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Bangalore, India, 8-10 January 2018

About the Workshop

The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR, India) and the University of Reading (UK) are jointly organising an India – UK Workshop on Thermoelectric Materials for Waste-Heat Harvesting, to be held on 8-10 January 2018 in Bangalore. The workshop is part of the Newton Researcher Links Programme, jointly funded by the British Council and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the event is also partially supported by the Sheikh Saqr Laboratory, ICMS, JNCASR.

The Workshop will bring together scientists from India and the UK to discuss the research and development of materials capable of converting waste heat into useful electricity. The topic is of global interest but it is particularly relevant for the development of India, where heat is abundant but electricity is still scarce: over 300 million people in rural India have no access to electricity, and those who do, often find the electricity supply to be intermittent and unreliable.

The main goal of the Workshop is to establish effective and durable collaboration links between researchers in UK and India working on thermoelectric materials. The workshop will also provide training to participating early career researchers, with sessions dedicated to experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate thermoelectric materials, as well as discussions of career opportunities in this field.

Call for Participants

Early Career Researchers (individuals holding a PhD and having up to 10 years of post-PhD research experience in a relevant field) from the UK and India are invited to submit their applications for participation in this Workshop. We will provide funding to selected applicants, including the cost of international or domestic travel, local travel (between airport and JNCASR), accommodation and meals.

Completed application forms should be sent via email to the Workshop coordinators (Dr Ricardo Grau-Crespo for applications from the UK, and Dr Kanishka Biswas for applications from India) whose contact details are given below.

In addition, there is a small number of slots available for self-funded participants at any career stage, who will need to pay a fee of £200 for covering the cost of registration, accommodation and meals. Self-funded applicants should also submit the application form for participation.

The deadline for applications is Friday 1st September 2017.

The Workshop Venue

The workshop will be held at the beautiful campus of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR). The institute is located near Bangalore’s International Airport, which serves direct flights from the UK, and it has first-class conference facilities including well-equipped conference rooms.

Keynote Speakers and Workshop Mentors

Prof. Umesh V. Waghmare (JNCASR, Bangalore, India)
Prof. Anthony V. Powell (University of Reading, UK)
Prof. Robert Freer (University of Manchester, UK)
Prof. D. K. Aswal (CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, India)

Workshop Coordinators

Dr Ricardo Grau-Crespo (University of Reading, UK)

Email: r.grau-crespo@reading.ac.uk

Dr Kanishka Biswas (JNCASR, Bangalore, India)

Email: kanishka@jncasr.ac.in

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By Professor Sandy Harrison

I am delighted to be spearheading a forthcoming workshop to be held at Reading University in July that brings together observationalists and modellers working on palaeoclimates, model development and assessment of future climate changes to address this question.

Climate models are mathematical representations of the interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, ice – and the sun. The models used for future climate projections were developed and calibrated using climate observations from the past 40 years. They are also the only tools available to project the human impact on the environment changes over the 21st century. These models perform well in terms of global features (e.g. magnitude of global warming), but model performance at a regional scale is poor.

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“Development of Small Molecule Libraries vs. Novel Cancer Targets”

Professor John Spencer
University of Sussex

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President Donald Trump has indicated an intention to withdraw the US from the Paris accord on climate change.

His announcement, made on Thursday 1 June, means the US will no longer recognise the collective aim of mitigating the impact of climate change.

The University of Reading is a world leader in climate science and research into the physical, economic and social impacts of climate change, helping to provide the strong scientific evidence upon which the Paris agreement was based.

Here, we look at some of this celebrated research, which remains central to the aims of the 194 countries that remain signed up to the Paris Agreement.

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By Sally Stevens, Institute for Environmental Analytics, University of Reading

An important new skills gap survey highlighting the urgent need for in-career training in state-of-the-art data analytics was presented at this week’s European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Austria on Thursday [April 27].

The key findings are:

  • 53% of respondents said the research habit that needed most improvement was reluctance to share data or models.
  • 52% identified the most vital skill for global change research as data processing and analysis.
  • 42% said the digital skills needing most improvement were computational and numerical analysis.
  • The biggest data challenge was data complexity and the lack of data standards and exchange standards.

The survey was commissioned by the Belmont Forum, a highly influential global group of science funders dedicated to speeding up high quality environmental research around the world.

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Climate-KIC Visit

Representatives from Climate-KIC are visiting the University of Reading on Friday 17th March. The University is a partner of Climate-KIC, which is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative. You are invited to meet them and learn more about the plans for Climate-KIC. The visit will have three components:

11.00-12.00 – Alina Congreve, Climate-KIC UK Education Lead

Alina would like to meet with the Directors of the Masters courses that were awarded the Climate-KIC label a few years ago. Directors of T&L, as well as Deans of T&L, are also very welcome to attend should they wish. Masters courses that have been awarded with the Climate-KIC label are: Applied Meteorology; Climate change and Development; Design & Management of Sustainable Built Environments; Entrepreneurship & Management; Environmental Management; Environment and Development; International Energy Studies; International Management; Public Policy and Renewable Energy: Technology and Sustainability  

12.30-13.00 – Jason Louis Gouveia, Climate-KIC UK Innovation Programme Coordinator

Jason will give an overview of Climate-KIC and the opportunities it presents. More information about the themes of the Climate-KIC is available here: http://www.climate-kic.org/themes/.

13.00-15.00 – One-to-one meetings

Alina and Jason will both be available to discuss particular aspects of the Climate-KIC and its opportunities. Depending on the level of interest, meeting times will be allocated in 15 minute slots. Please email Daniel Williamson (d.williamson@reading.ac.uk) to register your interest.

About Climate-KIC

Climate-KIC is one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an EU body whose mission is to create sustainable growth. The Climate-KIC supports this mission by addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation. It integrates education, entrepreneurship and innovation resulting in connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into economically viable products or services that help to mitigate climate change.

If you’d like to attend any part of the Climate-KIC visit, please email Daniel Williamson to register your interest d.williamson@reading.ac.uk

For more specific questions about the Climate-KIC and topics that will be covered during the visit, please contact Maria Noguer m.noguer@reading.ac.uk

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By Phil Newton, Research Dean for the Environment Theme, University of Reading

‘Impact sometimes needs to be nurtured over long timescales… there is more to impact than developing case-studies for the next REF exercise’

The University of Reading is known across the world for the quality of its research in the environmental sciences. As Research Dean for the Environment Theme, I’m lucky enough to have the best seat in the house to see, up close, not just that quality, but also what a huge impact some of that research has on people’s lives.

So it’s gratifying when others celebrate the influence of Reading’s research, as the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has done this week with the publication of its new annual report about the impact of NERC-funded research.

The NERC Impact Report 2016 shows how sustained NERC investment in environmental researchers working in partnership with the likes of governments, businesses and charities generates large, long-term economic and societal benefits – contributing to building a safer, healthier and more secure and sustainable world. It is great to see highlighted two areas of Reading research that are having substantial impact.

Reducing the tragedy of flooding

One is about the work of hydrologist Professor Hannah Cloke, and how the modelling and engagement work by Hannah and her colleagues over many years has improved the quality of flood forecasting, and changed the policy and practice of flood prevention, in the UK. These changes have been a major contribution to dramatic reductions in household flooding incidence over the past decade.

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Dr Tijana Blanusa is a RHS Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences. Her research interests include the role of urban greening in the mitigation of heat island effect; gardens and microclimate; understanding the physiological responses of ornamental plants to water deficits; and improving the establishment of ornamental plants.

The University of Reading and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have teamed up at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show (22 – 26 May 2012), to showcase their research into the effect of plants in urban environments.

I work in a very privileged position for a scientist – based at the University and allowed the luxury to follow sometimes quirky questions, but working for a big charitable organisation and hence asking those questions grounded in reality, on behalf of the people we strive to support. For the last few years my work has focused on understanding plants in the urban environment and their contribution to provision of several ‘ecosystem services’*. The aim is to inform and encourage wide and thoughtful use of plants in the domestic and public (urban) context.

Even in the busiest and most populated of Western cities, a surprisingly high proportion of their surface is covered in vegetation (almost up to 50% in some cases). Furthermore, in the UK, almost half of those urban green areas are made up of private gardens. Hence what we grow in our gardens and public green spaces and how we manage them can really impact on our environment on many levels, both positively and negatively. In my job I question general assumptions on what urban green spaces (and domestic gardens in particular) do and don’t do, and challenge advice given to people involved in managing any sort of green space.

There is very sound scientific evidence about a number of ‘services’ that urban vegetation can provide; it is well established for example that vegetation moderates air temperatures, helps insulate buildings against the extremes of weather, supports and enriches urban biodiversity and human health. So the common public perceptions that parks, street trees and green domestic spaces help lower summer temperatures locally are supported by largely unanimous scientific evidence. The scientific questions remaining there lie, for example, in the need to tease out how vegetation works at various spatial scales (e.g. locally, next to the individual house, or on a neighbourhood or whole-city scales) and how various ‘services’ provided by the vegetation can be best combined. However, the way our urban green spaces and private gardens are managed (i.e. how much water, energy etc. is consumed in their management) greatly influences the level of their potential environmental benefits (with higher inputs often meaning that the benefits decrease).

To showcase the interest that the University of Reading and the Royal Horticultural Society have in researching plants in the urban environments, the two organisations are, for the first time jointly, organising an exhibit at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22 – 26 May 2012). Our display ‘Keeping their cool: how the plants in urban environment help reduce temperatures, control flooding and capture pollution’ will be featured in the ‘RHS Environment’ section of the Flower Show. We will be attempting to provide some answers to the following questions: why urban gardens matter, what do plants contribute to the urban environment and how do they do it.?  We will also reinforce the view that not all plants act in the same way, so that a variety in plant form, structure, habit, colour etc. is likely to provide the best overall ‘service’ to the urban environment. So if you are interested, come and see us there.

*Very broadly speaking ‘ecosystem services’ can be thought of as benefits that humans derive from resources and processes that are supplied by ecosystems. In some scientific literature, the term ‘ecosystem disservice’ is also used to balance the arguments and describe functions of ecosystems that are perceived as negative for human well-being.

http://www.reading.ac.uk/biologicalsciences/

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