Monday, 7 January 2013

Back to work and virtual humans

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to 2013 - hope you all had a good break. I'm sure 2013 will be another successful year for us - lots to do, and we also welcome our new Assistant Director, Dave Surtees, who started with us today.

When we got back last week it was straight into a 9am meeting of the Steering group overseeing the review of our student system. We're looking at what we currently have, as well as a vision for the future,  but the emphasis is increasingly on process change, simplification and standardisation.

I've had a meeting with HR about the Equality Objectives project I was involved in last year, and particularly how we can change the way we recruit staff so that we more closely reflect the local population. Lots of things to try out, and an interesting pilot is soon to start for some of our ancillary staff.

This morning we had a Business Continuity Operational Group, where the main agenda item was looking at the recommendations coming out of the exercise I took part in before Christmas, where we had three teams working on three different simulated incidents.

Finally today, I and some colleagues went to talk to one of our academic research institutes, INISIGNEO. This is a really exciting initiative - joint research involving departments in the Faculties of Engineering and Medicine. They are using computer simulation and modelling techniques to predict changes in the physiological state of a person. For example the progression of a disease, or of treatment. They are building biological models of organ systems which will eventually complete the virtual physiological human. This is all very exciting (there's a press release about it here), and of course, it requires computing power, hence our discussions with them. We'll be working with them to make sure they get the right sort of processing power, and the necessary training and support. It's one of the reasons I love working in a University, listening to academics who are passionate about their research.

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