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Behind-the-scenes research bursts to life


Living avatars, AI in building and our hydrogen future offer a small slice of talking points about big world challenges soon to be served up by the Brunel Research Festival.

From talks and debates, through to lab tours and demos, more than 60 snapshots of cutting-edge studies cracking on at Brunel are on the menu in the month-long showcase.

Public, people from industry, students and staff can dip into topics including food security, loneliness and the human brain, throughout the series putting interdisciplinary research in the spotlight.

“We have a long, long history as a technical real-world research institution,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Jones said, launching Brunel’s third research festival on Wednesday. “It really shines out at this university, which is very distinct for technical-side research.”

A two-day digital health hackathon staged by the Computer Science for Social Good Research Group is one of the festival’s many interactive elements. Hacking the Digital Health Hackathon on 12 and 18 May challenges people to come up with ideas for real research projects to improve healthcare outside hospitals, with cash prizes.

Brunel Hydrogen on 22 May is another highlight promising to make the university’s research really pop out. The three-in-one day will walk people through every stage of the hydrogen economy, from production to the endgame – combustion. Blue hydrogen production and simultaneous hydrogen production feature in lunchtime tours of the Brunel Hydrogen Engine Research Lab, followed by a discussion with industry leaders.

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Valeria Perboni, Brunel’s Artist in Residence, invites people to explore multisensory creativity on 26 May Connections in Brunel’s immersive 360 3D dome. There’s chance after to talk to Valeria and Professor Akram Khan, Brunel’s Public Engagement Champion and Professor of Experimental Particle Physics and High-Performance Computing. “This will be a very innovative approach to exploring a sense of connection you need for creativity and how develop it to an innovative expression,” said Prof Khan.

“This festival is an opportunity for students and staff from different disciplines to interact with industry expertise and work together to address the big challenges in society like climate change,” said Professor Hua Zhao, Research Pro Vice-Chancellor. “Some people may not realise how well we are doing in research and all the excellent research activities taking place across the university.”

Explore the full festival line-up.