International Relations Office

Updates on the University's global engagement activities

Topic: Conference

International Healthcare Workshop with Koç University, 28-30 July 2017

  , , ,

📥  Conference, Research

An early-career researcher workshop on "Improving healthcare operations through modelling and simulation" brought together scholars from the UK and Turkey in Bath, 28-30 July 2017.

Invited by the School of Management, 25 early career and senior researchers from the UK and Turkey explored innovative decision-making tools to pressing challenges in healthcare planning and management, with a particular focus in applying systems modelling and computer simulation techniques to problems in health and care.

The session was organised by Professor Christos Vasilakis, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement (CHI2) at the University of Bath, and his colleagues Profs. Evrim Didem Günes and Lerzan Örmeci at Koç University in Istanbul.

29338_0003

With support from a British Council/Newton Fund Researcher Links grant, the workshop provided a unique opportunity for early career scholars to engage with senior researchers and healthcare practitioners, and to work together on a number of challenges in areas of care such as stroke prevention, outpatient care for chronic illness and hospital appointment scheduling.

Implementing a collaborative approach

Collaborative research with practitioners is of significant value, as operational researchers rely on rich data and realistic scenarios to design mathematical models and computer simulations that can have meaningful impact in the way healthcare is provided. This also means that researchers need to acquire the skills to communicate with diverse stakeholders such as policy-makers, health planners or clinicians in designing research questions, sharing data and creating practical, easy-to-use toolkits for decision-making.

This was an excellent workshop! The research challenges provided lots of new information and perspectives. I appreciated the friendly environment and effective communication between researchers from UK and Turkey, which I believe will lead to many fruitful collaborations.

Dr Erhun Kundakcioglu, Ozyegin University

To facilitate a similarly collaborative approach, the workshop organisers encouraged participants to form smaller problem-solving teams and work together to design initial modelling solutions. Each team then had the opportunity to present their outcomes in a plenary setting and receive feedback from senior mentors and practitioners, including Dr Monica Baird, Deputy Medical Director at the North Bristol NHS Trust.

29338_0031

Building networks to improve data collection

The workshop’s collaborative design also benefited from the international exchange of scholars based at institutions in the UK and Turkey.

Turkey’s fragmented healthcare system makes data collection in the country very difficult. Scholars therefore stand to gain from networks with UK partners to complement expertise in theoretical mathematics with building capacities in applied healthcare research.

As research skills training, this working-group format has lots of potential to be developed further to ensure researchers are connected to actual problems in the health and care sector. It is also a model that can be applied to other areas of operational research such as transport or logistics.

Dr Paul Forte, the workshop’s facilitator and an independent health care consultant at the Balance of Care Group

For the past five years, my research focus has been operating room scheduling: how to best allocate expensive operating room resources to benefit the patients, surgical team and the hospitals. This workshop gave me the perfect opportunity to meet with fellow colleagues with similar research interests and to establish potential collaborations in a warm and welcoming setting. I absolutely loved the workshop’s design around small and focused working groups around exciting and challenging problems. I look forward to reuse this workshop’s collaboration style to design similar study groups in the future.

Dr Enis Kayış, assistant professor at Ozyegin University’s Department of Industrial Engineering

29338_0009

Taking partnerships forward

Researcher Links grants like the one Professor Vasilakis received are designed to support international networking activities for early-career researchers between the UK and select partner countries. Most of this workshop’s participants had been trained at institutions around the world, and were already familiar with working across diverse research cultures. Sustaining such links and transforming them into long-term projects can be more of a challenge.

Professor Vasilakis’ links with his Turkish colleagues grew out of opportunity and personal contacts, as is often the case in academia. A University of Bath “International Research Initiator” grant in 2016 was instrumental in building on these initial contacts and paved the way for visits and joint funding bids. It is important for him to take the partnership forward:

We had great fun organising and running this interactive research workshop with our collaborators from Koç University. We took full advantage of the School of Management Executive Education suite at The Edge to have teams working together over two and a half days on one of a number of research challenges drawn from real life problems in health and care. The close links between CHI2 and the local health economy made this possible. I think we managed to give early career scholars new ideas for research projects, and also create friendships and networks that can take some of the research ideas forward. All this was made possible with the generous support from the International Relations Office of the University of Bath.

Professor Christos Vasilakis

Contact for enquiries: Professor Christos Vasilakis


Further international funding opportunities

The International Relations Office at the University of Bath runs an internal funding scheme to support researchers at the university. Applications are made for seed funding to initiate new international networks, or to transform existing contacts into larger joint research projects and activities.

The next call for funding will open in October 2017.

For more information, contact: Dr. Tina Schilbach, International Partnerships Manager

 

International Relations Office hosts Agents’ Conference - 13 to 15 June 2017

📥  Conference, International Strategy

The International Relations Office hosted its three-day Agents’ Conference from 13 to 15 June 2017, welcoming 31 international representatives from 16 different countries to the event showcasing the University of Bath.

A background to the agents we work with

As part of our international recruitment strategy, the University has a global network of local representatives who receive training on our courses, facilities, application procedures and entry requirements. This allows agents an insight into our processes, requirements and strengths, consequently increasing our recruitment of highly qualified international students.

Agents act as our year-round representative in key markets and offer a support service to potential and actual applicants to the University of Bath. They also act as our ‘eyes and ears’ in each market by feeding market intelligence and guidance on education systems and qualifications back to us.

Our educational agents are responsible for over £9.4 million in overseas fee income into the University every year and are a key resource in promoting our courses worldwide.

Collaboration across the University creates a successful conference for all

The agents’ conference was a great success, in no small part due to the collaboration of departments across the University.

University Secretary Mark Humphriss opened the conference by welcoming our agents, highlighting the important role they play in our international recruitment strategy. Students’ Union President Lucy Woodcock followed this with an exciting and informative introduction to the SU, providing agents with a view of the sporting and social elements of the student experience.

Interaction and collaboration were key themes of the conference, and these were delivered in part through a series of workshops focusing on a number of crucial topics related to international recruitment:

·         the current recruitment cycle and looking ahead to the next

·         our postgraduate taught offering and new courses

·         the University's existing processes

·         the University’s digital and marketing initiatives, including the new website design

·         the University’s strengths in the employability of our students.

An interactive workshop at the agents' conference

Agents were run through their paces at a series of workshops

Colleagues involved in recruitment and admission of international students from around the University also had the opportunity to meet our agents informally during an evening drinks reception at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.

International agents talking to each other at a drinks reception

Agents were welcomed to Bath at a drinks reception at the Victoria Art Gallery.

The conference concluded with our agents attending the University of Bath Open Day, listening to subject talks, tours and visiting the Information Fair at the Sports Training Village. Being able to experience the energetic and engaging atmosphere of our Open Days first-hand gives our agents a unique insight into the diverse and welcoming atmosphere at the University, which they can then relate to prospective applicants.

Anamaria Puicar from Global Study, our representative in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) commented: “Seeing the campus has shed a new light on the university… the informative sessions made me understand more about the USPs and the unique courses the University provides. Overall, it was a great experience and exploring the beautiful city of Bath was the cherry on top.”

If you wish to find out more about our agents, contact the International Relations Office.

You can also view more photos of the event through the University's Flickr account.

The International Relations Office would like to extend our thanks to all colleagues involved across the University for contributing to the success of the event.

 

International Relations Office hosts Agent Conference – 2-4 December 2015

📥  Conference

This week, the International Relations Office welcomed 29 of our international representatives from 16 different countries to Bath for a three-day event showcasing our departments and services.

The conference took place on campus and at the Hilton Hotel in the city, with agents attending themed workshops on admissions and recruitment; visas and immigration; use of digital media; PhD recruitment; and employability. These sessions were delivered by colleagues from across the University, including Faculty Marketing teams and Graduate Schools, Admissions and Recruitment, Careers, the Academic Skills Centre, Placement Offices, Student Services and Digital Marketing and Communications.

Agent Conference brochures

Agent Conference 2015 brochures

Staff involved in recruitment and admission of international students were able to meet with agents during an informal ‘agent-led fair’ in the Wessex Restaurant on the 2nd December, followed by an evening reception at the Holburne Museum, hosted by Professor Colin Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation).

International Relations Office staff at the conference

AC4

Faculty staff at the conference

We have a global network of local representatives who receive training on our programmes, facilities, application procedures and entry requirements in order to increase our recruitment of appropriately highly qualified international students. They act as our year-round representatives in key markets and offer a support service to potential and actual applicants to the University of Bath. They also act as our ‘eyes and ears’ in each market by feeding market intelligence and guidance on education systems and qualifications back to us.

Our educational agents are responsible for over £8 million in overseas fee income into the University every year and are a key resource in promoting our programmes worldwide.

Agent representatives at the conference

Agent representatives at the conference

Agent representative at the conference

Agent representative at the conference

Agent representatives at the conference

Agent representatives at the conference

If you wish to find out more about our agents, contact the International Relations Office at: international-relations-office@bath.ac.uk

 

Collaboration with University of Calgary

📥  Conference, Funding/Scholarship, Visit

This summer, I had the opportunity to both visit and host Professor Carolyn Emery from the University of Calgary, Canada, as part of the Global Mobility Scheme (now named International Research Initiator Scheme).

Professor Emery is a co-chair of the Sports Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC) at the University of Calgary, which is one of nine International Research Centres supported by the International Olympic Committee. The overarching aim of the Centre is to reduce the risk of injury associated with sport and recreation. This is a goal shared by the ‘Rugby Science at Bath’ research group, of which I am a member.

Injuries are one of the unwelcome consequences of participating in sport, and have important health, performance, financial and legal consequences for all stakeholders. The aim of this project was to establish a collaborative research partnership between the University of Bath and University of Calgary, with long-term objectives of furthering our understanding of risk factors for injuries in sport, and exploring ways to reduce injury risk and improve athlete wellbeing.

Discovering opportunities for collaboration

In July I spent a week in Calgary, where I had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, internationally renowned researchers in my field. I had the chance to meet the researchers responsible for the key theories/models underpinning my work to date, which was a highly useful and rewarding experience, and has fuelled many new ideas for future research and collaborations.

I presented an hour long research seminar to the SIPRC group during my visit, which stimulated further discussions and ideas. I also spent a good portion of my time working with the biostatistics team at SIPRC, which was particularly useful for my own research.

I now plan to apply for funding via the Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation to host one of those biostatisticians, Dr. Alberto Nettel-Aguirre, early next year. This funding will enable Dr. Nettel-Aguirre to contribute to our research activities, present a public lecture, as well a number of other research seminars.

Exploring Calgary

I was fortunate enough to visit Calgary during its annual ‘Stampede’ festival, which is a rodeo event billed as the “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. It was certainly an eye-opening experience, and provided plenty of opportunities for injury research!

Bucking bronco at the Calgary Stampede

Bucking bronco at the Calgary Stampede (Photo by royckmeyer / CC BY)

During my short stay, I also had the opportunity to explore Calgary and the surrounding area. I was taken for a hike in Canmore, about an hour’s drive West of Calgary. The scenery was stunning, and certainly made me want to return to Canada in the future to see more of the country.

Hiking in Canmore, Alberta

Hiking in Canmore, Alberta

Hiking in Canmore, Alberta

Hiking in Canmore, Alberta

Hiking in Canmore, Alberta

Hiking in Canmore, Alberta

Continuing our collaboration at Bath

In September, Professor Emery visited Bath and presented a keynote lecture at the inaugural World Rugby Science Network Conference. The focus of her talk was on injury prevention in youth sport.

The conference was a two-day event that used a multimedia delivery format, with a combination of face-to-face and online formats. The first day was hosted at the University of Bath, and the second day at the University of Cape Town. The event was watched (online or in-person) by more than 1000 people from more than 30 countries, and so had a tremendous global impact.

Professor Emery and I on stage at the World Rugby Science Network Conference

Professor Emery and I on stage at the World Rugby Science Network Conference

During this visit, we were also able to work on the research outputs we initiated in Calgary (including a paper for submission to Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, and a planning process for a systematic review).

In addition, Professor Emery met with Caroline Baylon (Director of International Partnerships and Head of the International Relations Office) to discuss opportunities for further links between the two universities (e.g. exchange programmes and placement opportunities). Moreover, both of our universities are celebrating their 50th anniversaries in the coming year, and so we will also investigate internal funding opportunities to host an event celebrating this occasion, such as a joint conference on injury prevention in youth sport.

Overall, the Global Mobility Scheme has been tremendously helpful in developing and shaping my research. International collaborations are fundamental to all areas of science and research, and schemes such as this are vital for starting and developing such partnerships. I am looking forward to continued collaboration with both the SIPRC group and the University of Calgary.

 

International Mobility Team: summer activities

📥  Conference, Mobility

You could be forgiven for thinking that over the summer months activity slows in the mobility team, with no students on campus and academics focusing on research, and perhaps we find ourselves with less work.  But that is definitely not the case!

In addition to processing all of the paperwork for incoming students, finalising payments for the outgoing students who are finishing their Erasmus placements, and drafting exchange agreements, we also made time to attend some mobility events and build networks with mobility colleagues from other UK universities.

In June I attended a Westminster Higher Education Forum Seminar on ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Increasing Outward Student Mobility’.  It was a morning full of interesting presentations, and ended with a question and answer session with the panel.  For me, the most interesting and informative talk was given by Frances Rix, a Business Graduate from Kingston University London.  Frances enjoyed her study abroad so much she has become an ambassador for the Erasmus + programme. It was refreshing to hear her talk honestly about overcoming challenges, and how even small achievements can be a cause for celebration when you are adjusting to living in another country and culture.

In August I, along with my colleagues Agathe Lairy and Francesca Ajello, went to Coventry University for a two-day HEURO (Association of UK Higher Education European Officers) workshop.  The main focus of this workshop was European mobility and Erasmus +, and the two days were roughly split into incoming and outgoing – although there was a lot of commonality across the two areas.

Engineering & Computing Building, Coventry University

Engineering & Computing Building, Coventry University

There were informative talks from a number of members. The workshop provided us with the opportunity to discuss challenges and share best practice between members.  One of the sessions I found most useful was about the research that shows links between mobility and employability: less likely to be unemployed, more likely to work abroad, more likely to achieve a 1st or 2.i, and more likely to have a higher management role.

HEURO Workshop, Coventry University

HEURO Workshop, Coventry University

As well as all the facts and figures, this session also covered tips for students to translate a study abroad experience for CV and interviews.  All of this will definitely be useful for Bath students embarking on their final year, and we look forward to sharing this information with them.

International Mobility Coordinators, L to R - Agathe Lairy, Tracey Stenson Jukes & Francesca Ajello

International Mobility Coordinators, L to R - Agathe Lairy, Tracey Stenson Jukes & Francesca Ajello

If you would be interested in having a member of the International Mobility Team talk to your students, please contact us at student-exchanges@bath.ac.uk

 

Research trip to Stellenbosch University

📥  Conference, Culture, Research, Visit

In September 2015 I had the opportunity to travel to Stellenbosch University, South Africa, as one of the University’s strategic partners. I was presenting my research at a Newton Fund/British Council funded Early-Career Researcher Links Conference co-sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry on hydrogen storage at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.

The conference was designed to enable early-career researchers in the UK to establish collaborations with other early-career researchers in South Africa and other newly industrialised and developing countries around the world.

Both Dr Valeska Ting from the Department of Chemical Engineering and I gave our talks to the conference delegates during the porous materials day of the conference. Other days focused on storage of hydrogen as chemical hydrides and hydrogen fuel cells.

Dr Robert Dawson presenting hydrogen storage in porous polymers

Dr Robert Dawson presenting hydrogen storage in porous polymers

Dr Valeska Ting presenting her work on characterisation of hydrogen storage in MIL-101

Dr Valeska Ting presenting her work on characterisation of hydrogen storage in MIL-101

The UK delegates were also lucky enough to be taken on a short sightseeing trip around the Gauteng area of South Africa including a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site the Cradle of Humankind where the fossils of a number of early hominoid species have been found, a lion park, the Voortrekker Monument and the statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

UK delegates at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria (Dr Robert Dawson and Dr Valeska Ting back left and front left)

UK delegates at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria (Dr Robert Dawson and Dr Valeska Ting back left and front left)

Collaboration with Stellenbosch University

As I was already in South Africa, it was a great opportunity to visit Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape Province to further develop the collaboration already started by Dr Ting from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Dr Ting travelled to Stellenbosch last year on a Global Mobility Scheme award from the International Relations Office.

I was able to continue the collaboration with Professor Len Barbour in Stellenbosch looking at Metal-Organic Frameworks (highly porous crystalline hybrid networks made from a combination of organic linkers and inorganic metal centres) as potential hydrogen storage materials. Professor Barbour and his research group have developed a number of unique characterisation techniques coupling together traditional characterisation methods in order to probe what happens to porous materials when they are under high gas pressures.

In particular we were interested in looking at what happens to our materials when they are under high pressures of hydrogen gas. In the Barbour laboratory they have developed a system to directly measure the heat given off when a material is dosed with different gases using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This technique enables us measure the enthalpies of adsorption over a wide pressure range and at different temperatures.

Exploring the town of Stellenbosch

While the experiments were running, I also had a little bit of time to explore Stellenbosch, one of the first European settlements in South Africa as well as its surroundings in the wine region with a short wine tasting session.

A church in Stellenbosch

The church in the centre of Stellenbosch

Street scene in Stellenbosch

Street scene in Stellenbosch

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch

A South African wine farm

A South African wine farm

Having returned to Bath, our task is to analyse our data. The funding from the International Relations Office has proved invaluable to our research here at Bath and we hope to publish the results of our collaboration with Professor Barbour soon.

Dr Robert Dawson is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry working on the use of porous materials for high pressure hydrogen storage tanks with Dr Andrew Burrows (Chemistry) and Dr Tim Mays (Chemical Engineering).