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Results

Open access award 2015/16. 21 Sep 2015

Not available

Amount: £13,891
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Waiting Times: Waiting and care in the time of modernity. 08 Apr 2015

Seed funding is sought for the development work that will lead to a joint Investigator Award Application by Lisa Baraitser (Birkbeck) and Laura Salisbury (Exeter) that investigates waiting time in relation to mental health, clinical contact time, and care. The project will bring together perspectives from medical humanities, medical history, psychosocial studies, literary studies, and new studies of temporality, to think critically about waiting times in mental healthcare provision, the time-spa ce of the GP encounter, and practices of care for the very elderly. Using an emerging scholarship that reformulates the speed and mobility commonly associated with modernity by emphasizing slowness and stilled, impeded or suspended time, the project investigates contemporary experiences of waiting in clinical and care encounters in what are felt to be increasingly frenetic times. Seed funding will enable a) a scoping study to be completed on the history of managing waiting in the NHS, from 1948- present day; b) the development of the conceptual resources on temporality that will underpin the Investigator Award Application through teaching buy-out, meetings, networking and conference attendance by the two co-investigators; c) the development of partnerships with those who will have a stake in the research outputs of project.

Amount: £27,039
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Speech perception in amusia. 17 Sep 2015

Amusia is a disorder characterized by impaired pitch discrimination, which interferes with both music and speech perception in the laboratory. However, paradoxically, amusics do not report problems with speech perception in everyday life. We hypothesize that amusics compensate for their deficit by focusing on durational information in speech, which provides cues to some of the same structural elements marked by pitch changes. Here we propose to develop a behavioural and functional magnetic reson ance imaging battery designed to test this compensatory hypothesis. Lexical stress perception, prosody perception, and speech-in-noise perception tested will be tested in three different conditions: with unaltered stimuli, with only pitch cues, and with only durational cues. We predict that amusics will be impaired only on the conditions containing only pitch cues. We further predict that in amusics the pattern of activation elicited when both pitch and duration cues are present will closely res emble the pattern when only durational cues are present, while in control subjects pitch- and duration-tracking networks will be equally represented. The development of this testing paradigm would enable evaluation of pitch and duration processing during speech perception in a variety of populations.

Amount: £98,068
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Women and HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Medicine, Art, Activism. 22 Jun 2015

Following World AIDS Day 2015 we propose a public lecture and one-day symposium with two interdisciplinary panels; the first provides perspectives from experts in the arenas of policy, social psychology, anthropology and the history of medicine. The second focuses on memorialization and representation, featuring South African photojournalists and women's community art activists whose work will be shown in Birkbeck's Peltz Gallery. The event concludes in the evening, with a public keynote lec ture by Edwin Cameron, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, followed by a reception at the Peltz Gallery. The next day delegates will participate in a walkabout and discussion with participating artists and the curator Professor Annie E. Coombes in the Peltz exhibition, Positive Living: Art and AIDS in South Africa which features work from photo journalists, fine artists, youth print workshop initiatives (to promote safe sex) and community activists engaged today and during the height of AIDS denialism. Our hope is that this symposium will stimulate a more integrated approach to the challenges of HIV and act as an incentive to health professionals and policy makers to recognize the value of working collaboratively with artist-activists and historians of the pandemic.

Amount: £6,218
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Conference 'Homecomings: Experiences and narratives of Second World War resistance veterans and the construction of a healthy Europe'. 31 Mar 2015

This conference will be held at Birkbeck on April 24 and 25 2015. It aims to explore one of the most important and lasting legacies of the Second World War - that of anti-fascist resistance, and views the experiences and activities of resistance veterans as essential for understanding how Europe dealt with the massive medical and public health challenges in the aftermath of the Second World War. It demonstrates that the history of resistance veterans stands at the core of the postwar medical his tory of Europe, and that veterans' experiences offer unique insights into the history of psychological trauma, public health institutions and disability. The conference focuses on medical and health aspects of day-to-day lives, concerns and narratives of disabled and traumatized anti-fascist resistance soldiers in the immediate aftermath of the war. It explores the figure of the war veteran in a transnational European context, from medical, psychiatric, and social perspectives, in order to conve y the complexity of soldiers' everyday experiences and complaints on both sides of the Iron Curtain. It also interrogates veterans' relationships and growing dissatisfaction with their respective states' health policies, showing how veterans' narratives and activities shaped the transformation of post-war healthcare systems in Europe.

Amount: £4,800
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Landscapes of Health: The Black Sea in the Socialist World. 25 Nov 2014

Landscapes of Health: The Black Sea in the Socialist World is a workshop with two main objectives. First, it seeks to develop our understanding of the role of Black Sea health resorts in socialist medical theory, practice, and culture. It highlights the importance of the sea, rest, environmental health, and natural healing to socialist ideas and practices of health. The workshop develops the idea of the Black Sea coastline of socialist Bulgaria, Romania and the Soviet Union as a shared zone of h ealth in the geography of the socialist world. Second, the workshop develops the idea of health resorts as international meeting places. The workshop marks the 70th anniversary of the Yalta conference (February 4-11, 1945), and brings to light the role of medicine and socialist ideas of health in Cold War diplomacy. Health resorts were showcases of the socialist world, in a Cold War contest fought publicly over welfare and standards of living. This workshop brings together for the first time scholars studying the health resorts of the Black Sea, with contributions from specialists in the history of medicine, history, film, architecture and urban planning, and scholars of both the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.

Amount: £4,900
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Hidden Persuaders? Brainwashing, Culture, Clinical Knowledge and the Cold War Human Sciences c. 1950-1990. 27 Jan 2014

This research offers original, wide-ranging analyses of practices and fears of brainwashing. Setting out from records of Korean War POWs, it investigates the storms of controversy and myth around clinical involvement in so-called mind control across and beyond the Cold War. This history deserves close scrutiny; it still resonates in contemporary culture, influencing public understanding of how captive human subjects may be pacified, re-educated and indoctrinated. I will assemble a team to ex plore the history, ethics and scope of brainwashing, and contextualise psychiatric reports, military archives, film and oral testimony. This is a panoramic, comparative investigation of theories and techniques of psychological warfare and behavioural experimentation, spanning political thought, human sciences, culture and counter-insurgency strategies. It asks how the reputation of the psychological professions was affected, long-term, by collusions (real and imagined) with military intellige nce and private corporations. Given the rich historiography of the post-war human sciences and recent declassification of key archives, this is the ideal time to study these phenomena, and a last opportunity to record surviving psychiatrists (such as Robert Jay Lifton) who shaped debates in this field. Through ambitious books, associated doctoral and post-doctoral projects, eye-catching events, film, exhibition and Internet, this path-breaking initiative brings this history (East and Wes t) into dialogue with policy questions regarding detainees' mental health, considering the safeguards required to protect POWs, prisoners of conscience and others from intrusive treatments, covert torture, and more subtle means of hidden persuasion today.

Amount: £934,004
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Open access publishing costs 2014/15. 15 Sep 2014

Not available

Amount: £13,891
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Fatigue in Britain: Work, Medicine and Society, 1914-1945. 13 May 2014

This project looks at fatigue and work in Britain from 1914 to 1945. It examines how political and economic concerns influenced the production of medical knowledge of fatigue, and how concepts of fatigue in turn penetrated ways of thinking about society. In contrast to a postwar period in which fatigue has increasingly been seen as a matter of individual responsibility or pathology, from the First World War and through the interwar period, I argue, workers' fatigue was an issue of major publi c significance. The working body became a symbolic focus for discourses over national efficiency, productivity and the welfare of the population. The fatigued working body became a point around which anxieties over the state of the nation were organised, and a key locus for the production of medical knowledge. The key goals are: to establish the contexts in which fatigue emerged as an issue of public significance and an object of medical and political inquiry; to examine the physiological and psychological models of fatigue developed in this period; to determine how the fatigue of workers was contested politically; to determine the effect of World War Two on the medical conceptualisation and social significance of fatigue.

Amount: £88,078
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Medicine and the Bishop in Medieval England, c.1100-c.1400. 04 Dec 2013

This project investigates the role of medicine in the life of the late medieval bishop, through an examination of three key themes. The bishop as a beneficiary of medical knowledge and treatment considers both medical provision within the episcopal household, and the role of preventative medicine (especially the six non-naturals) in protecting the bishop's health. The bishop's medical knowledge examines the medical knowledge of the late medieval episcopate: what medical knowledge did the bishop did, where did he obtain it from, and how did he use it? Understanding the bishop's body explores the role of medical knowledge in the formation of episcopal reputations, suggesting that medical interpretations of the episcopal body could be crucial in the formation of a reputation for sanctity or failure. Overall, the project aims to combine medical and ecclesiastical history in order to provide a detailed case study of the impact of medicine on a particular social group, and thus to improve ou r understanding of the links and potential tensions between spiritual and medical understandings of health and well-being as they existed in late medieval England.

Amount: £150,282
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Mechanisms and decisions in microtubule-based intracellular transport. 04 Jun 2014

The goal of this proposal is to gain a mechanistic understanding of how cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin are spatially targeted and activated to power movements within eukaryotic cells. In Aim1, I will determine how cytoplasmic dynein, the large and complex motor that moves toward the minus-end of microtubules, is initially targeted to the plus-end. My recent in vitro reconstitution of dynein transport to the plus-end by the kinesin Kip2 makes a detailed dissection possible. Using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, I will determine how dynein targeting is temporally controlled during the cell cycle, and the mechanism by which dynein's minus-end-directed motility is activated. The structural basis for dynein targeting will be revealed by combining electron microscopy with protein engineering. In Aim2, I will use a synthetic biology approach to probe how dynein and kinesins attach to membrane-bound compartments. I will test the hypothesis that Rab GTPases and generation of phospholip ids on the membrane surface are key determinants for transport. Finally, I will elucidate the architecture of a vesicle in the act of transport using electron tomography. This combination of techniques will shed new light on the regulation of motor proteins, which I will develop into a molecular movie.

Amount: £1,007,496
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Visualising Illness and Pain. 27 May 2014

Drawing on the varied perspectives of artists, historians, art therapists, curators, clinicians and social scientists, the proposed workshop will explore a series of questions relating to the visual representation of illness. Focusing specifically on contemporary works made in response to first-person encounters with illness, the workshop will consider what issues are at stake in reading these artefacts as subjective expressions of pain and suffering. The event will comprise two parts. The fi rst, taking place on a Friday afternoon and evening, will be open to the public, and will include a keynote address by Joanna Bourke and a panel discussion between artist Deborah Padfield, clinician Joanna Zakrzewska and social psychologist Alan Radley. The second, taking place the following day, will take the form of a series of panel discussions involving practitioners from different disciplines, with the aim of addressing a number of clearly defined research questions. We hope that the w orkshop will ultimately function not just as a one-off event, but also as a scoping exercise for a larger collaborative project. One of its likely outcomes will be the planning of an exhibition (with accompanying catalogue) that will be displayed both online and in the Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck.

Amount: £4,205
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Alternative Psychiatric Narratives: a 1.5 day conference. 31 Mar 2014

We propose a 1.5 day conference at Birkbeck in London for postgraduate and early career researchers to explore the theme of alternative psychiatric narratives. This aims to investigate new approaches to histories and experiences of psychiatry in its broadest sense, by considering overlooked stories, new sources and approaches, and the very question of narrative in psychiatry itself. We anticipate that researchers across the humanities and social sciences will engage with the topic, that the narratives under consideration will include a range of styles and media, and that there will be challenges to the constructions and uses of psychiatric narratives themselves. We will also welcome discussions of psychiatric encounters occurring outside formal psychiatric spaces, and the engagement of those who fall outside the doctor-patient dyad, such as non-medical staff and activists. The event will include a keynote speech given by an established academic, Dr Mathew Thomson, followed by presentations from junior scholars and a networking reception in the evening. If funding allows, this traditional conference format will be enhanced by a concluding roundtable discussion of invited participants and a final event open to the public.

Amount: £2,509
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Biomedical Vacation Scholarship 23 Jun 2014

Not available

Amount: £4,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

A direct electron detector for electron cryo-microscopy. 08 May 2013

The field of electron cryo-microscopy (cryo EM) is playing an increasingly important role in structural molecular and cellular biology, owing to advances in hardware and software that improve the image quality and facilitate the work. A major limitation has been the low quality of image recording, because of the low contrast and high radiation sensitivity of biological samples. Digital detectors are essential for high-throughput data collection, but the commonly used CCD detectors have worse res olution than photographic film. They convert electrons into visible light for signal recording, and this conversion degrades the image quality. Recent developments have led to commercially available direct electron detectors giving far superior performance for EM, with excellent test results already published. They provide information to the theoretical limit of resolution, whereas CCD images lack the higher resolution details. The signal/noise ratio of direct detectors at maximum resolution is at least 10-fold superior, providing major advantages for both single particles and cryo tomography. Since cryo EM operates at the limits of detection for delicate biological structures, this instrumental advance makes a vast difference to feasibility, resolution and efficiency of data collection. The resulting improvements in biological output lead to a much better use of expensive facilities.

Amount: £387,500
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Open access award 2013/14. 16 Sep 2013

Not available

Amount: £30,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

The road to Dr Down's idiot asylum: the creation of the idea of intellectual disability c.1700-1867. 01 May 2013

In 1867 Langdon Down, the superintendent of the worlds first idiot asylum at Earlswood, wrote his ethnic classification of idiocy. This assumed the right of the medical profession to identify, control and treat the condition of idiocy. It was a remarkable change from the conceptualisation of idiocy through the eighteenth and most of the first half of the nineteenth century, when the medical profession had shown little interest in idiocy and those classed as idiots had lived in their communities and families. This thesis will examine the conceptual transformation which took place over the long 18th century, transforming the idea of the idiot from a harmless natural who could be sustained within local communities to a helpless, pitiful and sometimes dangerous presence who required medicalised institutional protection, control and isolation. Asking 'how did the medicalisation of idiocy occur, and the idea of intellectual disability emerge?' the aim of the research will be to identify continuities and changes in the conceptualisation of idiocy. These discourses will be placed within the constellation of ideas and attitudes that constituted the Enlightenment science of humanity, leading to a quasi-scientific concept of the idiot which still feeds norms and assumptions about intellectual disability today.

Amount: £87,176
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Dreams & Dreaming: Disciplinary Perspectives & Interdisciplinary Dialogue. 18 Jan 2013

Dreams & Dreaming: Disciplinary Perspectives & Interdisciplinary Dialogue The funding is to support a one-day workshop, 'Dreams & Dreaming: Disciplinary Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Dialogue'. The workshop's aims are to initiate and promote interdisciplinary and practitioner / researcher dialogue and to establish a network of experts. Studying the phenomenon of dreaming can reveal deep and surprising truths about human experience, consciousness, and memory. Academics and practitioner s from disciplines as diverse as psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and cultural studies can agree with this: but what are the truths that these various disciplines have discovered and are they in fact compatible with one another? This is an urgent question and one that has the potential to open up new avenues of research and to impact on practice. The workshop will be based around a series of short research presentations by researchers and practitioners whose work centers on the phenomenon of dreaming. Potential contributors include cognitive scientists, practitioners of psychoanalysis, psychologists, psychotherapists, historians of psychoanalysis, philosophers, and cultural historians. Participants will present knowledge, methodologies, puzzles, and insights from their own research area and will be invited to bring their own disciplinary perspective to bear on the material presented by others.

Amount: £1,200
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London

Biomedical Vacation Scholarship. 24 Jun 2013

Not available

Amount: £3,040
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Birkbeck University of London