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UEA scientists research rainfall in India in hope they can predict monsoons

The underwater robot Credit: University of East Anglia

Scientists in Norwich have travelled to India to help with a project that can predict monsoon rainfall there.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia will be using underwater robots in the Bay of Bengal to monitor how ocean conditions influence the climate.

It's hoped the £8 million project will help forecast the rains more accurately and so reduce any damage caused.

The robot will be used to monitor conditions underwater Credit: University of East Anglia

"The Indian monsoon is notoriously hard to predict. It is a very complicated weather system and the processes are not understood or recorded in science. We will be combining oceanic and atmospheric measurements to monitor weather systems as they are generated. Nobody has ever made observations on this scale during the monsoon season itself so this is a truly ground-breaking project."

– Lead researcher, Prof Adrian Matthews, UEA

The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Newton Fund, the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences and the UK's Met Office.


More than a million downloads for pioneering game

More than a million people have downloaded a mobile phone game which is helping researcher's studying dementia.

The project saw Cambridge-based Alzheimer's Research UK team up with scientists from the University of East Anglia, UCL and a telecoms company to develop the game.

Playing the game will help our scientists understand in detail how our brains navigate space. It's reckoned that by playing the game for just 2 minutes generates the same amount of data it would take researchers 5 hours to obtain.

Find out more about the game below.

Mortarboard madness? UEA stops students from throwing hats in graduation tradition

It's either health and safety gone mad or an example of an educational establishment looking after its students responsibly.

Ahead of the graduation season, when students celebrate the awarding of their degrees in the time honoured fashion by throwing their mortar boards into the air, the University of East Anglia has banned the practice.

The UEA says hurling the pointed hats upwards is causing injury.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray.

University says mortarboard ban is for large groups of students

Mortarboards from 'Graduatrion Attire Ltd' Credit: ITV News Anglia

The University of East Anglia which has been criticised by the Health and Safety Executive for stopping its students this year from throwing mortarboards into the air at their graduation ceremonies, says it is only for large groups of students.

The HSE had said the ban was 'over-the-top' and that the chance of being injured by the throwing of mortarboards was 'incredibly small'.

Now the UEA says that small individual groups can go away and photograph themselves throwing the traditional hats, but is 'discouraging' very large groups from carrying out the tradition.

"We're not banning anything, we have a large photograph of about 250 students in their gowns and the last few years we've had a few nasty accidents which has rather spoilt the day for some students and so it's an avoidable accident, so we are discouraging the throwing of hats in the big orchestrated photograph, but people can take their own photographs around the campus if they wish."

– Prof Neil Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia

Watch more reaction from the UEA's Neil Ward who is reacting to criticism from the HSE.

The Managing Director of 'Graduation Attire Ltd' in Bedford told ITV News Anglia that there have been people in the past hurt at graduation ceremonies.

Martin Lewis from 'Graduation Attire Ltd in Bedford Credit: ITV News Anglia

"There've been cases in the past where people have been hurt, especially bystanders, perhaps a child in a buggy if it falls on them. Based on that alone it should be stopped. The best solution is probably to improve the hat, you can't cut the corners off but you could make them softer."

– Martin Lewis, Graduation Attire Ltd

HSE: Decision to ban graduation mortarboard throwing tradition is 'over-the-top'

The UEA campus, Norwich Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Health and Safety Executive has criticised The University of East Anglia for banning the tradition of throwing mortarboards in the air at graduation ceremonies.

The UEA has said it's imposed the ban after a number of injuries and that they came to the decision to 'ensure no student's graduation day is ruined'.

But the HSE has hit back saying the banning of mortarboard throwing on health and safety grounds is one of their most popular myths and appears in their 'top 10 all-time worst health and safety excuses'.

The HSE went on to say that the chance of being injured by a flying mortarboard is 'incredibly small' and that it is 'over-the-top' to impose an outright ban.

"You’d think universities would study history and do a bit of research before repeating tired health and safety myths like this one....As far back as 2008, HSE made clear the law does not stop graduates having fun and celebrating their success in the time-honoured fashion.The chance of being injured by a flying mortar board is incredibly small and it’s over-the-top to impose an outright ban. We usually find the concern is actually about the hats being returned in good condition.”

– Geoff Cox, Health & Safety Executive public sector team
Students at the UEA today practising their graduation poses without mortarboards Credit: ITV News Anglia

Students graduating from The University of East Anglia this year will have images of the flying mortarboards added onto their graduation photographs afterwards.

"The decision to not have the traditional hat throwing photo opportunity for all students this year follows a number of injuries over recent years to graduates hurt by falling mortarboards. This is an unacceptable risk and we want to ensure no student's graduation day is ruined by the potential for avoidable injury."

– UEA Spokesperson


New smoke-free initiative launched in Norfolk

The programme will look at whether smokers are more successful quitting as part of a group than by themselves. Credit: PA

The first smoke-free initiative of its kind in Norfolk is being launched in October, which will test whether smokers are more successful quitting as part of a group than by themselves.

As part of the ‘Quit Strong’ initiative, smokers will take part in weekly group sessions over a period of a month.

They will get advice from advisors and be issued stop smoking medication prescriptions for their planned smoking ‘quit day’.

They will also get carbon monoxide testing to compare their readings over the course of the programme.

The programme is being jointly run by Smokefree Norfolk, which is provided by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, and the Norwich Medical School.

It will coincide with the launch of the the newly formed ‘Addiction Research Group’ within the Norwich Medical School.

"Generally some people find that they have more success quitting together in a group compared to one-to-one sessions with advisors and these sessions aim to attract likeminded people who want to quit smoking as one big team."

– James Wade, Lead Advisor for Smokefree Norfolk

“From a research point of view we will be interested track people’s efforts and will be trying to work out whether quitting in a group results in better outcomes than quitting alone.”

– Dr Caitlin Notley, University of East Anglia

UEA climbs to 2nd place in national student survey

The University of East Anglia has come second in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) for student Overall Satisfaction levels, rising one place from last year.

Full-time, first degree final-year undergraduate taught students across the UK are invited annually to complete a questionnaire about various elements of their university education and the results released today show UEA achieved a score of 92% in the Overall Satisfaction theme.

"The National Student Survey is a key barometer of how our students feel about their time here at UEA. Scoring so highly for Satisfaction is testament to the efforts of academic and support staff as well as the Student Union and of course the students themselves in making UEA a top-class place to live and study."

– Prof David Richardson, UEA Vice-chancellor
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