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PhD Studentship: Localised Energy Generation and Storage for EV Fleet Vehicle Charging

March 21st, 2019

We are delighted to announce that we have a funded PhD opportunity working on a project titled ‘Localised Energy Generation and Storage for EV Fleet Vehicle Charging’.

Supervisors

Dr Erica Ballantyne – Logistics & Supply Chain Research Centre

Professor David Stone – Centre for Research into Electrical Energy Storage and Applications

Project description

Continued population growth has led to increased transport demands, to, from, and within urban areas. This has significantly impacted upon urban air quality, resulting in increased pressure to improve air quality and address sources of pollution from transport. Many local authorities in the UK (and beyond) are tackling air pollution through the introduction of Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones as part of the government’s broader Air Quality Plan. These encourage the exploration and adoption of cleaner emission and cleaner fuelled vehicles, particularly for commercial fleets that are the main focus of many clean air zone policies.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a potentially effective technological response to reduce road transport emissions. However, EVs are not entirely emission free, with many using grid generated electricity to charge on-board batteries. Further, growing promotion of EV use, from private cars to commercial vehicle fleets, particularly in urban environments, has practical implications around the challenge of electricity grid capacity for mass EV charging, requiring significant infrastructure investment to upgrade the existing grid supply in the UK.

This interdisciplinary PhD project seeks to:

  • Examine the feasibility of using EV batteries for grid support and localised energy storage for all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicle fleets.
  • Determine the impact on emissions reduction of using localised energy storage through EVs at mass charging points.
  • Explore the economic, and socio-political aspects of energy storage and revenue streams from EV usage.
  • Evaluate the business case for using commercial EV fleets for pseudo-stationary energy storage using EVs.
  • Determine the barriers and drivers for fleet EV users to utilise mass energy storage and charging facilities.
  • Assess the suitability of fleet vehicle depot locations for EV grid storage and charging.
  • Identify and evaluate the technical barriers to implementation of EV grid storage in commercial fleet locations and maximise the benefits to all players.

Eligibility

The studentship is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Studentship scheme and is open to UK/EU citizens. The EPSRC DTP Grant will pay RCUK fees and stipend for up to 3.5 years and a RTSG of £1000 per annum.

Start dates

We recommend that students start on 1 October 2019 in order to attend compulsory training. However, it may be possible to start earlier.

Closing date for applications

Applications will be considered until a suitable candidate has been identified. For the 1 October start date, a full application must have been received by 17 June 2019.

How to apply

Visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/study/researchdegrees/howtoapply for full details.

For an informal discussion, please contact e.e.ballantyne@sheffield.ac.uk.

University of Sheffield and Microsoft collaboration develop tool to help scientists forecast future impact of climate change, population growth and energy use

March 20th, 2019
  • Predictor tool developed by the University of Sheffield will help scientists forecast future impact of climate change, population growth and energy use
  • The Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) 4.0 uses large scale databases including from the World Bank and NASA Satelillite maps and embedded autonomous learning
  • Policy makers and industry leaders can use the predictor to have a deeper understanding of the implications of investment decisions and policy

A pioneering predictor tool developed by the University of Sheffield will give scientists an alternative way to visualise the world and help to forecast the impact of climate change, population growth and energy use.

The Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) 4.0 uses large scale databases – including from the World Bank and NASA Satellite maps – numerical, graphic and textual data with embedded autonomous learning.

The new tool will be able to predict the relationship between climate change, political economy, innovation, life expectancy, population growth and energy use, on sustainable development and resources.

The University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Microsoft, has been working for the past eight years to solve the global challenge of depleting resources. The new tool has been pioneered through the University’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) by Professor Lenny Koh.

“We are very proud of the long standing relationship between the University of Sheffield AREC and Microsoft,” said Professor Koh, Director of the AREC.

“SCEnAT 4.0 is borne from this ongoing collaboration in the era of Industry 4.0; and the Cloud and AI economy. SCEnAT 4.0 AI capabilities fit strategically with the AI sector Deal announced by the UK Government.

“Globally, AI interests are on the rise especially in the USA, China and Europe, whilst the global revenue from the AI market is projected at circa 90 billion USD in 2025 in tune with the increasing global demand for more sustainable and resource efficient solutions. SCEnAT 4.0 framework and platform are well-positioned for such worldwide scale-up rapidly.”

SCEnAT 4.0 has evolved from the original SCEnAT Cloud based tool, powered by Microsoft Azure, which has helped companies reduce the environmental impact of their supply chains.

The collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Microsoft progressed the tool into SCEnAT+ and SCEnATi – funded by the EU – which has the addition of big data analytics and benchmarking capabilities along with Power BI integration, a Microsoft business analytics service.

Anthony Bitar, Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft UK, said: “Policy makers and industry leaders can exploit the prediction experiencer from SCEnAT 4.0 to have a deeper understanding of the implications of policy and investment decisions.

“We are excited by how the combination of Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI services are being used in the SCEnAT 4.0 platform to de-risk and visualise the relationship of economic, environmental and social impact from the way we produce and consume resources.”

Addressing the productivity challenge in the UK

March 12th, 2019

Academics, policymakers and business leaders from across the UK are set to gather in Sheffield tomorrow 13 March 2019 to tackle one of the UK’s most pressing economic challenges: how to raise productivity.

They will gather in Sheffield for a conference titled ‘Changing the Tone of the Debate’. The conference is organised by the Productivity Insights Network at the Sheffield University Management School.

The event will take place in the University’s historic Firth Hall building and will hosted by Lord Jim O’Neill. Prominent figures including Sir Paul Collier, Professor Jennifer Rubin, and Mr Murray Sherwin will deliver keynote addresses looking at how to address productivity discrepancies across Britain, how productivity varies in practice, and how research can help solve this productivity puzzle.

Professor Tim Vorley, Sheffield University Management School,  said, “Given the highly regional nature of the productivity puzzle it is fantastic that the University of Sheffield is hosting the Productivity Insights Network conference, which brings a number of leading figures together to advance thinking on the productivity puzzle.”

“The Productivity Insights Network is leading a major programme of work bringing together researchers, policymakers, businesses and civil society stakeholders to change the tone of the productivity debate and what this means for people and places across the UK.”

For more information about the Productivity Insights Network, visit: https://productivityinsightsnetwork.co.uk/








University of Sheffield’s Management School to host Speak Out Initiative

March 5th, 2019

  • The Speak Out Initiative works with young people under-represented in higher education
  • Run by Dr Andreana Drencheva, the initiative partners with local businesses to mentor groups of young people
  • Teams of young people will present their ideas for social change at the University of Sheffield on 15 March 2019

The University of Sheffield will host a competition for a project set up to develop academic, employability, and active citizenship skills in young people.

The Speak Out Initiative, run by Dr Andreana Drencheva from the Sheffield University Management School, works with young people under-represented in higher education to enhance their academic and career aspirations.

The initiative is run in partnership with local businesses Irwin Mitchell, Jaywing, BHP and Andy Hanselman consulting. This year’s participating schools are Meadowhead, Chaucer and Sheffield Park Academy.

For six weeks groups of young people meet with mentors from the University of Sheffield and businesses to work on a project for social change. The initiative is designed to help develop skills, such as collaborative problem solving, communicating in diverse teams, and decision making. 

This year’s challenge is tackling loneliness and the teams will have to research the problem in their local community and develop a project that will make a meaningful difference.

The final projects will be presented to representatives from the University, businesses, and Age UK at an event on Friday 15 March 2019 at The Edge. The groups must demonstrate the sustainability of the project, why it makes a difference and what resources it would need.

Dr Drencheva said:

“The initiative is a meaningful and authentic way to express our historic roots and civic commitment to our communities, while also enhancing the employability of our current learners.”

“It’s a unique opportunity for the young people involved to develop new employability and citizenship skills, to experience university life first-hand and to meet authentic role models who share their experiences to demystify the multiple options young people have after school.”

The competition day also includes networking and reflection to help the young people identify their strengths, areas for development and the pathways open to them after school.

Speak Out has been running since 2016, and evaluation from prior years shows that 93 per cent of the young people considered the initiative was helpful in developing team-working skills and 94 per cent found it useful for developing communications skills.

The teams of young people will present their ideas for social change at the University of Sheffield as part of the final competition on 15 March 2019.

Art for Art’s sake? Mission driven values and the role of creativity in a time of rupture

February 27th, 2019

Patrons queuing outside a the site gallery in Sheffield.

  • Drs Elizabeth Carnegie and Andreana Drencheva are curating a special issue of Arts and the Market investigating Art in a time of rupture
  • Submissions are invited that address the overarching theme of understanding how rupture, complex and rapid change impacts on support for art, artists, and artists’ spaces

Debates about the role and importance of the arts as a social good have never been more keenly felt than in recent years. At the local level, current debates about the death of the high street  are linked to the loss of community as well as equity, with the potential solution that empty shops be used for artist’s spaces and local theatre. Initiatives such as Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield, remind us that local and national governments accept that the provision of cultural and community arts spaces remain vital to shaping identity, a sense of community and belonging, yet they do so in increasingly constrained circumstances. 

Art in a changing climate

The landscape for local, national, and international art and artists’ spaces has changed considerably in recent years and is continuing to change, as arts organisations and initiatives are increasingly being, and indeed required to be, mission-driven. ‘Mission-driven arts organisations’ we can define at an umbrella term that brings together diverse organisations and initiatives that pursue both social and artistic or cultural objectives. Thus, mission-driven arts organisations are diverse and employ numerous organising forms, such as social enterprises, co-operatives, social movements, temporary organisations and initiatives.

However, at their core is the pursuit of social objectives, which also requires the management of often conflicting artistic, economic, cultural, and social demands. In this context, artists’ lived experiences are marked by tensions and contradictions as they negotiate precarious careers, and develop their creative and artistic values within a challenging marketplace. A question that might be asked here is whether artists value in this context is determined by engagement, or to put that another way conforms to the values of funders. Can artists thus survive, and thrive on the ‘outside’?

This topic has rarely seemed more timely or worthy of debate as we experience a point of rupture within wider society as the intersection of globalisation, nationalism, and neoliberalism creates multidimensional uncertainty that shapes the opportunities, responsibilities, work arrangements, and lived experiences of artists, artist-led initiatives, and cultural organisations. The resultant limited access to funding with shifting priorities, market fragmentation, and public policy place demands on arts organisations and initiatives to change their business models and become more ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘resilient’.

Call for papers

For this special edition we aim to try and make sense of how artists and mission-driven art organisations navigate the uncertainty of contemporary artistic careers in the context of the social, economic, and technological uncertainty of our times? This question is not only timely from a practice perspective, but also creates an opportunity for dialogue between rapidly growing, yet fragmented, research streams across the cultural and creative industries. This issue will provide an opportunity for a vibrant conversation that for the first time brings together different viewpoints to understand how artists and arts organisations cope with and thrive in today’s uncertainty to catalyse positive social change, while meeting economic demands.

The overarching theme of this special edition is to understand how rupture and complex and rapid change impacts on support for art, artists, and artists’ spaces and in doing so to provide cutting-edge insights relevant for contemporary theory, practice and teaching. It is in this spirit that we are calling for papers that shed light on the foundations and nature of mission-driven art organisations and initiatives across levels of analysis: from individuals and organisations to communities and institutions.

The deadline for submission is 15 May 2019, and full guidance can be found here: http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=8369








£1 million state-of-the-art Doctoral Research Centre launched at Sheffield University Management School

February 26th, 2019

PhD student Paula Kohn in the newly refurbished Doctoral Research Centre.

  • An investment of over £1m provides exceptionally high-quality working and social spaces for Sheffield University Management School PhD researchers
  • The refurbishments improve the professional research environment providing more accessible, flexible spaces

Management School PhD students are set to benefit from an investment of over £1 million to improve the Doctoral Research Centre, in a bid to further boost student experience and enhance the School’s professional research environment.

The latest addition to the facilities at Sheffield University Management School includes completely refurbished working and social spaces for PhD students. The Doctoral Research Centre, as it will be known, is located on Northumberland Road and has been designed to provide an exceptionally high-quality environment for its users. The makeover provides students with world-class facilities and a professional, flexible working environment that will inspire the next generation of researchers.

The improvements made to the building will ensure an enhanced student experience for doctoral students in the Management School. A key focus of the improvement works was on enabling a strong sense of community to flourish among students. To meet these needs, flexible working spaces such as hot-desking and silent study facilities were created and the building is equipped with improved accessibility features. The improved infrastructure will encourage productive collaboration between students.

The refurbishment stands as a tangible example of the School’s commitment to improving its students’ experience and as a Triple Crown Accredited institution lives up to the exacting standards expected of an elite, world-class management school.

Dr Caroline Oates, Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Sheffield University Management School, said:

 “I am delighted that our students will benefit from an investment of over £1 million in facilities designed specifically for PhD students and their research”.

“The creation of the Doctoral Research Centre and its focus on developing communities of researchers will help the Sheffield University Management School continue to thrive as an international centre of research excellence”.

“These new facilities give us the environment and space we need to continue to develop the next generation of scholars”.

Paula Kohn, a PhD student from Brazil, said:

“The new upgrade has brought to our Doctoral Centre a fresh modern look with an up-to-date professional environment, creating a collective surrounding that facilitates mutual collaboration and support. I feel privileged and very comfortable here”.

The Doctoral Research Centre opened to students in early 2019. For more information about doctoral study with the Sheffield University Management School, visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/study/researchdegrees






Working to reduce food waste in developing countries

January 18th, 2019

Scientists and engineers in the UK are working to use ideas from advanced space technology to improve the lives of farmers and reduce food waste in developing countries. 

Due to a warmer climate and a lack of technology, expertise and infrastructure, up to 40% of food in developing countries can be wasted, with much of this waste being fresh produce. This is because the farmers are unable to insulate and cool or refrigerate produce after it is harvested – and on the journey between the farm and the consumer, the food can become spoiled.

A research team, led by Dr Sonal Choudhary of the University of Sheffield, is working on utilising the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) expertise in space science and cryogenics, thermal engineering and analysing large datasets to improve the efficiency of the cold food supply chain in India and so reduce the amount of waste, both in terms of food and energy. The project is being undertaken as part of STFC’s Food Network+ research programme.

UK expertise in cryogenics, the science of extremely cold temperatures, and of thermal engineering could hold the key to bolstering the food chain by reducing the amount of loss from farm-to-fork and by doing so, helping farmers raise their income.

Dr Choudhary said: “There are a number of practical and logistical challenges for farmers in developing countries. Once they have harvested the fruit or vegetables, how can they keep it fresh before it reaches the consumer? They are often unable to afford refrigerated vehicles, and rely solely on traditional methods such as transporting the produce through open trucks, rickshaws, motorcycles and even bicycles. Given the ambient temperature of 40-45oC in many parts of India, a good thermal insulation along with cryogenics technology could provide us with a viable option to reduce food loss from farm-to-fork and improve the cold chain efficiency.”

Dr Bryan Shaughnessy is head of the Thermal Engineering Group at STFC RAL Space and also a participant in this project. “We design systems to withstand the harsh extremes of temperature in space. By taking the technology and expertise we apply in developing instruments for use in space missions and instead looking at how to apply it in assisting in keeping food cooler in warm climates I believe we have an opportunity here to find fairly low cost solutions to what can be a very expensive problem…”

Dr Choudhary added: “Thanks to the STFC Food Network+ we have the chance to work with experts in cryogenics, thermal engineering and data science, alongside stakeholders from the supply chain to really iron out some of the logistical challenges and get one step closer to making this solution a reality.”

The project has been funded by the STFC Food Network+, which brings together researchers from STFC and different disciplines in the agri-food sector with the aim of solving some of the world’s greatest food sustainability challenges.

The team have utilised participatory workshops and focus groups to predict any challenges in implementing STFC space science and technologies in India, where the gaps in the infrastructure exist, and what interventions are needed at different stages of the food supply chain from farmers to retailers and end consumers.

“We have met with farmers, retailers, academics, government officials and other invested parties to try to really understand the issues the sector faces and to come up with ways to meet those challenges. Early studies have shown that it is certainly possible to increase farmers’ livelihood by decreasing food loss from farm-to-fork,” Dr Choudhary said, “Now we need to demonstrate how this could be achieved at a low budget utilising STFC space science and technologies.”

The team is made up of both academia and industry, with representatives from the Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), Hull University Business School (HUBS), STFC’s RAL Space and commercial cryogenics firm Cryox.

University of Sheffield to lead €4 million research project exploring a more sustainable future

January 10th, 2019
ReTraCE: Realising the Transition towards the Circular Economy

ReTraCE: Realising the Transition towards the Circular Economy

The University of Sheffield will lead a €4 million research project and train a new cohort of thought leaders to drive the transition towards a more sustainable mode of production and consumption in Europe over the coming decades.

Realising the Transition to the Circular Economy (ReTraCE) is a research project funded by Horizon 2020 EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks and will support the implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Economy strategy.

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their useful life.

The project will bring together world-leading experts from a wide set of beneficiaries and partners to achieve breakthroughs in understanding how the transition towards a circular economy can be realised – both within existing organisations and industries as well as through innovative and sustainable business models.

Professor Andrea Genovese, from the University of Sheffield’s Management School and Principal Investigator of the ReTraCE initiative, said:

“This project will directly facilitate the implementation of the recently adopted ambitious Circular Economy strategy of the European Commission, which is closely linked to Sustainable Development Goals – the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy. It aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits, where products are kept in use for as long as possible, with value recovery and regeneration at the end of their useful life.”

The consortium of ten beneficiaries is led by the University of Sheffield and includes seven academic and three non-academic groups: The University of Kassel (Germany), Parthenope University of Naples (Italy), Olympia Electronics S.A (Greece), Tata Steel (UK), University of Kent (UK), ABIS – Academy of Business in Society (Belgium), Dalarna University (Sweden), Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (Netherlands), and SEERC – The South-East European Research Centre (Greece).

The network will design and deliver world-class multidisciplinary training to 15 early stage researchers, offering them an extended and valuable program of international exchanges and secondments through a wide network of partner organisations – from public, private and third sector.

The multi-disciplinary project will draw upon research that will advance the current understanding of the circular economy from economic, environmental and social perspectives, providing policy insights and implications for practice.

It is envisaged that, by the end of the project, early stage researchers will be employable by research institutions, public sector bodies and within a wide range of manufacturing and service industries which will require new professional profiles for realising the transition towards the circular economy.

Call for applications

The project has a call for applications for 15 Early Stage Researcher positions funded by the EU H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 scheme. Find out more about the project on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Government-commissioned research led by University of Sheffield will help law and accountancy firms adopt new technologies

November 29th, 2018

  • Research project will help mid-sized law and accountancy firms adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies – helping to improve the productivity and prosperity of cities and regions across the UK
  • Sheffield University Management School-led project is one of three successful bids to the Industrial Strategy Challenges Fund Next Generation Services call

A major new research project led by the University of Sheffield will help mid-sized law and accountancy firms adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to improve productivity.

A team of researchers, led by Professor Tim Vorley from the University of Sheffield’s Management School, is one of three successful bids to the Industrial Strategy Challenges Fund (ISCF) Next Generation Services call.

The research, commissioned by the UK government, will focus on helping people adopt new technologies.
Professor Vorley will lead a team of colleagues from the University of Sheffield; Lancaster University; Manchester Business School; The University of the Arts, London; as well as non-academic partners the Managing Partners’ Forum and Normann Partners.

The project, Innovating Next Generation Services through Collaborative Design, will focus on firms that are cautious or uncertain over how to implement technological change.

Rather than focusing solely on new technologies, the research will involve exploratory prototyping of solutions designed in collaboration with firms to enable a rapid generation and assessment of potential future applications of artificial intelligence across businesses. This is critical if adoption within sector firms is to be broadened.

The services sector accounts for almost 80 per cent of the UK economy, with professional services the largest sub-sector representing 11 per cent of GDP.

Professor Vorley said: “Understanding the transformative potential of AI involves looking at individual firms, the outcomes provided to clients, and the business processes and predictions that are deployed.

“Our project will focus on understanding the technological and behavioural barriers facing mid-sized legal and accountancy firms, and suggesting potential solutions, as this is the segment where intervention will have maximum impact on the continued success of the overall sector.”

Dr Chay Brooks, a co-investigator at Sheffield University Management School, added: “The adoption of AI will have a transformative impact on professional service businesses. Given the emphasis in the Industrial Strategy on the place agenda, our work focusing on mid-tier legal and accountancy firms is important for the productivity and prosperity of cities and regions across the UK.”

Richard Chapin, a co-investigator from the Managing Partners’ Forum. said: “The potential of AI remains hypothetical unless and until the leadership team at a firm has the authority, confidence and knowledge to persuade frontline advisers to embrace new ways of working. ‘Command & control’ is seldom a viable route to bring about change at a professional firm.”

Business Secretary, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, said: “The UK is the home of AI – from Alan Turing’s pioneering work to today’s growing use of AI throughout the economy. Artificial Intelligence is changing how we work, live and play.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we want to build on our history of innovation to develop and deploy AI to create new opportunities and improve services across the whole economy.”

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Professor Colin Williams invited to discuss proposed European Labour Authority in the European Parliament

June 12th, 2018

Dr Colin Williams European Parliament

Brexit negotiations may be the only news for the UK in relation to the European Union, but it is very much business as usual in the European Parliament. Colin Williams, Professor of Public Policy in Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), was invited on 6th June to discuss the proposal for a European Labour Authority in the European Parliament.

The European Labour Authority aims to ensure that EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in fair, simple and effective way. It was announced in September 2017 by the president of the European Commission and on 13 March, the legislative proposal was presented as part of the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It is proposed that the Authority will be up and running in 2019 and is expected to reach its full operational capacity by 2023.

Invited by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D Group), the second largest grouping of MEPs in the Parliament, Professor Williams made the case for a real and effective European Labour Authority able to enforce labour and social rights and ensure rules on labour mobility fairly. Drawing upon his experiences as lead expert to the European Commission’s European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work, he called for a greater focus in the legislative proposal upon developing the capabilities and capacities of Member States to tackle labour abuse and enforce workers’ rights. He also called for a shift away from solely dealing with labour abuses after they occurred and towards preventing them from happening in the first place.

Professor Williams shared the platform with the Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Unions Confederation (representing 45 million members), and the European Commission official responsible for the legislative proposal. The debate was live-streamed and interpreted in five languages.

For further information: http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/newsroom/sds-we-need-effective-european-labour-authority-protects-workers-rights-and-ensures-fair