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Symantec Anti-Virus Client Staff Rollout

September 16, 2019 Charles Last

The Symantec Anti-Virus Client 14.2 RU1 (14.2.3335.1000) will be deployed to staff machines across campus as per the rollout schedule below:

SEP 14 RU1 to IT Services – Wednesday 18/09/2019

SEP 14 RU1 to BU, FM, LB – Wednesday 25/10/2019

SEP 14 RU1 to All Support – Wednesday 02/10/2019

SEP 14 RU1 to Rest of Campus – Wednesday 09/10/2019

This new SEP Client provides support for Windows 10 1903. For more information on the SEP Client 14.2 RU1 please refer to the following link: https://support.symantec.com/us/en/article.info5378.html The installation is silent and does not force a reboot. The live staff task sequence has already been updated with this new SEP version.

Freshers 2019: What do the first few days look like?

September 12, 2019 Bethan Fagan

Arriving on campus

As move-in day approaches, it’s a good idea to make a note of your arrival slot so that you can plan your journey to campus. When you arrive here you’ll be directed to where you can collect your accommodation keys, which you’ll need before you can do anything else. You’ll then be shown to the dedicated parking spaces for your hall, and from here you can unload all of your belongings.

Moving into accommodation

When you arrive at your accommodation there will be lots of friendly fresher helpers to give you a hand moving your belongings. Fresher helpers are students who have volunteered to help you during freshers, so make the most of the extra pairs of hands and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your first few weeks here are likely to be pretty busy, so it’s best to unpack and get settled as soon as possible.

Meeting flatmates

Each hall has a dedicated arrival day, meaning all your flatmates will be moving in on the same day. While unpacking, it’s a good idea to keep your door open – it will make you much more approachable and shows that you’re happy for people to come and have a chat. If you need some advice on meeting your flatmates, have a read of our icebreaker activities for flatmates.

Hall Induction

On your first day here you’ll have an induction with your hall where you’ll be given important information, such as phone numbers of the hall warden and sub-wardens who are there to help you with anything from welfare issues to getting locked out. You’ll also hear about the plan for freshers and meet your hall committee (returning students who help to run your hall).

Academic inductions

Within the first few days here you’ll also have an academic induction where you’ll be given lots of key information about your course. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people on your course before lectures begin. Take a look here to find out the date and time of your induction.

Freshers week

Freshers week is an exciting time filled with lots of events. As well as nights out, there are also plenty of daytime activities to get involved in. The Activities Bazaars are held on the 28th and 29th of September and are where you can find out about everything you can get involved in during your time here, such as societies and sports clubs. Your hall will also organise lots of events throughout freshers such as movie nights and volunteering projects.

Top tips for Evaluation of Technological Teaching tools

September 12, 2019 Matt Hope

The following blog post was written by Samantha Chester following her attendance at the EUNIS 2019 conference in Trondheim. The post aims to give you some food for thought on how to evaluate technology used in your learning and teaching.

  • Surveys! The most talked about evaluation tool at the conference was the trusty survey. I think this is because of how rich the data set can be (if you get enough respondents of course). However, if you design the questions well (some tips here) and keep it short and sweet, you can get both qualitative and quantitative data to measure your impact.
  • Stats: How many people have used the technology? How many have clicked onto the resources or loaned out the technology. Although this doesn’t necessarily tell you how well they used it or how much impact it had on their learning or teaching the stats help build a case of evaluation.
  • Studies: A scientific research study is the strongest tool for measuring the impact of learning technologies, take this study from Loughborough University Mathematics Education Centre around students learning mathematical proofs and found that although the students report they think they’ve learnt more with the e-learning tool, results show they actually did worse…
  • Student feedback: Your institution will have its own mechanisms of collecting feedback routinely from the students for example, within module feedback questionnaires or staff student liaison committees. If you can add a question in around the learning technology into these existing processes it could be an easy way to gather feedback. Although it may not give you a lot of depth to the results it could be good way to get a feel for how the implementation or use of the technology is going.

Registration Week

Registration Week

September 11, 2019 Loughborough University London

23-27 September 2019

The new academic year is fast approaching, which means all of us at Loughborough University London are looking forward to welcoming a new cohort of budding students onto our inspiring postgraduate campus on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

We know that as much as this fast approaching date can stir up excitement for what’s ahead, we also understand that you may be uncertain about how to ensure your transition into life as a postgraduate student is untroubled and smooth sailing. For this reason, we have put together a timetable that will provide you with all the information you need to know for when you need to be on campus to register in-person for your course!

It’s important to note that new students must complete online registration and in-person registration to enrol with us. If you have confirmed your offer and met all of your conditions, you will receive an email invitation to complete online registration. If you have not yet received this email to the email address you applied with, please email studentenquiries@lboro.ac.uk. We look forward to seeing you soon!

To view more information about registration week, take a look at our website.

A tale of two tails: Cross credit ratings and cash holdings

September 11, 2019 Ondine Barry

Market participants in the money markets are aware that credit rating agencies (CRAs) provide frequently independent credit rating evaluations, i.e., a measure of long-term fundamental credit strength of issuers based on both public and private information, which issuers agree to share with CRAs.

For many years, the information content of CRAs has drawn a lot of attention and examination from a number of entities, such as academics, financial economists, legal and regulatory experts.

A common acceptance of that scrutiny from the existing literature is that CRAs influence capital markets improving their function because the fundamental rationale of CRAs is to capture a corporation’s level of default risk as well as the anticipated repayment in case of default.

In addition, because the rating process examines the fundamental long-term credit strength of issuers, the aim of CRAs is to provide information economies of scale and solve principal-agent problems.

As a result, credit ratings of firms play an important role in the capital market by not only providing the investors with a direct and easy way to assess risk, but also setting up a regulatory certification of classification of securities from investment grade (IG) to high yield (HY) or junk status.

The latter classification will affect the demand for corporate bond by insurance companies, institutions and banks because all of them are subject not only to rating-based restrictions but also to the amount of risky debt that is permitted to hold on their portfolios.

These restrictions not only guarantee the proper functioning of the financial system, but also they are a useful tool for measuring and limiting risk-taking activities. More importantly, credit rating downgrades may trigger bond defaults or forced bond re-purchases.

Finally, the change of credit rating levels may affect the relationship between customers and employees and a company’s operation capabilities, such as maintaining a long-term contract. Given that, a change toward any direction to the existing credit ratings from at least one CRA may significantly affect the cash holding behavior of the company into consideration by altering respectively its existing access to the external source of financing and the cost of borrowing.

Surprisingly, even though credit rating is a highly concentrated industry with the “big three” credit rating agencies (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch) controling about 95% of the rating business, it is very remarkably the fact that in literature in most cases only the ratings of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) are considered when the relationship between credit ratings and firm value, stockholders’ and investor’s reactions, as well as capital structure decisions, are examined.

This approach might lead to misleading results since most of the firms always solicit and pay for multiple ratings due to the “information production”, the “rating shopping” and the “regulatory certification hypotheses” as has been proposed in the literature.

Although there are some similarities among the “big three” CRAs since their ratings employ a through-the-cycle perspective, and they also exhibit a discretion in their rating philosophy without reporting their rating methodology to the public, they rate the creditworthiness of an issue or issuer differently, relying on different kinds of information and disclosing different signals to the market.

For example, S&P’s and Fitch’s ratings measure the probability of whether a security will default or not, while Moody’s ratings seek to measure the expected losses in the event of a default, reflecting dispersion in the expected loss.

This study, taken as given the important existence of multiple credit rating agencies, aims to cover this gap in the literature by exploring the impact of cross credit rating changes (upgrades or downgrades) on corporate cash holdings, considering at the same time the “big three” credit rating agencies.

It is essential to study the influence of cross credit rating changes on cash holding behavior of firms because cash reserves is an important source of finance and the guarantee of a firm’s normal operation and development.

In addition, our research extends the literature that examines the peculiarities and the need of a viable rating industry in the US market by improving the understanding of how the solicit of multiple credit ratings affects the level of cash holdings.

Using a sample of 409 listed firms from the S&P500 for the period 1951-2017 our key findings show that:

i) Credit ratings affect cash holdings, as we find consistent and statistical significant evidence of cash hoarding following cross credit rating downgrades when Moody’s is considered.

ii) There is an asymmetric effect of upgrades and downgrades to the level of cash holdings.

iii) Crucially, the asymmetric effect of credit rating changes is sensitive to how many and which CRAs change their ratings, affecting managers’ risk aversion behavior and precautionary motives.

iv) The effect of cross credit rating changes is more prominent in firms under high financial pressure, indicating the important role of financial flexibility and access to capital markets.

The importance of the above findings is even more pronounced if we consider the findings of the recent literature that illustrate the limited additional information provided by Fitch ratings relative to the other two CRAs (Moody’s and S&P) since Fitch systematically gives better ratings helping in the satisfaction of the financial regulatory requirements.

The findings of our study provide a strong recommendation towards the introduction of additional diversified credit ratings that measure firms’ creditworthiness differently from the existing CRAs.

For example, instead of measuring the probability of default or losses in case of default, a new CRA could measure potential contamination or domino effects to the remaining firms in the sector/industry in the case of default or even spill-over effects to the overall economy and society in case of default.

The introduction of such CRAs will improve the quality of credit information and also increase the diversification benefits from cross credit ratings.

This Blog post was written by Dr Panagiotis Asimakopoulos, Lecturer in Finance and member of the Accounting and Finance discipline group. He can be reached on p.asimakopoulos@lboro.ac.uk

This post is extracted from a working paper entitled “A tale of two tails: Cross credit ratings and cash holdings”. The full version of the paper can be reached on https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3291498. The paper is co-authored by Dr Stylianos Asimakopoulos.

Update to Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence

September 10, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday 13th September, from 8:00am to 9:00pm, the Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence will be updated. The following changes are being made:

  • Using single driver package for a variety of Stone desktops
  • Add support for NUC8i5BEH
  • Update DisplayLink USB Driver to 9.2 MO

The Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to image any Windows 10 staff computers at this time.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

Freshers 2019: Guide to Student Services

Freshers 2019: Guide to Student Services

September 6, 2019 Bethan Fagan

Our Student Services department at Loughborough University offers a huge range of support services to ensure that all students receive the care and advice they need during their studies. You’ll find Student Services located in the Bridgeman Building on campus.

Please note, this list is not exhaustive – for any other specific needs that are not be listed here, get in touch with the team.

Health and Wellbeing

Counselling service

Available to all students, the counselling service offers the opportunity to talk with a professional counsellor outside of your immediate situation. Typically, you will have an initial consultation which is between 30-50 minutes to discuss your situation and help gain a clear understanding. Your counsellor may then suggest a short course of follow-up sessions.

Disability support

The Disability Support team help students with long-term disabilities, which may impact on their studies. These can range from physical disabilities to learning difficulties. The team work with students with disabilities to develop practical support and strategies to enable them to deal with obstacles they may encounter during their time at university.

Mental health support

The Mental Health Support team works with students experiencing mental health difficulties that are disrupting their ability to study. The team also work in partnership with wider mental health establishments within Leicestershire such as the Leicestershire Partnership Trust.

Studies

Mitigating circumstances

Students Services can help students formulate a mitigating circumstance claim if they have experienced genuine, exceptional and serious problems or events that could have affected performance in examinations or assessments. A mitigating circumstances claim will be analysed by a board to discuss whether the student is given the opportunity to re-sit or have marks adjusted where appropriate.

Specialist study support

One-to-one specialist study support is available to aid students with specific learning differences which include dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Specialist tutors help students with a huge range of skills including spelling, time management, memory, proof-reading and grammar.

Careers

Careers Advice

The Careers Network team is dedicated to giving advice and help to students to develop their skills and future career prospects. A range of appointments and services are offered, from drop-in sessions, quick advice (20 mins) and full career consultations (30 mins). You can book appointments through their programme called Careers Online.

Placement support

The Careers Online service is particularly useful for students looking for placements after their second year. It offers a wide range of placement opportunities that employers have advertised within the service.

Help with applications and interviews

The Careers Network team also prepare mock interviews on request which typically last 30-60 minutes. This is a great tool to practice your interview technique and can help build confidence.

Finance

Financial support and advice

Student Service advisers can speak to you if you are having financial difficulties and offer guidance. They can teach you how to live with a budget, manage your finances, and if eligible, point you towards any bursaries or scholarships.

Whatever you could be struggling with whilst at university, Student Services can support you in every possible way.

Contact details:
01509 222765
studentservices@lboro.ac.uk

Freshers Survival: by freshers, for freshers

September 5, 2019 Liam

Ask anyone, Freshers is a highlight in most people’s university experience, but it can also be very draining and looking after your wellbeing and mental health is so important during this time. Continue reading

To bring or not to bring, that is the question – my university essentials list

September 5, 2019 Liam

Follow my tips on what to bring and what not to bring for your first year at Loughborough University. Continue reading

Once a #LboroFamily, Always a #LboroFamily

September 5, 2019 Liam

Heartfelt congratulations to the 2019 cohort (Yayyy!). We are as excited to welcome you into our family as you are to come here!

Writing this blog seems strange as this completes the one year of my being in Loughborough, and I honestly am jealous of most students who are about to begin this wonderful journey – and, also for receiving a personalised golden ticket (wish I got one for my Masters!).

Nonetheless, your university days are something that you must live to the fullest. But, before that, there are a few terms of campus lingo you must be acquainted with:

The essentials

One of the most important things as a student you need to know is your B number or the Student ID Number. This is a number you will have to mention almost everywhere – be it taking a membership at the gym or society, purchasing print credits, etc. If you’ve already received your number then make a note of it.

Secondly, download the myLboro App – especially once you’re in the University. You can access LEARN, your timetables and check into your lectures through the app. Whilst some of you might be aware of the humungous campus, for others the app is actually the best way to discover the campus virtually (through maps, key dates and LSU section, and so on). If you are not sure of how the app works, you could drop by at any one of the IT stalls around the campus during the Freshers’ week or even visit the PC Clinic at Pilks (Pilkington Library). They can also help you set up your internet or any other tech-troubles you may be having.

This resourceful library is also recognised for the academic support they provide to students. And, Charlie the adorable Library Cat.

Charlie the library cat

And, if you’re seeking any personal, professional or additional support, you should get in touch with SASS (Student Advice and Support Service). They will guide you and help you throughout your time here and continue to do so later in life (the Careers Network provides lifelong services that are open even for graduates, plus they organise big careers fairs).

Student Experience

It’s a known fact that Loughborough is the best for student experience – and this is ensured by the LSU, Loughborough Students Union.

Run by elected Executive Officers (EO), LSU has several sections within itself like Action, Societies, Welfare and Diversity, etc. The LSU building hosts various activities throughout the week. Moreover, its three rooms (Room 1, Fusion and Cogs) are converted drastically for the night-outs – FND, Hey Ewe and Stuesdays (Stupid Tuesdays), with Papa Si (food stall on campus) to your rescue with pizzas and fries.

The LSU building comprises the Union Shop (another grocery store, the Purple Onion can be found in Student Village), which is where you get the fantastic Loughborough stash.

All things sport

There are two surprising things you will notice in Loughborough – one, that flipflops and shorts are worn all year round, and there are a range of activities you can engage in.

Sporty or not, Loughborough offers you enough opportunities to explore the various activities through the 53 sports clubs at AU (Athletic Union) or the My Lifestyle programme (which falls under the CVA – Coach and Volunteer Academy Scheme). This is such an incredible initiative, which allowed me to try new some of the most unfathomable and enjoyable activities (playing the sport, to volunteering in games, and conducting workshops on Sport Psychology).

Here, there are a few terms that you should know –

  • The 2 gyms are Holywell and Powerbase
  • The state of the art facilities in Loughborough can be found almost everywhere, especially at HiPAC (High Athletic Performance Centre), NCSEM (National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine) and EAC (Elite Athletic Centre)
  • SDW or Sir David Wallace Hall hosts some of the biggest events including graduation and sports matches like Lightning Netball games.
  • The purple sport cages are open for all, whereas the green ones need to be booked

Accommodation

If you’re staying in the University accommodation, whether on-campus in Falk-Egg, JP and others, or off-campus in FC, BillMo, etc; to commute across campus or into town, you can hop onto a Campus Shuttle (bus within Campus) or Sprint (Bus to town/train station), which is a saviour when you’re late for lectures or a train!

And, finally for those staying in halls or affiliated to ones there will always be some social going on (especially during the freshers’ week) at the common areas like Hub or Granby, or you could attend the ones at LSU.

While, this blog is just to familiarise you with the Loughborough Lingo, let me conclude saying this is the beginning with few important ones – you’ll learn a lot more (and hopefully create some) with your time here. Lastly, for any additional information prior to moving into Loughborough, have a look at the Freshers checklist.

Loughborough Uni Myth-busting: Refreshing realities.

September 5, 2019 Liam

As Fresher’s week is fast approaching, I’ve taken on the job of informing you, our new cohort of freshers, of the truth behind many myths about University life!

‘During freshers’ week, you have to drink loads and go to every event!’

At the beginning of freshers’ week, of course, at any University many people do drink. However, there is no pressure to drink in order to make friends. Everyone is very social and willing to meet new people at any point during freshers’ week! Whether you drink or not, have fun and meet as many people as you can! (Photo 1)

Fresher Helpers on sober duty, making sure new students are safe & happy

Although nights out are arranged for you within the first two weeks of freshers’ week, you are welcome to have quiet nights in if that’s not your thing. I can assure you that your hall committee organising freshers’ week will ensure that there are non-alcoholic drinks available as well as making everyone as comfortable as possible with no pressure at all to do anything! You attend as many or as little as you are comfortable with. You’ll have fresher helpers and committee around with you 24/7 for the first two weeks!

There are also events organised in the daytime every week, such as RAG colour dashes, or the Sports and Societies Bazaars. As well as sober nights arranged in every hall. Personally, the majority of my friendships were created within my halls as we were together having fun all the time- drinking together or not! Logically, you do meet more people the more events you attend. Remember that Loughborough has the Best Student Experience in the country (Times Higher Education), so you’ll probably have a wonderful time whatever you choose to do.

The advice I would give is to not compare your first few weeks of uni with your home friends. Just because they’ve made 10 best friends on the first day doesn’t mean they won’t irritate each other within a week. Likewise, struggling to make friends on the first day doesn’t mean you’ll have no friends for the duration of uni. Try to go into the experience with an open mind. Everyone’s experiences are so different and the accumulation of all these different stories are what makes university so great!

‘A degree is so much harder than A-level!’

Many people think that since university is the next level of education, it must be a big step up, similar to the leap from GCSE to A-level. However, hopefully, you are now focussing on the subject you love most, which you may want to go into for life. Therefore, being passionate about a subject tends to make it seem less hard and more enjoyable. I don’t know about you, but I found A-levels really traumatic, so for me, anything that wasn’t A-levels was going to be less stressful.

The main difference from A-level to your degree is the amount of independence. If you don’t do the reading, you only have yourself to blame. However, your grade will show this. Independent learning is different for everyone and it took me a while to get into the groove. You won’t be spoon-fed to do your homework or put your hand up, but you definitely get a lot more enjoyment from the learning if you do. Despite this independence, there is a lot of support and it’s very easy to talk to your personal tutor, peer mentor (a second or third year allocated to you in first year to have someone that’s been through it before), course mates or seminar leader.

‘You need to buy every coursebook!’

This is not true and please don’t do this! Many textbooks are incredibly expensive and if you’re on a course such as English like me which is very book based, you could need to read up to 12 books per module! (photo 4) At Loughborough, Pilkington Library will be your go-to for books. You can borrow most textbooks or books on your course, and visit Charlie, our library cat while you’re there. You can also buy the books from students who are in the years above you. Not to mention there are often online resources on our online forum, Learn. This is also a lot greener than buying new!

The day I checked out 16 books 🙃

‘First-year doesn’t count!’

Have fun by all means, but you must get at least 40% to pass. Also, if you want to do a placement year, employers will consider your first-year grades as predictive of your second- and third-year results since they reflect your hard work. First-year is the foundation for your degree throughout your course which definitely does count! Good habits are made early so getting your work in on time and to a good quality to which you can be proud of sets the tone for the rest of your degree. It also allows you to see how much room there is to get great marks as well as enjoying extracurricular activities! First-year acts as a baseline level of knowledge for the rest of your degree as the modules will get referred to throughout your course.

‘I’ve been to one lecture and I hate my course! University isn’t for me!’

You need to give yourself time to settle into a routine. There are roughly 50,000 courses in the UK, from the Romance language to Leather studies. You will find your fit. Besides that, don’t let your first week of uni reflect the rest of your time. My first week was spent with some people I never spoke to again! My second year was spent with people I’d met that year. Uni is what you make it!

Friends from second year

Be fair to yourself, you’re probably dealing with lots of changes in your life! Sometimes it takes a while time to get into the groove, meet the right people and come around to the university style of learning.

‘You must get a self-catered en-suite! There’s no other way to live!’

Another myth about uni life! As someone who spent their first year of university with a roommate, I can tell you this is not true. The shared bathroom accommodations are cleaned every day which means less effort on your part as well as greater hygiene! Additionally, catered halls can be a lot more cost-efficient as well, offering a diverse dietary range that really is less stressful than cooking for yourself every day. It can also be more social when you’re sitting next to people in your hall every day.

My room in first-year

If you really are in a sticky situation with your accommodation, remember that it’s for less than a year, and next year you can choose a house, rent a flat alone, return to halls- the choice is yours! If you really are struggling, you can get on a reserve list. I was on one when I started since I wasn’t sure about having a roommate. But I made friends so quickly that I removed myself from it, despite the room not being what I had originally envisioned. Your expectations of your uni life shouldn’t ruin reality. To be honest, it’s the people that make your university experience. I lived with my flatmates second-year and we’re still the best of friends. You’ll quickly forget about your dream of an en-suite deluxe room in favour of the funny memories that the shared bathroom or catered hall or roommates created for you! (Photos 8+9)

Last day of second-year

‘Go home to get your mum to do your laundry’

If you want to go and see your family, don’t bring your washing! Do it yourself in the launderettes on campus. Anyway, travelling is very affordable from Loughborough, especially with a 16-25 railcard, a train to London is roughly £15 if booked in advance. Megabus will also become your best friend, you can sometimes go to London for £3!

‘Loughborough is in the middle of nowhere!’

Speaking of travel, the myth that Loughborough is a boring town couldn’t be more wrong! We are in between Nottingham and Leicester. There’s always plenty going on at the Students’ Union. We are just over an hour from London. We are an hour from Birmingham. We have a vibrant community in Loughborough, on and off-campus!

‘Uni’s too expensive!’

Going to university can be expensive, with going out, accommodation, and most probably learning how to budget for the first time. Financing university can be difficult, and many people struggle with it but there is always help available through Student Services. Most universities including Loughborough offer bursaries for many situations.

If you are worried about loans in general, your tuition fee and maintenance loan repayment comes out of your payroll once you start earning over £21k. There’s more about this on the Student Finance website.

Budgeting at uni is key to managing financial worries. Most people don’t receive a huge loan they can live off of and many don’t receive parental help. There are many cost-efficient things you can do such as cooking with your housemates and making a big one pot meal. Here are some recipes our student bloggers made for under £5!

Don’t go straight into your overdraft because this is the first time you’ve had a large amount of money in your account. Try to save it for necessities but also allow yourself to have a little fun.

If you need a job once you get to uni, many larger companies could offer you a job in a local branch if they have one in Loughborough as well as at home, which could be ideal. Plus, there are many jobs available in Loughborough since we have such a vibrant town! Not to mention you could get a job on campus, for example in a shop, as a student ambassador or even as a blogger (hint hint ;)). (Photo 12)

These jobs look great on your CV, show you can balance studying and working, and you can even embellish this with volunteering opportunities. Once you get your foot in the door, so many more opportunities come your way!

‘Loughborough is for sporty people!’

Although Loughborough University is the first in the world for sports-related subjects and thus known for its sports programs and courses, there is much more to Loughborough life than this. If you like sport but don’t think you’re that good, then you can try out at different levels to see where you place! Loughborough has different systems for recreational sports, club sports, hall sports and performance sports, so anyone is welcome.

I can hand on heart say I don’t really like sports. I have felt no pressure to get involved, but if I wanted to, the opportunities were there, like UV badminton and other fun events. There are also free recreational events on at all times through My Lifestyle.

If sports really aren’t your thing, then societies may be! Finding like-minded people who also love Stage or Hot Air ballooning will be your happy place. We also have volunteering opportunities through Rag and Action, as well as Media and Enterprise to get involved in! You can easily find your home away from home no matter where it may be.

The Societies Bazaar

‘You’ll get freshers’ flu!!’

This one is most probably true. Although my flatmate and I still attended all the events, even with fractured ribs from coughing so hard 🙂 The Uni has a blog post about surviving the dreaded freshers’ flu. Look after yourselves freshers!

To conclude, everyone will be in the same boat as you, nervous and keen to impress, so just be yourself and enjoy your experience as best you can. You’ll miss the adrenaline and excitement for years afterwards! Uni might be your first major step leaving the family home and becoming a fully-fledged adult in the outside world, it’s a place where you develop your own ideas and selfhood, whatever that means for you- throw yourself into each opportunity. Uni embraces all people, from all cultures and backgrounds- every voice counts here.

That’s it from me! Good luck freshers, these are the best years of your lives! See you in our lovely Loughborough soon!

Caroline x

Guide to Loughborough Town

Guide to Loughborough Town

September 4, 2019 Bethan Fagan

Moving to a new town away from home for the first time can seem daunting. To help make you feel more at ease, recent graduate Ella has created an ultimate guide to Loughborough town to ensure that you arrive with insider knowledge to help you settle in.

Food shopping

The trusty Purple Onion located on campus can sort you out for quick meals and yummy snacks. But, for those bigger food trips it’s a good idea to walk, cycle, or get the bus into town

  • Sainsbury’s is one of the closest supermarkets to campus, located on Ashby Road. It’s about a 15 minute walk and a 5 minute bike ride from the Union.
  • At the other side of town there’s a shopping centre called ‘The Rushes’ which contains various supermarkets including Tesco and M&S Food.
  • Brand new to Loughborough this year is Lidl, which is situated on Station Street, right in the heart of the student triangle in town.

If you feel like you need to give your room a bit of tender loving care, there are several homeware shops in town…

  • Located in ‘Regent Place’ retail park, just off Ashby Road, Dunelm has a huge variety of home furnishings available to buy.
  • In the heart of town you’ll find lots of shops, such as Primark, with lots of home comforts like cushions, air fresheners and photo frames.
  • Wilkos, also based in town, is ideal for fundamentals that you may have forgotten such as hangers and doorstops.

Places to eat

There are plenty of places in town to eat at with your mates at the weekend. Here’s some of our student’s favourites…

  • Fernandez – grill restaurant which has a great selection of burgers, steaks and homemade sauces. They often do affordable lunch deals too.
  • Plan Burrito – hands down the best burritos in town! Plan Burrito is a small chain of two restaurants, exclusive to Loughborough. The closest to campus is down Ashby Road as you walk to town, just before you reach Sainsbury’s. Either eat in or takeaway.
  • Fenway’s – a trendy new addition to Loughborough is Fenway’s bar and smokehouse. The offer a huge selection of burgers, ribs, platters and steaks.
  • Peter’s Pizzeria – exclusive to Leicester and Loughborough, Peter’s Pizzeria is a small yet high quality pizza place. Eat in their restaurant or order a takeaway.
  • Bella Italia – A classic Italian chain, Bella Italia offer a delicious selection of pizzas, pasta and salads. Don’t forget: money off food with student discount… what’s not to love?

If your family or carers are coming up to uni to see you, it’s always a great idea to go for a meal out. Here are our top suggestions for great places to eat with your family…

  • The Basin – A swanky restaurant and cocktail bar situated in the heart of Loughborough, the Basin offers a delicious range of Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine. If you’re a sushi fan, look no further as they offer a spectacular variety.
  • Goodliffe’s – This trendy bistro offers a huge selection of foods and are well known for their sharing platters. Goodliffe’s is slightly hidden in a snug location, off Church Gate.
  • The Priory – You’ll need to drive to The Priory, which is a lovely gastropub close to the M1. We hear they do cracking Sunday roasts.
  • Centro Lounge – A relaxed family friendly restaurant in town, Centro Lounge is perfect if you have younger siblings.

Getting around

You can mostly get to key places in Loughborough by foot or on bike. But for those journeys that stretch a little too far, here’s the best transport options available…

  • The campus shuttle also has a route through town to the train station. There are several stops around campus with different timings so be sure to check out the full timetable on your MyLboro app before planning a journey.
  • It’s easy to get to the train station by Kinch bus from campus. Leicester is only a 10 minute train journey away, Nottingham 20 minutes and Birmingham approx. 1 hour. Loughborough has a direct line to London St Pancras which, depending on the train, is 1-1 ½ hours away.

Fun stuff!

During your spare time, there are plenty of activities to be getting on with in town…

  • Loughborough’s trampoline park Jump Giants is just outside of town but is well worth a visit for a fun-filled outing.
  • There are two cinemas’ in town: ODEON and Cineworld. Be sure to check out the latest blockbusters with your mates. There is also the student cinema, FLIX, ran by students for students which is based at Loughborough College across the road from campus.
  • Action is the volunteering section at the Students Union. They offer a range of fun projects from dog walking, working with alpaca’s and looking after horses. Action is the best way to have fun whilst also giving back to the community you live in.
  • Battle it out with your mates at the local laser quest to see who the ultimate real-life gaming champion is.
  • Loughborough also has a well-equipped indoor climbing centre which is ideal for blowing off steam during stressful exam periods.

We hope this guide has given you an informative introduction to your new home! Loughborough has a lot to offer and is a very student friendly town. We’re sure you’ll settle right in.

Writing Bootcamp held to help researchers with their doctoral prose

September 4, 2019 Peter Warzynski

This summer saw the first-ever 5-day ‘Writing Bootcamp’ for PhD Researchers at Loughborough University. The event was organised and headed up by four doctoral researchers – the team behind the award-winning Loughborough Writing Gym: Kristina Gavran, Katie Woodhouse and Emma Bates from the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Vani Naik from the Business School.

Based on their own experiences of how tough, and often solitary, the writing process can be, the Bootcamp team set out to create a supportive, motivating space for fellow PGRs to focus on writing. This student-led-initiative offered an intensive, free writing retreat for PhD students trying to reach their writing goals – funded by the Doctoral College and School of Arts English and Drama. Tickets for this event were in such demand, that they sold out in the first day of them being advertised!

Each day was divided into six 45-minute writing sessions, with time set aside for goals setting and goal review.  Participants were encouraged to discuss these goals with those around them, and share ‘tips and tricks’ for academic writing.

The event itself, the first of its kind at Loughborough University, was highly successful and received wide-spread glowing reviews from its participants. Many found that the social environment of Writing Bootcamp increased their productivity, whilst an additional benefit of was that many felt more part of a research community at Loughborough as a result of attending the Bootcamp. As one respondent wrote, it was a ‘fantastic opportunity to be co-located with researchers from other departments. Normally, we interact with each other in the two-hour workshops from the Doctoral College, but we were a team for a whole week and it was a pleasure to meet new people’. Elsewhere, others noted that ‘it felt like a big community and we were all helping each other’.

Participants said that one of the most useful outcomes of the week – other than increase productivity – was learning the importance of appropriate goal setting. Many found that the Bootcamp helped them ‘to think about the goals all the time’, all whilst alternating between structured ‘chatty coffee breaks and the quiet time during writing’.

Following the success of the Summer Loughborough Writing Bootcamp, the organisers are now in discussion about organising a Winter Writing Bootcamp later this year.

In the meantime, the organisers wanted to offer these words of support and encouragement to doctoral researchers approaching the often daunting task of writing:

‘It was a pleasure to get to know more people from our wonderful PGR community and we are incredibly grateful for the support of the Doctoral College to enable us to run the Bootcamp. Due to the wealth of wonderful feedback that we received from our members, we are hoping to continue running more Writing Bootcamps in the future. In the meantime, we offer these words of comfort!

  • Remember, writing is like exercise – you have to train your brain! – Now, perhaps you have heard this saying before, but during the week of the Bootcamp, we really put it to the test. At the end of our first day, a lot of us found it challenging to write in concentrated periods over the whole day, but by the end of the week, we seemed to be able to maintain our focus for longer periods and to manage our tasks according to how we were feeling. So stick at it!
  • Get to know yourself – Whilst it is possible to train yourself into writing in a certain way and at a certain time, it is also important to be in tune with your own working style. Asking yourself questions such as ‘When do you work best?’ and ‘What motivates you to work?’ can help you work more efficiently. If you know you tend to struggle in the afternoon, plan something in to help you wake up your brain, or choose a task that requires less concentration.
  • Manage your goals – this is an extremely important one, and something that we talked about a lot during the Bootcamp. Learning to set manageable, achievable goals is key to getting the balance between motivating yourself and being able to achieve a sense of accomplishment. It is a lot easier said than done, however, and setting goals can actually take a lot of practice! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to adapt them as time goes on.
  • Socialising is really important! – Doing a PhD can be a pretty solitary process sometimes and having a support network around you is really important. It also makes the process much more enjoyable, and being able to share your experiences of your research and writing with others and sharing tips can be invaluable. This is something we do at the Writing Gym every Monday, so do join us!

We hope to see you soon at the Writing Gym, or the Winter Bootcamp!

Vani Naik, Kristina Gavran, Katie Woodhouse and Emma Bates.

There are Regular Writing Gym sessions every Monday from 10am-12pm (excluding Bank Holidays). Bring along your laptop, a goal in mind and be ready to get your week off to a positive and productive start!

We have 2 x 45-minute writing sessions and a 15-minute break in-between where we chat and drink tea/coffee (supplied for free!). We are based in the Graduate House Training Room over summer, but we will find a new regular spot when the start of the new term commences.

Follow us on Twitter (@WritingGymLboro) or like our page on Facebook for more information about our events!

Doctoral Researcher President Team’s Post (August 2019)

September 2, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

This blog post is part of a series of monthly posts detailing the activities of the DR President’s Team (President: Leah Henrickson; Vice-President: Hugh Tawell). Note: This post refers to PhD/EngD Students as Doctoral Researchers (DR) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). This is because the University uses the former language, and the Union uses the latter.

It’s less than a month until the undergraduates return to campus. Enjoy the quiet while it lasts!

August was a busy month for both of us academically, but we still made a solid effort to fulfil our representation roles. Here’s a recap:

LSU ‘Know Our Students’ Meeting

On 6th August, we were invited to contribute to an LSU ‘Know Our Students’ seminar for the newly-elected student representatives for the LSU. With the LSU Postgraduate Executive Officer, Kamal, as well as members of LSU and Doctoral College staff, we helped these Union reps understand what being a postgraduate at Loughborough is all about. The Union has some commendable plans for better engaging the postgrad population starting from next month. Let’s all see how well they do, and keep working with them to ensure ever-improving student experiences.

‘Know Your Rights’ Meeting

On 14th August, we met with Kamal, LSU staff, and other members of the doctoral community to inform the creation of an LSU ‘Know Your Rights’ resource for DRs. This is still extremely early days for this resource. We discussed what information should be included, and what form the resource should take. Hopefully this resource will serve as a signpost for future DRs who are looking for support, in any form. We’ll keep you posted.

‘Life Beyond the PhD’ Conference

From 27th to 31st August, Leah represented Loughborough at Cumberland Lodge’s annual ‘Life Beyond the PhD’ conference. This conference brings together PhD students from across the country to explore topics relevant to DRs. Cumberland Lodge is an educational charity based within the amazing Windsor Great Park. Through interdisciplinary dialogue and debate, this conference – and all of the incredible PhD students at it – repeatedly blew Leah’s mind.

The Doctoral College occasionally advertises Cumberland Lodge events and scholarships in its biweekly newsletter. Take advantage of these opportunities!

The image accompanying this post is one that Leah took of Windsor Great Park.

A few additional notes:

After more than 30 years of service, Brigette Vale from the Academic Registry in the Doctoral College retired. The Doctoral College believes that Brigette has supported nearly 9,000 Loughborough DRs through their programmes, and this work has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Leah had the privilege of offering thanks to Brigette from past and current DRs at Brigette’s retirement party.

In May, our DR Reps met with VC Bob to discuss issues that DRs face across campus. We sent a formalised action plan to VC Bob this month. More details to come!

And that’s that. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and we’ll see you for our final blog post of this academic month at the end of September.

To keep up-to-date with our activity, join the ‘Doctoral Researchers of Loughborough University’ Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. If you’re a London student, join the ‘Loughborough Students’ Union London 2018-2019’ Facebook group.

Leah and Hugh.

Freshers 2019: What to pack?

Freshers 2019: What to pack?

August 30, 2019 Bethan Fagan

Packing for university can feel like an overwhelming task. To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of everything you might need. Please note, this list is simply a guide to things you might need, and many items could be bought after arrival.

Bedroom

Making your bedroom feel more like home with a few personal touches is a great way to settle in, but don’t forget to leave some space for the new memories.

  • Duvet, sheets and mattress protector
  • Pillows (if you’re in Unite or Student Beehive halls)
  • Home comforts and photographs
  • Coat hangers
  • Door stop
  • Laundry basket and clothes airer
  • Headphones
  • Extension lead
  • Chargers
  • Hair dryer / straighteners

Kitchen

It’s worth buying distinctive cutlery and crockery to avoid it getting mixed up with others. What you’ll need to pack will vary depending on whether you’re in catered or non-catered halls.

Catered

  • Bowls, plates and cutlery
  • Mugs and glasses
  • Scissors
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Tea towel
  • Reusable water bottle

Catered (including the items above)

  • Pots, saucepan and frying pan
  • Oven tray
  • Colander
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Wooden spoon and spatula
  • Grater and peeler
  • Measuring jug
  • Tupperware
  • Oven glove

Clothing

It can be tempting to pack everything you own, but try to use this as an opportunity to start fresh and think about which clothes you really wear. You’ll likely visit home over the course of the year too, so save wardrobe space by choosing seasonal clothing.

  • Day to day clothes i.e for lectures
  • Smart clothes i.e formal events
  • Underwear
  • Sportswear (leave some space for new stash!)
  • Shoes / footwear
  • Fancy dress
  • Rain coat
  • Pyjamas / comfy clothes
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers / flip flops

Toiletries

Pro-tip: buy most of your toiletries on arrival, you’ll need the extra space in your luggage / car!

  • Shower caddy
  • Hand towel
  • Large bath towels
  • Wash bag
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Hand soap
  • Deoderant
  • Spare toilet paper

Studying

We recommend waiting until you know which modules you’ll be taking, and what kind of studying you’ll be doing, before buying everything. Grab the essentials, but don’t go overboard – you may not use all of it if you do.

  • Notepad
  • Folder
  • Diary / planner
  • Pens and pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Paper clips
  • Post-it notes
  • Hole punch
  • Hard drive and USB sticks
  • Laptop

Miscellaneous

  • Medication
  • Bike and bike lock
  • Playing cards
  • Washing powder
  • Passport and other ID
  • National insurance

Building engaging online communities

August 20, 2019 Ondine Barry

Dr Sahar Mousavi’s academic research on online communities has recently been the focus of a blog post she co-authored for HSO.com about the importance of considering both active and non-interactive members in managing successful engagement communities.

“Online communities are becoming more commonplace,” Dr Mousavi explains, “and understanding how different members behave and prefer to interact is a key to ensuring an inclusive and effective community.”

Read the full blog post here.

Dr Sahar Mousavi is Lecturer in Marketing and a member of the Marketing and Retailing discipline group and Associate Director (Engagement) at the Centre for Service Management. She can be reached on s.mousavi@lboro.ac.uk.

I have a trade deal in my pocket, and I'm prepared to use it!

August 13, 2019 Huw Edwards

An opinion piece by Dr T. Huw Edwards

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, has just waded into the Brexit debate, promising a trade deal with the UK is very close. This move is clearly intended to influence the debate in the UK against a close relationship with Brussels.

But, if we were indeed to make a ‘no deal’ minimum WTO terms break from the EU this autumn, would Pompeo really have a deal on offer? Would it be a deal worth accepting? More importantly, is this actually a clincher in the arguments over whether the UK should continue to tango with the EU?

Former US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, had a very clear statement on this argument. As one of the World’s leading policy economists, Summers deserves to be taken very seriously, and indeed his analysis is flawless… up to a point.

Mr Summers’ analysis: First, a UK on its own, outside the EU, would be in a weak bargaining position vis-à-vis the USA. We shall come back to this later. But in addition, Summers argues that the USA itself should not be prioritising a deal with Brexit Britain: a wider deal with the EU (and one with Asian countries…) would offer more potential benefits to the US economy.

In this, Summers speaks for mainstream economists (such as myself), but we need to bear in mind that he is a former Democrat Treasury Secretary – his economic thinking is in line with President Obama, when he said ‘back of the queue’, but emphatically not Donald Trump.

In part, this difference of line represents a different view of trade between the Democrats (and indeed moderate Republicans) and the Trump administration. To someone like Summers, trade agreements provide benefits of integration and specialisation, provided they are carried out across a broad range of countries.

A deal between the USA and European Union is, in many ways, the pot of gold awaiting trade reformers: two large (roughly equal sized) advanced market economies, who could provide a big boost to the global economy if they could remove barriers to trade on new products and innovations.

By contrast, a deal with the United Kingdom would be small beer: a UK split from the EU would be a small economy to work with, and the imposition of trade barriers between the UK and Europe would in fact create problems for a free trade deal with the USA, as pesky rules of origin would mean many tariff-free products could not be integrated into wider supply chains.

By contrast, the Trump administration takes a more-or-less zero sum view of trade agreements: less win-win, more win-lose. Hence the division of the gains from an agreement is seen as more important than the scale of total gain (and doubtless they hold a less sanguine view on the economic promise of trade, full stop).

Hence, Summers is correct to warn that the UK should beware a deal with Trump, but sadly not correct in assuming that Trump will follow mainstream advice (as did former US administrations) in the prioritisation of such deals.

Of course, Mike Pompeo would never say this. He would definitely not wish us to consider that the deal he is offering is anything other than a wonderful deal for the UK, and a present to our people for entering into Brexit. After all, marketing is a strong point of the Trump administration.

Now let us turn to the extraordinary aspect of the proposed US-UK trade deal: the swiftness with which both sides seem to be expecting this to happen. Consider that trade negotiations take many years – reference is often made to an average of seven years, although this can vary.

The Peterson Institute argues that 20 US trade deals have taken an average of 5 years to reach implementation. The EU-South Korean Free Trade Agreement was relatively quick, being negotiated 2007-2009, provisionally applied from 2011 and finally came properly into force in 2015. This was actually fast work on the part of EU negotiators, who started slightly after US negotiators, but got the deal through sooner.

The other trade agreement, with which I was involved in an initial economic assessment, was the Ukrainian Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, where the initial work was done in 2006-7, but was not signed until 2014, and did not come into force until 2016. The CETA agreement with Canada, which has been provisionally applied from 2017, followed from initial studies in 2008.

It is, of course, possible to sign a trade agreement much faster than this, if the agreement contains relatively little that is controversial (for example just a lowering of tariffs).

However, in today’s world, tariffs are rarely the most important impediment to trade anyway, and reform of non-tariff barriers is more important: particularly when it is accepted that these involve issues of regulation, standards, property rights, movement of labour, capital, information and the like. Quite often these negotiations strike at deep areas of difference between national cultures and preferences: hence the many stumbling blocks.

So why might a deal be struck quickly? Here, Summers has one important part of the answer: Britain might sign on the line out of desperation. In that position, we might well concede a long list of things that would not otherwise be conceded. We shall come to what these might be later in this piece. 

However, first, we should ask a related question: How could a deal come to be drawn up quickly? – at least one that goes far beyond simple tariff lowering?

There are a number of points here. First, prior to President Trump, the USA and EU were engaged in very ambitious negotiations over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Most economists agree this would have offered very large benefits to both economies (of a different order of magnitude to just a UK-US deal), but there was a long list of complexities and stumbling blocks, notably over agricultural standards (the chlorinated chicken and genetically modified foods debates), as well as over US demands for access for their firms to state-run healthcare systems.

Above all, the most contentious point – well worth considering given the Brexiters’ campaign about sovereignty and ‘taking back control’ – was the question of how a deal would be enforced: hence contentious arguments about Investor State Dispute Settlement (arbitration courts with the power to force governments to compensate firms who are affected by any laws deemed to breach the agreement).

So the US and EU sides had their wish lists on TTIP, and the differences had not been fully closed when Trump came to office.

Signing a UK-US trade deal might be a bit simpler than the TTIP. The Peterson Institute points out that deals with single countries are usually a bit quicker to achieve than multilateral ones, although trade economics says the latter are far more beneficial (more chance of ‘trade creation’ rather than ‘trade diversion’ from one trading partner to another).

Peterson also argue that US trade deals were slightly quicker when signed with monarchies (possibly indicating less local scrutiny?), or if signed in election years.

Further, since the stalking of TTIP, there has been subsequent work on the US side, with the Trump Administration asking businesses for their views of what they would like in a US-UK trade deal. In addition, the right-wing Heritage Foundation has been working with the British-based Institute of Economic Affairs (who provide key advisors to the Johnson government) on a draft deal.  

Beyond the contentious issues already raised, Globaljustice.org – admittedly a site definitely unfavourable to the Trump administration – lists other potentially controversial aspects of the Heritage/IEA proposals as being zero restrictions on cross-border data flow (with potential implications for privacy and security), zero restrictions on foreign direct investment (meaning increased potential for tax evasion), mutual recognition of US standards (chlorinated chicken and the like) and ‘continued liberalisation of the NHS’.

We should note here that Donald Trump, on his visit, mentioned the NHS as a target of his potential trade agreement, but publicly backtracked under pressure from the UK. More likely, perhaps, is a limitation of the NHS’ single buyer power to force down pharmaceutical prices in the UK: something which could blow healthcare budgets sky high.

Any talks begin with such wish-lists, usually on both sides, which is one reason why talks usually take several years. This raises the question of how such a deal could be agreed quickly?

The first step of the answer is that, in the aftermath of a no deal Brexit, the UK would be desperate to find new markets for its exports, which would be facing tariff barriers (and traffic queues) heading for Europe. Without such access, one would expect the pound to plummet and a major recession.

However, this is only a partial answer. After all, the UK is still not in a position of such weakness: nor would we be if we either remained in the EU, or accepted a soft Brexit, or even the type of deal Theresa May wanted. We would be putting ourself into a position of desperation. So why would we do this?

This is where real questions begin to arise about the agenda of the Tory right (to say nothing of the Brexit party)m and its democratic – or rather anti-democratic – implications. Is it possible that putting Britain under pressure to sign a trade deal quickly (essentially what game theorists call an ‘ultimatum game’) is seen by some on the ‘libertarian’ right as being desirable, precisely because they would expect to force through (and underwrite by treaty) things which they believe the electorate might well not vote for – lower environmental standards, NHS privatisation and the like.

Some Brexiters speak glowingly of ‘Singapore on Thames’ – yet it is doubtful whether the removal of health and safety and labour standards, and the embracement of environmental denialism are really things they would expect the Leave voters of Sunderland or Mansfield to wish for.

A deal with Trump could lead them to force voters, who perhaps have not looked as far ahead in the Brexit game as they should have, to accept a set of measures which, far from being anti-elitist, are as pro-elite as it is possible to imagine. One can consider here Jacob Rees-Mogg’s recent statement about Indian health and safety standards being appropriate for the UK.

This raises the issue of the leaders of Brexit being true believers in an extreme pro-corporate, anti-environment, anti-workers agenda, about which they have just not been open with their voters.

The alternative (and it is not an either/or question) is that the people and institutions involved may be compromised – in other words, they simply are not batting for Britain.

How can one claim this about a government so keen to wave the Union Jack? The very public ‘patriotic’ face seems to belie a policy stance that is quite the reverse (a ‘minister of the Union’ Prime Minister who seems bent on annoying Scotland).

So where does this discussion lead us? We can perhaps set the problem up as a game with two steps: first the UK and EU decide upon their relationship, and then, subject to that, the UK and USA may sign a trade deal (contingent upon Congressional approval – which is far from guaranteed).

The linkage of the two steps is central:

a) if the UK remains in a permanent Customs Union with the USA, then the USA will be unable to sign a deal independently with the UK, but may return to negotiating with Europe (which will result in more compromises over environmental and health and safety standards than the US might like);

b) The same applies, at least in the short-run, to the agreement which Theresa May tried to get through;

c) The Canada-style FTA agreement with Europe, which the UK Brexiters desire, but which is not on the table, would allow the UK to sign its own FTA and mutual recognition agreements with the USA (but once we did so, a hard border within Ireland would almost certainly be necessary, and there would also be more checks and barriers in trade with mainland Europe, due to rules of origin and enforcement of European bans on chlorinated chicken and the like);

d) A no deal Brexit might actually create the kind of situation where the UK might sign a separate deal with the USA quickly, without allowing much internal discussion of the controversial terms.

If we end up in the ‘d’ situation, the ‘libertarian’ Brexiters seem to be assuming that they may then be able to sell a US trade deal to the UK, even if it will involve UK voters accepting many cuts to standards which they would not normally do.

In other words, the Brexiters’ case seems to rely upon bounded rationality on the part of British voters: that they can be led (or misled) into accepting a hard Brexit which puts Britain in a desperate situation, and then that that desperation leads voters to accept terms which they would not have done had they been presented with the whole deal in one go.

All of this seems to call for a renewed emphasis upon openness, scrutiny and democratic accountability, just at the point when, in my opinion, the British government is moving in the opposite direction.

This Blog post was written by Dr T. Huw Edwards, a member of the Economics discipline group and leader of the TRANSIT RIG. Huw can be reached on t.h.edwards@lboro.ac.uk

IFLA Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom, 20 Years On – the UK Perspective

August 5, 2019 Ondine Barry

FAIFE is marking the 20th anniversary of the IFLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom. To understand where the debate on intellectual freedom stands today, we are talking with the members and expert advisors of the FAIFE Committee. Today, we’re getting the perspective from the United Kingdom from Louise Cooke, Professor of Information and Knowledge Management at Loughborough University.

This year we celebrate twenty years since the IFLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom was prepared by IFLA FAIFE and approved by the Executive Board of IFLA on 25 March 1999 in The Hague, Netherlands.

This seems a good point to stand back and reflect on where we are now as a society in terms of intellectual freedom, and some of the challenges facing this critical human right.

Of course, our perspectives will differ according to where in the world we are living, not to mention our own subjective views: therefore, this blog can only be written from my own perspective as a UK citizen. However, comments and reflections from your own personal and geographical perspective would be welcome in the comments section below. Please feel free to contribute!

The term ‘intellectual freedom’ can mean many things even to a single person. Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that relates to intellectual freedom, states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (United Nations, 1948)

Although not explicitly using the term ‘intellectual freedom’, this is a useful starting point for a definition.

It is inclusive – everyone has an equal right to this basic civil liberty. It also acknowledges the right to hold opinions without interference, whether or not we choose to express them.

In addition, it does not constrain itself to freedom of expression (i.e. the right to speak, write or publish controversial opinion) but also highlights the importance of freedom of access to information, in whatever form it takes and wherever we may be in the world.

In the UK this right is all too often taken for granted: albeit that it is restricted by numerous legislative instruments (such as the Obscene Publications Act 1964, the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 and the Public Order Act 1986) and social norms that proscribe potentially offensive or harmful speech, there is a general belief that we are relatively free to voice our opinions and to access information without constraint.

The UK Human Rights Act 1998 Article 10 reflects the UN UDHR in asserting that everyone has the right to freedom of speech, including the right ‘to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers’. Since 2005, we have also held a legal right to request information held by public authorities via the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

However, it must be borne in mind that these rights are qualified, for example in the interests of national defence and security and, in the case of the Human Rights Act, also for ‘the protection of health and morals’, all of which exemptions seem sufficiently broad (and vague) as to raise questions about the validity of the protection of freedom of speech and freedom of access to information in practice.

The UK is currently undergoing a period of turmoil, change and uncertainty, in particular with regard to the proposed exit from the European Union.

A recent ‘Democracy Audit’ (Dunleavy, Park & Taylor 2018) carried out by scholars at the LSE highlighted the adverse impact of divisions over Brexit and chaotic political party relations, the polarisation of debate and the damaging impact on small parties inflicted by the ‘first past the post’ electoral system, and the damage caused to public services by the austerity agenda pursued between 2010 and 2018.

Public libraries have been hit particularly hard by this agenda, with nearly 130 public library closures in 2018 alone, and many local libraries being ‘deprofessionalised’ and left to community groups to run.

This is a concern for intellectual freedom: whilst well-meaning volunteers may prevent a local area from being left with no library service, volunteers are not usually professionally trained and may not hold the same awareness of, and commitment to, the professional body CILIP’s commitment to the principle of intellectual freedom and rejection of censorship and its newly revised Ethical Framework.

Meanwhile, work carried out at Loughborough University between 2012 and 2014 on UK public libraries’ management of internet access, found that, while the use of filtering software appears to be ubiquitous in UK public libraries, most professional and frontline library staff regarded the expediency of this to be of greater import than the potential adverse impact of filtering on intellectual freedom.

In addition to the impact of public library closures, increasingly restrictive anti-terrorism legislation, and the use of filtering software, public libraries in the UK are, as elsewhere, subject to challenges from members of their local community regarding appropriateness of material held by the library.

Censorship challenges to books held in Scottish public libraries are detailed in a 2012 paper by Taylor and McMenemy, which also discusses the actions taken by the libraries concerned in response to the challenges.

Although this study is also a good example of the use of Freedom of Information legislation to shine a light on the extent of censorship in libraries, and the protection that can be offered by a carefully developed and implemented collection development policy, it also reflects the fact that there is no room for complacency with regard to the state of intellectual freedom in UK public libraries.

Moreover, as new challenges and threats arise in line with new technological developments that offer ever greater opportunities for surveillance and more sophisticated and widespread data collection and analytics, the need for librarians to be constantly aware of their ethical responsibilities with regard to protection of user privacy and the protection of intellectual freedom will only become more acute.

This Blog post was written by Professor Louise Cooke, Professor of Information and Knowledge Management and member of the Centre for Information Management at the School. Louise wrote this post for the IFLA on 30 July 2019. She can be reached on l.cooke@lboro.ac.uk

My UKRI Policy Internship at Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales - Part 3

My UKRI Policy Internship at Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales - Part 3

August 2, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

Written by Rob Byrne, AACME

This blog post reflects on my experience during a 3-month placement working as part of the Environment and Transport team within Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales. Senedd Research is an expert, impartial and confidential research and information service designed to meet the needs of Assembly Members and their staff.

Moving to Cardiff

I found a three-month tenancy in Cardiff Bay, literally a minute’s walk from the National Assembly, but previous interns also used Airbnb and spareroom.co.uk. The city was a joy to live in and has plenty to keep you entertained, whether you want good restaurants and bars, tea rooms, museums and galleries … or to watch some rugby! I especially enjoyed running around the Cardiff Bay barrage and visiting the south Wales coast and Brecon Beacons. Being in Cardiff for Wales’ Six Nations Grand Slam victory and their celebrations at the Senedd was also something I won’t forget in a hurry!

Returning to PhD life, overall experience and future career aspirations

While I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to leaving the Assembly, I have returned to the PhD with renewed energy, more confidence and a more professional outlook on my research and work. I have improved some valuable communication and organisational skills which can be reapplied during the remainder of my research.

All in all, this was an invaluable experience which gave me a chance to apply my research skills in a different environment while gaining an insight into the workings of one of the UK’s four parliaments. The experience has certainly shaped my ideas for a future career – I now realise that it is possible to marry political interest with a scientific / research background and I would absolutely love to pursue a similar role in future. I would gladly recommend the internship to anyone!

If you are interested in applying to the UKRI Policy Internships Scheme, see below:

Please apply here by 12 August: https://www.ukri.org/skills/policy-internships-scheme/

Other previous interns have found the experience of working at the Assembly to be very valuable – see four articles by former students about their placement: Hayley Moulding, Eleanor Warren-Thomas, Piotr Wegorowski and Rachel Prior.Examples of publications by previous students can be found here: http://www.assembly.wales/en/bus-home/research/academic-engagement/Pages/UKRI-PhD-student-placements.aspx

Picture: Warren Gatland (Head Coach of Wales), Mark Drakeford (First Minister of Wales) and Alun Wyn Jones  (Captain of Wales) with the Six Nations and Triple Crown trophies inside the Senedd at the National Assembly for Wales.

My UKRI Policy Internship at Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales - Part 2

My UKRI Policy Internship at Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales - Part 2

August 2, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

Written by Rob Byrne, AACME

This blog post reflects on my experience during a 3-month placement working as part of the Environment and Transport team within Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales. Senedd Research is an expert, impartial and confidential research and information service designed to meet the needs of Assembly Members and their staff.

Variety of work

Senedd Research is made up of teams of experts on policy relevant topics, who support the 60 AMs through; responding confidentially to member’s enquiries, advising committees and publishing reports, research briefings or blog posts to inform AMs and the public. As published work can have implications for policy and the reputation of the Assembly, it must be accurate, reliable and impartial.

While committee and enquiry work must be completed on specific topics, research briefings and blog posts have a degree of flexibility on topics as agreed by your team and manager. Every week I met my manager to agree work objectives and discuss opportunities from the internship. We also had a biweekly team meeting in which we put forward ideas and discussed workloads; sharing work if anyone was under pressure. Towards the end, I had the chance to host one of these meetings too.

At the beginning of the internship, I wrote a blog on a recent oil leak in Wales and updated two research briefings on planning legislation. As I took an interest in oil leaks, I was able to publish a wider research briefing on the impact of oil spills. I also published a blog on delivering new railway stations in Wales – a topic completely away from my previous knowledge. A never ending task was keeping tabs on Brexit developments relating to the environment – I contributed to Senedd Research’s Brexit Monitoring Report – Environment for January 2019 and April 2019 and completed a research briefing on the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.  The sense of accomplishment when something you’ve written is published was fantastic.

As I gained more trust, I was able to respond to member’s enquiries and become involved in supporting the CCERA Committee. Enquiriescovered topics from wind turbines to motorway speed limits and involved speaking to stakeholders and member’s support staff over the phone – another useful experience in a working environment. Towards the end of my time, I was trusted to support the Committee by reviewing stakeholder evidence and highlighting key points for their inquiry on biodiversity. An absolute highlight was going on a Committee visit to a sustainable farm and discussing issues with committee members (AMs) and relevant stakeholders.

Due to the variety of work and the continually moving debate, the workplace felt very alive. Turning out work on short deadlines was an energising contrast to the PhD – with one- or two-week deadlines rather than year-long deadlines! Researching a new topic, identifying key points and writing informative work in such timescales was a very useful skill to develop. The huge variety of work was also a welcome change – I found researching new and completely different topics from day to day to be enjoyable and incredibly motivating.

Learning and development

There a myriad of learning opportunities within Senedd Research and the Assembly – if you want to take part in any training session, visit conferences or go on committee visits, you can.

During my time, I took part in training sessions focussed on devolution of powers in Wales, legislature processes and of course, Brexit – which is additionally complex when taking devolution into account. At my request, we set-up a meeting with the table office, which gave me an insight into how debates are structured in the chamber. I also attended a day-long speech writing course with the former speech writer for Alan Johnson and sat in Brexit-related seminars from Cardiff University economists. Sitting in on the weekly integrated team meeting for the CCERA Committee with legal services, clerks and translation gave me a chance to learn how different teams in the Assembly operate.

The Assembly has a real focus was on the Welsh language – all work must be bilingual, and every debate or document is translated into Welsh and English. Having grown up in Wales, I had the brilliant opportunity to reignite the dying embers of my GCSE Welsh by joining weekly Welsh classes.

Picture: Rob standing in the Senedd building above Y Siambr (debating chamber)

My UKRI Policy Internship at Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales - Part 1

My UKRI Policy Internship at Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales - Part 1

August 2, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

Written by Rob Byrne, AACME

This blog post reflects on my experience during a 3-month placement working as part of the Environment and Transport team within Senedd Research at the National Assembly for Wales. Senedd Research is an expert, impartial and confidential research and information service designed to meet the needs of Assembly Members and their staff.

Applying to policy internships for PhD students

The UKRI Policy Internships Scheme provides a unique opportunity for UKRI-funded PhD students to undertake a three-month placement in a policy organisation. Although I am funded by Loughborough University, as a member of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded CDT, I was eligible to apply.

There are a wide variety parliamentary, governmental and non-governmental host organisations to apply to. I applied to Parliamentary hosts to gain an insight into the workings of parliament and see how research supports parliamentary debate and scrutiny.

To apply, produced a policy briefing on ‘replacing the use of conventional plastics’. I chose this mainly because it was unrelated to my PhD, exhibiting an ability to write about a new topic. As plastics pollution had gained political attention at the time, it also showed some political awareness. Selecting up to date information and presenting it in a clear, concise, and totally impartial manner key considerations for the briefing.

The interview

The interview was held in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) in Westminster with a panel of representatives from three of the UK parliaments; POST (UK Parliament), Senedd Research (National Assembly for Wales) and RaISe (Northern Ireland Assembly).

The interview focussed on:

  • Motivations to do the internship;
  • Understanding of political processes and the functions of the UK’s political bodies;
  • The role of research services within the UK Parliament and devolved administrations;
  • Ability to converse impartially, clearly and concisely; and,
  • How sources and key information were selected to include, how I might expand the briefing further, and recent related political action.

I was also asked to explain my PhD research to a ‘lay person’ – I had to unashamedly simplify this as much as possible, forgetting about any scientific knowledge that the panel (definitely) had!

First Impressions

Arriving at the National Assembly for Wales, I entered Tŷ Hywel – a red brick building holding Assembly Members (AMs), Commission staff and Cabinet offices behind the modern Senedd building on the waterfront. On entry I was greeted by my line manager and introduced to the Environment and Transport team – a friendly group who immediately made me feel very welcome, as did everyone else working at the Assembly.

The first week consisted of inductions to familiarise with the functions and processes of the Assembly and Senedd Research. Despite growing up in Wales and having an interest in Welsh politics, I gained new knowledge on the devolution settlement in Wales and the breadth legislative powers of the Assembly due to the Reserved Powers Model. In the first week, I also sat in on First Minister’s Questions (FMQs), debates in Yr Siambr (the chamber), and the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs (CCERA) Committee (the main committee which the Environment and Transport team support) – all of which were fascinating.

Initially, watching debates in action, or bumping into an Assembly Member (AM) who I’d followed in the media for years felt like a huge privilege. However, I quickly realised how open the Assembly is to the public – anyone can watch FMQs, debates and committee meetings from the modern and stylish viewing galleries or via Senedd TV. The transparency and accessibility of the Assembly, the welcoming atmosphere at Senedd Research, and the level of careful work behind each debate, committee and report, impressed on me most in the first few weeks.

Picture: The National Assembly for Wales Senedd Building, Cardiff Bay.

Why Anna Burns’ Milkman is such a phenomenon

August 1, 2019 PR Office

Written by Dr Clare Hutton, Senior Lecturer in English at Loughborough University.

Few contemporary novels will have had a year like Milkman by Anna Burns. It was published, without a great deal of fanfare or advance publicity, in May 2018. But then it began to attract attention by dint of being longlisted, and then shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Some were surprised when it won. I wasn’t. In the course of a long commute to work, I had listened to the remarkable audiobook of Milkman twice. Gripped by that experience, I had begun to read the novel with focus. What intrigued me most was the question of how Burns had managed to write a book which can be read both within and outside the Irish tradition. I was also drawn to the question of how and why this novel seems so compelling for our time, and of how it seems so attuned to the zeitgeist of this #MeToo moment.

Quality of voice is all important to the experience of listening to an audiobook. The reading of Milkman by Bríd Brennan perfectly catches the cadence and rhythm of Burns’ strange and compelling depiction of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The story is told from the perspective of “Middle Sister,” an unnamed central character. Milkman almost seems to have been written to be read aloud. Certainly the experience of listening to the work—my first ever experience of listening to a serious work of literature before reading any words on the page—has persuaded me that audio is a medium that deserves to be taken seriously. It is also an ideal way to tackle a work that might seem challenging, or forbidding.

These are charges which have been made against Milkman. Perhaps I too would have faltered had I begun to read the book in the traditional way. Reading and listening are fundamentally different kinds of cognitive experience, and I cannot recover the experience of being a first reader of Milkman now. I was hooked into the world of the novel right there in those car journeys. I even began to invent reasons for driving further, just so I could hear a bit more.

Milkman might be classified as a feminist Troubles narrative. Or a novel of voice. Or a dystopian fiction. Or a psychological thriller. In some sense it is all of these things. Middle Sister, the seventh of eleven children, is aged eighteen. Though she is living in the heart of a family home, she is a loner who makes herself conspicuous to community gossips by walking alone, and reading as she walks. Her isolation deepens once she begins to be stalked by “Milkman,” a 41 year old paramilitary who pushes himself in to the edges of her life. She is deeply confused by his attentions and does not know how to respond. (“Thing was, he hadn’t physically touched me.”) When her mother’s friend suggests that this encroachment might be something that the “women of the issues” could address, Middle Sister responds with derision:

These women, constituting the nascent feminist group in our area – and exactly because of constituting it – were firmly placed in the category of those way, way beyond-the-pale.

These biting ironies—so typical of the way Middle Sister sees the world—suggest that the novel is a critique of feminism, and its failings. It is also a tour-de-force exploration of an evolving feminist consciousness.

Literary prizes are big business for publishers, and booksellers. Anything listed for the Booker has a sales boost, and winners always sell well. Milkman has been a particular success, with sales in the UK jumping 880% in the week after the Booker win was announced (from 963 copies to 9446 copies). This is the highest sales jump for any recent Booker winner, besting even Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, winner in 2009. Just over a year after publication, sales exceed 540,000 copies. The work has been a particular international success, with the deal for simplified Chinese rights believed to be the biggest single deal ever done for an author not previously published in China. This is testament to the fact that Burn’s work—inspired by the experience of growing up in Belfast in the late 1960s and 1970s—has transcended the conditions of its own making.

In addition to the Booker, Milkman has been awarded the George Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, a British prize that recognizes writing that comes closest to achieving Orwell’s ambition to “make political writing into an art.” Within the US, Milkman has been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Prize, and the audiobook has just received a Cameo award. A surprise best seller, Milkman is a rare commodity: a work of literary fiction that is both a commercial and critical success. May there be many more like it.

Update to Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence

July 31, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday 2nd August, from 8:00am to 9:00pm, the Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence will be updated. The following changes are being made:

  • Adding Support for Stone desktops with BOAMOT-499 (Asus Prime H310M-R R2.0) Motherboard.
  • Updating Realtek Audio Driver for Stone desktops with BOAMOT-493 (Asus B360M-A) Motherboard.
  • Adding support for Dell Latitude 7490 Laptop.

The Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to image any Windows 10 staff computers at this time.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

Doctoral Researcher President Team’s Post (July 2019)

Doctoral Researcher President Team’s Post (July 2019)

July 29, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

This blog post is part of a series of monthly posts detailing the activities of the DR President’s Team (President: Leah Henrickson; Vice-President: Hugh Tawell).

Note: This post refers to PhD/EngD Students as Doctoral Researchers (DR) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). This is because the University uses the former language, and the Union uses the latter.

What the heck is going on with this July weather, amirite?

When we weren’t either freezing our tails off or melting into piles of sweat, we were running around to ensure that doctoral researchers are still represented during these quieter months.

Here’s what we did:

The PhD Awards

After months of planning, on 5th July we finally held our PhD Awards ceremony! This year’s awards were independent, following the Union’s repeal of funding for its annual Postgraduate Awards. The LSU Postgraduate Executive Officer, Kamal, was there to assist, though, and our teamwork really did make the dream work for this one. More than 70 people attended this incredible event to celebrate the achievements of the Loughborough doctoral community. Photos from the ceremony are available at https://tinyurl.com/phd-awards-photos – just use your Loughborough credentials to log in. The photo accompanying this post shows us and Kamal having a grand ol’ time during a break.

After the Awards, our friends from the PhD Social & Support Network hosted a pub night/after-party at The Phantom, which more than 50 people attended. A merry time was had by all.

Doctoral College Induction

On 9th July, Leah welcomed the summer intake of new doctoral researchers to Loughborough. It’s always fun to meet the newbies and hear about what they’re going to be getting up to. This group included an especially high number of international students, showing just how wide-reaching the University’s influence is becoming.

Doctoral College Café Academique

On 10th July, both Leah and Hugh attended the Doctoral College’s Café Academique: Leah as a presenter, and Hugh as an audience member. At this event, we learned about super storage solutions, quality control processes, and computer-generated texts from doctoral researchers based in different Schools. It was a great opportunity to network with other doctoral researchers and learn some cool new things.

Doctoral College International Induction

On 12th July, Leah welcomed fellow international students to Loughborough. She and Kamal answered frequently asked questions about life in Loughborough and the UK, and got to chat to a bunch of interesting folks. More than ten countries were represented!

Postgraduate BBQ

Also on 12th July, we helped Kamal host the first of what will hopefully be a series of summer postgraduate BBQs. Lots of doctoral researchers were in attendance, and there was tons of free food available – including vegetarian and vegan options, of course. Keep reading the biweekly Doctoral College bulletin to find out when and where the next BBQ will be held.

‘Exploring Careers in Higher Education’ Panel

On 24th July, we co-hosted an ‘Exploring Careers in Higher Education’ with Careers Consultant Eve. The panel comprised Dr Bianca Howard, Dr Jenna Townend, and Dr Gemma Witcomb, and was mediated by doctoral researcher Nathan Ritchie. This event stemmed from Rep feedback that we needed (1) an event about careers in higher education and (2) a summer Careers event. Approximately 30 people attended, and we got some very positive feedback.

And there you have it! A busy, but productive – and most importantly, fun – month. Keep enjoying your summers, y’all!

To keep up-to-date with our activity, join the ‘Doctoral Researchers of Loughborough University’ Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. If you’re a London student, join the ‘Loughborough Students’ Union London 2018-2019’ Facebook group.

Leah and Hugh.

Sport Business and Leadership student helps with Homeless Rugby Charity

Sport Business and Leadership student helps with Homeless Rugby Charity

July 25, 2019 Loughborough University London

Sport Business and Leadership MSc student, Nao, has recently been interviewed by the Sport Management Hub about his work with Homeless Rugby, a non-profit organisation that builds strong partnerships between rugby clubs and local homeless charities to help create positive sporting opportunities.

In the article, Nao first expressed his love and passion for Rugby:

I was born and raised in Tenri City, Japan. It’s one of the most notorious cities in Japan for rugby, but my parents weren’t interested in rugby at all.

When I was 5 years old, my parents took me to a rugby match hosted in our city. I’m not sure exactly why they took me as they had no prior experience watching or playing rugby, but I fell in love with the game at first sight and haven’t looked back since.

Nao studied his bachelor’s degree in information technology (IT) in Japan. Nao chose the subject because he believes IT is changing the world and Japan, in particular has a reputation for being one of the most technological counties in the world. The tools Nao developed at University helped him advantage in the sports world.

Nao decided to come to the UK to learn all about the business side of sport, as well as have access to all sort of opportunities in the UK.

Currently, Nao is working for Homeless Rugby. This non-profit organisation is all about tackling social issues across Europe using rugby as a tool to help homeless people overcome difficult situations.

Homeless Rugby is based in the UK, forming partnerships wit local businesses. In doing so, thy work together to help homeless people learn essential rugby skills. Homeless Rugby believes rugby can be a starting point to a healthy lifestyle. It’s their hope that with more rugby participation, they can seek support services related to health, education, training, and employment.

Nao joined Homeless Rugby because he believes rugby needs to receive more attention and is such an important sport. Nao said:

The benefits of playing rugby from a societal standpoint are huge. Rugby helps build character and teachers essential life skills.

Even though Homeless Rugby is still a small organisation, the potential value in expanding is huge and I want to play part in that.

Alongside his work with Homeless Rugby, Nao played to victory with the Kings Cross Steelers at the Union Cup in Dublin in June 2019. The Union Cup is European’s non-professional LGBT+ inclusive rugby competition.

Nao hopes that in years to come there will be many Homeless Rugby clubs across Japan, as well as many businesses giving their support to the organisation. He is currently getting in touch with Japanese teams, potential sponsors and businesses to hopefully partner with and support Homeless Rugby.


You can read the full interview with Nao here.

Day trips to make from Loughborough

Day trips to make from Loughborough

July 25, 2019 Disha

A campus university comes with many benefits – it’s cosy, safe, convenient and economic. Continue reading

What's new in Learn for 2019/20

July 24, 2019 Matt Hope

Following this year’s rollover, there are some changes coming to Learn.

For students, they’ll see:

  • Improved Timeline and My Modules view – The Timeline view, which acts as a checklist of all assignments in Learn, has been updated so it can now be filtered to show all, overdue or those assignments within a time period. The My Modules view has also been updated to give students more options in organising how they see their module list. For example, they can now favourite particular modules.
  • My Details block – a block on the left-hand side of Learn will display key programme and tutor information to students.

For staff, they’ll see:

  • Duplicating Resources – it’s now easier to keep track of copied resources in your module. When you create a copy or a resource within Learn, it will appear with ‘copy’ in the title to distinguish it from the original resource.
  • Media Feedback in the Learn Assignment Activity – When providing feedback within the Learn Assignment activity, you now have the option to provide either audio (up to five minutes) or video feedback.
  • Quiz Features – There is now an option within the quiz to attach files within specific question types and you can filter your questions by tags.
  • H5P Interactive Activity – A new activity is now available on Learn and it’s one that provides a wealth of interactive options. The H5P activity contains over 42 interactive templates and you can see some of these in the video below.

Watch the video
Click on the link below to watch a short video and see all of these features in action: https://lboro.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=23e5e441-70cb-48e9-887b-aa94008c55d0

Updates to Windows 10 Staff Re-Image and 1703 to 1809 IPU Task Sequences

July 23, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues

On Friday 26th June, between 8.00am and 10.00am, the Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence will be updated to provide support for the new Dell Laptop models. We are also improving the way OneDrive is installed, bringing it in line with the 2019-2020 Labs Builds.

A minor update will also be made to the 1703 to 1809 IPU Task Sequence to improve reporting.

These Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to image any Windows 10 staff computers at this time or perform any updates from 1703 to 1809.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

DRN2019: Embodied Drawing

July 18, 2019 Deborah Harty

The DRN Conference this year focussed on ‘Embodied Drawing’. The two-day event featured a series of paper presentations exploring concepts of embodied drawing from a variety of disciplines, followed by practical workshops highlighting individual’s research through practice. Thank you to all who contributed and participated in the event.

JOINT Fund series: The #Lollybin

JOINT Fund series: The #Lollybin

July 18, 2019 Loughborough University London

Supported by the JOINT Fund initiative, Dr Vicky Lofthouse (Senior Lecturer, Institute for Design Innovation) and Dr Debra Lilley (Senior Lecturer, Loughborough Design School) co-created the #Lollybin – a coffee cup recycling method.

The #Lollybin resulted from a JOINT fund project, which drew on user-centred research and stakeholder analysis to identify, design and test behavioural change interventions to reduce single use coffee cup waste in Here East.

In conjunction with Loughborough Design School, Here East, Change Please & BT Sports, Vicky and Debra sought to optimise the collection of single use coffee cups in order to facilitate recycling. Research has shown that current systems fail to collect waste cups and those which are collected are often too contaminated to be recycled.

The indoor #Lollybin at Loughborough University London (image on the left) and the waste collected (image on the right).

Following user and stakeholder research, we designed a bin to accommodate and encourage the separation of the lid, cup and liquid, using affordances, constraints, social validation and visual messages in order to eradicate contamination and ensure correct separation for recycling.  Findings from a 1-month field trial where units were placed at locations in Here East, indicated that users understood how to effectively use the bin, as cups were stacked, lids slotted and liquid poured. Further, analysis of the collected material, concluded that the 731 cups collected from 2 test sites were of high enough quality as to be suitable for recycling.  he Outdoor unit in particular attracted a high degree of contamination in the ‘lids’ section, so further work will reflect on ways to reduce this.

The outdoor #Lollybin (image on the left) and the waste collected (image on the right).

The next steps for the project will be to investigate developing the bin for small scale manufacture and explore market feasibility.

Findings from the study include:

Cups collected

Outdoor

  • Espresso: 36
  • Flat white: 67
  • Medium: 229
  • Large:9

LU London

  • Espresso: 1
  • Flat white: 254
  • Medium: 112
  • Large: 23

Lids collected

Outdoor

  • Espresso: 1
  • Small: 39
  • Medium/Large: 169

LU London

  • Medium/Large: 75

Analysis of the cups by the site waste contractor indicated that the condition of the cups was suitable to enable recycling and that to be economically viable 1100 litre carts worth of coffee cups would need to be collected approximately every 3 weeks.


Find out more about this year’s JOINT Fund projects here.  

Results Day Reflections

Results Day Reflections

July 18, 2019 Caroline

Casting my mind back to my own results day on 17th August 2017 is odd. The pressures of A-levels were the most stressful time of my life, so I had repressed them completely until I got back from my holiday a few days before results day! Continue reading

Reflections on Year in Enterprise- Being a full time Illustrator

Reflections on Year in Enterprise- Being a full time Illustrator

July 16, 2019 Lauren Jefferis

Now having reached the end of my ‘Year in Enterprise’ I thought I’d take the time to reflect on how the year has gone for an art student being thrown into the world of business.   Continue reading

Settling into University life

Settling into University life

July 16, 2019 Emma

Scared? Apprehensive? Worried you won’t make friends? Don’t even know how to cook a meal other than beans on toast? First of all relax because everyone else is in the same boat! Continue reading

First Future Innovation Sports Tech Global Series held in London

First Future Innovation Sports Tech Global Series held in London

July 15, 2019 Loughborough University London

On Friday 28 June 2019, academics from the Institute for Sport Business took part in the first ever Future Innovation Sports Tech Global Series in London.

Over 500 industry experts from UK joined together at Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea FC, to discuss future global sports innovation and esports.

The conference covered three tracks: Fan, Athlete and Gamer.

As part of the Gamer track, Dr Emily Hayday, Lecturer for the Institute for Sport Business, was a panel member for ‘Corporate Responsibility and Esports’. Dr Hayday was joined by David Yanton (Executive Chairman of EDGE Esports), Jermah Douglin (Operations Director at Mavreel), and Mike Barnes (Esports Programme Manager at Digital Schoolhouse) for the panel discussion.

Emily commented:

It is essential for Loughborough University London to discuss and share insights from current Esport research with industry, through platforms like the Future Innovation Sports Tech Global Series, to allow discussion on current and critical issues. By being involved in events like Future Innovation Sports Tech, we continue to strengthen the great connection between academia and industry.

Alumnus Sid Kholi, who now works for BBC Sports, was also part of the event, leading the ‘Future of Media/ OTT’ panel under the Fan track.

The UK Hype SPIN Accelerator Demo Day also took place as part of the conference.

JOINT Fund series: Build a bike challenge

JOINT Fund series: Build a bike challenge

July 11, 2019 Loughborough University London

On 4 July 2019, 30 organisations at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) district took part in Loughborough University London’s ‘Build a Bike’ charity challenge, in partnership with Bikeworks. This event was supported by the JOINT Fund scheme and organised by Dr Anna Grosman and doctoral researcher, Fiona Meeks.

Fiona Meeks has been studying the innovation and collaboration networks on the park since 2017. Fiona has found that there are key organisations on the park that seek out opportunities to network and as a result are performing better due to the large number of ties they have.

Aims of the event

  1. To facilitate the formation of new connections amongst organizations on the QEOP.
  2. To promote partnerships between LUL & the community & promote opportunities to collaborate.
  3. To enable Doctoral Researchers to collect evidence for a field study, a policy paper and an impact report.
  4. such as knowledge transfer partnerships and collaborative project/dissertation.
  5. To support the local community through donating children’s bikes to the Early Years Foundation and give organizations the opportunity to take part in CSR activities.

What they did

  1. Promotion and marketing of the event took place during Spring and Summer. There was an events page on the website and it was promote via social media. It was also promoted through word of mouth and were sent to the events page. There were over 100 people signed up initially.
  2. Held at Loughborough University London’s Enterprise Zone and the Here East yard between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, 44 people attended the event. 30 mixed industry organisations based at the QEOP district ranged from education providers, charities, SME’s corporates & local community groups.
  3. Upon arrival, each person completed a survey to demonstrate which connections they already had at the QEOP & sign consent forms. They were then randomly assigned a team to take on a series of bike related activities. 8 mixed industry teams were formed.
  4. Each team took on a series of fun, bike related activities, including making a belt out of an inner tube, changing a tyre, a slow race on a BMX bike and an inclusion challenge to ride a three-wheel trike blind folded using instructions from team members to navigate a course of cones.
  5. Each challenge was designed to enable tenants based at the new QEOP district to get to know one another. By engaging in fun project based activities, organizations are more likely to build relationships that could lead to new partnerships, the sharing of ideas and ultimately innovation ties.
  6. Each team ended the event by building a children’s bike and writing a letter to the children that would receive the bike from the London Early Years Foundation. Giving disadvantaged children the opportunity to ride a bike and be active and healthy!

Following the event Fiona will measure the network again to understand if new ties have formed between tenants at the QEOP district and understand through interviews after 3-6 months what the impact has been (Did any organisations form new partnerships? Did this type of event work to bring together neighbors at the QEOP?)

Feedback from the event has already been positive with organisations informing me how many connections they had formed at the event, including; a proposal from Scope to Hobs 3D Printers to prototype hand grips for disabled phone users with dexterity issues, partnerships between IDE, Creative Wick and Ford Smart Mobility and London Stadium Learning offering Badu Sports young people from the local community a chance to work on their Olympic Heritage project.


For more information, please contact Fiona Meeks at f.meeks@lboro.ac.uk.

DRN 2019: Embodied Drawing Schedule

July 9, 2019 Deborah Harty

Day 1: Thursday 11 July 2019

Cope Foyer: Edward Barnsley Building
9.00-9.40 Registration and Coffee

Cope Auditorium Edward Barnsley Building

Session 1:
Chair: Dr Marion Arnold
9.45-10.10 Emma Robertson: Embodied Drawing for the Mind
10.10-10.35 Joanne Macdonald: Drawing Bodies
10.35-11.00 Paulo Luis Almeida: The Visit – Drawing as Naked Image

11.00-11.30 Break with refreshments

11.35-12.00 Curie Scott: Embodied ways of knowing about self-ageing
12.00-12.25 Amanda Roberts: Drawing. Life drawing as female-centric practice
12.30-12.50 Carole Lévesque: Drawing Stories of a Walk
12.50-1.15 Panel discussion

Cope Foyer: Edward Barnsley Building

1.15-2.15 Lunch

Gallery & Fine Art Studios, Fine Art Building

Session 2:
2.15-4.45 Workshops:

  1. Vanessa Marr (LU contact Daniel Fountain)
  2. Andrew Hall, Birgitta Hosea & Maryclare Foá (LU contact Jane Cook)
  3. Jemima Fahy (LU contact Nick Aikman)
  4. Joanna Leah (LU contact Lorraine Young)

4.45-5.00 Break with refreshments

Cope Auditorium Edward Barnsley Building

5.00-5.30 Feedback Session Chair: Daniel Fountain

6.30pm Conference Buffet: Towers Dining Hall

Day 2: Friday 12 July 2019

Cope Foyer: Edward Barnsley Building

9.00-9.40 Registration and Coffee:

Cope Auditorium Edward Barnsley Building

Session 1:
Chair: Jane Cook
9.45-10.10 Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen: Listening and Drawing towards Emplacement
10.10-10.35 Steve Fossey: An Imbricated Drawing Ontology: Economies of Pattern, Chaos and Scale
10.35-11.00 Nicci Haynes: The Unsayable

11.00-11.30 Break with refreshments

11.35-12.00 Katarina Andjelkovic: Towards the Embodiment: Drawing’s Movement, Space and Temporality
12.00-12.25 Antonino Di Raimo: Human body as a design apparatus
12.30-12.50 Robin Schaeverbeke & Liselotte Vroman: Unlocking Embodied Experiences, Exploring Performative Drawing
12.50-1.15 Panel discussion

Cope Foyer: Edward Barnsley Building

1.15-2.15 Lunch

Gallery & Fine Art Studios, Fine Art Building

Session 2:
2.15-4.45 Workshops:

  1. Anthi Kosma (LU contact Jane Cook)
  2. Iain MacLeod-Brudenell (LU contact Serena Smith)
  3. Laura Chessin (LU contact Martin Lewis)
  4. Seton Wakenshaw (LU contact James Bowen)

4.45-5.00 Break with refreshments

Cope Auditorium Edward Barnsley Building

5.00-5.30 Feedback Session Chair: Serena Smith

Requirements and Design by Proxy – Fitness Games for Users with Learning Disabilities

July 9, 2019 Patrick Stacey

I recently gave talks on the above topic at Aston and Canterbury Christchurch universities. They were based on our HICSS 2017 paper. The topic is timely given the lack of NHS capacity and GP knowledge on learning disability (LD).

Furthermore, LD carers receive precious little support, not to mention holidays. So, any adjunct facility is welcome by carers and charities alike to (a) take the pressure off, as well as, (b) provide developmental motivation for those with LD.

A particular issue is physical fitness: most with LD, depending on the LD severity, have poor fitness levels.

We studied one game ‘Somability’ that helps address this deficiency. This is a powerful and impactful game platform. However, the real contribution of our paper was not to LD per se but to requirements engineering.

It is very difficult to gather requirements directly from LD users – e.g., ethnographic requirements capture can be intrusive, disruptive and inappropriate.

An implication of our mixed methods study was the potential for using method acting as a surrogate, allowing requirements to be generated (but not perfected) and avoiding intrusive direct approaches that could potentially upset LD users.

Also, requirements engineers are ill-equipped to capture such requirements. They need to be specially trained by healthcare professionals!

These implications provoked a lot of discussion and were somewhat controversial. Despite our experience in the field, some audience members felt direct observation should take place and seemed less concerned about any ethical element.

The jury is out on this aspect. However, what went down very well indeed were the propositional design characteristics we generated. We concluded that games for LD users need to be simple, repetitive and avoid competitive mechanics.

Slides: A copy of the Aston slides can be viewed here.

Future: We are currently looking to take this important work further. Possibilities include: requirements capture through the involvement of professional actors (design fictions) and a critical discussion of the ethics of requirements capture in LD game design.

Please do contact me if you would like to discuss our research in more depth or be part of future studies.

This Blog post was written by Dr Patrick Stacey, Senior Lecturer in Information Management and a member of the Centre for Information Management. Patrick can be reached on p.stacey@lboro.ac.uk

Preparing for results day

Preparing for results day

July 8, 2019 Hannah Timson

The run up to results day can be a difficult time. Even if you are feeling confident about your results, it’s a good idea to research your options and make a plan for the day, so you can take control depending on the outcome. Continue reading

Food for under £5

Food for under £5

July 8, 2019 Guest Blogger

Creating filling and tasty meals from scratch is a worry for most students at University. Once you’ve sorted out your weekly budget and realised just how expensive cheese really is, it’s easy to believe that you have to succumb to a life of bland instant noodles to survive. Continue reading

We want your inspiring stories

July 8, 2019 Liam

This year over graduation, we’re looking to share inspiring stories of our graduating students.

Continue reading

Business Model Innovation in the Energy Sector workshop hosted at Loughborough University London

Business Model Innovation in the Energy Sector workshop hosted at Loughborough University London

July 5, 2019 Loughborough University London

On Thursday 4 July 2019, Dr Kun Fu and, Dr Tao Zhang (Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), Professor Mathew Hughes (School of Business and Economies, Loughborough University) and Ms. Elizabeth Nyeko (Modularity Grid) led a dialogue workshop with stakeholders to understand the drivers and impact of energy business model innovations.

The workshop was a full-day event with speakers and participants ranging from academics, industrial experts, policymakers and research students.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Dr Jeffrey Hardy – Senior Research Fellow within the Faculty of Natural Sciences, The Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London
  • Professor Monica Giulietti – Professor of Microeconomics, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
  • Daniel Kirk – Head of Innovation Link, Ofgem
  • Tom Elliot – Business Modelling Consultant, Energy Systems Catapult
  • Songlin Yu – Chongqing Xinqiang Investment Ltd.
  • Froi Legaspi – Community Organiser, Citizens UK
  • Dr Philipp Trotter – Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.

The workshop helped the 20 attendees develop a better understanding of the current energy business context and the role of key stakeholders and their experience with the existing energy business models.

As well as this, a goal of the evet was to assess the impact of digital technologies in driving energy business model innovation, making electricity affordable, reliable and sustainable and identify research challenges and opportunities in innovation and entrepreneurship in the energy sector.

Lastly, the event offered a meaningful insight for the UK energy companies and policymakers to achieve sustainable developments.

The Institute for Sport Business are delighted to welcome Dr Andrea Geurin to the Institute

The Institute for Sport Business are delighted to welcome Dr Andrea Geurin to the Institute

July 3, 2019 Loughborough University London

Dr Andrea Geurin has joined the Institute as a Reader and will be taking up the role of Programme Director for our Sport Marketing MSc.

Dr Geurin previously worked at New York University as the Academic Director of Graduate Programs. Prior to this, Andrea  worked at Griffith University as a Senior Lecturer, and holds a PhD from Indiana University Bloomington in Human Performance – Sport Management.

Andrea’sresearch examines the utilisation of new media by sport organisations and athletes, as well as media portrayals of athletes of differing gender, race, and nationality.

Dr Geurin has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and one book. Take a look at Dr Geurin’s most recent publication: The Routledge Handbook of the Business of Women’s Sport.

In 2015, Dr Geurin was named a North American Society of Sport Management (NASSM) Research Fellow.

Loughborough University London are delighted to welcome Dr Geurin to the staff cohort! To find out more about our other Institute for Sport Business staff, take a look at their institute page.

New ideas will be needed if the next PM is to help those facing the toughest summer

July 3, 2019 Donald Hirsch

Later this month, we can expect our new Prime Minister to enter Downing Street with a promise to bring the country together and help those who are struggling. David Cameron made his entry speaking of fairness and his desire to ‘help the poorest’; Theresa May of helping the ‘just about managing’. The current frontrunner sees the need to balance his pledge for tax cuts for upper earners with a matching promise to raise the £8,600 National Insurance Contribution threshold, saying he is a One-Nation Conservative determined to improve public services and make improvements for those on lower incomes.

Yet for such noble sentiments to be translated into a genuine assault on poverty and disadvantage, the country needs a more focused plan for doing so. Tax or national insurance giveaways (such as raising the thresholds) give the same amount to every taxpayer, so cannot in themselves allocate enough to help many people out of poverty – especially when the poorest working households see larger cuts in their benefits, and families without work or already below tax thresholds gain nothing. Higher hourly pay for those on the lowest wages is welcome, but again is being undermined by widespread benefit cuts, and does not reach the many households for whom limited working hours, not low hourly pay, is the main cause of low earnings.

This year’s Minimum Income Standards report shows that overall, recent policies have helped some low earners, but held back many. If you are a single person working full time on the minimum wage, or a couple where both parents do so, the National Living Wage (NLW) has potentially helped you get closer to an acceptable living standard over the past four years (although you are still likely to fall short of the MIS level). But many overlapping groups have gone backwards: lone parents, for whom cuts in working benefits have hit hardest; families with high childcare costs, which become ever pricier, while the limit to what the state will contribute to help cover them remains frozen; single-earner couples, who do not have enough hours of wages at higher pay to compensate for tax credit cuts; and of course larger families hit by the two-child limit, whose disposable incomes typically now fall a third to a half short of what they need for a minimum acceptable standard of living.

All these families have been finding life ever tougher, regardless of whether they work. Rising costs are simply outstripping family income. A stark example as the summer holidays approach is the cost of enrolling your child in a holiday club. In 2009, this would have cost around £90 a week; this summer it will be about 50% more – an average of around £135, even though the disposable income of a typical two-earner family with children has typically gone up only by about a quarter if they benefit from the NLW, and by much less if they do not. Other costs like travel and going away on holiday have also been rising much faster than incomes, meaning that many think of the summer not as a time to get away and unwind, but rather as a time of extra financial stress.

Those politicians who seek to form the next government will therefore need a fresh approach to helping low income families if they really want to live up to their own ‘inclusive’ rhetoric. Most importantly, the existing policies of reducing tax burdens and improving pay for those on low incomes need to be accompanied by a revival of the direct help created in the tax credit system, which Universal Credit should be emulating but is struggling to do so. Restoring the link between prices and benefits when the freeze ends next year is universally agreed to be a good starting point. But while this will stop things systematically getting worse for all low income families, the rolling out of cuts such as the two-child limit and the ending of the £10 a week family element of the Child Tax Credit, as well as the loss of substantial premiums for disability under Universal Credit, will continue to hit the incomes of many. Only some serious uprating of entitlements, by more than inflation, would signal that a new government is committed to turning the tide.

JOINT Fund series: The Fair Energy Mark 2

JOINT Fund series: The Fair Energy Mark 2

July 2, 2019 Loughborough University London

As part of the JOINT Fund initiative, Dr Laura Santamaria, Lecturer within the Institute for Design Innovation, leads the ‘The Fair Energy Mark’ campaign to address and raise standards in the energy sector by design. This is part two of her research project.

Earlier this year, we at Loughborough ran workshops with the local community at St James’ Church, Clapton to hear what a fair energy supplier means for local residents. The message is clear: fair pricing, equitable service, and responsibility for the environment.

Hackney Council has committed to set up a council-run energy company to tackle the fuel poverty of almost 10,000 households in the borough. Last May, the council’s cabinet agreed to seek a “white label” deal with an existing energy provider. Hackney will offer sales and marketing while the provider will offer retail energy services under the borough’s brand.

During the last Hackney Citizens Mayoral Assembly, Dr. Laura Santamaria, who leads the Fair Energy Mark campaign communication strategy supported by the JOINT Fund, made the public announcement, asking Mayor Philip Glanville to use a Fair Energy Mark friendly energy supplier for Hackney Council’s own energy company.

The Mayor committed publicly, and later commented via Twitter:

I’m proud to talk about our work to respond to #ClimateEmergency. It’s an issue of social justice; we can and must deliver transition to clean energy while tackling fuel poverty and giving citizens a bigger role. Hackney Council is now 50% renewable and heading for 100%.

Laura commented:

This is an important milestone for the Fair Energy Mark campaign to be celebrated. This move will help those most struggling with energy bills in the borough, and contribute towards lowering carbon emissions in London. But it will also encourage neighbouring councils, as well as the private and third sectors in London to follow suit.

If you want to know more about the Fair Energy Mark Campaign, contact Dr. Laura Santamaria, l.santamaria@lboro.ac.uk.

You can find a brief overview of the 2018/19 JOINT Fund research projects by reading our news story.

Public speaking: you either hate it or you love it!

Public speaking: you either hate it or you love it!

June 28, 2019 Loughborough University London

In this blog, we hear from current student Selsabil, who recently attended a public speaking workshop run by our careers and employability team.

Public speaking: you either hate it or you love it!

But we all have to do it. Good public speaking skills allow us to engage audiences, grab the attention of decision-makers, and win clients. The great thing is that could be you, and the opportunity is closer than you think.

On 15th May, the University welcomed Julie, a public speaking coach, to deliver a two-hour intensive workshop on public speaking. I was there, along with a diversity of Master and PhD students from across institutes, all present for an array of reasons. Some wanted to learn how to command an audience through the development of a strong voice. Some wanted to refine their body language to appear more engaging. Others, like myself, wanted the chance to learn from a professional the evening before an assessed presentation…

Julie took us through key elements of good public speaking, went into detail about how a speaker connects with their audience, and most importantly, explored remedies to classic slip-ups. It wasn’t all theory, however, as we discovered when Julie invited us to participate in a variety of impromptu speeches! It was the moment perhaps many students dread, but Julie’s guidance was easily put into practice, and soon enough, blank faces melted away to uncover energy and enthusiasm. 

Harry, a current student from England with a background in activism and a substantial amount of public speaking experience, said he thought the workshop provided structure to the way he thought about public speaking, and that the workshop was an invaluable resource in his future career.

Caprice, an eager student from China with limited experience in public speaking, said the workshop took away the pressure of having to be a ‘perfect’ public speaker. Caprice, like many students, bought into the idea that good speeches or presentations are only claimed by natural-born performers speaking in their first language. However, Julie’s workshop really emphasised how you don’t need to be born confident to be a good public speaker, whether done in a first, second, or third language. 

Selim, a current student from Turkey who is passionate about communication in marketing both in person and online, said the workshop helped him to better understand what his audience wants in a public speaker. Julie’s workshop eradicated public speaking as a one-way activity, and explored ways in which speakers can effectively engage with their audience.

During the various activities we participated in, it was clear that public speaking skills were as accessible as ever. Julie’s workshops are a fantastic way to revisit how we practice public speaking, whether you want to polish your skills or take the first steps under the spotlight. And with such interactive and welcoming culture of learning, there is a space for everybody to bring something new to the table, or rather, stage.


We would like to thank Selsabil, a current student within the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance for writing the above blog. For other events, make sure to check our events page online.

Applications for Chevening Scholarships 2020/21

Applications for Chevening Scholarships 2020/21

June 28, 2019 Loughborough University London

We are pleased to announce that applications for 2020/21 Chevening Scholarships and some Fellowships will open Monday 5 August 2019.

Chevening is the UK’s government’s flagship international awards programme aimed at developing global leaders since 1983. It is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations.

Chevening provides two type of awards – Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships.

How to best prepare for your Chevening Scholarship Application

Read our guidance pages on the website

Make sure to check the Chevening website to ensure you meet the Chevening eligibility criteria and understand Chevening policies.

Research your programme choice

To apply for the Chevening Scholarship, you will need to choose three different eligible master’s courses, and select them on your application form.

It is very important to pick programmes that are best suited to your goals and interests.

You can find Loughborough University London’s master’s programmes on our webpage.

Secure referees

You are required to enter information for two referees (one professional, one academic) in your application. Information needed include:

  1. Name
  2. Job title
  3. Organisation
  4. Capacity in which known
  5. Email address

If you are invited to interview, you will be asked to provide references from your two referees within a short period of time. Identify two referees in good time and ensure that they will be happy to provide a comprehensive reference on your behalf. More details will be provided to you if you are invited to interview.

Connect on social media

Make sure to follow Chevening on Social Media to keep up to date. They are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Deadline

The deadline for the Chevening Award applications is 5 November 2019. No late applications will be accepted, so make sure you give yourself enough time to submit your strongest application.

You can find more information on the Chevening Website.

Doctoral Researcher President Team’s Post (June 2019)

June 28, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

This blog post is part of a series of monthly posts detailing the activities of the DR President’s Team (President: Leah Henrickson; Vice-President: Hugh Tawell).

Note: This post refers to PhD/EngD Students as Doctoral Researchers (DR) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). This is because the University uses the former language, and the Union uses the latter.

The undergraduates have left for the summer, and now the postgraduates have free reign of the campus. What are we gonna do?

Barbeques.

The first of these regularly-scheduled postgraduate barbecues is scheduled for Friday, 12th July – keep your eyes peeled on the Doctoral College bulletin for the exact time and place.

Other than planning barbeques, June has been another busy month for your President’s Team. Here’s what we got up to:

Research Committee Meeting

On 11th June, Hugh represented doctoral researchers at the Research Committee meeting. These meetings offer the Associate Deans (Research) (ADRs) and other staff from research support services from across the University opportunities to discuss research-related issues. A lot was addressed in the three hours. Everyone is still working towards establishing what ‘research culture’ really is, and how we can better establish research culture within Schools and across the University.

Doctoral College Summer Showcase

On 12th April, the Doctoral College hosted its annual Summer Showcase. Ten Three Minute Theses were delivered, and around 60 posters were displayed. AND we’re especially thrilled that five doctoral researchers took advantage of the newly introduced Showcase Exhibition, which gave them the chance to present their research in creative ways that aren’t usually represented at such events. The Showcase Exhibition was introduced in response to doctoral researcher feedback.

Night Out at the Union

On 22nd June, we co-hosted the second Postgraduate Night Out at the Students’ Union with Kamal, the LSU Postgraduate Executive Officer. Approximately 150 postgrads and their guests partied Hawaiian-style until late – even after having to switch rooms last-minute because some pigeons had taken over Fusion!

PGR Lead Rep Meeting

We met with PGR Reps from across the University on 26th June. During this meeting, we discussed School-related issues and talked about upcoming events and Rep goals. Our special guest at this meeting was Eve from the Careers Network. Eve clarified what Careers services are available to doctoral researchers over the summer (all of them!) and noted her own plans for enhancing the Careers services for us.

Upcoming Events

There are lots of things being planned right now, so keep reading the Doctoral College bulletin to stay up-to-date. Here are some events we’re particularly excited for:

To keep up-to-date with our activity, join the ‘Doctoral Researchers of Loughborough University’ Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. If you’re a London student, join the ‘Loughborough Students’ Union London 2018-2019’ Facebook group.

Leah and Hugh.

Graduation - what happens on the day?

Graduation - what happens on the day?

June 26, 2019 Sammie Man

Graduation is one of the most exciting days of the university experience and it is filled with celebration! With so many different things going on it is easy to feel overwhelmed. We don’t want you to miss a thing so we’ve put together a list of things to remember and outlined the timings of the day.

Things to remember:

1. Check the date & time of your ceremony

There are a lot of ceremonies happening all week, so as it gets closer make sure to double check you have the right date and time for your course. You wouldn’t want to miss it!

2. Check you have your E-tickets

You will need your E-tickets when you arrive to register. It is a good idea to have a screenshot of these saved on your phone so they are easier to access! If you still haven’t received your tickets a few days before your ceremony, please contact the graduation office.

3. Bring your camera/charger

We will have professional photographers around campus to make sure we capture the big day but it is handy to bring your own camera or phone! There will be plenty of photo opportunities to get a picture with so keep an eye out around campus. Consequently, your phone/camera battery won’t last all day so bring a portable charger if you have one!

4. Keep hydrated

With graduation being in summer and it being such a busy day, it is important to keep hydrated! Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you on the day.

5. Giant letters

Our Lboro Grad 2019 giant letters will be located on Shirley Pearce Square and by the Hazelrigg Fountain until 6pm! Student Ambassadors will be around to help take some great photos for you.

7. Find the Lboro stickers on IG/SC

We have some brand new stickers to decorate your graduation Instagram & Snapchat stories! All you need to do is search ‘lboro’ under GIF and you’ll be able to add them to your pictures.

8. Celebrate with us

Don’t forget to tag us (@lborouniversity) in your photos and stories on social media! Also, make sure to use the hashtag #LboroGrad2019 on Instagram and Twitter.

Timings of the day

There are two ceremonies per day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. We try to put together a timetable that fits everything in whilst making sure the day doesn’t feel rushed. In order to feel relaxed and have enough time for photographs, we do recommend that students arrive early with plenty of time before their ceremony.

8:30am-10am / 1pm-2:30pm
  • Register in James France with your e-ticket
  • You will be given your allocated seat number
  • Collect your academic dress from James France
  • Time for a photo! Professional photos will be taken in James France
10am / 2:30pm
  • SDW opens, students should begin to make their way to their seats.
10:15am / 2:45
  • All students should be seated in their allocated seats
  • Guests will be directed to seats by ushers
10:30am / 3pm
  • The ceremony starts and will be approximately 90 minutes
6pm
  • Please return your academic dress by 6pm
JOINT Fund series: The Fair Energy Mark 1

JOINT Fund series: The Fair Energy Mark 1

June 26, 2019 Loughborough University London

As part of the JOINT Fund initiative, Dr Laura Santamaria, Lecturer within the Institute for Design Innovation, leads the ‘The Fair Energy Mark’ campaign to address and raise standards in the energy sector by design.

In 2017, Hackney Citizens set to win justice for those in debt because of fuel poverty, and as a response to climate change. The Fair Energy Mark campaign was created to tackle such issues by addressing injustices in the energy market.

Dr. Laura Santamaria researcher leads the communications strategy for the campaign explained:

Designing public policies and services is a central challenge in our societies today. Our research agenda builds on the idea that design enables innovation through positive change in the context of users, organisations, ecosystems and society. The Fair Energy Mark campaign represents the opportunity to engage at local, city-wide and national level, influencing effective concrete change in energy strategy for the common good.

The project started as a teaching-enterprise collaboration between Citizens UK and Dr Vicky Lofthouse, by setting a challenge to Design Thinking students at Loughborough University London in 2017. The students produced insightful research and innovative ideas that informed the contents of the kitemark. The results grew into an alliance between Loughborough University London, Citizens UK, St James’ Church, Clapton, Hackney Foodbank, Money A+E, plus two energy companies, Bulb and Octopus, who partnered to make this happen.

Successful campaigns led by Citizens UK such as the Living Wage (in which Loughborough University’s collaboration was also instrumental) has resulted in pay rises for over 150,000 workers and their families. This reveals not only the importance of raising market standards to reduce poverty, but also exposes the extreme pressures on low incomes families and the importance of doing all we can to tackle market forces that perpetuate poor sector practices.

Laura commented:

As the academic leaders of the campaign team, our function is to actively involve stakeholders (customers, business suppliers), to raise the sector standards. Earlier this year, we run workshops with the community to hear what a fair energy supplier means for local residents. The message is clear: fair pricing, equitable service, and responsibility for the environment.

The project won a JOINT fund award to design and prototype the campaign’s branding and communication strategy, by co-designing with the companies and the public. Laura said:

We are proud for the university’s vision to back this project. We now ready to launch the Fair Energy Mark campaign within the Olympic Park neighbourhood to test the business model and branding before scaling-up to national level.

This is also the first design-led project that will directly contribute to building capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and impact within Citizens UK as an organisation.

If you want to know more about the Fair Energy Mark Campaign, contact Dr. Laura Santamaria, l.santamaria@lboro.ac.uk.

Summer Opening Times

June 26, 2019 Sammie Man

We know that some students are still studying over the summer holidays, which means that they will be out and about on campus! We’ve put together a list of the opening times around campus.

Continue reading

Update to Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence

June 26, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues,
On Monday 17th June, from 4:00pm to 4:30pm, the Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence will be updated to provide support for the Dell Latitude 3400.
The Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to image any Windows 10 staff computers at this time.
CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

Update to Windows 10 Re-imaging and Provisioning Task Sequences

June 26, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday 28th June, from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, the Windows 10 Staff Re-imaging and Provisioning Task Sequences will be updated to support Windows 10 1809.

The Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to image or provision any computers to Windows 10 at this time.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

Graduation - what do you need to do?

June 25, 2019 Sammie Man

Graduation is an exciting time but it can also be a very busy time so we have put together a list to make sure you get everything done before the big day!

1. Check the dates

There will be a number of different graduation ceremonies happening from 16th July until 19th July. The date of your ceremony will vary depending on your course so make sure you know when it is! Find the list of all ceremony dates here.

2. Book your attendance

You need to book your attendance by 28th June. If you don’t you may not be given a place in the ceremony. Everyone is guaranteed 2 extra tickets for guests but if you would like to request more you will be able to do this a week before graduation. Book your attendance now.

3. Data consent

Check your data consent preferences! It is important to do this so that your name can be included in the graduation programme and on other promotional materials. If you haven’t given consent you will be contacted by the graduation office. Find out more about data consent here.

4. Additional needs

It is important to let the graduation office know if you or your guests have any additional needs, for example, assistance crossing the stage. as they will do their best to provide this for you. You can email them here:  graduation@lboro.ac.uk

5. Hire your gown/hat

Graduands are required to wear full academic dress, gown, hood, and cap, which can be hired from our official gown supplier, Ede and Ravenscroft Ltd. The colours and style will vary depending on your course, so make sure to order the right one! This needs to be done as soon as possible, order yours here.

6. Results released

Your results will be published online at here two days after your programme board, usually around the start of July. Your academic fees need to be paid in order for your results to be released. If this page states that your results have not been published because your balance is not clear then you must contact the Finance Office immediately.

7. E-tickets are sent and additional tickets available

About a week before graduation you will receive your E-tickets and the availability of additional tickets will be confirmed. These will be released on a first-come-first-served basis. However, a webcast will also be available in a lecture theatre for guests who cannot be accommodated in the main venue.

8. Lunch/Dinner/Hotels

Family and friends will travel from various distances to come to graduation, so this might mean that they need somewhere to stay! We have a selection of options on campus here, but would recommend not leaving booking too last minute! Similar, if you want somewhere to eat lunch or dinner, make sure to check out the options on campus and in town, but book soon!

You can find all the information you need to know here.

The Student Ambassador Experience

The Student Ambassador Experience

June 24, 2019 Loughborough University London

We spoke with current Sport Business and Innovation MSc student, Anush, about his experience as a Student Ambassador at Loughborough University London.

Each year we recruit enthusiastic students with a passion for Loughborough University London at the start of each academic year. Our Student Ambassador scheme allows students to work alongside their studies on tasks set within the University. Previous jobs have included helping at events, speaking on panels, and answering prospective student questions on webchats or over the phone. The working hours for the role are designed to be flexible, so you can plan work commitments around your studies.

How did you become a Student Ambassador?

When looking for jobs, the Student Ambassador role looked ideal because it has flexible working hours and allowed me to meet other students on campus. The recruitment process in itself was a welcoming experience, especially the interview, which was a good morale booster at the very start of my studies.

Tell us about your experience as a Student Ambassador

My experience as a Student Ambassador has been enlightening so far. The numerous open-day events have enabled me to interact with a diverse population of prospective students. Similarly, throughout the call campaigns I have interacted with students across the globe and gained an insight into their planning process in the build up to a master’s degree at Loughborough University London.

Furthermore, through this opportunity I have made friends and acquaintances with students outside my own institute, helping me to add to my ever-growing network of people – which is something the University encourages from your very first day. The free food at some of these student ambassador events have been an added bonus, as well as earning a reasonable amount of money for each job worked as a Student Ambassador.

What would be your advice to future Student Ambassadors?

I would encourage future Student Ambassadors to configure Outlook on their phones to get ahead of the curve – there’s a limited number of jobs and many more Student Ambassadors, which means you need to keep checking for job offers. With the job being flexible, jobs are a first come first served basis.

How have you found balancing your studies alongside working as a Student Ambassador?

Even though the Student Ambassador position is a part-time job, it has never felt like a huge task to me. The University understands that students have to navigate a busy schedule throughout the year. Therefore, the Student Ambassador working hours remain flexible to help you plan around lectures and assignments. Additionally, the fact that most jobs are held on campus, ensures you can save on transport costs and time. Furthermore, the Student Ambassador co-ordinators and supervisors are friendly and approachable people who are always willing to help. They are also open to feedback to help improve the Student Ambassador experience.

All-in-all my Student Ambassador experience has been insightful and educational, and I would definitely recommend it to prospective students!


Applications to become a Student Ambassador will open within the first semester for 2019-20 students. Information will be available during Induction Week and online. In the meantime, you can find details on the Student Ambassador role here.

JOINT Fund series: Diverse Digital Founders

JOINT Fund series: Diverse Digital Founders

June 21, 2019 Loughborough University London

Supported by the JOINT Fund initiative, Dr Angela Martinez Dy co-organised an event for founders of digital businesses who are from diverse backgrounds, such as women, people of colour, immigrants and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. This was so they could meet and learn from industry experts and each other, and to build and strengthen network connections. This event was called ‘The Diverse Digital Founders Summit’.

The inaugural event, entitled ‘Know Your Worth, Elevate Your Vision’ took place last month at Loughborough University London.

The event was jointly co-organised by Dr Angela Martinez Dy, Building the Anti-Racist Classroom, Digital Women UK, and Your Startup/Your Story.  It featured talks from members of the Your Startup/Your Story community and workshops from Digital Women’s UK Missing in Action programme, combining personal and professional development for diverse creatives and women in tech. The lively, relaxed and social event closed with an open mic hosted and DJed by Juganaut, UK hip-hop artist extraordinaire, followed by an afterparty at Shane’s on Canalside.


You can find out more about the JOINT Fund and this year’s projects in our news story.

Alumni support recent graduates at mentoring event in London

Alumni support recent graduates at mentoring event in London

June 20, 2019 Loughborough University London

On 6 June, eight alumni visited Loughborough University London to meet with recent graduates and current students to offer support, advice and conduct speed-interviews.

Organised by the Careers Network and Alumni Engagement teams, they worked with alumni from a variety of industries to provide real-life interview experiences for 2018 graduates and current Loughborough University London students.

The event opened with a panel discussion, chaired by alumna Margaret Eyres, Director of Export and Agency Finance at Commerzbank AG.

Alumni John Harrison, Managing Partner at BBH London; Alan Palmer, Vice President R&D, Unilever; and Sumeet Vermani, Global Marketing Director of Digital Marketing at WorldPay, also provided their top tips on making successful applications.

The panellists urged graduates and current Loughborough University London students to channel their passion, research the company and know why they want to work for them specifically and align their application to the values of the organisation.

Graduates and students then had the opportunity to ask questions before moving onto the speed-interviewing session. They received instant feedback from the interviewers, including the panellists and four other alumni: Chris Barrass, Head of Propositions & Solution Delivery at Visa; Paul Garside, Risk Director at Barclaycard Payment Solutions; Martin Gossling, CEO of 270 Vision and Helen Rothwell, Head of Channel Engagement at Barclays.

Attendees enjoyed the day, gaining valuable interview skills and knowledge from Loughborough alumni across different sectors. Attendees from the event said:

 It was a really great event – especially as we had the opportunity to meet with Alumni in a 1-1 setting. I was able to gain an insight into different sectors and it was very well hosted!

It was a really organised informal event which provided the opportunity to learn from others who have been through/ are going through the same situation as you. It was great to speak to individual experts who genuinely care and who are willing to help you.


To find out more about future events taking place on campus, check out our events page.

JOINT Fund series: Utility Business Model Innovation through Digitalisation in Low-income Communities

JOINT Fund series: Utility Business Model Innovation through Digitalisation in Low-income Communities

June 14, 2019 Loughborough University London

Dr Kun Fu, Elizabeth Nyeko, Professor Mathew Hughes and Dr Yogachandran Rahulamathavan lead a project supported by the JOINT Fund that aims to improve our understanding of the current energy business context under the influence of digital technologies, and the role of key stakeholders in the energy ecosystem.

This research project explores their experiences of different business models, and identify the barriers and enablers of digitalisation in driving the emergence of new utility business models. 

This project represents the first steps in developing a future impactful interdisciplinary research collaboration through carrying out an explorative field study in low-income communities of South Africa and Tanzania in Africa. It aims to improve our understanding of the current energy business context under the influence of digital technologies, and the role of key stakeholders in the energy ecosystem, explore their experiences of different business models, and identify the barriers and enablers of digitalisation in driving the emergence of new utility business models. The project will gather insights to inform the development of digitally-driven and customer-centric utility business models in the energy sector.

To date, a conceptual framework that takes into consideration the research interests of each team member involved has been developed. A pilot interview has been designed to better understand the issues regarding the business models and their potential for digital transformation in the energy sector before the field study. The team has applied for other bigger research grant- the British Council UK-China-BRI countries Partnership Fund, and are preparing for the upcoming opportunities – the GCRF Sustainable energy and international development: beyond technology and the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships.


More information on the JOINT Fund and this year’s projects can be found on our news story.

Being a sustainable student!

Being a sustainable student!

June 14, 2019 Caroline

World Environment Day was on the 5th June 2019! Living on the 438 acres of the beautiful green and biodiverse campus that Loughborough is, I thought I’d gather some tips on how to be a sustainable student. Continue reading

Art Degree Show 2019 Review

Art Degree Show 2019 Review

June 13, 2019 Emma

As a first year Graphic Communication and Illustration student, I took the time to look around Loughborough’s annual Art Degree Show exhibition. I found this truly inspiring knowing that I’ll be up there in 2 years time. Continue reading

Union Cup Victory

Union Cup Victory

June 12, 2019 Loughborough University London

Between 7 June and 9 June 2019, Sport Business and Leadership MSc student, Nao, played in the Union Cup, Europe’s largest LGBT+ inclusive Rugby tournament.

The Union Cup is the European non-professional LGBT+ inclusive rugby competition that takes place every two years in a different location. This year, 45 teams from fifteen countries over Europe participated in the two-day tournament in Dublin.

Nao was a player of Kings Cross Steelers 1st XV, based in Newham who won the Union Cup 2019. They defeated Manchester Village Spartans 65-0 in the final.

He said:

It was an amazing honour to be part of the champion team. What I really learnt from this two-day rugby festival is the power of inclusiveness in modern sports.

In coursework at Loughborough University London, we sometimes focus on the importance of diversity in sports as the future industry leader. So it was fantastic joining this event to develop further practical understanding, as well as being an achievement.


The Kings Cross Steelers have won all but one Union Cup so it is fantastic achievement for them – congratulations Nao for being part of the team!

8 things to ask at a University open day

8 things to ask at a University open day

June 12, 2019 Kathryn

Coming to an open day can really help to finalise your decision on which university is for you, and where you can see yourself studying and living next year. Continue reading

Current trends across the Sport Business education sector

Current trends across the Sport Business education sector

June 11, 2019 Loughborough University London

Professor James Skinner and Professor Aaron Smith, Institute for Sport Business, discuss some of the current and emerging trends that are driving change and new opportunities across the Sport Business education sector in the Sport Business Professional last week.

With the sport business industry growing rapidly, the education sector is rising to meet its needs. The demand for new recruits also continues to escalate.

In the Sport Business Professional article, three topics were discussed:

  1. Relentless Change
  2. Key markets
  3. Key skills domains

A conclusion of the article is that Sport Business programmes must inspire sport business students to navigate and embrace the need for relentless innovation – something that is displayed within our Sport Business programmes.

You can read the full article here.

Surviving on a budget

Surviving on a budget

June 11, 2019 Disha

One of the biggest surprises for me at Loughborough was that the monthly expenses here could average to approximately £300, if budgeted well. Continue reading

Making the most of a study break

June 10, 2019 Sammie Man

Mid-exam season and all students are busy studying. However, working all day 24/7 isn’t always the best way to get work done and you may find yourself feeling even less motivated. A key way to avoid this is to take breaks whilst studying as it will help your mind recharge. Here are our top tips on how to make your study break productive.

1. Exercise

Getting active is the best way to relax your brain and to stop thinking about work, whilst also releasing any stress that you have. On campus, there are lots of activities to get involved with; from our two gyms and classes (see more) to free sports activities with My Lifestyle (see more).

2. Eat a healthy snack

On your break take the opportunity to fix yourself a healthy snack such as fruit, veggie sticks, oatmeal or breakfast bars. This is a great way to help your energy levels and memory. Cafes on campus are also a great place to pick up a snack, plus it gives you the opportunity to get out and about with friends. Find out where they are here.

3. Chat with friends/family

Sometimes the best thing you can do is have a chat with friends and family. It will enable you to completely relax and take your mind off everything. Not to mention you might be able to get some help on a question you were stuck on or brainstorm new ideas!

4. Tidy up

Mess equals stress. Tidying your study area is a great way to have a productive study break as it will help you focus and clear your mind. Also, having less clutter on your desk will help improve your productivity because you won’t get distracted whilst doing your work.

5. Get creative

Colouring can relieve your brain from the stress of exams and coursework because you doing something relaxing. Therefore, this could help you feel more positive and motivated towards your studies. On campus, LU Arts frequently run different creative events and all students are welcome to get involved. You can find out what they have going on here.

6. Listen to music 

Listening to music can help you relax, which is sometimes key to having a productive day of studying. It will make you feel happier and more positive towards your work which will increase your motivation and help you complete your work.

7. Do a chore/run an errand

Whether it is putting the washing on or dropping a parcel off at the post office, using this time to get other jobs/errands done is a proactive way to spend your study break. It will also help you feel more organised and on top of things.

If you’re feeling stressed or have questions about exams head here to find answers and extra support.

Loughborough ranked in top five again in Guardian University Guide 2020

Loughborough ranked in top five again in Guardian University Guide 2020

June 7, 2019 Loughborough University London

Loughborough has retained its top five ranking in the 2020 Guardian University Guide, taking 4th place for the second year running.

The national league table, published today (Friday 7 June), ranks the country’s 121 universities by scoring each institution on a range of aspects of university life, including how satisfied students are with their course and what their chances are of getting a good job.

The 2020 Guardian University Guide top ten is:

  1. Cambridge
  2. St Andrews
  3. Oxford 
  4. Loughborough
  5. Durham 
  6. Bath
  7. Imperial College
  8. Lancaster
  9. Warwick
  10. Exeter

Find out more in our news story.

Partner industry specialisation and audit pricing in the UK

June 7, 2019 Ondine Barry

Accounting firms are generally organised as partnerships, and this provides them with a structure that allows optimal delegation of the decision rights to the partner level where relevant specific knowledge is located.

Partners play the central role in planning and administering the external audit service provided to the client and are accountable for the final audit report that they sign. Partner autonomy suggests that audit outcomes vary with partners’ characteristics, including their expertise, and that the accounting firms nationally, or even the individual engagement offices of the accounting firms, play a less important role in administering audit engagements.

Extant literature in auditing implicitly assumes that industry expertise is homogeneous across individual partners within the same audit firm (national-level perspective) or within the same city for a given firm (office-level perspective).

The assumptions are that knowledge can be shared through practices such as internal benchmarking of best practices, use of standardised industry-tailored audit programs and extending the reach of professionals from their primary local-office clientele to other clients through travel and internal consultative practices.

However, more recent research has started focusing on industry expertise at the audit-partner level. This is based on the argument that an audit partner’s industry expertise developed from individual personal beliefs, experiences, and values are not easily transferred between city offices or partners within the same audit firm. Besides that, not all types of industry knowledge can be documented and transferred, and an individual audit partner’s professional judgement is unique and is controlled by the innate ability of the individual partner.

In addition, there are factors that deter auditors from sharing what they know with others. For example, the pursuit of personal benefits and power by individual auditors, constraints and workload pressure that reduce knowledge sharing efforts, or inadequacy in audit firms’ information technology may deter auditors from sharing their knowledge with others.

In 2008, the UK regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), proposed an audit quality framework showing that audit partner skills, knowledge and expertise are important drivers of audit quality. Consistently, the disclosure of the name of the senior statutory auditor (or engagement partner) signing off the auditor’s report for and on behalf of the audit firm was made mandatory in the UK beginning from 6 April 2008 (Section 503 of Companies Act 2006).

In the context of our study, these developments indicate that partner specialisation is a crucial component in understanding auditor specialisation premiums and transferability of industry expertise within an audit firm. Furthermore, the extent to which partner industry expertise contributes to higher audit quality remains an unanswered empirical question in the UK.

The Study

Therefore, our study empirically examines whether industry expertise at the partner level is independently associated with audit pricing within the UK market.

As explained earlier, this study is motivated by the issue of differentiating auditor quality and the opportunity provided by the mandatory requirement for the disclosure of the engagement partner’s name in the auditor’s report in the UK. This requirement provides an opportunity to investigate whether audit industry expertise is driven by firm, office or partner level expertise, or some combination of them.

Unlike the situation in the US and Australia, our findings suggest that the fee premium attached to auditor industry expertise is a joint product of firm and partner level of industry expertise. The fee premium is highest when the client is also audited by the leading industry partner.

These findings provide evidence that partner industry leadership is an important but not a necessary condition for a fee premium in the UK audit market. The findings provide support for the argument that industry expertise is uniquely attributable to the individual audit partner’s human capital in terms of their knowledge and experience from leading audit engagements in a particular industry.

Expertise also captured at the firm national level remains an important aspect in generating fee premiums. The evidence also confirms recent results that in the UK there is a shift of industry specialisation from the city level to the national level. Our findings are generally robust to alternative measures of industry leadership.

The implications

The results of this study are of interest in understanding the economic importance of investing in partner industry specialisation. The results are also relevant in assessing the impact of the mandatory disclosure of a partner’s identity in the U.K audit market, and in reassessing the impact of the mandatory rotation of audit partners and audit firms.

Whether auditor specialisation fee premiums are related to a particular person (partner) or team, or to the audit firm as a whole, is a relevant question to audit committees, analysts, standard setters and regulators, as it reflects on whether audit quality is uniform for a firm or office, or varies by partner. Such information could be important in choosing an auditor or deciding whether to rely on a set of accounts. Thus, investigating this issue sheds some light on this under-researched topic.

This Blog post is extracted from a journal article entitled “Partner industry specialisation and audit pricing in the United Kingdom” published in the Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation. The paper is co-authored by Dr Khairul Ayuni Mohd Kharuddin (Loughborough University), Dr Ilias G. Basioudis (Aston University) and Professor David Hay (University of Auckland, New Zealand).

his Blog post was written by Dr Khairul Ayuni Mohd Kharuddin, Lecturer in Accounting and member of the Accounting and Finance discipline group at the SBE. Ayuni can be reached via K.Mohd-Kharuddin@lboro.ac.uk

5 things to look out for this June!

5 things to look out for this June!

June 7, 2019 Loughborough University London

Diplomacy, Business and Trade MSc student, Kyle, has written this blog on 5 things to look out for this June!

#1 The Queen’s Birthday Parade

Trooping the Colour marks the Queen’s official birthday celebrations. Tomorrow (Saturday 8th June 2019), join crows of spectators in St James’ Park or along The Mall. There will be a spectacular Royal Air Force flypast that takes place over Buckingham Palace.

#2 Taste of London

Between 19 and 23 June 2019, over 50,000 people flock to London’s Regent’s Park for an alfresco summer feast like no other!

Book tickets now!

#3 London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Experience Chinese culture at the Dragon Boat Festival on 30th June 2019 at London Regatta Centre, Dockside Road!

Details can be found here.

#4 Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival is one of the world’s most famous music and performing art festivals in Somerset!

Between 26th and 30th June, artists such as Miley Cyrus, Stormzy, George Ezra and Kylie will be performing.

While tickets are sold out, you can watch the coverage at home!

#5 Movies on the River

Watch a movie on the top deck of a boat after a cruise along the River Thames! For five nights a week between June and August, you can watch classic movies such as Grease and Dirty Dancing whilst cruising down the Thames.

Find out more here.


If you are ever stuck on things to do in London this Summer, have a read of Visit London’s page.

Loughborough University London would like to thank Kyle for writing this blog!

JOINT Fund: Harnessing the power of digital innovations to improve healthcare access

JOINT Fund: Harnessing the power of digital innovations to improve healthcare access

June 6, 2019 Loughborough University London

Dr Yang Zhuo (Lecturer within Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and Dr Rohit Dasgupta (Senior Lecturer and Programme Director within the Institute for Media and Creative Industries) share the progress of their research project. The research is on the ‘Digitalisation advantage: Harnessing the power of digital innovations to improve healthcare access’, supported by the JOINT Fund initiative.

Our project explores how elderly population in ageing societies (e.g. China) can benefit from digital healthcare innovations. We aim to (1) investigate the actions that drive older healthcare professionals in engaging healthcare digitalization, and (2) look for potential solutions that create digital healthcare access for elderly patients.

We have conducted interviews with 40 healthcare professionals and developed focus groups with 35 patients and family members. The age of the participants ranged from 45 to 93. We made great efforts to access the hospitals and open conversations with the interviewees. For example, we introduced the project in public events and organised workshops at hospitals to explain the project aim and impact.

Campus kestrels: how it all started

Campus kestrels: how it all started

June 5, 2019 Sammie Man

There has been a lot of buzz around the campus kestrels this year! With the live stream documenting every moment and the success of this year’s chicks, we wanted to find out more so we met with Mark Hillman (Senior Arborist) to get an insight into how it all started!

What are kestrels?

Kestrels are birds of prey that belong to the falcon genus. The kestrels on campus are European Kestrels and they are native to Britain. They will be in Britain all year round but only in Loughborough from around March until July. It is likely that the kestrels were drawn to the area due to the abundance of wildlife on campus, which provides a perfect hunting ground. Kestrels will mate for life, so we think it is the same pair that return to Loughborough campus each year. You can tell the difference between male and female kestrels by the difference in their feathers as the male will have fewer black spots and streaks.

How did it all start?

Around 6 years ago the Facilities Management team noticed that the kestrels were trying to nest on an old platform on one of the buildings down by Holywell. They decided to build a box for the kestrels to nest in. In order to make sure it suited their needs so the kestrels would nest there, they used gravel, woodchips, and sawdust to fill the nest to make a bevel shape, made sure it was facing the direction to get sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon and gave it an had an open approach. Usually kestrels will nest in hollow trees or a rocky area, however, they wouldn’t build a nest like other birds do. The team decided to put in a live stream camera in the box as it allows them to monitor the chicks and learn what they are feeding on, so they can help to encourage more of that type of wildlife in the area.

How are this year’s chicks doing?

It is very exciting that this year the female kestrel laid five eggs and all five have hatched! Whilst still in their eggs, the female kestrel will stop hunting to incubate the eggs for about four weeks, relying on the male to continue to bring her food. If the eggs are left alone they can be threatened by other birds such as magpies. Since hatched, they all appear to be doing well with the female kestrel being a good mother, ensuring that they are being kept warm until they can control their own body temperatures. The male kestrel will continue to bring food for the chicks and their mother until they are ready to fledge. This year it appears that they are mainly feeding on mice and small birds!

So what happens next?

In about a week (two weeks after the eggs have hatched) the chicks will begin to get new feathers and they will start preening themselves. Then after about a month after hatching, they will fledge, spending a final few weeks with their parents learning to hunt within the Loughborough area. Finally, they will separate once they can fend for themselves and the parents will hopefully return in March 2020. Mark’s task after this will be to clean out the new fiberglass box ready and prepare a new nest and he has said he hopes to reposition the camera so people will be able to watch the kestrels come and go as well as nesting.

Sustainability and Facilities Management are doing an amazing job of encouraging wildlife on campus, including putting down extra grain during cold winters to provide food for mice and birds. If you want to find out more about the wildlife on campus click here.
To watch the live stream click here.

Deployment of Java 8u201 to Windows 10 Staff Service

June 5, 2019 Mike Collett

We shall be deploying Java 8 Update 201 to the Windows 10 Staff Service beginning next Monday.

The rollout plan is:-
ITS and Careers – 3rd June
Professional Services – 5th June
Schools A-M – 7th June
All Staff – 11th June

The user will be offered the update each day until the installation is successfully completed. For the first two weeks the installation can be postpone if the timing is inconvenient. After two weeks the installation becomes mandatory.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information.

Update to Windows 10 IPU and Provisioning Task Sequences

June 5, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday 7th June, from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, the Windows 10 Staff In-Place-Update and Provisioning Image Task Sequences will be updated to include Oracle Java 8 Update 201.

The Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to upgrade any computers to Windows 10 or provision any Windows 10 computers at this time.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

Ethical gift giving: why it's important and how to do it

June 4, 2019 Ondine Barry

Many of us used the new year as an opportunity to make positive changes in our life, setting resolutions throughout January to eat more healthily, exercise more or do something new.

It may come as no surprise then, given the continuous climate warnings by scientists, that numerous individuals will also have set goals that encourage them to be more environmentally friendly. They might look to reduce single plastic use, say no to fast-fashion or opt for walking to work instead of driving.

Dr Petros Vourvachis, Lecturer in Accounting at the School of Business and Economics, has a research focus on corporate social responsibility and environmental accounting and has suggested one easy resolution everyone can make that will benefit the planet and people living on it: committing to ethical gift giving.

He discusses below how we might want to consider the ethics of gift giving in the future and reflects on the recent festive period.

Gift giving is important, not only during the festive period but to celebrate birthdays and other occasions too, writes Dr Vourvachis, and lots of people depend on producing and selling gifts for their economic survival. This also indirectly benefits communities and governments.

Dr Petros Vourvachis

From an economic perspective, whole industries depend on gift giving and of course this generates jobs, pays taxes, and contributes to community wellbeing. The more gifts we give the better – although this does damage our savings and potential consumption after Christmas.

However, from an environmental point of view, there are detrimental impacts as a result of consuming potentially scarce resources to produce gifts which can directly and indirectly contribute to climate change. To some, this would be enough to suggest we shouldn’t be giving any gifts at all.

A benefit of gift giving is that it arguably contributes to social wellbeing; we feel good buying gifts for those we care about and we also value receiving them too. We just need to consider the dangers of overdoing the exchanging of presents.

People need to consider the ethical implications. Can we guarantee the product was not produced by incriminating human rights such as child labour and bribery?

We should also consider the ethics behind consumption too. Consider the marketing tactics and psychology used by organisations to encourage people to over-consume, and the stress people feel to buy more and more presents, and to make sure they are the right ones too.

Who is responsible for ensuring we can be more ethical in our gift giving?

Arguably it is everyone’s responsibility to drive ethical gift consumption, including governments, corporate organisations but particularly, individuals.

Corporations have a big impact on our consumer routines and patterns, and they certainly have a great role to play towards driving ethical gift consumption, assuming they too realise the potential benefits of doing so.

From a corporate responsibility perspective, companies (and individuals) have three primary reasons for engaging in more sustainable practices:

  • Because they believe it is the right thing to do;
  • Because they have been forced to do it (by regulation or social pressure); and
  • Because they see a personal benefit from it.

From this, we can see individuals play a significant role in pressuring organisations to change by choosing to gift ethically.

Companies are likely to eventually back down to meet demands, especially as they also economically benefit from the change by attracting more ethically driven customers and employees, building a social image and strengthening their brand.

How to buy ethical gifts

It’s difficult to define when gift giving becomes ethical or unethical. We should not be providing gifts that endanger the social, environmental or economic sustainability of future generations to meet their needs.

When buying we should all consider social, economic and environmental perspectives.

Asking yourself questions like the below might be a good starting point:

  • Do they meet environmental standards?
  • Can the materials be reused or recycled?
  • Is the product fair trade?
  • Will this contribute towards helping the living standards of the producer?

Sonja Peacock, Environmental Management Assistant from the University’s Sustainability Team, shares a few ideas of what an ethical gift could be:

“To avoid material goods, you could gift a subscription to an online magazine, enrol someone onto a course for a skill they’ve always wanted to learn – such as piano lessons – or even give them an experience, such as afternoon tea or tickets to a show.

“You can also consider buying second-hand from charity shops, or mending or repurposing something broken that means a lot to a loved one.

She continues: “There are lots of options, but giving your time to spend with someone doing an activity you’ll both enjoy is probably one of the greatest gifts you can provide.”

More information on how to reduce and reuse in everyday life on campus can be found on the Sustainability webpages.

This Blog post was written by Dr Petros Vourvachis, Lecturer in Accounting and member of the Accounting & Finance discipline group at the School of Business and Economics. Petros can be reached on p.vourvachis@lboro.ac.uk

The underlying economics behind contests: The Conservatives leadership battle, Miss India, Eurovision, Brexit and Inequality

June 4, 2019 Ondine Barry

From hit shows like Strictly Come Dancing to Miss India, the Conservative party leadership battle and the recent Eurovision extravaganza – contests teach us a lot about human behaviour, taste and the way markets operate. Tacky, fun or lifestyle enriching contests inform us about the interaction of the consumer (judge/voter) and the supplier/firm (contestant) looking for a way to win our hard-earned income (votes). It’s about all about power, taste and inequality.

It’s a well-known truth that it’s not what you consider the most beautiful, best or highest quality contestant that matters – its what everybody else thinks! How the judging panel is set up, who is allowed to vote, and who has the biggest voting power makes a big difference to the outcome. We observed this critical point in the recent 2019 Eurovision when the jury choice Sweden was knocked off pole position by the people’s vote in favour of the Netherlands (although the peoples and panels votes were consistent in the low rated case of the UK!). More importantly it highlights when ordinary folk versus expert clash – how ‘the people’ versus the ‘professional decision makers’ – Parliament – have taken a rather different path over Brexit!

How the contest is set up, who you are allowed to compete, what is presented to the voters are all important aspects – perhaps highlighted by the current controversy surrounding the Miss India contest which the BBC article entitled “Miss India contest: Why do all the finalists ‘look the same’?” – taking up the criticism of images presented of the contestants that despite differing skin tones amongst the population in India the current Miss India contest appears to favour …“tame, glossy, shoulder-length hair and a skin tone that is virtually identical”.

The interplay between perceived desirable characteristics and who gets to choose the winner is of course all part and parcel of the way we make, distribute, price and allocate resources, goods and services in the economy. Businesses thrive by delivering what the customer wants. This is how the stock market works – you may believe one particular stock is a great investment with great returns, but if the market is against you (that is everyone else thinks it will perform poorly) then the price will collapse.

This is also how University applications work – students may choose their favourite course and University, but its other groups who decide which is ‘best’, the various league tables research panels as well as government and media coverage. Recently the debate over the financing of degrees highlights the view that some  degrees are of low value – perhaps to politicians and business but maybe not the student! Value is not just based on prices/costs it’s a very personal evaluation which consumers rightly or wrongly make for themselves. In this sense the individual is of no consequence to the so-called experts, which can be frustrating and damaging – but that is how the economic and business world works.

Cleary who decides or judges matters greatly, and this is where markets can fail. In the case of massive inequality for supply our governments and regulators around the world do a hit and miss job for example in the regulation of the IT mega companies – my recent post highlighted the failed ASDA/Sainsbury (together with 30.6% market share) merger – rejected for being too big whilst Tesco (27.3%) goes unmolested. But when it comes to inequality of consumer spending power blind eyes are being turned in every quarter – we do not seem to mind that some have great influence over our lives and our world without legal, regulatory or other checks and balances.

The contest over leader of the conservative party works is a very simplistic contest of rounds – rather easier to understand than the proportional voting method of the recent EU election! To choose a leader anyone from the party can be put forward nominated by two MPs, all the nominees are progressively removed as each voting round takes place until one person is left. Unpopular candidates can be quickly weeded out or take a good hint and drop out – the new leader is therefore the least unpopular person. Ironically that few days of voting to get Mrs May’s replacement shows how we could have set up voting for the least unpopular Brexit policy!

In the end – do you believe in the people to make a choice as they m ay not be well educated or fully understand the issues or perhaps let the established experienced well-rounded experts choose – MPs or otherwise. Or do you believe power and privilege among the establishment/elite corrupts and that instead we should all have an equal say because we are all equally affected.

Frivolous maybe, but the Miss India contest, the Eurovision song contest and many other contests encapsulate a wealth of relevance to the world we live in today touching on our perceived impotence with many issues from market regulation of large multinationals, the frustrating Brexit issue, inequality, and perhaps more importantly energy, climate change and how we resolve global warming.

This Blog post was written by Dr Jon Seaton, Reader in Business Economics and member of the Accounting & Finance and Economics discipline groups at the School of Business and Economics. Jon can be reached on j.s.seaton@lboro.ac.uk

Revision Techniques

Revision Techniques

June 3, 2019 Sammie Man

With lots of exams and deadlines coming up, revision can seem pretty daunting! It can be hard to know where to start but we’ve put together a few revision techniques which can help you feel confident in your revision.

Know yourself

Everyone works differently which means that people will revise in different ways. Spend a little bit of time figuring out what makes you productive, whether it’s working with friends or working solo, drawing mind maps or making notes. This ensures that the work you will be doing will be helpful and you will achieve more.

Make notes

Collating all the key subject areas and topics is a great way to start your revision. This can make what you are doing more structured and will help you know what to prioritise during your revision. Don’t get too hung up on making your notes though! It can be easy to spend too long writing them and not enough time learning them.

Past papers

Completing past papers is one of the best ways to revise as it shows you what you really know and what you may not know as well. It will also familiarise yourself with the kind of answers you will have to give. Also, whilst going through past papers make a note of the topics and themes that come up so you can make sure you have covered them!

Plan essays

Some exams will require mini-essays as answers so it is a good idea to have some planned or written under the topics that you have studied. This means that you will feel more confident when writing your answer, as well as learning how long each takes you to write.

Revision sessions

Often lecturers will hold revision sessions when it gets closer to the exam to help prepare students. Make sure you attend these as it is likely you will get key advice from the lecturer and the chance to ask questions! Plus the planned session means that you have a chance to focus on one particular area so you can just build it into your revision planning.

Queue cards

These are handy to use for brief notes and is a great way to test yourself! It works on your active recall and will build your confidence in answering questions. These are good to use to learn facts and figures in preparation for your exam.

Diagrams & mind maps

If writing notes or queue cards isn’t for you then diagrams and mind maps might be more suited! This method of revision is a lot more visual and could help you to understand tricky topics. They are also a great way to brainstorm ideas for essay plans and coursework!

Be realistic

When you’ve started revision it can be tempting to keep going for as long as you can but this can make you unproductive with your time. Taking lots of short breaks can help to ensure that you are more focused during the time that you do work.

For extra help and support head to the University’s support website here where you can find details on regulations, computer labs, Maths and English support, personal support and other guidance.
JOINT Fund series: Investigating Social Responsibility and Social Impact within the Esport Industry

JOINT Fund series: Investigating Social Responsibility and Social Impact within the Esport Industry

May 31, 2019 Loughborough University London

As part of the JOINT Fund initiative, Dr Emily Hayday leads research that intends to better understand the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of key stakeholders towards social impacts through/within Esport. This blog shares the progress of the research so far:

Aims of the project

This research is being undertaken by the Institute for Sport Business and the Institute for International Management. This exploratory study will act as a pilot investigation and intends to better understand the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of key stakeholders towards social impact through/within Esport. This research will explore the challenges and opportunities to enact Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agendas and consider the potential role of Esport to achieve socio-cultural development goals.

Progress so far

This research aims to mobilise and engage key Esport stakeholders, alongside individuals working within the area of sport for development, community and youth programmes to explore and recognise the diverse social development opportunities Esport may provide.

We organised, planned and promoted three research workshops. One was hosted at Loughborough University London on the 12 April 2019. The other two workshops were hosted in collaboration with Cal Esports at the University of California on the 26 and 27 April 2019 which engaged relevant organisations and stakeholders, as well as gamers themselves.

Key challenges and successes so far

As Esport is such a dynamic and growing industry, we are really starting from the ground up, exploring complex issues from multiple perspectives. So, to ensure a range of voices are heard, as are also undertaking additional interviews with relevant individuals. Importantly, we have received interest and enthusiasm from multiple stakeholders, who have noted the importance of this research area. We are promoting the workshops through multiple channels and have workshop attendees who will be representing organisations such as: GAME, WHU Foundation, National Student Esports, Edge Esports and many more.


If you are interested in getting involved in this study or hearing more, please contact the lead researcher: e.hayday@lboro.ac.uk

More information on the JOINT Fund initiative can be found on our news story. To keep up-to-date with our research projects, check our blog weekly.

Let’s tackle fashion waste and be more clothing conscious

Let’s tackle fashion waste and be more clothing conscious

May 31, 2019 PR Office

No matter what time of year it is, it seems we always have some occasion to buy gifts for.

Dr Kerri Akiwowo.
Dr Kerri Akiwowo.

Maybe you’ll pick up a scarf for Dad on Father’s Day, a knitted jumper for Aunt Sue for her birthday and socks for everyone else – because who doesn’t love receiving socks?!

But have you ever considered how damaging generic and seemingly thoughtless fashion items can be to the environment?

According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), around £140m worth of clothing goes into landfill each year and clothing has the fourth largest environmental impactafter housing, transport and food.

Dr Kerri Akiwowo, a Lecturer in Textiles at Loughborough University, shares her tips for giving more environmentally-friendly clothing gifts and reveals the materials shoppers should avoid purchasing.

‌As a designer, maker, researcher, educator and mother, I have, in more recent years, felt an increased sense of environmental responsibility towards the work I produce and the things I buy, writes Dr Akiwowo.  

Through textile design research, I have explored ways to reuse fabrics and fibres to create new products, exploit the properties of environmentally-friendly materials and investigate the benefits of low-energy laser-dyeing techniques.  

As my awareness and understanding of the negative impact of our purchasing habits, material choices and consumer behaviours have developed, so too have my thoughts, attitudes and actions.

On a consumer level, we each contribute to the lifecycle of our clothes. We are therefore empowered to make environmentally-driven choices about how we acquire, purchase, use and care for these items.

So, it’s important to consider alternative sustainable ways to gift or buy clothing rather than opting for throw-away, single-use, materially-damaging and mass-produced items.                                               

Keep the ‘second-hand’ economy thriving

Buy second-hand rather than new. Shift the stigma and celebrate ‘pre-loved’ items.

Take the time to seek out quality and nearly new clothes, accessories and homewares. In turn, have a timely clear-out and donate your unwanted items.

Second hand clothing on a rail.

Buy less and customise an existing possession for a loved one

Preserve or update cherished items. Give them a new lease of life.

Why not sew a secret message in a pocket or sleeve? Mend a hole or rip? Decorate a boring cushion? Personalise a pair of curtains?

Prioritise handmade gifts over mass manufactured items

Instead, support local makers, craftspeople, traditional and contemporary textile practitioners.

Visit markets and fairs for one-off purchases and interact with the makers within communities’ first-hand.

Look out for: quilt-makers, knitters, crochet-enthusiasts, print-makers, embroiderers, textile toys and keepsakes.

Purchase more environmentally-friendly materials

What to avoid 

  • Cotton: is the most environmentally demanding crop and can cause significant health complications in humans due the harmful pesticides and fertilisers used in agriculture
  • Leather: is not sustainable because it comes from an animal and requires harsh processing methods and toxic tanning substances
  • Polyester: is synthetic so takes hundreds of years to decompose and although it is recyclable, it requires another chemical process to do so
  • Acrylic: is synthetic, cannot biodegrade, isn’t recyclable, requires toxic chemicals and a lot of energy to produce

What to opt for 

  • Hemp: natural, plant-based and most versatile – it can be eaten, used in beauty cosmetics, used to build architectural structures as well as making clothes and other textile products
  • Linen: natural, plant-based, made from flax
  • Bamboo: natural, plant-based, made from bast fibre
  • Organic cotton: is less damaging and has better eco credentials than conventional cotton but is still resource heavy in terms of water usage which is problematic
  • Lyocell: a cotton alternative, man-made natural fibre, made with wood pulp from sustainable tree farms
  • Plant-based leather: such as mushroom and pineapple leaf alternatives
  • Recycled polyester known as ‘rPET’: made from post-consumer recycled plastic

Avoid complex garments

Complex garments typically utilise a mix of man-made and synthetic textiles and materials in their design and construction.

They pose a huge environmental problem because they are difficult to break down and separate for recycling and will not fully decompose if re-introduced into the ecosystem.

Instead:

  • Look out for mono fibre garments made using a single fibre or materials type throughout
  • Seek clothes that have been created using materials from the same fibre classification i.e. cellulose (from plants), protein (from animals), 100% polyester etc.
  • Limit your consumption of garments that are fashioned using a combination of textiles, metals and plastics such as zips, studs, poppers, buttons, stones, furs, synthetic and natural fibres. 

Alternative clothes such as this can be identified as ‘simple’ in terms of their materiality and pose less threat to the environment due to increased recyclability or biodegradable credentials.

Men checking what a top is made of.

Join the ‘slow clothing’ movement

Make more informed and responsible choices about how you acquire and preserve your clothes.

Say no to ‘fast fashion’ linked to high volumes and low prices, cheap imitations, production and retail speed, throw-away attitudes, poorly made clothes, low-grade materials, questionable labour, waste and pollution.

Try to:

  • Buy well once by focusing on quality that lasts rather than the price which fades
  • Choose clothes and accessories made from natural fibres and limit your consumption of synthetic materials which are more difficult to recycle and more complex to degrade
  • Wash garments less and use cool water to preserve energy and resources and limit the effects of global warming
  • Value home sewing, DIY and handmaking skills to refashion existing clothes and reduce the number of used textiles going to landfill
  • Get involved in the ‘sharing economy’ and ‘collaborative consumption’. There are a number of apps that allow you to access and rent fashion rather than own it, minimising quantity and maximising the usage of individual worn items.
Dr Akiwowo's suggested reading list.

The importance of ‘doing your part for the environment’ is now everybody’s issue and should be a concern to us all.

Ultimately on an individual level, we need to buy less, create more and re-engineer supply-and-demand consumer habits.

Update to Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence

May 30, 2019 Mike Collett

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday 31st May, from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, the Windows 10 Staff Re-Image Task Sequence will be updated to provide support for the Stone Mini PC. Following this work all Task Sequence media will need to be updated.

The Task Sequences will be at risk during this period. It is therefore recommended that you do not attempt to image any Windows 10 staff computers at this time.

CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION AND HELP?
Please contact our Service Desk at it.services@lboro.ac.uk for more information

Doctoral Researcher President Team’s Post (May 2019)

Doctoral Researcher President Team’s Post (May 2019)

May 30, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

This blog post is part of a series of monthly posts detailing the activities of the DR President’s Team (President: Leah Henrickson; Vice-President: Hugh Tawell).

Note: This post refers to PhD/EngD Students as Doctoral Researchers (DR) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). This is because the University uses the former language, and the Union uses the latter.

Well, those May flowers have yet to come, and the May weather was not been as warm as we would have liked. Nevertheless, we’ve been keeping ourselves warm by running from one end of campus to the other representing doctoral researchers at various events and meetings.

Here’s a review of what your President’s Team did in May.

Doctoral College Induction

On 1st May, Leah welcomed new doctoral researchers to Loughborough at one of the Doctoral College’s regularly scheduled inductions. It was great to see some fresh faces, and to get to know about all these new starters’ research projects. People laughed at Leah’s jokes. Leah was thrilled.

Rep Meeting with VC Bob

On 8th May, the PGR Reps had the opportunity to meet with VC Bob and discuss pressing issues related to the Loughborough doctoral experience. The discussion was honest and extensive, and the VC listened carefully to the Reps’ feedback. This was the first of what will hopefully be a series of meetings aimed at further improving the doctoral experience. We are planning to work with the Reps to draft an action plan resulting from this first meeting.

Meeting with Postgrad EO

We meet with the Kamal, the Union’s Postgraduate Executive Officer, so often that we stopped noting these meetings in our monthly blog posts. This meeting on 17th May was so productive, though, that we couldn’t leave it out. The three of us discussed plans for the summer – stay tuned for barbeques, paintballing, and another one of our famous postgraduate nights out!

Doctoral College International Induction

On 21st May, Leah got to welcome fellow international students to Loughborough. She ran a ‘speed dating’ style networking event where participants observed all the wonderfully weird things about British culture. International student members of the PhD Social & Support Network were also around to keep conversations going and to serve as first points of contact for new students who may need some signposting or support.

Doctoral College Sub-Committee

On 24th May, we represented doctoral researchers at the regularly scheduled Doctoral College Sub-Committee meeting. In these meetings, people from around the University who support doctoral researchers (including Directors of Doctoral Programmes, registry, etc.) get together and discuss ways to ensure doctoral successes and wellbeing. In response to feedback, we spent quite a bit of time suggesting ways that DDPs could communicate their action plans stemming from the recently completed PRES (Postgraduate Research Experience Survey).

Organising the PhD Awards

The PhD Awards are coming along nicely! The awards have been designed and are currently being made (we’ve got something great here, folks). On 30th May, we had our panel meeting to confirm shortlists, and winners should be decided soon.

Expect an invitation to the awards ceremony to be included in one of the June Doctoral College bulletins. All will be welcome to attend the ceremony on Friday, 5th July from 6PM, so save the date.

SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: Do you want to be President or Vice President?

It’s almost time for us to leave our roles as President and Vice President. Beginning around 10th June, we’ll be accepting applications for these roles. Keep your eyes peeled for information about the application process in the Doctoral College bulletin.

Upcoming Events

As always, our friends at the PhD Social & Support Network are organising a few social events to get us all away from our desks. Their next two events are:

If you want to keep up-to-date with our activity, join the ‘Doctoral Researchers of Loughborough University’ Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. If you’re a London student, join the ‘Loughborough Students’ Union London 2018-2019’ Facebook group.

Leah and Hugh.

ISB Careers Symposium

ISB Careers Symposium

May 29, 2019 Loughborough University London

In March, the Institute for Sport Business welcomed students, industry partners and alumni onto our campus for the first Institute for Sport Business Careers Symposium.

The Careers Symposium was developed by the Institute for Sport Business to give students and alumni the opportunity to interact with industry professionals and to expand their knowledge and network. This was co-hosted in collaboration with the help of GlobalSportsJobs and aimed to provide a unique opportunity for Loughborough University London students and graduates.

The event was very different to other careers fairs and part of the event was shaped through three tracks, that mirrored our master’s programmes. This exposed our students and alumni to high profile industry leaders, who offered them specific advice, motivation and inspiration from their respective industries, as well as what to expect when looking for a career in sport business.

However, it was also important that students and alumni had the opportunity to network with the sport industries and with each other. After the track discussions, Loughborough University London held a networking session in the Enterprise Hub with industry partners and potential employers. Whilst the tracks were virtual, the Institute for Sport Business wanted to create a dynamic, face-to-face environment where students and alumni could improve their networks and speak to future employers. We were lucky enough to have representation from multiple industry partners and alumni, with organisations such as: Two Circles, National Basketball Association, BT Sport and Sportsonomy in attendance.

Dr Emily Hayday, Lecturer within the Institute for Sport Business shared her insight into the ISB Careers Symposium:

One of the reasons why we believe the ISB Careers Symposium is really important is because a lot of our students come to do our master’s programmes due to the locality in London to get those industry contacts and to give them the opportunity to network and to think about their future careers.

Professor James Skinner, Director of the Institute for Sport Business said:

The symposium provides the opportunity for students to understand what is required to take the next step in their career. They are currently learning about the industry, but the symposium allows them to listen to the journeys from those who have been involved in the industry. Through those conversations, our students have worked out what is required to take that next step and the direction they need to take and how they might go about fulfilling their career aspirations.

Innovation Track

One of the tracks at the ISB careers symposium was on Innovation, aligned with our Sport Business and Innovation MSc.

Speakers at this track included Chris Pollard, Head of Innovation at LTA, Ben Causse, EMEA Sr Commercial Director at Delatre and Lyndsey Eckhouse, Commercial Director at G2 Esports.

Sport Business and Innovation MSc student, Harry, attended the Innovation track because it aligned with his master’s degree. This was particularly beneficial for Harry because his dissertation topic is in the same field as the speakers so was extremely beneficial for his programme. The speakers provided their insight and knowledge on current affairs and how their career progressed.

Marketing Track

There was also the Marketing track at the event, aligned with our Sport Marketing MSc.

Speakers included Jason Hughes, CEO of Suning Sports Group International; Josh Smith, Director of Television Services at FIFA and Stephanie Serediuk, Head of Commercial Strategy of CAA 11.

Alumni, Andrew Bontiff commented:

I attended the Sport Marketing track which was a fantastic insight to see the different speakers in the sport industry, the current trends in sport marketing and to ask questions that will help me in my future career.

Analytics Track

Lastly, there was the Analytics Track which mirrored our Sports Analytics and Technologies MSc.

Speakers included Mike Wragg, EVP Global Head of Research Nielsen; Anthony Stern, Director of Insights and Analytics, Hookit; Shane Campbell, Head of Commercial Development at BT Sport.

Current student, Anushrav said:

I attended the Sports Analytics track and the panel discussed the trajectory and future of sports analytics while providing an insight about the jobs available in that particular sector. The track was extremely beneficial to comprehend the job profiles which exist in the particular industry. Moving forwards, I have a clear idea regarding what potential employers are looking for in a candidate which is going to be extremely beneficial.


The ISB Careers Symposium was a fantastic event – we are hoping to host this as an annual event to ensure that the ISB community, future, past and present are able to learn and engage with highly influential sport business leaders and think about their next steps when graduating from Loughborough University London.

Out and About

Out and About

May 28, 2019 Disha

A recent conversation with a friend, Kavi, made me realise about the status quo of ‘coming out’. This somehow seemed a very relevant topic to me, and will also remain close to my heart. I hope I can share our perspectives through the following excerpts inspired from our conversation… 

Continue reading

The #Lollybins

The #Lollybins

May 24, 2019 Loughborough University London

The JOINT fund initiative has supported Dr Vicky Lofthouse (Senior Lecturer, Institute for Design Innovation) and Dr Debra Lilley (Senior Lecturer, Loughborough Design School) to co-create the Lollybin – a coffee cup recycling.

Continue reading
First doctoral researcher to join Loughborough University London completes PhD degree

First doctoral researcher to join Loughborough University London completes PhD degree

May 23, 2019 Loughborough University London

Qi Peng joined the Institute for Sport Business in 2015 and became the first Doctoral Researcher to successfully complete a PhD degree earlier this month.

Qi’s PhD, entitled The Institutional Change Process in the Chinese Sport Sector: An Organisational Analysis on the Chinese Football Association Reform examined the impact of policy changes on sport organisations through the lens of Multiple Streams Framework and organisational change theories.

Using the Chinese Football Association (CFA) as a case study, Qi’s research aimed to understand the reasons behind the “Jvguo Tizhi”(举国体制) policy and organisational change, the change process and its implications. She completed the degree under the supervision of Professor James Skinner and Professor Barrie Houlihan.

You can continue reading about Qi and the completion of her PhD on our news page. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Qi and wish her the best of luck in the future!

Coursework Tips

Coursework Tips

May 21, 2019 Sammie Man

Large pieces of coursework can seem extremely daunting, especially when it comes to writing a dissertation or creating your final project. We’ve put together some top tips to help you stay calm and keep on track of those deadlines!

1.  Have a clear plan

Having a clear plan of what you need to do from start to finish. This helps to ensure that you don’t get behind as it is likely that you will have other deadlines or exams. It also makes sure that you don’t miss out anything that you would want to include throughout your coursework. The University offers a handy planning guide to help you out, which can be found here.

2.  Get friends to help

Make the most of having an extra pair of eyes to look over your coursework! It is likely that they will be able to spot errors that you haven’t yet. Also, they can help you to generate new ideas when you are feeling stuck!

3.  Don’t do it the night before

Most students will have cram session the night before in order to complete their coursework. However, this can leave you feeling even more stressed and it is likely not to be your best work. Also, it doesn’t leave room for any unforeseen circumstances which might affect your hand in!

4.  Ask tutors for help

You tutors are there to help you! If you find yourself struggling with an essay plan or not sure what your next step should be in your sketchbook then don’t be afraid to ask for help. They will be able to give you advice and guide you on what you should do.

5.  Proofread

Leaving time after finishing your coursework is key to making sure you don’t make any silly mistakes that could lose you marks. The way to do this is to step away from your work for a couple of hours, have a break or work on something else, then come back to it with a fresh mind. This makes sure you can spot errors without missing them.

6.  Research

Sometimes, before diving straight into creating your coursework, it’s best to do lots of research! This enables to make sure that you know the topic you are covering fully, leaving you feeling more confident about your work. It makes sure that there won’t be any knowledge gaps within your work, which you could get marked down for. Check out the University’s guide on reading efficiently to make sure you maximise your research here.

7.  Know how to reference

Referencing may seem hard and confusing on the outside but once you get the hang of it, it is easy to do! It is work checking out the University’s guides to referencing here and spending the time to learn how to do it properly as it can affect your mark. Remember: different schools and subjects have different preferences as to which type of referencing you use, so double check with your tutor first.

8. Utilise the library

Researching is sometimes easier when you have the books in front of you, so make time to go to the library to take books out. Also, make the most of the online services which will allow you to access books from other libraries that Loughborough doesn’t have! Find out more about the library services here.

9. Stick to the assessment criteria

Usually, once coursework has been set lecturers will provide an assessment criteria which outlines the task you need to complete with some extra detail. Throughout completing your coursework make sure you are constantly referring back to this and make sure that you haven’t gone off task.

10.  Know the academic guidelines

Before submitting or handing in your coursework make sure that you have checked that you have met the academic guideline regulations. There are strict rules in place that touch upon plagiarism and late hand-ins so it is best to have a read before you submit! On the other hand, if a personal issue arises there is the potential to apply for mitigating circumstances or an extension. You can find the regulations here.

Things to do in London this Summer!

Things to do in London this Summer!

May 20, 2019 Loughborough University London

Now it is Summer Term and the weather is getting better (we hope), it is a good opportunity to go out and enjoy the best of London before the academic year is over! Diplomacy, Business and Trade MSc student, Kyle, has written this blog on some things you can do in London in the upcoming months!

#1 Riverside Picnic Spots

The BBQ Club is on the South Bank from 3 May 2019! You can find them outside the Southbank Centre, and you can now book spaces for Patch and Picnic and dinners here. Besides good food, there is also Giant Jenga Boules, Skittles, Beach Tennis and Swingball.

#2 Concerts

Many fantastic concerts are going on in London this month including Take That, Mariah Carey, Spice Girls and BLACKPINK!

BLACKPINK are performing at SSE Arena, Wembley on 22 May 2019. Mariah Carey will also be performing between 25-27 May 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall!

#3 Sky Garden

Hang out with some plants at London’s highest public garden. Sky Garden is three storeys of lush landscaped gardens on the thirty-fifth floor of a City skyscraper. Plus, it is free to go up there!

Find out more here.

#4 History lesson at the Tower of London

The Tower of London remains one of the capital’s best and most well-known historical attractions. Plus, it’s situated next to the iconic Tower Bridge, so you’d be hard pushed to miss this medieval spectacle. You can book tickets here.

#5 Museums

London has a wide range of museums, including the Science Museum which features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibit of space, scientific discoveries and technology. The Science Museum is also free to attend!

You can find other top free museums to visit in London here.

#6 Chelsea Flower Show

Between Tuesday 21 May and Saturday 25 May is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This is a garden show where 500 exhibitions are tending to their most prized plants for the held for five days in May by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in Chelsea, London.

#7 Open Air Theatres and Cinemas  

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre runs from May to September. Performances include Hansel and Gretel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Evita.

Launching 30 May 2019 is Summer By the River – entertainment for all ages. With an open air cinema and theatre, big screen summer sports, live comedy and music performances, this is the ultimate London experience this summer.

Enjoy the best shows in the West End when they put on a free, open air performance in Trafalgar Square. This year’s West End Live is 22 to 23 June 2019!


Thank you Kyle for writing this blog. Find out more about Loughborough University London on our webpage.

Our Uni best bits

Our Uni best bits

May 20, 2019 Caroline

With the academic year coming to an end, I think it’s important to remember all the best bits of the year as we are all met with exam and coursework pressures.

So, I interviewed some friends to see which bits of Loughborough 18-19 they’ve ‘luffed’ the most! Continue reading

Making the most of the summer before University

Making the most of the summer before University

May 20, 2019 Emma

I remember my A-Levels well and to say it was a stressful time for me would be an understatement! I definitely needed to spend a portion of my summer relaxing (you all deserve it)! That said, you can still be productive with some of your time…

Continue reading

Becoming successful and employable

Becoming successful and employable

May 16, 2019 Kathryn

It’s fair to say that most students come to uni with an idea of where they want to be and little idea of how to get there. So, here’s a few tips I’ve picked up about how to get an Aston Martin on your driveway and a mindset for success! Continue reading

This Woman Does!

This Woman Does!

May 16, 2019 Loughborough University London

As part of the JOINT Fund initiative, Dr Holly Collison and Dr Ksenija Kuzmina share their progress on their ‘Women in the Workforce: Exploring working women’s relationship with physical activity and exercise’ research.

Aims of the project:

The objective of this study is to better understand the relationship and experiences working women have with physical activity and exercise. This is a case study project supported by Sport England to explore the opportunities, barriers and challenges working women face to engage in physical activity within and outside of the workplace. There is existing knowledge of the potential cultural, social, economic and family influenced factors which may dictate and impact upon decision making and opportunities for women to be active, however this has rarely been explored in relation to employment and the experiences of working women. 

This research will explore the everyday physical activity levels of a sample of working women from the NHS, education and service sectors. The primary objective is to better understand the everyday realities, challenges and issues presented to working woman and how this affects relationships with exercise and engaging with specific forms of physical activity. The aim is to observe working patterns, spaces and, access and opportunities to exercise, whilst tracking daily steps, heartrate and distance covered to construct diverse narratives and visual ethnographies of working women.

The research aim is informed by a sandpit event run by the lead researchers in collaboration with Sport England (please read here).

Progress so far:

Research assistants with expertise in design research and data visualisation, physical education and ethnography have been identified and recruited as part of the research team. Participants (11) from the NHS, education and service sectors have been recruited and the preliminary persona templates and interviews are being conducted. Fitbits have been purchased and have started to be administered to record activity levels for the women over a 6-week period. This will enable the researchers to pursue a mixed-methods approach to both contextualise and construct a visual representation of the everyday realities of working women and their relationship with physical activity.

The lead researchers will also be video-capturing the final interviews and are undertaking technical training to achieve this to professional standards.

Key challenges and successes so far:

The level of enthusiasm and support from employers has been very encouraging and access to employment spaces and the women has been a smooth process that has needed little negotiation. Managing shift work and diverse working patterns is a challenge, particularly as we are committed to ensuring we do not disrupt the ‘norm’ and we are able to accommodate their schedules. Ethics approval for NHS has also been a challenge and time consuming due to organisation’s external approval process.


For more information on their research, please contact Holly Collison.

You can also find out more about the JOINT Fund by reading our news story and keep up-to-date on this year’s projects by checking our blog.

Balancing study and commitments

Balancing study and commitments

May 14, 2019 Sammie Man

One of the great things about being at university is that there is so much to get involved with! However, this can mean that you have a lot of responsibilities and that balancing work with other commitments can be hard. Here are our top tips on how to solve this!

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Developing Nations and the leadership of Multinational companies (MNCs)

Developing Nations and the leadership of Multinational companies (MNCs)

May 9, 2019 Loughborough University London


In March, the first 10 projects funded under Loughborough University London’s innovative JOINT Fund came together to share their progress. Each week we will be posting this year’s projects on our blog. The first blog is Dr Philipp Kern’s who is investigating management challenges of MNCs emerging from developing nations.

Multinational companies (MNCs) impact the communities they operate in by bringing practices honed in their home country to their host nations. Whilst this is a fairly well understood phenomenon regarding MNCs from advanced economies, we know very little about it in the context of MNCs from emerging economies such as China. Our research project aims to investigate how various motivations to move into Europe—such as expanding markets, accessing resources, or gaining knowledge—relate to the way Chinese MNCs run their European operations, the challenges they face in operating there, and the headquarter-subsidiary relationship. We therefore seek to partner with Chinese multinational companies operating in the UK and/or wider Europe and interview subsidiary managers as well as those at headquarters. The work enabled by the JOINT fund is a pilot study that will inform a larger project focused on MNCs from emerging markets, which will bring together international scholars in a network led by the Institute for International Management.

So far, we have been focusing our efforts on two issues: First, we are refining our research approach and developing our lines of enquiry. We are drawing on lessons learnt and insights from the ‘Globalizing Actors in Multinational Companies’ project, which has some parallels with this work, as well as taking on board current developments with Huawei, which have increased public attention to the activities of Chinese MNCs in Europe. Second, we are pursuing a number of leads to secure access to suitable firms. On the Loughborough side, we have contacted the China-Britain Business Council, who are reaching out to their members firms to generate contacts. Through this channel, we are currently in discussions with a Chinese telecom firm and hope to have further contacts come through soon. We are also working with the Loughborough alumni office to identify potentially suitable contacts. Our project partner at Renmin University, Wei Huang, is also in active discussions with Chinese firms for access, including Geely, Huawei, and others. At the end of last year, Geely looked to be committed to participating in our research. Unfortunately, they have since backtracked, making their involvement much less certain. Taken together, have a number of promising leads, but are finding it more challenging than anticipated to secure access to suitable firms. What we hear from Wei Huang as well as other researchers working on Chinese companies is that recent events concerning Huawei—the arrest of the founder’s daughter in Canada and national security concerns over 5G networking equipment—have put Chinese firms on the defensive, making them reluctant to engage with external researchers. While we keep pursuing access to Chinese MNCs, we have also started reaching out to contacts in MNCs from other emerging markets, including Russia and India. Although our JOINT application was focused on Chinese firms—and Geely in particular—this broader remit is fully consistent with our research aims and indeed with the larger project this is pilot work for. We therefore hope to make a virtue of these challenges and engage with a wider set of firms than originally anticipated.


Find out more about the JOINT Fund by reading our news story. Keep updated on this year’s projects by checking our blog weekly.

Studying on campus: hidden gems

May 8, 2019 Sammie Man

Studying on campus is a great way to break up your day, study with friends or work in a focused environment. However, with a majority of students needing to study for exams, it can mean that campus gets pretty busy. Continue reading

Dyslexia: How Loughborough turned my weakness into a strength

Dyslexia: How Loughborough turned my weakness into a strength

May 3, 2019 Guest Blogger

I was quite apprehensive about starting university with my dyslexia. At school I was the only one in A level classes with dyslexia. I struggled to read a book, organise my work and even spell my friends’ names correctly. Don’t even get my started on the problem I get when ‘Cha Cha Slide’ comes on in the Students Union. Continue reading

Fuel Your Mind

Fuel Your Mind

May 3, 2019 Sammie Man

We know that exam season is the busiest time of the year for students and that eating a healthy, balanced diet can often slip during this period. So we’ve asked Loughborough student and qualified nutrition advisor, Tiffany Afflick, to put together some recipes for you!

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Update to Windows 10 Staff Task Sequence on Friday 3rd May

May 3, 2019 Gary Hale

Software Update steps have been removed from the Windows 10 IPU Task Sequences. The service is resumed.

Implementing request management in RT: Quest for the shopping cart, part 1

May 3, 2019 Garry Booth

We returned to Best Practical’s Request Tracker (RT) as our service management tool, last year, with a remit to provide 3 processes which, when combined, would give us a workable service management system and allow our processes to expand and mature:

  • Incident Management – raise a ticket to handle an issue and have it dealt with, which is pretty much RT OOTB.
  • Change Management – controlling and standardising changes in the organisation (As recently blogged about by Jon here).
  • Request Management.

I’m defining Request Management in the following manner:

A Request is a repeatable, standardised method for acquiring something that produces information in a known structured format that can be acted upon and which can have restricted access.

With this definition in mind, and assuming that different requests will have differing requirements (in terms of data captured and who can make the request) we will need to look for something that:

  • For requestors, is easy to find, accessible and can glean the information required from them without causing confusion.
  • For the teams acting on these requests, the data is complete and presented in the team queue within RT in a standard manner.
  • The ability to have some requests available inside RT and some outside of the system, yet still going into the system.

This post details the Loughborough IT Services Request methodology, provides a broad overview of how we went about implementing this in RT, shows off RT’s flexibility and looks at the directions we may be heading in the future

Implementing Requests at Loughborough

Our initial requirements were to produce a method to request two things:

  • Virtual Servers – built on the VMWare virtualisation platform, which can run a number of different operating systems and services. Some of these requests may require different hardware setups from the norm (more RAM, CPUs, storage etc), some could be windows servers which may, or may not then require SQL server or IIS Server or they could be Linux servers with IT Services standard build or built from a users ISO. Some may be for research by an individual, some may run university wide services. All of these options would need to be catered for. This request would go to our Infrastructure team queue.
  • TLS/SSL certificates, which is simply a case of getting a certificate signing request (CSR) and, if the domain name the certificate is for is not local to Loughborough University (i.e. not a lboro.ac.uk domain), a University charge code. This request would go to our Security team queue.

Both of these requests needed to be limited to being available to members of the RT Group “IT Services”

These two initial requests are polar opposites in the information they need, the TLS request requires, at most, three pieces of information whereas the Virtual Server request requires much more and has many bits of information that are dependent on other bits.

In order to collect this information we will need to modify the Create.html page where tickets are initially produced. We would normally do this via RT’s built in Custom Fields. However as all of the requests we will need to cater for are unique (and hence would need some of their own Custom Fields, which would lead to an ever expanding custom field list and tickets that are very hard to read) and have to go to specific queues and potentially move around other queues, Custom Fields would become unwieldy as they would have to exist for all tickets in a team queue. Should the ticket ever need to be moved to another queue, the custom field data could be obscured, unless that queue also has that Custom Field. We therefore decided a number of things

  1. We would create our own bespoke web forms inside RT based on Create.html
  2. We would use RT’s Menu system and RT’s Group system to restrict who can access the forms
  3. All data gathered by these forms would be processed and collated as the initial ticket content

TLS/SSL Requests

Starting with the simpler of the two forms, we created a copy of Create.html in [path/to/RT]/RT4/local/html/Ticket/ called CreateSSLRequest.html.

Figure 1: The TLS/SSL certificate request form.

The TLS/SSL request form is very simple. The only requirements we have are the CSR file which can be attached, as you would for a standard RT ticket and a charge code if you are not requesting the certificate for server with the university domain name. Figure 2 below shows how the form reacts if you change the “Yes” to a “No”. This is controlled by a simple piece of jQuery and CSS, slipped into the new CreateSSLRequest.html page and called as an onChange event.

function showChargeCode () {
  if(jQuery('select[name=\'Domain\']').val() == 'Yes') {
     jQuery('tr.chargeCode').css('display', 'none');
  } else {
     jQuery('tr.chargeCode').css('display', 'table-row');
  }
}
Figure 2: The form reacts to ask for additional information for this request.

Once the form is complete it can be submitted, where it is validated via javascript. This is fired from an onSubmit event (which submits to itself) collects the data and performs some simple tests to check there is something there. At this point you can add in as much validation as you need.

var domain = jQuery('select[name=\'Domain\']').val();
var chargeCode = jQuery('input[name=\'chargeCode\']').val();

if(domain == 'No' && chargeCode == '') {
alert("You must supply a charge code when acquiring a certificate for " +
"a non lboro.ac.uk domain");

return false;
}

Assuming all is well, the form can have all of its data bundled up and submitted as the RT ticket content, like this:

if(everythingIsOK) {
jQuery('input[name=\'Content\']').val('Some text etc etc ' + domain + chargeCode );

return true;
}

This submits the information with the attached CSR as a standard RT ticket into our Security Queue, where it can be worked on as normal.

The above TLS/SSL certificate request form is very simplistic, but should show how forms can be built inside RT without using the Custom Fields.

Virtual Server Request Form

The Virtual Server Request form is a different beast entirely, although as with the TLS/SSL form it starts off with a simple question, in order to check the requestor has performed the due diligence necessary before the request. In this case the first question is along the lines of “Do you have a way to support this server” (see Figure 3)

Figure 3: The initial view of the Virtual Server Request Form. As we are building standard html/jquery forms, we can add lots of things. This one has a tool tip on the element, identified by the orange circle with the “i” inside.

By selecting “Yes”, as with the previous form, new elements are now exposed to the requestor (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: The extended form, offering input and select boxes to control information.

The extended form contains various elements along with tool tips to guide the user. The operating system box makes use of RT’s Groups to decide what server options you can see. This is controlled by a mixture of Perl and html.

% my $groups = RT::Groups->new($session{'CurrentUser'});
% $groups->WithCurrentUser();
% $groups->LimitToUserDefinedGroups();
% while (my $group = $groups->Next()) {
%   if($group->Name eq 'Group A') {
%     $groupA = 1;
%   } elsif($group->Name eq 'Group B') {
%     $groupB = 1;
%   }
% }
%
% if($groupA) {
<option>Networks CentOS 7 template (Managed by requestor)</option>
% }

Once a server option is selected, as with the previous form, additional fields can be exposed to gather more specific data.

Figure 6: By requesting Windows Server 2016, the requestor is now presented with options for IIS and SQL Server.

This ability to hide and show fields in the form is controlled in the same way as the simpler TLS/SSL form and the data gathered is validated, dependencies are checked and the information is collated in the same way and sent to RT as a ticket. The content of the Virtual Server Request form arrives in RT and appears as the first content entry in a structured format. This method can be expanded to forms that don’t exist within RT and they can collate the information into an initial email, which can be posted into the system (of course these wont have the ability to use extra data like RT Groups). The initial information for a Virtual Server ends up in RT like the below:

VM Server Request

Has support contract: Yes
Licencing understood: Yes
Business case: Internal
Business case justification: I really really need it
Proposed server name: Foo
Replaces existing server?: Yes
Name of existing server being replaced: Bar
Server description: FooBar Application Server
Development or Production?: Production
Application services supported: FooBar reporting
Server manager username: dave
Other server contacts: jon,katy
Operating System: Windows Server 2016 (IT Services managed)
IIS Required: No

A future enhancement to this form, will be to use a Custom Field to hold the same data in the ticket in JSON format. This will allow us to access the data in a usable structure via RT’s REST APIs, to aid in the automation of server builds.

Accessing the Request forms

Forms setup in the above manner and placed where they are, are accessible to anyone who is a privileged user in RT. RT is built in such a way that menu options are available to privileged or unprivileged users or both. This is helpful to us as we can control access to which type of user has access to which sort of request. However, we wanted to go a stage further and restrict access to some of the forms, dependent on RT Groups.

We have many groups of users on RT that are privileged (IT Services folk, Printing folk, Financial Services folk etc etc). Only members of the IT Services Group should be able to see the two requests we have created, as we want to make sure we have continuity of support for any server we deploy. For this we can use exactly the same trick that we used on the Virtual Server Request Form to offer restricted access to different server options and present requests on a Group basis.

Two further requirements were the option to categorise our Requests and present them in a way that was easy to find and to display them more graphically, rather than in a nested menu structure. To this end, our scaling up plan will combine the usual drop down menus with RT, breaking requests into the various services they are for (e.g. IT Services requests, Printing requests, Library requests etc) and once this level is chosen, the  various requests that can be accessed, are displayed in a tabular format, as seen in Figure 7. 

Figure 7: Various request choices displayed within RT. Icon by Dryicons

Hang on, didn’t you say something about shopping carts??

Did I? Oh yes. If we break down the requirements of a shopping cart (and here I’m simplifying it to just be those items a user can request as hardware), what do we have?

  1. An ability to create forms that can capture the requests users will make – hopefully this blog has demonstrated this to some degree.
  2. An ability to know what we can request – We’ll be looking at this in the Summer when we attempt to integrate our Snipe-IT asset management system with RT. This will give us access to the complete range of hardware options a user could request
  3. A way to store my requests as a draft before I decide to purchase. Jon’s previous blog post about change, showed a change lifecycle with a draft status that works in this manner. Hypothetically we can create a queue with a lifecycle that only has the statuses of “draft”, “cancel”, and “purchase”, setup in such a way that only the owner can see their tickets in this queue. Any change of status away from draft kicks off actions that either move the ticket to a different queue that begins the purchasing process, or wipes it out.
  4. A way to add and take away options whilst in draft – this will require some thought and no doubt a bit of Perl/jQuery hackery, but the TicketSQL query builder has similar functionality in the way it adds and removes parts of the SQL query.
  5. Running totals – again this would depend on how well you’re managing the data for things that can be requested, but if its available it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to add in

A lot of these still need thought, but none would appear implausible and it’s the direction we’ll be heading over the next few months, as we begin to look at adding assets to our RT and what we can do by combining them with requests.

Update Windows ADK version on Configuration Manager Site Server - Complete

May 1, 2019 Gary Hale

The work has been completed and imaging tested.

Please note that you will have to recreate your Task Sequence Media and use the May2019 version – \\ws2.lboro.ac.uk\DesktopResource\Windows\TaskSequenceMedia

If you have any issue then please log a case with the Service Desk

Does ASDA’s blocked merger with Sainsbury’s make sense?

April 30, 2019 Ondine Barry

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has put the brakes on ASDA and Sainsbury’s becoming the dominant force in supermarket retail.

Dr Jon Seaton examines whether the argument against the deal is justified?

A lot has been happening in retail recently, writes Dr Seaton, but consumers were understandably shocked by the decision of UK regulators in rejecting the merger bid by Sainsbury’s/ASDA.

They had given in to so many other mergers (Morrison’s/Safeway, Sainsbury’s/Argos, Tesco/Booker, Ocado/M&S, Morrisons/Amazon) that this rejection was so unexpected.

But the real elephant in the room is the dominant and unchallenged positionof Tesco – who allegedly stir up controversy by their market behaviour.

They are the real anomaly and would have been enormously challenged by a Sainsbury’s-ASDA merger in both market share and prices of grocery retail and petrol.


Grocery Market Share 24.03.2019 – Source Kantar Worldpanel

Mind the gap!

Looking at the recent market share information from Kantar Worldpanel Tesco dominates the industry with a market share of 27.4%

The next best is ASDA (15.4%) – followed by Sainsbury’s (15.3%). Together Sainsbury’s and ASDA would command about 30.7% market share – if 30.7% is too much – then what about 27%?

This does seem a little petty of our regulators to say a gap between the largest and second largest of 12% is ok but a gap of just over 3% would be far too much!

The law of concentration

To put the CMA view into perspective, the reports and interviews over the last day or two have recognized a supposed law of economics, that as markets have fewer and fewer competitors – more concentration – then the prices charged by the firms with larger and larger market shares rises.

So, an industry with two massive companies would have higher prices than one with three firms and lower prices than a full on monopoly.

In theory, this idea holds up when you compare a market with a massive amount of equally sized firms to a monopoly, it’s just this does not exactly work out for the comparison of a few firms.

Indeed analysis of the grocery market by myself and co-authors from Warwick University and the University of East Anglia found the merger between Morrisons and Safeway actually led to a reduction in prices in the market!

So the law is only a theoretical law.

In practice, it falls flat on its face. Why? Well, when firms compete on price you can have as few as just two firms and they will be as competitive as a massive bunch of firms driving prices down to cost.

For example, I have also found in the past some price raising behaviour of Tesco has been mitigated by increased competitive practices from ASDA. Tesco needs a powerful adversary.

Choice and costs

Two other issues have been muted as a good reason not to go ahead with the ASDA-Sainsbury bid. They may have more relevance – that of decreasing choice and lack of cost reduction from a merger.

The main benefit from the Safeway-Morrison merger was a dispersion issue – Morrisons mostly distributed northerly merged with Safeway – much more spread out, but with much greater southern base.

So clearly distribution costs could be reduced, a greater national spread with both economies of scope and scale.

In the present context the opening up of new markets which Morrisons gained would not be the main gain for Sainsbury’s-ASDA – rather duplication might lead to shop closures – loss of jobs – and maybe a reduction of access and choice for the consumer.

Big box or small is beautiful

In an earlier blog, I indicated the strengths and weaknesses of the big box store format versus the smaller format favoured by the Lidl/Aldi chains when this potential deal was announced.

At Christmas the big box – department store approach is great – lots of choice – lots of possible substitutes if the favoured item is not in store. But with online shopping increasing, the big box format is suffering dramatically.

Whatever….

For modern consumers choice is large regardless of local or national store/retailer locations or merger behaviour – that’s what the internet does!

To some extent the CMA decision is a lost opportunity – they could have provided a worthy opponent against Tesco’s dominance of the UK grocery retail market but on the other hand it may not matter anymore to the petrol and grocery buying public  – within ten or so years we will probably be buying everything from Amazon – who may buy up ASDA anyway –  and it will likely be delivered by electric Uber or Tesla Robotaxis!

By failing to increase competition in the large format bricks and mortar grocery retail sector they may well have increased the chances of its early demise.

This Blog post was written by Dr Jon Seaton, Reader in Business Economics and member of the Accounting & Finance and Economics discipline groups at the School of Business and Economics. Jon can be reached on j.s.seaton@lboro.ac.uk

DR President's Team Blog Post: April 2019

DR President's Team Blog Post: April 2019

April 30, 2019 Zoe Chritchlow

This blog post is part of a series of monthly posts detailing the activities of the DR President’s Team (President: Leah Henrickson; Vice-President: Hugh Tawell).

Note: This post refers to PhD/EngD Students as Doctoral Researchers (DR) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). This is because the University uses the former language, and the Union uses the latter.

We had our fair share of April showers – can those May flowers please come quickly?

Although the undergraduates got a break during April, doctoral researchers kept plugging away at their work. Campus was quiet, but those PhD offices stayed bustling. It was nice to see some managing to get away for short holidays during this time.

Because we’re students too, we took a bit of a step back in April to plan for future months and give ourselves much-needed breathers. However, our friends at the PhD Social & Support Network organised lots of successful social activities throughout the month. They’re hoping to keep the momentum up, so keep your eyes peeled for invites to future Social & Support Network events!

Here’s what we got up to in April.

Research Committee Meeting

On 9th April, Hugh represented doctoral researchers at the Research Committee meeting. These meetings offer the Associate Deans (Research) (ADRs) and other members of research support services from across the University opportunities to discuss research-related issues. A lot was addressed in the three hours, and there are some exciting things headed your way. Expect updates in the near future.

PGR Lead Rep Meeting

We met with PGR Reps from across the University on 24th April. During this meeting, we discussed School-related issues and exchanged ideas for strengthening the research and social communities within Schools. We also got a sneak peak of the Doctoral College’s new course booking system, and had the opportunity to offer feedback to help ensure that it’s the best it can be.

Organising the PhD Awards

The time has come, folks – we’ve begun organising our PhD Awards! Nominations are now open until 17th May at https://lboro.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/phd-awards. Help us celebrate the achievements of doctoral researchers and support staff by nominating your colleagues today.

The awards ceremony will be held on Friday, 5th July from 6PM. Official invitations will be sent out closer to the date, but all doctoral researchers will be welcome to attend. We’re happy to report that we’ve received some funding for the event, so there will be nibbles in attention to great company and general joy.

Bonus: COMPLETE THE PRES!

If you are eligible to complete the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES), you will have received an email with a personalised link to the survey in March. Please complete the survey by 17th May. Your feedback – positive and negative – is hugely important, and will help shape the future of doctoral programmes across the University.

Upcoming Events

We’re currently working on organising another low-key board games and karaoke night. Once we’ve sorted out the details, we’ll send an invite out via the biweekly Doctoral College bulletin.

Meanwhile, the PhD Social & Support Network is organising a cinema trip to see Avengers: Endgame on 3rd May. After the film, they’ll pop by The Orange Tree for a tipple. Details are available at https://www.facebook.com/events/360807798111510.

If you want to keep up-to-date with our activity, join the ‘Doctoral Researchers of Loughborough University’ Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. If you’re a London student, join the ‘Loughborough Students’ Union London 2018-2019’ Facebook group.

Leah and Hugh.

Everybody has to lie: Is honesty always the best policy?

Everybody has to lie: Is honesty always the best policy?

April 30, 2019 PR Office

Everyone thinks lying is bad – but is being honest always the right way to go?

Today (Tuesday, April 30) is World Honesty Day and in keeping with the occasion, Loughborough University’s Discourse and Rhetoric Group have written a piece that discusses what ‘being honest’ really means, and how people actually do it (or not).

Remember the last time you passed a colleague in the corridor at work, and said “hi, how’re you”? As we pass each other, we respond with “fine, how’re you?”.

This isn’t the moment, as Octavius Machell puts it, “to discuss the crushing reality of existence”.

In fact, the founder of conversation analysis, Harvey Sacks, famously wrote an article entitled, “Everyone has to lie”.

We might privately interpret the way “fine thanks” was said as evidence that our colleague is not fine at all but isn’t going to say more right now.

Does everyone have to lie?

Necessary dishonesty, or necessary lies, keep the wheels of sociality turning. We make distinctions between ‘white’ lies (the obligatory, not-hurting-anyone lies) and malevolent, dangerous lies – the kinds that may be consequential in all sorts of ways.

The fact is, the study of ordinary talk reveals that the tides of honesty and lies and dishonesty ebb and flow.

We accompany questions like, “does this outfit look good?” with “be brutally honest!”.

The notion of ‘brutal honesty’ tells us that there is such a thing as too much honesty – or too direct a statement – which needs mitigating to reduce the impact of our honest assessments, news deliveries, and so on.

We use linguistic tools to soften the tone of we say (e.g., “I’m afraid”, “I’m sorry”, “to be honest”, as well as accounts (“I’m only trying to help” etc.) which reveal that there is a norm in place, on occasions, for politeness to trump honesty.

The notion of ‘brutal honesty’ tells us that there is such a thing as too much honesty.

What counts as dishonesty partly depends upon what is at stake, and to whom.

Imagine the ‘mystery shopper’, who may call up a pharmacy and ask for advice that they don’t need, or at least need right now.

Is that being dishonest, or providing a useful service in checking that the pharmacist is sticking to medical guidelines?

As we noted above, what can happen is that being honest is not the only norm in play. Is the mystery shopper lying or faking, and what’s the difference?

Or take the person trying to look like someone else, not just in a phone call, but for life: sociologists use the term ‘passing’ for the performance of membership in a category that is different from one’s own.

A person may attempt to pass for reasons such as social acceptance, inclusion, privileges, or self-preservation.

For example, sociologists have written about African Americans ‘passing for white’ as a survival tool in periods of deep segregation.

We may change our accents, dress, posture, and all sorts of other behaviours to pass.

We may pass (un)intentionally as younger or older than our biological age, which can open up or close down everything from (il)legally buying alcohol to darker activities such as sexual relations.

What counts as dishonesty partly depends upon what is at stake, and to whom.

Issues of honesty are never far from our mundane ordinary spoken talk, either.

For example, we say – and notice, and complain about people saying – phrases like, “to be honest”, “honestly”, “honest to God”, and “if I’m honest”.

But why and when do we say such things?

The British philosopher of language, Paul Grice, best known for his theory of ‘conversational implicature’, described a series of maxims for communication, underpinning what he termed the cooperative principle – “Make your contribution such as it is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged” (Grice, 1989, p. 26).

Consider why a person might say, “To be honest, I don’t really like that dress”, rather than “I don’t really like that dress”.

The latter adheres to several of Grice’s maxims, such as being brief (the maxim of quantity) and telling the truth (the maxim of quality).

The former, then, with the addition of ‘to be honest’, seems to break the rules.

Why do people feel the need to point out that they are telling the truth? Are the rules wrong?

Issues of honesty are never far from our mundane ordinary spoken talk.

The answer lies in studying how people actually talk, rather than the armchair theorizing which is so common in academic and popular notions of how people communicate.

And, as Derek Edwards and Alessandra Fasulo have shown, people say things like “to be honest” in surprisingly systematic moments in conversation, for systematic reasons – often to deliver what conversation analysts call a ‘dispreferred’ turn.

Examples of dispreferred turns include turning down an invitation (acceptance is preferred) or disagreeing with an assessment (agreement is preferred).

Using an ‘honesty phrase’ is one way that people handle doing negative (but completely regular and normal) actions.

For example, if asked “do you like this coat?”, there is an interpersonal requirement to be nice; remember – everyone has to lie.

In some circumstances, saying “it looks great” doesn’t really matter. But in others it matters more.

So, a response that starts “to be honest, I really don’t” is a useful strategy to say what you think for good and honest reasons, rather than being rude, unsupportive, or contrary.

Similarly, if invited for dinner, responding with “no, I’m tired”, could sound pretty rude. Instead, we might say, “to be honest, I’m really tired”.

And when someone says, “I absolutely love that movie!”, we may respond by saying “I honestly thought it was awful”.

So, on World Honesty Day, think about the contexts and contingencies in which being honest or dishonest becomes important.

Ask what’s best depending on who you are talking to and what you are doing. And remember that, sometimes, the very best policy is … dishonesty. 

Does ASDA's blocked merger with Sainsbury's make sense?

April 29, 2019 Peter Warzynski

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has put the brakes on ASDA and Sainsbury’s becoming the dominant force in supermarket retail.

Dr Jon Seaton examines whether their argument against the deal is justified?

Continue reading