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Suffrage Science Award for Lincoln Psychology Professor



A psychology professor whose research on childhood development has helped to teach children safe behaviour with dogs has been recognised for her work with a Suffrage Women in Science Award.

Professor Kerstin Meints from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology specialises in the study of infant and child development and human-animal interaction. Her interdisciplinary work has seen the creation of language assessment tools as well as educational tools. The latter are designed to help children and parents behave safely with dogs and to recognise when a dog might be distressed, which can in turn lead to a reduction in dog bite incidents.

She has now been presented with the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) Suffrage Women in Science Award which celebrates women in science for their scientific achievement, their ability to inspire others, and for encouraging women to enter scientific subjects and to stay in those fields.

The award itself is represented through a piece of specially-designed jewellery, a brooch which symbolises the Suffrage movement. The brooch comes in a box with ribbons depicting the three colours of the suffrage movement: green, white and purple. In the UK, those colours were worn by the Women’s Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Professor Meints, who is the director of the Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab, will keep the jewellery for the next two years before choosing her own nominee to pass it on to. The aim is to create a network of connected female scientists around the world who help to inspire others to enter science, and to stay.

Professor Meints said: “I feel very honoured to receive this award. I will do my very best to inspire, encourage and mentor women in science and to help them to speak up, be visible and reach their goals.

“For the next two years, and beyond, I will dedicate time to supporting colleagues and students through mentoring. I believe that encouragement and a belief that they can achieve what they aim for is vital to succeed.

“Handing on the Suffrage Science jewellery is a vote of confidence by one female scientist for another, and I look forward to nominating the next awardee in two years’ time.”

Professor Meints was one of twelve scientists to receive an award. They were presented on International Women’s Day 2017, to recognise their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others.

She was nominated by previous winner Professor Susan Condor, a social psychologist at Loughborough University whose work addresses identity and prejudice in England. Professor Condor said: “Professor Kerstin Meints’ BabyLab at Lincoln is pioneering innovative work which brings together research on infant and toddler communicative development with knowledge of animal behaviour. Her research on how young children misinterpret dogs’ facial expressions has led to the development of successful educational tools for dog bite prevention.”

The ceremony was hosted by science communicator Dr Kat Arney and took place at the Royal Society in London. It included a discussion which explored boundaries in science, be those by gender, by nationality or by scientific discipline, with three panellists.

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Fight or flight? How mental toughness can lead to better decision making under pressure



Witnesses described a “nuclear mushroom cloud”. Snow and dust leapt skyward, thrown up by the large chunks of ice and rock that snapped off Mount Pumori, which rises from a valley opposite Mount Everest.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, killing more than 8,000 people, triggered numerous avalanches in the Himalayas. At the time, Everest Base Camp was a temporary home to the hundreds of climbers, guides, Sherpa and other support crew for the 359 climbers who’d been granted permits to climb the world’s tallest peak that year.

With no chance of outrunning the avalanche as it thundered toward them, climbers sought refuge wherever they could find it: in their tents, behind rocks, and even curled up in a ball on the ground. When the avalanche ended the survivors emerged from what little shelter they could find to a scene of devastation. Tents were buried under ice, and equipment and bodies were strewn across the landscape.

In total, 22 climbers died and more than 60 were injured, making it the deadliest disaster in the history of climbing Mount Everest. Yet, moments after the immediate danger passed, and conscious that climbers were still stranded at camps higher up the mountain, there were those who set about organising a recovery effort.

The varied responses have given researchers deeper insights into the role of mental toughness in making critical decisions in extreme circumstances.
The idea of a mental edge – toughness, grit, determination ­– or that special something that separates elite athletes from the rest has captivated audiences and intrigued sports psychologists. Dr Swann, from UOW’s Early Start Research Institute says mental toughness has become a central topic in sport psychology.

Researchers generally agree that mental toughness involves the ability to maintain focus and make effective decisions under pressure and in the face of adversity.
Dr Swann, with his research partners Dr Lee Crust and Professor Jacqui Allen-Collinson from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, looked to professional mountain climbers to explore the concept.
In the sport of mountaineering, mental toughness is not the bar for success, it’s the minimum price required to play the game. Exhaustion, dehydration, extreme low temperatures and lack of oxygen can cause hypothermia, frostbite and acute mountain sicknesses with symptoms such as severe brain swelling (cerebral oedema) and water in the lungs (pulmonary oedema).

You can view the full article in The Stand

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Former Lincoln Law Student Success


I am currently studying an LL.M in Energy and Climate Law at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. I have always had a passion for the environment and a desire to study and live abroad. The course, the University and the city itself are all amazing and I am so happy with my decision to study in Groningen. I have had the chance to meet students from all over the world, be taught by engaging professors and professionals in the energy field and settle into Dutch culture by becoming a fully-fledged cyclist! I cannot thank the University of Lincoln enough for aptly preparing me for post-graduate study and for encouraging and helping me to apply.

When speaking to other students in Groningen, I became aware of the importance of attaining an internship. I did some research into energy and climate related internships and decided to apply to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. I received an email to state that I had been placed on the internal roster and then a few days later I was offered an internship with Mitigation, Data and Analysis Department. The internship is based in Bonn, Germany and will last for three months over this summer. I am very excited to begin the internship, to gain hands on relevant and practical experience and see how the secretariat operates, especially in the wake of the newly agreed Paris Agreement.

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Telders International Law Moot Court Competition



Congratulations to Lincoln Law School’s Dr Christy Shucksmith who was invited to judge the UK national rounds of the 2017 Telders International Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Liverpool on the 11th March. I was an honour to be involved in such a fantastic competition, particularly as a previous participant in the 2008 national and international rounds.

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How I went from a sports science degree to Lincoln City FC in five years


When sports science students, Matt Page and Toby Ellis graduated from the University of Lincoln, they had a vision: to provide a premium sports coaching service which uses the latest sports science to take athletes and teams to the next level. The enterprising graduates launched their own sports coaching business which among other clients has worked with the city’s giant-killing football team, Lincoln City FC, providing specialist statistical analysis. Here, Page explains how the business is delivering results on and off the pitch.

Sum up what do you do for a living
We do lots of things! We are full time teachers at a special needs school in Grantham, run a sports coaching company called VIRSCO, own a software assessment company for schools called iCoach4Sport and provide statistical analysis for Lincoln City FC.

What does a day in the life of a data analyst look like?
A very long one! A match can take around eight to 10 hours to analyse and it normally takes our Sundays up. On a Monday, we will debrief with Lincoln City, providing a short presentation of key facts, such as minutes per shot, and anything unusual that we have seen in the game.

We have made a calculation which can accurately predict a match result. It is calculated via success rates, touch count, influences on both goals and positional emphasis, such as crossing for a winger. So we keep up to tabs with these to make sure we on the right side of the stats.

If there is a midweek game, our colleagues at iCoach4Sport will help us with the stats ready for Thursday. You will also find us on a match day scribbling down some half-time statistics.

How did you get into it?
We knew manager Danny Cowley was really into the sports science and stats around football. We saw it as a unique opportunity to promote our companies and sent him an email about what we could provide. That night I got a phone call from his brother, assistant manager Nicky, asking us to come in the next day.

How exciting is it to see your hard work being utilised by Lincoln City FC and contributing to their successes?
Very – although we are a bit of an enigma around the club. We like to keep our distance from staff and players as to remain unbiased so we are really only known by a few people! We do find ourselves too busy to appreciate the enormity of the achievement and will probably be boring our grandchildren with the stories of this year. At the moment, the job is not done so we remain concentrated on the task ahead to allow us to assist the team as best we can.

Will you be at Lincoln’s match against Arsenal in the dugout, or watching as a fan?
We actually support other teams but have found ourselves becoming quite attached to the club! Again, you cannot become too embroiled in the emotions of the game in the job we do. We will probably be hidden somewhere during the game behind the dugout.

Since you started your career, what has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I think we are in the middle of the biggest challenge we have faced. For us, knowing the quality of iCoach4Sport and the stats we provide, it is a big frustration of ours not to be able to fully market the product. However, we are getting a bit more savvy in that department, and Danny and Nicky at Lincoln have been great. So maybe we are in the middle of overcoming it!

How did your degree studies prepare you for a career in the sporting sector?
A massive amount. The staff, equipment and the feeling around a place like the University of Lincoln really make it unique. I have been to many other universities and cannot shout loud enough about how great the place is.

Did you do work experience while you were studying?
We did, and actually we helped former manager David Holdsworth at Lincoln for a week or so. I then worked at the Lincoln canoeing club – the feeling of family in a group of elite athletes has helped me in my approach.

Overall, how was your time at Lincoln?
Excellent! I would not call Lincoln my home if it wasn’t the case. We still have contacts there, too – they help us advertise for jobs and give us lots of advice. We continue to be in contact with Dr Sandy Willmott and Dr Donna Windard – both have always had the time to reply and chat even though I left five years ago.

If you could offer one key piece of advice to students and prospective students on how to achieve their goals, what would it be?
I think for me it is to contact and use knowledge from others to get to know a bit more about a field that interests you. Jobs may seem amazing, but there’s a lot of work involved and unsociable hours in sport. Understand what you want and gather as much information as you can.

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Lincoln Law School’s Dr Nathan Cooper’s visit to The Gambia


Dr. Nathan Cooper visited The Gambia last week as part of a team of three researchers investigating the feasibility of using smart water pumps to improve access to water for people in remote villages.


Nathan interviewed village water committee members in order to better understand the existing socio-legal framework governing local water resources, and to begin to explore the potential implications for this framework of new smart pump technology. One village chief also gave permission for a water pump to be filmed using a motion sensor camera, that documents who uses the pump, when and for how long. This information will further inform the researchers’ understanding of the cultural context in which access to water operates.

Nathan and colleagues were also invited to meet the Honourable Mr. Gomez, the newly appointed Minister for Water, in Banjul. The potential of smart pump technology to help meet the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals was discussed at length, particularly in relation to Goal 6a and b and the inclusion of international partnerships and local communities. The Minister expressed his interest in developing ongoing dialogue with the researchers, and in following the success of the smart pump field trials, which will be completed in April.


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The Conflict and Disasters Research Group (CONDIS)


The Conflict and Disasters Research Group (CONDIS) is a socio-legal and interdisciplinary group led by academics with a passion for researching conflict and disaster situations. It brings together existing expertise and networks from the UK and overseas. It was established in December 2016 by Dr Christy Shucksmith, Dr Lucy Easthope and Dr Ali Bohm. We are joined by Dr Amal Ali.

Our inaugural conference ‘Spaces and Places of the Journey to the UK’ will be held on 10th April 2017. We have a number of academics, including Professor Satvinder Juss (King’s College London), presenting their research into the movement of people into Europe, particularly the UK. We are also joined by delegates of the British Red Cross and Newcastle City Council who will talk about human trafficking. In addition, Catriona Jarvis and Syd Bolton will be joining us from Last Rights to talk about their work.

Our vision is to build a network of researchers and practitioners in the field of conflict and disasters prevention, preparedness and response. Our key focus will be on the legal frameworks applicable to States, organisations and people affected by such situations. We will host an annual conference on a current issue. Our aim for Spring 2018 is to host a conference and art/ photography exhibition which will be supported by our colleague Tom Martin.

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Train to Teach information event, 16th March


The School of Education is running an information event for anyone who is interested in becoming a Primary or Secondary School teacher.

The Train to Teach information event is in partnership with Lincolnshire Teaching School Alliance (LTSA) and St. George’s Academy Thursday 16th March 2017 from 5.00pm to 6.00pm in the Minerva Atrium.

The Primary and Secondary Teaching information drop-in event will provide you with an opportunity to engage with and talk to members of the School of Education, St. George’s Academy and Lincoln Teaching School Alliance (LTSA), about a career in teaching. Please come along to find out more about our one year school-based training programme.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a teacher is welcome to attend.

RSVP to Bev Potterton by Tuesday 14th March at 12.00noon.

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Brexit: Moving Forward panel discussion 8th March



Colleagues are invited to reflect on the potential implications of the EU referendum result upon areas including teaching/studying the EU and EU law in post-Brexit HE, the future of participatory democracy, and continuing engagement with European scholarship.

Brexit: Moving Forward will take place on Wednesday 8th March at 4.00pm in DCB1103 (David Chiddick Building).

The discussion will be steered by four short presentations from the following contributors:

Dora Kostakopoulou – Professor of EU Law, Warwick University

David Townend – Professor of Health Law, Maastricht University

Andrew Defty – Reader in Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln

Duncan French – Professor of International Law, and Head of Lincoln Law School

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Professor Jacqui Briggs’ Inaugural Lecture on Young People and Political Participation


We will be hosting our next Professorial Inaugural Lecture on Wednesday 8th March with Professor Jacqui Briggs, who will be speaking on ‘Shaping politics or shaking politics? Young people and political participation’.

Is the political landscape changing? Are young people becoming more active? What is the reason behind that activity? Professor Jacqui Briggs’ inaugural lecture will focus upon the extent to which young people are becoming politicised – be that on an informal or a formal basis. How do they shape and impact upon the political scenario? On the other hand, do they pose a potential threat or challenge to the political system as we know it; are they shaking it up?

Jacqui Briggs begins by providing a brief autobiographical background in terms of her ‘journey’ regarding her research profile and career trajectory. She then proceeds to examine young people and politics per se before looking specifically at the topical issue of whether or not the voting age should be lowered to 16 years. This then turns to a focus upon the concept of citizenship and political education.

Next, and particularly apposite given the fortuitous timing of international women’s day (8th March), Jacqui discusses the topic of young women and political participation. Could/should young women become a potent political force? Finally, Jacqui postulates as to what the future holds in terms of young people and political participation.

The lecture will take place in the Minerva Building, MB0312 Co-op Lecture Theatre, at the University of Lincoln. Arrival is from 5.30pm for a 6pm start. The presentation will conclude at 7pm with a drinks reception and an opportunity for networking and to continue any discussions arising from the lecture.

The lecture is free to attend but booking is required. To book your place please email