Featuring in-depth conversations that explore cutting edge research and analysis from the University of Liverpool, each episode features our academic experts discussing research in their specialist field.

This podcast series, produced in collaboration with the University of Liverpool online, provides a quick route to insider knowledge on new trends and upcoming key issues.

Episode 16: Tofu Solar Panels vs Big Business

September 20, 2017

Two years ago, physicist Jon Major published research on a new method for producing solar panels in the prestigious journal Nature. His technique has a tenuous connection to tofu but that was enough to push it onto the front pages of news sites around the world. The experience taught him a lot about the value of good communication of scientific ideas.

Dr Major’s experience since the research was published has taught him even more about the structure of the modern solar industry. It may not be as nimble and quick to innovate as you might think.

In this episode Dr Major talks about:

• The value of effective communication of scientific ideas

• The importance of serendipity in scientific inquiry

• The incredible promise and surprising environmental challenges of solar power

• Big Business and solar power

• Future of solar and renewables

The podcast can be found by following the links below:

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Episode 15: What if medicine becomes a lot more personal?

September 5, 2017

It might seem a bit farfetched but someday soon we might all carry in our wallets a little card, something like a credit card except this card will carry our entire genetic code. It’s something you would hand over to your doctor or that doctors would look for if you ended up in hospital.

Another possibility is that your doctor might have your genetic profile on file, right there beside your address, your age and your weight.

According to Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed from the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine healthcare is set to get a lot more personal and that’s a good thing.

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Learn more about the University of Liverpool’s online Public Health programmes here.

Episode 14: Who stopped the Ebola outbreak?

August 22, 2017

Dr Calum Semple from the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine shares his experience working in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. It’s a harrowing story that offers some surprising lessons.

The large scale Western medical intervention, the type Dr Semple was involved in, might not have been the crucial factor in conquering the outbreak – and certainly not as key as we may have thought. Rather, when reflecting on his research and his experiences, Calum suggests that public health messages concerning the burial of infected persons were vital in curbing the spread of the epidemic.

The podcast can be found by following the links below:

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The study Ebola_CP ‘Convalescent plasma for early Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone’ is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr Semple’s work is supported by a wide range of partners more details of which can be found here.

Mermaids

Episode 13: Why do we love mermaids?

August 8, 2017

Mermaids have fascinated and attracted us for generations. What is it about these mythical creatures that has so captivated humans for thousands of years and across cultures?

Sarah Peverley is a Professor of English Literature at the University’s Department of English and a Leverhulme Research Fellow working on a project entitled: ‘Mermaids of the British Isles, c. 450-1500’.

Sarah walks us through our long, complex and profound relationship with these beguiling messengers from the deep. Read more about Professor Peverley’s work here.

The podcast can be found by following the links below:

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Episode 12: Help! Is my dog obese?

July 26, 2017

Professor Alex German, from the University’s Small Animal Teaching Hospital, calls obesity the single greatest threat to your dog’s health and most pet owners don’t even realise their pet is overweight.

According to Professor German it is not just the average pet owner who faces this challenge. His analysis of dogs at Crufts, the biggest dog show in the UK, found that about a quarter of all show dogs were overweight.

The rise in dog obesity parallels the rise in obesity in humans and obese dogs face many of the same health risks as obese humans including arthritis and diabetes.

To assess your dog’s condition click on this guide.

The podcast, which contains useful information and tips for owners, can be found by following the links below:

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Episode 11: Interrogations – Why respect gets results

July 19, 2017

The string of terror attacks in the UK has increased pressure on police to identify and disrupt terrorist plots early. This requires fast and effective interrogations of family, friends and supporters of attackers.

You might imagine this means tough questioning that is extremely stressful to the detainee. But according to Laurence Alison, a softer approach tends to achieve hard results.

Professor Alison is Director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology at the University of Liverpool. He is an expert in interrogation techniques. He says, empathy, respect and careful listening are powerful tools in the hands of the most effective negotiators.

For more information about Laurence’s research please click here.

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Episode 10: The Business of Football

June 27, 2017

Kieran Maguire talks to us about the serious business of the beautiful game’s Premier League. He is a Senior Teacher in Accountancy at the University of Liverpool, and a football finance expert. He is also a lifelong fan of newly promoted Brighton FC.

Kieran discusses the city of Liverpool’s plan to underwrite Everton Football Club’s new stadium, the importance of Champions League places, and different approaches to financing and running Premier League football clubs. The discussion has a specific focus on Liverpool FC, Manchester United, and Manchester City football clubs. And he draws attention to the monopoly of the top four clubs and the irony inherent in UEFA’s ‘Financial Fair Play’ rules.

For more information about Kieran’s research please click here 

For more details about the Online MBA please click here

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Episode 9: Can the DUP push the Conservatives to the left?

June 15, 2017

When Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to negotiate a partnership with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), critics and observers pointed to deeply conservative statements of some DUP members and warned that the Conservatives risked being dragged to the far right of the political spectrum.

However, two University of Liverpool experts in Northern Ireland politics argue that the modern DUP is a pragmatic and politically sophisticated party. And, far from dragging the Conservatives to the right, they may actually pull them to the left on economic issues.

Peter Shirlow is the Director of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies.

Jonathan Tonge is a professor of politics at the University of Liverpool and co-author of the book ‘The Democratic Unionist’.

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Episode 8: Help! Is my child a psychopath?

June 7, 2017

For parents, the discovery that their child’s difficult behaviour is actually a form of psychopathy is devastating.

Dr Luna Centifanti, a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Liverpool, says researchers are zeroing in on the unique traits associated with psychopathy and this greater understanding is opening the door for more targeted therapies.

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5 minutes on… birth dates and mental health

June 1, 2017

This is our first episode in a new and sporadic series of short episodes called “5 minutes on…” From time to time we will put these out between our regular in-depth episodes which come out every two weeks.

Dr Praveetha Patalay walks us through research that shows how children’s mental health can be affected by their date of birth. Praveetha Patalay is a Lecturer in Population Mental Health and Child Development at the University of Liverpool.

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Episode 7: Is it really mental ‘illness’?

May 24, 2017

Dr Peter Kinderman argues that mental emotional distress is not a sign of illness but a symptom of social causes and pressure.

Depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia can be serious and debilitating experiences for people; but Dr Kinderman says the causes of these symptoms will not be found inside the brain but rather outside the person.

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Episode 6: Who will tell the robots what to do?

May 9, 2017

In part two of our look at big data and the ethics of autonomous machines, Dr Louise Dennis examines the choices self-driving cars will face as they take over our roads.

As autonomous machines spread into more and more facets of modern life, from our highways to our hospitals to our homes, Dr Dennis maintains that moral reasoning will increasingly need to be a critical part of their design.

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Episode 5: Big Data and the search for MH370

April 26, 2017

This is the first episode in a two part series on the ethics of big data and autonomous machines.

In this episode we speak with Prof Simon Maskell, Professor of Autonomous Systems at the University of Liverpool. He was involved in the hunt for MH370 which is the Malaysian Airlines plane that went missing less than one hour after take-off from Kuala Lampur on March 8, 2014.

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Episode 4: Dr Suzi Gage on ‘Say Why to drugs’

April 12, 2017

Suzi Gage, co-host of the podcast ‘Say Why to Drugs’, is taking the ‘Just Say No’ motto and turning it on its head. The podcast is an evidence driven, deep dive into everything we know, and still don’t know, about specific recreational drugs. Every two weeks she and her co-host, the UK rapper Scroobius Pip focus on a different drug.

At the beginning of this year, Suzi Gage won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Early career award for public engagement with science.

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Episode 3: Nano-medicine shrinks the cost of HIV treatment

Steve Rannard and Andrew Owen are using nano-technology to make HIV medicine more effective and less expensive. Nanomedicine builds tiny particles of medication designed to drive the drug into the bloodstream more effectively.

Less medicine means lower costs for treatment, which could greatly increase the number of HIV patients that can receive therapy in low to middle income countries.

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Episode 2: Liverpool, Cradle of the Beatles

March 27, 2017

Dr Mike Jones traces the City of Liverpool’s complex relationship with The Beatles. It may seem difficult to believe today, but the city was not always so warm in its embrace of four of its most famous sons.

A fascinating story that has its origins in the dramatic social, political and economic changes of the past century.

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Professor Chris Probert

Episode 1: Follow Your Nose

March 6, 2017

Chris Probert leads a team that’s invented a machine that can reliably detect the early stages of cancer in a patient with nothing more than a sniff of small sample.

For some cancers this has the potential to dramatically simplify the detection of tumours. It offers an alternative test that is not only much more comfortable for patients but also potentially much more accurate.

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