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Going Global

Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Berlin showcase for world-leading Nottingham innovation

Innovative technologies from The University of Nottingham that could help to develop new treatments for mental illness and a safer, more responsive system for keeping helicopters airborne have been showcased at a major higher education exhibition in Germany.

The innovation showcase, held at the British Embassy in Berlin, aimed to shine a spotlight on the deep and vital partnerships that exist between British and German academia.

It was organised by BUILA (the British Universities International Liaison Association) and their German counterpart DAIA (the Deutsche Assoziation Für Internationalen Bildungsaustausch), supported by the British Council and Universities UK International.

The showcase explored themes contributing to European priorities where partners are collaborating at the cutting edge of science and technology and education, in areas such as AI, sustainable product design, and health research.

In terms of scientific, creative and cultural collaboration, UK and Germany are each other’s most important partner. Collaboration between higher education institutions form a fundamental part of a successful partnership within both countries.

Unlocking the brain with quantum science

Nottingham’s Quantum Imaging the Brain exhibit – which was originally built for the Royal Society’s prestigious Summer Exhibition - has a giant brain suspended from the ceiling as its centrepiece to demonstrate the development of a new type of non-invasive brain imaging. Visitors to the exhibition enter the darkened brain room where one of the team from Nottingham’s Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre is wearing an array of EEG sensors, placed on the scalp to monitor their brain activity. As they perform some basic actions, the part of the brain responsible for this action lights up on the model.

It is underpinned by a technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG), in which the magnetic fields in the brain are measured by an array of quantum sensors surrounding the head. Using this information, 3D images can be generated showing the changes in the electrical brain activity that influences cognition.

Compared to current techniques, the new innovation is more than 4-5 times more sensitive, can be adapted to any size or shape of head and can allow the wearer to move around freely, meaning the device is ideal for people who find it hard to cope with conventional scanning environments for example children or patients with movement disorders.

The unique system offers new opportunities for neuroscientists to tackle previously tricky to tackle research questions, for example understanding brain development in children, and offers clinicians a new tool to manage a range of disorders, from mental health to neurodegeneration.

Professor Dorothee Auer is working with a number of German institutions to explore the development of a significant collaboration on Ultra-High Frequency Scanning and Neuroimagery (MEG).

Meeting the challenges of the aerospace sector

The global aerospace sector is facing significant carbon reduction, noise and nitrogen oxide emissions reduction targets. The development of more electric aircraft (MEA) components and systems is a major area of research in the aerospace sector to help achieve these reduction targets.

Nottingham’s HEMAS (Helicopter Electro-Mechanical Actuation System), funded by the Clean Sky One programme, focuses on the design, optimisation, development and testing of a fault-resistant electro-mechanical actuation system for helicopter swashplates which controls the pitch of the main rotor blades.

The showcase was timed to coincide with the British Council’s Going Global Conference which has seen 1,200 international education leaders converge in the German city to debate the future of higher and further education.

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 748 4734
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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the  2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.

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