Category / EU

Welcome to the EU section of the blog! Emily Cieciura (BU’s Research Facilitator – EU and International), Jo Garrad (Funding Development Manager) and Dianne Goodman (Funding Development Co-ordinator) together try to take the pain out of finding and applying for EU funding by horizon scanning many sources and placing the most important information on this page.

We blog as often as possible on everything from calls for proposals and partner searches, to networking event opportunities, all the latest on Horizon 2020 and international funding. We also use the blog to disseminate information on EUADS (BU’s EU academic training initiative), how to write brilliant proposals, how to find partners and other top tips!

HE policy update w/e 23rd June 2017

Two items have dominated this week – the Queen’s Speech at the state opening of Parliament, and the TEF results.

Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the session of parliament. In a rare departure this year the parliamentary legislative session is planned to last for two years, instead of one, to accommodate Brexit and the Repeal Bill. Both the Commons and Lords will debate the planned legislative programme for six working days.  Education will be debated on Tuesday 27 June by the Commons and Thursday 29 June by the Lords. Usually during the final days of debate two Opposition amendments are considered and one is voted upon – it will be interesting to see what they pick. The Commons vote on the final motion takes place on Thursday 29 June. The government must win this vote  -although the DUP are likely to support the government, Labour are hovering in the wings ready to capitalise on any opportunity.

The significance of the Queen’s Speech for HE was more about what it did not contain. Across the board many manifesto commitments were absent or lacked detail, but that is not unusual.

Schools were addressed with a commitment to increase the schools budget further and to make schools funding fairer. Furthermore, of importance to HE, in line with the ‘Schools that work for everyone’ consultation, the Queen’s Speech makes reference to encouraging more people, schools and institutions to come forward to help to create more good school places. This falls short of promising legislation to force universities or independent schools to sponsor or open free schools, as mentioned in the manifesto. However, legislation isn’t required to force universities into sponsorship.  We await the next steps in the response to the Schools consultation.  Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Angela Rayner, has tabled the parliamentary question: What her policy is on the involvement of universities in academy sponsorship and the founding of free schools and charging maximum tuition fees. We’ll bring you the response in next week’s policy update. Grammar schools were not mentioned. While the policy has not been officially dropped the BBC cite a DfE source who stated ”the Queen’s Speech was an unambiguous decision not to go ahead with creating more grammar schools”.

The commitment remains to refreshing technical education, funding and delivering the new Institutes of Technology as part of the Industrial Strategy. Angela Rayner has also tabled a parliamentary question on reviewing funding across tertiary education. HEPI published a report on technical and professional education this week.

Immigration – the government pledged “A Bill to establish new national policies on immigration, completed by legislation to ensure that the UK makes a success of Brexit”. The new factor in this debate is the role of the DUP which has indicated it wants a policy that meets the skills needs of Britain. This may not completely dovetail with May’s commitment to the net migration target. In the election aftermath there have been rumours that the government will soften their immigration stance. However, the migration cap was confirmed again by Damien Green on Wednesday.

The Queen’s Speech also addressed Social Care, Mental Health and the tech sector. Please contact Sarah for a summary if these areas interest you.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Relish or rubbish it TEF is one of the most significant policy initiatives in recent years. Despite sector opposition and Lords legislative amendments, Jo Johnson’s drive to bring teaching excellence into focus survived largely intact with a review promised in 2019. The categorisation of universities into a single label of Gold, Silver or Bronze gives a highly visible message to the public. A debate rages on how much influence TEF will have on prospective students’ choices and their parents’ opinion. However, including the awards on unistats, and UCAS course pages means that  TEF is a force to be respected.  Jane’s blog for Wonkhe gives a personal perspective – the good outweighs the bad.

What is TEF?

TEF is a government endorsed evaluation of teaching excellence. Wonkhe have a useful beginner’s guide to the TEF which sets out the component parts within the three categories of Teaching Quality, Learning Environment and Student Outcomes and Learning (also see diagram, and explanation of  TEF flags). Controversy within the sector (and Lords debate during the HE and Research Bill) centred on the metrics- which use measures of student experience, retention, and outcomes as a proxy for teaching excellence. In May Jo Johnson stated that TEF was ‘an iterative process’ and would ‘evolve and develop’ over the years. New metrics including LEO will be considered for inclusion as TEF matures.

The government’s aims for TEF are to:

  • Inform prospective student choice
  • Recognise, reward and drive excellent teaching (balancing a research focus at the expense of teaching experience)
  • Inform and meet employer, business and industry needs

Read Wonkhe’s interesting political history of the methods successive policy makers have attempted to drive progress. And HEPI’s (short!) idiots guide to the arguments for and against the TEF.

Participation in TEF was voluntary but most (nearly all in England, fewer in the devolved administrations) chose to participate. TEF is linked to the raising of the higher fee cap.  However, to allow the HE and Research Act to pass swiftly the government agreed to postpone the further link which differentiated the fee cap based on TEF ratings. This has been postponed until 2020 and can only be reinstated after an independent review of TEF has been conducted. Read John Vinney’s research blog which highlights the Lords unease over the TEF fees link as the HE and Research Bill made its way through parliament.

TEF also aligns with the government’s social mobility agenda. The metrics deliberately split out widening participation indicators such as BME and part time students to ensure consideration of these groups at institutional level.

TEF – the outcome

As the data that underlines the metrics are widely published, he sector already had a ball park idea of where institutional ratings would fall, although the subtlety of the individual benchmarking process did make it hard to predict with confidence.  For some the TEF heralds a refreshing shake up of the sector, a move away from research influenced league tables.  For pre-results release comment see TEF will check the most complacent and privileged and Performance management is here to stay, but TEF needs a rethink.

The TEF results for all participating providers were released by HEFCE on Thursday 22 June. At the time of writing the HEFCE TEF webpages were very slow, as an alternative see this Times Higher page which lists all institutions results but not the provider results statements. The Times Higher page also compares each provider’s TEF result with their THE World University Ranking and REF GPA.

As the policy wonks digest the national results picture, questions emerge about the relative influence of the provider statement against metrics, and a good article by Wonkhe provides volumes and information on institutions that were up or downgraded against their initial metric based ranking. There are interesting results analysis tweets and diagrams by the University of Huddersfield.  Chris Husbands, the chair of the TEF, has responded to the reaction with a strong defence of the system on Wonkhe.

Jo Johnson, in the TEF results release, harks back to the original TEF objectives:  “These results, highlighting the extraordinary strengths of our higher education system, will help students choose which university or college to study at. The Teaching Excellence Framework is refocusing the sector’s attention on teaching – putting in place incentives that will raise standards across the sector and giving teaching the same status as research. Students, parents, employers and taxpayers all have a shared interest in ensuring that higher education equips the next generation of graduates for success.”  He also tweeted “Kudos to all 295 institutions that volunteered for the first Teaching Excellence Framework assessment”.

BU’s approach

BU’s continuing approach to TEF reflects our fundamental commitment to Fusion. Read John Vinney’s HEPI blog which addresses the importance of both research and teaching in inspiring learning excellence, and the comments from Professor Holley on this research blog: “BU is unusual in the sector in drawing together preparation for both REF and TEF, mirroring their Fusion agenda of excellence in research, education and professional practice. It is exciting to be at the centre of these policy opportunities, to build synergy in a way that will further enhance the student experience. At BU we pride ourselves on delivering innovative teaching and learning that works for all of our students, regardless of background.”  If you missed it, you can read about BU’s silver award here.

The Future

Amid the excitement of ‘results day’ it is easy to forget that TEF is still evolving. There will be an extended two-year subject level pilot in 2017/18 and 2018/19, with a final version rolled out in 2019/20 (TEF year 5). Despite extensive sector consultation and comment over the past year few decisions have been made about the complexity and level of detail that will dictate the subject level structural framework.  The approach based on many categories of disciplines will most genuinely reflect the learning experience of students but could be  burdensome and costly – some say broader groups will be easier and less time consuming to manage but will have a masking effect by grouping together subjects that don’t really belong together. For example, subjects as diverse as geography and nursing could banded together under a social sciences heading. Subject level TEF will also make labelling harder. How will a silver institution with a range of gold and bronze subject judgements market themselves effectively but unambiguously? Will parents and prospective students (who need clear, simple branding to make decisions) pay more attention to the Gold rating for their intended subject or an overall Bronze for the intended institution? If that doesn’t have you reaching for the headache medication read Wonkhe’s article which delves further into the complexities of subject level TEF.

Also don’t forget postgraduates. Postgraduate TEF was scheduled for TEF year 4 (assessed in 2018-19 based on 2017-18 data); however, many speculate that given the extension of the subject level TEF pilot and the independent review of TEF, as well as everything else, postgraduate TEF may be shelved until further notice.   See Wonkhe’s TEF article about postgraduate TEF.

But with the Bill passed, what will the Universities Minister do during this parliament? Perhaps focus more on the Science and Research part of his portfolio, with the Industrial Strategy and Brexit issues to deal with.

Lastly, at a June Wonkhe TEF conference Mark Jones (HEA) called on the sector to ‘take back control’ of teaching excellence and play a part in developing teaching metrics rather than simply critiquing them. He advocated engaging with Gibbs (2010) Dimensions of quality research and looking at international initiatives as part of potential metric development.  Chris Husbands repeated this call in his blog this week.

Media Coverage

Times Higher has a hub page where they gather together key articles and comment on the TEF, and Wonkhe gather together many articles and blogs whilst also providing key results analysis. You may like eight first lessons from the TEF results.

Media coverage has focussed mostly on the mixed ratings achieved by Russell Group members:

Sector response

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:  ‘The Teaching Excellence Framework would have comprehensively failed if it had simply replicated existing hierarchies. It was always designed to do something different to other league tables and rankings – namely, to show where there are pockets of excellence that have been ignored and to encourage improvements elsewhere.

‘So the fact that some of the results seem surprising suggests it is working. I visit around 50 universities a year so know the Gold ratings have been hard won by committed staff and students and are very well deserved.

‘Nonetheless, in this early guise, the TEF is far from a perfect assessment of teaching and learning. While it tells us a lot of useful things, none of them accurately reflects precisely what goes on in lecture halls. I hope university applicants will use the results in their decision making but they should do so with caution, not least because the ratings are for whole universities rather than individual courses.’

 

Jane Forster                                   Sarah Carter

VC’s Policy Adviser                                    Policy & Public Affairs Officer

 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship – Bid Writing Retreat

Places are still available for the two-day MSCA IF bid writing retreat on 5th and 6th Julybook in now!

 

As the European Commission celebrates the support of over 100,000 researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, RKEO are pleased to update our arrangements for supporting this high profile call in 2017.

Support

Timeline

As this is a highly popular call, RKEO need to carefully manage the flow of work within RKEO but also for all your colleagues, who work together, to ensure that each application is approved and submitted correctly.

Please ensure that the Intention to Bid is submitted to RKEO by 30/06/17. You can, of course, let us know earlier than this date that you intend to apply, so that we can provide you, and your potential fellow, with as much support as possible, right up to the closing date of 14/09/17. It is expected that early drafts will be sent to RKEO at the beginning of August, allowing time for all those involved to manage their workloads.

Communication

Once we know that you are thinking of applying, we can keep you up to date with announcements from the funder and other sources of help and support.

If you are considering applying and would like to receive updates, please contact Sara Mundy, who is acting as the RKEO’s central contact for the administration of the 2017 submission, so that we can register your interest. If you are ready to submit your Intention to Bid, you can do this now, via Sara.

If you have any queries or comments about this scheme, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International

HE policy update w/e 16th June 2017

New Parliament – On Monday we sent out a special edition policy update to keep you current on the political arrangements as the new government is formed. If you missed it you can read it here. Locally, all the incumbents were re-elected, meaning the whole of Dorset continues to be represented by Conservatives. A breakdown of the local MPs, the profile of their vote share, and current political interest areas is available here. It has now been confirmed that the Queen’s Speech and state opening of Parliament will take place on Wednesday 21 June. Since Monday’s update it has been confirmed that Jo Johnson remains in post as Universities Science Research and Innovation Minister. Anne Milton is the new Apprenticeships and Skills Minister. Locally Tobias Ellwood will move to the Ministry for Defence.

  • Student voting preferences: YouGov’s post-election poll states that 64% of full time students voted Labour, 19% for Conservatives, 10% Lib Dems. For graduates Labour got 49% and Conservatives 32%.
  • Effect of age: The survey states that young turnout was not as high as the media initially reported – 59% of 20-24 year olds voted. The survey highlights that age is a new dividing line in British politics. For every 10 years older a voter is, the likelihood they will vote Conservative increases.
  • Effect of education: The survey reports that education is also an electoral demographic divide with support. In the recent election support for the Conservatives decreased the more educated a voter was, with the reverse for Labour and the Lib Dems. Age is a factor, the young have more qualifications than the old, however YouGov report even accounting for this the Conservatives still have a graduate problem.

Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data – The full longitudinal education outcomes (LEO) data was released this week. It shows graduate earnings and employment outcomes from 2014/15 taking data from the students graduating 1, 3 and 5 years before 2014/15. The methodological of how the data measured prior attainment has changed and ethnicity identifiers have been removed from the dataset for this release. LEO will be published alongside the Key Information Set on Unistats. Wonkhe ran a live LEO blog on release day (BU got a mention) and have an assortment of articles discussing the LEO findings as well as university rankings for each subject area. Polar data is available so comparison of the class effect on graduate earnings is possible even at a subject level. BU is generally positioned well within the LEO data, which is consistent with our DLHE outcomes data.

Gender pay gaps: Wonkhe reported on the first trial release of LEO data highlighting that the pay gap between women and men is visible from graduation. Wonkhe have explored this gender pay gap through the full LEO dataset released this week. Their new article identifies that, while the gender gap remains, subject area has an affect and where there are lower numbers of men than women on a subject, e.g. nursing, the men outperform the women’s pay by an even greater margin. The article questions whether universities are failing to prepare women to enter the most well-paying graduate jobs, and failing to encourage women’s aspirations on the same par as men. The article also anticipates that when the pay data can be cut by ethnicity that further gender racial divides will been seen. The Guardian also report on the gender pay gap.

Brexit – residency rights for EU citizens wishing to remain in the UK post Brexit are not as black and white as it seems. This report from Migration Watch UK on the EC’s negotiating position explores the shades of grey. There are ongoing rumours of pressure to soften the approach to Brexit but no indication of it – the formal negotiations with the EU start on Monday.

Higher Education and Research Act (HERA) – With Jo Johnson, Justine Greening and Greg Clark’s continuation of their cabinet roles the sector anticipates that both TEF and the HE and Research Act will move forward with more certainty now. UUK have published a briefing on the implementation of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. UUK remain positive in their approach to the act whilst acknowledging the potential risk to institutional autonomy. The act replaces HEFCE with the OfS, establishes the combined UKRI, and begins to establish the new regulatory system for the sector. UUK call for universities to engage and influence how OfS and UKRI approach their remit and to consider the implications of these split bodies with reference to the relationship between teaching and research within universities.

Regulation: The sector will be regulated through the register of HE providers. The OfS can vary the conditions applied to providers (as the pool of providers will be wider) and requirements relating to access and participation. A technical consultation on registration fees is expected during autumn 2017. Student protection plans will be a requirement of registration, including transparency in enabling provision for student transfers. The OfS will consult on whether there are appropriate bodies that could perform quality assessment and data collection in advance of April 2018 and that would command the confidence of the sector.

Teaching quality: During amendment through parliament conditions of registration relating to quality and standards of teaching meant conditions should relate to sector recognised standards. The detail and ownership the sector will have over the definition of standards is unclear. However, amendments within the Lords ensured that ‘quality’ and ‘standards’ should be properly defined and separate and the independent ability of institutions to set their own standards was protected. The UK-wide standing committee on quality assessment is working to coordinate a shared regulatory baseline and is also reviewing how the quality code, including standards, may need to evolve in the context of the new regulations. HEFCE is also expected to conduct a review of the Annual Provider Review in the autumn.

Degree awarding powers: will be subject to independent quality advice from either the designated quality body or an independent committee, and replicates much of the role of the QAA’s Advisory Committee on degree awarding powers (Section 46). A consultation on how the OfS should exercise its new powers, including ‘probationary’ degree awarding powers, and the removal of degree awarding powers is expected. There are additional conditions to be met before OfS can vary or revoke degree awarding powers or university title, royal charters cannot be revoked in full. There is to be additional ministerial oversight of new providers without a validation track record. Amendment discussions secured tightened regulation around degree awarding powers and university title to protect both students and the sector reputation on sector entry for new providers.

Financial powers: OfS will have the ability to make grants or loans to a HE provider, replicating HEFCE’s powers to provider funding for high cost or strategic/vulnerable subjects. It’s likely any support for providers in financial difficulty would require DfE and Treasury input.

Fee limits & TEF: Fee limit changes require (active) approval by both Commons and Lords, even if the increase is below inflation. An approved access and participation plan is required. There are three levels of fee limits:

  • the higher amount which will ordinarily increase by inflation (LINKED TO TEF)
  • an intermediate cap LINKED TO TEF (but won’t be implemented before 2020)
  • a basic cap (currently set at £9,000)

Until the academic year 2020/21 all providers participating in TEF with approved access plans will be permitted to charge the full inflationary increase up to the higher amount. Before differential fees determined by TEF rating can be implemented an independent review of TEF must take place. The review would need to take place in winter 2018/19 for differential fees to be implemented in 2020/21. The review will cover:

  • the process by which ratings are determined under the scheme and the sources of statistical information used in that process
  • whether process and statistical information are fit for purpose in determining ratings under the scheme
  • the names of the ratings under the scheme and whether those names are appropriate
  • the impact of the scheme on the ability of higher education providers to which the scheme applies to carry out their functions (including in particular their functions relating to teaching and research)
  • an assessment of whether the scheme is in the public interest
  • any other matters that the appointed person considers relevant

Subject level TEF have been delayed by an additional year but will be piloted in 17/18 and 18/19.

UKRI: will operate from April 2018 and is expected to commence by drafting its research and innovation strategy in collaboration with the sector. Research England will have to consult on the terms and conditions attached to the quality-related funding it provides. The government must publish details of the funding provided to UKRI, the terms and conditions attached, and the amount granted to each of the seven councils. This is designed to give public oversight of the process, and to encourage responsible allocation of funding to the different councils. The dual support system will not be undermined. The Act enshrines the Haldane principle within the legislation ‘decisions on individual research proposals are best taken following an evaluation of the quality and likely impact of the proposals (such as a peer review process)’. UKRI should give equal regard to all nations of the UK.

Widening Participation – The Social Mobility Commission have published the Social Mobility Barometer surveying the public’s attitude towards UK social mobility. The Barometer is new and there will be follow up polls each year until 2021. It was run by YouGov. Press coverage: BBC; TES focus on the belief education will be better in the future.

  • 48% of the public believe that where you end up in society today is mainly determined by your background and who your parents are; 32% believe everyone has a fair chance to get on regardless of their background.
  • 79% believe that there is a large gap between the social classes in Britain today.
  • A large majority of people believe that poorer people are held back at nearly every stage of their lives – from childhood, through education and into their careers.
  • 71% believe opportunity is dependent on where a person lives (something the government’s intended Industrial Strategy aims to tackle)
  • Young people increasingly feel they are on the wrong side of a profound unfairness in British society. The report links this dissatisfaction with the recent election where record numbers of young people voted.
  • Personal finances, job security and housing are key issues.
  • 76% of the public say poorer people are less likely to attend a top university and 66% say poorer people have less opportunity for a professional career.

Fees and Funding

The House of Commons Library have published a clear briefing paper on HE funding in England. It covers the 2012/13 higher fee increase, removal of maintenance grants and student loan repayment threshold decisions. It also summarises the public spend on HE (within England) and the impact of student loans on the national debt.

Jane Forster                                   Sarah Carter

VC’s Policy Adviser                                    Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Interreg 2 Seas events

It is all going on with Interreg at the moment!

Not only is Bournemouth University hosting an Interreg Channel Programme workshop on 21/6/17 but there are regional events for the Interreg 2 Seas Programme too, as per this inviation from Solveig Burfeind, Facilitator – Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeën:

Are you still interested in applying for Interreg funding from the Two Seas Programme? The next Call for Proposals (August – October 2017) will be one of the last opportunities to do so. If you want to work with European partners on topics such as technological innovation, social innovation, climate change adaptation, low carbon economy and circular economy we have a series of local workshops coming up in the next month. We will discuss the range of themes the Two Seas Programme funds, how to develop a successful proposal and hints and tips on what makes a good application. Each workshop is supported by local partners and we will focus on specific objectives most relevant for participants.

Plymouth: 23/6/17, 10.15am – 3pm

Swindon: 29/6/17, 12.45pm – 5pm

 Hove: 4/7/17, 10am – 2.30pm

To register and for the detailed agendas, please follow this link: http://www.interreg2seas.eu/en/news/interreg-workshops-uk

If you cannot make any of the workshops but want to discuss a potential project idea or would like to hear about project applicants looking for partners, please contact Solveig Burfeind, (Solveig.Burfeind@communities.gsi.gov.uk)  or Paula MacLachlan ( p.maclachlan@interreg2seas.eu ).


BU staff interested in applying to this or other EU calls, should contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International to arrange help and support.

 

 

 

Europe on the Move

With wide-ranging implications outside the transport sector alone, the Europe on the Move strategy has been adopted by the European Commission.

Reported by the European Commission, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “Our approach to mobility is much broader than just the transport sector. We see new developments in transport also in the context of newly emerging economic trends like collaborative or circular economy. Hence, it is as an opportunity to modernise the entire European economy and push it in a more sustainable direction.”

Themes announced are:

  • A well-functioning internal market
  • Fair compeition and workers’ rights
  • Decarbonisation
  • Digital technologies

Find out more and consider how your research interests could contribute to the debate and implemenation of this strategy, including the themes.

If you are considering applying for calls which may arise from this strategy, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International, for further help and support.

Erasmus Staff Mobility – International Staff Training Week

Participation by Alice Brown, Research & Knowledge Exchange Office

This was my very first time on an exciting International Staff Training Week, hosted by Kristianstad University in Sweden. The 4 day training programme from 8 to 11 May 2017 was divided into Groups reflecting the professional service areas of: (A) Student Services, (B) Library, (C) Information Technology, (D) Finance and (E) Research & Innovation. The Week was attended by 40 participants from Universities all over Europe (Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Turkey), of which three, besides for myself, were from the UK (Durham, Staffordshire).

On the first day, the Host via their International Office’s staff introduced themselves to the cohort, including the history of Kristianstad as formerly a military town with the University grounds and buildings being infantry premises. The Host was a young University, initially offering nursing and teaching courses, but has now expanded to offer many more, such as agriculture, food sciences and engineering.

It has this year become the most popular University for school-leavers in Sweden. After this introduction, the Host’s Vice-Chancellor welcomed us. We were given brief introductions of all participants, elements of Swedish culture such as a fikka (coffee/tea break with snacks, usually delectable Scandinavian pastries), a campus tour and then a tour of the town.

On the second and third days, we split into our Groups. I was in Group E – the Research & Innovation Group, which had 9 participants, of which 3 officers were from the Host and the others were from Universities in Germany, Romania, Portugal, Turkey and the UK (Durham). We all gave presentations about our Universities and engaged in intensive workshops about the issues, challenges and possible solutions to engage students and academics in research/innovation.

We were taken on excursions to visit the Kristianstad Krinova Incubator Science Park and two knowledge exchange business projects – an innovative Swedish fusion food restaurant, Sotnosen’s and a sustainable aquaculture farm, Gardsfisk. We attended a one hour crash course in Swedish and emerged feeling we could say the common niceties like “hej” (hello) and “tak” (thank you).

The Host invited the cohort to a welcome lunch at Metropol, their campus food hall on the first day and a finger-food lunch prepared by their international students on the second day. At this lunch, I discovered my new-found Swedish favourite – the smogastarte and a traditional sweet – the Spettekaka. We were all taken out by the Host to a smorgasboard dinner at Aptit, a restaurant in town that second evening when we had sparkling conversations about Swedish arts and culture.

On the fourth day, we gathered back as a cohort and had a wrap-up session on what each Group had learned and what we would take back to our respective Universities. We exchanged contacts and raised ideas of possible future collaborations. I had a great experience meeting new people working in similar professional service areas and engaging in Swedish culture and history.

I will be taking back a few practice ideas that will continue to feed into Bournemouth University’s internationalisation and innovative partnerships journey.

 

 

 

Policy and political scene this week: 25 May 2017

Welcome to this week’s political scene within research. Here is a summary of the week’s generic policy reports and releases, alongside new niche consultations and inquiries.

The role of EU funding in UK research and innovation

This week the role of EU funding in UK research and innovation has hit the headlines. Its an analysis of the academic disciplines most reliant on EU research and innovation funding at a granular level.

Jointly commissioned by Technopolis and the UK’s four national academies (Medical Sciences, British Academy, Engineering and Royal Society) it highlights that of the 15 disciplines most dependent on EU funding 13 are within the arts, humanities and social science sphere.

Most reliant on the EU funding as a proportion of their total research funding are Archaeology (38% of funding), Classics (33%) and IT (30%).

The full report dissects the information further considering the funding across disciplines, institutions, industrial sectors, company sizes and UK regions. It differentiates between the absolute value of the research grant income from EU government bodies, and the relative value of research grant income from EU government bodies with respect to research grant income from all sources, including how the EU funding interacts with other funding sources.

There are also 11 focal case studies, including archaeology and ICT. Here’s an excerpt from the archaeology case study considering the risks associated with Brexit and the UK’s industrial strategy:

As archaeologists are heavily dependent on EU funding, a break away from EU funding sources puts the discipline in a vulnerable position. This is exacerbated by the fact that the UK is short of archaeologists and/or skilled workers active in the field of Archaeology because of the surge in large scale infrastructure projects (e.g. HS2, Crossrail, and the A14), which drives away many archaeologists from research positions.” Source

See the full report page 25 for particular detail on ICT and digital sector, and page 39 for archaeology. For press coverage see the Financial Times article.

Bathing Water Quality

The European Environment Agency published European Bathing Water Quality in 2016. It sees the UK as second to bottom in the league table for quality of bathing water. While 96.4% of British beaches were found safe to swim in last year 20 sites failed the annual assessment. Only Ireland had a higher percentage of poor quality bathing waters at 4%.

Report link: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/european-bathing-water-quality-in-2016

How and when to submit evidence to policy makers

This week Research Professional ran a succinct article encouraging researchers to think more about when and how they submit evidence to policy makers. Timing is key, policy makers often want information instantaneously and the article urges researchers to be responsive but pragmatic, including a pro-active approach of gently keeping key policy makers informed of new developments.

Researchers wanting to have a political impact may consider attending a UK Parliament Outreach and Engagement Service events.

 

Consultations and Inquiries

Responding to a select committee call for evidence is a great way for academics to influence UK policy. If you respond to a consultation or inquiry as a BU member of staff please let us know of your interest by emailing policy@bournemouth.ac.uk at least one week before you submit your response.

This week there are three new inquiries and consultations that may be of interest to BU academics.

Sports

A Scottish Parliament inquiry is seeking individual’s views on community-based approaches to removing barriers to participation in grassroots sport and physical activity, including how to promote volunteering. The committee is asking for views and examples on a range of questions, including:

  • Examples where a community based approach has been successful in removing barriers to participation in sport and physical activity?
  • Approaches that were particularly successful in increasing participation among certain social groups, like women, ethnic minorities, certain age-groups?
  • The barriers facing volunteers and how can they be overcome? The aim is to inform how Scotland might increase participation rates across all groups and sectors of society, respondents can select to answer only the most relevant questions.

The call for evidence closes on 30 June.

Body Image

The British Youth Council has opened an inquiry into body image and how the growth of social media and communications platforms has encouraged attitudes that entrench poor body image. Included among the inquiry questions are:

  • Has the growing use of social media and communications platforms amongst young people encouraged practices and attitudes that entrench poor body image? What is the link between “sexting” and body dissatisfaction?
  • Do internet companies, social media platforms or other platforms have a responsibility to tackle trends which entrench poor body image? What are they already doing in this area? What more should they be doing?
  • Are particular groups of young people particularly prone to poor body image, or less likely to seek help? What causes these trends?
  • In relation to young men and boys, minority ethnic groups, and those who self-identify as transgender: what are the specific challenges facing young people in these groups? How effective is existing support?
  • To what extent is dissatisfaction with body image contributing to the increase in mental health problems amongst children and young people?

The call for evidence closes on 16 June.

Drainage & Flooding

The Welsh government has opened a consultation on the implementation of sustainable drainage systems on new developments (schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010).

The consultation closes on 11 August.

 

HE Policy Update

You can also sign up to receive BU’s separate weekly HE policy update delivered direct to your inbox each Friday by emailing policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

Sarah Carter

Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Third Edition of the EU Falls Festival in Amsterdam (8-9 May 2017)


Natalia Adamczewska and Yolanda Barrado-Martín represented the Psychology Department and Ageing & Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) at the Third Edition of the EU Falls Festival in Amsterdam on 8th and 9th May 2017. The theme of the congress was: Developing Collaborations across Professions and throughout Europe.

This festival brought together over 200 professionals from multiple disciplines (such as Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Medicine, Psychology and Technology) working under a common target: The prevention of falls amongst older adults. It was a great opportunity to see how different countries in Europe, but also researchers in America, represented by Dr. Robin Lee, US Lead Home and Recreation Team; and Australia, represented by Kim Delbaere, Falls Balance and Injury Centre, NeuRa; are working under this objective, the resources different countries invest on this and the different approaches used from different disciplines. A variety of interventions were presented from educational to exercise, and a debate was organised regarding the relevance of the role of technologies to prevent falls and support research.

Falls are the first external cause of death amongst older adults which explains the importance of researchers, practitioners and policy makers working together.​ Members of the World Health Organisation and the European Commission were also attending this meeting and sharing their views on the relevance of falls prevention.

Yolanda’s PhD project looks into the acceptability and adherence of participants living with dementia to a Tai Chi exercise intervention. Adherence to falls interventions was one the main concerns of the congress, however, the experiences of those living with dementia remain mostly under-explored.

Natalia focuses on the psychological adjustment to falls in her PhD project and she looks at fall-related PTSD. Various interventions presented at the festival could possibly be applied in order to enable participants to cope with psychological consequences of falling, such as virtual reality treatment presented by Jeff Hausdorff that he originally developed for fall prevention in idiopathic fallers.