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Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) seminar

The Centre for Development Studies (CDS) at the University of Bath invites you to a second showcase of GCRF-funded research projects.

  • 30 Jan 2020, 3.15pm to 30 Jan 2020, 5.05pm GMT
  • Room 4.8, The Chancellors' Building, University of Bath
  • This event is free

In 2018, the University received funding from Research England to support research into challenges faced by low and middle income countries. 18 out of 47 applicants received grants of up to £50,000. This is the second seminar giving investigators the opportunity to share research findings and lessons learnt about the process of doing collaborative research.


Time Event Speakers
3.15pm Welcome and introductions James Copestake
3.20pm Development of infection models in Brazil Albert Bolhuis
3.40pm Sustainable prosthetic care solutions in Malaysia Elena Seminati
4pm Break -
4.20pm Environmental sustainability of artisanal gold mining in Sierra Leone Roy Maconachie & Lee Bryant
4.40pm Indirect electrochemical energy harvesting from industrial waste in Nigeria and South Africa Frank Marken
5pm Refreshment (LimeTree) -


Development of infection models for zoonotic sporotrichosis

Author: Albert Bolhuis (Pharmacy & Pharmacology)

Emerging fungal diseases present a growing threat to human and animal health, and countries in the tropics bear a particularly high burden. One of these is zoonotic sporotrichosis, which is caused by Sporothrix brasiliensis, the only significant fungal pathogen that follows a direct host-to-host transmission route.

The disease is endemic in Brazil and is on the increase, while treatment takes months with antifungals that have toxicity issues. Currently used infection models do not reflect the infection process well and suffer from lack of scalability, hampering progress in understanding the disease and identifying novel therapeutic targets. This will be addressed in this pilot project by developing novel infection models for zoonotic sporotrichosis

Sustainable Prosthetic Care Solutions

Author: Elena Seminati (Health)

The SPECS project has established a culture of cross-disciplinary research dissemination and engagement activities, by addressing barriers for improvement in the prosthetic care in Malaysia.

We have been working actively with the local partners to:

  • identify new technologies for new cheap prosthetic solutions
  • engage with authorities/policy makers to reach the patient population
  • engage with prosthetic companies to translate the prosthetics design in the real world
  • improve Malaysian education for prosthetics and orthotics

Two main workshops have been organised (University of Bath and Kuala-Lumpur) and in October 2019 the Malaysian partners were able to organise the 1st recognised National Conference of prosthetic and orthotics. We have identified potential funding bodies to improve the prosthetic care in Malaysia with long terms goal for improving economic benefit and welfare.

Impact will be focused mapping current services of prosthetic care, developing new education programs, and design new prosthetic solutions.

Mapping opportunities for improving the environmental sustainability of artisanal gold mining in Sierra Leone

Author: Roy Maconachie (Social and Policy Sciences), Lee Bryant (Architecture and Civil Engineering) and Thomas Kjedlsen (Architecture and Civil Engineering)

Over the past two decades, mineral-rich sub-Saharan Africa has been transformed by the growth of informal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) – low tech, labour-intensive mineral extraction and processing that employs rudimentary tools, and has low barriers to entry for poor people. While the livelihood benefits of ASM sector are largely undisputed, policies and programmes aimed at minimising its environmental footprint have to date had limited success.

Focusing on the West African country of Sierra Leone, this pilot study generated much-needed data on the environmental impacts of the artisanal gold mining sector, exploring how water sources, ecosystems services and dependent livelihoods are impacted by ASM activities. Bringing together an experienced interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Bath and the University of Sierra Leone, the research findings have been of interest to government policy makers in Sierra Leone who are currently developing strategies to formalise the ASM sector.

More broadly, the findings of the study are currently being used to inform the development of a larger multi-country research project on the environmental impacts of unregulated artisanal gold mining in West Africa.

Indirect Electrochemical Energy Harvesting From Industrial Waste

Author: Frank Marken (Chemistry)

This project was an opportunity to initiate a collaboration between researchers in Bath (UK), Owerri (Nigeria), and Johannesburg (South Africa) into electrical energy provision and recovery. The project allowed us to establish contact with the African Centre of Excellence for Catalysis, explore opportunities for cooperation and impact, and exchange research ideas in the area of catalysis and energy, in particular on energy-harvesting membranes. As a result, GCRF research proposals (as well as other proposals) are envisaged for the future.

In nature, energy is stored in chemical bonds and the transformation of chemical energy to electrochemical or electrical energy is the key to harvesting and storing energy in modern society (as well as in biology e.g. in photosynthesis). Freeing-up this energy from chemical bonds is part of the evolutionary struggle (e.g. for the digestion of nutritious elements of cellulose from grasses and trees) as well as part of the current technological struggle in human societies (e.g. converting waste plant materials and waste industrial streams directly into electricity). At the heart of this struggle is the choice of catalysis (the controlled breaking bonds at catalyst surfaces and under ambient conditions) as opposed to activation (the uncontrolled breaking bonds for example at high temperature; e.g. incineration). Only catalysis offers realistic opportunities to the ambient harvesting of residual energy from waste streams when technologies need to be mobile or operational in remote places. Our approach is based on novel indirect fuel cell technology developed at Bath. The indirect fuel cell is based on a palladium membrane that allows energy released from carbohydrates to be converted to/captured as electricity.

During the project know-how was exchanged, a new 3D-printed fuel cell was build and tested, and new applications in sensing were discussed.

Sign up for the seminar

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The seminar will be held in the Chancellor's Building

Room 4.8 The Chancellors' Building University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom

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If you have any questions, please contact us.