Abertay University, is one of two public university's in the city of Dundee, Scotland. The other is the University of Dundee. In 1872, Sir David Baxter, 1st Baronet of Kilmaron, left a bequest for the establishment of a mechanics' institute in Dundee. As early as 1902 it was recognised by the Scottish Education Department as an educational hub, and was one of the first to be designated a central institution, akin to an 'industrial university'. It continues to have a vocational focus and is associated with Dundee's rise as a centre for computer games, and 'Dare to be Digital' the international competition for computer games students. Abertay was the first University in the world to offer a computer games degree, and the first in the UK to be recognized as a Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education. Wikipedia.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2013.5.5 | Award Amount: 2.40M | Year: 2013
Wikirate has the vision of helping consumers express themselves as ethical economic citizens. The objective of Wikirate is to be the go-to place for information on companies social and environmental practices, allowing consumers and stakeholders such as policymakers or the media to be better informed. Ultimately, the project will provide companies with additional incentive to act sustainably.\nWe will achieve this by developing and maintaining an open social networking system that allows Internet users to cooperatively create and share knowledge on company behaviour. The information may come from public sources, or from sensors such as webcams or individual user uploads of videos or images or from separate whistleblowing websites a real-time gathering and management of information from people and their environment. The information will be accumulated and appropriately visualized on the website to allow users to compare and rate such companies.\nWe will foster and empower the community to act on sustainability topics such as climate change or natural resource management and specific markets or companies. This thriving community will create relevant and quality content. Further, these engaged and involved users will change their behaviours, providing significant incentive for companies to follow sustainable societal, environmental and economic methods.\nThe website will be based on an open-source software platform called Wagn, and any improvements to the platform will be freely available. Further, we will offer an open data infrastructure by supporting an application programming interface (API) that allows anyone to access the websites data.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: YOUNG-5b-2014 | Award Amount: 3.16M | Year: 2015
The overall objective of the project is to develop and pilot test a cloud eParticipation SaaS platform, (available as a mobile application and through a web platform) enhanced with web / social media mining, gamification, machine translation, and visualisation features, which will promote the societal and political participation of young people in the decision-making process on environmental issues. The project will employ innovative social media analytics and monitoring tools, as part of effective strategies that will be developed, in order to engage young citizens in the pilot activities and increase their motivation to participate. Four pilots in an operational environment have been selected for the deployment of STEP solution in 4 locations: Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey, with the participation of one regional authority, 3 municipalities, and an association of municipalities. The pilots are expected to involve testing by 8.200 young users and 85 policy makers. 65 decision-making procedures with an impact on the environment are expected to be tested. The project will assess the usability, effectiveness and impact of the STEP service project in embedding open engagement in public sector processes, and will identify the key barriers for wide scale deployment. Dissemination activities specifically designed for the needs of young people and policy makers will be employed. A business strategy will be developed for the wide take-up of the integrated STEP platform and its reusable components, individually, or in combinations. The potential for scalability and adaptation to other regions will be assessed, and organisations that can be involved in the wide deployment of the platform and its components will be approached.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-10-2015 | Award Amount: 1.99M | Year: 2016
The overall ambition of the PIE News project is to foster the emergence of commonfare as an alternative economic model to fight poverty, a condition affecting some 25% of the European population. Commonfare is a new collaborative form of welfare provision based on equitable governance and grassroots democracy. It entails the involvement of diverse stakeholders to facilitate the bottom-up arousal of collective practices tackling the needs of the new poor (precarious workers, working poor, NEETs, people left behind by safety nets). The consortium will achieve this goal through a Collective Awareness Platform (CAPS) which (a) informs people about existing welfare state provisions, (b) provides them with the means to share good practices on how to handle poverty-related issues, and (c) supports their abilities to network and to sustain real-life value. The project pioneers commonfare as a new social innovation goal by raising collective awareness on the threats connected to Poverty, lack of Income, and unEmployment (PIE conditions), thus empowering the new poor and enabling the relevant stakeholders, e.g. polivcy makers, to tackle such threats more effectively. Three pilot actions (in Croatia, Italy, and the Netherlands) will drive the design and implementation of the PIE News project, triggering a public engagement process. PIE NEWS capitalizes on the collective power and skills of the new poor promoting commonfare through actions that increase collective awareness on PIE Conditions. Such actions will be supported by an extensive dissemination strategy, including, e. g., open calls for the organization of bottom-up networking events. The PIE News platform will innovate the CAPS domain not only in terms of target population and, public design approach, but also by combining a reputation system as a way to remunerate labour with a digital currency as a mean of acquisition of good and services within and outside the platform.
Kurka T.,University of Abertay Dundee
Energy | Year: 2013
This paper presents the application of the AHP (analytic hierarchy process) method to evaluate bioenergy developments regarding their regional sustainability in a case study area (Tayside and Fife/Scotland). Achieving regional sustainable bioenergy generation is challenging due to the complexity of this sector and the multidimensionality of the sustainability goal. The paper presents a complete and comprehensive AHP application by taking account of two different scenarios and their alternatives, C&I (criteria and indicators) and preferences of bioenergy experts. Although, case-specific C&I weighting and performance assessments are required to make this study valuable for similar decision making situations, the rather generic scenarios allow elements of this study to be transferred to a wide range of decision making situations within the energy and particularly the bioenergy field. The detailed analysis of results, including analyses by end node C&I and by alternatives, demonstrates that decentralized bioenergy generation should be preferred to achieve regional sustainable bioenergy generation in the case study area. Sensitivity analyses explore variations of the subjective judgments made on the different levels of the AHP hierarchies. The results of the sensitivity analyses show that all results can be considered robust. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 8.29K | Year: 2016
Many animals exhibit camouflage patterns that help them remain hidden against their background and be less visible to predators. But some animals have vivid, bright colouring that makes them stand out in their environment. Whilst some conspicuous patterns are known to be involved in attracting a mate, others have evolved to warn a predator that the animal is poisonous or unpalatable. These warning patterns are described as being aposematic, and are commonly found in insects, for example, monarch butterflies, ladybirds and wasps. Although aposematic patterns look like they might attract predators, in fact they act as a deterrent. Predators are wary towards prey that are warningly coloured, such as being red or yellow, and are quick to learn that warning colours signal danger and avoid aposematically coloured prey. Although warning signals, like camouflage patterns, have fascinated biologists for more than 150 years, there is still no clear understanding of what features make these patterns distinctive and effective against predators, or how they are designed to exploit the ways in which predators see the world. Indeed, definitions of aposematic patterns are loosely descriptive, for example, they are described as striking, conspicuous or distinctive. But what is it that sets these patterns apart from others in the natural world: what makes an effective warning signal? In this project, we propose to tackle this important question through mathematical modeling, and experiments with chicks and humans. For the first time, we will measure the patterns of aposematic and non-aposematic species, and use image processing techniques to quantify the characteristics of aposematic patterns. We will collect photographs of butterflies, moths and beetles from museum collections using techniques that allow us to see the patterns as a foraging bird would. For example, we know what colours and patterns avian visual systems are most sensitive to, and can calculate how warning signals stimulate their visual systems. Once the models have made their predictions we can test them using behavioural experiments that measure how birds react to the aposematic patterns and what features enhance prey survival. We also plan to test a novel hypothesis for why aposematic patterns act as warning signals. Humans find particular classes of pattern (e.g. stripes or spots of specific sizes and arrangements) aversive or uncomfortable. It has been suggested that these patterns could overload the brain, and make these signals aversive. We will build a computational model of the early stages of visual processing in the brain, and test if aposematic patterns do deliver excessive responses. We will then test the model by choosing patterns that should visually overload humans, and taking classic visual discomfort measures. The project will allow us to understand the form and function of aposematic patterns, and finally give us a precise and working definition. The work will broad appeal to the general public, and potentially improve the efficacy of visual alerts and avian deterrents.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 83.29K | Year: 2015
To design, fabricate and validate an innovative filtration system concept for the treatment of the waste generated by fresh vegetable preparation and to utilize the recovered waste products for new product development.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 81.76K | Year: 2016
To embed the knowledge to develop and implement a systematic New Product Development process ensuring Mackies diversified and expanded new range of products are developed and launched in a timely fashion delivering the forecasted sales and profits.
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 576.78K | Year: 2015
The ability of organisms to survive and thrive in a changing and increasingly exploited and polluted environment depends on appropriate regulation of energy balance. Growing evidence suggests that exposure to pollutants can alter how fat is stored and used in humans and in other animals. Recent research in humans suggests that many marine pollutants can interfere with the way fat tissue responds to hormonal signals. In particular, pollutants make it difficult to lose weight by switching on pathways that increase fat storage, and this could contribute to problems like diabetes and obesity. Large amounts of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were made in the early part of the 20th century for use in high capacity electrical conductors and inks, insulators and plastics. Although many POPs are not made anymore because they are very toxic, they are extremely stable and remain in the environment for a long time, ending up in the sea from transport in air and water. Other pollutants, such as phthalates, which are important plasticisers, easily make their way into the sea in run off from urban areas and from marine litter. In particular, POPs do not break down very easily, accumulate in fat and become more concentrated as they are passed up the food chain, ending up in liver and fat. Seals are important top marine predators that have to build up a thick blubber layer while feeding at sea, and then use the fat as a metabolic fuel to keep them alive when they come ashore to breed, moult and rest. They have metabolic similarities to obese and diabetic patients. Their need to rely on fat for fuel and insulation makes them vulnerable to the effects of marine pollutants on the way fat tissue works. The higher the level of POPs in the blubber of seal pups, the lower their chance of survival. Fat tissue like blubber is important for storing fat, releasing it into the bloodstream for use by other parts of the body and producing fat-regulating hormones that control how much fat is stored or used. Recently, the genes of some fat-regulating hormones were shown to be switched on more in blubber of seals from polluted areas in the Baltic Sea than in clean areas in the Arctic, suggesting marine pollutants alter energy balance in seals. However, the mechanisms that control how fat tissue works in seals, and the way marine contaminants interfere with this control, are not well understood. If contaminants can prevent seals from releasing fat from blubber to give them fuel when they are fasting on land, they may have to use more of their protein from muscle tissue instead. This could put them at risk of starvation during moulting, breeding and development, even when they are fat. We will investigate whether pollutants alter fat storage and mobilisation in young grey seals, which are most at risk. We will take small blubber samples from live feeding and fasting seals, without harming them, and treat the blubber with pollutants and fat regulating hormones. We will measure levels of genes and hormones involved in energy balance, the ability of blubber to release fat, and its metabolic rate. By comparing these measures between treatments we will begin to find out how energy balance is normally regulated in seals, how it is altered by marine contaminants, and whether seals are more vulnerable during feeding or fasting. This will help predict the effects of pollutants on seal population size, by contributing a better understanding of how contaminants affect survival of young seals and change their energetic requirements. Because seals naturally experience extreme changes in fat mass, have metabolic similarities to diabetes and obesity, and eat fish, like people do, this work will also inform the likely impacts of POPs and phthalates on human fat regulation. This work has far reaching consequences for health and survivorship in seals and other animals, but also for the management of obesity, diabetes and related metabolic abnormalities in humans.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 62.45K | Year: 2016
To develop the knowledge and understanding required to unlock the potential of Scottish Seaweeds into commercially viable, healthy, nutritional and appealing consumer food products.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Knowledge Transfer Partnership | Award Amount: 85.18K | Year: 2014
To improve the capabilities in the area of the investigation of cybercrime - with respect to intellectual property abuse and digital rights management.