Category / REF Subjects

EU AniM Workshop – Still time to register.

Team Photos 2

Professor Jian Jun Zhang, Dr Jian Chang and Hui Liang are pleased to announce the EU AniM Workshop.

Please click here to register.

The “AniM” www.euanim.org is an EU FP7 Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship funded project, which aims to improve the status quo by developing the “next generation computer animation techniques” and to answer challenges in handling computer animation data in an intelligent way to facilitate creativity and to encourage interaction among users through knowledge transfer and development.

project

The workshop is an intensive research meeting, aiming to provide new insights, approaches and methods of the next generation computer animation techniques and the intelligent animation data management to facilitate the growth of the computer animation industry.

Over 70 researchers based at UK universities and industry companies, will be invited for this workshop , which will be structured around the themes of “Enhanced Computer Animation technology” and “Intelligent Data Management for Computer Animation”.

You are invited to join us at the Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University, on 2nd September 2016.  Registration will be open from 09.45 and the workshop will commence at 10.30.

Professor Jian Jun Zhang of the NCCA, Bournemouth University will chair the event, which will include an introduction to the research within the project EU AniM and a panel discussion.  Professor Nigel W John from the University of Chester, is confirmed to deliver a keynote on “Real Time Computer Graphics for Surgery Simulation”.  A buffet lunch and refreshments will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you in September, in the meantime if you have any questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Harding & Pritchard paper has over 1,000 views in first month it is openly available

cover_enThe Harding and Pritchard paper titled ‘UK and Twenty Comparable Countries GDP-Expenditure on Health 1980-2013: The Historic and Continued Low Priority of UK Health-Related Expenditure’and published in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management, has had over 1,000 views in the first month it has been openly available.

For the majority of that time it has been made available in press, and only in the last few days has it been assigned to an issue. The paper illustrates the UK’s low proportional spend in relation to health related services:

It is well-established that for a considerable period the United Kingdom has spent proportionally less of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health-related services than almost any other comparable country. Average European spending on health (as a % of GDP) in the period 1980 to 2013 has been 19% higher than the United Kingdom, indicating that comparable countries give far greater fiscal priority to its health services, irrespective of its actual fiscal value or configuration. While the UK National Health Service (NHS) is a comparatively lean healthcare system, it is often regarded to be at a ‘crisis’ point on account of low levels of funding. Indeed, many state that currently the NHS has a sizeable funding gap, in part due to its recently reduced GDP devoted to health but mainly the challenges around increases in longevity, expectation and new medical costs. The right level of health funding is a political value judgement. As the data in this paper outline, if the UK ‘afforded’ the same proportional level of funding as the mean averageEuropean country, total expenditure would currently increase by one-fifth.

Multidisciplinary research: where Fusion meets REF

“We have developed multidisciplinary research within the Department of Design & Engineering, Faculty of Science & Technology at BU in collaboration with major international, national and regional industrial and HEI partners”, Associate Professor Zulfiqar Khan said. He added, “multidisciplinary research within NanoCorr, Energy & Modelling (NCEM) theme is a direct response to industrial needs in terms of enhancing design for durability & reliability, meeting the demands for generating energy from renewable sources and enhancing students learning experience through research informed education. New knowledge, created during this process, is shared with stakeholders and academic communities through relevant platforms.

Multidisciplinary research within NCEM is led by Zulfiqar and includes the development of nano coatings (nano composites and graphene; materials science and engineering) to increase service life of machines and equipment deployed in harsh operational and environmental conditions (design & engineering), understanding corrosion (materials science and mechanical engineering) issues to prevent structural failures within machines, automotive, locomotives, large structures & marine applications (preventative and predictive condition monitoring; MEMS, NEMS, Micro LPRs) and developing cutting edge solar thermal techniques to generate mechanical and heat energies from renewable sources (mechanical engineering; heat transfer and nano additives).

The objectives of this research are to develop state of the art novel and innovative energy efficient design for durability and reliability solutions applied in wide ranging industrial applications, bring about socio-economic benefits including impacts on cultural life via public engagement. This research is fully and match funded through a current portfolio of one postdoctoral research assistant and four PhD students by major industrial and HEI partners plus three PhD projects were completed early this year.

Majority of you would have had a chance to read through the Stern’s review of REF which was released in late July, steps taken to promote interdisciplinary and other joint working internally and externally and to support engagement and impact, beyond that which is just the aggregate of individual units of assessment (para.88)”. “The proposal to allow the (tick-box) identification interdisciplinary outputs, as well as document the role of ‘interdisciplinary champions’ (para. 100)

Zulfiqar said, “our vision of developing and engaging in multidisciplinary research which is industrially relevant, academically robust and has significant socio-economic value will play an important role in the REF 2021 and beyond and we are better positioned to lead in this area”. He has previously led the University Sustainable Design Research Centre between 2007-2015 and the centre received its REF14 Panel Feedback as, “Sustainable Design Research Group had the highest proportion of outputs judged to be internationally excellent”.

Fusion of research, education and professional practice is a key to lead to multidisciplinary research. BU Fusion of research, education and professional practice is at the heart of BU 2018 strategy. Zulfiqar said, “we have been and are currently delivering research informed education through the delivery of several UG/PG taught courses. This is a major contributor in enhancing students’ learning experience and enabling them to be more employable both in the country and globally.

He previously led the final year Design Engineering, Advanced Technology & Innovation 40 credit unit. Students participated in research activities which led them to publish journal and international conference papers including an invited Springer book chapter.

He developed a 20 credit Thermo fluids & Heat Transfer unit, taught in the second year of BEng/MEng course. Education in this unit is research informed and the unit is supported by laboratory experimentations. This provides an opportunity for the students to bridge the gap between theory and practice. He has also developed two new units Fluids and Thermodynamics L5/Year 2 MEng (Hons) Mech Engg and Thermofluids and Energy Conversion L6/Year 4 MEng (Hons) Mech Engg for recent IMechE accreditation. Education in these units will be supported by state of the art experimental techniques with in kind support from industrial partner and informed by current research in renewable energy technology within NCEM.

Zulfiqar is also leading first year Design Methods & Projects a 40 credit unit in the Design Engineering course. This unit has several projects that allow students to solve real world industrial problems and engage in research within corrosion, contact mechanics and materials science through a live project with The Tank Museum Bovington.

Both Fusion and multidisciplinary research are benefiting students in terms of their learning experience, solving immediate and challenging industrial problems, improving standard of life and bringing economic impacts including impacts on cultural life.

Some latest research activities are documented in recent publications, for further information you may contact Zulfiqar Khan.

Security by Design through “Human Centered” Specification Exemplars

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A year ago, we received Fusion funding to build the Bournemouth-Athens Network in Critical Infrastructure Security. The aim of this project was to build collaborative links between the BU Cyber Security Research group and the Information Security & Critical Infrastructure Protection Laboratory at Athens University of Economics & Business (AUEB). We built these links by working on a joint project, which we advanced through visits and other activities.

The aim of our joint activities was to build human-centered specification exemplars of Critical Infrastructure (CI) operating environments.
We depend on infrastructure associated with things like water, gas, electricity, or transport, but the criticality of such infrastructure is usually lost on us because it fades into the background of our everyday lives. The damage or loss of such infrastructure is only felt when it becomes unavailable, and its significance can range from mild annoyance if its means the trains are late, through to civil disorder and loss of life if we are unable to access clean water for a prolonged period. Despite their importance, there are no useful models of environments that people can use when developing or evaluating technology for CI. Our work aimed to remedy this by building specification exemplars for typical CI companies. In doing so, these would capture the human nuances associated with different aspects of CI, and help people identify possible security issues associated with new ideas before, rather than after, they are deployed in the field.

Together, a team of BU and AUEB researchers carried out work to build two specification exemplars of hypothetical CI companies. One of these was a UK Water Company (ACME Water). The other was a rail company in South East Europe (Balkan Rail). BU hosted researchers from AUEB and ran a number of workshops to identify different security aspects of these companies. In return, AUEB hosted BU undergraduate research assistants as they collected data from a Greek CI company, and ran workshops to develop and evaluate different aspects of the exemplars with AUEB researchers.

The exemplars have been made publicly available, and are modelled using CAIRIS – an open-source security design tool maintained by researchers at BU. To date, several publications have so far arisen from our preliminary work building [1] and applying the ACME Water exemplar [2, 3, 4]. We’re also using the exemplars as part of our teaching to provide case studies for Forensic & Computer Security lab exercises and seminars. Although the studies provided are hypothetical, they are grounded in real world data, and make visible to students the root causes of a variety of cybersecurity risks.

Looking forward, our work has gained the interest of a number of UK and international collaborators, and we’re looking for opportunities to build a library of human-cantered specification exemplars for many other, non-CI, environments. Such environments might include homes, and different types of ‘soft target’. Our long term aim is to make sure people don’t design security as an afterthought. Our work on BANCIS has made a small, but significant, step towards achieving this goal.

References

[1] S. Faily, G. Lykou, A. Partridge, D. Gritzalis, A. Mylonas, and V. Katos, “Human-Centered Specification Exemplars for Critical Infrastructure Environments,” in Proceedings of the 30th British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers, 2016.

[2] S. Faily, C. Iacob, and S. Field, “Ethical Hazards and Safeguards in Penetration Testing,” in Proceedings of the 30th British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Fusion, 2016. 

[3] D. Ki-Aries, S. Faily, and K. Beckers, “Persona-Driven Information Security Awareness,” in Proceedings of the 30th British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Fusion, 2016. 

[4] A. Partridge and S. Faily, “The application of useless japanese inventions for requirements elicitation in information security,” in Proceedings of the 30th British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Fusion, 2016. 

Fieldwork preparation in Nepal

If you have a number of research projects running in the same location it pays to combine some of the preparation.  Thus as part of five different studies and one PhD project, I’m currently in Kathmandu.  The projects are (1) the THET-funded intervention in Nawalparasi; (2) the CEL-funded qualitative research led by Dr. Catherine Angell on CPD (Continuous Professional Development); (3) the FHSS-funded project on transgender which is led by Dr. Pramod Regmi; (4) the FHSS-funded project with Pourakhi which supports Nepali women returning home after having been abroad as migrant workers;  and (5) the Green Tara Trust funded project on improving maternal health care in Dhading and Nawalparasi, and the FHSS PhD project is that of Mrs. Preeti Mahato.  Two of the project and the PhD topcic are closely related as all three cover maternity care in one for or another in Nawalparasi.  The planning meetings we are having in Nepal involve planning training sessions and workshops, resource allocation and research preparation.DSCN0026

Fortunately, it is not all work.  Today I enjoyed Kheer (Achar and Chana) for lunch in the Green Tara flat in Kathmandu a lovely rice pudding with slightly sour green vegetables and chick peas (see photo).  The actual meal is traditionally health tomorrow but as this is the weekend the staff brought it one day forward so that I could join in too.

Finally, I like to thank colleagues who gave me mobile phones and a camera.  One of the mobile phones is already in use by one of the Nepali charity workers in Kathmandu. I bought a new battery and memory card for camera in the UK and it is working fine, the photo with this blog has been taken with the donated camera!

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (writing from Nepal).

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health Research

 

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 7: BUCRU – not just for Writing Week!

We’re coming to the end of Writing Week in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and by now you will have made a good start or have put the finishing touches to your academic writing projects. Over the last week, we have given you some tips on writing grant applications and highlighted some of the expertise within BUCRU. If you didn’t get the chance to pop in and see us we thought it would be useful to remind you what we’re about and how we can help.

Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) supports researchers in improving the quality, quantity and efficiency of research across the University and local National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. We do this by:

  • Helping researchers develop high quality applications for external research funding (including small grants)
  • Ongoing involvement in funded research projects
  • A “pay-as-you-go” consultation service for other work.

How can we help?

BUCRU can provide help in the following areas:

  • Study design
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Statistics, data management and data analysis
  • Patient and public involvement in research
  • Trial management
  • Ethics, governance and other regulatory issues
  • Linking University and NHS researchers

Our support is available to Bournemouth University staff and people working locally in the NHS, and depending on the support you require, is mostly free of charge. There are no general restrictions on topic area or professional background of the researcher.

If you would like support in developing your research please get in touch through bucru@bournemouth.ac.uk or by calling us on 01202 961939. Please see our website for further information, details of our current and previous projects and a link to our recent newsletter.

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 6: What to do with your data

You don’t have to spend Writing Week working on grant applications. You may already have a dataset and now you finally have some time to do something with it. But where to start? It’s often a good idea to go back to your original research questions/aims/objectives. As we said yesterday, a well thought out research question can help shape your analysis strategy.
Hopefully you will have a record of which variables you were measuring and how data were coded. Were any calculations performed using the raw data to create new variables? How were these done? This is all part of good data management. To find out more visit the information pages created by the Library and Learning Support Team.
Once you are reacquainted with your data, it’s often a good idea (in the case of quantitative data) to start plotting graphs to find out more. Always keep in mind the original aims of the study, it’s easy to wander down a path of distraction. If you are feeling confused by all of this or, have got yourself lost down a data track, the BUCRU team are at hand to help.
Peter Thomas is available on Tuesday and Wednesday while Sharon Docherty is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Why not drop us an email or pop by to see us in R505?

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 5: Designing your study

So you have formed a strong team, chosen a funder and involved some service users to help develop a research idea with impact. What’s next?
Step 5 is designing your study. The heart of a good piece of research is a strong research question with clear aims and achievable objectives. Sounds easy, right? This is often one of the most difficult aspects of any research project. If you then add having to align your ideas with the priorities of your chosen funder, this task becomes a bit more difficult. However, it is worth the effort. Spending time putting together well constructed research questions will make designing the rest of the study much easier and will even help you formulate your data analysis strategy.
If all of this sounds a bit daunting, never fear because BUCRU are at hand to help. Did you know that some of the members of BUCRU form the Bournemouth branch of NIHR Research Design Service (RDS)? The RDS is here to advise and provide practical support for anyone developing a research grant application to a national, peer reviewed funding competition in the fields of applied health or social care. You can find the Bournemouth team in Royal London House.
If you need help with the design of your study (particularly if it is quantitative) Peter Thomas is available on Tuesday and Wednesday while Sharon Docherty is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Why not drop us an email or pop by to see us in R505?

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 4: Research grant applications – not THAT PPI

With the start of FHSS writing week, we are continuing our series of blogs providing you with some (hopefully) useful advice on how to make the best of this dedicated time. Remember, there are members of the BUCRU team available during this week to help you (i.e. anyone interested in health research) along the way.

Once you have decided on a funder, an important (but sometimes overlooked) aspect of working up a grant application is the planning and documenting of the involvement of service users/patients/relevant groups or organisations (Public Patient Involvement or PPI) ie the people most likely to have a vested interest in the research you are intending to do. Indeed, many major national funders, including the NIHR, require detailed evidence of how service users have been involved. But do you know who to approach? When? How? What can service users be involved with? What can they add? Sometimes it’s relatively straightforward to identify appropriate individuals and organisations. Other occasions can call for more creativity. Hot tip: everything takes longer to arrange than you might think. Allow a minimum of 6 weeks to plan, consult service users and feedback from the PPI consultation to your colleagues.

If you’d like some advice about planning PPI and conducting service user consultations for a project Helen Allen (helena@bournemouth.ac.uk) will be pleased to advise you. Helen is available on Tuesday 26th.

Midwifery-led antenatal care models

BU academics in CMMPH (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinal Health) have been working with colleagues across the UK in the so-called McTempo Collaboration on mapping the key characteristics of midwifery-led antenatal care models. This week BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth published our paper that brings this evidence together [1].  The lead author of the paper, Dr. Andrew Symon, is based at the University of Dundee his co-authors are based at the University of Stirling, UCLAN, Queen’s University, Belfast, NHS Education for Scotland and Bournemouth University.  The McTempo (Models of Care: The Effects on Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes) collaboration is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research grouping established to explore and evaluate differentcare models used in maternity care.

Symon et al 2016 frameworkOur specific aim in this paper was to map the characteristics of antenatal care models tested in Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) to a new evidence-based framework for quality maternal and newborn care (QMNC) [2]. This offers the opportunity to identify systematically the characteristics of care delivery that may be generalizable across contexts, thereby enhancing implementation.  The paper concludes: “The QMNC framework facilitates assessment of the characteristics of antenatal care models. It is vital tounderstand all the characteristics of multi-faceted interventions such as care models; not only what is done but why itis done, by whom, and how this differed from the standard care package. By applying the QMNC framework we have established a foundation for future reports of intervention studies so that the characteristics of individual models can be evaluated, and the impact of any differences appraised.”

The paper has been published in an Open Access journal and is, therefore, easily available across the globe.

 

References:

  1. Symon, A., Pringle, J., Cheyne, H., Downe, S., Hundley, V., Lee, E., Lynn, F., McFadden, A., McNeill, J., Renfrew, M., Ross-Davie, M., van Teijlingen, E., Whitford, H, Alderdice, F. (2016) Midwifery-led antenatal care models: Mapping a systematic review to an evidence-based quality framework to identify key components and characteristics of care BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 168 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2393/16/168
  2. Renfrew MJ, McFadden A, Bastos MH, Campbell J, Channon AA, Cheung NF, Audebert Delage Silva DR, Downe S, Kennedy HP, Malata A, et al. (2014) Midwifery and quality care: findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care. The Lancet, 384(9948): 1129-1145.