through work of this type, there is potential to develop new methods in co-produced research. In policy and community co-produced research, in particular, it is likely that this work will cut across other discipline areas; collaboration between language and education academics is common in minority languages as policy makers seek to measure and improve bilingual schooling. This report will consider how more interdisciplinary research and collaboration with disciplines outside of the languages departments might strengthen languages research outputs and benefit language communities. Given the multilingual dimension to UK society, this report will highlight how languages research can contribute to addressing wider social challenges, e.g., in a minority language context, research on language use in primary-aged children could inform policy and practice in and out of the classroom. As demonstrated by the OWRI initiative, languages disciplines in the UK remain in a fragile position with shrinking student numbers and threats to the continued existence of university language departments: this at the same time as the UK and the world becomes more global. In collaboration with the work of the other AHRC Fellow, this report will identify areas of shared interest across the broad languages spectrum now present in UK HEIs. In doing this it is hoped that, in line with the OWRI legacies, cross-language working can be better facilitated to bring added benefit to the sector and ultimately our multicultural and multilingual society.

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  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: 2445868

    Significant amount of carbon is stored in soils, particularly in peatlands. Increasing food and energy needs have led to intensive land use practices that deplete soil organic carbon (SOC) stores. In Scotland, drainage for agriculture and commercial forestry in its vast swathes of peatlands has caused their degradation with significant loss of carbon. Their recent restoration has led to the return of SOC sequestration, and associated climate benefits, but the underlying carbon cycling mechanisms have not been clearly understood. This mechanistic understanding is required to better predict and manage soil processes to maintain or even enhance SOC storage in peatlands while economising land-use. Microorganisms are critical in this regard because their growth and activity largely control the fate of recent plant carbon inputs, as well as the stability of assimilated microbial carbon. The balance between the rate of microbial decomposition and stabilisation of organic carbon in soil can shift under altered environmental conditions. In peatlands, water-logged conditions, anaerobiosis and acidity limit microbial growth and decomposition that consequently causes preservation of organic carbon. Peatland degradation through drainage removes the factors causing organic carbon preservation thus leading to SOC loss through microbial decomposition. Restorative approaches aim at reversing these effects thereby limiting the loss of SOC; however, the exact hydrological, chemical and biotic mechanisms and their inter-dependencies are poorly understood. This project aims at understanding the effects of peatland degradation and subsequent restoration on microbial physiological processes and their consequences on soil carbon transformations. Project will rigorously test the hypotheses that microbial growth, activity and decomposition is limited by acidity and anaerobiosis in peatlands; and that peatland degradation causes increased microbial growth and consequently decomposition of peat organic matter. We will have access to multiple peatland sites under various land use types across Scotland to test the hypotheses. The goal is to assess microbial carbon cycling functions like growth rate, carbon use efficiency, resource breakdown and uptake, maintenance and stress tolerance. These community traits will be quantified using a combination of stable isotope tracing and shot-gun metagenomics, and their fingerprints in driving changes in SOC will be assessed using chemical molecular tools like FTIR. Using stable isotope tracers, we will measure microbial incorporation of carbon into biomass and loss through respiration to quantify community-level traits like carbon use efficiency, growth rate and specific respiration across land use types. Analytical facilities for gas, solid, soil solution and compound-specific 13C isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) including cavity ring-down spectrometry (CRDS) at University of Aberdeen (UoA) and James Hutton Institute (JHI) are unique and training will be provided by the supervisory team. Whole genome shot-gun metagenomics will be used to investigate functions of peatland microbial communities under different land use. The goal here will be to extract physiological traits of microbes that are dominant in soils under different land use. The Centre for Genome Enabled Biology and Medicine (www.abdn.ac.uk/genomics) at UoA houses DNA sequencing platforms like Illumina NextSeq500 and Oxford Nanopore GridION which will be available to the project including training in molecular methods and bioinformatics. Chemical analysis of the extant organic matter will be used to characterise peatland organic matter at the molecular level using FTIR. Once we are able to form a link between microbial traits and carbon cycling processes, we will be able to use the combined knowledge to ascertain the efficacy of restorative practices in changing microbial physiology aimed at regaining and sequestering carbon in peatlands.

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  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: ES/T003073/1
    Funder Contribution: 920,774 GBP

    Land degradation is a major problem in Ethiopia. Recent estimates put the size of degraded land in Ethiopia at more than one-quarter of the entire country, which affects nearly a third of the population. Land degradation takes many forms and has many different effects, with the most adverse impacts on poor people, who depend heavily on natural resources. Forests, soils, water, biodiversity, and economic and social services derived from the ecosystems are all affected. Climate change and extreme weather events, such as the recent El Niño effect, significantly increase the risk of soil erosion, and losses of soil nutrients. The impact of degradation and measures to restore land are inherently unequally distributed across the population in time and space. Restoring degraded common lands through the establishment of "exclosure" areas where traditional community access is restricted is widely used in Ethiopia. These restrictions particularly affect those without access to other sources of firewood and grazing. Such inequalities and local perceptions of justice need to be taken into account if soil restoration is to be sustainable in the long run. This project aims to improve the design of measures to combat land degradation while considering equity and justice, strengthening risk management and benefits for communities, particularly poor and marginal groups, increasing the capacity of local people to adapt and improve their lives. The project draws on an interdisciplinary approach covering anthropology, agricultural and forestry science, economics, environmental modelling, hydrology, sociology, and soil science. In case study areas within the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region in Ethiopia (SNNPR) covering different agricultural and climatic zones, the project will design interventions with the Ethiopian Bureau of Agriculture to - Train and provide access to exclosures to selected eligible landless youth and women to enable them to undertake new productive activities in 1) beekeeping or 2) livestock management. - Demonstrate and train local farmers in simple measures to address gully formation The research aims to find out the impact of the new interventions on the participants, how the interventions were communicated and promoted within the communities, how they were experienced by different groups, and their impact on preferences and attitudes to natural resource management within the community. The project will collect soil, hydrology and socio-economic data. This will be used with environmental and economic modelling to measure the impacts of the interventions on the direct participants, and preferences for natural resource management in the wider community, and the potential long-term effects on land degradation, thus helping to improve the design local natural resource management. With local and regional practitioners, development agents and representatives of local communities, the project will draw together all the results of the research to develop recommendations for improving frameworks to planning land degradation measures aligned to communities' aspirations, values and notions of justice.

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  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: G0502236/1
    Funder Contribution: 83,261 GBP

    Vascular stents have emerged as an effective treatment for occlusive vascular disease. Despite their success and widespread use, outcomes for patients receiving stents are still hampered by thrombosis and restenosis. This proposal is for the investigation of the dynamical process for the accumulation and coalescence of particles in the stent region, and their subsequent absorption by the stent-covering thrombus. Both the stent and the thrombus change the arterial blood flow, creating stagnation regions, where chaotic fratal sets should lie. Particle processes, such as accumulation and coalescence, are greatly enhanced by these fractal sets, strongly suggesting that these structures are the dynamical explanation for the eventual restenosis of arteries after a stent-assisted angioplasty. The knowledge gained by this work should be of great relevance to improve the design of stents.

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