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Oxford Brookes' research is frequently concerned with solutions to minimise the impact of poverty, ill health, educational underachievement, climate change, globalisation, injustice and conflict. Many Brookes staff are involved in consultancy and advisory roles, from influencing local and national policy to making recommendations to governments abroad. Below are just a few examples of our current work:
We wanted to show through this single house you can actually achieve 85 per cent reductions [in carbon dioxide emissions].
Rajat Gupta, Professor of Architecture and Climate Change at Brookes, is in charge of a two-year project using an Oxford home, the ‘eco house’, to assess the impact of various energy-saving measures. The Victorian end-of-terrace property has been stripped back both outside and inside during an extensive rebuild, and the householders’ energy consumption can now be remotely monitored.
Rajat’s findings will help policy makers determine the best ways to cut the carbon footprint of existing housing throughout the UK – particularly important in light of the government’s tough targets for reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
Our Children and Families Research Group recently adapted an American classroom game for use in UK schools, and is now working with Oxfordshire County Council to trial the game in local schools. The Good Behaviour Game is designed to minimise disruptive behaviour, and is proven to have long-term benefits for children and families.
Although much of Oxfordshire is prosperous, a small number of areas within the county fall into some of the 20% most deprived areas of the country. Brookes’ academic Richard Huggins contributes in an advisory capacity to the Oxford Partnership and its regeneration work, which focuses on three main areas: giving children a good start in life and supporting vulnerable families; improving employability; and reducing health inequalities.
Researchers from Oxford Brookes are working with BMW Group, to discover exactly how zero-emission cars cope with the demands of everyday driving. Engineers, mathematicians and statisticians from our Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre, plus a team of psychologists, are collecting and analysing technical data and driver feedback from the year-long trial of electrically-powered MINIs.
Set up in 2009, the Brookes Babylab investigates how children learn about the world around them. We are particularly interested in how language affects the way in which babies group objects together, and how babies understand emotions. The Babylab team are always happy to recruit new children for studies. If you would like to visit us and let your child participate in our studies, please visit the Babylab website for more information.
Professor Jo Neale's research focuses on ways of improving the lives of individuals who live at the very margins of society. Along with Dr Caral Stevenson, Jo has recently undertaken a study looking at the role of emergency hostels and night shelters in meeting the needs of homeless drug users. This study has produced a set of good practice guidelines for service providers and these have been widely disseminated in the UK, Europe and Australia. Jo and Caral are now exploring ways of working with homeless drug users to turn the good practice guidelines into a short ten-minute video that will reach an even larger audience.
Engineering academics and students at Oxford Brookes made the first UK-built mountain bike with a bamboo frame, launched in partnership with RAW Bamboo Bikes at the Cycle Show 2011. Bamboo is as strong as steel but more comfortable on long rides and far more environmentally sustainable.
You can catch up with all our latest research news here.