Category / Research news

Reminder of BU’s Bridging Fund Scheme for researchers

Golden gate Bridge wallpaperIn summer 2015 we launched the new BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who continue to rely heavily on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation sometimes impacts negatively on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The new Bridging Fund Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) aconcordat to support the career development of researchersvoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

This is a great step forward for BU and for BU’s researchers and is an action from our EC HR Excellence in Research Award which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (further information is available here:

2 weeks left to get your Festival of Learning proposal in!

The deadline for proposals for the Festival of Learning is 31st January. Proposals cannot be submitted beyond this date. We want to be able to showcase the best of what we do here at BU, which means we are looking for proposals from as many colleagues as possible. If you have not submitted a proposal as yet, there is still time – just!

Think of an idea for an event that demonstrates your research – will it be innovating and interesting to members of the public? Watch our video from 2015 for some inspiration.

  1. Decide if you want your event to be a bookable event that people can sign up for or whether you’d like a run a stall or drop in activity instead (i.e. an activity based on passing traffic rather than pre-bookings)
  2. Consider who you want to be your target audience (adults, families, businesses etc.)
  3. Consider whether your event meets the Festivals objectives, what you plan to do during the event, how it will appeal to your intended audience and what your attendees will get out of attending the event.
  4. Complete the Festival of Learning event application before January 31st 2016: see here (We are unable to accept late proposals due to the tight turn around between the call closing and review by the panel.)

If you would like to discuss an idea in more detail, please call/ email Naomi Kay (Public Engagement Officer) 61342/ or click here for more detailed information about submitting a proposal.

– See more at:

Puzzles and ambassadors

Deadline Soon – 2016 Celebrating Impact Prize

2016 Celebrating Impact Prize

  • Open to all ESRC projects – excluding previously winning projects
  • Previously unsuccessful entrants welcome to resubmit
  • Prior winners may also submit new research impacts
  • Streamlined application process
  • £60,000 total prize money available

Now in its fourth year, the Celebrating Impact Prize is an annual opportunity to recognise and reward ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved, or are currently achieving, outstanding economic and societal impacts. It celebrates outstanding ESRC research and success in collaborative working, partnerships, interdisciplinary projects, engagement and knowledge exchange activities that have led to significant impact.

They particularly welcome interdisciplinary projects, those involving the use of big data resources or infrastructure, and impacts from institutions submitting for the first time.

The 2016 Celebrating Impact Prize has six categories, each representing areas covered by the ESRC; with sole winners in each category receiving £10,000 to further support their research or further impact activities.

In addition to the cash value of the prize, winners are invited to attend a prestigious ceremony held in June 2016 and to join a community of world-leading researchers and policy makers collectively championing the vital role research plays in shaping society and tackling global challenges.

The call for applicants closes Friday 29th January 2016 at 3pm.

Interested parties should read the following information, and submit their work for consideration via the ESRC forms on impact prize page

Submissions may be considered within the following categories, and applicants are welcome to apply to up to three categories per project, filling out a separate application for each:

Outstanding Impact in Business

This prize will recognise outstanding research which has brought about impact with business. This could include a direct benefit to an individual business through innovation or direct change in practice or management structures, or through skills and training. It could also include benefits to a range of businesses as to how a common challenge might be addressed, with evidence of take up. Entries should be supported by evidence of the business benefit.

Outstanding Impact in Public Policy

This prize will recognise research that has contributed to the development of UK public policy, at the local, regional or national government level. This could include direct changes in policy or changes to how decision-makers view issues. Entries should be supported by evidence that the research has been taken up and used by policymakers.

Outstanding Impact in Society

This award will recognise research that has made a contribution benefiting society more widely or a specific group of the public. This could include impacts from working with local or community groups, charities or the wider society. Entries should be supported by evidence that the research has made a difference.

Outstanding International Impact

This award will recognise research that has achieved impact at an international level across countries in business, policy or societal issues. Applicants to the Outstanding International category must demonstrate collaboration across multiple countries. Applicants whose research occurs within the same country as the resultant impact are ineligible for this category and should consider the above categories only.

Outstanding Early Career Impact

This award will recognise student researchers who have achieved or show potential in achieving outstanding impacts in any of the above categories. Applications are welcome from current students and those who have submitted their thesis within the last three years.

Impact Champion

This prize will recognise an individual who has a significant personal track record in supporting and enabling others to achieve impact. The nominated individual could be: an advocate of innovative approaches and behaviours; and/or mentor and inspire others to collaborate and co-produce research for maximum impact. The nominated individual does not have to be an academic and may be working in an administrative role within a centre, department, school, or university. Applications are welcome from anyone who wishes to nominate an ESRC-supported individual.

Information on previous Winners, their research, impact case studies, FAQs and the event may be found here.

For further information please contact:

ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize team
Ed Vollans, Impact Prize Communications Officer
Susie Watts, Deputy Head of Communications
Telephone: 01793 414697


What is BU doing to support research staff?

EC HR Excellence in Research Award logoIn January 2013 BU was awarded the HR Excellence in Research Award from the European Commission in acknowledgement of our progress to date and commitment to further improving alignment between BU policy and practice and the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. As the number of research staff employed at BU continues to grow, the embedding of the principles of the Concordat becomes even more important.

As part of the award, BU has an externally approved action plan to strengthen support for research staff and their managers. The action plan is reviewed regularly by the Research Concordat Steering Group.

Achievements to date include:

Giving research staff a valued voice:

  • The BU Research Staff Association (RSA) was launched in autumn 2014 to provide research staff with a forum to discuss issues linked to the implementation of the Concordat. The RSA chairs (Marcellus Mbah and Michelle Heward) are planning wider engagement activities for 2015-16, including establishing the RSA as an informal network to share learning/experiences as well as developing a seminar series for BU researchers to showcase their work.
  • The formal membership of URKEC, which reports into Senate, has included a research staff representative as an established member since January 2013. From autumn 2015 the Faculty RKE Committees have included the local implementation of the Concordat in their remit and a research staff representative as an established member.
  • Research staff are increasingly provided with opportunities for undertaking public engagement activities. For example, the lightning talks event at the Festival of Learning 2015 featured presentations from eight research staff and one PGR to c. 25 attendees (average event score of 8.3/10, with 10 being excellent). The concept has now been developed for BU staff and students with one event taking place each term. The format is being developed for the FoL 2016 and other public engagement events.
  • BU took part in the national Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) and Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) in 2013 and again in 2015. The results have been shared with RCSG, URKEC, DDESG, Faculty RKE Committees, etc.


concordat to support the career development of researchersProviding research staff with greater job stability:

  • The BU Bridging Fund Scheme was launched in August 2015. It permits the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU for whom no other source of funding is yet available.
  • The mandatory recruitment and selection training has been updated to include reference to giving due consideration to the wider skill set of researchers including transferable skills and attributes. The aim is to ensure that researchers are given the best opportunity to advance their career.


Improvements to the procedures and support for research staff:

  • Induction processes and resources have been significantly improved. The ‘New to BU’ webpages now include a specific section on support available to researchers. The Academic Career Development Programme now identifies three induction events for new staff, including the RKE Induction to which all new academic and research staff are invited. All new research staff and their managers receive information about the Concordat, RSA, etc. soon after joining BU.

Proposed New Research Centre: Centre for Social and Cultural Research

social researchExpressions of Interest sought:

A new interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary Research Centre is proposed by Professor Ann Brooks, Prof of Sociology and Head of Research and Professional Practice in the Department of Social Sciences and Social Work (HSS). The Centre has already attracted academic colleagues from across BU and is designed to encourage the building of research synergies across different disciplinary areas.

The aims of the new Centre are as follows:

  • To offer an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary Research Centre, to include social and cultural fields of research from across the Faculty and cross-Faculty, to develop research synergies and provide a productive and dynamic research culture;
  • To provide for a wide range of methodologies that address both theoretical and applied areas of research that contribute to building a platform for a range of research collaborations, publications, grant funding, conferences and consultancy;
  • To provide an inclusive intellectual forum for research across social and cultural spheres providing national and international outreach for networking building on established relationships;


The range of research areas covered by the proposed new Centre to date includes:

  • Gender based areas of research covering the media, women’s history,  education, health, social work and emotional labour (among other areas);
  • Emotions, intimacy and relationship analysis from a social and psychotherapeutic perspective, including emotional vulnerabilities and emotions and social change;
  • Physical and mental health around the concept of stigma;
  • Protection and safeguarding in social work and social care
  • Media based research including historically based research on women and the media. Media and popular culture;
  • Psychological and cross-cultural aspects of consumer behaviour and experience in tourism and leisure;
  • Cultural and social deprivation in sociological and social work research;
  • Citizenship, education and social diversity and marginalisation;
  • Academia, public intellectuals, HE policy debates. Research positions in academia.


The wide range of research interests will provide colleagues with opportunities to participate in events locally, regionally and nationally and provide opportunities to work collaboratively with colleagues who may be located in different faculties.

Expressions of Interest in the proposed new Research Centre are welcome. Please contact Prof Ann Brooks:

Mental health & maternity care in Nepal: THET-funded training

group work NawalparasiIMG_6649

A few days I posted a short report of our first session as part of the THET-funded project ‘Mental Health Training for Community-based Maternity Providers in Nepal’, see this previous post here.  Yesterday we completed the final third day training of the first session of this BU-led project.  Over three days we had 70 ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwives) in attendance, which we think is (nearly) all such staff based in all birthing centres in the district (=province).  The three days were the same, i.e. each session was repeated twice so each day one third of the ANMs could attend, and two-third could be at work in the birthing centre ensuring women could deliver safely.

logo THETAs part of this project we send UK volunteers (health and/or education) experts to Nepal to offer high quality training in areas where it is most needed.  Further detail on this BU-led THET project can be found in our scientific paper Mental health issues in pregnant women in Nepal  published in the Nepal Journal of Epidemiology available through Open Access.  Mental illness is still very much a taboo topic in Nepal as it has often a serious stigma attached to it.  Moreover, the relatively short training of ANMs is often fairly basic and the national curriculum does not cover mental health issues in any detail.  This joint project between Bournemouth University, Liverpool John Mooores University, Tribhuvan University and the local charity Green Tata Nepal addresses issues about mental health in general and in pregnant women and new mothers in particular.  Tribhuvan University is the oldest university in Nepal and one of the ten largest universities in the world (based on student numbers).  The project is multi-disciplinary involving midwives, (mental health) nurses, and doctors as well as global health researchers, educationalists and sociologists.


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen




Seminar: “Performative Social Science: What it is, What it isn’t, and What it has become”

zoie rosie

Drs. Zoe Pool and Rosie Read appear in an AHRC film produced at BU
entitled, “Social Science Discovering its Muse” 2006.


Royal London House 301, Lansdowne Campus

Wednesday 20 January 1pm – 2pm

“Performative Social Science”:

What it is, What it isn’t, and What it has become”

Dr Kip Jones, Reader in Performative Social Science, Presenter

Faculties of Health & Social Sciences and Media & Communication

“Performative Social Science” was a term first coined by Norman Denzin in 2001, the year that Kip Jones received his PhD and began to explore new ways to communicate Social Science findings to wider audiences.

What is Performative Social Science (PSS) then, Art or Science? It isn’t one or the other. It is enriching the ways in which Social Science subjects might be researched and/or findings disseminated or communicated to various communities. Ideally, audiences should be almost unaware of the seams where practitioners have cobbled together in-depth, substantial scholarship with artistic endeavor. PSS is defined as the use of tools from the Arts or Humanities in investigating and/or disseminating Social Science research.

The Seminar will explore Jones’ journey from early productions produced on his PC in his bedsit, to gatherings (physical and virtual) of like-minded academics (Illustrated above), to the production of a major short film based in solid qualitative research methods including auto-ethnography, and back again to ‘kitchen sink’ work, producing creative productions which inform his future efforts.

All faculty and students at Bournemouth University are welcome.


The Research Lifecycle

If you haven’t checked out the BU Research Lifecycle yet then you most definitely should! Our Research Lifecycle diagram is a jazzy interactive part of the BU Research Blog that shows the support and initiatives that are available to staff and students at each stage of the research lifecycle. The information is general enough so as to apply to all disciplines and you can use it to organize and identify the many activities involved in your research. You can explore the Research Lifecycle to find information on how to get started with:

1. Developing your research strategy

2. Developing your proposal

3. The research process

4. Publication and dissemination

5. Impact

RKEO will be adding to the Research Lifecycle to ensure it always contains the most up to date information to support you with planning, organising and undertaking your research.

You can access the diagram from the links in this post or from the menu bar that appears on all screens in the Research Blog.

New Forest Digi Arch Weekend

DigiArchThe New Forest Digi Arch Weekend is taking place this weekend at:

New Forest Centre,
10AM – 4PM
16 – 17 January 2016


The event is looking at the use of technology to interpreted and understand the archaeology of the New Forest, the event is targeted at all ages who may have an interest in Archaeology and new technologies.


The event will show case methods of interactively experiencing immersive augmented reality worlds and feature virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites environments and 3D printed landscapes that have been created by staff and students of Bournemouth University within the Departments of Creative Technology, Archaeology, Anthropology & Forensic Science, and Life & Environmental Science.


More details can be found here: .

2016 Geovation Challenge – ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’


Competition offering cash prizes for the most innovative ideas that can be turned into a commercial success. The 2016 Geovation Challenge question is ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’

Funding body:                      Ordnance Survey
Maximum value:                  £ 20,000
Application deadline:          27/01/2016
Location:                               United Kingdom


The Geovation Challenge was initiated, funded and managed by Ordnance Survey. Its current collaborators include Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, OCG, Springwise and United Utilities.

Objectives of Fund

The GeoVation Challenge aims to encourage open collaboration in addressing communities’ needs where geography is a key enabler. Open innovation, data, tools and information can be combined to create new ventures which generate social and environmental value.

The current GeoVation Challenge is focused on tackling the global issues around water. The Geovation Challenge question is ‘How can we improve water use in Britain sustainably?

Value Notes

The Programme is divided into two parts:

  • Part one (phases one to three over a period of six months) provides a total of £10,000 in funding.
  • Part two (for those who successfully deliver a prototype at the end of this and move on to phase four which is another six months on the Programme) provides an additional £10,000 in funding.

Funding will be given during each of the phases to progress the idea to the next level.

Those who are successful at phase four will receive help in seeking extra funding so that they have more than one source of investment and can move toward product launch.

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding is not a specified requirement.

 Who Can Apply

The Challenge is open to UK based organisations and residents over 18 years of age. This includes community groups, entrepreneurs, developers, innovators and local authorities.

Those who join the Programme will be expected to spend a minimum of 20 hours per week working on their project and attending core workshops at the Geovation Hub in London.


The following cannot enter the competition:

  • Members of the civil service.
  • Individuals involved in the administration of the GeoVation Awards Programme.

Eligible Expenditure

This year’s GeoVation Challenge is focused on tackling the global issues around water.

Ideas must help address the GeoVation Challenge question: ‘How can we better manage water in Britain, sustainably?’

The Geovation Water Challenge is focusing on five themes:

  • Too little water.
  • Too much water.
  • Poor water quality.
  • Ageing infrastructure.
  • Water use behaviour.

How To Apply


The deadine for submission is 27 January 2016.

Frequency: Biannual

Link to guidelines:

Useful Links


Geovation Challenge 2015: Water

Useful Contacts

Ordnance Survey
Urban Innovation Centre
1 Sekforde Street
Clerkenwell Green


If you are interested please contact the funding development team within RKEO.




RKEO faculty-facing staff – when and where?

RKEO has a number of posts that directly support colleagues in the Faculties with bid preparation and submission and the post-award management of grants and contracts. These staff members spend approximately 50% of their time based in the Faculty offices. Information on when and where you can expect to find them when they are working in your Faculty is available here on the Research Blog here:

Lessons from Bowie – being a successful researcher

david bowieThe world today mourns the sad loss of David Bowie, thought of across the world as a legendary artist and performer. Part of this mourning involves a reflection on what it was that made David Bowie legendary. In doing so there are a number of parrallels with the world of research:

1. Being a pioneer and challenging the status quo – In the early days Bowie was a pioneer of glam rock and is considered to have joint responsibility with Marc Bolan for creating the genre. In doing so he recognised the lack of progression in rock music and challenged it by creating something new. John Peel said of the era, “The one distinguishing feature about early-70s progressive rock was that it didn’t progress. Before Bowie came along, people didn’t want too much change.”

Bowie’s lesson for research: change is a good thing and breeds creativity and new ways of thinking. Ensure your research contributes and progresses the field.

2. Interdisciplinarity – Bowie didn’t just pioneer glam rock; he also inspired the innovators of punk rock and pop music, amonsgt other genres. Biographer Thomas Forget said, “Because he has succeeded in so many different styles of music, it is almost impossible to find a popular artist today that has not been influenced by David Bowie.” He took his influences from many different sources and genres, melted them together and made new genres. He also moved seamlessly between genres. He worked collaboratively with musicians from across the musical spectrum including Bing Crosby, John Lennon, Queen, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Lenny Kravitz, etc. This enabled him to stay ahead of the crowd, move things forward and be considered an influential thought-leader across many genres.

Bowie’s lesson for research: take your influences from a multitude of different sources and disciplines and work collaboratively with colleagues from other fields.

3. Creativity – He reinvented himself, his music and his style numerous times to stay ahead of the pack and standout as unique and niche, and was described by many as a ‘one of a kind’. This creativity combined with an interdisciplinary approach and a challenge of the status quo enabled him to stay fresh and appealling throughout a career that spanned several decades. Bowie has become known as a ‘musical chameleon’, changing and dictating trends as much as he has altered his style to fit, influencing fashion and pop culture. He therefore brought innovation to music, style, fashion and ways of thinking.

Bowie’s lesson for research: ensure your ideas are creative and truly innovative. Ensure your idea hasn’t been researched before and will deliver something new to academic thinking and/or society.

4. Standing out from the crowd – The combination of the above resulted in Bowie standing out from the crowd. His work was recognisable, respected and on step ahead of other musicians. This increased his popularity and resulted in significant increases in the number of records sold.

Bowie’s lesson for research: when submitting a research proposal it will be in competition with many other proposals – ensure it is original, well-crafted and memorable. This will increase its appeal and its likelihood of being funded.

5. Inspired by current affairs and had a vision for future trends – Throughout his career Bowie was influenced by current affairs of the day and used these as mechanisms to shape his music and style (either through accepting them or challenging them) and to boost his popularity and success. He was also able to set the scene for future trends by staying one step ahead of the game.

Bowie’s lesson for research: keep abreast of current affairs as research funding often follows what is big in the news. Be willing to shape your research focus and ideas as a result of this. For example, the ebola crisis resulted in significant funding being made available for research into ebola, infectious diseases, disaster management, etc.

6. Get people on board – All of this enabled Bowie to sell his music, style and vision to millions of people, to influence individuals, groups, generations and genres.

Bowie’s lesson for research: research topics that are meaningful to people and society and ensure your research is done ethically. Consider the potential impact of your research to both academic and society when drafting research proposals.

RIP David Bowie.

STFC Public Engagement Fellowship Scheme 2016 – Open for applications

The 2016 round of the STFC Public Engagement Fellowships scheme is open for applications. The closing date is Thursday 25th February 2016 at 4.00pm

The  Public Engagement Fellowship scheme aims to support the very best people in STFC’s community to undertake extended programmes of the highest-quality, innovative public engagement as a core part of their job role. The Fellowships purchase a proportion of a researcher’s time to enable them to concentrate more on public engagement activities which will have a significant national or regional impact. For details about the scheme please contact the  STFC Public Engagement Team or please see the website for more details:

BU helps secure Wellcome Trust Seed Award

The heart of an insect.

The heart of an insect.

A £100,000 Wellcome Trust Seed Award has been granted to fund a project using fruit flies (Drosophila) to examine an important yet poorly understood aspect of human heart physiology.

The heart senses and adapts to its own highly dynamic mechanical environment. This environment changes beat-by-beat, as well as over longer timescales, due to altered physiology or as a consequence of disease. Failure to detect and adjust cardiac performance accordingly is associated with arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. The mechanism for this adaptation is not known.

The goal is to study the cellular and molecular basis of this mechanism using the Drosophila heart as a simple model. Preliminary data obtained for an Honours project suggests that stretch-activated mechanosensitive ion channels are key components.

Research supported by Paul Hartley’s lab here at Bournemouth University and led by Dr Barry Denholm (University of Edinburgh) will investigate the hypothesis that these channels provide a direct link to convert physical force (stretch of the cardiac tissue) into biochemical signal (ion flux), which in turn regulates heart physiology and function (contractility).

Careers guidance resources for researchers

careerIn October we launched a suite of careers guidance resources for researchers and their managers. The resources include detailed guidance on how to progress from a research career to an academic career as well as information for PhD students on postdoctoral research positions. There is also information on other career pathways including administration/management within HE and research careers outside of HE. The resources have been enhanced over the past few months and now include a number of case studies for different career pathways.

Research Photography Competition

Hello !

The entries to this year’s Research Photography Competition are still open for a short time !

Can you convey your research through an image?

We are looking for academics and postgraduates to tell the story of their research through a photograph, which can be used to inspire current BU undergraduates.

All submitted images will be showcased on the BU website late 2015, where staff and students will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite image/s. An exhibition will also be displayed in the Atrium Art Gallery during February 2016. Winners will then be announced during an Awards Ceremony which will take place on Thursday 4 February 2016.

How to enter the competition:

Step 1: Take your photo!

You can be as creative as you like in capturing the essence of your research. You could take a photo of your research in progress, showing how it is developed. Or you could focus on the people involved – the people behind the research, or the people benefitting from it. Unusual or artistic images are encouraged!

Step 2: Submit your photo

Submit your photo to the research email inbox, along with a 100–200 word description of your research by the 13th of January 2016.

Need inspiration?

Then take a look at our regular ‘Photo of the Week’, where you can read about the research behind the images or visit the Research Photography Competition 2015 webpages which highlight last year’s Research Photography Competition entries.