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Winners - Postgraduate Researchers Presentation Day 2020

Our Annual Postgraduate Researchers Presentation Day showcases inspiring and innovative research from across our postgraduate research community. The event provides postgraduate researchers with valuable experience in communicating and disseminating their research. It also allows for some thought-provoking questions and useful feedback from the academic community, and potential links and collaborations to be formed.


Here are this year's winners

Imogen Harries, Best Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

IMOGEN-HARRIES-PHD-STUDENTThis Three-Minute-Thesis (seen here at 06.30 minutes in) shows the current, on-going research for my PhD: My Supervisor is my Lighthouse – Best Practice in Supervising Experienced Secondary School-Based Counsellors. There is evidence that mental health difficulties amongst young people are increasing (Pirchforth et al, 2019). The government is supporting growth in the area of school-based counselling (Children’s Commissioner, 2020) and it is becoming ever more wide spread in UK schools (Cooper 2013). The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy‘s Ethical Framework (2018) states that regular supervision is essential for counsellors to work effectively, safely and ethically as possible however there is currently no in depth published research in the area of the supervisory requirements and best practice of experienced secondary school- based counsellors.                                

This PhD study aims to investigate the supervisory best practice and needs of experienced counsellors working in secondary schools. Experienced school based counsellors with two years' minimum experience in secondary schools and supervisors are participating in semi structured interviews. Grounded Theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and Situational Analysis (Clarke, 2005) methods are being used to analyse interview transcripts.              

Findings so far: Best Practice indicates that supervisors need to know their territory; the working context (the school system and how it impacts on therapeutic work), the client age group (how to work therapeutically with them, and in particular the issues of risk and safeguarding) and the counsellor (having a strong supervisory relationship). As well as shedding light on a much needed area of clinical supervision, the research will promote the needs of the school counsellor, in the U.K., and add to a much needed area of knowledge within the area of supervising counsellors in organisations particularly in the area of secondary schools.     

Contact Imogen about this PhD research.                                                                   

All the Three Minute Theses (3MT®)

Adam Jones, Best Oral Presentation A1

Adam is a PhD student in electrical and electronic engineering. His ESF-funded research, in partnership with TATA Steel Packaging, examines high speed optical metrology for measurement of chromium coatings on a steel substrate.

His winning presentation summarises the survey of potential high speed measurement solutions for this particular coating application current and future work he is conducting to deliver this research project.

Adam is an experienced engineer who previously worked in the British Army and TATA Steel. He obtained his Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of South Wales in 2018 and progressed immediately on to the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Masters.

He is a member of the Wireless and Optoelectronics Research and Innovation Centre, where his research interests include industrial instrumentation and control, machine vision applications, renewable energy and optoelectronics. 

Contact Adam about this PhD research.

Tom Owens, Best Oral Presentation A2

Tom Owens is a PhD student in USW’s Neurovascular Research Unit.  He is in the final stage of his PhD which looks at concussion and the link to early-onset dementia.

This PhD presentation aims to capture some of the concussion related research that he has conducted over the past three years. 80 participants were recruited, comprising of current professional rugby union players and retired players who were compared to age, fitness and education matched controls respectively.  The presentation provides a step by step overview of both studies, the primary results and a discussion of the underpinning mechanisms. 

Tom, who graduated with first-class Honours from the Sports and Exercise Science degree before progressing on to his PhD, is a former elite athlete having been part of the 2013 Great Britain Cycling Team for downhill mountain biking. 

Contact Tom about this PhD research.

Catherine Nelson, Best Poster

Winner of PhD Poster Presentation 2020  Catherine Nelson

It is widely acknowledged, although not conclusively proven, that children who are more emotionally intelligent tend to perform better than their less emotionally intelligent peers in the classroom. Indeed the skills of emotional intelligence are likely to be more crucial than ever as pupils return to school following the coronavirus pandemic. Most schools offer some level of emotional intelligence development through Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). However, although influential in underpinning SEL concepts, Emotional Intelligence appears to have become somewhat lost within it since most SEL programmes and assessments focus more on social than emotional aspects. Furthermore, SEL programmes, by definition, focus primarily on prevention through universal curriculums with no well-established targeted curriculums available. 

Whilst this approach is undoubtedly useful and has many cost benefits, as with all educational curriculums, pupils must already have an age-appropriate level of knowledge to access them. Given the very social nature of EI development, it is highly unlikely that all pupils will function at an equal level; this is increasingly likely as pupils have spent extended periods of time within their unique family environments recently. Although, this is increasingly being recognised, with projects such as ELSA, which provide one to one targeted emotional support, continuing to grow in popularity, the current approach to emotional support in schools in England and Wales is reactive, providing support on a needs-must basis as problems become apparent. Consequently, pupils are only likely to receive support if they exhibit problem behaviours. Since early preventative approaches are considered more cost effective than reactive support, there appears to be case for providing early catch-up support for those struggling with SEL skills in the same way that reading and maths difficulties are often addressed. Since Emotional Intelligence underpins most of SEL, the Ability Emotional Intelligence model seems a logical foundation on which to build such support.

Using the four-branch Ability Emotional Intelligence model and assimilated research knowledge, the Emil programme was developed within the project to facilitate exploration of the feasibility and utility of providing specific targeted AEI support for 7- to 9-year-olds with below average Ability Emotional Intelligence. This programme is the first known example of a targeted Emotional Intelligence support programme which specifically targets both pure Ability Emotional Intelligence content and the specific population. The programme was evaluated using an intervention study design with matched schools. Twenty-one children, whose emotional intelligence was below average for their year group, took part in the evaluation, nine participated in the programme whilst the remaining 12 acted as controls, participating in the pre- and post-test assessments only.  Results suggested the Emil Programme is effective in developing children’s Ability Emotional Intelligence within the target population. Programme participation may also have resulted in beneficial effects for children’s maths attainment but this is not conclusive. No beneficial effects were found for reading attainment. 

Contact Catherine about this PhD research.

All the Poster Presentations

PhD Poster Presentation 2020  Miriam Jackson

Conversion of Coke Oven Gas By-products into Sulfate Containing Compounds

Miriam Jackson

Supervisors: Dr. Graham Tizzardb and Dr. Gareth R. Owen

Steel making has been very important for South Wales for decades. Today, Tata Steel is still a major employer in the area. However, growing environmental concerns have lead the industry to take steps to ensure it can continue to develop in a sustainable way.

This research focuses on the synthesis of ammonium sulfate from the ammonia and sulfur by-products of coke-making. Coke is made by heating coal to 1200°C, which produces volatile impurities called coke oven gas. This consists mainly of hydrogen, nitrogen and methane. While ammonia and sulfur are generated in much smaller amounts, they are major pollutants that need to be processed in order to protect the environment. Nitrogen based heterocyclic ligand/metal complexes have been used to explore catalytic transformation of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia into ammonium sulfate. 

Ammonium sulfate is a valuable commodity with many domestic and industrial uses from production of fertiliser and insecticides, to water-waste processing. The poster will outline the various strategies we are currently undertaking to provide low-cost, low-energy synthesis of this valuable compound.

Contact Miriam about this PhD research.

PhD Poster Presentation 2020 Emison Chitsa

Investigating aviation cyber-security and cyber-resilience management challenges and countermeasures on security flaws and vulnerabilities about unintelligible information operations systems impeding delays and economic development

Emison Chitsa

Hackers and internet crooks connect to the social media using cyber-space. They sell their stolen goods and services then falsify accounts in their name. On the very same internet, consumers use the aviation airline industrial services to buy cheaper flight tickets online domestically, regionally and internationally using critical opportunity that affords them and businesses to mutually travel and benefit. 

However, online cyber-crime is phenomenally networked with impostors, a big blow for most technological modern industrial business including aviation airline. Often these internet users are victimised by crooks who purport to be carrying out genuine business but yet it is a bogus way of fraudulently exploiting customers on social media. 

When scammers intercept and steal end-user’s credentials on cyberspace it causes reputational catastrophic damage to business. Ultimately, this causes broad financial and reputational effect damage relationship that impacts on beautiful relationship(s) the business may have built with partners, investors or any third parties over time.

Cyber-crime disrupts peaceful online business communities as it invades people’s privacy and confidentiality. Quantitative and qualitative methods techniques will be used in this research for elicitation gathering. 

Targeted sensitive online stolen client information usually includes personal credit cards identity and Government public records system. Ultimately, often this results in huge financial compromise, vandalised infrastructure and loss. It is for this reason that challenges posed by cyber-crime and cyber-security vulnerabilities tend to increase by the day because these cyber-criminal monsters do it for rather financial exploitation and as well as just for fun. 

These sophisticated scammers use complex computerised social engineering methods. They entice their prey through dirty but smart forms of social media either through the phone, texting, emailing or otherwise. Global reports reveal that cyber-criminals hardly get caught. They tend to do their ugly online phish snaring business anonymously. Often, they operate in syndicates scattered across the globe,  commit their offences quite afar or either it is unknown from where their victims reside. They operate in syndicates scattered across the globe and their phishing snare activities are often carried out on computerised online gadgets. 

The most annoying thing is that usually the penalties imposed on cyber-space criminality for causing such grievous and impactive damage on industrial growth to interconnected and interdependent community devices is poor. 

It is primarily for the complexities associated with social engineering in cyber-space that this study seeks to investigate and address cyber-crime and cyber-security vulnerabilities associated with airline e-ticket passenger booking reservation. It seeks to establish security measures involved in dealing with cyber-crime efficiently and effectively and close the gap. 

Robust security framework policies, efficient and effective countermeasures on security flaws on aviation airline and systems that have the resilience of supporting cyber-space should always be in place. This ensures that online customers are unafraid of dealing with their business as they are strongly safeguarded.

Email Emison about this PhD research.

PhD Poster Presentation 2020  MartaRagu

Recovery and use of ammonia from coke-making processes

Marta Ragu 

Supervisors: Christian J. Laycock; Gareth R. Owen; Gareth Lloyd; Alan J. Guwy 

Annual worldwide ammonia production is almost 200 million tonnes, with around 90% of this used in the manufacture of fertilisers. Ammonia is present as an impurity in coke oven gas (COG), which is a by-product of coke-making processes required for the manufacture of steel. At Tata Steel (Port Talbot), approximately 44,000 m3 of COG and 264 kg of waste ammonia are produced every hour. Due to its highly corrosive and toxic nature, ammonia is removed from COG as a priority, generating a highly problematic waste stream consisting of ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide and water. This is subsequently disposed via incineration, contributing to air pollutant emissions and wasting a valuable and useful resource.

This PhD project focusses on the recovery and use of ammonia using solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. SOFCs are high temperature energy conversion devices made with ceramic materials that can very efficiently convert fuels and feedstocks into electrical power and heat, or useful chemicals such as hydrogen and syngas. In this research, the energy and chemical products that can be obtained by converting COG-derived ammonia waste using SOFC technology will be determined. 

More widely, the aim is to more efficiently dispose of this extremely hazardous waste stream and identify potential pathways towards the production of environmentally benign and saleable products.

Contact Marta about this PhD research.

PhD Poster Presentation 2020  Molly Curtis

Using group concept mapping to develop a compassionate care measurement tool

Molly Curtis

Supervisors: Dr. Juping Yu1, Prof. Carolyn Wallace, Mr David Williams

This project is being undertaken as part of the KESS 2 Programme, working with Torfaen County Borough Council as the company partner. Delivering compassionate care is a key priority within health and social care services. However, there is a lack of agreement and consistency regarding the definition of compassion and compassionate care. It has been suggested that the concept of compassion requires further clarification before compassionate care can be achieved in practice. 

This project has so far used Group Concept Mapping (GCM) as the method to explore the concept of compassionate care in the context of health and social care services for older people. Older people, carers and service providers were recruited to take part in up to three participant-led tasks: “brainstorming”, “sorting” and “rating”. 

Participants generated statements describing compassionate care, sorted a selection of 89 statements into categories that made sense to them, and rated each statement based on “importance” and “experience”. The data from the “sorting” task were analysed to produce point and cluster maps. These were interpreted with assistance from the steering group. It was agreed that eight clusters best represent the concept of compassionate care: “Non-judgemental”, “Excellent skills which set them apart”, “Above and beyond”, “Genuine care giving”, “Show the person is valued”, “Empathetic”, “Thoughtful” and “People-centred care”.

The results of the GCM study were used further to develop a tool to measure compassionate care, due to the lack of such a measure that has been developed and tested in the context of UK health and social care services. Five statements within each of the eight clusters were selected to form the initial item pool. 

Statements with the lowest bridging values (i.e. those which represented the “anchor” points within the cluster) were included in the item pool. Such statements are thought to be the best illustrations of the content within their vicinity of the concept map. The tool is being pilot tested with health and social care staff and students from USW. Participants were asked to complete a rating task, followed by a focus group discussion or an individual interview. Two face-to face pilot testing sessions were initially conducted in the Hydra Minerva simulation suite at USW. Due to the COVID-19 situation, further data collection for the pilot test has been taking place online. 

The test is still ongoing. Data will be transcribed and analysed. The tool will be refined based on the findings, to ensure it has good face and content validity prior to being tested in practice. 

Contact Molly about this PhD research.

PhD Poster Presentation 2020 - Rhys Standing

Economic extraction of zinc from scrap metal

Rhys D. Standing 

Supervisors: Christian Laycock; Richard Dinsdale; Gareth Lloyd; Alan Guwy

Stainless steel production is one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters, accounting for 4-7% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions globally. Galvanization of steel is required to prevent rusting and degradation and involves coating steel in a layer of protective zinc. 

Galvanization processes utilise over 50% global zinc consumption and by 2050 the demand for zinc will be 2.7 times greater than that of today. In order to alleviate zinc production through mining, which is an energy intensive process that has a negative impact on the environment, zinc is recovered where possible from scrap steel via acid leaching. This method of recovery boasts high extraction efficiency but releases toxic effluents and has poor efficiency energetically. A more efficient method of zinc recovery would help the steel industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease the environmental impact of mining and recover a valuable resource more efficiently.

The aim of the PhD research is to investigate the use of zinc-bromine flow batteries (ZBFBs) to recover zinc from scrap steel. ZBFBs are highly efficient and clean electrochemical hybrid flow energy conversion devices. They produce electrical power when discharging and behave as an electroplating device in charging mode. 

This poster will describe the operating principles of ZBFBs and how they could be used to recover zinc from scrap steel. The overall aims and objectives of the research and their relevance to steel manufacturing at Tata Steel (Port Talbot) will be presented.

Contact Rhys about this PhD research.

PhD Poster Presentation 2020  Leanne Hadley

The Madeline Dementia Project: What Matters to Me When I’m Paying for Care? A Realist Review and Evaluation of the Health and Social Care Interface

Leanne Hadley

Supervisors: Prof Carolyn Wallace; Prof Mark Llewellyn; Dr Gareth White; Mr Robyn Davies5 and Mr Andy Cole

The ageing population (+65yrs) is increasing each year (ONS, 2019). The prevalence of dementia is higher in older adults (Chang et al., 2019), with many requiring social care  (UKHCA, 2013; Alzheimer’s Society, 2014). Determining who pays for social care is complex. 

Assessments must be completed to determine if the person, local authority or the NHS pays for a person’s social care. This assessment process sometimes causes confusion, financial concerns and distress (Citizens Advice, 2016; Shrimpton, Cameron & Skinner, 2017; Wallace, 2018). 

There is a need to understand the impact of the current funding social care system (including the interface between NHS Continuing Healthcare funding and local authority funding) and produce evidence-based principles on appropriate funding models to meet the increased future care needs. 

The project adopts a realist approach. The first cycle involves a realist review, to explore the impact of the current social care funding system, identify for whom (people with dementia (PwD), carers) paying for social care works for (or conversely, doesn’t work for) and consider how a business case for financing social care can be developed to overcome undesirable outcomes. 

Programme theories will be generated from the literature on the current funding system, to explain which contexts triggers mechanisms (casual forces) to produce outcomes. 

Proposed funding models and international models will also be reviewed to develop programme theories, detailing how a business case for paying for social care may overcome unintended outcomes and promote person-centred social care. 

The second cycle includes the realist evaluation to test and refine findings from cycle one. As the realist approach is an iterative process, research methods utilised for evaluation will depend on emerging findings. 

Currently, cycle two involves realist interviews with PwD and their carers, a survey to be completed by health and social care professionals and representatives of PwD (carers/relatives) and qualitative methods with stakeholders. 

Cycle three may involve the development and testing of a communication model to increase PwD and carers’ understanding of paying for social care. When we consider the objectives of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and Social Services and Well Being (Wales) Act 2014, this research may have a positive impact by offering PwD (and their carers) the opportunity to understand the interface between health and social care with the aim to promote well-being and open up the discussion on future social care funding reform.

Contact Leanne about this PhD research.

Thank you

This year's event was held entirely online and we are indebted to the following staff for their help and support.