The University of Cumbria has joined the conversation with its first-ever series of podcasts highlighting ‘real-world’ research.
The ‘Innovation Conversation’ is the University of Cumbria’s first podcast series featuring conversations with some of the institution’s leading lights in research and innovation talking passionately about their expertise and motivations.
Despite its location in Northwest England, the research is addressing some of the world’s most urgent global issues, including social welfare, climate change, sustainable development, and biodiversity loss.
Seven podcasts are available to stream initially via the University of Cumbria’s Spotify channel.
Subjects range from the enormous impact insects have on the world to sustainable development lessons from Africa.
A taster of the series can be heard here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0Ik8RRbsGLemV0qh5ph86b
Interim Head of Research, Jamie Hodge, said the premise of the new series is to showcase the high calibre of research taking place at the university. He said:
“Despite being a young institution, we are punching well above our weight in terms of the impact our research is having in the real world, which has resulted in our academics advising Government and even the United Nations.
“This series is our first foray into podcasting as it is an easy format to share knowledge. It may surprise some listeners to hear about some of the incredible work taking place here at the University of Cumbria.”
Since 2015, UK podcast listenership has increased year on year, with an estimated 21.2million people listening to podcasts in 2022 according to data insights company, Statistica.
The ‘Innovation Conversation’ is tapping into this growing appetite for podcasts by sharing informal conversations with leading academics that give a flavour of the vast diversity of research underway at the institution.
In the episode ‘The artists documenting Iceland’s displaced polar bears’, artist, Professor Mark Wilson, details his 3-year collaborative research project, Visitations: Polar bears out of place (2019-2022), examining how humans and polar bears interact on the bears’ periodic and unpredictable arrivals in Iceland, in the wider context of global warming.
Mark is currently in Iceland ahead of a symposium hosted by Reykjavík Art Museum, which will act as the closing event for Mark and his research partner, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir’s**, award-winning project, Visitations: Polar Bears Out of Place (2019-22).
He also has a related exhibition, Visitations: From Greenland to Iceland to Alaska in Borderless Arctic Seas, currently on display at the Anchorage Museum, Alaska for the next 12 months.
The podcast comes as the finale to David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet II series aired at the weekend featuring the plight of polar bears and how dwindling sea ice is attracting them to human sources of food.
Dr Liz Bates is the first UK academic to widely publicise the fact that men can be victims of domestic abuse too and has done much to sound the alarm in the media and with Government on this topic.
However, in her podcast ‘Dispelling myths surrounding male victim domestic abuse’, she maintains there is still much to be done to raise awareness of this often-neglected issue.
There are also episodes featuring ‘whale whisperer’, Associate Professor Volker Deecke, who offers insights into whale conversations and noise pollution and how international artist, Professor Robert Williams, is considering the problematic issue of nuclear waste in West Cumbria.
The series comes as the University of University recently announced that 42 percent of its research was recognised as ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’ according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
REF is the system used to assess the excellence of research from the UK’s higher education institutions.
The University of Cumbria’s approach to research is to make it relevant and applicable to the real world, resulting in initiatives that have improved the accuracy of medical imaging interpretation (such as for cancers), led to new approaches to outdoor residential learning benefitting thousands of young people, and influenced international rewilding guidelines.
Details of the university’s research and innovation programmes can be found on its research webpages, and for students wishing to consider postgraduate research study (such as PhDs) the University of Cumbria regularly updates a list of academic supervisors.
The ‘Innovation Conversation’ is available to stream on Spotify now. Each podcast varies in length from between 9 and under 20 minutes.