Archive for the ‘Kazakhstan’ Category

Back to Kazakhstan – a British Council Institutional Links project workshop

August 24, 2016

One of the other things that’s been keeping me busy recently – I mentioned being busy with the BSc degree I’ve been developing in my last post – is my British Council Institutional Links project. (I guess I’m trying to make excuses for not blogging much recently!)

The project research team looking pretty cool over in Kazakhstan in August 2016.

The project research team looking pretty cool over in Kazakhstan in August 2016.

I’ve recently come back from a project research meeting and it’s been a real learning experience. Not only is the project cross-disciplinary (we’ve got environmental scientists, computer scientists, epidemiologists, toxicologists and social scientists involved) but we’re also working across nations.

One of the big challenges so far has been data. I’m quite used to be able to get hold of lots of different types of data from the UK and, if it’s not available, being able to get out there and collect new data. This has, for various reasons, been a little more challenging in Kazakhstan.

I’m pretty sure that we’re still going to get some good results (watch this space!) but it’s been harder work than I thought it would be.

Thinking more broadly (and I’ve not mentioned Brexit on the blog so far) I wonder if this has implications for a shift away from EU funding/collaborations, which might occur post-Brexit, and towards work in developing nations, assuming that the Global Challenges Research Fund expands and takes off. Whilst there is probably more scope for impact in developing nations, that work might be more difficult because the research infrastructure (including data archiving) is not so well developed.

British Council Institutional Links project – Environmental Health in Kazakhstan

April 9, 2015

BritishCouncilI recently found out that I’d been successful with Newton-Al Farabi Institutional Links grant. Go me!

It should be really interesting and will involve a lot of collaboration with a couple of universities out in Kazakhstan. I’ll also be working with a larger team here at Brunel than I normally would. I’m sure there’ll be more posts here once the project is up and running properly.

In the meantime, here’s a little summary from the Brunel press release for the grant award:

A team of academics from Brunel University London have been given a prestigious award to help reduce health risks and environmental damage in Kazakhstan.

The cross-disciplinary group received the £157,000 grant from the British Council’s Newton Institutional Links programme, with the aim of developing evidence-based recommendations for policy-makers in the central Asian country.

The two-year project, titled “A multi-dimensional environment-health risk analysis system for Kazakhstan”, will begin in April 2015. The research will bring together two universities in Kazakhstan (Kokshetau State University and Pavlodar State University) with Brunel staff from the College of Health and Life Sciences, College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences and College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences.

Project lead Dr Andrew Russell, from the Institute for Environment, Health and Societies, said: “Kazakhstan is a really interesting place from an environment and health perspective.

“GDP is quite high, mostly due to natural resources, but health levels are generally quite poor. Environmental degradation plays a large role in this ‘health lag’ as there have been many years of lax environmental control going all the way back to Soviet era nuclear tests.”

The project will employ “Big Data” techniques and scientific knowledge will be applied to health and environment data to identify important relationships. This will enable the development of efficient and robustly tested solutions.