Category / student research

Exploring Plankton Diversity in Southampton Water

Undergraduate students in the department of Life and Environmental Sciences investigated the diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton in Southampton water as part of their third-year Biological Oceanography module. Using the research vessel RV Callista at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), samples were collected at 5 locations, or “stations”, between Calshott and the Itchen River. Environmental data was collected at each station using an array of sensors, measuring parameters such as temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and oxygen concentration. Phytoplankton were collected at two depths at each site, representing deep and shallow water. Zooplankton was caught using a plankton net, with a 120µm mesh to catch zooplankton in the net. These samples were subsequently analysed back at the university.

Trawls and grab samples were also used to investigate the benthic (bottom dwelling) communities living on the seabed and to analyse the oxygen conent of the sediment. Benthic animals found included starfish, fish such as gobies and flounders, cuttlefish, crabs and ‘moss animals’ (bryozoans).

Back at BU, the phyto- and zooplankton samples were analysed using microscopy. A variety of diatoms and dinoflagellates were found in the phytoplankton samples, and barnacle larvae, copepods and the larvae of marine worms were found in the zooplankton samples. Microbes too small to be seen under the microscope were counted using flow cytometry, a technique used to identify cyanobacteria and other minute cells.

The study demonstrated the great diversity of planktonic and benthic life in Southampton water, and highlighted the importance of monitoring and understanding the microscopic life of the sea since the microscopic life , as the base of the food web, is crucial in sustaining the larger and better understood forms of marine life.

 

 

 

 

Doctoral training partnerships funding call (DTP2) – Town hall meeting

When: 30 January 2018
Where: London

On 19 October 2017, NERC announced that its second round of investment in doctoral training partnerships (DTP2) would be made through a fully open competitive call. This decision was made following the outcomes of the mid-term evaluation of NERC’s existing DTPs in 2016-17.

The DTP evaluation concluded that this mechanism of delivering PhD studentships provides valuable training and that NERC should continue to support PhD studentships in this way. A fully open competitive call will ensure that they build on the success of existing investments while enabling innovation and change within the DTP community. It will ensure that all eligible organisations are able to compete for access to NERC studentships based on excellence, determined by a robust and consistent assessment process.

The DTP2 call will be launched in early January 2018, at which point an announcement of opportunity will be published on the NERC website. To ensure clear communication regarding the scope and expectations of this call, NERC will be holding a town hall meeting for interested parties to discuss the call in more detail with NERC staff and to network with potential DTP partners. The meeting will take place once the call has been launched.

The event

The purpose of the town hall meeting is to provide an opportunity for those interested in applying to the DTP2 call to receive detailed guidance about the scope and requirements of the call, raise any questions with NERC staff and network with prospective DTP partners. The meeting will commence with a presentation from NERC staff, followed by a plenary question and answer session, and will conclude with an open session to include lunch and networking.

Those expressing an interest in attending will be invited to propose questions to be addressed at the meeting – this will enable NERC staff to tailor the content of presentations and ensure that they address as many commonly asked questions as possible. Common queries raised following the publication of the call will also be addressed at the meeting.

Following the presentations and Q&A, the meeting will be unstructured, providing an opportunity for attendees to network with one another and discuss potential partnerships, as well as to talk further with NERC staff regarding specific questions.

Attendance at this meeting is not a pre-requisite for submission of a DTP2 proposal. A summary report of the meeting will be published on the NERC website as soon as possible after the event.

How to apply

To express your interest in attending the meeting, you must complete the online registration form.

The closing date for registration is 16:00 on 1 December 2017.

There are a limited number of places available and so the submission of an application is not a guarantee of a place at the meeting. If the event is oversubscribed, NERC will limit the number of attendees per organisation to allow for even representation from across the NERC community – this will be done in discussion with the individuals and organisation, as appropriate. Those applicants offered a place will receive a formal invitation confirming attendance once all applications have been processed. NERC will aim to confirm the final list of attendees by early January 2018.

Contact

NERC Research Careers

Calling all undergraduates… SURE 2018 is now open for abstract submissions!

Bournemouth University’s annual undergraduate research conference – Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) – returns for a third year in March 2018

As well as giving students a supportive platform to showcase the quality of work they do, it gives others at BU an insight into the excellent research undertaken by our undergraduates.  Not only is it a unique opportunity to further develop skills, prizes will also be available which include a fee waiver for a Master’s course at BU for the best overall contributor.

All undergraduate students at BU are eligible to apply, as are recent graduates.  Examples of research could be anything from preparing for a dissertation or an essay to work carried out during a placement year to volunteering or work with academic societies.  The key criteria is to be able to evidence critical thinking through the work.  Please do encourage your students to apply.


How to apply

To apply to present at SURE 2018, students will need to submit an application form, which includes a 250 word abstract, to sure@bournemouth.ac.uk.  Please read our ‘how to apply’ guidance first.

Abstracts will be accepted for oral or poster presentations.  If a student would like to present your research through another medium – a film, art exhibition or performance – please contact sure@bournemouth.ac.uk initially.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is Thursday, 21 December, 2017.

 


Prizes

Best overall contribution – a fee waiver for any Master’s course at Bournemouth University.

Best poster – an iPad.

Best oral presentation – a £500 contribution towards attending an academic conference of your choice.


Conference attendance

SURE 2018 will take place on Wednesday 7 March 2018.  Registration for the conference will open in January 2018.

Staff and students from across BU are encouraged and welcome to attend.


For any queries, please contact sure@bournemouth.ac.uk or visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/SURE2018.

 

 

FHSS student needs help with online questionnaire for her research

Our PhD student Orlanda Harvey is currently conducting her study on why people use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS).  Since steroid use is a sensitive topic and its users are a hard-to-reach population we need as much help as we can get to get her survey distributed to as many as possible potential steroid users (aged 18 and over).  We, as her PhD supervisors, would like to ask you to alert friends, family, neighbours, health care professionals working with this target group, etc. to the existence of this survey.   Her questionnaire is available in paper version (from harveyo@bournemouth.ac.uk or telephone Edwin van Teijlingen at: 01202-961564).  However, the easiest and most anonymous way would be for people to complete it online using the following online link.

 

Thank you very much in advance!

Dr. Margarete Parrish

Dr. Steven Trenoweth

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

 

 

Hidden Microbes in Christchurch House “Pond”

Microscopic investigations of water samples from the half-barrel pond in Christchurch House courtyard have revealed a menagerie of single-celled life. These tiny organisms (smaller than one tenth of a millimetre) are incredibly important as they form the basis of food webs.  They also play a major role in maintaining water quality as they feed on bacteria, and stalked species such as Vorticella (image) are responsible for their removal in waste-water treatment plants.  The half-barrel “pond” may be almost as small as its inhabitants but it promises to become a treasure of local ‘hidden’ biodiversity!

For further information please contact Genoveva F. Esteban gesteban@bournemouth@ac.uk, Jack Dazley i7447079@bournemouth.ac.uk, or Damian Evans devans@bournemouth.ac.uk

BU’s PGR Paul Fairbairn at the Lipids and Brain IV conference in Nancy

The Société Française pour l’Etude des Lipides (SFEL) recently held the fourth iteration of their Lipids and Brain conference in Nancy France.

I was given the opportunity to present some preliminary results from an ongoing study I am conducting as part of my PhD, looking into the effects of a multi-nutrient omega-3 fatty acid supplement and exercise on mobility and cognitive function in ladies aged 60+.  Analysis of the baseline data revealed relationships between levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood with cognitive and gait outcomes, however this effect differed between non-frail and pre-frail participants.

The conference brought together scientists, physicians and nutritionists to provide a unique prospective on the role of lipid nutrition in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases with a large focus on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  The conference was a mix of lectures, invited reviews, and poster sessions.  There was a tremendous variety of topics presented, including lectures on the pathophysiology and epidemiology of AD, how AD can impact lipid metabolism and the effects of lipid intake on prevention and treatment of AD.

During the conference Professor Stephen Cunnane from the Research Center on Aging, Sherbrooke (Canada) was presented with the prestigious Chevreul Medal.

On a personal note this was an exciting opportunity for me to present my work and represent Bournemouth University and my supervisory team of Dr. Simon Dyall and Dr. Fotini Tsofliou at a respected conference.  It was very satisfying to see some interest in my work from researchers whose work I myself look up to.

I would like to extend my gratitude towards Bournemouth University, for providing the funding that allowed me to attend the conference and to the scientific committee at the SFEL for organising such an impeccable event.

If you would like to learn more about our research, please feel free to contact me at pfairbairn@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

CMMPH student wins prestigious Iolanthe Midwifery Trust award

Congratulations to Dominique Mylod, clinical doctoral student in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health , Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

Dominique was awarded a Midwives Award from the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust for her research into early labour, which explores whether using a birth ball at home in early labour improves birth outcomes. She is supervised by Professor Vanora Hundley, Dr Sue Way, and Dr Carol Clark.

The picture shows Dominique receiving her award from Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE, Patron of the Trust.

 

Back to the future, what are the most in demand skills/attributes of our graduates?

This article was written by Brandon Clark and Edward Court, graduates of the BA (Hons) Business Studies degree at Bournemouth University.  They also completed their consultancy project in industry.

 

Skills…every job description has them, every experience enhances them, but what are the key skills prospective employers want 21st century university graduates to have?

With the UK exiting the European Union, Andrews et al (2010) highlighted the significance to employers of the UK graduate pool. They also stressed the importance for students to have a global mind set and to be culturally aware as many positions will involve working within diverse organisations and potentially with colleagues in other countries. Another factor that needs to be considered is from Marjanis’ (2008) research into challenges for Generation Z. The research finds that Gen Z students find the ‘psychological stress’ of graduate positions very demanding. This, coupled with the changing skills set required from graduates, presents a challenging and changing environment where students need to do everything they can to stand out in the employment market.

Through our research we have found a variety of skills that current employers are looking for (Vora 2008; Diamond et al 2011; Singh et al 2013; Adams 2015; QAA 2015; Levy et al 2016; Target Jobs 2017). These have been collated in to a matrix that can be seen below (Figure 1). Whilst it is clear about the key skills that are currently in demand, our research points towards a future shift, and there are several reasons that are cited for this.

Figure 1 – Matrix depicting the skills that are currently in demand from UK graduate employers.

As members of Gen Z ourselves, we both agree that a wider variety of skills are being demanded from graduates. We experience this through the application processes we are put through, and the countless job descriptions we read. These skills have been enhanced through a multitude of experiences throughout university, from group-work assignments and presentations to extra-curricular activities like volunteering and involvement in societies and most notably our placement year. Without this invaluable experience of a year in industry, neither of us would feel as prepared as we currently do to enter the graduate job market. We each worked with a number of people during our time on placement, including those based in different time zones and continents. This experience has provided us with an edge over what many are citing as the future requirements of UK graduates. However, whilst there are still a number of programmes that do not include a placement opportunity as part of the degree, or there are students who are not successful in securing a year in industry, will the future crop of UK graduates meet industry needs by simply obtaining a degree level education?

Newman et al (2017) points out that these questions are not just the concern of students, but that universities also have a huge role to play. Their report found that 80% of HE students believed that digital skills were vital for their careers however, half of the students felt that their courses weren’t developing these skills. Moreover, The World Economic Forum’s report, Future of Jobs (2016) stated “widespread disruption” in the jobs market with industries such as artificial intelligence growing rapidly. This suggests that students and education systems need to be interlinked with industry in order to future-proof students and develop the best graduates, equipped with the most in-demand skills.

Both of us have recently completed our Business Studies degrees and feel some disconnect between the skills we have gained through the taught part of the course and those that are expected of us when we apply for graduate positions. Whilst many of our assessments were based around verbal and written communication and teamwork, i.e. fundamental graduate skills skills that our research confirmed are in demand , these sorts of skills are required within any role.  We have found personally, through our placement year and through research on this project, that skills need to be more specific to job roles and industry sectors.  For example, we both found data processing and analytical skills using tools like MS Excel were crucial while on our placement year. This kind of in-depth skills assessment is not embedded in our programme.  However, we acknowledge that this may be the right approach. As specific skills such as Excel, need to be chosen by the student as they are the ones who know what roles and industries they want to pursue. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) (2015) states that business and management degrees “equip students to become effective and responsible global citizens” through the “enhancement of a range of general transferable intellectual and study skills”. Whilst this direction provides some confidence that the current HE curriculum is focusing on enhancing the skills demanded by recruiters, are graduates fully prepared for what is ahead?

References:

Adams, S., 2015. The 10 Skills Employers most want in 2015 Graduates [online]. Forbes. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/12/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-2015-graduates/#30ac69b22511 [Accessed 26 June 2017].

Andrews, J. and Higson, H. (2008). Graduate Employability, ‘Soft Skills’ Versus ‘Hard’ Business Knowledge: A European Study1. Higher Education in Europe, [online] 33(4), pp.411-416. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03797720802522627?needAccess=true  [Accessed 3 July 2017].

Diamond, A., Walkley, L., Forbes, P., Hughes, T., and Sheen, J., 2011. Global Graduates into Global Leaders [online]. AGR, CIHE & CFE.

Hawawini, G., (2017)., Higher Education Must Still Go Global. [online] INSEAD Knowledge. [Online} Available at: https://knowledge.insead.edu/leadership-organisations/higher-education-must-still-go-global-6276 [Accessed 3 July 2017].

Levy, F. and Cannon, C., 2016. The Bloomberg Job Skills Report 2016: What Recruiters Want [online]. NYC: Bloomberg.

Marjani, A., Gharavi, A., Jahanshahi, M., Vahidirad, A. and Alizadeh, F. (2008). Stress among medical students of Gorgan. Kathmandu University Medical Journal, [online] 6(23), pp.421-425. Available at: http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/KUMJ/article/view/1726 [Accessed 3 July 2017].

Newman, T., and Beetham, H., 2017. Student digital experience tracker 2017: the voice of 22,000 UK learners [online]. Bristol: JISC.

QAA., 2015. Subject Benchmark Statement for Business and Management [online]. Gloucester: QAA.

Singh, P., Thambusany, R. X. and Ramly, M. A., 2013. Fit or Unfit? Perspectives of Employers and University Instructors of Graduates’ Generic Skills [online]. Malaysia: Elsevir LTD.

Target Jobs., 2017. The top 10 skills that’ll get you a job when you graduate [online]. Oxfordshire: Target Jobs. Available from: https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/career-planning/273051-the-top-10-skills-thatll-get-you-a-job-when-you-graduate [Accessed 26 June 2017].

The Future of Jobs Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. (2016). Global Challenge Insight Report. [online] Geneva: World Economic Forum, pp.19-20. Available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs.pdf [Accessed 3 July 2017].

Vora, T., 2015. Skills for Future Success in a DIsruptive World of Work. qaspire.com [online]. 31 August 2015. Available from: http://qaspire.com/2015/08/31/skills-for-future-success-in-a-disruptive-world-of-work/ [Accessed 3 July 2017].

World Economic Forum., 2016. The Future of Jobs [online]. Switzerland: World Economic Forum.

My enriching experience as a research assistant on a whiplash prognosis project

“My enriching experience as a research assistant on the Whiplash Prognosis Project 2017”

-Renuka Balasundaram

Department of Psychology

Bournemouth University

With my master’s dissertation due in a month’s time, I decided to take up another research assistantship, given my profound interest in research. This project which was led by supervisors Dr. Jonny Branney and Dr. Ellen Seiss was mainly aimed at conducting a literature review to gather evidence relating to the prognostic factors following acute whiplash injury in adults. After getting well acquainted with my supervisors during the first meeting, I got thoroughly briefed on the aims and objectives of the project and a detailed plan on how to go about it. During the entire course of the project, there was good communication, interaction and flexibility where I was given the autonomy and freedom to come up with innovative ideas to work around the project. With regular weekly face to face meetings and briefings on the progress of the project from my side, we successfully completed the project and tabulated necessary evidence on the research area.

The interesting aspect of the project to me was categorising the prognostic factors according to the biopsychosocial model since I got to apply the learnings of psychological principles and theories to diverse fields. This facilitated improved learning on a range of topics like role of organisational factors of physical and mental health, public health system and compensation, subjectivity of pain threshold and clinical statistics to name a few. I am glad to have been a part of this preliminary research which is ultimately aimed at filling the gap in literature concerning evidence on prognostic factors immediately following acute whiplash, and eventually developing effective interventions and treatment plans in the future.

This research project has personally given me insights into doing a thorough evaluation of evidence based on different statistical models, and also conducting independent literature review on a specific research area. I strongly feel that theoretical knowledge in research methodologies and statistics can be put into effective use only when taken part in research projects. This gives the practical experience of working alongside supervisors or a research team, meeting deadlines and promotes collaborative work in a multi-disciplinary team. Overall, my experience as a student research assistant has given me a clear vision into research in a real world and practical setting, enhanced my ability to critically evaluate and sum up evidence, improved my scientific writing skills and has ultimately driven me to pursue my future goal of becoming a PhD laureate.

The 5 W: My experience as a Research Assistant explained

My name is Teodora Tepavicharova and I will be in my second year in September 2017. I have always been interested in Digitalisation and when I found out about the opportunity to work as an assistant for ‘Investigating Forms of Leadership in the Digital Age’ research project, I couldn’t be happier and more excited to apply for it. I knew that working on something like this is a big responsibility but being able to be part of a team of professionals from the area you are passionate about is definitely worth it!  Let me explain you more about my experience as an Student Research Assistant.

What? The Student Research Assistant job role is a great opportunity no matter of the year of study. Every student who meets certain criteria can apply for it. My role for this project was to conduct literature reviews, collect data and make conclusions upon it. It was a challenge to find new information that hasn’t been researched before but working on the project, we found very interesting theories that may be a game changer for the way the Digital World has been looked up at until now. I found the foundation needed for the creation of an evaluative research paper on NVivo 11.

Why? The advantages of working this are many – make new contacts within the university and the environment where you are working, meeting new people, gaining new skills etc. In my opinion, one of the best things that you can learn is the information that you are looking for. I wanted to meet and work with tutors who will be teaching me in future and URA gave me this opportunity. Being able to dive so deep into a topic is a great way to learn new things, theory and real-life examples about something that you are passionate about. I found it very interesting to read and observe different papers, websites and get in touch with people who can give you inside of a brand-new topic is amazing experience for a student.

Where? The job is extremely flexible. Depending on you and the Project Leaders, you may choose to work from home, local web café, university or any other place where you can be productive. I worked from home and in the university depending on the amount of work I had. For me this was very useful because sometimes I needed much more time to work in the office rather than at home. Being able to choose makes the work pleasurable. I had my own desk, computer and needed materials for working productive.

Who? Every undergraduate and postgraduate taught student who is studying in the university and whose grades are 70 and above can apply for the position. At the end of my first year, I decided to work at least a month during the summer. The unique opportunity is great for everyone because no matter of your year of study, you always need experience in your CV. If you are curious, reliable, focused and enthusiastic, then definitely go for it!

When? I worked from the beginning to the end of June which again was my preferable time. This is another advantage of the job – you can spread the hours depending on your free time. Of course, it depends on the amount of work you have, the amount of time you spent working and the arrangements with your Project Leaders. The job was greater than my expectations as it was dynamic and I was able to learn how to work with NVivo 11.

I think that the most amazing thing about working as a SRA is that you are very welcomed to the team. My Project Leaders are wonderful, intelligent women who made me feel very calm, welcomed and helpful since day one. Being able to work in such cohesion, gives you the motivation and at the same time you are enjoying every moment of this journey. Working with NVivo 11 was a pleasure because it is easy to navigate and manage. I will certainly use the software again for my assignments and dissertation! So, if you are driven and ready to show what you are capable of, apply for Research Assistant!

Congratulations to Dr. Keen on new Nepal publication

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Keen in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences and BU PhD graduate Dr. Pratik Adhikary on the acceptance today of their paper ‘Risky work: Accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi ‘ by the journal Health Prospect [1].  This is a peer-reviewed public health journal, part of Nepal Journals Online, and the journal is Open Access.  Nepal Journals OnLine (NepJOL) provides access to Nepalese published research, and increase worldwide knowledge of indigenous scholarship.

The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has a growing number of publications on health and migration research, especially on the health and well-being of migrants from Nepal [2-5].

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

 

References:

  1. Adhikary, P., Sheppard, Z., Keen, S., van Teijlingen, E. (2017) Risky work: Accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi, Health Prospect (forthcoming)
  2. Adhikary, P., Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen E., Raja, AE. (2008) Health & Lifestyle of Nepalese Migrants in the UK BMC International Health & Human Rights 8(6). Web address: www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/8/6.
  3. van Teijlingen E, Simkhada, P., Adhikary, P. (2009) Alcohol use among the Nepalese in the UK BMJ Rapid Response: www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/339/oct20_1/b4028#223451
  4. Adhikary P., Keen S., van Teijlingen, E. (2011) Health Issues among Nepalese migrant workers in Middle East. Health Science Journal 5: 169-175. www.hsj.gr/volume5/issue3/532.pdf
  5. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Adhikary, P., Bhatta, Y.K.D., Mann, S. (2016) Injury and Mortality in Young Nepalese Migrant Workers: A Call for Public Health Action. Asian-Pacific Journal of Public Health 28(8): 703-705.

First PhD in Project Management from the Faculty of Management

Yogarajah Nanthagaopan has successfully completed the first PhD in Project Management from the Faculty of Management. He was supervised by Dr Nigel L. Williams and Professor Stephen Page and his thesis was titled: A Resource Based Perspective on Project Management in NGOs. Dr Nanthangaopan has returned to his native Sri Lanka and is the current Head of Economics and Management department and Coordinator for the BBM in Project Management degree program at the Faculty of Business Studies, Vavuniya Campus of the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.