Yong Yan, EDA

Professor Yong Yan becomes Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Professor Yong Yan from the University’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts has received the highest accolade in the field of instrumentation and measurement with a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Yong Yan was one of 50 engineers admitted to the Royal Academy of Engineering at its annual meeting on 22 September. He was recognised for his “distinctive contribution to improving combustion efficiency and lowering emissions through innovation in electronic instrumentation and successful development of novel instruments, thereby making an important impact on the power industry nationally and internationally”.

Commenting on the Fellowship, Yong said: ‘I am very honoured and extremely privileged to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one of the most prestigious engineering institutions in the world.’

He added: ‘The Fellowship is only awarded to an engineer who has made exceptional contributions in any field of engineering. It will enable me to perform at a higher level in my research and teaching with a range of support and services from the Academy. The recognition will also help me promote the importance of measurement science and engineering to the UK and the wider world.’

Yong is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institute of Physics (IOP). He was recently awarded the gold medal as the most published author of all time in the UK from the IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, a leading journal in the field of electrical and electronic engineering. He has published more than 470 papers in international journals and conference proceedings.

Early career

Yong studied for BEng and MSc degrees at Tsinghua University, Beijing, before coming to the UK in 1989 to study for a PhD degree at Teesside. He joined the University of Kent in Canterbury in 2004 from the University of Greenwich (Medway Campus).

‘I joined Kent,’ he said, ‘because it has the best research facility and support in my area of research, including a well-equipped instrumentation laboratory and technical support for applied engineering research.’

Role at Kent

As Professor of Electronic Instrumentation in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, Professor Yan contributes to teaching, research and administration. He was the School Director of Research from 2008 to 2018. Since 2018, he has been the School Director of Innovation, playing a leading role in promotion of engineering innovation and collaborations with industry, as well as managing the Year in Industry modules. Professor Yan also heads the Instrumentation and Control Research Group, including coordination of our REF submission in this area.


Afterlives book cover

Abdulrazak Gurnah publishes new novel: ‘Afterlives’

Abdulrazak GurnahSchool of English Emeritus Professor, has just published a new novel, entitled Afterlives (Bloomsbury, 2020).

Afterlives tells the story of three characters whose lives interlink. Restless, ambitious Ilyas was stolen from his parents by the Schutzruppe askari, the German colonial troops; after years away, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away.

Hamza was not stolen, but was sold; he has come of age in the army, at the right hand of an officer whose control has ensured his protection but marked him for life. Hamza does not have words for how the war ended for him. Returning to the town of his childhood, all he wants is work, however humble, and security – and the beautiful Afiya.

The century is young. The Germans and the British and the French and the Belgians and whoever else have drawn their maps and signed their treaties and divided up Africa. As they seek complete dominion they are forced to extinguish revolt after revolt by the colonised. The conflict in Europe opens another arena in east Africa where a brutal war devastates the landscape.

As these interlinked friends and survivors come and go, live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away.

Further details about the book can be found on the publisher’s website. 

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s new novel ‘Afterlives’ reviewed in Evening Standard

Abdulrazak GurnahSchool of English Emeritus Professor, has had his new novel Afterlives (Bloomsbury, 2020) reviewed in the Evening Standard.

Afterlives tells the story of three characters: restless, ambitious Ilyas was stolen from his parents by German colonial troops; after years away, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away. Hamza was not stolen, but was sold; he has come of age in the schutztruppe, at the right hand of an officer whose control has ensured his protection but marked him for life. As these interlinked friends and survivors come and go, live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away.

In the Evening Standard review, Jane Shilling writes: ‘in concert halls, museums, public institutions and city streets, a passionate debate is taking place about colonialism and the value of individual lives. It is a question that Abdulrazak Gurnah has repeatedly addressed in his long career as a novelist’.

‘A tender account of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives, Afterlives combines entrancing storytelling with writing whose exquisite emotional precision confirms Gurnah’s place among the outstanding stylists of modern English prose’.

The full review can be read on the Evening Standard’s website. 

And further details about the book can be found on the publisher’s website. 

Language taster sessions

Would you like to learn a new skill? Why not consider learning a language!

The Language Centre are offering free online taster sessions in Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and Russian on Wednesday 23 September.

12.00 – 13.00 – Arabic

13.00 – 14.00 – Mandarin

14.00 – 15.00 – Japanese

15.00 – 16.00 – Russian

The taster sessions are free  to all Kent University students and no previous experience of any of the languages is required. You will gain some understanding of key traditions, learn and pronounce a range of simple key words, engage in basic everyday communication, find out how introduce yourself in the language, learn simple greetings and farewell phrases.

For more information, visit the Language Centre website or email languages@kent.ac.uk

David Stirrup on 400th anniversary of Mayflower voyage for NBC

Professor David Stirrup, Professor of American Literature and Indigenous Studies in the School of English, has provided a comment for an article entitled Native Americans reclaim history 400 years after Mayflower landing for NBC News.

On 16 September 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Portsmouth and landed at Cape Cod after 66 days at sea. The Europeans encountered the Native American Wampanoag tribe, who helped them to survive their first winter. However, their interaction did not remain peaceful, with European diseases killing many of Native Americans, and rising tensions leading to war.

While the European settlers kept detailed records, the Wampanoag did not have a written language to record their experience. In the piece, David argues that this colonial perspective undermines not only the tragedies Native Americans endured, but also their contributions to history.

David says: ‘some of the people who helped the pilgrims survive that first winter had already been to Europe. Some of them spoke enough English to mediate. They were organised societies, not uncharted peoples just waiting for European forms of ‘civilization’. The native people played a quite considerable role in the development of the modern world, [they] weren’t just kind of agencyless victims of it’. 

The full piece can be read on NBC’s website. 

The Gulbenkian

Gulbenkian Café Kitchen Reopens

From Monday 21 September, Gulbenkian Café will be serving hot food (eat in or takeaway) on weekday lunchtimes (Mon – Fri 12-2.30).

Our lunchtime menu includes favourites like our Homemade Thai Fishcakes, Sweet Chilli Chicken Burger, and Chicken and Avocado Cesar Salad, plus toasties and jacket potatoes.

The café offers drinks, cakes and snacks at other times, with full opening hours listed below:

Monday – 8.30 – 15.00*,

Tue – Fri – 8.30 – 15.00* & 18.00 – 20.00

Saturday – 18.00 – 20.00

Sunday 13.00 -15.30

(*Hot food served 12-12.30)

Person holding a yellow flower in their palms

Taking care of your health and wellbeing at Kent

Whether you’re new to Kent or returning to complete your studies, this year will inevitably feel a little different. Needless to say, 2020 has been challenging with lots of us adapting to a new normal. With so much going on around you, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering how you are going to look after yourself this academic year. Here are some self-care tips which you may find helpful in adjusting to this academic year.

You may be feeling worried or anxious starting the term and be concerned with being around others. With everyone’s safety a top priority, the University has done their best in making sure we follow the Government’s guidelines and have made a number of changes to campus-life to help keep everyone safe. From changes to the campus itself, teaching, and catering, here’s a quick overview of what to expect.

It’s also important to be aware of the guidance available for you at Canterbury or Medway, so if you do want the additional support, now or later on down the line, you know what’s available. There’s lots of help for you when it comes to looking after your wellbeing.

If you’re new to university life, it can be a little daunting to know where to go for help. Your first point of contact is either the Colleges and Community Life Team or your Academic School, both of which can provide you with assistance, advice, and support or signpost you in the right direction for further support. If you have a disability, chronic condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty, or autism, don’t forget to contact Student Support and Wellbeing to see how they can help you make the most of your university journey. The team can help with any challenges you are going through, whether this is something you’re experiencing for the first time or have been dealing with for a while. Students also have access to a free confidential counselling service, and for Canterbury students, a Medical Centre and a Nursing Service are located on campus. You definitely won’t want to be filling in forms should you become unwell at any point during your time at Kent so make sure you’ve registered with a local doctor so you can receive treatment if you ever need it.

There are still plenty of opportunities to meet other students online for support, games, and creative activities. Virtual Wellbeing Cafes are perfect to help you unwind in an informal, friendly setting whilst getting to meet fellow students. These are currently being held weekly. Here are some more ideas on ways to connect with those in a similar position to you if you’re a mature, commuting, or part-time student (or a combination) or if you’re a parent or carer. There is also the MPCC common room located in the Chipperfield building, providing a social meeting space equipped with lockers and kitchen access.

Getting involved in a sports team or society is also a fantastic way to make new friends so make sure to check out the Virtual Welcome Fair for Kent Union and GKSU! The University Chaplaincy also runs a wide range of religious and social events. They are also a good contact for advice and support. You can also see their guidance around socially distanced faith and worship.

From money worries to housing issues, academic problems to visa support, you can get free, impartial, and confidential advice from your Students’ Union. For Canterbury students, Kent Union are your Students’ Union, who run the Kent Union’s Student Advice Centre. You can also get in touch with your Kent Union full-time officers who are each responsible for specific areas. For Medway students, GKSU are your Students’ Union, who run the GKSU Student Advice Service.

For those living away from home for the first time, it’s important to learn how to cook and make sure you are eating regularly and well. Ask for help with making your favourite meals – in person if you’re at home, or if you’ve moved already, why not have your friends or family back home on a video call whilst you cook and catch up at the same time? Another tip is to make a food shop budget and stick to it. Shopping cheaply is easier than you think – the Plaza and Parkwood Co-op offers a 10% discount to NUS cardholders, and own-brand food from the supermarket is often of the same quality as the more expensive branded alternatives. Simple, student-friendly recipes are a good place to start to get inspiration. These will focus on using simple ingredients, cooking on a budget, and or with limited kitchen appliances. You can still make some delicious microwave meals if that’s all you have access to!

Finally, take some time to get to know the local area by heading to Visit KentKent County CouncilMedway Council, and Canterbury Council. This will come in handy if you’re looking for ideas for getting some fresh air through socially distanced activities with your new housemates here in the Garden of England!


Kent’s outdoor walks and activities

Being a student cannot be all work and no play, you need to make time for some fun and relaxation. One of the perks of studying at Kent is access to lots of outdoor space; from beaches to scenic parks and historic buildings, Kent has it all.


Cathedral to Coast Cycle Ride – Canterbury to Dover

Undertake your own Pilgrim’s Progress on this 50 mile circular ride that links Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone. The route passes along leafy lanes and bridleways amid rolling hills, wide skies, woodland, country villages and hamlets.

Marlowe’s Canterbury Walk

The aim of this walk is for you to explore the life of Christopher Marlowe, who is Britain’s best known playwright. The route takes you on a journey around the heart of Canterbury, visiting places he would have known, and offering an insight into his life.

Kent Food Trails

Kent Food Trails are designed to encourage visitors and locals alike to discover new places and taste new dishes. You will meet fantastic food and drinks producers and farmers from all over Kent.

Via Francigena

If you fancy a real adventure then consider Via Francigena which is an ancient route that starts at Canterbury Cathedral and passes through France, Switzerland, across the Alps and through Italy finally finishing in Rome. You will step into the shoes of Sigeric the Serious, a famous Archbishop of Canterbury, and follow his journey across the Via Francigena to meet Pope John XV in Rome back in 990 AD.


Fort Amherst

Fort Amherst is a free-to-visit historical site  with 20 acres of green space all linked to the Great Lines Heritage Park. You will be able to explore tunnels, nature trails, ditches, ammunition magazines, cannons, soldier’s quarters and fortifications.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham

This is Chatham’s holy grail and steeped in history. The Crown and Call the Midwife have been filmed here along with many films. A visit here will ensure you return to the ‘Age of Sail’ when the Dockyard built mighty ships that mastered the world’s oceans. Test your sea legs as you peer through the periscope of HMS Ocelot, a Cold War Submarine; take charge on the bridge of HMS Cavalier, a Second World War Destroyer; and ring the ship’s bell on the deck of HMS Gannet, our Victorian Sloop.  Watch our Master Ropemakers at work using centuries old techniques on in our Victorian Ropery.

Picture from Canterbury City Council.

Woman in blue jeans and yellow top using a Macbook Pro

Care first webinars w/c 21 September

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 21 September – Friday 25 September) webinars are as follows:

Monday 21 September 2020 –  ‘How Care first can support you & an update on our services’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 22 September 2020 – ‘Positive Minds’
Time: 12.30-13.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 23 September 2020 –  ‘Fake News’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 24 September 2020 – ‘Returning to the Workplace
Time: 12.00-13.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 25 September 2020 – ‘Work Life Balance’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Jason Nurse, School of Computing

Diversity in Technology inspirational speakers – 23 September

The first School of Computing ‘Diversity in Technology’ inspirational speaker event takes place on Wednesday 23 September, from 14.00-16.00.

Three speakers from various BAME backgrounds will each be giving a short 20-minute talk. This will be followed by a Q&A session for students.

Speakers are:

Jason Nurse
Jason is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Computing, specialising in research that focuses on the interaction between users and aspects of cyber security, privacy and trust. He will be sharing his experience of growing up in Barbados, and how his University experience and employment at Ernst and Young has led to a career working in academia.

Temitayo Odukoya
Temitayo is the Tech Venture Lead at Colorintech, where she leads programmes and initiatives for BAME tech entrepreneurs. After studying Economics & Politics at the University of Sussex, she started her career as a Technology Consultant at Deloitte. Temitayo then went on to gain start-up investing experience at Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s most successful tech investors.  She will be discussing her experience of working as a black female in the tech sector and her motivations for aiming to improve BAME representation. 

Amanda Arthur
Amanda discovered her passion for data during her Masters in Computer Science at Kent. She is currently a Consultant Data Engineer for Kubrick Group, working at Sainsbury’s Data Tech, where she has gained extensive experience of working with Big Data using Cloud technologies. Working for partners of the Women in Data UK movement has provided her with an insight of diversity and inclusion within the data industry. Amanda will be sharing her experiences of studying at Kent, mental health and representing LGBT+ women in the data industry.

If you’re interested in attending the Diversity in Technology event, click onto the Teams link from 14.00 on Wednesday 23 September.

[Picture shows Jason Nurse, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing at Kent]

Two students on a dig

Campus excavation: Blean Church Field

Dr David Walsh and Dr Luke Lavan, Lecturer in Archaeology in the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies, are currently leading a group of 30 Kent students excavating an archaeological site on the northwest edge of the University estate. For the next two weeks the group will be uncovering the ditches left by Bronze Age burial mounds, alongside traces of Mesolithic and Medieval occupation.

To observe social distancing on the dig, the diggers are organised into pods of 6 with their own tools, hand sanitiser pump, and own toilet, and they don’t mix with the other groups through the duration of the dig. Within the pods we advise 2m distance and in the office masks are worn, with rules on entrances and exits to reduce mixing.  office we wear masks and have entrance and exit rules, to reduce mixing. Doors stay open.

Everyone on site has agreed to the risk assessment which covers COVID 19 regulations

The site is available for visitation on Friday 25 September, 14.00-16.00. The site is located next to Blean Church, which is 10 minutes’ walk from the Oaks Nursery, up the Crab and Winkle path, just beyond the Sports Pavilion.

This dig has been made possible thanks to the support of Paul Dyer and the Parish of St Cosmus and St Damian in the Blean.

You will be able to follow the progress of the Blean dig daily on the site’s blog: ukcbleandig.wordpress.com.