University of Bath hosted a networking dinner in the Bath Spa Hotel, hosted by Professor Sue Wonnacott, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and the Bath lead in the GW4+ DTP, on Thursday 9th July, for academics, students and guests from a range of organisations with interests in NERC science. Academics from seven departments across the Faculties of Science and Engineering & Design attended, along with our NERC-supported PhD students and multiple representatives from 4 of the 6 Research Organisations (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, The Met Office, Natural History Museum, Plymouth Marine laboratory). Associate Partners present included representatives from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and Wessex Water, as well as numerous other interested parties, including Black & Veatch, Bristol Water and Burro-Happold.
The evening started with a poster session, followed by short ‘ignite’ style presentations on the various themes of NERC science at Bath. These comprised Evolution (delivered by Prof Matthew Wills who also described plans for the proposed Milner Centre for Evolution at Bath), Biodiversity (Prof Tamas Szekeley), Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (Dr Ivan Astin), and Climate (Prof Chris Budd who also outlined the CliMath network of mathematics, statistics and climate science researchers).
Between courses, there were some illustrations of other productive ways external partners can engage on projects. Dr Barbara Kasprzyk-Horden (representing the Water theme) together with Ruth Barden from Wessex Water and their PhD student, Kathryn Proctor, presented their NERC industrial CASE studentship and how this is benefiting both organisations. The project involves evaluating the problem of bioactive agents, notably pharmaceutical products, in waste water.
Dr Denise Cooke (Research & Innovation Services. RIS) then introduced the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme. This was followed by a video presentation in which Dr Philippe Blondel (Atmospheric and Oceanic Science theme) outlined his KTP Project with Seiche Ltd. The project aims to develop underwater acoustic sensing devices to protect marine life close to offshore seismic surveys, and demonstrates the productive conjunction of academic and commercial interests.