Recent Submissions

  • Scheduling and Resource Efficiency Balancing. Discrete Species Conserving Cuckoo Search for Scheduling in an Uncertain Execution Environment

    Hu, Yim Fun; Li, Jian-Ping; Bibiks, Kirils (University of BradfordFaculty of Engineering and Informatics, 2017)
    The main goal of a scheduling process is to decide when and how to execute each of the project’s activities. Despite large variety of researched scheduling problems, the majority of them can be described as generalisations of the resource-constrained project scheduling problem (RCPSP). Because of wide applicability and challenging difficulty, RCPSP has attracted vast amount of attention in the research community and great variety of heuristics have been adapted for solving it. Even though these heuristics are structurally different and operate according to diverse principles, they are designed to obtain only one solution at a time. In the recent researches on RCPSPs, it was proven that these kind of problems have complex multimodal fitness landscapes, which are characterised by a wide solution search spaces and presence of multiple local and global optima. The main goal of this thesis is twofold. Firstly, it presents a variation of the RCPSP that considers optimisation of projects in an uncertain environment where resources are modelled to adapt to their environment and, as the result of this, improve their efficiency. Secondly, modification of a novel evolutionary computation method Cuckoo Search (CS) is proposed, which has been adapted for solving combinatorial optimisation problems and modified to obtain multiple solutions. To test the proposed methodology, two sets of experiments are carried out. Firstly, the developed algorithm is applied to a real-life software development project. Secondly, the performance of the algorithm is tested on universal benchmark instances for scheduling problems which were modified to take into account specifics of the proposed optimisation model. The results of both experiments demonstrate that the proposed methodology achieves competitive level of performance and is capable of finding multiple global solutions, as well as prove its applicability in real-life projects.
  • The impact of fiscal deficits on economic growth in developing countries : Empirical evidence and policy implications

    Potts, David J.; Weiss, John A.; Porojan, Anca; Wu, Zongmin; Ruzibuka, John S. (University of BradfordBradford Centre for International Development. School of Social and International Studies, 2012)
    This study examines the impact of fiscal deficits on economic growth in developing countries. Based on deduction from the relevant theoretical and empirical literature, the study tests the following hypotheses regarding the impact of fiscal deficits on economic growth. First, fiscal deficits have significant positive or negative impact on economic growth in developing countries. Second, the impact of fiscal deficits on economic growth depends on the size of deficits as a percentage of GDP – that is, there is a non-linear relationship between fiscal deficits and economic growth. Third, the impact of fiscal deficits on economic growth depends on the ways in which deficits are financed. Fourth, the impact of fiscal deficits on economic growth depends on what deficit financing is used for. The study also examines whether there are any significant regional differences in terms of the relationship between fiscal deficits and economic growth in developing countries. The study uses panel data for thirty-one developing countries covering the period 1972- 2001, which is analysed based on the econometric estimation of a dynamic growth model using the Arellano and Bond (1991) generalised method of moments (GMM) technique. Overall, the results suggest the following. First, fiscal deficits per se have no any significant positive or negative impact on economic growth. Second, by contrast, when the deficit is substituted by domestic and foreign financing, we find that both domestic and foreign financing of fiscal deficits exerts a negative and statistically significant impact on economic growth with a lag. Third, we find that both categories of economic classification of government expenditure, namely, capital and current expenditure, have no significant impact on economic growth. When government expenditure is disaggregated on the basis of a functional classification, the results suggest that spending on education, defence and economic services have positive but insignificant impact on growth, while spending on health and general public services have positive and significant impact. Fourth, in terms of regional differences with regard to the estimated relationships, the study finds that, while there are some regional differences between the four different regions represented in our sample of thirty-one developing countries - namely, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa – these differences are not statistically significant. On the basis of these findings, the study concludes that fiscal deficits per se are not necessarily good or bad for economic growth in developing countries; how the deficits are financed and what they are used for matters. In addition, the study concludes that there are no statistically significant regional differences in terms of the relationship between fiscal deficits and economic growth in developing countries.
  • Understanding the Effects of Processing on the Properties of Perfluoroalkoxy (PFA)

    Kelly, Adrian L.; Gough, Timothy D.; Todd, Cassandra N.Z. (University of BradfordFaculty of Engineering and Informatics, 2016)
    The effect of processing on the properties of three transfer moulding grades of perfluoroalkoxy was investigated. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest exposure to high shear rates and residence time at processing temperature detrimentally affect the polymer, however there is a lack of information published in this area. This work set out to provide a better understanding of the material behaviour under various processing conditions. A bespoke capillary rheometer was used to determine flow characteristics at various temperatures between 5-400s-1. The materials were found to be shear thinning, with the virgin grades exhibiting Newtonian behaviour at low shear rates. The viscosity of the carbon black filled PFA was found to have a higher viscosity than the virgin materials, despite it having a higher Melt Flow Rate. Spectroscopy was found to be unsuitable for investigation of polymer containing carbon black due to laser heating. However changes due to residence time at processing temperature in the virgin material could be detected using statistical analysis of Near Infrared spectra. Whether the mechanical properties of the virgin material changed following exposure to high shear rates or residence time varied on manufacturer, with Dyneon 6502TZ appearing to be more process stable than Chemours 350TJ. This information can be used to optimise the transfer moulding process, and assist in meeting the requirements of the Chemical Processing Industry for larger and more complex lined piping components.
  • The Development of a Manufacturing Failure Mode Avoidance Framework for Aerospace Manufacturing

    Campean, I. Felician; Caunce, A.; Goodland, James (University of BradfordFaculty of Engineering and Informatics, 2016)
    In order to remain competitive in the global market businesses are under ever increasing pressure to ramp up production rates whilst simultaneously improving cost effectiveness to allow continued profitable growth. This requirement is particularly challenging in high value manufacturing which is characterised by expensive product and manufacturing systems and relatively low production volume. This thesis introduces a method for the design of robust and reliable manufacturing processes through the prevention of identified potential failure modes that is based on the principles of the existing Failure Mode Avoidance framework used for automotive system design. The tools and techniques that exist in the literature are reviewed in order to understand the best practice, and subsequently a Manufacturing Failure Mode Avoidance framework is designed. This framework is demonstrated through two unique case studies conducted in a real life manufacturing environment in order to validate its appropriateness to provide robust countermeasures to failure which will allow right first time manufacture. The outcomes of the implementations are discussed, conclusions drawn and opportunities for further research are provided.
  • Buried identities: An osteological and archaeological analysis of burial variation and identity in Anglo-Saxon Norfolk

    Buckberry, Jo; Bond, Julie M.; Williams-Ward, Michelle L. (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
  • VM Allocation in Cloud Datacenters Based on the Multi-Agent System. An Investigation into the Design and Response Time Analysis of a Multi-Agent-based Virtual Machine (VM) Allocation/Placement Policy in Cloud Datacenters

    Kouvatsos, Demetres D.; Kiran, Mariam; Al-ou'n, Ashraf M.S. (University of BradfordSchool of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering and Informatics, 2017)
    Recent years have witnessed a surge in demand for infrastructure and services to cover high demands on processing big chunks of data and applications resulting in a mega Cloud Datacenter. A datacenter is of high complexity with increasing difficulties to identify, allocate efficiently and fast an appropriate host for the requested virtual machine (VM). Establishing a good awareness of all datacenter’s resources enables the allocation “placement” policies to make the best decision in reducing the time that is needed to allocate and create the VM(s) at the appropriate host(s). However, current algorithms and policies of placement “allocation” do not focus efficiently on awareness of the resources of the datacenter, and moreover, they are based on conventional static techniques. Which are adversely impacting on the allocation progress of the policies. This thesis proposes a new Agent-based allocation/placement policy that employs some of the Multi-Agent system features to get a good awareness of Cloud Datacenter resources and also provide an efficient allocation decision for the requested VMs. Specifically, (a) The Multi-Agent concept is used as a part of the placement policy (b) A Contract Net Protocol is devised to establish good awareness and (c) A verification process is developed to fully dimensional VM specifications during allocation. These new results show a reduction in response time of VM allocation and the usage improvement of occupied resources. The proposed Agent-based policy was implemented using the CloudSim toolkit and consequently was compared, based on a series of typical numerical experiments, with the toolkit’s default policy. The comparative study was carried out in terms of the time duration of VM allocation and other aspects such as the number of available VM types and the amount of occupied resources. Moreover, a two-stage comparative study was introduced through this thesis. Firstly, the proposed policy is compared with four state of the art algorithms, namely the Random algorithm and three one-dimensional Bin-Packing algorithms. Secondly, the three Bin-Packing algorithms were enhanced to have a two-dimensional verification structure and were compared against the proposed new algorithm of the Agent-based policy. Following a rigorous comparative study, it was shown that, through the typical numerical experiments of all stages, the proposed new Agent-based policy had superior performance in terms of the allocation times. Finally, avenues arising from this thesis are included.
  • Social Data Mining for Crime Intelligence: Contributions to Social Data Quality Assessment and Prediction Methods

    Neagu, Daniel; Trundle, Paul R.; Isah, Haruna (University of BradfordDepartment of Computer Science, 2017)
    With the advancement of the Internet and related technologies, many traditional crimes have made the leap to digital environments. The successes of data mining in a wide variety of disciplines have given birth to crime analysis. Traditional crime analysis is mainly focused on understanding crime patterns, however, it is unsuitable for identifying and monitoring emerging crimes. The true nature of crime remains buried in unstructured content that represents the hidden story behind the data. User feedback leaves valuable traces that can be utilised to measure the quality of various aspects of products or services and can also be used to detect, infer, or predict crimes. Like any application of data mining, the data must be of a high quality standard in order to avoid erroneous conclusions. This thesis presents a methodology and practical experiments towards discovering whether (i) user feedback can be harnessed and processed for crime intelligence, (ii) criminal associations, structures, and roles can be inferred among entities involved in a crime, and (iii) methods and standards can be developed for measuring, predicting, and comparing the quality level of social data instances and samples. It contributes to the theory, design and development of a novel framework for crime intelligence and algorithm for the estimation of social data quality by innovatively adapting the methods of monitoring water contaminants. Several experiments were conducted and the results obtained revealed the significance of this study in mining social data for crime intelligence and in developing social data quality filters and decision support systems.
  • Genotoxic effects of NSAIDs and hydrocortisone on bulk and nano forms in lymphocytes from patients with haematological cancers

    Anderson, Diana; Normington, Charmaine (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
    Chronic inflammation is intimately linked with cancer development and progression and therefore reducing or eliminating inflammation represents a logical treatment and prevention strategy. Studies have shown that anti-inflammatory agents have anti-tumour effects in cancers, with reduced metastases and mortality. Current use of anti-inflammatory agents in the treatment and prevention of cancer is limited by their toxicity and side effects. The emerging field of nanotechnology allows the fundamental properties of a drug to be altered, creating a product with improved reactivity and bioavailability, leading to more targeted treatments and reduced dosage. In the present study, the genotoxic effects of three commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs; aspirin, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone, in their bulk and nano forms were evaluated on peripheral blood lymphocytes of healthy donors using the comet assay and the micronucleus assay. In order to determine any anti-cancer effects, these agents were also tested in peripheral blood lymphocytes in patients with haematological cancers. The glucocorticoid hydrocortisone was also evaluated for anti-oxidant capacity. Our results demonstrate that the nano versions of each drug produced a different response than the bulk counterpart, indicating that a reduction in particle size had an impact on the reactivity of the drug. Our results also indicate that the nano versions of each drug were less genotoxic than the bulk formulation, further emphasising the potential of nanoparticles as an improvement to current treatment options. We also found an anti-oxidant effect with hydrocortisone, with a more profound effect seen with the nano formulation.
  • Photo-biomodulation of human skin fibroblast sub-populations: a systematic approach for the optimization of optical treatment parameters

    Tobin, Desmond J.; Uzunbajakava, N.E.; Botchkareva, Natalia V.; Zeitouny, M.; Mignon, Charles (University of BradfordCentre for Skin Science, Faculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
    The thesis presents a rational path for the optimization of the selection of optical treatment parameters in photobiomodulation of human skin fibroblasts. The project begins with an extensive analysis of 90 bibliographic reports in photobiomodulation published between 1985 and 2015, and revealed major inconsistencies in optical parameters selected for clinical applications. Seeking greater clarity for optimal parameter choice, a systematic approach to disentangle the multiple factors underpinning the response of human dermal fibroblasts in vitro to visible and near-infra red (NIR) light was employed. Light-based devices were constructed to specifically and systematically screen the optical parameter window (i.e. wavelength, irradiance and dose) observed in literature. Additionally, critical culture and treatment conditions that have dramatic impact on the outcome of specific light treatment of these human skin dermal cells were identified. In particular, environmental oxygen concentration, cell confluency and serum concentration were all found to have a great effect on the response of dermal fibroblasts to light. In parallel, the induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by short visible wavelengths on two dermal fibroblast sub-populations or lineage, reticular and papillary, was monitored by live-cell imaging. The ROS species were found to be created in or close to mitochondria. Lastly, gene expression studies revealed a strong impact of short visible wavelengths, as compared to long and NIR wavelengths on both subpopulations of human dermal fibroblasts. In particular, blue light (450 nm) specifically down-regulated proliferation, metabolism and protein synthesis molecular pathways. At the protein level, 450-nm light inhibited the production of procollagen I in human reticular and papillary fibroblasts in a dose-dependent manner. Gene expression results were in agreement i.e., the same light parameter down-regulated collagen fiber genes, integrins and up-regulated collagenase MMP1. This thesis concludes with a chapter presenting a characterization of the accuracy of a potential translation tool for the prediction of optical photon density inside human skin.
  • The role of sensory history and stimulus context in human time perception. Adaptive and integrative distortions of perceived duration

    Heron, James; Fulcher, Corinne (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
    This thesis documents a series of experiments designed to investigate the mechanisms subserving sub-second duration processing in humans. Firstly, duration aftereffects were generated by adapting to consistent duration information. If duration aftereffects represent encoding by neurons selective for both stimulus duration and non-temporal stimulus features, adapt-test changes in these features should prevent duration aftereffect generation. Stimulus characteristics were chosen which selectively target differing stages of the visual processing hierarchy. The duration aftereffect showed robust interocular transfer and could be generated using a stimulus whose duration was defined by stimuli invisible to monocular mechanisms, ruling out a pre-cortical locus. The aftereffects transferred across luminance-defined visual orientation and facial identity. Conversely, the duration encoding mechanism was selective for changes in the contrast-defined envelope size of a Gabor and showed broad spatial selectivity which scaled proportionally with adapting stimulus size. These findings are consistent with a second stage visual spatial mechanism that pools input across proportionally smaller, spatially abutting filters. A final series of experiments investigated the pattern of interaction between concurrently presented cross-modal durations. When duration discrepancies were small, multisensory judgements were biased towards the modality with higher precision. However, when duration discrepancies were large, perceived duration was compressed by both longer and shorter durations from the opposite modality, irrespective of unimodal temporal reliability. Taken together, these experiments provide support for a duration encoding mechanism that is tied to mid-level visual spatial processing. Following this localised encoding, supramodal mechanisms then dictate the combination of duration information across the senses.
  • Energy Efficient Cloud Computing Based Radio Access Networks in 5G. Design and evaluation of an energy aware 5G cloud radio access networks framework using base station sleeping, cloud computing based workload consolidation and mobile edge computing

    Pillai, Prashant; Hu, Yim Fun; Sigwele, Tshiamo (University of BradfordFaculty of Engineering and Informatics, 2017)
    Fifth Generation (5G) cellular networks will experience a thousand-fold increase in data traffic with over 100 billion connected devices by 2020. In order to support this skyrocketing traffic demand, smaller base stations (BSs) are deployed to increase capacity. However, more BSs increase energy consumption which contributes to operational expenditure (OPEX) and CO2 emissions. Also, an introduction of a plethora of 5G applications running in the mobile devices cause a significant amount of energy consumption in the mobile devices. This thesis presents a novel framework for energy efficiency in 5G cloud radio access networks (C-RAN) by leveraging cloud computing technology. Energy efficiency is achieved in three ways; (i) at the radio side of H-C-RAN (Heterogeneous C-RAN), a dynamic BS switching off algorithm is proposed to minimise energy consumption while maintaining Quality of Service (QoS), (ii) in the BS cloud, baseband workload consolidation schemes are proposed based on simulated annealing and genetic algorithms to minimise energy consumption in the cloud, where also advanced fuzzy based admission control with pre-emption is implemented to improve QoS and resource utilisation (iii) at the mobile device side, Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) is used where computer intensive tasks from the mobile device are executed in the MEC server in the cloud. The simulation results show that the proposed framework effectively reduced energy consumption by up to 48% within RAN and 57% in the mobile devices, and improved network energy efficiency by a factor of 10, network throughput by a factor of 2.7 and resource utilisation by 54% while maintaining QoS.
  • Contrast sensitivity and glare: new measurement techniques and the visual consequences of wearing head-mounted displays

    Whitaker, David J.; Longley, Christopher I. (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, 2016)
    The main aim of this thesis was to evaluate the performance of the contrast sensitivity clock (CSC), a new screening device for measuring contrast sensitivity (CS) and glare. This device allows CS without glare, with glare and disability glare scores to be recorded. After initial data collection the design of the CSC was slightly amended improving the performance of the device. The amended design of the CSC was shown to be a valid, discriminative and repeatable measure for purpose. The CSC is also a quick test to perform and is relatively cheap to produce. If all these factors are considered it shows potential to become the test of choice for the assessment of visual glare. A head-mounted display system was also evaluated in terms of the glare effects it may cause. The monocular display screen of the device significantly reduced the CS of the eye directly exposed but also had an effect on binocular performance, reducing amounts of binocular summation. Electronic devices, including head-mounted displays and satellite navigation systems can seriously affect CS at low luminance levels, similar to those found when driving at night.
  • Grassroots Community Peacebuilding in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Identifying Local Perceptions of the Causes of and Means of Preventing Interpersonal Violence

    Chesters, Graeme S.; Ross, Nancy M. (University of BradfordDepartment of Peace Studies, 2016)
    The term ‘global peacelessness’ is used to describe the impact of persistently high rates of interpersonal violence throughout the world, and particularly violence against women (Flaherty, 2010). This violence is epidemic and constitutes a global health problem and pervasive human rights violation. Responses are critiqued as narrow in scope, reactive and lacking in coordination. The research presented in this thesis contributes to addressing this gap by exploring measures community citizens from diverse backgrounds defined as important to ending violence. Specifically, the research question asked ‘What do community members of Lunenburg County say about the structural and cultural influences on interpersonal violence?’ It links the field of peace studies with the interpersonal anti-violence field and the field of addiction. The meta-analysis that frames this dissertation asserts that grassroots community peacebuilding will involve defining and connecting measures at the local level that can lead to defining and challenging broad, oppressive cultural and structural factors linked to the persistence of violence at provincial, national, and international levels. Situating interpersonal violence within a peacebuilding framework provides a critical lens that moves from a narrow focus on individual responsibility to include a wider analysis of the origins of violence to include social, cultural, economic, and political factors and ultimately compel a collective community response. This emancipatory function of peacebuilding must include a focus on promotion of environments where boys and men, girls and women, can live safe and satisfying lives that include the development of skills that promote nonviolence and peace.
  • A Cloud-Based Intelligent and Energy Efficient Malware Detection Framework. A Framework for Cloud-Based, Energy Efficient, and Reliable Malware Detection in Real-Time Based on Training SVM, Decision Tree, and Boosting using Specified Heuristics Anomalies of Portable Executable Files

    Awan, Irfan U.; Mirza, Qublai K.A. (University of BradfordSchool of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering & Informatics, 2017)
    The continuity in the financial and other related losses due to cyber-attacks prove the substantial growth of malware and their lethal proliferation techniques. Every successful malware attack highlights the weaknesses in the defence mechanisms responsible for securing the targeted computer or a network. The recent cyber-attacks reveal the presence of sophistication and intelligence in malware behaviour having the ability to conceal their code and operate within the system autonomously. The conventional detection mechanisms not only possess the scarcity in malware detection capabilities, they consume a large amount of resources while scanning for malicious entities in the system. Many recent reports have highlighted this issue along with the challenges faced by the alternate solutions and studies conducted in the same area. There is an unprecedented need of a resilient and autonomous solution that takes proactive approach against modern malware with stealth behaviour. This thesis proposes a multi-aspect solution comprising of an intelligent malware detection framework and an energy efficient hosting model. The malware detection framework is a combination of conventional and novel malware detection techniques. The proposed framework incorporates comprehensive feature heuristics of files generated by a bespoke static feature extraction tool. These comprehensive heuristics are used to train the machine learning algorithms; Support Vector Machine, Decision Tree, and Boosting to differentiate between clean and malicious files. Both these techniques; feature heuristics and machine learning are combined to form a two-factor detection mechanism. This thesis also presents a cloud-based energy efficient and scalable hosting model, which combines multiple infrastructure components of Amazon Web Services to host the malware detection framework. This hosting model presents a client-server architecture, where client is a lightweight service running on the host machine and server is based on the cloud. The proposed framework and the hosting model were evaluated individually and combined by specifically designed experiments using separate repositories of clean and malicious files. The experiments were designed to evaluate the malware detection capabilities and energy efficiency while operating within a system. The proposed malware detection framework and the hosting model showed significant improvement in malware detection while consuming quite low CPU resources during the operation.
  • Ultrasound Assisted Processing of Solid State Pharmaceuticals. The application of ultrasonic energy in novel solid state pharmaceutical applications, including solvent free co-crystallisation (SFCC) and enhanced compressibility

    Kelly, Adrian L.; Paradkar, Anant R.; Brown, Elaine C.; Alwati, Abdolati A.M. (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
    The objective of this study was to develop a new method for co-crystal preparation which adhered to green chemistry principles, and provided advantages over conventional methods. A novel, solvent-free, high-power ultrasound (US) technique, for preparing co-crystals from binary systems, was chosen as the technology which could fulfil these aims. The application of this technology for solid state co-crystal preparation was explored for ibuprofen-nicotinamide (IBU-NIC), carbamazepine-nicotinamide (CBZ-NIC) and carbamazepine-saccharin (CBZ-SAC) co-crystals. The effect of different additives and processing parameters such as power level, temperature and sonication time on co-crystallisation was investigated. Characterisation was carried out using DSC, PXRD, FTIR, Raman and HPLC. In addition, an NIR prediction model was developed and combined with multivariate analysis (PLS) and chemometric pre-treatments. It was found to be a robust, reliable and rapid method for the determination of co-crystal purity for the IBU-NIC and CBZ-NIC pairs. Co-crystal quantification of US samples helped to optimise the US method. Finally, a model formulation of paracetamol containing 5% and 10% PEG 8000 was ultrasonicated at maximum power with different exposure times. A comparison of technological and physicochemical properties of the resulting tablets with those of the tablets obtained using the pressing method evidenced significant differences. This suggested that US energy dissipation (mechanical and thermal effects) was the main mechanism which caused the PAR form I tabletability to improve. It was found that the ultrasound–compacted tablets released the drug at a slower rate compared to pure PAR. This technique was shown to be useful for improving tabletability for low-compressible drugs without the need to use a conventional tabletting machine.
  • Platelet micro-particles induce angiogenesis through the delivery of the micro-RNA Let-7a into endothelial cells

    Roberts, Wayne; Graham, Anne M.; Boyne, James R.; Anene, Chinedu A. (University of BradfordSchool of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
    Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality around the globe, which is linked to athero-thrombosis. The risk factors for atherothrombosis, thus cardiovascular disease is impaired anti-thrombotic and antiinflammatory functions of the endothelium. Thrombosis is a hallmark of cardiovascular disease/complications characterised by increased platelet activation and increased secretion of platelet micro-particles that induce angiogenesis. This study determined the role of platelet micro-particles derived microRNA in the regulation of angiogenesis and migration, with a focus on the regulation of thrombospondin-1 release by platelet micro-particles delivered Let- 7a. The role of thrombospondin-1 receptors (integrin beta-1 and integrin associated protein) and downstream caspase-3 activation were explored by Let-7a inhibition prior to PMP treatment. MicroRNA dependent modulation of proangiogenic proteins including monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and placental growth factor, and recruitment of activating transcription factor-4 protein to their promoter regions were explored. Main findings are: 1. Platelet micro-particles induce angiogenesis, migration, and release of novel cytokine subsets specific to platelet micro-particle’s RNA content. 2. The targeting of thrombospondin-1 mRNA by platelet micro-particles’ transferred Let-7a chiefly modulate the angiogenic effect on endothelial cells. 3. The inhibition of thrombospondin-1 translation enable platelet micro-particles to increase angiogenesis and migration in the presence of functional integrin beta-1 and integrin associated protein, and reduced cleaving of caspase-3. 4. Platelet micro-particle modulate the transcription of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and placental growth factor in a Let-7a dependent manner. 5. Let-7a induce angiogenesis ii independent of other platelet micro-particle’s microRNAs. Platelet micro-particle derived Let-7a is a master regulator of endothelial cell function in this model, which presents an opportunity for the development of new biomarkers and therapeutic approaches in the management of cardiovascular disease. Future studies should aim to confirm these findings in-vivo.
  • Perceptions of culturally competent practice behaviour by newly qualified nurses

    Archibong, Uduak E.; Walton, Sean; Wray, Jane (University of BradfordFaculty of Health Sciences, 2017)
    Background: The nursing workforce needs to be adequately prepared to deliver care to an increasingly diverse patient population in the United Kingdom (UK). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) expects newly qualified nurses (NQNs) to deliver culturally sensitive and respectful care. Aim: The study aimed to explore NQNs’ perceptions of culturally competent practice during the first 9 months post qualification. Methods: A qualitative longitudinal study was conducted with a volunteer sample of 14 NQNs recruited from 3 Higher Education Institutions in the north of England. Data was collected using directed reflections (at 2-3 and 5-6 months) and semi-structured interviews (at 8-9 months) and analysed using a phenomenological approach informed by symbolic interactionism. Results: Perceptions of culturally competent nursing practice were associated with core concepts such as individualised patient care, compassionate and respectful care, respecting individual differences, professionalism and patient trust. Specific behaviours were associated with verbal and non-verbal communication, care planning and diversity-specific adjustments. Discussion: Self-perceived competence and confidence in caring for, and interacting with, patients from diverse backgrounds developed and changed throughout the transition period with experience and interaction opportunities. An ability to reflect upon and learn from novel experiences, plus an enabling ward culture and environment which responded positively to nurses seeking advice and support was important. Conclusion: Educational preparation may have enabled NQNs’ opportunities to develop some but not necessarily all of the skills and behaviours required to demonstrate culturally competent practice. During transition, supported development and professional socialisation can assist in enhancing competence and confidence.
  • Dividend Policy, Stock Liquidity and Stock Price Informativeness

    Mazouz, Khelifa; Sharma, Abhijit; Ebrahim, Rabab H.A.H. (University of BradfordSchool of Management, Faculty of Management & Law, 2017)
    Dividend policy, its determinants, and its impact on firm value are of significant academic interest, and many theories and explanations have been posited on the subject over the years, but there has not been a universal agreement. This thesis examines the links between dividend policy, various aspects of stock liquidity and price informativeness. We study a sample of UK firms over the period from 1996-2013. We show that, on average, stocks of dividend payers have significantly lower bid–ask spread and a lower illiquidity ratio than their counterparts of non-dividend payers. We also find that stocks of high-dividend payers are more liquid than those of firms that pay low or no dividends. These findings are consistent with the predictions of asymmetric information that posit that paying dividends reveals inside information to the market and hence decreases the level of asymmetric information, leading to higher stock liquidity. In the subsequent analysis, we suggest and examine a new channel through which dividend policy can impact firm value. Specifically, we show that dividend payers are less exposed to shocks in the aggregate market liquidity than non-dividend payers. Similarly, we find that the systematic liquidity risk is negatively associated with amount of dividends. Finally, in the context of signalling and agency costs models, we show that dividends are negatively related to stock price informativeness and that this relationship is stronger for firms with lower stock liquidity. The findings imply that dividend policy can both affect and be affected by stock markets.
  • Exposing institutional influences on entrepreneurship among Kuwaiti youth

    Parkinson, Caroline; Kalantaridis, Christos; Almethen, Abdullah K.M.K. (University of BradfordSchool of Management, Faculty of Management & Law, 2015)
    This research focuses on the influence of institutions on entrepreneurship among Kuwaiti youth. It aims to capture the role played by institutions on youth entrepreneurship at the backdrop of a dampening ‘spirit’ for it. This research is currently very important due to various economic and geo-political factors leading to an economic downturn, which has led to the need for entrepreneurial ventures. It reviews and consolidates concepts and factors purported to facilitate and increase entrepreneurship for the benefit of the society and economy of Kuwait. This research uses a social constructionist approach to make sense of how institutions influence Kuwaiti youth in their quest to become entrepreneurs. It exposes institutional endorsement and legitimacy from formal and informal institutions. It shows the use of regulative, normative and cognitive dimensions and influences on entrepreneurial intentions and actions. This research shows how institutions interact with Kuwaiti youth and what role they play in the formulation of intentions and actions concerning entrepreneurship. A number of key formal and informal institutions have come to the fore that influence one another (in)directly as living entities, and likewise influence the youth (in)directly. The research contribution also shows that young people have to approach some key institutions and in return their desire to become entrepreneurs is strengthened or weakened depending on how institutions respond and what role they are willing to play in their lives.
  • The Impact of the contextual factors on the success of e-government in Lebanon: Context-System Gap

    Hussain, Zahid I.; Baz Chamas, Hassan A. (University of BradfordFaculty of Management & Law, 2017)
    Purpose: The relationship between context and e-governance has been gaining a significant momentum in academic circles due its social and technical complexities. There are many challenges posed by the disparity between the context and the system when it comes to e-governance in developing countries. This research aims to reveal more successful adoption of e-governance initiatives and exposes factors that hinder its implementation. We develop a conceptual framework showing the reciprocity between the context and the system or what is termed “Context-System Gap”. Therefore, this research will study the appropriateness of the context and its influence on the system and the influence of the system on the context. The purpose of this research is to explore the factors that enable successful e-government adoption in Lebanon, where e-governance is still at its initial stage. Most empirical research and theories on the implementation of e-governance in developing countries remain at the macro-level and miss out on the complexities of the context of deployment and the role of the gap between the citizens and the government. The purpose of this thesis is to provide an empirical model differentiating between the electronic context and the electronic system and shed a light over a new gap, government-citizen gap, in the adoption of e-government. Design/methodology/approach: Following previous research on e-government services adoption, this study uses several technology use and acceptance models and literature to examine the elements behind the adoption and use of e-government services in Lebanon from citizen and government perspectives. The research strategy is a quantitative method approach employing questionnaire. Quantitative data will be collected from e-government users (citizens) and statistical tests will be conducted in order to examine the relation between variables. Practical implications: The findings are useful for policy-makers and decision-makers to develop a better understanding of citizens' needs. The proposed model can be used as a guideline for the implementation of e-government services in developing countries. Originality/value: This study is the only one to examine the dimensions influencing citizens’ adoption of e-government technologies in developing countries using a unified model merging context and system elements.

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