Cumbria is a geo-political county in Northwest England within which the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site is located. Whilst the area has a formidable reputation for natural beauty and historic assets, the innovation ecosystem is described as ‘patchy’ for a number of reasons. The county is one of the largest in England by area and is sparsely populated. This paper describes the needs, development and delivery of an SME business-support programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria. The Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP) Project has been designed to respond to the nuanced needs of SMEs in this locale, whilst promoting the adoption of research and innovation. CUSP utilizes a funnel method to support rural businesses with access to university innovation intervention. CUSP has been built on a three-tier model: Communicate, Collaborate and Create. The paper describes this project in detail and presents results in terms of output indicators achieved, a beneficiary telephone survey and wider economic forecasts. From a pragmatic point-of-view, the paper provides experiences and reflections of those people who are delivering and evaluating knowledge exchange. The authors discuss some of the benefits, challenges and implications for both policy makers and practitioners. Finally, the paper aims to serve as an invitation to others who may consider adopting a similar method of university-industry collaboration in their own region.
Human mobility exoskeletons have been in development for several years and are becoming increasingly efficient. Unfortunately, user comfort was not always a priority design criterion throughout their development. To further improve this technology, exoskeletons should operate and deliver assistance without causing discomfort to the user. For this, improvements are necessary from an ergonomic point of view. The device’s control method is important when endeavoring to enhance user comfort. Exoskeleton or rehabilitation device controllers use methods of control called interaction controls (admittance and impedance controls). This paper proposes an extended version of an admittance controller to enhance user comfort. The control method used consists of adding an inner loop that is controlled by a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller. This allows the interaction force to be kept as close as possible to the desired force trajectory. The force-tracking admittance controller modifies the actuation force of the system in order to follow both the desired motion trajectory and the desired relative force between the user and the exoskeleton.
The rapid development of cities implies significant material inflows and outflows. The construction sector is one of the main consumers of raw materials and producers of waste. The waste from the building sector, for its quantity and potential for recovery, constitutes significant deposits requiring major efforts, by combining different actors, to achieve the circular economy's objectives. It is necessary to understand and know the current construction actors' knowledge of stocks, urban metabolism, deposits, and recovery practices in this context. This article aims to explore the role of local governments in planning strategies by facilitating a circular economy. In particular, the principal opportunities and challenges of communities for applying the principles of the circular economy in the building sector will be identified. The approach used for the study was to conduct semi-structured interviews with those responsible for circular economy projects within local administrations of some communities in France. The results show territories' involvement in the inclusion and application of the principles of the circular economy in the building sector. The main challenges encountered are numerous, hence the importance of having identified and described them so that the different actors can work to meet them.
In the last 20 years, Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) has shown its advantages in product development in different engineering areas such as automation, mechanical, civil and aerospace engineering in terms of digital design automation and cost reduction by automating repetitive design tasks through capturing, integrating, utilising and reusing the existing knowledge required in various aspects of the product design. However, in primary design stages, the descriptive information of a product is discrete and unorganized while knowledge is in various forms instead of pure data. Thus, it is crucial to have an integrated product model which can represent the entire product information and its associated knowledge at the beginning of the product design. One of the shortcomings of the existing product models is a lack of required knowledge representation in various aspects of product design and its mapping to an interoperable schema. To overcome the limitation of the existing product model and methodologies, two key factors are considered. First, the product model must have well-defined classes that can represent the entire product information and its associated knowledge. Second, the product model needs to be represented in an interoperable schema to ensure a steady data exchange between different product modelling platforms and CAD software. This paper introduced a method to provide a general product model as a generative representation of a product, which consists of the geometry information and non-geometry information, through a product modelling framework. The proposed method for capturing the knowledge from the designers through a knowledge file provides a simple and efficient way of collecting and transferring knowledge. Further, the knowledge schema provides a clear view and format on the data that needed to be gathered in order to achieve a unified knowledge exchange between different platforms. This study used a game-based platform to make product modelling environment accessible for non-engineers. Further the paper goes on to test use case based on the proposed game-based product modelling environment to validate the effectiveness among non-engineers.
The use of Digital Technologies in teaching and learning processes is currently a reality, namely in initial teacher training. This study aims at knowing the digital reality of students in initial teacher training in order to improve training in the educational use of ICT and to promote digital technology integration strategies in an educational context. It is part of the IFITIC Project "Innovate with ICT in Initial Teacher Training to Promote Methodological Renewal in Pre-school Education and in the 1st and 2nd Basic Education Cycle" which involves the School of Education, Polytechnic of Porto and Institute of Education, University of Minho. The Project aims at rethinking educational practice with ICT in the initial training of future teachers in order to promote methodological innovation in Pre-school Education and in the 1st and 2nd Cycles of Basic Education. A qualitative methodology was used, in which a questionnaire survey was applied to teachers in initial training. For data analysis, the techniques of content analysis with the support of NVivo software were used. The results point to the following aspects: a) future teachers recognize that they have more technical knowledge about ICT than pedagogical knowledge. This result makes sense if we consider the objective of Basic Education, so that the gaps can be filled in the Master's Course by students who wish to follow the teaching; b) the respondents are aware that the integration of digital resources contributes positively to students' learning and to the life of children and young people, which also promotes preparation in life; c) to be a teacher in the digital age there is a need for the development of digital literacy, lifelong learning and the adoption of new ways of teaching how to learn. Thus, this study aims to contribute to a reflection on the teaching profession in the digital age.
In this article we present a java implementation of video telephony using the SIP protocol (Session Initiation Protocol). After a functional analysis of the SIP protocol, we relied on the work of Italian researchers of University of Parma-Italy to acquire adequate libraries for the development of our own communication tool. In order to optimize the code and improve the prototype, we used, in an incremental approach, test techniques based on a static analysis based on the evaluation of the complexity of the software with the application of metrics and the number cyclomatic of Mccabe. The objective is to promote the emergence of local start-ups producing IP video in a well understood local context. We have arrived at the creation of a video telephony tool whose code is optimized.
Lesson study is used as an instructional technique to promote both student and faculty learning. However, little is known about the usefulness of learning communities in supporting results of lesson study on the self-efficacy and development for tenure-track faculty. This study investigated the impact of participation in a lesson study learning community on 34 new faculty members at a mid-size Midwestern University, specifically regarding implementing lesson study evaluations by new faculty on their reported self-efficacy. Results indicate that participation in a lesson study learning community significantly increased faculty members’ lesson study self-efficacy as well as grant and manuscript production over one academic year. Suggestions for future lesson study around faculty learning communities are discussed.
Electric power is a fundamental necessity in the 21st century. Consequently, any break in electric power is probably going to affect the general activity. To make the power supply smooth and efficient, a smart grid network is introduced which uses communication technology. In any communication network, security is essential. It has been observed from several recent incidents that adversary causes an interruption to the operation of networks. In order to resolve the issues, it is vital to understand the threats and vulnerabilities associated with the smart grid networks. In this paper, we have investigated the threats and vulnerabilities in Smart Grid Networks (SGN) and the few solutions in the literature. Proposed solutions showed developments in electricity theft countermeasures, Denial of services attacks (DoS) and malicious injection attacks detection model, as well as malicious nodes detection using watchdog like techniques and other solutions.
Organic agriculture is a kind of living and dynamic agriculture that was introduced in the early 20th century. The fundamental basis for organic agriculture is in harmony with nature. This version of farming emphasizes removing growth hormones, chemical fertilizers, toxins, radiation, genetic manipulation and instead, integration of modern scientific techniques (such as biologic and microbial control) that leads to the production of healthy food and the preservation of the environment and use of agricultural products such as forage and manure. Supports from governments for the markets producing organic products and taking advantage of the experiences from other successful societies in this field can help progress the positive and effective aspects of this technology, especially in developing countries. This research proves that till 2030, 25% of the global agricultural lands would be covered by organic farming. Consequently Iran, due to its rich genetic resources and various climates, can be a pioneer in promoting organic products. In addition, for sustainable farming, blend of organic and other innovative systems is needed. Important limitations exist to accept these systems, also a diversity of policy instruments will be required to comfort their development and implementation. The paper was conducted to results of compilation of reports, issues, books, articles related to the subject with library studies and research. Likewise we combined experimental and survey to get data.
The role of the government to tangibly alleviate poverty, improve and sustain the quality of people’s lives remains a “work in progress” twenty-two years after the dawn of democracy in South Africa despite a host of socio-economic programs and pro-poor policies and legislations. This paper assesses the development process and the implementation of the White Paper on Families in South Africa as one of the pro-poor policies intended to curb poverty and redress the imbalances of the apartheid regime. The paper is the result of a qualitative implementation research theory facilitated through in-depth interviews with social work managers complemented by literature and policy review techniques. It investigates the level of basic knowledge and understanding as well as the implementation challenges of the White Paper on Families as causes of its failure. The paper emphasizes the importance of the family-centered approach in the implementation of pro-poor policies. To facilitate the understanding of the White Paper on Families by its users, the Department of Social Development needs take stock of the identified challenges of its implementation so as to facilitate its success in fostering positive family well-being that will directly contributes to the overall socio-economic development of South Africa.
Dubai and the UAE governments have been investing in technology and digital communication for a long time. These governments are pioneers in introducing innovative strategies, policies and projects. They are also recognized worldwide for defining and implementing long term public programs. In terms of eGovernment Dubai and the UAE rank among the world’s most advanced. Both governments have surprised the world a few years ago by creating a Happiness Ministry. This paper focuses on UAE’s government digital strategies and its approach to the next era. The main goal of this exploratory study is to understand the new era of eGovernment and transfer of the happiness and wellness programs. Data were collected from the corpus latente and analysis was anchored in qualitative methodology using content analysis and observation as analysis techniques. The study allowed to highlight that the 2020 government reshuffle has a strong focus on digital reorganisation and digital sustainability, one of the newest trends in sustainability. Regarding happiness and wellbeing portfolio, we were able to observe that there has been a major change within the government organisation: The Ministry of Happiness was extinct and the Ministry of Community Development will manage the so-called ‘Happiness Portfolio’. Additionally, our observation allowed to note the government dual approach to governance: one through digital transformation, thus enhancing the digital sustainability process and, the second one trough government development.
Road safety performance index is a composite index which combines various indicators of road safety into single number. Development of a road safety performance index using appropriate safety performance indicators is essential to enhance road safety. However, a road safety performance index in developing countries has not been given as much priority as needed. The primary objective of this research is to develop a general Road Safety Performance Index (RSPI) for developing countries based on the facility as well as behavior of road user. The secondary objectives include finding the critical inputs in the RSPI and finding the better method of making the index. In this study, the RSPI is developed by selecting four main safety performance indicators i.e., protective system (seat belt, helmet etc.), road (road width, signalized intersections, number of lanes, speed limit), number of pedestrians, and number of vehicles. Data on these four safety performance indicators were collected using observation survey on a 20 km road section of the National Highway N-125 road Taxila, Pakistan. For the development of this composite index, two methods are used: a) Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and b) Equal Weighting (EW) method. PCA is used for extraction, weighting, and linear aggregation of indicators to obtain a single value. An individual index score was calculated for each road section by multiplication of weights and standardized values of each safety performance indicator. However, Simple Average technique was used for weighting and linear aggregation of indicators to develop a RSPI. The road sections are ranked according to RSPI scores using both methods. The two weighting methods are compared, and the PCA method is found to be much more reliable than the Simple Average Technique.
This document seeks to reflect on the urban project from its conceptual identity root. In the first instance, a proposal is made on how the city project is sustained from the conceptual root, from the logos: it opens a way to assimilate the imagination; what we imagine becomes a reality. In this way, firstly, the need to use language as a vehicle for transmitting the stories that sustain us as humanity can be deemed as an important social factor that enables us to social behavior. Secondly, the need to attend to the written language as a mechanism of power, as a means to consolidate a dominant ideology or a political position, is raised; as it served to carry out the modernization project, it is therefore addressed differences between the real and the literate city. Thus, the consolidated urban-architectural project is based on logos, the project, and planning. Considering the importance of materiality and its relation to subjective well-being contextualized from a socio-urban approach, we question ourselves into how we can look at something that is doubtful. From a philosophy perspective, the truth is considered to be nothing more than a matter of correspondence between the observer and the observed. To understand beyond the relative of the gaze, it is necessary to expose different perspectives since it depends on the understanding of what is observed and how it is critically analyzed. Therefore, the analysis of materiality, as a political field, takes a proposal based on this research in the principles in transgenesis: principle of communication, representativeness, security, health, malleability, availability of potentiality or development, conservation, sustainability, economy, harmony, stability, accessibility, justice, legibility, significance, consistency, joint responsibility, connectivity, beauty, among others. The (urban) human being acts because he wants to live in a certain way: in a community, in a fair way, with opportunity for development, with the possibility of managing the environment according to their needs, etc. In order to comply with this principle, it is necessary to design strategies from the principles in transgenesis, which must be named, defined, understood, and socialized by the urban being, the companies, and from themselves. In this way, the technical status of the city in the neoliberal present determines extraordinary conditions for reflecting on an almost emergency scenario created by the impact of cities that, far from being limited to resilient proposals, must aim at the reflection of the urban process that the present social model has generated. Therefore, can we rethink the paradigm of the perception of life quality in the current neoliberal model in the production of the character of public space related to the practices of being urban. What we are trying to do within this document is to build a framework to study under what logic the practices of the social system that make sense of the public space are developed, what the implications of the phenomena of the inscription of action and materialization (and its results over political action between the social and the technical system) are and finally, how we can improve the quality of life of individuals from the urban space.
India has the most year-round favorable sunny conditions along with the second-highest solar irradiation in the world, the country holds the potential to become the global solar hub. The solar and wind-based generation capacity has skyrocketed in India with the successful effort of the Ministry of Renewable Energy, whereas the potential of rooftop based solar power generation has yet to be explored for proposed solar cities in India. The research aims to analyze the gap in the energy scenario in Jodhpur City and proposes interventions of solar energy generation systems as a catalyst for urban development. The research is based on the system concept which deals with simulation between the city system as a whole and its interactions between different subsystems. A system-dynamics based mathematical model is developed by identifying the control parameters using regression and correlation analysis to assess the gap in energy sector. The base model validation is done using the past 10 years timeline data collected from secondary sources. Further, energy consumption and solar energy generation-based projection are made for testing different scenarios to conclude the feasibility for maintaining the city level energy independence till 2031.
Financial Inclusion is considered a key pillar for development in most countries around the world. Access to affordable financial services in a country’s economy can be a driver to overcome poverty and reduce income inequalities, and thus increase economic growth. Nevertheless, the number of financially excluded populations in developing countries continues to be very high. This paper explores the role of Financial Technology (Fintech) as a key driver for achieving financial inclusion in developing countries post the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on four East African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. The research paper is inspired by the positive disruption caused by the pandemic, which has compelled societies in East Africa to adapt and embrace the use of financial technology innovations, specifically Mobile Money Services (MMS), to access financial services. MMS has been further migrated and integrated with other financial technology innovations such as Mobile Banking, Micro Savings, and Loans, and Insurance, to mention but a few. These innovations have been adopted across key sectors such as commerce, health care, or agriculture. The research paper will highlight the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) that are behind MMS, along with numerous innovative products and services being offered to the customers. It will also highlight the regulatory framework under which these innovations are being governed to ensure the safety of the customers' funds.
There has been a recent rise in ‘audience-centric’ and immersive storytelling. This indicates audiences are gaining interest in experiencing real adventure with everything that encompasses the struggle, the new friendships, skill development, and growth. This paper examines two themed alternate reality games created by a group of students at the University of Southern California as an experiment in how to design an adventure and to evaluate its impact on participants. The experiences combined immersive improvisational theatre and live-action roleplaying to create socially aware experiences within the timespan of four hours, using Harry Potter and mythology as themes. In each experiment, over 500 players simultaneously embarked on quests -a series of challenges including puzzle-solving, scavenger-hunting, and character interactions- to join a narrative faction. While playing, the participants were asked to choose faction alignments based on the characters they interacted with, as well as their own backgrounds and moral values. During the narrative finale, the impact of their individual choices on the larger story and game were revealed. After the conclusion of each experience, participants filled out questionnaires and were interviewed. Through this, it was discovered that participants developed transferable problem-solving, team-work, and persuasion skills. They also learned about the theme of the experience and reflected on their own moral values and judgment-making abilities after they realized the consequences of their actions in the game-world, inspiring some participants to make changes outside of it. This reveals that alternative reality games can lead to socialization, educational development, and real-world change in a variety of contexts when implemented correctly. This experiment has begun to discover the value of alternate reality games in a real-world context and to develop a reproducible format to continue to create such an impact.
Old age retirement pensions are an important concern among the Swiss but estimating one’s income after retirement is difficult due to the Swiss insurance system’s complexity. This project’s aim is to prepare for developing a digital platform that will allow individuals to plan for retirement in a simplified manner. The main objective of the platform will be to give individuals the tools to check that their savings and retirement benefits will allow them to continue the lifestyle to which they are accustomed once they are retired. The research results from qualitative (focus group) and quantitative (survey) methodologies, recommend the scope and functionalities for a digital platform to be developed. A main outcome is the need to limit the platform’s scope to old-age pension only (excluding survivors’ or disability pensions, for instance). Furthermore, an outcome regarding the functionalities is the proposition of scenarios such as early retirement, changes to income, or modifications to personal status. The development of the digital platform will be a subsequent project.
The challenging task in educational institutions is to maximize the high performance of students and minimize the failure rate of poor-performing students. An effective method to leverage this task is to know student learning patterns with highly influencing factors and get an early prediction of student learning outcomes at the timely stage for setting up policies for improvement. Educational data mining (EDM) is an emerging disciplinary field of data mining, statistics, and machine learning concerned with extracting useful knowledge and information for the sake of improvement and development in the education environment. The study is of this work is to propose techniques in EDM and integrate it into a web-based system for predicting poor-performing students. A comparative study of prediction models is conducted. Subsequently, high performing models are developed to get higher performance. The hybrid random forest (Hybrid RF) produces the most successful classification. For the context of intervention and improving the learning outcomes, a feature selection method MICHI, which is the combination of mutual information (MI) and chi-square (CHI) algorithms based on the ranked feature scores, is introduced to select a dominant feature set that improves the performance of prediction and uses the obtained dominant set as information for intervention. By using the proposed techniques of EDM, an academic performance prediction system (APPS) is subsequently developed for educational stockholders to get an early prediction of student learning outcomes for timely intervention. Experimental outcomes and evaluation surveys report the effectiveness and usefulness of the developed system. The system is used to help educational stakeholders and related individuals for intervening and improving student performance.
Bridges, as an essential part of road infrastructures, are affected by various deterioration mechanisms over time due to the changes in their performance. As changes in performance can have many negative impacts on society, it is essential to be able to evaluate and measure the performance of bridges throughout their life. This evaluation includes the development or the choice of the appropriate performance indicators, which, in turn, are measured based on the selection of appropriate models for the existing deterioration mechanism. The purpose of this article is a statistical study of indicators and deterioration mechanisms of bridges in order to discover further research capacities in bridges performance assessment. For this purpose, some of the most common indicators of bridge performance, including reliability, risk, vulnerability, robustness, and resilience, were selected. The researches performed on each index based on the desired deterioration mechanisms and hazards were comprehensively reviewed. In addition, the formulation of the indicators and their relationship with each other were studied. The research conducted on the mentioned indicators were classified from the point of view of deterministic or probabilistic method, the level of study (element level, object level, etc.), and the type of hazard and the deterioration mechanism of interest. For each of the indicators, a number of challenges and recommendations were presented according to the review of previous studies.
Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) is a psychiatric disorder with unknown etiology that mainly affects children in the first three years of life. Alterations of amino acid levels are believed to contribute to ASD. The levels of six essential amino acids (methionine, histidine, valine, leucine, threonine, and phenylalanine), five conditional amino acids (proline, tyrosine, glutamine, cysteine, and cystine), and five non-essential amino acids (asparagine, aspartic acid, alanine, serine, and glutamic acid) in hair samples of children with ASD (n = 25) were analyzed and compared to corresponding levels in healthy age-matched controls (n = 25). The results showed that the levels of methionine, alanine, and asparagine were significantly lower in the hair samples of ASD group compared to those of the control group (p ≤ 0.05). However, the levels of glutamic acid were significantly higher in the ASD group than the control group (p ≤ 0.05). The current findings could contribute towards further understanding of ASD etiology and provide specialists with a hair amino acid profile utilized as a biomarker for early diagnosis of ASD. Such biomarkers could participate in future developments of therapies that reduce ASD-related symptoms.
The web created by sport in academics has made it difficult for it to be separated from adolescent educational development. The enthusiasm expressed towards sport by students in higher institutions is quite enormous. Primarily, academic performance should be the pride of all students but whether sports affect the academic performance of student-athletes remain an unknown fact. This study investigated the influence of sports participation on academic performance among Afe Babalola University student-athletes. Ex post facto research design was used. Two groups of students were used for the study; Student-athlete (SA) and Regular Students (RS). Purposive sampling technique was used to select 224 student-athletes, only those that are regular in the university sports team training were considered and their records (i.e. name, department, level, matriculation number, and phone number) were collected through the assistance of their coaches. For the regular students, purposive sampling technique was used to select 224 participants, only those that have no interest in sports were considered and their records were retrieved from the college registration officer. The first and second semester examination results of the two groups were compared in 10 general study courses without their knowledge, using descriptive statistics of frequency counts, mean, and standard deviation. Out of the 10 compared courses, 7 courses result showed no significant difference between students-athlete and regular students while student-athletes perform better in 3 practically oriented courses. Sports role in academics is quite significant. Exposure to sports can help build the confidence that athletes need especially when it comes to practical courses. Student-athletes can perform better in academics if the environment is friendly and not intimidating. Lecturers and coaches need to work together in order to build a well cultured and intelligent graduate.