Scientific question: Can quantum effects in three-spin systems be used to vastly amplify the sensitivity of radical reactions to weak magnetic fields? Synopsis: Radical pair reactions are sensitive to weak magnetic fields. Remarkably, this is the result of truly quantum effects, which operate under conditions where the corresponding classical effects would be entirely negligible. This phenomenon likely underlies animal magnetoreception and has been discussed in the context of potentially adverse health effects related to weak magnetic field exposure. Often these effects are small, particularly for the magnetic field intensities encountered in our everyday surroundings. Understanding how these effects can be inherently amplified is the most pressing puzzle of quantum biology. Hypotheses: Recently, one of us has proposed an additional reaction pathway as part of the avian magnetic compass that acts to vastly amplify magnetic field effects (MFEs). This new mechanism relies on the spin-selective reaction of the usual radical pair with another, external, radical, which we refer to as a scavenger. As a consequence of the chemical Zeno effect, this process could provide unparalleled magneto-sensitivity. This project aims to afford the first experimental evidence of this amplification process. To this end, we will adapt a transient absorption spectrometer in Geneva to accommodate magnetic field-dependent measurements. This will allow us to detect directly the predicted peculiarities of MFEs in self-assembled three-radical systems. While we will only be able to realize a proof-of-principle realisation within this project, our efforts will allow us to collect pilot data for larger grant applications.
This project aims to develop research and postgraduate teaching collaboration between staff in the Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) research centre (led by Prof. Stephenson) and the The Climate Change Impacts and Risks in the Anthropocene (C-CIA) team at U. of Geneva (led by Prof. Stoffel). The two climate centres are world-renowned for their work on climate hazards and extreme events, which are addressed using different disciplinary skill sets: mathematical modelling of weather and climate at XCS and climate change impact assessments at C-CIA. There is therefore much synergy to be gained by closer interdisciplinary collaboration between the two centres.The benefit of such collaboration was clearly evident in the very high impact publications created when Profs. Stephenson and Beniston last collaborated in EU projects PRUDENCE and ENSEMBLES from 2002-7 (in which Prof. Stoffel was a senior researcher back in time). Several ongoing projects at C-CIA have already been identified which could benefit from mathematical involvement from XCS: atmospheric rivers (and impacts over the Iberian Peninsula), polar vortex splitting and flooding over Europe, extreme rainfall events over Pakistan and Indian Kashmir in 2010/4, plus some more local, radar-based assessments of heavy precipitation and hail events in the Bernese Alps, reconstructions of volcanic cooling over the CE, in addition to climate change impacts in the Alps.
The Geneva-Exeter Renaissance Exchange (GEREx) will provide a forum for collaboration between the two universities in an area of mutual strength: the literature and culture of early modern England. More specifically, it will build on shared specialisms in early modern drama, the digital humanities, and book history. At the heart of the exchange will be a pair of events held six months apart. In November 2018, a delegation from Geneva will travel to Exeter to share both their current research and ideas for future projects under the umbrella of the Centre of Early Modern Studies, who will organise a symposium. In May 2019, the same will happen in reverse. Each delegation will include both junior and senior scholars, from doctoral students to full professors, and will deliver its message in a variety of forms—from short academic papers to lectures and workshops. The aim of the exchange will be to lay the groundwork for more sustained collaboration in the future, in teaching as well as research, and in print as well as in person. The first tangible outcome of this collaboration will be a joint proposal for a panel or seminar at a major international conference, with the topic to be agreed at the first symposium in November. The second symposium, in May 2019, will focus on exploring possible sources of funding for joint future projects.
Our understanding of human gait (the manner of walking and running) has been predominantly developed through biomechanical analyses using linear mathematics. However, both experimental and robotics fields have identified that an epistemological shift towards understanding the nonlinear dynamics inherent to our biological system is mathematically, theoretically and practically more fruitful. Specifically, nonlinear dynamics methods are used to explore and understand pattern stability, transitions between states, and deterministic and stochastic processes at different spatio-temporal scales during gait. It is likely that alterations in these nonlinear characteristic of biology are particularly pertinent in pathological movement, and provide more relevant indicators of health than classic mechanical measures. Therefore, in understanding human movement disorders and improving the management of these disorders, a nonlinear approach is key. The aim of this study is to quantify characteristics of the determinsitc properties of oscillations during walking in pathological states, in order to inform translational research. The purpose is to further understanding of the nonlinear characteristics of gait for pathological populations in order to underpin theoretically underpinned diagnoses and interventions. This project is a collaboration Dr Genevieve Williams (UoE), a biomechanist with an specialism in non-linear dynamics, Dr Stephane Armand (UNIGE), a clinical human movement scientist, and Dr Richard Pulsford (UoE) who has a specialism in physical activity monitoring. The team will bring together expertise in nonlinear dynamics analysis, clinical gait, and physical activity monitoring to progress clinical gait analysis and develop world leading translational research in this field.
The project will be built on the existing research network investigating AI and data governance. The network involves Prof A Darbellay (AD) of the University of Geneva, Prof J Vananroye (JV) of the University of KU Leuven, and Prof J Lee (JL) of the University of Exeter. The first workshop was convened on 8 January 2020 at the University of Geneva. https://www.unige.ch/droit/numerique/fintech/
Applicants will work with experts in and from exchanges, banks (ie retail, investment), payment services, and corporate actions data services which have been using AI to process data, produce analysis, make decisions, and interact with other machines equipped with AI. AI and machine learning can have impacts on financial consumers and investors’ behaviour, individual autonomy, and democratic values. The machines store such personal data and make decisions about the user (data subject) with or without their knowledge (e.g. profiling). The problem is heightened when data are transferred to other machines (from robo-advisers to other e-commerce algorithms) which then make decisions for very different purposes with or without the user’s knowledge. For instance, a user may want to exercise control over the data stored and shared (i.e. the right to be forgotten) or claim compensation for harm done (i.e. being prevented from accessing a service due to wrongful use of AI). When AI’s legal status is unclear (a legal person, a product, or a service), users may face difficulties in identifying those responsible and obtaining redress from them. The research will address a current knowledge gap in the legal literature on artificial intelligence and data governance in the financial markets.
Since the 1950-60s, Africa has become a key site of humanitarian aid and developmental interventions. Children have been primary subjects of these actions, serving as universal icons of suffering across humanitarian campaigns. This project will establish an historical geneaology of ‘child-saving’ in Africa, from the first NGO child welfare clinic in 1935 in Addis Ababa to the 2014 #BringBackOurGirls campaign that spread globally from Nigeria. It will interrogate the political, cultural and emotional calculus of compassion that determines which children are adjudged befitting of concern and rescue. It asks how contemporary campaigns are shaped by legacies of (post-)colonial child-saving efforts, and by Western-originated, now globalized, notions of ‘childhood’ and racialized conceptions of ‘Africa’. It traces histories of Sustainable Development Goals custodian indicators on children. Such historical approaches will strengthen strategic thinking and effective practice within child-focused NGOs, delivering impact through helping organizations to better understand how context and temporality affect campaigning and how mis-readings of socio-political and cultural norms across Africa can inhibit effective interventions.
This project connects Exeter & Geneva researchers with archivists and practitioners from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC, National Red Cross, FICR, Geneva), Save the Children International (London, with archives in Birmingham), Save the Children Switzerland (Zurich), the archives of the Union Internationale de secours aux enfants (Geneva) and UNICEF (Geneva, New York) for three joint archival research sessions and academic-practitioner dialogues in Geneva, Birmingham and London culminating in a Geneva-based workshop to present pilot findings and develop future grant applications.
Understanding the characteristics of impaired walking, in comparison to that of healthy individuals, is the key to developing and prescribing effective and efficient gait retraining interventions. Improving walking performance and quality has a high impact on the quality of life of the patients. The current project leverages UniGe’s world class facilities for collecting gait data on clinical populations in a hospital environment, alongside Exeter’s expertise in the application of non-linear dynamics analysis of gait. Combining these attributes, the aim of this project is to analyse the gait of clinical populations (e.g. children with cerebral palsy) using nonlinear dynamics analysis. The purpose is to underpin the development of gait retraining interventions to improve walking in patients with impaired gait.
Funded by the Seed Corn round of the GenEx fund, our first collaboration in 2019 has led to the development of methods to assess the nonlinear dynamics of constrained healthy gait collected at the UniGe facility. With this Seed Award, we will apply the methods developed to analyse the walking pattern of patients with gait impairments. This new application will provide pilot data to support an application for Wellcome Trust funding to apply this knowledge to underpin the development of a contemporary gait retraining and assessment protocol.
This research is at the forefront of a step-change in the analysis and subsequent understanding of impaired gait. By bringing together our two universities and research groups, outputs will be of internationally excellent, and strengthen our applications for external funding.
Heating contributes to around 50% of the final energy consumption in Switzerland and in the UK. About 75% of the heat supply in both countries is from fossil fuels leading to large CO2 emissions. The UK’s net-zero GHG emissions target by 2050 and the Swiss target of lowering 50% emissions by 2030 (relative to 1990) mean that heating in both countries must be rapidly decarbonised. Although technical solutions exist, there are many hurdles in decarbonising residential heating. The required changes are transformative with improvements to buildings, replacement of existing heating technologies and addition of new infrastructure. Policy measures therefore have a very important role to play in overcoming these hurdles.
This project looks to increase research power and create impact by building on nationally recognised expertise around sustainable heating policy at both Exeter and Geneva in order to build a new research relationship based around teaching and knowledge exchange alongside collaborative policy workshops in each country.
The project will analyse the existing policy measures (financial, fiscal, legislative) for decarbonising residential heating. Uptake of these measures and their impact on decarbonisation will be examined. The project will involve key policy actors and institutions to identify the success factors, problems and the lessons learnt around heat policies in both countries.
The frontier encompassing Russia, China and the Korean peninsula is a region of political and economic competition, ethno-cultural diversity, mobile populations and shifting borders. Present-day narratives of cooperative development coexist with historical memories of imperial conflict. These states balance the rhetoric of regional integration to international audiences with the enhancement of domestic patriotism. Public history becomes a battleground where these tensions are played out.
This project analyses how public history is presented in frontier museums of the Russian Far East (RFE), Manchuria and South Korea, benefitting from the linguistic and fieldwork expertise of both researchers, who have considerable experience in the region. It examines how historical narratives of 17th to 20th-Century imperial competition are selectively packaged for domestic visitors or transborder tourists. Furthermore, it explores how conflict over territory and cultural inheritance is read back even into the pre-modern history of Goguryeo and Balhae. It therefore contributes significantly to geopolitical discussions on Sino-Russian relations as an “Axis of Convenience”.
Initial research was conducted in the RFE and Heilongjiang in 2019. It revealed deliberate ambiguity, even factual manipulation, in Russian state museum narratives of border demarcation and colonial settlement. Manchurian museums combined a celebration of Russian influence with anti-Russian, nationalist messages. Funding is sought to expand fieldwork into Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Korea. The Russian findings have been solicited by Eurasian Geography and Economics; Chinese and Korean material will yield at least two further publications. The project culminates in a joint Exeter-Geneva workshop on historical memory and public history.
Quantum mechanics has enabled fascinating advances in fundamental and applied science in the past decades, from quantum computation to the miniaturisation of technologies and the detection of gravitational waves. Within the research field of quantum thermodynamics, one main question is whether quantum mechanics clearly provides an advantage for operating nanoscale thermal machines.
With this collaborative research grant, we want to take a concrete step towards this goal by investigating the time-resolved dynamics of a thermal machine that generates quantum correlations. The model of the device comprises two artificial atoms placed within a cavity. Remarkably, this device is highly versatile, being a promising platform for quantum thermal machines but also a building block for quantum computation. By analysing the dynamics of the electro-magnetic field leaving the cavity within the framework of stochastic thermodynamics, we will determine 1) the energetic quantities associated with the functioning of this quantum machine, and 2) whether this field carries information about the presence of quantum correlations. The experimental feasibility of this device will be assessed based on these results, providing key insights about nanoscale heat managing and energetic costs of quantum computations.
The Exeter and Geneva lead applicants are internationally recognised specialists in quantum thermodynamics theory with a complementary expertise that will benefit this project. The project will involve two newly recruited members of staff and two existing PhD students from either side. The project will allow the two internationally visible groups to team up, establish collaborations and do ground work for lager future research projects.
This project seeks to develop collaborative research, exchange, and educational opportunities between Exeter (Archaeology, PI Marisa Lazzari; co-I Gill Juleff) and Geneva (Environmental Governance and Territorial Development Hub/Institute, GEDT/Department of Sociology, PI Peter Larsen) to investigate the intersections of cultural heritage and landscape sustainability within a global arena. Fostering a comparative outlook stemming from the experiences of indigenous and minority communities around the globe, the project will focus on (but not limited to) the Americas and the Asia-Pacific. The main goal is bridging academic interests into a coherent research design that contributes to the evelopment of decolonial approaches and the promotion of collaborative and cross-cultural methodologies. Building upon the applicants’ earlier roundwork, the project will cement and expand the network of collaborators and research partners including NGO and non-HEI bodies, through a portfolio of activities and outputs aimed at policy-oriented action research and high-impact outreach in line with the UN Sustainable evelopment Goals, therefore boosting the reputation of both institutions as international hubs for innovative and impactful research.
The partnership provides an innovative interdisciplinary outlook to the long-term configurations of people, land, and heritage. Of particular interest is how indigenous socio-material configurations meet new challenges in the heritage sphere and the accompanying national and transnational regulatory regimes claiming as ‘resources’ those substances, materials, and places, which have bred life into communities over centuries. We define these new spaces of encounters as ‘resource landscapes’, delineated by the entanglements between place-based long-term practices and knowledges with the transnational practices, valuations and expectations underpinning models of development based on resources extraction. The activation of the partnership will bring existing educational and research expertise at Exeter and Geneva together, paving the ground for increasing the exchange of know-how and staff and student mobility. One PDRA at Exeter (Francesco Orlandi Barbano, hD candidate, Archaeology) will contribute to the project as liaison between the principal applicants, information gathering, content creation nd dissemination, while gaining valuable specific and transferable skills. A student assistant will support the coordination and organisation of the workshop at UGE. The project workshops will be open to invited post-doctoral researcher and doctoral students. Student-facing activities will include postgraduate students undertaking relevant programmes, such as UoE’s MA in International Heritage Management & Consultancy and UNIGEs STAREG and MUSE programmes.
Aims and objectives:
The project’s general aim is to foster a transdisciplinary approach to heritage in resource landscapes, with a particular emphasis on the role of the past in imagining more inclusive futures. The project will compare and assess a portfolio of approaches and case studies that can inform current research and teaching practice and enable new collaborative pathways.
The specific objectives are:
Inactivity and poor self-care predispose older adults undergoing surgical interventions to decrease their long-term health and life quality outcomes. Currently, assessment of patients' physical and psychological states (e.g., activity) for a given short-term period (e.g., week) is conducted via momentary Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs). PROs suffer from reporting biases, ceiling, floor effects, and no sensitivity to change at their scale's extremes. Conversely, personal smartphones, and wearables are increasingly accurate in long-term behavioral Technology-Reported Outcomes (TechROs). However, the extent to which TechROs provide clinically useful information in the context of surgical interventions is unknown. We involve patients and clinicians in designing a replicable research protocol coQoL@hip2neck for the co-calibration of the pre-and postoperative PRO and TechRO for hip arthroplasty and cervical myelopathy. |Via an interactive additive approach, aspects of human factors, including the data quality, the methods' feasibility, reliability, and validity, are scrutinized. Our team of experts in psychometrics, quality of life assessment, behavioral modeling, and clinical pathways for the two surgical interventions jointly informs designs of longitudinal quality of life assessments, progressing clinical decision-making in this field at the worldwide level. The results acquired in this initial project will strengthen our application for the Horizon Europe 2022 call.
This project seeks to get a better understanding of preferences for different types of leaders in crisis contexts, in particular, in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. More specifically, we seek to examine how the framing of a crisis in terms of economic, health, or social priorities may impact on preferences for leaders from certain social groups (based on gender and ethnic, racial and immigration [ERI] groups), and the role of stereotypical expectations of leadership and group memberships.
A vast literature on the socio-demographics of those who hold leadership positions show that leadership ideals are closely aligned with a male, White prototype in Western societies (Koenig et al., 2011). However, these tendencies are highly context-dependent and research on the “glass cliff” demonstrates that crisis contexts may give rise to the appointment of women or members of ERI minority groups to positions of power (Morgenroth et al., 2020; Ryan et al., 2016).
As a declared pandemic, the COVID-19 crisis has not only led to substantial strains of the health system (Hogan et al., 2020) but also to significant economy consequences and the increases in social inequalities in almost every region of the globe (Cerami et al., 2020; Guest et al., 2020).
In this context, leaders’ actions had an immediate and restrictive impact on almost all people’s personal lives. Thus, political leadership has been closely monitored by the public. In a correlational study with citizens of five countries (N = 1,259), we collected preliminary data on how peoples’ perceptions of the crisis affected their leadership preference (Takizawa et al., in prep). Findings suggest that people’s framing of the crisis as being understood as primarily economic, social, or health related, was associated with different expectations of a leader. More specifically, an ERI minority leader was preferred by female participants who thought that the leader should focus on the health or social aspect of the crisis over the economic aspect. However, preference for a female political leader was not contingent on the crisis type. The present project seeks to refine these findings by conducting experimental research to establish causalities and to better understand their underpinnings.
This context allows for a real-life test of research into the glass cliff in a new and previously untested crisis context, COVID-19. MR coined the term and delivered initial illustrations of the phenomenon for women in organizational settings (Ryan & Haslam, 2005). CK started her work on the phenomenon in Exeter (e.g., Ryan et al., 2010; Kulich et al., 2014) and then moved to the University of Geneva, where she has been working with VI and RT on explanations of the glass cliff looking at gender and ERI groups and the political context (e.g., Aelenei et al., 2020; Robinson et al., in press). This Seed Funding will allow us to reconnect and develop new projects that focus on leadership emergence amongst underrepresented social groups, starting with the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
International courts and tribunals (ICTs) play a pivotal role in the international legal order. They provide a peaceful alternative for the settlement of disputes, and they interpret and uphold the law. However, the political and legal landscape has evolved drastically since their creation—especially in the last thirty years. Notably, the participation of members of the civil society in international cooperation, law-making and monitoring has become one of the basic features of modern international relations. Many ‘non-State actors’ have taken a growing interest in responding to international issues such as climate change, grave human rights violations or one-sided foreign direct investment by pursuing litigation on the state-centric international stage, upon the grounds that such matters are of public interest. This has led to demands for procedural inclusion and transparency before ICTs.
One of the current and underexplored challenges faced by ICTs is their adaptation and response to such demands, which are increasing alongside growing global crises. Indeed, many ICTs were initially designed to settle bilateral disputes between states, with defined standing and in states’ interests. But this traditional understanding of international disputes is procedurally limited and leaves out disputes over global commons (such as the deep seabed and space), global goods (such as health), and disputes where the harm is suffered not by a single state, but the international community at large (such as climate change).
Against this background, at the heart of this project lie the following questions: to what degree can ICTs respond to new procedural and substantive developments in international society to successfully address disputes based on the public interest? Can public interest litigation before ICTs be a solution for today’s global problems? Is there a potential for public interest litigation before such fora to be developed?
By bringing experts in this area together, and led by Dr Justine Bendel (University of Exeter) and Dr Yusra Suedi (University of Geneva), this project aims to make a novel contribution to the understanding of international adjudication in settling disputes in the public interest. It will do so by asking the following theoretical and normative questions: Does public interest litigation before ICTs even exist? If so, what does it entail? If not, should it exist?
Following this, this project will turn towards more doctrinal questions in specific areas of international law, chosen on the basis of their contemporary relevance:
• How can public interest litigation be applied to climate change issues, in the context of scientific uncertainty?
• How can areas that are considered as common goods, such as space or the deep seabed, lead to international adjudication?
• What role does public interest litigation play in investment arbitration? What are the challenges in this area?
• Why is the adjudication of cases involving violations of fundamental customary rules such as the prohibition of genocide established as public interest litigation? Why those types of rules and not others?
• How can threats to global health be litigated before international courts and tribunals in the name of the public interest?
The unpreceded amount of tools and skills that humans have developed has been attributed to their ability to socially transmit and accumulate more and more complex knowledge across generations, known as “cumulative culture” (Boyd & Richerson, 1996). However, the cognitive mechanisms allowing this accumulation remain poorly understood. To bridge this gap, Brand et al. (2022) have suggested that analogy, which occupies a central place in human cognition (Hofstadter & Sander, 2013), is also a crucial mechanism underlying cultural evolution. The idea is that relying on analogies with familiar concepts to learn and teach novel ones facilitates the transmission of complex new behaviors that would otherwise be too cognitively demanding to communicate. The current project aims to build an experimental paradigm allowing us to empirically test this claim. By associating theories and methods developed by cultural evolutionists and cognitive psychologists, it will shed light on the mechanisms that have enabled humans to accumulate such a vast amount of cultural knowledge.
Our specific goal is to investigate whether analogies facilitate the transmission of complex tool-use. The design of our study will be based upon the experimental paradigm established by Bosch et al. (2018), where participants who had limited experience using chopsticks were trained with grasping marbles with chopsticks and dropping them in a cylindrical container. Tool use learning was assessed via behavioral performance regarding the number of successful marble drops and eye tracking measurements reflecting whether visual attention was restrictively focused on the chopsticks (i.e. confirmatory strategy) or could move away toward the goal (i.e. anticipatory strategy)
We will adopt a linear transmission chain experimental design (Mesoudi & Whitten, 2015), and constitute ten chains of five participants for each of the two experimental conditions. The first participant of each chain will be taught how to use chopsticks with either analogical explanations (i.e. “hold the second chopstick as you would hold a pen”) or only literal explanations (i.e. “hold one extremity of the chopstick between your thumb and pointer finger, and the other extremity with your middle finger”). She will subsequently accomplish the chopstick task and explain to the next participant how to perform it, and so on until the last participant of the chain. We predict that the last participant of the chains in the analogy condition will perform better and use more efficient visual strategies than participants in the literal condition.
By highlighting the role of analogies in cultural transmission, our interdisciplinary project would potentially add both to the cultural evolution field, by contributing to clarify the cognitive mechanisms involved in cultural transmission, and to cognitive science, by revealing the evolutionary origins of analogical thinking. It would also motivate future works exploring other ways in which analogies are guiding cultural evolution, such as when designing new technologies based on already familiar ones.
‘Types of Titus’ will extend the earlier work of the Geneva-Exeter Renaissance Exchange (GEREx, University of Geneva/University of Exeter Strategic Partnership 2018) by strengthening the collaborative forum which this earlier programme initiated. It will focus on William Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus, examining how a play written in the late sixteenth century has had, and continues to carry, significant socio-political resonance. In particular, it will draw upon the specialities of both English departments in order to develop discussion surrounding gendered, racial, and eco-critical concerns in this play, with an emphasis upon its contemporary adaptations and afterlives.
Titus Andronicus is a text which has been translated and received in diverse linguistic and historical settings. In addition to an extensive history of the play in production in English, Botho Strauss’ play Viol (2005) is a French-language adaptation of Shakespeare’s work. In German, Titus has a reception history as early as the seventeenth century (an edition of an early modern German Tito Andronicus has recently been published by Prof Lukas Erne of UNIGE), yet also was adapted in the light of the collapse of the German Democratic Republic at the turn of the last century (an adaptation which Prof Pascale Aebischer has written about). The play is back in the repertoire of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (Shakespeare’s Globe) in London from January to April 2023 and it is against the backdrop of this important revival that the ‘Types of Titus’ exchange enabled by the collaboration between Geneva and Exeter will be an opportunity to reflect on the historical imbrication of this play in the nexus between racial discrimination, sexual violence and political division, and its critical role in opening up debates that centre on social justice. As such, it is topical for the continuation of GEREx in two senses: thematically important in this present moment, whilst also reflective of the linguistic and intellectual exchange which the Geneva-Exeter Strategic Partnership represents for Renaissance Studies.
The centre of the collaboration will be two knowledge exchange events open to students and faculty of all levels at both universities, alongside an online symposium hosted by the British Shakespeare Association that shares GEREx 1 and GEREx 2 research with a broader academic and theatregoing audience, to coincide with a revival of Titus Andronicus of international significance in 2023 (BSA support has been secured, following on from GEREx 1’s successful roundtable at the BSA 2021 conference). For the first phase of the collaboration, in January 2023 a delegation from Geneva will travel to Exeter via London, where they will be joined by Exeter colleagues to watch a performance of Titus Andronicus at the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (Shakespeare’s Globe). In Exeter, the visitors will present their research in a seminar focused upon digital humanities approaches to early modern texts. In May 2023, a delegation from Exeter will, in return, visit Geneva to hold a workshop at which they will share their specialised knowledge in performance and adaptation studies.
Chronic musculoskeletal conditions including osteoporosis and sarcopenia present major threats to healthy ageing (Xia et al., 2019, Briggs et al., 2016). Age-related musculoskeletal conditions are commonly characterized by pain and reduced physical function and lead to significant disability, functional and mental health declines, and increased mortality. In addition to non-modifiable genetic factors, nutrition (Ward et al., 2016) and physical activity (Laddu et al., 2017) are important lifestyle factors that can promote effectively the maintenance and increase of muscle and bone development during late adulthood. Although the beneficial impact of several key nutrients (protein, calcium, vitamin D) and exercise characteristics (weight-bearing exercise) on muscle and bone outcomes has been established previously (Rizzoli et al., 2021) much of the available literature has not considered a holistic dietary approach quantifying the dietary patterns to account for nutrient interaction or the complex interactions of diet and exercise, while the indirect effects of body composition are also less clear.
Epidemiological studies have historically played an essential role in identifying the causes and consequences of musculoskeletal disease and have resulted in improvements in prevention and treatment, however, they often lack statistical power to reliably identify risk factors which have small to moderate effects or to assess associations with disease across subgroups of the population. The UK Biobank is a unique large population-based prospective cohort study comprising >500,000 participants aged 40-69 years when recruited from 2006 to 2010 in the UK (http://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/UK-Biobank-Protocol.pdf). A large amount of available medical imaging data has direct relevance to musculoskeletal health including the assessment of diet and exercise, Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), measures of heel bone mineral density, assessment of body composition (lean and fat) by DXA and assessment of physical performance. Giving its size, breadth, and depth for a prospective longitudinal cohort study, UK Biobank has the potential to generate meaningful findings and make important contributions towards the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in middle and old age.
The aims of the proposed project are: