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University of Kent

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848 Projects, page 1 of 170
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/M002330/1
    Funder Contribution: 28,488 GBP
    Partners: University of Kent

    Rising levels of NPS/HED have been observed around the globe as new technologies for their advertisement and dissemination have developed. The Coalition Government in the UK, and international bodies and institutions around the world, have called for a focus on developing policies that limit their harm and implementing strategies that help to appraise users of their potential risks: they have widely been described as the new challenge facing both policymakers and practitioners. Despite the prioritisation of this issue, a coherent and extensive social research agenda in this area that seeks to evaluate policies and their consequences, critically assess official discourses and explore the needs and experiences of users does not yet exist. Without this evidence base it is impossible for policymakers to make informed decisions or practitioners to implement standards of best practice. It is the intention of this seminar series to bring academics from many social research related disciplines and working at many different levels together with practitioners and policymakers to develop and shape, in partnership, a social research agenda on NPS and HED that will, in turn, be used to inform both policy and practice. This partnership will be effected by bringing together a strong UK based network of NPS/HED related social researchers and social research users and by creating a forum within which they can engage in dialogue, exchange ideas and perspectives, develop their conceptualisations of the challenges posed by NPS/HED, jointly shape policy and research agendas, and drive forward new research collaborations and strategies. To ensure the diversity of the network and the breadth of its reach, academics from a variety of social research disciplines (criminology, sociology, substance use/abuse epidemiology, child care, health sciences, criminal justice and public policy) and at different stages of their career will be included; similarly, policymakers and practitioners from a variety of backgrounds (governmental/non-governmental; law enforcement/treatment), as well as media representatives and users themselves, will participate in the overall network. While NPS/HED is a problem that is significant in its effect in the UK in particular, it is an issue that is being experienced around the globe and thus, where appropriate, international scholars and policymakers have been asked to contribute to the debates and join the 'core pool' of participants so that their experiences can also be acknowledged. The seminar series will take the format of 6 half day seminars related to social research on NPS/HED: new policy directions; supply and demand; psychopharmacology; law enforcement; risk; and treatment, community developments and harm reduction. It will be attended by 40 participants drawn from the 'core pool' of participants, other interested local parties and those specifically invited by the host institution. It will be accompanied by a suite of online resources including a dedicated blog and discussion forum that will widen participation to those members of the 'core pool' unable to attend seminars in person, those working in related disciplines that are not members of the 'core pool' and those from the international arena. Our work will be consolidated by our final 3 day event which aims to maximise the impact of existing research outcomes and inspire new research collaborations.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 653040
    Overall Budget: 183,455 EURFunder Contribution: 183,455 EUR
    Partners: University of Kent

    This project addresses the question of how the state should deal with radical sexual pluralism, and in particular how it should take up the challenges and difficulties raised for law and public policy in accommodating non-monogamous relationships and family formations. This is a multidisciplinary project drawing on diverse research sources (political philosophy, normative theory, social science data, doctrinal analysis, face-to-face in-depth interviews, and focus groups). It will explore models of non-monogamy – particularly polyamory and polygamy – in the UK to understand how they might pose a both legal and social challenge to traditional family law and regulation. This study thus provides a lens and case-study through which a core question for contemporary public policy is addressed: what legal and public policy instruments could and should the state adopt to deal with sexual and socio-cultural difference? The research will be conducted in four Work Packages (WPs). WP1 will critically assess the available literature on the social character, public relevance and legal status of non-monogamous relationships and family formations vis-à-vis monogamous ones. WP2 will involve in-depth semi-structured interviews with members of polyamorous and polygamous relationships and families to understand how law in its current form is experienced and the problems complex family forms face. WP3 will offer a philosophical-political analysis of the question of if and how the state should devise policy measures for the recognition of polyamorous and polygamous relationships and whether the best strategy is the production of a new relationship-recognition model, defined by specific legal provisions, or, conversely, the recognition of the contractual will of the parties. WP4 will involve members of relevant civil society organisations and state institutions in two focus groups to review the findings and indicate research gaps, potential biases, and areas for further development.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E021107/1
    Funder Contribution: 388,816 GBP
    Partners: University of Kent

    There is currently great interest in mobile and wireless communications services, with 3rd generation (3G) mobile systems being rolled-out globally, and with the proliferation of WiFi hotspots and their increasing use. While 3G systems, clearly provide for enhanced services than their GSM predecessors, it is already apparent that the highest bandwidth available to a user (2 Mb/s) is insufficient for the transfer of some data types (e.g. high definition video) and that this bandwidth is rarely available anyway in a network supporting many users. Many companies are already looking to technologies such as WiMAX as possible alternatives for providing high bandwidth to individual users. With WiFi networks, the bandwidth available to users is generally greater than in mobile networks, although it is shared / so service provision may depend on how many users need to be supported. The range of WiFi systems is also generally short, so large numbers of small cells or hotspots would be required to provide good geographical coverage. Again, technologies such as WiMAX can offer larger cell sizes. Even in WiMAX the total bandwidth available is of the order of 75 Mbps, shared amongst users.For future systems, offering 50 or 100Mb/s per user, it is the available spectrum at millimetre-wave frequencies that needs to be used. The project COMCORD focuses on some key concepts and technologies that will enable millimetre-wave wireless systems.COMCORD proposes the use of radio (in this case, millimetre wave) over fibre technology. Such technology has been used at GSM and 3G frequencies in real systems, and is an active area of research interest. The principle underlying radio over fibre is that while wireless systems can provide mobility and ease/flexibility of connection, they are fundamentally broadcast networks, which means sharing bandwidth; on the other hand, optical fibres can bring large amounts of dedicated bandwidth to cells/hotspots. Thus radio over fibre brings together the attractive features of both wireless and optical fibre systems.Of course, in COMCORD, we propose a number of novel techniques and components for use in radio (millimetre wave) over fibre networks. Principally, we propose a novel system configuration where both the required optical reference signal and the required millimetre-wave reference signal are generated in a central location and delivered by optical fibre to the remote antennas, allowing the latter to remain low-cost. In addition, coherence is then more easily maintained between the optical reference and other optical signals. Further, the manner of generation is such that stability is also maintained between the millimetre wave reference and the other millimetre wave signals in the network. The generation of the optical and millimetre wave signals relies on a unique component, an optical frequency comb generator that can be stabilised to a highly coherent reference laser.Finally, COMCORD involves collaboration with a leading University-based research laboratory in China. The State Key Laboratory in Advanced Optical Communication Systems and Networks at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) will fabricate state-of-the-art programmable optical filtering components which will be used in the optical frequency comb generator and in the communication system for routing signals to appropriate destination cells . The group at SJTU have considerable experience in setting up field trials and real networks in China. At the end of COMCORD, and after initial system testing at Kent, a campus optical fibre network at SJTU will be used to demonstrate the technology developed.

  • Project . 2008 - 2011
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/F015992/1
    Funder Contribution: 212,913 GBP
    Partners: University of Kent

    Ruins of the Twentieth Century is an investigation and appreciation of places built and abandoned in the last hundred years / most of them in the UK and Ireland, but also further afield. They include derelict factories, outmoded military installations, defunct holiday resorts and neglected Modernist buildings: the kinds of structures that we all know and habitually ignore. These are not romantic ruins, such as are prized by heritage organizations and visited by thousands of people each year. But these unloved sites tell us more, sometimes, than we care to acknowledge about the taste, culture and history of our own recent past. In their decayed state, they remind us of the fragile nature of progress and recall futuristic dreams that are now consigned to the past.\n\nMy approach to such buildings and places is first of all that of a creative writer, and second that of a cultural historian. Many poets and novelists (from William Wordsworth and John Ruskin to Samuel Beckett and J. G. Ballard) have written about ruins, both ancient and modern. The ruin has been a rich source of metaphors for personal grief, the passing away of civilizations and the melancholy fact of universal decay. I am interested particularly in what happens to writing / to my own writing / when it comes face to face with the remnants of the recent past, which are not so easily consigned to the realm of the picturesque. This project aims to discover a new way of writing about landscape and architecture that will do justice to the strangeness of the ruins of the last century.\n\nThe writing itself is to a large degree the basis of my research. I will produce a book and essays that mix history and memoir, poetic description and architectural appreciation. My focus throughout will be on how my own skills as a writer can develop in response to the physical reality of the ruins in question. Behind this productive and reflective level, however, two other fields of inquiry will open up. First, I will make extensive field visits to the ruins themselves, and follow those up with archival research and investigations in the surrounding communities. Second, I will need to study the history of ruin appreciation itself, as it has developed in literature, architectural history and the visual arts.\n\nThis last category is crucial, because for some decades now the ruins of the twentieth century have been an abiding theme for artists: Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark, Susan Hiller and Tacita Dean have all made works that circle around this subject. To some extent, my project is a way of discovering how the ideas and methods used by these artists, when confronting such places, might inform the work of a creative writer. I intend to widen the scope of my writing and research beyond the literary world to engage with contemporary art and to collaborate, in my own presentation of my chosen ruins, with artists and photographers. The research, in other words, will constantly cross disciplines and question my own expertise, asking what it means to try to describe something as enigmatic and multifaceted as a ruin.\n\nThe main result of this project will be a book entitled Ruins of the Twentieth Century / a work of 'creative non-fiction' that conjures up the atmosphere of these places, accounts for their dereliction and tries to imagine what future use they might have. I will also write a shorter volume, aimed at a more academic audience, that addresses the philosophical aspects of the subject of ruination. Other offshoots of my research will appear in the form of essays and articles in literary journals, art magazines and newspapers, as well as in the form of talks at museums and galleries. I hope that such publications and events will encourage a wider public debate about what is to be done with the ruins of the twentieth century.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 1666625
    Partners: University of Kent

    Species of Clostridium bacteria have been used to produce solvents (acetone, ethanol and butanol) for decades. This process yields solvents from a renewable source that may be used as both biofuels and in the chemical industry. Research in this area has largely focussed on strictly anaerobic strains such as Clostridium acetobutylicum, although this work seeks to investigate butanol production using another strain of Clostridium that is able to tolerate higher levels of oxygen. The yield of butanol may be improved by controlling cellular redox poise, hydrogen production, iron availability, and carbon sources, although the impact of these interventions upon cellular metabolism is poorly understood. This project will monitor the production of key metabolites via NMR spectroscopy, and will seek to understand how changes in growth conditions and genetic engineering can be used to optimise solvent production in Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum. This project will be undertaken through collaboration between the School of Biosciences at the University of Kent and the Research and Development group at Green Biologics Limited (GBL). Green Biologics is a leading UK industrial biotechnology company in Oxfordshire that focusses on the commercial production of renewable butanol from Clostridium bacteria.