Last week Sacha Gardener reported on this BU Research Blog on the publication of our most recent article ‘Why suicide rates among pregnant women in Nepal are rising’ in The Conversation. Since then we have been informed that this piece was reproduced in two Indian independent online newspapers, last week in The Wire and today in Scroll.in (India’s leading independent source of news, analysis and culture). Scroll.in used the heading ‘A project is training midwives in Nepal to stem rising suicides of pregnant women’, whist The Wire used the title ‘Why Suicide Rates Among Pregnant Women in Nepal Are on the Rise’. Suicide in pregnant women and soon after birth is an important issue in both Nepal and India. Just for completeness the original article, written by BU’s Visiting Faculty Dr. Bibha Simkhada and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen based in BU’s Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal health (CMMPH), can be found here!
Category / Research news
BU welcomed Sam Gyimah MP on Thursday as part of his #SamOnCampus tour. Wearing his Science, Research and Innovation hat, we started with a whistle-stop tour of some interesting projects with a focus on technology and priorities for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Minister was keen to be hands on simulator for knee operations with Dr Tom Wainwright from the Orthopaedic Research Institute, and tried out the eye tracking technology with Dr Sarah Bate from the Centre for Face Processing Disorders. He also discussed virtual reality and wayfinding in care homes with Professor Jan Wiener, the AfterGlow project with Vicky Isley and Paul Smith and discussed technological innovations in learning with Professor Elizabeth Falconer. The Minister then heard about BU from Professor John Vinney and Jim Andrews, and was interviewed by two of our BA Multimedia Journalism students. He then helped to break the ground for our Poole Gateway Building.
The main event was the #SamOnCampus event – billed as a dialogue between Sam and students and staff. The event was hosted by Alex Hancox, SUBU VP education with a welcome from the VC, Professor John Vinney and Daniel Asaya, President of SUBU. The Minster, who has called himself the “Minister for Students” and who started by saying that the HE sector has changed and that it is time for students to have a voice, was keen to discuss a wide range of issues, and as well as questions about higher education and fees and funding, a wide range of issues did indeed come up. It would probably fair to say that the Minister supported the government line on these issues (ie. austerity is not a belief system, it’s a necessity and homelessness is a priority issue that needs to be addressed). NB local MP Conor Burns later issued a call to action on homelessness locally so it will be interesting to see where this goes).
- The Minister responded to a question about the USS dispute (it’s a pensions dispute between some universities and their staff, it’s about a valuation and they need to sort it out – he didn’t mention compensation for students although he has tweeted about that a lot including today. He also said that it was not government policy to ban unpaid internships (because it might prevent legitimate unpaid work experience) but that he and the Conservative party did not agree with unpaid internships and he understood the issues that they caused for graduates, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds..
- On issues closer to home, the Minister agreed that mental health was a priority issue for student support but did not have any particular contribution to make. He also agreed that a wide range of extra-curricular activities were an important aspect of the university experience. When asked about freedom of speech he repeated that “university should be an assault on the senses” and said that students should challenge and be challenged even if that made them uncomfortable- but that did not mean that bullying and harassment should be allowed.
- He also repeated the usual line about there being no limit on the number international students. There was an interesting moment later when Conor Burns MP, thanking the Minister, challenged him to join him in lobbying for students to be removed from migration targets.
- The Minister was asked about support for creative subjects, in schools as well as in HE – and he said that he thought this was very important – although he did not have a response on the specific question about bursaries for those training to be teachers in the creative subjects.
- When asked about subject level TEF and the challenges of explaining a gold institution with a bronze course, for example, the Minister replied that it was important that applicants had access to information, including about salaries on graduation, and how he thought that the difference in graduate outcomes was a relevant fact. However, he quickly went on to say that other things were important to the university experience as well as salaries afterwards.
- And on fees and funding he repeated the explanation that has been given by everyone including the PM and Jo Johnson about how the current system in which graduates contribute to their fees is fair, that the system is essentially a graduate tax with government subsidies built into it. He also said that abolishing fees was unrealistic. When asked about plans for differential fees he said that there were no plans for differential fees but there is an ongoing review. He said that he did not have answers but would take back and look into questions about postgraduate support and support for disabled students, and a number of comments were about living costs, which is also being considered by the review.
The Minister asked the audience several questions, including what their priorities would be if they had his job. He also stayed for some time afterwards chatting to students.
The Minister gave the impression of genuinely wanting to hear what students had to say and was keen to engage and respond, not afraid to give potentially unpopular responses – but he did not have answers to all the questions and did not engage in detail on some of the issues that are important to students – e.g. mental health. It will be interesting to see if there is any follow up on these issues and what the Minister takes away from his tour overall.
Subject level TEF
Consultation questions include:
- 2 Do you agree that we should have a longer duration and re-application period in subject-level TEF?
- 3 Should subject-level TEF retain the existing key elements of the provider-level framework (including the TEF criteria, the same suite of metrics, benchmarking, submissions, an independent panel assessment process and the rating system)?
- 8 Do you agree that grade inflation should only apply in the provider-level metrics?
- 11 Do you: a) agree that QAA Subject Benchmark Statements and PSRB accreditation or recognition should remain as a voluntary declaration, and if not, why? b) think that there are any subjects where mandatory declaration should apply?
- 13 On balance, are you in favour of introducing a measure of teaching intensity in the TEF, and what might be the positive impacts or unintended consequences of implementing a measure of teaching intensity?
- 14 What forms of contact and learning (e.g. lectures, seminars, work based learning) should and should not be included in a measure of teaching intensity?
- 15 What method(s)/option(s) do you think are best to measure teaching intensity? Please state if there are any options that you strongly oppose and suggest any alternative options.
We’ll be preparing a response to this so please contact email@example.com if you would like to be involved.
In a related announcement, the Minister will also launch an Open Data competition, the first of its kind in the UK HE sector, which will use selected government data on universities so that tech companies and coders can create apps to help prospective students decide where to apply. This competition will build on the government’s recently published Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset, which gives information on employment and salaries after graduation. By democratising access to information about courses and their outcomes, it will help all applicants, regardless of their background, make better decisions and get better value for money. The Universities Minister added:
- “Our new Open Data Competition will open up Government data on universities for the first time. It will harness the creativity and enterprise of coders and tech businesses to create new tools to help applicants get value for money. And it puts government data to work for students, democratising the information Government holds about universities.”
Timely for the HE review, a report from Million Plus on “Forgotten Learners: Building a system that works for Mature students”. Recommendations are that:
The Government should:
- Review student finance to assess whether there is adequate financial support for those with the lowest household incomes.
- Improve the financial support available for mature students so that those who are most disadvantaged are not having to rely on high levels of paid employment to maintain themselves financially, thereby damaging their ability to progress at university.
- Restore maintenance grants for students in England through the Student Loans Company so that mature students are not discouraged from entering higher education due to maintenance costs and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds do not graduate with greater levels of debt.
- Further relax the equivalent and lower qualifications (ELQ) restrictions for some ‘second-chance’ learners.
- Establish a system of tuition fee loan write-off for nursing and midwifery students in England (post-2016) after a minimum period of public service e.g. 5 years. This will help combat problems with both recruitment and retention in these professions.
- Maximise the flexibility of learning options in higher education so that mature students are not discouraged from going to university. Move to a more flexible system that allows students to tailor their study to the pace of their life makes university education feasible for those with existing commitments. This must be replicated on the level of funding, to create a system in which mature students do not have to commit to a full year’s worth of financial and personal commitment.
The OfS should:
- Prioritise mature students as a key target demographic within the widening participation agenda.
- Use its powers as a regulator to secure meaningful, sustained and stretching commitments from universities in their Access & Participation Plans in relation to mature students.
- Encourage and incentivise universities to design effective approaches to mature student recruitment and to expand funding for that recruitment and for financial support.
- Further improve engagement with mature students to acknowledge their diversity and establish places/opportunities on campus for mature students to meet each other, particularly those in similar age brackets.
- Continue to provide flexible routes into higher education.
- Ensure there is adequate support for students with caring responsibilities, so that these do not act as a barrier to entry or completion.
- Avoid any changes to term timetables that may increase childcare costs for mature students.
- Be bold in targets and ambitions outlined in Access and Participation Plans relating to mature students.
- Promote the range of support (financial or otherwise) that is available to mature students.
Research Professional had an article on the UK being frozen out from EU agencies and research post Brexit. The EU has apparently said that participation in things such as the European Medicines Agency is “cherry picking” and unacceptable – will they take the same view on Erasmus? There are separate guidelines on research frameworks which say that the UK would be treated as a third country, can only take part if we make a net contribution and give up decision making powers. The UK currently benefits, taking 40% more out than it puts in, so that looks unhelpful too as an approach.
Please find below initial headlines from today’s Spring Statement, the following links provide a good overview:
- HM Treasury: Spring Statement – what you need to know
- Office for Budget Responsibility: Economic and fiscal outlook – March 2018
- Labour Press: John McDonnell’s full response to the Spring Statement
After reflecting on the growth and public finance projections, the Chancellor said at the Autumn Budget he would set a path for spending from 2020, with a Spending Review taking place in 2019. He indicated that if in the Autumn the public finances continued to reflect improvements, the Treasury would be able to increase public spending.
Other announcements included:
- How £5bn set aside for Brexit planning will be spent
- April 2018 will see Construction Skills Fund open for bids
- Department for Education will release up to £80m to help small firms take on apprentices
- The Office for National Statistics have been asked to work on a better assessment of human capital, so investment can be better directed
- Government are inviting cities to bid for money from a New Transport Fund announced in the Budget 2017.
- There is a new consultation on how to encourage cashless and digital payments whilst ensuring access to cash remains for those who need it
- Government will consult on the whole supply chain for single-use plastics – Hammond indicates will not simply be about raising revenue but about changing behaviour. Suggests £20m will be available for businesses and universities research innovation in this area.
- Government are agreeing deals with local areas who are willing to build lots of houses and confirms one has now been agreed for the West Midlands – says a few other housebuilding schemes – like one with Lloyds Bank – will be boosted.
The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has published an impact review by Nursaw Associates which has found that “our approach to research and evidence has been successful in helping higher education providers to improve access to and participation in higher education by working in more effective ways”. The document can be found on the OFFA website.
Taking an evidence-led approach to access and participation- “You cannot regulate if you do not understand.” – Academic interviewee In September 2017, we commissioned Nursaw Associates to carry out an impact review of how far the activities of our Evidence and Effective Practice function have successfully met the objective of our Evidence Strategy to support and challenge the sector to continually improve outcomes through the generation of and learning from robust evaluation, research and analysis.
This impact review has demonstrated that:
- our approach to evidence and effective practice has influenced behaviour in universities and colleges and driven change in access and participation
- our dual ‘support and challenge’ approach has enabled us to work effectively with colleagues at every level across the sector and secure much-needed improvements in access and participation work
- the research we have produced and commissioned has been highly valued by the sector, viewed as both credible and
Why did we do this? – Our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan called for universities and colleges to take an increasingly evidence-led approach to improving performance on access and participation across the whole student lifecycle – from entry right through to the transition to work or further study. Alongside this challenge to institutions, we have also been developing a more evidence-led approach to our own policy and practice. This impact review forms part of our commitment to more intelligent regulation, and was intended to:
- demonstrate the key role of evaluation and evidence in effective policy decisions
- provide evidence to inform discussions about the shape of evidence policies in the new Office for Students (OfS).
What did we find?
Support and challenge – In the minds of institutions, there is significant interdependence between OFFA’s evidence and effective practice work and its regulatory function, with 81 per cent of survey respondents considering that OFFA’s role should be to both regulate higher education and support the sector in its efforts to widen participation.
The value of research to institutions – Survey and interview responses highlighted that OFFA’s research and evaluation work is valued by institutions in terms of:
- benchmarking against other institutions
- highlighting where they can improve their approach
- enabling change in the institution
- identifying best practice.
Widening participation staff felt that OFFA enabled them to influence leaders to understand the importance of their work, and would like OFFA to be more visible in the practitioner community, for example via targeted events and direct communications.
Case study: understanding the impact of financial support – Our research to understand the impact of financial support has led to significant change, with over 57 per cent of institutions from the access agreement analysis using the financial support toolkit developed through this work.
Relationship building – 88 per cent of survey respondents described having a close working relationship with OFFA, which was seen as positive and important for effective regulation. Interviewees from further education colleges (FECs) reported feeling more distant from OFFA, explaining that they don’t consider a close relationship with OFFA to be necessary, but would like opportunities to share and discuss best practice with other FECs.
A sea change – Interviewees reported that OFFA has had a positive impact on the sector, with one describing OFFA creating a “sea change”. This is borne out by access agreement analysis which demonstrates a significant increase in evaluative activity within institutions: only 10 per cent of access agreements in 2013-14 mentioned an evaluation framework, which had risen to 57 per cent in 2018-19. However, interviewees widely acknowledged that evidence and evaluation are not yet embedded into the work of the sector and require further support and intervention from the regulator. Many did not believe that the evaluative work would continue at the same level without the commitment and support from OFFA.
Recommendations – The review has provided valuable learning for OFFA as the current fair access regulator, which we hope will be developed by the OfS as the incoming regulator. We encourage the OfS to:
- consider all their communications with the sector to ensure that they are both challenging and supportive
- engage with groups of institutions to work together and share best practice, research and evidence
- ensure that research and evaluation tools are accessible for different types of institution and different staff within an institution (for example, those who do not have a research background)
- continue to commission research and evaluative studies, using their understanding of the sector alongside their work with government to identify areas for research and evaluation.
- ensure they widely publicise the conferences and events they contribute to and organise.
We hope that institutions will:
- celebrate the work they do and work together to keep sharing excellent practice
- continue to engage with widening participation policy makers
- continue to invest in their widening participation staff
- be part of future research
- be their own champions for the importance of widening participation in their own institutions and across the sector.
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JANE FORSTER | SARAH CARTER
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Coming to the Centre for Qualitative Research Seminar series
Wednesday 11 April 1pm
Royal London House 208.
Mark you diaries now!
We are running an exciting Speed Collaboration session on Thursday 22 March, starting at 11.30 and including a networking lunch. It is part of a stimulating Interdisciplinary Research Week program starting next week.
Comments about Speed collaboration/networking events from all over the world:
“It was kind of fun, it was kind of light, it wasn’t highly pressured… It was just ‘Lets see if we can make a connection and then take it further if we need to’.”
“What appealed to me about speed networking was the opportunity to meet a lot of people within a short space of time.”
On 31 January 2018, I attended a Speed networking event run by Innovate UK in London to see what the fuss is all about. They have gone for the structure where there are 5 Challenge Proposers – Siemens, Deloitte, European Space Agency, Jaguar Land Rover and Reed Smith. The Proposers list their challenges and organisations (about 30 reps attended) apply to pitch their ideas to each Proposer. The Proposers are set up in 5 tables and each organisation is given 5 minutes to present. The Hostess rings a bell and they have to move on to the next Proposer.
There was fantastic energy and buzz floating around; and I can feel that definite connections were made. Attend our RKEO Speed Collaboration event and you will find out for yourself how we will be running it and what you can take away from it.
You have to be in it, to win it! A last comment to leave you with:
“It’s a research project that may never have come together, or at least come together as quickly, if it hadn’t been for the speed-networking event. The bottom line is, if you don’t meet people, you will never find someone who can find you new information and a new vision. Breakthroughs can only happen if you acknowledge you don’t know everything.”
All you have to do to book your place is to click here and see what happens next!
Closing date: 16:00 on 4 April 2018
NERC invites applications to join a scoping group that will develop the science case for a potential large strategic research programme on Earth system plastics.
The overarching aim is to provide an understanding of the pathways and fate of plastics in the environment.
Potential research questions include:
- What is the nature and scale of plastic sources to the Earth system?
- What are the main pathways of plastics across the Earth system? What are the potential stocks and flows of plastic between terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems? What are the key physical, chemical and ecological mechanisms that control fate, behaviour, concentration, decomposition, distribution, and transport over various time scales?
- Across their entire life-cycle, how are different types of plastics modified physically, chemically and biologically? What environmental processes promote their degradation or fragmentation? At what point, if any, do plastics no longer interact with the environment and cease to present a risk to the biosphere?
- At which points in the cycle might interventions be effective, and which interventions are most appropriate? How can science and industry collaborate to deliver some of these interventions? What is the environmental impact of plastic alternatives?
The SPA will support research on pathways and fate of a range of plastic types, shapes and sizes to gain a comprehensive picture of the behaviour of plastics in the environment to ensure that effective interventions are developed.
Applications are invited from individuals wishing to join the scoping group that will develop the science case for consideration by NERC.
Please click here for further details on the background, details of the scoping group meeting, and how to apply via their online registration form by 16:00 4 April 2018.
On Thursday BU will host Sam Gyimah, the Minister for Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, for a question and answer event. This is an amazing opportunity for students and staff to directly question the Minister on HE and wider political matters.
This event forms part of Sam’s tour to a handful of universities. Entry to the event is by (free) ticket only. At the time of blogging approximately 50 tickets were still available.
Click here to book your ticket and for more details go to.
The event is being held in KG01 on the Talbot Campus on Thursday 15 March from 17:45-19:30.
Nibbles and refreshments will be available at the end of the event.
Tweeting and sharing on social media is encouraged!
Around 80 students took part in BU’s third annual undergraduate research conference: Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE). The conference is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates and recent graduates to share their work and develop their presentation skills. This year’s contributions reflected the breadth and depth of outstanding undergraduate research taking place across BU.
The conference allows students to present their work to peers, academics staff and attendees from external organisations. As well as demonstrating their academic successes, it enables students to see the real world application of their work and develop potential cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Dr Mary Beth Gouthro, co-chair of the conference, said: “The quality of the undergraduate research underway across all our faculties is testament to the potential of our students, and the professionalism and expertise of the staff that support them. SURE is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of our undergraduates, showcasing their academic progress and provides encouragement into the next steps in their careers.”
As part of SURE, two BU academics shared their own research with the student presenters and conference attendees. Professor of Behavioural Ecology Amanda Korstjens delivered a session on ‘Interdisciplinary approaches to conservation’ encouraging students to look outside their disciplines to build better practice when conserving wildlife and natural habitats. Associate Professor Richard Berger presented progress made into his research on ‘MediaLitRefYouth’, a 2 year EU funded project which seeks to understand the lives of unaccompanied refugee children across Europe. Both of these keynotes provided students the ability to reflect the power and reach of academic research combines with real world applications to help improve lives, for the better.
There were a number of prize winners as part of the conference, including £30 amazon vouchers for best posters, 4 funded spots to participate at BCUR 2018 for one student from each faculty. The overall winner, Andrew Watt, has been offered a Masters fee waiver.
Winner of the prize for best overall contribution, Andrew Watt, commented, “It feels pretty exciting, I didn’t expect it. My presentation was about how fallers and non-fallers in the elderly differ from a bio-mechanical perspective, which is pretty niche. I found the feedback I received from my presentation were positive and it was good practice to have some difficult questions, especially for this next conference.”
“I’ve had several lecturers who weren’t at the conference contacting me to say congratulations. I think my lecturers are just really proud of the physiotherapy students who presented. It’s great that they are so supportive.”
More details about the conference can be found on the SURE 2018 website.
|FM winner||Claudia Wilkin|
|FST winner||David Hurst|
Best poster, demonstration or art installation:
|HSS winner||Thilo Reich|
|FST winner||Stelian Tsekov|
|FM winner||Dan Pryke|
|FMC winner||Kate Edge|
Best original research via oral presentation:
|HSS winner||Andrew Watt|
|FST winner||Isobel Hunt|
|FM winner||Atanas Nikolaev|
|FMC winner||Bethan Stevenson|
Best overall contribution:
|Masters Fee Waiver||Andrew Watt|
NERC introduced demand management measures in 2012. These were revised in 2015 to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme. Full details can be found in the BU policy document for NERC demand management measures at: http://intranetsp.bournemouth.ac.uk/policy/BU Policy for NERC Demand Management Measures.docx.
As at March 2015, BU has been capped at one application per standard grant round. The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators). An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the Principal Investigator of the lead or component grant.
As a result, BU has introduced a process for determining which application will be submitted to each NERC Standard Grant round. This will take the form of an internal competition, which will include peer review. The next available standard grant round is July 2018. The process for selecting an application for this round can be found in the process document here – the deadline for internal Expressions of Interest (EoI) which will be used to determine which application will be submitted is 28th March 2018. The EoI form can be found here: I:\R&KEO\Public\NERC Demand Management 2018.
NERC have advised that where a research organisation submits more applications to any round than allowed under the cap, NERC will office-reject any excess applications, based purely on the time of submission through the Je-S system (last submitted = first rejected). However, as RKEO submit applications through Je-S on behalf of applicants, RKEO will not submit any applications that do not have prior agreement from the internal competition.
Following the internal competition, the Principal Investigator will have access to support from RKEO, and will work closely with the Research Facilitator and Funding Development Officers to develop the application. Access to external bid writers will also be available.
If an EoI is not selected to be submitted as an application, the Principal Investigator can appeal to Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Any appeals must be submitted within ten working days of the original decision. All appeals will be considered within ten working days of receipt.
Please contact Rachel Clarke, RKEO Research Facilitator – firstname.lastname@example.org or Jo Garrad, RKEO Funding Development Manager – email@example.com if you wish to submit an expression of interest.
Grants in the Humanities & Social Sciences – 09:00 – 12:00
Building the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Proposal – 13:30 – 16:30
Both sessions will also be useful for those who do not consider themselves within these disciplines.
BU academic staff and PGRs can book to attend or turn up in time for the starting times of 09:00 and 13:30, but you will not be able to partake in the refreshments or networking lunch as the numbers for this have already been finalised. The event is taking place in FG04 with priority being given to those who have already registered.
On Wednesday 7 March 2018 the Doctoral College hosted the 10th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference which was a huge success with lots of positive feedback from students and staff alike. We are happy to announce the category winners below. Well done to everyone who took part!
1st Prize Mark Stevens (Advancing a social identity approach to understanding physical activity: preliminary evidence from parkrun, Faculty of Management)
2nd Prize Stephen Allard (The intimate masses: poetry and emerging new concepts of ‘Netiquette’ in online environments, Faculty of Media and Communication)
3rd Prize Louise Oliver (Child-parent-violence and abuse: lifting the veil of secrecy, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
1st Prize Giulia Levi (Between silence and agitation – coping strategies and third-party interventions in divided societies: a comparison between post-conflict Bosnia and post-referendum UK, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
2nd Prize Amal Musa Almoualed (Saudi women journalists – an exploration of their roles and practices in an age of social media, Faculty of Media and Communication)
3rd Prize Ejike T. Ezeh (Shared decision-making: web-based information tool to support treatment choices of people with advanced pancreatic cancer, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Winner Nurist S. Ulfa (The paradox of Muslim girl’s freedom of experimentation in girl games: when the digital virtual consumption practices and the religious norms are predominantly discordant, Faculty of Media and Communication)
We would also like to say a special thank you to the following people for their invaluable contribution to the day.
Professor John Fletcher, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Innovation (Office of the Vice-Chancellor)
Professor Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis & Disaster Management (Faculty of Management)
Guest Speakers – Deputy Deans for Research & Professional Practice
Professor Vanora Hundley (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Professor Michael Silk (Faculty of Management)
Professor Iain MacRury (Faculty of Media and Communication)
Professor Tiantian Zhang (Faculty of Science and Technology)
Clare Gordon (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Sara Glithro (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Ella Onyinye Ejime (Faculty of Management)
Duncan Ki-Aries (Faculty of Science and Technology)
Judging Panel – Oral Presentations
Professor Alison McConnell (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Dr Sue Way (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Dr Vanessa Heaslip (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Professor Adam Blake (Faculty of Management)
Dr Daniel Lock (Faculty of Management)
Dr Einar Thorsen (Faculty of Media and Communication)
Professor Marcin Budka (Faculty of Science and Technology)
Judging Panel – Poster and Photography Exhibition
Jane Healy (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences)
Professor George Filis (Faculty of Management)
Professor Candida Yates (Faculty of Media and Communication)
Dr Christos Gatzidis (Faculty of Science and Technology)
The UK Literacy Association (UKLA) has selected four books to be shortlisted for the 2018 Academic Book Award, including Dr John Potter (University College London) and BU Professor Julian McDougall’s book Digital Media, Culture and Education, Theorising Third Space Literacies (Palgrave Macmillan).
“We were delighted to be shortlisted,” says Professor McDougall, “The UKLA is an organisation we have both engaged with for many years and value highly. The award is really prestigious so it’s exciting and great to find out that the field you are writing with and for has received the book so well. And we’re in really good company in the shortlist!”
This book provides a critical commentary on key issues around learning in the digital age in both formal and informal educational settings, addressing the concept of third space literacies. It speaks to a range of readers, extending their knowledge and understanding of media literay and how technology can enhance educational practice and learner development.
“We wrote the book to address the lack of a meeting point between these fields – literacies, media and education, as this comes up again and again, especially when we look at PhDs in particular,” says McDougall. “Examiners often ask researchers where exactly their project sits in and across these areas, so we wanted to have a go at joining them up but also clearly come at this from two very established approaches – literacies and cultural studies.”
The winner of this year’s Academic Book Award will be announced at the UKLA International Conference in Cardiff which takes place on 6 July – 8 July 2018. The shortlist was chosen by UKLA Membership and Awards committee, and the final panel will be chaired by Professor Morag Styles (Homerton College, University of Cambridge).
This monthly update is for PGRs and their supervisors to outline upcoming research skills and development opportunities including events, workshops and networking opportunities supported by the Doctoral College. In this update we would like to promote the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT®) event, R.E.D talks, the Researcher Development Programme for 2017-18, and the 10th Annual Postgraduate Conference.
We are very happy to announce that 10th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference is taking place today. The conference will see PGR students, academics and other colleges from across BU come together to celebrate the diverse and exciting research being undertaken. More information about the day will be sent over the next week.
Don’t forget to check out the Doctoral College Facebook page.
We would like to invite you to the latest research seminar of the Centre for Games and Music Technology Research.
Title: Subjective Evaluation of High-Fidelity Virtual Environments for Driving Simulations
Speaker: Dr Carlo Harvey
Birmingham City University
Date: Wednesday 14 March 2018
Room: PG10 (Poole House)
Virtual environments (VEs) grant the ability to experience real-world scenarios, such as driving, in a virtual, safe, and reproducible context. However, to achieve their full potential, the fidelity of the VEs must provide confidence that it replicates the perception of the real-world experience. The computational cost of simulating real-world visuals accurately means that compromises to the fidelity of the visuals must be made. This talk presents a subjective evaluation of driving in a VE at different quality settings. Participants (n = 44) were driven around in the real world and in a purposely built representative VE and the fidelity of the graphics and overall experience at low-, medium-, and high-visual settings were analysed. Low quality corresponds to the illumination in many current traditional simulators, medium to a higher quality using accurate shadows and reflections, and high to the quality experienced in modern movies and simulations that require hours of computation. Results demonstrate that graphics quality affects the perceived fidelity of the visuals and the overall experience. When judging the overall experience, participants could tell the difference between the lower quality graphics and the rest but did not significantly discriminate between the medium and higher graphical settings. This indicates that future driving simulators should improve the quality, but once the equivalent of the presented medium quality is reached, they may not need to do so significantly.
We hope to see you there.
Two NERC funding calls have been released. One is a pre-announcement so please do look out for the announcement if you’re interested in this call.
NERC is launching a new annual scheme, the Global Partnerships Seedcorn Fund, to support UK environmental science researchers to establish new collaborations with international partners. This scheme replaces NERC’s International Opportunities Fund (IOF).
The Global Partnerships Seedcorn Fund will support UK environmental science researchers to develop new, ‘best with best’ international partnerships and networks, which underpin the development of long-term collaborations.
Key features of the scheme are:
- Standard NERC principal investigator eligibility rules apply. New investigators, who may not already have international research partners, are encouraged to apply.
- A single level of grant up to £100,000 (100% full economic cost) over two years, with a total annual budget of £1 million.
- One or more international project partners are mandatory.
- Proposals will be directly evaluated by an assessment panel of independent academic experts.
- An announcement of opportunity will be published annually in March and close in early May. Funding decisions will be made in July with awards to start from September.
Proposal deadline: 16:00 on 17 April 2018
Interview dates: 12, 13 & 14 June 2018
NERC wishes to award a number of Open Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowships. The NERC Open Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowships are intended to enable the sharing and flow of knowledge and expertise between the NERC funded researchers and their user communities with the aim of generating impact from NERC funded research. KE Fellows work between 20% and 80% of their time on a work plan of their own choosing to generate impact from NERC-funded research in their host institution. The KE Fellowships will cover 100% of the Fellow’s salary on a pro-rata basis including superannuation, NI and specific allowances, plus up to £40,000 for travel and other associated costs. They cover direct costs only and do not include overheads. There is no budget limit for salary costs and applications are particularly welcomed from individuals who are working at a senior level within a department or school. The KE Fellow must be employed by their host institution for the duration of their fellowship.
If selected for interview, the applicant will be asked to give a 10 minute presentation followed by 35 minutes of questions from a panel of up to four people. In addition, the applicant’s head of department (or, if the head of department is the applicant, then a more senior individual) is expected to join the interview in person or by telephone to provide a strategic overview of the work. Success rates appear to be the same regardless of whether the supporter appears in person or telephones in.
Further information including supporting documentation can be found here.
If you are interested in applying, please inform your RKEO Funding Development Officer in the first instance.
The key message for UK-based researchers seeking to apply for Horizon 2020 funding is:
The UK Government encourages the UK research and innovation (R&I) community to continue applying for Horizon 2020 funding and participating in Horizon 2020 projects because:
● Until our departure from the EU, we remain a Member State, with all the rights and obligations that entails. This means that UK entities are eligible to participate in all aspects of the Horizon 2020 programme while we remain a member of the EU.
● The UK and the EU fully intend UK entities’ eligibility in Horizon 2020 to remain unchanged for the duration of the programme, as set out in the Joint Report. This includes eligibility to participate in all Horizon 2020 projects and to receive Horizon 2020 funding for the lifetime of projects.
● The Government’s underwrite guarantee remains in place in the event that commitments made in the Joint Report are not met.
The UK Research Office (UKRO), to which BU subscribes, worked closely with BEIS in the preparation of this report and is updating their own FAQs and related documents. If you have not already registered to access their services and to receive UKRO announcements, you are encouraged to do so, to keep fully up to date with developments. UKRO also invites queries and comments from subscribers, as these are vital to inform the development of future guidance.
If you are considering developing your international research portfolio, please contact your faculty’s research facilitator.