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Researchers at Aston assessed the impact of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK UK exports fell by an average of 22.9% in the first 15 months following the deal Variety of UK products exported to EU down by 42% Research by the Centre for Business Prosperity at Aston University has shown that UK exports to the EU fell by an average of 22.9% in the first 15 months after the introduction of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, highlighting the continuing challenges that UK firms are facing. Building on earlier work funded through Aston University’s Enterprise Research Centre, the researchers found that a negative effect on UK exports persisted and deepened from January 2021-March 2022. According to the research, the UK has also experienced a significant contraction in the variety of goods being exported to the EU, with an estimated loss of 42% of product varieties. The researchers say this, combined with an increased concentration of export values to fewer products, has serious implications for the UK’s future exporting and productivity. The authors are calling for an urgent national debate from politicians about the UK’s post-Brexit trade arrangements. The researchers assessed the impact of the TCA, which allows goods to continue to be bought and sold between the UK and EU without tariffs in the wake of Brexit, by creating an ‘alternative UK economy’ model, based on the case that the UK had remained within the European Union. By comparing the model UK’s exports and imports with actual figures for the UK, they could accurately isolate the impact which the new trade rules were having. “What we are seeing is the effect of Brexit on exports; and that is persisting. It’s not diminishing, and exports have yet to show signs of recovering,” says Professor Jun Du of Aston University. “Until this serious problem with exports is openly acknowledged and discussed, we won’t see any necessary actions being taken.” Unlike exports, an initially significant drop on EU imports to Britain has recovered during the same period, suggesting that UK businesses and consumers have quickly adjusted to new rules. This stands in contrast to the persistent decline in UK exports, which the researchers believe is caused by more fundamental factors. Professor Du said: “It seems that the UK can buy, but it can’t sell – and that’s reinforcing the problem of Brexit. A reduction in import bottlenecks might help exports to rebound, but this recovery is likely to be offset by the rising costs of imports.” Researchers found that as many as 42% of the product varieties previously exported to the EU have disappeared during the 15 months after January 2021. This, they say, is principally caused by a large number of exporters simply ceasing to export to the EU, while the remaining exporters are streamlining their product ranges. Co-author, Dr Oleksandr Shepotylo, says: “The product varieties that have disappeared are mostly those with low export value – we know this because the average export value increased as the number of varieties declined. These products are the ones typically exported by small firms or new exporters, or are exported to new markets. And It’s those smaller businesses that would normally export much more in future, as they grow their volumes and products – so that’s the UK’s future export pipeline being affected, which has bleak implications.” Professor Du says: “The evidence we present here shows the real loss of Brexit, the overall competitiveness of the UK as a global trader. The considerable contraction of the UK trade capacity, combined with an increased concentration of export values to fewer products, signify some serious long-term concerns about the UK’s future exporting and productivity. Debate is essential so that the UK can start to address its current challenges. Of course, no one is suggesting going back into the EU, but there are collaborations, conversations and discussions that must be had. If the UK’s political leaders don’t acknowledge the facts, they are setting the course towards even longer-term problems.”
ChristianaCare is the only health system in Delaware to earn the High Performing designation from U.S. News ChristianaCare has earned the highest award for maternity care that a hospital can achieve from U.S. News & World Report in its 2022-23 ratings for Best Hospitals for Maternity Care. Rated as a High Performing Hospital, ChristianaCare was the only health system in Delaware to earn this esteemed honor. Christiana Hospital at ChristianaCare’s Newark Campus is the only high-risk delivering hospital in the First State offering Level III neonatal intensive care. More than 6,100 babies are born at Christiana Hospital each year. The U.S. News Best Hospitals for Maternity Care methodology is based entirely on objective measures of quality, such as C-section rates in lower-risk pregnancies, newborn complication rates, exclusive breast milk feeding rates, early elective delivery rates and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) rates, among other measures. “When we announced plans seven years ago to build the ChristianaCare Center for Women’s & Children’s Health, we affirmed our commitment to provide superior-quality care for women and infants in our region,” said Matthew Hoffman, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at ChristianaCare. “This prestigious recognition is an affirmation that patients who choose to give birth at ChristianaCare will have access to the very best services and expertise to ensure a safe delivery and a healthy baby.” Just two years ago ChristianaCare opened the Center for Women’s & Children’s Health, an eight-story, approximately 400,000-square-foot tower at Christiana Hospital. The center uses the most up-to-date, evidence-based models of care, with improved integration of services and the space to offer innovative patient-centered care for mothers, babies and families. One of the most significant features of the new center is a state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), featuring private rooms with sleep-in space for families. Christiana Hospital is one of the only hospitals in the United States to provide “couplet care” in the NICU, keeping the mother and baby together even if they both require medical care. This is based on a European model demonstrating that moms are more likely to breastfeed in this environment, which is particularly important in the early development of children. “We best achieve optimal health and flourish when we are able to begin our lives as healthy newborns,” said David Paul, M.D., chair of ChristianaCare’s Department of Pediatrics. “Building this transformative women’s and children’s hospital was a way to invest in the future of our community’s children. In addition to our outstanding caregivers and the care we provide within the walls of the hospital, this facility is a monumental step forward in enabling us to care for moms and babies, and we are delighted that U.S. News has recognized what a special place it is.” Other innovative features at the center include: Expanded labor and delivery suites. Private rooms for mothers and families after delivery. A spacious, multi-level Ronald McDonald Family Room to support families with infants who are in intensive care. Expanded OB/GYN emergency services area and new labor lounge. Separate admitting and discharge areas for the convenience of our patients. A tranquil family rooftop garden that provides spaces for play and relaxation. Vibrant sibling play spaces with interactive displays and artwork, and open community spaces for health education and programs. U.S. News’ annual evaluation is designed to assist expectant parents and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive maternity care. U.S. News evaluated nearly 650 hospitals that provide high-quality labor and delivery services for uncomplicated pregnancies for its 2022-2023 Best Hospitals for Maternity Care. Fewer than half of all hospitals that offer maternity care and participated in the survey received a High Performing designation. “When expectant parents are considering their options for welcoming a baby to the world, the Best Hospitals for Maternity Care are designed to help them identify hospitals that excel in delivering babies for uncomplicated pregnancies,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. “A hospital that has earned a High Performing designation may be a good option for parents, in consultation with their medical provider, to consider.” Excellence in Maternity Care Built on Experience and Research ChristianaCare’s Center for Women’s & Children’s Health includes Delaware’s most experienced maternity team, and it is also a significant research institution. Since opening, the Center for Women’s & Children’s Health participated in a significant study that found that treating mild chronic hypertension with medications is beneficial and safe for mother and baby. Published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the world’s foremost medical journal, the study has the potential to change the standard of care for some pregnant women, as it represented the first time that comprehensive, evidence-based data showed the benefits of treating mild forms of chronic hypertension during pregnancy. “Our commitment to research is a path to better caring for our community,” said Dr. Hoffman, a co-author in the study. About ChristianaCare Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,299 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute. ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 2nd best health system for diversity and inclusion, and the 29th best health system to work for in the United States, and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.
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Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) is part of the project to infer authorship of uncredited documents based on writing style AIFL’s Professor Tim Grant and Dr Krzysztof Kredens are experts in authorship analysis Applications may include identifying counterintelligence risks, combating misinformation online, fighting human trafficking and even deciphering authorship of ancient religious texts. Aston University’s Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) is part of the AUTHOR research consortium which has won an $11.3 million contract to infer authorship of uncredited documents based on the writing style. The acronym stands for ‘Attribution, and Undermining the Attribution, of Text while providing Human-Oriented Rationales’. Worth $1.3 million, the Aston University part of the project is being led by Professor Tim Grant and Dr Krzysztof Kredens, who both are recognised internationally as experts in authorship analysis and who both engage in forensic linguistic casework as expert witnesses. In addition to their recognised general expertise and experience in this area, Professor Grant has specific expertise in using linguistic analysis to enhance online undercover policing and Dr Kredens has led projects to develop authorship identification techniques involving very large numbers of potential authors. The AUTHOR team is led by Charles River Analytics and is one of six teams of researchers that won The Human Interpretable Attribution of Text Using Underlying Structure (HIATUS) programme sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The programme uses natural language processing techniques and machine learning to create stylistic fingerprints that capture the writing style of specific authors. On the flip side is authorship privacy - mechanisms that can anonymize identities of authors, especially when their lives are in danger. Pitting the attribution and privacy teams against each other will hopefully motivate each, says Dr Terry Patten, principal scientist at Charles River Analytics and principal investigator of the AUTHOR consortium. “One of the big challenges for the programme and for authorship attribution in general is that the document you’re looking at may not be in the same genre or on the same topic as the sample documents you have for a particular author,” Patten says. The same applies to languages: We might have example articles for an author in English but need to match the style even if the document at hand is in French. Authorship privacy too has its challenges: users must obfuscate the style without changing the meaning, which can be difficult to execute.” In the area of authorship attribution, the research and casework experience from Aston University will assist the team in identifying and using a broad spectrum of authorship markers. Authorship attribution research has more typically looked for words and their frequencies as identifying characteristics. However, Professor Grant’s previous work on online undercover policing has shown that higher-level discourse features - how authors structure their interactions - can be important ‘tells’ in authorship analysis. The growth of natural language processing (NLP) and one of its underlying techniques, machine learning, is motivating researchers to harness these new technologies in solving the classic problem of authorship attribution. The challenge, Patten says, is that while machine learning is very effective at authorship attribution, “deep learning systems that use neural networks can’t explain why they arrived at the answers they did.” Evidence in criminal trials can’t afford to hinge on such black-box systems. It’s why the core condition of AUTHOR is that it be “human-interpretable.” Dr Kredens has developed research and insights where explanations can be drawn out of black box authorship attribution systems, so that the findings of such systems can be integrated into linguistic theory as to who we are as linguistic individuals. Initially, the project is expected to focus on feature discovery: beyond words, what features can we discover to increase the accuracy of authorship attribution? The project has a range of promising applications – identifying counterintelligence risks, combating misinformation online, fighting human trafficking, and even figuring out the authorship of ancient religious texts. Professor Grant said: “We were really excited to be part of this project both as an opportunity to develop new findings and techniques in one of our core research areas, and also because it provides further recognition of AIFL’s international reputation in the field. Dr Kredens added: “This is a great opportunity to take our cutting-edge research in this area to a new level”. Professor Simon Green, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, commented: “I am delighted that the international consortium bid involving AIFL has been successful. As one of Aston University’s four research institutes, AIFL is a genuine world-leader in its field, and this award demonstrates its reputation globally. This project is a prime example of our capacities and expertise in the area of technology, and we are proud to be a partner.” Patten is excited about the promise of AUTHOR as it is poised to make fundamental contributions to the field of NLP. “It’s really forcing us to address an issue that’s been central to natural language processing,” Patten says. “In NLP and artificial intelligence in general, we need to find a way to build hybrid systems that can incorporate both deep learning and human-interpretable representations. The field needs to find ways to make neural networks and linguistic representations work together.” “We need to get the best of both worlds,” Patten says. The team includes some of the world’s foremost researchers in authorship analysis, computational linguistics, and machine learning from Illinois Institute of Technology, Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Howard Brain Sciences Foundation.
Academic focuses on importance of UK having its first prime minister of Indian descent Rishi Sunak’s personal family history could be seen as a testament to the ‘British dream’, as he is also ‘richest man’ ever to sit in the House of Commons But his ability at restoring economic stability and tackling cost-of-living crisis will decide his fate at the polls Having the first non-white leader of the UK is undoubtedly a “big moment” in the history of British politics, according to an academic at Aston University. But, although he may be able to count on the British Asian vote at the next general election, Rishi Sunak faces a major challenge to remain in No 10 due, in part, to the growing number of Conservative MPs intending to stand down. Mr Sunak’s rise to become Britain’s first Asian and first Hindu leader has been discussed by Dr Parveen Akhtar, a senior lecturer and deputy head of politics, history and international relations at Aston University. Dr Akhtar, who has studied across Europe and authored a book on British Muslim politics, was speaking as part of the latest episode in the 'Society matters' podcast series, presented by journalist Steve Dyson. She said Rishi Sunak benefitted from a “privileged upbringing”, but also married into wealth in the form of the daughter of Indian billionaire N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder of information technology company Infosys. With the couple having a combined wealth of £730 million, Parveen said Rishi Sunak can “allegedly lay claim to another title – the richest man to ever sit in the House of Commons”. A “scandal” over his wife’s non-domiciled tax status had even threatened to end Sunak’s career less than a year ago. But she added: “Whatever the mixed feelings are around his personal fortune, this is nevertheless a big moment. Becoming the first non-white leader of the UK is important. It’s important for the country and it’s important for the UK’s ethic minority communities too.” Dr Akhtar, who is currently writing a new book on the politics of Pakistan and Pakistanis abroad, said Rishi Sunak’s paternal grandparents were from Gujranwala, which is in present-day Pakistan. Sunak, himself, was born in Southampton, but his father Yashvir, a family doctor, and mother, Usha, a pharmacist who studied at Aston University, were born and brought up in present-day Kenya and Tanzania respectively.However, they joined an exodus of Asians from East Africa in the second half of the last century, fuelled by Idi Amin’s wholesale expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972. Sunak’s “cultural affinity” lies with his Indian roots, Dr Akhtar said, including being a practising Hindu, and he himself had said that ‘British Indian’ is what he ticks on the census. She added: “The Sunaks’ personal family history could be read as a testament to the British dream: the idea that the UK is a land of opportunity where, no matter who you are, if you work hard, you can make it right to the top. The formula for success is simple: head down, hard work perseverance.” While Sunak was privately educated at Winchester, and went on to study at both Oxford University in England and Stanford University in the US, he has spoken about various jobs, including being a waiter in an Indian restaurant. Dr Akhtar said that, in some ways, the Conservative Party has a “lot to be proud of” when it comes to promoting ethnic minority colleagues, as reflected by three key posts in Liz Truss’s short-lived administration, and Suella Braverman as the current Home Secretary. Sunak’s own heritage could prove to be an asset in strengthening ties and negotiating trade deals with other countries, with India’s Prime Minister referring to him as the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, and US President Joe Biden describing his success as a ‘ground-breaking milestone’. But can an unelected Sunak win the next election amidst soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis? Dr Akhtar replied: “These are challenging times to be at the helm of the ship, a ship which many in his party appear to be jumping off, given the number of Conservative MPs who have announced their intention not to stand at the next general election. “If, in the coming months, people feel further fiscal pain, if there are prolonged strikes by teachers and nurses, firefighters and railway workers, if the NHS is overwhelmed this winter, then no matter how slick Sunak’s PR messaging, he will not be elected come election time.”
ChristianaCare has named its Breast Center The Tatiana Copeland Breast Center at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute in recognition of Gerret and Tatiana Copeland’s generous financial support. The Copelands, local philanthropists and business entrepreneurs, provided a $1.2 million gift to the Graham Cancer Center in 2019 for breast cancer prevention and research for underrepresented women. Tatiana Copeland previously provided $800,000 to fund the purchase of two 3D mammography units. As a result of their philanthropic leadership, the Graham Cancer Center was one of the first facilities in the nation to offer 3D mammography. “ChristianaCare is deeply grateful to the Copelands for their generous support of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare president and CEO. “They have made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many women in and around Delaware. We are deeply honored to name the Breast Center after Tatiana.” In a private event celebrating the naming, Dr. Nevin read a personal letter from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden that was sent to Tatiana about her support of the Breast Center. “Tatiana is a woman with extraordinary vision and a compassionate heart,” wrote President Biden. “As a breast cancer survivor, she has taken her pain and turned it into purpose, ensuring that all those who come in for testing at the Breast Center will receive extraordinary care. She has put lifesaving and life-altering care within the reach of those who need it most. And through it all, she has pushed for progress, fought for patients and kept hope alive.” “The Copelands share our commitment to providing our patients with the very best breast care, diagnosis and treatment,” said Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. “Their generous gifts have enabled women from Delaware and surrounding communities to receive expert, compassionate care right here at the Breast Center without ever having to leave the state. The Copelands have a way of discovering a need and then making the impossible possible.” “As longtime Graham Cancer Center supporters and as a breast cancer survivor myself who received wonderful treatment here, we are confident our investment in the Breast Center will continue to enable women to receive the same care that I did,” Tatiana Copeland said. “The atmosphere of the Breast Center is very comforting — like a nurturing hospital,” she said. “Everybody is very caring and attentive. Dr. Petrelli has created a team effort that is truly admirable. We hope our support inspires others to join us in the fight against cancer.” At The Tatiana Copeland Breast Center, patients are supported by an exceptional care team that includes radiologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, genetic counselors and support staff. On-site capabilities include: 3D mammography. Digital mammography. Dedicated breast MRI. Breast ultrasound. Minimally invasive breast biopsies. Financial resources. Delaware’s first Center for Breast Reconstruction. According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women in Delaware and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the state after lung cancer. The Graham Cancer Center conducts community outreach to educate women about the importance of breast cancer detection and early prevention, including specially designed programs for underrepresented communities, including Black, Latinx and Asian women. “The Copelands’ ongoing generosity and support have helped us elevate the level of care at the Breast Center,” said Dia Williams, vice president of Philanthropy at ChristianaCare. “This gift will have an impact for generations to come.” To learn more about ChristianaCare’s philanthropy opportunities, visit https://christianacare.org/donors.
Learn about how Dr. Karen Finlay and the team at Hamilton Health Sciences are implementing peer learning to create a better-shared experience for radiologists to improve quality and deliver improved patient care. Learn more here: https://realtimemedical.com/software-solutions/ Hashtags: #teleradiology #radiology @RSNA22
Learn about how Dr. Colin L. Taylor uses workload balancing and other unique features of the RealTime Medical’s software to improve collaboration and support reading for multiple sites simultaneously. Learn more: https://realtimemedical.com/software-solutions/ Hashtags: #teleradiology #radiology @RSNA22
A survey conducted by CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) found that since 2019, there has been a 10 per cent increase (26 per cent in 2022 vs. 16 per cent in 2019) in cannabis impaired drivers admitting to consuming an edible before driving. With approximately 10 million Ontario drivers, that number equals about 156,000 Ontario drivers who have driven high on edibles in the last three months. “It’s shocking that we’re seeing this many people who are getting behind the wheel while high,” says Michael Stewart, community relations consultant at CAA SCO. “Our data shows an alarming trend in the use of edibles and driving. With the growing popularity of cookies, gummies, and chocolates, since legalization, the use of edibles continues to rise and so do people who drive high on edibles.” Stewart warns that edibles pose a greater risk to road safety because they are harder to detect and can take up to two hours for the effects to kick in. He underscores that people may get behind the wheel sober, only to become high mid-trip. Also, the effects can last up to 12 hours and residual effects for up to 24 hours. The survey also found that in the past three months, approximately 600,000 Ontario drivers have admitted to driving after consuming cannabis. While this number has remained the same since CAA’s survey in 2019, what continues to be of concern is the following: Almost half (about 282,000) of the cannabis impaired driving was paired with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs. More than half (about 336,000) of the cannabis-impaired drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel within three hours of consumption. A third of cannabis impaired drivers who drive the same day felt high while driving. While most Ontario drivers say that cannabis-impaired driving is a serious risk to road safety (89 per cent), only half are aware of the penalties. “Because of the novelty of edibles, there seems to be a knowledge gap surrounding the impaired-driving laws related to substances other than alcohol. However, studies show that the drug affects nearly every skill related to driving. It impairs a driver’s motor skills, making it harder to judge distances, and can slow reaction times,” says Stewart. Those caught and who fail a Drug Recognition Expert’s evaluation face an immediate 90-day licence suspension, a seven-day vehicle impoundment, and a $550 fine. If convicted in court, drivers will see their licence suspended for at least a year, along with various other mandatory stipulations including an education or treatment program, and the use of an ignition interlock device for at least a year.
• Aston University MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences, Drug Delivery and MPharm students work with industry professionals on research projects • Proveca pharmaceutical specialises in the development and licensing of medicines for children • Students will attend workshops led by Proveca and receive coaching on their research proposals. Aston University has partnered with pharmaceutical company Proveca to help support and facilitate final research projects being undertaken by its MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences, Drug Delivery and MPharm students. The partnership between the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University and Proveca began with a contract research project during which Professor Afzal Mohammed worked with Proveca to explore the development of drug formulation. Proveca is a pharmaceutical company specialising in the development and licensing of medicines for children. The company has now come on board to support and supervise at least five final year research projects and will help steer the students in the next steps in their lab research. The company will also support a wider number of students by running workshops, educating them on the current challenges of drug formulation development and providing coaching on how to write a research proposal. Professor Afzal Mohammed, associate head of pharmacy at Aston University, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to enhance the student experience and build on our excellent industry focused teaching and research”. The projects are due to start in January 2023 and Proveca has agreed to sponsor the final project prize open to all of our MSc Pharmaceutical Sciences, Drug Delivery and final year MPharm students. Dr Simon Bryson, CEO and founder of Proveca Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be building on our relationship with Aston University, having collaborated over several years on a range of successful projects including PhD sponsorship and supervision, visiting lecturing and MPharm research awards. “The partnership brings together the academic excellence of Aston University with the paediatric pharmaceutical expertise of Proveca which will ultimately drive innovation in paediatric medicines to improve child health.” For more information about the School of Pharmacy at Aston University please visit our website.