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  April 2016 eZiggurat - the enewsletter for UEA alumni         View in browser  


This month the University’s research is showcased by some engaging news stories, highlighting the institution’s continued commitment to research excellence alongside world-class teaching. These stories show the insight and the impact that our research has on our daily lives, from possible life on other planets, to medical breakthroughs and work place habits.

April’s eZiggurat also brings you award-winning alumni, an update on fundraising success, the UK Green Film Festival and the launch of alumnus Snoo Wilson’s literary archive.

UK wine production

Weather shocks could threaten UK wine production

The idea of climate change turning the UK into a viable wine-making region has boosted the industry in recent years. But according to UEA research published earlier this month, year-to-year climate variability and hazardous weather at key points in the growing season could leave the industry highly sensitive to the elements.

Over the last decade there has been a boom in English wine production. The amount of land used for viticulture (vine growing) has increased by 148%, and producers are receiving global recognition for their premium quality wines - in particular English sparkling wine.

Lead researcher Alistair Nesbitt, from the School of Environmental Sciences, said “The UK has been warming faster than the global average since 1960 and eight of the warmest years in the last century have occurred since 2002. It’s too early to predict what the weather may hold in store for the 2016 growing season, but a warm spring with low frost levels would be the promising start producers are hoping for.”


Read more _

Education UK Alumni awards Nigeria

UEA graduate wins Education UK Alumni Award

Early March was particularly exciting and successful for alumni in Nigeria, with both the British Council’s Alumni Awards and an alumni reunion.

Two of the finalists for the Alumni Awards were UEA graduates. Maupe Ogun (above, third from the right) graduated from UEA with a Masters in International Relations and Development and is now an anchor with Channels Television in Nigeria. Her work has included interviewing Barack Obama and moderating a session at the World Economic Forum on Africa. She was the proud winner of the Professional Achievement Award.

Olasoji Fagbola (pictured above, fourth from the right) gained a Masters in International Development and was nominated for the Social Impact award. He now leads Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives at the Sahara Group, a Nigeria-based energy conglomerate.

Over the same weekend an alumni reunion was held in Lagos, hosted by Karen Blackney, Head of the International Office, and Deby Okoh, who manages UEA’s Lagos office. Olasoji and Maupe were among the alumni who attended, enjoying the opportunity to socialise, reminisce, and hold valuable discussions on UEA’s activities in Nigeria the event.


Read more about the awards _

London Lecture May 2016

London Lecture looks at the power and perils of data

Whether it's for marketing purposes or to offer a better service, organisations and governments are increasingly interested in using 'big data'. But should this, often personal, information be made accessible? 

On Thursday 12 May Dr Rob Davey (The Genome Analysis Centre) will argue that data can drive new understanding and facilitate scientific discoveries. Dr Paul Bernal (UEA Law School) will examine potential problems with data regulation, which have led to public suspicion.

The lecture will be live-streamed, and will also be available online afterwards.


Read more and book _


Go the live-stream event page_


From the archives

In October 1994, Concrete surveyed the popularity of UEA school scarves amongst the student body.


Read more _


New technology spells out what’s said when audio fails
New lip-reading technology developed at the University could help in solving crimes and provide communication assistance for people with hearing and speech impairments.

UEA Research reveals ‘topsy turvy’ ocean circulation on distant planets
The salt levels of oceans on distant Earth-like planets could have a major effect on their climates.

Seven places that scientists are looking for new drugs
On a cat’s nose, on a golf course, in men’s beards, in the Atacama Desert and on the backs of ants – UEA’s Dr Matt Hutchings on some of the places that scientists are looking for new drugs.

UK Green Film Festival

UK Green Film Festival comes to UEA

UEA is excited to be one of this year’s hosts for the UK Green Film Festival.

Jointly organised by academics from the Schools of Environmental Sciences and Art, Media and American Studies, the festival at UEA will offer a week long programme of educational and academic events with free public screenings at either end. The festival launches on Saturday 30 April with cult environmental classic, “Silent Running”, introduced by renowned film critic, Mark Kermode.

Screenings continue from Wednesday 4 to Friday 6 May, with a selection of this year’s national UK Green Film Festival winning films. The public are also invited to drop in to an interactive exhibition to discuss issues covered in the film and to view environmentally-themed archive film footage from the East Anglia Film Archive.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with #UKGFFatUEA.


Read more about the festival _

Call campaign thank you

Thank you for a successful Alumni Call Campaign

More than one third of the alumni who spoke with a student during the annual call campaign made a donation, and collectively pledged an incredible £218,500 towards The Difference Campaign. This fantastic effort brings the University closer to the fundraising target of £50 million by the end of 2016.

The money raised will contribute to The Difference Scholarships, Prostate Cancer Research and the Alumni Fund.


Read more about The Difference campaign _

Snoo Wilson

Snoo Wilson archive launch 

UEA’s British Archive for Contemporary Writing will hold an event this month to launch the Snoo Wilson archive.

The event, chaired by playwright and UEA academic Steve Waters, will include readings from this fascinating new resource and talks from Snoo’s friend and fellow playwright, Dusty Hughes, as well as the theatre producer and director, Jenny Topper. Held on Thursday 21 April, the evening will also include the announcement of the inaugural Snoo Wilson Prize for Playwriting.

Alumnus Snoo Wilson graduated from UEA in 1969 and began writing in the same year. He was one of a handful of playwrights who reinvented British theatre in the 1970s and 80s. 


Read more about the event _


Read more about the literary archive _

UEA Health Online

UEA Health Online

UEA Health Online was launched in autumn 2015. A programme for online CPD for healthcare professionals, it combines access to high quality academic expertise with practical CPD learning.

The modules employ innovative digital solutions to interact with students, with eStream live broadcasts and course content which is developed specifically to enhance the quality of interaction.

Course development is responsive, and is informed by learners’ needs. The Clinical Supervision CPD course was developed following a demand from participants of the popular MOOC, who wanted to continue learning with UEA.

Planned modules for 2016 include Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Paramedicine and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies.


Read more _

Longevity data

Could a computer tell you when your time is up?

Statisticians, computer scientists and medics from the University are launching a new project to predict how long you will live.

They will use ‘Big Data’ to predict life expectancy, and particularly how various chronic diseases and their treatments impact longevity. While many people may not want to know how long they have left, the team say the research will bring practical, financial and medical benefits – such as helping people plan for retirement, and knowing how particular drugs such as statins or beta-blockers affect longevity.

The four-year project has been launched thanks to a £800,000 funding boost from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).


Read more _

Teacher's conference

UEA Teachers and Advisers’ Conference – Helping to maximise your student’s potential at university

Led by internationally renowned researchers and academics, this conference will provide you with unparalleled advice and guidance to support your sixth-form students.

Held on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June, the conference will cover topics that range from advice for students applying for subjects such as medicine, law and literature, to the latest updates on UCAS and the admissions process.


Read more and book _

War and Peace

UEA Choir perform two twentieth century masterpieces

On Saturday 30 April, the UEA Choir will perform their spring concert, War and Peace, at Norwich Cathedral.

Under the direction of UEA Choirmaster, Tom Primrose, the 160-strong choir will perform two twentieth century masterpieces, Maurice Duruflé’s beautiful and much-loved Requiem, op. 9 and Benjamin Britten’s powerful and rarely performed Ballad of Heroes op. 14, as well as a selection of small choral pieces (including Johannes Brahms' Geistliches Lied, op. 30 and Gabriel Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine, op. 11).

The Choir will be joined in their performance by Norwich Cathedral organ scholar Jonathan Stamp, pianist William Fergusson and members of UEA Symphony Orchestra. The concert will also feature a solo from acclaimed tenor Ben Johnson, whose numerous awards have included the Audience Prize at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.


Read more and book tickets _


Follow @UEAConcerts on Twitter _

Prof David Richardson

Achieving gender equality - From Athena Swan to #everydaysexism

In this month’s blog post, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson discusses gender equality, both in higher education and our society as a whole, having been invited to sit on a panel discussion looking at the issue.

“As Vice-Chancellor of UEA I want our staff and students to have access to exactly the same opportunities - regardless of gender. We all have a responsibility to confront those inequalities, to help solve them, but also to understand why they still exist.”


Read  the full blog _


A School of Literature Drama and Creative Writing enterprise project is offering businesses and organisations content writing services, whilst employing students from across the University of East Anglia as paid copywriters.

WRITE was piloted under the name University Writers Service. After gaining a further two and a half years of funding from the University’s Strategic Fund the enterprise rebranded to WRITE.

In today's digital world, top quality, well written and internet friendly content is vital for business success. WRITE offers a range of services from website content to blog writing and event coverage. As a UEA-led enterprise, WRITE employs talented students from across the University of East Anglia, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. UEA’s reputation for writing excellence means WRITE is uniquely placed to fulfil the content generation needs of businesses from a number of different industries.


Read more _

PGT scholarships

Postgraduate opportunities

If you’re considering furthering your studies, whatever your field of interest there are plenty of courses on offer across all the faculties.


Norwich Medical School and the School of Health Sciences are holding a postgraduate open evening on Thursday 21 April for anyone who might be considering a career in health.

Read more _


Do you want to explore new ideas, develop your business skills and learn to think and communicate with greater clarity and confidence? Norwich Business School are holding an open evening for the MBA on Tuesday 26 April where you can meet with academics who will be happy to answer your questions about the course.

Read more _


The part-time Doctorate in Education (EdD) is designed to provide an education in applied research, meeting the needs of professionals working in areas related to educational training and development and drawing on their everyday practice.

Read more _




Different responses to A Level shake-up

This month UniBox looks at the ongoing changes being made to A Levels, the rise of the Extended Project Qualification and potentially the International Baccalaureate, and the suggestion that some universities such as Cambridge are considering introducing entrance exams.


Read the full article _


Inaugural Lecture:  “Et tu, brain?” - Healthy ageing and dementia

Tuesday 12 April, 6.30pm
Julian Study Centre lecture theatre, UEA
Prof Michael Hornberger, Norwich Medical School
Healthy ageing appears sometimes more of an art than a science. Many diseases can affect us when we get older, with dementia increasingly becoming one of the most common age-related diseases. In his lecture, Michael will explore which changes in the brain happen for dementia to occur, how this can be distinguished from healthy ageing and whether there are any upcoming interventions or treatments for dementia. 

The lecture will be live-streamed, and will also be available online afterwards.


Social Work Anniversary Lectures - double bill with Prof Jonathan Dickens and Prof Beth Neil

Wednesday 20 April, 6pm
Sir Brandon Gough lecture theatre, The Enterprise Centre, UEA

Prof Jonathan Dickens - Clement Atlee and the future of social work

Prof Beth Neil - Where have I come from? Who am I now? Adoption and identity.

Free and open to all, complimentary drinks reception. Contact Eve Slaymaker by calling 01603 592057 or email


Work and Wellbeing - Cafe Conversation with Kevin Daniels

Thursday 28 April, 6pm
Cafe Bar Marzano, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich

A series of five informal discussion events led by Lecturers and Professors from Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia. Each café will discuss the several aspects of wellbeing at work and how it could be improved. Please join us for a thought provoking session.

Cafe discussions are free to attend with no need to book - refreshments also provided free of charge.


UEA London Lecture: The power and perils of data

Thursday 12 May, 7pm
Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ

Dr Paul Bernal (UEA Law School) and Dr Rob Davey (The Genome Analysis Centre)
Discussion chaired by Prof Jacqueline Collier, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.


The Eye’s Mind: Visual Imagination, Neuroscience and the Humanities

21 – 22 May
Thomas Paine Study Centre & Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Visual Imagination is one of the most powerful human capacities. It plays a vital role in art and literature, religion and sciences and has been studied and celebrated by artists, writers, philosophers, psychologists and now, neuroscientists. The Eye’s Mind is the culmination of the AHRC-funded research project and will bring together leaders in all these fields to shape a new and more integrated understanding of this mysterious mental resource. Keynote speakers include Paul Broks (Psychology), John Onians (Art History), Joel Pearson (Neuroscience), Michaelf Tye (Philosophy) and Adam Zeman (Neurology).

Read more information on the Eye’s Mind project or book your place.

Check out the What's On guide by visiting for full details.


In the past month the University has sadly been informed of the death of following alumni:

Margaret Trillian (ARE87)

Ann Barradell-Black (EAS78)

Keith Nimmo (MUS67)

Robin Gordon-Walker (EAS65)

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