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Cardiff University in the News - February and March 2011

A selection of news highlights from the media in February and March 2011. The Public Relations office prepares and distributes media releases on behalf of the University and each year responds to more than 600 calls from the media (ranging from expert comment to filming location requests).

Investors in People | Buddsoddwyr mewn Pobl

Investors in People

Cardiff University has become one of the largest organisations in Wales to be awarded the Investors in People accreditation. The story was covered by the Western Mail and the South Wales Echo.

Queen Victoria’s underwear

A new book by Dr Bondeson, a lecturer at the School of Medicine, made national headlines when it was published in February. The book’s unusual subject matter – the 14 year old boy who broke into Buckingham Palace and stole Queen Victoria’s underwear – received extensive coverage, including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, BBC Online, the Western Mail, and the Belfast Telegraph.

IVF and stress

According to a study led by Professor Jacky Boivin, School of Psychology, emotional distress does not affect the success of IVF or other assisted reproductive techniques. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, were reported across the globe, in publications including the Chicago Tribune, the Brisbane Courier, the Daily Telegraph Australia, the Nigeria Guardian, BBC Online, the Daily Telegraph, and the Daily Mail. BBC Online’s article on this topical subject was visited by almost 2.5 million unique visitors and the Daily Mail’s online article was viewed by more than 6 million unique visitors.

A curious long-tailed macaque caught on camera (courtesy: Andrew Hearn/WildCRU)A curious long-tailed macaque caught on camera (courtesy: Andrew Hearn/WildCRU)

Caught on camera

A collaborative project involving undergraduates and researchers from the University’s field centre in Malaysia revealed the importance of forest corridors to the survival of mammals in Borneo. The camera traps used to build a picture of Bornean ecology also resulted in a series of stunning images which can be seen in a special BBC Online photo gallery.

Stigmatising Charlie Sheen

The behaviour of actor Charlie Sheen led to worldwide media speculation about his mental health during March. Dr Paul Keedwell, Neuroscience & Mental Health Research Institute, stepped back from the media furore to provide BBC News with a thoughtful viewpoint on why so many commentators tend to condemn or stigmatise celebrities who behave erratically. The article was viewed by almost 2.5 million unique visitors.

Opening the professions to all

Professor Hywel Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and International wrote in the Western Mail about the University’s successful initiatives to stimulate interest in medicine among young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Dog catacomb beneath the desert

An excavation team, including staff from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, discovered an ancient labyrinth of sacred tunnels containing millions of mummified dogs under the Egyptian desert. The story was covered nationally, including one article which introduced the story under the headline ‘walkies like an Egyptian.’ Photographs of the site can be viewed on the Daily Mail website.

Varsity 2011 netball WEB

Sporting excellence

Cardiff students retained the Varsity Shield after an impressive sporting display in March. In honour of its 15th anniversary, the Varsity rugby match was broadcast live on S4C for the first time.

Creating green jobs

The official launch of the University’s Seren project, an £8.3M programme to support the green energy industry in Wales, received good coverage across Wales. Watch a video on our own webpages to learn more about Seren.

An artist’s impression of the new buildingAn artist’s impression of the new building

Green light for flagship building

The University’s new landmark building at Maindy Park, offering well-equipped new space for research and public engagement, received the go-ahead in March. This news was covered by the Western Mail and the South Wales Echo.

Expert comments

Journalists called on the expertise of academic staff at Cardiff numerous times during February and March. Among the diverse range of topics staff commented on were:

  • Professor Ian Hargreaves, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, commented on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal (New York Times)
  • Professor Nick Pidgeon, School of Psychology, commented on how disasters such as the radiation leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant alter the public perception of risk (Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, the Montreal Gazette, the Irish Independent, and Korea Times)
  • Professor Tim Jacob, School of Biosciences, commented on losing your sense of smell (Daily Telegraph and Vancouver Sun)
  • Professor Ron Eccles, the Common Cold Centre, expressed doubts on zinc’s effectiveness as a cold remedy (BBC News Online, BBC Caribbean Service, and Press Trust of India)



Cardiff is a partner of international research news website Futurity. All partners are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) or the Russell Group. Cardiff research covered by Futurity in February and March included:

· New findings from the School of Chemistry which resolve some of the difficulties of getting drugs or imaging agents into cells;

· How new computer models simulating the behaviour of young stars open a window into the formation of smaller, low-mass stars. One of these computer simulations from the School of Physics and Astronomy can be viewed at:;

Baby stars WEB

· A protein which protects the pancreas against the effects of alcohol and may go as far as helping reduce the development of pancreatic cancer. The Cardiff research team was led by Professor Ole Petersen, School of Biosciences;

· A study from the School of Dentistry which found that street violence outside bars can be attributed to promotions for reduced drinks.

Media services

University staff can sign up for the Daily Media summary, prepared by the Communications and International Relations Division, by emailing: . The media summary is prepared from web news sources, local news media and national newspaper education supplements.

Staff can also view copies of articles in full via the comprehensive news database Lexis Nexis. Copies of coverage from the last month can also be requested from the Public Relations Office. Please contact Jessica Kelly ( or 70298) or Catrin Palfrey ( or 70293).

If you have a potential news story, please contact the Public Relations Team.