Search Results for: "University of Liverpool"
1) Deliver the UK's ambition to be internationally outstanding in global health research, improving the lives of people in LMICs. 2) Create an environment where world-class global health research, focused on the needs of LMICs can thrive. 3) Translate advances in applied global health research into benefits for patients and the public in LMICs. 4) Focus on priority areas which will have the greatest impact on health in LMICs in the short, medium and long term. 5) Provide high quality research evidence to inform decision-making by public health officials, practitioners and policy makers. 6) Increase the volume and quality of multi-disciplinary global health research from the UK. 7) Develop knowledge and capacity within existing UK institutions which can be translated into global health research practice. 8) Retain a level of responsive research capacity to address emerging global health research requirements (Units only).
1) Deliver the UK's ambition to be internationally outstanding in global health research, improving the lives of people in LMIC. 2) Create an environment where world-class global health research, focused on the needs of LMIC can thrive. 3) Translate advances in applied global health research into benefits for patients and the public in LMIC. 4) Focus on priority areas which will have the greatest impact on health in LMIC in the short, medium and long term. 5) Provide high quality research evidence to inform decision-making by public health officials, practitioners and policy makers. 6) Increase the volume and quality of multi-disciplinary global health research from the UK. 7) Develop knowledge and capacity within existing UK institutions which can be translated into global health research practice.
1. Deliver research for the primary benefit to the health and welfare of the poorest individuals living in LMICs, typically through research for the prevention of ill health and optimal disease management, in three research areas: (1) Epilepsy (2) Infection-related cancers (3) Severe stigmatising skin diseases. 2. Strengthen capacity for research and knowledge exchange through equitable partnerships between researchers in the UK and LMICs. 3. Promote interdisciplinary approaches to working (including, but not limited to: clinical, health economics, statistics, qualitative and social sciences), to ensure that research objectives can be delivered.
To improve outcomes for people affected by humanitarian crises by identifying, nurturing and sharing more effective and scalable solutions.
Title: One Health Research Network for the Horn of Africa (HORN). HORN'S mission is to improve the health and wealth of the people of the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia) by increasing the local capacity to undertake high quality research in the interactions between people, animals and the environment - One Health. HORN's aim is to build a regional network of individuals and institutions able to deliver high quality research into the linkage of the health and wealth of people to livestock and the environment, in the context of how people interact now and how they interacted in the past. It addresses three development challenges: (i). Disease and disease control: Increasing the health and productivity of livestock to provide better nutrition and reduced zoonotic disease transmission to people in the Horn of Africa (ii) Agriculture, livelihoods and economics: Improving agricultural systems in the Horn to reduce animal and human disease, improve local economies and increase financial resilience (iii) Health in changing world: Human and animal health under conditions of societal, climate and environmental change HORN has the following 5 objectives. 1. Undertaking of research capability assessments (RCAs) of partner institutions in the Horn of Africa. A UK team will assess the current and target research capabilities of partner institutions, propose plans to reach the target, implementing them and monitor progress. A reflective Learning and Evaluation Project will assess the success of the RCAs from a research perspective. 2. Provision of training to non-research staff from these institutions. Depending on the outcome of Objective 1, non-research staff in roles that underpin research will be trained. This includes leadership training, placements/shadowing in research support, and training in laboratory skills. 3. Advancing the knowledge and research skills of researchers from these institutions in generic, laboratory and subject-specific skills. Research staff from partner institutions will take part in 2-5 day workshops/short courses, 4-8 week masterclasses, and attend summer schools in aspects of One Health. An e-learning platform will be developed. 4. Undertaking of basic and applied research in the area of One Health. Researchers from partner institutions will undertake 3-12 month research projects (totalling 50 person-years) in 'research clusters' in Kenya and Ethiopia; alongside and mentored by UK researchers and with the supervision by UK and local academic partners. The research projects will be co-created at 'sandpit' events, themed according to the development challenges. 5. Creation of the One Health Regional Network - HORN. The proposed partnership, training of non-research and research staff, and research placements with mobility between countries will develop a regional network. This network will grow during the programme, as more institutions join, supported by project partners and NGOs.
Our overarching objective is: To catalyse a step-change globally, nationally and locally in approaches to improving state-citizen accountability and promoting equity in the well-being and health of marginalised people living in poverty in informal urban settlements. We will achieve this through iterative participatory action research cycles of reflection, planning, action and adaptation in four study countries: Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Sierra Leone. These were chosen because they represent variation in types of informal settlement, and wider geographic, socio-cultural, political and economic contexts, as well as providing the opportunity to build on and existing deep and equitable partnerships. We will extend beyond these countries through our responsive fund. There is insufficient global knowledge on the conditions and enablers for the emergence and effectiveness of varied accountability strategies. This is especially the case for contexts with less cohesive social movements, fragmented, pluralistic governance systems and less political space for citizen demands. Our research cycles will work across three, inter-related domains in our Theory of Change: understandings, relationships and action. We will develop new understandings of the linkages between informal urban governance, health and well-being that illuminate underlying power relations and how these shape intersecting inequities and vulnerabilities. Central to this approach is working with urban informal residents to bring a bottom-up analysis of their priorities, diagnose exclusionary and anti-accountability forces, and identify strategies to effectively negotiate with governance actors for change. We will work in partnership with residents to build the necessary relationships and alliances, through convening fora incorporating diverse formal and informal governance actors across sectors and interests. These will jointly reflect on our new insights and data, develop and test action to improve accountability strategies for equity in the social determinants of health and service provision. Our specific objectives are therefore: 1. To work with marginalised people living in poverty in informal urban settlements in study sites, to analyse their priorities and create strategic alliances for collective action to demand improved accountability and responsiveness of services that promote health and well-being. 2. To convene fora that build relationships in study sites and strengthen coalitions between residents of informal urban settlements, formal and informal governance actors and service providers, in order to set priorities, and co-develop and test actions for improved accountability, service provision and system responsiveness for equity in well-being and health. 3. To enhance understanding of effective accountability strategies for equity in well-being and health, identify their contextual enablers and contribute comparative learning that is applicable across informal urban contexts. 4. To develop the evidence base on processes that shape well-being and health outcomes among marginalised people living in informal urban settlements, with respect to gendered social relationships, well-being and health vulnerabilities, resilience, and power relations inherent in governance arrangements that drive intersecting inequities. 5. To develop improved tools, approaches and methods, drawing on interdisciplinary dialogue, to reflect residents' own understandings of their lived realities, to inform engagement of governance actors and multi-sectoral service providers and catalyse impact in policy and programming. 6. To re-frame and actively communicate new conceptual frameworks for accountability for equitable well-being and health in informal urban spaces, and to utilise these to inform global discourse and policy. 7. To develop and sustain an interdisciplinary and equitable partnership and capacities that will have continued impact beyond Hub funding.
Sightsavers’ research function focuses on funding research projects across all themes and technical expertise to research and evidence generation
Darwin Plus (also known as The Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund) provides funding for environmental projects in UK Overseas Territories and fellowships for UK Overseas Territories (OT) Nationals to increase their knowledge and ability to meet long-term strategic outcomes for the natural environment in UK Overseas Territories. Part of Darwin Plus is ODA funded to support Overseas Territories Montserrat, St Helena and Pitcairn Island.
The Antislavery Knowledge Network: Community-Led Strategies for Creative and Heritage-Based Interventions in Sub-Saharan AfricaUK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Our main aim is to address slavery as an urgent development challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, by pioneering a participatory approach to knowledge partnership that uses arts and humanities methods to address the following Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets: 8.7 ("Take immediate and effective measures to... end modern slavery and human trafficking"), 5.2 ("Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls... including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation") and 16.2 ("End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children"). To achieve this, we have 5 key objectives: 1. Deliver co-designed work with local communities that helps to enable sustainable development, free from slavery. Projects will provide usable research, skills, and engagement tools. They will harness participatory engagement strategies and build antislavery resilience. By enabling knowledge partnering for contemporary antislavery, we aim to measure an increase in the number of at-risk people whose participation in creative, cultural and heritage-based programming has built antislavery resilience by increasing rights awareness, developing leadership skills and accessing new networks. 2. Produce high quality interdisciplinary research that generates a solid evidential base for the debates over the role of the arts and humanities in addressing development challenges. The network will deliver a programme of research that supports bottom-up sustainable development without the denial of human rights. We aim to evidence the value of arts-based initiatives to changing the socio-economic contexts that make people vulnerable to slavery, increase research capabilities for arts and humanities contributions to development, and advance the debate over the role of cultural activities in development work by offering creative grassroots alternatives to campaigning approaches. 3. Engage and connect actors and organisations across the area of focus with UK-based slavery researchers. Our pilots bring together three leading research centres in the UK and partners in three West and Central African countries. The hub and spoke model, complemented by our commissioning strategy and database, will develop new relationships that combine research and antislavery action. Our strategy for commissioning is informed by our pilots' lessons and prioritises a flexible, responsive agenda. This will generate a diverse range of commissioned projects. We will share strategies to maximise effective knowledge-partnering and network-building, and foster new partnership models between universities and civil society. 4. Drive conceptual change through the transformative power of the arts and humanities. The arts and humanities have the power to create lasting legacies by engaging with diverse audiences through education, training, and creative leadership. We aim to use the transformative power of collaborative projects rooted in the arts and humanities to foster processes of communication and mutual learning, and to develop creative ways of responding to development challenges. We aim to measure, as a result, changes in the way that most development agencies and NGOs think about impact, to include levels of community resilience as a result of creative and cultural programmes. 5. Secure legacies that are sustainable beyond the funding period. We will create institutional structures through capacity-building with our partner organisations, scholar exchanges, and network-building. We will commission projects with evidence of co-design, knowledge exchange, and impact pathways. They will establish baselines and indicators for assessment, develop educational applications, and engage with other network partners. The combined evidence base of the pilot and commissioned projects will generate new arts and humanities development projects-beyond the funding period-that draw from our methods, theories and examples.
The main objectives of DARPI are: 1. Determine the drivers for antimicrobial use (AMU), by undertaking participatory rural appraisal and rapid ethnographic assessment at key stages along the broiler meat food system. 2. Map, define the socio-economic context and identify hotspots within the poultry meat food system, by quantifying AMU and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at key points of the system. 3. Determine rational use protocols and alternatives to AMs, through in vivo and in vitro studies that minimize AMR selection, and analyse risks for dissemination of AMR. 4. Co-design and assess AMU/AMR interventions with people who work and use the broiler meat food system. Objectives 1 and 2 are important for understanding the complexity of the drivers of AMU and AMR in the broiler meat system in its entirety and provide data that inform studies in Objective 3, and allow pressure points for AMU and AMR to be identified and visualised, which will aid the co-design of interventions with stakeholders for Objective 4. The supply chain from breeder to retail will be followed with integrated collection of qualitative and quantitative data, providing valuable opportunities for training in social design and ethnographic methodology. We will determine practices, use and the drivers for use of AM, and quantify the abundance and diversity of AMR along this chain, supported by in vivo and in vitro studies, including investigating alternatives to antimicrobials and alternative AMU strategies, with all of this subject to economic analysis. These will inform rational use and the development of participatory design tools to co-design and ensure that interventions are feasible, acceptable and cost-effective; with consideration of the future trajectory of the Indian poultry industry, so that approaches are scalable, sustainable and able to react to accommodate anticipated trajectory development within the Indian context. Objective 1 will be led by the by Royal Holloway University with the University of Arts and the Centre for Disease Dynamics Economics & Policy (CDDEP), but with involvement of other Indian institutes. Objective 2 will involve all institutes in contributing to data (qualitative, quantitative, economic) and sample collection, and analysis; specific work packages have been designed to contribute to these objectives, with the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB) leading along with the University of Liverpool, Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU), and the Poultry Disease Diagnosis and Surveillance Laboratory (PDDSL) of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, contributing to metadata and sample collection and determining the presence and context of AMR in the broiler meat chain. The economic context will be led by the University of Edinburgh, Liverpool and CDDEP and they will also contribute to objectives 3 and 4. Objective 3 will be led by Indian Council for Agricultural Research - Directorate of Poultry Research and Liverpool, with contributions from NIAB, KVAFSU and PDDSL, with the risk of dissemination addressed by Royal Veterinary College London, who will also contribute to data analysis across objectives 1-3. Finally, the co-design aspects of objective 4 will be led by the University of Arts and CDDEP.
Rapid diagnostics and control strategies for enteric bacterial pathogens in backyard and commercial poultry production in Thailand and the PhilippinesUK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1. Assess the potential of candidate probiotics to reduce carriage of Salmonella and Campylobacter in laboratory challenge experiments and commercial and backyard production systems in Thailand and Philippines. Determine how candidate probiotics impact on gut development, immune response and the intestinal microbiome. 2.Characterise the genetics, microbiome and basic immunological parameters of indigenous Filipino chicken breeds with and without Salmonella challenge to identify genetic and microbiome components that are associated with reduced pathogen carriage, better health and improved productivity. In order to initiate this process the genome sequence of the indigenous breeds will be obtained for use in future studies to map beneficial traits to indigenous breed haplotypes 3. Develop, validate and apply a rapid, low-cost on-farm diagnostic test for avian salmonellosis in Filipino backyard production 4 Determine the major Salmonella enterica serovars and the carriage rate of Salmonella associated with Filipino production 5. Define the key genes associated with antimicrobial resistance carried in the intestinal microbiome in Filipino production systems and if their carriage is affected by probiotic treatment. 6. Incorporate microbiome components associated with absence of Salmonella carriage into a probiotic/competitive exclusion preparation Along with each specific research objectives we will develop a bespoke programme of training and workshops for Thai and Filipino scientists, commercial poultry producers and backyard producers.
Psychological, social & biological predictors of child mental health and development: shared and distinctive risk and protective factors in UK & IndiaUK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The aims of the proposed research are to study early risk and protective factors for childhood mental health problems in a group children growing up in the urban slums of Bangalore, India. We will identify prenatal, infancy and early childhood risks that are common to Western and South Asian populations and those that are distinctive. We envisage that this knowledge will directly inform the development of effective early interventions to prevent future mental health problems in India in the future. We also aim to advance cross-cultural measurement technologies and develop culturally sensitive measures of gender discrimination and the 'shared caregiving' parenting environment in India. a) To follow an existing cohort of children and families taking part in the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study, recruited in pregnancy and followed up at 8-16 weeks, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years, funded by MRC/ICMR. We plan to examine prenatal, postnatal and early childhood risk factors, protective factors and plausible mediators (HPA axis functioning, immune functioning, epigenetic change) for child mental health outcomes at 4.5 and 7 years (WP1). b) To use common measurement between an existing MRC funded UK cohort, the Wirral Child Health and Development Study (WCHADS), and the Indian cohort, to enable data analyses to be conducted of merged UK - Indian datasets (WP1). c) To measure factors related to health (nutrition, immune functioning) and caregiving patterns likely to be distinctively relevant to the South Asian urban slum setting, and examine them alongside factors identified in previous, predominantly Western, research (WP1). d) To compare ratings by Indian and UK mothers of standard vignettes, to generate correction for differential item functioning, in analyses of merged datasets. The application of this method for managing cultural bias in participant responses is novel to the field of mental health and will reduce likelihood of inferential mistakes. We will develop a toolkit, for use and impact in other cross-cultural cohort studies (WP2). e) To develop culturally sensitive measurement of gender discrimination and parenting environment at age 4.5, by combining the clinical knowledge of the Indian investigators with UK expertise in establishing new measures building on BCHADS findings in infancy (WP2). f) To share the UK team's experience and expertise in conducting longitudinal cohort studies, sampling and retention, cross-cultural measurement issues, data management and advanced statistical methods, to build capacity and establish an Indian centre for longitudinal research at NIMHANS (WP3). We will share expertise across UK and Indian teams in technologies used for immuno-assay and gene methylation studies from saliva samples in children (WP1, WP3). g) To use study findings in the longer term to inform the refinement of existing early interventions for child mental health in both settings.
The prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide, but more especially in China (a Development Assistance Committee 'Upper Middle Income Country'), because of genetic predisposition and lifestyle changes associated with increasing affluence. Over 110 million people in China live with diabetes and this number is expected to increase to 150 million by 2040. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is becoming the leading cause of blindness in China. DR does not cause any symptoms in its early and moderate stages. Blindness can only be prevented by early detection and prompt treatment of sight threatening DR. The UK National Screening Programmes are world leading and provide clear evidence for the effectiveness of screening in reducing blindness. However there are hurdles to be overcome in order to make DR screening viable in China. The fundus cameras that are conventionally used for screening are not fit for purpose. There are insufficient trained graders and it is impractical and cost-prohibitive for China to train and maintain such a large number of technicians. Also the international definition of screen positive is inappropriate for China as patients would have to pay for unnecessary hospital visits and there are insufficient eye doctors for UK style hospital monitoring. China has to embrace some leap-frog technologies involving innovative engineering, imaging, machine and human learning. Aim The overarching aim of this project is to develop a novel integrated diagnostic and educational solution to screening for sight threatening DR which specifically addresses this complex large-scale challenge in China. Objectives 1. To develop a new low-cost retinal imaging camera, incorporating a scanning laser ophthalmoscope and optical coherence tomography (OCT), that is capable of taking images of sufficient quality for DR grading 2. To produce a novel DR grading solution suitable for China by seamlessly combining machine learning and human learning in a self-reinforcing loop which: i). enhances specificity and sensitivity of machine learning with new deep learning algorithms, ii). develops and exploits human skill in making judgements about DR through human ranking of retinal images supported by a computer-based assessment technique, Adaptive Comparative Judgement (ACJ), underpinned by new developments in statistical techniques iii) is suitable for combined retinal photography and OCT 3. To evaluate the new engineering and delivery technologies in China and estimate cost-effectiveness The end points of the project are (1) a validated new integrated diagnostic solution for the detection of DR in China by non-expert health care workers; (2) a generalised comparative system that allows image grading with novice graders and that is accompanied with flexible monitoring metrics; (3) a new training method to train health workers in China; (4) evidence of cost-effectiveness of the developed solutions to support scale-up in China and potentially other Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Although an ambitious project, we are satisfied that our multidisciplinary research team forged from the strong partnership between the UK and China researchers can deliver on all objectives. The project objective is well aligned with the EPSRC GCRF funding strategy to develop new diagnostic imaging technologies tailored to solve health challenges in China with potential for other LMICs and indirectly contribute economically to UK PLC.
Treating depressive symptomatology in Congolese Refugees in Uganda and Rwanda: Adapting and Evaluating Community-based SociotherapyUK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The 'Treating depressive symptomatology in Congolese Refugees in Uganda and Rwanda: Adapting and Evaluating Community-based Sociotherapy' project will investigate whether Community Based Sociotherapy (CBS; a 15-session group-based intervention that is delivered weekly to promote community connection and individual wellbeing that has been used extensively in post-genocide Rwanda) can be used to reduce depressive symptoms experienced by Congolese refugees in Rwanda and Uganda. Furthermore, the project will determine whether the hypothesised reductions in depressive symptoms are mediated by increased social capital and reduced levels of 'daily stressors' (e.g. lack of access to basic resources, lack of safety and security) that refugees experience. Depressive disorders are the single biggest cause of disability across the globe, and access to mental health support in refugee populations is extremely limited. Efforts to address the social determinants of common mental disorders require scalable, high-intensity interventions. CBS is a scalable, potentially powerful way of improving mental health in Congolese refugees, but there is a need to: 1) A) ensure that measurements appropriately assess depressive symptoms and well-being in Congolese refugees; B) tailor CBS to the needs of Congolese refugees; 2) A) evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of adapted CBS (aCBS); B) understand factors that potentially mediate aCBS affects on depressive symptoms, and 3) ensure that aCBS can be administered with high fidelity in the future by lay facilitators working in diverse settings. The project aims to: 1) conduct qualitative research to adapt assessment measures and the CBS intervention to address the needs of Congolese refugee populations in Uganda and Rwanda; 2) undertake a cluster randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy, fidelity and cost-effectiveness of adapted CBS (aCBS) for reducing depressive symptoms experienced by refugees, and the potential mediating role of changes in social capital and daily stressors upon depressive symptoms; 3) develop implementation guidance for the adaptation, delivery, supervision and routine monitoring of aCBS across diverse settings. In addressing these aims, the project will build research capacity for evaluating complex interventions in Rwanda and Uganda. A mixed-method, interdisciplinary approach will be used that will involve collaboration between academic partners, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), local NGOs, and refugee community representatives. Qualitative research methods undertaken with Congolese refugees will generate information about the problems that people are facing and tasks they frequently do. This will inform the adaptation of assessment measures and the content of aCBS. A fully-powered, 2-arm cluster randomised controlled trial that will recruit 720 adult Congolese refugees from camps in Rwanda and Uganda to compare aCBS with enhanced care as usual (ECU) will be conducted to assess the intervention's efficacy and cost-effectiveness. The trial will include an internal pilot (n = 240) to refine trial activity, and will be accompanied by a 'process evaluation' to identify factors that facilitate and impede engagement with aCBS based on observation of sessions, key-informant interviews and focus group discussions. A stakeholder working group will be formed to develop implementation guidance to inform the dissemination of aCBS to refugees across different contexts. Refugees are a group at high risk of experiencing mental disorders who are markedly underserved in terms of support. By enhancing knowledge about the adaptation and evaluation of a community-focused, scalable intervention for reducing depressive symptoms experienced by refugees, the project aims to have important social and economic impacts for a range of stakeholders (including refugees, clinicians, researchers, and policy makers) at a time of unprecedented global migration and displacement.
The objectives of the Global Challenges Research Translation Award are: 1: To deliver impact in University of Liverpool areas of research strength (global health and conflict) 2: To deliver impact in areas underrepresented in the UK's GCRF portfolio (climate change, environmental sustainability and water filtration) 3: To develop case studies of different types of translation for LMIC contexts and effect a positive change in translation culture within the University of Liverpool.
The main objectives of the proposed project "The Tick Cell Biobank - a UK and international biological resource", in order of priority, are as follows: 1. To secure the future of the Tick Cell Biobank (TCB) by establishing it at the Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, thereby enabling it to continue to underpin UK tick and tick-borne disease research. The Tick Cell Biobank (TCB) is the world's only dedicated culture collection and repository for cell lines derived from ixodid and argasid ticks and other arthropods. As well as supplying tick cell lines (TCL), the TCB maintains and disseminates expertise in the generation and maintenance of cell lines from ticks and other arthropods that is of particular value in current and future research on a wide range of vector-borne diseases. It was originally established at the University of Edinburgh in 2009 , and moved to The Pirbright Institute (TPI) in 2012. However, TPI is unable to fund the TCB after March 2017, so this project will provide a new home for the collection and associated research. A new home is essential to safeguard the long-term future of the TCB and preserve and pass on the expertise in arthropod cell culture to younger scientists to ensure that these resources will continue to be available to support ongoing and future research activities both in the UK and worldwide. 2. To expand the existing cell line collection through addition and generation of new cell lines from ticks and other arthropods. Arthropod cell lines are tools essential for studying many aspects of vector biology and vector-pathogen interaction; while they cannot totally replace the whole organism, they provide many research groups that lack arthropod rearing and handling facilities with the opportunity to examine pathogen replication and vector cell responses at the cellular and molecular level. Some tick species are well-represented in the TCB while others, such as European Dermacentor and Hyalomma spp., and vectors of emerging diseases such as Haemaphysalis, are lacking. Cell lines are currently available from several species of mosquito, while biting midges and sand flies are poorly represented. Moreover, there are no continuous cell lines from many known and putative arthropod vectors of veterinary and/or medical importance such as blackflies, trombiculid and gamasid mites, sea lice, head or body lice, fleas and large biting flies such as tsetse and stable flies. Cell lines are also lacking from pollinators and their parasites such as Varroa mites, and many agricultural pests such as aphids and locusts. Expertise used and disseminated by the TCB will facilitate generation of novel arthropod cell lines and expansion of their uptake and application by UK scientists. 3. To give added value to the TCB through cell line characterisation, cell cloning and genome sequencing. All existing TCL are phenotypically heterogeneous; most or all of the component cells in most TCL are of unknown tissue origin. Characterisation and cloning of different TCL will greatly increase their applicability and contribute to better understanding of tick-pathogen interactions, tick biology and mechanisms of action of acaricides and alternative tick control methods. Compared to whole ticks, TCL provide a plentiful, accessible and relatively homogeneous and microorganism-free source of material for genome sequencing. Selected TCL will be sequenced to complement and expand existing tick genome resources and to facilitate tick- and tick-borne disease-related "-omics" research. 4. To support the GCRF component "GCRF-BBR: The Tick Cell Biobank: outposts in Asia, Africa and South America". This 3-year workpackage will complement the new TCB by expanding its reach and coverage into lower and middle-income countries where ticks and tick-borne diseases are important, and where TCL are under-utilised but have huge potential for contributing to in-country research and development.
In a series of GCRF-funded projects we have developed a prototype low cost, robust, and simple to operate thermal-infrared drone system built from off-the-shelf components that can (semi)automatically detect, identify and locate animals and fires in thermal infrared footage. The objective of this proposal is to use the system to help conservation agencies protect Madagascar's biodiversity - a cornerstone of the country's economy - and thereby deliver significant, long-term, social and economic impact. To achieve this goal, we will overcome existing challenges [C] with innovative solutions [S] by setting strategic targets [T] with quantifiable measures of success [M] which will lead to long-term benefits [B] through the following steps: 1. [C] Madagascar is currently building a national framework and regulations for operating drones. [S] Building on our experience as part of key UK Government panels shaping drone policy, we will work with the Aviation Civil de Madagascar (ACM) [Civil Aviation Authority of Madagascar], our partner and key local stakeholder, to outline regulations required for a national qualification to fly drones safely. By implementing a national drone policy [T], drone operators applying for flying permits [M] will be required to follow the latest international aviation regulations, ensuring optimal safety and best practice are implemented in drone flight from the beginning. [B] The uptake in drone technology will open the door to the same transformative changes in all areas of economy and society seen in other countries. 2. [C] In part due to high costs of commercial drone systems, there are few drone pilots in Madagascar, and little capacity for building/maintaining non-commercial drones. [S] Building on our experience setting up a Drone Research Lab at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, we will work with ACM and our key conservation partner, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), to develop a Drone Centre in Madagascar. [T] This will be fully equipped and staffed to (i) build and maintain drones from off-the-shelf components and (ii) train users to fly drones. [M] We will train 4 DWCT staff to build, maintain and fly drone systems so DWCT have the capacity to operate independently long-term. [B] This will initiate, and with continued training of new people over time, greatly increase the Madagascan capacity for using drone technology. 3. [C] Madagascar's unique biodiversity is crucial to the country's economy and long-term growth, but is being reduced sharply by hunting and habitat loss. An essential aspect of conservation is knowledge on animal abundance and hunting. Current conservation efforts are hampered by the high costs and large time investments of current methods to assess these. [S] With infrastructure from steps 1 and 2 in place, we will work with DWCT and other stakeholders (e.g. Madagascar National Parks, who manage National Parks in Madagascar) to use the drone systems to conduct regular, long-term, systematic monitoring of key geographical areas critical to Madagascan biodiversity and economy. [T] We will survey the entire Lake Alaotra region (which produces 50% of Madagascar's rice) and Baly Bay National Park (a hot spot for the illegal wildlife trade). [M] From these data we will derive accurate and precise densities for Aloatran Gentle Lemurs (which act as key indicators of restorative action in Lake Alaotra), and substantially reduce poaching in the Baly Bay National Park. [B] Our pilot studies show that our drone system offers between a 20-400x improvement in efficiency for detecting/identifying animals, humans and fires in surveys compared with current methods. The adoption of this research technology will provide a step change in the scale and frequency with which DWCT can conduct surveys. This will substantially reduce poaching and illegal activity and provide stakeholders with the information needed to balance conservation with sustainable growth.
Determining the persister populations in sputum during tuberculosis therapy. A supplementary study to the RIFASHORT trial.UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Persisters are a subpopulation of bacteria that remain viable after the initial killing action of antibiotics. In tuberculosis (TB), as distinct from antimicrobial drug resistance, persister populations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) are widely believed to be responsible for relapses following chemotherapy, slow response to therapy and treatment failure. High Mtb persister populations at the onset or developing during chemotherapy may explain why some patients are not cured. Here we test two sputum assays of Mtb phenotypes linked to persisters for their utility in predicting responses to TB chemotherapy. The work will enhance and add value to a funded clinical trial and offers great potential to accelerate evaluation of new drugs and treatment regimens in TB. The primary aim of this work is to investigate the predictive value for cure of quantifying specific bacterial sub-populations in patients' sputum during the early phase of treatment for TB. The work builds on the MRC/DFID/WT Global Health Trials funded RIFASHORT trial, a randomized trial to evaluate the toxicity and efficacy of 1200mg and 1800mg rifampicin daily for 4 months in the treatment of pulmonary TB. The targeted Mtb populations are recognised by their dependency on Resuscitation Promoting Factors (Rpfs) to grow in liquid medium and by the presence of bacterial intracellular lipid bodies (LBs). These phenotypes are the subject of well-established research programmes in, and have been linked both phenotypically and mechanistically to, antibiotic tolerance and the persister phenomenon. The analytical readouts relating to Rpf and LB assays are respectively referred to as Rpf-dependent (Rpf-D) counts and percentage of LB positive (%LB+) cells. The value of these analyses will be further enhanced by determining the Mtb transcriptomes associated with selected samples. This work is incentivised by a case-control study demonstrating that %LB+ analyses at 21-28 days into therapy clearly distinguish between unsatisfactory and 18 month relapse-free treatment outcomes and by development of a procedure for storage of sputum samples allowing deferred analysis of Rpf-D counts. The central hypotheses are: A. That the abundance of Rpf-D and %LB+ Mtb cells in sputum reflect the size of the persister population in that individual and their risk of treatment failure or relapse. B. That absolute levels of and/or changes in the abundances of these target populations during early chemotherapy or combinations thereof provide a predictive index for relapse or treatment failure. C. That Rpf-D and %LB+ populations are correlated D. That Mtb transcriptional signatures in sputum can be correlated with the subpopulation determinations. The specific objectives are: 1. To prepare and analyse smears of sputum samples taken 1 month into treatment for %LB+ counts. (n= 300) 2. To store serial (T=0, 2, 4, 8 week) sputum samples from 150 subjects enrolled in the RIFASHORT trial (50 each from 2 study arms and 1 control arm) 3. To prospectively analyse selected samples (t=0, 3, 14, 28 days) for Rpf-D and %LB+ counts and the associated Mtb transcriptome (n=60). 4. To determine relationships between Rpf-D, %LB+ and Mtb transcripts. 5. To use the stored samples to conduct a case-control study to compare the Rpf and LB indices and their dynamic changes between successfully treated subjects and those in whom relapse or treatment failure occurs. 6. To determine the single or combination of assays most strongly associated with failed therapy. Achievement of these objectives will enable completion of three studies. (i) Prospective analyses of %LB+ counts at ~1 month as a predictor of unsatisfactory outcome. (VALIDATION STUDY) (ii) Prospective determination of the correlation between sputum indices. (CORRELATION STUDY) (iii) A case-control study matching early sputum analyses from subjects with unsatisfactory outcomes with those obtained from cured individuals. (CASE-CONTROL STUDY)
The proposed project's objectives were co-developed with our colleagues in three major Brazilian universities, the Brazilian regulator for mining, the regulator for the oil and gas industry, the association of risk and reliability assessors in Brazil, and a leading think tank in Latin America. In increasing order of priority, the objectives of the project are to 1. Develop and validate near-real time monitoring tools to identify dam structural performance under changing conditions and quantify the relative likelihoods of dam failures with sound scientific methods; 2. Develop and validate software tools to quantify the impact of tailings dam failure along all dimensions of exposure including the immediate threat to life, long-term human health, and environmental damage; 3. Engage with Brazilian regulatory authorities to implement and deploy these tools on their data collection platform. The tools will support planning and regulatory actions based on ranked risks to humans and local environments from mine tailings dams, and enhance the capacity of the regulator to scrutinise mine operations with independent analysis; 4. Facilitate multistakeholder governance of mine tailings storage by organising collaborations and making the results of the scientific risk analyses accessible to all stakeholders, focusing on the marginalised and at-risk, leading to a social licence for mining operations (UNEP 2017; Golder 2016); and, most importantly, 5. Helping to empower at-risk communities to actively engage with the risk-reduction agenda by enhancing transparency to recognise their own risks, reducing information asymmetry, and identifying and tackling the social, cultural, organizational, and individual factors hampering on-site/at-work risk awareness, and understanding the perspectives of different stakeholders (Migueles 2007; Bowker 2011). These objectives support the project's greater goals to A. Reduce the severity of disasters through cooperation to strengthen disaster risk planning and preparedness, accounting for specific local characteristics with site-specific scientific modeling using local geographic and demographic data, B. Facilitate shared responsibilities between national authorities, operators and other stakeholders to support inclusive decision making and empower local communities with accessible science and decision-making responsibilities, and C. Gather an evidence base about the efficacy of the multistakeholder governance approach to resolving a regulatory crisis, and the use of science in shared decision making and disaster planning. The project is aligned with the Sendai framework (UNISDR 2015) and addresses all four of its priority areas. Objective 1 and especially objective 2 seek to improve "understanding of disaster risks" (Sendai priority 1) at mining sites in Brazil in all dimensions of vulnerability of people, assets and the environment for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response. Through objective 3 this research will enact policy, and objective 4 will create a partnership in the multistakeholder scheme to address Sendai priority 2, to "strengthen disaster risk governance" by fostering collaboration and equitable partnerships. The proposed GCRF project is a significant "investment in disaster risk reduction for resilience" (priority 3), which is augmented by investments from the Brazilian regulators ANM, ANP, the Brazilian university PUC-Rio, and the University of Liverpool, which together are financially supporting five PhDs aligned to the project. This proposal is in response to the recent dreadful disaster and the shift in public sentiment in Brazil. Now is an opportune time for GCRF funding to "enhance disaster preparedness and build back better" (priority 4). Brazil is in a "reconstruction phase [after these disasters; this] is a critical opportunity to build back better", creating infrastructure that will help to reduce the severity and prevent disasters in future.
To document the ways in which conflict is currently represented in displays and materials in museums within Colombia, and to subsequently undertake a detailed visual and textual analysis of this data, focussing in particular on the representation of victims, and the extent to which these victims are given agency. To evaluate the tensions involved in the representation of victims and conflict in museums and official forms of representation, and to analyse the competing forces that affect how an official form of representation is conceived, designed and displayed. To analyse which voices are not heard in these official representations, and develop a gender-sensitive portrayal of victims. This will involve capturing voices that are not yet articulated in these official representations, in particular, women's voices, and so develop a gender-sensitive portrayal of victims in order to help advance a more inclusive representation of the historical memory of conflict. To document the existing representational practices of activist groups and NGOs in their responses to and negotiations of the Colombian conflict, paying particular attention to how images of victims, and their narratives, are depicted in their websites, and to subsequently draw out what we might learn from some of these more creative approaches when constructing official representations. To explore how the potentials of digital technologies, such as the possibility for non-linear representations, non-classic narratives, and more active participation from the viewer, can be employed to afford greater interaction and agency, both to the visitor, and to the victim represented. Building on the above, to produce suggestions for alternative forms of representation of victimhood which are victim-centric, through co-creation, digital storytelling, digital art, and alternative forms of publication, and to develop recommendations for how these forms could offer benefits for conflict representation and transformation, ensuring that women develop agency at every stage of our engagement, consequently ensuring their empowerment. To build capacity, through the introduction of ethical training and the supervision of research projects, of a cohort of future researchers equipped to research historical memory, conflict, and women victims, with both ethnographic and digital methods of analysis. To produce, through the impact elements of the project, resources that can be of benefit for representation of victims and/or conflict transformation including case studies for the Federation of International Human Rights Museums, a mixed-media travelling exhibition, schools worksheets and activities, and so contribute to the ongoing work of NGOs in the areas of human rights, conflict, and gender, as well as equipping the next generation of young adults with an awareness of the issues of conflict and human rights from a gendered perspective. To contribute to, and help shape the development of, the planned Museo de la Memoria in Colombia, by advising the project, participating in meetings, producing a tool kit, and generating a new digital artwork and exhibition which will be showcased in this museum.