Category / BU research

Research Councils new grants service Regional Workshop

RCUKRCUK are undertaking a project to upgrade their electronic grants submission service.  Do you want to go and hear more about the grants service in person? They are running regional workshops around the UK and will be holding a workshop in London on 26th September 2016.  Alice Brown from the RKEO will be attending but it would also be useful for academics to attend.

The aim of this event is to come and talk to the research community about the Research Councils programme to replace their existing grants service and to, where possible, simplify and standardise grants policy and process. This event will be an opportunity to hear about what progress they have made and to ask them questions. In the afternoon they would also like to carry out user testing with a smaller group. They would like to invite a mixed audience to attend including academics, university research administrators and managers, system and data staff etc.

When – Monday, 26 September 2016 from 09:00 to 17:00 (BST)

Where – Imperial College London – Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ

To register, click here:

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 –

Making the most of the Library during the summer

Whether you want to catch up on some reading without being disturbed or find somewhere to work collaboratively with research colleagues or your Faculty’s library team, the Library has lots to offer at this quiet time of the year. See our news item on the Staff Intranet for details about library services and facilities available to staff and researchers throughout the summer vacation.

Building Research Collaborations with Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, and Tsinghua University

Owing to a BU Fusion Investment Fund, I was able to create and consolidate research collaborations with researchers in a number of top research institutions in China over the past two years. The main objectives of the project were to extend my existing collaboration with the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and to create new research ties with Peking University and Tsinghua University. These objectives were materialised through several planned visits to the institutions during the summer periods between July 2014 and July 2016. I am grateful to my co-investigators, Drs. Angela Golsing, and Xun He, for assisting the implementation of the plans. Together, we were able to accomplish more than our original plans by creating additional ties with Renmin University and Shanghai Maritime University. In total, we have created refereed journal articles, conference presentations, and grants during the two-year grant period. Our continuous on-going activities and future plans promise sustainability and long-term impact of the project. The following are some highlights of the project.


Collaboration with Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

The purpose of my annual visits to CAS was to consolidate and extend an existing collaboration established in 2006. CAS is the largest and highly influential research institute in China. It has a strong focus on research and recruited only postgraduates until quite recently. I began collaboration with a then early career researcher, Dr. Wenfeng Chen, about 10 years ago. He worked with me in Hull as a postdoctoral research fellow supported by the Royal Society, and later by CAS in 2008. He has since been promoted to an associate professor in a few years time. Together we secured several grants for my returning visits to CAS. We have collaborated on many papers over the past years and have recently edited a special issue for Frontiers in Psychology during the period of the FIF project. Many of our papers involved postgraduate students in his lab. Some students have now become lecturers at various institutions. I extended my network with some of them. For example, I became a co-investigator in a grant with a former PhD student, Dr. Junchen Shang, who is now at Changchun University. Through requests for my involvements in their new projects, my collaboration through CAS has grown substantially.


Collaboration with Tsinghua University and Peking University

These are widely recognised as the top two universities in China. Like CAS, both universities regularly receive a large number of requests for collaboration from different parts of world. It is therefore highly competitive to build a new research tie with them. I was lucky to have known Prof. Jie Sui at Tsinghua when she was still a PhD student. After completing her PhD degree at Peking University, she worked as my postdoctoral fellow for three years, supported by Marie-Curie and Royal Society fellowships. A few years later, she became highly successful and was appointed at Tsinghua University as a professor specialised in social neuroscience. This has made the new collaboration between BU and Tsinghua possible. Because of the world-class research and outstanding research facilities for fMRI and EEG at Tsinghua, there are clear benefits for the BU team to develop a close collaborative relationship with their research group. Through the FIF support, we have developed co-supervision for her postgraduate students.


To establish a research tie with Peking University, Xun and I visited Prof Shihui Han, an internationally renowned leader in social neuroscience. During Prof. Han’s research fellowship to Oxford University this year, we invited him to BU to present a seminar. Prof Han has proposed the idea for conducting social neuroscience experiments during the summer months at his lab.


Collaboration with Renmin University and Shanghai Maritime University

Apart from the proposed collaborations, I also explored similar networking opportunities with other universities in China. As a result, I have started co-supervising postgraduate students with Prof Ping Hu at Renmin University. Some of her students attempted to pursue a PhD at BU. I have also created tie with Shanghai Maritime University and have since become a co-investigator on Dr Miao Song’s recent grant.


I am pleased to see that quite a few other members of staff in Psychology are now successful in establishing their research collaboration with China. I hope these successes will create a lasting impact on BU’s development, internationalisation, and fusion.

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

The Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) Development Framework: Academic Publishing

dev_frameworkThe Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) Development Framework,  ‘Academic Publishing‘ pathway targets academics, experienced or new to academic publishing. Workshop titles include ‘Open Access, BRIAN and the Impact Module’, ‘Writing a good abstract’, ‘Dealing with editors’, ‘Writing an academic paper’, ‘Targeting high quality journals’, ‘Writing Academy’ and ‘How to update your Staff Profile Pages using BRIAN’.

We’ll be populating the the OD website with more information and the booking link over the coming weeks. We’ll also be providing a timetable of all events as soon as possible. In the meantime, updates will be posted on the BU Research Blog and the Faculty blogs.

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.

NERC standard grants (Jan.17 deadline) – internal competition launched


NERC introduced demand management measures in 2012. These were revised in 2015 to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme. Full details can be found in the BU policy document for NERC demand management measures at: Policy for NERC Demand Management Measures.docx.

As at March 2015, BU has been capped at one application per standard grant round. The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators). An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the Principal Investigator of the lead or component grant.

BU process

As a result, BU has introduced a process for determining which application will be submitted to each NERC Standard Grant round. This will take the form of an internal competition, which will include peer review. The next available standard grant round is January 2017. The process for selecting an application for this round can be found in the process document here – the deadline for internal Expressions of Interest (EoI) which will be used to determine which application will be submitted is 22nd September 2016.  The EoI form can be found here: I:\R&KEO\Public\NERC demand management 2016.

NERC have advised that where a research organisation submits more applications to any round than allowed under the cap, NERC will office-reject any excess applications, based purely on the time of submission through the Je-S system (last submitted = first rejected). However, as RKEO submit applications through Je-S on behalf of applicants, RKEO will not submit any applications that do not have prior agreement from the internal competition.

Appeals process

If an EoI is not selected to be submitted as an application, the Principal Investigator can appeal to Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Any appeals must be submitted within ten working days of the original decision. All appeals will be considered within ten working days of receipt.

RKEO Contacts

Please contact Jennifer Roddis, RKEO Research Facilitator – or Jo Garrad, RKEO Funding Development Manager – if you wish to submit an expression of interest.

Research in the news: how can research help improve access to higher education?

Bournemouth university is undertaking a large collaborative research study,  exploring issues of access to higher education, led by Dr Vanessa Heaslip and Dr Clive Hunt.

An article has been published in the Times Higher Education drawing on research published by academics from the project and the University of Liverpool in the influential Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning.

Below, lead author, Dr Alex Wardrop, takes some time to reflect on the research:

We wanted to find out how universities and colleges use research as part of their plans to widen participation and open up higher education to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

One of the central findings emerging from our analysis is that while national policy is leading to more institutions mentioning research as part of their Access Agreements, it tends to be in the context of justifying spending rather than leading to significant behaviour change.

The most recent strategic guidance from the Office for Fair Access emphasised the importance of building a community of practice across institutions, with practitioners and academics working and learning together to understand effective practice and the impact of interventions.

By engaging with research, reflecting on how we all work, learning from each other and listening to the experiences of students, we believe that the HE sector can do so much more for those who remain marginalised in our education system and society.

Our analysis in the article presents a broad look at how research is being engaged with as part of institutional policies. We argue that for widening participation to work for social justice, it must be embedded across institutions. Dr Maggie Hutchings and I are now researching this in much more detail. We are exploring how the ideas, rhetoric and policies of widening participation are being learnt  differently in different organisations.

To contribute to this research and share your learning, please complete our survey for the sector to help understand this more. We are really privileged to be going up to Liverpool over the coming weeks to do some fieldwork with colleagues from a whole host of different organisations.

For more information about the Fair Access Research project please email the Principal Investigators Dr Vanessa Heaslip ( and Dr Clive Hunt (

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” 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.


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.

A great opportunity from the collaboration of Bournemouth University and Nuffield Foundation



The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) has been hosting four Nuffield Foundation-funded college students this summer as part of Nuffield’s Research Placement programme. Two of the students (Jamie Singleton and Freddie Corrie-Deane) are working under the guidance of FHSS PhD student Francesco Ferraro, who is supervised by Professors Alison McConnell, Tom Wainwright and Dr James Gavin.

Jamie and Freddie joined us on the 25th of July and they are already familiar with many research aspects, such as: writing a review, dealing with ethical issues, using complex devices and tackling statistical issues.

Francesco has found the experience of working with the students rewarding from many perspectives: “I do trust their questioning and their will to learn and understand more, as it will help the project adding new questions. Conducting research is not simply a duty to search for results; producing research involves the ability to share it, by allowing others to join, bringing their own curiosity and surprise”.

A quote from Richard Feynman sums up the project so far “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

Here are a few thoughts from those involved in Freddie and Jamie’s Nuffield placements:

“Joining a research study, I knew I was in for a hefty chunk of reading, and with a pessimistic outlook I thought it would all be dry and bland, and that it would be the source of countless days of boredom. Thankfully I was wrong, and while I did have to spend an obligatory day or two reading background information, studies and manuals; the rest of this placement has been involved with the workings of brand-new machinery in the Orthopaedic Research Institute and going out into the local community to talk with people, both of which have been challenging and engaging in all of the right ways to make this experience an enjoyable one.

Our engagement in the community started very early into the placement, on the second day in fact, when we tagged along with Francesco (Our PhD Student overseer/mentor) to an area of sheltered housing to help him give a talk on his study, it was some really good hands on experience (it didn’t hurt that we were offered a biscuit or two). Following this line of talking to people, Jamie and I have spent the last couple of days walking around the gardens by the seaside talking to people and filling out surveys.

We have also spent a day or two engrossed in the outstanding labs in the Orthopaedic Research Institute, equipped with an amazing range of equipment from a pair of surgery VR simulators that bring in experts and surgeons from all over Europe, to the intricate and ever useful Primus Machine which has more potential and customisable positions than there are hours in the day and so understandably has just as many uses.”

  • Freddie


“During the past two weeks at Bournemouth University, we have had lots of hands on experience and witnessed the fun sides of research and also, the not-quite side. The latter, quite funnily enough, involved vast amounts of background reading and studying of protocols. The more enjoyable hands on experience however, consisted of being introduced to and working in the Orthopaedic Research Institute Labs testing out protocols.  Much to our disappointment… we had to use numerous fun and expensive pieces of equipment, it was at this point we knew this was the right place to be.

Amongst playing around with expensive machinery such as the PrimusRS and the Virtual Reality machines, we got to do some real work. This work was tough yet enriching and consisted of explaining what the research was about and why it is essential to a sheltered community, and of course when asked, accepting the offer for tea and biscuits. Visiting the shelter did give me an insight into the recruitment process for research projects, and I was quite surprised of how laid back it was.

Next, this time for real we did have work to do such as reading protocols, resources, and informative documents needed to produce our review which was not the most exciting experience however, it was made up for by the interesting walks we went on, through the Lower Gardens, in order to gather vital information that we needed for our project analysis of the PASE questionnaire.”

  •  Jamie


“I was really excited to visit our Nuffield students who are working with Francesco Ferraro at Bournemouth University. I was particularly keen to see how they have been integrated into the team working on a real life application. I was surprised by the highly technical, world class, equipment available to the team. I was also surprised to see how health care is being ‘gamefied’ with the balance app and the ‘Grail’. Thank you for having us.”

  • Rachel Delourme (STEM Advisor & Sustainability Co-ordinator at Cornwall Council) and Shayan Bahadori (from Nuffield Foundation).


“Freddie and Jamie have been a huge asset to Francesco’s work over the past couple of weeks. They have worked together as a team to solve problems and test solutions, and I can see how all three of them have benefitted from the experience. I’d recommend hosting Nuffield placement students to anyone; they’ve been a pleasure to have around and they’ve both made valuable contributions to our work.”

  • Alison McConnell


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.