University of the West of England, Bristol
Recent publications
Within the worldwide diving community, underwater photography is becoming increasingly popular. However, the marine environment presents certain challenges for image capture, with resulting imagery often suffering from colour distortions, low contrast and blurring. As a result, image enhancement software is used not only to enhance the imagery aesthetically, but also to address these degradations. Although feature-rich image enhancement software products are available, little is known about the user experience of underwater photographers when interacting with such tools. To address this gap, we conducted an online questionnaire to better understand what software tools are being used, and face-to-face interviews to investigate the characteristics of the image enhancement user experience for underwater photographers. We analysed the interview transcripts using the pragmatic and hedonic categories from the frameworks of Hassenzahl (Funology, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 31–42, 2003; Funology 2, Springer, pp 301–313, 2018) for positive and negative user experience. Our results reveal a moderately negative experience overall for both pragmatic and hedonic categories. We draw some insights from the findings and make recommendations for improving the user experience for underwater photographers using image enhancement tools.
Although it is widely recognized that strong program management is essential to achieving better health outcomes, this priority is not recognized in malaria programmatic practices. Increased management precision offers the opportunity to improve the effectiveness of malaria interventions, overcoming operational barriers to intervention coverage and accelerating the path to elimination. Here we propose a combined approach involving quality improvement, quality management, and participative process improvement, which we refer to as Combined Quality and Process Improvement (CQPI), to improve upon malaria program management. We draw on evidence from other areas of public health, as well as pilot implementation studies in Eswatini, Namibia and Zimbabwe to support the proposal. Summaries of the methodological approaches employed in the pilot studies, overview of activities and an outline of lessons learned from the implementation of CQPI are provided. Our findings suggest that a malaria management strategy that prioritizes quality and participative process improvements at the district-level can strengthen teamwork and communication while enabling the empowerment of subnational staff to solve service delivery challenges. Despite the promise of CQPI, however, policy makers and donors are not aware of its potential. Investments are therefore needed to allow CQPI to come to fruition.
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the majority of public engagement with research work moving online. This shift to online engagement is likely to affect inclusivity and diversity in such events and this requires further consideration as a result of the pandemic. Through comparing case-studies both pre-dating and during the pandemic, we are able to discern areas for ongoing improvement and learning in the public engagement sphere. Main body The public engagement work of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities has sought to include a broad discussion on its research from a range of demographics, attempting to be inclusive in the engagement work of the Centre. However such efforts have not always been successful and we reflect here on two different pre-pandemic ‘in-person’ case studies assessing public views on vaccination and medical data sharing. In contrast we compare these pre-pandemic activities to a fully online case study coordinated and completed during the pandemic. These three case studies are compared and assessed for evidence of their efficacy in a post-pandemic world. Conclusion Research and public awareness benefit when multiple views are included in engagement events. Broader demographics enrich our ways of understanding societal responses to healthcare issues such as vaccination, data sharing and social responsibility. The move to online engagement as a result of the pandemic may open opportunities to widening engagement geographically, but it could also pose a threat to inclusivity with certain public groups on a more local level. Enabling access to online engagement is key, but considerations must be made regarding the new barriers created by a solely online world and the many groups of people inadvertently excluded from this work.
Despite the importance of making sure that psychological interventions are safe, research including both positive and negative effects of novel internet-delivered support is scarce. The aim of our study was to explore whether, and in what way, a new intervention for adolescents distressed by a visible difference (YP Face IT; YPF, Norwegian version) led to positive and/or negative outcome changes. Participants were 79 adolescents (62.00% girls; Mage = 13.84, SD = 1.73), with a visible difference. All had access to the YPF programme and answered questionnaires assessing social anxiety and body esteem pre- and post-intervention. Analyses included calculations of statistical as well as clinically significant and reliable changes. Results showed that fewer participants reported clinical levels of social anxiety and low body esteem after access to YPF. Results also indicated that participants who had a positive pre- to post-intervention change had lower levels of perceived self-worth pre-intervention, and spent more time on the intervention than those with a negative pre- to post change. Three participants showed a clinically significant negative and reliable change in social anxiety or body esteem from pre- to post-intervention. However, based on an examination of these participants’ characteristics, preliminary findings support the safety of YPF.
This bibliometric and scientometric analyses and critical review of construction health and safety (H&S) research in developing countries (DCs) over the past 31 years, identifies its trends, dissemination, knowledge gaps, study implications, and direction of future research. These are area overlooked. Using a science mapping approach, involving systematic bibliometric analysis of the Scopus database and scientometric analysis with VOSViewer software, this research fills the knowledge gap. The findings include that while construction H&S research is growing in a few countries such as China and South Africa, the majority of DCs such as Venezuela are yet to experience this increase. However, the research focus is not aligned with their problems. The studies examined mainly focus on risk-based research (e.g. risk management and assessment), accidents, human-related factors, safety management, site safety, and performance management. The research focus of construction H&S scholars in DCs differs from their global counterparts. Equality, diversity and inclusion in construction H&S; and safety culture and climate are still minimal. Many aspects of industry 4.0 concerning safety need to be examined, for example, ‘Big data and construction H&S', and industry 4.0 skills and knowledge requirements for construction H&S -associated activities. There is linear relationship (correlation) between keywords occurrences and their total strength. Mainly quantitative surveys and analytic hierarchy processes (AHP) are adopted, hence the need for qualitative methods studies. The study provides the first detailed evidence of the characteristics of construction H&S research in DCs and its underrepresentation in H&S research.
Chronological markers in fluvial sediments can provide useful information on geomorphic response to historic catchment disturbance, and help explain historic channel morphodynamics. We concentrate on the River Nent catchment in Northern England, which was heavily impacted by lead and zinc mining in the 18th and 19th centuries. We date a 2 m deep profile of fine (<2mm) floodplain sediments using ore extraction records, covering the period 1845 to 1913, based on a significant correlation between zinc concentrations and zinc-ore extraction (r = 0.78, n = 27; p < 0.01). These dates were constrained with a basal OSL date of 2.7 ± 0.3 ka (Agemin to Agemean 1.4–3.0 ka) and existing lichenometric dates for surface gravels. Earliest lead contaminated sediments at the base of the profile most likely resulted from Roman mining operations within the catchment. Local mine-worker population statistics were used to simulate pre-1845 lead ore extraction; where above-average peaks in lead concentration, recorded at the 125–130 cm, 105–110 cm and 95–100 cm horizons, were linked to respective peaks in lead ore extraction in 1825, 1850 and 1866. Estimates of historic sediment delivery volumes at a 0.062 km² sink site at Blagill, approximately 6.5 km downstream of the headwaters to the Nent, were estimated through coupling the chronological markers with accumulated sediment thickness and reach area. Sediment delivery was seen to be strongly enhanced by phases of metal mining, with peaks between 1800 and 1825 reflecting the final stages of lead mining, and later between 1892 and 1895, reflecting the peak extraction of zinc. Although lag times between ore extraction peaks and sediment delivery to the Blagill site introduce uncertainty to the proposed chronology, we conclude that where good local mining statistics are available, our approach provides a useful alternative or may be used in conjunction with other commonly used methodologies.
The building envelope has an important role in regulating the energy exchanges between the internal and external environment. In recent years, various studies on technological solutions for responsive and intelligent envelopes have been carried out. The purpose of this paper is to investigate climate-adaptive building envelopes and related biomimetic solutions, providing a critical review of the state of the art. Various examples of the adaptive envelopes are analysed and compared with examples of biomimetic envelopes. This paper demonstrates the potential of the broad database of nature to provide solutions that can be implemented in architecture to achieve design solutions that are sustainable, energy efficient, and able to adapt to environmental changes. After an initial critical review of nature's adaptation strategies, a methodological approach has been proposed: the bio-adaptive model (bio-AM). Starting from the definition of the context and the relative abiotic factors, the bio-AM identifies the essential phases to transfer the functions of plants to building technologies, using adaptive materials capable of self-activation in response to environmental factors, thus potentially emulating the adaptation of plants in technological solutions for the future of sustainable buildings.
This paper presents a novel X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) image analysis method to characterize the Fracture Process Zone (FPZ) in scaled centre-notched quasi-isotropic carbon/epoxy laminates. A total of 61 CT images of a small specimen were used to fine-tune a pre-trained Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) (i.e., VGG16) to classify fibre orientations. The proposed CNN model achieves a 100% accuracy when tested on the CT images of the same scale as the training set. However, the accuracy drops to a maximum of 84% when tested on unlabelled images of the specimens having larger scales potentially due to their lower resolutions. Another code was developed to automatically measure the size of the FPZ based on the CNN identified °plies in the largest specimen which agrees well with the manual measurement (on average within 3.3%). The whole classification and measurement process can be automated without human intervention.
Previous works have established the response and failure behaviour of hybrid (CFRP-GFRP) laminates when subjected to a wide range of destabilising loads. However, to date no works have focused on plates with cut-outs under shear loading and quantified the influence of selective laminate shapes and hybridisation on their post-buckling response. Herein, the plate collapse behaviour of a novel X-braced hybrid (CFRP-GFRP) twill woven laminate containing a large circular cut-out (diameter to width ratio of 0.35), subjected to in-plane shear loading is investigated. The study includes a hybrid and a baseline pure CFRP design and employs both experimental and numerical analysis. The experimental results illustrate that despite having less CFRP material, a hybrid laminate design with shaped CFRP plies exhibits greater failure load (+9%), and a greater failure load to buckling load ratio (1.26 compared to 1.12). However, this comes at the cost of a marginally lower initial plate buckling load (-3%). Additionally, the combined experimental and numerical analysis reveals the detailed failure mechanism of both the pure CFRP and hybrid laminates, demonstrating similar behaviour but that the hybrid design endures significantly more widespread shear damage of the matrix.
One of the most critical issues related to the current application of virtual reality during design appraisal is the inability to have a collaborative virtual environment where a group of geographically remote stakeholders can interact and communicate effectively in real-time. This paper addresses this shortcoming by proposing a collaborative furniture, fixture and equipment virtual environment (COFFEE) that allows concurrent multi-users to interact, communicate and collaborate virtually during the design appraisal of interior furnishings of a facility The testing of the proposed system among various construction stakeholders (n = 26) to demonstrate the usability and functionality showed high degree of acceptance by stakeholders as a result of improved visualisation, multi-user communication, and collaboration in the virtual environment. In practice COFFEE is expected to assist interior design stakeholders to make informed decisions and create shared understanding before commencement of construction activity.
Water desalination is a method to deal with water shortage that today considered as a way to meet the growing human demand. Obtaining freshwater at low cost guarantees the stability of the desalination method. Capacitive Deionization (CDI) method is a new technology for deionization of water with saline properties, the least energy, and environmental pollution. In this paper, an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model was developed to estimate the amount of water produced by the CDI method based on experimental data. The backpropagation Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP) model with Adam (Adaptive Moment Estimation) learning algorithm with two hidden layers was used. To evaluate performance, RMSE, MAE, MSE and R² mathematical indices were used. The input layer had three variables that include the amount of initial solution concentration, the flow rate, and the amount of voltage applied to the cell. The output layer had a neuron as the amount of percentage of water desalination. For estimating the amount of salt removal percentage, the ANN modeling method was acceptable. The amount of correlation coefficient between experimental laboratory data and data estimated by ANN for training data was equal to 0.972. The overall correlation coefficient was 0.90 that for estimating the amount of salt removal percentage by CDI method is acceptable. The RMSE values for testing and training data were 0.008 and 0.003, respectively. In the statistical study of the effect of variables, it was found that by CDI method the initial concentration of salt has an inverse relationship with the amount of salt removed from water. Also, the amount of applied voltage has a direct relationship and the amount of feed rate has an inverse relationship with the amount of salt removed from water.
This article assesses the impact of welfare state systems on the performance of economies in creating the appropriate conditions for innovation and increased competitiveness. Since the 1970s, welfare systems have been regarded as disruptive influences on economic growth. This situation was exacerbated by the intensification of globalization and the emergence of new economies, which led to the need for initiatives to promote innovation and competitiveness, not least in the EU with so many different types of welfare state. To investigate the impact of welfare state systems on innovation performance and competitiveness, we used the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), which is based on a variety of indicators, as well as various essential indicators proposed by EU2020 innovation, such as the number of patents and the level of education and employment. The results obtained from the performance of five welfare state clusters of European countries have shown that the most comprehensive welfare states, primarily those in the Nordic countries, have been the most successful in achieving innovation goals and have long been ranked as innovation leaders in Europe. Moreover, public resource allocation for innovation leads to a more comprehensive agenda, including employment promotion, gender equality goals, and sustainability concerns. Welfare costs seem not to reduce competitiveness. And it is competitiveness itself that encourages the development of advanced social security systems.
Internationally, commercial onshore wind farms are starting to reach the end of their operational or consent life, posing a new and mounting challenge with potentially dramatic permutations for the sector. Replacing existing turbines with new infrastructure through repowering has the potential to significantly increase the installed capacity of existing onshore wind sites without also increasing the footprint of development. However, local community opinions will form an important aspect of such end-of-life decision making. Traditionally, community benefit funds have been used to provide financial payments to host communities, but this is not always what is sought by a local community. The repowering of wind sites presents a distinct moment to reconsider and renegotiate how a local community benefits from hosting wind infrastructure. Herein lies an opportunity for the community to partner with commercial developers to obtain shared ownership of repowering projects, potentially through the support of existing community energy organisations. This paper draws upon semi-structured interviews with commercial developers, community energy practitioners and intermediary bodies in Great Britain to critically evaluate, for the first time, the scope for repowering to increase the scale of community shareholding in commercial onshore wind assets. The findings reveal support for shared ownership in principle with various rationales for this support, but many challenges are identified in practice. Recommendations are provided regarding how planning systems and government policy could evolve to facilitate shared ownership during repowering.
Synchronization transition in neuromorphic networks has attracted much attention recently as a fundamental property of biological neural networks, which relies on network connectivity along with different synaptic features. In this work, an area-optimized FPGA implementation of an Asynchronous Cellular Automata Neuron model that exhibits discrete-state neuron dynamics is introduced. The proposed neuron model is capable of reproducing various neuromorphic oscillations observed in biological neurons using less hardware resources than previous implementations. We investigate synchronization transitions with a focus on the emergence of chimera states in a ring-based network consisting of hardware-based neurons with electrical synaptic coupling. In particular, we study the effects on the network’s phase synchronization through changing two control parameters: the coupling range and the coupling strength. We indicate that via proper configuration of the coupling parameters, we influence the synchronization transition and reveal chimera states which have been associated with neurological disorders.
Species‐specific responses to landscape configuration and landscape composition have been studied extensively. However, little work has been done to compare intraspecific differences in habitat preferences. Bats have potential as good bioindicator taxa in woodland habitats. Therefore, studying sex differences in responses to woodland and the wider landscape can allow us to gain insight into the relative importance of these habitats for both bats and other taxa. In this study, we aimed to test the predictions that (i) habitat type and connectivity will influence the probability of recording female bats in woodlands and (ii) sex differences in response to habitat type and connectivity will be species‐specific. Bat capture data was collected in 206 woodlands over 3 years in England. The probability of detecting females relative to males was modeled in response to a range of woodland characteristics and landscape metrics for six bat species. We recorded sex differences in responses to landscape features in three species. We found a higher probability of capturing female Myotis nattereri in woodlands that were surrounded by a higher proportion of improved grasslands, whereas female Myotis mystacinus were less likely to be recorded in woodlands surrounded by semi‐natural vegetation. Female Plecotus auritus were more likely to be recorded in isolated woodlands with less connectivity to other woodlands and where agriculture dominated the surrounding landscape. Our findings indicate that sexual segregation occurs across several UK bat species in response to landscape connectivity and composition. Sexual segregation in response to landscape characteristics in bats should therefore be an important consideration in the management of fragmented agricultural landscapes. The probability of detecting females relative to males was modeled in response to a range of woodland characteristics and landscape metrics for six bat species. We recorded sex differences in responses to landscape features in three species. Our findings indicate that sexual segregation occurs across several UK bat species in response to landscape connectivity and composition.
With the advancement in human civilization, the need for energy is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The present resources, mainly from a non‐renewable carbon source, will be extinct sooner than expected. In this scenario, there is a need to focus on a sustainable and environment‐friendly source of energy. Renewable solar energy‐based Hydrogen production is a solution in this regard. However, the commercial processes involved in its production are not economically feasible. This work is a sincere effort to optimize the control factors using the Taguchi method to maximize the yield of hydrogen gas production and minimize the cost of the production process. This study focuses on the optimization of the critical driving factors of a PV integrated perforated electrolyzer system. This study considers the twelve most influencing factors for optimization through an L 16 (2 12 ) orthogonal array. Based on the conclusions obtained through the L 16 orthogonal arrays, the maximum hydrogen gas produced was around 319.35 Ncm 3 /hr, and implementing the Taguchi optimization technique, it was found to be 682.59 Ncm 3 /hr. Therefore, it can be concluded that there was an increment of 53.21% concerning the maximum value as obtained from the L 16 Orthogonal array.
In this paper, a novel stochastic gradient algorithm based on the minimum Renyi entropy is proposed to identify a nonlinear rational model contaminated by the impulse noise. Firstly, the minimum error entropy using the Epanechnikov kernel is taken to suppress the impulse noise. Secondly, the stochastic gradient of the Renyi entropy rather than the Shannon entropy is adopted to decrease the computational cost. Finally, an adaptive step size considering the energy of the errors is used to accelerate the algorithm. The proposed algorithm is validated by numerical examples and case study. Results show that the algorithm can give accurate estimates with a fast convergence rate for the nonlinear rational model with the impulse noise.
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Puspa Raj Pant
  • Department of Nursing and Midwifery
Mehmet Emin Aydin
  • Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies
Genaro J. Martinez
  • Faculty of Environment and Technology
Iris Holzleitner
  • Department of Social Sciences
Caroline A Flurey
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
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