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My experience at the British Antarctic Survey  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2020, 01:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: My experience at the British Antarctic Survey
Last month I had the chance to visit one of the most fascinating science institutions that I know in the United Kingdom, the British Antartic Survey (BAS). It is an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council, and it has been delivering and enabling world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions for decades. Its head quarters are in Cambridge, which is where I was invited to. They perform science and research in the Polar Regions: Antarctica and the Arctic but also in some other exotic places like the Himalayas. Their main goal is to advance our understanding of Earth and our impact on it, one of the current focuses is on the most precise estimation on the rise of sea level due to the melting of polar glaciers.

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I was selected to participate in the program UK Polar Horizons, which is part of the Inclusion Program that they have at BAS. 20 students from different universities in the UK gathered in such a relevant building to be taught about the science of the Polar Regions, and meet professionals with similar backgrounds and jobs to ours. There were students who were studying masters and PhD in paleoclimate, atmospheric analysis, archeology, marine biology and remote sensing. This last one is the field I am most interested in, as I did my Bachelor Degree dissertation in a preliminary design of a satellite to monitor glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range in the South of Spain. And it is key to control the evolution of Antarctica and the Artic, there are whole teams observing and calculating the effect each particular glacier has on the rise of sea level.

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We had the opportunity to meet Stuart Doubleday, the Administrator of British Antarctic Territory, a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom. He explained to all of us the significance of BAS and the role of the UK in the Antarctic continent, a region on Earth dedicated to science and the preservation of wildlife.

We also had the chance to meet top level researchers who have been to Antarctica or the Artic and also professionals with great responsibility in this insitution. We met experts such as Donna Frater, Head of diversity in Polar Science, David Bowen, Director of Science of BAS, Jane Francis, Executive Director of BAS, Michael Bravo, Director of Scott Polar Institute, and many more. We were told about how we can analyse the air bubbles trapped in ice thousands of years ago and know what the climate was like a million years ago, and we touched and heared ancient ice with our own hands. We were also shown Antarctic fossils from dinosaurs and primitive cephalopods.

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I guess I always have had a deep concern with climate change and that is what has made develop my career in the field I work on. After my Bachelor Degree in Aerospace Engineering in Madrid I am now studying an MSc at Cranfield in Astronautics & Space Engineering, to continue my education in satellites, remote sensing and the improvement of Earth by using the tools we have to understand it. But it is not just something Astronautics graduates can do, we require field experts in geology, energy or water resources to apply the discoveries we make. If you are particularly interested in the Polar Regions, some of the background readings you could read are “Arctic Adventure: My Life in the Frozen North” by Peter Freuchen or any book about Ernest Shackleton. There are also interesting documentaries such as “An inconvenient truth” or its sequel “An inconveniet sequel” by Al Gore, and “Before the flood” produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

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But climate change is a global issue and will need the help of all individuals to accomplish the reduction of CO2 emissions and make our planet safer for human life. It is on our daily actions that we can mitigate the carbon footprint we have on Earth, that we can help keep Antartica and the Artic safe, by not altering the sanctuary of biodiversity these areas represent. 
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Love Data Week round up  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2020, 04:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Love Data Week round up
Did you celebrate Love Data Week? This was an international campaign that ran 10-14 February to raise awareness about about data management, security, sharing, and preservation. The theme of the week was ‘Love your data’, and the key take-away message was the importance of managing research data in your research projects.

The Library tweeted advice all week, and then ran a drop-in coffee morning at the Kings Norton Library on Friday. All those who attended were able to discuss a range of issues from Open Data, writing a data management plan and how to use Cranfield’s Online Research Data Repository (CORD), to procedures for making publications funder compliant and playing The Impact Game.

If you missed it you are welcome to contact our Research Data Manager, Greg Simpson, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have to support your research, by emailing researchdata@cranfield.ac.uk. You can also learn more by visiting the Research Data Management guidance pages.

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash
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Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium 2020 (DSDS20)  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2020, 01:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium 2020 (DSDS20)
The annual Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium (DSDS20) is taking place this year, 10-11 November. It is the only UK conference to provide research students and early career researchers in defence and security with an opportunity to present their work to a sector-wide audience with representatives from industry, government and other defence and security relevant NGOs. It is held over a day and a half with an exhibition and a conference dinner in the beautiful setting of the STEAM Museum, Swindon: https://www.steam-museum.org.uk/

If you are a second- or third-year doctoral student (or part time equivalent), if you are in the final stages of your MSc by research or an Early Career Researcher, then you can take part in a range of ways:

• Paper presentations (20 mins plus 10 mins for questions);

• 3MT (3 Minute Thesis) competition (one PowerPoint slide);

• Poster competition;

• Digital image competition (one image and 100-150 words);

• 3D installations.

All you need to do is to complete and submit a registration form indicating which competition you wish to enter. Then email the title and a short abstract to caroline@symposiaatshrivenham.com by Tuesday 21st July 2020.

The symposium covers the social sciences as well as the technical and scientific aspects of Defence and Security and our interpretation of the subject area is very broad. If you are not sure if your work will fit the criteria, then email caroline@symposiaatshrivenham.com for advice.

Outputs from last year’s Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium can be viewed at: https://doi.org/10.17862/cranfield.rd.c.4578305

If you are a Cranfield University research student or staff member, the conference is free to attend, with just a small charge for the conference dinner. It is also free for those whose submission is accepted, regardless of which institution they are affiliated to. Last year there were students and delegates from approximately 40 different institutions and organisations in attendance. So make sure you do not miss out this year!

For further details and to register, please visit the symposium website at: www.symposiaatshrivenham.com/doc
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Writing your thesis in challenging times  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2020, 03:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Writing your thesis in challenging times
Whilst our libraries are not physically open, our staff are still very much here to support you! One of the challenges many of you may be facing right now is how to start your thesis.

We have put together this checklist to give support, along with some tips from our Information Specialists. We are also creating a fuller guide on our library website – coming soon!

You are not alone. Please do contact your Information Specialist for any immediate support you need. Our contact details are at the bottom of this post.

Starting your thesis

Your literature review

We are aware that many of you have been asked to do a structured literature review at short notice in place of laboratory work. Don’t panic, we can help!


Look at what others have done

It’s a good idea to have a look at what has already been done, especially by previous students on your course. Use them not just as a source of subject information, but also as a guide to the layout and the approach so you know what is expected of you.


If you cannot find a specific thesis, it may be subject to an embargo or security restriction. Please contact us for more advice.

Want to look wider? Look here for theses from the rest of the UK and around the world.

Our tip: Great news! We also all have free access to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global until the end of June 2020 during COVID-19.

Think about what you are looking for and where to find it

Look through our help pages if you need some basic search tips. If you are looking for specialist information have a look through our databases. If you need help with formulating search terms and search strings (especially important if your thesis is a systematic literature review) or where to search, please contact your Information Specialist.

In addition to all your usual online resources, there are others currently on free access to everyone during Covid-19. View the list.

Brush up on essential skills

Refresh your knowledge on finding, evaluating and using information using our online Information Literacy Tutorial:


Our tip: Learn more about various research methods in our research guide.

Keeping up with new research in your area

In order to keep up to date with what is happening in your subject area, consider setting up RSS feeds or email alerts based on your searches in our databases. This will keep you informed of any new research in your area. We have advice on Keeping up to date on the Library website.

Our tips:

  • “The app that I use on my phone for RSS feeds is called Feedly – I find it very helpful!”
  • Netvibes is another good tool for RSS feeds, available on the web and as an app. Scopus also provides a direct link when you save searches”.

Get organised!

Reference management software can be your friend. In the Library, we’re keen on using Mendeley – this allows you to store, group and annotate articles. It can also be used to help format your references and reference list in a specific format.

Our tips:

  • “I use it most to write messages to my future self by using the notes function so I can remember why I read an article in the first place.”
  • “When reading the literature, I have by my side a list of the review questions I have identified that need to be answered in order to achieve my overarching research aim. I number the questions so that when an article I am reading proves relevant, I tag it in Mendeley with the number of the relevant review question e.g. one. Then, when I am writing up the chapter/section that covers question one, I sort my articles by tag ‘one’ to return the relevant annotated papers”.

Advice on referencing and Mendeley:


Stay connected

Please remember we are always here to help you as much as we can. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions, or if you just need to see a friendly face.

As mentioned above, we will be working to get more information on thesis writing onto our website as soon as possible.

Contact us:


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
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Free Web of Science webinars in April  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2020, 06:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Free Web of Science webinars in April
The Web of Science Group have organised a number of free webinars in April.

[b]What’s new in Journal Citation Reports and InCites Benchmarking & Analytics?[/b]

The new Journal Citation Reports now offers a systematic, objective means to evaluate the world’s leading journals by bringing you new JCR data, All Years tab in Profile Page and more. Additionally, check out the new features available in InCites Benchmarking & Analytics: Publisher Unification, Organization Report, Category Schemas (Poland and Latvia) and UI enhancements..

[list][*]Date:[b] Tuesday 21 April at 10am London (1 hour)[/b][/*][*][url=https://clarivatesupport.webex.com/clarivatesupport/onstage/g.php?MTID=e40d0c0e2b6aff231e9156beae23f0858]Further details and register[/url][/*][/list]

[b]Access research papers in one click with the Kopernio plugin, and go further to analyse journal usage patterns[/b]

Save time accessing full-text PDFs with the free Kopernio browser plugin. Find out all about Kopernio and the new features: how to go Premium with Kopernio, easy activation of Kopernio on Web of Science, discover the benefits of the beta Kopernio Institutional Dashboard for librarians, and much more!

[list][*]Date:[b] Wednesday 22 April at 10am London (45 mins)[/b][/*][*][url=https://clarivatesupport.webex.com/clarivatesupport/k2/j.php?MTID=t060a6b8a6c60dec2805e7b7da6af9f32]Further details and register[/url][/*][/list]

[b]Get to know your research field with Web of Science and research smarter[/b]

From finding the relevant research in your field to a helpful guide to the scholarly journals that matter, join our experts as they share key tips to help you research smarter.

[list][*]Date:[b] Wednesday 29 April at 10am London (45 mins)[/b][/*][*][url=https://clarivatesupport.webex.com/clarivatesupport/k2/j.php?MTID=t952e61941d8f14765cd144e011264799]Further details and register[/url][/*][/list]

Image by [url=https://pixabay.com/users/julianlefebvre-8632199/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3309188]Julian Lefebvre[/url] from [url=https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3309188]Pixabay[/url]
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Are you ever too old to study?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2020, 04:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Are you ever too old to study?
18 months ago, I returned to higher education.  Previously, an Executive Assistant and having had a significant personal loss earlier in 2018, I had reached a stage in my life where I wanted to change my career path. I decided to return to college to study an Access to Higher Education course and subsequently attend university to study Business Management. I made this life change with the goal of pursuing a career in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Responsible Business. I have always felt strongly about diversity and inclusion, social (employee and community) engagement and sustainability, but not had the courage to pursue it.

Whilst visiting different university campuses, it was suggested that I consider a master’s rather than a bachelor’s degree, given my experience and skills developed during my 25-year career. I never imagined that I would be able to study for a master’s degree, as my pathway in life had moved drastically away from academic study. Realising that this was a potential option, I started looking into master’s courses related to CSR. The course that stood out was Cranfield’s Management and Corporate Sustainability programme. The modules cover everything I need so I may leverage myself into a position of influence within an organisation in order to create change. 

When I was accepted on the course, I started looking into scholarships since I would not have an income while still needing to pay a mortgage and bills. I found the Santander scholarship on the Cranfield website. I particularly liked the concept of the scholarship as it was solely for female students in the UK studying a master’s degree and I am a loyal Santander customer. The process was very easy to follow. I had to complete an online form and produce a one-page statement about why I should be awarded the scholarship and the benefits it would give me. The scholarship has given me the opportunity to buy books for further reading, and even attend off-site conferences. This opportunity has also enabled me, as a non-resident, to stay on campus when my timetable is extremely full. This allows me to work and interact with my fellow students. 

As a mature student and having not studied for years, let alone for a degree, I have felt that life as a Cranfield student is ‘full on’. There are many lectures and plenty of reading to be completed. As a non-resident, my life at Cranfield has been different to many of the other students. It has been challenging juggling commuting, attending lectures, group work and supported reading. Nevertheless, it has been wonderful making new international friends and learning important skills such as leadership, organisational behaviour and strategic management. When I did stay on campus, I benefited from being able to socialise with my fellow students by experiencing different cultures through cooking or going out. 

My family and friends have supported me on this exciting journey. They have encouraged my studies by helping to proofread my assignments, as well as understanding why I have not been able to be as social as I normally am and supported me through the tougher times. Some have questioned my change in direction when I was doing so well in my previous career. That has been good, as it made me think more about whether my chosen path was the right one. I am very lucky to have such a good support network.

Coronavirus has changed the way we all live our lives. I am fortunate that Cranfield will continue with my master’s course so I will be able to complete it. Lectures have moved online, through the Zoom platform. Assignments have not changed; we still need to submit online and I am keeping in touch with my fellow students through https://gmatclub.com/chat. FaceTime has been a lifeline giving me the opportunity to see and speak with friends and family. Not commuting has been the biggest benefit, allowing me to work on my garden, get my daily walk in the local fields and relax. I am taking full advantage of these benefits as they may not last when the lockdown is over.

Finally, my advice to those considering a master’s is to look at what the benefits are to be gained and weigh them up against ALL the costs – the income you will lose, the cost of the course and books, accommodation, etc. Be prepared to work hard with lots of group work, reading and assignments. It has been a great experience for me. Despite the challenges and costs, this has been very rewarding, not just from the experiences but also all the skills I have learnt. I would highly recommend it. If you are eligible, I would strongly encourage you to apply for the Santander scholarship. You have nothing to lose.

Lastly, you are never too old to study! 
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Library Resource Trial: Mergent Online  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2020, 05:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Library Resource Trial: Mergent Online
We have organised trial access to Mergent Online until 30 June.

Mergent Online offers detailed financial and business information for public and private companies within a simple, searchable platform. Mergent also offers access to broker research and analyst reports from Investext.

The Mergent products available in the trial are;

US Active Data

US Inactive Data

International Active Data

International Inactive Data

Expanded Long Term Debt

US Earnings Estimates

International Earnings Estimates

Executive Biographies Basic

Executive Biographies Plus

Institutional Holdings

Insider Holdings

D&B Private Company Data

As Reported All Years

Standardized All Years

Transparency All Years

US Equity Pricing

International Equity Pricing

Unadjusted Pricing

SEC Filings

SEDAR Filings

News

Competitors

North American Annual Reports

International Annual  Reports

Industry Reports (NA)

Industry Reports (AP)

Industry Reports (EU)

Industry Reports (LA)

Equity Reports

Mergent Reports

Report Builder

Risk Analysis

Net Basis

Bond Search

Ratio All Years

Restated All Years

Custom Report

Report Wizard

Comparison Report

Equity Reports Integrated Search

Factsheets Plus

Factsheets International

Factsheets Express

Equity Portraits

Bond Portraits

Country Reports

RiskLine Reports

D&B 34 Million Plus Private Company Database

D&B 34 Million Plus Corporate Family Tree

Investext – Full

Access Mergent Online now

If you have any questions about Mergent, contact us at mirc@cranfield.ac.uk

Tell us what you think! 

It’s important that you let us know what you think of the trial when you have used it. Your feedback will help inform our decisions about whether to subscribe to the resource. Please email us with your opinions or questions: libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk 
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COVID-19 and Open Science  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2020, 05:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: COVID-19 and Open Science
The Coronavirus is impacting virtually all parts of our lives; we need knowledge and practices from not only the medical field but from all areas of public health and the social sciences. The crisis has shone a light on just how critical the implications of Open Access (OA) can be to society: while researchers are working hard to find a vaccine and effective drugs, many publishers and service providers have stepped up to provide access to research and information temporarily.

The OA and research communities have been working for almost two decades to distribute research in the interest of strong science and the public good. This work has directly fed into new policies, work processes, services, tools, and infrastructure that have enabled access to critical knowledge in this crisis. In recent weeks more and more researchers have been sharing publications and data more quickly than ever before, starting with the genetic sequence of COVID-19 being posted in GenBank – an OA database; this, in turn, led to more articles, data and code being shared openly – without delay – to spur the race to develop a vaccine.

The research community has been creating new open data resources such as The Human Coronaviruses Data Initiative, the COVID-19 Open Source Dashboard, Wikiproject COVID-19 and the COVID Tracking Project. Far fewer data collections exist relative to publications, however. In the instances where data collections do exist, they are often presented as tools that visualise or crunch the data rather than store and share it, which reflects how much more needs to be done to encourage researchers to share their research data.

In terms of OA publications, resources and services such as CORD-19, LitCovid, or the Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview are now available. Many researchers are sharing initial results on bioRxiv and medRxiv so that their work can be viewed, reviewed and tested, quickly, by fellow researchers within their community.

A real need exists for a more rapid sharing of FAIR research data by researchers and governments alike. We are still a long way off from where we need to be and, although progress has been made to enable increased access to vital information, we must not go back to ‘business as usual’ after this current public health crisis has passed.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash
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A sit down with Pascal Finkbeiner  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2020, 04:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: A sit down with Pascal Finkbeiner
Can you
tell me a little bit about your background?


I’m an
environmental chemist and I did my masters in Germany. My MSc looked at all the
different environments; air, soil and water, how they are contaminated, how you
can remediate them and the different treatment technologies to do that.

I was looking
at different subjects in the area and I focused my master’s thesis on water
treatment, specifically the removal of pharmaceuticals from wastewater using advanced
oxidation processes. That’s how I started to get more interested in the water sector.

How long
have you been at Cranfield?


At the moment
I am a research fellow and I started that position early last year. Before that
I was at Cranfield for my PhD, so I have been here about 4 years now.

What
attracted you to Cranfield in the first place to do your PhD?


My project was
a funded PhD in collaboration with Scottish Water. The close link to industry
was very promising and attractive to me. I spent a year and a half in Scotland
completing field and lab work. That was very interesting to get an insight into
Scottish Water. I was based in Aberdeen for about a year and then Edinburgh for
6 months. I also had the chance to visit several treatment works, some of which
were quite remote, so I got to travel through Scotland. You get to see some
amazing landscapes, I recommend visiting, it was beautiful.

What is your
area of research?


Currently, I
am mainly working on the removal of microplastics in drinking water. Mostly, I use
the labs in the Vincent building but this project is going to be working with
the new drinking water treatment facility at the new pilot hall, which is very
exciting. I have two other projects. One is associated with drinking water and
the characterisation of natural organic matter. The other project is in
wastewater. That will be the first time I am working with real wastewater at
Cranfield. That project also looks at microplastic particles: We’re investigating
their removal by a filterused as a tertiary treatment.

So what
does a typical day at Cranfield look like for you?


That depends
on the day. I would structure it depending on the project. Most of my time is
spent with microplastic removal experiments and analysis. Usually I would start
in the lab with some preparation work and then do the experiments. The next day
I would come in and start the analysis. So, you can’t really say there is a
typical day as every day is different.

For the microplastic
project it is important that we avoid any contamination. That means we have to
clean our equipment and the glassware very thoroughly. We rinse it with water
and ethanol and keep it covered until it is used. The experiments are done in a
laminar flow cabinet to avoid any contamination from the lab air which contains
microplastic particles, mostly fibres. The preparation takes quite a lot of my
time but we’ve seen that the contamination could be drastically reduced by
these measures

Can you
tell me more about your research?


In the microplastic
project we look at the removal of microplastic particles by coagulation, which
is the conventional physicochemical treatment process mostly used in drinking
water treatment works to remove particulate and dissolved contaminants. We want
to see in how far the microplastic can be removed or does it get removed at all
with this technology?

Therefore, we
investigate different types and shapes of polymers, and look at the influence
of size and concentration of the microplastic particles. The particles are
collected on a filter and are then stained with Nile Red, a fluorescent dye, to
assist the analysis. We then inspect and count the microplastic particles under
a fluorescent microscope. The particles are also analysed with a Fourier
Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometer. This can identify the different types
of plastic.

Image
Figure 1: Beaker with settled flocs after coagulation in jar tester for the removal of microplastic.

Image
Figure 2: Staining of the microplastic particles (captured on a filter) with Nile Red (fluorescent dye).

Image
Figure 3: Inspecting the filter on which microplastic particles were captured under a fluorescence microscope.

Image
Figure 4: Microplastic particles are placed on the FTIR intrument to identify the polymer type.

How are the
plastics getting into the water?


There are many
pathways plastics can get into water. One way is the discharge from cosmetics
and exfoliating personal care products, such as facial wash or toothpaste, which
contain microplastic. These particles that are intentionally put into products,
called primary microplastic are forbidden in the UK since 2018, but this is not
the case everywhere.

Then there is
secondary microplastic particles which originate from the fragmentation of
larger particles. That could just be improperly disposed plastic bags that break
down due to environmental factors and end up as small particles: microplastic. Clothes
are another contributor to microplastic occurrence in water. Fibres can be
washed out of laundry from any synthetic clothing and that will end up at the
wastewater treatment works. Even though the particles are removed to a large
extent, there is always a residual which amounts to millions of microplastic
fibres a day entering the aquatic environment. Additionally, if the sludge that
contains the removed microplastic particles is used for agriculture, these can
be washed into streams and rivers through surface run-off. There are many more
pathways, including tyre abrasion and industrial discharge, to name a few.

There are no
regulations at the moment so it’s not a concern for the facilities but it is a
problem for the environment and ultimately you might consume it. There have
been microplastics found in drinking water, especially in plastic bottles water
and in beverages such as beer.

The data on physiological
effects of microplastic particles on humans is still very limited. But studies
on different organisms have shown detrimental effects to their health. A lot
more research is needed to determine the effects on humans, but we already see
the impact on the environment. Therefore, it is essential that the amount of
plastic released to the environment is drastically reduced. And everyone can
contribute to this by their choices and behaviour.

What are
your other two projects researching?


The fractionation
project looks at the characterisation of natural organic matter, in particular
in surface water. The majority of drinking water is sourced from surface water
in the UK, such as reservoirs and lakes, those contain naturally occurring organic
matter. The organic matter itself is not a problem for human consumption but at
the end of the drinking water treatment process the water is chlorinated to
disinfect it and avoid any bacterial regrowth in the distribution system. This
chlorination leads to a transformation of organic matter and forms the
so-called disinfection by-products. These are harmful to human health and have
been associated with cancer. Hence, there is a regulation that limits the
concentration for those compounds in drinking water to protect the consumers.

The aim is to
reduce the concentration of the natural organic matter before the water is
disinfected. In that way you can reduce the concentration of these harmful
products at the end. To do this more effectively you need to know the character
of these organics. Fractionation allows us to separate these organics into
different groups, the hydrophobic, the transphilic and the hydrophillic fraction.

Image
Figure 5: Set up for fractiontion of natural organic matter in water.

These groups each
have different hydrophobicity, so different treatment methods have differing efficiency
on these fractions. We are interested in looking at the composition of these fractions
and how the various treatment methods or the seasonal changes affect this
composition.

The last
project looks at the removal of microplastic in wastewater using a 4-media filter.
We use the effluent of the wastewater treatment works and put them through the filter
to measure how much of the microplastic is retained. For easier detection we use
florescent microplastic particles that are shining brightly under the
microscope.

What is
next for you?


In terms of
career aspirations, I would like to stay in academia and do further research
especially in the drinking water sector. I want to expand my current knowledge
and explore new treatment technologies. The main drive for me is the
environmental aspect but I’m also very interested in how everything works
together and therefore I’m quite curious to investigate that.
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Reflections on the ‘new normal’  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Apr 2020, 01:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Reflections on the ‘new normal’
I used to get up around 5.45am, basically to make sure the house was in order, I was ready to face the world and I got a car park space! How times have changed.  I now get up 6.45am (still managing to make my husband a cuppa), get ready for a brisk 20-minute walk around the block and then get back to my makeshift office in the dining room. I’ve been working at home for over a month now and managed to set up two monitors, so essentially replicating my desk at work. Since lockdown has been extended, I think I’ll revise my morning routine and set my alarm for 6.15 next week.

Day one, week one. The alarm went off and it was like another working morning, except it wasn’t. This was day one of working from home as advised by the UK government. It was not a bad dream, it was the new norm.

When I first heard the social distancing news at work, I was emotional and just about held it together. I was coaching students at the time and have that ability to multitask and listen to several conversations at once. Dangerous I know. Seeing me looking wobbly, my lovely colleagues were quick to comfort me, saying “but you are usually so happy!”

After working part-time for 16 years to accommodate and nurture my gorgeous family I made the decision to work full time 18 months ago. A decision that completely radicalised my life. I love my job and what I do, the inspirational people I work with, and being part of the future. Every day I am fortunate enough to interact with people who can and do make a difference in so many ways. I have thrown myself completely into my work. I’m suddenly valued, respected and encouraged. I am me! I’m not ‘just’ a mum or a housewife.

I got home that evening and burst into tears. Tears of shock and uncertainty. I didn’t want to be the old me. Rewind, pause and breathe. Rechannel energies. I’m one of the most positive, optimistic people I know. And that’s always been my outlook.

Fast-forward to my first Skype call at 8.45am the next day. I’d overcome the tech issues, had applied a full face of glamour (for me) and my lippy was on. Why was I even nervous? Scared? Or uncertain? Immediately the rapport was there. My first student told me that I radiated positively, she loved my makeup and was delighted I’d made an effort. We laughed at this! It’s funny what now makes us smile! Five virtual coaching appointments later, I’d learned a lot about day-to-day life and Covid-19 in Greece, Lebanon, Italy, and Ghana.

I can honestly say I felt like a new person. I was there doing what I loved. Helping, listening and supporting bright young talent. Empowering Cranfield University’s postgraduate students to reach their potential. The engineers, scientists and business brains of tomorrow.

So, five weeks in and I know I am lucky. Navigating Skype and Microsoft Office Teams and Wi-Fi connections, I am taken on a global adventure each day. Learning all the time about lockdown and isolation worldwide: Morocco, Singapore, Peru, India and France. Of course, not forgetting our students who have chosen to stay at Cranfield, with 1000s of miles between them and their family and loved ones back in their home countries. We are getting to see another side of each other as we glimpse into each other’s living space – usually a very personal and private zone. But times are different, and we all need to embrace the new approach. 

Image
Katrina Armstrong and Diane Blything, Cranfield University Careers Service

I have daily virtual catch-ups with my colleagues, and we have settled into our new roles and our relationships are now remotely redefined. But we are still as focused as ever on recreating our positive team spirit, environment, and dynamics.

I grew up on post-apocalyptic films; The Day of The Triffids, The Tripods, War of The Worlds… Little did I realise that if I fast-forwarded 30 years, I’d be playing a role in one. One of my favourite feel good films, where there is hope for us all, is Spielberg’s Empire of The Sun. A beautiful, moving story, showing the best of humankind, resilience and that there is always a tomorrow.

There are positives to gain from this experience, the snatched 20 minutes bike ride with my younger son, the reflection on life with my eldest, cooking with my foster child and walking with my husband. The evening family meals together, the treks in the woods and the holiday games of cards recreated. I’m also enjoying the headspace that now exists by stepping off the treadmill of life. We are all going to emerge more resilient with life and priorities redefined.

So, for me it’s about reinventing yourself – thinking differently, working differently and embracing the new norm. And that definition is going to keep changing. Be strong, be positive and never give up. So, when normality returns – whatever the new normality is – I’ll be ready.
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COVID-19: Supporting our community  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2020, 05:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: COVID-19: Supporting our community
These are unprecedented times. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has limited where we can go, what we can do and who we can see. We don’t know what is ahead, but we can stay focused, and trust in the guidance from our Government and healthcare professionals as they work to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

As always at Cranfield, our priority is the welfare of our community, including our students, our staff, alumni, partners, and those in the local area.

Our campus looks very different from how it did a few weeks ago. Following Government guidance, only University staff that absolutely need to be are on site. Lectures and learning materials are being provided online to allow everyone to observe social distancing. Most non-residential facilities on campus are temporarily closed, including our libraries, computer labs, students’ association, places of worship and eateries. Our mailroom and security desk are open but with reduced staff, and all of our student services have been moved online.

Image

Many of our students have gone home. Others have stayed on campus or are living nearby. Wherever they are, we are determined that we continue to support them in completing their course.

Our first priority is of course their health and wellbeing. The University is monitoring the advice on coronavirus very closely and receiving regular guidance from Public Health England. We have asked our students to observe social distancing and to practice good hygiene. Staff and students who are experiencing symptoms are being supported to follow the advice on the NHS website or call 111.

We are continuing to provide essential maintenance and other key services. Our residences, Mitchell Hall and Budgens supermarket are still open to support students living on campus. Reggies restaurant is providing a takeaway service, and Uno Bus is providing our students free travel to Milton Keynes to shop for food. We have asked anyone who is self-isolating to let us know so we can do everything we can to support them, and have provided specific advice for students living in different residences on how long they will need to isolate for if they or someone they live with has symptoms of the virus.

We are not just supporting our students with their physical fitness; we also want to look after their mental health, as we understand that long periods of social distancing can have a big impact on people’s wellbeing. Our Student Advice Centre is still providing a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space where students can discuss their concerns – albeit via virtual means at the moment. All our students are eligible for free counselling and can also access Big White Wall, a free 24/7 online support service.

Our libraries and careers service are continuing online and over the phone, and are busy helping students. The careers team is particularly focused on providing advice on job searching during a global pandemic and how to pass virtual interviews. Our IT team is working hard to make sure all students have access to the services they need to complete their work, including setting up computers in available spaces for those who don’t have a PC or laptop at home. A printing service has been set up at the entrance to campus, and is being overseen by our security team.

Some of the ways in which we are working may have changed over the past few weeks, but our commitment to first-class postgraduate education has not changed. We have had to make some very complex decisions very quickly, and we are doing everything we can to support students that want to finish their course to get their qualification on time by keeping in regular contact and offering lots of ways in which they can talk to us.

Academic and support staff are keeping in touch with students by email, telephone, Skype, MS Teams, Zoom and social media. Group projects have either been adapted so they can be completed remotely or replaced with other types of assessment, and we have already carried out the first online End Point Assessments for our Master’s-level apprenticeship courses. Traditional exams will not take place this academic year, but will be replaced with online or other types of assessment.

We are being as flexible as we can with our research degrees, encouraging students to carry on their work if they can work from home, for example by analysing and interpreting data, updating literature surveys and writing journal papers. Funding extensions are being considered on an individual basis. We are accepting electronic submissions of research theses and carrying out vivas online.

We have already put in place plans for online graduation ceremonies to replace the physical ceremonies that usually take place in late June and mid-July, and to post degree certificates to our graduates. Everyone will then be invited back to Cranfield next year for a celebration on campus.

As I’ve said, we are communicating regularly with our students, as we are with all members of the Cranfield community. We have a dedicated email address for coronavirus questions, and are informing students about the support and facilities available to them via email and updates on our intranet. Together with Professor Sean Tyrrel, Cranfield’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, and Professor Tom Stephenson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, I am meeting regularly with student officers to understand their concerns and answer any questions they may have. We are also holding webinars to enable students to question us directly.

On social media, we are using the hashtag #CranfieldCommunity to spread good news stories about how our students and staff are supporting each other and global efforts to fight this virus. Highlights so far include designing new low-cost ventilators for use by the health service, developing tests that can detect early signs of coronavirus in wastewater, supporting businesses to build and strengthen organisational resilience in the face of COVID-19, and donating personal protective equipment to local NHS surgeries.

We are asking our students to keep talking to us, and to each other. We know that we are stronger together and that we will get through this – together. These strange and challenging times will come to an end and, as the motto on the University’s coat of arms says: “After clouds, light”.
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Remote learning during the pandemic  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2020, 05:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Remote learning during the pandemic
On 16th March 2020 Cranfield University made an announcement that it was moving the remainder of face-to-face classes online. This was after the situation of COVID-19 respiratory infections became a national threat and at the same time as the rest of the world was also gearing up for major preventative methods to curb and avoid the spread.  

Being a full-time student in a foreign country I had more factors to take into account when planning the rest of my mode of study and disease control.  

I decided to remain in the UK and continue my studies as the University was still open and I feel this is where I am most productive. Most of my studies were done in the comfort of silence and through well-maintained technological devices. Although the numbers of students in the University decreased, as many travelled back to their homes and some could not return to the UK because of the travel bans, I still have to ensure I adhere to the NHS preventative guidelines.  

At this point I had gladly already completed most of my taught modules but was left with the group project and individual thesis. Which means that changing to remote learning was not as hard to switch to. The University’s response was fast and so was the learning, technical and accommodation support.  

Here are 8 ways I have adapted to remote learning: 

  • Moving from face to face meetings with University staff, clients and colleagues to virtual meetings. 

I have had to change to cloud meetings and attending webinars using Skype for Business, WebEx and Zoom. All are efficient, and we still managed to conduct presentations in real-time. The only challenge might be improving hardware such as the mic system and processing speed. 

[*]Plan future career prospects and increase my accessibility on online platforms such as LinkedIn.  [/list]

Identifying field experts has never been easier. LinkedIn assisted me in tracking down experts and with their filter options, I have complete control of the location, network degree and known mutual contacts. I now know how to meet the faces behind potential collaborators. 

Virtual participation and data collection can be done using Qualtrics and Google Forms

Shared tasks could be easily done with online depositaries such as Pearltrees and Google Docs and you can set deadlines with teamganttchart.com and tick off completed tasks. 

I have attended a webinar on ‘Job-seeking strategies During Crisis’ by Laszlo Avramov.  

I have also been working closely with the Careers Service and now have a coach to guide me as I plan my future and career aspirations, as looking for a job at this time might be more challenging. 

[*]Maintaining a positive outlook on the future and goals [/list]

Being anxious can affect productivity, so I have tried to have a positive outlook on the future and my goals for the year. I have attended online workshops on how to improve my professional skills. I have gained certificates in leadership, confidence and resilience by the Be Ready training institute as licensed by the University for free. I have also attended a webinar on the ‘Covid-19 Impact on the Food Sector in Europe and how to tackle them’ by the NSF International organisation (National Sanitation Foundation) as a certifying body and public health standard developer. This gave me insight into deciding on the best thesis topic to work on. 

[*]Pausing my part-time duties which had required physical labour. [/list]

This has meant a change in budget and has encouraged me to spend more wisely and only toward essential needs.  

Keeping track of spending is crucial and if you have to help someone out with shopping, use the Splitwise application to track expenses amongst friends. A lot of food is misplaced in the food chain because of a massive change in the supply chain. But all stakeholders can make a swift change to avoid a further loss and waste of all produced food as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  

I do not support panic buying but complaining without a solution or providing reassurance to the consumers will not stop it from happening. The main factors to contribute to food loss and waste (FLW) is poor storage. We as consumers need to ensure that we use food as practising first in first out (FIFO) to ensure food that is most likely to go bad is used first. For people who have travelled or left with food from varying diets and preferences can do barter exchanges or give away food that is well packed and in good condition. On the bigger scheme of things, there is an application that can be used by farmers and restaurants to sell their food before it goes to waste. Too Good to Go has a map feature and it’s a consumer win and you can easily be the ultimate penny pincher. 

[*]Diet and exercise [/list]

Maintaining a healthy diet is just as crucial as exercise. The farmers market closed, and it was my favourite place to go because for every visit I always bought new vegetables and fruit. But that has not stopped me because I am learning new dishes with what I get from the shopping centres. Food should be fun and desirable at all costs! I just got myself a book by Anita Bean ‘Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes’ with more than 100 recipes for fitness. It also includes environmentally friendly dishes. 

[*]Rearranged my sleeping pattern to adjust to my most productive hours.  [/list]

Remote learning has given me the ability to manage my time with ease because I can work round the clock without rushing to be in time for business hours. Unless the time revolves around other members, information can be received at any time and may be repeated if need be.  

[*]Re-visit a hobby and interests [/list]

My form of daily exercise includes taking walks. I have an interest in photography and nature so I take pictures on my walks and have so far have captured Spring in the United Kingdom. Daffodils are my favourite!  

[*]Security and emotional well-being [/list]

Another thing that relieves anxiety is knowing who to call when there are burning issues. I know the silence can be deafening at times. I like being aware of my surroundings to secure my thoughts. Student advisers have provided a secure platform known as Big White Wall and I know I can voice any threats and concerns anonymously. Academic support is also available, I appreciate the e-coffee shared with my colleagues and Course Director. I stay in contact with family and friends and check-up on them, we virtually meet and catch up as we tend to miss each other. Cranfield IT support is also available in case I have any technical issues.  

All these points have helped me stay on track whilst remote learning and I now I see how resilience can be an asset for any kind of pressure exerted on oneself. I would like to thank everyone that contributed to these means of solutions. Please receive this as my contribution to help the next person – you can do it too! 

Image
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New Library Resources! Free trials and Access  [#permalink]

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New post 01 May 2020, 07:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: New Library Resources! Free trials and Access
The library has access to several free trials of new resources which have been gathered together in this post.

If you have any queries about accessing or using the resources, please email mirc@cranfield.ac.uk and to let us know what you think, email libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk

All of the databases can be found in our ‘databases A-Z’ on the library website or via the links in this post.

Mergent Online

We have organised trial access to Mergent Online until 30 June.

Mergent Online offers detailed financial and business information for public and private companies within a simple, searchable platform. Mergent also offers access to broker research and analyst reports from Investext.

For more information, see this blog post. https://blogs.cranfield.ac.uk/library/library-resource-trial-mergent-online

To access: https://go.openathens.net/redirector/cranfield.ac.uk?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mergentonline.com%2F

Log in with your Cranfield email and password.

Perlego

Our trial access to Perlego runs until 19th May.

Perlego is an e-book platform covering:

  • Business and Management
  • Economics
  • IT and Computing Science
  • Science
  • Technology and Engineering

To access: contact library resources for the unique access code to set up your account.

To log in, click here.

CRSP/WRDS

Wharton Research Data Services trial is active until 15th September. During this trial you will have access to:

  • CRSP (your current subscriptions): 
  • CRSP Stock Annual
  • CRSP Indexes Annual, and 
  • the following datasets in trial mode: Compustat, BvD, BoardEx, Refinitiv, OptionMetrics, Sustainanalyticsetc.

The WRDS platform contains all you need to get started, including video tutorials and support pages.

How to access: contact MIRC for the trial login details.

In addition, you now have free access to:

Bloomberg.com

From 22 April to 31 July 2020 Bloomberg Media has made its content freely available to students. This includes news coverage, analysis of business and finance sectors, climate change, technology, politics and more.

How to access: Sign up using your University email at https://www.bloomberg.com/account/register

For a list of other free resources to support your studies, click here.

DON’T FORGET: If you have any queries about accessing or using the resources, please email mirc@cranfield.ac.uk and to let us know what you think, email libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk

Feature image from Pixabay. Available at:

https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/09/13/08/44/library-1666702_960_720.jpg

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From the Game of Life to a new reality  [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2020, 07:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: From the Game of Life to a new reality
Someone once said “Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning”. Here at Cranfield University, having already participated in more than five simulation and educational games, I feel that knowledge is not only presented in the books but through these opportunities. Sometimes in a better way. Cranfield is the best place to gain knowledge through interactive activities and the motto “transforming knowledge into action” is happening in most of the modules on the Master’s in Management.

One of the games that was really challenging and interesting was the ‘Game of Life’. We played this scenario exploration game as part of the Leading Corporate Sustainability module. The aim was for participants to experience and investigate how business, communities, and organisations react in different circumstances, what kind of links can grow among them, what kind of collaboration can be created and ultimately how they can achieve a more sustainable future together, based on two different scenarios.

Image

To understand all these different concepts, we were divided into our learning team groups and we played the game with two different scenarios. The first scenario was about “Singular Super-Champions”, where the economy is continuously growing, it is highly competitive and the citizens are like economic units. While the second theme was about “empathetic communities”, where the economy is collapsing after a second global crisis.

We all took on different roles; a business, a civil innovator, a civil society organisation (imagine Greenpeace) and each member of the team had to investigate and discuss the difficulties that hinder these groups of people from sustaining, as well as opportunities which could help them grow.

  • Image

The diverse environment at Cranfield enabled us to see how people from different cultures and backgrounds think and how they argue their positions. We learnt from each other, getting out of our silos and thinking more broadly and more open. This is really important on the Management MSc. Moreover, the feedback from the external academics and our professor was very constructive. We thought outside the box and tried different arguments and frameworks even though we weren’t that familiar with them.

I really enjoy this type of learning for many reasons. Firstly, during a simulation, you are involved in a scenario that could happen in the real world with different clients under different circumstances. Secondly, you have to do some kind of preparation and research before the “crucial” moment in order to be able to structure your arguments and support your ideas. As you would in the real work environment – you wouldn’t go to an important meeting unprepared. Thirdly, simulations are a good way to develop your personal soft skills, such as negotiation, how you can listen and filter others’ feedback. The fourth point is that by participating in a debate, you learn how to manoeuvre the discussion, how to build concrete arguments and how to present your ideas. As the game is developing and the data changes constantly, flexibility and adaptability are needed to perform well!

A change in my learning experience…

A lot has changed since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our daily lives have changed drastically. I still remember the day when I met some of my friends in the library, and at the end of that same day, they informed me that they were at the airport going back to their home countries. I was very surprised with the quick decision that had to be taken.

Our daily lives and educational experience at Cranfield have changed over last month. All of our lectures have moved online, giving us the opportunity to complete our studies as smoothly as possible. Initially, I thought that face-to-face learning was irreplaceable and quality could be lost with distance learning. However, day by day this perception is changing, by seeing the effort our professors are going to in order to maintain the high standards of our studies.

Image

It is amazing how the online learning process mitigates spatial distances. Connected through a platform that Cranfield has provided us with, we can work and keep in touch with our classmates whenever we want whilst still feeling very close to each other. Of course, we need to be flexible and adaptable when taking time differences into account, and good time management is necessary for us all to work together.

After one month of lockdown and being isolated in my house, I miss my classmates! I was really looking forward to seeing them last week in the first module of the new semester! Everyone was so happy, sharing their experiences. I think the challenge of COVID-19 will remain as a positive memory in our minds and will be the talking point of our future discussions when we meet again. This challenge made us stronger, visionaries of a better and safer future, more conscious and mature to deal with future issues.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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New library resources! Free trials and access  [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2020, 07:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: New library resources! Free trials and access
We have arranged access to several free trials of new business and management, and engineering and technology resources, which have been gathered together in this post.

If you have any queries about accessing or using the resources, please email [email=libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk]libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk[/email]

All of the databases can be found in our ‘Databases A-Z’ on the website or via the links in this post.

[b]Mergent Online – until 30 June[/b]

Mergent Online offers detailed financial and business information for public and private companies within a simple, searchable platform. Mergent also offers access to broker research and analyst reports from Investext. [url=https://blogs.cranfield.ac.uk/library/library-resource-trial-mergent-online]Find out more[/url]

[url=https://go.openathens.net/redirector/cranfield.ac.uk?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mergentonline.com%2F]Access Mergent Online[/url]

Log in with your Cranfield email and password.

[b]Perlego – until 19 May[/b]

Perlego is an e-book platform covering:

[list][*]Business and Management[/*][*]Economics[/*][*]IT and Computing Science[/*][*]Science[/*][*]Technology and Engineering[/*][/list]

For access, you will need to contact our resources team for the [email=libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk]unique access code[/email] to set up your account before you [url=https://www.perlego.com/group-register?orgt1=/kC9Z4YYPFY7O6mXijA3cg==]log in to Perlego.[/url]

[b]CRSP/WRDS (Wharton Research Data Services) – until 15 September[/b]

During this trial you will have access to:

[list][*][b]CRSP[/b] (your current subscriptions): [/*][*]CRSP Stock Annual[/*][*]CRSP Indexes Annual, and [/*][*]the following datasets in[b] trial mode:[/b] Compustat, BvD, BoardEx, Refinitiv, OptionMetrics, Sustainanalyticsetc.[/*][/list]

The WRDS platform contains all you need to get started, including video tutorials and support pages. Please contact MIRC for the trial login details.

For access, you will need to [email=mirc@cranfield.ac.uk]contact MIRC[/email] for the trial login details.

[b]Macrobond – until 31 May[/b]

Find financial data from different sources across a large range of regions or topics. Search quickly across about 2000 global sources, with near real time updates.

For access, please contact our [email=virgil.delperdange@macrobond.com]supplier[/email] with your name and Cranfield University email address. You will be required to download Macrobond onto your device.

[b]American Society of Civil Engineers – until 30 June[/b]

ASCE is a non-profit organization established in 1852, and produces highly regarded journals, standards, eBooks and conference proceedings in civil engineering. 

The ASCE Library covers water and water resources, structural engineering, construction engineering, environmental engineering, disasters, geotechnics, and more!

[url=https://go.openathens.net/redirector/cranfield.ac.uk?url=https%3A%2F%2Fascelibrary.org%2F]Access American Society of Civil Engineers[/url]

In addition, you now have free access to:

[b]Bloomberg.com – free access until 31 July[/b]

Bloomberg Media has made its content freely available to students. This includes news coverage, analysis of business and finance sectors, climate change, technology, politics and more.

How to access: Sign up using your University email at [url=https://www.bloomberg.com/account/register]the Bloomberg site[/url]

For a list of other free resources to support your studies, [url=https://library.cranfield.ac.uk/az.php?a=all&s=130202]click here[/url].

[b]Remember!:[/b] If you have any queries about accessing or using the resources, please email [email=libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk]libraryresources@cranfield.ac.uk[/email]

[url=https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/09/13/08/44/library-1666702_960_720.jpg]Feature image from Pixabay[/url]
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A few excerpts from my experience to students who are away from home  [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2020, 05:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: A few excerpts from my experience to students who are away from home
I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I would be stranded in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from the comfort of my family and friends. It never occurred to me that a journey that began with a simple ambition to seek knowledge & expertise in thermal power would end up creating a philosophical revolution within my soul. Needless to say, the lockdown has affected me and my perception on what I thought of life. I am sure that others would also have experienced this but are not very open to acknowledging the fact. This is addressed to them.

I am 21 years old but still, I am fortunate enough to have witnessed some rare events which have shaped and constituted what I am today. On this day, six years back a train of thoughts rammed through my head, which paved way for a career in mechanical engineering. I was travelling in a taxi to my student residence from the nearest local airport. Around midway, a magnificent Indian Air Force Su-30 MKI fighter with its massive AL-31FP low bypass turbofan engines zoomed past me roaring thunderously. I leaned out of the window to try and understand whether something just exploded or whether there was an accident on the highway. It was then I caught a glimpse of the jet, in all its glory traversing the sky with its contrails boosted with two colossal thrusters attached to it. This was it, that was the moment I decided that I would pursue a career in engineering and specialise in gas turbine-based propulsion technology.

I now had a path laid out right in front of me. The objective was clear; to gain as much knowledge and industrial experience in gas turbine systems as possible in the shortest possible time, so that I would be ready and prepped for an immediate transition. The massive surge of energy within me forced me to achieve unrealistic targets. Beginning from multiple industrial internships, research exposure at prestigious academic institutions in India to my tenure as a Visiting Research Student at Cranfield University in 2019. Through all of these experiences that I have had to date, the one thing that was always and consistently present were the challenges and roadblocks that were seemingly impossible to solve but in the end I assure you that you will almost always find an answer to crack the situation. We just need to have faith and confidence in our abilities and everything else will fall in place.

Image

Cranfield University has had historical ties with organisations in the Indian sub-continent. So, naturally applying to Cranfield University for an MSc in Thermal Power (Aerospace Propulsion) was a priority. As a matter of fact, I had never even for once thought of applying elsewhere because I knew that if there exists any place in the world for specialist education in Propulsion Technology it’s at Cranfield University. I am an absolute aerospace enthusiast and for any student like me, Cranfield is synonymous to a dream come true. I staunchly believe that Cranfield graduates are making ground-breaking progress and are fiercely advancing humanity into the future.

Image

Unfortunately, 2020-21 is not a dream academic year for anyone across the earth at the moment. The same goes for students like me and especially those who are far away from loved ones in a new country. From an Indian perspective culture back home is extremely inclusive, and it takes a lot of courage to move across continents. Now, the subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions have only made things more difficult. However, there is positivity as well. It is beautiful to see the planet healing itself and animals rejoicing. I hope we come out of this situation as evolved human beings.

I would like to conclude by saying that the word ‘uncertainty’ itself contains ‘certainty’. So, while the future seems uncertain, we can rest assured that humanity will certainly find a workaround to problems. Coming back to the current scenario let me reassure you that feeling distressed, uncomfortable and tense is very much natural but I would still urge you to keep your composure and believe that all of us together as a community are going to emerge victorious at the end.

“After Clouds Light” as the Cranfield motto rightly says. 

It is my absolute honour to be a member of the Cranfield Community.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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A few excerpts from my experience to students who are away from home  [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2020, 07:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: A few excerpts from my experience to students who are away from home
I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I would be stranded in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from the comfort of my family and friends. It never occurred to me that a journey that began with a simple ambition to seek knowledge & expertise in thermal power would end up creating a philosophical revolution within my soul. Needless to say, the lockdown has affected me and my perception on what I thought of life. I am sure that others would also have experienced this but are not very open to acknowledging the fact. This is addressed to them.

I am 21 years old but still, I am fortunate enough to have witnessed some rare events which have shaped and constituted what I am today. On this day, six years back a train of thoughts rammed through my head, which paved way for a career in mechanical engineering. I was travelling in a taxi to my student residence from the nearest local airport. Around midway, a magnificent Indian Air Force Su-30 MKI fighter with its massive AL-31FP low bypass turbofan engines zoomed past me roaring thunderously. I leaned out of the window to try and understand whether something just exploded or whether there was an accident on the highway. It was then I caught a glimpse of the jet, in all its glory traversing the sky with its contrails boosted with two colossal thrusters attached to it. This was it, that was the moment I decided that I would pursue a career in engineering and specialise in gas turbine-based propulsion technology.

I now had a path laid out right in front of me. The objective was clear; to gain as much knowledge and industrial experience in gas turbine systems as possible in the shortest possible time, so that I would be ready and prepped for an immediate transition. The massive surge of energy within me forced me to achieve unrealistic targets. Beginning from multiple industrial internships, research exposure at prestigious academic institutions in India to my tenure as a Visiting Research Student at Cranfield University in 2019. Through all of these experiences that I have had to date, the one thing that was always and consistently present were the challenges and roadblocks that were seemingly impossible to solve but in the end I assure you that you will almost always find an answer to crack the situation. We just need to have faith and confidence in our abilities and everything else will fall in place.

Image

Cranfield University has had historical ties with organisations in the Indian sub-continent. So, naturally applying to Cranfield University for an MSc in Thermal Power (Aerospace Propulsion) was a priority. As a matter of fact, I had never even for once thought of applying elsewhere because I knew that if there exists any place in the world for specialist education in Propulsion Technology it’s at Cranfield University. I am an absolute aerospace enthusiast and for any student like me, Cranfield is synonymous to a dream come true. I staunchly believe that Cranfield graduates are making ground-breaking progress and are fiercely advancing humanity into the future.

Image

Unfortunately, 2020-21 is not a dream academic year for anyone across the earth at the moment. The same goes for students like me and especially those who are far away from loved ones in a new country. From an Indian perspective culture back home is extremely inclusive, and it takes a lot of courage to move across continents. Now, the subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions have only made things more difficult. However, there is positivity as well. It is beautiful to see the planet healing itself and animals rejoicing. I hope we come out of this situation as evolved human beings.

I would like to conclude by saying that the word ‘uncertainty’ itself contains ‘certainty’. So, while the future seems uncertain, we can rest assured that humanity will certainly find a workaround to problems. Coming back to the current scenario let me reassure you that feeling distressed, uncomfortable and tense is very much natural but I would still urge you to keep your composure and believe that all of us together as a community are going to emerge victorious at the end.

“After Clouds Light” as the Cranfield motto rightly says. 

It is my absolute honour to be a member of the Cranfield Community.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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My Group Project Experience at Cranfield University  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2020, 07:01
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: My Group Project Experience at Cranfield University
With an undergraduate background in soil science and land management, it has always been an aspiration of mine to focus on the environmental aspect within this field. Becoming an innovative environmental researcher has been an age-long ambition which has been completed by attending the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university. As a master’s student studying Environmental Engineering at Cranfield, my dreams of gaining practical and cutting-edge knowledge of ingenious solutions to environmental-related drawbacks have not only been accomplished but have also been enhanced through a diverse experience of the industry. The opportunity became available to work on a group project with Tarmac, the UK’s leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions business. This has been an outstanding, rewarding, and significantly positive step in meeting my individual expectation of applying theoretical knowledge to real-life settings. 

The unprecedented situation currently faced globally may have made this phase of my study take a new turn by bringing the usual face-to-face meetings and normal classroom scenarios to a halt but, nonetheless, the massive support from my colleagues, supervisors, and the school support team has made the experience both memorable and commendable. 

Image

Working in teams has been a challenge for me and this has made me favour the individual modules and assessments much more. I was apprehensive of this phase of my study but was also determined, I made a conscious effort to ensure that I worked effectively in my team which I achieved.  The mandatory participation in this team has positively enhanced my teamwork and communication abilities. I had my high and low moments, times when I was motivated and encouraged with virtual hugs by teammates and was also able to return the favour.

I have been privileged to have successfully worked in a team of four colleagues who started out as amateur users on the ArcGIS software and the Biodiversity 2.0 beta metric tool, and we have all become expert users!  I have improved a lot in my teamwork and communication skills; became more resilient while pushing through and adapting to the new norms; became more tolerant and accommodating to people’s views and opinions; and most importantly, I have learnt how to adapt to changing times. Effective time management is also a great skill I have developed and polished through this group project. The numerous back-and-forth encounters during the project, with the aim of arriving at a balanced conclusion, has made the development of this skill come to fruition owing to milestone deadlines which were adhered to. 

It was a great opportunity carrying out this group project in the most critical of times as it has prepared me to uphold and take on challenging tasks just as it would be in a physical and real-life environment. It has also stirred in me a more empathetic spirit and willingness to give out more love. 

Image
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Taking Accident Investigation Learning Online  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2020, 08:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Taking Accident Investigation Learning Online
There has been a deluge of information and Apps over the last month aimed at moving teaching environments online.  For the Accident Investigation staff this has been of great interest due to the high requirement for contact time and physical props in the execution of our courses.  The Aircraft Accident Investigation and Response (AAIR) [online] course gave us our first experience of migrating our product to this new world, with surprisingly pleasant results.

The AAIR course aims to provide an insight into the investigative process enabling students to conduct a week-long investigation into a simulated aircraft-based incident.  The issues in migrating this online are multiple; from the need to survey a wreckage site, interview witnesses and collaborate as a team.  As stated at the beginning, there’s lots of remote learning help available which was utilised to achieve our aim. The experience gained from this activity will be detailed chronologically below in the hope that others may benefit from our early experience.

Preparation

There were a number of areas in the preparation that needed a new approach.  The most important being choosing the delivery media and understanding it’s capabilities.  The ‘Teams’ and ‘Blackboard’ platforms were chosen as having the right combination of capabilities to achieve the course aims.  Leigh Dunn designed an excellent course on Blackboard which incorporated a novel scenario concept which was key to shaping the narrative of the week.  Whilst Blackboard is a known quantity, Teams presented a steep learning curve; and was a curve it was important the students joined us on.  It was found that the majority of students already had a very good grasp of the Teams platform, most likely due to the current climate.  Testing of the delivery was also helpful; setting up a dummy student with no knowledge of the platforms enabled us to cater for all skill levels.  Engagement beforehand with the students enabled them to gain the basic understanding of Teams and Blackboard prior to the first day and utilise the Cranfield IT resources as necessary.

Day One

The first day took students through underpinning theory and the initial stages of an investigation.  The first lesson was delivered by the Director of Transport Systems Graham Braithwaite; and after introducing the module lead Leigh Dunn and I; a simple set of ground rules were established.  These covered leaving microphones muted unless asking a question, highlighting student time zones (To enable better allocation of groups) and the use of the chat area.  The ‘General’ Teams chat was presented for course questioning and was constantly monitored throughout the course delivering a constant presence of staff.  This is not as time consuming as it may appear as your ‘Activity’ tab in Teams will inform you of any questions while you get on with other work.  For the majority Teams seemed instinctive, probably due to the high use of these platforms currently.

At this point, behind the scenes, participants were checked against the course list to ensure that we had everyone expected and that they were engaged in the course.  Then constant monitoring of the questions in the ‘chat’ allowed the presenter to continue without breaking flow; whilst the ‘Admin host’ fielded questions, supplied answers and posted links to enhance the experience.  We found later that during some lessons the chat needed to be carefully managed to prevent students digressing off topic in these chat areas.

[img]blob:https://blogs.cranfield.ac.uk/4edf4b82-7d37-4655-8f3e-c8b71e2671dc[/img]

The latter sessions of the day were achieved by recorded delivery on Blackboard which enabled flexibility for the students to cater for varying time zones and work commitments.  Following this, students were presented with an accident site in Blackboard using aerial video of a previously set-up physical site, supplemented with a series of photos of the site. 

The final task for the day was to individually answer a set questions based around the topics covered throughout the day which related to the scenario presented.  This piece of work provided the staff with a chance to gauge understanding ready for the following day’s Workshop where any shortfalls in understanding could be addressed.

Accident Simulation Online

Day two began with some more live theory delivery before the Workshop phase where the accident site was discussed in detail taking the class through their submissions and allowing for discussion.  These live sessions are key throughout to ensure understanding of the material and allow for questions from those who may not completely grasp the content.  

At this point the simulation began which was a four-day group-based exercise around a second incident.  The scenario here was the key component to mitigating the lack of an accident site.  The idea being that they were informed remotely by an investigator in the field, who then fed back information and reports on request.  Items such as images, logs, witness statements, procedures, training material, manifests and documentary information.  This was the basis for the site collection phase mitigating for the lack of physical site attendance.

The students were provided with four ‘Channels’, created in Teams for groups to use as their ‘Group room’ where they could post messages, share files and have meetings.  These rooms were excellent for staff to monitor progress of the students through observation and join in discussions to help shape learning.  The participant locations ranged from The USA to India [Grouped accordingly] and it was noted that the group members were happy to accommodate those working relatively unsociable hours.  In this context, it is likely that members of an aviation investigation will be in various time zones so this obstacle actually enhanced the scenario.

The day was once again linked to the next days activity through recorded presentations on ‘Investigative Interviewing’.  This supplemented the end of day task for the students to review the evidence, decide who they wanted to interview, and what further evidence they would like to have collected.

Interviewing

[img]blob:https://blogs.cranfield.ac.uk/d556e8c0-55d8-42e8-9849-284ff059f513[/img]

The following day was dedicated to interviewing with actors and experienced professionals which brought a new online obstacle.  The day began with a live session for the students to ask questions about the recorded content and practice as required prior to their requested interviews.  This was achieved through a further 16 Channels for student pairs to use as interview rooms.  In addition, two group rooms where created where 50% of the course [one of each pair] could be briefed on an interview scenario out of view of their partners.  This was used by the students for practicing interviews together; but the interview scenario was not utilised by the lecturer in this case.  It is best to remove the extra channels once finished to avoid confusion in Teams.

The live interviews were carried out with two students leading and the remainder in the background muted; using the chat to discuss the interview as a group in apparent silence.  The actor entered the Team room and engaged, while the staff observed and commented in the chat.  One actor even managed this activity via an IPAD only.  Once the interview was complete the group came back together for a debrief on how this went from the actor, staff and team perspectives.  This activity worked particularly well and could be used in reality; so once again an obstacle actually enhanced learning in its application. 

Analysis

Day four took the students to the analysis phase which utilised both recorded and live lectures employing the delivery lessons detailed previously.  They now had all their evidence and completed the day submitting an analysis model demonstrating the days topics and highlighting two accident events to focus on.  The activity was closely monitored in the team rooms to ensure they were kept out of any ‘rabbit-holes’.  This was done much the same as described earlier, through observation and intervention.  The activity could be merely observed in some cases as teams got to the desired outcome.  Others required staff input to keep them on track and reinforce the topics covered.

The final day saw these models develop into safety recommendations after both recorded and live delivery along with questions.  These recommendations were then presented by each team and discussed by the class with the staff guiding proceedings.  The final activity of recorded delivery and the setting the final assignment; a review of a complete accident report for future submission.

Summary

– Plan and test delivery concepts on the lowest common denominator [keep interaction simple.

– Pre-warn students of modes of delivery prior to arrival and signpost resources.

– Novel scenario development can turn the online environment into an advantage. 

– Obstacles can often add realism through new forms of interaction which can mitigate the loss of contact time.

– Mix methods for international flexibility and to maintain interest.

– Shape the classroom prior to activities [interview and group working areas] to corral students.

– Presence in place of contact.  Continual interaction through available mediums; Chats, Q&A and Group engagement

– Plenty of Q&A session interspersed between lecture topics, particularly recorded sessions.

– Monitor and intervene when/if required during group work.

– Confirmatory activities that link days, confirm understanding and build the weeks narrative.

– Student capability in the remote environment is currently ramping up fast and they are more comfortable than ever before with collaborative platforms.

In these difficult times there’s a huge empathy with the challenges faced by institutions in adapting to remote learning; and the world is adapting alongside.  Remember, obstacles can often throw up surprising opportunities which will mitigate some of the lost fidelity; recognise these new tools and adapt.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Robots in rescue – dealing with COVID-19.  [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2020, 08:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Robots in rescue – dealing with COVID-19.
My name is Raviteja Burugu, I am from India and I am studying an MSc in Robotics at Cranfield University. I hope you have read my previous blog about How often do we use Robots. If not have a look here and here

COVID -19 has changed the lifestyle of most of the humans in the world. Many are working from home or have lost their jobs. Health and Nursing departments are working hard to bring us out from this pandemic. I would like to thank all the doctors and health care workers who are putting their efforts in treating the patients around the world. In this blog, I would like to discuss how robots are helping us to fight against COVID -19.

Many routine activities of health care workers are checking the temperature, changing the bedsheets, disinfecting the rooms, delivering food or medicine to patients, and checking the condition of patients. These activities involve interaction between the patient and healthcare workers and there is great probability of spreading the virus during these tasks.

Countries around the world have approached COVID -19 by using Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and physical distance initially but it is becoming very difficult as the number of cases being registered is increasing drastically day by day. Use of PPE also has increased rapidly which led to the scarcity of PPE.

Maintaining social distancing and reducing the workload on doctors, scarcity of PPE and dealing with rapid increase in cases being reported are the main reasons robots came into rescue. A robot is the best solution in many scenarios. Software robots and physical robots are being developed in the major areas like nursing, disinfecting, chatbots, delivery of food /medicine and data collection. Robots have ability to repeat the task very efficiently and they will not get tired, unlike humans, the figure below illustrates different robots that are being used.

Image

Source : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/kompa%C3%AF-covid-19-nursing-homes-vincent-dupourqu%C3%A9/

Many countries around the world are under lockdown, staying at home and avoiding contact with other people. People cannot go out of their house unless there is an emergency or necessity, like food shopping or buying essentials. Over the last decade, a technological revolution occurred in the field of Robotics and Autonomous vehicles sectors which is not very much visible, but due to COVID -19, this has come into the public sphere. Here are the few robots used around the world.


[*]Police in India , Spain used Drones to check the lockdown situations surveillance ,for delivery of various products and for disinfecting.[*]Graduation ceremony was also conducted using the Avatar Robots by BBT University in Japan.[*]Much more details about the similar robots can be found in “Robots And Drones Are Now Used To Fight COVID-19” by Bernard Marr.[/list]

Software robots are being used for tracking the COIVD -19 tests. CSAIL device lets doctors monitor COVID-19 patients from a distance – MIT researchers. Many hospitals started using robots in various applications. Best explained by MITRA Robot which has features like inbuilt human detection computer vision model, user validation , face recognition and contactless temperature detection using machine vision techniques. Here are some more robots around the world especially in hospitals:

  • A technology focused-hospital opened in china which uses six different kinds of robot-doctors to check temperatures of patients, deliver meals, make rounds of the ward and clean infected areas. The hospital is also equipped with 5G, installed by state-owned China Mobile, to enable live updates and fast communication with the robots’ human operators. The robots, which were donated by Chinese cloud-robotics company Cloud Minds, were set up in less than a week.
  • Researchers at China’s Tsinghua University have developed robots that can screen patients for the coronavirus, without a doctor having to be present. They say it can help reduce the risk of doctors contracting the deadly virus. “Doctors are all very brave, but this virus is just too contagious. We can use robots to perform the most dangerous tasks,” said ProfessorZheng Gangtie.
  • In Singapore, Alexandra Hospital is using a robot called BeamPro to deliver medicine and meals to patients diagnosed with coronavirus. Doctors and nurses can control the handy robot via computer from outside the room, as well as to conduct conversations via screen and camera.
  • Tommy the robot nurse helps keep Italian doctors safe from coronavirus, The robots have touch-screen faces that allow patients to record messages and send them to doctors. Most importantly, Tommy and his high-tech teammates allow the hospital to limit the direct contact with doctors and nurses have with patients, thus reducing the risk of infection.
  • Thai hospitals deploy ‘ninja robots’ to aid virus battle, Thai hospitals are deploying “ninja robots” to measure fevers and protect the health of overburdened medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Autonomous disinfection with UV lamps. Robots that help in cleaning the Schools, Hospitals, Airports or office spaces. These robots play a vital role during this outbreak, Chinese hospitals have ordered 2000 UVD robots form Blue Ocean Robotics a Denmark Company
  • Shark Robotics in France began testing a decontamination unit about a month ago and has already started getting orders, according to co-founder Cyril Kabbara. The company also unveils Rhyno robotdesign to fight Coronavirus COVID 19 contamination
  • LightStrike is an autonomous robot that patrols bedrooms disinfecting them via ultraviolet light. US Firm Xenex has seen a surge in requests from hospitals for its LightStyrike robot, a drone that flies through the hallways disinfecting using ultraviolet light.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused robotics innovation to accelerate, according to Lesley Rohrbaugh, the director of research for the US Consumer Technology Association. Manufacturing medical robots is not always cheap, with the lockdown situation these companies are also facing many issues to manufacturing these robots due to drastic changes in the supply chain, procurement, production and shortage of workforce.

I have covered only few robots around the world and I believe every country is doing their best in dealing with COVID-19.

I would request you all stay home and keep safe. Thanks for reading the blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Robots in rescue – dealing with COVID-19.   [#permalink] 07 May 2020, 08:02

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