University of Exeter

Country: United Kingdom
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2,558 Projects, page 1 of 512
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 1605771
    Partners: University of Exeter

    I plan to conduct a mixed methods study to explore beliefs about and practices of STEM integration through project work among secondary school science, maths, ICT/computing and design technology teachers in England. Through a combination of cross-sectional surveys and individual case studies, I hope to identify how teachers' epistemological and pedagogical beliefs about STEM are formed and how they differ between subject specialists. I will then examine teachers' actual practices of STEM integration with particular emphasis on any mismatches between belief and practice. Using the sociocultural model of embedded belief systems as a framework, I will examine the features of the school culture and wider environment that inform these beliefs and practices. It is hoped that this research will contribute to the national and international debate around the purposes and nature of STEM education as well as inform the planning of effective CPD to enable teachers to understand and explore their own beliefs and practices. I will not be undertaking any overseas fieldwork or difficult language training.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F057016/2
    Funder Contribution: 99,948 GBP
    Partners: University of Exeter

    This project will develop a multi-compartmental, multi-scalar, mathematical model of alveolar ventilation dynamics (which includes gas exchange, dynamic and non-linear alveolar compliance and bronchial resistance), cardiovascular performance and blood (with reference to its gas-carrying abilities). The developed model will be used to elucidate the extent and distribution of the factors causative of lung injury in diseased, heterogeneous, mechanically-ventilated lungs. By treating the problem as one of feedback control, we will investigate methods of parameter adjustment in the mechanical ventilator to optimise cardiac output and arterial gas tensions while minimising the factors associated with VALI. Due to the inevitable complexity of the simulation model which we intend to develop, advanced methods from multivariable robust and optimal control theory will be required in order to identify which combinations of parameters should be adjusted, and how, in order to achieve the desired reduction in VALI. The work will go beyond that previously attempted in quantifying the factors that risk lung injury during mechanical ventilation through the greater fidelity of the proposed simulation platform. In addition, we will apply robustness analysis techniques to the modelling to improve the reliability and applicability of our findings. This will allow us to perform population modelling, rather than the commonly used approach of modelling and studying a single, idealized subject, rendering our findings applicable to populations and to a variety of real patients, in contrast to previous work where the idealized subject is in fact representative of neither the population nor any one individual.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/P010725/1
    Funder Contribution: 24,143 GBP
    Partners: University of Exeter

    Recent pollinator declines raise serious concerns about the future of pollination ecosystem services for wild flowers and some crops in agricultural landscapes. In response, the UKs National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) has catalysed landscape scale conservation projects aimed at protecting pollinating insects that support biodiversity and sustainable food production. Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CAONB) has initiated new work to help deliver the NPS aims, and this Innovation Internship will create a partnership between the University of Exeter (UoE) and CAONB to advise, support and extend this. The intern, Dr Grace Twiston-Davies (GTD), will utilise the cutting-edge suite of pollinator computer models, developed at UoE (with Research Council UK funding), to provide robust scientific evidence that can inform the strategic implementation of wild pollinator conservation at CAONB. GTD will share her extensive biodiversity and pollinator ecology expertise to further CAONB's initiative to improve the Cornish landscape for pollinators. In return, CAONB partners, will share invaluable expertise in how best to work with land stewards and owners to benefit the environment; and will give vital feedback on how we can integrate our models to fit the needs of beneficiaries. This collaboration will provide a sustainable relationship with multiple benefits for both partners that extend beyond the duration of the Internship, since both plan to further their work to effectively improve landscape management for pollinators. Agricultural landscapes cover 2/3 of the CAONB, providing an opportunity to make a significant contribution to pollinator conservation. However, there is poor uptake of the pollinator targeted management options (e.g. Countryside Stewardship options) like nectar flower mixes and grassland floral diversity enhancement. It is unclear as to what scale and density these options need to be administered at in order to maximise their ecological benefits and there is currently no mechanism for comparing the relative effects of different options to aid decision-making. This Internship will enable management recommendations to be made based on the predictions of relative bumblebee colony success to assist CAONB in implementing pollinator management most effective to the specific option and landscape. By potentially targeting grassland under agricultural use, this project covers two of the NERC Innovation priority areas; Sustainable Food Production, by increasing the sustainability of the beef and dairy industry through the enhancement of grassland sward diversity and Natural Resources, by managing natural resources of biodiversity and pollination services at CAONB. CAONB have recently published their 2016-2021 management plan which includes "Investing in Nature" policies specifically involving supporting land managers to increase ecosystem services and biodiversity. Now is the opportune time to strategically implement pollinator friendly management options. CAONB have invested in a Project Development Officer; Richard Hardy to help implement key objectives of the National Pollinator Strategy within the AONB and to launch new pollinator focused projects. They are keen to capitalise on the ecological expertise available in the pollinator research team at the UoE to maximise the impact of the project. GTD will therefore, bridge the knowledge gap between the partners, and share her expertise in landscape-scale grassland ecology and pollinator models. This will be transformative to the organisation in informing evidence-based decision making in order to enhance the Cornish landscape for pollinators. This project will provide a high profile impact case-study resulting from Research Council UK funded ecological modelling research (BBSRC, NERC), and will result in on-going and long-lasting impact for both partners, providing the opportunity for partners to develop further funding bids and projects together.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 1771799
    Partners: University of Exeter

    Climatic, environmental and societal changes led to the evolution of novel crop pathogens. Many new pathogen problems have evolved which now regularly threaten global crop production. Phytopathogenic species which cause crop plant diseases are annually responsible for the loss of ~15% of total crop yield globally and are therefore a serious threat to global food security. Particularly serious are Fusarium ear blight (FEB)/head scab disease caused by cereal infecting Fusaria fungi ( and Zymoseptoria tritici infections in wheat crops (Dean (2012) Molecular Plant Pathology 13, 414-430), both will be studied in this PhD project. The main scientific aims of this project are (A) to investigate both the cellular and molecular mechanisms in wheat required for the transition of Fusarium graminearum hyphae from apoplastic to plasmodesmatal growth (Brown (2010), Fungal Biology 114, 555-571) and (B) to explore the functional role(s) of specific plasmodesmata associated wheat proteins (Faulkner (2013) PNAS, 110, 9166-9170). To achieve the project aims the student will learn how to use a range of existing tools (fungal reporter strains, wheat transformants), established techniques (RNA seq analyses, light/UV/confocal microscopy, Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) (Lee (2012) Plant Physiology 160, 582-590) and emerging technologies (genome editing). They will also be trained in the use of bespoke software to quantify and mathematically model the in vivo fungal-plant image datasets acquired from their detailed microscopy studies.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/J501219/1
    Funder Contribution: 32,592 GBP
    Partners: University of Exeter

    This project seeks to determine the extent to which complexity theory might offer the most effective means for understanding how communities can be successfully engaged in and with academic research. In the project, we adopted a case study approach, working with participants in a number of projects which had significant community engagement. These projects were all supported by the UK Beacons for Public Engagement, with which we also collaborated in our work. From the outset our research was informed by a Community Advisory Group, comprising community partners and engagement specialists. The objective of our research was to identify the initial conditions that facilitated the creation of enabling environments for community engagement. A number of the research results challenged our theoretical assumptions. Revisiting these results, we were led to develop a new way of conceptualising community engagement, which we propose to call an 'engagement cycle'. We suggest that this engagement cycle comprises a number of differential 'phases', each of which is constituted by its own characteristic processes. This notion of an engagement cycle raises further research questions relating to the applicability of complexity theory to community engagement, as well as suggesting a number of issues that may inform the future development of the Connected Communities community engagement strategy.