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Fusion Investment Fund – Experience and socialisation in the events sector

Posted in BU research by lmarques

Events have been a rapidly developing field of study in recent years, and a growing body of knowledge is consolidating around Event Management. This is a field where BU is a leading university both in terms of education and research.

Although many economic impact studies have been conducted on events, many other related areas of knowledge lack in-depth understanding. Both from the professional field and from academia, there is a clear need to better understand the experiential and sociological dimensions of events. This will allow for improved practices in the field, increasing competitiveness on the long-term.   Although experiential aspects of events are embedded in recent curricula, such as in the Events Management course at BU, the need to provide (future) professionals with update know-how is a pressing matter.

For more information about this project, please contact Lénia Marques (

HE Policy Update



Scotland’s universities have warned that tens of millions of pounds of their funding is being put at risk by SNP plans giving ministers unprecedented political control over how they are run. SNP political control over universities ‘could cost millions’. (Telegraph).


Mature Students

Since the introduction of the higher tuition fees, the number of mature students has reduced in the UK. This article discusses the need for clearer communication around financial support for mature students as well as the importance of flexible learning spaces. ‘I was worried I wouldn’t fit in’ – how can universities support mature students? (The Guardian Higher Education Network).


University Advertising

A recent survey found that prospective students are most likely to trust information about universities that they perceive to be impartial. The survey also revealed that they place only limited weight on advertising and social media from universities themselves. Applicants put little trust in university advertising (THE).


Graduate Unemployment

According to a HESA study, long-term graduate unemployment has returned to pre-recession levels, but more university leavers are working part-time or engaging in further study. Graduate unemployment back to pre-recession levels (THE).

USS Pensions

The prospect of further cuts to the sector’s largest pension scheme has been raised after its deficit rose sharply despite savings from the closure of final salary pensions. USS deficit rises despite savings from end of final salary pensions (THE).



The new chair of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), has announced that the HEA should become the professional body for university teaching in a shift that could lead to the introduction of individual subscription fees. New HEA chair: paying members could enshrine it as professional body (THE).

Fusion Fund – South African Paramedic Placement

Posted in Uncategorized by pphillips

I’m delighted to have received funding from the fusion fund (staff mobility and networking) to set up a placement opportunity for our paramedic students. Through links with a level 1 trauma centre and university in Cape Town I will use the funding to travel to Cape Town to meet with academics and hospital managers to finalise the details of this exciting placement. It is hoped that paramedic students will be able to undertake a 3-4 week placement in a mixture of clinical settings: ambulances, A and E, and community in order to widen their experience and gain a better understanding of international healthcare systems. In time, it is hoped that this will lead to international knowledge exchange and collaborative research. I look forward to updating on progress early next year.

Peter Phillips

Fusion Fund support for development of civically-engaged social sciences at BU

Posted in Uncategorized by brichards

Fusion Investment Funds have been awarded under the Staff Mobility and Networking Strand to develop an interdisciplinary, cross-Faculty series of public/civic engagement ‘dialogues’ in the social sciences, drawing on national and international figures in the relevant fields. It will bring together leading academics and practitioners in a number of fields in the social sciences, building on areas already taught and researched at BU. It will be of contemporary relevance for the public and for students. Its contribution will be in the bringing together of non-academic experts, students, and members of the public, all in dialogue with academic experts.

The project team consists of a cross–Faculty team including Profs Ann Brooks (HSS) and Candida Yates (FMC), together with Professor Barry Richards (FMC). The team have already collaborated in bringing together a set of Research Degrees in the Social Sciences (MRes) and are committed to a broad based and civically engaged vision of social science at BU which gives prominence and visibility to student experience and public engagement. The title of the project is Distinguished Social Scientists Public Lecture Series – Dialogues in the Contemporary Social Sciences and builds on events held during Festival of Learning week at BU in July 2015, when two eminent UK social scientists shared their insights on how their research has contributed to an understanding of the social world.

The ‘Dialogues’ will cover the following areas:

  • Crime and Criminology – Representation and Reality
  • Education –Diversity and Opportunity
  • Evaluating Emotional Well-Being
  • Politics and the Media 

The project is about public/civic engagement and will have an immediate regional appeal in being the only high–profile series to be offered and well publicised in the region, one which combines experts from academia with senior figures from professional fields discussing issues of major public interest. The ‘dialogues’ will be filmed by BU students, and can have a national impact by being disseminated through both scholarly and professional websites, as well as attracting national media attention. The participation of internationally-known academics discussing issues which are debated across the world will give them some international reach and influence.

The series will involve students from HSS and FMC in the organisation, promotion and dissemination of the series and its ideas. The series will enable students to gain skills in event organisation, including liaising with speakers and delegates from different cultural groups. Alongside developing their social skills in that context, they will also contribute to the staging of the events as they happen and to the recording of the events through film and podcast. Students will also contribute to the actual content of the seminars as audience participants and hopefully in some cases be inspired to become researchers themselves.

The events will be organised in the period September 2015 to July 2016.

Posted by Profs Ann Brooks, Candida Yates and Barry Richards

Beauty in the eye of the user?


If we are going around an art gallery we are often aware that we are evaluating the aesthetic appeal of the artworks.  What we may be less aware of is that when we are interacting with computers, websites, and applications on our mobile phones the aesthetic appeal of the interfaces we are using matters too.  Appeal can make interfaces easier to use and certainly makes our interactions more enjoyable.

Angela Gosling and Siné McDougall (Psychology, Faculty of Science) recently received Fusion Funding to support a collaborative network with colleagues in at Fribourg in Switzerland and Swansea University to find out more about the role of aesthetic evaluations in human-computer interaction.  We want to examine how we make decisions about the appeal and usability of an interface.  These ‘decisions’ start when we unconsciously respond to interface appeal within the first few milliseconds that we encounter an interface and continue through to habitual everyday use.  By investigating these processes we will develop a better understanding of how interface appeal influences user performance and lead to better interface optimisation.  Our Fusion Funding is going to support our collaboration while we prepare grant proposals to take this work forward.

Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship Scheme – Funding Opportunity !

Royal academy of engineering logo

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship scheme supports outstanding entrepreneurial engineers, working at a UK university, to spin out a business by providing funding and an intensive, bespoke package of training and mentoring.

Prior experience of commercialisation activities is not essential, the desire and capability to succeed is more important and we will equip you with the necessary skills through a programme of training and mentoring.

The Fellowships provide £35,000 of salary support and £25,000 for the continued development of the innovation and associated spin-out company.

Applications close 7 September.

For more information on how to apply please visit

Matt Bentley’s Fusion Fund Research – South Africa Final Update

Daniel and Lee

The 2015 Fusion Fund research project has now come to an end. The last few months saw two BU students, Daniel Wirepa and Claudia O’Sullivan travel to Stellenbosch to undertake the research project examining the development of a novel slow-release technology for application in the treatment of pest infestations in the abalone aquaculture industry. Unfortunately, Claudia had to return to the UK in June for personal reasons but Daniel stayed working in Carol Simon’s labs alongside Lee, one of her research students.


Worm Culture Room

Daniel was working on the incorporation of a natural toxin, produced by microscopic algae, into a gel which acts to keep the toxin where it is required to act on the larvae of a shell-boring pest. The shell borer is a small marine worm that causes damage to the shells of cultured abalone (see previous blogs).



This pilot study will form the basis for a future research studentship which will link Bournemouth University, Stellenbosch University in South Africa and one of the world’s leading abalone farms in Hermanus, Abagold Pty, Ltd. The outputs of the research will be presented at next year’s International Polychaete Conference in Cardiff with Daniel as a co-author.

Introducing Rebecca Johnson: PQSW Research Assistant

FullSizeRenderI have joined Bournemouth University as a Research Assistant for the National Centre of Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice. The Centre is very dynamic and has a wide range of interesting projects and professional development programmes to engage with. I am looking forward to becoming involved with research into financial scamming and mass marketing fraud.

I founded my research background with a Human and Physical Geography degree in which I was able to work with NASA’s Environment and Energy team on research into the economic and environmental impact of launching the space shuttle. I have previously worked in both the public and private sectors in public consultation and communication roles. Most recently I worked with Exeter International Airport as an Air Traffic Control Assistant, an intense role which has left me with a personal interest in aircraft; particularly those that are fast and red.

Outside of work I like to travel, principally North America, and keep active with running and dance. I have an interest in World War 2 history and take part in living history events in the UK and in France. After my second week I am enjoying life as a member of the University and am keen to embrace all that it offers.

Fancy working on a project with the RNLI?



Following recent  HEIF funding, this project aims to develop an alternative solution by simulating and visualising the lifeboat launching with unmanned vehicles in an immersive virtual environment. Working with staff members at the RNLI and located within The National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University this role will offer an exciting opportunity to join the NCCA’s research team and be involved in the design of the next generation lifeboat launching system in order to enhance safety and efficiency.

This vacancy is advertised on BU’s website with a closing date of 20 September 2015.

300K funding for upcoming SBRI competition – Digital Forensics


Now open  – 24 August 2015 !

The Home Office has annnounced as  SBRI call on the subject of digital forensics and how it is used to support serious crime and counter terrorism investigations.

The aim of this funding call is to seek innovative proposals to enhance the capability of law enforcement to quickly recover and thoroughly investigate information stored on the seized digital devices of suspects under investigation.

More information on this funding opportunity.

Competition briefing event, 1​4th September, London

The event, which is free to attend, is an excellent opportunity for you to receive first hand information about the competition- application process, key dates etc. as well as meet and network with peers, potential partners, market leaders & innovators in the industry.

More information on the briefing event.

Sharing My Experiences Supervising an Undergraduate Research Assistant!

As the Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) working with me sadly finishes today, wanted to briefly share my experiences.  The URA brought a useful practitioner perspective as well as creativity and was a pleasure to work with, working independently under supervision.  She achieved so much in six weeks:  After an induction, she subscribed to Blogs, attended the Festival of Learning along with meetings and webinars for networking.  Time was spent reviewing the Research Excellence Framework (REF) guidance and identifying good practice from previously submitted case studies.  Working with academics, evidence to date was collated for two potential REF case studies for two Units of Assessment.  Many outputs were produced e.g. Blog postings; a seminar presentation well attended by cross-Faculty and central staff provoking much interest; resources to empower staff to develop their own case studies; online resource; poster production.

The URA developed many transferable skills and hope that the process enhanced her student experience.  Through mentoring from a PhD student, she is now interested in pursuing a cross-Faculty PhD sometime in the future.  However, it has very much been a two-way process and I have also developed skills and intelligence from managing the role.  The process will likely inform a case study for my Teach@BU portfolio as well as future bids and I hope to continue working together by co-creating outputs.

All that’s left to say is thank you very very much to her, the PhD student who mentored her, and the organisers of the scheme.  I thoroughly recommend staff to apply to the scheme and students to apply for such roles – it’s win win!

HE Policy Update



A blog in the Guardian HE network proposes better careers advice and improving links between institutions and industry as mechanisms to change perceptions held by young people, parents and educators concerning apprenticeships. The blog suggests that apprenticeships are seen as a second-rate option compared to going to university, which is preventing young people from considering other options. Why are Brits so obsessed with getting a university degree? (Guardian HE Network).

Sector Bodies

A piece in the Guardian HE Network looks at the future of three HE bodies (HEFCE, OFFA and QAA) in light of departmental budget cuts. What’s next for the quangos of higher education? (Guardian HE Network).



A draft concordat has been developed under the auspices of the UK Open Research Data Forum. The concordat aims to help to ensure that the research data gathered and generated by members of the UK research community is made openly available for use by others wherever possible, in a manner consistent with relevant legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks. Draft Concordat on Open Research Data. (Research Councils UK).

Gender Inequality

After this year’s A-Level results, UCAS revealed that 57,000 more women than men have gained university places. The figures reveal that the number of women gaining places at university is rising twice as quickly as that for men. Women further ahead in university places. (BBC News).


Graduate Employment

In a new report, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has said that the growth in the number of university leavers is “significantly outstripping” the growth in the provision of high-skilled jobs. Drawing on data from the European Social Survey, the report claims that 58.8 per cent of UK graduates are in non-graduate jobs. Too many graduates in non-professional jobs, HR body says. (THE).


According to a HEFCE study, Black and Asian UK academics were significantly less likely to be included in the 2014 REF than their white peers. The study reveals that just 35 per cent of black UK staff were selected for inclusion, a much lower proportion than peers who are white (56 per cent), Asian (56 per cent) or Chinese (68 per cent). Black and Asian scholars ‘less likely’ to have been submitted to the REF (THE).


EU Recruitment

UCAS data has revealed that the number of European Union applicants being accepted by English universities has risen dramatically following the lifting of number controls, prompting warnings about pressure on the student finance system. The data reveals that this year, higher education providers in England have placed 20,430 EU learners from outside the UK, 14 per cent more than at the same point last year. EU recruitment boom prompts student finance warning. (THE).


Graduate Employment

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England has critiqued the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s report from earlier in the week. He argues that the report appears short-sighted in its assumptions, as graduate employment opportunities are in fact improving.  It’s foolish to argue that we don’t need so many graduates in the UK (Guardian HE Network).

My experiences of the undergraduate research assistantship

I’m an Occupational Therapy student at BU, just going into my third year.  This summer I have been working with HSS Impact Champion, Zoe Sheppard, on the endeavour to monitor and measure the impact of research.  This has involved exploring methods of dissemination, investigating the demonstration of impact, and working on two research impact case studies.  As a result I have come to understand the value of reciprocal public engagement, and learnt that some of the best impact examples don’t happen by chance, but are within reach and in our control. I have collated my findings into a toolkit which will hopefully support you to plan and pursue your own research impacts.

I have really enjoyed the opportunity to explore the difference research can make, and this has inspired me to think about my own post-graduate research options. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Zoe in particular, and everyone else who have been so supportive of me over the last few weeks.

Jo George

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