Applied research at Coventry University

Issue 7 Spring 2010

Perfect match
How Coventry is using its sports and business expertise to promote education overseas


DreAm mAChine
designing a bespoke car for benninghoven’s centenary

Decorating The Camping and Caravanning Club’s headquarters Supporting niche vehicle manufacturers Setting up fashionable enterrpises in South Africa Advice and funding to beat the recession

helping nigeria profit from organic sustainable agriculture

living off The lAnD

Applied research at Coventry University
Issue 7 Spring 2010


Perfect match
How Coventry is using its sports and business expertise to promote education overseas




Decorating The Camping and Caravanning Club’s headquarters Supporting niche vehicle manufacturers Setting up fashionable enterrpises in South Africa Advice and funding to beat the recession

With World Cup fever just around the corner and in the build up to the 2012 olympics and Paralympics, this issue of innovate is focusing on the University’s commitment to sport.

Managing editor Karen Smith, Deputy Director of Marketing for Coventry University edited and designed by Elliott House Communications printed by Emmersons

InnOVATE / sPRInG 20 10
4 nEWs 26 PAssIOn FOR FAshIOn
Encouraging small enterprises in south Africa The latest research news from across the campus

For MorE inForMation If you would like to find out more about any of the articles within this issue, if you have a general enquiry about applied research or to subscribe to a future issue of Innovate, contact us on email Website researchnet This publication is available in other formats on request. please contact Marketing and Communications on +44 (0) 24 7688 8352

The University made one man's lifelong dream come true with a bespoke car design

Art and leadership management are improving life at The Camping and Caravanning Club

An educational project in nigeria is training graduates to profit from organic sustainable agriculture

Special focus - Sports
Introducing the University's sports activities

Testing compost for use in sustainable drainage

A funding package is helping businesses realise their potential during the difficult economic climate

Teaching children to hop and skip could improve health and the nation's sporting achievements

The University is offering research and development support to niche vehicle manufacturers

An innovative football project is promoting education overseas

What sporting type are you? new research is helping Coventry target non-participants in sport

You might be surprised to read about some of the ways Coventry is active in sports. Many of our faculties and departments are involved in sport, from designing sports equipment for leading brands to developing student teams to compete in international motorsport competitions. Our applied research and projects are focused on making a difference and often use an “our applied interdisciplinary approach to achieving results. Our research and new Workplace and Wellbeing Applied Research our projects Group includes a combination of skills from sports are focused science to counselling. The team are currently on making a implementing a project throughout Coventry difference and to encourage more people from different social in sport. You often use an groups to participate profiles in thiscan read about the different sporting issue and interdisciplinary learn about the innovative approach the University approach” is using to target them. As you will see from our special sports focus, our projects are all aimed at making an impact upon society. Whether it's by encouraging more physical activity in schoolchildren or using sport to promote higher education overseas, the projects are aimed at making a positive difference. This focus on impact that Coventry applies to all of its research projects is now proving beneficial in light of the new Research Excellence Framework (REF) that replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The REF, which assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, now requires that research delivers demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and the quality of lives. You can read over the page about the ways we plan to meet the new REF targets but this issue of Innovate is a major example of the ways the institution is already having an impact locally, nationally and internationally. You can keep up to date with all our applied research projects, latest studentships and services for business at If you have any comments about the magazine or any of our projects, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you. Professor ian marshall, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)

30 Q&A
designing teaching materials for adult learners

2 Innovate / Spring 2010

Innovate / Autumn 2009 5

» leAdInG THe WAy In ApplIed reSeArCH

Demand for research with impact
» Coventry’s research agenda is already on target for funding council reforms
Delivering reSeArCh WiTh imPACT is one of the key focuses of the new system for assessing the quality of research in Uk higher education institutions, and Coventry is confident about its projects. The research excellence framework (ref) replaces the research Assessment exercise (rAe) and the changes are being made in consultation with the four higher education funding councils for england, Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland. Coventry is particularly focusing its research efforts on core areas of applied research such as engineering, education, politics and International Studies, Allied Health professions, dentistry and nursing, Business and Management, and Art and design. The assessment is scheduled for completion in 2013 and the major difference to the rAe is that institutions will need to provide case study examples to show how their research delivers demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and the quality of lives. An example of how the University is making an impact on people’s lives is the work it has carried out with Isis-Women's International Cross-Cultural exchange (Isis-WICCe), an international non-government organisation based in kampala, to support women war survivors in northern Uganda and liberia. dr Helen liebling-kalifani has been carrying out research, intervention and training with Isis-WICCe together with local community stakeholders and professionals, to impart new skills. This has enabled local organisations to facilitate change and positive transformation in the lives of women war survivors and increase capacity and knowledge of professionals. Coventry has always focused on applied research and Head of research development neil forbes said selecting some of its key research areas allows the institution to develop its interdisciplinary approach. “A greater impact can be achieved on projects that have an interdisciplinary solution. We are now very much focused on building interdisciplinary teams to respond to current and future challenges. It opens up more opportunities and means we can capitalise on a range of expertise from different disciplines,” he said. other areas of the ref will focus on outputs, which will be assessed through a process of expert review using robust data where available (for example, in medicine and science) and environment, which takes account of the quality of the research environment in supporting a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application.
For MorE inForMation: visit

Award for hDTi
The Health Design & Technology Institute (HDTI) has won a national award for its collaborative work with a local company. The iawards, backed by the Government, recognise British achievements in science, technology and innovation. HDTI won for its work with Birmingham-based Opal Contracts, a manufacturer of blinds, curtain tracks and security systems. HDTI helped Opal develop a novel curtain fixing clip that enables the easy packing, storage, handling and suspension of disposable curtains within a healthcare environment. The product has recorded first year sales of £1.3m and is targeted at minimising the risk of infection, particularly from superbugs in UK hospitals.

new hydrogen force
» fuelling up for a new project that will test a range of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles
Low Carbon / Coventry will now test Microcabs like the one pictured above

war SUrViVaL / the university is working with isis-Wicce and local organisations in northern uganda and liberia to offer research and training that is having a positive impact on the lives of women war survivors

A neW hyDrogen station is being built on the University’s Technology park as part of a major project to explore the benefits of low-carbon vehicles. As part of the CABled (Coventry and Birmingham low emissions demonstrators) project, Coventry is also testing eight hydrogen-fuelled Microcabs® and the station will enable users to fill up easily during the trials. The station will be the third of its kind in the Midlands, making a ‘hydrogen ring’ with two others located at the University of Birmingham and loughborough University. The road-worthy Microcabs, which can be driven legally on the road, are expected to be in use from September and will be able to do a 70-80 mile range in one fill. The law School is researching public reaction data during the trials will help inform to sentencing in cases of murder in england local and national Government as well as and Wales after receiving a research grant of car manufacturers about the future of low over £50k from the Nuffield Foundation. carbon transport. The government has been reviewing the director of Strategic developments, dave homicide law of england and Wales, but the Wright said the station would offer new punishment of convicted murderers – the opportunities. “Having a hydrogen station most serious killers – has been expressly on site will open up national and european excluded from consideration. opportunities for projects in hydrogen and The law is based on an untested assumption fuel cell power. The station accelerates our that there is overwhelming public support for presence in this area.” the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment CABled is part of eight national trials of and that if the law was changed there would low carbon vehicles being funded by The be a serious loss of public confidence in the Technology Strategy Board. criminal justice system. barry mitchell, Professor of Criminal law and Criminal Justice, will conduct a public For MorE inForMation: visit survey to test this assumption. The survey will identify the kinds of homicides regarded as deserving a mandatory life sentence and public understanding for the way current sentencing of convicted murderers operates. The project called Sentencing in cases of murder: an analysis of public opinion runs until July 2010 and received a grant of £57,871.

Murder trials

Serious recognition
Director of the Serious Games Institute (SGI), David Wortley was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in November 2009. Wortley was given the honour in recognition of the work he has done to promote serious games. The West Midlands (UK) region is recognised as one of the key EU regions with regard to the development of serious games. Last year Professor John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, visited the SGI and HRH Prince Andrew has also expressed an interest in looking around the Institute after seeing one of its projects in Oman.
Innovate / Spring 2010 5

4 Innovate / Spring 2010

InTHeknoW leAdInG THe WAy In ApplIed reSeArCH

make a note of events happening in the next few months and keep up to date online at www.coventry.

David french french gives a Professorial lecture entitled how Can We get People To Walk more? location: As above Time: 18:00

20 May

Regional honour for enterprise
» Coventry recognised for work with local businesses
The UniverSiTy’S relATionShiP with local businesses was recently praised at an awards ceremony, when both the institution and its staff earned recognition for their work. The annual West Midlands lord Stafford Awards highlight the best in partnership working and innovation between businesses and universities in the region and Coventry won in the entrepreneurial Spirit and knowledge Transfer Champion categories. The Health design & Technology Institute (HdTI) and company Stretching by design won the entrepreneurial Spirit award for a device, called the lArA, to ease spasticity and severe tightening of the muscles – a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Its inventor, dave Collins, was diagnosed with the condition 20 years ago and has worked with HdTI on product design, prototyping, a field trial and the production of an instructional dvd. dr Brian More, Intellectual property Business development Manager, was named the knowledge Transfer Champion for helping more than 350 firms in

10th regeneration management research network What now for regeneration? examining policy and strategy options for the next decade of UK regeneration. location: Coventry University, Jaguar building Time: TbC

30 June

rESEarCH HitS / research videos are now being put online for more people to access

educating a global audience online
» new initiative showcases University research

6 July

Academy of marketing Conference 2010 hosted by Coventry University business School and with the theme of Transformational marketing. location: ricoh Arena, Coventry Time: All day

7 Sept

UKACC international Conference on Control 2010 This international event, supported by industry, is organised through the Control Theory and Applications Centre (CTAC). location: Coventry University Time: All day

The UniverSiTy hAS joined a new initiative to allow a number of its research projects and lectures to appear in a global classroom on youTube. youTube edU, youTube’s education site for partner universities and colleges, allows users to access lectures and documentaries from around the world. The platform initially launched in the United States in March 2009 and includes content from many prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford. The project proved to be so popular that it was soon made available in europe. As a partner university, Coventry’s lectures, documentaries and student work now feature in the global education hub, meaning anyone, including researchers and students, can watch hundreds of hours of academic content from the University. pete Woodbridge, Multimedia Manager at Coventry University, commented: “Being part of the edU project will enable us to share video resources more efficiently with the public so this is The amount invested in a really exciting initiative to be involved in. the Low Carbon Vehicle “our youTube branded channel has already Transport Project (LCVTP) helped us to communicate our work, bringing profile and debate to our public lectures at the by the European Regional same time as bringing attention to our research Development Fund (ERDF), and this new site will only add to that.”

the last five years to access the University’s research and development capabilities. He has also supported the spin-out of 12 companies from the University. lord Stafford, who is the patron of the awards, said: “If we are to continue to have such excellent working between universities and businesses, it’s vital that we have people like dr Brian More to make the relationships work.”

wiinnErS / lord Stafford with award winners dr Brian More, and david Collins from Stretching By design


Enterprise goes back to school

6 Innovate / Spring 2010

Advantage West Midlands and industry partners. As one of the partners, Coventry is helping reshape the future of passenger transport.

For MorE inForMation: visit and also download more research at

Schoolchildren in Coventry are learning how to be enterprising. Pupils from five local secondary schools have been challenged with developing and managing an external project for their school that will provide them with the opportunity to be noticed by industry specialists bT and Cisco. The innovation-University enterprise network (i-Uen) project, supported by the national Council for graduate entrepreneurship (nCge), is aimed at embedding enterprise into the curriculum and ensuring a high quality education in entrepreneurship. it will also encourage skills in communication and collaboration. The project was launched in november 2009 at Cisco’s headquarters

and pupils are now making their ideas a reality with support from the University and the businesses involved. louise marjoram, Senior Project manager at the University's institute of Applied entrepreneurship, said: “i am really excited about the possibilities this presents to our local schools and also the young people it serves, as are the participating schools.” ideas will be shared around the five schools during the project using collaborative tools and technologies and other local schools can share in the best practice when the project ends in an awards ceremony in July 2010.
For MorE inForMation: Contact louise Marjoram on +44 (0) 24 7623 6001 or

Innovate / Spring 2010 7

feATUre DeSign
hand crafted body and interior trim. 0 to 60 mph – four seconds. Audi v8, with an mTm Supercharger delivering 525 bhp.

Unique 20-inch directional turbine wheels.

“He felt German car manufacturers could never make a style of car that has the character and beauty of a Jaguar or a Ferrari so he turned to us for help in creating one”
was my drawings he picked and I am sure it was because I had spoken to him personally and found out what he really wanted to achieve.” The decision came down to one basic rendering Benninghoven liked from Johnson’s drawings. The design was styled with a hint of the classic 60’s Italian sports cars but with a modern twist. The timescales were tight though, and to build a car from scratch would have been impossible, so Johnson and the team came up with an idea to base it on an existing vehicle. Aware of Benninghoven’s appreciation for Audis – most of the fleet in the Benninghoven car park are Audis – the collective decision was made to adapt an Audi A5 and re-clothe it with the new design. The process involved scanning the car to get all the details needed to make an armature (a framework to support the clay), which was designed at the University and built by Benninghoven UK. The life-size clay model of the car was finished Christmas 2008 and was approved by Benninghoven ready for the production phase in the new year. The whole process involved considerable support from regional automotive businesses, which was a welcome boost to some during these difficult economic times. “There were things like panel beating and body pressing the University couldn’t do so we sourced companies in the industry that we knew were excellent and flexible,” said Johnson who worked with a local company in Coventry to produce the tools, a Nuneaton business to do the metal work, Northampton and Warwick companies to do the trim and hardware, and a Milton Keynes business for the seats and interior trim. Paint and final assembly took place at Benninghoven’s Asfordby division near Melton Mowbray before being shipped to Germany for the fitting of the supercharger and suspension modifications. “We have built up a whole network of suppliers and contractors now. In some ways, this project has helped to keep regional activity alive.” Benninghoven has invested a considerable sum in the project, which will create a first run of 20 of the limited edition cars, with the possibility of a further run. There are also plans to make a Convertible version of the car and the lessons learnt on producing the first car will be applied to the production run and the Convertible. But for now, Bernd is enjoying his very personal car. It’s the stuff dreams are made of – and the University has helped make this happen.

Dream machine
One man’s lifelong dream became a reality when the University used its design expertise and regional contacts to help him create a bespoke car in time for the 100-year anniversary of his company Benninghoven

CLaSSiC / The stylish interior was hand crafted in a local company (left inset) Chris Johnson with the finished car in Germany

8 Innovate / Spring 2010

he sleek, silver finish of The Benero shone as it slid around the Dunlop Wittlich test track in Germany last September. This car is special in more ways than one. Not only because it was designed especially for its owner Bernd Benninghoven but because it was also created in record time. The German businessman wanted the bespoke car to be finished in time for the 100-year anniversary of his successful family business Benninghoven. And after the University had been asked to help make it happen, there was just over a year in which to design and make the fully functioning vehicle – a timeframe almost unheard of in the industry.

Founded in 1909 Benninghoven was set up to produce gear wheels and various machine tools, 100 years later and the company has expanded into steel construction and the asphalt industry and has sites all over the world. After scrapping original plans to buy a kit car company in the UK, Chief Executive Officer Bernd Benninghoven and his UK Managing Director Paul Bolley decided it would be more interesting to have a car developed specifically for them. It had been Benninghoven’s lifelong dream to have a personally designed car and he had a clear idea about his preferred style. “Bernd has a love of British and Italian styles,” said Chris Johnson, the University’s Director of Commercial Products and leader of the project. “He felt German car

manufacturers could never make a style of car that has the character and beauty of a Jaguar or a Ferrari so he turned to us for help in creating one.” Bolley, who is based in Leicester running the UK arm of the Benninghoven group, approached the University about the project as he was aware of its reputation in Transport Design. Johnson flew out to Germany in April 2008 to meet Bernd, look at the facilities and his personal car collection – including the 1965 Fiat Dino, which formed the inspiration for the final design. Johnson also wanted to find out more about the man himself and his motivations. From this he could then develop a design that was truly bespoke to him. “The requirements were for it to be a traditional GT car, capable of long, fast, comfortable journeys. For example Bernd wanted to be able to drive his family in the car down to the South of France for the weekend from where he lived in Germany,” explained Johnson, an experienced designer who has worked for leading car manufacturers such as Jaguar, Volvo and Peugeot. “We knew it would need to have four seats whatever we did. We presented a lot of design proposals for his new car, which involved ideas from professional designers. But it

Innovate / Spring 2010 9

feATUre AgriCUlTUre

Developing organic agriculture in Nigeria is helping the country tap into a booming global industry. Professor Phil harris explains how an educational programme has sown the seeds for a better future

Living off

“Coventry has just started a new project with UNAAB aimed at encouraging and supporting more Nigerian graduates to develop sustainable and profitable organic agriculture enterprises”

This document is an output from the EPA Project funded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for the benefit of the African Further and Higher Education Sector and the UK Higher Education Sector. The views expressed are not necessarily those of BIS, nor British Council

ver the past 50 years organic Partnership (EAP) Programme, the Department for agriculture has grown into a Innovation, Universities and Skills in the UK gave multi-billion dollar industry. More funding to the University of Agriculture Abeokuta than 120 countries now report (UNAAB), which is part of OAPTIN, and Coventry agricultural land under certified University to develop the curricula and teaching organic production and even submaterials around organic agriculture. The materials Saharan African nations, such as would enable educational institutions in Nigeria to Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, deliver high quality courses in organic agriculture are progressing in this international market. relevant to the next generation of teachers, researchers, While these nations are supplying organic food, producers, extension officers and policy makers. beverages and fibres to industrialised countries and small After studying Research in Sustainable Agriculture domestic markets in Africa, in comparison, Nigeria’s MScs at Coventry, two Nigerian graduates were also organic industry is relatively underdeveloped. There employed by EAP for six months to establish organic is very little certified organic production, partly due to production and sales on the UNAAB campus. The the dominance of the oil sector, which graduates set up a kiosk in a busy accounts for 94% of export earnings. area of the campus and proved that But Nigeria’s governing bodies and organic products were popular and private organisations are waking up to commercially successful. This the opportunities in organic agriculture Coventry has just started a new article was and the University has been working project with UNAAB aimed at compiled by with partners in the country over the encouraging and supporting more Professsor last four years to help them develop the Nigerian graduates to develop Phil harris sector further. sustainable and profitable organic and liz Trenchard It was clear from the outset that agriculture enterprises. The Work, who are part of the although 40% of the population were Earn and Learn Programme for Sustainable Agriculture employed in conventional agriculture, Developing Entrepreneurship in and food Applied training was needed to work in the Organic Agriculture among Graduates research group and organic side of it. in Nigeria (WELP) is funded by isaac Aiyelaagbe and A consortium of Nigerian universities the UK’s Department of Business, Joe Atungwu from the University of Agriculture, joined forces in 2005 to launch the Innovation and Skills as part of the Abeokuta, nigeria. Phil's Organic Agriculture Project in Tertiary Education Partnerships in Africa research has focused on Institutions in Nigeria (OAPTIN) to act Programme (EPA). The project started tropical crop development, as a networking and support group. with an organic agriculture training sustainable agriculture As part of the England Africa course at UNAAB and after it was and agroforestry, with


GrowtH inDUStrY / organic plantain produced by one of the Welp graduates

10 Innovate / Spring 2010

projects in the Caribbean, Africa, The middle east, india and China.

feATUre AgriCUlTUre


SporTS SpeCIAl


PriDe in JAmAiCA
A sustainable agricultural project in the Caribbean is reaping rewards
A rural community in Jamaica has successfully diversified its crop production and increased its income. The Jamaica PriDe project (featured in innovate issue 5) aimed to integrate agricultural production (preferably organic), agrotourism, and the production and marketing of value added agricultural products. Working with the Jamaica organic Agriculture movement, the project has provided training and technical assistance in organic farming to the mango valley visionaries friendly Society (mvvfS). grants to mvvfS and other organisations in the mango valley area of St mary Parish have allowed them to clear, cultivate, plant and irrigate farmland, and to erect greenhouses, producing crop diversification and a local source of ingredients for their food processing plant. Using a rural Community resource Audit approach, the project has helped mvvfS develop brand distinctiveness so they can expand market share and demand for community-based agroproducts, and to develop the concept of agro-tourism. mango valley's facilities and equipment have been upgraded, and production of a range of food products is underway. mvvfS staff have been trained in basic food hygiene and safety with 11 members gaining a qualification from the royal Society of Public health in london. funded by the eU banana Support Programme – rural Diversification and Enterprise Development Project, Jamaica PriDe has shared knowledge with neighbouring communities and it is now hoped to extend the benefits to the wider Caribbean.

As the nation gets active for the 2012 Olympics, Innovate reveals the depth of the University’s sporting connections
fashionable sport
Students are designing sports products both as part of the Fashion course and also in Product Design. Graduates have gone on to design sports equipment for Adidas and Puma in Germany, Reebok and Nike in the USA, Speedo and Animal in the UK, and FILA in Italy.

Talk sport
Sports journalists regularly give talks on campus, such as the Daily Telegraph's sports writer and columnist Jim White. At the high profile international sports conference Play the Game, which the University hosted in 2009, journalism students reported on the event for a special publication as well as providing volunteer services.

Playing for peace
Together with the city, the Cathedral, the Herbert Art Gallery and the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership for the 2012 Games, the University's Peace and Reconcilliation Centre is planning a number of events that encapsulate the true spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics. Dr Ian Brittain, an international expert on the Paralympics, said: “The Paralympics, as well as the Olympic Games, show us how people can come together through their love of sport and overcome barriers which lead to hostility and conflict.”

FrUitS oF LaboUr / professor phil Harris inspecting Welp graduates' organic produce

Parts of this article have previously appeared in: Aiyelaagbe, I. O. O., Harris P. J. C., Trenchard, E., and Atungwu. J. J. (2009). ‘Organic Agriculture in Higher Education in West Africa.’ Ecology & Farming 45, 31-33

advertised nationally across Nigeria, 23 students were chosen from 70 applicants to participate in the four-week residential course. UNAAB staff, including three people who had gained UK experience under the EAP programme, delivered the course using the curriculum developed for EAP. This course was followed by three weeks' work experience on private farms and enterprises in Nigeria, during which time the trainees were evaluated to check for skills gaps, and if necessary relevant action plans were put in place. The experience is already proving successful. After drawing up feasibility studies for organic enterprises, the trainees were assisted with financial planning and marketing as well as being advised on the acquisition of land and transporting goods. This enabled the trainees to start productive enterprises in rural and peri-urban areas where it is more common to find unemployment and under-employment. Enterprises so far have included snail farming, local and exotic leaf vegetable production, organic pop corn, organic maize for livestock feed, organic plantain production, and organic cucumber and water melon production. Further businesses planned include organic yoghurt production and organic honey marketing. The WELP graduates have become employers of labour, take management decisions and are increasing local awareness of the merits of organic farming. Although still at an early stage these businesses are generating income. It has been hard work but business in organic farming is booming. Two of the most promising graduates have been given the opportunity to gain practical experience of organic production, certification and marketing in the UK. WELP lecturers have also benefited from the

Health benefits
As well as specialist sports physiotherapy courses that produce successful graduates who work with sports teams around the world, the University is also involved in applied research projects to involve more participation in sport. See pages 18-19 for more information.

"The project has provided training and technical assistance in organic farming to the Mango Valley Visionaries Friendly Society"

business of sport
The Centre for the International Business of Sport (CIBS) is currently analysing the commercial impact of Rugby Union for Mastercard. The report's findings will be promoted by leading public relations company Weber Shandwick. Working with experts in each of the Six Nations the report will examine the state of rugby in each country. Read about another CIBS project on pages 16-17.

programme and have upgraded course material in readiness for the next batch of trainees. The farmers who offered work experience are enthused by what they learnt from the students and are keen to offer more placements as well as be involved in problem solving applied research. The WELP programme is successfully bridging the gap between skills acquired at university and those required by the market place to succeed. It has demonstrated that, given the right environment, young graduates can be gainfully self-employed in agriculture. As well as supporting these new enterprises, it will also stimulate greater business activity in organic agriculture with a model that can be replicated across Nigeria and the wider region.
bEttEr ProDUCE / A graduate inspects his crops

reSeArCh SPonSor:

As well as undergraduate and postgraduate Motorsport courses, the University also actively participates in the Formula Student and The Shell Eco Marathon competitions. Formula Student is an international competition where 250 teams compete over three days in events to test engineering skills, team organisation and driving skills and since 2000, Coventry has entered a team. Coventry has also entered The Shell Eco Marathon since 2009. Head of Motorsport Bernard Porter has also become a technical advisor t0 TTXGP – the world's first zero carbon, clean emission grand prix. Coventry has excellent industry connections and many graduates go on to enjoy successful motorsport careers.

12 Innovate / Spring 2010

Innovate / Spring 2010 13

SporTS SpeCIAl SPorTS SCienCe

Reading, writing and running
hildren just aren’t doing enough exercise. Whether it’s due to computer games or general attitudes, fitness levels of children in the UK are falling at twice the global average according to a recent study from the University of Essex. This inertia has not gone unnoticed: the rise in childhood obesity cases and the future implications this has for the health service has dragged the problem up to the school gates. The national curriculum for Physical Education is changing and from this year children will now be taught the reasons why keeping fit and staying healthy are so important.

EXErCiSE / encouraging throwing, catching and skipping helps children develop confidence in sports

While literacy and numeracy targets dominate, is a crucial area being over looked? Dr samantha Birch, senior lecturer in aPPlieD Physiology, says improving children's physical literacy could impact on the nation’s health and its sporting achievements


“There is a lot of national information about physical activity and obesity – particularly in children. If we can increase physical activity, it will help healthy lifestyles"
Until now, the issue has focused on secondary schoolchildren as this is when the majority of young people start to show a disinterest in sport – especially girls. However, it is believed that attitudes and opinions 14 Innovate / Spring 2010

towards sport and physical activity have probably been formed a lot earlier. A negativity towards physical activity could be formed as early as primary school if children do not learn the basic skills needed to practise sport. This is through no fault of the primary schools' teachers; there are just relatively few PE specialists in primary schools compared to secondary schools. Initial research within the Coventry University Sport and Exercise Science Applied Research Group shows that children are only moderately active for 10-15 minutes of a one-hour PE lesson. In many cases the two hours of time put aside for PE lessons per week in primary schools for all children aged between six and 11 years old is the only time some of them will participate in physical activity at all. Furthermore, many children leave primary school without mastering skills such as throwing, catching, hopping, jumping and balancing. Without these skills, known as Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS), children lose confidence in their ability

to take part in sport and their participation levels drop significantly due to low self-esteem. If these skills could be nurtured in primary schoolchildren, it would seem that the outcome could have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing – and even on the future of British sport. The two hours of PE lessons are a window of opportunity for this development. Studies in Australia and Canada have proven this theory and there is growing support in the UK for more research into the effects of teaching these skills to primary schoolchildren. Together with Coventry City Council, the University is now using local primary schools as a testing ground to explore the benefits of teaching FMS. The programme is being funded by the Coventry Primary Care Trust through the Coventry Health Improvement Programme. While Ken Adamson, Advisory Teacher PE in Education and Learning Services at Coventry City Council, suspected children’s health could be improved through FMS, he needed the research to back it up. “There is a lot of national information about physical activity and obesity – particularly in children. If we can increase physical activity, it will help with healthy

lifestyles. While we had the foundations in place, we needed the expertise of the sports science specialists at the University to provide the research. It’s also a great opportunity for us to work with a local university.” The University began by assessing children’s FMS development in PE in a small pilot project with years two, four and six of a local school. While only a small sample, it was worrying to find the children showed little or no progression in their skills development. Serious repercussions would be expected if similar results had been found in literacy and numeracy levels, but because it is PE the lack of skills is often overlooked. The findings encouraged the Council to back a much wider project to see if this was, as suspected, an issue affecting all schools. Of course, not all teachers know how to pass on these skills, and as part of the research, Coventry University are investigating the need for specialist support or training. The research began in January and a Masters student from the University is now assessing the development of children’s FMS in years one through to six in local primary schools. The University will be implementing a 10-week intervention programme at six to eight local schools, working with around 800 children. A PE specialist will work with the children to develop their FMS and another funded Masters student will analyse videos and review subjective and objective measures to scrutinise their development. During the summer the University will also monitor the activity levels of schoolchildren throughout the week to see if improving their FMS also encourages them to be more active generally. This is only the beginning and the plan is to broaden the research nationwide by working in collaboration with other universities and councils to gather more evidence. As Britain prepares for the 2012 Olympics, there has never been a better time to focus on sport in schools. Inspiring children to get active will take more than this spectacular sporting event though. We need to take sport back to the classroom and equip children with the right skills to succeed.

"As Britain prepares for the 2012 Olympics, there’s never been a better time to focus on sport in schools. Inspiring children to get active will take more than this spectacular sporting event though"
For MorE inForMation: Contact Samantha Birch at aa0052@

reSeArCh SPonSor:

Innovate / Spring 2010 15

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Pitch perfect
An innovative football project could kick off a new way of marketing to international students for universities and football clubs. simon chaDwick, Director for the centre for the international Business of sPort (ciBs), explains how
hat better way to attract thousands of international students to a British education than with the excitement and glamour of the beautiful game? It was a concept the British Council selected, as one of only four from those submitted by education institutions, to help the organisation market a UK education overseas. Coventry’s winning idea, called The Pitch, was developed by the Centre for the International Business of Sport (CIBS) and it was the only initiative selected with a business and management focus. Maria Llinares, Education UK Brand Manager for the British Council, said: “Coventry University’s proposal stood out right from the start. We could see it would winnErS / capture the imagination of students across the world. We (above left) The Chinese team were very keen to work with Coventry because of their present their specialist knowledge of the sports business industry.” ideas and below ‘The Pitch’ is based around the management of a the winners are rewarded British professional football club and involves teams taking charge of a fictitious club, called the Covchester Rovers, for one season, while also planning its future development and success. The competition covers a range of Simon Chadwick business, management and sporting became Professor disciplines, and requires teams to of Sport business Strategy and marketing strategically plan the development at Coventry University of the club based on specific tasks. business School in It took over 18 months to get 2007, having previously from initial concepts to choosing the worked at the University of leeds and first winners, but the competition the University of london. has already run in two countries – Simon is a founder and director of CibS (Centre for the international attracting international sponsors business of Sport). his research and support from football clubs. interests are based around sport Tottenham Hotspur partnered marketing and sport business strategy. with the University to run the first competition in China where 20

"As well as the media value we have generated, the experience itself has been fantastic. The students were so passionate and it was great for us to be able to share knowledge with a very experienced panel of experts”
Fran Jones, Spurs’ Head of International Development


bEaUtiFUL GaME / Involving football players such as peter Crouch helps engage the interest of international students

The site
The Pitch online learning platform was built and designed by Coventry University and included three tasks the teams had to complete. Assignments consisted of choosing shirt sponsors, making decisions about their club’s stadium and selecting players. new content was added all the time and students could participate in online forums. The british Council designed and built the marketing site for the project.


teams of four students from schools across the country were chosen to take part. The competition ran for three months from September to November 2009 and the 18-to-19 year old students were set three tasks via an online learning platform, with login areas. Tasks were supported with background materials as well as vodcasts from both CIBS and external sports specialists, such as the Commercial Director of Tottenham Hotspur. The players also recorded messages to build excitement. “China is a very important market commercially for the club,” said Spurs’ Head of International Development Fran Jones. “It’s one of our priority territories in terms of our international development programme so we’re always looking for opportunities where we can generate awareness for our club and build our brand. As well as the media value we have generated, the experience itself has been fantastic.”

For MorE inForMation: visit http://elearning.coventry. and www. china-thepitch

Despite being approached to support projects all the time, Jones felt The Pitch was different. “We hadn’t come across a project that was as well thought out as this one. It was an opportunity for us to do something that could have a positive impact and present our brand in a different way as well as share our 130 years of experience. Given the opportunity we jumped at it,” explained Jones who sat on the panel of experts that judged the winning team at a Grand Final at the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. The club will host the Chinese team when they come to the UK in April and as well as bespoke football shirts, the winners will also go to a match, tour White Hart Lane and learn even more about running the club. A similar programme has been running in Thailand, supported by Manchester United, and the winning team will fly over to the UK at the same time as the Chinese

team. All the students will get to tour Coventry and spend time in lectures and meet students and academics. Plans are now underway to look at countries where the competition can run next and the University believes the programme can be further adapted to work for different sports and even different subject areas. For the British Council, Llinares said the project has been a hit. “The Pitch really captured the imagination of people in China, combining the country’s passion for football with an exciting competition,” said Llinares. There are real benefits for commercial organisations wishing to raise brand awareness overseas too – something Spurs would like to keep a secret. “I wouldn’t recommend the experience to another football club because we would love to be involved again!” Jones said. “There are only upsides to taking part.”

As well as the football clubs' support, emirates Airlines and Jet Airways sponsored the competitions, which included free flights to the UK.



in China The Pitch received wide coverage on Chinese Tv, radio, print and online media, with media reach of 29 million. over 10,000 students visited The Pitch website in the run up to the final.

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bUSineSS mAnAgemenT SporTS SpeCIAl

Comfortable retired couples Pub League team mates (26-45, rent, employed, Ds and Es) Career focussed females (2645, employed)

Are you a comPetitive male urBanite or a miDDle englanD mum? A new project is identifying Coventry’s non-sporting social types to encourage more physical activity


Young Black Minority Ethnics

Middle England mums (26-45, home or parttime, Cs and Ds)

Later life ladies (56-65, single, council, retired)

Retirement Home singles (65+, Ds and Es)

Competitive male urbanites (single 1825)

Sports team drinkers (1835, rented)

ackie, 43, is married with three school age children. She works part time at a call centre and her husband Gary is a salesman. Swimming, walking, dance exercise, aqua aerobics, body pump and ice skating with the children are the types of sports that appeal to Jackie who has difficulty finding time for herself in the family’s hectic schedule. Jackie is one of 19 profiles that Government agency Sport England has identified that epitomise the different sporting behaviours and attitudes of the English population. The profiles also include essential details about the best ways to reach out to the different demographics, including interests and life priorities. The research into the different market segments was done to give those working in community sport a better understanding of different sporting behaviours so they could engage more people in an active lifestyle. It is this research that has inspired a University-led project to encourage more sporting activity in Coventry. The work, which will run over three years, is one of a range of projects run under the PASSION (Physical Activity and Sports in our Neighbourhood) banner which is part of the Coventry Health Improvement Programme (CHIP), a £22million joint project funded by NHS Coventry and delivered in partnership with Coventry City Council. Using the social marketing research, the new Workplace Wellbeing Applied Research Group (ARG), will target groups in the city that are underrepresented or where there is a specific health need. The project team narrowed down Sport England’s 19 stereotypes and identified nine key target groups that are particularly relevant to different wards in the local area. So for example, in the east of the city there are more ‘Elsie and Arnolds’ – these are Retirement Home Singles who want to be active but are more interested in sports like bowls or dancing. The segmentation information outlines the best way to market these

activities to this group such as using preferred reading material or focusing on locations they visit. The Workplace and Wellbeing ARG will work with the Coventry Sport and Physical Activity Network (C-SPAN) to recruit nine community champions who are relevant to each market segment. For example, an 18-year old musician who could target Sports Team Drinkers or an older Asian female who could target Later Life Ladies. These champions will be trained by the University to hold informal focus groups with their peers to investigate the reasons why they do not participate in sport and to find out their activity preferences. The University will use the feedback to make recommendations for a relevant organisation in C-SPAN to set up suitable activities for a target group. Using a social marketing programme, set up by the University, the champions will promote the activities. “Rather than saying it’s a one-size fits all approach, we’re asking 'what can we do to shape that programme to suit you?',” explained Vince Mayne, Project Lead and Deputy Director Student Services, Health and Wellbeing, about finding relevant activities. “For example, Age Concern runs a programme called Fit as a Fiddle, so if we’re targeting Elsie and Arnold, how can we get them involved in that programme? The social marketing information we have can help organisations like Age Concern attract more Elsie and Arnolds to their existing programme, and by using a champion to promote it.” The University will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the programme in the hope of creating a more active Coventry.
For MorE inForMation: The Workplace and Wellbeing ArG is the institutional lead into research on workplace wellbeing and responds to external initiatives in the Coventry and Warwickshire area. for more information visit wwwm.

Corporate fitness
local companies such as bbC Coventry and Warwickshire and iKeA are taking part in a fitness challenge to improve the health of staff who do not participate in physical activity very often. The University has challenged 15 teams to see who can improve their fitness levels the most. All participants had a health and lifestyle evaluation to establish their baseline before taking part in a 12week training programme to improve their fitness score. The team that accumulates the largest percentage increase in their performance will win. Sport and exercise Science will test participants and the training programmes will be provided by Sport and recreation. After the competition, the Arg will deliver a Wellbeing Day to a range of invited companies on selected topics such as healthy eating and alcohol consumption. regular workshops could impact on a company’s bottom line by reducing absenteeism by up to four days per year, increasing productivity and reducing staff turnover.

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Spaceoasis in Telford

Businesses have been beating the negative effects of the recession using a package of support from the University worth £1m


Company details:
EDUCatED SEatinG / The innovative furniture will help Spaceoasis compete in a new market

The solution:
The Design Institute team worked with Spaceoasis to: » Research current design solutions, “Building Schools for the Future” standards, new materials and processes, user interaction and product ergonomics. » Provide Spaceoasis with a range of design solutions and then develop the chosen concept for prototyping. » Undertake design analysis, including Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Design For Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA). » Create drawings for prototype and produce a computer modelled animation to showcase the new design, its potential uses and its ease of configuration.

Spaceoasis provides space efficient furniture solutions for organisations. The furniture is for use in offices, education establishments and cafes. The furniture is configurable, easily scalable, robust and available in any colour or finish so can be adapted to the changing needs of the client.


Why eCif funding was needed:
Spaceoasis identified a gap in the education market for a new designled furniture range based around a flagship communal seating area. The range required a unique design that would satisfy the aesthetic requirements of Spaceoasis’ clients as well as the rigorous demands of school furniture standards. ECIF funding enabled the company to engage the services of the Design Institute at the University.

xperts say the UK is starting to recover from the deepest recession since the 1930s, but the aftershock is expected to last a while longer yet. Businesses have been receiving some welcome relief from the financial crisis through access to a £25m Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF) from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE). Coventry University secured a maximum allowance from the fund, which has enabled it to offer businesses access to a number of support packages worth £1m. There are five packages in total, which cover areas as diverse as niche manufacturing support to helping companies in the games sector – please see below for more information. One of the packages, which ends in July, is committed to giving 40 companies access to business sustainability vouchers, worth up to £3,000 each. These vouchers have already helped more than 30 companies tackle specific issues caused by the recession and two companies who have benefited from the scheme explain how the funding has helped them survive.

The results:
The concept design has enabled Spaceoasis to take their range forward as the market develops, enabling a rapid reaction to the market opportunity. They have already used the animation at the built environment industry’s Interbuild Exhibition 2009 at the NEC, Birmingham. Martin Wood, Managing Director of Spaceoasis, said: “The Design Institute provided us with a highly innovative new design to lead our flagship furniture range forward. Their rapid reaction to our design brief meant the project was delivered on time and enabled us to quickly progress with the design for manufacture. "Their work really added value to the product, not only through their design and engineering expertise but also through their guidance in identifying and applying for various funding schemes. We are impressed with the Design Institute’s delivery so will be engaging with them again for the product design for manufacture.”

As well as the voucher scheme the ECIF funding is also providing the following support until September:
» Workforce development and specialist support for the niche manufacturing/ automotive sector, which is carried out by Cogent. » The institute for Creative enterprise (iCe) is developing and delivering a bespoke graduate and mentoring system for creative industries. » The Serious games institute (Sgi) is providing a graduate mentoring scheme, industry placements and specialist support for at-risk companies in the sector. » The institute of Applied entrepreneurship (iAe) is helping companies develop enterprise skills and grow their business. for more information contact Derek Griffiths at

Design support
As part of the faculty of engineering and Computing, the Design institute draws upon the leading design facilities, expertise and skills nurtured within Coventry University. based in the Design hub, the Design institute delivers expert design solutions including: » Product Design & Development » Design visualisation » Prototyping » graphic Design » Design research for further information contact the design institute visit: designinstitute call: +44 ( 0) 24 7679 2220 email: designinstitute@

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Case notes Compost



Could a pillow provide the answer to utilising green and food composted material in vegetated SUDS devices?
The UK produces 30m tonnes of rubbish every year, half of which is recyclable and the Landfill Directive requires a reduction in the weight of material going to landfill. A victim of its own success, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reported that in 2007/8 approximately 2.7m tonnes of compost was produced from source segregated waste, much of which was spread on farmland or, ironically, used for landscaping landfill sites. There are also commercial outlets for compost screened to finer particle sizes, providing a market for peatless material sold in garden centres and nurseries. The focus now therefore, is on finding commercial outlets for the coarser composted material which has previously struggled to find a specific use. This project, run by Dr Ernest Nnadi and funded by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), will assess the technical, environmental and commercial potential of using green and food based composts as part of a PreVegetated Component (PVC) for use in a Sustainable Drainage (SUDS) device such as a swale or filter strip. A swale is essentially a grassed ditch that either slowly transports excess stormwater or allows it to infiltrate, so it attenuates the storm peak and reduces flooding. Swales are usually excavated, their surface scarified and then topsoil is added and smoothed before grass seeds are broadcast on top. Quite often, the topsoil and ungerminated seeds are lost during the next storm. The compost would be used as a substitute for standard top soil and is a sustainable way of using waste which would otherwise go to landfill.



About the company:
Coventry-based Reports4Property Ltd is a certified surveying service for commercial and residential properties. It has delivered a range of surveys to local, regional, and national buyers and sellers since 2007. Computing at Coventry University. The Design Institute produced a visibility strategy, and professional marketing material to promote the new brand under a new name of Midland Surveyors. Core messages were created for Midland Surveyors to ensure a smooth transition in company identity, and a logo and associated images were designed alongside a new website and promotional literature.
1. naME / A new name gives the company a fresh approach 2. PoStCarDS / Incentives reveal the new branding and reward customers 3. SUPPort / Clear guides show off the product offering

Why eCif funding was needed:
Fluctuations in the housing market are common but the recent recession caused a major downturn in property survey sales for Reports4Property. With increased competition for fewer sales, the company recognised a need to evolve its product offering to distinguish it from its competitors. With long-term sustainability in mind, the company identified an opportunity to rebrand the business to appeal to potential customers’ needs while still maintaining its existing client relationships.
For more information: visit www. designinstitute or call +44 (0) 24 7679 2220

The results:
The revitalised branding and the development of its product, has given the company a stronger position in the market. Its new offering includes more powerful sales tools for their clients to use, such as virtual tours and online floor plans. Len Cannon, Director of Reports4Property, said: “The Design Institute team were quick to assimilate our present situation along with the threats and challenges facing our business. They provided valuable input into it and ultimately created the marketing infrastructure to carry our business forward. The whole process was made all more enjoyable by the team’s proactive approach, humour and professionalism.”

The four main aims of the project are: l Establishment of compost geochemistry. l The ability of the compost to support the growth of a variety of grass types. l Investigation of the ability of the compost to improve water quality. l To design and test a small-scale PVC for installation in a swale using compost as the growth medium. The first three aims are standard experimental techniques, which have been carried out at Coventry University many times. The fourth aim, however, is innovative and could potentially provide the commercial outlet WRAP is looking for. The field trial of a small scale PVC would take place at the Sports Turf Research Institute’s centre in Yorkshire.

Down to EartH / (above) “Windrows” of food and green compost at vitalearth, derbyshire (left) A grassed swale, Upton, northants.

Dr Sue Charlesworth is Director of the SUDS Applied research group and reader in Urban Physical geography. her international research profile is mainly in urban environmental geochemistry and urban hydrology.


The solution:
The Economic Challenge Investment Fund (ECIF) enabled Reports4Property to purchase expert design and marketing support from specialists at the Design Institute, part of the Faculty of Engineering and

The PVC is envisaged as a pillow made of either biodegradable material or a more permanent geotextile filled with compost. It would either have grass seed broadcast on the upper surface, or would be used with germinated seedlings already growing in place. The PVC would be placed into a roughly excavated swale and temporarily held in place until the grass roots penetrated the subsurface. There would be no need for scarification or topsoil addition and the PVC would be stable during subsequent storms.

Predicted results

The compost shows potential to replace topsoil in constructing SUDS devices, and therefore will help stimulate new markets for this product. It will enhance the SUDS role in reducing water quantity, improving water quality and provide an aesthetically pleasing landscape more quickly. It is hoped that it will reduce disturbance to the soil surface during construction and therefore it will also reduce erosion. If the PVCs can use the compost, it could provide a further commercial outlet for quality compost.

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niChe vehiCLeS
winD tUnnEL / (above right and below) Testing a Microcab through a wind tunnel

"The relationship between Cenex and Coventry University is a close one as both organisations work together to ensure that the companies involved in the Advantage Niche Vehicle Programme gain competitive advantage in a global marketplace"

5 niChe vehiCle ProJeCTS
1. feasibility study
Cenex and Coventry led a benchmarking and feasibility study into aerodynamics, electric and hybrid vehicle technologies, lightweight chassis technologies, and polymer body panel technologies. The outcome of the tests formed a guide for manufacturers with recommendations in the four areas. it included advice such as typical weight and cost for a chassis and fuel efficiency information.

Academic rigour and advanced technology is helping niche vehicle manufacturers to compete in a global market

2. recycling vacuum formed plastic body panels

ProJeCT PArTnerS:

nnovation drives the UK automotive sector. To stay ahead, companies need capacity for research and development but for niche vehicle manufacturers, the large R&D departments and the expensive testing facilities of their mainstream counterparts are not a realistic option. Universities are taking on a key role by providing academic expertise and access to facilities. In the West Midlands, Coventry University is part of the Niche Vehicle Network, which is being supported by a three-year funding package of £2.5m from Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM). The Network was originally established in 2005 as an informal association and has grown into a powerful networking group that influences the direction of support for niche companies in the West Midlands and beyond. AWM recognised the importance of supporting the growth of the niche vehicle cluster and invested the £2.5m to create the three-year Advantage Niche Vehicle Research & Development Programme in 2008. It identified that by assisting SMEs to invest in R&D there would be the potential for more rapid adoption of technology than with the high-volume vehicle manufacturers. The programme encourages a consortium approach to research, design and innovation, where companies come together to develop and apply new technologies, leading to innovative products such as electric and hybrid vehicles, lightweight chassis structures and recyclable plastic body panels. Cenex, the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, delivers the programme and organises events and approves funding applications. In its first year of operation, 20 companies were assisted, 17 new collaborations between companies and technology


Working with Spatz Arlon and Westfield Sportscars, the University is testing vacuum formed panels (plastic that can be moulded into shapes) to see if they can be used in place of glass fibre panels on a vehicle. Glass fibre has low value in terms of recycling and is often thrown into landfill when damaged. vacuum formed panels can be re-heated and effectively reused. Coventry is undertaking laboratory controlled ‘abuse tests’ at low and elevated temperatures to assess the performance of the panels under extreme conditions.

3. electric race Car project

partners were developed, 45 jobs created or safeguarded and eight new products and processes were developed. “Coventry University collaborations are some of the most exciting and innovative of the programme thus far,” said Advantage Niche Vehicle Programme Manager Julia Chance from Cenex. “The relationship between Cenex and Coventry University is a close one as both organisations work together to ensure that the companies involved in the Advantage Niche Vehicle Programme gain competitive advantage in a global marketplace. We anticipate continuing to work together to safeguard the West Midlands’ position as the hub for niche automotive manufacturing and in automotive R&D in the UK.” Coventry has been a lead partner in a number of projects so far that are not only safeguarding but also growing niche vehicle manufacturers’ businesses. Mike Dickison, Senior Research Fellow in Automotive Engineering at the University, said: “One of the key advantages for niche vehicle manufacturers working with the Niche Vehicle Network is that it provides them with access to specialist research and development facilities and expertise that is usually only available to the manufacturers of mass-produced vehicles (OEMs). This enables niche manufacturers to compete head-to-head with OEMs, in terms of product performance and quality.”

The iracer (pictured) is an all electric car destined to be the world’s first one made for an electric race car series. Coventry has been working with Westfield Sportscars, rDm Automotive, Potenza Technology and Delta motorsport to help get the weight of the battery-powered vehicle correct. The University will mathematically model the car's vehicle dynamics and drive-torque distribution to optimise its performance on the track.

The University is involved in the aerodynamic and cooling development of an electric mercedes minibus. Zytek Automotive ltd has converted the minibus to an electric vehicle. The electric motor requires a much smaller cooling radiator than the original diesel engine and the University is carrying out analysis work, using advanced software methods, to optimise both the size of the radiator and also the grille opening. energy savings will enable an increase in the vehicle’s driving range.

4. mercedes minibus

5. Anti lock brake System (AbS)
iraCEr / proving that a sportscar can also be environmentally friendly

by 2012, new legislation will mean mainstream vehicle manufacturers will not be able to sell cars without AbS. Although niche vehicles are not included yet, a PhD study is developing a unique system that will not cost small companies millions of pounds when the legislation does come into force for them.

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pASSIon for

disadvantaged situations and is a vital step towards a fairer future. For Exclusive Roots to be successful, it needs to stock beautiful items that UK shoppers would want to buy, and not just because it would help people in Africa. But British tastes and styles are more sophisticated – and what might sell successfully to tourists or other locals, is often not of a good enough standard for the high street in Oxford. Educating future producer groups about European styles was just one of the challenges. There are no fashion magazines to refer to – people here are surviving not reading about the latest trends – so there is little comprehension about preferred colours or fabrics. Productivity in the country during the winter months is also an issue. Stalls and markets close down when there are fewer tourists, but producers need to learn about supplying products overseas all year round. After being surprised at the limited facilities of small fashion businesses in the more developed areas of Cape Town – one company was making nylon track suits in a garage – I was even more shocked at the primitive lives of the women at the Tsolo workshop. The sessions were focused on teaching 22 ladies and one man how to sew so they could make bags using patterns I provided. People travel for miles to attend the residential courses at Tsolo because it offers the muchneeded opportunity for future income. They stay at the college for two weeks, where they are fed three meals a day and given somewhere safe and comfortable to sleep. After a week of teaching sewing skills, the group, aged from 18 to 60, made a range of 23 differently styled bags. Each bag was named after a member of the group and they are now on sale in Exclusive Roots shops in the UK. More orders for the bags will mean the producer group will be called back and they will start to make money.

"Introducing a sim ple enterprise such as this... is groundbreakin g work for the Univ ersity and Tabeisa"

The University is educating new producer groups in South Africa about European styles. senior lecturer ann muirheaD reveals the impact of a recent visit to rural townships

aCCESSoriES/ Ann had to shop in Cape Town for materials (below) because of the lack of shops in the eastern Cape

here is no running water or electricity in the rural townships of South Africa. In an area bereft of the basic essentials, it might seem ludicrous to be talking about fashion to people who have walked for days just to attend a two-week workshop. But it is workshops like these that are helping to change lives. The skills taught at these organised events at the agriculture college in Tsolo offer the chance for future work and the potential to make money. Entrepreneurship comes in all forms and even on the dusty streets of the Eastern Cape, where crime is rife and people live in extreme poverty, there are business opportunities. Organisation Tabeisa (Technical and Business Education Initiative in South Africa), which is partnered with the University, assists some of the poorest regions in South Africa to realise those opportunities. Working with disadvantaged communities, it advises them on entrepreneurship and offers help in setting up a small business. Tabeisa has a trading arm called Exclusive Roots, which stocks unique ethically sourced products, giving entrepreneurs from deprived communities in Africa the chance to sell their creations in the UK. This opportunity offers hope and incentive for people in

Ann Muirhead is a Principal lecturer in fashion. She is also a member of the School of Art and Design employability and enterprise enhancement group and the Association of fashion and Textile Courses. Ann ran her own fashion business before moving into academia and taught at the University of Derby before moving to Coventry to help set up the fashion course in 2006.

Introducing a simple enterprise such as this into one of the world’s most challenging environments is groundbreaking work for the University and Tabeisa. Professor Jane Conlan has been seconded from the University to be the Chief Executive of Tabeisa and described the project's impact. “This group talked about how they would spend the money they had earned on paying school fees or buying clothes for their children. They even talked about the possibility of being able to have a celebration meal. These are things we take for granted,” said Jane. “Women can get depressed from being so poor and their shoulders will hang. Taking part in these workshops can increase self-esteem and give them more control over their lives.” Tabeisa also ran a course on jam making and taught people about flavours and general hygiene. If the jams sell overseas, they will also sell well in South Africa because of the kudos attached to exporting the product. Both the jams and bags are created on small, simple production lines but just a few sales in the UK can have a massive effect on the future lives of these producers and their families in South Africa.
For MorE inForMation: The bags are now on sale at and in both the exclusive roots shops in leamington Spa and oxford. for more information about Tabeisa visit www.

SEwinG CLaSS / The women learn how to use the sewing machines

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project partner:


leADing The WAy
A bespoke leadership and management programme is having an impact on The Camping and Caravanning Club's employees. new recruits to the business and internal promotions had prompted the need for a management training programme and so The Club approached the School of lifelong learning for a solution. With a diverse range of ages, skills and experience, The Club needed a tailored approach. “i wanted a training package that could be bespoke to The Club which ensured all managers were handed the same training and came out of it on the same level,” said human resources manager Angie Clarke, who consulted with managers and directors before arranging the course. “I wanted a programme that benefitted The Club and the individual.” The University's location was a unique selling point as well as the fact that the course would be taught by an academic institution and accredited by the Chartered management institute. “Coventry was very flexible in wanting to work with me to produce a programme that would meet our needs and equally so something that would tie in with a body so that the individuals doing the course would come away with a sense of achievement,” explained Clarke, who felt confident that Coventry would deliver because of its experience of working with other large clients. All managers that reported to a director were invited on the training course, which is taught over nine sessions at The Club’s headquarters. The first cohort has now completed the course and one of the attendees, Pr manager Jon Dale (pictured above) said that while it was early days, he felt the course would make a difference. “It was extremely beneficial, and whilst everything wasn’t completely new to me, it was good to have a bit of a refresher. it has also made people interact more with their teams and work a bit more fluidly as a result. The session we did on delegation and time-management certainly helped. That benefits The Club because your time can sometimes be better served elsewhere. “i think individuals appreciate the fact that The Club has invested its time and money and has believed in people,” added Dale. The Club has also found that communication between teams is improving as a result of the course, as many managers get to understand more about each other’s roles. They have also reinstated one of the regular management meetings that had previously been abandoned. “Coventry was willing to take on board the areas that this organisation needs to focus on. The course was based on now and the future of the organisation; we would definitely recommend it,” said Clarke.

Partnering with a local academic institution is improving the camPing anD caravanning cluB’s headquarters in more ways than one

he Camping and Caravanning Club’s smart headquarters, pitched on a business park on the outskirts of Coventry, is a world away from the rural idylls it promotes to campers. It is typical in style of most modern offices but this 109-year-old Club wanted to inject a sense of identity into its conservative surroundings. As the base for all operations, housing around 200 employees, The Friendly Club, as it is also known, needed to bring a little bit of the great outdoors inside. After working with the University on a previous project, The Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) approached the School of Art & Design for help. A competition was launched and 40 Applied Arts students set to work on creating ideas that would be suitable for installation in The CCC’s headquarters. A cash prize was on offer as well as the opportunity to have their work installed in a large corporate office. Lecturer Imogen Aust said all the students enjoyed

To watch a film about the art project visit www.coventry. videos

the experience. "They came up with some innovative solutions and ideas for the building. They were excited by what they had achieved and the benefits of the project were evident in their studio work, portfolios, and professional attitude to Applied Arts practice,” she said. The project was assessed as part of their course work but only nine were shortlisted by The CCC to develop their ideas further in the competition. Those students had to present their ideas to a panel from The CCC, which included Director General Robert Louden and Elizabeth Simpson, Finance and Administration Director. “It was quite interesting to see how their thought processes had evolved, to see the samples they would use and also the costs of putting it together. It was a good training exercise,” said Simpson about the panel presentations. “We were very taken by the

different approaches students had made and we found it very difficult to choose one winner so in the end we chose four because we felt we could make use of their different skills and ideas.” The winning designs included Sarah Illsley’s 3D folded paper maps, which are suspended in the atrium, Rachel Sutton’s metalwork grass, which is positioned across the front window ledge, Joanne Price’s textile digitally printed banners, which are hanging in the atrium and Darren Ward’s digitally printed and stitched canvas prints, which are on display in the Staff Bistro. Simpson added: “It creates a wow factor in our entrance now. It has been a fascinating process and we’d be happy to be involved again in the future.” The work was officially unveiled in February this year.
For MorE inForMation: about The Camping and Caravanning Club visit and for more information about the course contact Ambrina Wahid in Soll on +44 (0) 247765 7867

CanVaS art / (main image) the digitally printed canvas, (above) the 3d maps hanging in the atrium and (left) the textile, digitally printed banners

28 Innovate / Spring 2010

Innovate / Spring 2010 29

Q&A innovATion neTWorKS

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Q. Where did the idea come from?
Axis education is an independent publisher of innovative teaching resources for teachers of adult and young adult literacy and numeracy students. We developed a range of age-appropriate, multi-sensory teaching materials for teenagers and adult learners with learning difficulties after the popularity of a card game we included at the back of one of our resource packs called fast Track to reading. prior to making the packs our research found teachers were using materials designed for children (which not only alienate and patronise older learners but often have unsuitable learning styles) or making their own materials, which is incredibly time consuming. An estimated 5.2 million adults have worse literacy than that expected of 11-year-olds, while 14.9 million have numeracy skills below this level. This is thought to cost the Uk economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year and so we felt it was imperative to get the learning resources right. The national Association of Special education needs (nASen) agreed there was a gap in the market but no one wanted to take on the production costs of the materials for such a small niche. We came up with a business model that enabled us to produce these resources in-house at our premises in Shrewsbury and send them out from here.

One publishing company broadened its offering with funding from Innovation Networks. axis eDucation’s managing Director Jayne garner explains how
Q. how did you use the innovation networks funding?

looking to host an exceptional Conference in a central location?
We are. Coventry University Technology park offers award-winning conference facilities in the heart of the city.

We used the grant to develop designs for six new games called Hands on, which would appeal to adult learners. We used modern photography and more sophisticated typography and packaged the products in tins, instead of the brightly coloured packs primary Innov school children have. Teachers were delighted with Netwo ation r the new packaging because of its durability and grant ks offers ease of storage, as well as for being more age region support to a are de l SMEs tha appropriate. t v produ eloping new products include Hands on flips and prompts cts, pr ocesse or ser s to help with writing, Hands on Comps to aid vices. reading comprehension and Hands on packs, which are card games for basic literacy, phonics, sight words, spelling and literacy development. The funding also helped us to create an e-commerce website, design a catalogue and display the product at key exhibitions.

The award-winning Conference Services Department offers flexible solutions for events in our recently refurbished high-tech venue. We offer five superb conference venues, the largest holding up to 200 delegates. The highlights: l complimentary Wifi l plasma screens and video conferencing l pa system and av equipment l conferencing aids l free car parking l 24-hour access

Q. how well is it going?
We launched them at the Special education needs show in october 2009 and we had a lot of interest from the show. our website has launched and we receive positive feedback from teachers all the time.
HanDS on / Cards and games to inspire adult learners

Q. how did you make it happen?

For MorE inForMation: visit: www. axishandson. and www. axiseducation. for more about Innovation networks funding contact Gill roberts on +44 (0) 24 76 236 391 or visit www.2wm.

We applied for £15,000 worth of funding from Innovation networks at Coventry University to help us develop the design and the look and feel of the product. As a print-on-demand publishers we already had a relevant business model, but we invested time and effort into researching ways of producing the orders in-house. over the course of 12 months we have interviewed over 200 teachers about their requirements for multisensory learning materials for adult and older learners. We also exhibited at the education Show 2007 and conducted market research with exhibition attendees.

view our extensive range of products and services online at To view the facilities or for more information contact the sales and marketing office on +44 (0) 24 7623 6016 or email

30 Innovate / Spring 2010

do you need to find an innovative solution to a difficult problem? At Coventry University, our applied research teams work closely with your organisation, applying their knowledge and expertise to devise inventive and original solutions for real-world problems. At a local, national and international level, we work with clients across the public, private and voluntary sectors. From art to design, health to sports, regeneration to human security, mathematics to engineering, computing to communications – we can find a solution that’s right for you. Applied Research at Coventry University

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