Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 20

Search results for: Fiona McCormack

20 Alcohol Rituals and Active Ageing: A Thematic Analysis of Semi-Structured Interviews with Retirees in the West of Scotland

Authors: Karen Bell, Deborah Nicholson, Fiona McCormack, Pete Seaman


This paper explores alcohol consumption amongst retirees in the West of Scotland in the context of active and healthy ageing discourses. The public health consequences of alcohol use are well documented and of growing concern to policy makers in Scotland and elsewhere. However, alcohol occupies a prominent position in a range of cultural and social practices and has associated meanings for users related to conviviality, leisure, sociability, and inclusion- features closely tied to active and healthy ageing. These perceived positive and negative meanings place alcohol in an ambiguous and contradictory position in relation to the Scottish Government’s key health policy initiatives aimed at healthy ageing and the reduction of alcohol-related ill-health. This paper explores these positive and negative associations through an examination of the meanings which retirees attach to alcohol and the routines and rituals they develop to navigate wider health concerns. Methods: participants were recruited from the West of Scotland area using a quota sampling design based around gender, age, and socioeconomic position. Forty participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule and qualitative techniques. The interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis of the data was conducted. Results: Alcohol use amongst retirees in Scotland was widely varied with marked differences noted in terms of gender and age group, but with less clear variance by socioeconomic position. A range of strategies was employed to limit alcohol use by time, context, location and/or volume and these strategies clearly drew on a perception of alcohol use in retirement as potentially more problematic than at earlier stage of life. Thus, the retirees in the sample used these limiting strategies to navigate the positive and negative meanings they attached to alcohol use.

Keywords: Health, Alcohol, retirement, routines

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19 Narrative Study to Resilience and Adversity's Response

Authors: Yun Hang Stanley Cheung


In recent years, many educators and entrepreneurs have often suggested that students’ and workers’ ability of the adversity response is very important, it would affect problem-solving strategies and ultimate success in their career or life. The meaning of resilience is discussed as the process of bouncing back and the ability to adapt well in adversity’s response, being resilient does not mean to live without any stress and difficulty, but to grow and thrive under pressure. The purpose of this study is to describe the process of resilience and adversity’s response. The use of the narrative inquiry aims for understanding the experiential process of adversity response, and the problem-solving strategies (such as emotion control, motivation, decisions making process), as well as making the experience become life story, which may be evaluated by its teller and its listeners. The narrative study describes the researcher’s self-experience of adversity’s response to the recovery of the seriously burnt injury from a hill fire at his 12 years old, as well as the adversities and obstacles related to the tragedy after the physical recovery. Sense-Making Theory and McCormack’s Lenses were used for constructive perspective and data analyzing. To conclude, this study has described the life story of fighting the adversities, also, those narratives come out some suggestions, which point out positive thinking is necessary to build up resilience and the ability of immediate adversity response. Also, some problem-solving strategies toward adversities are discussed, which are helpful for resilience education for youth and young adult.

Keywords: Resilience, life story, adversity response, narrative inquiry

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18 Integrating Generic Skills into Disciplinary Curricula

Authors: Sitalakshmi Venkatraman, Samuel Kaspi, Fiona Wahr, Anthony de Souza-Daw


There is a growing emphasis on generic skills in higher education to match the changing skill-set requirements of the labour market. However, researchers and policy makers have not arrived at a consensus on the generic skills that actually contribute towards workplace employability and performance that complement and/or underpin discipline-specific graduate attributes. In order to strengthen the qualifications framework, a range of ‘generic’ learning outcomes have been considered for students undergoing higher education programs and among them it is necessary to have the fundamental generic skills such as literacy and numeracy at a level appropriate to the qualification type. This warrants for curriculum design approaches to contextualise the form and scope of these fundamental generic skills for supporting both students’ learning engagement in the course, as well as the graduate attributes required for employability and to progress within their chosen profession. Little research is reported in integrating such generic skills into discipline-specific learning outcomes. This paper explores the literature of the generic skills required for graduates from the discipline of Information Technology (IT) in relation to an Australian higher education institution. The paper presents the rationale of a proposed Bachelor of IT curriculum designed to contextualize the learning of these generic skills within the students’ discipline studies.

Keywords: Higher Education, Information Technology, Employability, Curriculum, Generic Skills, graduate attributes

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17 Competing Risks Modeling Using within Node Homogeneity Classification Tree

Authors: Kazeem Adesina Dauda, Waheed Babatunde Yahya


To design a tree that maximizes within-node homogeneity, there is a need for a homogeneity measure that is appropriate for event history data with multiple risks. We consider the use of Deviance and Modified Cox-Snell residuals as a measure of impurity in Classification Regression Tree (CART) and compare our results with the results of Fiona (2008) in which homogeneity measures were based on Martingale Residual. Data structure approach was used to validate the performance of our proposed techniques via simulation and real life data. The results of univariate competing risk revealed that: using Deviance and Cox-Snell residuals as a response in within node homogeneity classification tree perform better than using other residuals irrespective of performance techniques. Bone marrow transplant data and double-blinded randomized clinical trial, conducted in other to compare two treatments for patients with prostate cancer were used to demonstrate the efficiency of our proposed method vis-à-vis the existing ones. Results from empirical studies of the bone marrow transplant data showed that the proposed model with Cox-Snell residual (Deviance=16.6498) performs better than both the Martingale residual (deviance=160.3592) and Deviance residual (Deviance=556.8822) in both event of interest and competing risks. Additionally, results from prostate cancer also reveal the performance of proposed model over the existing one in both causes, interestingly, Cox-Snell residual (MSE=0.01783563) outfit both the Martingale residual (MSE=0.1853148) and Deviance residual (MSE=0.8043366). Moreover, these results validate those obtained from the Monte-Carlo studies.

Keywords: within-node homogeneity, Martingale residual, modified Cox-Snell residual, classification and regression tree

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16 Hedgerow Detection and Characterization Using Very High Spatial Resolution SAR DATA

Authors: Saeid Gharechelou, Stuart Green, Fiona Cawkwell


Hedgerow has an important role for a wide range of ecological habitats, landscape, agriculture management, carbon sequestration, wood production. Hedgerow detection accurately using satellite imagery is a challenging problem in remote sensing techniques, because in the special approach it is very similar to line object like a road, from a spectral viewpoint, a hedge is very similar to a forest. Remote sensors with very high spatial resolution (VHR) recently enable the automatic detection of hedges by the acquisition of images with enough spectral and spatial resolution. Indeed, recently VHR remote sensing data provided the opportunity to detect the hedgerow as line feature but still remain difficulties in monitoring the characterization in landscape scale. In this research is used the TerraSAR-x Spotlight and Staring mode with 3-5 m resolution in wet and dry season in the test site of Fermoy County, Ireland to detect the hedgerow by acquisition time of 2014-2015. Both dual polarization of Spotlight data in HH/VV is using for detection of hedgerow. The varied method of SAR image technique with try and error way by integration of classification algorithm like texture analysis, support vector machine, k-means and random forest are using to detect hedgerow and its characterization. We are applying the Shannon entropy (ShE) and backscattering analysis in single and double bounce in polarimetric analysis for processing the object-oriented classification and finally extracting the hedgerow network. The result still is in progress and need to apply the other method as well to find the best method in study area. Finally, this research is under way to ahead to get the best result and here just present the preliminary work that polarimetric image of TSX potentially can detect the hedgerow.

Keywords: dual polarization, TerraSAR-X, hedgerow detection, high resolution SAR image, polarimetric analysis

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15 Geochemical Baseline and Origin of Trace Elements in Soils and Sediments around Selibe-Phikwe Cu-Ni Mining Town, Botswana

Authors: Takeshi Komai, Kengo Nakamura, Fiona S. Motswaiso


Heavy metals may occur naturally in rocks and soils, but elevated quantities of them are being gradually released into the environment by anthropogenic activities such as mining. In order to address issues of heavy metal water and soil pollution, a distinction needs to be made between natural and anthropogenic anomalies. The current study aims at characterizing the spatial distribution of trace elements and evaluate site-specific geochemical background concentrations of trace elements in the mine soils examined, and also to discriminate between lithogenic and anthropogenic sources of enrichment around a copper-nickel mining town in Selibe-Phikwe, Botswana. A total of 20 Soil samples, 11 river sediment, and 9 river water samples were collected from an area of 625m² within the precincts of the mine and the smelter. The concentrations of metals (Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, Cr, Ni, Mn, As, Pb, and Co) were determined by using an ICP-MS after digestion with aqua regia. Major elements were also determined using ED-XRF. Water pH and EC were measured on site and recorded while soil pH and EC were also determined in the laboratory after performing water elution tests. The highest Cu and Ni concentrations in soil are 593mg/kg and 453mg/kg respectively, which is 3 times higher than the crustal composition values and 2 times higher than the South African minimum allowable levels of heavy metals in soils. The level of copper contamination was higher than that of nickel and other contaminants. Water pH levels ranged from basic (9) to very acidic (3) in areas closer to the mine/smelter. There is high variation in heavy metal concentration, eg. Cu suggesting that some sites depict regional natural background concentrations while other depict anthropogenic sources.

Keywords: Heavy Metals, Contamination, Soils, geochemical baseline

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14 Soil Quality State and Trends in New Zealand’s Largest City after Fifteen Years

Authors: Fiona Curran-Cournane


Soil quality monitoring is a science-based soil management tool that assesses soil ecosystem health. A soil monitoring program in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, extends from 1995 to the present. The objective of this study was to firstly determine changes in soil parameters (basic soil properties and heavy metals) that were assessed from rural land in 1995-2000 and repeated in 2008-2012. The second objective was to determine differences in soil parameters across various land uses including native bush, rural (horticulture, pasture and plantation forestry) and urban land uses using soil data collected in more recent years (2009-2013). Across rural land, mean concentrations of Olsen P had significantly increased in the second sampling period and was identified as the indicator of most concern, followed by soil macroporosity, particularly for horticultural and pastoral land. Mean concentrations of Cd were also greatest for pastoral and horticultural land and a positive correlation existed between these two parameters, which highlights the importance of analysing basic soil parameters in conjunction with heavy metals. In contrast, mean concentrations of As, Cr, Pb, Ni and Zn were greatest for urban sites. Native bush sites had the lowest concentrations of heavy metals and were used to calculate a ‘pollution index’ (PI). The mean PI was classified as high (PI > 3) for Cd and Ni and moderate for Pb, Zn, Cr, Cu, As, and Hg, indicating high levels of heavy metal pollution across both rural and urban soils. From a land use perspective, the mean ‘integrated pollution index’ was highest for urban sites at 2.9 followed by pasture, horticulture and plantation forests at 2.7, 2.6, and 0.9, respectively. It is recommended that soil sampling continues over time because a longer spanning record will allow further identification of where soil problems exist and where resources need to be targeted in the future. Findings from this study will also inform policy and science direction in regional councils.

Keywords: Heavy Metals, Soil Quality, pollution index, rural and urban land use

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13 Sustainable Capacity Building on Tourism Management of Touristic Destinations in Ghana: The Case of James and Ussher Forts in the Accra Metropolis

Authors: Fiona Gibson


This study is on sustainable capacity building in tourism management of the touristic destination of forts and castles within the Accra Metropolis, of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, notably, the Christianbough Castle, the James and Ussher Forts. These forts and castle mentioned above have a rich colonial historical past that emerged from the 17th century onwards on the Gulf Coast of Guinea of the West Africa Sub-Region. Unfortunately, apart from the Christianbough Castle, which used to be the seat of government until recently, the environment of James and Ussher Forts are in a deployable state of decay due to years of neglect. Jamestown and Usshertown fishing communities with historical colonial past of a rich touristic heritage sites are predominantly indigenous Gas who speak only the Ga language, one of the languages of the six local languages spoken in Ghana, as a medium for sustainable tourism management. The purpose of this study is to investigate the reasons for years of decay and neglect, using both qualitative and quantitative research approach for individual interviews, to develop a rich picture of life situational story of the people of James and Ussher Forts environs and finding solutions to their predicaments through internal generated funds for sustainability of tourism management within the communities. The study recommends nation-wide educational campaigns and programmes on culture of maintenance and management for sustainable tourism development and management at all historical heritage sites in the country, specifically with the aim of promoting tourism in Ghana, using the indigenous local languages. The study also recommends formal and informal education for the residents, especially the youth to help them learn skills, either through local training or the formal education and this call for collaboration between the government of Ghana and other local and international bodies.

Keywords: Tourism Management, sustainable capacity building, forts, castles

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12 Building on Previous Microvalving Approaches for Highly Reliable Actuation in Centrifugal Microfluidic Platforms

Authors: Ivan Maguire, Alan Barrett, Jens Ducrèe, Fiona Regan, Ciprian Briciu, Dara Kervick


With the ever-increasing myriad of applications of which microfluidic devices are capable, reliable fluidic actuation development has remained fundamental to the success of these microfluidic platforms. There are a number of approaches which can be taken in order to integrate liquid actuation on microfluidic platforms, which can usually be split into two primary categories; active microvalves and passive microvalves. Active microvalves are microfluidic valves which require a physical parameter change by external, or separate interaction, for actuation to occur. Passive microvalves are microfluidic valves which don’t require external interaction for actuation due to the valve’s natural physical parameters, which can be overcome through sample interaction. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how further improvements to past microvalve solutions can largely enhance systematic reliability and performance, with both novel active and passive microvalves demonstrated. Covered within this scope will be two alternative and novel microvalve solutions for centrifugal microfluidic platforms; a revamped pneumatic-dissolvable film active microvalve (PAM) strategy and a spray-on Sol-Gel based hydrophobic passive microvalve (HPM) approach. Both the PAM and the HPM mechanisms were demonstrated on a centrifugal microfluidic platform consisting of alternating layers of 1.5 mm poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) (for reagent storage) sheets and ~150 μm pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) (for microchannel fabrication) sheets. The PAM approach differs from previous SOLUBON™ dissolvable film methods by introducing a more reliable and predictable liquid delivery mechanism to microvalve site, thus significantly reducing premature activation. This approach has also shown excellent synchronicity when performed in a multiplexed form. The HPM method utilises a new spray-on and low curing temperature (70°C) sol-gel material. The resultant double layer coating comprises a PMMA adherent sol-gel as the bottom layer and an ultra hydrophobic silica nano-particles (SNPs) film as the top layer. The optimal coating was integrated to microfluidic channels with varying cross-sectional area for assessing microvalve burst frequencies consistency. It is hoped that these microvalving solutions, which can be easily added to centrifugal microfluidic platforms, will significantly improve automation reliability.

Keywords: centrifugal microfluidics, hydrophobic microvalves, lab-on-a-disc, pneumatic microvalves

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11 Building the Professional Readiness of Graduates from Day One: An Empirical Approach to Curriculum Continuous Improvement

Authors: Sitalakshmi Venkatraman, Fiona Wahr


Industry employers require new graduates to bring with them a range of knowledge, skills and abilities which mean these new employees can immediately make valuable work contributions. These will be a combination of discipline and professional knowledge, skills and abilities which give graduates the technical capabilities to solve practical problems whilst interacting with a range of stakeholders. Underpinning the development of these disciplines and professional knowledge, skills and abilities, are “enabling” knowledge, skills and abilities which assist students to engage in learning. These are academic and learning skills which are essential to common starting points for both the learning process of students entering the course as well as forming the foundation for the fully developed graduate knowledge, skills and abilities. This paper reports on a project created to introduce and strengthen these enabling skills into the first semester of a Bachelor of Information Technology degree in an Australian polytechnic. The project uses an action research approach in the context of ongoing continuous improvement for the course to enhance the overall learning experience, learning sequencing, graduate outcomes, and most importantly, in the first semester, student engagement and retention. The focus of this is implementing the new curriculum in first semester subjects of the course with the aim of developing the “enabling” learning skills, such as literacy, research and numeracy based knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). The approach used for the introduction and embedding of these KSAs, (as both enablers of learning and to underpin graduate attribute development), is presented. Building on previous publications which reported different aspects of this longitudinal study, this paper recaps on the rationale for the curriculum redevelopment and then presents the quantitative findings of entering students’ reading literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills degree as well as their perceived research ability. The paper presents the methodology and findings for this stage of the research. Overall, the cohort exhibits mixed KSA levels in these areas, with a relatively low aggregated score. In addition, the paper describes the considerations for adjusting the design and delivery of the new subjects with a targeted learning experience, in response to the feedback gained through continuous monitoring. Such a strategy is aimed at accommodating the changing learning needs of the students and serves to support them towards achieving the enabling learning goals starting from day one of their higher education studies.

Keywords: continuous improvement, student retention, enabling skills, embedded learning support

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10 Moving Forward to Stand Still: Social Experiences of Children with a Parent in Prison in Ireland

Authors: Aisling Parkes, Fiona Donson


There is no doubt that parental imprisonment directly alters the social experiences of childhood for many children worldwide today. Indeed, the extent to which meaningful contact with a parent in prison can positively impact on the life of a child is well documented as are the benefits for the prisoner, particularly in the long term and post-release. However, despite the growing acceptance of children’s rights in Ireland over the past decade in particular, it appears that children’s rights have not yet succeeded in breaking through the walls of Irish prisons when children are visiting an incarcerated parent. In a prison system that continues to prioritise security over all other considerations, little attention has been given to the importance of recognising and protecting the rights of children affected by parental imprisonment in Ireland for children, families and society in the long term. This paper will present the findings which have emerged from a national qualitative research project (the first of its kind to be conducted in Ireland) which examines the current visiting conditions for children and families, and the related culture of visitation within the Irish Prison system. This study investigated, through semi-structured interviews and focus groups, the unique and specialist perspectives of senior prison management, prison governors, prison officers, support organisations, prison child care workers, as well as those with a family member in prison who have direct experience of prison visits in Ireland which involve children and young people. The reality of the current system of visitation that operates in Irish prisons and its impact on children’s rights is presented from a variety of perspectives. The idea of what meaningful contact means from a children’s rights based perspective is interrogated as are the benefits long term for both the child and the offender. The current system is benchmarked against well-accepted international children’s rights norms as reflected under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. The dissonance that continues to exist between the theory of children’s rights which includes the right to maintain meaningful contact with a parent in prison and current practice and procedure in Irish Prisons will be explored. In adopting a children’s rights based perspective combined with socio-legal research, this paper will explore the added value that this approach to prison visiting might offer in responding to this particularly marginalised group of children in terms of their social experience of childhood. Finally, the question will be raised as to whether or not there is a responsibility on prisons to view children as independent rights holders when they come to visit the prison or is the prison entitled to focus solely on the prisoner with their children being viewed as a circumstance of the offender? Do the interests of the child and the prisoner have to be exclusive or is there any way of marrying the two?

Keywords: Sociology, Children’s rights, Prisoners, visitation

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9 Assessment of a Rapid Detection Sensor of Faecal Pollution in Freshwater

Authors: Fiona Regan, Brendan Heery, Ciprian Briciu-Burghina, Dermot Brabazon


Good quality bathing water is a highly desirable natural resource which can provide major economic, social, and environmental benefits. Both in Ireland and Europe, such water bodies are managed under the European Directive for the management of bathing water quality (BWD). The BWD aims mainly: (i) to improve health protection for bathers by introducing stricter standards for faecal pollution assessment (E. coli, enterococci), (ii) to establish a more pro-active approach to the assessment of possible pollution risks and the management of bathing waters, and (iii) to increase public involvement and dissemination of information to the general public. Standard methods for E. coli and enterococci quantification rely on cultivation of the target organism which requires long incubation periods (from 18h to a few days). This is not ideal when immediate action is required for risk mitigation. Municipalities that oversee the bathing water quality and deploy appropriate signage have to wait for laboratory results. During this time, bathers can be exposed to pollution events and health risks. Although forecasting tools exist, they are site specific and as consequence extensive historical data is required to be effective. Another approach for early detection of faecal pollution is the use of marker enzymes. β-glucuronidase (GUS) is a widely accepted biomarker for E. coli detection in microbiological water quality control. GUS assay is particularly attractive as they are rapid, less than 4 h, easy to perform and they do not require specialised training. A method for on-site detection of GUS from environmental samples in less than 75 min was previously demonstrated. In this study, the capability of ColiSense as an early warning system for faecal pollution in freshwater is assessed. The system successfully detected GUS activity in all of the 45 freshwater samples tested. GUS activity was found to correlate linearly with E. coli (r2=0.53, N=45, p < 0.001) and enterococci (r2=0.66, N=45, p < 0.001) Although GUS is a marker for E. coli, a better correlation was obtained for enterococci. For this study water samples were collected from 5 rivers in the Dublin area over 1 month. This suggests a high diversity of pollution sources (agricultural, industrial, etc) as well as point and diffuse pollution sources were captured in the sample size. Such variety in the source of E. coli can account for different GUS activities/culturable cell and different ratios of viable but not culturable to viable culturable bacteria. A previously developed protocol for the recovery and detection of E. coli was coupled with a miniaturised fluorometer (ColiSense) and the system was assessed for the rapid detection FIB in freshwater samples. Further work will be carried out to evaluate the system’s performance on seawater samples.

Keywords: E. coli, faecal pollution, β-glucuronidase (GUS), bathing water

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8 Simulating an Interprofessional Hospital Day Shift: A Student Interprofessional (IP) Collaborative Learning Activity

Authors: Fiona Jensen, Barb Goodwin, Nancy Kleiman, Rhonda Usunier


Background: Clinical simulation is now a common component in many health profession curricula in preparation for clinical practice. In the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences (RFHS) college leads in simulation and interprofessional (IP) education, planned an eight hour simulated hospital day shift, where seventy students from six health professions across two campuses, learned with each other in a safe, realistic environment. Learning about interprofessional collaboration, an expected competency for many health professions upon graduation, was a primary focus of the simulation event. Method: Faculty representatives from the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy and Rehabilitation Sciences (Physical Therapy, Occupation Therapy, Respiratory Therapy) and Pharmacy worked together to plan the IP event in a simulation facility in the College of Nursing. Each college provided a faculty mentor to guide the same profession students. Students were placed in interprofessional teams consisting of a nurse, physician, pharmacist, and then sharing respiratory, occupational, and physical therapists across the team depending on the needs of the patients. Eight patient scenarios were role played by health profession students, who had been provided with their patient’s story shortly before the event. Each team was guided by a facilitator. Results and Outcomes: On the morning of the event, all students gathered in a large group to meet mentors and facilitators and have a brief overview of the six competencies for effective collaboration and the session objectives. The students assuming their same profession roles were provided with their patient’s chart at the beginning of the shift, met with their team, and then completed professional specific assessments. Shortly into the shift, IP team rounds began, facilitated by the team facilitator. During the shift, each patient role-played a spontaneous health incident, which required collaboration between the IP team members for assessment and management. The afternoon concluded with team rounds, a collaborative management plan, and a facilitated de-brief. Conclusions: During the de-brief sessions, students responded to set questions related to the session learning objectives and expressed many positive learning moments. We believe that we have a sustainable simulation IP collaborative learning opportunity, which can be embedded into curricula, and has the capacity to grow to include more health profession faculties and students. Opportunities are being explored in the RFHS at the administrative level, to offer this event more frequently in the academic year to reach more students. In addition, a formally structured event evaluation tool would provide important feedback and inform the qualitative feedback to event organizers and the colleges about the significance of the simulation event to student learning.

Keywords: Simulation, Collaboration, teams, interprofessional

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7 Processes Controlling Release of Phosphorus (P) from Catchment Soils and the Relationship between Total Phosphorus (TP) and Humic Substances (HS) in Scottish Loch Waters

Authors: Xiaoyun Hui, Fiona Gentle, Clemens Engelke, Margaret C. Graham


Although past work has shown that phosphorus (P), an important nutrient, may form complexes with aqueous humic substances (HS), the principal component of natural organic matter, the nature of such interactions is poorly understood. Humic complexation may not only enhance P concentrations but it may change its bioavailability within such waters and, in addition, influence its transport within catchment settings. This project is examining the relationships and associations of P, HS, and iron (Fe) in Loch Meadie, Sutherland, North Scotland, a mesohumic freshwater loch which has been assessed as reference condition with respect to P. The aim is to identify characteristic spectroscopic parameters which can enhance the performance of the model currently used to predict reference condition TP levels for highly-coloured Scottish lochs under the Water Framework Directive. In addition to Loch Meadie, samples from other reference condition lochs in north Scotland and Shetland were analysed. By including different types of reference condition lochs (clear water, mesohumic and polyhumic water) this allowed the relationship between total phosphorus (TP) and HS to be more fully explored. The pH, [TP], [Fe], UV/Vis absorbance/spectra, [TOC] and [DOC] for loch water samples have been obtained using accredited methods. Loch waters were neutral to slightly acidic/alkaline (pH 6-8). [TP] in loch waters were lower than 50 µg L-1, and in Loch Meadie waters were typically <10 µg L-1. [Fe] in loch waters were mainly <0.6 mg L-1, but for some loch water samples, [Fe] were in the range 1.0-1.8 mg L-1and there was a positive correlation with [TOC] (r2=0.61). Lochs were classified as clear water, mesohumic or polyhumic based on water colour. The range of colour values of sampled lochs in each category were 0.2–0.3, 0.2–0.5 and 0.5–0.8 a.u. (10 mm pathlength), respectively. There was also a strong positive correlation between [DOC] and water colour (R2=0.84). The UV/Vis spectra (200-700 nm) for water samples were featureless with only a slight “shoulder” observed in the 270–290 nm region. Ultrafiltration was then used to separate colloidal and truly dissolved components from the loch waters and, since it contained the majority of aqueous P and Fe, the colloidal component was fractionated by gel filtration chromatography method. Gel filtration chromatographic fractionation of the colloids revealed two brown-coloured bands which had distinctive UV/Vis spectral features. The first eluting band had larger and more aromatic HS molecules than the second band, and in addition both P and Fe were primarily associated with the larger, more aromatic HS. This result demonstrated that P was able to form complexes with Fe-rich components of HS, and thus provided a scientific basis for the significant correlation between [Fe] and [TP] that the previous monitoring data of reference condition lochs from Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) showed. The distinctive features of the HS will be used as the basis for an improved spectroscopic tool.

Keywords: Humic Substances, total phosphorus, Scottish loch water, WFD model

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6 The ‘Fun, Move, Play’ Project: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings from Irish Primary School Children (6-8 Years), Parents and Teachers

Authors: Jemma McGourty, Brid Delahunt, Fiona Hackett, Sharon Courtney, Richard English, Graham Russell, Sinéad O’Connor


Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) mastery is considered essential for children’s ongoing, meaningful engagement in Physical Activity (PA). There has been a dearth of Irish research on baseline FMS and their development by means of intervention in young primary school children. In addition, as children’s participation in PA is heavily influenced by both parents and teachers, it is imperative to understand their attitudes and perceptions towards PA participation and its’ promotion in children. The ‘Fun, Move, Play’ Project investigated the effect of a 6-week play based PA intervention on primary school children’s (aged 6-8 years) FMS while also exploring the attitudes and perceptions of their parents and teachers towards PA participation. The FMS intervention utilised a pre-post quasi-experimental design to determine the effect of a 6-week play based PA intervention (devised from the iCoach Kids Programme) on 176 primary school children’s FMS (N = 176: 90 girls and 86 boys; M = 7.2 years; SD = 0.48). Objective measures of 7 FMS (run, skip, vertical jump, static balance, stationary dribble, catch, kick) were made using a combination of the TGMD2 and Get Skilled, Get Active resources. One hundred parents (87 mothers; 13 fathers; M=36 years; SD=5.45) and 90 teachers (67 females; 23 males) completed surveys investigating their attitudes and perceptions towards PA participation. In addition, 19 of these parents and 9 of these teachers participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews to explore, in more depth, their views and perceptions of PA participation. Both the FMS data set and survey responses were analysed using SPSS version 23, using appropriate statistical analysis. A thematic analysis framework was used to analyse the qualitative findings. A significant improvement was observed in the children’s overall FMS score pre-post intervention (t = 16.67; df = 175; p < 0.001), while there were also significant improvements in each of the seven individual FMS measured in the children, pre-post intervention. Findings from the parent surveys and interviews indicated that parents had positive attitudes towards PA, viewed it as important and supported their child’s PA participation. However, a lack of knowledge regarding the amount and intensity of PA that children should participate in emerged as a recurrent finding. Also, there was a significant positive correlation between the PA levels of parents’ and their children (r = .41; n = 100; p < .001). Arising from the teachers’ surveys and interviews was a positive attitude towards PA and the impact that it has on a child’s health and well-being. They also reported feeling more confident teaching certain aspects of the PE curriculum (games and sports) compared to others (gymnastics, dance), where they appreciate working with specialist practitioners. Conclusion: A short-term PA intervention has a positive effect on children’s FMS. While parents are supportive of their child’s PA participation, there is a knowledge gap regarding National PA guidelines for children. Teachers appreciate the importance of PA in children, but face a number of challenges in its implementation and promotion.

Keywords: fundamental movement skills, parents attitudes to physical activity, short-term intervention, teachers attitudes to physical activity

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5 A Smart Sensor Network Approach Using Affordable River Water Level Sensors

Authors: Fiona Regan, Dian Zhang, Brendan Heery, Maria O’Neill, Ciprian Briciu-Burghina, Noel E. O’Connor


Recent developments in sensors, wireless data communication and the cloud computing have brought the sensor web to a whole new generation. The introduction of the concept of ‘Internet of Thing (IoT)’ has brought the sensor research into a new level, which involves the developing of long lasting, low cost, environment friendly and smart sensors; new wireless data communication technologies; big data analytics algorithms and cloud based solutions that are tailored to large scale smart sensor network. The next generation of smart sensor network consists of several layers: physical layer, where all the smart sensors resident and data pre-processes occur, either on the sensor itself or field gateway; data transmission layer, where data and instructions exchanges happen; the data process layer, where meaningful information is extracted and organized from the pre-process data stream. There are many definitions of smart sensor, however, to summarize all these definitions, a smart sensor must be Intelligent and Adaptable. In future large scale sensor network, collected data are far too large for traditional applications to send, store or process. The sensor unit must be intelligent that pre-processes collected data locally on board (this process may occur on field gateway depends on the sensor network structure). In this case study, three smart sensing methods, corresponding to simple thresholding, statistical model and machine learning based MoPBAS method, are introduced and their strength and weakness are discussed as an introduction to the smart sensing concept. Data fusion, the integration of data and knowledge from multiple sources, are key components of the next generation smart sensor network. For example, in the water level monitoring system, weather forecast can be extracted from external sources and if a heavy rainfall is expected, the server can send instructions to the sensor notes to, for instance, increase the sampling rate or switch on the sleeping mode vice versa. In this paper, we describe the deployment of 11 affordable water level sensors in the Dublin catchment. The objective of this paper is to use the deployed river level sensor network at the Dodder catchment in Dublin, Ireland as a case study to give a vision of the next generation of a smart sensor network for flood monitoring to assist agencies in making decisions about deploying resources in the case of a severe flood event. Some of the deployed sensors are located alongside traditional water level sensors for validation purposes. Using the 11 deployed river level sensors in a network as a case study, a vision of the next generation of smart sensor network is proposed. Each key component of the smart sensor network is discussed, which hopefully inspires the researchers who are working in the sensor research domain.

Keywords: Internet of Things, Smart Sensing, Flooding, water level sensor

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4 The Influence of a Radio Intervention on Farmers’ Practices in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Kilifi, Kenya

Authors: Fiona Mwaniki


Climate change is considered a serious threat to sustainable development globally and as one of the greatest ecological, economic and social challenges of our time. The global demand for food is projected to increase by 60% by 2050. Small holder farmers who are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change are expected to contribute to this projected demand. Effective climate change education and communication is therefore required for smallholder and subsistence farmers’ in order to build communities that are more climate change aware, prepared and resilient. In Kenya radio is the most important and dominant mass communication tool for agricultural extension. This study investigated the potential role of radio in influencing farmers’ understanding and use of climate change information. The broad aims of this study were three-fold. Firstly, to identify Kenyan farmers’ perceptions and responses to the impacts of climate change. Secondly, to develop radio programs that communicate climate change information to Kenyan farmers and thirdly, to evaluate the impact of information disseminated through radio on farmers’ understanding and responses to climate change mitigation and adaptation. This study was conducted within the farming community of Kilifi County, located along the Kenyan coast. Education and communication about climate change was undertaken using radio to make available information understandable to different social and cultural groups. A mixed methods pre-and post-intervention design that provided the opportunity for triangulating results from both quantitative and qualitative data was used. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected simultaneously, where quantitative data was collected through semi structured surveys with 421 farmers’ and qualitative data was derived from 11 focus group interviews, six interviews with key informants and nine climate change experts. The climate change knowledge gaps identified in the initial quantitative and qualitative data were used in developing radio programs. Final quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis enabled an assessment of the impact of climate change messages aired through radio on the farming community in Kilifi County. Results of this study indicate that 32% of the farmers’ listened to the radio programs and 26% implemented technologies aired on the programs that would help them adapt to climate change. The most adopted technologies were planting drought tolerant crops including indigenous crop varieties, planting trees, water harvesting and use of manure. The proportion of farmers who indicated they knew “a fair amount” about climate change increased significantly (Z= -5.1977, p < 0.001) from 33% (at the pre intervention phase of this study) to 64% (post intervention). However, 68% of the farmers felt they needed “a lot more” information on agriculture interventions (43%), access to financial resources (21%) and the effects of climate change (15%). The challenges farmers’ faced when adopting the interventions included lack of access to financial resources (18%), high cost of adaptation measures (17%), and poor access to water (10%). This study concludes that radio effectively complements other agricultural extension methods and has the potential to engage farmers’ on climate change issues and motivate them to take action.

Keywords: Climate Change, Radio, farmers, climate change intervention

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3 Risking Injury: Exploring the Relationship between Risk Propensity and Injuries among an Australian Rules Football Team

Authors: Sarah A. Harris, Fleur L. McIntyre, Paola T. Chivers, Benjamin G. Piggott, Fiona H. Farringdon


Australian Rules Football (ARF) is an invasion based, contact field sport with over one million participants. The contact nature of the game increases exposure to all injuries, including head trauma. Evidence suggests that both concussion and sub-concussive traumas such as head knocks may damage the brain, in particular the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex may not reach full maturity until a person is in their early twenties with males taking longer to mature than females. Repeated trauma to the pre-frontal cortex during maturation may lead to negative social, cognitive and emotional effects. It is also during this period that males exhibit high levels of risk taking behaviours. Risk propensity and the incidence of injury is an unexplored area of research. Little research has considered if the level of player’s (especially younger players) risk propensity in everyday life places them at an increased risk of injury. Hence the current study, investigated if a relationship exists between risk propensity and self-reported injuries including diagnosed concussion and head knocks, among male ARF players aged 18 to 31 years. Method: The study was conducted over 22 weeks with one West Australian Football League (WAFL) club during the 2015 competition. Pre-season risk propensity was measured using the 7-item self-report Risk Propensity Scale. Possible scores ranged from 9 to 63, with higher scores indicating higher risk propensity. Players reported their self-perceived injuries (concussion, head knocks, upper body and lower body injuries) fortnightly using the WAFL Injury Report Survey (WIRS). A unique ID code was used to ensure player anonymity, which also enabled linkage of survey responses and injury data tracking over the season. A General Linear Model (GLM) was used to analyse whether there was a relationship between risk propensity score and total number of injuries for each injury type. Results: Seventy one players (N=71) with an age range of 18.40 to 30.48 years and a mean age of 21.92 years (±2.96 years) participated in the study. Player’s mean risk propensity score was 32.73, SD ±8.38. Four hundred and ninety five (495) injuries were reported. The most frequently reported injury was head knocks representing 39.19% of total reported injuries. The GLM identified a significant relationship between risk propensity and head knocks (F=4.17, p=.046). No other injury types were significantly related to risk propensity. Discussion: A positive relationship between risk propensity and head trauma in contact sports (specifically WAFL) was discovered. Assessing player’s risk propensity therefore, may identify those more at risk of head injuries. Potentially leading to greater monitoring and education of these players throughout the season, regarding self-identification of head knocks and symptoms that may indicate trauma to the brain. This is important because many players involved in WAFL are in their late teens or early 20’s hence, may be at greater risk of negative outcomes if they experience repeated head trauma. Continued education and research into the risks associated with head injuries has the potential to improve player well-being.

Keywords: Risk, football, Head Injuries, Injury Identification

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2 Production, Characterisation, and in vitro Degradation and Biocompatibility of a Solvent-Free Polylactic-Acid/Hydroxyapatite Composite for 3D-Printed Maxillofacial Bone-Regeneration Implants

Authors: Carlos Amnael Orozco-Diaz, Robert David Moorehead, Gwendolen Reilly, Fiona Gilchrist, Cheryl Ann Miller


The current gold-standard for maxillofacial reconstruction surgery (MRS) utilizes auto-grafted cancellous bone as a filler. This study was aimed towards developing a polylactic-acid/hydroxyapatite (PLA-HA) composite suitable for fused-deposition 3D printing. Functionalization of the polymer through the addition of HA was directed to promoting bone-regeneration properties so that the material can rival the performance of cancellous bone grafts in terms of bone-lesion repair. This kind of composite enables the production of MRS implants based off 3D-reconstructions from image studies – namely computed tomography – for anatomically-correct fitting. The present study encompassed in-vitro degradation and in-vitro biocompatibility profiling for 3D-printed PLA and PLA-HA composites. PLA filament (Verbatim Co.) and Captal S hydroxyapatite micro-scale HA powder (Plasma Biotal Ltd) were used to produce PLA-HA composites at 5, 10, and 20%-by-weight HA concentration. These were extruded into 3D-printing filament, and processed in a BFB-3000 3D-Printer (3D Systems Co.) into tensile specimens, and were mechanically challenged as per ASTM D638-03. Furthermore, tensile specimens were subjected to accelerated degradation in phosphate-buffered saline solution at 70°C for 23 days, as per ISO-10993-13-2010. This included monitoring of mass loss (through dry-weighing), crystallinity (through thermogravimetric analysis/differential thermal analysis), molecular weight (through gel-permeation chromatography), and tensile strength. In-vitro biocompatibility analysis included cell-viability and extracellular matrix deposition, which were performed both on flat surfaces and on 3D-constructs – both produced through 3D-printing. Discs of 1 cm in diameter and cubic 3D-meshes of 1 cm3 were 3D printed in PLA and PLA-HA composites (n = 6). The samples were seeded with 5000 MG-63 osteosarcoma-like cells, with cell viability extrapolated throughout 21 days via resazurin reduction assays. As evidence of osteogenicity, collagen and calcium deposition were indirectly estimated through Sirius Red staining and Alizarin Red staining respectively. Results have shown that 3D printed PLA loses structural integrity as early as the first day of accelerated degradation, which was significantly faster than the literature suggests. This was reflected in the loss of tensile strength down to untestable brittleness. During degradation, mass loss, molecular weight, and crystallinity behaved similarly to results found in similar studies for PLA. All composite versions and pure PLA were found to perform equivalent to tissue-culture plastic (TCP) in supporting the seeded-cell population. Significant differences (p = 0.05) were found on collagen deposition for higher HA concentrations, with composite samples performing better than pure PLA and TCP. Additionally, per-cell-calcium deposition on the 3D-meshes was significantly lower when comparing 3D-meshes to discs of the same material (p = 0.05). These results support the idea that 3D-printable PLA-HA composites are a viable resorbable material for artificial grafts for bone-regeneration. Degradation data suggests that 3D-printing of these materials – as opposed to other manufacturing methods – might result in faster resorption than currently-used PLA implants.

Keywords: Biocompatibility, Polymer Degradation, bone regeneration implants, in vitro testing, polymer-ceramic composites

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1 Development of Anti-Fouling Surface Features Bioinspired by the Patterned Micro-Textures of the Scophthalmus rhombus (Brill)

Authors: Ivan Maguire, Alan Barrett, Alex Forte, Sandra Kwiatkowska, Rohit Mishra, Jens Ducrèe, Fiona Regan


Biofouling is defined as the gradual accumulation of Biomimetics refers to the use and imitation of principles copied from nature. Biomimetics has found interest across many commercial disciplines. Among many biological objects and their functions, aquatic animals deserve a special attention due to their antimicrobial capabilities resulting from chemical composition, surface topography or other behavioural defences, which can be used as an inspiration for antifouling technology. Marine biofouling has detrimental effects on seagoing vessels, both commercial and leisure, as well as on oceanographic sensors, offshore drilling rigs, and aquaculture installations. Sensor optics, membranes, housings and platforms can become fouled leading to problems with sensor performance and data integrity. While many anti-fouling solutions are currently being investigated as a cost-cutting measure, biofouling settlement may also be prevented by creating a surface that does not satisfy the settlement conditions. Brill (Scophthalmus rhombus) is a small flatfish occurring in marine waters of Mediterranean as well as Norway and Iceland. It inhabits sandy and muddy coastal waters from 5 to 80 meters. Its skin colour changes depending on environment, but generally is brownish with light and dark freckles, with creamy underside. Brill is oval in shape and its flesh is white. The aim of this study is to translate the unique micro-topography of the brill scale, to design marine inspired biomimetic surface coating and test it against a typical fouling organism. Following extensive study of scale topography of the brill fish (Scophthalmus rhombus) and the settlement behaviour of the diatom species Psammodictyon sp. via SEM, two state-of-the-art antifouling surface solutions were designed and investigated; A brill fish scale bioinspired surface pattern platform (BFD), and generic and uniformly-arrayed, circular micropillar platform (MPD), with offsets based on diatom species settlement behaviour. The BFD approach consists of different ~5 μm by ~90 μm Brill-replica patterns, grown to a 5 μm height, in a linear array pattern. The MPD approach utilises hexagonal-packed cylindrical pillars 10.6 μm in diameter, grown to a height of 5 μm, with vertical offset of 15 μm and horizontal offset of 26.6 μm. Photolithography was employed for microstructure growth, with a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) chip-based used as a testbed for diatom adhesion on both platforms. Settlement and adhesion tests were performed using this PDMS microfluidic chip through subjugation to centrifugal force via an in-house developed ‘spin-stand’ which features a motor, in combination with a high-resolution camera, for real-time observing diatom release from PDMS material. Diatom adhesion strength can therefore be determined based on the centrifugal force generated at varying rotational speeds. It is hoped that both the replica and bio-inspired solutions will give comparable anti-fouling results to these synthetic surfaces, whilst also assisting in determining whether anti-fouling solutions should predominantly be investigating either fully bioreplica-based, or a bioinspired, synthetically-based design.

Keywords: Surface modification, anti-fouling applications, bio-inspired microstructures, centrifugal microfluidics

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