Project Outlines for the Students as Researchers Scheme 2019/20

To apply for any of these projects please click here


Project Code Project Title Project Blurb Project Outline
PED01 Evaluating the Use of Sketchnoting as a Formative Assessment Tool Sketchnoting combines written and visual images recorded by the author as a means of summarising content. There are no rules on how to Sketchnote and each one will be personal to the author.

This research is based around the evaluation of Sketchnoting in a teaching context. The researcher would be interviewing participants and collating interview and survey data as well as researching the use of Sketchnoting in education.

In addition they will potentially be working the academic researchers to publish the findings from this research.

Link to Project Outline
PED02 Updating Criteria for Self and Peer Assessment of Group Work in Engineering and Mathematics Courses All undergraduate courses in the Engineering Department at Teesside University [TU] include at least one module in which group work is assessed, most commonly via Self & Peer Assessment [S&PA]. Previous TU research highlighted that the language used to present S&PA criteria is not clear to students, making it difficult to ensure consistent and objective results. The Student Researcher on this project would explore current best practice and work with the Project Lead to create an updated set of criteria that suits all TU Engineering and Mathematics students. They would test these criteria and present the results to relevant audiences. Link to Project Outline
PED04 Evaluation and Impact Analysis of TU Advance (Books) Part 2 This project will give you a fascinating insight into the world of books, working with both the University Library and a book supplier, JS. Alongside this, you will develop your research skills, as we will be using a variety of methods to analyse the impact of the Teesside Advance scheme. The analysis will include a longitudinal dimension to see the impact year on year. Link to Project Outline
PED05 Profiling Future Facing Learning Space at TU Are you interested in shaping the conversation around Future Facing Learning Spaces at Teesside? We are looking for a student researcher to work with us to help inform ongoing development work aimed at optimising the impact of learning space design for innovative learning and teaching. The project will see you will working closely with the project lead from Academic Registry to develop in-depth profiles of different categories of learning space, and an active evidence base regarding student and staff experiences of such spaces, to help in the development of the University’s wider work into learning space and pedagogic innovation.


Link to Project Outline
PED06 U Learning and Mathematics in the Digital Classroom Technology could be used to enable deep learning tasks characterized by exploration, connectedness and broader, real-world purposes (Tay, 2016). Ubiquitous learning (U-learning) offers a set of training activities supported by technology, based on ubiquitous computing (Galan-Garcia & Aguilera-Vengas, 2017). The study revolves around a Year 1 Engineering Mathematics classroom and is framed around the potential of mobile technologies and collaborative learning using digital technology (Borba et al, 2017). Ipads are used as the teaching tool, with MS Teams and One Note guiding the T & L activities. The research explores how the use of mobile technologies like iPads impact lecture routines, learners’ motivation in mathematics classroom, student learning/ engagement of learning, and any change in attitude to mathematics. Quantitative and qualitative data are collected as the participants respond to the Instructional Materials Motivational Survey (IMMS), at the end of the intervention and the attitude to mathematics survey at the beginning and end.


Link to Project Outline


SAR01 Genome Sequencing of Engineered Actinobacteria An opportunity exists for a candidate with a biology or biotechnology background to work in a microbiology lab. In this project, the candidate will have a chance to receive trainings on genome sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of genome data, and get hand-on experience on genomic DNA extraction. The project is expected to lead a peer-reviewed publication, which will give the candidate an insight into the whole process from writing draft manuscript to submission for peer review. All these trainings will equip the candidate with essential skills in any biology labs. Link to Project Outline
SAR02 The Role of Mitochondrial defects in Parkinson Disease, using fruit flies as a model Mitochondria, the parts of the cell that convert the food we eat to energy the cell uses, may be involved in the cause or pathology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Using fruit fly models of PD, we will assess how mitochondrial defects affect the symptoms of PD seen in the flies. Link to Project Outline
SAR03 Elucidating the role of MDK as a novel therapeutic target in gioblastoma cell lines Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive type of gliomas. Chemotherapy is the standard of care in patients with glioblastoma, in combination with radiation after surgery. However, the most common chemotherapeutic drugs often fail and the prognosis remains poor. Midkine (MDK) is a secreted cytokine, overexpressed in various malignancies and implicated in chemotherapy resistance. The impact and the mechanism of MDK action in drug response for glioblastoma remains elusive.

This project aims to address this challenge with the following objectives: i) evaluation by protein measurements of MDK in the secretome of glioblastoma cells grown under normal conditions or upon treatment with chemotherapeutic drug and ii) association of the MDK protein levels with the impact of the chemotherapeutic agent in glioblastoma cells drug sensitivity. The results of this work will be the prerequisite for a broader study regarding the MDK-mediated mechanisms in glioblastoma chemotherapy response.


Link to Project Outline
SAR04 Airway Epithelium: The first defence barrier against exogenous particles and pathogens The airway epithelium; the first defence barrier against inhaled exogenous particles (e.g. allergens and viruses), consists of a pseudostratified structure of different cells, such as, basal cells, ciliated cells and goblet cells. It is essential to carry out research on the model that represent physiological condition. Therefore, we aim to culture the epithelial cells in condition that mimic physiological condition. We start with culturing cells in monolayer, which only consist of basal cells. Then we expand to Air Liquid Interface model in which different population of cells (basal cells, ciliated cells and goblet cells) form a pseudostratified structure. Link to Project Outline
SAR05 Development of a Synthetic Seminal Fluid Substitute for use in Forensic Science Teaching The detection of seminal fluid in forensic biology casework is routinely undertaken and currently there is no effective substitute for using human semen which presents a number of ethical and health and safety challenges in a teaching environment.  The aim of this research, therefore, is to develop an inert and non-toxic seminal fluid substitute that accurately mimics human seminal fluid for use in teaching and forensic training purposes. The student researcher will develop key skills in experimental design and method development with a view to developing a product of use to the wider forensic community.


Link to Project Outline
SAR06 Is Pollen and Flower Production driven by nutrient availability in Poa annua (annual meadow grass) The impact of pollen is a significant focal point in public health in relation to pollen-born allergies and asthma. Pollen production by plants is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and it is currently un-clear how pollen production from ecosystem will be modified by global change in the future. This work will improve our understanding of pollen production by growing plants in controlled conditions using a hydroponics system and quantify flowering and pollen production. We are looking for someone enjoying detailed work, who has an interest for global change ecology and the relevance of the natural environment to our society. Link to Project Outline
SAR07 An Evaluation of the MyLife Tool creative self- management Programme MyLifeTool is a new self-management tool for people with long-term conditions.  Based on positive psychology principles, it uses scrapbooking as a creative activity to improve wellbeing.  This project will assess the effectiveness of MyLifeTool as a face-to face intervention.  Participants will take part in six creative self-management sessions, where they will engage in creative activities, such as drawing, painting, poetry, knitting, etc.  Both quantitative and qualitative measures will be used to evaluate the programme.  The student researcher will facilitate some of the creative self-management sessions and a focus group with participants, and conduct the analysis of the quantitative data. Link to Project Outline
SAR08 A Security Analysis of an open standard for Banking Services interoperability The project will analyse the OpenBanking API reference implementation, a new standard in the UK banking industry, developed in response of to the EU Payments Services Directive (PSD2), which brings in new laws aimed at improving consumer rights and enhancing online security.

OpenBanking API is meant to provide secure interoperability of banking services, and this project will focus on the operational and security goals defined by the standard. The work will consist in the construction of a virtualized runtime and testing environment, running security tests, collecting and analysing data, identify potential vulnerabilities and, in case, provide advice on possible fixes.

Link to Project Outline
SAR10 Determine the impact of a 4-week Physical Activity and Educational Training on Schoolchildren’s wellbeing Are you interested in working with children? Are you passionate about physical activity? Are you interested in promoting mental well-being? We would like you to work with us to design, deliver and evaluate a 4-week school-based intervention using physical activity to enhance the well-being of secondary school children. Experience of working with children would be advantageous. Link to Project Outline

Gaant Chart

SAR11 Optimising Heat Recovery from Sewers We drain 1000’s of MWh of heat every year into sewers! This is enough to cover the UK residential demands. Heat recovery from sewers has a great potential, as low carbon energy source, and is needed more than ever. This project aims to optimise the heat recovery process by introducing new techniques that can break some of the major barriers and promote sewer heat recovery as a major future energy technology. If you are keen to be part of this change and have a strong background in maths, then we would like to hear from you. Link to Project Outline
SAR12 Developing an inexpensive and safe methodology to extract Microplastics from river sediments using LST Heavy Liquid We are looking for an independently minded student researcher keen to advanced research into microplastics in the environment.

Plastic pollution is a high profile human impact on the planet. However, much plastic pollution cannot be seen with the naked eye, so called ‘microplastics’, and is carried through the environment in river sediments and then into the food chain. Existing approaches to counting microplastics in river sediments rely on complex laboratory approaches using dangerous chemicals. The aim of this project is to develop an existing laboratory protocol to offer a low-cost and safe methodology to quantify microplastics in river sediments.

Link to Project Outline
SAR13 Mining for virulence genes; a compendium of data relating to Bacterial Virulence Interested in Pathogens or pathogen genomics? Want to be part of an important study and be an author on a paper? This is a dry (non-lab based) life science project that will use a wide variety of skills to look at how pathogens evolved! You will use the computer to interrogate pathogen genomes and use a variety of advanced genomic and graphic software and literature searching to contribute to a compendium of data for a study that will be published in the next 12 months. Link to Project Outline
SAR14 Online Sensor Data Visualisation Are you interested in website design and development? Did you have experience using JavaScript? If so, this opportunity may be for you. You will be developing and linking a webpage to display wireless sensor monitoring data in near real time. Key tasks include: – Updating existing website to include sensor monitoring page(s) – Development of webpage-sensor links – Enabling and testing sensor-webpage communication  – Data processing and formatting to ensure consistent visual appearance Link to Project Outline
SAR15 Support in Website Development and Maintenance Are you interested in website design and development? Did you try to design a website? If so, this opportunity may be for you. You will be supporting Centre for Construction Innovation and Research (CCIR) in maintaining and updating their online presence including website development. Key tasks include:

– Updating of existing team webpages

– Development of new webpages, – Image processing and formatting to ensure consistent visual appearance

– Research and implementation of search engine optimisation.

Link to Project Outline
SAR16 Simulation of Catalytic Reactions by discrete random walks Are you interested in mathematics or computer science? In this project you apply your knowledge of programming skills to a concrete simulation task. You discuss the results with a team from Cambridge and Teesside and contribute to current research. Link to Project Outline
SAR17 How students learn to estimate; practical approaches to the primary school classroom Are you interested in mathematics and do you like to teach?

In this project you design practical teaching material and contribute to a field study in primary school classroom. You become part of an exciting research project and help to disseminate the results within the mathematics education community.

Link to Project Outline