Category / international

The Compound Eye of Calliphora Vomitoria (Bluebottle fly)

“Blood feeding activity of flies at crime scenes can be confounding. Experiments were conducted to investigate the blood feeding activity, and blood artefact patterns created by flies following a blood meal. The trials were undertaken in a staged environment where over 500 flies were exposed to 500ml of horse blood in a sealed gazebo for a period of 72 hours. The resulting patterns, a total of 539,507 fly blood artefacts, were then compared to recreated bloodstain patterns commonly encountered during instances of violent assault. These comparisons focused on overall pattern shape, total stain numbers, stain density per cm2 and the zone where they were deposited. Informal observations and recordings were also made of individual stain colour and stain alignment, but were not measured.”

This was the abstract submitted to accompany Christopher’s recent submission to the Research Photography Competition, where he won second prize.

Christopher Dwen  is currently working as a Research Assistant on an innovation funded (HEIF) project called: “Sherlock’s Window”. This  HEIF-funded project at BU  aims to produce an odourless growth medium that can be rolled out internationally for use in forensic investigation. Find out more about the project in the latest edition of the Bournemouth Research Chronicle featured in the section:  “Innovation in industry:how researchers and the wider community are working together.”
Follow HEIF on Instagram to find out more about the innovation projects taking place at BU: https://www.instagram.com/heif_at_bu/

 

 

 

Research Drove Me to Murder

“As reported by National Policing Improving Agency, the most frequently encountered evidence at the scenes of a crime is footwear impressions and marks. Unfortunately, recovery and usage of this kind of evidence has not achieved its full potential. Due to the cost benefit ratio (time consuming casting procedures, expensive scanners) footprints are often neglected evidence. As technology changes, the capabilities of forensic science should continue to evolve. By translating academic research and technical ‘know-how’ into software (www.digtrace.co.uk) the authors have placed 3D imaging of footwear evidence in the hands of every police force in the UK and overseas.”

This was the abstract submitted to accompany Dominika’s recent submission to the Research Photography Competition.

Dominika Budka is currently working on an innovation funded (HEIF) project called: “Dinosaurs to Forensic Science: Digital, Tracks and Traces”. BU alumni, Dominika,  graduated last year  (2016) having completed an MSc Forensic and Neuropsychological Perspectives in Face-Processing.  Find our more about her role on the HEIF project.
Follow HEIF on Instagram to find out more about the innovation projects taking place at BU: https://www.instagram.com/heif_at_bu/

 

 

EURAXESS – new video released

Further to the recent blog post outlining the information available via EURAXESS, there is now a new video providing an introduction to the service available. Other videos are available on the EURAXESS You Tube channel, including case studies, where researchers have benefited from the services offered by EURAXESS.

Find out more about how EURAXESS can help your career development or locate the best researchers for your team!

If you would like to discuss using EURAXESS as a researcher,  in order to promote BU’s research activity, supporting incoming researchers to BU or other related purpose, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International and BU’s EURAXESS Institutional Contact.

EURAXESS is also included as one of the highlighted resources within the Research Toolkit > Research Staff pages on this blog.

 

MSCA IF 2017

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

Support

Timeline

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

The call will open on 11/04/17, when further information will be posted on this blog.

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

Communication

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

If you are considering applying and would like to receive updates, please contact Dianne Goodman, RKEO’s Funding Development Team Co-ordinator, so that we can register your interest and provide useful information, such as  the indicative timetable for actions prior to submission. If you are ready to submit your Intention to Bid, you can do this now, via Dianne. The allocated Funding Development Officer can then contact you.

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

Draft Work Programmes for Horizon 2020

horizon 2020Through our membership of UKRO, we are incrementally being given access to draft programmes for the next two years of the Horizon 2020 funding scheme (2018-2020). UKRO has stressed that these documents are not to be shared outside BU.

To access these documents, as they become available, please register on the UKRO website to receive email updates direct to your inbox. Alternatively, contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International, to obtain the PDFs.

Already in the public domain are the 17 thematic scoping papers for the 2018-2020 period. The adoption and publication of the work programme are expected in October 2017. As such, these documents are draft only and may be subject to change before confirmation by the European Commission.

 

 

Interreg Opportunities

interregFollowing the successful visit by UK Interreg Territorial Facilitators to BU on 21st February 2017, please find out more about the current Interreg call, which is open from 1 March until 30 June 2017.

It is targeted at public authorities and non-profits

  • National, regional or local authorities
  • Other organisations in charge of defining and implementing regional policy instruments
  • Non-profits

Projects must focus on one of these topics

  • Research and innovation
  • SME competitiveness
  • Low-carbon economy
  • Environment and resource efficiency

Support is available on the call website, including instructional videos, partner search, online project self-assessment, project feedback before submission and a demo of the application form.

If BU academics are interested in applying for this call, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International

News from the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog – Gender, EU funding and EU Challenges

European Parliamentary Research Service BlogPlease follow the links below to read about current thinking. An awareness of EU thinking could prove useful in the development of a considered application….

Gender

Marcin Grajewski writes – Equality between women and men is one of the European Union’s founding values. Under the “Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019” policy plan, the EU seeks to increase female labour-market participation, reduce the gender pay gap, promote equality between women and men in decision-making, fight gender-based violence, and promote gender equality across the world. However, despite all efforts, such as adopting legislation on equal treatment, gender inequality remains a serious problem in Europe.

The note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on issues relating to gender inequality in the EU and other related topics.

Challenges For The EU

Written by Marcin Grajewski – The European Union faces challenges, such as in relation to migration and stagnant economic growth, which test its ability to offer solutions to its citizens. Some politicians and analysts have called for a reform of the EU to shore up popular support for European integration 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which led to the creation of what is now the Union.

This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the state of the EU and possible reforms. Earlier papers on the State of the Union can be found in a September edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’. Other issues in the series offer links to reports on euro area reform and the impact of Brexit on the EU. They  were published in September 2016 and in February 2017 respectively.

Guide To EU Funding 2014-2020

Vasilis Margaras writes – Finding the appropriate funding sources for a local authority, a public entity, a company or a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) can be a major problem. Information is scattered across many different sources and is often confusing and outdated. Read more…

The EPRS ‘Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020’ is a basic introduction to EU funding opportunities for regional and local authorities, NGOs, businesses, professionals and citizens. The objective is to provide an accessible list of the most important EU funds, and to provide potential beneficiaries with appropriate information on the opportunities the funding offers.


 

Why not register for updates from the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog so that they are delivered direct to your own inbox!

If you are considering applying for EU funding, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International.

 

HE policy update w/e 24th February 2017

Jo Johnson spoke at a UUK conference today and made a number of important announcements:

  • New government amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill. The detailed amendments have not yet been published but a Department for Education factsheet has been provided. The government amendments have been welcomed so far. See the Latest set of proposed amendments (mostly opposition amendments but some government ones too) – this will clearly grow more before the report stage starts on 6th March 2017. See more below.
  • Importantly, he announced that the subject level TEF would have a two year pilot – starting in 2017/18 but also running through 2018/19. Subject level TEF would then be formally implemented in 2019/20, with ratings that are announced around May 2020 with the Year 5 institutional level ratings. Note that it is currently not intended that subject level TEF will result in subject level fees. There was no mention of TEF for post-graduate, which was originally planned to run in year 4, so assessed during 2018/19.
  • Accelerated degrees – Jo Johnson also wrote in the Times about the government response to the consultation on accelerated degrees and credit switching (that closed last July with 1000s of responses) which will be issued shortly, and relevant changes that will be made to the HE Bill.  Apart from the headline grabbing focus on universities being able to raise fees above £13,000 a year, this consultation response will probably contain interesting stuff on credit transfers between universities.  The headline focus on fees is a little bit misleading, because this is in response to sector feedback that it isn’t possible to provide three years of teaching in two years unless fees are increased for those two years (there were many other comments about the impact on extra- and co-curricular activities, as well as cost).  The higher fees would only apply to accelerated degrees, as The Times story makes clear.
  • He also announced a number of other changes regarding institutional and research autonomy which are very helpful – more detail is given below.

HE and Research Bill – As mentioned above, the amendments continue to accumulate for the Lords report stage of the HE bill with the latest government amendments yet to be published. See the latest round up from Wonkhe here. One joint government and Labour amendment (to replace the opposition amendment passed in the House of Lords) defines institutional autonomy, and a number of others require the OfS to protect that autonomy. The definition that is proposed is set out below:

  • There is a new transparency duty – one that did seem to be an omission in the previous drafting. The TEF reflects the new focus on widening participation away from just access to progression and outcomes, but the HE Bill did not reflect this fully in the transparency duty as originally proposed. This has now been picked up, and the proposed amendment (which we have not seen yet) will require providers to publish information on levels of attainment, in addition to application, offer, acceptance and completion rates, broken down by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background.
  • After the long and energetic discussions in the Lords about the Haldane principle, research autonomy and the many concerns expressed about the role of the Secretary of State, a number of amendments have been tabled 9but not yet published) including one explicitly about the Haldane principle
  • There is a response to the criticism of the limitations on the role of Innovation UK and some of its financial arrangements – we don’t have the detail on all of it but the business focus amendment is set out in the explanatory paper
  • As noted above, the announcement on accelerated degrees requires a change to the HE Bill to allow for higher fees for accelerated degrees – the DfE paper is clear that the overall cost of a degree will not go up – but universities will be allowed to charge more per year for the more intensive short courses.
  • On credit transfer, the proposed amendments will apparently require the OfS to monitor and report on arrangements for student transfer and a power for them to encourage and promote it.
  • There are a number of more technical amendments proposed, including to protect institutions in cases where degree awarding powers may be revoked, to protect Royal Charters and to ensure that the OfS does not meddle in institutional autonomy as regards standards. These changes will be most welcome, and BU, along with most of the sector has called for these changes, and we are looking forward to seeing the detail.

Other proposed opposition amendments include:

  • yet another attempt to change the name of the OfS – this time to the Office for Higher Education Standards. Given that the government have just confirmed that the OfS should not meddle in standards (see above), this amendment seems unlikely to pass.
  • and another attempt to address student loan repayment terms and conditions – this has been raised at every opportunity so far but has not yet been subject to a vote.

The HEFCE grant letter is out, with extensive coverage.  Research Professional report that:

  • Teaching funding will fall, representing nine consecutive years of reductions- it is due to be cut by 5 per cent in 2018-19—and the funds now also have to cover the expansion of medical schools and include trainee nurses, midwives and other health professionals. This is particularly interesting because of the theory that removing the commissioning arrangement will increase student numbers, balanced against concerns in the sector about falling applications and the real-life challenge with increasing student numbers, i.e. placements – On the latter point, Research Professional note the part of the HEFCE letter that “adds that in order to implement the Department of Health announcement that, from September 2018, the government would fund up to 1,500 additional student places in medical schools each year, the funding council should make an initial allocation of 500 places in 2018-19 “based on the capacity for growth and viability of provision in different institutions and be informed by advice from the Department of Health and Health Education England on the distribution of medical placements
  • On PG: “The letter further asks that the funding council ensures it pays for postgraduate courses on a basis that is “consistent with and complementary to” the new postgraduate loan system. In particular the funding council is asked to prioritise science and other high cost subjects.”
  • On TEF: “It asks the funding council to continue funding the introduction of the teaching excellence framework, including the subject-level pilots, for which the budget and approach will be determined later in 2017. The letter further encourages the continued funding of the “high priority” learning gain pilots” – which may give us an idea of where TEF metrics may be headed
  • On schools: “On social mobility, government asks the funding council to continue encouraging “innovative” forms of engagement with schools, including work to identify which institutions are sponsoring or establishing schools and the support they require to achieve it.” This sounds like a slight backing away from compulsory sponsorship of schools? Or maybe just preparation for identifying those who don’t comply.
  • On research:  “the letter says that detailed allocations for the £4.7 billion of additional investment pledged in the autumn statement will be finalised in early March. The funding council is expected to distribute the additional research and knowledge exchange funding allocation in 2017-18. The £100 million announced for technology transfer, meanwhile, will be based on competitive mechanisms that the funding council will develop with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.”
  • And on student wellbeing: “The letter further asks the funding council to implement recommendations made by the Universities UK taskforce on violence, sexual harassment and hate crimes, which advocated the embedding of a zero-tolerance culture towards such incidents on campus. It also recommends the creation of an evidence base around mental health needs and services for staff and students.” The latter cross refers to a UUK good practice guide.
  • Other issues include plagiarism, credit transfer, REF, degree apprenticeships, Prevent and efficiency.

BTEC students – the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) have issued a report on BTECs and Pearson have blogged for them.  The report concludes that “Students arriving at university with BTECs account for much of the growth in students from the lowest participation neighbourhoods and other under-represented groups over the past decade. But those with BTECs face a ‘glass ceiling’ – for example:

  • only 15 BTEC students were accepted at the four most selective higher education institutions in 2015; and
  • under 60 per cent of students with BTECs at Russell Group universities complete their course.”

The report makes the following policy recommendations:

  • As the proportion of pupils achieving the highest BTEC grades (equivalent to three A-Levels) more than doubled from 17% to 38% between 2006 and 2013, the Government should evaluate whether the current system of external verification of BTECs is fit for purpose.
  • Universities should issue collective guidance on which BTECs are most valuable to students in terms of progression, as they have already done for A-Levels.
  • More prestigious universities with low numbers of BTEC students should consider bespoke access courses for BTEC students aimed at helping them adjust to the methods of teaching and assessment that are common in higher education.

Lifelong learning – The University Alliance issued a report on lifelong learning which calls for a number of actions, including setting up a UCAS style system for adult learning courses, reintroducing individual learning accounts and providing additional loans. They also mention accelerated degrees and suggest broadening the apprenticeship levy to cover such course.

Essay Mills – Jo Johnson called this week on universities to do more to stop students buying custom written essays online. He has asked the QAA to prepare guidance for universities and information for students to help combat the use of ‘essay mills’ websites as well as other forms of plagiarism and for the QAA to take direct action against those marketing the services. It looks as if the guidance will focus on making sure that universities have policies and sanctions in place.

“The Universities Minister has asked for guidance aimed at universities and information for students to help combat the use of these websites, as well as other forms of plagiarism. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has also been tasked to take action against the online advertising of these services and to work with international agencies to deal with this problem.

The Minister is calling for the guidance to include tough new penalties for those who make use of essay mills websites, as well as the need to educate students about the potentially significant negative impacts on their future career if they are caught cheating.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: “This form of cheating is unacceptable and every university should have strong policies and sanctions in place to detect and deal with it“. Essay mill websites threaten to undermine the high quality reputation of a UK degree so it is vital that the sector works together to address this in a consistent and robust way.””

Brexit – The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published the terms of reference and membership of its “high level stakeholder working group on EU exit, universities, research and innovation”.

“The overarching purpose of the group is to provide a forum for BEIS, DfE, DExEU, and a broad range of UK representatives of the universities, science, research and innovation communities to discuss issues of common interest in approaching the UK’s exit from the EU. The emphasis will be on considering all factors related to research and innovation that need to be taken into account as government policy develops.”

Membership includes Jo Johnson, Madeleine Atkins, Nicola Dandridge, and the chairs of Million Plus, the Russell Group, GuildHE and the University Alliance, a couple of VCs and PVCs from the devolved administrations (Heriot-Watt, Ulster, Cardiff)  and representatives of a number of science bodies such as the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and others, CBI, RCUK, UKRI.  And Sir Mark Walport in his current role as the Government Chief Scientific Adviser.  Interestingly, none of the bodies represented are arts or social sciences bodies, which continues to demonstrate the apparent assumption in all of these groups on research as an activity that is only relevant to STEM.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have intervened following a complaint to OIA from students that didn’t receive sufficient notice that compulsory modules had been introduced to their course. While UEA was not considered by OIA to have breached its rules the CMA have asked UEA to change its policy and consider the introduction of compulsory modules as a substantial change which would require greater timeliness of notice in future. CMA’s intervention is seen as a landmark intrusion by some. The CMA request is discussed further by Jim Dickinson and Paul Greatrix on Wonkhe. UUK also have a blog on the subject.

Call for Papers: Machine Learning in Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis

This is a call for papers for the Special Session on Machine Learning in Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis at IEEE CIBCB 2017.

The IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (IEEE CIBCB 2017) will be held at the INNSIDE Hotel, Manchester from August 23rd to 25th, 2017.

This annual conference has become a major technical event in the field of Computational Intelligence and its application to problems in biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, chemical informatics, bioengineering and related fields. The conference provides a global forum for academic and industrial scientists from a range of fields including computer science, biology, chemistry, medicine, mathematics, statistics, and engineering, to discuss and present their latest research findings from theory to applications.

The topics of interest for the special session include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical image classification
  • Medical image analysis
  • Expert systems for computer aided diagnosis and prognosis
  • Pattern recognition in the analysis of biomarkers for medical diagnosis
  • Deep learning in medical image processing and analysis
  • Ethical and Security issues in machine learning for medical diagnosis and prognosis

Up-to-date information and submission details can be found on the MLCIBCB web-page. The submission deadline is the 31st of March, 2017.

Please e-mail srostami@bournemouth.ac.uk with any questions.