Congratulations to Dr. Jenny Hall in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on the publication of her paper ‘Spiritual aspects of living with infertility: synthesis of qualitative studies’.  Dr. Hall co-authored this paper in the Journal of Clinical Nursing with colleagues from Ireland and Portugal.
This international team conducted review and synthesis of qualitative research to seek a deeper understanding of the spiritual aspects of patients’ experiences of infertility. They concluded that infertile couples’ experiences of infertility may offer an opportunity for spiritual care particularly related to the assessment of spiritual needs and the promotion of spiritual coping strategies. Moreover, effective holistic care should support couples in overcoming and finding meaning in this life and health condition.
FHSS has the honour of hosting the 15th BNAC (Britain-Nepal Academic Council) Nepal Study Days on 12-13 April 2017. All presentations will focus on Nepal, its diaspora and/or the Nepali cultural world. This year’s programme includes a range of issues and studies from across different disciplines. In the past decade these study days have been at universities across the UK, including Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh.
This year several presenters of oral presentations or posters are affiliated with BU (staff, PhD students and FHSS Visiting Faculty). These include the following presentations:
Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: A review of the literature, by Padam Simkhada, Pramod Regmi, Edwin van Teijlingen & Nirmal Aryal
Assessing the need and type of continuing professional development (CPD) for nurses trained and working in Nepal, by Bibha Simkhada, Edwin van Teijlingen, Padam Simkhada, Sean Mackey, Rose Khatri, Chandra Kala Sharma & Sujan Marahatta
As well as the following posters
Reflections on THET-funded maternal mental health training in Nawalparasi, by Jillian Ireland, Andrea Lawrie, David Havelock, Padam Simkhada, Edwin van Teijlingen, Bibha Simkhada, Bhimsen Devkota, Lokendra Sherchan, Ram Chandra Silwal & Shyam K. Maharjan.
Factors affecting health facility delivery in rural Nawalparasi district of Nepal, by Preeti K Mahato, Edwin van Teijlingen, Padam Simkhada, Zoe Sheppard & Ram Chandra Silwal
Food belief practices amongst rural and urban mothers in Nepal: A qualitative overview, by Jib Acharya, Edwin van Teijlingen, Jane Murphy & Martin Hind
The strategy work of boards of directors has been a puzzle in the corporate governance literature for a long time. But the picture is becoming clearer, thanks to a paper soon to be published and co-written by a Master’s graduate and staff member in the Faculty of Management at BU.
After the financial crisis the work of boards became especially pertinent, for companies and public policy. Some boards — think of Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS — manifestly failed both in strategizing and in monitoring the performance of managers. The shortcomings contributed to a long, global economic malaise. Margaret Concannon earned an MSc in Corporate Governance with Distinction at BU in 2015 with a dissertation that examined how the work of boards has changed. Now, writing with Donald Nordberg, Associate Professor of Strategy and Corporate Governance, her study has become a journal article, due to appear soon in European Management Journal.
Their paper, “Boards strategizing in liminal spaces: Process and practice, formal and informal,” shows how the theory of liminality, developed in anthropology to study rites of passage and adapted in organisation studies, can explain how, after the crisis, the increasingly hierarchical nature of the monitoring work of boards has pushed often strategy off the formal agenda. But strategizing has emerged again in new, informal settings and spaces, where the creativity possible in liminality can reassert itself. The paper explores what benefits that brings — and what risks.
Research Professional illustrates the Brexit threats to research positioning and job losses by highlighting the difficulties facing an EU astronomy consortium. The consortium represents seven countries, led by the UK, but will move headquarters to an EU member state from January 2021. The move means the UK will lose the project’s leadership and the 12 UK universities may not continue post-Brexit. Research Professional notes that while access to research infrastructures is available to non-EU states, the EU membership plays a significant role in decisions on where to locate facilities. Gerry Gilmore (the consortium leader, from University of Cambridge) stated:
“The UK will lose substantial scientific leadership and influence in the EU. There is going to be bad news all around. I don’t think people realise how many new jobs and new opportunities have just been destroyed.”
The EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has survived the parliamentary process and received Royal Assent on 16th March (BBC). This bill allows the Prime Minister to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU. The Lords made two amendments to the Bill – one relating to Parliament having a “meaningful vote” on the final arrangements and one requiring a guarantee for EU citizens to remain in the UK. The bill was approved by the House of Commons, which rejected the Lords bill and then went back to the Lords under what is called “ping-pong”. The Lords voted again on both issues but the House of Lords majority backed down and the bill was passed. The PM is expected to trigger article 50 later in March.
2018/19 EU student and staff guarantees: During oral questions in the Lords Baroness Royall of Blaisdon pressed the government spokesperson (Viscount Younger of Leckie) when announcements would be made regarding fees and access to loans for 2018/19 EU student starters. Leckie gave a side stepping response: “The noble Baroness makes the important point that there are uncertainties arising from Brexit, but the Government have moved rapidly to give assurances to this sector… “We have also provided similar assurances that EU nationals starting courses in 2016-17 and 2017-18 remain eligible for Research Council postgraduate support. As I have said, we will ensure that students starting in 2018-19 have the information well in advance”
The debate over the inclusion of international students in the long-term migrant numbers continues. Even senior ministers are rebelling – Boris Johnson, Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox have all protested, although Jo Johnson continues to toe the party line backing the PM’s stance to include international students within the original immigration statistics. Liam Fox spoke out this week about the value of overseas campuses.
On Monday the House of Lords defeated the government on the Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB), approving an amendment to prevent international students being counted as long-term migrants. The government have responded that “the proposed amendment would create a situation where we were potentially unable to apply basic visa checks, or impose conditions on a student visa. It would also mean that fresh primary legislation were needed just to make minor, technical changes to immigration rules.” (Wonkhe)
HERB is scheduled to have its third reading in the Lords on 22 March 2017 and then will go back to the Commons. The PM’s stance on international students seems rock solid (Financial Times) and Theresa May is not expected to waiver – the parliamentary ping pong regarding international students will surely make headlines over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile there are worries about student recruitment. Politics Home quotes an Office for National Statistics release stating the number of students coming to the UK dropped by 41,000 in 2016.
Higher Education and Research Bill:
The HE and Research Bill has finished its third reading in the House of Lords (although it will have to go back if the House of Commons makes any changes, as seems likely). The report stage in the Lords is on 22nd March – usually only technical or minor amendments are made at this stage. The current version of the bill as amended by the Lords is here.
The surprise amendment on international students is referred to above.
The government won the final vote on the proposed amendment that would have required UKRI and OfS to jointly revoke research degree awarding powers, the amendment was defeated. Wonkhe report that Lord Mackay made an impassioned speech noting that it was “extraordinary” that the OfS was not required to have any expertise or experience regarding research, and yet had the unilateral power to revoke research degree awarding powers, but to no avail. The Bill continues to say that research degree-awarding powers should be made by the OfS with advice from UKRI.
With long debates, late nights and a large number of amendments, it is fair to say that HERB has received an excellent level of scrutiny within the Lords. Lord Prior of Brampton notes: “Everyone who has contributed [to the Bill debates] can take some credit for having improved it considerably. For me, it is a good example of the value this House can bring to a Bill of this kind.”
HEFCE 2017/18 funding to universities: The grant letter details the overall funding to the sector for 2017/18. It includes doubled funding for the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (£60m pa), an additional £17m increase for mainstream quality-related research, a reduction of £40m for teaching (including a reduction in PGT FTE funding rate), maintaining the disabled students premium at the 2016/17 level, the inclusion of nursing, midwifery and allied health professions (£32m), cuts to the student premium budget for full time UG of £20m (part time UG funding remains static). Institutions will receive individual allocations in April although with a publication embargo in force until May. Capital allocations will be announced in March.
Student Loans Sale: A parliamentary question tabled by Steve McCabe requested publication of the ‘in-depth market testing exercise associated with the same of the student loan book. Jo Johnson has responded: “The Government ran a market testing process with a cross-section of potential investors in the student loan book from the end of September into November 2016. This sought feedback on potential sale structures and key features of the transaction and informed the design of the sale. This was a commercial rather than a public process and was conducted under non-disclosure agreements. We do not intend to publish a report of the details. Protecting the details of the conclusions of market testing will help the ongoing sale process achieve value for money for taxpayers.”
Student Fees: On Thursday 16th the Petitions Committee released its latest decisions regarding recent petitions with a high number of signatures. This included a petition to government to change the University fees from £9250 back to the £3000 fee. The Committee agreed to wait for the Higher Education and Research Bill to complete its passage through Parliament before deciding whether to schedule a debate – effectively this was a dismissal of the petition.
Research Excellence Framework The responses to the REF2021 consultation were due in by midday on 17th March.
There has been a lot of focus on one area, the definition of “research active staff” for the returns – there are some interesting views:
HEFCE blog (and BU’s reply) – HEFCE are proposing a negotiated definition for each university, BU is proposing all staff should be returned, including teaching only
Royal Society blog on Research Professional – they say staff shouldn’t be returned at all, it should be institutional
The PVC (Research and Enterprise) from Hertfordshire says on Times Higher Education that the solution is flawed and that clarity is needed
There are many other issues in the REF consultation, including the portability of outputs, which will have important consequences for institutions and their staff. The HEFCE REF consultation on the implementation of the REF 2021 closed on 17 March 2017. You can read BU’s response here.
Congratulations on the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences team which had its paper ‘Vital signs and other observations used to detect deterioration in pregnant women: an analysis of vital sign charts in consultant-led UK maternity units’ accepted by the International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia (published by Elsevier).
The paper compares: (i) vital sign values used to define physiological normality; (ii) symptoms and signs used to escalate care; (iii) 24 type of chart used; and (iv) presence of explicit instructions for escalating care. The authors conclude that the wide range of ‘normal’ vital sign values in different systems used in the UK and the Channel Islands suggests a lack of equity in the processes for detecting deterioration and escalating care in hospitalised pregnant and postnatal women. Agreement regarding ‘normal’ vital sign ranges is urgently required and would assist the development of a standardised obstetric early warning system and chart. The lead author of this new paper is FHSS Visiting Professor Gary Smith, his co-authors include FHSS staff Vanora Hundley, Lisa Gale_Andrews and Edwin van Teijlingen as well as three BU Visiting Faculty: Debra Bick (King’s College London), Mike Wee (Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) and Richard Isaacs (University Hospital Southampton).
It’s British Science Week 2017 and to celebrate we’re sharing some of our science research stories, to highlight some of the fantastic research taking place here at BU. Today we’re looking at how a team of BU researchers are uncovering the genetics of psychiatric disorders.
While it has long been recognised that genetics – alongside environmental factors – play a role in developing psychiatric disorders, the function of individual genes is still largely unknown. But an international, multi-disciplinary team led by Bournemouth University’s Dr Kevin McGhee is aiming to uncover just that – using fruit flies to isolate and examine the genes involved in the development of schizophrenia, with the hope of improving knowledge and treatments for the condition.
“In psychiatric genetics, a lot of time and money has been invested in large, genomewide studies to find the genes that are involved,” said Dr McGhee, a Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences at Bournemouth University (BU). “Now, we want to find out what the functions of those genes are. If you can do that, the ultimate impact is that you can then design better treatments.” Dr McGhee is the principal investigator of the year-long project, working alongside colleagues from the National University of Ireland, Galway and University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Students are also playing a part in the Bournemouth University funded project, with a number of dissertation students trained to carry out lab-based examinations of the fruit flies. They will isolate and switch off genes that human data has previously indicated play a role in schizophrenia, before examining the effect on the flies’ nerve cells at different life stages.
“If we can prove that it works and can be applied to human psychiatric genetics, then it helps create a cheap and easy functional model that is beneficial to everyone,” explained Dr McGhee. “I believe what we find out from these genetic studies will help infer what is going on biologically, and that will ultimately lead to better treatment.”
Another strand of the research will help kickstart the use of psychiatric genetic counselling in the UK. Genetic counselling – where patients and relatives are given advice and support around the probability of developing
an inherited disorder – has long been used to assess the risks around conditions like Down’s Syndrome and certain cancers.
A psychiatric genetic counselling workshop – the first of its kind – is being held by the research team. It will explore how best to translate the increasing knowledge about the genetics of psychiatric disorders into educational and counselling-based interventions to improve outcomes for patients and their families.
“Genetic counselling will probably expand over the next ten or 20 years and we want to put BU at the forefront, as a UK leader in the field,” said Dr McGhee, adding that the workshop has already attracted interest from around the world. “I think people having that education and training to be able to explain and support people through diagnosis will lead to better treatments and help reduce that sense of stigma and guilt around
Open access publishing is another way in which Dr McGhee believes that the wider public can benefit and learn from research projects. “Impact is really important for research and open access really helps to achieve that – as anyone can see it, whether they are students, doctors, charities, policy makers, whoever,” he said. “I think, hopefully, another impact of this work will be to better show where we are with this research, which again goes back to open access – helping people to see that there are hundreds of markers and hundreds of genes and they each have a very small effect.
“Ultimately, we want to educate the healthcare professionals, policy makers and eventually the public – the patients and families who suffer from psychiatric diseases –
so that they are better informed.”
Dr McGee is currently working on the HEIF funded project Psychiatric Genetic Counselling . The project is looking at improving UK psychiatric services by expanding local and regional healthcare professionals’ understanding of the role genetics plays in mental illness. Through Psychiatric Genetic Counselling they’re looking at empowering mental health sufferers and their families.
Through 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.
Venue: EB708, Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University
The event is free to attend, however, places are limited and registrationis required.
About the Event:
Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing as it is more commonly known, continues to push the boundaries of Intellectual Property (IP) law whilst raising questions relating to the protection and exploitation of IP.
There have been various attempts to address these questions through legal and empirical studies; yet at the same time, there continues to be limited literature and debate on the implications of 3D printing surrounding IP law, industry, society, technology and policy.
This challenge, which extends to the lucrative jewellery sector raises further questions in relation to creativity, design, copyright and licensing and these issues will be addressed at the event by bringing together experts from the cultural and business sectors including designers, manufacturers, distributors, policy makers and legal professionals.
This multi-disciplinary event which will explore the above issues will also provide the platform for a discussion of the ‘Going for Gold’ project carried out by researchers at CIPPM (Bournemouth University) in collaboration with Museotechniki Ltd and Uformia AS and will be complemented by a demonstration of 3D printed jewellery artefacts resulting from the project.
Mark Bloomfield (Electrobloom); Roger Brownsword (Bournemouth University / Kings College London); Ruth Burstall (Baker & McKenzie LLP); Frank Cooper (Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre, Birmingham Jewellery School); Lionel Dean (De Montfort University); Damian Etherington (Ipswich Museum); Nikolaos Maniatis (Museotechniki Ltd); Dids McDonald (Anti Copying in Design); Dinusha Mendis (Bournemouth University); Cherie Stamm (Uformia AS); Andrea Wallace (CREATe, University of Glasgow); Michael Weinberg (Shapeways Inc).
Come along on Tuesday21 March at 2-3pm on Floor 5, Student Centre on Talbot Campus for the March edition of 14:Live.
Spring is fast approaching and festival season is just around the corner. Over the next few months you will be subjected to intense marketing campaigns from festival promoters, such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, who will be telling you not to miss out on this year’s music festivals.
Many of your friends will be sharing their excitement about going to these festivals on social media. Social media has heightened the sensation that everyone but us appears to be having fun and many people have become more sensitive to FoMO appeals.
In this 14:Live, Dr Miguel Moital will discuss the psychology of ‘Fear of Missing Out’. What emotions come with FoMO? What marketing tricks are used to heighten FoMO? How can these emotions be managed?
With drinks and snacks provided, this will be a session you won’t want to miss!
Creating high performance sportspeople is something like alchemy, and comes with the same baggage of half-thoughts, assumptions and quasi-quackery. But the research has moved on, and we can put to bed three powerful myths about building the ultimate athlete.
The first of these myths is linked to the idea that “practice makes perfect”. This message has been passed down through generations as a fact and there is now much popular wisdom and misinformation, derived from a belief in a simplified number: 10,000 hours. But can it really be that easy? There is no question sportspeople must practice a lot to get to the top. But how much is enough? And can we all be world class with sufficient practice?
The 10,000 hours “rule” came out of work by a psychologist at Florida State University, Anders Ericsson. Popularised in books such as Bounce by Matthew Syed, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, it has led to the belief that if you put in this amount of deliberate and focused practice you can reach elite levels of performance.
But rather than needing 10,000 hours, there is now evidence that as few as 4,400 hours of deliberate practice may be sufficient to claim a gold medal in hockey, 4,500 hours to reach a top-tier European national football side, and just 4,000 hours to reach the highest levels in basketball and netball. Good news, then, for those with busy lives but a hankering for Olympic success.
Ericsson himself has emphasised that he did not intend a “rule” to be drawn from his research. He does though for the most part believe that practice is more important than genetics but would no doubt agree that to make it as a rower or basketball player, way above average height and limb length are a clear advantage.
And there is also intriguing evidence that genetics may more generally influence one’s suitability for endurance versus power events. Genetics may underpin key performance factors such as explosive strength, speed of movement, running speed, reaction time, flexibility and balance.
Therefore, although we can’t predict the world’s best athletes based on genetics, combinations of gene variants are likely to act in concert to influence the sport in which athletes are most likely to successfully compete. It is at that point that practice comes into play.
Developing a theme
The second myth is that you must be in a sport’s development programme from an early age to make it. Here I’d offer a cautionary tale to parents who feel pressured to drag their offspring all over the country to attend development squads, fearing this is the only route to the top.
The sporting landscape is littered with those who have relocated in pursuit of success never to fulfil their early promise, while at the same time halting opportunities for the development of other key attributes necessary for performance and life.
Although most world class sportspeople have been involved in athlete support programmes at some stage, the evidence suggests a very non-linear path to the top. There is frequent selection and de-selection from squads, rather than linear progression within athlete support programmes. But here’s the conundrum: while most talent identification systems use current junior performance as the main criterion for selection to a development programme, junior success does not reliably predict long-term senior success.
Longitudinal studies with large samples of athletes across numerous sports have shown that the younger the first recruitment to a support programme, the younger the exit from the programme, and the higher the level of senior success, the later the age of first recruitment on to programmes.
In other words, the world’s best performers are recruited to support programmes significantly later than their less able counterparts. It’s important to stress then that early athlete support programmes are not the sole route to the development of talent. And furthermore, the world’s best sportspeople tend not to have progressed exclusively within one sport, but have practised multiple sports during childhood and adolescence.
In fact, the probability of attaining the highest level in sport is likely enhanced by the coupling of a large volume of intensive, organised specific training in the main sport with appreciable amounts of organised training and competitions in other sports.
The third myth is the concept of the happy, successful, champion that we should admire. The world’s best athletes are extraordinary, and we rightly marvel at their prowess and bask in their glory. Holding them up as role models to create a sporting and physical activity legacy is laudable.
But with 307 golds available at Rio 2016 for a world population of 7.4 billion, Olympic champions are, by definition, abnormal. In fact, there is now growing recognition that the intense resilience, determination, and will to win of the world’s best performers can be driven by something altogether different from happiness. The cartoon strip Dilbert facetiously observed: “I would think that a willingness to practice the same thing for 10,000 hours is a mental disorder.” At the very least, it takes a certain mindset to cope and flourish in the harsh world of elite sport.
In fact, there is emerging evidence that this deep-seated need to win at all costs may be driven by early developmental adversity and obstacles, which leave an indelible mark on the sportsperson. Thus, although this level of determination and commitment is something we might rightly be in awe of, to think we could or should emulate it is unrealistic, unnecessary, and potentially damaging.
The route to the top in sport isn’t as simple as accrued hours or neat pathways. It likely entails many ups and downs both within and outside sport. We should beware a tendency to over-simplify past success, and in doing so, leave the door open to a renewed appreciation for the myriad ways in which elite level can be reached.
It’s British Science Week 2017 and to celebrate we’re sharing some of our science research stories, to highlight some of the fantastic research taking place here at BU. Today we’re looking at how BU researchers are working to develop reliable and renewable energy sources.
As the world’s population continues to grow, so does our consumption of natural resources. Many of these resources are non-renewable, so research into renewable sources of energy is vital. Research led by BU’s Professor Zulfiqar Khan is tackling this issue through reducing corrosion, improving heat transfer and fluid dynamics, and using nano coatings to enhance surface effiencies in renewable energy systems.
The European Union’s (EU’s) Renewable EnergyDirective states that the EU should be producing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020; a challenging target for any country. Professor Khan’s research is a direct response to this initiative and to the challenge of finding sustainable and renewable ways of meeting our future energy needs. His research is supported by a team of PhD students, many of whom are fully or part funded by industry and international HEI partners.
One of his major areas of focus is developing solar thermal technology, solar energy is available abundantly due to its nature. “Currently, we are very reliant on Solar Photovoltaic for our solar panels, but we do not have a large supply of the materials used, so using it won’t be sustainable over a long period,” explains Prof Khan. “I am developing means of using readily available and sustainable materials to be applied in flat plate solar thermal systems through a combination of thermofluids with nano additives and efficient thermal storage, which will help meet our future energy needs. I am also looking at ways to move away from standalone panels to integrating them within standard building practices.”
Professor Khan explains the different components in the system: “There are four parts to this system. One part focuses upon generating heat for colder climates, while within warmer climates it focuses on generating electricity. The third part of the project looks at thermo-fluids, with the aim of improving the efficiency of fluids within the solar energy system. The final part will be the integration of heat storage and recovery system from waste.”
At the moment Professor Khan and his team of PhD students and Post Docs are testing the system for generating electricity in warmer climates. Funding from industry has allowed Professor Khan and his team to set up labs in Poole, which include a scale model of the solar thermal system – an invaluable tool for testing. The first two phases of heat generation in cold climates and generating electricity in warmer climates have been successfully commissioned. The third and fourth phase of optimisation of thermo-fluids and heat storage are in progress.
The very nature of the programme and its complexity means that an interdisciplinary approach is vital. Professor Khan’s research combines materials sciences (nano coatings), mechanical engineering (heat transfer and thermodynamics), and electrochemistry (corrosion). “It is the combination of several subjects and disciplines which guarantees the delivery of objectives of this very challenging and exciting programme, which will put BU in particular and the UK in general on the international map as a leader in developing clean energy technologies,” says Professor Khan. “This is why we shouldn’t shy away from other disciplines as it can bring huge benefits and opportunities to research which will give it originality, significance and reach.”
The research and its interdisciplinary nature has the potential to make a significant difference to society as it presents a solution to one of the biggest challenges now facing us – how to meet our current and future energy needs. “I think we can learn to do without many things, but without energy, life as we know it would not be the same,” says Professor Khan. “With our current levels of consumption and the non-renewable sources we are using, our energy sources won’t last forever. If we look to the future, our energy reserves used at our current rates will last us perhaps another 50 – 60 years for oil and gas, and coal another 100 years. What are we going to do when that runs out?”
Budget: There was very little about HE in the budget this time, as expected, apart from the announcement of the outcomes of the consultations on PG doctoral loans and part-time maintenance loans (see below). The announcement of a £300m fund for brightest and best research talent, including for 1,000 new PhD places and fellowships focused on STEM subjects has been widely welcomed across the sector. There were lots of announcements about technical education
T-levels will be introduced, with 15 clear routes into employment
There will be an increase of over 50 per cent in number of hours training for 16-19 technical students including a high quality three month work placement, this will result in a £500m a year investment in 16-19 year olds
Maintenance loans for those who undertake higher level technical qualifications at the new institutes for technology and national colleges
Up to £40m investment in pilots to test the effectiveness of different approaches to lifelong learning
Up to £40m investment in pilots to test the effectiveness of different approaches to lifelong learning
The new doctoral loan will provide a contribution of up to £25,000 to the costs of study rather than covering the full fees and living costs of a student. It will be paid directly to the student rather than to the student’s institution.
The proposal to cap the number of people who could receive loans at each institution was not supported and so this has been dropped – it will be available to all eligible students for all eligible programmes – including all Level 8 programmes, up to 8 years long. Students receiving other government funding, such as through the NHS or a Research Council grant, will not be eligible.
Repayment arrangements will be the same as for the existing masters loan.
Part-time students will be eligible for maintenance loans from the academic year 2018/19
Students undertaking distance learning courses and Level 4 and 5 HE qualifications are likely to be eligible from academic year 2019/20 (this is subject to the passing of the HE and Research Bill – it will only happen when the Office for Students has been established and has put in place the new regulatory framework for providers)
The new loan arrangements will be reviewed after five years
Loan amounts each year will be based on the intensity of study. We had some concerns about this because it may make it harder for students to stretch the funding over the whole course
Maintenance loans for students undertaking distance learning courses will come in later as the Government needs to ensure a robust system of controls is in place
Part-time maintenance loans will be means tested
Repayment terms will mirror the process for part-time fee loans and the full-time undergraduate student finance system
Non-continuation: HESA have issued a summary of the 2015/16 non-continuation rates. OFFA have responded to the indicators expressing disappointment at the higher non-continuation rates for young students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and earmarking this for attention in the Fair Access Agreements due for submission in April.
Higher Education and Research Bill and the TEF: the House of Lords have used the third reading of the TEF to make a number of amendments to the HE and Research Bill against the government. The Vice-Chancellor has blogged on the BU Research blog about what this means for the TEF. It is not at all clear what will happen next – if the amendments are not reversed, then TEF will go back to the drawing board in terms of what the OfS would do with it– but that would not affect the HEFCE- run year 2 process that has already started. Other amendments include one that requires universities to ensure that students are registered to vote as part of student registration. The debates in the Lords on the bill continue next week – more amendments are to come including more on migration and loans (including Sharia compliant finance), cheating, Prevent and UKRI.
New DLHE: HESA have responded to the enormous consultation on the DLHE last summer (over 130 questions) with a second one, which sets out their proposals for the new version of DLHE and asks for responses by 7th April – this one is much shorter (only 6 questions plus a space for more comments). We’ll be preparing an institutional response. Data will not be available until 2020.
DLHE will be centralised. The survey will be delivered both online and through telephone interviews, in order to achieve an overall response rate of at least 70% per provider
Survey at 15 months – replacing the 6 month and the longitudinal one (that was not used in league tables or the TEF)
It will also ask about previous and planned activity (to get away from problems associated with a “snapshot”
Linked to HMRC data on earnings and self-employment and other HESA study information including placements (from 19/20)
New question on entrepreneurship and three new ‘graduate voice’ measures of outcomes from the perspective of the respondent. These will measure the extent to which the graduate’s current activity reflects on three distinct areas of development:
Utilisation of what has been learned
Orientation toward their future goals
A sense of meaningfulness or importance.
Optional question banks including research student experiences, subjective wellbeing, Net promoter score, graduate choice, impact of HE. HE providers will be able to add their own questions to the end of the survey.
Caroline Lucas MP asked a question in Parliament this week: Whether it is his policy to seek for the UK to remain a member of the Bologna Process after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU; and whether he plans that UK university degrees will be considered compatible with degrees in EU member states under the Bologna Process following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. 
Jo Johnson MP replied “The Bologna Process, which created the European Higher Education Area in 2010, is an intergovernmental agreement among 28 countries in the European region. It is not an EU body and therefore UK membership will not be affected by the UK’s departure from the EU.”
It’s British Science Week 2017 and to celebrate we’re sharing some of our science research stories, to highlight some of the fantastic research taking place here at BU. Today we’re looking at the Orthopeadic Research Institute (ORI).
Living well in older age is increasingly becoming a concern for our society. A key priority for our health services is to enable people to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. BU’s newly established Orthopaedic Research Institute (ORI) is addressing this need by carrying out research to improve orthopaedic practices and patient care, thus supporting people to improve their activity levels and mobility as they age. Orthopaedics will become a critical issue as our population ages, as longer and more active lives will increase the risk that joints will wear out and replacements or treatments will be needed.
Deputy Head of ORI Associate Professor Tom Wainwright explains: “Knee and hip problems are going to become more prevalent, so we’re going to need better solutions to manage that; whether it’s better surgical procedures or better nonsurgical interventions. We have some very effective treatments in orthopaedics, but they’re not 100% effective, so part of our role is to work out how to make them better – improve them, through developing better surgical techniques, testing new medical techonology or developing better rehabilitation processes.”
Between them, Associate Professor Wainwright and Head of ORI Professor Rob Middleton have a wealth of clinical and research expertise. Professor Rob Middleton is a practising orthopaedic surgeon, specialising in hip replacement, while Associate Professor Wainwright is a physiotherapist and clinical researcher. They carried out research alongside their clinical practice before joining BU and have a national and international reputation for their work to date.
One of their biggest successes so far is speeding up the recovery process after hip and knee surgery, which has led to their work being cited in best practice health guidelines around the world. This approach, called Enhanced Recovery after Surgery, seeks to minimise the impact of surgery and accelerate recovery by employing strategies throughout the patient pathway, to improve outcomes and reduce the need for medical interventions. Their research into this area was a first in the UK for orthopaedics and demonstrated its value to patient care, as well as showing an improvement in patient and staff satisfaction and leading to significant cost savings to hospitals.
A more recent example of their work is a programme developed with local partners in Dorset called CHAIN – Cycling Against Hip Pain – which is designed to help people to live well with conditions such as osteoarthritis and to improve their mobility. The programme provides a combination of education and static cycling sessions,designed to improve mobility and increase people’s confidence in managing their conditions. The results have been excellent, with patients reporting improvements in walking, finding daily living tasks easier and most importantly, decreases in pain. Even the least likely candidates have seen improvements, demonstrating the value of education and exercise in improving patient care and in helping to reduce or delay the need for further medical interventions.
“As well as developing interventions to help patients recover from surgery and manage their conditions. We also work with a number of global orthopaedic companies to test and run clinical trials
on the latest orthopaedic technology,” says Associate Professor Wainwright. “We work with companies such as ZimmerBiomet, Lima Corporate, and Firstkind Ltd to ensure that their technology is delivering the best possible outcomes for patients.”
One example of their work with ZimmerBiomet was to explore ways to improve the technology used in hip replacements. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint and one of the risks of hip replacement is dislocation; where the new ball comes out of the socket. ORI’s research has shown that a larger ball reduces the risk of dislocation, and does not adversely affect the rate of wear.
“We currently have five trials underway within local hospitals and more to come,” explains Associate Professor Wainwright. “These trials are looking at different ways that we can improve the medical technology used in orthopaedics and means that not only are we contributing to improving future care, but we’re also bringing the latest technology to Dorset and improving care in the local area. As Dorset has a very high proportion of orthopaedic surgeries, there is potentially a very large group of people we can benefit.”
“We take a very interdisciplinary approach to our research. Establishing ourselves within BU is a real advantage for us, because we can draw on the expertise of colleagues in other areas of research, including other health professionals, psychologists, technologists and engineers,” explains Associate Professor Wainwright, “Ultimately, our driving force is that we wantto ensure that everyone gets the best possible treatment for their condition – it’s just the right thing to do.”
Congratulations to Dr. Mastoureh (Masi) Fathi, FHSS Lecturer in Sociology, who has been appointed to the editorial board of Sociological Research Online. Sociological Research Online is a peer-reviewed online sociology journal looking at current social issues, and it is in its twenty-second year.
Title: Developing a novel self-optimising femtocell network for indoor communication with mobile devices
Date: Wednesday 15th March 2017
Room: PG11, Poole House, Talbot Campus
The need for a fast and reliable wireless communication system has increased with the development of social and business activities around the world. A promising cost and energy efficient way of meeting the future traffic demands is the idea of very dense deployment of low cost, low power and self-organizing small base stations i.e. Femtocells. Self-configuring, self-optimizing and self-healing base stations have the potential to significantly increase the capacity of mobile cellular networks in the future 5G while reducing their energy consumption. The aim of this research is to consider the integration of Femtocells as Self Optimising Networks for the future communication network. An extensive and thorough research has been carried out to investigate what drawbacks of the existing communication 4G network are and whether Femtocells as a Self-Optimising network can improve the current network. In order to evaluate the algorithms for self-optimising Femtocells that have been proposed by other authors in the existing literature an evaluation criteria has been developed, and a simulating environment has been constructed. The evaluation is performed by measuring the effect that changing parameters has on the output of the environment. From the results of the evaluation a new algorithm to enhance the self-optimisation of the network will be designed and developed in a simulating environment.
Dr Sascha Dov Bachmann, Associate Professor in International Law and Extraordinary Associate Professor in War Studies (Swedish Defence University) will present a paper on environmental threats, hybrid warfare and law fare at the seminar “The Impact of Armed Conflict on the Environment and Natural Resources: A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 Perspective” at the University of West of England.
This interactive seminar, organised by the University of West of England (UWE) Environmental Law Unit and partially funded by the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) and UWE Centre for Applied Legal Research, will take place from 10.45am-4.30pm.
Speakers will present their views on particular sub-topics related to the Armed Conflict, the Environment, Natural Resources and SDG 16. Each speaker will have 20 minutes to present their views followed by comments from discussants (staff members of the Law School) and a Q&A session with the audience.
Professor Karen Hulme, University of Essex
Doug Weir, Toxic Remnants of War Project, Manchester
Dr Sascha-Dominik Bachmann, University of Bournemouth
Professor Jona Razzaque, UWE, Bristol
Refreshments during registration and lunch are provided and the event is free to attend.
The BBC 2 series “Meet the Lords” could not have been better timed. The House of Lords has flexed its muscles on the Article 50 Bill and this week’s episode coincided with them passing an amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill (HE Bill) that breaks the link between the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and fees. Since then another amendment has been passed that would change the nature of the TEF, and bring it under Parliamentary scrutiny.
It would be easy to dismiss these (as some have done) as acts of rebellion by a non-elected chamber that is in the case of the HE Bill, representing vested interests in the face of a genuine government attempt to reform a sector that is badly in need of it. The Department for Education could be forgiven if they had thought that the HE Bill was nearly home and dry. They had published a long list of amendments which had been largely welcomed by the sector. The TEF does not require Parliamentary approval. Universities UK and GuildHE, amongst others, had expressed support for the HE bill as amended and expressed support for the TEF – opposing the addition of more detail as it would reduce flexibility in future negotiations on the detail. But the House of Lords did not agree – they have not sought to add more detail in the TEF, but to change its nature completely. Reading the debates, it is clear that members of the House of Lords, like most of the sector, generally support the objectives of TEF in bringing focus on the quality of education and student outcomes. They support the provision of more and better information about universities for applicants and others. They, like many in the sector, also generally support an inflationary increase in fees.
In the latest amendment, the provisions for the TEF in clause 26 have been removed and the new clause instead requires the Secretary of State to bring forward a scheme to identify whether an institution meets or fails to meet expectations based on quality standards but it “must not be used to create a single composite ranking of English higher education providers”. The arguments are neatly summarised by Lord Lucas: “Bronze will be seen as failing because these universities will be marked out as the bottom 20%. This is just not necessary. We have succeeded, in our research rankings, in producing a measure of sufficient detail and sophistication for people to read it in detail. It produces quite marked differences between institutions, but nobody reads it as a mark of a failing institution. It is information, not ranking…”.
An earlier amendment removed the differentiation between fees based on different ratings. The speeches in the House of Lords demonstrate that they are opposed to this link for different reasons, for example:
Baroness Deech “If we detach fees from gold, silver and bronze, we stand a chance of increasing social mobility under the amendment. If we do not, social mobility will be frozen and ghettoisation will increase.”
Baroness Wolf of Dulwich: “I want to cite three groups of academics ….all of which feel, as do students, that in their current state the TEF metrics are not up to the job of determining fee levels and that, until we are sure that we have valid and reliable measures, we should not do this.”
Lord Lipsey : “… what seems knocking on bizarre is to plough on with bringing in this link between fees and the TEF before we have got the TEF right….The Government would give themselves the best chance of proving themselves right and the sceptics wrong if they gave time for the TEF to settle down before they brought in the fees link.”
Lord Kerslake: “My second reason for not making the link is that the TEF rating will relate to the university, not the subject or course. We will not see subject-level ratings until 2020 and yet we know that it is perfectly possible to have a mediocre course in an otherwise excellent university, and indeed vice versa. It can be argued that the TEF ranking gives an indication of the overall student experience at a particular institution, but the variation which so obviously exists within institutions makes that argument quite unconvincing.”
Except for the subject level fee point (which has not become a topic of debate yet), these are all arguments that were made by the sector in responding to the Green Paper and the TEF consultation. These are all things that we have continued to raise as we discuss the implications of subject-level TEF.
So as it stands, the TEF has lost both of its “incentives” – aka its carrot and its stick, which were both in the form of the impact on fees and reputation. It is not at all clear what will happen next – some ideas are given in this Wonkhe blog. In blogs on the Times Higher Education, Maddaleine Ansell of the University Alliance and Sorana Vieru gave very different perspectives.
So what compromise could there be to address all the concerns and yet still preserve the positive aspects of the TEF – i.e. the increasing focus on education and outcomes? I go back to BU’s response to the Green Paper, when we said that the TEF should model itself on the REF.. It should celebrate excellence wherever it is found, there should not be a link with tuition fees and there should be no forced ranking. To achieve that now, a remodelled TEF could include the following features:
no link to fees
have two rather than three levels of award – perhaps indicating good and outstanding. The last category is those who fail their quality assessment and don’t qualify for TEF.
take a different approach to benchmarking that does not force differentiation
include a place for commendations
I am not convinced by the argument that no-one would participate in the TEF without the direct financial incentive. That does not hold true for the REF. The REF has increased the focus on impact and had a beneficial impact on research. (We have some reservations about the changes proposed in the latest REF consultation, but that is a separate issue.) The concerns about the TEF would be mitigated substantially if the Olympic rating system and the link to fees were dropped. The sector would be able to engage in a much more constructive debate about subject-level TEF.
The TEF does not need to be thrown out completely – but this is an opportunity to go back to where this started from and ensure that the TEF brings focus on the quality of education and student outcomes.
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