Glasgow projects showcased in UK research report

Published: 16 June 2011

Five Glasgow research projects selected as being among the most important taking place in UK universities today.

Five projects at the University of Glasgow have been selected as being among the most important research projects taking place in universities today.

The Big Ideas for the Future report, published by Research Council UK (RCUK) and Universities UK, pulls together the leading research projects currently taking place across British universities.

The publication of the report forms part of the second annual Universities Week, which takes place from 13-19 June 2011, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities. 

Research from all fields, including science, social sciences, engineering, the arts and the humanities, was eligible to be included in the report and Glasgow’s projects were selected from hundreds of submissions.

The report is narrated and backed by high-profile celebrities such as Lord Winston, Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London; Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Iain Stewart.

The projects included in the report are:

  • Three-way kidney transplant matching software, developed by Dr David Manlove in the School of Computing. Algorithms allow doctors to match the kidneys of three or more donors to patients in order to perform simultaneous transplantations.
  • A 3D anatomical training product being developed by the Digital Design Studio at The Glasgow School of Art, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, NHS Highland and NHS Education for Scotland, which will be used to teach complex anatomy of the head and neck to train healthcare professionals.
  • De-orbit systems for small spacecraft, being developed by Dr Patrick Harkness in the School of Engineering which has seen the construction of a prototype ‘aerobrake’ which would guide redundant satellites into the atmosphere where they would burn up. 
  • Understanding the science behind conserving art, a project being run by Frances Lennard in the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History which is training students how to understand, interpret, display and preserve a diverse array of objects and artwork.
  • GRAMnet – Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network led by Prof Alison Phipps and Prof Rebecca Kay in the School of Education, aims to tackle the problem of racially-based inequalities in the city. The initiative brings these communities together to promote and strengthen interdisciplinary research in order to change perceptions of these groups in the next 10 years.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chair Elect of RCUK said of Big Ideas for the Future: “Research has an impact on all our lives. Whether it is a breakthrough in experimental science, or an invention that makes new things possible, or a project that leads us to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of our society, research is the key to the UK’s growth, prosperity and wellbeing. Big Ideas for the Future showcases just some of the excellent research being carried out in UK universities that achieves these aims. It is vital we continue to support the talented individuals whose work makes a real difference.”

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The research that has taken place at UK universities has helped to change the world and the way we live, whether that’s discovering DNA, inventing the world’s first computer or finding cures for life-threatening illnesses. It is great to see this tradition of world-leading innovation continue and get an insight into the many inspiring and potentially-life changing projects currently being developed by our universities.”

Universities Week looks at the many different ways in which universities affect all of our lives — from supporting the economy, to working within local communities, to looking at how their research programmes could change our futures. Hundreds of events will be taking place around the country open to members of the public, as well as high-profile media coverage and activity across social media networks.

To download a full version of the report, please visit For more information on Universities Week, visit and to show your support, join us on Facebook at

For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email

Notes to editors
Universities Week is taking place from 13-19 June 2010, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.  A full list of events taking place can be found at Supporters can also find out more about the campaign by joining the Universities Week Facebook fan page at  The campaign is being co-ordinated by Universities UK.

Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 133 members and offices in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh, it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally. Visit:

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils. We invest annually around £3 billion in research. Our focus is on excellence with impact. We nurture the highest quality research, as judged by international peer review providing the UK with a competitive advantage. Global research requires we sustain a diversity of funding approaches, fostering international collaborations, and providing access to the best facilities and infrastructure, and locating skilled researchers in stimulating environments. Our research achieves impact – the demonstrable contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people. To deliver impact, researchers and businesses need to engage and collaborate with the public, business, government and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:
• Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
• Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
• Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
• Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
• Medical Research Council (MRC)
• Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
• Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

First published: 16 June 2011

<< June