Awarded Contracts

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Dr Phoebe Moore – British Academy/Leverhulme small grant 2015-2017

The Quantified Self at Work. Dr Phoebe Moore writes about technology and work, including self-tracking, surveillance, automation and gig work. Dr Moore won the British Academy/Leverhulme small grant 2015-2017 to conduct research that looks at the impact of wearable and other types of surveillance and tracking technologies on workers. Working alongside a company in the Netherlands, Dr Moore carried out surveys and interviewed workers who were given FitBits, RescueTime and personalised dashboards over the course of one year that the company hoped would improve employees’ health and productivity. Moore’s results demonstrate that employees showed increased self-awareness and subjective productivity, but that their sensitivity to privacy increased. Dr Moore also carried out field work in car factories and technology centres. In the way of dissemination of her findings, Moore has published, or has publications in press/production as follows. Her final project event and book launches will occur on the 13th October 2017 here at Middlesex University and is entitled ‘The Quantified Worker in Precarity’. 



Eleonore Kofman – IMISCOE network awarded H2020

IMISCOE, the largest network of migration scholars in Europe, of which Middlesex University is a member, has been awarded a Horizon 2020 Coordinating Action grant for CROSS-MIGRATION starting in January 2018.  Researchers from Middlesex University will be contributing their expertise to the research network underpinning this 2-year project,  which will survey and integrate existing research, develop a research hub and a strategic research agenda to help  EU research, and inform broader EU debates. IMISCOE will also  be a partner in RESOMA. A Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum, another H2020 Coordinating Action grant.

This has been a year in which we have strengthened our participation in the IMISCOE network. We organised a highly successful Spring conference in February 2017 on the theme of Tyranny of Categories in Migration Policy, Research and Data Production, which attracted over 100 scholars from across Europe. Professor Eleonore Kofman was nominated to the Executive Board


Marcus O’Dair – funded research position at Digital Catapult 

Marcus O’Dair, convenor of Middlesex University’s Blockchain for Creative Industries cluster, is to take up a temporary position as researcher in residence at Digital Catapult, an organisation that aims to drive the UK economy through the practical application of digital innovation. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology first emerged with the digital currency, Bitcoin, but Marcus’ research concerns its transformative impact on creative industries including music, media and gaming. Along with cluster colleagues, he published the Music on the Blockchain report last summer to considerable media and industry interest.





Dr Liang Liu – funded by Rosetree Trust

Dr Liu – a research fellow in the Department of Adult, Child and Midwifery, School of Health and Education – was recently awarded for a research grant of £18,491 by Rosetree Trust as a principal investigator. This funded project is in collaboration with London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and University of Bath.

With this grant, Dr Liu together with Professor Michael Traynor and Professor Helen Allan will conduct a pilot study to evaluate early interventions for pressure ulcer prevention in people living with SCI.  At present, there are about 40,000 people living with SCI in the UK. UP to 85% of them have a pressure sore at some point during their life-time. Pressure sores represent a significant health, social and economic burden in this population. Prevention pressure ulcers has been vitally important for patients with a SCI. Prevention of pressure ulcers by better education and pressure relief exercises may reduce the risk of development but compliance can be low. This exciting project will introduce an early intervention for patients who are newly discharged from hospital to improve their awareness and compliance to pressure relief exercises, ultimately prevent pressure ulcer.



Dr Quang Nguyen – funded by the British Academy 

In collaboration with the Economics University of Hochiminh City (EUH), Dr. Quang has successfully applied for a research grant from the British Academy’s Newton Mobility Grant. Implementing a lab-in-the-field experiment in Mekong delta, the project aims to explore the link between risk and time preferences with the default behavior in microfinance.

A novel aspect of our study is the use of households survey in combination with field experiment – to examine the two following questions (i) Do risk and time preferences effects on microfinance loan default? (ii) Does there exist any difference in risk and time preferences between rural and urbanized areas borrowers?

Working closely with EUH to conduct this project, Dr. Quang will transfer his skills in doing research and publishing in academic journals to staffs at EUH. Doing so he will also establish collaboration between Middlesex University and EUH.


Dr Alexander Jones and Dr Jon Silas – funded by the Bial Foundation

Dr Alexander Jones and Dr Jon Silas (both primary investigators – senior lecturers in the psychology department) were awarded €45,000 for “An investigation into the causal role of alpha oscillations in attention” from the Bial Foundation. DrJones has expertise in perception and attention whereas Dr Silas has expertise in brain stimulation. Combining their expertise and experience the study will use a new neuroscience technique called transcranical alternating current stimulation (tACS) to explore how alpha waves in the brain are related to how we focus attention. The project is over two years and they will shortly be advertising for a research assistant to work on the project.

Both investigators were also recently successful in a bid for a residency at the Science Museum. The Science Museum have offered them a place on their Live Science programme in the Who Am I gallery where they will collect data and engage in science communication. The project, entitled  ‘The link between yourself and others’, will offers the chance to collect from a large (>500) and diverse sample and represent Middlesex and the psychology department. The project will run over the course of six weeks starting in the Autumn term 2017.


Prof Gareth Williams – Digital showscapes funded by HEFCE 

The Digital Showscapes projects examine how digital technologies might impact upon students’ experiences of the graduate show. One project will look at how students can maximise the impact of their portfolio using virtual platforms and social media. The second project gives Interior Architecture and Design students access to virtual reality technologies as a new way of displaying their work.
The elements are both part of a larger research project that I have been working on with colleagues at Kingston University over the last few years, looking at the future of the graduate show. Graduate exhibitions are a key component of art and design education and are the launch pads of students’ careers. Our research looks at the challenges and opportunities brought about by rapid change in art and design higher education and the competing requirements of degree shows’ many stakeholders.



Design-for-All Research Centre, School of Computer Science

Dr Mark Springett, Gill Whitney

GIRDA Gameplay for Inspiring Digital Adoption

Erasmus Strategic Partnership, 3 Years €428,000

The project proposes a novel approach to learning computer skills for older citizens who are digital novices. The approach will use social touch-table games to introduce digital interaction concepts. The aim is to nurture confidence, motivation and skills in a low pressure immersive environment where learning is ‘hidden’. The work also involves redefining the role of digital mentor as active collaborator rather than tutor. It is anticipated that the work will disseminate best-practice through its relationships with practitioner organizations in three partner countries (UK, Austria, Slovenia, and Macedonia). It will also promote and provide grounding for establishment of similar initiatives in other EU countries.


 MDX Robotics Group and EPSRC grant 
The MDX robotics group was recently awarded a half-million grant from EPSRC for a three-year project – “A neuromorphic control system for agile biped locomotion”. The project team involves Dr. Tao Geng, Dr. Zhijun Yang and Prof. Chris Huyck (on the photo). Dr. Geng has researched in robotics for nearly twenty years. Particularly, he was recognized for his research in the dynamics and control of biped (two-legged) walking robots. In 2006, he developed the world’s fastest planar biped walking robot, RunBot. He joined MDX Robotics Group in Nov 2014. Dr. Yang worked as a research fellow in neuromorphic robotics at the University of Edinburgh for 8 years before joining Middlesex University in 2013. He is among the small number of high-calibre experts in the UK who have practical experience in developing advanced neuromorphic circuits in robotics applications. Prof. Huyck is an expert in neuromorphic engineering (i.e., emulating human brain functions using electronic circuits). He has been working with simulated neurons for twenty years focusing on Cell Assemblies (CAs) as the basis of concepts. 
In this project, there will be fundamental research at the interface of robotics and a very new area, neuromorphic engineering, which uses electronic circuits to mimic neuro-biological architectures. Compared with standard computer-based controllers, neuromorphic controllers are naturally parallel, more compact and more energy efficient. It is widely thought that a neuromorphic brain will be the centre of the next generation of intelligent autonomous robots. Many studies in neuromorphic engineering have developed neuromorphic systems to realize specific functional modules of the brain, e.g., hearing, vision, olfaction, cognition, and action learning. This project is targeting another fundamental control function of the human brain — bipedal (two-legged) walking. Just like humans and animals, a robot must be able to move agilely in order to execute its tasks in the natural environment. But, compared with traditional counterparts, the performance of the neuromorphically controlled legged robots (especially biped robots) is very poor in terms of versatile and agile locomotion. This is mainly because their neuromorphic circuits emulated only the basic function module of the spinal neural network, which could only realize propulsion control. In animals, propulsion control and body posture control are fully integrated, which is fundamental for their agile locomotion in a complex natural environment. Particularly, in humans, to meet the functional requirements of agile bipedal walking, the spinal neural network is heavily modulated by the supraspinal levels. However, it is still not fully understood in biology how the neuronal modules at the spinal level and supraspinal level interact with and modulate each other in the control of human bipedal locomotion.
Building on the team’s track record in biped robotics, neuromorphic circuit design, neuromorphic simulation, and computational neuroscience, the project aims to fill this gap via developing a multi-module and multi-level (i.e., spinal level and supraspinal level) neuromorphic system. The team will develop a neuromorphic system by implementing  the functions of three neuronal modules that have been known to play important roles in human locomotion control. By coupling such a neuromorphic system with a purposely designed biped robot using a new method (model-driven concurrent integration), the project will explore the unknown interaction/modulation mechanisms between these modules that could lead to agile biped walking.
At the heart of this research is the ambition to make a notable step forward in the area of neuromorphic robotics. This project will, for the first time, demonstrate an agile 3D biped robot that has human-like walking patterns and a neuromorphic control mechanism.



Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) 

The Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) at the Business School has had a milestone week. The Centre, in collaboration with a consortium of 19 universities across Europe and Latin America, has been awarded a €2.4 million Horizon 2020-Marie Curie-Research & Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) grant, which will be used to study trends in social inequalities in Europe and Latin America. The lead of the project is Associate Professor Dr Leandro Sepulveda. The project will run from 2016 to 2020, and enable the creation of an international EU-Latin American Network for Comparative Analysis of Social Inequalities (INCASI). Middlesex will be one of 19 EU and South American universities included in the network, which will develop an innovative programme of comparative research on the changing nature of social inequalities across Europe and Latin America. The consortium will be led by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Dr Sepulveda will work alongside Business School colleagues Professor Stephen Syrett, Dr Anne Daguerre, Dr Francisco Dominguez, Dr Daniel Ozarow and research students Heather Jeffrey and Valentina Morretta.


Professor Brad Blitz is awarded with a research grant for: ‘EVI-MED – CONSTRUCTING AN EVIDENCE BASE OF CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN MIGRATIONS’ of a value £201,807.

This project seeks to conduct urgent data collection and essential analysis on the Mediterranean migration crisis and to make these swiftly and publicly available to policymakers, practitioners, migrant community support organisations, and the research community.

EVI-MED will provide insights into the major humanitarian, social, economic and political implications for the principal countries of arrival – above all Italy and Greece – as well as Malta which is a central pillar of the search and rescue effort.




Jae-Hwan secured approximately 56,000GBP over five years starting October 2015 from one of the Korean national research centres. The project will focus on developing theoretical and practical backgrounds how Korean SMEs can build their capabilities in producing high quality components and selling the products abroad.








bigDr Maria Adamson (Principal Investigator) and a team of colleagues Dr Patricia Lewis (University of Kent), Prof Elisabeth Kelan (Cranfield School of Management), Prof Nick Rumens (Middlesex University Business School) and Prof Martyna Sliwa (University of Essex) have been successful in winning an ESRC Seminar Series grant in the last round of funding. The seminar series entitled ‘Gendered Inclusion in Contemporary Organizations’ will aim to advance debates on gender workplace inequality by proposing a shift from exclusion to inclusion in theorizing gender-related issues given a dramatic increase in the number of women in the workforce. Seven seminars hosted at participant universities over 2,5 years will provide a platform for the first systematic, critical, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder examination of the circumstances, conditions and the forms that gendered inclusion takes in different organizational contexts, and how it may lead to the (re)production of various forms of inequality. They aim to develop and international dialogue and bring together experts from the fields of management and organization studies, sociology, gender, media and cultural studies, politics and languages as well as facilitating active dialogue between academics, practitioners and policy makers. The first seminar will take place on the 18th of November 2015 at Middlesex University. Details and registration to follow shortly.


bigIn response to a call from the ESRC, a team of Middlesex University academics have received a research grant of £201,807 for urgent data collection on the Mediterranean migration ‘crisis’. The project is the spin-off of an Erasmus funded visit to Malta and Sicily in June, when Middlesex researchers met protection agencies, local partners and governmental officials and learned first hand of the challenges of receiving migrants arriving by sea. The project led by Professor Brad Blitz with Professor Eleonore Kofman (Social Policy Research Centre), Dr. Alessio d’Angelo (Social Policy Research Centre) and Dr. Nicola Montagna is funded under the ESRC’s Urgency Grants Mechanism. This is the first time the ESRC has activated this funding mechanism on a strategic basis, in response to a crisis. Co-funded by the Department for International Development, the Mediterranean Migration Research Programme will provide evidence to inform the development of policy and responses by governments, European agencies, and charities. The project, titled EVI-MED, will involve working with local partners to collate statistics from across search and rescue organisations as well as national and European bodies, to track and map migrant flows across the Mediterranean and reception systems in Sicily, Greece and Malta, providing an insight into profiles, routes, experiences and migration plans. The research will also build capacity for the development of the Mediterranean Observatory for Migration, Protection and Asylum (MOMPA). To this end, the research team will work with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and collaborate on a joint public information campaign with the European Parliament Information Office. For further information, go to


sue  We have the first  awarded project  in the University to have won a H2020 research bid. Thanks to the Head of the Flood Hazard Research Centre – Sue Tapsell, who put a proposal  with 18 partner institutions in Europe under the new Horizon 2020 call: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015. This is one of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions for Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) to train future researchers via the completion of PhDs. The project is titled ‘A Large-Scale Systems Approach to Flood Risk Assessment and Management’ (‘SYSTEM-RISK’) – our share of the total budget is €546,575.76 (the second highest budget allocation after the coordinators). The project is to be coordinated by  the Helmholtz-Zentrum  Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungs Zentrum in Germany – led by Professor Bruno Mertz. The overall aim of the project is to develop novel and innovative tools for flood risk assessment and management to mitigate the costs of flood disasters.

The project will recruit 15 new research students to work across three scientific (and integrated) work packages, and complemented by training, dissemination and management work packages. At the end of their studies, students will have gained awareness and expertise of flood risk management issues across a range of disciplines, whilst specialising in their own discipline. FHRC will lead Work Package 3 (Socio-Economic Systems) and will host and supervise two new students for which we will provide Directors of Studies. In addition we will co-supervise an additional 3 students along with our partners within Europe and the UK and provide specific training for all the students at various points over the course of their studies. Each students’ supervision team will comprise of both academics and practitioners and all students will undertake short placements at at least one other partner institutions over the course of their studies to obtain valuable hands-on experience and practice.




We have Dr Sonia Boyce as a Principle Investigator and ‘Black Artists and Modernism’ in a 3-year research project . The Co-Investigators are:  Susan Lok  (Middlesex University) and David Dibosa (University of the Arts London).  Hosting institution is University of the Arts London, in partnership with us.





graeme_evansThe next spectacular triumph has Professor Graeme Evans, also from School of Art & Design, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to investigate the role of culture in place-shaping. The study will evidence the link between cultural infrastructure and investment and cultural, economic and social outcomes at regional and local levels.  The work will be presented to a high level meeting of Chief Scientists from all Government Ministries and form the basis of cultural investment policy for the incoming Government following the May General Election.





miranda horvathForensic Psychological Services and the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies have just begun work on a contract for 75k.  They were awarded in November 2014. The project is funded by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) and the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The quantitative and qualitative research will examine the impact of legal pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour of children and young people. The co-principal investigators on the project are Dr. Miranda Horvath and Dr. Elena Martellozzo and co-researchers are Prof. Joanna Adler and Prof. Julia Davidson.

 * Dr Jackie Gray and Dr Miranda Horvath are also working on another project: being currently co-principal investigators on a project funded by British Transport Police for 50k to conduct a Rapid Evidence Assessment on ‘What works in reducing sexual offences on public transport’ and to co-host a seminar on the same topic at Middlesex in May 2015.