Blog posts

Longitude Prize 2014 launched

The BBC launched the Longitude Prize 2014 on Monday 19 May, announcing the six challenge themes:

  • Flight – low carbon
  • Food security – nutritious, sustainable
  • Antibiotics resistance
  • Paralysis – assistive tech/neuro advances etc
  • Water – clean, safe access etc
  • Dementia – assistive tech etc

£10M is available over 5 years to demonstrate proof of concept and ability to scale. All of the 6 challenge themes map to Imperial activities and expertise! 

Tony Hall, Lord Rees Brian Cox, Kevin Fong and Attenborough were all there to launch the Prize. Lord Rees Chairs the committee which has short-listed the six themes.

The Longitude Prize 2014 has been set up by the BBC, Nesta and the TSB, to mark 300 years since the (original) Longitude Prize.

Find out more about the challenges: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27425224

Details were broadcast on the One Show and on a special Horizon episode (celebrating 50 years of Horizon), after which, voting opened. The nation gets to vote on the six challenge areas, with only the most popular being tackled. The chosen theme will be announced 25 June.

Dr Claire Thorne
Executive Coordinator to Professor David Gann CBE, Vice President (Development and Innovation)

Webinar: Regimen Design and Dosing for Children with DR-TB: A Case-Based Discussion

Dr James Seddon, Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Medicine,  co-presented a webinar entitled “Regimen Design and Dosing for Children with Drug-Resistant TB: A Case-Based Discussion” that was organized by the Sentinel Project for Paediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, on Friday April 25 2014.

A new five-year graduate medicine programme from 2015-16

After much consideration and discussion, the School of Medicine has taken the decision that it will no longer offer a four-year graduate entry programme with effect from 2015-16.

The new five-year programme

Graduate students will instead be able to apply for a more tailored, five-year programme with exemption from the BSc honours year.

This decision was taken in the light of the 2012 Graduate Entry review, student feedback about the intensity of the programme and the lack of opportunities to pursue research and scholarship, and the potential of full registration with the GMC being conferred on graduation, which would mean a four-year programme does not meet the requisite training hours to meet current EU requirements.

More information about this new programme will be provided in due course.

Chris Harris
Quality and Educational Development Manager
Faculty Education Office (Medicine)

Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund Networks of Excellence – deadline 12-noon, 9 May 2014

We are seeking to support novel biomedical research collaborations across disciplines and departments. Proposals for pilot or feasibility work for high risk projects, to support collaborative cohesion, test or develop new methods, or proof of concept studies are encouraged, rather than standard projects.  It is envisaged that the outcomes of supported work will form the basis of a major grant application. Whilst funding is available to support any research within the remit of the Wellcome Trust, networks undertaking interdisciplinary research in the themes of infectious disease, medical imaging and diabetes/metabolic medicine are particularly welcome.

How to apply?

If you wish to submit a proposal you should complete the project application form and submit it to ISSF@imperial.ac.uk by the 12noon, 9th May 2014. As we wish to fund a range of applications, a researcher cannot be principal investigator on more than one application, though this will not preclude applicants from being co-applicants on additional proposals. For further information please email ISSF@imperial.ac.uk or see the Networks of Excellence guidelines available at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/researchstrategy/funding/wtissf

Dr Kimberley Trim
Research Strategy Officer
Faculty of Medicine

Imperial students win Institute of Medical Ethics national debating final

Imperial team and banner

Another success for Imperial College students: on the 29th of March, Imperial College won the Institute of Medical Ethics National Student Debating final at the Institute of Education.  Representing Imperial were: Claire Brash, Joe Gafton, Sarah Sturrock and Klara Weaver; all year 3 students:  ‘Having seen the calibre of the competition at the Southern Regional final a couple of weeks previously, we were prepared for a challenging afternoon of debating’ they explained.  The students had two weeks to prepare their arguments for the cases to be debated but did not know if they would be arguing for or against the motion.

The first debate was against Sheffield; the Imperial team defended the ability of the Doctor to ‘snoop’ on patients online to try to establish if the patient awaiting a liver transplant was genuinely abstinent from alcohol. The team delivered an excellent case cleverly justifying the breach of privacy on the grounds of the best interests of the patient rather than the utilitarian public interest argument of using scarce resources efficiently and won a place in the final round. The team had just 30 minutes to prepare their final debate – arguing against the motion that an autonomous request by a terminally ill patient for deep terminal sedation (i.e. rendering him unconscious until death) was ethically acceptable. They faced tough competition from Lancaster University but argued persuasively that an autonomous wish to give up autonomy through permanent sedation was no more acceptable than an autonomous wish to enter slavery and that the spiritual importance of death was of great value as a unifying human experience.

Students interested in representing Imperial College in the Institute Medical Ethics debating competition next year should get in touch with this year’s winners or:

Dr Wing May Kong
Vertical Theme Head 
Ethics Leadership and Professionalism

Institute of Global Health Innovation April update

IGHI

  • New Adjunct and Visiting Professors announced. Forming effective collaborations is important to the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI). By working in partnership with established academics, policy makers and business leaders, we can make better-informed decisions and obtain a broader understanding of the issues facing global health today. IGHI are pleased to announce our new Adjunct and Visiting Professors who have recently been appointed within the institute.

 

Jo Seed
Communications and Events Officer
Institute of Global Health Innovation

Imperial BRC health informatics programme to facilitate research across AHSCs

Professor Dame Sally Davies

The NIHR Imperial BRC is a partner in a new £8M health informatics programme to enable the collaborative sharing of routinely collected NHS data to facilitate more effective clinical research.

The programme, called the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (NIHR-HIC), is a challenge from the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies to the five NHS Trusts in England with the largest Biomedical Research Centres, i.e. Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, UCLH and GSST, to collaborate and demonstrate how sharing of NHS clinical information held electronically, can facilitate more effective clinical research, and lead to benefits for patients and the public, researchers and NHS staff.

This new initiative was publicly announced recently by Dame Sally. It follows the government’s ‘Plan for Growth’ which details a number of actions designed to promote the UK as a competitive global hub for life sciences.

For Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust this initiative will deliver IT capability to support the sharing and use of NHS data for research in five scientific themes: viral hepatology (led by Graham Cooke and Mark Thursz), ovarian cancer (led by Christina Fotopoulou and Hani Gabra), renal transplantation (led by Adam McLean and David Taube) intensive care medicine (Led by Simon Ashworth and Stephen Brett) and acute coronary syndromes (led by John Chambers and Jamil Mayet). Each pan-BRC theme is led by one of the BRCs and Imperial is leading on Acute Coronary Syndrome.

Alongside these activities, the NIHR-HIC Programme will engage patients, the public and other stakeholders to agree an integrated governance framework that is flexible, proportionate, and serves to protect data confidentiality and uphold patient privacy at all times, while facilitating research.

The NIHR-HIC programme is managed through the AHSC Research Informatics Subcommittee chaired by Professor Paul Elliott, bringing together the ICHNT IT Department, Divisional Directors, the Caldicott Guardian, the Imperial tissue bank and the NHIR HIC theme leaders to develop and oversee the implementation of a comprehensive  IT strategy for research across the AHSC.

NIHR-HIC is the beginning of the informatics infrastructure that will be required to deliver the MedCity research linkage across the five AHSCs in Southern England.  It is anticipated the new research informatics infrastructure will go live in September 2014.

 

For more information contact:

Roger Tatoud, PhD.
Senior Programme Manager
Imperial College London
St Mary’s Campus – The Bays, 2nd Entrance
South Wharf Road
London W2 1NY UK
r.tatoud@imperial.ac.uk 020 3312 2560

Staff Photoshoot – Tuesday 6 May 2014

2265908696_eafe978f5d_zThe College is providing a free photo opportunity to any member of staff who would like to have a professional portrait taken. This is a fantastic chance to quickly gain a properly lit portrait picture, which can be used on your professional web page and elsewhere.

Many of the slots are now full, however  there are some still available at St Mary’s during the afternoon. Complete this online form to book your place.

Babies and Bumps New Parents’ Network

New parents and parents-to-be are invited to meet other Imperial colleagues in a similar situation for informal networking and mutual support over tea/coffee.

HR will be present to answer any questions in relation to maternity and paternity leave.

For further information of network meeting dates and details of who to contact, please view the relevant campus link below:

MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis & Modelling participate in World Health Day event at Houses of Parliament, coordinated by Malaria No More

MNM

This experimental event will be held in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, from 17.30 to 19.30 on 7 April 2014 – World Health Day, which this year is themed on vector-borne diseases.

Members of the malaria group within the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis & Modelling at Imperial College London will encourage parliamentarians to investigate the implications of future malaria investment using two custom-built modelling games. The games will challenge attendees to determine the best way to spend the global malaria budget and to explore the implications of changing the global level of investment in malaria control.The Malaria No More goal is to engage new parliamentarians and motivate existing supportive parliamentarians for the coming critical year in the malaria campaign.

mosquitoThe aim is to build a large group of parliamentarians who have had direct experiential contact with the major malaria messages (e.g. achievement of last decade/cost effectiveness/vision of future).

The event will be attended by MPs including Jeremy Lefroy, Stephen O’Brien and Fiona O’Donnell together with journalists, DFID staff, SPADs, researchers, and APPMG members. MPs who attend will also be given a chance of a photo opportunity with Malaria No More’s own Mozzie Man and a press release relating to the number of lives their constituency has saved and protected from malaria.

Visit our website to find out more information about the malaria work undertaken in the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling.

Alison Reynolds
Diagnostics Modelling Consortium

twitter

 

Imperial Confidence in Concept Showcase Event – 17th Feb 2014

The second call of the Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) was launched in January 2014. Building on the success of the 2013 ICiC scheme and NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) / Imperial Innovations Therapeutic Primer Fund, the College has received further funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC), as well as additional support from NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, to continue this scheme. The ICiC scheme provides pilot funding to bridge the potential gap between discovery research and well-developed applications for MRC Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme support.

Confidence in Concept event 17.02.2014   051

The annual ICiC event was held on Monday 17th February in The Great Hall on South Kensington Campus. This year’s event was focussed on devices and diagnostics and was a great success, attended by approximately 100 academics across the College. Attendees included recipients of awards from last year’s scheme and early career researchers who showcased their ICiC-funded work.

This cross-College event had a wide range of speakers including representatives from the Faculties of Engineering (Prof Andrew Amis), Medicine (Prof George Hanna), and Natural Sciences (Profs Tony Cass and Paul French) as well as our collaborators at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research (Prof Stan Kaye, Drs Nicola Valeri and Gert Attard).

The talks were engaging, informative and stimulating and special thanks goes to our external speakers Dr Helen Lee (University of Cambridge) and Dr Ray Bacon (CEO, TRIG1) for sharing their experiences of device and diagnostic development for commercial use with their talks entitled ‘Challenges in developing diagnostics for resource-limited settings’ (Lee) and ‘Commercial…is not a dirty word’ (Bacon).

The deadline for applications was 5th March with shortlisting due to take place at the end of March and final funding decisions to be made in May.

Dr Kimberley Trim
Research Strategy Officer
Faculty of Medicine

Changes Within the Campus Safety Manager Support Team

  • Sukwinder Singh faces all buildings on the Hammersmith campus other than the Commonwealth and Burlington Danes Buildings.
  • Heather Combe will (following a short handover period from Sukwinder Singh) face the Charing Cross Campus and both the Commonwealth and Burlington Danes Buildings at Hammersmith Campus.
  • Diane Thomason has joined us and has taken over as Campus Safety Manager for both the  St Mary’s and NWPH Campuses.
  • Helga Koch remains Campus Safety Manager covering South Kensington, the Royal Brompton, Chelsea & Westminster and Harefield Hospital Campuses.

In addition, Sally Campbell has been appointed as the new Faculty Centre Safety and Compliance Manager and is tasked with monitoring the staff compliance with Faculty and College H&S Policies. Sally will also be  advising the CBS staff on their Health and Safety  arrangements.

We are now entering the next phase of the Lone Working Policy implementation and have introduced a compliance monitoring programme. This is  based on lists that are obtained from Security of those who have accessed College operated premises out of hours. These will then be compared with the lone working authorisations forms registered on the Faculty database. Details of those staff members who have accessed premises but without authorisation will be sent to the Department for action i.e. the Department will be asked to ensure that all those working out of hours are authorised to do so, in line with Faculty Lone Working Policy. Checks will be made within a 3 week period to ensure that this has been complied with.

Wendy Gould
Deputy Faculty Operating Officer and Programme Director for Faculty Operations
Faculty of Medicine

Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund Networks of Excellence

We are seeking to support novel, interdisciplinary biomedical research collaborations in the themes of infectious disease, medical imaging and diabetes/metabolic medicine. This is a cross-College scheme that welcomes any proposal to offer greater collaboration across disciplines and across departments. Proposals for pilot or feasibility work for high risk projects, to support collaborative cohesion, test or develop new methods, or proof of concept studies are encouraged, rather than standard projects. It is envisaged that the outcomes of supported work will form the basis of a major grant application. Whilst funding is available to support any research within the remit of the Wellcome Trust, networks undertaking interdisciplinary research inin the themes of infectious disease, medical imaging and diabetes/metabolic medicine are particularly welcome. It is envisaged that the outcomes of this work will form the basis of a major grant application. This scheme will be launched the week beginning 17th March 2014 with a deadline of 9th May 2014.

How to apply?

If you wish to submit a proposal you should complete the project application form and submit it to ISSF@imperial.ac.uk by the deadline9th May 2014. As we wish to fund a range of applications, a researcher cannot be principal investigator on more than one application, though this will not preclude applicants from being co-applicants on additional proposals. For further information please email ISSF@imperial.ac.uk or see the Networks of Excellence guidelines available at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/researchstrategy/funding/wtissf 

Dr Kimberley Trim
Research Strategy Officer
Faculty of Medicine

PCD Supports Nigerian Government to Eradicate Worms in Children

To reduce child morbidity in Nigeria, the Partnership for Child Development​ (PCD), Imperial College London recently supported the Nigerian Government to map 7,500 children for worm infections across 150 selected schools in Osun State, Nigeria. The exercise was part of a government-led mapping carried out across six states in Nigeria which will be used to construct an effective treatment plan ensuring schoolchildren are dewormed for infections posing a threat to their health, nutrition and development.

“This exercise demonstrates the commitment from Nigeria’s Government to eradicating NTDs, which will be enabled by determining the prevalence of parasitic worm infections Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) and Schistosomiasis”, said Nigeria’s National Coordinator for NTDs, Dr Obiageli Nebe.

Worm Impact on Children

Technical teams assess worm prevalence through microscopesCurrently, 00 million children around the world suffer from STHs or schistosomiasis and often fail to attend school on a regular basis, those who do attend school are unable to concentrate and learn due in large part to tired or sickness. Worm infections can cause anaemia ​and malnutrition​ which means that children don’t have the energy they would otherwise. School-based deworming is universally recognized as a safe, simple and cost-effective solution. At a cost of less than 50 US cents per child per year – the benefits of school-based deworming​ are both immediate and enduring. Regular treatment can reduce school absenteeism by 25%.

Mapping Training

Children being mapped for worms in Osun State

The exercise which ran from February 20 – March 8 was carried out across Nigerian states including Osun, Kebbi, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Bayelsa and Kogi States. The exercise was led by the Nigerian Government with support from the Children Investment Fund Foundation​, SightSavers, PCD and other development organisations. To enhance mapping effectiveness, a training of trainers workshop focused on building capacity of state technical officers and partners was held in Lagos prior to the mapping, here attendees were taught to capture data from the field using new tools including the use of android smart phones.

PCD have supported School Health and Nutrition activities in the state since 2011, assisting the government to implement its school feeding programme using local produce​ sourced from local smallholder farmers.

Charlotte Broyd
Communications Officer
Partnership for Child Development
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Department of Medicine Image Competition Now Open

"One expansive camera strap for M9, X2" by Andrew XuThe Department of Medicine will be running an image competition from 9am Monday 10th of March until 5pm Friday 23rd of May for all current Department of Medicine Staff and Students. A £20.00 Amazon voucher will be awarded to the top entry from each Division. If you are a DoM staff member or student and would like to enter please visit the competition website for more details on how to apply.

Current submissions will be posted on the website throughout the competition, and the winners will be announced on the website at the completion of the competition.

Jess Croker
Department of Medicine Operations Trainee

WHO Collaborating Centre – March Update

  • WHO Collaborating Centre (CC) has launched its new website: http://imperialwhocc.org/ which provides regular updates on the Centre’s activities.
  • The WHO CC training course on Advanced Academic Skills is running for its sixth time. The coarse is designed to train participants in modern teaching methods, student assessments; both undergraduate and poste graduates and research methodologies. In addition the course focuses on Academic leadership styles, communication skills and curriculum development.  13 participants are currently attending the course from Iraq and Libya.
  • The WHO CC’s Health system Development Course, as part of the Masters of Public Health (MPH), is planning a trip to Geneva in mid-June to visit the WHO Head Quarters and the UN. The aim of the trip is to introduce the students to both Global Health institutions and to expose them to the dynamics of work on an international scale.
  • The WHO CC’s paper on ‘Tobacco Control efforts in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’ has been accepted by the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, and will be published in the upcoming issue. The work reports the findings for the empirical analysis of a multidimensional investigation into the current state of tobacco use; governance and national commitment for control; and current intervention frameworks in place to reduce the use of tobacco among populations in GCC countries.  It further reviews structured policy-oriented interventions that represent government actions: to strengthen, implement and manage tobacco control programmes and to address the growing epidemic of tobacco use.
  • A delegation from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health comprised of Professor Elio Riboli-Director, School of Public Health, Professor Azeem Majeed-Head of Primary Care and Public Health Department, Professor Salman Rawaf-Director World Health Organization Centre, and Dr Josip Car-Director of Global eHealth Unit are leaving on an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the 14th of March. The one week visit will be with their counter parts in King Saud University in Riyadh, and aims to build collaborations and links between both institutions; particularly in research generation and capacity building.
  • WHO CC is working in project partnership with UNICEF. The aim is to deliver on Advanced Leadership and Management Course in Nairobi for various Somali Government representatives.  The course will cover many topics that enable health mangers and decision-makers, in today’s challenging health systems and services, to obtain the skills and adopt the right tools to inspire and influence those around them.

Dr Sondus Hassounah and Ela Augustyniak
WHO Collaborating Centre

Final Year students present at Society of Academic Primary Care

A special commendation should go to Harriet Davidson and Frances Dixon, two final year students whose abstract was selected amongst a competitive field of primary care academics, to present at this year’s SAPC meeting held at Madingley Hall in Cambridge. They expertly and confidently presented the findings of an audit they conducted as part of their General Practice Student Assistantship coursework, and their responses to tricky questions from the audience was particularly impressive!

Frances and Harriet 20 02 2014   3

The audit analysed the use of chaperones for intimate examinations in primary care, an important topic for which GMC guidance was published in April 2013. As part of the audit they not only conducted a retrospective analysis of GP consultations, but also carried out a prospective survey of 91 patients to find out their views on being offered chaperones. They found that over two thirds of patients felt that chaperones should be offered but that less than a third would actually ask for one, concluding that patients want chaperones more than doctors think they do, and that we should be trying to overcome possible obstacles and offering chaperones as much as possible.

Following on from their success at Madingley, they also recently recorded a video of their presentation which will be shown at the Annual Teachers Conference for Primary Care Teachers held in June at Imperial College.

They deserve a special mention for this work given that they are currently in the midst of their finals, and we wish them both every future success!

Dr Joanne Harris MRCP MRCGP MA (Med Ed)
General Practitioner
Director of Curriculum and Assessment
Deputy Director of Primary Care Education

Prof Lesley Regan chosen for Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists role

Lesley reganThe Department of Surgery & Cancer congratulates Professor Lesley Regan, on her election as Vice President for Strategic Development of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The RCOG encourages the study and advancement of the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology, through postgraduate medical education, training development and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of this specialty and service provision.

Professor Regan is Director of the Recurrent Miscarriage Service at St Mary’s, comprising of a multidisciplinary team that she has developed to provide comprehensive investigations and treatment for couples with a history of recurrent early and late miscarriages. Professor Regan is also President of the UK Association of Early Pregnancy Units, advisor to the NICE interventions committee, professional member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and Research Licence Committee.

Shirely Line
Divisional Manager-Human Resources/Communications
Department of Surgery and Cancer

Imanova announces 2014 IMPETus awards for early molecular imaging research

Grants designed to stimulate use of PET imaging in broader research projects

imanovaImanova Limited, the Centre for Imaging Sciences in London, has announced that six researchers from Imperial College London, King’s College London and UCL are to receive IMPETus awards. The awards are designed to both encourage the wider use of imaging and to enable researchers new to the area to gather the data required for its inclusion in full grant applications. Following the success of a pilot PET programme in 2012, IMPETus has now been officially launched and includes awards to scientists investigating not only dementia, depression and neurodegeneration, but also obesity and autism.

The researchers selected include Dr Paul Edison of Imperial College London whose research project will investigate the influence of obesity on neuroinflammation in Alzhiemer’s disease. The Imperial researcher was awarded the grant as a result of the outstanding scientific merit of his work and for his innovative use of existing tracers in novel research areas. The research will be carried out at Imanova’s world class facilities in London.

“We are delighted with the high calibre of experimental medicine studies for this year’s PET programme at Imanova and look forward to supporting this work,” announced Roger Gunn, CSO of Imanova Limited. “We believe that by providing access to our world-class imaging facilities, we can create an environment for sharing ideas, resources and expertise in imaging, whilst training and developing the next generation of imaging scientists and practitioners.”

The pilot studies from the initial round in 2012 can be found in Imanova’s annual report: http://www.imanova.co.uk/company/annual-review/

You can read more about the pilot IMPETus programme at http://www.imanova.co.uk/working-with-imanova/pilot-pet-programme/

Emily Head
Communications Officer
Imanova

Professor Peter Barnes elected to the Association of American Physicians

Prof Peter BarnesProfessor Peter Barnes, of the National Heart and Lung Institute, been elected to the prestigious Association of American Physicians – an impressive rarity for someone outside the USA.

The Association of American Physicians,  a nonprofit professional organization for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine”, was founded in 1885 by seven physicians, including Dr. William Osler.

The Evolution of School Feeding

In 2013, up to $75billion dollars was invested by the governments of 169 countries into school feeding programmes. It is estimated that for every $1 spent feeding school children, $3 are generated for the local economy. Last week, a special meeting of global leaders in school feeding met in the UK parliament to discuss how governments are increasingly using school feeding programmes as a means to both improve educational outcomes and at the same time improve agricultural economies.

Kenya school lunchLeading experts including the Governor of Osun State, Nigeria and representatives from Imperial College London, the World Bank, the World Food Programme and the African Union were speaking at an All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture & Food for Development meeting on the evolution of home grown school feeding (HGSF) programmes. HGSF refers to school feeding programmes which procure their food from local smallholder farmers thereby supporting local rather than foreign markets.

The impact that a successful HGSF programme can have was provided by key note speaker, H.E Raul Argebesola, Governor of Osun State in Nigeria who said that since the launch of his State’s school meals programme (known as O’Meals) which feeds over 250,000 children every school day, enrolment has increased by 24%. The O’Meals programme provides employment to over 3,000 women and purchases food from over 1000 local farmers.

The experiences of Osun State tallies with that of governments from across the globe, the World Bank’s Professor Donald Bundy noted that analysis from the influential book, ‘Rethinking School Feeding’ that he co-authored in 2009, had identified that countries were increasingly turning to school feeding programmes as a form of a social safety net for their poorest communities. In Europe, in response to the recent recession, countries such as Spain, Portugal, France and the UK, had implemented school feeding programmes as means to protect their most vulnerable members of society.

This growth in school meal coverage provides an opportunity for local agricultural economies, Professor Bundy said, “School feeding programmes provide a structured demand for agricultural produce and can, when implemented correctly, encourage wider economic development. Even crisis hit countries such as Cote D’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali and Sudan are shifting to nationally run programmes which procure their food from local smallholder farmers.”

Speaking on behalf of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Ms Boitshepo Giyose agreed, ‘We’re seeing more and more sub-Saharan Africa countries adopted HGSF but they still need support to achieve this, international partners have a vital role to play in promoting cost-effective and sustainable programmes.”

Lesley Drake with HE Rauf Aregbesola and Peter Rodriguez (WFP) in the UK Parliament Great Hall with governor in hallway (12)

The meeting was co-hosted by the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) from Imperial College London who is working with governments to build the evidence base and provide technical assistance for the development of effective and sustainable HGSF feeding programme.

Speaking at the event, PCD’s Executive Director, Dr Lesley Drake said, ‘Research shows that when properly designed, HGSF programmes can act as a win-win for both school children and smallholder farmers alike.’

She continued, “For integrated school feeding programmes to succeed like they have in Osun, governments and development partners alike need to integrate HGSF into their policies, strategies and plans for agriculture and for education.

For further media information please contact Francis Peel at the Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College London on 020 7594 3292 or email f.peel@imperial.ac.uk

Healthy Volunteers for HIV Vaccine Trials Wanted

cuthivacThe Clinical Trials Centre at St. Mary’s Hospital are looking for healthy HIV NEGATIVE male and female volunteers between the ages of 18-45, who are going to be around London for 6 months to take part in a Phase I clinical trial to develop a new vaccine.

If you are interested in wanting to take part please contact Stephen on free phone 0800 358 3001 or email: hivvaccinetrial@imperial.ac.uk for more information.  Your time and travel for all visits will be reimbursed and you’ll receive up to £1100 over the course of the study.

This trial, led by Professor Robin Shattock in the Department of Medicine, forms part of the EU funded CUT’HIVAC project, which aims at assessing a new HIV vaccine strategy to prevent and control HIV infection based on transcutaneous and/or mucosal needle-free vaccination.

Study approved by Cambridge East Research Ethics Committee.