Aston Research Centre for Healthy
Ageing has made a number of breakthroughs:
live longer, their medical needs change. Academic researchers and health care
professionals need to work together to look at the challenges that this will
bring to healthcare, with the aim of discovering new ways of treating
conditions associated with the ageing process and also to develop preventative
strategies that people can adopt now in their everyday lives to halt the onset
of age-related diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The Office of
National Statistics predicts that in the UK by 2034, 23% of the population will
be aged 65 and over compared to 18% under 16. The United Nation’s Word
Population Ageing 2050 Report states that by 2050, 21% of the world’s
population will be over 60. Aston is rising to the challenge of sustaining an
ageing population and has created a research centre – Aston Research Centre for
Healthy Ageing - to undertake innovative, multidisciplinary research in this
of Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing is to facilitate research that
helps understand, predict and prevent age-related degeneration, with a specific
focus on the eye, the mind, the metabolism and healing in the context of the
psychological, social and policy factors affecting ageing lives.
Contact: Dr Roslyn Bill or Wendy Overton on 0121 204 4134 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
DraysonRacing and Aston University have launched a major
partnership to develop and demonstrate low carbon automotive technologies. The
partnership will investigate ‘second generation’ biofuels to create high
performance cars with reduced CO2 emissions. The biofuels will be
produced from waste biomass such as straw, wood and sewage sludge, removing
reliance on dedicated food crops. Aston
University’s expertise in low carbon and sustainable research includes
involvement in the UK’s largest study into long-term low carbon vehicle use,
investigating the performance of fuel cells, electric, and hydrogen power cars.
The University’s European Bioenergy Research Institute(EBRI) is a world leader in biofuels and biomass research. Current
projects include the transformation of algae, wood waste and sewage sludge into
new forms of energy. Aston’s Polymer, Bioenergy, Mechanical
Engineering, Photonics and Computer Science
research groups will all be working with Drayson Racing.
generation biofuels are seen as providing one of the cost effective way of
reducing CO2 emissions of internal combustion engines over the next
two decades. Drayson Racing has pioneered the use of second-generation
cellulosic bio-ethanol in motor racing for over four years. The Drayson Racing
and Aston University partnership will in particular investigate; The production
of ‘second generation’ biofuels from sources such as organic waste; Improving
the stability and reliability of ‘second generation’ biofuel; Enhancing the
ability of high performance engines to optimise
materials for use in fuel pumps and other areas which are capable of surviving
a highly aggressive biofuel environment.
conditions experienced in motor racing offering an exciting platform for
developing this low carbon technology to a wider audience. Reducing vehicle
emissions is one of the critical challenges of the next 20 years. Road transport
accounts for 25 to 35% of CO2 emissions in developed countries, and the major
source of these emissions is private cars. We are keen to apply track
developments to novel products that will improve the performance of future
vehicles while reducing their carbon impact.
Dr Philip Davies,
Associate Dean of Research, School of Engineering & Applied Science
work on developing biofuels from carbon containing waste materials in the
European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) promises to provide an important
breakthrough in the quest to produce really sustainable, clean, and reliable
power from new sources. EBRI’s new £16.5m laboratories, which include a biomass
fuelled power plant, will play a key role in showcasing and developing new
renewable technologies to industry that could even see future Cities powered by
their own waste materials.
Bioenergy is a key element of the UK
achieving its EU Renewable Energy Directive- a target of 15 per cent of energy
from renewable by 2020. Renewable heat and in particular bioenergy are expected
to play a key role of up to 30 per cent of the target in addition to wind,
solar and tidal power.
EBRI is working with a range of
leading companies to develop alternative energy solutions, including Severn
Trent Water, in a project to transform sewage sludge into energy and
collaboration with Johnson Matthey to transform gases into fuels for
heat and power engines. The team is also developing a further ‘mini power
plant’ in conjunction with the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi to help
tackle the problem of unreliable energy supplies in rural India and help end
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills placed the global
biomass market at £144 billion in 2008/09. The same report suggests the UK
biomass market value is £5.2 billion with an expectation of an annual growth
rate of 4.3% for the next 5/6 years.
to open on Aston’s campus in October 2012, the fully operational
demonstrational facility, funded by the European Regional Development Fund,
Advantage West Midlands and Aston University, will include giant photo
bioreactors harnessing algae, and a 0.4MWel small scale industrial power plant
fuelled by biomass. The Plant will generate heat and power from using algae,
sewage sludge, wood and agricultural waste as sources of fuel. It will also
generate biomass by-products including hydrogen power for low carbon vehicles
or fuel cells and Biochar for use as an agricultural fertiliser and a
source for decentralised hydrogen production. A long-term research ambition is
to create a ‘thermal ring’ of small scale industrial power plants around
Birmingham. This could divert biodegradable waste away from landfill and
incineration and feed energy back into the National Grid.
ProfessorAndreas Hornung, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Head of the European BioenergyResearch Institute (EBRI)
Regular exercise improves
cardiovascular health. With an ageing population and sedentary lifestyles,
active living and lifelong participation in sport has never been more
important. Football is the national game and is endlessly adaptable, but the
number of men playing falls off dramatically from the early 30s and older men
have little involvement in team sport or aerobic exercise. With the baby boom
generation in middle age, can football be made accessible for the over 50s and
contribute to healthier lifestyles?
Football is an unexploited opportunity
to improve health in this population and this research will compare the health
of those men who play football to those who don’t.
Across Europe, 17% of male deaths, the
biggest proportion, are due to diseases of the cardiovascular system, with
ischaemic heart disease the biggest cause of death under 75 (White and Cash,
Physical activity is a major
prevention contributor of many chronic diseases and reduced physical activity
significantly increases the risk exercise of conditions such as type 2
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Recreational football is social and
absorbing to play to the extent that participants are under aware of the effort
that they exert. These advantages suggest that older people might commit to
recreational football within their age group in a more sustainable way than the
revolving door of gym membership.
from the School of Life & Health Sciences
philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt once said that ‘every language is like a window
that gives a unique view of the world. When the window closes it is lost
forever’. In order to solve the world’s problems of the future we depend on
more than just one point of view, we need every ‘window’ possible. Linguists at
Aston University are working with language activists and communities to analyse
the developments in the field of minority languages and to observe the links
between language and social change.
many visions of life that come from the many thousands of languages still
spoken by humankind are rapidly being diminished. Experts predict that over the
next 100 years nearly 90% of the worlds languages will be lost – consigned to
the history books and squeezed out by globalisation, the advance of monolithic
languages such as English and Mandarin, and the belief that to speak and think
in a ‘minority’ languages is somehow backward looking or old fashioned.
a language only spoken in the Amazonian rainforest disappears, it might not
seem significant. But with the language, a rich knowledge of medicine might
disappear that comes from a close relationship with nature. If a language such
as Yiddish becomes restricted to fewer places or domains, then the philosophy
and thinking, literature, art and music related to the speech community begins
one is actively campaigning for languages to die, but sometimes well meaning
policy makers, teachers, even language activists can unwittingly aid the
process. By promoting ‘minority’ languages for example for tourism
purposes as part of a bye-gone era, these languages are in danger to go the way
of the steam train or the horse cart. Young people see them as lacking
relevance, and whilst campaigns such as this might help build an image, which
can be exploited economically the language concerned might lose its status as a
relevant means of communication. Welsh is an example where a sizeable community
has decided that their language matters, and couple with legislation, have made
it central to the regeneration of Wales.
minority languages, language maintenance and shift is situated at the Aston
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Language and Diversity (InterLanD).
InterLanD brings together linguistic, social, cultural, economic,
environmental, political, management and marketing perspectives to pursue the
following main questions:
Professor GertrudReershemius on ext 0121 204 3787