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  • Research on Optimization and Design of Sustainable Urban Underground Logistics Network Framework

    Hairui Wei; Anlin Li; Nana Jia (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    As a new mode of transportation, the underground logistics system (ULS) has become one of the solutions to the problems of environmental pollution and traffic congestion. Considering the environmental and economic factors in urban logistics, this paper conducts comprehensive design and optimization research on the network nodes and passages of urban underground logistics and proposes a relatively complete framework for a sustainable underground logistics network. A hybrid method is proposed, which includes the set cover model used to perform the first location of urban underground logistics nodes, the fuzzy clustering method applied to classify the located logistics nodes into the first-level and second-level nodes considering the congestion in different urban areas of the city and a mixed integer programming model proposed to optimize and design the underground logistics passage to find optimal passage parameters at every underground logistics node. Based on the above hybrid method, a sustainable underground logistics network framework including all-levels logistics nodes and passages is formed, with a subdistrict of Nanjing as a case study. The discussion of results shows that this underground logistics network framework proposal is very effective in reducing logistics time cost, exhaust emission and congestion cost. It provides support for decisions in the design and development of urban sustainable underground logistics networks.
  • Use of Incinerator Bottom Ash as a Recycled Aggregate in Contact with Nonwoven Geotextiles: Evaluation of Mechanical Damage Upon Installation

    Filipe Almeida; José Ricardo Carneiro; Maria de Lurdes Lopes (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The recycling and reuse of materials is crucial to reducing the amount of generated waste and the exploitation of natural resources, contributing to achieving environmental sustainability. During the incineration process of municipal solid waste, a residue known as incinerator bottom ash is generated in considerable amounts, being important the development of solutions for its valorization. In this work, three nonwoven geotextiles were submitted to mechanical damage under repeated loading tests with incinerator bottom ash and, for comparison purposes, with three natural aggregates (sand 0/4, gravel 4/8 and <i>tout-venant</i>) and a standard aggregate (<i>corundum</i>). Damage assessment was carried out by monitoring the changes that occurred in the short-term tensile and puncture behaviors of the geotextiles. Results showed that the damage induced by incinerator bottom ash on the short-term mechanical behavior of the geotextiles tended to be lower than the damage induced by the natural aggregates or by the standard aggregate. Therefore, concerning the mechanical damage caused on geotextiles, there are good prospects for the use of incinerator bottom ash as a filling material in contact with those construction materials, thereby promoting its valorization.
  • Questionnaire on the Training Profile of a Learning Therapy Specialist: Creation and Validation of the Instrument

    Laura Martín Martínez; Esther Vela Llauradó (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    This article provides a description of the creation and validation process for a questionnaire designed to analyze the initial training received by students of degree programs in pre-primary and primary education, specializing in learning therapy. The instrument consists of 175 items in three sections: the first collects sociodemographic data; the second analyzes the initial training received; and the third and final section analyzes the perception of this initial training. The questionnaire was subjected to a double validation process: an evaluation by a panel of experts and a pilot group, these permitted the validation of the content and construct, as well as the corresponding reliability assessment. The results confirm the validity of the questionnaire with an excellent reliability index, allowing the effective evaluation of the training profile of learning therapy specialists.
  • Abandonment or Regeneration and Re-Use? Factors Affecting the Usage of Farm Premises in Different Social Spaces of the Rural

    Josef Navrátil; Tomáš Krejčí; Stanislav Martinát; Kamil Pícha; Petr Klusáček; Jaroslav Škrabal; Robert Osman (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Nearly every village in Central and Eastern European countries with heavily collectivized agriculture has its collective farm premises that encompass substantial parts of the village area, were built in the sixties, and now are unable to be used in former ways. The aim of the paper is to identify indicators that are relevant for spatial disparities in the utilization of agricultural premises thirty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The location and its area of all pre-1989 rural farm premises within two NUTS 3 regions of the Czech Republic with its current uses were identified, and differences in present uses were tested against agri-natural and socio-economic characteristics (of the municipalities where rural farm premises are located) obtained from national databases. From a global point of view, socio-economic characteristics of municipalities were found to be exceedingly more important than agri-natural—thus, changing of uses is rather dependent on socio-economic context than on geographical preconditions of agriculture. Surprisingly, agricultural use or re-use can be primarily found in municipalities not suitable for intensive agriculture located in the fodder crops and potatoes areas of agricultural production with the highest shares of permanent grassland on agricultural land. On the other hand, areas with the best preconditions for agriculture tend to re-use former farm premises for non-agricultural production.
  • Development of Renewable Energy in China, USA, and Brazil: A Comparative Study on Renewable Energy Policies

    Gaafar Muhammed; Neyre Tekbiyik-Ersoy (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Countries differ in terms of their socio-economic development, population growth, and energy consumption. Many countries still depend on conventional energy to supply enough energy source for their demand, while some have made considerable progress in making the transition to renewable/sustainable energy sources. Owing to the increasing demand and drawbacks of conventional energy sources, policies can play a major role in encouraging and increasing the uptake of renewable energy (RE) technologies. In this paper, a general overview on the RE activities in the three leading countries—China, Brazil, and the United States of America (USA)—is presented. Moreover, a comparative analysis on the implementations of the RE support policies is conducted. The linear regression analysis technique is applied to develop several models for the three countries in order to investigate the effect of different policies on RE. The main contributions of this study are establishing a link between RE support policies and RE development (in terms of the installed capacity) in the three countries under study, and providing models that can be used in estimating RE development using RE policy data. In addition to this, some models are developed to investigate the relationship between RE installed capacity and the patents. The linear regression analyses suggest that RE policies promote the development of RE installed capacity in the three countries in different proportions. For example, it is found that each additional wind policy will increase the RE wind capacity in China, Brazil, and the USA by 1.63, 0.689, and 1.576 GW, respectively. Moreover, the economic instruments turn out to be more effective in promoting the RE installed capacity in the USA and Brazil, while the policy support and regulatory instruments are the most influential policy categories in China. Furthermore, the linear regression analyses indicate the existence of a positive significant relation between the number of patents and the total RE installed capacity in the three countries.
  • Electromyography: A Simple and Accessible Tool to Assess Physical Performance and Health during Hypoxia Training. A Systematic Review

    Diego Fernández-Lázaro; Juan Mielgo-Ayuso; David P. Adams; Jerónimo J. González-Bernal; Ana Fernández Araque; Alicia Cano García; Cesar I. Fernández-Lázaro (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Hypoxia causes reduced partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood and induces adaptations in skeletal muscle that may affect individuals’ physical performance and muscular health. These muscular changes are detectable and quantifiable by electromyography (EMG), an instrument that assesses electrical activity during active contraction at rest. EMG is a relatively simple and accessible technique for all patients, one that can show the degree of the sensory and motor functions because it provides information about the status of the peripheral nerves and muscles. The main goal of this review is to evaluate the scientific evidence of EMG as an instrument for monitoring different responses of skeletal muscles subjected to external stimuli such as hypoxia and physical activity. A structured search was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in Medline/PubMed, Scielo, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library Plus. The search included articles published in the last 25 years until May 2020 and was restricted to English- and Spanish-language publications. As such, investigators identified nine articles that met the search criteria. The results determined that EMG was able to detect muscle fatigue from changes in the frequency spectrum. When a muscle was fatigued, high frequency components decreased and low frequency components increased. In other studies, EMG determined muscle activation increased during exercise by recruiting motor units and by increasing the intensity of muscle contractions. Finally, it was also possible to calculate the mean quadriceps quadratic activity used to obtain an image of muscle activation. In conclusion, EMG offers a suitable tool for monitoring the different skeletal muscle responses and has sufficient sensitivity to detect hypoxia-induced muscle changes produced by hypoxic stimuli. Moreover, EMG enhances an extension of physical examination and tests motor-system integrity.
  • A Bibliometric Analysis of COVID-19 across Science and Social Science Research Landscape

    Aleksander Aristovnik; Dejan Ravšelj; Lan Umek (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The lack of knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged extensive research in the academic sphere, reflected in the exponentially growing scientific literature. While the state of COVID-19 research reveals it is currently in an early stage of developing knowledge, a comprehensive and in-depth overview is still missing. Accordingly, the paper’s main aim is to provide an extensive bibliometric analysis of COVID-19 research across the science and social science research landscape, using innovative bibliometric approaches (e.g., Venn diagram, Biblioshiny descriptive statistics, VOSviewer co-occurrence network analysis, Jaccard distance cluster analysis, text mining based on binary logistic regression). The bibliometric analysis considers the Scopus database, including all relevant information on COVID-19 related publications (<i>n</i> = 16,866) available in the first half of 2020. The empirical results indicate the domination of health sciences in terms of number of relevant publications and total citations, while physical sciences and social sciences and humanities lag behind significantly. Nevertheless, there is an evidence of COVID-19 research collaboration within and between different subject area classifications with a gradual increase in importance of non-health scientific disciplines. The findings emphasize the great need for a comprehensive and in-depth approach that considers various scientific disciplines in COVID-19 research so as to benefit not only the scientific community but evidence-based policymaking as part of efforts to properly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A Predictive Effect of Exchange Rates on Value-Added Free Trade

    Myoung Shik Choi (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The study investigates a predictive exchange rate effect on value-added trade flows on global value chains. We theoretically review the role of exchange rates on international trade based on insular, open, and global value chained economies. This paper empirically confirms a retro forecasting rule of the exchange rate on exports and trade balance using the value-added data for the period from 1995 to 2015. The first result is that real effective exchange rates have predictive elasticity information for the value-added trade flows. The second is that exchange rates have two practical effects on trade flows. The value-added exchange rate hurts the value-added trade balance due to increased intermediate trades, but the exchange rate has a positive effect on the gross trade balance. We would expect that value-added exports with trade balance can be improved in all sample countries when the value-added exchange rate is increasing. The main contribution is further evidence on distinguishing the currency depreciation on the value-added trade from the depreciation on the gross trade to achieve higher growth.
  • Artificial Intelligence Approach for Tomato Detection and Mass Estimation in Precision Agriculture

    Jaesu Lee; Haseeb Nazki; Jeonghyun Baek; Youngsin Hong; Meonghun Lee (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Application of computer vision and robotics in agriculture requires sufficient knowledge and understanding of the physical properties of the object of interest. Yield monitoring is an example where these properties affect the quantified estimation of yield mass. In this study, we propose an image-processing and artificial intelligence-based system using multi-class detection with instance-wise segmentation of fruits in an image that can further estimate dimensions and mass. We analyze a tomato image dataset with mass and dimension values collected using a calibrated vision system and accurate measuring devices. After successful detection and instance-wise segmentation, we extract the real-world dimensions of the fruit. Our characterization results exhibited a significantly high correlation between dimensions and mass, indicating that artificial intelligence algorithms can effectively capture this complex physical relation to estimate the final mass. We also compare different artificial intelligence algorithms to show that the computed mass agrees well with the actual mass. Detection and segmentation results show an average mask intersection over union of 96.05%, mean average precision of 92.28%, detection accuracy of 99.02%, and precision of 99.7%. The mean absolute percentage error for mass estimation was 7.09 for 77 test samples using a bagged ensemble tree regressor. This approach could be applied to other computer vision and robotic applications such as sizing and packaging systems and automated harvesting or to other measuring instruments.
  • Boosting Sustainable Innovation in Densely Populated Areas: A <i>Milieux Innovateurs</i> Approach

    Yari Vecchio; Felice Adinolfi; Claudia Albani; Luca Bartoli; Marcello De Rosa (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    This paper deals with innovation adoption, with the purpose of analyzing the uptake of sustainable innovations among young farms working in urban and periurban contexts. Our hypothesis is that innovative milieus (IM) play a fundamental role in boosting sustainable innovation. In order to analyze the uptake of sustainable innovation, we will make reference to the two logics of the IM approach: the logics of interactions and the logics of learning. The former is focused on the socio-institutional domain, more precisely on relational assets and coordination mechanisms activated by the farms. The latter makes reference to the profile of innovation adopted and on various impacts innovation have under economic, social and environmental points of view. A questionnaire has been submitted to young farms participating to the <i>Oscar Green Coldiretti Awards</i>. In total, three dimensions of innovation are taken into account: economic, social and environmental. Data are processed through statistical tools aiming at describing the diversified set of interaction-learning mechanisms. Results evidence different innovative milieus which pave the way to diversified paths of innovation with different degree of sustainability and impacts.
  • A Case Study of Applying Open Educational Practices in Higher Education during COVID-19: Impacts on Learning Motivation and Perceptions

    Xiangling Zhang; Ahmed Tlili; Ronghuai Huang; Tingwen Chang; Daniel Burgos; Junfeng Yang; Jiacai Zhang (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Open Educational Resources (OER) have been researched for a long time in the open education field. Researchers are now shifting their focus from resources to practices for delivering open education, an area called Open Educational Practices (OEP). However, there is little information in the related literature regarding the design of an OEP-based course or the impact of these types of courses. Therefore, this study designs a new OEP-based course at a public university for teaching family education during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also investigates its impact on learning motivation and teachers’ perceptions. In this context, a practical pilot experiment using both qualitative and quantitative methods was conducted. Specifically, 36 learners participated in this experiment. The obtained findings highlight: (1) an innovative design framework for OEP-based courses that teachers can refer to in their contexts; (2) that learners had a high motivation level in terms of knowledge achievements, individual connection and engagement when taking the OEP-based course; and (3) several advantages and challenges of the OEP-based course from the teacher’s and learners’ perspectives. For instance, the teacher reported the fear of losing control over the learning process when applying OEP. The findings of this paper can help researchers and educators in adopting OEP in higher education especially in times of crises, as well as increase the sustainability of OEP, hence contributing to open education development.
  • Risk Influence Analysis Assessing the Profitability of Large Photovoltaic Plant Construction Projects

    Luis Serrano-Gomez; Jose Ignacio Muñoz-Hernandez (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The global energy system is in a phase of change for power generation technologies which involve traditional fossil fuel-based technologies to renewable energy-based systems, thanks to lower construction costs, mainly for photovoltaic energy, and changes in countries’ energy policies. In the case of Spain, both factors have led to a reactivation of renewable technologies, which can be found from the data on requests for access and connection to the electricity transmission network that are being processed in Red Eléctrica de España (REE). The requests that were granted access to the network exceeded 100 GW of power in November 2019 alone, and the companies which made the requests must commence electricity production by 2025. During the early stage of approval considerations, it is necessary to carry out an influence study of the risks that can already be identified, as this would enable determining the effects of these risks on the project’s main financial parameters. Based on a risk identification for similar prior projects, experts are typically asked to make their judgments on the influence of such risks on the main economic variables of a project, focusing on the project’s cost, time, and scope. By applying the fuzzy sets, these judgments can be transformed into triangular values that, through Monte Carlo simulation, allow us to assess the influence of these risks on the main financial parameters: the net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and payback (PB); as a result of obtaining these parameters, a response to project risks can be planned. To check the functionality of the model, it was applied to a case study involving a construction project for a 250 MW photovoltaic plant located in Murcia (Spain). The application of this methodology allowed us to determine which evaluation criteria are most appropriate based on the philosophy of the PMO (Project Management Office) and the data that were obtained.
  • Sustainable Business Models–Canvas for Sustainability, Evaluation Method, and Their Application to Additive Manufacturing in Aircraft Maintenance

    Gonçalo Cardeal; Kristina Höse; Inês Ribeiro; Uwe Götze (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The topic of sustainable business models is growing in literature and in the industry, driving companies to search for opportunities to improve their impact on the three pillars of sustainability—profit, people, and planet (economic, social, and environmental). However, the process of developing sustainable business models is often complex, due to conflicting objectives from the three dimensions of sustainability. This paper presents a procedure model that supports the design and assessment of business models with a sustainable perspective, by integrating a new business model canvas for sustainability (BMCS) and an evaluation method to assess it. A comprehensive assessment is proposed, performed in a life cycle perspective. The proposed model is applied and validated with a real case study, based on a new business model for an aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul company. The case is based on shifting from traditional maintenance, repair, and overhaul activities to adopting additive manufacturing as an activity that allows manufacturing optimized spare parts with benefits for the costumer. The results show the application of the procedure model on a specific case study, as well as the potential of additive manufacturing as a driver for more sustainable business models in the aircraft maintenance sector.
  • Investigate Tourist Behavior through Mobile Signal: Tourist Flow Pattern Exploration in Tibet

    Lina Zhong; Sunny Sun; Rob Law; Liyu Yang (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Identifying the tourist flow of a destination can promote the development of travel-related products and effective destination marketing. Nevertheless, tourist inflows and outflows have only received limited attention from previous studies. Hence, this study visualizes the tourist flow of Tibet through social network analysis to bridge the aforementioned gap. Findings show that the Lhasa prefecture is the transportation hub of Tibet. Tourist flow in the eastern part of Tibet is generally stronger than that in the western part. Moreover, the tourist flow pattern identified mainly includes “(diverse or balanced) diffusion from the main center”, “clustering to the main center”, and “diffusion from a clustered circle”.
  • The Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior to Identify Determinants of Donation Intention: Towards the Comparative Examination of Positive and Negative Reputations of Nonprofit Organizations CEO

    Hyun Hye Kim; EunKyoung Han (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Using the extended theory of planned behavior, this study examined individuals’ cognitive and psychological determinants of their intentions to donate to nonprofit organizations (NPOs) with either a positive or negative chief executive officer (CEO) reputation. With the use of online survey data (n = 371), the similarities and differences in the relationships between the determinants were analyzed for the two NPO CEO reputations. To verify the hypotheses, multiple regression was used to analyze the data. The results reveal that for NPOs with positive CEO reputations, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, moral norms, past behavior, and identification had positive effects on the intention to donate. In contrast, for NPOs with negative CEO reputations, subjective norms and identification had positive effects on the intention to donate. Attitude toward the NPO was not related to donation intentions regardless of the CEO’s reputation. These findings suggest the need for strategies to increase the public’s intentions to donate to problematic NPOs with negative reputations. Additionally, a strategy to further strengthen the intention to donate in the case of a positive CEO reputation is proposed. Theoretical and managerial implications of the results are also discussed, highlighting important considerations for CEO reputations and NPO management in the short and long terms.
  • A Multi-Decadal Spatial Analysis of Demographic Vulnerability to Urban Flood: A Case Study of Birmingham City, USA

    Mohammad Khalid Hossain; Qingmin Meng (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Flooding, including hurricanes and tornadoes, accounts for approximately 40 percent of natural disasters worldwide and kills 100 people on average in the United States each year, which is more than any other single weather hazard. Since flooding is a common hazard in the U.S. and flood-related casualties have been increasing in recent years, it is important to understand the spatial patterns of different vulnerable population groups in the flooding regions. To achieve this objective, spatial scan statistics were used to identify the spatial clusters of different demographic groups (children and elderly, poor, White, African American, and Hispanic) in the 100-year floodplain areas of Birmingham. Using the decennial census data from 1990 to 2015, this research examined whether these vulnerable population groups had aggregated more in the flooding areas or moved away from the flooding areas in the past thirty years. The findings of this research indicate that most of the minorities are increasingly aggregating in the floodplain areas of Village Creek in Birmingham. The findings also suggest that the non-minorities are moving away from the flooding regions in Birmingham, AL. As part of the minorities and non-minorities group, approximately 50 percent of African Americans and 4 percent of White populations aggregated in the Village Creek flooding areas in 2015. Although the percentage of White populations is very low, the findings suggest that they are still exposed to floods. The multi-decadal analysis of flood risk will help the local governments to understand which population groups could be more affected by floods historically and need more attention in future flood hazards. This understanding will help them prepare for future flood hazards by allocating resources efficiently among the different racial and ethnic groups.
  • Prioritizing Agricultural Patches for Reforestation to Improve Connectivity of Habitat Conservation Areas: A Guide to Grain-to-Green Project

    Zhouqiao Ren; Wanxin Zhan; Qiaobing Yue; Jianhua He (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Landscape connectivity can largely affect the level of biodiversity and it is a key concern in conservation planning. Considering that protected areas (PAs) may become functionally isolated “islands” under rapid land-use change, there is an urgent need to expand and connect protected areas to prevent further biodiversity loss and improve PAs effectiveness. The Grain-to-Green Project (GTGP) is the largest reforestation program worldwide with the aim of controlling water and soil loss; however, the opportunities for connectivity gains through GTGP have been widely ignored. Here we provided a three-stage hierarchical framework incorporating soil erosion analysis, cropland suitability analysis and network analysis to prioritize agricultural patches for reforestation under the scheme of GTGP. The potential reforestation patches were identified in the first two stages. Then, four different GTGP strategies were designed, and a set of network metrics were used to determine the best strategy and prioritize patches that significantly enhance PAs connectivity. A typical GTGP region, Wanzhou district (Southwest China), was taken as the study area. We found that: (1) the agricultural patches with high reforestation suitability cover an area of <i>c</i>. 40 km<sup>2</sup> (1% of the study area); and (2) the efficiency of GTGP strategies varies by species, species with intermediate and high mobility benefit more from a strategy that continuously adds reforestation patches close to PAs, while for species with low dispersal ability, the amount of patches added should also be taken into account to decide the appropriate strategy. We conclude that our framework can provide guidance to restore PAs connectivity with limited land resources in the context of GTGP.
  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Supplemental Irrigation to Improve Soil Moisture in an Arid Ecosystem with an Emphasis on Climate Change: A Case Study from the State of Kuwait

    Ahmed Alqallaf; Bader Al-Anzi; Meshal Alabdullah (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Arid ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to climate change, which is considered one of the serious global environmental issues that can cause critical challenges to the hydrological cycle in arid ecosystems. This work focused on assessing the effectiveness of supplemental irrigation to improve the actual soil moisture content in arid ecosystems and considering climate change impacts on soil moisture. The study was conducted at two fenced protected sites in Kuwait. The first site is naturally covered with <i>Rhanterietum epapposum</i>, whereas the other study site is a supplemented irrigated site, containing several revegetated native plants. The results showed that supplemental irrigation highly improved soil moisture (∆SM) during the winter season by >50%. However, during the summer season, the rainfed and irrigated site showed low ∆SM due to the high temperature and high evapotranspiration (ET) rates. We also found that ∆SM would negatively get impacted by climate change. The climate change projection results showed that temperature would increase by 12%–23%, ET would increase by 17%–19%, and precipitation would decrease by 31%–46% by 2100. Such climate change impacts may also shift the current ecosystem from an arid to a hyper-arid ecosystem. Therefore, we concluded that irrigation is a practical option to support the ∆SM during the low-temperature months only (spring and winter) since the results did not show any progress during the summer season. It is also essential to consider the possibility of future shifting in ecosystems and plant communities in restoration and revegetation planning.
  • Characteristics of Non-Smokers’ Exposure Using Indirect Smoking Indicators and Time Activity Patterns

    Byung Lyul Woo; Min Kyung Lim; Eun Young Park; Jinhyeon Park; Hyeonsu Ryu; Dayoung Jung; Marcus J. Ramirez; Wonho Yang (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Since the global enforcement of smoke-free policies, indoor smoking has decreased significantly, and the characteristics of non-smokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) has changed. The purpose of this study was to assess the temporal and spatial characteristics of SHS exposure in non-smokers by combining questionnaires and biomarkers with time activity patterns. To assess SHS exposure, biomarkers such as cotinine and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-3-(pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) in urine and nicotine in hair were collected from 100 non-smokers in Seoul. Questionnaires about SHS exposure and time activity patterns were also obtained from the participants. The analysis of biomarker samples indicated that about 10% of participants were exposed to SHS when compared with the criteria from previous studies. However, 97% of the participants reported that they were exposed to SHS at least once weekly. The participants were most exposed to SHS in the outdoor microenvironment, where they spent approximately 1.2 h daily. There was a significant correlation between the participants’ time spent outdoors and self-reported SHS exposure time (r<sup>2</sup> = 0.935). In this study, a methodology using time activity patterns to assess temporal and spatial characteristics of SHS exposure was suggested. The results of this study may help develop policies for managing SHS exposure, considering the time activity patterns.
  • Determining Factors of Innovative Performance: Case Studies in Extremaduran Agri-Food Companies

    Beatriz Corchuelo Martínez-Azúa; Pedro Eugenio López-Salazar; Celia Sama-Berrocal (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The agri-food industry plays an important role in the manufacturing industry in the Autonomous Community of Extremadura (Spain). The main objective of this study is to identify which business factors influence the success of the innovative performance in this regional industry. We proposed a novel theoretical model in which we analyzed the effect of six business variables. Using a multiple-case study, five in-depth interviews were carried out to measure the level of importance that managers gave to each of the variables. The study validated the proposed model in which all the contrasted variables (Management, Strategy, Structure, Culture, Climate, and Market Orientation) had a great weight for the achievement of the innovative performance. The study contributes to the promotion of the capacities and competences of the agri-food companies’ managers for the development of innovative activities favoring the knowledge, the external visibility, and the competitiveness of the companies. It is also useful for Public Administrations when developing policies to promote and encourage innovation in a sector of vital importance in the rural and regional development of this Spanish region.

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