Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 3.99M | Year: 2014
The Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics, known as the CM-DTC, is an EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) addressing the broad field of Condensed Matter Physics (CMP). CMP is a core discipline that underpins many other areas of science, and is one of the Priority Areas for this CDT call. Renewal funding for the CM-DTC will allow five more annual cohorts of PhD students to be recruited, trained and released onto the market. They will be highly educated professionals with a knowledge of the field, in depth and in breadth, that will equip them for future leadership in a variety of academic and industrial careers. Condensed Matter Physics research impacts on many other fields of science including engineering, biophysics, photonics, chemistry, and materials science. It is a significant engine for innovation and drives new technologies. Recent examples include the use of liquid crystals for displays including flat-screen and 3D television, and the use of solid-state or polymeric LEDs for power-saving high-illumination lighting systems. Future examples may involve harnessing the potential of graphene (the worlds thinnest and strongest sheet-like material), or the creation of exotic low-temperature materials whose properties may enable the design of radically new types of (quantum) computer with which to solve some of the hardest problems of mathematics. The UKs continued ability to deliver transformative technologies of this character requires highly trained CMP researchers such as those the Centre will produce. The proposed training approach is built on a strong framework of taught lecture courses, with core components and a wide choice of electives. This spans the first two years so that PhD research begins alongside the coursework from the outset. It is complemented by hands-on training in areas such as computer-intensive physics and instrument building (including workshop skills and 3D printing). Some lecture courses are delivered in residential schools but most are videoconferenced live, using the well-established infrastructure of SUPA (the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance). Students meet face to face frequently, often for more than one day, at cohort-building events that emphasise teamwork in science, outreach, transferable skills and careers training. National demand for our graduates is demonstrated by the large number of companies and organisations who have chosen to be formally affiliated with our CDT as Industrial Associates. The range of sectors spanned by these Associates is notable. Some, such as e2v and Oxford Instruments, are scientific consultancies and manufacturers of scientific equipment, whom one would expect to be among our core stakeholders. Less obviously, the list also represents scientific publishers, software houses, companies small and large from the energy sector, large multinationals such as Solvay-Rhodia and Siemens, and finance and patent law firms. This demonstrates a key attraction of our graduates: their high levels of core skills, and a hands-on approach to problem solving. These impart a discipline-hopping ability which more focussed training for specific sectors can complement, but not replace. This breadth is prized by employers in a fast-changing environment where years of vocational training can sometimes be undermined very rapidly by unexpected innovation in an apparently unrelated sector. As the UK builds its technological future by funding new CDTs across a range of priority areas, it is vital to include some that focus on core discipline skills, specifically Condensed Matter Physics, rather than the interdisciplinary or semi-vocational training that features in many other CDTs. As well as complementing those important activities today, our highly trained PhD graduates will be equipped to lay the foundations for the research fields (and perhaps some of the industrial sectors) of tomorrow.
News Article | November 12, 2015
WALTHAM, Mass. & APELDOORN, Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ModusLink Global Solutions™ Inc. (NASDAQ: MLNK), a global, omni-channel technology and fulfillment provider, today announced the grand opening of its new e-commerce solutions center, located in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The vision is for the facility, in conjunction with its sister ModusLink facility in Venray, Netherlands, to become an e-commerce hub – attracting partners and other top e-commerce companies to come together in a spirit of collaboration with ModusLink. Together the partners will strive to innovate and improve how today’s top brands receive orders, fulfill and distribute products to their customers. “The e-commerce industry has evolved rapidly – and it will, without doubt, continue to do so,” said Bram Barendregt, ModusLink’s Vice President & General Manager, eBusiness. “Regardless of whether your business is B2B, B2B2C or D2C, there are steadily increasing expectations that desired products be fulfilled, shipped and delivered almost instantaneously. These expectations mean that companies need to be speeding their e-commerce and supply chain processes with the most efficient and innovative solutions possible. With our new e-commerce knowledge center, ModusLink will continue to lead this charge.” The new Apeldoorn e-commerce solutions center is almost 2,400 square feet and is located at Wapenrustlaan 11. It will house ModusLink’s expanded end-to-end e-commerce operations, which include everything clients need to get products to their customers quickly and efficiently. The company’s solutions include online store setup, online business optimization, payment management, order fulfillment, quality control, shipment, delivery, call centers and the returns process. The company is actively attracting partners and other e-commerce innovators that would like to become a part of the center. Apeldoorn-based Factstory, a provider of search engine marketing (SEM) services to a variety of e-commerce customers, is a perfect fit for ModusLink’s collaborative strategy to promoting e-commerce innovations. “E-commerce gets stronger through collaboration,” said Pim Mulder, Owner of Factstory. “The ability to share industry knowledge, innovative approaches and best practices in a collective, collaborative space can only improve the satisfaction of the end-user customer – which is most important in this industry.” ModusLink’s Apeldoorn e-commerce solutions center was formally opened with an event on November 12, 2015, featuring a tour of the new facility and presentations by Bram; Scott Smith, ModusLink’s Chief Commercial Officer; Mike Mortson, ModusLink’s Chief of Operations; and Alderman Mark Sandmann of the city of Apeldoorn. “Many companies are looking to quickly and easily expand their e-commerce programs into new geographies and markets – and only by taking the most technologically advanced, yet efficient approach to doing so can they succeed,” added John Boucher, President and CEO of ModusLink. “Our global e-commerce hub will serve the dual purpose of giving our current clients everything they need to be successful – while helping to pave the way for the innovative ideas and approaches that will guide the e-commerce companies of the future.” Earlier this year, ModusLink announced that Mondelēz International, Inc.’s hot beverage machine/coffee brand Tassimo had selected the company to manage its e-commerce operations and expansion into future European markets from its facility in Venray. ModusLink Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of ModusLink Global Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MLNK), is a global, omni-channel technology and fulfillment provider that gives clients real-time visibility into their end-to-end supply and demand chain operations, with expertise and facilities worldwide to manage forward and reverse logistics. The company’s operations are supported by more than 25 sites across North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. For more information, please visit www.moduslink.com and www.valueunchained.com, the blog for supply chain professionals. This release contains forward-looking statements regarding ModusLink’s creation of an e-commerce hub that is expected to attract new partners and customers. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. The following important factors and uncertainties, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements: ModusLink's success depends on its ability to execute on its business strategy and the continued and increased demand for and market acceptance of its solutions and services; there is increased competition and technological changes in the markets in which ModusLink competes; and there are certain inherent risks associated with providing services internationally. For a detailed discussion of cautionary statements that may affect ModusLink's future results of operations and financial results, please refer to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. Forward-looking statements represent management's current expectations and are inherently uncertain. ModusLink does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements made by the company. ModusLink Global Solutions is a trademark of ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc. All other company names and products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
News Article | November 6, 2015
Hulu may have introduced a commercial free-tier to improve the user experience for those who can’t stand watching ads, but a new deal with Fox Networks has the potential to make the ad-supported version of Hulu less painful as well. This week, Fox and Hulu announced a new type of ad format would be arriving on Hulu for the first time: engagement ads. Viewers who opt for this sort of interactive advertisement will be able to reduce the number and length of commercials they see on Fox’s current season shows from interruptive ad breaks totaling 2 minutes and 30 seconds, down to just 30 seconds. The engagement ads are powered by technology from true[X], a company Fox acquired last year for $200 million. The company still operates independently, as its ad tech is used by a number of other major broadcasters, including ABC, Viacom, CBS Interactive, and others. The engagement ad format itself is meant to solve one of the bigger problems with traditional advertising – not knowing that a viewer actually saw the message. Viewers could have walked away from the program; they may have been playing with their phone during the break, or they may have otherwise simply tuned out the commercial. An engagement ad, however, ensures the advertiser has captured the viewer’s attention. It loads an interactive canvas and typically starts off with a video. But at some point, the viewer has to interact with the creative in order to move the ad forward. This proves they’re really watching. For example, an engagement ad for milk might ask the consumer to pick a favorite recipe about all the great things that can be made from cheese. An automaker’s ad might ask what part of the car a viewer wants to learn about, and so on. Hulu viewers will be asked to choose whether they want engagement ads or traditional commercial breaks at the start of a Fox TV show, and if they choose the former, they can interact with the ad for half a minute, then watch the remaining show commercial-free. They may also be presented with the option to choose an engagement ad upon the first commercial break, if they went the latter route, but then aren’t bothered again until they move on to another Fox program. Engagement ads can also be introduced after a viewer clicks pause, offering them the chance to watch the rest of the show without commercials in exchange for their attention now. Fox had already introduced engagement ads on Fox.com and in its Fox Now mobile application, but this is the first time that the ads have been available on Hulu. In addition, that same technology allowing for the Hulu integration will now be made available to other true[x] customers, which include a large lineup of top broadcasters. If the format grew popular among Hulu customers, it could help to improve Hulu’s ad-supported model, while offering a better viewer experience. After all, while you might not want to “play” around with ads, a 30-second engagement is less painful, usually, than constantly being interrupted with commercials. “All digital ad models are built for tonnage…none of those ad formats are built for quality content,” explains Fox’s President of Advanced Advertising, Joe Marchese, previously founder and CEO of true[X] prior the acquisition. “One of the biggest things about engagement ads is that you’re not just trying to find a way to make money through advertising, you’re trying to make the watching experience better,” he says. Engagement ads are more expensive than traditional ads, and are charged on a per engagement basis rather than an impression basis. But because of their reduced frequency, the goal is not to make more money with engagements, but rather make the same amount of money but with fewer ads. That said, Hulu viewers who want to use engagement ads instead won’t always have the option – at least, not yet. For now, the ads are only available in current season shows, and only when a campaign is available because an advertiser bought it. At launch, the billion-dollar snacking company Mondelēz International will be running engagement ads on Hulu for Swedish Fish and Halls. The ads are live now on Hulu on the web and mobile, and the format will eventually be supported on any platform where Hulu runs, whether that’s web, mobile web, native mobile apps or connected devices, like Apple TV or Roku.
News Article | October 28, 2015
NEW YORK Chocolate maker Hershey Co (HSY.N), long a staple of middle-class U.S. households, is getting squeezed as consumers either pay up for fancier sweets or seek more savings. The maker of Hershey kisses and Reese’s peanut butter cups reported lower-than-expected U.S. sales on Wednesday and cut its profit forecast for the year, sending shares down 6.5 percent. It has cut such forecasts for five quarters in a row. Hershey executives said the company is grappling with a growing gap between low and high-income households in the United States, which has changed buying patterns for many consumer goods. On the high-end, consumers are more willing to pay up for premium brands like Green & Black's organic chocolate bars. On the low end, families hunt for greater discounts for products. Across the board, consumers are making fewer trips to stores, a trend that reduces impulse buying of chocolate bars and other items. Retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) are devoting less space to promote products from Hershey and other manufacturers as they respond to the new trends. “We think the consumer bifurcation has been an important driver,” Hershey Chief Executive John P. Bilbrey said on an investor call, referring to the growing wage gap. Bilbrey said the company has secured more merchandising space for its products in the holiday season and expected trends to improve in the fourth quarter. Companies ranging from Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N) to Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) have spoken of similar pressures in the United States. Some have tried to introduce more products to appeal to low-income consumers at convenience stores and dollar stores. “We are seeing a widening disparity between upper-income and lower-income” consumers, said Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld in an interview. The maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies has responded by increasing the variety of sizes, and prices, of its products on sale. Hershey has tried to keep up by diversifying its portfolio and changing existing products to satisfy consumer preferences for natural ingredients and protein. Earlier this year, the company bought jerky-maker Krave Pure Foods Inc, and said it would use simpler ingredients in its namesake chocolate bars and kisses. "The question now is whether Hershey's chocolate could see a new era of somewhat slower growth based on health and wellness concerns among consumers and the premiumization of the chocolate category in the U.S.," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard in a note.
News Article | October 26, 2015
Good morning. Here's everything you need to know in the world of advertising today. 1. WPP reported a 5.9% rise in third-quarter revenue to £2.9 billion ($4.4 billion.) But the world's biggest advertising agency holding group said clients remain "cautious" and are focusing on cutting costs. 2. Vice CEO Shane Smith says his company is going to change the way TV makes money. Smith is selling the concept of "native TV" advertising. 3. Apple has some new iPhone ads out. They feature Jamie Foxx and Siri. 4. Zara is blowing the competition out of the water. The retailer, which sells trendy men's and women's clothing, is opening hundreds of new stores, most notably in the US, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. 5. Microsoft is still driving some Windows 7 users crazy with nagging ads to upgrade. But there is a way to turn this off. 6. Yahoo's first ever live stream of an NFL game was a disaster for many. The stream was slow for many, and some people couldn't even get it to work at all. 7. Google's ads boss Sridhar Ramaswamy has ad blockers are "a blunt instrument and we need to be worried." He suggested that there needs to be a "more sustainable ad standard" that should not be blocked. 8. The "King of Instagram" Dan Bilzerian says fantasy sports website DraftKings is giving him $250,000 to throw a three-day party in Cabo. Bilzerian announced the deal in an Instagram photo, which sees him surrounded by models. 9. Atlas, Facebook's huge ad tech threat to Google, has told us about some of the big brands it has signed up. Its clients so far include Microsoft, Nestle, and Tommy Hilfiger. 10. Mondelez International's CMO Dana Anderson says the company is buying fewer TV ads, and more digital. The marketer behind brands including Oreo and Cadbury also told The Wall Street Journal how the company is working with Google on new product inventions.