News in Brief - 2020
The first inklings of the impending COVID-19 pandemic were in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. By imposing very strict lockdown measures and rapidly building huge emergency hospitals, the epidemic in China was controlled. By analysing data on case numbers in mainland China, Chinese mathematicians working with NRI’s Professor Bob Cheke calculated the effective reproductive number for the disease and how this changed in relation to different mitigation measures from 10 January to 6 March 2020.
“Fascinating, relaxed, thought-provoking – and providing an excellent guilt-free excuse for a weeknight virtual pub-trip!”
After a successful first year, the University of Greenwich’s Faculty of Engineering and Science (FES) has been fortunate to be chosen as one of 12 Universities to run a virtual Pint of Science in September 2020!
Pint of Science is an international science festival which provides a space for researchers and members of the public to come together, be curious, and chat about research and science in a relaxed environment outside mysterious laboratories or daunting dark lecture theatres.
The importance of bees and other pollinators to UK crops and wildflowers is now relatively well established, but did you know that their importance for smallholder farmers in low-income regions of the world can be even greater? A new study by scientists from NRI and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (Tanzania), shows just how valuable bees and pollinators are to agriculture in the developing world. The study was funded by the UK’s Darwin Initiative and the McKnight CCRP.
Indigenous peoples, their knowledge and their livelihoods have been threatened for centuries. Every two weeks, an indigenous language is lost and with it, indigenous knowledge, threatening the survival and resilience of the people concerned.
NRI has been finding innovative solutions to the global problem of food loss and waste for well over a century. Our scientists are constantly inventing, researching and developing new ways to reduce crop losses, improve food safety and nutrition, streamline transportation, reduce plastic packaging and pollution, and tackle pests that ruin harvests and spread disease. This year saw the first ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, a good opportunity for NRI to share some of its most exciting projects, old and new.
Graduating students from NRI at the University of Greenwich would normally be welcomed warmly into the lofty grandeur of nearby Rochester Cathedral for the formal ceremony. Families and friends file in to take their places and there would be an expectant hush as the Professors and University grandees, resplendent in robes, assumed their places on the raised dais.
Emmanuel Taiwo left Nigeria in 2013 and boarded a plane for the very first time, to come to the UK and study at NRI. His first impression was that the UK was cold in temperature, but warm in welcome. Emmanuel took five minutes out of his day to Skype with NRI Communication’s Officer, Linden Kemkaran, about his experience.
In response to the announcement of the proposed merger between the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, NRI highlights the importance of continued international development work to help improve the lives of vulnerable people all over the world.
Ana Cristina left Mexico City to follow in her father’s footsteps and study for a Master’s at a university in the UK. As a mature student who’d been passionate about food and science from an early age, Ana embraced the lifestyle at NRI and quickly bonded with her much younger housemates. Ana took five minutes out of her day to Skype with Communications Officer Linden Kemkaran on what she learned, and what she’s doing now.
Technology development carries a great deal of risk. Processes are often lengthy and resource intensive, with the chance that even after substantial investment, the final prototype may not operate as intended. NRI has embarked on an exciting new partnership with Latin American-based innovative software provider, ESSS – Engineering Simulation and Scientific Software, and CADFEM – ESSS’s partner in the UK. It heralds a new era in which NRI scientists will be able to test prototype agri-processing machines virtually, before going to the expense and effort of building them.
Bernard Essel came to NRI in 2015 to study for an MSc in Sustainable Environment Management. Originally from Ghana, he grew up with a fascination for technology and a dream of becoming a civilian airline pilot. Bernard took five minutes out of his day to Skype with NRI Communications Officer, Linden Kemkaran, on how he now spends his days flying, but not quite in the way he’d imagined.