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June 2021

Call for Lancaster University Student/New Graduate Artists

  arts – sciences – digital – nature outdoors and online 18th-26th September 2021   Entangled is a week-long outdoor...
  arts – sciences – digital – nature outdoors and online 18th-26th September 2021   Entangled is a week-long outdoor and online festival coming to Morecambe Bay this September.   What we’re looking for: We have eight bursaries on offer for current students and recent graduates* of Lancaster University to...
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June 2021

Call for artists in North West England

arts – sciences – digital – nature 18th-26th September 2021 outdoors and online   Entangled is a week-long outdoor and...
arts – sciences – digital – nature 18th-26th September 2021 outdoors and online   Entangled is a week-long outdoor and online festival coming to Morecambe Bay this September.   What we’re looking for: We want to commission four artists who are living in North West England and working in any...
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May 2021

Virtual labs and digital environments

Can virtual lab technology support a paradigm shift towards a more open, collaborative and integrative environmental science? This webinar exploring...
Can virtual lab technology support a paradigm shift towards a more open, collaborative and integrative environmental science? This webinar exploring the potential of virtual labs and digital environments was presented by Ensemble's Prof. Gordon Blair and Dr. Michael Hollaway from UKCEH on 20th May.     The webinar is part...
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May 2021

Biodiversity Logbooks

The Biodiversity Logbooks project is a response to “Plant Blindness” (Wandersee & Schussler, 1999), more recently renamed “Plant Awareness Disparity”...
The Biodiversity Logbooks project is a response to “Plant Blindness” (Wandersee & Schussler, 1999), more recently renamed “Plant Awareness Disparity” (Parsley, 2020) which is the tendency to overlook plants and perceive them as less valuable than animals. This is connected to inability to recognise plant features, plant needs and the...
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May 2021

The Social Network of Soils

Our recent work on creating a classroom resource for high school students has taken us deep into the world of...
Our recent work on creating a classroom resource for high school students has taken us deep into the world of soils and helped us get to know some of the extraordinary lifeforms beneath our feet. The research in a box scheme is designed for schools to encourage students to engage...
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March 2021

Sense of Here – and the reality of complexity

  it can be tempting to seek direction in memory and hope but these make half-truths of place, skirt around...
  it can be tempting to seek direction in memory and hope but these make half-truths of place, skirt around the present   our paths pass through light and shade, trailing loss and gain and bring us face to face, again and again, with a thought that laps like the...
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March 2021

Promoting a more data-driven approach to flood risk management in the age of big data

In a recently published paper [1], the Ensemble team along with JBA Trust and the Environment Agency discuss how to...
In a recently published paper [1], the Ensemble team along with JBA Trust and the Environment Agency discuss how to support more data-driven decision support in flood risk management in an age of big data. This paper represents a major milestone for the project, reflecting the understanding gained from our...
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October 2020

Opening up Science in the 21st Century – the role of virtual labs

Dr Mike Holloway (UKCEH) is working closely with the Ensemble team. In this blog he discussing the role of virtual...
Dr Mike Holloway (UKCEH) is working closely with the Ensemble team. In this blog he discussing the role of virtual labs in transforming Environmental Science in 21st Century. In a world where collaborative and transparent science are taking centre stage, there has been a drive to using digital technologies to...
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September 2020

Soil sensing – transformative technologies or let’s transform technologies?

There is a lot of excitement about digital technologies in agriculture. Soil is the foundation of food production, and a...
There is a lot of excitement about digital technologies in agriculture. Soil is the foundation of food production, and a new ‘resource frontier’ for such agricultural techno-innovation, with new forms of sensing hoping to unlock greater soil productivity. Indeed, in the research literature, soil sensing is predominantly situated as the...
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August 2020

Agility in Transdisciplinary Research: Paper Summary

Findings from the Ensemble Project were published and presented at this year’s International Conference on ICT for Sustainability. The paper...
Findings from the Ensemble Project were published and presented at this year’s International Conference on ICT for Sustainability. The paper reports on the principles and mechanisms adopted by the flood sprint to enable transdisciplinary ways of working. The flood sprint, which considered the role of digital technologies in flood risk...
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August 2020

Ensemble’s Flood Sprint Film

We're very excited to share with you a short film about the flood sprint, featuring members of the Ensemble team...
We're very excited to share with you a short film about the flood sprint, featuring members of the Ensemble team as well as some of our project partners. (Subtitles available) The flood sprint was completed as part of Prof Gordon Blair's EPSRC Senior Fellowship: "The Role of Digital Technologies in...
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July 2020

Integrating Soil and Remote Sensing Data: Monitoring Peatlands

Statisticians at the British Geological Survey have devised and tested novel statistical models that can integrate different types of data...
Statisticians at the British Geological Survey have devised and tested novel statistical models that can integrate different types of data to monitor soils cost-effectively and at a scale and accuracy that was not previously possible. Soils perform many vital roles in maintaining the environment and in providing raw materials and...
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July 2020

Busy week for Ensemble at ICT4S

Recently, a number of us attended and/or presented at the 7th International Conference on ICT For Sustainability (ICT4S), a key...
Recently, a number of us attended and/or presented at the 7th International Conference on ICT For Sustainability (ICT4S), a key forum for discussions around digital technology and sustainability. The event should have been hosted in Bristol but, because of COVID-19, the event went fully virtual. Emily Winter presented a paper...
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May 2020

Digital naturalists at home: using digital lures to attract birds to safe places

The audio Tern Lure is a prototype made through a project with the RSPB. Terns are seabirds that are loyal...
The audio Tern Lure is a prototype made through a project with the RSPB. Terns are seabirds that are loyal to their nesting sites, so it is important that they form colonies in places that are safe, away from human threats and introduced predators. The aim of the Tern Lure...
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May 2020

Interning with Ensemble

Last summer I worked alongside Ensemble developing a solution to extract information from botany journals using NLP (Natural Language Processing)....
Last summer I worked alongside Ensemble developing a solution to extract information from botany journals using NLP (Natural Language Processing).  This was an incredible opportunity to develop my own coding and research skills whilst solving real-world problems and getting a taste of the workplace. What is Natural Language Processing? NLP...
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April 2020

The Detail of Here

Harriet and Rob Fraser, who work together as somewhere-nowhere are artists in residence with the Ensemble programme, and have been...
Harriet and Rob Fraser, who work together as somewhere-nowhere are artists in residence with the Ensemble programme, and have been joining gatherings and conferences since 2017. Their response to the challenges of complexity, and finding a way to more deeply understand the multi-layered elements of place, has been to set...
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March 2020

Don’t overlook internal variability when modelling past weather

Reflections from a recently published paper on internal model variability. Our daily weather forecasts, rain or shine, are derived from...
Reflections from a recently published paper on internal model variability. Our daily weather forecasts, rain or shine, are derived from interpreting sets of simulations all for the same time period. Known as 'ensembles', each simulation contains an ever so slightly different (perturbed) initial condition: the observed state of the Earth’s...
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February 2020

The Biodiversity Zoetrope

This project explores tools and practices that may enable us and the public to capture, understand, and communicate the complexity...
This project explores tools and practices that may enable us and the public to capture, understand, and communicate the complexity of biodiversity in Morecambe Bay. We wanted to build a machine that helps people make sense of data that is hard to see directly. The project sought to develop ways...
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January 2020

What is soil? Poetic Collection of Words

In September Ensemble hosted a soil workshop to bring together a community of academics, researchers and thought leaders. We asked...
In September Ensemble hosted a soil workshop to bring together a community of academics, researchers and thought leaders. We asked our Artists in Residence to share their reflections on the event.   ---------------   Stuffed into cleaned-out yoghurt pots, plastic bags and Tupperware boxes, and carried in on the soles...
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November 2019

Environmental Models of Everywhere: Why it will change modelling practice

In a recently published paper, Gordon Blair and colleagues revisit the concept of Environmental Models of Everywhere in the light...
In a recently published paper, Gordon Blair and colleagues revisit the concept of Environmental Models of Everywhere in the light of the new technological and computational possibilities that are now becoming available. "Models of Everywhere: unique environmental models each representing a particular place and scale, tailored to capture local peculiarities...
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October 2019

Soil Modelling: A Changing Landscape

After very enjoyable years looking at flooding and biodiversity, our attention as a team now turns to soils. In support...
After very enjoyable years looking at flooding and biodiversity, our attention as a team now turns to soils. In support of this, we recently held a two-day launch workshop in the fantastic setting of the Grange Hotel, Grange-over-Sands, overlooking the splendour of Morecambe Bay. [caption id="attachment_1035" align="alignright" width="338"] Credit: Rob...
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August 2019

Discipline Ploughing for Climate Resilience in Crops: Science, Farming and Agile Software Engineering meet in Crop-Net to Vision the Future

Crop-Net is a one-year feasibility study funded by the UKRI Climate Resilience programme, bringing together experts from a wide range...
Crop-Net is a one-year feasibility study funded by the UKRI Climate Resilience programme, bringing together experts from a wide range of disciplines, including climate and crop growth modelling, data science, socioeconomics and Earth observation, as well as having support and guidance from policy makers and the farming industry. Advances in...
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August 2019

The Hum of the Earth: The Development of Bioacoustics for Pollinator Monitoring

The two fundamental questions with which conservation biologists are faced are “how many individuals of a particular species are there?”...
The two fundamental questions with which conservation biologists are faced are “how many individuals of a particular species are there?” and “how is that number changing in space and time?” The answers to these questions are vital in order to understand which species might be at risk and to diagnose...
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July 2019

Understanding the Complexities of Morecambe Bay

As with many people in the area I am both excited and inspired by the prospect of an Eden Project...
As with many people in the area I am both excited and inspired by the prospect of an Eden Project North in Morecambe. I think back to the trip of the Ensemble team to the Eden Project in Cornwall in late November to discuss what it would mean to have...
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June 2019

The Lost Sounds

Which birds did you hear when you left home today? Can you recognise the calls of the birds that live...
Which birds did you hear when you left home today? Can you recognise the calls of the birds that live in your local area? The Lost Sounds is a new Ensemble project about noticing bird calls to become more aware of the presence and absence of bird species, and changes...
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May 2019

Exploring historic plant biodiversity in the Lake District: the role of digital technologies in extracting knowledge from historic texts

In June 2018 Ensemble opened a call to fund projects relating to biodiversity and digital technology. We funded four projects...
In June 2018 Ensemble opened a call to fund projects relating to biodiversity and digital technology. We funded four projects and have asked each team to share a bit about their work. Below is the report from the project entitled “Exploring historic plant biodiversity in the Lake District". They explored the use...
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May 2019

Funding Call for Digital Technology and Soils Projects

Central to Ensemble’s vision is to encourage and facilitate further research into digital technology and environmental change. Having focused on...
Central to Ensemble’s vision is to encourage and facilitate further research into digital technology and environmental change. Having focused on floods and biodiversity, the team will soon be turning their attention to digital technology challenges faced by those working in the soils domain. Therefore, we are now launching applications for...
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May 2019

Biodiversity dilemmas: can online participation platforms help?

In June 2018 Ensemble opened a call to fund projects relating to biodiversity and digital technology*. We funded four projects...
In June 2018 Ensemble opened a call to fund projects relating to biodiversity and digital technology*. We funded four projects and have asked each team to share a bit about their work. Below is the report from one of the projects. For this small project, we considered the potential of...
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April 2019

Biodiversity Sprint – Final Workshop

The Ensemble Biodiversity sprint will be ending soon.  In order to reflect on the work of the team over the...
The Ensemble Biodiversity sprint will be ending soon.  In order to reflect on the work of the team over the past year, and to present our achievements, we held a workshop at Brockholes, near Preston, on 18 and 19 March 2019.   Day 1: The workshop kicked off with introductions...
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March 2019

How to Catch a River: a Practice-as-Research Project on Flooding

Working with the Ensemble team as a writer-in-residence, Claire Dean has explored different ways of making flood stories and working...
Working with the Ensemble team as a writer-in-residence, Claire Dean has explored different ways of making flood stories and working with technologies to share them.  This also formed part of her PhD in Design and Computing at Lancaster University. During the research, Claire developed three very different kinds of stories:...
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February 2019

‘Telling the Bees’ and the Beespoon

Alongside their work on Ensemble the researcher team are encouraged to work on complementary projects.  This month we feature the...
Alongside their work on Ensemble the researcher team are encouraged to work on complementary projects.  This month we feature the work of Liz Edwards who was Co-I on a recently completed AHRC funded project, ‘Telling the Bees’. Telling the Bees was an interdisciplinary arts and humanities research project between Universities...
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January 2019

Ensemble Team trip to the Met Office Informatics Lab and the Eden Project.

At the end of November, the Ensemble Team had a trip to the South West of England to visit the...
At the end of November, the Ensemble Team had a trip to the South West of England to visit the Met Office Informatics Lab in Exeter and the Eden Project in Cornwall. After a long train journey, the Team spent the afternoon on 28 November learning about the exciting and...
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November 2018

The Windermere Accord: Addressing the Role of Digital Technologies in Responding to the Grand Challenges of the Natural Environment

The Worldwide Universities Network in talking about the global challenges of our environment state: “The major issues facing our planet...
The Worldwide Universities Network in talking about the global challenges of our environment state: “The major issues facing our planet are of a magnitude that no one institution or organization can address on its own. They require the pooling and sharing of knowledge across institutions, across disciplines and across continents.”...
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October 2018

Summer Internship; looking at lake temperature data

As a Maths and Stats student going into his 3rd year at Lancaster University, the opportunity to tackle real life...
As a Maths and Stats student going into his 3rd year at Lancaster University, the opportunity to tackle real life statistical research excited me. Though little experience in Environmental studies, the Ensemble team welcomed me with open arms and remained patient as I grasped new ideas and methods. Working under...
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September 2018

iCaptureFLOOD Project

Funded by Ensemble in the first call for small grant proposals, the iCapture FLOOD project involved the development of an interactive...
Funded by Ensemble in the first call for small grant proposals, the iCapture FLOOD project involved the development of an interactive touch-screen table to explore flood risk and provide options for natural flood management (NFM). The touch-screen table provides an innovative digital solution as an alternative to using paper maps and enables...
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August 2018

On Complexity in Distributed Systems

In early July, I was in Vienna, attending and presenting at the 38th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems....
In early July, I was in Vienna, attending and presenting at the 38th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems. In some ways, this felt like going home as distributed systems has been my core disciplinary area for over thirty years. In other ways, I felt like an outsider as...
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July 2018

Join the team to walk Lancaster’s Mill Race

Revealing the Mill Race is a small research project being carried out within Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communication,...
Revealing the Mill Race is a small research project being carried out within Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communication, Imagination Lancaster and Highwire Centre for Doctoral Training, funded by the Ensemble project. We are exploring how communities and businesses who experience flooding can contribute their knowledge, experiences and memories...
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May 2018

Call for Proposals: £10,000 available for a digital technology and biodiversity project

An exciting opportunity has arisen for individuals, academics, community groups and other organisations to apply for a grant for a...
An exciting opportunity has arisen for individuals, academics, community groups and other organisations to apply for a grant for a project relating to digital technology and biodiversity.* As part of our vision to extend the remit of our research, we are pleased to announce that we have a £10,000 grant available...
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March 2018

Biodiversity Sprint – Launch Workshop

The Ensemble team is now shifting their focus from digital technology and flood risk management to digital technology and biodiversity....
The Ensemble team is now shifting their focus from digital technology and flood risk management to digital technology and biodiversity. To launch our new ‘sprint’ we held a workshop at Brockholes in Preston, on the 12th and 13th March, with a number of guests and experts from across the country....
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February 2018

Revealing the Mill Race: a research project to explore Lancaster’s hidden waterway

What is the Mill Race and why does it matter? The Mill Race is a channel of water that lies...
What is the Mill Race and why does it matter? The Mill Race is a channel of water that lies underneath some of Lancaster's low-lying streets. In medieval times, the Mill Race gained its name, powering mills near what is now Damside Street and Dye House Lane. Over the succeeding...
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January 2018

Understanding Extreme Waves

Just before Christmas, I was invited to speak at the 10th CMStatistics Conference at Senate House at the University of...
Just before Christmas, I was invited to speak at the 10th CMStatistics Conference at Senate House at the University of London. The conference is one of the largest Statistics conferences with over 1700 attendees. I was presenting my doctoral research at the conference; this was a great opportunity to revisit...
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November 2017

Manchester Science Festival

In October the Ensemble team joined with others from JBA Trust, the Environment Agency, the Cuidar project and HighWire Centre...
In October the Ensemble team joined with others from JBA Trust, the Environment Agency, the Cuidar project and HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training to deliver a series of installations at the Manchester Science Festival (MSF17). The installations, which were located on the ‘Pi Platform’ in the Power Hall at Manchester...
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October 2017

Ideas as Seeds

“I love the concept of an idea: when you have an idea, it hasn’t got any molecules until you’ve incarnated...
“I love the concept of an idea: when you have an idea, it hasn’t got any molecules until you’ve incarnated it in some way by making a sketch, or making a note to materially recognise the impulse. If you don’t do anything with it, the idea evaporates!” David Nash, Sculptor...
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September 2017

Summer interning: digital technology and flooding

Computer Science can offer a lot to facilitate the work of environmental science; most apparent being the enhancement of tools...
Computer Science can offer a lot to facilitate the work of environmental science; most apparent being the enhancement of tools and sensors used by environmental scientists. However, the focus on my internship has taken the perhaps less considered route of enhancing the reach and application of environmental science through Computer...
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September 2017

Summer interning: Supraglacial Lakes

This summer I have had the opportunity to join the Ensemble team as an intern working with the Lancaster University...
This summer I have had the opportunity to join the Ensemble team as an intern working with the Lancaster University Environmental Science department and funded by NERC. Though my main research has not been affiliated with any of Ensembles main projects, the team welcomed me with open arms and were...
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August 2017

Rapid urbanisation and the urban heat island, a case for Models in the Cloud

Lagos, Nigeria is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The cities’ population has doubled since 2000 to...
Lagos, Nigeria is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The cities’ population has doubled since 2000 to 13 million and is set to double again by 2030 (UN). This rate of expansion will have undoubtedly lead to social and infrastructure risks to the city. One of the...
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July 2017

Call for Funding: £10,000 available for digital technology and flooding projects

An exciting opportunity has arisen for individuals, academics, community groups and other organisations to apply for grants for projects relating...
An exciting opportunity has arisen for individuals, academics, community groups and other organisations to apply for grants for projects relating to digital technology and flooding.* (*all proposals must be led by an organisation that is eligible for RCUK funding and must meet RCUK eligibility criteria.) As part of our vision...
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June 2017

Big Data and Earth Sciences Workshop

At the end of May / early June, after a few travel problems including an unexpected overnight stop in Philadelphia,...
At the end of May / early June, after a few travel problems including an unexpected overnight stop in Philadelphia, I attended the Big Data and Earth Sciences: Grand Challenges Workshop at the University of California, San Diego. The three-day workshop had a varied range of speakers from both academia...
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May 2017

Interning with Ensemble

This year I had a chance to become a part of the Ensemble team as part of an internship and...
This year I had a chance to become a part of the Ensemble team as part of an internship and collaboration between Lancaster University and JBA Trust. My project was a combination of augmented reality and environmental modelling working to expand the functionality of an open source project called the...
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March 2017

Flood Modelling Sprint Workshop

This workshop was the first major event organised by Gordon Blair’s Senior Fellowship project in conjunction with JBA Trust. The...
This workshop was the first major event organised by Gordon Blair’s Senior Fellowship project in conjunction with JBA Trust. The focus of the workshop was to understand how the use of digital technologies can enhance flood modelling, and help inform better decision making. The workshop brought together experts in flood...
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February 2017

Lancaster hosts first EPSRC Living With Environmental Change Fellows workshop

In February we were honoured to host a workshop bringing together EPSRC’s latest crop of Living With Environmental Change Fellows....
In February we were honoured to host a workshop bringing together EPSRC’s latest crop of Living With Environmental Change Fellows. These fellowships aim to support the next generation of research leaders focused on adapting to and mitigating against climate change, and develop the use of digital technologies in meeting this...
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January 2017

Ensemble Assemble

On the 25th of January a hardy group of inter-disciplinary adventurers met up for the first time at Wyresdale Hall...
On the 25th of January a hardy group of inter-disciplinary adventurers met up for the first time at Wyresdale Hall in Scorton, Lancashire. This gathering of unlike-minded people were there to formally kick-off Gordon Blair’s 5 year EPSRC Senior Fellowship programme addressing the role of digital technologies within living with...