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DMU shortlisted for prestigious national awards


Research at De Montfort University (DMU) has been recognised as among the best at the UK's top universities.

DMU is one of just six universities shortlisted for Research Project of the Year Award along with the universities of Bath and Cardiff, London School of Economics and Political Science, Queen Mary (University of London) and University College London.

In fact, two of DMU's research projects have been shortlisted for the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards as well as one of its innovative partnership projects.

This means DMU is among only a handful of universities to be shortlisted for more than three awards and is in the running to win awards in the following categories:

• International Collaboration of the Year

• Research Project of the Year

• Excellence and Innovation in the Arts 

Representatives of the university will attend an award ceremony in London on 29 November when the winners of each category will be announced.

Professor Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of DMU, said: “To be shortlisted for three prestigious national awards is exciting for the university and I know everyone here shares my pride at the news.

"DMU places research at the heart of its mission and it is pleasing that this has been recognised in the shortlisting of two of our research projects. The three nominations cover a wide range of expertise and illustrate DMU’s strengths and reputation both here and overseas for being a high performing university.”

DMU’s Dried Blood Spot project is one of six shortlisted for Research Project of the Year.

This innovative research has enabled crucial analysis of spots of dried blood and has the potential to save the lives of babies and adults, as well as millions of pounds.

Drs Sangeeta Tanna and Graham Lawson at DMU developed a simple, non-invasive blood test which can be done at home, in pharmacies or clinics easing pressure on hospitals.

Their test identifies and quantifies therapeutic drugs present in one drop of blood collected and dried on a sampling card. This means that for the first time drug uptake in sick newborn babies could be properly assessed and their clinical care optimised.

The research expanded beyond paediatrics to look at the costly and dangerous issue of adult patients failing to take prescribed drugs for cardiovascular conditions - one of the UK's biggest killers.

Current information indicates more than 50% of patients fail to take their cardiovascular drugs properly, which leads to repeated hospital admissions and even death. It also equates to £800 million of wasted medication.

DMU’s participation in the UK Government ‘GREAT’ project, to promote British culture abroad ahead of the 2012 Olympics, won it the shortlisting for the International Collaboration category.

Working in partnership with The British Embassy in Tokyo, the University of Tokyo and the British Council in Japan, DMU and the British Library took a Shakespeare First Folio and an original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle manuscript to Japan.

The two literary works provided the focus for educational activity, literary discussion and cultural celebration.

Successes during DMU’s two day visit - timed to coincide with Shakespeare's birthday celebrations on April 23 - included:

• Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) signed between DMU and both Tohuku University and Meisei University.

• A third MOU signed with the Sunwah International Business School (SWIBS) at Liaoning University from China.

• A joint lecture on Shakespeare by DMU's Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard and British Ambassador Sir David Warren.

• Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), delivered the keynote speech at a symposium on higher education reforms in the UK and Japan.

• Around 120 schoolchildren attended workshops.

DMU was shortlisted for the Excellence and Innovation in the Arts category for the Vice–Chancellor’s Theatre Archive Project (TAP), a unique and ambitious collaboration between the university and the British Library.

TAP has created a rich historical and sociological resource of British theatre history from 1945 to 1968. Hosted by the British Library it gives access to more than 100 transcripts, images and sound extracts.  

Professor Shellard, an expert in post-war British Theatre, has expanded the project to include DMU students working as interviewers on the oral history element of the project.

English students are trained in the techniques of obtaining oral histories by the British Library. The project bridges the generations as students, many in their early 20s, talk to people often in their 70s and 80s.

This unusual opportunity enables students to acquire skills in communication, negotiation, interview techniques, research, operating technical equipment, sifting information, transcribing and presenting findings succinctly.

The TAP is also planning to expand into DMU's local community and is planning to start exploring historical and contemporary theatre in Leicester by gathering post-war theatre-related memories from city residents.

The partnership between DMU and the British Library also led to a jointly sponsored PhD studentship at DMU to work on an archive for playwright David Rudkin, as part of the TAP.

Posted on Thursday 6th September 2012

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