Category / Research news

Undergraduate Research Assistantships – academic applications deadline extension – 25th October 2015

The Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) programme academic applications are live.

If you need any assistance with your research projects, a URA could help your project greatly.  If your application is approved, you will recruit a student work with you on your research project for either 75 or 100 hours between 18th January 2016 and 21st March 2016.  Alternatively, there is an option to apply for the summer programme now.  The summer programme features support from a URA, full time for 6 weeks over the summer.

Academics who took part in the programme last year had experienced a variety of achievements, some highlights include:

  • “The process will likely inform a case study for my Teach@BU portfolio as well as future bids and I hope to continue working [with the URA] together by co-creating outputs”
  • “Based on their [URA] more than satisfactory performance and competence, my co-investigator and I have invited her [URA] to continue working on the study to write up (co-author two academic articles) and disseminate the findings”
  • “We have been invited to present the findings at the FoM research seminar, an ESRC seminar in September and we are also looking to publish this work and apply for follow-on funding”
  • “[URA] has contributed immensely to the advancement of both project”

Please submit your completed URA Application to by midnight on Sunday 25th October 2015.

If you have any queries, please contact Rachel Clarke, KE Adviser (KTP) on 01202 961347 or email 

Launch of the BU Undergraduate Research Assistantship programme 2015/16

Following on from a successful pilot, I am delighted to announce the launch of BU’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) programme.  This programme is managed via the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO), is funded by the Fusion Investment Fund and offers paid employment opportunities for approximately 55 BU undergraduate students to work in a research position that is directly related to their academic studies or career path, under the guidance of experienced academics, within our clusters, centres and institutes.  The programme will enable students to assist academic staff with their research projects as well as provide valuable research experience to enrich their student experience.

In 2015/16, the scheme will be made up of two programmes; a semester-based programme and a summer programme.

Each programme will have a two stage application process; 1) Academic Application Form 1516 and 2) student recruitment for approved URA positions.

These URA vacancies will be available for BU students only, where URA applicants must be able to work in the UK and be enrolled during the time of their assistantship. Staff can only have one active URA application in operation at any one time.

We are now accepting applications from academic staff for URA positions.  The closing date for academic applications has been extended to 25th October 2015.  Completed application forms should be sent to  Before submitting your application, please see the following criteria for selecting staff applications for funding.

Please note that applications are now open for both the semester-based programme and the summer programme, with a further round of applications for the summer programme opening in 2016.

If you have any queries, please contact Rachel Clarke, KE Adviser (KTP) on 01202 961347 or email

New careers guidance resources for research staff

career-developmentThis week our new careers guidance resources for research staff have gone live on the Research Blog. They include detailed guidance on how to progress from a research career to an academic career, drawing on a wide range of resources. There is also information on other career pathways, including administration/management within HE and research careers outside of HE.

We will be adding to the resources to ensure they are as useful as possible and will be adding some case studies for different career pathways over the following months.

You can access them here:

Code of Practice for the Employment and Development of Research Staff – NEW VERSION

I am delighted to share with you the new and improved version of BU’s Code of Practice for the Employment and Development of Research Staff. Research staff in this context are defined as staff with a primary responsibility to undertake research, including pre-and post-doctoral staff on fixed-term and open-ended contracts funded through limited period grants, named fellowships and sometimes institutional funds.

The code provides guidance on the University’s expectations for the recruitment, support, management and development of research staff in line with the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (2008) and the European Charter for Researchers (2005). It is relevant to research staff and their managers as well as to BU staff in general. It has been written by the University’s Research Concordat Steering Group and is one of the objectives from our action plan to further align BU’s policy and practice to the seven principles of the Concordat and to further improve the working environment for research staff at BU.

When launched last autumn this was the first time that BU had had a code of practice specifically for research staff and the document acknowledges the valued contribution made by research staff to the research undertaken at BU. The further recognition of the value of research staff and the development of career opportunities for them are key matters on which we will continue to work.

Access information about BU’s work to embed the principles of the Concordat here: 

Research Professional visit 3rd Nov and set up your personal account and searches!

Research-Professional-logoEvery BU academic has a Research Professional account which delivers weekly emails detailing funding opportunities in their broad subject area. Jordan Graham from Research Professional is visiting BU on the 3rd of November 2015 to demonstrate to academics and staff how to make the most of their Research Professional account.

This will include:

  • Building searches
  • Setting personalised alerts
  • Saving and bookmarking items
  • Subscribing to news alerts
  • Configuring your personal profile

Location and the session timings are:

Talbot campus P424

10.15 – 11.15 – Research Professional presentation

11.15 – 11.45 – RKEO interactive session setting up searches

Lansdowne campus S103

13.30 – 14.30 – Research Professional presentation

14.30 – 15.00 – RKEO interactive session setting up searches

After the presentation, the RKEO Funding Development Team will be on hand for an interactive session where they will help you set up your Research Professional account, searches and offer advice from a BU perspective.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about funding opportunities and to meet the Funding Development Team, particularly if you are new to BU.

Please reserve your place now at a BU Campus to suit through Organisational Development


Paper ahead of its time?

Presentation1Sometimes my co-authors and I wonder why a particular paper get more cited after a few years of publication.  Is is because the paper and the research were are ahead of their time?  Or is there simply a lag time between publication and other researchers publishing in the field finding your paper (or stumbling upon it perhaps)?

Take for example the following paper published in 2006 when I was still based in the Department of Public Health at the University of Aberdeen: Promoting physical activity in primary care settings: Health visitors’ and practice nurses’ views and experiences in  the Journal of Advanced Nursing.[1]


Published in 2006 our paper was first cited in Scopus in 2007 (just once),three time in the following year (2008), five times in 2009 and then just a few times per year until this year. In 2015 we have six citations already and the year is not even finished.

We really wonder what lies behind that increased popularity of this 2006 paper.

citations JAN

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen




  1. Douglas, F., van Teijlingen E.R., Torrance, N., Fearn, P., Kerr, A., Meloni, S. (2006) Promoting physical activity in primary care settings: Health visitors’ and practice nurses’ views and experiences Journal of Advanced Nursing, 55(2): 159-168.

NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation Projects Call


The Environment Agency has indicated that they would welcome academic partners to work with them on the priorities in their Working with Natural Processes Research Framework. Details are at the foot of the call webpage

The evidence needs for Defra, Natural England and the JNCC are also available on the web page.

Please note that this call has £150k for short feasibility projects and internships completing before 31 March 2016 as well as for longer term projects of up to £125K at 80% FEC in value.

Closing Date 4pm 22 October 2015.

Please note that some funding bodies specify a time for submission as well as a date. Please confirm this with your RKEO Funding Development Officer.

TalkBU: Taylor Swift, zombies and why popular culture matters in Higher Education.

Taylor Swift, zombies and why popular culture matters in Higher Education.

Talk BU Live returns to Dylan’s Bar with this live talk from Dr Sam Goodman on Tuesday 29 September 2015 at 5:30pm.

The modern university is a troubled place. Under the pressure of reduced government funding and the rising expectations that come with increased student fees, the emphasis in contemporary media is on degrees that lead directly to a career.

As a result humanities subjects, such as English Literature and cultural studies, have come under criticism for being too broad, too wide reaching. It has been suggested that these degrees should focus solely on those subjects and skills that will ‘guarantee’ employment – a return to the so-called classics of Shakespeare and Dickens.

This decision would limit the texts and scope of the humanities and undermine the ability of scholars to pursue research, ultimately damaging the student experience in the process.

Using high-profile examples from contemporary popular culture, such as Taylor Swift, and the rise of the Zombie in video games, film and TV, BU’s Dr Sam Goodman will argue that the value of diverse humanities and the importance of academic freedom has never been greater.

About Dr Sam Goodman

Sam lectures in linguistics at BU and his research interests include 20th Century literature with a broad focus on identity, medicine, notions of Englishness and Empire, and post-World War 2 popular culture. This year he was selected as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker and has recently published a book on spy novels, entitled “British Spy Fiction & the End of Empire”.

About Talk BU Live

Talk BU Live is a series of free on-campus events designed to get people talking and thinking. Talks are no more than 20 minutes long and open to all students and staff at BU.

You can get involved by tweeting #TalkBU or find out more by contacting the team or visiting the Talk BU page on the website.