Category / Post-award

CEMP research published by Samsung

CEMP’s Digital Capability study has now been published by Samsung.

ABOUT THIS RESEARCH
In 2015, Samsung funded a six-month research project on the Isle of Portland in Weymouth, exploring the
impact of technology on participants’ engagement with community services, schools and family learning.
We partnered with the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) at Bournemouth University.
The project has given us a rich set of findings on which to build further work, and we hope this summary will be
of help to schools, community organisations, policy makers, employers and even parents – anybody
who shares our interest in enabling communities to benefit from the power of digital technology.

UKRO Visit – Slides now available

UKRO logoRKEO were pleased to welcome UK Research Office’s BU account manager, Maribel Glogowski for our annual subscriber visit, on Tuesday 25th October. Maribel is based in Brussels, along with the rest of the UKRO team, so is BU’s perfect partner for keeping us up to date with funding developments in the EU.

UKRO is the European office of the UK Research Councils. It delivers a subscription-based advisory service for research organisations (in the main UK HEIs) and provides National Contact Point services on behalf of the UK Government. UKRO’s mission is to maximise UK engagement in EU-funded research, innovation and higher education activities. As a BU member of staff, you can sign up to receive email alerts direct to your inbox.

Maribel covered the following topics:

  • Updates on project management including post-referendum statements
  • Creative Europe
  • Erasmus+
  • Accessing the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges

All the slides from the day are available in the MyBU Community for the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework. Please select the International Pathway to access these slides – more resources are being added over the coming months.  All staff have been pre-enrolled into this community.

If you have any questions about this event or are considering applying to EU funding schemes, please contact Emily Cieciura (RKEO, Research Facilitator: EU & International)

 

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-h%d3%a7lscher-first-from-right

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.

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.

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.