Category / Research themes

Bringing FUSION to Nepal

FUSION abroad 2016We have written in many previous BU blogs about progress of our THET-funded project in southern Nepal (e.g. here AND here ). Today’s blog reflects on the use on BU’s unique FUSION approach in our project ‘Mental Health Training for Maternity Care Providers in Nepal‘.

DSC_0151Our BU-led project brings highly experienced health professionals, such as midwives, health visitors or mental health nurses, to Nepal to work as volunteer trainers. The training is aimed at community-based maternity care practitioners and addresses key mental health issues relevant to pregnancy and for new mothers and offers the required communication skills. These health professionals will bring their experience as health care providers as well as trainers in the field of mental health and maternity care/midwifery, mental ill-health prevention and health promotion. They volunteer for two to three weeks at a time to design and deliver training in southern Nepal.

logo THETThe Centre for Midwifery & Maternal Health (CMMPH) collaborates in this project with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), the Department of Health, and Physical & Population Education at Nepal’s oldest university Tribhuvan University’s (TU). The project is supported in the field by a local charity called Green Tara Nepal. Our project is part of the Health Partnership such as Nepal. HPS itself is funded by the UK Department for International Development and managed by THET (Tropical and Health Education Trust).

Fusion Diagram Our maternal mental health project is a good example of BU’s FUSION approach as it combines EDUCATION (through the training of Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives in Nepal) by UK volunteers (representing PRACTICE) through an intervention which is properly evaluated (representing RESEARCH) is a perfect example of BU’s FUSION in action. Moreover, the project will be partly evaluated by FHSS’s Preeti Mahato as part of her PhD thesis research. This PhD project is supervised by Dr. Catherine Angell (CEL & CMMPH), BU Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada (based at LJMU) and CMMPH’s Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.BU’s focus on the FUSION of research, education and professional practice is a unique variant of the way UK universities (and many abroad) blend academic teaching, research and scholarship. FUSION is a key concept derived from BU’s strategic Vision & Values).


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen


Living with a long-term condition: new paper

A new open access paper by Jennifer Roddis (RKEO, HSS), Immy Holloway (HSS) and Carol Bond (HSS), in collaboration with Kate Galvin from the University of Brighton, has been published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. The paper – Living with a long-term condition: Understanding well-being for individuals with thrombophilia or asthma – discusses the findings of Jenny’s PhD study.

Much of the research undertaken indicates that those affected by long-term conditions experience this as being problematic. However, qualitative research may offer alternative insights, suggesting that these individuals are able to achieve well-being. This research identified a theory about how those with a long-term condition can adapt to it and learn to get on with their life. The paper makes recommendations as to how both individuals affected by such conditions, and healthcare professionals working with them, may use the findings.



Roddis, J.K., Holloway, I., Bond, C. and Galvin, K.T., 2016. Living with a long-term condition: Understanding well-being for individuals with thrombophilia or asthma. Int J Qualitative Stud Health Well-being, 11: 31530 –

Business practitioners’ perspectives on the value of mobile technology: New Paper published by Dr Elvira Bolat

Dr. Elvira Bolat in the Faculty of Management published her latest paper today in the Journal of Customer Behaviour. This paper focuses on one of the issues Dr. Bolat has explored in her PhD thesis – values deriving from mobile technology use. No existing research maps and discusses holistically the values deriving from mobile technology use, capturing both strategic and operational opportunities, which are most likely to emerge in the business-to-business (B2B) context. This empirical paper addresses this gap. An adapted grounded theory approach is applied to collect and analyse in-depth interviews with 28 B2B practitioners from advertising and marketing firms. Whether mobile technology is a simple means to advanced communication with no physical boundaries of time and location, or a business tool to boost creative thinking, this study concludes that mobile technology represents a novel and unique category of technology because of its core distinctive feature, ‘being mobile’. B2B practitioners argue that the true nature of mobile technology lies in seeing it as a source of value that derives from using mobile technology. B2B practitioners view mobile technology not only as a purely technical tool (functional value) enabling effective communication (social value) but as a strategic tool driving balanced and flexible ways in managing business (emotional value) and enabling creative thinking (creative value).

Full reference to the article: Bolat, E., 2016. Business practitioners’ perspectives on the value of mobile technology. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 15 (1), 31-48.

Read full paper at

New Paper by Dr Elvira Bolat and BA (Hons) Business Studies Graduate Jack Strong

Dr. Elvira Bolat and her research supervisee, Jack Strong (BA Business Studies 2015 graduate), in the Faculty of Management published her latest paper today in the Journal of Customer Behaviour. The paper is more focused version of Jack’s final year research project which focused on Panasonic where Jack had done his placement during the third year of the studies. This paper explores customers’ perspectives on branding and the role of digital technologies in Business-to-Business context. Branding is a well-researched notion in the business-to-customer (B2C) environment but a concept which is unexplored in the business-to-business (B2B) context. Conceptually, similar to B2C organisations, digital communication via digital tools and devices allows B2B organisations to experience the benefits of exposing their brands to a wider audience. In reality, questions of whether branding is purposeful in the B2B context and what role digital technologies play in B2B branding remain open. This study explores branding in the B2B context, using Panasonic as a case study, to consider the value of B2B branding from the B2B customer (buyer) perspective. Results indicate that B2B branding is of importance in the B2B context, in particular for an organisation such as Panasonic where reputation is a driving force in attracting new B2B customers and nurturing long-term relationships with existing B2B customers. Moreover, this study concludes that whilst use of digital technologies enables the portrayal of brand perceptions of Panasonic, digital technologies have yet to be fully embraced for the purpose of branding in the B2B context.

Full reference to the article: Strong, J. and Bolat, E., 2016. A qualitative inquiry into customers’ perspectives on branding and the role of digital technologies in B2B: A case study of Panasonic. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 15 (1), 97-116.

Read full paper at

Public Health in Nepal: Vitamine A

Vit AThis week we published an editorial in the Journal of Biomedical Sciences on the question: “Is early diagnose for Vitamin A deficiency better than the current supplementation programme of Nepal?”
The editorial concludes that prevention is still better than cure, but instead of a mass Vitamin A supplementation in Nepal, we need a health promotion intervention aiming to increase the intake of relatively cheap vegetables and fruit (containing β carotene). In addition we need better surveillance and help to identify children with Vitamin A Deficiency and provide them with Vitamin A supplements. The primary focus should be on adopting sustainable food based approaches to combat vitamin A deficiency. In Public Health terms: rather than a blanket coverage of Vitamin A supplementation to whole population we should consider a targeted intervention aimed at those who need it most.

Simkhada P, Sathian B, Adhikari S, van Teijlingen E, Roy B. (2015) Is early diagnose for Vitamin A deficiency better than the current supplementation programme of Nepal?. J Biomed Sci. 2(4):28-30.

An annual event to celebrate women in STEM


The WISE Awards is an annual event, a special opportunity to recognise inspiring organisations and individuals actively addressing the core concerns of WISE: promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics to girls and women.

For the past few years we have been delighted that the WISE Awards were presented by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.

The daytime conference includes presentations, panel discussions and workshops is the perfect event to compliment the WISE Awards ceremony held the same evening.

Click here for more information.

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


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.


[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.