Jun 05 2014 | Posted by SSSandy

University of Southampton features in national campaign to highlight value of universities

The University of Southampton is featuring in a UK-wide campaign next week to highlight the value and importance of university research to our everyday lives.

Universities Week 2014 will be launched on Monday 9 June at the Natural History Museum in London where a week-long public event will showcase some of the best of UK university research.

Researchers from the University of Southampton will join teams from 44 other UK universities represented at the Museum during the week. The exhibition will include research stations, pop-up performances, debates and live research demonstrations, covering a range of research themes.

The University’s Energy Technology Research Group will be highlighting their work on energy management as part of the University’s “Bringing Research to Life” roadshow. They will demonstrate their AC Cobra electric test car and invite the public to run a virtual electric vehicle with their smartphones to help imagine a city of electric cars running off batteries and the electricity grid.

Professor Andy Cruden, Head of the Energy Technology Research Group, says: “Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is the concept of combining many geographically disparate, grid connected, electric vehicle (EV) batteries, to act as a large scale electrical energy store. V2G offers the lowest cost method of providing grid-scale energy storage, as the battery cost is embedded within the purchase or lease of the electric vehicle itself. Such storage is important to help balance and control the increasing amounts of renewable generation, for example, wind turbines or solar panels, delivering energy to the UK network.”

As well as the week-long exhibition at the Natural History Museum, there will be a range of other activities taking place across the UK as part of Universities Week 2014, to promote and engage the public with the value and importance of university research.

The University will be highlighting its cancer research at the Winchester Science Centre on Sunday 15 June as part of the Science Futures event on Father’s Day. Visitors will be able to take part in a Killer T Cell laser challenge, take their own microscope pictures with a mobile phone and find out how Southampton Cancer Research UK scientists are using this knowledge to beat cancer sooner. Visitors will also be able to take part in work developing our understanding of how important nostalgia can be for psychological well-being.

Members of the public can also see the stars from the comfort of the Soton Astrodome, the University’s inflatable mobile planetarium, which will be running Planetarium shows during the festival of learning at Bournemouth University on 10 and 11 June.

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said: “Universities Week 2014 is an excellent opportunity to highlight how the work going on in our universities has an impact on people's everyday lives. It is also a chance for academics to engage with the public, bringing their research to life and hopefully inspiring people to go away and find out more about a topic.”

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The aim of Universities Week is to inspire the public about the world-leading research taking place in our universities.

“Led by some of the top researchers in the UK, the event at the Natural History Museum will be a fantastic showcase event for UK higher education. By hosting this free-to-attend and high-profile event, we hope that members of the public will be inspired and will leave having learned something new about how universities are helping to solve some of the UK’s and world’s biggest challenges.”