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Vertically Integrated Projects - Current VIPs

The VIPs currently running

We have a total of 9 projects currently running in AY2324 Semester 2.

TBB: Bath biodevices without borders

Like Bath Engineering without Borders (BEwoB), this VIP team joins driven students and dedicated staff with problems that many people are currently facing throughout the world. However, unlike BEwoB, the focus of TBB: Bath Biodevices without Borders is on the development of practical, biodevice-implemented projects that can, and hopefully, will help many people throughout the world, whilst at the same time providing the involved students with practical employability skills. To this end, we intend, as soon as it is once again possible, to travel to areas of the world where we have identified a real need that we can devise a solution to, properly identify the need in that area, then develop a system/design that can help solve this problem. 

This VIP team aims to integrate all student years into not just our design and development process, but also into our assessing and implementation processes. This means that even if you are a first year, with no more engineering experience than your first semester modules, you will still have the opportunity to travel to new regions of the world and provide aid to people living there. On the same note, it is possible to join us at any point in your studies, even if this is your final year and you haven’t been a part of any societies or student teams to date. 

All skills are welcome and no need for any specific background knowledge required.

TBB is scientifically supported by Electronic and Electrical Engineering C3Bio academics, they will be providing initial project ideas in line with ongoing research projects and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (https://unfoundation.org/what-we-do/issues/sustainable-development-goals ), technical training, dedicated lab space and resources within the Faculty of Engineering and international network contacts. 

The team produced a poster for end of Semester 1 AY2223

SDGs: 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation & 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Academic Directors: Dr Despina Moschou, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering; Dr Pedro Estrela (Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering); Dr Ben Metcalfe (Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering)

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Creating immersive training experiences in virtual reality

Virtual Reality provides an immersive environment that can feel so real to the user that the experience they gain within it can be applied to the real world. It also allows users to practice tasks that would be too complex, expensive, or dangerous in real-life. It is rapidly becoming a popular tool for providing training in all manner of activities, from using a point-of-sale system to performing surgery. This VIP aims to identify, develop, and deploy VR training activities both within the University and with external partners and in the process develop a best practice guide for the creation and use of VR training tools.

This VIP is currently been ran over two teams each led by an Academic Lead.

Project one: A Virtual Reality Sexual Harassment Intervention Training 97% of women in the UK have been sexually harassed and 1/3 of this harassment occurs while a bystander is present. This VIP is using Virtual Reality to train people to step up and intervene when they witness sexual harassment. The challenges of conventional, seminar-style trainings are that sexual harassment intervention is difficult to emulate safely, yet realistically. Virtual Reality allows us to present a realistic and immersive sexual harassment scenario, without risking the safety of the trainee. Our scenario allows the player to speak up to stop the pre-scripted harassment from escalating and combined with advice from SARSAS and the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, we hope to prove Virtual Reality’s effectiveness for training.

Those joining in January 2024 would be joining a team of 15 split evenly between 3 teams, Experimental, AI and VR. You can get involved in any combination of these three roles:

As we enter the experimental phase, we're seeking individuals with an interest in hands-on roles. If you have a background in conducting experiments, especially in Virtual Reality and/or Psychology, we’re particularly interested in having you on board. We aim to reach 200 participants but the more researchers we have the farther we can surpass this target.

In the academic year 2024/25, we expect to require a leadership position in the academic team, who will be writing and publishing a paper on our findings, and running an ethics application for the next stage of our experiment, where we incorporate AI to create more realistic responses from the world when the player speaks.

The AI team is currently creating a machine learning model to classify player responses which then causes a pre-scripted response to play from the non-playable characters being talked to. Any students interested in AI would be welcome to apply. Our main constraints lie in generating and collecting data relevant to the sexual harassment context. Expertise in data amplification, transfer learning from existing AIs and other solutions for our data bottleneck are very sought after.

If you have experience with Unity and VR, whether you're a seasoned developer or an aspiring creator, your skills will find a place in our project. This team will be getting feedback from our experiment in order to fine-tune the experience. Those in this team would be documenting the workflows we’ve developed for transferring Motion Capture footage from the CAMERA studio in Bath, into Faceware and Vicon retargeting software to then be displayed on a VR headset through Unity. This workflow can then be applied to any VR trainings, and streamlining this process, as well as making it understandable for future years is a priority and those joining in 2024 would provide vital feedback for making the documentation clear.

Project two: Virtual Reality in the Laboratory This project explores the use of virtual reality in the laboratory, to create simulated environments that present scenarios that cannot be easily replicated in the real world, it can help students to better understand how specific processes work and how they should be carried out.

The team produced a poster for end of Semester 1 AY2223

SDG: 4 Quality Education, 5 Gender Equality, 9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

Academic Director: Ken Cameron (Department of Computer Science), Dr Steve Flower (Department of Chemistry)

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students. Please get in contact throughout the year for more details

Widening participation and access to the University of Bath by young people from Somerset and West Wiltshire.

NEW FOR SEM 2

Whilst the reputation for excellence in undergraduate studies at University of Bath grows nationally and internationally, its ability to recruit students from low-income families remains stubbornly difficult to improve. And this is despite significant time and financial investment made by the university. The argument that is often presented when trying to understand what is happening is that Bath is an expensive city. That is certainly true but so are other places that are currently making more progress in recruiting from this target cohort. One consideration that has received little air time recently here in Bath, is to explore the potential to recruit students to the University of Bath that live within commuting distance of the campus. Commuter students are not common here; but they are elsewhere. And one of the biggest challenges for Bath is that apart from heading west to the Bristol area, the region is essentially rural and with limited good public transport. So before embarking on any marketing or promotional campaigns, this project seeks to understand the following baseline questions:

What is the actual potential to recruit students to University of Bath from low-income families within the region? And what would a successful programme of recruitment look like? Could it involve commuter students? Or is there a mechanism to support suitable students from the region to move to Bath for their undergraduate studies?

SDGs: 4 Quality Education, 8 Decent Working and Econominc Growth, 10 Reduced Inequalities, 17 Partnerships

Academic directors: Professor Jane White (Mathematical Sciences) and Professor Matt Dickson (Institute for Policy Research

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Carers Centre carbon reduction journey

Carers Centre are looking for support from a VIP to support their carbon management plan. As part of their recommissioning with BANES council and commitment to contributing to BANES carbon reduction by 2030, the Carers Centre have been encouraged to look at their carbon emissions as an organisation. In the initial stages the project would be to support the carers centre to provide an outline of the Carers Centre carbon management commitment and collaboration with UoB to BANES as part of the recommission. With the view that first semester would be time for the VIP group to explore the Carers Centre emissions within Scope 1 emissions and prepare a list of recommendations to be presented to the organisation. There would be opportunities for students to learn about the work of the carers centre and understanding what they deliver to their service users within the social care sector.

The project aims to support Carers Centre in creating a carbon commitment outline, help identify their carbon emissions in Scope 1 and provide recommendations on how they can approach their carbon management plan in their organisation.

Project Partners: Carers Centre BANES - Contact | The Carers' Centre - Bath and North East Somerset (banescarerscentre.org.uk)

The team produced a poster for end of Semester 1 AY2324

SDG: 13 Climate Action

Academic Director: Brian Rutter, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students who have an interest in climate change and supporting a local charity.

Slow the Flow - Conserving water across our region

New for SEM 2 AY2324

The project concept evolves as a collaboration with BANES and the West of England Combined Authority, serving as a pilot initiative to demonstrate how, as part of the regional engagement program, we can collaborate with The University of Bath.

The problem: We need to reduce the amount of water that is running into our water systems across the region to reduce the impact on the current water infrastructure and help support nature and adaptation.

The request: To investigate how we could integrate known interventions, technology and behavioural change techniques to support mobilisation across the region.

Goal – to work with The University of Bath to consider how we could create a ‘scalable’ model that supports the reduction of run off within a given locality.

In relation to the West of England Climate and Nature Action Plan alignment: CRA11 Work with National Grid, Wessex Water, Bristol Water and other local infrastructure providers to understand regional infrastructure resilience to the impacts of climate change. NR14 Work with Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership to identify actions and investment required to deliver the Bristol Avon Catchment Plan and the Bristol Avon Fish Recovery Strategy to improve the health, biodiversity and resilience of our water courses, wetlands and river catchments. In relation to BANES Climate Strategy and Action Plan.

In relationship with WECA - West of England Combined Authority.

SDGs: 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation & 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Academic Directors: Prof Jan Hofman, Co-Director of the Water Innovation Research Centre & Thomas Kjeldson, Department of Architecture & Engineering.

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Open science – Hardware for microscopy

The Openflexure Project is a globally recognised exemplar of open science hardware development (https://unctad.org/system/files/official-document/ecosocres2021d30NoteOpenSource_en.pdf). Open development of open science hardware is key to scientific reproducibility and scientific equality. It allows researchers everywhere to understand how their hardware is operating, and also to modify it to their needs. With careful design, open hardware can also allow manufacture and maintenance across the globe, including in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

The core of the Openflexure project is a motorised micromanipulation stage that is built into a compact and high resolution microscope (https://openflexure.org/projects/microscope/build). The project is developed openly, using distributed version control to enable contributions to the project goals, project development and project oversight from anywhere. A main project goal has been high resolution microscopy to contribute to malaria diagnosis in Tanzania, which has driven the core project development in a particular direction. Together with users in other fields a number of design variations have been developed, adapting the core technology to each type of use.

This vertically integrated project will contribute to the development of open microscopy in three possible ways.

A. Development of microscope hardware. The Openflexure Microscope is 3D printed from CAD, which allows many variations of the hardware to address different user needs. Part of the VIP will assess user feedback (eg. https://openflexure.discourse.group/) and identify and address needs in hardware for new uses or needs in enhanced usability of existing hardware.

B. The Openflexure microscope can be built in different versions up to a high resolution (<500nm) robotic scientific microscope. Part of the VIP will assess applications in water quality monitoring in LMICs and applications in cell biology in laboratory incubators, to determine the type of microscope best suited for these applications. The common PLA material has been shown to work in these harsh environments, but there may be better materials such as PET. Environmental testing can be used to assess any improvements over PLA.

C. Positioning of the Openflexure project offering. The Openflexure project is developed by physicists and engineers as a series of different microscopy devices, and the website (www.openflexure.org) presents the possibilities from the device perspective. Many users will start from a scientific or environmental need, and will not necessarily know which device would be suitable for their need. Part of the VIP will assess the way in which the organisation of Openflexure project information could enhance visibility and accessibility of the microscopes for users. We have already seen a shift in perception of the quality of the microscope by switching from prints and renders in vibrant colours to displaying versions in scientific black-and-white or medical blue-and-white.

The team produced a poster for end of Semester 1 AY2324

SDGs: 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation & 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Academic Director: Professor William Wadsworth, Department of Physics

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Understanding the challenge of solving Mathematical Olympiad problems with AI

New for Semester 2

The development of AI problem solving strategies is a key step on the path from generative AI to general AI. This project will give insight into the challenges inherent in that step and so a better understanding of the current state of the art in AI problem solving, how that is likely to develop in the next few years.

Read papers on AI models which can reason mathematically, discuss potential new approaches from a theoretical perspective, demo some scaled-down versions of code.

Reach a better understanding of the current state of the art in AI for mathematical and logical reasoning. Understand how to represent scientific questions in meaningful ways which can be tackled by AI methods. Look at datasets which can be used for training/verification of models regarding logical/ mathematical reasoning.

SDGs: 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Director: Ben Adams, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Students for Sustainable Food

Having ran since 2020/21, In 2021/22, this VIP project will build on initial work carried out by two VIPs in the previous year to further help develop and deliver a sustainable food policy for the University of Bath.

This VIP team will be involved with the testing of interventions to change dietary choices amongst students and staff to be healthier and greener, through ideas like food labelling, carbon tax, or nudges to change behaviour.

The team produced a poster for end of Semester 1 AY2223

SDG: 12 Responsible consumption and Reduction

Academic Director: Prof Lorraine Whitmarsh (Director - Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformations (CAST) and Dept of Psychology)

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Student Wellbeing

Started in 2019/20, Concerns about student wellbeing and mental health continue to dominate national debate. This VIP addresses the issues at the local level, evaluating interventions and stimulating debate over how best to tackle these challenges in the future. Working with experts from the academic and professional realms, the VIP team will have an opportunity to make a difference to policy and practice at the University and beyond.

SDGs: 3 Good Health and Wellbeing.

Academic Director: Professor Richard Joiner

Who can apply in 2023/24? Applications for Semester 2 are open, this VIP welcomes applications from all University of Bath students.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about Vertically Integrated Projects at the University of Bath, please contact the VIP Team by email.


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