Category / BU research

Student Engagement Toolkit

If you’re looking to engage more students with your research, then the Student Engagement Toolkit is the easiest way to demonstrate how to do this. This presents the different methods available to you to communicate your research across the student community, including how to take part in the assortment of events taking place across BU, such as 14: Live. As well as this, it provides information on how to engage students in a online context by pushing through news and press releases through our various external and internal comms. Have a go at encouraging students to take part in our Undergraduate orientated events taking place, such as SURE or BCUR which BU is hosting in April 2017.  Why is student engagement with research so important? Well, it’s a great opportunity to broaden your research audience and even inspire undergraduate students to partake in their own research route.  Many academics have successfully taken part in student engagement activities, including Dr Sean Beer, Dr Anna Feigenbaum and Dr James Gavin, in the past. Take a look at their thoughts surrounding events/activities they’ve taken part in.

Take a closer look at the Student Engagement Toolkit here.

Want to get involved or have some ideas of your own? Send in your idea for a 14: Live session or any other ideas you may have to the Student Engagement Coordinator

Bournemouth University researchers shortlisted for AHRC’s Research in Film Awards

Two of Bournemouth University’s researchers – Dr Sue Sudbury and Dr Roman Gerodimos – have been shortlisted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Research in Film Awards. The awards are designed to reward and recognise the best of the year’s high quality short films linked to arts and humanities research.

The films selected for the shortlist cover a wide range of topics, from landscape and environmental change to capital punishment, people trafficking and poverty. Some have been developed as a means of disseminating results, while others are forms of practice-based research or records of research undertaken.

Village Tales

Dr Sue Sudbury, a Senior Lecturer in Television and Film Production, has been shortlisted for the Innovation Award for her film Village Tales. Her work tells the story of a group of women in rural India, who have been trained as video reporters as a means of giving women a voice.

Dr Sudbury explains, “Participatory visual research methods are increasingly being used as a way of generating new forms of knowledge and challenging the power differential between the researcher and ‘the researched’. I worked with a group of women in rural India who were being trained by the Indian government as video reporters, giving a voice to women.”

“In ‘Village Tales’, I used observational documentary techniques to film the women as they made their own film and to discover how this Indian government project was changing their lives. However, I also asked four of them if they would use their cameras to film their everyday lives and developed the use of video diary interviews to access the women’s thoughts and feelings.”

“My intention was to locate the ‘third voice’, which is found in participatory research by combining the ethnographer’s view and the subject’s contributions. Through this layering of footage from our different cameras, the audience is given a unique insight into the lives of women in rural India today.”

At the Edge of the Present

Dr Roman Gerodimos, a Principal Academic in Global Current Affairs, has been shortlisted for the Utopia Award: Imagining Our Futures, for his film At the Edge of the Present. The film seeks to understand how we engage with the urban landscape and with each other in public space, and how we can facilitate coexistence in increasingly diverse and dynamic urban communities.

“At the Edge of the Present looks at how we experience the city. It has three acts – Tribes, Lights, and Time – breaking down the concept of a city, looking at its core elements, and what you get is its building blocks. It’s the passage of time, a diversity of people coming together, the creation of identity and community, with boundaries of exclusion and inclusion”, says Dr Gerodimos. The film combines interviews with architects and public space experts, personal reflections and visual material from over 20 cities in Europe and the United States. It is narrated by actor Sam Booth.

“The film is not conventional – we didn’t start with a script and then look for locations; it was completely the other way around! I started with the visuals, ideas and concepts and then built the script around that. You could almost compare the process to sculpting – you realise what it is you want to do and then you dig down through the material until you reach a point where you finally feel you’ve materialised your vision.”

Alternative paths to access finance for small and medium scale enterprises in the UK

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) form a crucial part of United Kingdom’s (UK) economy. However, limited/or lack of access to finance continue to hinder the growth of SMEs in the country. This situation has been the compelling factor behind Bournemouth University’s seminars series on “Access to Finance for SMEs”, of which the last was held at Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, London on 13 September, 2016. This final part of the seminar series was aimed at identifying alternative sources of finance for SMEs in the UK.


Professor Stella Fearnley (first from left) with the keynote speaker Sir John Bourn (middle) and the Principal Investigator professor Jens Hӧlscher (first from right)

Experts at the seminar identified the following as the reasons why there is limited/or lack of access to finance for SMEs in the UK:

  • Lenders face difficulties in accurately assessing the viability of SMEs with limited track records because of information asymmetries between borrowers and lenders. This makes it difficult for lenders to secure the appropriate information they require to make an informed decisions on SME loan applications,
  • New SMEs often end up defaulting in debt repayment,
  • There is regional bias when it comes to SME access to finance in the country. For instance, London and the South-East often obtain disproportionately more funding than SMEs in other parts of the UK.

Are there alternative sources of funding for SMEs?

Consensus was broad-based among participants that alternative sources of finance for SMEs is growing in the UK —it grew by 75% to £1.26bn in 2015—despite the fact that only 3% of SMEs are aware of these other sources. Some of the alternative funding sources that were suggested include:

  • Equity finance

This is a method of raising capital through the sale of shares in an enterprise. A presenter at the seminar showed that equity funding has improved significantly in the UK, with seed stage flows growing 48% p.a. since 2012. Other participants also observed that SMEs are often skeptical of equity finance for fear of loss of control. But the fact remains that most of them use equity finance without even realising it. For instance, SMEs often rely on angels and venture capital to raise funds for their businesses.

  • Angels and venture capital

This form of equity finance may be undertaken directly by individuals or industrial companies; and indirectly through financial institutions or government agencies. Venture capitalists on the other hand usually invest in SMEs with high return prospects. Though SMEs’ awareness about venture capital in the UK continue to increase, only 22% of them know of a specific fund to approach.

  • Business Angels

They are private individuals who invest in new SMEs with good growth prospects, in exchange for a share of the company’s equity. Business angels often invest in business start-ups and also provide assistance in the form of consultancy (sometimes free) to the SMEs.

  • Family and friends

This source of finance has long been an important route for start-ups. However, there is always the need to maintain professionalism and a formal environment for business growth which may stand against the business owner’s informal relationship with the financiers. The big mistake many companies make is that they fail to formalise the funding arrangement with friends and family.

  • Crowdfunding

This is a method of raising finance by asking a large number of people to individually contribute a small amount of money to fund a project or venture, typically via the Internet. Though it is becoming the new ‘buzz’ going around in the investment game, existing SMEs, individuals, and startups are increasingly looking to raise funds through this method. One of the participants indicated that it is cheaper, faster and easier to access finance through this source. Another participant at the seminar showed that crowdfunding in 2015 amounted to 2.5 billion pounds in the UK.

Road map to SME access to finance

On the various alternative sources of SME funding identified, seminar participants were of the view that there is the need to critically examine each of them since it will unpack their appropriateness to different economies.

Apart from individual publications, there were also proposal for pathways to impact which will include one or two edited books and potentially a Special Issue of the International Small Business Journal, the leading UK and European Entrepreneurship journal, as deliverables.

BU’s PhD Isabell Nessel at the Human Milk Bank in Southampton, Princess Anne Hospital

human-milk-bank-southamptonMost of you have probably heard/read about human milk banking by now from me or my previous posts, if not read here more about it. This week, I had the opportunity to meet Anita Holloway-Moger, the Human Milk Bank Nursery Nurse at the Princess Anne Hospital Human Milk Bank in Southampton.

It was a great opportunity to finally visit and see a milk bank and speak to the person responsible to gain more practical insight into human milk banking in the UK, instead of only reading about it for my research.

Human donor milk comes from mothers who have had several blood tests and is collected from the mothers’ homes by the milk bank staff and/or the blood bikes. The frozen milk then gets processed in the milk bank, which means it is tested for microbiological contamination and pasteurised (heat treated) to make it save for the premature or sick babies to receive. This has been shown to increase their chance of survival and help their development.
Thank you Anita for taking all the time to answer my questions and for showing me around, as well as Bournemouth University for the funding which made my trip possible!


UKAMBIf you would like to find out more about human milk banking in the UK or want to become a human milk donor visit the UK Association for Milk Banking website at


If you would like to learn more about our research, please feel free to contact me at


World Alzheimer’s Day: how BU research is making a difference to those with dementia

World Alzheimer’s Day falls on 21 September each year and gives us an opportunity to focus on work going on across the world to understand and fight the disease.  Over 850,000 people in the UK have some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, so research in this area is of importance to many of us.

Designing dementia friendly environments

Dr Jan Wiener, co-head of the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI), is an Associate Professor in Psychology with a particular interest in navigation and wayfinding.

“Spatial awareness difficulties can be an early sign of dementia, which often manifests itself in people finding it hard to navigate around unfamiliar environments.  This is a problem for people with dementia as many will move into a care home as the disease progresses, which can cause a lot of anxiety,” explains Dr Wiener.

“We want to develop a better understanding of what causes those difficulties with spatial awareness, starting with finding out how people navigate around different environments – what markers they use to help them – and what impedes them.”

“We have funding from the Economic & Social Research Council, which is enabling us to explore this area more fully.  We’re using virtual environments and eye tracker technology to create familiar and unfamiliar buildings, which participants are then asked to navigate around.”

“The eye tracking technology enables us to see exactly where people are looking and which waypoints they’re likely to be using to help them get around.  It helps us to develop a better understanding of whether people simply didn’t see a waypoint, such as a painting or a sign, or whether they saw it and didn’t know or remember what it meant.”

“Our research has very real implications for the design of care homes and other public places.  Often the design and decoration of a care home is based on intuition and what staff feel works, although they may not know why.  Our research is unique in that it’s providing an evidence base for building guidelines, based on what our tests show helps and hinders people to navigate different environments.”

Supporting nursing and care home staff to improve nutrition for people with dementia

Dr Jane Murphy, co-head of BUDI, is an Associate Professor in Nutrition who is currently leading a Burdett Trust funded project developing training tools for care staff to help improve nutrition in people with dementia.

“We know that as dementia progresses, it’s not uncommon for people to lose weight, which can lead to further physical and mental decline.  This can be for all sorts of reasons – people may face physical difficulties with swallowing, might not be able to sense hunger or thirst or may not remember when they last ate or drank.  For busy care home staff, managing this and knowing how best to support people they care for can be a real challenge, especially as everyone has different needs,” says Dr Murphy.

“We worked with local care homes in Dorset to find out how much people were eating and drinking and whether this was enough to meet the amount of energy they were using each day.  Our results showed that around half of our participants weren’t eating or drinking enough to meet their daily energy needs.  We also found that many people were spending a high proportion of their day sitting or sleeping, which may explain why some had small appetites.”

“This showed it can be really difficult to get nutrition right, especially when needs vary enormously between different people.  Our next stage was to work with local care homes to draw out examples of best practice and strategies to help people with dementia to eat and drink well.  Based on this, we’ve developed a training book and YouTube film, packed full of tips about nutrition and ideas for care home staff to try out.  We chose to make them resources that can be used at any time, in recognition of how hard it can be to take time out to go on a training course.”

“We’ve been sharing these resources widely throughout the care sector and are now seeing the tools being used in care homes, as well as being incorporated into university training programmes.  Most encouragingly, we’re beginning to hear stories of people with dementia who were at risk of or actually losing weight, beginning to reverse that trend, which shows us that the strategies we highlighted in our resources are making a real difference.”

How can ‘serious gaming’ help those with Alzheimer’s?

Ben Hicks, Lecturer in Health Psychology, has recently completed his PhD research which explored the use of technology clubs for older men with dementia in rural areas.  Over the next couple of years he will be building on this work by carrying out research into the impact of ‘serious gaming’ on people with Alzheimer’s.

“My PhD focused on older men with dementia, living in rural areas of Dorset who are at risk of becoming very isolated,” explains Ben, “I introduced technology clubs, where they had a chance to try out Xbox games and the Wii Fit among others.  It created a really social atmosphere and gave them a chance to learn new skills, dispelling the myth that people with dementia can’t learn anything new.”

“They proved very popular and thanks to funding from Dorset Partnership for Older People Project (POPP), the clubs have been able to carry on, even though my research has now finished.  It’s great to have started something that’s going on to make a difference to people’s lives.”

“My new study will focus on the idea that ‘serious gaming’ can help people with dementia to improve their cognitive abilities. Whilst emerging research in this field demonstrates the potential of ‘Serious Games’ to support people living with dementia, more rigorous studies are required.”

“I’m going to be working with Alzheimer’s Valencia, a game development company and other organisations in Europe to explore which aspects of the games appeal and improve cognitive abilities.  In the long run, we hope to develop guidance for other technology companies to help them to create similar games.”

For more information about BU’s dementia research, visit BUDI’s website.

Reading Communities: Past and Present – AHRC conference, Senate House, London

Simon Frost and I recently took part in this event organised by an AHRC project based at The Open University which follows on from previous research leading to the establishment of The Reading Experience Database (RED). The event brought together book historians, literary scholars and researchers working on the borders between literature and media and cultural studies to explore a variety of examples of reading communities from Quaker reading groups and records of readers in the borrowing records of national libraries, to online book clubs and LARPs (Live Action Role Playing events). img_0020


This was a good opportunity for us to promote the work of the BU based Digital Reading Network, and CsJCC, based in the Faculty of Media and Communication. Simon’s paper reported on the findings of his BU Fusion funded project looking at contemporary book retailing, which was conducted in collaboration with the university bookseller John Smith’s.  Simon’s paper provided a fascinating comparison of the retail landscape using past and present photographs of the same Southampton street where Gilbert’s bookshop is based.  He boldly proposed replacing the term literary work with ‘Net Work’ to capture the idea of the work as an event which consists of people, places and bibliographic objects. The proposal plays into wider global HE strategies to study English for its social impact.





My paper provided a comparison of two online reading communities.  The first, a Jane Austen community called The Republic of Pemberley, brings together devotees of the writer who engage in scheduled Group Reads of her work, using the website to report back and share their reading with other community members.  I also discussed how readers use social media platforms such as Twitter to share their reading, for example using the hashtag #mytolstory as they embarked on reading Tolstoy’s epic novel inspired by the recent BBC adaptation.  My paper drew on an article Julia Round and I recently published in the journal Language and Literature on online moderators, which was one of the outputs from our AHRC funded projects, Researching Readers Online and the Digital Reading Network.


The day provided an excellent opportunity for us to expand our networks, and establish new contacts. In particular, we were very excited to connect with researchers from the University of Malmo in Sweden whose research and philosophy for teaching English in a media context is closely aligned to our work here at BU.

Research project showing the transmission of infectious diseases through animation shortlisted for Lumen Prize

Researchers from Bournemouth University and the University of Glasgow have been shortlisted for the Lumen Prize for their project AfterGlow, which shows the transmission of an infectious disease through 3D animation.

Their work forms part of Silent Signal, a collaborative project produced by Animate Projects and funded by the Wellcome Trust, bringing together animation artists and biomedical scientists to create experimental animated artworks.  The resulting artworks are designed to make us think again about science and the human body.

BU animation research lecturers, Paul Smith and Vicky Isley, have been working with Dr Paddy Brock, a Research Associate at the University of Glasgow to explore the transmission of malaria.  Their completed real-time animation shows the spread of the disease through the dancing patterns of mosquitoes at twilight – their prime feeding time.

The animation shows the island terrain lit up by glowing trails of light, mimicking mosquito flight patterns.  These spirals represent blood droplets carried by the mosquitoes, infected with Plasmodium knowlesi, a malaria parasite recently found to jump the species barrier from monkey to human.  The infection left in the wake of Macaque monkeys as they roam the island for food, demonstrates the intricate relationship between disease transmission and its environment.

Together Paul and Vicky form boredomresearch, an artistic collaboration which is renowned for creating artworks that explore extended time frames.

As Vicky explains, “boredeomresearch’s art practice is really inspired by natural and biological processes.  We like to use computer animation to explore the diversity present in nature, exploring behaviours, movements and patterns and why they occur.”

“We were really interested in the unknowns around Dr Brock’s research into mosquitoes and macaques in Malaysia – how little was known about how the macaques move around the island and the mosquitoes populations.  It was these that really fascinated us, because we wanted to explore how you could begin to map and visualise these.”

“We wanted to look at infection transmission and what shape it might take in a landscape,” continues Paul, “That was really interesting to us, because it was something we could explain visually.”

For Dr Brock, boredomresearch’s creative approach to his research was a unique experience, and helped to highlight to him the creative aspects of science.  For example if there’s an unknown in a project, scientists need to hypothesize and test out theories that might fit their data – being creative with science even if it isn’t discussed in those terms.

The resulting project AfterGlow combines Dr Brock’s scientific data and boredomresearch’s visual interpretation of disease transmission.  For both artists and scientists, the project has offered an insight into the benefits of each other’s discipline.

The animation can be viewed here and details of the Lumen nomination can be found here.

New paper Dr. Catherine Angell on CPD in Nepal

nnaCongratulations to Dr. Catherine Angell (FHSS) who just had her paper ‘Continual Professional Development (CPD): an opportunity to improve the Quality of Nursing Care in Nepal’ accepted in Health Prospect.   The paper is co-authored with BU Visiting Faculty Dr. Bibha Simkhada and Prof. Padam Simkhada  both based at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Dr. Rose Khatri  and Dr. Sean Mackacel-logo-weby (also at LJMU), Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery and Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH), and our colleagues in Dr. Sujan Marahatta and Associate Professor Chandra Kala Sharma. Ms. Chandra Kala Sharma is also the president of the Nepal Nursing Association (left in photo).  Health Prospect is an Open Access journal, hence freely available to anybody in Nepal (and elsewhere in the world).

dsc_0124This paper is first of several based on a study aiming to improve CPD in Nepal and it is partly funded by LJMU and partly funded by BU’s Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL).  The CEL-funded part of the project centres on focus group research with representatives of the Ministry of Health & Population, the Ministry of Education, the Nepal Nursing Association and the Nursing Council, and Higher Education providers of Nurse Education (both form Government-run universities and private colleges). The focus group schedule will include starter questions to initiate discussions around the kind of CPD nurses in Nepal need, its format, preferred models, the required quality and quantity, and ways of  checking up (quality control). In addition we will be asking a subgroup of nurses registered in Nepal about midwifery skills as midwifery is not recognised as a separate profession from nursing in Nepal. Hence there will be three focus groups specifically about midwifery CPD: one at MIDSON (the Midwifery Organisation of Nepal), one with nurses providing maternity care in private hospitals and one with nurses doing this in government hospitals.

The research is a natural FUSION project in the field of nursing & midwifery as it links Research in the field of Education to help improve Practice in Nepal.


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen




  1. (CPD): an opportunity to improve the Quality of Nursing Care in Nepal, Health Prospect (Accepted) 



BU at ATLAS annual conference

BU had a strong presence at the ATLAS (Association for Tourism apic1nd Leisure Education and Research) annual conference which took place in the historic town of Canterbury, between 13-16 September, on “Tourism, Lifestyles and Locations”.

BU has been a member of the ATLAS network for many years and Dr Lenia Marques was one of the founders of the Special Interest Group on Events back in 2010. The group is very active and has several ongoing projects and collaborations amongst its members.

Several BU academics presented and discussed their research in Canterbury. Dr Hanaa Osman and Dr Lorraine Brown presented a piece of research which touches upon the status of women in tourism and which provoked debate on intercultural issues. Dr Anya Chapman presented her work on piers, which are so important for UK coastal destinations, such as Bournemouth. Dr Jaeyeon Choe presented her research on tourism and quality of life in Macao and we should congratulate her on her first attendance as the ATLAS Asia representative on the board.

Dr Lenia Marques presented her research on events and communities and practice among expats in a panel organised together with the Department of Events and Leisure and the Department of Tourism and Hospitality dedicated to “Lifestyle and communities: sharing in the digital era”. The panel, put together by Dr. Lenia Marques, Juliette Hecquet and Prof. Dimitrios Buhalis, aimed at discussing new trends in the fields of leisure and tourism connected to lifestyle and the sharing economy.

Overall, the discussions at the conference were animated and friendly, raising some of the big issues of our time. Collaborations, projects and further developments will surely continue in the run-up to the next ATLAS annual conference to be held in Viana do Castelo, Portugal (12-16 September 2017) under the theme “Destinations past, present and future”.

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RKE Development Framework – launches today!

dev_frameworkThe RKE Development Framework launches today – 20th September 2016


Come along to find out more from 09:00 to 17:00 at:

  • Talbot Campus –  Poole House Atrium
  • Lansdowne Campus – EBC Ground Floor

You will be able to book onto sessions and discuss your future plans! Alternatively, go to the website at to find out more. Please note that this website is only available to BU staff.

Please see previous blog posts about all the Pathways – just search on ‘framework’ or see the related posts.

We look forward to seeing you there and at future RKE Development Framework events.

If you have comments or suggestions, please get in touch via our dedicated email –

NERC standard grants – internal competition closing soon

NERCFurther to the earlier blog post concerning the internal competition for NERC standard grants (January 2017 deadline), please be reminded that the closing date is this Thursday, 21 September. Further details can be found here, but, in outline, the process is as follows:

  • Internal call launched 11 August 2016
  • Internal call deadline 22 September 2016. Academic submits one page expression of interest on research to be carried out, stating aims, objectives, potential impact, and any collaboration – to Dr Jennifer Roddis, RKEO
  • From 22nd September, peer review takes place by DDRPP, BU academics with NERC experience, and external peer reviewers
  • Applicants will be informed of the decision regarding which application is to be taken forward on 3rd October. The successful applicant will then work with Dr Jennifer Roddis to develop, refine and draft their application before peer review in November and submission in January 2017.