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Novel support for strikers: Authors back university lecturers in industrial action

Authors refuse to cross picket line Credit: PA Images

A Booker prize nominated Author has cancelled an appearance at the University of East Anglia over the strike on pensions.

Jon McGregor, who wrote Reservoir 13, has pulled out of the University of East Anglia’s Spring Literary Festival as strikes enter third week.

Instead he'll headline an event at Students’ Union in support of striking staff. he'll be joined by Essex Serpent writer Sarah Perry, UEA alum Megan Bradbury and James Meek.

The author was due to appear at the UEA Spring Literary Festival on Wednesday but said that he will not cross the picket line.

The ‘Writers for the Strike’ event will run from 5 – 7pm on Wednesday.

Mr McGregor said:

"Although I had been very much looking forward to reading at the UEA Spring 2018 Literary Festival, I will not be able to do so while strike action in defence of university staff pensions is ongoing. I have never crossed a picket line in my life, and am not about to start now. Instead, I will be joining staff, students, and writers for an evening of readings and discussion as part of the Alternative University being organised by striking staff and hosted by the Students’ Union."

– John McGregor

The pension dispute centres on proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – a move which UCU says would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.

Woman rescued from UEA lake in Norwich is identified

Police say a woman rescued from the lake at the University of East Anglia has been identified.

The woman - who is thought to be in her 40s or 50s - remains in a critical condition in hospital.

She was pulled from the lake at the UEA in Norwich on Wednesday afternoon (October 18).

Police had been appealing for help to work out who she was. The only personal item she had with her was a key.


UEA study shows Twitter can predict the outcome of football matches

Tweets can help predict the outcome of football matches Credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

New research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows Tweets can help predict the outcome of football matches. The study found the tone of Tweets can show when soccer bets are mispriced.

Researchers examined 13.8 million Tweets during the English Premier League 2013/2014 season. These compared prices generated during matches on gambling site Betfair. They found if the tone of Tweets in any given second was positive then the team was more likely to win than bookies predicted.

The study says Tweets are most helpful after goals and red cards. Researchers think this is because social media is particularly good at analysing new information as it comes in during matches.

Social media is already being used as a forecasting tool by a number of companies and agencies but this study has shown its accuracy.

This is a real 'wisdom of crowds’ kind of outcome. It says that if we listen to the right parts of the crowd, we can gain more information and make better predictions.

– Dr James Reade


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.

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