Case studies

Here are just some of the highlights of the University’s research activities that are conducted on a global stage. Some areas are embedded within specific centres and schools but there is also a high degree of individual international collaboration. You can find further examples by exploring our Research site, our Directory of Experts and the individual web pages of our academic staff.

Aquatest

The Aquatest Research Programme

The World Health Organization has estimated that water-borne disease causes 1.8 million deaths annually, of which 1.5 million are of children under five. Over one billion people lack access to safe water. Most do not even know their water is unsafe and are at risk of potentially fatal diarrhoeal diseases.

Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aquatest Research Programme, a large international consortium, is developing a novel device for testing water safety in developing countries. Led by Professor Stephen Gundry, Director of the University of Bristol's Water and Health Research Centre, the consortium is working in close collaboration with researchers and potential users in South Africa and India.

The consortium is developing Aquatest, the world’s first low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic tool giving a clear, reliable indication of water quality. The Aquatest project aims to give individuals and communities the information they need to identify unsafe water and to empower them to work towards improvements in water supply. Knowing that water is unsafe will encourage treatment before use and motivate changes in water management and sanitation. Accompanying information will include advice on taking action such as chlorinating water, checking for contamination or improving water safety at the communal supply point.

The Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information

The Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information (NSQI)

The NSQI and the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California Los Angeles have signed an agreement for research collaborations and educational exchanges in nanoscience and nanotechnology. This link between two of the world’s leading centres of nanoscale research clears the way for a combination of resources, and increases the potential impact of nanotechnology on problems of global concern in energy, health and the environment. You can read more details of this agreement in this news article.

Community-Based Medicine

Community-Based Medicine

Depression is common and can have devastating effects on the lives of adolescents. Psychological interventions are the first line for treating or preventing depression among young people. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown to prevent young people from developing mental health problems by giving them skills that help promote positive thinking, coping and problem-solving. Professor Ricardo Araya in the School of Social and Community Medicine is spearheading a project to introduce a programme of cognitive behavioural therapy into schools from Bristol to Santiago, Chile with the aim of improving the mental health of teenagers. The Santiago project, which has secured funding from the Wellcome Trust, is the first school-based trial to address the mental health of teenagers in Latin America.

Exercise, Nutrition and Health

Exercise, Nutrition and Health

The Bangladeshi population is one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the UK, and are among the most socially disadvantaged. They also have poorer than average health - both self-reported and measured - as indicated by higher rates of disability, obesity and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Older Bangladeshi women are particularly affected, since they play a leading role in caretaking for multiple generations within relatively large extended families. Many struggle to cope with the complex challenges of ageing, poverty, racism and social exclusion.

The ‘Migration, nutrition and ageing across the life course in Bangladeshi families’ (MINA) project, led by Professor Janice Thompson in the School for Policy Studies, aims to address these issues across two generations of Bangladeshi women. By gaining a better understanding of the impact of migration on nutritional status, food practices and beliefs, and experiences and perceptions of ageing amongst this group, the project will develop processes and products to help reduce existing health inequalities and promote healthy, active ageing among Bangladeshi women.

Historical Studies

Historical Studies

During the 1966-69 Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, individuals in China destroyed dangerous and ‘easily misunderstood’ records of their past, such as photographs. Today, fed by a nostalgia for the lost world represented in those photographs, China is experiencing an ‘old photographs’ fever. Between 1842 and 1954 tens of thousands of Britons visited or lived in China, and many bought, commissioned, or took photographs while they were there. Discovered hidden away in attics and cupboards, these photographs provide a record of a colonial lifestyle now long gone, and a China that is rapidly vanishing.

The Historical Photographs of China Project, led by Professor Robert Bickers in the Department of History, aims to track down such photographs held outside China that are either in private hands, or are locked away in libraries and archives which do not have the capacity to make them available. So far, over 8,000 photographs have been digitised and are available for educational, reference and research purposes. They shed light on political events and offer insights into working and social life, architecture, commercial history, dress and fashion, industrialisation, crime and punishment, foreigners in China and the Chinese abroad, and of course the history of photography in China.

The Global Insecurities Centre

The Global Insecurities Centre

States and societies must now deal with security threats that are unprecedented in both scale and complexity: political and military concerns, terrorism, economic and environmental issues, natural disasters - all of these have the potential to combine in new ways in the 21st century. Mark Duffield, Professor of Development Politics, is Director of the Global Insecurities Centre (GIC) in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies. The Centre undertakes and supports interdisciplinary research that addresses these urgent and constantly developing global issues and the responses to them by governments and international organisations. The GIC also hosts and facilitates projects, events and forums to support academic debate and inform policy interventions across the world. Among current or recently completed projects based at the GIC are studies of aspects of security in regions including Vietnam, Myanmar, Sudan and Serbia-Montenegro, as well as examinations of security and defence policy in the UK, Continental Europe, South Asia and India.